§ THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. GRAHAM MURRAY, Buteshire,): moved: "That this Bill be now read a Second time."
MR. T. SHAW (Hawick Burghs)
proposed to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day three months." He though the Scottish Members and the Scottish people were quite entitled to complain of the short time that had been given for the consideration of the Measure. The subject was one in which the Scottish people took the deepest interest, and it was only on Tuesday last that the print of the Bill reached Scotland. They were, accordingly, without any guidance from the School Boards of Scotland and from the people of Scotland at large, who were deeply interested in the Measure. They were asked to discuss the Second Reading of the Bill without a single Parliamentary return showing the operation and effect of the Measure. They were asked to discuss the merits or demerits of a Measure which only forty-eight hours ago had reached Scotland, and which to this hour had not seen the light of day in a large part of the Scottish area. When they came to examine the provisions of the Bill, then their dissatisfaction greatly deepened, and it deepened into the strongest objection to the Measure. He moved the rejection of the Bill primarily on the ground of its gross inadequacy to meet the requirements of the case. They could not increase the grant proposed by a single penny. They could only mark their sense of its inadequacy by moving the rejection of the Measure as a whole. The money proposed to be given to Scotland under the Bill was £40,000. The sum of £28,000 was to be given to School Boards, and £12,000 to the fragment of their educational system in Scotland known as the Voluntary Schools, and this was to be done under what in Scotland they believed to be the iniquitous method of a preferential grant to the voluntary system of education. He gave the Lord Advocate full credit for the £26,000 877 which he said was required to keep up their measure of 12s. per head instead of 10s. in England. As to that £26,000 he should have to show how it would be reduced to the extent of £8,000. But in reference to this Bill he must now ask the House to consider what was the position of Scotland in regard to the legislation of this Session, as there had to be taken by action of that House in its legislative capacity from the Imperial Treasury a sum amounting to about £800,000. Where was that taken from? It was taken from the Imperial Treasury to which the Scottish taxpayers, one and all, had contributed, and Scotland had been and was a contributor to the very fund which had been taken to the extent of £800,000 fur exclusively English purposes. The principle had been recognised since the year 1888, and had been repeatedly acted upon since, in regard to technical education and in a large variety of items including, indeed, the legislation of last year as to the agricultural rates, of the equivalent grant which they as Scottish Members were emphatic in their determination, if possible, to induce the Government to apply to the subject now in hand. Under that equivalent grant they should get a sum of £110,000 per annum for Scottish local purposes, but under the Bill before the House they were only to get £40,000. He was perfectly willing not to state the principle of the equivalent grant in his own words, but to use the words of its author, the First Lord of the Admiralty. "This equivalent grant" (said the First Lord of the Admiralty),was originally conceived in order to save Ireland and Scotland from a disadvantage under which they would otherwise have laid.Up to the point, therefore, to which they had gone they saw that this Bill was not a Bill for the purpose of saving them from the disadvantage under which they would lie, by a comparison with the English grant of the present year, but it was a Bill which would ratify and sanction by Parliamentary approval, the disadvantage which the author of the grant principle stated that he wished studiously to avoid. Again the Chancellor of the 878 Exchequer said, that the principle of the equivalent grant was this—It was held by Parliament and repeatedly acted upon, that when a certain proportion of the Imperial revenue was intercepted from the common purposes of the United Kingdom and handed over to England and relief of local ratepayers, that an equivalent grant should be made to Scotland and to Ireland in the proportion of 80, 11 and 9, which should he expended for the local purposes of those other parts of the United Kingdom.He asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he was going to interpose in this Debate, if he could give any solid or sufficient reason why a principle he had adopted when dealing with an Irish matter, should not also be adopted when dealing with a Scotch matter deeply affecting the interests of the whole Scottish people. This Bill instead of being an adherence to the principle of avoiding any disadvantage to Scotland, was a deliberate violation not only of the principle laid down, but was also contrary to the practice of Parliament and it would require a very considerable amount of explanation, argument, and defence before the Scottish people would be satisfied that they had been justly and fairly treated in this matter. On the sum awarded under this Bill there would be £40,000 granted, but on the explanation given by the Lord Advocate, there would be £66,000. From the £26,000 added, according to the Lord Advocate's explanation, £8,000 must, he thought, be deducted. Take it any way they liked, Scotland was being unjustly deprived of her due share of public money. If £40,000 was to be granted, she was deprived of £70,000 a year, and if the other principle were adopted she would lose £44,000 a year, while, should there be the deduction of £8,000 to which he had referred, she would be unjustly deprived of £52,000 a year. The Scottish people would not be slow to characterise the Bill in terms not approved in this House as one under which Scotland would be cheated to the extent of £1,000 a week. He understood that the true defence of the Measure was, that there was a desire to introduce symmetrical treatment in the matter of educational grants. That raised at once Scotland's cardinal objection, because they objected to have their Scottish educational system 879 moulded on the lines of the English system. ["Hear, hear!"] For centuries Scotland had been in advance of England in this matter, and it stood to reason that the lines of symmetry which was the defence of this Measure meant the lines of educational reaction. Besides, the symmetrical principle was illogical, because it applied the symmetrical method to systems which were diverse in their operation. The modern educational feature of which Scotland was proud was that they had School Boards in every district in Scotland. The Voluntary Schools were comparatively few. For every Voluntary School in England there were only four Board Schools; but in Scotland, for every five Voluntary Schools there were thirty-three Board Schools. A more striking contrast could not be conceived between the two systems, and if the lesson of the Bill was to introduce symmetrical treatment between England and Scotland, then he would say that that was the peculiar hardship of the Bill, because the best thing that had happened since the passing of the Act of 1872 for Scotland had been the absorption of the Voluntary Schools into the Board School system. In Scotland they had 523 Free Church Schools. Every one of these had been given up by the Free Church, for that Church had recognised that the time had gone by for propagating education under anything like a sectarian mechanism. Why, then, should Scotland be punished for having so few of those Voluntary Schools? These had been multiplied in Scotland as in England. Instead of getting £12,000 for Voluntary Schools Scotland would have got £80,000, so that Scotland was to be punished to the extent of £68,000 a year because that country had approved of the management of education by public School Boards, and had been loyal to the Act of 1872. The House would require some extraordinary explanation of that conduct on the part of Her Majesty's Government, for if it was symmetry they were to be governed by, Scotland was to pay far too high a price for it. But was it symmetry? So far as grants to Voluntary Schools and necessitous Board Schools were concerned, if the system was to be symmetrical it must be a complete symmetry; yet there was no proposal by the Government to make 880 any alteration in the working of the 17s. 6d. limit in Scotland, although they had abolished the working of that system in England. That was not a small affair, because under this Bill they would still have continued the deductions from that grant. If they were to have in Scotland a system symmetrical with that of England, why not abolish the 17s. 6d. limit and give to Scotland the £73,000 she would thereby gain? The next point was that there had been no general public demand in Scotland for any measure of this kind. No such proposal had emanated from any School Board in Scotland, and as to the Highland districts, they wanted to know from the Lord Advocate whether the relief to Board Schools was to affect the Highlands of Scotland? He took it that it was to affect all schools generally, and, if so, observe the predicament the Government was in. If it affected the Highlands it affected the area which already was the subject of special educational grants and special treatment to bring the Board Schools up to solvency and efficiency. Therefore, he suspected that if this measure was to be operative in the Highlands the increased grant under this Bill would be an unanswerable weapon for stopping the present special grants for making the Highland Schools efficient and solvent, and so they would be robbing Peter to pay Paul. And as for the Voluntary Schools, the Scottish Voluntary Schools, unlike those of England, were suffering no intolerable strain, and they filled up no educational gap, because under statute Scotland was meeting the educational requirements of the country. So far from the Voluntary Schools of Scotland suffering from any intolerable strain, they had thriven and fattened on the grants which had already been given them. As an illustration, he pointed out that in 1872 the Roman Catholic Schools in the whole of Scotland numbered 22, but grants had been made and aid given with the result that these schools in 1896 numbered 183. They had been able by the existing system to increase their numbers ninefold.
MR. T. SHAW
agreed with the hon. Member, but said the educational efficiency was the best answer to the sug- 881 gestion which the interruption involved. Sound public opinion in Scotland was for a national and against the voluntary system of education. They had hoped, not for a Bill of this kind, but for a Bill which would recognise the difference between the English and the Scottish systems, and which would also recognise that in Scotland secondary education was the peculiar care of all the School Boards. They wanted a Measure which would methodise the existing grants for secondary and technical education, which would see that all the public moneys devoted to the subject were really used to promote such education, and which would make a further effort to make free the entire system of education—not only primary, but also secondary and technical. From the Reformation downwards, amid many material privations, education, not of the few but of the many, and education, not to elementary limits but to the highest point attainable, had been the ideal of the people at large in Scotland; and the reason was that they had found in a scheme of that kind, in Knox's language, the best security for ''the comfort of the Commonwealth." With this money, which was their due, a great national opportunity was offered, but by this Bill a great national opportunity had been thrown away. The Bill, if it Were proceeded with, would be forced upon Scotland against its will. As proof of this statement, he pointed out that they had three great institutions which handled the subject of Board and secondary education—the Educational Institute of Scotland, the School Boards Association, and the Association for Promoting Secondary and Technical Education. Within a. week's time each of these great public institutions had declared, almost in vehement terms, against the Measure of the Government. ["Hear, hear!"] At a meeting of the Executive of the Scottish School Boards Association on the 28th June—reference was made to the proposed Government grant and to the Bill which had been introduced by the Lord Advocate, providing for the disposal of the same. Disappointment was expressed that the principle of an equivalent to the grant for England should have been departed from. It was felt that the amount of the grant was too small, and the method of its application inequitable and quite inadequate to meet the necessities of the case of Scotch education.882 The Executive Committee of the Scottish Association for the Promotion of Technical and Secondary Education said,—In many quarters dissatisfaction is already being expressed at the prospect of a restricted view being taken of the claims of Scotland to receive at this time a considerable grant for educational purposes. It appears to this Committee particularly unfortunate, when the reorganisation of higher education in Scotland is taking place, that there should be the possibility of financial difficulties in the matter, and that such an opportunity should be lost of providing satisfactorily for the evident needs of secondary and technical education.The Educational Institute of Scotland adopted several resolutions—1st. That the School Board system being universal in Scotland, the Educational Institute of Scotland hopes that the manner and conditions of distributing the proposed aid grant to Voluntary Schools by the Education Department shall be such that they can not be taken advantage of to increase the number of these schools.2nd. That a sum proportionally equivalent to that required in England under the provisions of the Voluntary Schools Act, and of the Necessitous Board Schools Act of this year, should be devoted to Scotch education.3rd. That in so far as the total grant to Scotland under the proposals of the Government will come short of the proportionate equivalent to that provided for England under the Education Acts of this year, the difference should be set apart for further educational purposes in Scotland.And they went on to say,—There is especial need for aid in connection with higher education. In rural districts the laudable attempts of School Boards to provide higher education for the community in the ordinary public schools are seriously hampered by want of funds; and in urban communities the paucity of funds is no less a bar to success.These were early but important expressions of public opinion, and, unless the Government took heed in time, they would find that this was only the beginning, of a storm north of the Tweed. If the Government were wise they would be warned ere it was too late. Scotland was entitled to expect that the British Treasury should be approached with more firmness and spirit by a Scotch Department which had a Cabinet Minister at its head. He asked the Government on an early occasion to produce a Measure which would be more worthy of a powerful Ministry, and which would show more respect to the needs, to the traditions, 883 and to the rights of Scotland. [Cheers.] He begged to move his Amendment, "That the Bill be read a Second time upon this day six months."
§ MR. THOMAS HEDDERWICK (Wick Burghs)
supported the Amendment. They did not move the rejection of this Measure from any indifference to the interests of education. If others forgot, they, at all events, remembered, that it was to that side of the House that the country owed its present system of education. The foundations of that system were laid broad and deep by Liberal statesmen. They had reason to be proud of their achievement, and were not likely to be either slack or negligent in the maintenance and preservation of a structure which cost the Liberal Party many a struggle to rear and which had proved itself already, even in this generation, an incalculable blessing to the people. They moved the rejection of this Measure because they were alive to the importance of the matter, and because they were satisfied that the Bill now before the House was inadequate, ill-conceived, and prejudicial to the best interests of national education. What was the genesis of the Bill? Had it sprung from the demand of the people of Scotland? Had it emanated from a genuine desire on the part of the Government to redress some intolerable grievance in the Scottish system? Was it offered to them because Her Majesty's Ministers believed it to be necessary in itself? None of these things were true. It was thrown to them as a bone was thrown to a barking dog—because the Government, having voted enormous sums for England, felt that something must be done, whether well or ill done, to stifle the clamour for an equivalent grant that was justly due to Scotland. Were the Government anxious to promote the interests of education in Scotland? If they were, why did they only the other night cut off the grant from the evening continuation schools? Were they really anxious to promote the highest interests of education in Scotland? If they were, why did they offer them a limited grant of £40,000, instead of the £100,000 to which, relatively and proportionately to England, they were entitled? The Chancellor of the Exchequer said this was not a case for an equivalent grant. Why? 884 Because, forsooth, the educational systems in the two countries were not identical. He thought the Government had done with logic; but, if they had not, to what a preposterous position they were reduced by their Bill. The systems were not identical. Therefore, when it was a question of grant, they were to have £40,000 only instead of £100,000. But when the expenditure came to be considered it was to be distributed as if the two systems were alike. Could anything be more illogical, more absurd, more untenable, except, possibly, from the point of view of a Chancellor of the Exchequer and a parsimonious Treasury? The systems were not identical. That was apparently sound ground to stand upon financially, since it enabled the Government to cut down the grant; but, the money having been voted, the ground of its limitation was contemptuously ignored, and the money was allocated upon the lines of a system to which it was admitted the educational system of Scotland bore no analogy! In Scotland School Boards were everywhere, and Voluntary Schools were few in number— so few that the grant of 3s. and 1s. respectively would amount on the average to little more than 1s. per head as against an average of 3s. 3d. in England. Could the Chancellor of the Exchequer contend that that was a fair proportion? But he objected personally, upon principle, to the granting of public money to schools whose sole raison d'être was the teaching of sectarian doctrines. The principle was unsound, and if it were admitted without protest he could not see upon what ground the principle of concurrent endowment could be effectively resisted. In the case of England the grant of public money to Voluntary Schools was defended upon the ground that the English system was a compromise, and that the Voluntary Schools educated more than half the youth of England. No such argument could be employed in the case of Scotland. In 1872 there were only 46 Episcopal and 22 Homan Catholic Schools in Scotland. If there were more now they had grown with the growth of the Board Schools, and under the existing conditions of the established system. Nor had there been any cry of an intolerable strain from the subscribers to the Voluntary Schools in Scotland. The gift of 3s. to these schools 885 by the Government was therefore a spontaneous and gratuitous gift, without any basis in justice or necessity, and it constituted a grievance of which the Board Schools very justly complained. The hon. and learned Member for the Border Burghs had quoted memorials emanating from public bodies in Scotland most qualified to speak with authority upon this subject. He believed that the protests of these bodies expressed in very mild language the feelings with which this Measure would be received by the people of Scotland. Upon this ground, and for the reasons which he had endeavoured briefly to indicate, he begged leave to second the Amendment moved by his hon. and learned Friend.
§ MR. ORR-EWING (Ayr Burghs)
said he supported the Bill, which had been received more coldly than it deserved. It was true there was a certain amount of disappointment that secondary and technical education had not been dealt with in the Bill, but he hoped with some confidence that next year the Government would bring in a separate Bill dealing with those important branches of education, and placing them on a broad and practical basis. The amount of the grant that Scotland was going to receive was a matter he would not discuss. He supposed there was no record at the Treasury of any grant ever having been thought satisfactory by the recipients, and certainly they, as Scotsmen, would be unfaithful to all the traditions of their race if, when there was any money to be got, they did not try to get as much of it as they possibly could. He sincerely hoped that when secondary and technical education were dealt with, Scotland would get more than she was about to receive under the present Bill. But the amount of the grant having been settled, the question was how to make the best use of it in the interests of all educational institutions. So far as he could see, the proposals of the Bill were just in that respect. It was impossible to overlook the claims of the Voluntary Schools of Scotland considering the Bill which had been passed that Session for England. The Voluntary Schools in Scotland had a stronger claim for relief than even the Voluntary Schools of England. In Scotland the Voluntary Schools were small in number, and they mostly consisted 886 of Roman Catholic and Episcopalian Schools, while all the Board Schools were practically denominational, the Bible and the Shorter Catechism of the Presbyterian religion being taught in them. He found from a return of the Scotch Education Department that during the last ten years the subscriptions to Voluntary Schools amounted to £288,000, and the voluntary subscriptions to the Board Schools to only £4,500. During the same period the Board Schools received out of the rates £2,461,000, and the Voluntary Schools, of course, received nothing from that source. Again, there was a considerable number of children educated in the Voluntary Schools. The average attendance last year in those schools was 80,000 per day, as against 580,000 in the Board Schools. It was said that the attendance in the Board Schools was decreasing in number, but that was a misleading argument. The Presbyterian Voluntary Schools were decreasing, for, very naturally, Presbyterian parents preferred to send their children to very good Board Schools where, besides, they would be taught the same religion as in the Voluntary Schools. The Episcopalian Schools had increased about 10 per cent., and the Roman Catholic Schools about 35 per cent. during the last ten years, and, speaking as a Presbyterian, he thought it was only fair and just that those schools should get a share of the Government grant. It should be remembered that all schools were supported by the State with the object of bringing the best brain in the country to the front, irrespective of creed.
§ MR. ROBINSON SOUTTAR (Dumfriesshire)
said he felt a certain amount of responsibility in opposing the Bill, because a good many Scotsmen would think that, after all, half a loaf was better than no bread, and that it was a pity to throw away by rejecting what they were offered by the Government. But he felt, even on the low ground of policy, that in the present instance no bread was better than half a loaf. Scotland was not a pauper claiming relief. They had not asked for this thing, and they did not realise that there was any necessity in Scotland claiming this relief. But if they were to get anything at all, they must receive what they were entitled to in bare justice. What was the question they had to settle in regard to this 887 matter? It was simply this—was the predominant partner to be allowed to put her hand into the common purse whenever she liked, and take out of it for herself whatever she liked, and hand over to Scotland just as little as she liked? The Scotch Members did not ask that the common purse should be opened, but, now that it was opened, they would be utterly false to their trust if they were to accept a penny less than 100 per cent. of their just claim, and they would also permit in that case an exceedingly dangerous precedent to be set up. The principle upon which equivalent grants were settled between England and Scotland was the proportion of 80 to 11. The predominant partner had put her hands into the common purse and taken out £727,000 for herself, of which £617,000 was given to the Voluntary Schools and £110,000 to the Board Schools. The generosity with which the sectarian schools were treated in England might be represented by the figure 5. The meanness with which the Board Schools were treated in England might be represented by the figure 1. But that was a question for English Members. He would point out that in order that Scotland might get justice, she ought to receive £100,000 or £110,000. Instead of that, Scotland was to receive under this Bill just one-half of what she was entitled to. The Lord Advocate, when introducing the Bill, spoke about equality of treatment, and said that the Board Schools in Scotland were to be treated just as the Board Schools in England were treated. But the Board Schools in England had been treated in the most miserly fashion, and the Government proposed to take this niggardly treatment and apply it as the basis of treatment to Scotland. In England the Board Schools had at least the consolation of feeling that if they had been niggardly treated their friends the Voluntary Schools had been treated with great generosity, but to Scotland even this poor consolation was denied, for the Voluntary Schools, as well as the Board Schools, were treated in the most miserable way. Instead of getting 5s. per head, as was given to the Voluntary Schools in England, the Voluntary Schools of Scotland were only to get 3s. per head. In one word, while England received under her Acts 3s. 3d. for each child out of the common purse, Scotland 888 was to receive only 1s. for each of her children. All that Scotland asked for was simply justice. She did not want one penny more than was fairly her due, and she would not have one penny less. But he contended that Scotland should get more, and not less, for both her Voluntary and her Board Schools. She was entitled to more for her Board Schools, because of the wonderful manner in which she had carried out the Board Schools Act. He had heard English Members speak of the extravagance of the Board Schools of England. He wished those English Members could visit his native town of Aberdeen, and see the palaces that had been erected there for the purposes of education. And yet the people of Aberdeen were not lavish of their money. [Laughter.] It was said, indeed, that Aberdeen was the only city in the world where a Jew could not thrive. [Laughter.] Yet the people, of Aberdeen had not spared a pound that could be spent on increasing the efficiency of education. With regard to sectarian schools, he respected conscientiousness; but he believed that in England there was a great deal of sectarian education with which conscientiousness had nothing to do. It was often the result of fear of a School Board rate. In Scotland that was not so, for there was a. School Board in every parish. Therefore, if anything, the Scotch grant to Voluntary Schools should be larger than the English. But though it might be true that the position of elementary education in Scotland left little to be desired, secondary education was in different case. Scotch boys were sent to the Universities far earlier than in England, because the arrangements for secondary education were weak. He was sorry, therefore, that the Government had denied to Scotland her just due, for the money might have been spent with immense benefit to the people of Scotland and with great credit to the Government.
*MR. J. A. CAMPBELL (Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities)
said that hon. Members opposite were labouring under the idea that this Bill was necessarily the last word of the Government in the matter of giving additional assistance to education in Scotland. That was an entire mistake. ["Hear, hear!" from the CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER.] If he 889 thought it was the last word he should share the disappoinment of hon. Members. But he supported the Second Reading, with the qualification that the Bill was not to be accepted as a full discharge of what might be considered to be due to education in Scotland because of what had already been done this year for education in England. [Ironical Opposition cheers.] The Bill so closely resembled the English Bills in form, that it might seem strange to English Members that Scotch Members on his side of the House should only support it with the qualification he had mentioned. But the circumstances of the two countries with regard to schools and educational legislation were so different that it did not follow that the Measures suitable for one country would be suitable for the other in the same degree. The principal educational Measure of this year for England was the Bill for giving additional assistance to Voluntary Schools. In Scotland there were only 390 Voluntary out of a total of 3,120 State-aided schools; so that to pass a similar Measure for their assistance, however proper in itself, would not give Scotland equal treatment with England in the matter of additional assistance from the public funds for the promotion of education. England had been in want of additional assistance for its Voluntary Schools; Scotland was in want of additional assistance for other educational objects. Scotland would accept this Bill as a payment to account of what was due—but not as payment in full. The position of his country in relation to the question now before the House could not be properly understood without bearing in mind the difference between England and Scotland in respect of educational arrangements. Scotland had an Education Act of its own—one which differed from the English Act in important respects—it had a separate Education Code and a separate Education Department. As had been often stated in these discussions, while the English was an Elementary Education Act, the Scotch was an Education Act without the restricting word "elementary." The Report of the Scotch Department contained paragraphs headed "Secondary Education" and "Technical Education." The Department had to do with the examination of Higher Class Schools, with Secondary Departments in State-aided schools, 890 and with advanced instruction in the ordinary schools. Again, they had in Scotland local committees in the counties and large burghs, organised under a Minute of the Education Department and responsible to that Department. Their system, was thus one which embraced advanced as well as elementary instruction. In Scotland the primary branch of education was comparatively well-provided for; but the Voluntary Schools and certain of the School Boards were entitled to receive such assistance as the Bill would give. The Voluntary Schools were under a certain disadvantage as compared with Board Schools in having no share of the School Rate, and when a similar disadvantage suffered by Voluntary Schools in England was met by the Bill passed this Session, it would be inconsistent not to give help of the same kind to the schools in Scotland. In like manner necessitous School Boards must be considered. Assistance was given to them in Scotland under the existing law, but something further was required, and it was proposed to be given under this Bill. He thought, therefore, that the Bill was reasonable and right as far as it went. But as regarded the larger question of what was due to education in Scotland, because of what had recently been done for England, he would look on this Bill as an instalment, and an instalment only. It was sufficient of its kind—but something more was wanted of another kind. Scotland required assistance for the development of secondary and technical education. A beginning had been made by the local committees. If only the resources of those committees were increased, much good might be done, but an improved organisation also was desirable to bring all parts of the country under something of a uniform system, and to have that system properly supervised. The Education Department was moving in that direction. It was in future to have the administration of the Science and Art grants, and it was endeavouring to bring technical instruction more closely in connection with the local committees on secondary education. But it was undeniable that the cause of advanced education required more assistance. Private liberality might be appealed to, 891 but in order to elicit private liberality it was desirable that the national importance of well-equipped schools for that kind of education be recognised by liberal assistance to them from the public funds. Private liberality may be trusted to do much to supplement what is done by the State, but the State must first show that it regards the object as one of national importance. He had said nothing of University Education. In Scotland it had never been usual to look upon the Universities as institutions standing entirely apart; but as the terminus to which all schools should point the way. Were any portion of a grant for education to be bestowed on the Universities, it would excite no surprise in Scotland. Education was there a wide term. The present position in Scotland was simply this—that while they themselves required assistance for education in the broad sense they were called upon to pay their share of certain assistance to elementary education in England and Wales. They did not grudge that contribution, but they contended that it was only equitable that a corresponding amount of assistance should be given to Scotland towards the educational work which stood waiting to be undertaken there, of which assistance the grants under the present Bill were only an instalment. In saying that Scotland looked for much more than the Bill offered he was following an excellent lead—that of the Scotch Education Department—because in. a circular of the Department, dated June 10, relating to a Minute of the same date, on "the distribution of the sum available for secondary education," he found the following words:—In connection with the additional educational grants which it is proposed to make to England, a claim for a corresponding measure of liberality arises for Scotland, and my Lords trust that the increased resources thus made available will stimulate further development of education in all its branches.Here we had the declaration of the Department that a claim for a corresponding 892 measure of liberality had arisen for Scotland, and we had besides, the expression of the trust of the Department that a stimulus for the further development of education in all its branches would be given by "the increased resources thus made available." In the light of that statement he was surely justified in regarding the grants under the present Bill as an instalment— a just and reasonable instalment, but still only an instalment—of what was due to Scotland in consideration of the additional grants made to England and Wales.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
was of opinion that the Bill did not do justice to Scotland as a whole, and especially to Voluntary Schools. The Voluntary Schools in Scotland had at least, as well as the Voluntary Schools in this country, deserved well of the community. They were for the most part the schools of the poor. They had been launched by those who had, in many cases, conscientious objections to education for their children in any school but their own. They had furnished the schools and maintained them out of their own resources, without any charge whatever on the rates. They had not received a penny they had not earned under existing regulations and in accordance with Government requirements. They were paid, not in respect of denominational teaching or framing, but exclusively for the secular education which they afforded. They asked for no more than that. Now of the Voluntary Schools in Scotland, by far the greater number were Catholic schools. Out of 390 Voluntary Schools, 180 were Catholic schools, educating, without any charge to the ratepayers, something like 500,000 children. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had stated that the object of the Bill was to treat Scotland in exactly the same way as England. But under the English Bill Voluntary Schools in England were relieved of the burden of rates, while under this Bill Voluntary Schools in Scotland were subjected to 893 the burden of rates. In that respect this Bill was very far from being fair to Scotland as compared with England. The burden of rates was one which would press more heavily in the future or schools. On 23rd October last a circular was issued from the Local Government Board in Scotland to the effect that the rating authorities had no discretion in the assessment of school premises, many of them having been in the habit of exercising a merciful discretion in respect of school premises. Under those circumstances he hoped the Government would see their way to assent in the Committee stage to an Amendment which would put Scottish Voluntary Schools on the same footing as English Voluntary Schools.
§ *MR. E. B. HALDANE (Haddingtonshire)
observed that every speech made in the Debate, from whichever side, picked holes in the Bill. The fact was that the Government would not in their educational Measures, whether introduced for the sake of England or Scotland, look at the point at which they ought to look; they would not put educational efficiency in the first place. They would not concentrate themselves on that, but they would try to redeem pledges, real or fancied, which had bees given at election times, now far distant, and against which it might now be fairly supposed that the Parliamentary Statute of Limitations had run. One would imagine that it was now possible for the Government, two years after the General Election, to look at What most conduces to education instead of what conduces to the well-being of little sections of far less importance than was attributed to them, and which seemed to be making claims successfully on all hands, to the prejudice of those who represented the general opinion about education in the country. In saying that he was not saying that Voluntary Schools had not a claim to consideration and the 17s. 6d. limit pressed upon them strongly. The Bill did very little towards their relief, and 894 the schools with the smaller incomes would receive less benefit than the schools with the larger incomes. The Government did not satisfy the primary claim of their clients. What were the Scotch Catholic schools asking for? They bad raised their schools to a certain state of efficiency, and they would be glad to, get their share of the public money, and would submit themselves to the strictest conditions of inspection providing there was no interference with their religious teaching. But the Bill proposed to give them a mere trifle, something that would go a very little way to meet their necessities, and it imposed no conditions as to the standard of teaching. True, it was said that the Education Department were to lay down conditions, but there was not an inkling of what they were going to be, or upon what footing the money was to be distributed, and least of all was it known whether the Catholics would be put in a position to get their share of public money like others on the basis of educational efficiency. The criticisms from the hon. Members who had spoken were well founded and the Government would do well to consider them. The matter did not rest there. It had been pointed out by hon. Members, who had spoken what the demand in Scotland was, and which the Bill did nothing to meet, though it had been the subject of private, public, and official representations. The system existing in Scotland since 1872 was not merely a system of elementary education. The Act of that year provided more than an elementary education following the traditions of the Scotch parish schools which gave an education far beyond what could be considered elementary. In Scotland there were two sets of educational institutions and not three. In England there were the Universities, the public and intermediate schools, and the elementary schools. In Scotland Board Schools often gave a considerable amount of secondary education, and the Universities came much nearer to the schools than was or could be the case in 895 England. As a result there was an educational system organised on a wholly different basis, and on this basis there was urgent need of assistance. The point at which the assistance was urgently required was where scholars passed from the schools, which were not elementary and were not quite secondary schools in the sense in which the term was understood in England, though they gave a certain amount of secondary education, and the Scotch Universities which gave a little more than secondary education. These were four in number, and were of course sometimes distant from the homes of students the sons of poor parents. By a judicious extension of the system of bursaries more assistance could be given to Scotch education than in any other way. But what did the Bill do towards realising that claim? Did it even assist the schools by putting pupils in such a condition as would enable them to take advantage of the University system? It did nothing of the sort, and the House was face to face with a state of things in which money was more urgently wanted than for any other purpose, and the Bill was silent upon the, claim. They were not in a position to assume as conceded in their own favour the basis of the equivalent grant, for the Government had laid down their policy, and Scotch Members must be content, but putting that principle out of account it was admitted that something was wanted to assist Scotch education where the need was urgent. Because the Bill did not do that, because it deliberately set aside Scottish opinion and neglected claims entitled to recognition, he felt bound to give his vote for the Amendment of his hon. Friend.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. GRAHAM MURRAY,) Buteshire
said the discussion had been financial rather than educational in its character, and the hon. Member who had just spoken made one concession he was most glad to welcome, that the Government were entitled to abandon, as he called it, the principle of the equivalent grant.
§ *MR. HALDANE
said he had admitted the Government had taken up a strong position on this point, and he did not think it right to argue the question, and he therefore placed himself on a footing which was common ground.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
said that was an observation the hon. Gentleman made at the beginning of his speech; the remark to which he was now referring was towards the end of the hon. Member's speech, and the import of what he said was that the Government were quite entitled to say that the equivalent grant did not apply to the, matter in hand. Of course he was perfectly aware that this had not been the view of other speakers, and in particular the hon. Member for the Border Burghs who had moved the rejection of the Bill based himself on the equivalent grant almost alone. Accordingly the first question for the House to consider was whether really the equivalent grant had any relation to the topic with which the House was dealing. The hon. Member in support of his proposition made a certain quotation from a speech of his right hon. colleague the First Lord of the Admiralty. He did not actually say from what particular speech that quotation was taken, but probably it was a speech made at the time when an equivalent grant was made to Scotland in respect of contribution from Imperial sources in aid of local taxation.
MR. T. SHAW
said the speech was much more recent; it was delivered on 6th May this year, when the right hon. Gentleman absolutely defended the principle of the equivalent grant.
MR. T. SHAW
said it was in discussion on the Irish Financial Relations and the right hon. Gentleman defended the relative proportions of 80, 11, and 9.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
said he could not deal with that particular speech which was not within his recollection, but he thought he was right in supposing that his right hon. Friend was then dealing 897 with the subventions to local taxation, but whether he was right in that supposition or not, he wished to bring before the House the obvious distinction in principle when dealing by equivalent grant with subsidies from Imperial sources in aid of local burdens, and in dealing with such a subject as education, in which the conditions might vary in the two countries, though undoubtedly the duty of the Imperial Government was the same in either country. The principle adhered to was that education was a national subject, and there should be corresponding treatment of it in the various parts of the Kingdom, but you cannot take a certain portion for England and, drawing a geographical line, say so much money being spent in England raises the right in another part of the Kingdom to a certain proportionate sum. There was no particular reason for the delimitation of Scotland any more than there was for a delimitation of London or Lancashire.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
said yes, for purposes of administration they had, but as far as the duty of the Imperial Parliament was concerned there was no difference in the national duty towards Scotland and England.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
said there were differences in the ways the grants were administered, but that the duty of the Imperial Parliament was the same in both countries, was a proposition not to be controverted, and this was a fatal stroke at the principle of the equivalent grant as applied to education. He quite agreed with the principle of a corresponding grant, and many persons might say that corresponding and equivalent meant the same thing. So that might be, but in the Parliamentary glossary the latter term had a technical meaning, and when he used the expression "equivalent grant" for clearness of discussion, he 898 meant a grant computed in arithmetical proportion as between the countries. When he used the words "corresponding grant" he meant that any Imperial expenditure in England on education, necessitated in Scotland a corresponding grant from Imperial funds. This Bill carried out this undertaking. There was in the Bill what was in the two English Bills corresponding to this, a subvention for necessitous Board Schools, and a subvention to Voluntary Schools. Hon. Members opposite thought that when they said that they gave away their case. They did nothing of the sort. Hon. Gentlemen said that, though there was verbal equality, there was not real equality, because, while there was a great many Voluntary Schools in England, there were very few in Scotland, and that, although the Government affected to give equal treatment, and upon mere words did give equal treatment, between the one country and the other, they were really defrauding Scotland, because she had not got so many Voluntary Schools. It was perfectly true that so far as the Voluntary Schools grant was concerned—if they pinned themselves to that alone—Scotland would get rather the worst of it, because it had fewer Voluntary Schools, but hon. Members opposite had altogether found it convenient to forget the necessitous Board Schools. And just as Scotland lost upon the question of the Voluntary Schools so she gained upon the question of the necessitous Board Schools. He was not talking of equivalent proportions, but, using the equivalent grant as a mere barometer to see where the expenditure mounted to, let them look how the figures stood. Under the Bill which had been passed the amount allotted to necessitous Board Schools in England would be, roughly speaking, £154,000. The amount allotted to necessitous Board Schools in Scotland would be £41,000. Those proportions were as 80 to 21.6; but, according to the argument of hon. Gentlemen opposite, they ought to be as 80 to 11. In other 899 words, Scotland had got 10 per cent. the better as regarded necessitous Board Schools. If they were to take the principle of the equivalent grant, how was it possible to confine their attention to the mere fragment of figures embodied in this particular Bill? ["Hear, hear!"] They must take the question of the equivalent grant altogether, and therefore, logically speaking, they would be entitled in showing whether there was justice or injustice between the two countries, to go far beyond the ambit of the educational Vote and take every Vote where there was an Imperial contribution as a local subvention. In the present case they must not pin their attention to the simple figures that were voted in this Bill, but must take the entire sums that were voted by the Imperial Parliament for the purposes of education. If they did that how did the figures stand? Deducting the fee grant—that was to say, taking merely the education grant—the total sum for England and Wales was £5,021,910, and the total sum for Scotland was £844,308. Putting that into proportions the English was to the Scotch as 80 was to 13.5.
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
Might I ask if the right hon. Gentleman is giving us together the amount earned by the scholars and the amount paid apart from what was earned?
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
said he was giving the amount paid, not earned. He was going to answer by anticipation a question which he felt sure would be put by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Stirling Burghs. On the First Reading the right hon. Gentleman said their Scotch children were more assiduous, and that they were not entitled, as in the question of Imperial liberality, to put against the Scotch what they had earned by their assiduity. [Opposition cheers.] He entirely agreed, but just let him state how the figures stood here. If hon. Gentlemen would look into the Estimates for this year they would find that, roughly speaking, there was 2s. 6d. more 900 earned by each Scotch child than by each English child. Of that 2s. 6d., 1s. represented the additional assiduity of the Scotch child, while 1s. 6d. of the 2s. 6d. represented the extra favourable conditions in the Code. Supposing they had an ideal school of 50 children who were perfectly capable. The position of the two educational systems was this, that 50 children of exceptional talent in Scotland could earn, as a matter of fact, 1s. 6d. per head more than 50 English children of the same calibre.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
said No; but taking advantage of what the Imperial Parliament said they might get. It might be said that they should alter the two Codes and make them correspond, but all he was doing was pursuing the argument of what they got out of the Imperial Treasury. To make his argument quite correct upon this point, for the benefit of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Stirling Burghs, he proposed to deduct the 1s. per head, which represented the additional assiduity of the Scotch child, and the proportion of the total sum, which stood at 80 as to 13 5, would then be reduced to 80 as to 13. As long as he was above the 80 to 11 he entirely rebutted the charge that there had been any injustice to Scotland on the question of the equivalent grant. But he had not exhausted the whole of the advantages of Scotland when he had given these figures. In giving the total educational vote, hon. Members would notice that he particularly said he deducted the fee grant. As a matter of fact, the fee grant in England was 10s., while the fee grant in Scotland, according to the promise of his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, was going to be 12s. It had always been 12s., because they had always contributed 2s. out of local money. But as hon. Members knew—and here they must not merely take the Bill, but the whole educational policy of the Government— 901 there had been a promise made, ratified by a declaration which he had made across the Table of the House with the approval of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that Imperial money would be given to keep for the future that amount of 2s. which would otherwise be exhausted. He would now give a very striking illustration of the method of criticism which had been adopted upon the other side of the House. The hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment pinned his faith to what he described as a deficiency of £52,000. He did not admit the hon. Gentleman's figures. There was £41,200 which was given to Scotland under the necessitous Board clause, £12,500 under the Voluntary Schools capitation grant of 3s., and £26,000 under the promise of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to keep up the capitation grant of 12s. instead of 10s. The three sums made £79,800, or, roughly, £80,000. To England was given £617,000 under the Voluntary Schools scheme, and £110,000 under the necessitous Board School scheme, making £727,000. If they took the English grant at £727,000, the proportion would come out at £80,000. He agreed that 11-80ths of £44,000 had to be added to the £80,000, which would make the sum £86,000.
§ MR. A. H. DYKE ACLAND (Yorks, W.R., Rotherham)
The sum of £50,000 or £60,000 winch was given under the 17s. 6d. limit should be added.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
said that that was a question he could not now discuss. He maintained that the sum would be £86,000 as against £110,000. Even if they took the addition under the 17s. 6d. limit, which the right hon. Member for Rotherham had just referred to, it was quite evident 11–80ths would not raise the £86,000 to £110,000: it would make it £93,000. But leaving the figures of the hon. Member for the Border Burghs as he himself stated them, there was a. very curious illustration in respect to the question of the equivalent grant which would strike the House. In theory he would go back to 902 1870 and 1872. The 67th Clause of the Scotch Act and the 97th Clause of the English Act established the question of additional help to necessitous schools, and, accordingly, if the argument was worth anything, there ought to have been equivalent treatment as between the two countries at the time those two clauses were passed. How did the figures stand? Scotland was paid under the operation of the 67th Clause £13,800. An English Member might have said, "If you are passing a Bill which gives identical treatment, and Scotland is to get £13,800, we are entitled to a sum which will bear to £13,800 the same relation that 80 bears to 11." If such a proportional sum were worked out, the answer would be found to be £100,360. As a matter of fact £41,600 was paid to England, so that there was a deficiency in the case of England of £58,760, a sum which was more than £6,000 above the deficiency which was complained of by the hon. Member for the Border Burghs. There were certain other topics dealt with by the hon. Member. He spoke of the Bill as being something in favour of symmetry, and he said symmetry meant educational reaction. The hon. Member proceeded to say that the proudest educational boast of Scotland was that there was a. Board School in every parish'. It certainly was a new doctrine to a Scotchman that the Scotch educational boast began in 1872. One used to hear about John Knox in connection with education. The hon. Member for the Wick Burghs said the educational system was founded by Liberal statesmen.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
thought the hon. Member made wider claim; he was glad the hon. Gentleman gave up John Knox as a Liberal statesman. [A laugh.] Really this Bill had nothing to do with educational reaction. The Bill was admittedly introduced because of the Scotch demand that arose upon the help that had been given to primary education in England. The hon. Member spoke of the great sacrifices that had been made by the Free Church of Scotland. The hon. Gentleman might have quoted the Church of which he was a distinguished Member, the United 903 Presbyterian Church, and he need not have altogether forgotten, as he did, the Established Church of Scotland, because, while 500 schools were handed over by the Free Church, 1,000 were handed over by the Established Church. The two Churches knew very well that the national education that was going to be given in the Board Schools was to be denominational. ["Oh, oh!"] It was absurd to talk of the education in Roman Catholic and Episcopalian Schools as sectarian; it was denominational. The schools in favour of which the hon. Member for Donegal spoke were not one whit more denominational in their own way than the Board Schools were in their way. [Mr. MUNDELLA: Oh, oh!"] The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sheffield cried "Oh, oh!" He did not know how much the right hon. Gentleman knew or did not know of Scotland. [Laughter.]
§ *MR. A. J. MUNDELLA (Sheffield, Brightside)
I administered the Scotch Education Acts for nearly six years.
§ The LORD ADVOCATE
hoped the right hon. Gentleman had learned the Shorter Catechism. If he had not he did not know what denominational education in Scotland meant. [Laughter]. They were taught a religious education by a creed which was shared by the three great Churches of Scotland. It was a great advantage that the cleft which existed between those three great Churches had to do with Church government, and not with doctrine, so that they were enabled to have their common standard taught in the public schools of the country. ["Hear, hear!"] The hon. Member said next that there was no public demand for this Bill. Here again he thought he might appeal to the speech of the hon. Member for Donegal, and if he wanted a further witness he would ask the hon. Baronet the Member for Bridgeton (Sir Charles Cameron) to intervene. The hon. Baronet knew well that the Roman Catholic schools and the Episcopal schools would have felt themselves very unjustly treated if they had found that the Voluntary Schools in England were to be assisted, while they were to be left out in the cold. So far as the hon. Member for the Hawick Burghs was concerned, he could not but contrast the attitude of extra sympathy which the hon. Gentleman displayed with 904 his Irish friends the other day on the question of the deportation of paupers when he was ready at their bidding to upset what was really the Scottish settlement system.
Mr. T. SHAW
I must ask my right hon. friend to withdraw that observation. I am at nobody's bidding for the discharge of my public duty. What I consider is the merits or demerits of each case. [Opposition cheers].
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
I am not aware that I said that the hon. Gentleman was at anyone's bidding. I would have made no such imputation. I do not withdraw it, because I did not make it. I said extra sympathy.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
Well, I absolutely withdraw if I said it. The reporters will bear me out as to whether I said it or not. Continuing, the right hon. Gentleman said he wished to contrast the hon. Member's attitude on the deportation of paupers' question with his attitude towards the Irish Members' very just demands on the present occasion. In regard to the application of the Bill to the Highlands, the Bill would have no effect whatever upon the application of the minute of March 1895 as to the Highlands grant. Coming to the general question of secondary education, he was entirely in sympathy with something that was said, but not entirely with the expression of it, by his hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow University. Of course the Government hoped that this was not the very last word of this or some other Government upon the question of education. [Ironical Opposition cheers and laughter.] He did not say that the Government was to be composed of people on the other side of the House. [Ministerial cheers.] But the point of the Bill was, that it was introduced in co-relation with the Measure introduced for the benefit of primary education in England, and, accordingly, all he said about secondary education was, that when it was taken up by the Imperial Exchequer, with a 905 view to making direct grants in favour of secondary education, it must be taken up as a purely Imperial subject, and they could not keep it to Scotland. At present there was no direct grant from the Exchequer in favour of secondary education, and what he urged upon the House was that the question of this Bill was not upon the attitude of the Government to secondary education, that they had the cause of secondary education at heart, and that in future they hoped there might be steps taken in that direction, not only for Scotland but altogether for the United Kingdom. The hon. Member for Donegal had introduced the question of the I7s. 6d. limit. It was asked why did they not abolish the 17s. 6d. limit as in the English Bill? There were several answers to that. The first was that there had been absolutely no claim or wish generally expressed on the part of the people of Scotland that the 17s. 6d. limit should be taken away for this very good reason, that its withdrawal would not be an unmixed blessing. It would undoubtedly lead to a great extent to farming in schools. People would simply give a school to a teacher and say, "Here is the school, earn what you can out of the Government." Another answer was, that as a matter of fact, the 17s. 6d. limit, although in terms a 17s. 6d. limit, was not really that in Scotland. It was in the first place a 19s. 6d. limit, because as the fee grant had been paid in Scotland at the rate of 12s. a head, instead of 10s., and inasmuch as, according to the Act of Parliament, the fee grant, although paid from Imperial sources counted as local, it was quite obvious that the limit, so far as Scotland was concerned, was really a 19s. 6d. limit. That was not all. There was a sum of £60,000 given under one of the Educational Local Taxation Acts for secondary education in Scotland. That grant was administered through the medium of the Board Schools, and to the extent that it was paid, it also counted upon the question of the 17s. 6d. limit. Taking those three facts together, the Government had not thought it necessary to abolish the 17s. 6d. limit in this Bill. He came next to the question of the justification of the 3s. The hon. Member who raised it still seemed to be under the impression that Scotland was being unjustly treated in comparison 906 with England, which got a 5s. grant. The origin of the free education in Scotland was the devoting to free education of the sum of money which was equivalent to the purely local subvention given in favour of the relief of rates in England, and the calculations which were originally made upon the money so provided, allowed of a payment of 12s. per head. In 1892, when in the intervening time free education had been granted to England at the rate of 10s. per head, Parliament thought fit to make an exchange between the two moneys, that was to say, it took away the old sum which, being put into the Local Taxation Account, was given out to pay the capitation grant of 12s. for educational purposes, and replaced it by a direct education grant, which was now calculated in precisely the same way as the English grant, namely, at 10s. per head. As a matter of fact, the proceeds of the original grant had been so exuberant that they had sufficient savings to make up the 12s. since 1892, although they were only getting 10s. from the direct Parliamentary grant, but during those years they had spent their savings; and accordingly by this year, if they had gone on with a further promise from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, they would only have been able to pay exactly 10s. per head; but the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that as they had been conducting their system in Scotland on the scale of 12s., he would make up this 2s. out of the Imperial Treasury. It therefore seemed only just that when they were giving this help to the Voluntary Schools they should take this contribution from the Exchequer of 2s. into account, and make the grant 3s. instead of 5s. ("Hear, hear!") The hon. Member for Donegal (Mr. A. O'Connor) mentioned the question of the exemption of Voluntary Schools from rates, and said there had been a merciful discretion under which the local bodies had hitherto in many cases exempted these institutions from rates. The fee grant was paid equally to all Voluntary and Hoard Schools, and accordingly they had this fact, that out of the Imperial Treasury there was paid over and above the general capitation grant of 10s. this extra 2s. under the promise of his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He agreed with the hon. 907 Member for Donegal when he said that the rating authorities had exercised a merciful discretion in the matter of the exemption of school buildings from rates, because they were doing what they had no right to do under the law. All he could say with regard to that matter was that the Government had no wish to introduce any Parliamentary contest, and so far as he could see nobody objected to that being clone, and if the hon. Member would put down an Amendment on the Committee stage in the terms of the provision in the English Bill he could promise him favourable consideration for it. ["Hear, hear!"] He had now, he thought, gone through the various points that had been raised, and he submitted that Scotland was not being defrauded in this matter, seeing that the topic of secondary education did not directly arise upon the Bill. ["Hear, hear!"]
§ *MR. A. D. PROVAND (Glasgow, Blackfriars)
said that the whole speech of the right hon. Gentleman had been directed to satisfying the Scotch Members that the grant they were entitled to as corresponding to that given to England had been paid. The right hon. Gentleman had drawn a distinction between corresponding and equivalent, but he could not follow him over a great deal of his ground. The right hon. Gentleman had referred to many Acts and regulations, and the question was so complex and involved that he had to ask the Government to call upon the Treasury to prepare a statement for the House to show how matters stood. In dealing with the amount voted to England and Wales under the Act of last year, the right hon. Gentleman omitted two amounts which went to those two countries indirectly under the Act. The right hon. Gentleman told the House that the amount given under the Voluntary Schools Act was £617,000, and under the Necessitous Schools Act, £116,000, making altogether £733,000, which came out of the taxes; but the right hon. Gentleman did not say that England and Wales also received a sum estimated at £40,000 by the abolition of the 17s. 6d. limit, and that they would also receive a sum estimated at £100,000 through the exemption of school buildings from rates. He presumed that in Scotland they would get relief from the rates, but they would not get the relief given to England and 908 Wales by the abolition of the 17s. 6d. limit. The right hon. Gentleman said that the Board Schools in Scotland were denominational; technically this might be true, but they were certainly not so in the sense that the Episcopal or Catholic Schools were in Scotland, or the Voluntary Schools in England. It was impossible, in his opinion, to say that because they used the Scottish Catechism, the Board Schools in Scotland were denominational. In the first place, there was no ecclesiastical control. It was only as a member of a School Board that a clergyman could have anything to do with their management, whereas Voluntary Schools in England were entirely under ecclesiastical control. He did not know how the Lord Advocate was going to defend the non-application of the principle of an equivalent grant in this ease. The right hon. Gentleman had spoken of the amounts given to Scotland for other purposes, but in many cases to be furnished by the Treasury. Scotland got nothing like an equivalent grant, and a statement such as he had asked for would show that the grants given to England were much larger than the proportion of 80 to 11. Speaking some time ago, the present First Lord of the Admiralty said,—The equivalent grant was originally conceded in order to save Ireland and Scotland from a disadvantage under which they would otherwise have lain. The ratio of these contributions has proved on the whole to be singularly fair. From that time forth Ireland and Scotland have always been indemnified when any particular relief has been given to England.In this case particular relief had been given to England, and the Scotch Members now asked that Scotland should receive equivalent relief. He did net understand from the right hon. Gentleman's speech that they got it under this Bill. ["Hear, hear!"]
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
said the Lord Advocate had indicated that the object of the present Government was to secure uniformity. To attain uniformity in education between England, Scotland, and Ireland would occupy the rest of the time of the present Parliament. They were three distinct systems in England, Scotland, and Ireland. There was no uniformity now, and in this Bill the Government were not giving anything in the 909 shape of uniformity. The right hon. Gentleman had claimed that Scotland was getting an equivalent, but the old system was being carried out, if not in the letter, in the spirit. When the former Unionist Government brought in their Bill to create County Councils in England they determined that for the financing of these new bodies a certain proportion should come from personal property and there was handed over to them one half of the probate duty and a portion of the licence duty, and that was to allocated in the principle of nationality. England was to keep her share, Scotland her share, and Ireland her share, and the grants which Parliament had been in the habit of voting annually were to be taken away. England used her share of the money for the purpose of reducing local rates. But Scotland used her share for abolishing school fees. Thus, when the English Bill making elementary education free was brought in, Scotland already had free education, which she paid for herself. Scotchmen thereupon asked for an equivalent grant, and the result was that 11–80ths of the amounts set aside for primary education in England was handed over to the Scotch Office. That was done under the Act of 1892. Under that Act Scotland got hold of her own Probate Duty, and gave 12s. a head out of it to various schools. Scotland got a sum of £265,000, and £30,000 out of that sum went to university education, and £060,000 to secondary education. When he first entered that House sums were voted every year for the Scotch universities, the old Scotch Estimates having been taken over at the time of the Union. The charges for the Scotch universities remained in the Estimates until 1888. That the money should be voted by the Imperial Parliament was a bargain, and that bargain was honourably adhered to until nine years ago, when a Unionist Government deliberately refused to support the Scotch universities, and the result was, that out of her own money Scotland had to provide £30,000 for the support of university education. England, therefore, had repudiated her obligations in a most dishonourable manner. Parliament had given colleges and universities and endowments to Ireland; it had done the same thing for Wales, mid it was giving £25,000 a year to English colleges, so 910 that the burden of English, Welsh, and Irish colleges was borne by Parliament of its own free will, whilst it had repudiated dishonourably the burden of supporting the Scotch universities. In England a Royal College of Science had been established, and Ireland was to be larly benefited; but Scotland was to be left out in the cold. English boys were thus to be given special advantages over Scotch lads. In regard to the sum of £265,000 which Scotland ought to receive under the Act of 1892, he wished to know how it was that the sum of 12s. a head to schools was no longer to come out of it. Had the Probate Duty in Scotland dropped, or had the number of school children greatly increased? He was of opinion that there had been a "deal" between the Treasury and the Scotch Office. It was most amusing to hear why the 17s. 6d. limit should not be abolished in Scotland. It was said that probably the Voluntary Schools might make a deal with the teachers, and that the teachers would farm their schools. What evidence was there of this? If that, was likely to be the case in Scotland why should it not be the case in England? Why were the Government so anxious to protect Scotland? He should like to hear the reason for the course which was being taken. As far as he saw, the only reason was that the Government were defrauding Scotland of £7,300 a year. That was the only policy of the Treasury in educational matters—to do what they could to defraud Scotland. The Scottish people were in this position—a poor country believing in education in the past, having spent their money in every Department of education, were not getting anything like a fair equivalent of what the English were receiving. He supported the rejection of the Bill.
§ Sin HENRY CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN (Stirling Burghs)
said it was a significant fact that of the Scottish Members who had taken part in this discussion not one, except the Lord Advocate, had expressed any very cordial approbation of the Bill. Two hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House had treated this as a mere instalment of what was due to Scotland, and they looked forward with a simple-minded faith which he admired, to another year when something very great was going to be done 911 for secondary education in Scotland. But the Lord Advocate appeared to be chiefly anxious to prove—he could not say that he had succeeded—that Scotland received quite enough for education at present as compared with England—in fact, rather more than her proper share. He did not think that the right hon. and learned Gentleman would persuade the Scottish people of the correctness of this contention. One fact ought to be borne in mind, namely, the immense sacrifices which the Scottish people had made, without grumbling, for 25 years in the payment of school rates. [Cheers.] In many parts of England, no doubt, heavy rates had been incurred for the same purpose, but in Scotland the rates were universal. That fact ought to go somehow into the account. In England, on the other hand, there had been complaints against the heavy burden of rates and subscriptions, but even from the Voluntary Schools in Scotland he had not heard any loud complaints of their uncomfortable financial position. For his own part he disassociated himself from any of those who might deny the right of the Voluntary Schools in Scotland to any assistance if they could make out a good case for it. When they spoke of Voluntary Schools in Scotland they meant Roman Catholic schools, and if they suffered in any way he was sure that those who did not belong to that communion and who even disapproved of the character and management of the schools would not grudge them any relief which might be thought necessary. But the right hon. Gentleman entered upon that subject which was becoming an almost inextricable maze—the subject of equivalent grants. The way in which this question was treated now was that when a fixed equivalent grant meant less than a calculation of the absolute necessities of the case in the individual country then the Government were in favour of equivalent grants; but when an equivalent grant was more than some sum which might be supposed to represent the necessities of the country then there were objections raised to equivalent grants, and the matter was settled on the ground of necessity. [Cheers.] He thought it was time, as the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues introduced the system of equivalent grants, to invite the House of Commons to make up their 912 minds one way or the other. As to the 17s. 6d. limit, he did not think a sufficient reason had been given for neglecting to repeal that limit in Scotland when it was abolished in England and Wales. When the English Bill was under consideration there was a provision in it to abolish that limit, and an hon. Member moved that it should be postponed. The First Lord of the Treasury on that occasion said that the 17s. 6d. limit was open to a great many objections; it was a great temptation to the manipulation of accounts, and fined poor but efficient schools in a manner highly detrimental to the interests of education. Therefore, the right hon. Gentleman added, he could not defer even for a month. ["Hear, hear!"] The abolition of the 17s. 6d. limit must not be deferred even for a month. The right hon. Gentleman would not be able to sleep in his bed—[laughter]—if he thought this provision was still in operation in England and Wales. Yet they had introduced what professed to be a corresponding Measure in Scotland, and left this iniquitous and obnoxious 17s. 6d. limit in all its deformity. [Cheers.] This was hardly the time for asking questions on the details of the Bill. But there was one which would have to be answered later on. Clause 2 said that for the purposes of Section 19 of the Elementary Education Act, 1876, in so far as it related to Scotland, the aid grant paid to Voluntary Schools should be deemed to be income derived from other sources than the Parliamentary grant. So that it would go towards the 17s. 6d. limit. But if that was to be the case in the Voluntary School, why not in the Board School? ["Hear, hear!"] Neither he nor any of his hon. Friends could at all understand why the distinction should be made. The truth was that they were dealing with a country which had a totally different system of education from that of England, and which had not only a totally different system, but different conditions, ideas, and conceptions on the subject of education altogether. The right hon. Gentleman became exceedingly warm when he spoke of the part John Knox had played but whether it was due to John Knox or any other person, the Scotch people had for generations taken a different view of the subject from the English people at 913 large. They had regarded education as almost a necessity of life, and had never feared or grudged it. Therefore they were ahead of England in this matter— a fact that was too apt to be lost sight of in debates and legislation. They were told that the grants given in England were for primary education; therefore all the money available for Scotland must be confined to primary education, and secondary education was to be relegated to the distant future. But in Scotland primary education was dome with. They were at the secondary education stage. Therefore the analogous provision for Scotland would be a provision for improving and completing secondary education. Yet they were made to give this money where it was really, in one sense, not wanted—at any rate, not urgently wanted—while they received nothing for purposes of secondary and technical education, which all who took any interest in Scotch education knew would be of immense benefit to the whole community. The Scotch primary schools differed from the English also in that they were predominantly Board Schools. "But," said the Lord Advocate—who not only introduced John Knox but the shorter catechism and all sorts of sacred subjects—[Laughter]—" the Board Schools all the same were denominational schools." No doubt they were in the sense that more or less dogmatic religion after the Presbyterian form was taught. But the Boards who authorised the teaching, were elected by the ratepayers, and the schools were in no sense clerical. They were in a totally different position from the Voluntary Schools, whose raison d'être was to propagate certain distinctive doctrines. ["Hear, hear!"] But if, on the right hon. Gentleman's own showing, the Board Schools were denominational, why did he differentiate against them? ["Hear, hear!"] He had given the House some of the reasons why he and his friends could not consider the Measure in any sense a satisfactory one. He cordially agreed with the Motion for the rejection of the Bill. It might seem singular and ludicrous to refuse money. But there was no such absurdity in reality. They regarded the sum proposed as very far short of what they were entitled to, and if they were to receive any money at all it was 914 not for these purposes they would have it. A small sum might be given for the relief of certain Voluntary Schools, if they mode out a good case for it. But the bulk of the money that went to Scotland ought to go now for secondary education. Some of his Scotch friends on the other side looked with confidence to a future Bill; but what he feared was that it would be moulded not according to the views of Scotch Members, who knew the feelings and wishes of the Scotch people, not according to the requirements of Scotch education, but according to the prejudices and the necessities of England. Their great desire —and he was sure it was shared by the Lord Advocate and by every Scotchman on the Government side of the House— was to maintain Scotland's pre-eminence in education; and it was because this Bill, if not in one sense a backward step, was, at all events, an omission of an opportunity to take a distinctly forward step, that they were compelled to oppose it.
§ *MR. ALEXANDER WYLIE (Dumbartonshire)
, Who rose argil cries of "Divide!" wished to join in the expressions of dissatisfaction which had proceeded from Scotch Members on both sides of the House of account of no provision having been made by this Bill for Secondary Technical Education. Under the old parochial system Scotland held, as far as elementary education was concerned, a foremost place amongst the countries of Europe. She had been making progress since, but not as much as she should have made; and as far as technical education was concerned she had been passed in the race by Germany. He thought the Government had missed a great opportunity by not incorporating in the Bill a provision for fostering secondary and technical education. Notwithstanding, he was prepared to support the Bill, for this reason, that he believed half a loaf was better than no bread. Ho believed the provision for Voluntary Schools, and especially for necessitous schools, of which there were many in the Highlands, would do a large amount of good. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Stirling Burghs hall said that they had done with primary education in Scotland. He could not agree with that as long as 10 per cent. of their people were illiterates. The grant to the 915 Voluntary Schools would greatly assist the reducing of that percentage. The Voluntary Schools were divided into two classes—Episcopalian and Roman Catholic; the Episcopalian educating 2 per cent. and the Roman Catholic 8 per cent. of the children. A large proportion of the Roman Catholics were Irish. The constituency he represented had received a larger influx of Irishmen than any other in the United Kingdom; and having had a. great deal of experience of the operation of the Education Act in connection with Irish children, he knew that it had been most beneficial. Twenty-five years ago Irish children were the most illiterate and uneducated part of the Scotch population. Now they came very close up alongside their Scotch neighbours, and were making continuous and rapid progress. He agreed with the hon. Member for Glasgow University that the provisions of the Bill were inadequate; but he looked forward with hope, in spite of what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Stirling Burghs had said, to the Government before long making proper provision for secondary and technical education.
§ SIR ROBERT REID (Dumfries Burghs)
thought the Bill was right in one sense in giving money to the denominational schools, which, to his knowledge, greatly needed it in some places. But, while it was just that the Scotch Voluntary Schools should receive some assistance, it was most unjust that they did not receive the same assistance as the English. It was all very well for the Lord Advocate to point to some figure of 2s., which he had handled very skilfully; but the fact remained that, under the English Bill of this year the English denominational schools would get 5s. more than they had got hitherto, under the Scotch Bill the Scotch denominational schools would only get 3s. more.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said the effect of the promise he had made was that the Scotch Voluntary Schools would get as much as the English.
§ SIR R. REID
said he coupled with the 3s. grant in the Bill the promise of the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the 2s. The fact, however, remained that that 2s. had hitherto been received by the denominational schools in Scotland. The difference, therefore, between this and 916 the English Bill was that the denominational schools in England were better off by 5s. and the denominational schools in Scotland by 3s. per head and no more. That was not fair play. ["Hear, hear!"] Taking the whole sum together given to all classes under the Bill the Government gave, according to the Lord Advocate's own contention, £80,000 instead of £110,000, which was the equivalent grant. That could not be fair. ["Hear, hear!"] It. was no use going back to former grants and comparing them. If they went back at all let them go back to the whole comparison of the receipts and expenditure in Scotland. ["Hear, hear!"] The whole of that subject, he thought, was reserved for consideration in order to ascertain the truth of the entire question, and they had no right to select a small piece out of the whole and manufacture that into an argument in support of the present Bill. ["Hear, hear!"] He hoped Scotland would resent the use of a large English majority against a small number of Scotch Members to impose upon her what was not fair and could not be justified. ["Hear, hear!"] He would have preferred that the policy they held on this matter should have been embodied in an Amendment, as there were inconveniences and possible misunderstandings in voting against the Second Reading of the Bill itself. But, inasmuch as there were no other means left to him—it was not quite fair to leave no other means—of expressing the resentment that he thought he was entitled to feel at the disparaging treatment as between England and Scotland in this matter, he should vote with his hon. Friend the Member for Hawick Burghs. ["Hear, hear!"]
§ Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 159; Noes, 52.—(Division List, No. 262.)
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill Read a Second time, and committed for Monday next.