HC Deb 07 August 1899 vol 76 cc33-4

I beg to ask the Vice-President of the Committee of Council on Education whether the Returns published by the Education Department during the current year show that the amount of annual grant paid on behalf of scholars in attendance in Voluntary schools is about 4½d. per scholar in excess of that paid last year, and that during the same period the amount of Aid Grant brought to account was equal to about 3s. 1d. per scholar, the two together making an increase of 3s. 5¼d. per scholar in average attendance; and that during the same period the cost of maintenance has increased 1s. 10¾d. per unit of average attendance in Voluntary schools; whether of the difference of 1s. 6½d. per head the fall in voluntary subscriptions accounts for 7½d.; and, if so, can he state what has become of the other 11d. per scholar, equal in the aggregate to about £113,800. Can he state how much of this sum has been used in increasing the rents paid by school managers, either to private persons or religious bodies, and how much of it has been used in the liquidation of debt contracted before the passing of the Act, or used as current income in order that other moneys may be set free for the liquidation of such debt; and can he state whether the Department contemplate any steps for restricting the use of the Aid Grant to the purposes for which it was allotted by Parliament.


The Aid Grant brought to account, as shown in the Returns referred to, was at the rate of about 3s. per scholar in average attendance. On the other hand, a combination of all other Government Grants brought to account, shows precisely the same rate as in the preceding year, and the rate of income from voluntary contributions and other local sources fell by about 9d. The net gain in income was thus about 2s. 3d., while the expenditure on maintenance increased by 1s.10d. The latest returns show no increase in the rate of rent per scholar in average attendance. A considerable part of the Aid Grant necessarily remained as unexpended balance in the hands of the managers; but such balances continue to be applicable exclusively to the purposes for which the grants were given, and care is taken in the Department to see that they are properly spent. No part has, so far as the Department are aware, been used for the liquidation of debt contracted before the passing of the Act.