HC Deb 21 July 1897 vol 51 cc680-3 No person shall be assessed or rated to or for any local rate in respect of any land or buildings, used exclusively or mainly for the purposes of the schoolrooms, offices, or playground of a Voluntary School except. to the extent of any profit derived by the managers of the school from the letting thereof.

He observed that the principle of the clause had been accepted in the Division which was taken a few hours ago. The language of the clause had been adopted textually from the English Bill. It was asked why should Voluntary Schools be exempted from rating when Board Schools were not? The reason was clear. It mattered nothing to the Board Schools whether they paid rates or not, or what amount the rates might be. If they were 20s. in the pound the School Board authorities paid the 20s. from the money of the rates with the one hand, while they took the amount from the rates with the other. Voluntary Schools were not in the same position. They received nothing from the rates, and yet they were expected to contribute to them. He begged to move the Amendment.

Clause read the First time.


accepted the Amendment. It had, he said, been rashly assumed by hon. Members Opposite that there was no demand for this exemption. On the contrary there had been a demand for it. As to what had been said about. Board Schools being exempted from rates, he would point out that it would be a mere paying from one pocket into another. If Board Schools were exempted from rates, they would get no benefit from it as a help to the 17s. 6d. limit, because at the present moment the sum which a Board School paid on the rating of the school was calculated as a portion of the local expenses which went to swell the local expenditure upon the operation of the 17s. 6d. limit.


pointed out that the language of the clause had been taken from the English Bill, and he desired to ask whether it should not be in Scotch phraseology, so as to make it properly applicable to Scotland?


would consider the point between this and the Report stage.


opposed the clause, remarking that it was unfair and inequitable to give an exemption to Voluntary Schools which was not given to Board schools, although the latter were as much entitled to it as the former. As to the argument that Board Schools received public money, he would point out that four-fifths of the money which Voluntary Schools now got was public money; therefore they had no ground for preferential treatment in this regard.

MR. CARVELL WILLIAMS (Notts, Mansfield)

observed that it was quite a mistaken view to suppose it was immaterial whether a Board School paid rates or not. It was said that it was simply payment out of one pocket into another. The objection, however, was that if Board Schools had to pay rates, that swelled the amount of their expenditure, and made them seem to be more costly than the Voluntary Schools, and that was a fact which the opponents of the Board Schools took care to make use of.

Motion made, and Question put, "That the clause be read a Second time."

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 121; Noes, 41.—(Division List, No. 322.)

Question proposed, "That the Clause be added to the Bill."


proposed to amend the clause by leaving out the words, "or mainly." The exemption was to apply to land or buildings exclusively or mainly used for school purposes, but it would be within the knowledge of Scottish Members that schools in Scotland were very frequently parts of other buildings, the school-room forming part of a block of buildings, other parts of the block being used as a church, meetinghouse, or dwelling, the whole block being included in one assessment for local rating purposes. From an educational point of view it was thought desirable to exempt the school from rating, but the exemption should be only applied to the rooms used for school purposes.


said the clause followed the English Act, and the point was thoroughly discussed when the latter was before the House.


thought the Amendment was worthy of some answer. It was a substantial Amendment, and not to be dealt with by a mere reference to the English Act. Buildings would be exempted under the clause that were not used for schools, and this was not the intention of the Committee in relieving Voluntary Schools from rating.


said he thought the hon. Member had listened to the arguments on the point, in the discussion of the English Bill. The effect of adopting the Amendment would be that the word "exclusively" remaining, the casual use of a school-room for other than school purposes would be held to exclude the school from the benefit of the exemption.

Amendment negatived; clause added; preamble agreed to.

Title amended by adding the words, "and for exemption from rates of these schools."—(Lord Advocate.)

Bill reported; as amended, to be considered. upon Monday next, and to be printed.—[Bill 324.]