§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS (Flint Boroughs)
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board, whether he is aware that in some parts of the country, the auditors of the Local Government Board have surcharged County Councils on the ground that they have no legal powers to establish and maintain joint dairy schools and other institutions for technical instruction; whether he is aware that in other counties no objection has been taken by the auditors to expenditure on similar institutions jointly maintained by County Councils, and that great inconvenience has been caused to some County Councils by the decision of the auditors, who have held that the Act does not authorise the establishment of joint institutions for 1442 technical instruction; and whether, seeing that the establishment of one joint institution for two or more counties is in many cases more conducive to economy and efficiency than the creation and maintenance of separate establishments for the same purpose, the Local Government Board will take the necessary steps to enable two or more County Councils to establish and maintain joint institutions under the Technical Instruction Acts?
§ MR. CHAPLIN
I am aware that, disallowances have been made in the accounts of some County Councils on the ground that they have no legal powers to establish and maintain joint dairy schools and other institutions for technical instruction. As to how far similar items have been allowed in other counties, I have no information. The question of the legality of the auditors' decision in making these disallowances is now before the Local Government Board on appeals by the persons surcharged. Any question as to the amendment of the law in this respect would be a matter for the Science and Art Department of the Privy Council, but, assuming that it is held that County Councils cannot now combine for the purposes of the Technical Instruction Acts, I shall be quite prepared to suggest to that Department that the law might be amended with advantage.