HC Deb 04 August 1898 vol 64 cc231-41

There are two or three Amendments I have to move on this clause. We have to consider the question whether we should give the Department a free hand to do what it pleases, and, with our past experience, I do not think we can agree to do that. We have now a good opportunity of placing our education in Scotland in a decent position. Scotch education now cannot be talked of as elementary education, because a large sum is distributed for secondary education, university education, and technical education. As far as legislation is concerned we have got practically all we require for Scotland, and all we need do now is to have proper organisation and application of that legislation. That can be properly done by the Scotch Education Department. The method proposed in the Bill is to give £20,000 to be distributed among the county and parish councils for the purpose of reducing city police rates, and so forth. All these are very desirable objects, but it would be much better to spend the whole of the money for the purposes of education. We should then be able to show you something for the money that we have got, and should be able to take full advantage of the legislative powers we have in the matter of technical, secondary, and university education. We should be able to have a full and complete scheme in operation next year, and the result would be to bring about what we had before, when we used our money for the purpose of securing free education. All we ask is to be permitted to use this money for the purposes of secondary and technical education, in order that Scotland may regain the position that she held for centuries. I do not intend to discuss the matter at any length, but I propose to move the omission of sub-section 1, and I shall certainly go to a Division upon it.

Amendment proposed— Page 2, line 5, to leave out sub-section 1."—(Dr. Clark.)

Question proposed— That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the clause.


The Lord Advocate explained in the previous Debate that the object of this sub-section was to carry out what Parliament had already determined. We quite recognise that from the Government point of view that is so, and that this is merely the correction of a miscalculation; but the right honourable Gentleman must remember that we on this side of the House objected to the original application of the money, and therefore we naturally take this opportunity of renewing our objections.


It is too late now to go into the objections to the proposals of the Government. I think we all agree on this side of the House that this money will go into the pockets of one class, and one class only. For my part, I am rather sorry that the Government have not allocated this money for the purpose of carrying out our old friend the Old Age Pension scheme. We might have made a most useful experiment in Scotland by using all this money in laying the foundation of a system of old age pensions. Instead of that the Government propose to devote this money to purposes for which no one will thank them, and against the wishes of the Scottish people.

Amendment proposed— Page 2, after 'pounds,' to insert 'which shall be administered by the Fishery Board for Scotland.'"—(Captain Sinclair.)


Before I move the Amendment which stands in my name, I should like to ask the Lord Advocate one question. My Amendment will not be necessary if we may clearly understand from the right honourable Gentleman that it is the intention of the Government that the administration of these funds will be entrusted to the Fishery Board for Scotland.


Of course that is the intention, but the honourable Member will see that some provision is necessary as to how the funds are to be dealt with.


Then I will not move that Amendment The next

Is there no one, I ask, on that Bench who will say a word for old age pensions?

The Committee divided:—Ayes 78; Noes 20.—(Division List No. 279.)

Arnold, Alfred Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Newdigate, Francis Alexander
Arrol, Sir William Fisher, William Hayes Nicol, Donald Ninian
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Foster, Colonel (Lancaster) Penn, John
Balcarres, Lord Garfit, William Phillpotts, Captain Arthur
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manc'r) Gordon, Hon. John Edward Pierpoint, Robert
Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H.(Bnst'l) Goschen, Rt Hn. G. J.(St. G'rg's) Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. E.
Bethell, Commander Gray, Ernest (West Ham) Purvis, Robert
Bond, Edward Greville, Captain Richardson, Sir T. (Hartlep'l)
Boscawen, Arthur Griffith Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G. Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W.
Brassey, Albert Hanbury, Rt. Hon. R. W. Robertson, H. (Hackney)
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Heath, James Round, James
Butcher, John George Johnston, William (Belfast) Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)
Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs) Kenyon, James Ryder, John Herbert Dudley
Cavendish, V.C.W. (Derbysh.) Lawrence, Sir E Durning (Corn.) Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)
Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, E.) Lawrence, W. F. (Liverpool) Stanley, Lord (Lancs)
Chaloner, Capt. R. G. W. Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie Thornton, Percy M.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.) Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R. Webster, Sir R. E. (I. of W.)
Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r) Long, Rt. HE. W. (Liverp'l) Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.
Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E. Loyd, Archie Kirkman Williams, J. Powell (Birm.)
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Macartney, W. G. Ellison Wylie, Alexander
Colomb, Sir John Charles R. McArthur, C. (Liverpool) Wyndham, George
Curzon, Viscount (Bucks) McKillop, James Young, Comm. (Berks, E.)
Denny, Colonel Malcolm, Ian
Doughty, George Milton, Viscount TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers More, Robert Jasper Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.
Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V. Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)
Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn E. Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)
Finch, George H. Murray, C. J. (Coventry)
Asquith, Rt. Hon. H. H. Dalziel, James Henry Ure, Alexander
Billson, Alfred Doogan, P. C. Wedderburn, Sir William
Brigg, John Hayne, Rt. Hon. C. Seale Wilson, H. J. (York, W.R.)
Bryce, Rt. Hon. James Macaleese, Daniel Yoxall, James Henry
Caldwell, James Morton, E. J. C. (Devonport)
Channing, Francis Allston Provand, Andrew Dryburgh TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Colville, John Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarsh.) Dr. Clark and Mr. Pirie.
Crombie, John William Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)

Amendment which stands in my name is intended to prevent the application of this money until directions are given by Parliament for the purpose. This point was discussed in detail on the Committee stage; and on the Second Reading I think my right honourable Friend the Member for Aberdeen, in a most exhaustive speech, gave very cogent reasons why this course should be followed. It would not take much for the Government to conciliate the wishes of honourable Members on this side. The Amendment is not conceived in any party spirit whatever—it is only intended to delay the application of this money until the Government shall pass through this House a scheme dealing with secondary education in Scotland. In Committee, there was also the question of an inquiry proposed, it being the view on this side of the House that no scheme of Scottish secondary education can be thorough and exhaustive unless it is preceded by a public inquiry, which shall carry public opinion with the Government in this matter, after discussing the difficulties that there are, and must be, in such a scheme. In the present instance, inquiry of course is not mentioned, and this is simply a proposal asking the Government to let this money be carried to a separate account in the meantime—to let it be, so to speak, earmarked for the purpose of Scottish secondary education. I need hardly point out that the whole scheme of any Measure passed by the Government lies with them. I am sure the right honourable Gentleman knows that there is every wish on this side of the House to do everything that can be done to forward and second the purposes and efforts of the Government in this direction. We have only the interests of Scottish education at heart, and it is with that end that this Amendment is proposed. I will not go into detail, as the right honourable Gentleman knows what our idea is; but I would not have him believe, because we do not urge these matters on him now, that there is any less sincere and strong wish on this side of the House that the course we propose should, even at this late hour, have the consideration of the Government.

Amendment proposed— Page 2, line 24, to leave out from the word 'as' to the word 'Parliament,' in line 25, inclusive, and insert the words 'Parliament shall hereafter determine.'"—(Captain Sinclair.)

Question proposed— That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill.


As the honourable Gentleman knows perfectly well, this matter was very fully discussed in Committee. I can only assure him that I never had any doubt whatever as to the perfect good faith of his proposal, and the perfect good faith of its underlying motive, which is the advancement of secondary education. All I can do is to claim the same thing for ourselves. The difference between us is one of detail. We say that this subject cannot be properly dealt with in this way, and we object to having our hands tied absolutely, as they would be if we accepted this Amendment to dealing with this subject by way of fresh legislation, instead of by Minutes of the Department. I do not think I need say anything more, because I should only be repeating what I said in the Committee stage. Therefore, while quite admitting the perfect good faith of the honourable Member and those who agree with him, I must respectfully decline to accept the Amendment.

MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)

Like the Lord Advocate, I do not desire to repeat what I said on the former occasion, and I will content myself with one observation only. The right honourable Gentleman says he desires to bring this subject before the House by way of Minutes of the Department. That, I think, is most unsatisfactory. It does not give us the opportunity to which we are entitled of discussing the proposals of the Government. What is the present procedure? A Minute is drawn up, in technical language, which is very difficult for honourable Members to follow, unless they have carefully studied the matter; and it is brought forward after 12 o'clock at night, when any adequate discussion is impracticable. But the main point I want to call attention to is this: the right honourable Gentleman says he is unwilling to make any promise to propose legislation unless the Department finds that legislation is necessary. That is really asking us to place too much reliance on the Department. We are not content to leave the application of all these sums of money in the hands of the Department. We desire, on behalf of the people of Scotland, to have some voice in the distribution of this money. It is eight years since the distribution of the money began, and during those eight years there has been a constant demand for legislation, and we think the time has come for legislation, whether the Department wants it or not. We do not intend to recede from that demand. We intend on every occasion that this matter comes before the House to insist upon having a voice in the distribution of this fund. It is—I will not say unconstitutional, but certainly at variance with the usage of practice of Parliament, that matters of this kind should be left entirely to the discretion of one small Department. That, we say, is not treating Parliament as Parliament desires to be treated, and, however inferior we may be in numbers in this House, we think it right to insist on what we believe is a perfectly reasonable demand. What is required is that the whole subject may be referred to a Select Committee, who may take evidence about it, in order to give the people of Scotland the satisfaction of knowing how their interests may be properly safeguarded.

MR. CROMBIE (Kincardineshire)

I wish to emphasise the point that has been made by my honourable Friend, that in pressing this matter we are actuated by no Party spirit. The right honourable Gentleman who has just sat down has shown how impossible it is to deal with this matter by Minutes. If I may use a colloquial expression in this case, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Unfortunately, the former Government, as well as this Government, have attempted to deal with this subject by Minutes. It can be easily shown that that has been a complete failure, and we feel that this will be a failure also. I think that what we want is some sort of investigation. It may be that the Government has all the facts at its fingers' ends, but unless we have the propelling force of some public investigation, we feel that no satisfactory scheme will be given us.

MR. ASQUITH (Fife, E.)

This method of proceeding by Minute is really, as my right honourable Friend has pointed out, at variance with the established practice of Parliament. I hope my honourable Friend will go to a Division, in the first place, as a protest against the substitution of Departmental action, practically uncontrolled, for the action of this House; and in the second place, because the chaotic condition to which the regulation of secondary education in Scotland has now come is a perfect scandal. What we want is a considered and organised scheme, which will deal with the whole of these various sums of money, and which will bring them into one common fund, and lay down the principles and methods by which that fund should be administered.


This House has given £60,000 for the purposes of secondary education, including technical education. Out of that £60,000, handed over to the Scotch Education Department, I can only find about £400 spent for technical edu- cation. Neither Edinburgh nor Glasgow penny of this money for the institutions devoted to technical education. The money is practically spent only for secondary education of a classical character. I think if the whole of the money were spent for technical education it would be much better. This is really a bread-and-butter question for us in Scotland. In England and Ireland you give grants from Imperial sources towards technical institutions, like your Royal College of Science, but Scotland does not get a penny. I find from the last accounts that the Department has £48,000 in hand. I cannot understand why that money is kept in hand instead of being spent. I would point out that this money is not voted year by year; it comes out of the Consolidated Fund, and therefore we have not the opportunity of discussing it; it is practically placed outside the control of Parliament. I am glad my honourable Friend intends to take a Division on this Amendment, in order that we may record our protest against the way in which this money is frittered away, and Parliament deprived of all control over it.


The importance of this matter is not confined to the £5,000 under this sub-section; it applies also to the £40,000 which will be available after this Bill is passed. This Bill is to give £49,000 for secondary education in Scotland. Altogether £15,700 is given for secondary education in Scotland under different grants, and yet there is no general scheme under which these moneys are administered. What does the Government propose to do with this £49,000? Instead of having a comprehensive scheme, you propose to give this money over to certain purposes which the Department are to specify. If you once give over the money you will never get it back again if, at a future time, you get a comprehensive scheme. "Vested interests" will come in, and an effective general scheme will be impossible Within the last six years we have given £170,000 for secondary education in Scotland, and we have no plan whatever for the purpose of laying out that money. In addition to that, there is an enormous sum of money represented by endowments for secondary education, almost as much as you had for elementary education, and yet there is no scheme for the proper expenditure of the money, which is simply dribbled and frittered away.

COLONEL DENNY (Kilmarnock Burghs)

I think all the Scottish Members are practically agreed in this matter. We are not satisfied with the way in which this money is distributed. But, as that is so, the Lord Advocate, having ascertained the views of Scottish Members, will, I take it, in the Minutes he prepares, give effect to our views, and those Minutes will be presented to Parliament, and we shall have an opportunity of discussing them.

MR. PIKIE (Aberdeen, N.)

I do not think that we on this side will be so easily satisfied as the honourable and gallant Gentleman who has just sat down appears to be. I think it is the absolute duty of every Scottish Member to enter his protest against this injustice. Why should not the Government treat Scotland as its representatives desire? If the Government would only try the method of treating Scotland according to its characteristics and idiosyncracies, the legislation they propose would achieve more success.


I must really express surprise that the Lord Advocate has not made up his mind to take some notice of the arguments that have been put forward by Scottish Members on this matter. The whole point is whether a gentleman, however well qualified and able he may be, is to have the power to determine as to the distribution of this money without the authority of this House, or the opinion of Scottish Mem-

bers being regarded. We object altogether to this system of Minutes. In the cases in which individual schemes are brought before the House, they come up for discussion after midnight, and no opportunity is afforded for their proper discussion. I cannot understand why the Lord Advocate cannot give us a satisfactory assurance in this matter. All we ask is that the Government will promise to prepare, even if it take them twelve months, a comprehensive scheme, and get the opinion of the Scottish Members and the Scottish people upon it. I think the Government are very ill-advised in showing this contemptuous indifference to the arguments put forward by Member after Member, representing Scottish constituencies.

MR. COLVILLE (Lanark, N.E.)

I think we have a right to demand an answer from the right honourable Gentleman, especially seeing that every Scottish Member who has spoken has supported the Amendment. We have a satisfactory scheme of secondary education in England, and I think the Government should give sufficient time for a scheme to be formulated for Scotland, especially considering the large sums of money which will now be available for that purpose. I do ask the Government to give this one Amendment favourable consideration. So far as we have gone, every Amendment that has been proposed has been refused and voted down by the Government, and I trust that they will make, at any rate, this one concession.

The Committee divided: —Ayes 75; Noes 23.—(Division List No. 280.)

Arnold, Alfred Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Kenyon, James
Arrol, Sir William Colomb, Sir John C. Ready Lawrence, Sir EDurning (Corn.)
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Curzon, Viscount (Bucks) Lawrence, W. F. (Liverpool)
Balcarres, Lord Doughty, George Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J.(Manch'r) Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.
Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H.(Brist'l) Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V. Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Liverp'l)
Bethell, Commander Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn E. Loyd, Archie Kirkman
Bond, Edward Finch, George H. Macartney, W. G. Ellison
Boscawen, Arthur Griffith Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne McArthur, C. (Liverpool)
Brassey, Albert Fisher, William Hayes Malcolm, Ian
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Foster, Colonel (Lancaster) More, Robert Jasper
Butcher, John George Garfit, William Milton, Viscount
Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs) Gordon, Hon. John Edward Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)
Cavendish, V.C.W. (Derbysh.) Goschen, Rt Hn. G. J. (St. G'rg's) Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)
Cecil, E. (Hertford, E.) Gray, Ernest (West Ham) Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)
Chaloner, Capt. R. G. W. Greville, Captain Newdigate, Francis Alexander
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.) Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G. Nicol, Donald Ninian
Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r) Hanbury, Rt. Hon. R. W. Penn, John
Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E. Johnston, William (Belfast) Phillpotts, Captain Arthur
Pierpoint, Robert Russell, T. W. (Tyrone) Williams, J. Powell (Birm.)
Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. E. Ryder, John Herbert Dudley Wylie, Alexander
Purvis, Robert Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire) Wyndham, George
Richardson, Sir T. (Hartlep'l) Stanley, Lord (Lancs) Young, comm. (Berks, E.)
Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W. Thornton, Percy M. TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Robertson, H. (Hackney) Webster, Sir R. E. (I. of W.) Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.
Round, James Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.
Asquith, Rt. Hon. H. H. Denny, Colonel Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)
Billson, John Doogan P. C. Ure, Alexander
Brigg, John Hayne, Rt. Hon. C. Seale Wedderburn, Sir William
Bryce, Rt. Hon. James Heath, James Wilson, H. J. (York, W.R.)
Caldwell, James Macaleese, Daniel Yoxall, James Henry
Channing, Francis Allston McKillop, James
Clark, Dr. G. B. (Caithness-sh.) Morton, E. J. C. (Devonport) TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Colville, John Pirie, Duncan V. Captain Sinclair and Mr. Crombie.
Dalziel, James Henry Provand, Andrew Dryburgh
Forward to