HC Deb 17 July 1900 vol 86 cc236-7
MR. CALDWELL (Lanarkshire, Mid)

I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been called to the fact that, in 1897, when allocating the money which should be given to Scotland as against that given to England in the matter of the Voluntary schools, the Scotch Office had estimated that a sum of £26,000 annually from Imperial funds would be required to maintain the Scotch fee grant at 12s. per scholar, which he had agreed to pay as part payment of the equivalent to Scotland; whether he is aware that for the four financial years ending 31st March, 1901, the amounts paid or estimated as requiring to be paid in respect of the above undertaking, instead of amounting to £104,000, amount only to about £5,000; and whether he will reconsider this payment to Scotland.


The answer to the first two paragraphs of the question is in the affirmative; but this matter has not been dealt with on the basis of equivalent grants since a fee grant of 10s. per child throughout the United Kingdom was substituted for the equivalent grant system in 1897. Up to that time the Scotch Education Department had paid a foe grant not of 10s. but of 12s. per child, partly out of an Exchequer grant, and partly out of the residue of the Local Taxation Fund. It was thought that this fund could no longer make up the amount necessary to provide the additional 2s., and as part of the additional aid given to Education in Scotland in 1897 we undertook that if it failed any deficiency should be made up from the Exchequer, to an extent which was estimated by the Scotch Office at £26,000 as a maximum, but by the Opposition at no more than £18,000. Since that time, however, the continued productiveness of the share of the Death Duties which goes to the Scotch Local Taxation Fund has enabled that fund to bear the cost of the additional 2s. fee grant to Scotland, and so the anticipated contribution from the Exchequer has not been required. I certainly cannot accept the view that we agreed to pay this £26,000, whether it was required or not—but the fact that it has not been required might, I think, be taken into account to some extent in considering the proposals for further expenditure on Scottish Education that may be brought before me.