§ Considered in Committee.
§ [Mr. J. W. LOWTHEE (Cumberland, Penrith), CHAIRMAN of WAYS and MEANS, in the Chair.]
§ (In the Committee.)
Motion made, and Question again proposed—
That it is expedient to authorise the annual payment, out of the Consolidated Fund, during the continuance of the Agricultural Rates, Congested Districts and Burgh Land Tax Relief (Scotland) Act, 1896, of sums to the Local Taxation (Scotland) Account, equal to the difference between the sums payable to that account, under section three of the said Act, and a sum equivalent to seven-sixteenths of the total amount certified by the Secretary for Scotland as the amount to be taken as having been raised by rates by county councils and parish councils from the owners and occupiers of agricultural lands and heritages as
defined in the said Act, during the year ended the 15th day of May, 1896; and also to make provision for the distribution and application of such sums—
Line 10, to leave out all the words after the words '15th day of May, 1896,' to the end of the Question, in order to add the words 'such sums to be distributed in manner hereafter to be provided by Parliament.'"—(Mr. E. Robertson.)
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON (Dundee)
In rising to continue the discussion of this Motion, I hope the Committee will permit me for one moment to refer to the great loss which we have recently sustained by the death of a former colleague on whom, on many similar occasions, we have relied for assistance and advice—I refer, of course, to my late lamented friend Mr. Hunter, formerly Member for North Aberdeen; and, as I have been indulged so far, Mr. Lowther, I am sure I may say further that it has been with deep feelings of gratitude that I recognise the magnanimity and generosity of the First Lord of the Treasury in granting a Civil List pension to a political opponent, whose latter days have been, I know, greatly alleviated. Now, Sir, I will proceed to deal with the Resolution before the Committee, and I am afraid that it will be my duty to look this gift horse in the mouth. Sir, the Committee is, first, going to consider a Resolution to appropriate certain sums to Scotland, and, in the second place, to provide for the distribution of that money. My main object in rising is to move the omission of the words of allocation, but I wish, in the first instance, to be allowed to say something about the words of appropriation. Sir, the House is in a most remarkable position with regard to this gift of public money, and it is a position which, notwithstanding the local interest that Scotland has in the question, I commend to the serious atten- 1352 tion of England. This is not the first time that we have had embarrassing grants of this sort. It was out of one of these grants that Mr. Hunter, to whom I have just referred, appealed for free education for Scotland, and which led to its subsequent establishment. I do not know whether there is any one of us who hopes to have a similar happy thought on this occasion; but this is not the first of these grants. We must go back to the English Rating Act to get at the origin of this proposal, because this is the direct outcome of that Act. Sir, there are two things in that Act which ought to be kept in mind at the present moment. That Act was to meet what was called exceptional agricultural distress; and the second remarkable thing about the original proposal was that it affected to take the money which was going to the relief of agricultural distress from one special fund, and not from the general taxation account. The same thing was done in the case of Ireland, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer declared that whatever might be the result of a discussion on the financial relations, they would not depart from the basis of an equivalent grant in the relation of 80, 11, and 9. We have it that Scotland has been paid the eleven-hundredths, the amount which two years ago Her Majesty's Government declared to be the amount that Scotland was entitled to on principles of strict justice as between the three countries. What are we doing to-day? We are here to discuss a question of adding to the £200,000 a year a sum of £93,000 per annum. What has happened in the interval to change the eternal principles of justice? A Local Government Bill for Ireland has been introduced and passed through this House. I need not go into the nature of the financial relations of that Bill, but the amount going to Ireland under the old system of allocation has had to be increased by £600,000 per annum because it was necessary to carry the Local Government Bill. On this side of the House the granting of this £600,000 a year has been called a bribe to interested parties in Ireland, and to another place to induce them to consent to an act of justice to Ireland. What was the consequence? The Lord Advocate had to come down three weeks ago and give us a totally inconsistent 1353 reason. Now, then, Ireland has got half its rates, England has got half its rates, but Scotland has not, but the amount going to Scotland is to be increased to the extent of £90,000 or £100,000. What is the meaning of all that? That this money which is going to Scotland now, and to which Scotland is entitled, is part of the price of the Local Government Bill. I think it is only fair that we who are going to have the benefit of that transaction should not shrink from explaining the real meaning of it. I think it would be a question of some difficulty whether on the proposals of Her Majesty's Government the equivalent grant to England does not arise. The other point to which I refer is the provision in the case of the English Act, that the money was to come out of the proceeds of the estates duty levied on personal property in Scotland and England. A curious thing is, if you look at the English Act of 1896 and the Scotch Act of 1896, you will find this allocation on the face of the Acts. Why is not that alleged in the case of the proposal which the Lord Advocate now makes? It is no longer pretended that the money comes from the particular source I have mentioned, but it is admitted that it is a withdrawal from the general fund of the country. Therefore, you will see that in the proposal which, is now before the Committee we have a total change of front on the part of Her Majesty's Government. It is impossible for me to abstain from pointing to the ignoble origin of the present proposition, and I can assure the Government that their proposal will be received in Scotland with regret. That brings me to the second part. I have given notice to leave out of the Lord Advocate's Motion all the words after "15th day of May, 1896," and to insert—such sums to be distributed in manner hereafter to be provided by Parliament.Of course, the distribution of the grant under four different heads is practically a skilful device. But, Sir, I am not going now to express approval or disapproval of any one of these four items of allocation which under my Amendment would be omitted. What I want to suggest to the Government is that at this period of the Session they may 1354 very well postpone the question of the allocation of the money, and give us time to consider how the money can best be distributed. I think that with a sum of money so large as £93,000 a year the whole country ought to have an opportunity of carefully considering what is the best mode of applying it. I think we should have an opportunity of consulting our constituencies, so that when we do come back for the next Session we will have the satisfaction of knowing that the money will be spent according to the views of the great majority of the Scotch people. It is for that reason I have placed on the Paper the Amendment which I now beg to move.
§ MR. RENSHAW (Renfrew, W.)
The honourable Member who has just spoken has taken the opportunity of making a general attack on the system of equivalent grants in Scotland. I should like to say that those of us who are most concerned with the administration of local affairs in Scotland feel that these grants have been a source of very great advantage, and in the main they have been well used; to a large extent they have conduced to the good government of Scotland. The honourable Member has particularly singled out as an objectionable feature the grant of £93,000, which he calls a bribe.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! The only question before the House is whether certain words should be left out and others inserted.
§ MR. RENSHAW
I will limit my remarks to the broad point, and it does seem to me that, speaking from the point of view of local administration, there is no reason, to my mind, why the honourable Member should propose to postpone the allocation of this money. We are perfectly prepared that Scotland should have this sum, and the proposal now submitted to the House, notwithstanding the remarks from the honourable and learned Member, will meet with approval in all parts of Scotland. The proposals before us are that the total sum of £95,000, and a certain sum of £25,000, shall be devoted to the relief of occupiers of agricultural land in Scotland. Well, I think everybody in 1355 this House should realise what the Government took upon themselves by the Agricultural Rating Act of 1896. They must realise that the charge made by it, as all Scotch Members recognised, is to make up deficiencies. Both the parishes and the councils have felt very keenly that they have not got the full amount intended to be given them when the Agricultural Rates Act of 1896 was passed. That is the first charge; and I do not understand the honourable Member to traverse the argument that we ought to make that good. The next charge proposed is to give an additional sum to the authorities for the pay and clothing of the police in Scotland; and let me remind the Committee of this fact, that many of these authorities in Scotland have since 1889 been placed in a worse position than they ought to have been in regard to this matter. The councils have expressed the same view, and expressed it very strongly. There cannot be a doubt that until 1889 the total amount of the contribution from the Imperial Exchequer towards police expenditure in Scotland amounted to something like 10s. in the £. There has been a gradual falling off year after year since then, because in 1889, under the Local Government Act the sum of £155,000 was fixed as the contribution to be paid to the local authorities towards the expenses of the police. Thus the amount of contribution at present payable to the various police authorities in Scotland does not amount to more than 8s, 4d. or 8s. 5d. in the £. I know that in my own county the figures were such, comparing 1897 with 1898, that we only got about two-fifths of the total amount of our police expenditure. This has been felt and recognised as a grievance over and over again, after representations of the strongest character have been made; and I for my part, in connection with my own county, and representing the County Councils' Association, rejoice that the Government has taken so early an opportunity of attempting to place us in a proper position in regard to this matter. I do not understand any Member to criticise the proposal of the contribution from the Imperial Exchequer; but I do think it is right to point out that, after all, the police are to a considerable extent under 1356 the control of the Imperial authorities in Scotland. The sheriff of the county has considerable powers in relation to them, and it is only right, when that is the case, when these police are available, not only for local purposes, but liable to be removed from one county to another, that there should be a considerable contribution from the Imperial Exchequer towards their support. Again, I do not understand that anyone wishes to delay the proposal in regard to the fishery laws. What has been the attitude of Members on that or this, side of the House who are connected with fishing constituencies? It has been, in season and out of season, to urge upon the Government the reasonableness of this contribution to the police. I do recognise that this has been a strong Scotch grievance for a long time, and I hope the Government will not hesitate to see that something should be done which will deal effectively with this grievance. I understand that the point from which this Resolution is perhaps most criticised is as to the sum remaining—namely, some £25,000 or £30,000—which is proposed to be devoted to secondary education in Scotland. Well, Mr. Lowther, I think, by taking part in the work of education, in Scotland, all of us who know what is going on in regard to secondary education there must recognise the necessity of a further sum being given, and given quickly, for that purpose. I am convinced by a circular which has been sent to all of us by the honourable Member for the Border Boroughs. I have read that circular, and I cannot say that I have derived a great deal of useful instruction from it, because the honourable Member has failed to recognise the useful work going on in Scotland at the present time—because he is not up to date, and has not realised what a great work has been accomplished under the various county schemes, and how these schemes have been sorely injured by not getting the proper sums of money needed for their sustenance. Mr. Lowther, I believe, given a sum of this kind, devoted to the scheme of secondary education—given a tolerably free hand to the Scotch Education Department in regard to it—having regard to the county committees established in Scotland, and to the fact that 1357 these schemes of secondary education are essentially two-fold—(1) that more money is needed, and (2) that secondary and technical education should be combined—so that they can receive at the present time a separate sum—I believe in the existing schemes of secondary education if they are affected by the control of the Scotch Education Department. You have then every possibility of carrying out and continuing a good sound scheme of secondary education in Scotland. It is by the control of the various localities, by the administrative authority, that you can really and truly secure what is good in secondary education, and not some spurious and imaginary form of secondary education. I think, for my part, that the Resolution at present before the House admirably expresses what are the real wants of the case and what are the wants of the people in Scotland.
§ MR. CALDWELL (Lanark, Mid)
The proposal, as it appears to me, Sir, would seem to be for the, purpose of amending some mistake, and the first item proposed to be left out is for the purpose, I take it, of amending a mistake in the Agricultural Rates Act which was passed in 1896. First of all, they have to change the principle on which that amount was given to Scotland; and, in the second place, they have to come forward and confess that the calculation made at that time turned out to be wrong, and it is proposed to remedy it by a payment of some £50,000 out of this proposed grant. I think that fact shows that the House ought to give reasonable time for the discussion of an important question of this kind—which is practically the only important Scotch question before the House—instead of relegating it to the end of the Session. I think also there is great inconvenience attached to our discussing the distribution of money before we have, first of all, considered the question of whether Scotland is to get a proper share. However, that is the form which the discussion has taken, and we must adapt ourselves to circumstances. Now, the first item which the Lord Advocate proposes to deal with is the sum of £25,000, to make up a deficit under the Agricultural Rates Act 1358 of 1896. Now, Sir, I would like to know how this deficit occurred. We cannot make it out from the Lord Advocate's speech. If we go back to the Agricultural Rates Act, and to the time when he introduced the Bill, we find that he told us that the amount to be given to England was calculated at £1,716,000, and that Scotland was to be given one-eighth of that, which was £214,500.
§ MR. CALDWELL
The sum which the Lord Advocate gave it is proposed to allocate in land tax. For congested districts in the Highlands the amount was £15,000, and this left a balance, which was to be available under the Agricultural Rates Bill. When the Lord Advocate came to speak on this Resolution he did not use the figures at all which he used in 1896. He used different figures. He said that it was estimated that the sum available for Scotland would be £187,000. I am taking that from "Hansard," from the speech of the Lord Advocate; but I cannot for the life of me make out where he gets that £187,000 from. Most certainly it does not occur in the Debate on the Second Reading of that Bill. But then he goes on to say that, instead of the £187,000 which was expected to be available for the agricultural grant, all they have been able to get is £167,000, and so there was a deficit. But what becomes of the congested districts in the Highlands? He has assumed that what we have got is £187,000. But the Estimate in 1896 was that £192,000 was available for the agricultural grant. Now, there can be no question as to the amount England received, because England was to receive the amount beginning on the 31st March, 1897; so that the first yearly payment to England would expire on the 31st March last. The accounts, therefore, must be made up as regards what England has received for the year 1897–98. And what we want to know now from the Lord Advocate is the amount England received for the year ending the 31st 1359 March, 1898. These figures must be available. Given these figures, and Scotland taking eleven-eightieths of that amount, we shall see what Scotland's share is. It will show also whether you require this £20,000 to make up the deficiency. I repeat that I cannot for the life of me understand how there has been any miscalculation; the sum expected to be available for England on that calculation was £192,000. The Lord Advocate now says the amount is only £160,000—that is, £32,000 short of the Estimate. We must have some explanation in regard to that. Then, in regard to the next item with reference to the police, it is perfectly true that for the year 1888–89 the police authorities in Scotland received practically one-half of the cost of pay and clothing for the police; and at that time, under the Local Government (Scotland) Act, the amount to be thenceforth given to the police was a stereotyped sum; and the result naturally followed that, as the police increased, the sum so fixed did not yield 10s. in the £ but with regard to this sum given to the police it has to be borne in mind that that sum was given out of the probate duty allocated to Scotland. In a question of Imperial government Scotland ought not to be treated in this way. There is a different domestic arrangement in Scotland to that which exists in England. We gave a fixed sum to the police, and free education got the balance of the money. If, therefore, the police got less, free education got more. An attempt was made at that time, so that the police should have more. The answer made to it was that if the police got more free education would get less. Now, my honourable Friend has referred to the fact that the Royal burghs and the county councils are all in favour of giving this money over to the police. Of course they are. Every local authority that is to get a share of the money will speak in the same strain in regard to the burdens they have to bear. Every school board and every board of guardians would like to get more for their purposes if they could, and not unnaturally.
§ MR. CALDWELL
Of course; and if we were members of those bodies we should say the same. But if the ratepayers do not get, in respect of the police grant, any aid from the rates, they get it for some other Scotch purpose, for which there is no rating power, and which will be more beneficial to the people. That is the point. Take the rating power of Scotland; everyone knows that in the case of a county of Scotland the police rates are paid, half by the owners and half by the occupiers. My honourable Friend opposite is complaining of the deficiency. That deficiency of £25,000 at the present moment falls upon the owner and the occupier equally. The honourable Member for Renfrew knows perfectly well that I am quite correct that this sum falls in equal proportions on owner and occupier alike. The question is—is this £25,000 to be apportioned half to the landlord and half to the tenant? Or are we going to do what we did in the probate duty case, and give it to some general purpose for which there is no rating power, and which will, perhaps, do a great deal more good to the community at large than it would if half of it went into the landlords' pockets. Go on making your rating powers, and give your money to the rating powers, and see what you get. It would be made the medium through which to raise the pay of the police. That is where the money would go. Of course, if the police authorities found that, whatever their expenditure on pay and clothing might be, one-half came out of the Imperial Exchequer, they would be very lavish in spending. And then observe that this proposal of the Lord Advocate, so far as Scotland is concerned, does not come, up to the amount of 10s. in the £. There would still be a deficiency, and that deficiency would get more and more according as the expenditure increased. If you think you are here establishing a uniform principle as between England and Scotland, I say you are doing nothing of the kind, because there will still be a disparity between the two. It is perfectly true that the police have got rather less than 10s. now; but before that sum was given there has been about £40,000 a year which has gone to the Police Superannuation Fund. We are always told 1361 that superannuation is deferred pay; then this £40,000 a year must be looked upon as a contribution of the Imperial Treasury to the pay of the police. Add to the £40,000 what they are getting at present, and you will find that the Imperial Treasury is paying far more than 10s. in the £, without this £20,000 at all. Therefore, it must be conceded that, as far as the police are concerned, they have got no grievance whatever. Then we come to the next head, as to the policing of the sea fisheries, and the honourable Member for West Renfrewshire said—Look at the non-policing of these fisheries; everyone is complaining.Quite so. But the question is: ought this policing to be borne out of the Imperial funds, or out of the Scotch fund? It is not a question so much of whether the fisheries are properly policed, as—who should pay the cost? I cannot see, from the Unionist point of view, upon what principle you can hold that the expenses of the sea fisheries or the United Kingdom are to be paid for out of Scottish money. We have a very large seaboard, but who gets the benefit of the fish? I suppose the fish is brought to the London market from Scotland. I suppose fish is brought from Scotland to all parts of England, and I do not see why the people of England, who get the benefit of the fish, should not—I am speaking from the Unionist point of view—bear their quota of the expense; why, in a matter like fisheries, from which everyone benefits, the expense should not be borne imperially as it has hitherto been. We have the cruisers off the Imperial Treasury, and here is one more attempt to take Scotch money for purposes which are really and purely Imperial. Again, why in the world should money, which is given to the Congested Districts in Ireland, be taken out of purely Scotch funds? If there be a part of the United Kingdom congested, its relief is an obligation upon the Imperial Government as a whole. You treat, it so in Ireland; and yet you say, because the congested district happens to be in Scotland, therefore you, the Imperialists, will treat it as a part of a separate kingdom, and levy the contributions for it upon a separate nationality. I think we are quite 1362 entitled to object, and to strongly object, to this matter of policing, because it is the thin end of the wedge—being transferred practically from the Imperial account and thrown upon Scottish funds. Well, the other item that is referred to is the item for secondary education. I am not concerned in the question of whether this amount is too great or too little, but I say this, that if you are going to give this money for the purposes of secondary education, then you ought, first of all, to have a comprehensive scheme, and not to begin to dribble out the money just now —money which you will never get back; and when you come to propose a comprehensive scheme, you will find you have no money for the purpose. There is a great amount of waste so far as money for technical and secondary education is concerned; there is an enormous amount of waste at the present moment for want of a uniform system—a system which will allocate the money upon proper lines. I therefore think, so far as this money is to be applied to the cause of secondary education in Scotland, we should have, before we begin to pay out the money, a scheme developed; a scheme which will show the application of the money to the greatest possible advantage. Why, it has been well enough known already that, as regards some of the money for secondary education, one party has applied for this, and another for that, and, owing to local considerations and local feelings and interests, money has been granted to certain schools in a certain way. What we say is this: we say that if we are to have this money for secondary education we should first have a scheme before us. It shows the absurdity of the position of this grant, so far as Scotland is con-earned, that the reason why we get it is that England wanted the money, and wanted it for her own agricultural rates; and England, wanting the money, then a share is thrown at Scotland, without Scotland being prepared for it, or having any knowledge whatever what are the most useful means to which to apply the money. Generally speaking, when Imperial money is granted, the purpose to which it is to be put is made clear and plain, and then, and not before, the money is forthcoming; but here, in the case of Scotland, we have this money, and 1363 it is a question of what to do with it; how best to dispose of it now, this Session, before we have an opportunity of considering the most useful purpose, and the best scheme by which to apply the money. I say a principle of this kind, which showers out money and compels people to take it because other parts of the nation require money for other purposes, without those who receive it having any distinct method of allocating the money, is, a wrong principle. The Amendment which has been, moved would have the effect of simply hanging the money up for six months or a year, and thus giving ample time for the country to prepare a, great scheme which will deal with the disposition of the money probably better than a scheme by the Government. Let me give just one illustration of the advantages, of delay. I remember when the Probate Duty Act was being brought in. On that occasion the proposal of the Government was that the money to be allocated to Scotland was to be spent in relief of local rates only, and I remember on that occasion the late Mr. Hunter, the honourable Member who has moved the Amendment, and myself, one evening when the Government was hard pressed, obtained a concession that that Bill was only to be for one year. With what result? With the result that the next year the Government, under the Local Government Act, brought in an application for the money, with the unanimous assent of the people of Scotland, to purposes of free education. Now, there was a case in which the money was attempted to be forced down our throats at the fag end of the Session, at as late a period as at present. We resisted, and claimed that the money should be tied up till next Session, with the result that Scotland got a, great boon in consequence of the country being prepared with a scheme to apply the money to the best possible purpose. I therefore heartily support the Amendment.
§ SIR MARK STEWART (Kirkcudbright)
It seems to me that the honourable Gentleman who has just sat down and many of his friends share the opinion that they would rather have none of this money at all in Scotland. I do not think that opinion is generally shared outside this House. It may do on a hot 1364 summer's afternoon to make long speeches criticising the views the Government take on this question; but if you go outside and ask your constituents what they think of it, you would hear a very different story. When the Rating Act was passed, and a considerable sum was given in relief of local rates, although that Act did not come into operation in Scotland as quickly as in, England, the view taken in the provinces largely was that the Government had very carelessly miscalculated the results, and that the relief would never be seen at all. That has proved to be falsified. This Measure supplements what has proved by experience to have been deficient. Which is in the best position—the man who does get this back from the earnings of his hard toil, or the man who gets nothing at all?
§ SIR M. STEWART
Very well, the landlords own the land; why should not they? Everything, you say, is paid to the landlord. If you give a tenant £1 or £2 back in his rent, it comes from the pocket of the landlord one way or another. You know that applies to all classes of business. If you relieve, any trade of any tax, who do you benefit? You benefit the landlords. Of course you do. What is the harm of that? How could the country go on? You must have landlords. I want to know this from the other side: do they want this £100,000 or not? If they do not want it, why do they not say so at once, instead of beating about the bush, and raising a series of difficulties, and making a perfectly clear and practical scheme one full of difficulty and doubt? Agriculturists at least are thankful to the Government, and no member of the agricultural class will rise in this House and say they are not. They are thoroughly satisfied with what has taken place, in so far as this remedy will supply what has proved to be deficient in the last Rating Act, and are very grateful to the Government. But one word about the police. I have had to do with the police for the last 30 years, and I know this, that, the police now are in a much more comfortable position than they were before. Of course, honourable Members may object 1365 that £40,000 is given to the superannuation fund, but why should we not reward our public servants? They would not have got a fourth of that if the Liberal Party had been in power. The police are a useful body of men; they do their duty faithfully, and I for one shall be the last to wish to see them deprived of the superannuation allowance which has been given to them by Parliament. Then there are other points. You want to make the men more comfortable. Everybody knows they are better paid since a certain rate in aid was given to them. Honourable Gentlemen on the other side say the money is going into the pockets of the landlords. It does not stop there. It goes out again in payment of the police. The landlord cannot be paying out of his own pocket if he has not something in his pocket to pay with. It is no reason for throwing over a whole scheme because you say one class comes off more favourably than another. The tenant farmers will tell you this is a good scheme. They do not want to pay an increased rate for the police. You will find the county councils and burghs in Scotland almost unanimously approve this scheme. They represent a body of opinion which is certainly not lower than this side of the House, though I suppose it is lower than honourable Members opposite. Although, honourable Members are always most anxious to have liberal institutions provided for the people of Scotland, when you come to carry out those liberal institutions you find they are mainly indifferent. We are trying to make these institutions in accordance with the spirit of the age. We know there must be progress. They are maintained at very considerable expense, and in bearing that expense the Government are willing to assist. Now, about the fisheries. You say this is an Imperial matter. I do not know that it is altogether an Imperial matter, for these fisheries are only collected in certain areas of Scotland. There, is no good fishing all round Scotland; it is confined to certain districts and areas. The Government will provide vessels for the superintendence of these fisheries, and we think it is perfectly fair that a portion of this sum of £100,000 should be allocated to the subvention of this very important industry. Well, now, in regard to technical educa- 1366 tion. The only objection that I was heard to giving £35,000 to technical education is that it is now proposed to give it en bloc, and that some of the county councils are anxious that the Government should keep, say, £10,000, in order that when a bigger scheme comes up they may, at all events, have some fund from which to give assistance to particular forms of technical education which might not otherwise be provided for. All that we have heard to-day in the way of criticism amounts to this: one side of the House is anxious to get this £100,000 to make up the deficiency in agricultural rating, and to afford some assistance towards the maintenance of the police, and the other side is not. One side is anxious to assist the Scottish fisheries, about which ever since I have been a Member of Parliament I have heard a good deal, and I have not heard a Liberal Government propose anything better, or anything at all, in fact. So I feel some measure of gratitude towards the Government. Honourable Gentlemen opposite apparently do not. In regard to technical education, are we going on year by year doing nothing? There is opportunity now to spend, not only £25,000, but the whole of the £35,000 in a most useful way. Anybody who has been chairman of a large school board, as I have been, will have found ample opportunity even in remote rural districts for furthering the cause of technical education, and assisting those who are willing to assist themselves by putting them in the way of getting a good education. I hope, Sir, this scheme will be carried in its integrity, and that we shall be able to feel, at all events, that, although brought in at the fag end of the Session, it has not been brought in in vain, but will do a large amount of good.
§ MR. BUCHANAN (Aberdeen, E.)
On the subject of the grant affected by my honourable Friend's Amendment, I wish, to say a, few words. The honourable Baronet opposite has been an out-and-out champion of the landlords, but I do not think on any occasion has he ever gone quite so far as he did this afternoon, when he told us that we cannot help anybody without helping the landlords. I do not wish to pursue that subject, because we have often had it 1367 discussed. With regard to the object of secondary education, to which this money is to be given, I know there are others here who, no doubt, can speak much more fully upon it, and from much greater experience than I can. profess to have, and, of course, the subject is specifically raised by the two Amendments of my honourable Friend the Member for Aberdeen and the honourable Member for Forfarshire. I do most certainly agree with a previous speaker, that when we have a large sum of money set apart for technical education opportunity should be taken for placing our system of technical education on a proper basis by some well-considered Act of Parliament, so that, after due inquiry and consideration, we might have a satisfactory system of technical education throughout the whole of Scotland. I hope that the right honourable Gentleman, however much he may shut his ears to some of the demands before him as regards the postponement of this question this evening, will, at any rate, be disposed to listen to the desire expressed for postponing the allocation of this education grant. With regard to the other objects to which the money is to be given, I look upon the first as simply a question of casting a little more good money after bad. I was one of those who opposed the Agricultural Rating Acts for England, Scotland, and Ireland. Well, here it has turned out that the money which was given for the purpose of relieving agricultural rates has not been found sufficient for that purpose, and we have to spend £20,000 more for what I believe to be a bad purpose. I am as much opposed to the proposal now as I was in previous years. I believe all these grants in aid of local taxation do not lead to economy, but to increased expenditure. In 1888 the present First Lord of the Admiralty, when he introduced this new system of grants in aid, stated that by treating the sum as he did in regard to Scotland the amount which would be paid in aid of these local funds would be a fixed sum in perpetuity, and if the local authorities chose to embark in greater expenditure on police or other purposes, they would have to do it at their own cost. We see that that line, if it was ever seriously taken up by the Government of the day, has not been adhered to; they cannot stand the pres- 1368 sure of the local authorities now being put upon them. In 1889 the sum given was £135,000. This represented one-half the charge for police purposes in Scotland, and it was intended that that should represent the permanent aid to be given to local authorities for police purposes in Scotland. Nearly 10 years have elapsed. The expenditure has gone up, and this sum no longer represents 10s. in the £, but only about 8s. 6d., and, naturally, the administrative bodies who have got to administer that sum, and who have been responsible, or whose predecessors have been responsible, for the increased expenditure that has been going on during these years, make out a very strong case to the Government that they should help them out of this difficulty. So we have this proposal to vote £25,000 out of this money in aid of the police in Scotland. Now, with regard to another item, the proposal to give £15,000 in aid of the sea police in Scotland. I quite agree with what has been said by my honourable Friend the Member for Caithness, that you are distinctly endeavouring to relieve Imperial expenditure at the cost of Scotch money. The case is even stronger than was put by my honourable Friend, for not only are you doing this indirectly, but we have learnt from the statement of the Lord Advocate in the House that he is going to the extent of £6,000 a year to do it directly. When he brought this proposal before the House a month or so ago he told us, first, that a certain amount would come off the maintenance item of the Fisheries Board Vote for Scotland. I subsequently put a question to him on the subject, and then we discovered that not only a part, of the maintenance item of the sea fisheries, which is contained in the Fisheries Board Vote for Scotland, was to come off, but the whole of it. That is so. Not merely will this sum of money have to bear the cost of maintaining any vessels which may be built out of it in the future, which I recognise is fair, but it will have to bear the cost of maintenance of the vessels which are now building; and, worse than that, it will have to bear the cost of the maintenance of vessels which have during all past time belonged to the Fisheries Board, and have been paid out of Imperial funds in the Fisheries Board Vote. No less than £6,000 a year will 1369 be taken off the Fisheries Board Vote for Scotland, and paid out of the £15,000 of money under this grant. I say that is very grossly unfair, nut merely to the fishing interests of Scotland, but to the financial interests of Scotland itself. We are supposed to be getting here a grant of about £95,000 of money. You take directly from that no less than £6,000 per annum, which, at present is being paid out of Imperial funds, and would continue to be paid out of Imperial funds if you were not giving this grant. I say you are saving the Imperial pocket at the cost of the Scotch pocket. The argument that has been adduced in favour of paying this expenditure out of local funds, is one that we have always steadily resisted, and it has always been the practice of Parliament, whatever Government has been in office, whether Liberal or Conservative, that the cost of this sea police should be borne out of the Imperial funds. I do most earnestly urge the Government that that practice should be continued, and when they propose to make use of money for the purpose of improving the sea fisheries of Scotland, they should do it outright, without endeavouring to make a very small economy in the Imperial funds of some £5,000 or £6,000 a year; that they should make the £15,000 per annum a real grant, such as is sorely needed for the better maintenance of the sea fisheries. There is only one more point that I wish to dwell upon, and that is this: it is very natural, although sometimes it is complained of, that, in view of the past history of this grant, we should be a little suspicious of whether our interests are being properly looked after. We hope to have something addressed to us on that subject. We should like also to get an assurance that in getting this sum of money for the improvement, of our sea police we are in no degree losing our right, which we have as part of the United Kingdom, to call upon the Admiralty also to discharge its duty in the maintenance of the sea police. From what we have already discovered of the Government's desire to take from this grant the £5,000 or £6,000 a year, we are naturally suspicious that they would also want to deprive us of the power we possess to supplement the vessels which the 1370 Fisheries Board possess in discharge the duties of sea police. I hope we [...]get from the Lord Advocate when he rise a satisfactory assurance upon this subject, and I hope we shall also get from him a satisfactory assurance with regard to the other subject I have alluded to, because I think he is taking away very largely from the merit of his proposal, at any rate as regards fishery interests, by giving with one hand and taking away with the other.
§ *THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. GRAHAM MURRAY, Buteshire)
I think perhaps before I pass to the Amendment I ought to say one or two words with regard to the observations of the honourable Member for Lanark, and I think I can show him that there has been no mistake about the figures. The preferential charges under the scheme were £22,000 in all, and if he will take £22,000 from £214,500 he will find that it leaves £192,500. Well, the office calculations were made that it would take £187,000 to afford relief on agricultural rating. That left a balance of £5,000 odd. But the sum available turned out to be only £183,000. The preferential charges amounted actually to £23,000. That left £160,000. But the actual cost of relief was £180,000, leaving a deficit of £20,000. Then with respect to the question of police, I think the honourable Member for Aberdeenshire has no just ground for the charge that in this matter Imperial subvention has induced extravagance on the part of the local authorities. The increased expenditure on the police force has not been due to extravagance, but it is due simply to an increased population, and I have yet to hear of any just complaint against it. There is no harm in saying that the burden has pressed as heavily on the municipalities as on the counties. As to sea policing it has been said that Ireland is treated differently from Scotland, but it is not. There is no charge on the Imperial Exchequer for sea policing either on the English or Irish coasts. As to what will be the position of the Admiralty in regard to the matter for the future, I hope that the Admiralty will not entirely hold aloof. Of course the question is a question of degree. The Admiralty have always maintained that sea policing of a strict description is not 1371 [...]ralty work, and it is with that view [...]are going in for the scheme of having a fleet of three detective cruisers attached to the Fishery Board. I think that question must be left until it arises, but there is no sort of declaration on the part of the Admiralty. At the same time the ordinary duties of sea policing are for the sea police and not for ships of the Admiralty. Of course complications are conceivable in which any aid that will be at all effective must be Admiralty aid. Lastly, with regard to the question raised by the Amendment, whether it is expedient to hang up this money, I must say I have a great deal of sympathy with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, because I feel it is rather hard on the right honourable Gentleman that he should be badgered during the first part of the Session by Scotch Members with constant questions as to whether he was going to give the money, and then to be told that he is showering it upon those who do not want it at all. The honourable Member for Dundee wants the money hung up in order that we may find out what is the proper way in which it should be distributed. I for one quite disclaim the idea of searching for a policy which is to be inspired by a local caucus. Honourable Members knew very well at an early period that this money was going to be given. My right honourable Friend did refer to these questions at a comparatively early period of the Session, and although honourable Members did not know the exact amount of money, they knew that Scotland was going to get an amount of money equivalent to that appropriated to England and Ireland. I decline to be made a party to putting any policy on the House of Commons that has been inspired in a local caucus. The practical proposal of the honourable Member for Dundee is that we are to have various local meetings of various political associations in Scotland, and then and there a policy is to be framed and passed. I think, Sir, on the other hand, it is very much better to have done as we have done, and to have tabled our policy. I am relieved to find one of the first criticisms of the honourable Member was that it pleased too many people. I am glad it pleases too many people, and 1372 when the mind of Scotland comes to be taken on that, I hope it wall be found that it pleases a good many people in the country.
§ MR. CROMBIE (Kincardineshire)
I somewhat regret, Sir, that the right honourable Gentleman who has just sat down should have found it necessary to have said anything about the last item—namely, that of secondary education. I should very much like to know whether the right honourable Gentleman would be willing to meet us by hanging up that portion of the matter. What we really want in regard to secondary education is this: we do not want to see another sum granted; we have already had a sum of £60,000 granted in 1892 for secondary education, and in the opinion of many experts that sum has been almost entirely lost. I noticed a statement to this effect the other day on the authority of the Association of Teachers in Secondary Schools. It was pointed out that the sum of £60,000 was spent on 25 schools. Four of those were new; but, taking the other 21, and going into the circumstances of each, it was found that this had not benefited them at all, and that all the remainder had actually suffered—suffered in their fees, or been reduced in numbers; so that the first plan has really done, so far as the greater number of schools are concerned, more harm than good. We want to prevent this grant being frittered away, or, rather, that the matter shall be hung up until a proper scheme of secondary education is prepared. I really should have liked the honourable Gentleman to give an opinion on this subject. I would say that if he would only hang up this portion of the money, I should not resist the other items. Indeed, Sir, as far as the first item is concerned, I frankly admit that it is inevitable. I think, Sir, the fact of asking for a further sum to carry on the Agricultural Rating Act shows the great difficulty of working under two schemes in which Imperial relief is given to the rates. This grant is necessary because there is a deficiency; but I know there are some cases in which it is the reverse, in which, some parishes have got too much. For instance, I know one parish that has actually got a sum granted it for registration, and it so happens that it 1373 has spent nothing on registration because it has had a sufficient sum over from last year. Well, Sir, this is inevitable, and this part of it I do not oppose; but I should like very much to ask the Lord Advocate one single question in regard to this matter, which I hope he will take an opportunity of answering. Great trouble has been caused in the counties not only because a smaller sum has been given, but because the date of the payment has been gradually getting later and later. It used to be January; it got later and later, until this year it came in May. I should very much like the Lord Advocate to say, if this is passed, and if this sum is granted, whether the date of payment will be the old date, and at a fixed date.
§ DR. CLARK
Sir, after the speech of the Lord Advocate, I think it is all the more necessary that we should examine these gift horses that we are getting from the Treasury in the mouth, and see exactly what they are, and the more we examine them the less we like the old screws they are trying to pass off upon us. Two years ago we had a great boon from the Highlands in the £15,000 for the Congested Districts Board, but, by-and-bye, the next year, when we began to look at our Imperial grants, we found that what we had got in the one hand we had lost in the other; that what we are going to get from Scotland's money we are going to lose from our Imperial grant. And now, two years afterwards, we are having another boon, and we discover that what you are going to give us from Scotch sources you are going to take away from the Imperial revenue, and that what has been a burden upon Imperial revenue for all this century is to be taken off Imperial revenue and placed on Scotland alone. The Government say they are doing this because the condition of things in England and Ireland is different from the condition of things in Scotland; and the Lord Advocate, unless the Member for Aberdeen-shire had called the attention of the House to it, would like the House to understand that large sums of money are sent from local sources in England and Ireland for Imperial purposes. The only evidence we can get of that is in one of the districts on the west coast—the 1374 coast of Lancashire, I think. There have been special laws and special legislation only applying to Scotland, and not applicable to either England or Ireland. You are trying experiments in Scotland, and in some of the fishery districts of England, too, I am. glad to see some of these experiments are being tried, because the whole question will now come up of who ought to do this sea policing. Until the last seven or eight, years it has been done entirely by the Admiralty, and now we are told it is to be given up as far as the Admiralty are concerned. If some foreign trawlers come and interfere with the fishing boats, then, perhaps, you will ask the Admiralty to send some gunboats to meet the foreign trawlers. That, I take it, will be the conditions under which the Scotch Office will apply to the Admiralty for assistance. They do not intend to apply while things are going on as they are; but if international difficulties should arise, or be increased, then they will apply to the Admiralty. I am strongly opposed to getting rid of this burden on the Admiralty, and I for one think this is about the most efficient and the best possible work that the Admiralty can do. There may be some very superior officers who look upon it as degrading to do this work, but these gentlemen, by doing this work, are really getting practice in their profession which will be very valuable to them if they are required to fight an enemy, because the class of work that is done in this sea policing is just the class of work that all our torpedo boats and torpedo boat catchers should be put to —it is the kind of work that they require to do at night, and also which they would be required to do if they were unfortunate enough to be engaged in naval warfare. It is a splendid method of training both men and officers in their work; and torpedo boat catchers should be sent round the coast, so as to train them in the work they ought to do. Sir, what is now proposed is what was proposed two years ago. You offered and offer us something at the cost of Scotland which, until then and until now, has been done in Scotland and in Ireland and in other parts of the country at the cost of the Imperial Exchequer. We have got to look at this from the standpoint of to-day. Ten years ago a change took 1375 place; an old grant, ceased. Our grants from the Imperial Parliament had happened to be equal. It was 50 per cent. of the cost in England, and 50 per cent. of the cost in Scotland, and 100 per cent. of the cost in Ireland. Well, in England and Ireland and Scotland we gave the same share of probate duty, but in Ireland there is still 100 per cent. paid from the Imperial Exchequer, although they have the same duty and the same, local funds as both England and Scotland have got. I thought, it was a mistake at the time, and I then pointed out that this grant would not be a fair equivalent. But it is one of the questions that must affect England and Scotland, and must be reconsidered in view of the 10 years' experience, both of Scotland and of England, of the new finance introduced by the First Lord of the Admiralty. There are certain very good things and certain very bad things in connection with it, but, now, after 10 years' experience, we ought to know how we stand, and that is why I strongly support the Motion of the honourable Member for Dundee, that before anything is stereotyped further we ought to know how we stand. We are told on this occasion that the Scotch Office made a mistake, in the Estimates—that in England a mistake of £200,000 was made. That is exactly the position we have been in all along from the very beginning, from the time we got those special grants 10 years ago till now. The stereotyping takes place, as far as Scotland is concerned, on some occasions before you know how we stand. We had a very fine example of that in the case of the Voluntary education grant two years ago, when 5s. was given to Voluntary schools in England. There was to be only 3s. paid in Scotland, because the Lord Advocate and the Scotch Office told us that under certain arrangements with the Treasury the probate duty would not be enough to pay the 12s. that had been paid, and so, instead of giving us 5s., we have only got in the Act of Parliament 3s. All I want to point out, as an additional reason for supporting the Motion of my honourable Friend, is that we ought to know exactly how we stand, and we cannot know that until all the facts, are before us. Hence the necessity of tying up 1376 this until we can reconsider the whole effect of the action of 10 years ago. I am not going to enter into several of the points, especially the question of education, because I take it that that question will come up before us again. I thoroughly agree with the honourable Member for Kincardineshire as far as frittering away the money is concerned. I also think that you want money, and that you want organisation; and I think you want organisation as much as you want money. I, for one, much as I desire to see the development of technical and secondary education, will oppose any more money being spent or voted by this House for that purpose until I see better organisation. What we have got to do is not only to get money, but to have organisation. The Science and Art Department has become a department, and is to be under the control of the Education Department. I think before anything further is done we should have reorganisation. We should have first an inquiry, then reorganisation, and a Bill brought before us, in which the whole of our educational grants for all purposes should go into one common fund—not here under the control of one department, or there under the control of the county council, say. We ought to have our system thoroughly organised from top to bottom. With the money we have we ought to have a complete system of primary, secondary, and university education. I do not wish to press this question, as it will come before us on another Amendment. I only wish to say that I think, much as I desire to see development, if we attempt to maintain our position in the world, in the industrial competition going on all over the world, I do not think we shall get on by means of doles coming at one time from one source, at another time from another source. We ought to begin and look at the question of education in Scotland as a complete thing from beginning to end, and we ought not to continue to get this dole of £35,000 this year, a dole of £60,000 another year, and a share of the probate duty in another year.
Sir, I must say a word on one or two points which were dealt with by the Lord Advocate in 1377 his defence with regard to the distribution of this money. I rather took exception to some of his last remarks in criticising the attitude of Liberal Members in regard to this question. He blamed us for asking, for pressing the Government at an early stage of the Session, for a recognition of Scotland in this matter, and also for information as to how the money is to be distributed. I do not think it is for us to indicate the policy of the Government, but we may fairly look to the Government for some explanation of their intentions with regard to this money. I myself, not only from the point of view of a Member of this House, but also from the point of view of Scotchmen generally, in these matters, regret very strongly the circumstances which compel Governments, apparently on both sides of the House, to postpone to so late a period of the Session, the discussion of Scotch business. It is impossible for a Member of the Opposition not to be drawn by very conflicting feelings in a matter of this kind. I am sure it is not the wish of Members on this side of the House to postpone, delay, or obstruct public duty. There are other claims on the time of the Government, and, while one does not want to hinder public business, and wants to do everything in one's power to further its discussion, and in one's humble way to help on the work of the Session, one cannot help feeling that one is doing that at the expense of the interests of purely Scotch business, unless there is some opportunity in this House for discussion of Scotch business at a time in the Session when it, may reasonably be expected that there will be a fairly good attendance of Scotch Members. Here we are, at the end of the Session, and this is nearly our only opportunity of criticising Government policy, and so we are placed at a considerable disadvantage in that respect. As to the special defence which the Lord Advocate has put forward in respect to the methods of distributing this grant, I quite agree that it is very difficult for us to oppose—that is to say, to oppose it on each item As my honourable Friend the Member for Aberdeenshire has already said with regard to the rates, it is sending good money after bad. There is a point should like to draw the attention of the 1378 Lord Advocate to, and it is this, that not even now have we been able to place all he parishes on the same footing in regard to this money under the Agricultural Rates Act. In regard to the grant for fishing, enough, I think, has, been said to point out that this change is not a change in the interests of Scotland. But, for myself, my opposition to this grant in aid is on general grounds. The honourable Baronet opposite said a good deal about people being loth to refuse money. That is perfectly true. I am sorry he is not in the House, but I may venture to say that there is something more valuable than money to be considered in his matter. If experience teaches us anything, it is that you cannot have carefulness and economy in public management where you do not have responsibility. It nay not be evident yet, and it may not be evident for some time, and other causes may interfere with its operation, but that general rule is just as likely to hold good with regard to Scotland as it is with regard to other peoples and different parts of the country. I do think it is a very great pity that where there is every adherence in Scotland to principles of economy, when everyone wants to see public business well managed, these insidious attempts, by means of these grants, should be repeated in Parliament after Parliament, from Session to Session, to introduce a complicated system of finance, and one which makes local finance much more difficult to understand and comprehend by the ordinary lay factor. I do think it is a great pity that we cannot have these matters discussed at fuller length. The fact is that in many of these matters we are obliged, all of us, to submit to the necessities of the case—to submit to the fact that this House really has not time under present circumstances to devote to these very important matters. I cannot allow this opportunity to pass without expressing my strong conviction of the importance of these considerations, and I thank the House for the opportunity they have given me to say so.
§ *SIR W. WEDDERBURN
I hope the Lord Advocate will agree to this very reasonable proposal. It is difficult to find out really what are the wishes of our constituencies when they are at a 1379 distance; but there is one purpose for which I know my constituents need the money very much indeed, and that is for fishery harbours to protect the lives and property of fishermen. I may mention that within the last few days I paid a visit to a fishery harbour constructed by the German Government, and the action of our Government contrasts most unfavourably with what the German Government is doing. This harbour, at Geestemunde, by the mouth of the Weser, near Bremerhaven, is not merely a harbour such as we are asking for to protect the lives and property of the fishermen, but it is a harbour intended to stimulate the industry. It is going much further than we are asking the Government to do. We have only asked the Government to give us harbours which shall protect the lives and property of the fishermen. The German Government in the last seven or eight years has spent nine millions of marks, or nearly a million sterling, in providing accommodation of the most complete kind for the fishing industry in the north of Germany. Not only is the harbour there excellent, but the railway arrangements are perfect. Therefore, I support strongly this Motion of my honourable Friend, because I think that if the Government only give themselves time to consider this more maturely, other matters will be brought before them which will induce them to spend the money in a way that would be more useful. This sum has been called a gift horse, but it is not a gift at all. It is really Scotch money that is contributed towards the Imperial Exchequer, and we are only getting back the money that belongs to ourselves. Reference has been made to the late Dr. Hunter. He always was very strongly against transferring any money from taxation to rates, because it was transferring money that was paid by the poor to relieve the rates that were paid by the rich. Therefore, in accepting this money, I think we should look at it very jealously, not take it as a mere dole that is given to us. It is our money, and it is our duty to see that it is expended in a way that will be most beneficial to those classes which need it most.
§ SIR J. JOICEY
Sir, I rise to utter a protest against this system of grants. It 1380 just shows how, when you commit one error, that error must be committed again and again. Now, Sir, I am one of those who were opposed to the original grant to England. I did not think that that grant was wanted. I thought it was given to a large number—
Order, order! That is not the question now before the Committee. The question is whether the money shall be allocated to certain specific subjects, or whether it shall be paid into a special fund to be dealt with on a future occasion.
§ SIR J. JOICEY
Well, Sir, I did not know that this was practically an equivalent to a grant given in England with Ireland; but I bow to your ruling. I should be the last man to wander from what I thought to be the proper limits of this Debate; but I was simply giving that illustration. I think this proposal is wrong in principle. I think it leads to a great waste of money.
Order, order! The honourable Member is not entitled to discuss it at the present stage. When the Resolution is put as a whole, that will be the time to take his objection.
§ SIR J. JOICEY
Well, really, Sir, I do think that at a time when the end of the Session is so near, and when a large sum of money is proposed to be apportioned to Scotland, the Scotch Members ought certainly to have an opportunity of learning from their constituents their views on the matter. Practically, here is a scheme, cut and dried, brought down to the House for acceptance; and notwithstanding the appeals made from various parts of the House on behalf of Scotland, and by Scotch Members in particular, the Government still seem to ignore them, and will give no time to its discussion. Now, Sir, we have had illustrations of this conduct before. It was the same with free education, and with many others. But I hope the Government will listen to the appeals of the Scotch Members, and hang up this Bill for the present, thus giving to Scotland an opportunity of seeing and saying how this money can be best and most usefully spent.
§ *MR. COLVILLE (Lanark, N.E.)
The right honourable Gentleman does not need to tell the Committee of his sympathy for the Chancellor of the Exchequer in this matter, and I cannot help thinking that the Lord Advocate has acted as a sort of special pleader. My view is that, instead of the proposal before us, we ought to have 20s. in the £ and, moreover, we ought to have the
§ right to say how the money ought to be spent.
That the words proposed to be left out down to the word 'Scotland,' in line 13, inclusive, stand part of the Question.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 153; Noes 82.—(Division List No. 258.)1383
|Allhusen, Augustus Henry E.||Finch, George H.||Martin, Richard Biddulph|
|Arrol, Sir William||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Maxwell, Rt. Hon. Sir H. E.|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Fisher, William Hayes||Monk, Charles James|
|Bagot, Capt. J. FitzRoy||Folkestone, Viscount||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Forwood, Rt. Hon. Sir A.B.||More, Robert Jasper|
|Baird, John Geo. Alexander||Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||Morrell, George Herbert|
|Balfour, Rt.Hon.A. J. (Manc'r)||Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk)||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)|
|Balfour, Rt.Hon.G.W. (Leeds)||Fry, Lewis||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Garfit, William||Murray, Col. W. (Bath)|
|Barnes, Frederic George||Gibbs,Hn.A.G.H.(C.of Lond.)||Newdigate, Francis Alexander|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Gibbs, Hon. V. (St. Albans)||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Giles, Charles Tyrrell||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Beach,Rt.Hn.SirM.H.(Brist'l)||Gilliat, John Saunders||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Purvis, Robert|
|Bigwood, James||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. E.||Renshaw, Charles Bine|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Goschen, Rt. Hn. G.J.(St.G'rg's)||Richards, Henry Charles|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W.|
|Bowles, T. G. (King's Lynn)||Gretton, John||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. T.|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Greville, Captain||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Bucknill, Thomas Townsend||Hall, Sir Charles||Round, James|
|Butcher, John George||Halsey, Thomas Frederick||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs)||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G.||Rutherford, John|
|Cavendish, V.C. W. (Derbysh.)||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. R. W.||Ryder, John Herbert Dudley|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Hare, Thomas Leigh||Samuel, H. S. (Limehouse)|
|Chaloner, Captain R. G. W.||Haslett, Sir James Horner||Savory, Sir Joseph|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.)||Henderson, Alexander||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r)||Hermon-Hodge, Robert T.||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)|
|Charrington, Spencer||Hoare, Samuel (Norwich)||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Hozier, Hon. J. H. Cecil||Sidebottom, T. H. (Stalybr.)|
|Clarke, Sir E. (Plymouth)||Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E.||Jebb, Richard Claverhouse||Smith, J. P. (Lanark)|
|Colston, C. E. H. Athole||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Stanley, Lord (Lancs)|
|Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth)||Jenkins, Sir John Jones||Stewart, Sir M. J. McTaggart|
|Cornwallis, F. Stanley W.||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir J. M.|
|Cotton-Jodrell, Col. E. T. D.||Kenyon, James||Strauss, Arthur|
|Cranborne, Viscount||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Sutherland, Sir Thomas|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Knowles, Lees||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Cross, H. S. (Bolton)||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks)||Verney, Hon. Richd. Greville|
|Cruddas, William Donaldson||Lea, Sir Thos. (Londonderry)||Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. H.|
|Curzon,RtHn.G.N.(LancsSW)||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Warde, Lt.-Col. C. E. (Kent)|
|Curzon, Viscount (Bucks)||Llewelyn,SirDillwyn-(Sw'ns'a)||Webster, R. G. (St. Pancras)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Webster, Sir R. E. (I. of W.)|
|Denny, Colonel||Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham)||Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon||Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverp'l)||Whiteley, George (Stockport)|
|Donkin, Richard Sim||Lorne, Marquess of||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-under-L.)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Lowles, John||Williams, J. Powell (Birm.)|
|Doxford, William Theodore||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.||Lucas-Shadwell, William||Wylie, Alexander|
|Edwards, General Sir J. B.||Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Young, Comm. (Berks. E.)|
|Elliot, Hon. A. R. Douglas||McArthur, Chas. (Liverpool)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||McCalmont, H. L. B. (Cambs)||Sir William Walrond and|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.||McKillop, James||Mr. Anstruther.|
|Asher, Alexander||Haldane, Richard Burdon||Reid, Sir Robert T.|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.||Harwood, George||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Baker, Sir John||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. J. B. (Clackm.)||Hedderwick, Thos. C. H.||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Billson, Alfred||Holburn, J. G.||Roche, Hon. Jas. (E. Kerry)|
|Birrell, Augustine||Horniman, Frederick John||Shaw, Thos. (Hawick B.)|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Joicey, Sir James||Sinclair, Capt, J. (Forfarsh.)|
|Brigg, John||Jones, David B. (Swansea)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Souttar, Robinson|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Kearley, Hudson E.||Spicer, Albert|
|Caldwell, James||Labouchere, Henry||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Carmichael, Sir T. D. Gibson-||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland)||Tennant, Harold John|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Lewis, John Herbert||Thomas, A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Cawley, Frederick||Lloyd-George, David||Ure, Alexander|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Wallace, Robert (Edinburgh)|
|Clark, Dr.G.B. (Caithness-sh.)||Macaleese, Daniel||Walton, J. L. (Leeds, S.)|
|Clough, Walter Owen||MacDonnell, Dr.M.A.(Qn's C.)||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Colville, John||McDermott, Patrick||Wayman, Thomas|
|Courtney, Rt. Hon. L. H.||McEwan, William||Wedderburn, Sir William|
|Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.)||McKenna, Reginald||Williams, J. Carvell (Notts)|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Maddison, Fred.||Wills, Sir William Henry|
|Davies,M.Vaughan-(Cardigan)||Mendl. Sigismund Ferdinand||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Morley, Chas. (Breconshire)||Woodall, William|
|Doogan, P. C.||O'Connor, J. (Wicklow, W.)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Dunn, Sir William||Oldroyd, Mark|
|Evans, S. T. (Glamorgan)||O'Malley, William||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Fenwick, Charles||Palmer, Sir Charles M.||Mr. Edmund Robertson and|
|Foster, Sir Walter (Derby)||Pirie, Duncan V.||Mr. Crombie.|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Provand, Andrew Dryburgh|
MR. T. SHAW (Hawick Burghs)
The scheme of the Resolution now before the House is, among other things, to make a contribution of £25,000 in aid of the police for the pay and clothing of the police, and it is further proposed under head 4 of that Resolution that £35,000 shall be granted for the purposes of secondary and technical education. Now I so greatly approve of the last grant, and I so greatly disapprove of the second grant, that I move that the amount of the grant for the police be taken away and the amount be added to the grant for secondary education, which would give a grant for the purpose of £60,000. Now, a great deal has been said upon the question of making these allowances and the manner of employing the money in Scotland, and I do not propose to add a single word upon that part of the case; but I would say that on the Motion that I make to the House I have two grounds upon which I oppose this grant to the police. The first main ground is a familiar one to this House. It is very familiar to those who sit upon each side of this House. It is that we object to grants of all kinds from the Imperial Exchequer in aid of local taxation, and my express desire is 1384 to have a heavy grant for the purposes of secondary and technical education, which is a fit subject for Imperial aid. Now, it will be asked, is there any precedent for the Motion which I have just made to the House? There is; and a very good precedent indeed. There is the precedent of the Act of 1889. Under that Act £155,000 was granted us for the purpose of aiding police rates for Scotland, and the sum was fixed upon a policy of a sliding scale, and abolished for ever, as we thought, that system. So that if there was any balance, and that balance grew in favour of Scotland, the free balance would go in favour of education in that country, so that it would enable the rates to be relieved by a fixed gradation, and education would have an advantage upon Scottish ground. Now, since 1889 the needs of technical and secondary education have been further and more willingly recognised by all classes of the community, and the working classes of the country are coming to see that it is not a mere, theory, and they desire to further promote technical and secondary education, and it is very desirable for the working classes to share the benefit of the instruction. Now, under those cir- 1385 cumstances, I do submit that it is most unfortunate that the Government should now propose to abandon the policy of a fixed sum for the police, and institute again the sliding scale—sliding upwards —expenditure, the result of which must be to deplete the Scotch. Exchequer pro tanto, and deprive education in Scotland of the advantages which would accrue. I adhere to the policy that was wisely adopted in 1889, of a fixed sum for the police, if you are to have a sum for police at all; but let the free balance accrue and increase, not for the relief of a rate in aid, but for a national and widely-appreciated subject. What is the answer which has been made upon this subject of our objection to grants in aid? In principle it has been made for the first time, I think, to-night, by the Lord Advocate. We object to these grants in aid of local taxation because they disappear on that well-known principle of lightly come and lightly go. Pro tanto the local authorities are irresponsible for the ingathering of that money, and pro tanto for its expenditure. Now, the House will be very much surprised to know, after the remarks of the Lord Advocate this evening, that the familiar illustration as to the extravagance engendered by grants in aid of local rates is this very rate itself, the police grant References have been made to a lamented friend of my own, whose decease I think we all deplore, and with whom I desire to associate myself with all that has been said by the right honourable Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean. I can endorse, on this subject—the police grants— the testimony of the lamented Dr. Hunter in this House, and I beg to do it. In October, 1893, Dr. Hunter contributed a very memorable article to the Contemporary Review, to which I would now call the attention of the House by way of illustration of the wasteful extravagance which occurs through these granite in aid. Dr. Hunter says—It is only commonplace to say that grants out of the Imperial Exchequer for the payment of local charges tend to waste and extravagance. Many illustrations might be given of this homely theme, but let this one suffice.The House will be surprised to learn, after the observations to which we have just listened from the Lord Advocate, that the illustration which is taken by Dr. 1386 Hunter is that of the police rate. Before any grant was made towards the cost of local police the average annual charge per head of the population in Scotland towards the way and clothing of the police was 8½d. In 1890 one half of the cost was borne by the Imperial Exchequer. Did this help the Scottish ratepayer? Not in the least. On the contrary, instead of paving 8½d. per head, he had to pay 9½d., while the Imperial grant amounts to no less than 12½d. per head. Property and life are no better safeguarded now than they were in 1854. If there had been no Imperial grant it is possible that the cost might have exceeded 9½d.—it might even have reached 1s. per head of the population—but even so there is a balance of 10½d. per head which would have remained in the pockets of the people. In other words, as taxpayers and ratepayers the Scottish people are paying about twice as much for police as they would have done if they had had to pay as ratepayers only. Now, that is what happened, and that, illustration will illustrate the fact. What has been the answer to it? The answer has been that since 1889 apparently there has been no increment of extravagance or no increment of any other scheme. But, Mr. Lowther, what, again, is the answer to that position? The answer is that since 1889 there has been no grant given in aid of the police in Scotland. In 1889 extravagance had been forced out for ever. Since the year 1875 one half of the police rate had been paid in Scotland. It only entered the Act of Parliament in 1889, not by increasing by one penny the grant paid to Scotland, but only by way of making it payable out of the local taxation (Scotland) account. That there has been no extravagance since 1889 is answered by the simple observation that there has been no increase in the grant since that date. Now, the other objection I have to these grants is this, that these grants in aid relatively to no extent go to those who are the poor ratepayers of the country. I have made certain calculations with regard to the £25,000 of Imperial money. What is the kind of proportion which the various ratepayers in Scotland bear to the taxpayers? Of the population of Scotland which resides in houses 69 per cent. pay a rent of £10 a year and under; of 1387 the small ratepayers three-quarters of the entire ratepaying community in Scotland inhabit houses of a rental of £10 a year and under. How much of this grant will go to the ratepayers who live in houses of £10 a year and under? I have made certain calculations which I do not think are faulty in any respect, and I am giving full respect to all considerations before us when I say that the £10 householders in Scotland will benefit by this grant of £25,000 per annum to the extent of 2½d. in the £. That is the actual fact with regard to this Imperial grant. Who, then, get the relief? I will tell the House who get the relief—it is the railway companies, large undertakings of enormous capital, heavy ratepayers in Scotland, and men who are able and willing to pay this trifling increase in taxation, which, so far as they are concerned, will only amount to ¼d. in the £. But when you come to consider the grant for a great national purpose in Scotland I do submit that that is a problem which we ought to deal with. I say that we have got to the end of this subject of Imperial subsidies to Scotland when it is found that the relief to the ratepayers is 2½d. per head. This will be known as the twopenny-halfpenny grant for all time to come. It is said that the local authorities come here and ask that this grant may be continued. Of course they do. Local authorities, as representing the ratepayers, would naturally wish it to continue. It is not for the local authorities to apply the rates more equally, but to relieve them as much as possible as they find them rising. Their business is not to examine the problem as to who contributes the money, or where it comes from; it is a problem which we have to consider in this House, that is the problem which we have to attack. The people who contribute the money are the people at large, and there is no use for the money unless it is used for a national purpose, and what I propose to do is to take away this grant of £25,000, supported though it may be by all the local authorities, who have been clamouring for money ever since this unfortunate system has been followed by the Government. Our duty is to negative this grant in order to put it to a more important use. I have a better use, and there, again, I adopt the 1388 precedent of 1889. Exclude this £25,000, and you will force an increment, for secondary and technical education. My view is this, that if we add to the technical and secondary educational grant of £35,000 this additional sum of £25,000 in order to make the grant one of £60,000, then let us, if possible, so secure it that this money shall not be given to the Education Department to do What it likes with, because the record of that Department, so far as regards the secondary education grant, is an extremely confusing and unlucky one. Let us put in the forefront of our demand that education shall be free all round in primary and secondary schools, and also in our universities. Now money is needed for that. I do not think that many gentlemen realise that the items for fees in secondary education largely, as I think, explain the reason for the dissatisfaction which upon that subject is existing in Scotland. You have fees changed in only 20 of the higher schools in Scotland, amounting to no less, with books and so on, than £32,000 per annum. If you take away the receipts for the books from that you have an expenditure of over £30,000 paid for secondary education fees. How can you expect a population largely poor, and a population largely dependent on the earnings of their children, to part with the labour of these children at perhaps the most critical period of their lives, between the ages of 15 and 18, if you add to the burden which they have to bear not only the sacrifice of their labour, but having to pay a not inconsiderable sum in the shape of school fees? My view is to abolish this impost and to open up secondary schools, and even our universities, so that all the talent that is available in the whole of Scotland may have a chance of participating in them for nothing. There is a consensus of opinion that moneys granted for the purposes of secondary education are to a large extent misused. Now, there is a variety of testimony upon that, but I will only give one testimony which occurred the other day in a letter written by a most respected teacher in Scotland, Mr. Duthie. He wrote to the Scotsman for news of the Scotch grant. He said he was very anxious that the demand of the Department for money should be granted, so that they might make good 1389 use of it. What has been the use they have made of it in the past? Now I turn to Mr. Duthie's letter: —I have before me returns from 25 of these recognised secondary schools. Four of these need not be considered for the purposes of comparison, as they are new schools, or have recently been entirely reorganised.This is the result of granting money to the Education Department to do what it likes with.The condition of six of them has been improved, but only in one case materially. Six are practically where they were; while seven of them have suffered severely. One reports a decrease of 25 per cent. of the number (400) of pupils, and a compulsory diminution of four in the membership of the staff.That is the result of an Imperial grant administered by Parliament through the Education Department.Another reports a decrease in numbers, and a loss of £500 or £600 in annual income; another a decrease of pupils, a decrease of revenue of £250, and two teachers fewer. A fourth reports an increase of about 40 pupils, with a decrease of income and a decrease of salary, and of four of the staff.This is the result of the administration of secondary education in Scotland over the heads of the people by a Department of State. They do not recognise that the first duty of the administration is to get as many of the people who are willing to learn upon their side. Scottish people require that free entry shall be given to all capable young people, however poor. Get them into the secondary schools, and you will find that confusion will largely disappear if Parliament lays down the law that you must open the secondary schools and abolish school fees. The result of the present system is this—you make the elementary schools attempt too much, and you are not giving secondary and technical and that class of education a chance. The result of that is—I will point my argument by a quotation from an eminent teacher of Aberdeen, Mr. Simpson, of the Aberdeen Grammar School—that you have over-education in the elementary schools; those schools are very desirous of keeping their pupils, with the result that the secondary schools are depleted of a great number of persons who should go to them. Now, the Rector of the Aberdeen Grammar School, 1390 Mr. Simpson, writes upon this subject a pamphlet which I hold in my hand, and he treats of what secondary schools get from the elementary schools, and he says—Before we reach so very desirable a result we shall have to have free education all round —in all schools—at least, so far as the standard and the age which the law may recognise as final in the elementary schools. To tax or rate for the one class of school, and not for the other, is simply to put a premium on the great evil with which we have to contend—the detention of boys at elementary schools far beyond the age and standard at which, in their own interests, as well as ours, they should come to us.So that the result of our present system of "a half-way house to education" in the sense of non-payment of fees in the elementary schools of Scotland is that you injure the elementary schools by making them go beyond their sphere, and you injure the secondary schools by depleting them of the most capable of the sons and daughters of the country. My scheme is one the details of which I cannot now go into, but I may state my proposition upon this eminent authority. I desire that we shall, by the aid of this grant, produce gradually a scheme under which we shall abolish all secondary and technical school fees in the country. I desire that we shall give to the poorest in the country the right of entry into the schools upon the condition, of course, that they are fit to enter them. In the second place, I desire what is carried out in many parts of Scotland and other places, to see a system established of distance bursaries under which a payment for the board of children coming from a distance shall be made from these secondary schools. It has been done already in Inverness-shire with conspicuously successful results, and I desire that it should be made a national system. But I desire to go further. I desire to put the crown upon this system and make the secondary schools at the conclusion of the pupils' course able to give such a passport as the students are entitled to. A student shall be able to enter a university upon passing at the secondary school without the payment of a fee. Many Englishmen do not know the hopes which our country attach to learning, though it is comparatively poor. When I was resident in the 1391 Highlands I bad a boy of about 16 years of age for my gillie, and a very excellent gillie he was; and one day when we were out together we got into conversation, and I said in the interval between the castings, "Are you always going to be a gillie?" and he said, "If you ask me, I am mad to be a doctor"; and I said, "Well, why do you not become a doctor?" and he said, "Well, my father has six of us at home, and we are all poor, and so I cannot afford to go." I said, "Would you go to Edinburgh?" and he said, "No, to Glasgow." I asked "Why?" and he said it would be cheaper there. Then the old difficulty arose in my mind, and I asked him whether he had any mathematics. He said he had done all the writings of Euclid, and as many deductions as he could come across. I asked him as to Latin, and he said he had done some of the writings of Cicero and most of the writings of Cæsar, but he regretted that he did not know the poets. I could further indulge the House with what occurred in my experience of this lad. I wrote to the teacher of the school, so that the House might be posted with authentic information, and I found that the boy had been too modest, because he had gone through Horace, and as to Greek, he knew Homer pretty well, and was reading Euripides. Then I put my point to him, knowing his desire to learn, and knowing his parents' desire to have him succeed in the world, and I said, "Would it help you if you had no fees to pay?" and he said, "If that was the case my course would be clear." Now, is it not a better course to spend your money in such a way as will benefit Scotland in that manner rather than relieve 10,000 ratepayers to the extent of 2½d. per annum? I would say only, in conclusion of this history, that the teacher said that in addition to Euripides the lad was reading the dialogue of Plato. Now my honourable Friends, familiar with my home where our lives are spent, and who are lovers of sport, may want to know the conclusion. I can only say I found the lad an excellent boatman who handled the oars with great strength and the landing-net with dexterity, and the sport was excellent. I should just like to say that, with, regard to the views that I have put before the House, I claim no novelty for those 1392 views. The Scottish people have been long familiar with them for the last 300 years. This has been their scheme, so that their sons and daughters may extend to the utmost their best mental capacity, because the best mental capacity is better for the country. I think if the £25,000 is spent in the way I suggest, it will be much better than a grant in aid of the police. The Scottish, people being familiar with the heads of the scheme, would prefer that the money should be spent in this way in order that we may have something which will be for the comfort of the whole commonwealth.
§ *MR. SOUTTAR (Dumfriesshire)
I intend, in a very few words, to second the Motion proposed in such a very admirable manner by my honourable Friend the Member for Hawick Burghs. I shall devote my attention to two matters in connection with this Motion, and shall not go over the interesting ground which has been already traversed. I want to say a word as to the grant in relief on which it is proposed to pay this £25,000, and then a word as to giving this money to secondary and technical education. Now, as regards the first, point in the proposition, it has been mentioned to me that I might get into trouble in my county by opposing the policy of the Government. I could understand this if it were a question of applying English money to help the Scottish ratepayers, and in that case I should sit still and say nothing. But that is not the question here. Here it is a question of putting our own Scottish money to the best possible use, and if England has been foolish enough to waste her money I do not see that it follows that the Scotch should be so foolish as to waste theirs. If this grant would help the police in Scotland I do not think I should object to it; if their pay was improved or their clothing was to be improved by this grant I do not think I should have so much to say to it, because I have a great admiration, for the Scottish police; but I do not believe, myself, and I do not think there is any Scotchman in this House who believes that if this grant is given to the police they will be either better paid or better clad through it. If, on the other hand, it would help the ratepayers, I would not oppose it; but there 1393 are very few of us who believe that the rates will be altered because of this grant. We know perfectly well from experience that these grants in aid, though for a little while they may appear to be helpful soon vanish away, and even if this grant did go entirely to the ratepayers, we know perfectly well, as my honourable Friend has said, the big companies would get most of it, and the portion of it which went to the individual ratepayer would be so insignificant that it would not be worth speaking about; but if the money is kept together something great may be done with it, and something extremely useful to the Scottish nation. Now, with regard to secondary education, why should we put this money to the £35,000 which is given to secondary education to make a satisfactory sum? I can give three reasons why it should be done, and first I think that it is fit that a Conservative Government should be the Government who should deal with this question. We have occasionally some hard things to say of Conservative Governments, but I do not think we can say that they are not free in spending money. I don't blame them for that. I think it is often the highest wisdom to spend money when it is well and wisely spent. I think that the Liberals sometimes are too parsimonious. We are like a father who heaps up money, and then his sons make it fly. Secondly, I think that the Conservative Government should apply their mind to the question of free secondary education, because they did so much for elementary education. We know that the late Member who has passed away was the prime mover in the matter, but the Conservative Government found the money and certainly ought to get credit for that. In the third place I would like to point out that the Conservative Government should help secondary education in Scotland because, away back in 1891, when there was a discussion in this House, the Conservative Government promised to do this for us. Mr. Robertson, the Lord Advocate of the day, used these words. He said—The event is not distant in which more money may be at the disposal of the Government and Parliament to enter upon a well-considered Measure of secondary education.1394 That proposal was strenuously advocated by the honourable Member for Partick Division, and the honourable Member for the Stewartry said—If there was a sufficient amount of money at their disposal I am quite sure that no Government would be inclined to resist such a proposal, no matter from which side of the House it came.The Government may answer that they are giving £35,000, but I do not think £35,000 is a sufficient sum to float a well-considered scheme of secondary education. Scotland greatly needs secondary education. We are always bragging about Scottish education; and perhaps as a matter of ancient history, Scotland, no doubt, has been at the head with her elementary schools, and I may perhaps go further and say that Scotland, with regard to her elementary schools is still ahead, and with cheap universities Scotland is abreast of the world to-day; but, as regards secondary and technical education Scotland is hopelessly behind England and France and Germany and Switzerland. I do not desire to detract from the statements of the honourable Member for Renfrewshire in any way, as to the work that has been done already, but I am sure he would be the very first to acknowledge that, owing to the circumstances which he himself has detailed, the amount of money is such that from the national point of view secondary education is remarkably defective, and this circumstance spoils all the rest. Boys who are not going through the universities in Scotland leave school a great deal too early. They leave school at 13 or 14 years of age, and even earlier. I left school myself at the age of 14, and did not go back until I was 35. Now, in England 17 is the usual age for boys to leave school, and those four years are extremely valuable for educational purposes. The Scotch boy leaves school at 13, and before he is 17 he has very nearly lost all that he has learned. Then, again, the boys go to the universities in Scotland when they are far too young. I had a brother who took a university scholarship at the age of 13, and had done with the university at the age of 17. That is an extreme case, no doubt, but it is not very exceptional. Scotch boys frequently go to the university at 1395 15, whereas in England 19 is the usual age. The result is that in Scotland the universities are really forced to teach the elements. The Scotch universities are very little better than the high-class schools of England.
§ *MR. SOUTTAR
I feel I am getting too far away, Mr. Lowther, but the House will understand that I use the illustration of the universities to emphasise the need in Scotland of secondary education. Someone has pithily said in Scotland "that we must have a ladder from the gutter to the university; and so we have, but it wants a lot of rounds in the middle of it." This is not quite the way to put it. I believe we have a ladder which is good so far as it goes, but the ladder is much too short. The Scotch lad can climb through the elementary schools and do well, and he can climb through the university and do that well; but when he has got through those two he has not attained the height of culture he covets. Of course many go into the law and medicine, and put the matter right in that way; but I believe that we should cut the ladder in the middle and splice in a good solid length of secondary education, and if the Lord Advocate would utilise the present opportunity, which, cannot occur again in the life of the present Government, and would do this with no ungrudging hand, he would confer a lasting benefit upon the Scotch people.
§ *MR. GRAHAM MURRAY
The Government cannot agree to this Amendment, and I have already given the Committee the reasons why we think it is a proper application for money to devote to some legitimate matters. I cannot agree with my honourable Friend the Member foe Hawick Burghs in thinking that he has proved the charge of extravagance in regard to the police by quoting Dr. Hunter. I quite associate myself with all my honourable Friend has said, and express my personal regret at his decease; but it is a very different thing to say that the moment he is dead everything he wrote be- 1396 comes an authority by reason of the fact that it is quoted, and I entirely protest against the idea that you can prove a charge of extravagance by simply taking the amount of expenditure per head and contrasting the expenditure per head between two such different dates as 1854 and 1889. Surely we all know that the general expenditure in living and expenses in many ways has risen in the country between 1854 and 1889; therefore I shall not think a good charge has been made against the county and other authorities until we have had adequate authority for saying that we are squandering moneys on the police. When you come to the question of relief it is a very familiar trick to divide the relief for the rates by the number of individual persons, and then, still further, do what my honourable Friend has done, take the householders under £10, and so reduce it to a very small sum. The same reasoning may be applied the other way, but I can well afford to let the public authorities defend themselves against the somewhat injudicious terms which my honourable Friend used; and when he says the persons benefited are the railway companies it must be remembered that it is not a relief of the rate to the railway companies at present so much as it is a relief from possible future expenditure. If we are going to do anything at all we have only got the local taxpayer to come to, and of course the railway companies will have a larger interest in the matter than the £10 householder. Do not think you can take the poor householder and hold him up and contrast him with the rich man. You must take the case of relief as a Whole. My honourable Friend went on and said a few words about secondary education. We have shown in this Bill that we are not insensible to the claims of secondary education, and we are devoting to them a large sum of money. But he went further and made an attack upon the Education Department which was quite unjustifiable. He quoted the strictures of Mr. Duthie in the newspapers, and those strictures may not be correct. I fail to see how any action of the Education Department would render them liable for the comparative failures alleged against the school. The honourable Member says there should be no fees. He 1397 can scarcely blame the Education Department for there being fees in the past, because everybody knows that there has not been enough money to dispense with the fees; and I would like to remind the honourable Member particularly that as far as the Department is concerned the persons to blame are the Government of which my right honourable Friend was a member. We have not forgotten the position of secondary education yet. Certain proposals were made by the Department, and they were opposed; and those proposals were opposed by those who act with my right honourable Friend, with the result that a Committee was appointed. What did that Committee do? It reported absolutely unanimously in favour of the Department, and what did the Department do? Sir George Trevelyan went over the heads of the Committee and resolved that the payment should be not by results, but by population. Those were the views of the Department, and those with whom my right honourable Friend acts. We can only say as far as the money is concerned we shall try that it shall be used in the best way, and my right honourable Friend can criticise the Department. I would like to say something more. He spoke of having no fees, and he drew quite a touching picture of his own Highland experiences, and he falsified the proverb
§ about fishing. In this case there was a stick with a worm at one end, and an extraordinarily wise man or an extraordinary boy at the other. But does he think the abolition of the fees at the secondary schools would be all to the benefit of the people? I think it would be a great misfortune. I do not believe in its being universal, for I believe that it would be far better to take the fees you can properly get and use the money in creating university scholarships, so that those who can take advantage of them should be able to do so. I feel obliged to say that in case it should be thought I agreed with my right honourable Friend, the paint actually before the House is, whether it is necessary to take the whole of this money for the purposes of secondary education. I have already given reasons why we think it is proper not to take the whole, but to put a portion of it to the police expenses; therefore I cannot accept the Amendment of my right honourable Friend.
That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 120; Noes 57.—(Division List No. 259.)1399
|Arrol, Sir William||Colston. C. E. H. Athole||Fisher, William Hayes|
|Ascroft, Robert||Colville, John||Flannery, Fortescue|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth)||Fletcher, Sir Henry|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Cornwallis. F. Stanley W.||Forwood, Rt. Hon. Sir A. B.|
|Baird, John Geo. Alexander||Cotton-Jodrell, Col. E. T. D.||Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)|
|Balfour. Rt. Hon A.J. (Manc'r)||Cranborne, Viscount||Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. G.W. (Leeds)||Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Garfit, William|
|Barnes, Frederic Gorell||Cross, H. S. (Bolton)||Gibbs, Hn.A.G.H.(C.ofLond.)|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Cruddas, William Donaldson||Gibbs, Hon. V. (St. Albans)|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M.H.(Brist'l)||curzon,Rt. Hn.G.N.(Lanc.SW)||Giles, Charles Tyrrell|
|Bigwood, James||Curzon, Viscount (Bucks)||Gilliat, John Saunders|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Dalkeith. Earl of||Gordon, Hon. John Edward|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Denny. Colonel||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. E.|
|Bowles, T. G. (King's Lynn)||Donkin, Richard Sim||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Cavendish, V.C.W.(Derbysh.)||Doxford, William Theodore||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)|
|Chaloner, Captain R. G. W.||Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G.|
|Chamberlain,Rt.Hn.J.(Birm.)||Fardell, Sir T. George||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robt. W.|
|Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r)||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.||Haslett, Sir James Horner|
|Charrington, Spencer||Field, Admiral (Eastbourne)||Henderson, Alexander|
|Cochrane Hon. T. H. A. E.||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Hoare, Samuel (Norwich)|
|Hozier, Hon. J. H. Cecil||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)||Stanley, Lord (Lancs)|
|Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)||Stewart, Sir M. J. McTaggart|
|Jebb, Richard Claverhouse||Newdigate, Francis Alexander||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Strauss, Arthur|
|Jenkins, Sir John Jones||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Sutherland, Sir Thomas|
|Johnston, William (Belfast)||Pierpoint, Robert||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Kenyon, James||Purvis, Robert||Usborne, Thomas|
|King, Sir Henry Seymour||Renshaw, Charles Bine||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Knowles, Lees||Richards, Henry Charles||Webster, Sir R. E. (I. of W.)|
|Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W.||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-under-L.)|
|Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham)||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Chas. T.||Williams, J. Powell- (Birm.)|
|Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverp'l)||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Lorne, Marquess of||Round, James||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Lowe, Francis William||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)||Wylie, Alexander|
|Lowles, John||Rutherford, John||Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.|
|Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Ryder, John Herbert Dudley||Young, Comm. (Berks, E.)|
|Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Samuel, H. S. (Limehouse)|
|McArthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Shaw-Stewart,M.H. (Renfrew)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|McKillop, James||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)||Sir William Walrond and|
|Maxwell. Rt. Hon. Sir H. E.||Sidebottom, T. H. (Stalybr.)||Mr. Anstruther.|
|More, Robert Jasper||Smith, James P. (Lanark)|
|Allen, W. (Newc.-under-L.)||Dunn. Sir William||Roberts, J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Asher, Alexander||Fenwick, Charles||Robertson, E. (Dundee)|
|Baker, Sir John||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Balfour,Rt. Hon. J. B. (Clackm.)||Harwood, George||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarsh.)|
|Billson, Alfred||Hedderwick, T. C. H.||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Birrell, Augustine||Joicey, Sir James||Tanner, Charles Kearns|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Jones, W. (Carnarvonshire)||Ure, Alexander|
|Brigg, John||Lough, Thomas||Wallace, R. (Edinburgh)|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Macaleese, Daniel||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||McKenna, Reginald||Wedderburn, Sir William|
|Caidwell, James||Maddison, Fred.||Williams, John C. (Notts)|
|Carmichael, Sir T. D. Gibson-||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand||Wills, Sir William Henry|
|Cawley, Frederick||O'Connor, J. (Wicklow, W.)||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Clark, Dr.G.B. (Caithness-sh.)||Oldroyd, Mark||Woodall, William|
|Clough, Walter Owen||Pearson, Sir Weetman D.||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Crombie, John William||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.)||Pirie, Duncan V.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Provand, Andrew D.||Mr. Thomas Shaw and Mr.|
|Davies,M.Vaughan-(Cardigan)||Reid, Sir Robert T.||Souttar.|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Doogan, P. C.||Roberts, John B. (Eifion)|
MR. R. WALLACE (Edinburgh)
I beg to move the omission of paragraph 3, namely—To providing and maintaining vessels for the enforcement of the Scottish Sea Fishery Laws.In moving this proposition, Sir, my desire is to get as much of this grant as possible devoted to technical, rather than secondary, education. I had intended, Sir, as you know, to move the omission of paragraph No. 1 for the same reason, but I found that I was too late in my notice. I object to the allocation of this part of the grant, upon the general ground that I do not think that since the Government have given us a dole they have any moral right to pre- 1400 scribe to us the way in which we are going to spend it. I think that, seeing that the reason why we are having this grant is because the Irish Local Government Bill came into existence, and was passed with a certain amount of pecuniary assistance, we, at all events, having had what is called a "windfall," ought to be allowed to make the most of it in our own way. I do not understand dictation to the donee of the mode in which he is to spend his gift. It reminds me of the action of a generous father who said to his son, "My boy, I am going to give you a present of £50." I can understand how the youthful eyes would gleam with visions of Paris and the Rhine peering out before him; but I think a change would come over his face when 1401 the generous father went on to say, "I am going to give you £50, but I am going to tell you how to spend it. First of all, you will spend £25 of it in paying for your board; then you will spend £15 of it in paying for your university and other educational fees; and then you will spend the remainder in paying your tailors' bills." This is very much what the Government are doing with us. They are saying to us, "You are going to get —if I may use the expression—£95,000 out of the swag in connection with the Irish Local Government Bill." Well, I should have a feeling of gratitude to them if it were not for the accompanying document which states the manner in which we must spend this present that they are making. But, Sir, even if it were right that we should not be allowed freedom of action as to the way in which we think our dole would be best spent for our benefit and happiness, I do not think it is fair that the fisheries should be policed out of entirely Scotch money. I think the policing of the fisheries is an Imperial duty, not merely a local matter. Now, my object in making this Motion is not only to see that things are rightly done—that doles are distributed as doles ought to be, by the people who receive them, and not by those who profess to give them as an act of generosity, and also that Imperial dues and local dues should have boundaries that are strictly and properly marked—but I may also say that my desire, my chief motive, in this matter is to do the utmost that can possibly be done for technical education. I desire to give the Government all credit for their recognition of technical and secondary education, but I think that technical education at the present moment is even of more importance than what is usually called secondary education. I sometimes think that we are a little over-scholared in Scotland, but I do not say we are over-schooled—that is a very different matter—but I think the supply of what is called educated men, according to the Scotch standard, certainly does not err on the side of being too small. They compete with one another, and to a large extent half-starve one another on account of the excessive proportion of their numbers to the employment that is open to them. The effect of strengthen- 1402 ing too much what is popularly called the secondary side of education would be to a large extent to strengthen the present supply of clergymen in Scotland. I do not think there is any necessity to strengthen that class of the population. It has often struck me that the voluntary churches are not particularly scrupulous in accepting grants of this description. My honourable Friend the Member for the Border Burghs is a zealous voluntary, but the effect of what he was advocating just now will be to help the voluntary churches to raise their clergy more cheaply. This is forcing a sort of semi-endowment upon them. They are, apparently, only too willing to encourage him, and to receive his gifts without looking them in the mouth. The increase of what is called secondary education will multiply the class who come from a very humble social sphere, and consider that a clerkship is a great promotion, making each other very uncomfortable by their competition. I believe that the provision for having a university-taught class of schoolmasters would be the chief blessing to the country, which would result from this proposal. But I think that the technical education of the artisan is a form of secondary education that should be most prominently before the British, and especially the Scotch, public at the present time. What I think we should desire to see is an educational revolution in this direction. I want to see every artisan in the country possessing a scientific acquaintance with his craft, as well as what he gathers by rule of thumb and mere manual practice. I believe that that would be a matter of the highest commercial utility to this country, and would enable us to secure our position in trade and manufactures in a way which does not exist at the present moment. We are busy all over the world getting open doors for our commerce. We are busy all over the world seizing what are called new markets for our goods. In such a case as Uganda we commence by the very business-like way of killing a large proportion of our customers, and in other ways we are endeavouring to open up facilities for the disposal of what we have got. But who are the people who profit by it? It is the Germans, and the people who have been highly educated in technical know- 1403 ledge, who wait until we, at great expense, have opened the doors, and then they rush in and take advantage of the opportunities we have made. But I do not want that state of things to go on. I desire, as I said before, to have a highly technically-trained artisan population, not only on account of its commercial advantages, but because it will raise immeasurably the standard of the people themselves. If you give a man a scientific conception of what he is doing you make him a new man altogether, and you give him an aptness in the performance of his work which, the rule of thumb practitioner can never enjoy; and, moreover, it will have economic and social results of great advantage to the community, because, if you give an economic population a scientific training, and accustom them to scientific methods, they will not stop merely at the particular thing that they are doing. It will extend through the whole domain of their intellectual research and speculation, and will have most advantageous effects, economical as well as otherwise, because it will enable them to be upon their guard, and to defend themselves against the arts of the demagogues who are to be found in cruel proportions, as far as my own experience goes, in both, parties of the State. Now, Sir, I do not wish to extend by observations; I simply make this Motion as part of a little plan that I have in my mind for best utilising the grant which is given to us in this unfortunate way. I do not know whether the Motion will be seconded or not, but I think this is the right direction in which to go, as I understand.
§ MR. CROMBIE (Kincardineshire)
I do not rise for the purpose of seconding the Motion. On the other hand, I regret to say that if my honourable Friend goes to a Division I shall be obliged to vote against him. My honourable Friend has compared the method in which the dole is given to that of a generous father, who, in giving £50 to his son, lays down the way in which the money is to be spent. It seems to me, however, after listening to the speech of the honourable Member, that he himself has been following the example of the father. Now, Sir, it is perfectly true that I am in favour of giving as much money to technical and secondary education as possible; but I 1404 would remind the Committee that this item stands on a perfectly different footing from the last item, which we have just disposed of. I believe that any money granted for the relief of rates is a waste of money. But this money is not granted for the relief of rates; it is for policing the sea, a purpose for which we are not rated at present in Scotland, and for which it would be absolutely unjust to rate us at all. It has been argued —and I admit that there is something in the argument—that this money should come, not out of Scotch, but out of Imperial funds. Well, I should be very glad if it did come out of Imperial funds. I have, however, to view this matter in its practical aspect. I represent a constituency which is interested in sea fisheries, and I have to ask myself this question, 'If I vote against the money in this form should I ever get the money out of Imperial funds? As I see no prospect of that, I feel myself obliged to oppose the Amendment of my honourable Friend the Member for Edinburgh, and to support the Government.
§ DR. CLARK
I shall certainly support my honourable Friend's Amendment if he goes to a Division. I find the Estimates every year, as far as England is concerned, are constantly increasing; as far as Ireland is concerned they are to a very large extent increasing also; but as far as Scotland is concerned, they are decreasing, and during the time that the present Government have been in power they have been constantly pruning them down. Now, this is a Bill for five years; this is not a Bill that is going to be permanent. Is it desirable, therefore, to base the sea-police on legislation of such a temporary character? How do we stand at the present time? We have an Estimate which has been before the House during the reigns of four monarchs; the present monarch alone has reigned for 60 years. But this, notwithstanding, the Lord Advocate tells us that this special charge is in future to be paid out of Scotch money. Now, as the representative of a Scotch constituency, I strongly object, but not in the interests of my constituency alone, but in the interests of Scotland as a whole, If England had clean hands, and could point out that she was not getting from. 1405 Imperial sources anything like the sum Scotland gets, something might be said in favour of the proposition. But this is not the fact. In England there is more than one item of expenditure borne by Imperial sources which in Scotland is entirely paid out of the local rates, and the same remark applies even more strongly to Ireland. Both from the English and the Irish standpoints, therefore, there is no reason why this special charge should not remain on the Imperial exchequer, and I for one strongly oppose any change being made. I protest against the constant decrease of the Scotch Votes, while as far as England and Ireland are concerned, they are of the very opposite character. The policing of the sea should be done by the Admiralty, who have plenty of men and plenty of money and plenty of vessels for the purpose. Instead of my honourable Friend agreeing to this miserable compromise, I would join with him in trying to bring pressure to bear on the Government to induce them to abandon their proposal.
§ MR. CALDWELL
I submit that the allocation of the money which is proposed to be made here is for purposes which hitherto have been recognised as Imperial purposes, and as not to be borne by any nationality. I object to Scottish money being intercepted and applied to the policing of the fisheries. Why should the people of Scotland who live in districts not bordering on the sea have to pay for the policing of the fisheries? They have no more to do
§ with it than people living in the inland towns, or anywhere else.
§ MR. CALDWELL
London gets the fish as much as we get it. More salmon goes to London than to the city of Glasgow, and why should we have our money intercepted, and be made to pay for the policing of the sea, simply because the fish comes our way? There is no precedent whatever for so intercepting money of this sort. Scottish constituencies have no more reason to pay for the policing of the Scottish waters than the people of London have to pay for Lancashire, or the people of Dublin for another part of Ireland.
I regret the decision of the Government that these charges for the enforcement of the Scottish Fishery Laws shall henceforth be treated as Scottish, and not as Imperial charges, but I do not think it is open to my honourable Friend to argue that any particular portion of Scotland does not benefit from the labours of Scotch fishermen. Having, in the earlier part of this Session, made great efforts to get further funds placed at the disposal of the Scotch Fishery Board. I cannot vote for the Amendment.
That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 122; Noes 38.—(Division List No. 260.)1407
|Arrol, Sir William||Carlile, William Walter||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers|
|Ascroft, Robert||Chaloner, Capt. R. G. W.||Doxford, William Theodore|
|Asher, Alexander||Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r)||Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. H. H.||Charrington, Spencer||Fardell, Sir T. George|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E.||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Field, Admiral (Eastbourne)|
|Baird, John G. Alexander||Colomb, Sir John C. Ready||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A.J. (Manc'r)||Colston, C. E. H. Athole||Fisher, William Hayes|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. G.W. (Leeds)||Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth)||Fletcher, Sir Henry|
|Barnes, Frederic Gorell||Cornwallis, F. Stanley W.||Flower, Ernest|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Cotton-Jodrell, Col. E. T. D.||Forwood, Rt. Hon. Sir A. B.|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M.H.(Brist'l)||Crombie, John William||Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)|
|Bigwood, James||Cross, Alex. (Glasgow)||Garfit, William|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Cross, H. S. (Bolton)||Gibbs,Hn.A.G.H.(C.of Lond.)|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Cruddas, William Donaldson||Gibbs, Hon. V. (St. Albans)|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Curzon, Viscount (Bucks)||Giles, Charles Tyrrell|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Denny, Colonel||Gilliat, John Saunders|
|Bucknill, Thomas Townsend||Donkin, Richard Sim||Gordon, Hon. John Edward|
|Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Eldon||Lowe, Francis William||Sidebottom, T. H. (Stalybr.)|
|Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Lowles, John||Smith, J. P. (Lanark)|
|Goulding, Kdward Alfred||Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Stanley, Lord (Lancs)|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||McKillop, James||Stewart, Sir M. J. McTaggart|
|Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G.||Monckton, Edward Philip||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir J. M.|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hon. R. W.||More, Robert Jasper||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Haslett, Sir James Horner||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)||Strauss, Arthur|
|Hedderwick, Thomas C. H.||Mount, William George||Sutherland, Sir Thomas|
|Henderson, Alexander||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Hoare, Samuel (Norwich)||Newdigate, Francis Alexander||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Holburn, J. G.||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Webster, R. G. (St. Pancras)|
|Hozier, Hon. J. H. Cecil||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Webster, Sir R. E. (I. of W.)|
|Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn||Purvis, Robert||Wedderburn, Sir William|
|Jebb, Richard Claverhouse||Renshaw, Charles Bine||Williams, J. Powell (Birm.)|
|Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Richards, Henry Charles||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Jenkins, Sir John Jones||Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W.||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Johnston, William (Belfast)||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. T||Wylie, Alexander|
|Kenyon, James||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Wyndham-Quin, Major W, H.|
|King, Sir Henry Seymour||Round, James||Young, Comm. (Berks, E.)|
|Knowles, Lees||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Lea, Sir T. (Londonderry)||Rutherford, John||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Llewelyn, SirDillwyn (Sw'ns'a)||Ryder, John H. Dudley||Sir William Walrond and|
|Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham)||Shaw-Stewart,M.H. (Renfrew)||Mr. Anstruther.|
|Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverp'I)||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)|
|Allen, W. (Newc.-under-L.)||Davies,M.Vaughan-(Cardigan)||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Baker, Sir John||Donelan, Captain A.||Shaw, Thos. (Hawick B.)|
|Billson, Alfred||Doogan, P. C.||Souttar, Robinson|
|Brigg, John||Dunn, Sir William||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Fenwick, Charles||Tanner, Charles Kearns|
|Carvill, Patrick G. Hamilton||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Williams, John C. (Notts)|
|Cawley, Frederick||Joicey, Sir James||Wills, Sir William Henry|
|Clark,Dr.G.B. (Caithness-sh.)||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Clough, Walter Owen||Macaleese, Daniel||Woodall, William|
|Colville, John||Oldroyd, Mark||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Crilly, Daniel||Pearson, Sir Weetman D.|
|Curran, Thos. B. (Donegal)||Provand, Andrew Dryburgh||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Curran, Thos. (Sligo, S.)||Rickett, J. Compton||Mr. Robert Wallace (Edin-|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)||burgh) and Mr. Caldwell.|
At end of Resolution add—
Provided that the sum to be applied to the purposes last mentioned shall not be applied thereto until a comprehensive scheme has been laid before Parliament, providing for the application of such sum and of such other sums as are now already applied or applicable in Scotland to the like purposes, but such sum shall in the meantime be carried to a separate account, to be called 'the Secondary and Technical Education (Scotland) Account.'"—(Mr. Bryce.)
§ After the usual interval,
§ *MR. BRYCE
I quite agree with the remark that has been made by many honourable Members in the course of this Debate, that the manner in which these grants have been made has been very unsatisfactory, and that they have consequently done much less good than was expected. That seems 1408 true in particular of the two Education Grants, because they were not given at the time when Scotland specially wanted them, nor were proper pains taken to find the best mode of applying them. When a grant has been made to England it has been found necessary to expend an equivalent amount in Scotland, and a Scotch application of the money has had to be found. But the needs of Scotland have not been first in the consideration of this House. The first object seems to have been to get rid of the money; so something near at hand was chosen, and perhaps that is not the object from which good might have been expected. Accordingly these Education Grants, to which I desire to confine my remarks, have not been granted with due regard to the needs of Scotland, nor upon any fixed plan as to application. They have been given haphazard, and they have been applied irregularly, and con- 1409 sequently they have not done nearly as much good as might have been expected from them. Had they from the first been allotted and arranged upon some comprehensive view of what Scottish education needed, both as to quantity and as to time, had their application been determined with a view to the educational needs of the country, the scheme would have been a consistent one, and the money would have gone in a better way, and would, therefore, have produced a far more considerable and satisfactory result than in point of fact has been attained. In reality those grants to Scotland have brought us into a condition of great complication—I might say almost confusion—with regard to our system and the funds we spend upon it. Mr. Lowther, I will endeavour to avoid as far as I can going into the minute details of the subject, although it is hard to explain the view I desire to present without some reference to the different kinds of grants. There are two principal grants which the House has to consider in addition to the one which is now being made under the present Resolution. The first is the one made by the Act of 1890, and by that grant a large sum of money was applied to a variety of purposes. There was £40,000 for police superannuation, £40,000 for relief of school fees, and a residue grant for certain other requirements the details of which I need not trouble the Committee with. The balance after providing for these requirements constituted a sum given to local authorities, the county councils and borough councils, to be applied by them either to the relief of rates or to technical education. That, as the Committee will remember, took place very suddenly in 1890, when similar proposals were made in regard to England, and the whole thing was over in five minutes. I remember that my right honourable Friend the Member for Rotherham, whose absence we all regret, moved that the local authorities should have power, if they thought fit, to apply money for technical education, and, that Amendment being accepted, I moved to give the county and burgh councils in Scotland also a like power to apply the money to technical education there; and the whole thing was done and had to be done so rapidly that there 1410 was no time to make any more elaborate arrangements as to the method of application. Those grants have varied from £34,000 to £58,000 a year, and from two-thirds to three-fourths of those amounts have, as a rule, been applied to education at the will of the county and burgh councils, and the rest has been spent in relief of rates. I may say that the amount which goes to the rates practically does no good at all. I need not repeat the arguments used to-night by the honourable Member for the Border Burghs. Everyone who has watched the application of these grants knows that far more good has been done by applying them to education, where they have been so applied, than by frittering them away in insignificant reliefs to rates which are practically of little, or indeed of no benefit, except to the very largest ratepayers. Well, of this money, Mr. Lowther, two-thirds goes to education, but it is not permanently or irrevocably assigned to education, because it is in the power of any council any year to go back and decide that the money should go entirely in relief of the rates. I may add that some of the English boroughs and county councils have been more wise and liberal in the application of this money. I own with regret that the Scotch burghs, especially the smaller ones, have not done this to the same extent. Some errors have doubtless been committed in the application of the money. But I believe the general conclusion of those who have watched the progress of events is that the county councils have learned much from experience, and their technical education committees have in many cases become excellent bodies, and they are applying the money better than they did at first. Well, now I come to the other grant, which is usually called the equivalent grant. In 1892 that grant consisted of £60,000; this sum does not go to the county and borough councils, but to committees of those bodies for secondary education. These committees get their share of the grant; very often in the case of small boroughs and smaller counties a very small share indeed.
§ MR. RENSHAW
I understood the honourable Gentleman to say that the money in respect of this grant was administered by the county committees.
§ *MR. BRYCE
I did not intend to differ from my honourable Friend, but the money is, in the case of large boroughs, administered by their committees. Therefore you have, Mr. Lowther, these four authorities; you have the two authorities for technical education and two authorities for secondary education—the borough (in the case of large burghs) and county councils. You have, where there is a large burgh, two authorities for distributing educational funds, the Borough Council Committee and the Borough Secondary Education Committee, and between them they have this considerable sum of money to administer, and they administer it separately. So also in the counties there are two committees. The technical grant is quite apart from the secondary education grant, and everybody will admit that the two ought to be administered together, and that it is a mistake to disjoin them. Technical education ought to be regarded as a branch of secondary education, because both are forms of education going beyond the elementary stage, both carry the scholar further than the primary school curriculum, and the only difference is that one is more specialised than the other. Technical education will take a boy at 15 and carry him on to and prepare him for some industry or profession. Moreover, far greater progress would be made in technical education if boys were not sent into it until they had received a good secondary grounding. If secondary education is turned into technical too early the boy will not make as good progress as if he had developed it through secondary work. I am only stating what are the unanimous conclusions of those who have looked into the matter. Now, besides these authorities, Mr. Lowther, we have got in Scotland also the science and art grants, which were formerly administered by the Science and Art Department, but which are now to be administered by the 1412 Scotch Education Department. We have also the agricultural grant, but I need not trouble the House with that further. The point I wish to bring out, so far, is that we have got these various authorities, and they are authorities quite apart from and independent of one another, although in some cases the county technical education committees have associated the secondary education committees with them in the administration of their grant. Therefore we have the authorities disjoined, the grants disjoined, and secondary education and technical education disjoined. The sums are distributed locally, and here I make reference in particular to the case of the residue or technical education grant. The money is locally allocated to the counties and burghs, and even to the very small burghs, which are so small that they receive quite an insignificant sum, which is absolutely insignificant as relief for the rates, and as respects the aid it can be made to give to technical education. I think it will present itself to your mind that, if you take a small Scotch burgh, a little place with a population of three, four, or five thousand people, it is really impossible to find a system of applying technical education which will be profitable to the people. The right course would be for these smaller burghs to associate themselves with one another, or associate themselves with the county in which they are situated, and in that way the money might be applied to the foundation of technical institutions or some other purpose which would confer a substantial benefit on the locality. Then there is another difficulty. This money—and I now speak of both, the secondary grant and the technical grant—this money does not go in Scotland to the places which most need it; it is distributed upon the basis of valuation, that is of giving most to those who have contributed most. Those that have shall receive is the principle followed, and therefore the richest parts of Scotland, the wealthiest communities, like Glasgow and Edinburgh, get by far the largest grant, and the smaller counties get very much less, and in some cases quite insignificant grants. But then the inequality does not stop there. The more ancient cities and towns of Scotland, especially Edinburgh, but in a 1413 smaller degree, Glasgow, have been the recipients from very early times of enormous charitable benefactions. "Pious founders," like George Heriot, by their wealth and liberality in the past, have founded charities of very large dimensions in some few cities, and especially in Edinburgh, and the consequence is that Edinburgh is overspread by money for educational and charitable purposes. It has really got more money than it requires, and I believe it would be far better for Edinburgh if it did not possess these bloated charitable foundations, and certainly it might spare to poorer neighbours and to the almost destitute county districts of Scotland some little assistance. Glasgow has an enormous population, far exceeding that of Edinburgh, and accordingly this disproportion between the funds and the needs of the recipients is not by any means so great in Glasgow as it is in the capital of Scotland. This principle of equality, Mr. Lowther, is really not a principle which we need follow with slavish subservience, because the House has just declared its determination not to be bound by the principle of local allocation in the application of these grants, since we have just decided to vote a part of the money for sea police—a purpose which may be serviceable to some of the maritime counties, but is not serviceable to the inland folk. I hope I have succeeded in showing that we have suffered in Scotland owing to the way in which these grants have been paid, and that there has been a great deal of uncertainty, a good deal of confusion, and a good deal of overlapping. Now, we have also got in the school boards authorities dealing with secondary education in large boroughs. They have got rating powers although I think there are only two instances in which these rating powers have been used. English Members will please understand that in Scotland school boards are secondary education authorities. Thus we have the county committees and the (large) borough committees for secondary education, and we have got the borough council as an authority for technical education in all the boroughs, the county council for technical education, the county committee for secondary education, and a great number of school boards, some of which are trying to create a secondary 1414 department in elementary schools with which they are concerned, while others are already in control of burgh grammar schools. There are, accordingly, many bodies, and these bodies may have quite different ideas. They have laid down different regulations, and they have no uniformity of plan. The only harmony that is given to the proceedings of the secondary education committees is by the regulations of the Scottish Education Department. Consequently there reigns the greatest confusion and uncertainty in the whole field of secondary education, and accordingly much effort is wasted, and much time is wasted, and a great deal of money is wasted, because the money is in the hands of different people and is not all applied with consistency of view to the same purposes. Well, Sir, if that has been the condition of things during the last few years, what is the position in which we find ourselves to-day? Here we have a new grant offered to us. It is a grant, I believe, of £35,000. I wish it were a larger grant, and I wish the proposals of my honourable Friends the Member for East Edinburgh and the Member for the Border Burghs had been listened to, which would have much increased it; but even £35,000 is a respectable sum, and worthy of the consideration of a poor country like Scotland. So we are face to face with the means of finding a useful application for this sum which the Government proposes to allocate to Scotland. Now what objects are we going to devote it to, and in whose hands shall we place it? Shall we give it to the school boards or to the county and the borough councils, or to the county and borough secondary education committees? We have to decide between them. We are almost certain to introduce complications if we do not proceed carefully, and there may be much difficulty afterwards in getting rid of these complications. Therefore let the Committee pause before we begin to apply money to the creation of any new vested interests which will block the way. I accordingly venture to submit to the Committee that the time has now come when we require to have the whole subject considered de novo, and considered comprehensively, with the view of producing an harmonious plan. We have in the past proceeded in haphazard fashion; we have been 1415 compelled by the Government to deal with this question from hand to mouth for too long, and the time has come when we ought to review the whole position in the light of the experience of the past, and with this new sum of money determine that we will give to Scottish secondary education something of that harmony which has been so happily given to secondary education in Wales. If there is any Welsh Member present I am sure he will be able to tell us how much Wales has gained by its Intermediate Education Act, which has created authorities in Wales capable of representing and concentrating public opinion, and who have control of all the funds for secondary and technical education, which they use for the common benefit. We want something like that in Scotland. While Wales, formerly so far behind us, has been rapidly advancing, we have allowed the grass to grow under our feet, and the time has now come when we ought to take up the question and reform the whole system. My honourable Friend the Member for Forfarshire has got an Amendment on the Paper somewhat similar to that which stands in my name, but which sets forth that there should be an inquiry with a view to the production of a comprehensive scheme. Now, I quite fall in with my honourable Friend in that suggestion, for it would greatly stimulate public opinion in Scotland, and give those who have had the experience an opportunity of stating their views. It would, I think, enlighten us by means of the evidence which it would collect and present. But, besides that, it would give a certain amount of satisfaction to the Scottish public, for this matter has not hitherto had enough public attention. We have simply had to accept the doles which the Government has given us, and Scotland has never been called upon to say what she wants and how she would like the money spent. Public feeling would be very much gratified if there were steps taken to hold such an inquiry, at which evidence could be tendered by those competent to give it; and then a Report might be drawn up upon it. Perhaps it would not be necessary to adopt the method of appointing a Royal Commission, for I believe that either a Select Committee of this House or a 1416 Committee in the nature of a Departmental Committee could be created, which would be able to collect evidence and prepare a Report. But there may be something to be said in favour of a Royal Commission, and I understand that the Member for Forfarshire is willing to accept either form so long as it is a public inquiry. Now, let me endeavour to wind up by suggesting some points which ought to be considered if an inquiry is held, and which ought to be dealt with if a comprehensive scheme is framed. My honourable Friend the Member for the Border Burghs in his very interesting speech drew an outline of a scheme which, he suggested, but I do not desire to discuss that scheme now, because it would occupy a long time, since there would be serious differences of opinion regarding some of the proposals which compose it. I will content myself by simply suggesting some points which ought to be considered when any comprehensive scheme comes to be framed. First of all we ought to consider whether the time has not come for destining the whole of the residue grant of 1890 to technical education and taking it away from the rates; that is to say, depriving the local authorities of the power they still have of applying it in relief of the rates instead of devoting the whole of it to technical education. That is the view which educational reformers are coming to in England. It was expressed by the recent Royal Commission in their unanimous Report, and it has been received with perfect unanimity by all those who have discussed the recommendations of that Commission as regards England. I believe that a similar unanimity exists among educational reformers in Scotland, and I do not think that any serious opposition need be apprehended from the local authorities, although some of them have not used their discretion in the most enlightened way. My next point, Mr. Lowther, is the propriety of consolidating the two grants. Instead of having a separate grant for technical and secondary education, let us run these two into one, and let us call it a grant for technical and secondary education; and let us then leave it to the local authorities to decide how much of the sum shall be spent on each of these subjects, which, 1417 as I have already pointed out, are in reality branches of one subject. Thirdly, the scheme ought to be framed with a view to the union of the present administrative authorities. We ought in each county and in each of the larger burghs to consolidate the two existing committees, so that as there would be one grant there would be also one authority for the distribution of the grant. Then again, fourthly, it seems to me that we ought to unite the small burghs either with one another, or preferably with the counties in which they are situated, and I would suggest that the best plan would be to bring them into the county, giving them due representation on the county authority. Supposing that there is a county committee constituted by the county council for technical and secondary education, each of these smaller burghs would be entitled to send one or more representatives to sit on that committee in proportion to its contribution to the grant; and it would thus secure that its interests would be duly regarded, and that the arrangement made for the application of the money would enable those small burghs so represented to participate fully in the benefits. Moreover, it is worth while considering whether you could not unite some of the smaller counties. Large counties like Inverness and Perth and Aberdeen are able to have a comprehensive scheme of their own, but some of the counties are too small, and they would be able to better use their funds if they were united. They could then do more in founding technical schools and promoting instruction in agriculture or fishing. Due regard must be, of course, paid to the wishes of the county authorities, although I think many of them would appreciate the benefits which union would confer upon them; and in any scheme which is framed it should be provided that the counties may unite for educational purposes if they are so disposed. And fifthly, we ought to consider the question of giving greater latitude in the distribution of the funds. Instead of overloading Edinburgh and Glasgow with the large share which they have at present of the technical and secondary education grant, in addition to the enormous charitable funds which they enjoy 1418 already, we ought to look at the whole fund of Scotland in its totality, and provide that in distributing it some regard should be had, not only to population and wealth, but also to the needs of the people, so that there would be some ampler provision made for the poorer counties than is the case at the present time. I am far from saying that large industrial populations like those of Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Dundee ought not to receive due consideration, but I believe that more could be done for Scotland in the long run if there were a somewhat more liberal and free method of distribution and consideration for the needs of the poorer parts, which would be better attended to; and I believe that there is enough patriotism left in Scotland to approve of a system of that character. We are not so selfishly devoted to the interests of our own locality as to be unwilling to help the poorer parts of the country. The great towns are constantly receiving additions to the population from these poorer districts, and they are interested directly in the welfare of the rural counties, so that I think that we may conclude that in Scotland this latitude in distribution might be a benefit to the nation as a whole. And, lastly, we ought to reconsider the method in which the money is now applied, because a good deal of the money, if not wasted, is certainly not applied in the most serviceable way. I am told that in some quarters the view prevails that there are already too many bursaries, and there is certainly an opinion that the bursaries would be more useful if they were fewer, but of larger value; in fact, of an amount sufficient enable the most promising boys to pursue their studies instead of being sent to an employment at which to earn wages for their parents. If you want to get the full benefit out of a promising boy, you must make it worth his father's while to let him complete his preparation for the university, or his technical education. That is a point which evidently deserves to be examined. Then there are those who think the sums of money now paid for proficiency are paid too exclusively to the boys completing heir course in the highest classes, in-stead of being given to the best boys in he middle parts of the school also, so as to secure that the efforts of the teacher 1419 are not too largely devoted to the highest class only. This view has been conveyed to me by a very experienced school manager and member of a county committee. It is a further and larger question whether, instead of spending so much in grants for excellence, it would not be better to pay larger salaries to the most efficient schoolmasters, and endeavour to raise whole schools rather than deal with individual scholars. You can do much for the boys, in the long run, by improving the quality and equipment of the school. There ought to be a certain amount of elasticity about this expenditure, and the local managers ought to have a power of spending money in improving the school. These are matters which would be well worthy of consideration by any commission of inquiry. Sir, I regret to notice that I have detained the Committee longer than I intended, but the importance of the matter, and the fact that it has never yet been thoroughly debated, will, I hope, be my excuse. I do not make any reproach against the Scotch Education Department for not having come forward themselves. That Department may be unwilling to take up the time of Parliament; but I venture to assure the able officials of that Department, and the universally-respected Minister who presides over it, that the House will be only too willing to grant the time if they will show an interest in the matter and agree with the view that there ought to be an inquiry. Considering the very great importance of the matter to Scotland and how little we have had in the way of educational legislation for Scotland, I think the time has come when we ought to have a carefully drawn and comprehensive scheme, and when that scheme ought to take the form of a Bill. If we have a proper discussion upon the subject I should suggest that it was a Bill which might go before a Select Committee, upon which the Scotch Members should be well represented and the question might be fully discussed. Then I believe that satisfaction would be given in Scotland if the Government would take such a course. It is clearly too late to propose any comprehensive scheme and carry it to a practical conclusion this Session, but what I wish to do is to impress upon the Government the necessity of taking into consideration 1420 the desirability of having the matter dealt with as a whole, and therefore we ask them to reserve the distribution of this money and the form of applying it until the next Session of Parliament, and to be content with simply earmarking it for education now, and to reserve as a question which is to be fully considered hereafter the method in which, the money is to be applied for the general benefit of the people of Scotland. I beg leave to move my Amendment.
The Amendment of the honourable Member is not in order on account of the previous decision of the Committee.
§ *MR. BRYCE
I venture, on the point of order, to observe that my Amendment is in no sense antagonistic to the decision of the Committee with regard to the distribution of the money. I submit to you Sir, that my Amendment is proposed as an addition to that Resolution, and is, in fact, quite consistent with it, and that the decision which the House came to earlier in the evening in deciding how the money should be applied, did not decide the point raised by this Amendment, which merely seeks to postpone, not the application to education, but the details of that application.
I am afraid that I cannot adopt the view of the right honourable Gentleman. I think if the words of the Resolution are read this will be quite clear. They are—That the sum to be applied to the purposes last mentioned shall not be applied thereto until a comprehensive scheme has been laid before Parliament providing for the application of such sum.Now, I think it would be a contradiction to that to say that certain sums of money are to be paid into a particular account, for that would not be a distribution. The House has decided that these sums must be distributed forthwith, and therefore any postponement is out of order.
§ DR. CLARK.
Supposing it is distributed to a certain fund, but not spent during the year: in that case, could it be retained in that fund, there 1421 being no account coming to the Controller General under the Act? My honourable Friend's Motion may not be in order, but it would not affect the distribution if it were sent to the special fund, and they would receive it on that account; but they would not require to spend it for the year, but hold it over for another year.
I think this, that in the ordinary sense of the word "distribution" it means a division of some sort, but the proposal of the right honourable Gentleman would be that the sum should be kept intact. Of course, that would be contrary to the meaning of the word "distribute."
§ MR. RENSHAW
I am sure that all who have followed the course of the Debate have listened to the temperate speech of the honourable Member for Aberdeen with great interest. A more valuable contribution to the discussion of this question, delivered in a tone free from political bias or feeling, it would be impossible to have in this House, and I am quite sure that all who have had this question deeply at heart—and I can say that every Scottish Member, in whatever part of the House he sits, has this question at heart—it affects the grave importance of this question of secondary education. If I venture, Mr. Lowther, to call the attention of the right honourable Gentleman to some of his remarks, and touch upon some of those points with which he has dealt, I do so, I venture to say, solely because of the practical experience I have had in the working of these schemes. Were it not for that practical experience I certainly should not venture to follow the right honourable Gentleman this evening. The right honourable Gentleman spoke first of all of the great complications which exist at the present moment. Now, all of us are painfully alive to those complications, and I can assure him, as chairman of a county committee, that I value his remarks, coming as they do from a representative of a great city in Scotland, more highly than I should do, Sir, if they were simply the expression of the opinion of a repre- 1422 sentative of a county. I do say for this reason that he has put his finger on one of the great blots in the system, in alluding to the sub-division which exists between the burghs and the county, both with regard to technical education money coming to us under the grant of 1890, to which he referred, and the expenditure of that money in county districts proper, which is almost an absolute impossibility. The counties can only spend it by going into the burghs, and the great difficulty we have found in the counties—even in counties so populous as that which I have the honour to represent in this House—has been that the smaller burghs devote the grant which comes to them under the Act of 1890 to the relief of rates, and not to technical education. Therefore, it has been absolutely impossible for us to co-operate with them in carrying out schemes in connection with technical education. Consequently we have had to go further afield, and we have had to go into the large city of Glasgow; and I think I am correct in saying that by far the largest proportion of the money which has been spent is spent in the great centres, and, in the case of my own constituency, in the city of Glasgow. It would be otherwise, and it would be very desirable that it should be otherwise, if once for all the power to divert this money to the rates was taken away, and both in counties and burghs it was devoted solely and entirely to the purposes of technical education. I should, in justification possibly of the counties as opposed to the burghs, like to say a word on the point raised by my right honourable Friend in regard to the expenditure of this money. Now, under the Act of 1890, there was a total coming out of the Customs and Excise Act of £25,122 to the counties, and out of that sum £21,760 was devoted to technical education; whereas in the burghs, out of £24,882 coming to the burghs out of that same fund, only £12,839 was devoted to technical education. That, I think, shows that the counties have been far more in earnest in the manner in which they have devoted this sum to technical education than the burghs themselves. There is one point, however, in the question to which my right honourable Friend 1423 referred, and which, the right honourable Gentleman failed to notice. It is this, that one of our difficulties in counties in regard to the money which comes to us under the Act of 1890 has been that the amount we receive changes from year to year. I remember perfectly well that this occurred in the particular county of Renfrew. I also take the city of Glasgow, because, I think, it will bring the matter home more fully than could be done in any other way. The county of Renfrew gladly gave the whole of the money from this Act to technical education. A committee was appointed to carry out a scheme, and for more than three years we were not able to spend the money, but, gradually as the scheme became known, and the advantages to be derived from it became known, a large number of young people in the county began to avail themselves of its benefits. Then, what happened? Why, this: that the expenditure under the Pleuro-Pneumonia Act had become greater, and, consequently, this education grant for technical education became less each year, and so we have had to put down our scheme because we have not had money to give effect to the scheme, which was admirably adapted to the requirements of the country. I take it that one of the advantages of this scheme would be that this pleuro-pneumonia grant must be taken away and not be left as a charge upon the residue grants in future. It should be put upon the Local Taxation Act of 1892, and, therefore, will come out of the balance, which, in almost every other case, it has done up to the present time, and has not been devoted to technical education at all, but to the reduction of the rates. The right honourable Gentleman said, I think, that in his own constituency there are signs of greater interest being taken locally in this matter, and I think more scholars are coming forward, and better work is being done. But I do not think that we shall ever really and truly be able to do the work we ought to be able to do until we get rid of the discretion which exists at the present moment, and which permits one committee to spend the money in relief of the rates instead of working in harmony with those who are practically working out the schemes of secondary education and of technical 1424 education. It is absolutely impossible to draw such a distinction, and I am satisfied that some waste is created by the fact that you are sometimes paying for the same scholars out of the technical education money which by unity could be saved. Now the right honourable Gentleman suggested that the trouble which exists as between burghs and counties existed to some extent under the Act of 1892. In my experience I think there are only four or five cities in Scotland in which separate grants are given under the Act of 1892. It does occur to me that this is a matter of great difficulty; and I frankly say that I see the gravest objection to substituting a system on the basis of population and values. As a matter of fact, the poorer counties have not the same opportunities of carrying out good educational work to the same extent as the richer counties. They will never be able to undertake such work, partly on account of the cost and partly because the population is sparse and scattered throughout the county. You can get most good out of the money you give when you have the population well gathered together. But when you have the population scattered, and have to bring them together, you enormously increase the difficulties in regard to dealing with the money coming for secondary education grants. One of the greatest difficulties experienced in the administration of secondary education grants is that of applying the money in such a way as not to interfere with the ordinary sources of revenue. The right honourable Gentleman has suggested that what we want is a comprehensive scheme in regard to Scotland. I am sorry that I cannot agree with him upon the method of dealing with the present money; but I do agree with him in this, that what we want is a more comprehensive scheme. We want to get rid of technical education committees and county committees. We want to put the whole power into the hands of one committee, and unite the boroughs with the county authorities, and by a stronger combination to take charge of affairs in conjunction with the county councils. But when I touch upon the point of rating, which I remember the right honourable Gentleman referred to very incidentally, we have it from him that 1425 there were only two school boards which had availed themselves of this power. I think that is evidence of the desire in the country, which shows that we should not move too rapidly. We must realise, first, what our difficulties are; and if it is proposed at the present time to establish an entirely new system of secondary education which goes far beyond the present system, I am not sure that it would not do more harm than good. I am bound to say that I listened with very great interest to the speech of the honourable Member for the Border Burghs. He has a special knowledge of the subject. He says the first object would be to abolish all fees in regard to technical schools. I am bound to say frankly that I disagree with him; and in regard to secondary education schools, the sole desire is to dispose of the money so as not to injure the educational power of the school in respect of the amount of fees paid. I have listened to the criticisms in which my honourable Friend indulged, and the contrasts he drew between the success and non-success of the secondary education system as developed in various schools in Scotland. Well, we have two large secondary education schools in the county which I have the honour to represent; and certainly, in the case of one of them, the principal difficulty in regard to administration is that if we put free children into the place where a certain number of paying children are the result is that the latter are gradually withdrawn. In other words, as we give relief at one end, a source of revenue is stopped at the other. The real difficulty in admitting these children to these free places is that of discriminating between those who ought to be put in and those who ought not. It may be said that that is all very well; but it operates on one side only, on the child of parents who are rich enough to pay for it. The line of distinction is so difficult to draw as to make it well-nigh impossible to draw it. Undoubtedly one of the matters which handicap the child of poor parents is the difficulty he is placed in when he has to compete with children who have paid for their education in the junior departments of the secondary school. It is a difficulty, and if the right honourable Gentleman can suggest a method by which we can deal 1426 with it effectively and usefully, he will have rendered great assistance to the various county authorities in Scotland. The honourable Gentleman the Member for the Border Burghs also spoke of the right of these children to enter for competitive examinations. I believe that all these schemes have been framed with a view of allowing the children to enter the schools with, a view to competitive examination. But I am certain that any poor child will be handicapped in that examination, and in its results. Then the honourable Member for the Border Burghs spoke of bursars. I know that in the counties of Lanark, Ayr, and Renfrewshire district bursars are paid. I know the honourable Member spoke of varying amounts. I have known it necessary to pay a scholar more than £8; while many scholars in the county of Renfrew can get from 30s. to £2 10s. a year. The right honourable Gentleman the Member for South Aberdeen has made some admirable practical suggestions, amongst which he spoke of the desirability of devoting the whole of the 1890 residue to technical education. I think there will be universal agreement with him here. Then he suggested that the local authorities should determine the amount to be given towards technical and secondary education. I should leave them to deal with the money en bloc, and let them in their own way solve the problem of its distribution. Then there is the suggestion as to the union of the counties with the burghs, which I think is a good and useful one; but I think my honourable Friend has hardly done justice to the scheme of the Education Department under this head. I think the Education Department have made experiments with good results in regard to co-operation of the counties with the burghs. Where a certain amount of money has been handed over by different authorities then representation should be given on the county committee. Then the right honourable Gentleman suggested a policy for the union of small counties, and I think that might be useful and effective; but they can now make contributions to schools outside their own areas, and so co-operate in any scheme for secondary education. Then there was the question of reconsidering the application of the 1427 money which was being applied at present to a general scheme of secondary education. No doubt that could be usefully done. But I think it very desirable to have one scheme on which we are all agreed, which will embrace the whole question of secondary and technical education. At the same time I do not think that is an adequate reason for hanging up the fund which we are now dealing with. I know that from my point of view some of the county schools are at the present moment embarrassed. In my own county last year and this year also we have had to cut down the grants. We have had to reduce the grant to some of the secondary schools. The result is that as our scheme becomes known, just as in the case of technical education, the standard of education will become a rising one. I sat the week before last for three hours looking over the lists in regard to the secondary schools, and I was surprised at the largely increased number of scholars who presented themselves for examination; and I was also very delighted to see that the percentage of marks these children took was much higher than in previous years, showing conclusively that not only are the parents interested, but that the early education of these children is improving in preparing them for these examinations. I thank the right honourable Gentleman for the speech he has made; and, as to his suggestion of hanging up this money, I would say that if we get the money I am certain that the Scotch Education Department will find the means of spending it usefully, as they did in the case of the grant in 1892.
§ *MR. W. JONES (Carnarvon, Arfon)
Mr. Speaker, my remarks shall be very brief. The reason why I interpose at all is because of the great interest I take in secondary education, and because of the appeal which has been made by right honourable and honourable Friends from Scotland that a certain portion of the money in question shall be allocated for secondary and technical education in that country. I should like to say a word about what has been done in Wales by means of the Welsh Intermediate Education Act. We have in Wales 88 schools established in all our counties—including Monmouthshire—and in these schools 1428 we educate about 8,000 boys and girls; nearly 3,500 are girls. Such has been the success of this scheme that Mr. Fearon—than whom a greater authority does not exist—said the other day that the success of this intermediate scheme in Wales has been so phenomenal that the account of it reads like a romance. Now, surely, if we have such a success in Wales, why should there not be a similar success in Scotland? We have also a central board to administer this system. I know that Scotland has some first-class, but not a continuous, system of secondary schools. Now it is not long ago that we in Wales used to take Scotland as our ideal for educational purposes. I am afraid that Scotland must look to Wales as her ideal now. At the present time we can boast that we are sending men from Wales to Scotland as professors at the universities. Then why not have this system not merely in Wales and Scotland, but in England also. Our technical education is so shamefully neglected that we have to pay every year about a million of money for toys made in Germany. Why should not these toys and other articles be made in our technical schools in England, in Scotland, and Wales? Surely we must aim at the promotion of such higher education as will include both secondary and technical instruction, in order to raise the standard of our citizens. Therefore, I hope this grant will in future be used for such a noble purpose in Scotland.
§ *MR. HALDANE (Haddington)
I think no one who has listened to this Debate will fail to recognise that it presents a general exception to the character of Scotch Debates in this House. It has been a really interesting Debate. We have had, first of all, the speech from my right honourable Friend who put forward the views of those interested in Scotch education very clearly and very fully. In the second place we have had the speech from the honourable Member for Renfrew, which was signalised by an ability that we have all become accustomed to recognise. We have imported him from a foreign soil into Scotland to our great advantage. Further, we have had the speech from my honourable Friend the Member for Carnarvon, who has told us of the success of the Welsh intermediate education system, and 1429 of controlling it by means of the central authority, which is the administration of Wales as a whole. Now this discussion brings to my mind but one regret. Nobody can appreciate the tendency of a Debate quicker than the Lord Advocate can; and he should at least give the Committee the promise to which the Committee are entitled, after the manifest wish that we should have a full and comprehensive inquiry with a view to establishing in Scotland what is a necessary institution if our educational system is to take a step forward. The position of my right honourable Friend illustrates the difficulty we are placed in by our not having a Scottish Secretary in the House of Commons. It is not that my honourable Friend is not able and willing to do what is required of him; but in a case of this kind it is absolutely essential for the due progress of business to have a Minister himself present, and not merely someone else who comes here with cut-and-dried plans prepared. And yet, Mr. Lowther, although I quite recognise the difficulty of the Lord Advocate in altering any scheme to which he is committed, and in making such concessions as we wish, still I cannot help thinking that the course of the Debate has provided a way out which may well be adopted by the Government, and which will give us some sort of remedy for the future in a situation attended by so many difficulties. My right honourable Friend made a very interesting speech in which he pointed out what was wanted in our Scotch system; and he asked for some comprehensive inquiry which would lay down the lines of the alteration proposed, and which would deal with the results of the legislation of 1890 and 1892, and of the schemes which have been brought into operation since that time. Now the proposition of my right honourable Friend went into the cost; and if we go to the cost of it, it is still possible for the Government to give us such an inquiry as we ask for, and to take such steps as may result in establishing such a kind of power as my right honourable Friend spoke about. Practically there was unanimity on the part of the Member for Renfrew with the point in the speech of my honourable Friend opposite, that so 1430 great was the necessity for this money that he should be reluctant to see the money go back, even though it were done to bring secondary education in Scotland into a satisfactory condition, and see that steps are taken to that end. My honourable Friend spoke of the difficulties of population, and said that we were all agreed in thinking that a large redistribution scheme was wanted. Now, sir, in that condition of things we have a substantial agreement between my right honourable Friend and the honourable Member opposite that an inquiry is necessary, and that inquiry must be succeeded by reform. It is surety not too much to ask of the Government—whatever their attitude on the question of the distribution of this money—that they should give us some information at all events and appoint an inquiry such as led to the great events in Wales which followed on the passing of the Intermediate Education Act. I feel confident that it is desirable that this inquiry should be not merely to take the form of a Departmental Committee, but should take the form of an inquiry in which all the elements of public opinion are represented, and be associated with Sir Henry Craik. I am glad to think, Mr. Lowther, that this is not a question on which it is competent, for us to divide on the present occasion. I think it is extremely desirable that it should be adopted to the fullest extent, and I cannot help feeling that the Government will soon meet us in this matter of an inquiry. After all, what is the position in Scotland? My honourable Friend is quite right. We who used to be in front of Wales are now behind Wales. We have got an admirable elementary education system; but where we are weak is in the intermediate system. Take a case: I have got two schools in my mind at this moment where secondary education is given. What is their position if this Resolution passes? Why, Sir, they will remain in a very unsatisfactory condition. As the position now stands they spend a certain amount of money on secondary education. There is a salary for the man teaching the higher standards. It is brought somehow within the scope of the school boards. At any rate, with the aid they 1431 get from the charities and other sources, they manage to eke out a precarious subsistence for the secondary education master. If anything goes wrong they are out of sorts, and secondary education, which is perhaps the most valuable in that Board school, is carried on under great difficulty and under great depression. That ought not to be. Here in Scotland we have witnessed for the last eight years, that is since 1890, a system of frittering away public money. That must be changed. Now, Sir, at the present time we have clearly before us the lesson which the experience of the past inculcates. We see now, as in 1892, the benefit that a great educational authority would have had, which would have acted as trustee for the public money which comes to us, from whatever source, and which could have been applied for the purposes of secondary education. If we had profited by that experience we should not have been in the position we find ourselves in to-day, of asking for large sums of money which have been sunk in a serbonian bog. I do not blame the Government altogether for what has happened. I blame the agents in Scotland, and I blame the Scottish Members, to whom the Welsh have set so good an example in this matter. I blame the Government to this extent. I think that, being like sheep without a shepherd, we might have looked to the Government as our shepherd in this matter. I trust it is not too late to make provision in the future: and if this is the result of an inquiry we shall have established in Scotland an intermediate inquiry which will be our guide, philosopher, and friend in the distribution of these uncertain and intermittent sums of money which it appears to be the system of the Government from time to time to give, and for which we are grateful.
§ *MR. GRAHAM MURRAY
I have certainly no cause to complain of the spirit in which this Debate has been conducted, and I especially thank the right honourable Gentleman the Member for Aberdeen for the exceedingly temperate manner in which he has brought this proposal before the Committee. I can only say I shall meet the honourable Member in this sense, that I shall not reject this 1432 Amendment because it is out of order, but I shall tell him why, if it had been in order, I could not have accepted it as it stands. My honourable Friend has regretted that the Secretary for Scotland was not present on this occasion, but I think he would find, if he were here, that he knew very little of this matter, because the same shadowy figures of the council would he brought up as are often brought up by the Vice-President of the Council. I can only say I do certainly promise on behalf of the Government that they will certainly face a full and comprehensive dealing with, the subject; and I have no doubt we shall be very much assisted in that dealing by the Debate which has taken place to-night, and the various views which it has elicited. The Government do not think an inquiry is necessary, for this reason, that an inquiry is only of use when there are disputed facts to be got at. We think, so far as the facts are concerned, that there is no dispute whatever. There are two branches to the question. First of all, the question of the many ways in which the money has gone, and the various opinions of the local bodies, several of which are spending certain portions of money in education and other objects. It is entirely a matter of opinion and a matter of administration. It is not in any way a matter for inquiry. In the Bill which I hope to introduce to-morrow I think the honourable Member for Aberdeen will find there is a compromise on this matter. The Committee will find, when they see the Bill, that it will do away with the uncertainty, because it will take away the preferential charge from the security of the fund, besides the larger question of how the money is to be spent generally under the educational system. There again we have the facts, and we do not think there is anything to be gained by an inquiry which does not elicit facts, but only elicits a great many conflicting notions, and which, therefore, would not help us very much. After all, any general scheme which the Government put forward the Government of the day must be responsible for, whatever it is. Looking at the situation in which we find ourselves, we find the situation is this—these committees have certainly, as has been confessed, done good work. 1433 and certainly improved in their work, in years past. Educational authority has been brought more into line in the last few years, and with the progress that has been made, we think it is best to begin with this new sum of £35,000 in bringing forward any educational scheme. I think the practical tests of the scheme will bring home to the Government whatever may be the difficulties of the requirements of the situation, and although obviously I make no promise as to what legislation may be entered into, I give this promise, that if the Government find on the practical tests of the scheme there are certain difficulties which cannot be met without legislation, then they will face legislation on that matter. We think it would be better to take this extra sum and see how it works in with the present system, and take the whole thing comprehensively, and if we find there are difficulties which cannot be done away with without legislation, then we shall face that legislation. I cannot add very much to what has been said by others who know a great deal more about this subject than I do, but I hope that I have made clear the position of the Government in this matter—they do not avoid facing the position—that the time has come when this matter has to be dealt with.
I should like to express the view that we certainly may be allowed to regard with some satisfaction the statement which has been made by the Lord Advocate. We are all anxious to do the best we can for secondary education in Scotland. It is obvious that there are certain advantages which may be possibly obtained by experience, and that the Scotch Education Department may after some little time have some fresh blood, but I cannot help saying that even with this sum of money the Department cannot hope, with the present machinery, to cope with the many difficulties of the present scheme. It is a lamentable state of things when we find our universities absolutely going begging. We wish to see the education of the country set upon its proper level; and I would submit most earnestly to the Government that they will not give authority to deal with this question without inquiry, nor do 1434 I think they will carry public opinion with them without an inquiry. Inquiry serves a useful double purpose. It not only helps us to forecast the various schemes which may be possible, but it carries us along with it and gives some opportunity for getting at the public opinion which exists in Scotland upon this question. Nothing is more striking than the fact that in the Debate upon this Resolution, no matter what has taken place, the greater part of the discussion has been taken up with education. Nothing shows so strikingly how ready Scotch Members on both sides of this House are to proceed with this matter, and in that they perfectly reflect the opinion of Scotland. I must say with some trepidation that if we are to have some years' experience of this grant before the Government bring in a Bill dealing with this subject, that means shortly that six years must pass before we can have any change in the administration of the education of this country. It will be 25 years before any change will be seen in the younger generation who are coming on, and I do hope that the Government, after the harmonious and conciliatory character of this Debate, will not think it beyond their duty to press forward some proposal to do away with this question, and so put the whole matter upon a proper footing.
§ MR. J. PARKER SMITH (Lanark, Partick)
I wish we had had a more definite promise from the Government with regard to legislation. I do not think that there is any necessity for hanging up this matter. I think this money can be very usefully spent without delay, but I do think also that, before any definite view of distribution is taken, there ought to be some legislation upon the matter. Whether there can be any legislation without there first being an inquiry is a matter for the Government to consider. If a scheme is brought in without inquiry, well and good, we can discuss it when it comes before the House. If, on the other hand, they have an inquiry, then it would be most welcome in Scotland; and I cannot help thinking it might assist the deliberations of the Government. But I do deprecate the squandering of the money during the last eight years. The money has come into the country from some source or another, 1435 and has been spent. Owing to the action of the Education Office and county committees it has been squandered. I do think that it is a great weakness in our system that we are not able to get some scheme upon the whole question and deal with the subject in an intelligible manner and bring it forward next Session. I wish the Government had been able to promise that definitely. They can then remove any difficulty; they can remove the purely unnecessary contribution under the Act of 1892. They cannot include that now in this present Bill; but I wish they would introduce into the next Act a provision that it should be put to secondary education, and not let it go to the relief of rates. I am rather afraid that the fact of there not being a definite promise of legislation will lead to this sum being spent in an illogical way. I wish we had a more definite promise from the Government, and I hope that there will certainly be legislation upon this matter very shortly.
§ MR. CALDWELL
I wish to approach a matter which has not yet been touched upon at all, but which, in my opinion, is a most important matter—I mean the question of whether under this distribution Scotland is receiving her proper share as against England in the equivalent grant. When the Vote upon the Equivalent Vote was before this House the Lord Advocate stated that eleven-eightieths of the grant to England was Scotland's proper share. He said when you come to apply the relief it is obvious that you cannot follow exactly the English Statute, because the rating in Scotland is so different, and you might give relief which would be no relief at all. But the Government were careful to acknowledge in the Scotch case the principle of the equivalent grant. Now the Government comes forward and confesses that the principle of the equivalent grant does not meet the case. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said Ireland insisted on getting one-half of all her rates, the same as in England, but Scotland had not made a similar demand. It cannot be said that the question was not raised under the Agricultural Rates Act for Scotland. The proposal now is to abandon the principle of the equivalent grant of eleven-eightieths and to confer 1436 upon Scotland half the rates, as is the case in England and Ireland. Thus we find in the case of Scotland that we should have been left with this injustice, that we should only have received eleven-eightieths, and that we should not have got half the rates paid if it had not been for the fact that Ireland insisted that she should get half her rates paid, as was the case in England, and we only get justice to-day because Ireland has forced it upon England, and in consequence it has now to be admitted that Scotland is also entitled. With regard to the treatment of Scotland by England, we find this, that two principles are adopted; sometimes they take the principle of the equivalent grant, and sometimes they adopt the principle of giving us the same proportion as England receives. But there is always this—whichever principle is adopted, that one is adopted which at the time gives to Scotland less than her share. Take the case of the fee grant of 10s. per child. To Scotland 10s. per child would be more than the eleven-eightieths to which we were entitled upon the principle of the equivalent grant, so they gave us the eleven-eightieths, and that was right and proper; but when England got free education the balance was returned, and there and then the 10s. became less than the eleven-eightieths, and then the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave Scotland 10s. per child, which meant that we received £4,000 less than the eleven-eightieths. And we know what took place under the Voluntary Schools Act. In Scotland the Voluntary schools are a good deal fewer than in England, and to give a grant to Voluntary schools in Scotland meant less money than under the equivalent grant; so Scotland did not receive on that occasion under the equivalent grant, but under the Voluntary Schools Act. But when we came to the Agricultural Rates Act it was found that the eleven-eightieths meant a great deal less money than giving Scotland half her rates upon agricultural land, the same as in the case of England. And that is the principle which is adopted all the way through—the principle which gives Scotland the least money. The Lord Advocate defends the new principle. He says we are going to give to Scotland one-half her agricultural rates, the same 1437 as is given in the case of England and in the case of Ireland. Now, there is another important matter to which I will call the attention of the House. The Government is going to give to Scotland half the rates which are charged upon agricultural land, to give it to Scotland exactly as it is given in the case of England; but the occupiers of England pay all the rates, the local rates, and England gets half of the whole local rates levied on agricultural land. In Ireland as we know, the rates are paid partly by the landlord and partly by the tenant but whoever pays those rates, Ireland gets half of the total rates levied on agricultural land in Ireland. Very well I am sure the Lord Advocate will agree that what he means to do by this Resolution is that Scotland is to get half the rates levied on the agricultural land in Scotland. Yes; but here is the point In the agricultural rate of 1896 you are dealing with what is entirely the occupiers' rate, because the object of your Bill was to relieve the occupiers, and you stated that under that Bill there was no intention of giving a single farthing by way of relief to the landlords. You dealt in 1896 entirely with those rates payable by the occupier, and your whole system was based upon the occupiers' rate. But observe, here, when you come to deal internationally with the cases of England, Ireland, and Scotland, and the total rate, by whomsoever it is paid, you are giving half the total rate levied upon agricultural land in England and Ireland, but you are not giving the half of the total rate which is levied upon agricultural land in Scotland. The important point which has been made in the arrangement of the Government is this, that the consolidated rate which is paid by the landlord in Scotland is not taken into account. When you come now to deal internationally with Scotland as a separate nationality, and when you say that we ought to get equal treatment with England and Ireland, then we are entitled in the case of Scotland to have one-half of the whole rate levied on agricultural land, by whomsoever it is paid, and we are not getting that, and it will be found that instead of the £95,000 that we are getting here, why, the sum ought to be double, to put us on exactly the same footing as Eng- 1438 land and Ireland. Well, that comes, of course, to be a very important question so far as Scotland is concerned, and I am sure that the Lord Advocate will see that this is a matter of very serious importance to us, whether the sum you are giving is the correct sum or not. Another point is this: under the Resolution they date the payment to Scotland on another date, and it will not be the same as in England—that is, from the 31st day of March, as in the case of England. Why in the world should our supplementary sums not run from the same date in the case of Scotland? The answer always is this, that there is this question of some legislation, which must come first. Well, in the case of England, the legislation always comes first. I remember, for instance, the case of the probate duty. Why, the English Act passed the year before the Scotch Act, and the Scotch money was granted later than the English money, because they said the legislation was later. But the question which legislation comes first has nothing to do with the question as to the justice between one nationality and the other. No doubt the Irish were perfectly right in saying that they ought to have their payment to run from the same date as England, because, if you pretend to do justice between the two nationalities, the money payment should run from the same date. It is no answer to say that by the exigencies of the case England ought to come first always. As a matter of fact, England does come first, because she wants the money, and she gets it first, and we get it next. Then, again, observe that the money to be given in the case of Scotland is money which is to be applied, not for the relief of rates, but for certain other purposes; for instance, we have to give it for police, for sea fisheries, and for secondary education. Well, it is obvious that if the money is be given for secondary education, that money ought to be permanent, and should not be liable to be altered and used for different purposes. In the case if Ireland you have made the grant to Ireland perpetual. That is your policy, you make it perpetual in the case of Ireland, and why should we not have this money perpetual in the case of Scotland? It is necessary, for carrying out the purposes of secondary education, to carry 1439 these matters on efficiently, that the money should be permanent, and not be subject to being cancelled. Another point is this: take your Resolution as it stand Now, there is this curious thing in the case of Scotland: we get, of course, under the Act of 1896, our sum allocated under the equivalent grant, and it is eleven eightieths, and that fixes our proportion Imperially. But then, when we come to devote the money according to our domestic necessities, then we are excluding the woodlands from participating in the benefit of the agricultural grant. Well, that was a matter for ourselves, because if we excluded woodlands, there would be more money for something else; but observe, there is no such exclusion in the case of the English Act, and the result is that, by adopting this Resolution, and taking it in that country, the effect is that in Scotland we are getting no contribution for woodlands, but you are getting the contribution for woodlands in England.
§ MR. CALDWELL
Now I want to bring up some of the other matters, because I think it is much better to limit the payment made to Scotland as to the principle upon which Scotland is getting that money, and I admit that we are getting our fair share upon the principle which the Government intend to adopt. I think we are entitled to say that we should have this amount whether Ireland was in the case or not. In the year 1886 you told us that eleven-eightieths was our share, and that you would not give us a farthing more. Very well, if we were not entitled to the money then, how are we entitled to it now? If we were not entitled to it then, and to half the rates, it was as much a just claim, supposing Ireland had not been in the matter at all, it was just as much a just claim in 1896 as it is to-day. You admit now the principle that we are entitled to half the rates, the same as England and Ireland, and then how do we happen to get this justice given to us? Simply because you, the Government, in order to carry out your Local Government for Ireland Bill, in order to appease the landlords in Ireland, and give them the half of the poor rate, found that it was necessary 1440 to concede the principle to Ireland of half the rates, and therefore we come in in that way. But I make bold to say that if it is just now, it was just in 1896, and it shows that in Scotland we always get the rule applied to us of eleven-eightieths.
§ *MR. GRAHAM MURRAY
I do not think that we need go into that matter. It will be sufficient that Scotland has got justice now. What the honourable Member is really anxious to know is in reference to the owners. I can assure him that he has discovered an absolute mare's nest, and he is altogether mistaken as to the consolidated rate. The owner is not forgotten at all; the provision which deals with that portion of the consolidated rate is the 27th section of the Local Government Act of 1889. Now, what are the words of the Resolution? It says—A sum equivalent to seven-sixteenths of the total amount certified by the Secretary for Scotland as the amount to be taken as having been raised by rates, by county councils and parish councils from the owners and occupiers of agricultural lands, and heritages, as denned in the said Act during the year ending he 15th day of May, 1896.The honourable Member interpolates that portion which is raised by a half-and-half rate. Of course it includes also that portion of the consolidated rate which is the owner's stereotyped rate; accordingly it is not left out at all. The total half is paid, and it is merely a figment of the honourable Member's imagination.
§ DR. CLARK
There is the question of arrears, which is a very important question. Two years ago England was receiving £1,400,000 a year, Ireland £700,000 a year, and Scotland a lump sum of £300,000 a year. This was made additional from the eleven-eightieths to our proper proportion. Now, at least we years have elapsed, and a sum of nearly £200,000 is due to Scotland, and would have been paid to Scotland if two ears ago you had taken the same proportion as you are now applying. Might I press upon the Lord Advocate the condition of things in reference to education? There was an education rate raised upon England under which 10s. per head was allowed to every English child. Now we only get eleven-eightieths of that, because 1441 you gave us 10s. per child and a larger sum of money; but the Chancellor of the Exchequer found that giving us 10s. per head per child was much less than eleven-eightieths, and so he changed from 10s. per child to eleven-eightieths; and we pressed upon him that if they had accepted the same principle and given us 10s. per head per child in Scotland we should get more money. He then agreed that we should get the arrears that otherwise we had been deprived of, and we have got the arrears. Now here is a case exactly similar. Two years ago you did not adopt the proper proportion—the old bad proportion of eleven-eightieths. Time after time both Governments have agreed that they would have an inquiry for that purpose. This present Government last year and at the beginning of this year agreed to appoint a Royal Commission, and because Ireland objected it is not to be held; and until Scotland's position is fairly determined we shall continue to fight against this eleven-eightieths. You have changed eleven-eightieths; and you will not apply the same to England as you do to Ireland. Surely there is about £200,000 or there is £190,000 due to us—that is, £95,000 last year and £95,000 the year before—and that £190,000 would be very useful to us in Scotland for the purpose of creating and establishing a system of technical education, in erecting buildings, and creating an efficient system of organisation; and I hope the Lord Advocate and the Scotch Office will bring pressure to bear upon the Treasury and do us this act of justice now that they have changed their policy. I do not want to press this any more upon the House, but I hope the Scotch Office will bring pressure to bear upon the Treasury in this direction. The question arose because of the Irish nation getting so much more than their proportion. Ireland is getting about one-half of what England is getting, and we are treated on different lines, for we are only getting the usual Scotch treatment. You give Ireland plenty of doles, but to Scotland you behave very niggardly, because we have been economical; the Irish have always been prodigal, and so you have acted in that fashion to Ireland. I hope that before this Bill leaves the House we shall get some satisfactory answer on this 1442 point from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, because it was by one of his acts that you changed the Education Vote from eleven-eightieths to 10s., and he gave us back the arrears. Now I am asking him, when he is making this change from eleven-eightieths, to give us the arrears of £190,000, which we want very badly for technical education.
§ MR. CALDWELL
Upon one point referred to by the Lord Advocate I wish to say that it does not include the landlord's and tenant's portion. If he takes the right calculation, the Lord Advocate knows that what the tenant gets is five-eighths, and he has only to pay three-eighths. That is the tenant's portion only, and he has only to pay upon the three-eighths; therefore that is five-sixteenths, and now you take one-sixteenth off in that way.
§ MR. GRAHAM MURRAY
The honourable Member will get into hopeless confusion if he takes it that way. He has forgotten entirely what the tenant got by that legislation. That was not the way the money was calculated which came from the Imperial Exchequer, for it was calculated upon the eleven-eightieths. This question is now perfectly different, because the money is coming from the Imperial Exchequer.
§ MR. CALDWELL
The Lord Advocate must remember the sum that we are getting now. The £95,000 will practically only make up the full half of the tenant's portion of the landlord and tenant's rate.
§ MR. GRAHAM MURRAY
I give the honourable Member a complete contradiction on that point. It will make up the half of the full rates that are paid by the tenants.
§ MR. CALDWELL
It could not do that, because the landlord's amount was always the largest. The landlord's and tenant's rate was only a small sum compared with what is the landlord's consolidated rate. It is a big rate, and if he had these rates it is impossible that there could be that, and that you only give relief to the tenant by the money you have got. You could only give the 1443 tenant relief up to five-eighths. You are only giving us £95,000, and therefore it is impossible that it can be that. It is no use arguing the matter further, but at the same time, when this comes to the Second Reading, that is a matter to which I shall draw attention.
§ *THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
The only reason for making this additional grant is the passing of the Irish Local Government Act this year. The additional grant to Ireland under the Act would commence at exactly the same date as this grant to Scotland, and there is no claim whatever as to arrears.
§ DR. CLARK
Is it not a fact that you are changing from eleven-eighteenths to seven-sixteenths of the rates? You begin on one principle, and now you have changed to another. You are in the position you were in on the Education Question, when you did give us this difference; there is no mare's nest in it at all. We still have the same claim to get the same amount of our rates as England, only you are acceding to that by giving us the same amount. We were getting equivalent to Ireland, but we want a great deal more; this is now based upon the English Act of two years ago.
§ MR. CALDWELL
Under the Agricultural Rates Act Ireland gets an equivalent grant along with Scotland. Now, is this sum which Ireland, under the Local Government Bill, in addition to the sum she gets under the equivalent grant, and under the Agricultural Rates Act, is that the same?
§ *THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
Ireland and Scotland obtained in 1896 nine-eightieths and eleven-eightieths of the English Agricultural Rating Grant. That system has been now altered, and both those countries will in future receive a grant equal to half the rates on their agricultural land that will place things in Ireland precisely on the same footing, and run on the same date as Scotland. In 1444 my opinion we have been extremely generous to Scotland in this matter, because she does not want the money for purposes to which it has been applied both in England and in Ireland.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
Ireland has, in addition to what has been stated, an. additional sum of £35,000 a year over and above that which either England or Scotland gets. We have had that statement from the Chief Secretary for Ireland, and is it not a fact that to that extent, anyhow, there is a difference in the treatment between Ireland and Scotland?
*THB CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
That is part of the application of the system of local government to Ireland which was applied to Scotland practically at the same time as England. Nothing more will be given to Scotland. If this Bill is discussed in its further stages at the length it has been discussed to-night, I am afraid it will not be passed this year.
§ MR. CALDWELL
If you give an additional sum of £95,000 to Scotland you get £847,000 additional money from Scotland now. Does the Chancellor of the Exchequer take into account the calculation that pays 11 per cent. of that £94,000?
§ Question put.
§ Motion agreed to.
That this Bill be now reported to the House.
§ Agreed to.