§ * SIR CHARLES DILKE
I beg to ask the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education whether he can inform the House if any estimate has been made of the extent to which the new grant to poor School Board districts is likely to be diminished in the second year?
§ SIR J. GORST
It is impossible to make such an estimate. The total grant may not be decreased at all. Individual School Boards may increase their expenditure; and fresh School Boards may come under the Act.
§ MR. F. A. CHANNING (Northampton, E.)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether, having regard to the varying degree in which the proposals of the Bill for Necessitous School Boards will affect the interests of the ratepayers in a great number of towns, especially the more populous towns and school districts in all parts of the country, and having regard to the fact that the Return showing the operation of the Bill cannot be issued for some days, he will defer the Second Reading of the Bill till after the Recess, and afford some opportunity for the ratepayers of these towns and school districts to consider the proposals of the Bill, and make any representations they think advisable to the Government and to their representatives in this House before the discussion on the Second Reading of the Bill?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
This Question raises a subject which was the matter of Debate last night. I then suggested, in order to avoid, what some hon. Members had an objection to—namely, taking the Second Reading of the Poor School Boards Bill on Monday—that we should adjourn a day earlier, on the understanding that a certain number of non-controversial Bills should be taken and that there should be an opportunity given to my right hon. Friend the 859 Chief Secretary to introduce his Bill, which is down on the Paper as the Agriculture and Industries (Ireland) Bill. I have taken such means as are in my power to communicate with Gentlemen opposite, and I gather that that arrangement would not be unsatisfactory. I said that if that were understood I would so draw the Resolution, which would be moved on Monday as the first Order with reference to rising for the holidays, that —first, we should rise at the end of the sitting; and, secondly, the Twelve o'clock Rule would be suspended to dispose of the business which I have mentioned.
MR. T. M. HEALY
May I ask at what hour it is proposed that the Irish question should be opened, because I understand that the Cretan discussion will last till midnight? At that hour it would be unfair to take the Irish Bill.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
I quite agree that it would be unfortunate if the introduction of the Irish Bill should be thrust back too late; but I understand that part of the arrangement is, that the Debate mi the Adjournment—which will, no doubt, be important —should not be extended to undue length; and I shall put down the Irish Bill as first Order after the Motion for the Adjournment. I hope that it will come on not later than Ten o'clock. [Hear, hear!"]
§ SIR W. HARCOURT (Monmouth, W.)
I understand that a reasonable time is to be given for the Motion for the Adjournment, and a sufficient time reserved for the discussion of the Irish Bill on its introduction. That Bill is not, I believe, opposed by the Irish Members. The discussion on the Motion for the Adjournment should be concluded at something like the hour which the right hon. Gentleman has stated; and I understand that, in case the discussion should overlap that hour to a certain extent, the Twelve o'clock Rule is to be suspended, not with a view to any lengthened discussion, but in order to dispose of the non-contentious Measures of which the right hon. Gentleman has spoken. That is the proposal, as I understand it, and I think it is a very reasonable proposal. ["Hear, hear!"]
§ SIR E. ASHMEAD-BARTLETT (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
asked the First Lord of the Treasury when the House would have an opportunity of discussing South African affairs, especially with regard to the Transvaal?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
I cannot give my hon. Friend any fixed date for the discussion of affairs in South Africa. That will have to he arranged after Easter when we come to allocate our time. The Secretary of State for the Colonies informs me, however, that he is about to lay Papers on the Table, and they will be in the hands of hon. Members immediately after the holidays.