§ Considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ [Mr. J. W. LOWTHER (Cumberland, Penrith) in the Chair.]
§ Clause 12:—
§ (2.40.) MR. LUKE WHITE (Yorkshire, E.R., Buckrose)
said the matter referred to in the Amendment he rose to move had been to a certain extent dealt with by the alterations made in a former Clause; still he considered, with regard to joint committees dealing with two districts having matters relating to education, those committees should receive the direct attention and control of the education authorities. He believed that at the present time in county boroughs it was necessary that all the proceedings of the Education Department authority should be brought before the Council for adoption, but in the counties a different method of procedure was adopted, the Councils having power to delegate their authority to any committee, with such powers as they thought fit. If his Amendment were carried it would leave the law in regard to Education Committees to be appointed under this Section in the same position in all respects as it now stood.
In page 5, line 15, at the end, to insert the words '(6) The meetings and proceedings of any Education Committee constituted under this section shall be subject in all respects to the same provisions and regulations as those which now affect any ordinary or joint committees of any Council.'"—(Mr. Luke White.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ THE PRIME MINISTER AND FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
said he gathered that the hon. Member's object had been more or less met by modifications already introduced into the Bill. Did he care to press the Amendment under the circumstances The matter could, if necessary, be further dealt with in the schedule, but he was not convinced that it would not be better to leave it to the local authorities to deal with the point in the schemes they presented. He preferred the latter course, as it would leave room for such elasticity of arrangements as might be rendered expedient by the varied circumstances of the different localities.
§ SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
said that when the Committee discussed the question of the frequency of meetings and certain other connected subjects, it was understood—although the Government did not absolutely pledge itself—the matter should be raised on the schedule. If, however, his hon. friend preferred to press his Amendment to a division, he would suggest that the words "or joint" should be omitted from it.
§ MR. WHITLEY (Halifax)
asked the Prime Minister if he could not expedite the presentation of the schedule dealing with the question of the frequency of meetings both of committees and managers. Since the point was last under discussion he had received letters from schoolmasters stating that their managers seldom if ever met. In one case there had been no meeting for twelve years, and in another for five years. As they had to deal with the remainder of the Bill in a hurry, it was desirable that right hon. Gentlemen should have the Government proposals without delay.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
replied that the request of the hon. Gentleman was not at all unreasonable, and due expedition would be shown in putting the schedule on the Paper. The statement as to the 763 non-meeting of managers was, he believed, perfectly correct. As to the Amendment, he was still far from convinced that it would not be much better to leave it to the local authorities to arrange this matter by scheme. He could not, however, give any pledge.
§ MR. SAMUEL EVANS (Glamorgan-shire. Mid)
was very sorry to hear that, especially as they were to have a limited time for the discussion of the schedule. He urged the hon. Member to press the Amendment, in order that they might have sense of the House. He also suggested that the words "or joint" should be left out, otherwise he would
§ fell it this duty to move an Amendment to the Amendment.
By leaving out the words ' or joint.'"—(Mr. Luke White.)
§ (2.13.) Question put, "That those words, as amended, be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 95; Noes, 150. (Division List No. 499.)765
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Gordon, Sir W. Brampton||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Allan, Sir William(Gateshead||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Sir William||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Allen, Charles P(Glouc., Stroud||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Halme, Norval Watson||Samuel, Herbert L (Cleveland)|
|Bell, Richard||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||Shackleton, David James|
|Brigg, John||Holland, Sir William Henry||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Horniman, Frederick John||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Burns, John||Jacoby, James Alfred||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Burt, Thomas||Jones, David Brynmor (Swansea||Spencer, Rt. Hon. C. R. (N'thants|
|Caldwell, James||Langley, Batty||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Cameron, Robert||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Leese, Sir Joseph F.(Accrington||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr|
|Cawley, Frederick||Leng, Sir John||Thomas, JA (Glamorgan Gower|
|Channing Francis Allston||Levy, Maurice||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Lewis, John Herbert||Tomkinson, James|
|Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan||Lloyd-George, David||Toulmin, George|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||M'Crae, George||Watson, Eugene|
|Duncan, J. Hastings||M'Kenna, Reginald||Weir, James Galloway|
|Edwards, Frank||Mansfield, Horace Rendall||White, George (Norfolk)|
|Elibank, Master of||Mather, Sir William||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Ellis, John Edward||Moss, Samuel||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth|
|Emmott, Alfred||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan||Palmer, Sir Charles M.(Durham||Woodhouse, Sir J.T(Huddersf'd|
|Fenwick, Charles||Palmer, George Wm. (Reading||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Fitzunaurice, Lord Edmond||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Philipps, John Wynford||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Grant, Corrie||Rigg, Richard||Mr. Luke White and Mr.|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Roberts, John Byrn (Eifion)||Henry J. Wilson.|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Bignold, Arthur||Champman, Edward|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Blundell, Colonel Henry||Charrington, Spencer|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Cocharne, Hon. Thos. H.A.E|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Brown, Alexander H. (Shropsh.||Cohen, Benjamin Louis|
|Arrol, Sir William||Brymer, William Ernest||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Bull, William James||Carnborne, Viscount|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Campbell, Rt Hn J.A. (Glasgow||Dalrymple, Sir Charles|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Carew, James Laurence||Denny, Colonel|
|Balcarres, Lord||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw H.||Dickson-Poyner, Sir John P.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Cavendish, V.C.W. (Derbyshire||Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. Gerald W (Leeds||Chamberlain, Rt Hon. J. (Brim.||Doughty, George|
|Barry, Sir Francis T. (Windsor)||Chamberlain, Rt Hn J.A. (Worc.||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Doxford, Sir William Theodore|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Kennedy, Patrick James||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Fgerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Kenyon, Hn. Geo. T. (Denbight)||Ridley, Hn. M. W (Stalybridge|
|Fellowes, Hon, Ailwyn Edward||Knowles, Lees||Roberts, Samuel (Sheflield)|
|Fergusson, Rt Hn Sir J (Manch'r||Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Lawson, John Grant||Ropner, Colonel Robert|
|Finch, George H.||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Royes, Clement Molyneux|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Rutherford, John|
|Fishier, William Hayes||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Fison, Frederick William||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon||Long, Rt, Hn. Walter (Btristol, S.||Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln|
|Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Seely, Maj. J. E. B.(Isle of Wight|
|Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Lowther, Rt. Hon. James (Kent||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Flower, Ernest||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.|
|Forster, Henry William||Lucas, Reginald J.(Portsmouth||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans)||Macartney, Rt Hn. W.G. Ellison||Strutt, Hon. Charles Henley|
|Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick||Macdona, John Cumming||Talbot, Rt Hn. J.G.(Oxf'd Univ.|
|Gore. Hon. S. F. Ormsby-(Linc.||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Maxwell, W J H (Dumfriesshire||Thompson, Dr EC (Monagh'n, N|
|Greene, Sir E. W. (B'ry SEdm'nds||Middlemore, John Throgmort'n||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Gretton, John||Milvain, Thomas||Tomlinson, Sir. Wm. Edw. M.|
|Groves, James Grimble||Morrell, George Herbert||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas. F.||Mount, William Arthur||Tully, Jasper|
|Hamilton, Rt Hn Lord G (Midd'x||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Welby, Lt.-Col. ACE (Taunton|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hon, Robert Wm.||Murray, Rt. Hn A. Graham (Bute||Welby, Sir Charles G.E. (Notts.)|
|Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashf'rd||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath||Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd|
|Hare, Thomas Leigh||Myers, William Henry||Whiteley, H (Ashton un [...] Lyne|
|Harris, Frederick Leverton||O'Dohercy, William||Williams, Rt Hn J Powell-(Birm|
|Haslett, Sir James Horner||Orr-Ewing. Charles Lindsay||Wodehouse, Rt Hon. E.R. (Bath|
|Healy, Timothy Michael||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Worsley-Taylor, Henry Wilson|
|Health, Arthur Howard (Hanley||Pemberton, John S. G.||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C.B. Stuart|
|Higginbottom, S.W.||Pilkington, Lieut.-Col. Richard||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Hoare, Sir Samuel||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Hobhouse, Henry (Somerset, E.)||Plummer, Walter R.||Wyndbam-Quin, Major W.H.|
|Hope, J.F. (Sheffield, Brightside||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Horner, Frederick William||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Hoult, Joseph||Purvis, Robert||TELEERS FOE THE NOES—|
|Hudson, George Bickerteths||Pym, C. Guy||Sir Alexander Acland-|
|Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse||Randles, John S.||Hood and Mr. Ansturhter.|
|Johnstone, Heywood||Rattigan, Sir William Henry|
Question, "That those words be there inserted," put and agreed to.
§ SIR ALFRED THOMAS (Glamorganshire, E.)
moved to leave out sub-Section (6), which is as follows—In wales and Monmouthshire any county governing body constituted under a scheme Made in pursuance of the Welsh Intermediate Education Act, 1859, shall he the education committee under this Act of the council of the county or county borough, unless any other scheme is proposed by the council.and to insert the new sub-Section standing in his name. Those with whom he was closely identified fully appreciated the compliment paid them by the Government in respect of the admirable work done by the existing bodies in Wales, so far as the administration of the Technical Instruction Act was concerned, but he wished strongly to urge that they preferred that all education in Wales should come under one authority. The object of the Amendment was to avoid dual control. In Wales they should have one authority-dealing with every section of education.
766 Amendment proposed—In page 5, line 16, to leave out sub-Sect ion (6), and insert: (6) 'Any scheme for establishing an education committee of the council of any county or county borough in Wales or of the county of Monmouth or county borough of New port, s provide that the county governing body constituted under The Welsh Intermediate Education Act, 1589, for any such county or county borough shall cease to exist, and shall make such provision as appears necessary or expedient for the transfer of the powers, duties, property and liabilities of any such body to the local education authority under this Act, and for making the provisions of this section applicable to the exercise by the local education authority of the powers so transferred.'"—(Sir Alfred Thomas.)
§ Question proposed "That sub-Section (6) stand part of the Clause."
§ (3.0.) MR. A. BALFOUR
said that as the Committee was aware, and as the hon. Gentleman had stated, sub-Section (6) was inserted in order to meet what were supposed to be the views of the Welsh Members in regard to bodies that had done admirable service for education in Wales in the past. Of course, the Government could not but welcome any 767 change in the Bill that would put Wales in the same position as England in regard to education; and in the circumstances he would be glad, on behalf of the Government, to accept the Amendment.
§ MR. HUMPHREYS-OWEN (Montgomeryshire)
said he was sorry to have to introduce a discordant note. The change, however, which was proposed was of a much more serious character than many hon. Members imagined. The constitution of the bodies to which the right hon. Gentleman had referred in such generous terms, and which would be endorsed by all who were acquainted with the Welsh system, differed from the constitution of the education committees to be established by the Bill. The Committee might perhaps remember that he moved the omission of sub-Section (b) of Clause 12, which provided for the appointment by the council, on the nomination, where it appeared desirable, of other bodies, of persons of experience in education, and of persons acquainted with the needs of various kinds of schools. The county governing body in Wales which carried out the Welsh Intermediate system was constituted on somewhat similar lines; but there was one serious difference. The appointing bodies under the Welsh Intermediate Education Act were all of an undenominational unsectarian character. From a Return recently issued on the Motion of his hon. friends the Member for Denbigh Boroughs, it would be seen that the great majority of the members of the county governing bodies were appointed by the County Councils, the minority, representing other interests, being appointed by the educational bodies or by public bodies; and, in every case, with two or three exceptions, the educational body was the University College, the School Board, and not the manages of non-provided schools. It came out very clearly in the discussion on Clause 12 that it was the intention of the Government to have representatives of denominations on the education committees, as well as representatives of denominations on the education committees, as well as representatives of public bodies; whereas, under the Welsh system, which entirely excluded anything like sectarianism, there was absolutely no religious test 768 whatever imposed. This had not prevented harmonious co-operation between Churchmen and Non-conformists. Indeed, the Bishop of St. David's had rendered most valuable services educationally, not only on the body with which he was connected, but also generally. Under the Welsh system, all denominational trouble was excluded from the schools; but now that policy was about to be reversed by the Government. If he had anything to do with the new Act, he would say frankly that he would gladly do his best to work it; but he looked forward with the gravest apprehension to working a denominational, system, in that way. It might work well in Wales. The number of denominational institutions was considerable; and if the policy of subsidising one religious body were adopted, the claims of other religious bodies would be irresistible. He could conceive no worse fate for education than that. He would not discuss the larger question as to how far undenominational education was hostile to religion. The question did not arise in Wales, because, whatever else might be said of that country, it could not be denied that it was predominantly religious; and no such trouble as was apprehended by hon. Gentlemen opposite would occur there. To abolish bodies with such a record, and which, not merely by the members who composed them, but by the manner in which they were constituted, were admirably suited for educational work would, he thought, be a very great mistake. He would conclude with an appeal to the Prime Minister. They all recognised the right hon. Gentleman's courtesy, and the manner in which he had conducted the debates on the Bill. They had had a few differences of opinion, which, however, did not interfere with their mutual respect. He was quite certain that the right hon. Gentleman did not desire to cause more friction or more trouble, or more administrative inconvenience than was absolutely necessary, and he therefore appealed to his hon. friend the Chairman of the Welsh Party, to whom he was sorry to find himself in opposition, to allow the 769 withdrawal of the Amendment, and to the right hon. Gentleman to withdraw his acceptance of it. The withdrawal of the Amendment would still leave the County Councils with the fullest control of the county governing bodies. If a County Council felt that a county governing body was not capable of carrying out the additional work would be imposed on it under the Bill, they had only to go to the Board of Education; and if, on the other hand, the Council were satisfied that the county governing body could administer elementary as well as secondary education, then the Bill would operate in the way that it now proposed. He would appeal to his hon. friend and to the right hon. Gentleman to allow the Amendment to be withdrawn.
MR. BRYNMOR JONES (Swansea, District)
said he need hardly state that any observations with regard to Welsh education, and to the system now in existence for some years, which were made by his hon. friend the Member for Montgomery, would be listened to with the utmost respect by hon. Members on that side of the House, and, he believed, by hon. Gentlemen opposite also. His hon. friend had, since the Central Board was set up under the Welsh Intermediate Education Act, ably presided over it; and the recent Report which was published showed what admirable strides had been made in regard to secondary and higher education in Wales during the last few years. But he thought his hon. friend was hardly justified in some of the observations which he had made with regard to the Amendment. The matter was not free from complexity and difficulty, and he admitted that it was only with reluctance that he would support the Amendment of his hon. friend the Member for East Glamorgan. As the matter was one of some complexity, he might be allowed to ask the Attorney General whether the construction he would put on sub-Section 6 as it stood, and upon its effect, was or was not correct. The sub-Section stated that in Wales and Monmouthshire any county governing body constituted under a scheme made in pursuance of the Welsh Intermediate Education Act, 1889, should be the education committee, under the Act, of the Council of the County or 770 County Borough, unless any other scheme was proposed by the Council. Therefore, if the sub-Section were allowed to stand there would be two alternatives. One was that the county governing body became automatically the education committee under the Act. These bodies were made under the Act of 1889 conjointly with the Endowed Schools Act of 1869, and they dealt not simply with the rate that the County Councils were empowered to levy under the Act of 1889, but with schemes in reference to endowed schools and also considerable property under an arrangement with the Charity Commissioners. All these schemes went through the proceedings involved by the Endowed Schools Act; and had virtually the force of statutes. These county governing bodies were arranged not for elementary education but for secondary education. They were bodies which were not adapted to deal with the work which the education committees under this Bill would have to do. As he understood the effect of Clause 12 and the preceding Clauses of the Bill, the education committees would be practically doing the work which the School Board did at the present time. They would did at the present time. They would have to appoint the teachers, and in South Wales and Monmouthshire there were no fewer than 2,591 teachers in elementary schools who objected to be placed under the control of the county governing body. So much for the first alternative. He did not doubt that the county governing bodies would do their duty to elementary education, as they had done it to secondary education, but if he was asked whether they would do the work the School Boards were doing now, his answer would be in the negative. The other alternative was that if "any other scheme" was proposed by the county governing body—that was a scheme under this Bill—there would be a new education committee, which would deal not only with elementary but also with higher or secondary education. Thus there would be a double authority. Therefore Wales was placed in a dilemma. His original view was that it would be better to leave out sub-Section 6, but there were grave objections to taking that course, and he thought the Amendment of the hon. 771 Member for East Glamorgan would be the best course to pursue, in order to preserve the Welsh system.
MR. KENYON (Denbigh)
said he was happy to think there was no very great difference of opinion between hon. Members on this question. The Prime Minister had tried to meet the wishes of hon. Gentlemen opposite, and the course he proposed would obviate any difficulty that might arise under the sub-Section as it now stood. It was said the sub-Section should be deleted altogether. He did not think there was much to choose between the two courses, but whichever was adopted, it should go forth that it was not adopted from any feeling that the county governing bodies should cease to exist by reason of their failure to do the work which had been entrusted to them. There could be but one opinion as to those bodies which had done their work admirably. That statement might not commend itself to the noble Lord the Member for Greenwich, whose appreciation of the Celtic fringe was not Ins strong point, but, with the exception of the noble Lord, there was no person who could say that, from first to last, these county governing bodies had not devoted themselves entirely to the improvement of education. He hoped in the future that would be put to their credit, and that whatever happened many members of these bodies might become members of the new bodies to be created by this Bill.
§ MR. MOSS (Denbighshire, E.)
said several reasons had been advanced in favour of this Amendment. First of all, it was said that there would be a double authority, and secondly, that these authorities would have to do the work of the present School Boards. He did not think there would be a divided authority, neither did he anticipate—there would be any difficulty in the county governing-bodies discharging the duties of the School Boards, because by Section 15, the education committee had power to delegate to district or parish councils or other local bodies, the duties which it would have to discharge under this Bill. He saw no difficulty in the way of the county governing bodies of Wales discharging their duties under this Bill, 772 and therefore he hoped his hon. friend would see his way to withdrawing his Amendment. No one who had any knowledge at all of the constitution and work of the county governing bodies could wish to see them destroyed, but if another body under this Bill was introduced into Wales and the county governing bodies were eliminated, an element would be introduced which would be altogether different from the Act of 1889. He thought if this Amendment were accepted, it would be contrary to the opinion of the great majority of the people of Wales, and that it would introduce into the Councils those denominational elements which would be very irritating to the people of the Principality. It was suggested that under the Amendment the County Councils would have the selection of the new bodies, but nothing in sub-Section (6) deprived the Welsh County Councils of the powers conferred on English County Councils by the Bill. The county governing authorities were only to be the education committees in the event of the County Councils not deciding otherwise, so that if the County Councils chose they could at once exercise all the powers and duties given under this Clause, so that the Amendment was comparatively valueless. If this Amendment were carried, and the Act of 1889 was permitted to remain in force, he did not know but what there might be two bodies in conflict. They knew exactly where they were with the county governing-bodies, but they did not know where they would be under the Bill. Upon the education committee were to be persons nominated by bodies which were not defined, but which might be denominational, whereas there were no representatives of purely religious bodies on the county governing bodies in Wales. Those authorities had done excellent work for ten or twelve years; people of all shades of political and religious opinion acknowledged that the present arrangement had worked harmoniously, and it would be a great pity to abolish bodies which had done such excellent work.
§ (3.35.) MR. BRYN ROBERTS (Carnarvonshire,) Eifion
appealed to his hon. friend to withdraw the Amendment. At 773 first he was enamoured of the proposal to have one authority, but on further consideration he was convinced of its dangers. The present system had worked exceedingly well. He did not say there had never been criticism on the constitution of any of the county governing bodies, but there was certainly no strong body of opinion at all hostile to them or to the way in which they had administered the Welsh intermediate Education Act. Under this proposal they were not exchanging one animal tested and examined for another similarly tested and examined; they were exchanging one tested for a pig in a poke, and as yet they did not know what shape the creature would eventually assume. If the scheme was to be framed primarily by the County Council, he would be disposed to accept it, but it was to be approved by the Education Department, and if the Department disagreed with the County Council, it was to be framed exclusively by the Department. It would be better not to make such a vast experiment so suddenly. Further, the schemes for the carrying out of the Act would be subject to the education committee, and in the last resort to the control of the County Council. That was a great safeguard so far as elementary education was concerned, because, even if a bad scheme were adopted and unsuitable persons pitch-forked on to the committee, that committee would be subject, in regard to matters of elementary education, to revision and control in every respect by the County Council. But the action of that same committee would not be subject so far as the Intermediate Education Act of 1889 was concerned. That point had been completely overlooked. They were not so much afraid of the proposal as affecting elementary education, because they had confidence in their County Councils, but to make the Education Committee supreme in the other matters would be going much too hurriedly, and he therefore asked his hon. friend to withdraw the Amendment so that the matter might be further considered.
§ Question put, and negatived.774
§ Question proposed, "That Clause 12 as amended stand part of the Bill."
§ MR. WHITLEY
said that since the discussion on the early part of the Clause he had taken the opinion of those most qualified to speak on matters of municipal and county government with respect to the effect of the provision that questions should "stand referred" to the education committee, and they confirmed his contention that the words would deprive the municipal or county authority of the power of dealing with any educational question except through the education committee. If a member gave notice of a desire to raise some broad question of educational policy, such as that insufficient attention was given to manual training in the schools, the words "stand referred" would compel the chairman of the authority to rule the resolution out of order. There would be nothing to compel the education committee to present a report upon such a question as that. With the words "stand referred" in the Clause the authority had no power at all, for it could only act by means of its education committee, and any group of ratepayers could not have direct access to the ear of the supreme authority. He thought the Attorney General might give further consideration to that matter and bring up some modification of the phrase, so that the authority should be supreme and not handicapped in that way. Then there was the question of nomination where it appeared desirable. In the composition of Technical Instruction Committees that plan had been tried and failed. There was no possibility of drawing any reasonable line as to what bodies should have a right of nominating. When the Chamber of Commerce claimed the right to nominate a member, the Labour Trades Council would also claim a similar right, and the thing would grow, to such an extent that every local body would demand a representative, and the Council would be compelled to say that they would not appoint anybody except individuals qualified for the work, and refuse to have any outside nominations. This system of nomination had been tried and failed.
§ (3.50.) SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT (Monmouthshire, W.)
said that before they parted from Clause 12 he wished to make an appeal to the Government to alter its present shape before they came to the Report stage. If this Bill passed, he was sure that everybody would desire that it should he made workable. Setting aside the general principles for which they had contended, it was, in his opinion, impossible that the constitution of the committee of the County Councils could work if the provision stood as it remained at present. These County Councils would be called upon to form their schemes for their own committees, which would be the executive body of the County Council. They would form their scheme, and no doubt they would form it in accordance with their own judgment and the wishes of their constituencies, and they would have the right and power under their own scheme to carry out their own work according to their own view. That would be the natural condition of things. But what was to become of this scheme when it was formed? It was to he sent to an outside body, namely, the Education Department in Whitehall, for review and to obtain their consent; and what was this body going to do with the scheme of the County Council? Under the Bill they were to have an inquiry. The Council would nominate such persons as they thought desirable. But the Council might not desire to appoint. In this case there must be a conflict between the two bodies. They started with a dual authority. They had heard a good deal about a single authority, but the moment this Council met, it made its scheme and another authority was brought in to revise. They had totally changed the character of that body.
Let them consider how the thing worked, because really this was a question as to whether or not this scheme was going to be workable. They started by inviting the County Council to appoint its own committee. It would form its scheme and then it would be subject to revision and possibly to the overruling of another authority in respect to its constitution. If it appeared desirable to the Board of Education they would settle whom the rest of the committee was to consist of. He could not help saying again that this 776 would be a great indignity to the Council, and they were starting their plan in a shape which was absolutely unworkable. No County Council would accept a scheme of that character. What was going to happen to their scheme? The words were that the Board of Education "may" have an inquiry. An inquiry for whom? What character was that inquiry to be? Was anybody to be able to come before the inquiry and say, "I have a right to be on the committee of the County Council?" This Inquiry was to be initiated not by the County Council, but by the Board of Education, and yet it was to overrule the County Council. They had entrusted technical instruction to the County Council, and they had not in the past imposed upon them conditions of that character, hut judgment. They were to have co-optation at the option of the County Council, but who was going to judge as to who were to he co-opted? It was quite plain under this Clause that it was not County Council who would have the power of co-opting outside members. They would have a number of competing sects coming forward, all claiming to he upon the committee under the scheme, and the Board of Education would have to hold an inquiry into the matter. It would then, as he understood, be for the Education Department to amend the scheme, or to insist on the scheme being altered by the County Council according to their view of the various bodies claiming to be put on the committee. He ventured to urge upon the Government that before the Bill became law they should alter this condition of things, for he was perfectly certain that if the Board of Education forced on to the committee denominational representatives who were not desired by the local education authority, they would embroil the authority in religious difficulties at the very starting point. If the First Lord would tell the Committee that he did not mean that an outside authority should insist upon putting denominational representatives on this committee whether the County Council desired them or not, the objection he had made would be removed to a certain degree, but so sure as an outside authority 777 attempted to put denominational representatives on the committee without the consent of the Council so surely would they cause a conflict at once and make the carrying out of the scheme impossible.
There were many members of the County Councils who were not favourable to undertaking this work at all. On the 5th of November this year the Right Hon. Lord Tredegar was in the Chair at a meeting of the County Council of Monmouth, when, by a large majority, a motion with reference to this Bill was carried, the concluding words being "that they respectfully inform the Government that if passed in its present shape, this Council cannot be responsible for its administration." Surely it was of interest to disarm this hostility so far as they could on the part of the County Councils. If this Bill were presented to them in a shape which practically took away from them the authority they were in the habit w exercising in the selection of their own committees, and if they were exposed to having their schemes overruled, they would not be very willing to undertake the work proposed to be imposed upon them by the Bill. He read sub-Section (b) as con erring a power to impose on them that which they had not chosen, they did not wish, and that which they would be very likely to resist. What would be the situation then of the education authority? There was no secret about it. What this meant was that denominational people were to be put on the committee, possibly against the wish of a Council which was not denominational. That was a most dangerous thing, and it was a thing which would make the Bill unworkable. He hoped that before the Clause came up again on Report the Government would reconsider the matter.
There was one other point he should like to refer to, and that was the way in which the Council were placed with regard to their authority, which the Government said was supreme. In this it would be very well if the Government thought fit to make some modification. The Clause provided that the County Council, which was the supreme authority, should not exercise any of the powers it possessed until it had consulted this Committee, except in cases of urgency. 778 That was limiting the authority of the Council. Why was the Council not to have the power this House had of instructing its Committees? They should have power to instruct the committee in the general principles on which they desired the committee to act, leaving the details to the committee If the Councils were to be supreme, how could Parliament say that they were not to have authority to instruct their committees? It seemed to him that in this Clause they were cribbing and confining the Council to a degree which would destroy their authority and deprive them of the representative character which was claimed for them. The real representative authority should do the work which was confided to them. He believed the Government would make the Bill a great deal more workable if they took the shackles off the County Council which the Bill in its present shape imposed on them. That would do a great deal to remove the difficulties and objections which were strongly felt to the Bill. Above all, he implored the Government not to throw out this apple of religious discord at the beginning of the proceedings by imposing denominational nominees on the education committee.
§ (4.8.) Mr. A. J. BALFOUR
I feel that it is due to the right hon. Gentleman to say a few words in answer to the speech he has made, and I will make these words as few as possible, partly because we have really discussed in Committee all the points he has raised in the speech we have just heard, and also because I think there are gentlemen in the House who are anxious to pass on to the consideration of the next Clause. I, of course, echo the wish with which the right hon. Gentleman concluded his speech. With him I earnestly deprecate the intrusion of religious controversy in these questions of education. I have kept them out as much as I can, but it cannot be done completely, I am afraid. I really do think, though I am not over sanguine, that if this Bill is given a fair chance it will be found by everybody, whatever the prevailing colour of his religious opinion, to work without any undue friction, or causing any undue religious bitterness. The right hon. Gentleman had a right to suppose that 779 everybody concerned in this matter would be as unreasonable as possible. I agree that it is legitimate to put forward an extreme case. Let the Committee remember that it is an extreme case which the right hon. Gentleman has put forward. He supposed that the education authority would go to loggerheads with the Education Department; that they would send up scheme after scheme to the Education Department for approval, and that the Education Department would time after time refuse that approval until the machinery of a Provisional Order was called in, and the assent of this House was asked to a scheme not proposed by the education authority but initiated from Whitehall. I do not think that will happen. That is an extreme, and, I venture to say, an extravagant case; but even if we do assume it, remember that this Clause, in its present form, makes it perfectly clear that however recalcitrant the education committee may be it is the education authority that will be supreme. Suppose that it did happen that a scheme was forced on them unwillingly by the House of Commons; the County Council are supreme. They may not listen to the advice of the education committee; they need not take their counsel; they are the judges of whether a case is one of urgency and whether the education committee are to be permitted to deal with it at the beginning. In these circumstances it does seem to me that the supremacy of the popularly elected body is absolutely secured by the Bill in its present form, and I trust when that is realised more completely than now, in those districts of the country where this Bill is looked upon with the greatest hostility, they will feel that popular control in its full sense is a great reality, and that they will endeavour, as Englishmen usually do endeavour, to make the best of the scheme, even if it is not the scheme which they themselves would desire.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
May I ask one question? Would it not be in the power of the County Council to constitute the committee entirely from its own members to carry out their own work, without any other persons being foisted upon them? That, I think, would be a fair test of their supremacy.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
No, Sir, they would not, because a friend of the right hon. Gentleman put in a sub-Section which makes it absolutely obligatory that we should not rely upon the casual charity of County Councils, but should insist that one woman should be on the committee.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
I except the woman. Apart from that, might they appoint a committee exclusively of their own members?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Barring the woman! That seems to me to be rather a large exception. No doubt they could send to the Education Department a scheme which included only members of the County Council.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Of course they would not; I do not think that they would ever do it. [OPOSITION cries of "Look at sub-Section (b)"] If the Committee asks me whether that is a very desirable plan, I should not be prepared to say, and what view the Education Department would take of it, I cannot, of course, say; but in that respect I think the matter is perfectly clear. I hope I will not be considered to have treated the right hon. Gentleman with scant courtesy. I have given a sufficient reply for the moment, considering the occasion, and I hope the Committee will consent to embody the scheme, as amended, in this Bill.
§ MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)
said he would point out a matter which was of the greatest importance—viz., that sub-Section (b) was imperative. It said that every—such scheme would provide…for the appointment by the Coup on the nomination, where it appears desirable, of other bodies, of persons of experience in education, and of persons acquainted with the needs of the various kinds of schools in the area for which the Council acts.These words seemed to impose on the Board of Education that in making a scheme in accordance with the requirements of the Bill the committee must contain persons appointed by the local 781 body. He must remark, in regard to what the right hon. Gentleman had said, that he did not think any difficulty would incur, that the right hon. Gentleman should remember that in these schemes the last word was with the Board of Education. It was they that were to decide. It was all very well for the County Council to make suggestions, but the Board of Education could overrule. There were some important parts of this Clause which had never been discussed at all. One of these was the provision for the creation of "other bodies, of persons experienced in education, and of persons acquainted with the needs of various kinds of schools in the area for which the Council acts." Now, that proposal was justified on the ground that experts were wanted on these committees; but there were good experts mid bad experts. The worst kind of expert, however, was the expert who had an axe to grind, and that kind of expert seemed to be contemplated by this Clause. What they gathered from the attitude of the Government that day, was that persons were to be put on the committee to represent particular interests of their own. Could any simpler method be employed of importing dissensions into these bodies than that persons were to be appointed on them, not to promote a common object, but a particular object which he was sent to promote? The County Councils had many faults, but they had one merit, that the members were elected on general considerations because they were the men who commended themselves to their fellow-citizens. That was a principle which this Clause denied and over-ruled, and on that ground alone the Committee should object to it. There was another part of the Clause which had passed without discussion, and that was the provision for passing a scheme by means of a Provisional Order. He thought that that method was eminently unsuited to the case. Still more important was the provision of sub-Section 3, which directed that any scheme might provide for the constitution of separate education committees for any area within a county. Now, that was a provision which would he largely taken advantage of, but how would it work? The right hon. 782 Gentleman took refuge in the argument that the deciding voice would rest with the County Council and not with the local committees. Take the case of Devonshire. Any one who knew that county must be aware that it would be quite impossible for the County Council at Exeter to exercise a direct and constant supervision over the whole of that county. He apprehended that the County Council would appoint a local committee for the north-west district Okehampton, for the south-east district another committee at Bampton, and for the south-west district still another committee at Kings-wear or Dartmouth. How would that work in with the system which the right hon. Gentleman contemplated under this Clause? They could not find a sufficient number of county councillors to constitute a majority on these local committees, and the consequence would be that the County Councils would practically have to devolve on these local committees the great bulk of its work, and that work would be very heavy. It would be impossible for the County Council at Exeter to keep abreast with what was being done by these local committees, to nave that knowledge of their proceeding, or of the local requirements of the separate areas which would enable them to deal with all the questions constantly arising. The consequence would be that the County Council would be obliged to ratify the decisions of the local committees, and that these local committees would do the work which, in the view of the right hon. Gentleman, the County Council was set to do. He felt that if they tried to body forth the actual working of the system proposed by the right hon. Gentleman, it would he found that it must be entirely different from that which was in the too sanguine mind of the right hon. Gentleman. He felt very strongly that if the Committee had been able to discuss this subsequent Clause relating to the local committees they would have introduced most valuable and important Amendments into it. They had, however, lost that opportunity. Wherever they had had the opportunity of discussion they had succeeded in transforming a Clause, or of bringing in a new Clause altogether, which, by the common consent of the Committee, was a great deal better than the original 783 Clause. They would be deprived of that opportunity now, and in the future, and therefore he parted with this Clause not, he was afraid, in a very sanguine spirit. He parted with it with a sense of the imperfection which the Bill would have if it did not receive that thorough, complete, and searching investigation in Committee which its importance required. He believed that from time to time they should have more and more occasion to regret that proper time had not been given for the discussion of this crude and imperfect measure.
§ (4.30.) MR. BRIGG (Yorkshire, W. R., Keighley)
pointed out that, though the County Council would have a very large amount of new work placed upon them under this Bill, there was no provision of money for that purpose. They were now called upon to deal with evening schools and the education of teachers, and no provision had been made for that. It would be impossible in his opinion to carry out these duties unless there was money provided. He also suggested the desirability of the local education authority having power under the Charitable Trusts Act, with regard to, the submission of schemes.
MR. .SAMUEL EVANS
did not think that the Prime Minister or the Committee could complain of the short discussion on this Clause. It was the turning point of the whole Bill, and if the Clause was not workable the Bill would hot be workable. No doubt the intention of the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister was that under this Clause the .new education authority, should be supreme, and if that was the real state of things no, one would be dissatisfied but nothing of that kind was provided in the Clause. As the Clause now stood, the position was this, that the education, committee was a committee which had been created for the first time, and for yfIrch0ere no precedent. There were all kinds of, committees under our system of local government, the powers, of which ranged from something very nominal and advisory to practical in dependence, in relation to the authorities out of which they were carved. There was nothing in this Clause to say in what position this Committee stood, yet this 784 was the machine that was to work the Bill. There was nothing to show how the machinery was to work. It was impossible to show where there was any control over these committees except in, the power to raise a rate. It had been said that the power of spending money would remain with the County Council, but that did not appear to be so in this Clause. The local education authorities could not delegate the power of making a rate or raising money, but there was nothing in the Clause which vested the spending power entirely in them. The education committee could still spend the money and call upon the County Council to raise a rate for the purpose of paying it. He challenged the Attorney General to point out where there was any indication at all of any power over these committees. There was no doubt that the Bill, when drafted, contemplated very much greater power being given to these committees, than it was now suggested they should possess. It was intended that the drafting should be so vague as to enable these committees to have the great power that it was desired they should have, but the opinion of the Government had been changed owing to the pressure put upon them. They had an instance of how these committees were going to work, because an Amendment had been moved which provided that these education committees should stand upon the same basis as all other County Council Committees, but the Government refused to accept it. If a pledge had been given that they should not be able to spend money, where was the difficulty in accepting that Amendment? The right hon. Gentleman had expressed his opinion that something of the kind ought to be done, but he said it ought to be done in the schedules. The-right hon. Gentleman was asked to pledge himself that it should be done in the schedules, but he declined, to do so. That alone should make the House pause before accepting the Clause as it stood, and if they accepted it they should consider it very seriously before they came to the Report stage. As to the constitution of the, committee, the plan of the Government was not co-optation. It simply forced the County Council to go outside their own body in order to get people to administer the Act as members 785 of the education committee. He contended that the "other bodies" intended in this Clause were the diocesan as sociations. In the event of a County Council refusing to alter a scheme, in accordance with the directions of the Education Department, recourse would be had to a Provisional Order, so that by this procedure the last word would not be with the Department, as they had been told it would be, but with the House of Lords. By this means might be enforced against the wish of the local authority, giving rise to constant friction undesirable in the interests of education.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
made an appeal to the Committee that the debate upon this Clause should be reduced into the narrowest compass, in order that the Committee might get to Clause on which he understood many hon. Members desired to speak.
§ SIR JOHN BRUNNER (Cheshire, Northwich)
said it was inherent in the constitution of a Committee of a local governing authority that it had power to appoint sub-committees; the education committee, therefore, would have that power. Many County Councils would find it would be infinitely more convenient to appoint one education committee than a number of such committees.
§ SIR JOHN BRUNNER
asked whether that being so, it was in the power of an education committee to co-opt for the sub-committees. The amount of extra work thrown on County Councils by this Bill was very large, and would be found to be irksome unless they were allowed to bring to the service of the sub-committees, through the power of co-optation, all the local experience and local goodwill possible.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON (Dundee)
asked the Secretary to the Board of Education, assuming that the Clause would give the Education Department the power to insist on the representation of 786 diocesan or other bodies, what policy the Department proposed to pursue? The hon. Gentleman was after all, the gentleman who would have to see to the working of this Measure, and, that being so, be (Mr. Robertson) would like to know what he intended to do. Had he considered this question? Would the Department force sectarian representation, or would they leave a Council a free hand?
§ SIR WILLIAM MATHER (Lancashire, Rossendale)
said the Committee had been informed by the Prime Minister that the School Board system was, so far as the authority was concerned, a very complicated system. The right hon. Gentleman had referred in strong language to the absurdity of the Cumulative Vote, and he had claimed for this Bill a simpler form of administration. By the present proposals there would be more circumlocution and more processes to go through before the authority was constituted than had ever been connected with the School Board system. He could not but believe that there was some other ground for the Government proposing so difficult a plan than the simple question of the administration of education as a whole. There was not that motive power in the Clause which would enable education to be carried on in the future so well as in the past. A process of filtration through all these bodies was to go on, with the result, he feared, that no one would be responsible for efficient education in any school area in the country. Up to the present the School Boards had been so responsible, and because there had been a great motive power at the back of their working—pride in the knowledge of the subject and the determination to make their schools the glory of the district—they had erected a standard of education which had been the admiration of the world. Where, under this Clause, was there any motive power to cause such a condition of things to continue? The Government appeared to have mistaken altogether the purpose of the Bill in this Clause. What was required was a greater motive power than before—in fact, an inspiration on the part of some to raise the quality of our education—at any rate to a standard equal to that prevailing in many other countries. While the Committee were 787 speaking so much about provisos and checks they were whittling away the only force now existing—the sense of responsibility and the knowledge of the subject—and constituting a local education authority which would be a myth or shadow, having no power over its committee when constituted, nor that motive force which would enable it to do its work well. He was unable to conceive why the Government, from an administrative point of view, should have so complicated the constitution of the authority. In the Netherlands the system was simplicity itself. They had there the same vexed question as here; the denominational feeling was very strong; but the law provided that schools should be found for all the children without distinction, and the whole of the system was carried out by the mayor of the town, an alderman of the Council, two or three councillors and a secretary. That was the whole administrative authority, and at its discretion it could constitute sub-committees and delegate to them certain powers with regard to details. He should despair of ever arriving at that state of things under this Bill; there would be no motive force at the back of education, and on these administrative grounds he strongly protested against the Clause.
§ (5.8) MR. LLOYD-GEORGE (Carnarvon) Boroughs
asked, supposing provision was made in each county in Wales, on the nomination of the representatives upon the joint body, for the purpose of supervising primary education throughout the whole of Wales, whether that would come within sub-Section (3). Could the provisions of the Central Board be extended for primary education under that sub-Section, and representation upon that body provided for?
§ THE SECRETARY OF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION (Sir WILLIAM ANSON,) Oxford University
That would be possible under sub-Section (3).
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
then pointed out that, with regard to the county governing bodies now to be abolished, there was a provision for the representation of School Boards, and he asked how 788 the School Boards as constituent bodies would be represented now the School Boards were to be abolished? On the advisory body there would be, say, twenty-seven members, of whom fourteen would be appointed by the County Council, who would represent the School Boards or the provided schools in nominating their quota of the remaining Board members Provision was made for the representation of the voluntary schools. But voluntary schools were in a minority in Wales, and was provision to be made for the representation of the minority while none was made for that of the majority?
§ SIR WILLIAM ANSON
was understood to say that the local education authority would have to make provision for the representation of persons interested in the education of the children within the area. They would choose their own method, and if the School Board managers thought it was not the best that could be suggested they would make their suggestion, first to the local authority, and then, if necessary, to the Board of Education, who would bring the matter back to the local authority and ask them to reconsider their decision.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
said that was rather important. He wanted to know the view of the hon. Gentleman because powers of legislation were being entrusted to him with regard to these schemes. Would the representatives of the local authority he regarded in the future as the representatives of the provided schools, because if so, popular representation was being cut down in favour of the denominational schools. As he understood the hon. Gentleman, in addition to the representatives of the local authority, he would insist on the provided schools being represented—
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
said that was just the difficulty. The Committee were passing a clause without knowing exactly what was in the mind of the hon. Gentleman. The representation of the voluntary schools was to be insisted on, and the 789 Committee were entitled to know whether the hon. Gentleman would insist also on the representation of the provided schools. Then there was the question of proportion. Was it the intention to swamp the county authorities with representatives of the sectarian schools? What was the notion of the Government with regard to the respective proportions? As the education committee had been converted into a committee of the County Council it was essential for the success of any scheme that there should be confidence between the committee and the body to which it had to report.
§ MR. HELME (Lancashire, Lancaster)
said if it was to he understood that the Board of Education must have the final voice in the constitution of the scheme appointing the Education Committee instead of the County Council, then in that case under heading (b) of sub-Section 2, if the Government would consent to alter the words they would thereby very materially lessen the opposition to this Clause. He asked the Government to consider whether, on the Report Stage, they could not rearrange the words to read—For the appointment by the Council, where it appears to it desirable, on the nomination of other bodies.That would give to the Council the right to decide how far it was necessary to go outside its own body to secure a fair and real representation of those interests which it I was the object of the Government to include. He would refer to the statement just made by the Prime Minister that a scheme might be presented by a local authority almost entirely composed of members of the County Council, and this, if representative of other bodies, might be approved by the Board of Education, so he would ask that the words, "Appointment by the Council of at least a majority of the committee," should be so amended as to convey clearly that the County Councils might exercise their own discretion and choose how many co-opted members it should have. Take the Lancashire County Council, which had over 100 members. There the Technical Instruction Committee had worked well together in the past. They had on the committee the Ven. Archdeacon of Blackburn and also a well-known parish clergyman who was Chairman of the Agricultural Committee. Where they 790 could secure a bonâ fide representation of that sort of sectarian interests from amongst themselves, it was well that the authority should have the power to do so. On the Lancashire County Council they had gentlemen elected by the people from various walks of life, many of them with university degrees, and yet occupied in commerce. They had representatives who were members of the Church of England, and others who were Nonconformists, as well as Roman Catholics, working side by side, and so all the interests they desired to consider in the working out of the education scheme were represented. He appealed to the Government to say that on the Report Stage they would clear away this difficulty. If the Government would recognise the strong feeling both inside and outside of the House to give the local authority the right and power to determine who should serve on their own Education Committee and alter the Clause by introducing the words "to it desirable," he thought they would be doing a great deal to ensure the successful working of the Clause.
§ SIR WILLIAM ANSON
said he was sorry to add anything to the length of the debate. Appeals had been made to him by hon. Members on the other side upon a matter to which it was practically impossible for him to give an answer, namely, the policy of the Board of Education in respect of these schemes. He read this Clause to mean that the object of the scheme was, that all the educational interests of the area should be represented. Sub-Clause (b) required that two sorts of persons should be on the committee representing education, one class being "persons of experience in education" and the other "persons acquainted with the needs of the various kinds of schools in the area for which the Council acts." It was possible that the Council might contain such persons within its own body. If it did not they might be provided from elsewhere and selected by the Council, or they could be appointed upon the nomination of other bodies. He had been asked what would the Board of Education do if the Council did not put on a proper proportion of representatives of various educational interests. His view was the Board of Education should act by way of suggestion rather than of constraint, but 791 there was no doubt that the Bill gave power to act to the Board of Education, and if such action was called for the Board would have to deal with each case according to the circumstances attending it.
MR. M KENNA (Monmouthshire, N.)
said that in the framing of these schemes it appeared to have been overlooked that there would be two education authorities in many counties, side by side, namely, that of the county and that of the non county boroughs of over 10,000 population, and urban districts with a population of over 20,000 Under this proposal there would be no representation of the county authority, and they would have two education authorities dealing with education, within the area of the county. Instead of taking care that experts and sectarians should have been represented, the Government should have taken care that the education authority of the non-county boroughs and the county boroughs should have had interchangeable members. In Lancashire there were no less than thirty non-county boroughs of over 10,000 inhabitants, and urban districts of over 20,000. Consequently there would be an education authority representing the County Councils, and thirty different authorities representing non-county boroughs and urban districts. Absolutely no provision was made to prevent the very evil which they were told this Bill was designed to put and end to. Surely the Government could not be really proposing that this Clause should leave the Committee in this form without any assurance that they intended to alter this state of things. Nobody who had studied the Bill could have the slightest doubt that this Clause, as it stood, would be productive of the most hopeless confusion. Even in the county of Cornwall there were some ten or eleven subsidiary education authorities, all acting through independent committees, and no single
§ member of the County Council or any representative of the central education authority was made compulsorily a member of any of those subsidiary committees. Under those circumstances he submitted, even at this late stage, that the Committee would be unwise in allowing this Clause to go through in its present form.
§ MR. YOXALL (Nottingham, W.)
said he wished to remind the Committee that perhaps the most important provision which ought to be made in this Claues was the co-ordination of elementary and secondary education. The Secretary to the Board of Education put down on the Paper an Amendment to the effect that the Board of Education were not to give their consent to a scheme unless they were satisfied that due regard had been had to the importance of co-ordinating elementary and secondary education. So far as it Vent that was sufficient to meet what could be done in this Clause, but owing to the operation of the Closure the hon. Member did not move his own Amendment. He desired to ask the hon. Gentleman whether between now and the Report stage he could see his way to devise some plan which would give more elasticity to the Clause in this respect. Since by an unfortunate accident that agreement had not been given effect to in this Clause, he thought he might hold himself free to ask that before the Report stage of the Bill was reached the Government would consider whether some form of words could be adopted which would make sure that co-ordination would be carried out.
§ (5.28.) Question put, "That Clause 12 as a mended stand part of the Bill."
§ Committee divided:—Ayes, 259; Noes, 138. (Division List No.500.)795
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Baird, Sir John George Alexander||Bignold, Arthur|
|Aird, Sir John||Balearres, Lord||Blundell, Colonel Henry|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Baldwin, Alfred||Bond, Edward|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Bousfield, William Robert|
|Arrol, Sir William||Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W. (Leeds||Bowles, Capt, H.F. (Middlesex|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Barry, Sir Francis T.(Windsor)||Brassey, Albert|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Bartley, George C. T.||Brookfield, Colonel Montagu|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Beres, or[...] Lord Charles William||Brown, Alexander H. (Shropsh-|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Bull, William James|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Hare, Thomas Leigh||Murray, Rt Hn A. Graham (Bute|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)|
|Butcher, John George||Hadlett, Sir James Horner||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)|
|Carew, James Laurence||Hatch, Ernest Frederick George||Myers, William Henry|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Newdegate, Francis A. N.|
|Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton||Healy, Timothy Michael||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Heath, Arthur Howard (Hanley||Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N.)|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Heaton, John Henniker||O' Doherty, William|
|Cavendish, V.C.W. (Derbyshire||Henderson, Sir Alexander||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwick)||Hickman, Sir Alfred||Pemberton. John S. G.|
|Coamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm.||Higginbottom, S. W.||Percy, Earl|
|Chamberlain, Rt Hn J.A. (Worc||Hoare, Sir Samuel||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Chamberlayen, T.(S'thampton)||Hobhouse, Henry (Somerset, E.||Pilkington, Lieut-Col. Richard|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hogg, Lindsay||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Chapman, Edward||Hope, J.F. (Sheffield, Brightside||Plummer, Walter R.|
|Charrington, Spencer||Horner, Frederick William||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Churchill, Winston Spencer||Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Hoult, Joseph||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward.|
|Coildington, Sir William||Howard, John (Kent, Fav'rsh'm||Purvis, Robert|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Howard, J (Midd., Tottenham)||Randles, John S.|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil||Rankin, Sir James|
|Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne|
|Cor[...]ett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R.)||Ratcliff, R. F.|
|Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse||Rattigan, Sir William Henry|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Camp, Hon. Henry||Johnstone, Heywood||Renmant, James Farquharson|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Kemp, George||Renshaw, Charles Bine|
|Davenport, William Bromley-||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.||Renwick, George|
|Davies, Sir Horatio D. (Chatham||Kennedy, Patrick James||Ridley, Hn. M.W. (Stalybridge.|
|Denny, Colonel||Kenyon, Hon. Geo. T. (Denbigh)||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Kimber, Henry||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Ropner, Colonel Robert|
|Dorington, Rt. Hon. Sir John E.||Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)||Round, Rt. Hon. James|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Lawrence, Sir, Joseph (Monm'th||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Doxfort, Sir William Theodore||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)||Rutherford, John|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Lawson, John Grant||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir William Hart||Lecky, Rt Hon. William Edw. H.||Samuel, Harry (Limehouse)|
|Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Lee, Arthur H (Hants, Fareham||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln)|
|Faber, Edmund B. (Hants, W.)||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Leveson Gower, Frederick N.S.||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Llewellyn, Evan Henry||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn Sir J. (Manc'r||Long, Col. Charles W.(Evesham||Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich)|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Long. Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S.||Stardey, Edward Jas. (Somerset|
|Finch, George H.||Lowe, Francis William||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale)||Stuck, James Henry|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Lowther, Rt. Hon, James(Kent)||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Fison, Frederick William||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Start, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Lucas, Regmald J (Portsmouth||Talbot, Rt Hn. J.G. (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Macartney, Rt Hn. W.G. Ellison||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Flower, Ernest||Macdona, John Cumming||Thompson, Dr. E.C (Monagh'n N|
|Forster, Henry William||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.|
|Gardner, Ernest||W'Arthur Charles (Liverpool)||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Garfit, William||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire)||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|Gibbs, Hn. A.G H (City of Lond.||Majendie, James A. H.||Take, Sir John Batty|
|Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans)||Malcolm, Ian||Tully, Jasper|
|Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick||Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W.F.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Gordon, Maj Evans-(T'rH'ml'ts||Maxwell, WJH (Dumfriesshire|
|Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Vincent, Col. Sir CEH (Sheffield|
|Goschen, Hon. George Joachim||Middlemore John Throginorton||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Welby, Lt. -Col. ACE. (Taunton|
|Graham, Henry Robert||Milvain, Thomas||Welby, Sir Charles G. E. (Notts.|
|Greene, Sir EW (B'rys. Edm'nds||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd|
|Gretton, John||Montagn, Hon. J. Scott (Hants.||Whiteley, H(Ashton-und. Lyne|
|Groves, James Grimble||Moon, .Edward Robert Pacy||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)||Williams, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd|
|Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.||Morrell, George Herbert||Williams, Rt. Hn J Powell-(Birm|
|Hambro, Charles Eric||Morrison, James Archibald||Wilson, A. Stanley(York ,E. R.)|
|Hamilton, Rt. Hn Lord G(Midd'x||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Hanbury, Rt Hon. Robert Wm.||Mount, William Arthur||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.)|
|Hardy, Laurence(Kent, Ashf'rd||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)|
|Wodehouse, Rt Hn. E.R. (Bath)||Wrighton, Sir Thomas||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Worsley-Taylor, Henry Wilson||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George||Sir Alexander Acland-|
|Wortley, Rt. Hn. C.B. Stuart-||Hood and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Allan, Sir William (Gateshead||Helme, Norval Watson||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Allen, Charles P. (Glouc., Stroud||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Holland, Sir William Henry||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Asquith, Rt Hon Herbert Henry||Horniman, Frederick John||Runciman, Walter|
|Atlierley-Jones, L.||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Shackleton, David James|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Jacoby, James Alfred||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Bell, Richard||Jones, David Brynmor (Swansea||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Kearley, Hudson E.||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Brigg, John||Kitson, Sir James||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Lambert, George||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Langley, Batty||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Barns, John||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington||Spencer, Rt Hn. C R (Northants|
|Burt, Thomas||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Caldwell, James||Leng, Sir John||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Cameron, Robert||Levy, Maurice||Tennant, Harold John|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Lewis, John Herbert||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Lloyd-George, David||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Cawley, Frederick||Logan, John. William||Thomas David Alfred (Merthlr|
|Channing. Francis Allston||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Thomas, JA (Glamorgam, Gower|
|Craig, Robert Hunter||M'Crae George||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)|
|Cremer, William Randal||M'Kenna, Reginald||Tomkinson, James|
|Dalziel, James Henry||M'Laren, Sir Charles Benjamin||Tonlmin, George|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan||Markham, Arthur Basil||Walton, John Lawson (Leeds, S)|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.||Mather, Sir William||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Mellor, Rt. Hon. John William||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark||Morley, Charles (Breconshire)||Wason, Eugene|
|Duncan, J. Hastings||Modes, Rt Hon. John (Montrose||Weir, James Galloway|
|Dunn, Sir William||Moss, Samuel||White, George (Norfolk)|
|Edwards, Frank||Moulton, John Fletcher||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Elibank, Master of||Newvnes, Sir George||Whiteley, George (York. W. R.)|
|Emmott, Alfred||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Fenwick, Charles||Palmer, Sir Charles M. (Durham||Williams, Osmond (Merinoneth)|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)||Palmer, George Wm. (Reading)||Wilson, Fred. W. (Norfolk, Mid.|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Parrington, Oswald||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R)|
|Foster, Sir Walher (Derby Co.||Paulton, James Mellor||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Furness. Sir Christopher||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)||Woodhouse, Sir. J T. (Huddersf'd|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Philipps, John Wynford||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Grant, Corrie||Pickard, Benjamin|
|Grey, Rt. on. Sir E. (Berwick)||Ririe, Duncan V.|
|Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||Price, Robert John||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Harcourt, Rt Hon. Sir William||Priestley, Arthur||Mr. Herbert Gladstone and|
|Harwood, George||Reid, Sir R. Thre-hie (Dumfries)||Mr. William M'Arthur.|
|Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||Rigg, Richard|
§ Clause 13:—
(5.45.) THE CHAIRMAN
In regard to the Amendment of the right hon. Member for Sleaford I would like to ask how he proposes to meet the deficiency which would arise if his Amendment were carried?
§ MR. CHAPLIN (Lincolnshire, Sleaford)
My proposal is to limit the burden on the rates; and it is not for me to say how the deficiency is to he met.
If the right hon. Gentleman confines himself to arguing that the expenditure should be kept so low that one-fourth only should be raised from the rates, and that the remainder should be obtained from Parliamentary grants, then the right hon. Gentleman would be in order; but if he goes on to say that the Parliamentary grant should be increased in order to meet the new charges under the Bill, then he would not be, in order.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
said that in moving his Amendment, which proposed to limit the expenditure out of the rates to one-fourth of the whole expenditure on education by the education authority and the expenses of the authority, he wished to recall to the minds of hon. Members that it deputation, representing a great number of bodies in the country, waited on the Leader of the House on the 15th of June last, in order to urge upon him that the cost of national education should be borne from the national Exchequer, and not from the local rates. His right, hon. friend on the 24th June made a financial statement to this House, during which he said that the Government were prepared to make an additional grant of £900,000 for the purposes of education. In making that grant elementary education was solely contemplated, and in no case, it was said, should the Exchequer pay more than three-fourths of the cost of education. That was a recognition of the justice of the case presented to the right hon. Gentleman, and they, were duly grateful for it. But since that time very considerable changes had been made in Clause 2, which provided for secondary education. Not only that; the further information on the subject which had been developed during the progress of these debates has led to the belief in his mind and in that of others, that unless they were to be weighted in the future with a much larger burden on the rates than they had ever contemplated, that provision would be altogether inadequate.
He hoped the House would allow him to say a word both on secondary and elementary education. He would take the question of secondary education first. The position of secondary education seemed to him to be the weakest and most unsatisfactory part of the whole Bill. It might be contended that the creation of a very effective system of secondary education was probably of more importance than any of the questions they had been so long discussing. They were all agreed that such a system should be established, but where they differed—and he desired to say this particularly—was as to the provision which was to be made for the expense of secondary education and the sources from which it was to come 798 This was really very important when they came to consider what secondary education meant. What was meant by secondary education, as he understood it, was to give to all the more promising of the rising generation the opportunity, after they had gone through the elementary course, of extending their studies in higher education. Of course, in the great centres of population, that was comparatively easy, but take the case of the county he represented, Lincolnshire, formerly one of the most prosperous counties in the kingdom, but now, owing to the agricultural depression, the most impoverished of all. That county contained a very large number of villages, widely scattered, and with few centres of population. How were they going to provide secondary education usefully in a county like that? They would want buildings, as a matter of course, and buildings, too, of some importance. But how many of them? for, after all, they would be of very little advantage unless they were reasonably, near to those who are going to use them. And if they were going to provide this education entirely out of the rates they would wish that the schools should be within reach of the people; otherwise they would be favouring one locality to the disadvantage of another. If they were going to set up efficient secondary education in such districts as he had been describing, it was certain that the outlay must be very considerable indeed. He asked again where was the money to come from? It must be remembered that what was called the whisky money was nearly all spent already, so that, as a matter of fact, anything additional which was to be spent on secondary education in the future must come out of the rates. Well, then, there was the question of the training of teachers. Nothing was more necessary or more important, as he could, not see how they could have an efficient system of education without that. But why should the cost of training teachers be placed on the rates? He would turn to another point. The right hon. Gentleman said the previous night, in the course of debate in reference to Clause 2, that that Clause, winch was originally purely permissive, had emerged out of these debates practically mandatory 799 both in regard to powers and expenditure. Now, he thought that was right, but he should like further information on the point. If his right hon. friend was right in saying that the Bill imposed a very definite duty in regard to secondary education on the local authority, he wanted to ask—did the local authority as regarded secondary education, come under the powers of the Board of Education, as laid down by Clause 11 of the Bill? That Clause ran as follows—If the local education authority fail to fulfil any of their duties under the Elementary Act. 1870 to 1900, or this Act, in any part of their area, the Board of Education may, after holding a public inquiry, make such order as they think necessary or proper for the purpose of compelling the authority to fulfil their duty, and any such order may be enforced by mandamus.If the local authority was to be subject to the Department of Education in this way, then he maintained that even in regard to secondary education they were imposing an added grievance, and an added burden on the local authority Either this Clause was compulsory or it was not. If compulsory, they were imposing something which would be intolerable from the ratepayers' point of view. If not compulsory, then he held that the best part of the whole hill was likely to be an absolute dead letter, and they would be no better off than they were before.
But whatever might be the case in regard to secondary education, there was no doubt in the world that this Clause applied to elementary education. Well, the Education Department had very great powers, and the local authorities as regarded elementary education had very distinct and definite duties to perform. They would have to maintain all the public elementary schools within their area in an efficient state. But who were to be the judges of that efficiency? The Education Department were to be the judges; it rested with thorn to fix the standard of efficiency, and if they were dissatisfied they were to step in and insist on further action being taken by the local authority whenever they pleased. That duty would devolve on his hon. friend the Secretary to the Board of Education. He was a. new broom, and they knew that new brooms swept pretty clean, and he might he very reasonable, but some day the position might be very 800 different. When that did come he should thank his stars that he was not a member of the Lincolnshire County Council; otherwise it might not be long before he found himself in Lincoln jail by a mandamus of the Education Department because he did not feel it his duty to inflict a sufficiently heavy rate upon the county. It seemed to hint that there were some districts in which great difficulties would arise—districts in which there were a great number of schools, Board schools practically, with insufficient buildings. There was no real power to compel the owners of denominational schools to meet the requirements of the Board of Education with regard to buildings. True, the grant could be withheld, and the school converted into a provided school; then the cost maintaining the school and providing the buildings would also fall upon the rates; but if that process was often repeated in one district there would be a tremendously serious addition to the rates. It might be that it was rather more likely that this Bill, instead of having the results that it was hoped and intended it should have, would ring the death knell of a great number of denominational schools throughout the country, rather than prolong their existence, as was intended. That would mean unlimited burdens upon the rates. This Bill should have contained more ample provision from Imperial funds. The Government were pledged against introducing measures which would increase the burdens on agricultural land, but that would be the effect of this Bill. They were making the ratepayers the milch cow for education, but sometimes the milch cow turned restive and kicked over the pail. He had not heard what these increased burdens were to be. He had heard that they would range from 4d. to 9d., but he had made no calculation, because to him that was no real criterion of what was going to happen in the future. He was apprehensive, and they had had many warnings in the past with regard to this matter. Mr. Forster in his Bill had declared that the rate would never be more than 3d., and now in some eases it was 2s. 9d., and that was under Mr. Forster's Act. The tendency of expenditure was to increase, and he wished to place a definite limit upon the burden. The Government proposed that 801 the Imperial contribution should in no case exceed three-fourths of the whole expenditure. He wished to propose that the rates should in no case exceed a quarter of the whole expenditure. That was the only satisfactory safeguard against an indefinite increase of the burden upon the rates in future. The burden upon the rates for a great national purpose such as education should not exceed a fixed limit in the Bill.
In page 5, line 21, to leave out the words 'expenses of a Council under this Act,' and insert the words expenditure out of rates under this Act shall in no case exceed one-fourth of the whole expenditure on education by the education authority, and the expenses of that authority.'"—(Mr. Chaplin.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words 'expenses of a Council' stand part of the Cause."
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said it was probably owing to the ruling of the Chairman before his right hon. friend rose to speak that he did not fully understand what plan it was desired to substitute for the plan proposed by the Government. His right hon. friend's speech really resolved itself, so far as he could gather, into a lamentation over the Bill in consequence of the additional cost that it appeared to throw upon the rates. It was a general statement of his right hon. friend's feelings upon the subject of local burdens. He had great sympathy for him and for those for whom he spoke. It had never been denied in any quarter of the House, never on the Government side of the House, and least of all by the From Government Bench, that the rate-the payers of this country did in many respects suffer from the present position of the law, and that many burdens were thrown upon them which might, from the abstract point of view of strict equity, have a wider distribution among all classes of the community. If his right hon. friend wished to impress that fact on the Committee, he had nothing to say against him. He felt, however, that his right hon. friend had been a little inclined to forget how much had been done by the Party to which both he and the Government belonged to relieve the burden of the rates out of the general funds of the community. Without attempting to 802 give full and accurate details of the great contributions to local rates out of the Exchequer made since 1887, it was sufficient to say that the State contributed £6,000,000 additional to the Local Taxation Account, £1,300,000 in respect of the Agricultural Rates Act, about £600,000 in respect of the Voluntary schools, and about £200,000 in respect of board schools. Further, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, or his predecessor, had promised between £900,000 and£1,000,000 in order not merely to make up for any losses which the general community might have to bear under this Bill owing to the drying up of a certain proportion of voluntary subscriptions which were now some £600,000 or£7,00,000, but to more than make up for those losses by a great deal. If the right hon. Gentleman had remembered that all these forms of assistance to the rates had been devised and carried out by the Party to which he and the Government belonged, he would not have thought the Government open to the charge of indifference to the interests of the ratepayers, whether agricultural or otherwise. The Government had even received a great deal of obloquy from the fact that part of the relief it to that class of the community for which the right hon. Gentleman spoke. The hostility to that measure of hon. Gentlemen opposite was, he understood, by no means exhausted; and they meant to go to the country with the non-renewal of the Agricultural Rates Act as the principal plank in their platform. He only drew attention to the fact the Government had a right to recognition of the fact that they had shown themselves in the most practical sense to be the friends of the ratepayers in this matter, and he rather thought that the right hon. Gentleman would find in the election address from which he had quoted a very specific reference to the interests of voluntary schools.
As to the right hon. Gentleman's specific proposal, he was a little puzzled, for it mad no appearance in the right hon. Gentleman's speech, and if it had done it would at once have been ruled out of order. He did not know how to answer an Amendment which was either out of order or without meaning. The Government in this Clause could not alter the obligations which it found already imposed on the ratepayer for the purpose 803 of education. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to think that the Government had invented in this Bill the responsibility of the ratepayers for elementary education. That was not so. The obligation was there already. The need for improved and organised education was admitted on all hands; and what could the Government do more that accept the situation created for them, and aid the ratepayers by a large and generous subvention? The right hon. Gentleman might have treated the efforts of the Government in a more generous spirit. He seemed to think that the gift of £1,000,000 more, in addition to the £9,000,000 which was already given to elementary education, was a relatively small contribution. It was neither small nor insignificant, but the Government would like to see it made even greater, if it were practicable; and the fact that a certain sum had been put down in the new Clause by no means precluded the possibility of making a larger contribution from the Exchequer to the cost of this national duty. He could not pledge himself on a matter such as that; but the Committee would take it as sufficient if he said that Government were anxious to increase the very large grant they were already making. Whether they could or could not carry out that intention must depend on general circumstances which it would be improper to refer to at the moment. The expression of this hope, which was something more than a merely pious hope, should convince the right hon. Gentleman that the Government were by no means indifferent to the great interests on behalf of which he had spoken. The Amendment, however, was wholly impracticable. The earlier portions of the Bill threw a duty on the ratepayers, and it was impossible to do that and say that the funds for carrying out the duty should be rigidly and artificially limited.
§ (6.25.) SIR EDWARD STRACHEY (Somersetshire, S.)
said the right hon. Gentleman had stated that this was not a practical Amendment, and that if it were, it would have been out of order. But the Prime Minister might have made the proposal himself, in which case it would not have been out of order. The right hon. Gentleman further said 804 that the Government were in great sympathy with the agricultural rate-payers in this matter, but although they sympathised with their position, there was no means of giving relief. No doubt something in the past had been done to relieve the inequalities of taxation, but the right hon. Gentleman now proposed to impose a fresh and heavier burden on these very people. Relief was given under the Agricultural Rates Act. He supported the Third Reading of that measure, on the ground that at that time of great depression, the agriculturists were suffering very heavily indeed, and had the first claim to consideration. But he only voted for the proposal after the operation had been limited to five years, in order that the whole incidence of local taxation should be revised there in the interest of all classes of ratepayers. The whole question of local taxation was then to be considered, and a Royal Commission was appointed. What, however, was the right hon. Gentleman doing? He was increasing the burden on the occupiers of land and houses, and it was made the worse because, under the Agricultural Rates Act, any increase of local taxation would fall more heavily on the men living in the small towns. He, therefore, strongly urged on their behalf the absolute necessity of this additional rate being limited to one-fourth of the total amount that they would have to pay for national education. Another point was that the clergy had been relieved also. In their case the money did not come out of Imperial Exchequer contributions, but out of the Local Taxation Account. Here the same thing would happen, and what the Government had given with one hand they would taken away with the other. The Prime Minister had not attempted to defend the imposition. He assured the right hon. Gentleman there was a very strong feeling on the part of Liberals and Conservatives that the Bill placed an unfair burden upon the ratepayers, and that the very least that should be done was to lay it down in the Bill that in no case should the ratepayer have his rates raised by more than one-fourth of the total coast of education in any area. Members had not the slightest idea what this rate might be, and those who opposed the Amendment 805 might have cause hereafter to regret having done so if the rates increased considerably. It was useless to say they ought to be grateful because they would be relieved of their voluntary subscriptions. As a voluntary subscriber he had no wish to be relieved of the payment of his voluntary subscriptions.
§ SIR EDWARD STRACHEY
said he understood that to be put forward as a. reason for gratitude on the part of voluntary subscribers, but if the right hon. Gentleman disclaimed it he would withdraw that remark. He desired, most strongly to support the Amendment on behalf of every class of ratepayer.
MR. JAMES LOWTHER (Kent, Thanet)
confessed that he was much troubled as to the future of our educational system. His right hon. friend had at any rate made it clear that the Bill would not tend in the direction of economy, although he was not an advocate of cheese-paring economy, he would point out in regard to Clause 11 that certain obligations were thrown upon the ratepayers, but if they attempted to exercise economy the central authority would come down upon them and force them to spend the money. A great deal was heard about subventions and contributions of the State to supplement local resources. He had always objected to the principle of such grants. Imperial funds were handed over to a local body; in other words, other people's money was given. That was an unsound system, and one that was fatal to economy. When right hon. friend committed himself to the policy of giving to the local authorities the charge of education in their districts, he was in hopes that there would be a chance of retrenchment and economy. The sums spent were enormous. In addition to over £9,000,000 contributed by the taxpayers, there was, according to one Return, over £3,000,000 from the rates, and certainly £800,000 from voluntary sources. How were those enormous sums apportioned? All Members desired 806 to maintain the Army and Navy in an efficient condition, but they did not call in experts like the noble Lord the Member for Woolwich to determine the amount of the Navy Estimates. But in regard to education they allowed enthusiasts— he would not use the stronger terms that were often employed, such as "faddists," "doctrinaires," and so on—to fix the price the ratepayers were to pay. What his right hon. friend the Member for the Sleaford Division appeared to want was almost equally dangerous. According to him, if the local authority found themselves in financial straits, they were to go to Downing Street arid get whatever balance they required. Economy was knocked on the head, and it was time the House set itself to work to institute some kind of effective control over the enormous sums annually raised for educational purposes. He would not go into the question of whether the State aimed at too much in its educational programme. He would, however, be sorry to commit himself to the view that we got value for our money. Many of the subjects taught were not suited to the position in life of those being educated; that had been admitted over and over again by the most ardent educationalists. The status quo was pre-eminently bad; he only hoped this Bill would not make it a great deal worse.
§ DR. MACNAMARA (Camberwell, N.)
thought that most Members would agree that education was a national service, and ought, therefore, to be treated, in the main at any rate, as a national charge. But he would not go the length of the First Lord, who apparently suggested that we might ultimately arrive at a stage at which the whole cost of education would be a national charge.
§ DR. MACNAMARA
was glad the right hon. Gentleman dissented from that view, because he thought it was desirable that a margin of cost should be met by the locality, as otherwise they gave themselves over to bureaucratic government and did not allow the locality any voice in a matter which was distinctly a local concern. He would 807 consider for a moment the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sleaford. Although it might not involve any additional Treasury grants, it was reactionary to a large degree. This Amendment did not cast any obligation upon any locality to rate itself at all, and if it were carried a number of localities would get off very well indeed, for they would be able to wipe off all their voluntary contributions. If this Bill was to do any good at all they must make this rate universal, otherwise the schools would suffer. At the present time there was a very large area without any local rate, indeed, there were seventeen boroughs, ninety-two urban districts, and 5,000 parishes with no rate at all. Only that morning he had read an account of a meeting of the district Chamber of Agriculture, where one of the speakers said he regarded it as a hardship in being called upon to help to educate other people's children after he had educated his own. [MINISTERIAL cries of "Hear, hear."] If that was the view of hon. Gentlemen opposite he would remind them that this Bill insisted upon that as a communal obligation. That was the position taken up by the representatives of agriculture. The same speaker at the meeting of the Chamber of Agriculture declared that it was all very well to tell the farmer that he would probably have a seat on the Board of Management, but that would not help him to pay the rate. The chairman of that meeting also spoke in similar terms. That was a fair and reasonable description of the attitude of the agriculturists. Perhaps he might be allowed to quote the opinion of the late Vice-President of the Council upon this point. By way of answer to the fears of the agricultural interest that the Bill would impose a heavy burden upon farmers, he recommended some words uttered by the late Vice-President of the Council, where he suggested whether the "better education of the people would not tend more to the relief of agricultural depression than remedies like bimetallism or Protection." "The understandings of all those who are connected with the cultivation of the soil," the late Vice-President added, "appear to be dark."
808 The first thing they had to do was to take care that districts which had not been rated before should now be rated everywhere, and he suggested that the only statesmanlike policy to be adopted was that to which he had referred. The Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sleaford imposed no obligation upon these authorities to rate themselves, and it left them a chance of escape. The proposal was that they were not, under any circumstances, to raise more than one-fourth of the entire charge of education by way of the local rates. He did not know whether that one-fourth was to include all charges. If it included the amount of liabilities which were now outstanding, amounting to £20,000,000, and all other sorts of capital and loans, then the contrast he Lad to make was even more striking. He would assume that with regard to maintenance, they would never have to meet more than one-fourth out of the local rate. He understood that it was not the intention to reduce the efficiency of Board Schools. The rates for Board Schools were about £3,750,000, or 45 per cent. of the maintenance charge in those schools. The Imperial Exchequer grants amount to £3,500,000 or about 50.8 per cent. The £1,000,000 promised by the Government would reduce the proportion contributed by the rates to about 35 per cent. Then they had got to bring in the fact that they were going to double the number of children who would be educated out of the rates, but he did not in the least complain of that. That would bring the proportion back again to about 45 per cent. of the entire cost. Now the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sleaford proposed that this proportion should never be more than 25 per cent. Therefore this Amendment would reduce it in a most material way. Was that the intention of hon. Members I opposite under a Bill which professed to make further provision for education? This policy would be disastrous to; education. He thought he had proved that in a rough sort of way. It would dry up at the very outset any development of higher education; and, although; they were all desirous to get the great bulk of the money from the Imperial Treasury, they must not put the cart before the horse in this matter. If 809 this Amendment were carried, it would reduce enormously the amount available for educational purposes, and he there fore preferred the more wise and liberal proposal of the Government. What the Government said was, "We will make you spend one fourth all over the country, and if you do not we will reduce your Government grants until that proportion is reached. "That was a policy in accordance with wise statesmanship.
§ (7.0.) (MR. CRIPPS (Lancashire, Stretford)
said the point that was now being discussed was one of the most important in the Bill. From the educational point of view, nothing could be worse than to lay down such conditions that they were not likely to have a good educational system. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sleaford took, as an illustration, the proposal to put on the rates the charge for the provision of training colleges for teachers. Could they have any better method devised than this for not having colleges properly provided and equipped. It was impossible to say that this was a local matter. If there was one matter which more than another was national as against local, it was the training of teachers for the national schools. Therefore, from the educational aspect, it was extremely important that some alteration should be made with regard to the proposals of the Government in dealing with the expenses both of secondary and primary education. He would deal first of all with the question of principle. The Report of the Royal Commission on Local Taxation had been quoted with approbation by the hon. Member for North Camberwell, but if he had really appreciated what that Report meant, he would never have made a speech advocating that, as between the rates and Imperial sources, there should be an obligation on the ratepayers to find a quarter, and if they did not find it, there should be no contribution from the Imperial Treasury.
§ DR. MACNAMARA
said that what he stated was that the service being national, the great bulk of the money should come from Imperial sources, but that there should be a margin to secure economy of administration to be raised by a rate levied locally.
§ MR. CRIPPS
said he did not disagree with what the hon. Member said now, but that was entirely inconsistent with his advocacy of what he said was the Government proposal. What was the problem? He did not agree with his right hon. He did not agree with his right hon. friend the Member for Sleaford that this was a matter which interested agricultural members particularly. It was a ratepayers' question, and ratepayers were found in towns as well as in agricultural districts. There was a universal feeling in the urban districts that it was unfair to put what he might call the additional risks of education upon the rates. The provision of primary education was admittedly a national service; and when a national service was to be administered locally the delicate and complex question arose, how much of the cost should be provided from the national Exchequer and how much from local resources? What the Royal Commission on Local Taxation said, referring to education, was that where a national service was administered locally the ratepayers at the present moment had to pay more than their fair share of the cost. What was proposed in this Bill with regard to the risks to the rates in future? He did not find fault with the part which distributed the old School Board rates over the country districts, because he quite agreed with the Prime Minister when he said that the these rates already settled that liability, and that it was only a question of distribution over the larger area. So far as the distribution over a larger area was concerned he thought that was one of the greatest improvements of the present Bill, because they could not have anything more unjust than the placing of a local charge for a national service on such a small area as a country parish. That was manifestly unfair.
He came now to what the Bill really did with regard to imposing possibly new burdens on the ratepayers. All the additional expenditure for education under the Bill would be incurred entirely at the risk of the ratepayers, and that was absolutely in the teeth of the opinion of the Royal Commission on Local Taxation. Parliament not only placed this national service upon the local authorities, but determined the amount of the expenditure upon that service. There was no doubt that this Bill properly placed on the local authorities a minimum standard of education which was settled in this 811 House through the Education Code. Where there was a national service, and the expenditure upon it determined by Parliament, surely the funds, apart from the question of margin, ought to be provided by the national Exchequer. What was the present principle on this point? It was said that they could only guarantee that result in future by placing on the body responsible for the increased expenditure, the burden of finding the additional necessary cost. That was a true principle. If, of course, the minimum standard of education was to be fixed locally very much might be said for allowing the people who fixed the standard to declare also what ought to be the price. They not only compelled the people to carry out a national service, but proposed the additional hardship of making them pay for it, whether they liked it, or wanted it, or not. The real principle was that which was laid down in this Amendment—that the risk of the additional expenditure should be thrown on the shoulders of those liable for its being incurred, and not on the shoulders of those who were bound to incur it whether they liked it or not. It should be borne in mind that, while 1d. in the pound on the rate produced only £700,000, 1d. in the pound on property liable to the income-tax produced £2,500,000. This meant that as much as £430,000,000 of what he might call the ascertained property of the country escaped all contribution towards the local burden of taxation for education. The ratepayer could not feel keen about education when he knew that he had to contribute 4d. for a national service which if placed upon the national Exchequer would cost the taxpayer only ld. What they were wrong in doing was in putting this new charge, which would be created for the first time, on the localities; and now was the time for those who believed in the principles laid down by the Royal Commission to make their protest. The matter had been very carefully considered, and after that careful consideration there was an unanimous recommendation on this point. There was a time when that recommendation ought to have been regarded and enforced by the Government, but they had put it on one side, and had placed 812 an undue burden on a class already excessively burdened both in town and in country.
MR. PHILIPPS (Pembrokeshire)
said he wanted just to say a word or two with reference to the attitude of the hon. Member for North Camberwell, who had been very ably representing the interests of the elementary teachers throughout the country. The hon. Member had not been representing, and could not claim to represent, the interests of the ratepayers. In speech after speech the hon. Gentleman had said that he did not mind whether the rates went up or not, and he hoped that the ratepayers would feel the burden. What he wanted was sufficient education. But the hon. Gentleman was a London Member, and. his constituents were not going to pay one farthing of this increased burden.
§ DR. MACNAMARA
said the hon. Member was not representing him by any means correctly, but he would say precisely the same thing in regard to London as he had said in regard to the provinces
said that what he had to consider was the interests of his constituents. The right hon. Member for the Sleaford Division proposed to put a certain amount o f this burden on the taxpayers. They all knew that education had got to be paid for somehow, and the right hon. Gentleman was in a difficulty owing to the forms of the House. If his Amendment were carried the Chancellor of the Exchequer would have to find the money next March, and directly it came to taking a farthing from his constituents the hon. Member for North Camberwell was against it. It was to be hoped that some of the agricultural Members would make it uncomfortable for the hon. Gentleman with his constituents. He did not share the views of the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for the Isle of Thanet. He was in favour of educational efficiency. He was an enthusiast on the subject of education, and wanted to see more money devoted to it. But they all admitted that the expenditure under this Bill for education was going to be a great deal heavier than ever before. The right hon. Gentleman, the First Lord, said that the 813 Government were giving £900,000 extra under this Bill, and that would meet entirely the voluntary subscriptions which would be withdrawn. That might be so, but he believed that under this Bill the expenses of education in the country districts would go up enormously. At present the administration was local, and they all knew that under local administration expenditure could be cut down in a hundred different ways out diminishing efficiency. But now, under this Bill, they were to put the whole thing under one authority in the county. Up to the present time, supposing a teacher wanted an increase of salary he had to get it from the local School Board, who would have the fear of their constituents before them and of being beaten at the next election for extravagance. In the ease of Board schools and voluntary schools there was, therefore, a strong pressure in the direction of economy. But if all education were put under one authority it would be absolutely impossible that one authority would be as economical as many little authorities. He believed that under the Bill there would be a great deal of unnecessary expenditure on small items. Like the hon. Gentleman who spoke last, he believed that the increased expenditure ought not to come on the local authority, but should come from the general taxpayers of the country. Education was a national business, and the great part of the expenditure ought to be paid by the general taxpayers. For that reason he was entirely in favour of the Amendment. The Government were not making themselves popular with the ratepayers by this Bill; certainly not in the case of the Nonconformist ratepayers. But there were other ratepayers than Nonconformists who did not take much interest in ecclesiastical disputes, but who would be compelled to take an interest in this Bill, because their rates would increase under it for years to come.
§ MR. DAVID MACIVER (Liverpool, Kirkdale)
said the hon. Member for Stretford had put in clear and beautiful language all that he wished to say on this question; but he wanted to emphasise the view that this was not solely and agricultural question. Although he was not an agriculturist, he had the greatest sympathy with the views expressed by the right hon. Member for Sleaford. He 814 believed that the agriculturists in this country had had a very hard time, but there was no greater nonsense than to contend that the technical education of working men could be a remedy for agricultural distress. All that was utter rubbish. All that technical education could do as regards the agricultural labourer would be to turn an efficient working man into an indifferent clerk. There were many constituencies where the people were very poor, and these should not be called upon to find the money for what was really a good deal of what had fallen from the hon. Member for Tamworth. He thought that some part of the expenditure should fall on the rates, as it did at present, otherwise no motive would exist for economy; but where he especially agreed with his hon. friend was that the money should be so distributed between voluntary and other schools that each should have their shard of the rates already existing; and that no increased burden whatever should be cast on the ratepayers of the country. He was not an educational enthusiast. He believed that a majority in the House and in the country were education and, and those who were education mad and not the unfortunate local ratepayers ought to be made to pay the piper. To his mind their duty was to help the denominational schools, which taught the children their duty to God and man. For these reasons he was in hearty accord with what he conceived to be the general principles of the Bill, and he thanked the First Lord of the Treasury for his sympathetic speech.
§ MR SOARES (Devonshire,) Barnstaple
said that in his reply to the right hon. Member for Sleaford, the Prime Minister gave a promise that at some future time he would give a contribution in aid of the ratepayers out of the Imperial funds. To his mind, however, a bird in the hand was worth two in the bush, and he thought that if this Amendment had the effect of causing that contribution to be made immediately it would be a very good thing indeed. He supported the Amendment on the ground of educational efficiency. He was one of those people who thought that the more money that was spent on education the better, but at the same time he believed that the more 815 money provided out of the rates for education the worse it was for education. They had only to consider the complaints that had been made in days gone by in regard to the small rural School Boards.
§ It being half-past Seven of the clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again this evening.