§ MR. CALDWELL (Lanarkshire, Mid)
I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether any part, and if so, how much of the £5,000 voted last year from Imperial funds as required to maintain the Scotch fee grant at 12s. per scholar was required for that purpose, and whether the same or any part thereof has been surrendered; and if he can explain how it comes about that in 1897 he estimated that a sum of £26,000 annually out of Imperial funds would be necessary to keep the fee grant up to 12s. per scholar, whilst this year no sum whatever is borne on the Imperial Estimates for that purpose.
§ *MR. A. GRAHAM MURRAY
Of the £ 5,000 voted last year to maintain the Scotch fee grant at 12s. per scholar, £2,763 was required for that purpose. The remainder (£ 2,237) will be surrendered at the close of the year 1900-1. The explanation of the fact referred to in the last paragraph of the question is that the amount receivable by the Department for 1899-1900 from the local taxation account was so much in excess of that anticipated, that no further sum will be required from the Vote to maintain the 12s. rate. Also, the average attendance has not increased so rapidly as was expected.
§ MR. CALDWELL
I beg to ask the Lord Advocate if he can explain how it comes about that for the year ending 31st March, 1898, when the average attendance on which the Fee Grant was paid under Section 1 of the Education and Local Taxation (Scotland) Act, 1892, was 614,616, the amount paid to counties, etc., in relief of rates was £145,625; that for the year ending 31st March, 1899, when the average attendance was 621,405, the amount paid was £161,912; and that for the year ending 31st March, 1900, when the average attendance had risen to 1322 626,341, the amount paid was £149,073; and whether, to the extent of upwards of £20,000, there has been an over payment to the counties, etc., to the detriment of the Fee Grant Fund, which under the Act of 1892 is entitled to the residue.
§ *MR. A. GRAHAM MURRAY
Under the Education and Local Taxation Account (Scotland) Act, 1892, Section 2, the grant to counties and burghs in relief of rates (which now includes the amount previously deducted under the Diseases of Animals Act, 1894) is the difference between the total—namely, £165,000—of grants fixed under Section 2 and the amount of the fee grant. An increase of the fee grant therefore causes a corresponding increase of the grant to counties and burghs, and consequently a corresponding decrease of the residue payable as an addition to the fee grant under Sub-section 6 of Section 2. The estimate for the fee grant is framed with reference to the estimated number of scholars, but does not necessarily correspond exactly with the actual average attendance. In the estimate for 1898-99 it included a sum of £21,000 for arrears of fee grant in previous years. If this £21,000 had not been included in the Vote the grant to counties and burghs would have been less, and the residue available as an addition to the fee grant would have been increased by the same amount. There has accordingly been no over-payment under the terms of the Act to counties and burghs to the detriment of the fee grant fund, as the whole payments are automatically adjusted over a period of year's.