HC Deb 28 July 1896 vol 43 cc822-3
MR. J. CALDWELL (Lanark, Mid)

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate, if he could state to the House how much Scotland has been short paid of the fee grant in each of the three financial years preceding the financial year 1895–6 on the footing that Scotland ought to have received eleven-eightieths of the fee grant paid to England during these years respectively?


I have to refer the hon. Member to the Return granted on the 13th May 1896, on the Motion of the hon. Member for Londonderry, relating to the education fee grants (England, Scotland and Ireland), which contains the particulars he desires to know.


I beg to ask the Lord Advocate, whether the attention of the Scotch Office has been called to the fact that the fee grant on the Estimates for the current year for England is set down at £2,241,000, eleven-eightieths of which, being Scotland's proportion is £308,137, whilst on the Estimate for Scotland the Scotch fee grant is only set down at £303,609, being 10s. per head of the estimated number of children in average attendance in Scotland; whether he is aware that the Treasury in 1891 refused to allocate the fee grant payable to Scotland on the basis of Scotland's average attendance, and whether the fee grant would then and on that basis have amounted to more than eleven-eightieths of England; at whose suggestion was the change made; in the Estimates for the current year; and whether the Scotch Office have made or intend making any representation to the Treasury for the continuance of the grant on the principle originally fixed?


I am aware that the amount of the fee grant in the English and Scottish Estimates respectively is as stated in the Question of the hon. Member, and also that eleven-eightieths of the English grant would amount to the sum He names. I am also aware that in the earlier years, when the grant was allocated upon the eleven-eightieths basis a grant upon the basis of average attendance in Scotland would have been larger. The Scotch Education Department has always contended that average attendance was the proper basis of calculation, and, in view of the complicated questions which arose, the Treasury this year decided that the grant should hereafter be paid on that basis. I am not aware whether, when this decision was arrived at, the actual result was known. But in any case, the Scotch Education Department do not think that the fact of the result being adverse in a particular year renders it either expedient in principle or advantageous to Scotland to alter what is believed to be the sound basis of calculation.