HC Deb 12 November 1902 vol 114 cc815-51

Considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

[Mr. J. W. LOWTHER. (Cumberland Penrith) in the Chair.]

Clause 13:—

Amendment proposed—

"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 again proposed, "That the words 'expenses of a Council' stand part of the Clause."

(9.0.) MR. SOARES

, continuing his speech, said that when the sitting was suspended he was pointing out that if a large proportion of the money to be expended on education was to come out of the rates, it would be a bad thing for education. He gave as an instance those "rural School Boards" which had, to his mind at any rate, been unjustly attacked in the House for their inefficiency. They had always been told these School Boards were inefficient, because the managers preferred low rates or no rates rather than educational efficiency. They did not wish to see those principles applied to the education committee about to be appointed. They must remember that County Council elections in the future would be very much more stiffly fought than they had been in the past. He, for one, was very much afraid that if one candidate for the County Council had on his programme Low rates and Not so much education, and another High rates and. Good education, the first would succeed. In his opinion by far the greater portion of the money to be expended on education should be borne out of the Imperial. Exchequer. He quite agreed that the locality ought to bear some proportion. The locality ought to bear such a proportion as would ensure due economy. Education was a national subject. A clever, well-educated young man was, to his mind, a national asset, and not a local asset of any sort or description. If in a country district a young man received a good education and proved to be a clever fellow, unless he had capital it was no good his remaining there; he probably went to a town where he could get good opportunities of making a success in life, and the town got the benefit of the money expended on his education and not the country district. He was sure that if rates were materially increased by this Bill they would fall very hardly indeed on the agricultural, portion of the community. It was true that last year was a good year for the farmers, but as a matter of fact he knew-that farmers hardly made a bare living out of it, and many of them did not succeed in making interest on their capital. He would admit that under-the existing circumstances any increase-in the rates was bound eventually to fall on the landlord. For the first few years, however, he did not believe it would fall on the landlord. It in fact only fell on the landlord when there was a re-valuation for rental purposes or when there was a change of tenancy. They had proof of that in the working of the Agricultural Rating Act. Whenever there was a re-letting or re-valuation the whole benefit at once went to the landlord.

MR. JOHNSTONE (Sussex, Horsham)

How do you know that?


I learnt it from the farmers in my constituency. He had also a very high authority for the statement as well, for the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sleaford said on one occasion that when rates were high rents were low, and when rates were low rents were high. After all this was one of the elementary rules of political economy. A farm could only produce a certain amount of profit per annum; a portion of that went to the landlord as rent, and the remainder went to the tenant its interest on his capital and as a reward for his skill and labour. But if they were going to increase the amount of the rates, who was to bear that loss? For the first few years it would be the tenant, and under the existing circumstances of agriculture the tenant coal not afford to pay. But after a time the landlord would have to bear the loss. Seeing that at the present time landlords had a majority in the County Councils, he thought everybody would admit these gentlemen would be against increasing the rates. He heartily supported the Amendment, and meant to vote for it.

MR. DUKE (Plymouth)

said the discussion had been conducted with a view to finding a means of putting the cost of rural education upon the taxpayer in boroughs, transferring what ought to be the proper local share to a part of the country where it had not been incurred, and where it certainly ought not to be artificially raised. The first objection to this proposal was that it was totally inconsistent with the policy upon which the finance of education had teen conducted ever since State aid was given for education. Down to the present time the theory of the matter had been that education was a matter of local concern, and the contributions which were made by the Exchequer were contributions of assistance towards the discharge of the local duties. For the future, apparently that point of view was to be entirely ignored. The contribution of the State had increased during living memory first to one-third, then to half, and now to a sum not exceeding three-quarters, and this was an attempt to make the State the paymaster of the whole cost of education, for the sake of some districts where there was no sincere interest in education. In the towns there was an active and sincere interest in education. The ratepayers desired that education should be thorough. They believed it was a national as well as a local interest. The proposal before the Committee was a retrograde one. The system heretofore had been that the national and local interest in education should be stimulated by contributions which were required for the purpose from the local authority, and to make local education efficient, first by providing a system of inspection, and then by providing substantial assistance out of public funds. If the present proposals were carried, the Clause would be accepted as a declaration of Parliament that the policy to be pursued in the matter was to prevent local authorities from indulging in any enthusiasm for education and to warn them that if they were enthusiasts, they should take care not to contribute more than a farthing in the penny.


And get everything else necessary from the Imperial Exchequer.


Of course they were to have confidence in the unlimited generosity of the Imperial Exchequer. He had no sort of sympathy with people who wanted education without paying for it, and he had a great deal of repugnance towards any tendency for charging the costs of education in one part in an unequal rate upon the taxpayers in another part of the country. If the burden was to be a national one, and there was to be no check upon local contributions, it should be an equal burden all over the country. That was not what was proposed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sleaford. It was not fair that residents in boroughs and persons interested in commerce should be made to contribute more largely to Imperial taxation than dwellers in the country. Let them have a consistent policy in this matter. If education was to be a national burden, let them face it and impose safeguards, but do not let them have the local authority masquerading as enthusiasts for education, and procuring the benefits of education without any cost to themselves. The inevitable result of that would he extravagance in the local and rural authorities and dissatisfaction among the urban authorities, with consequent serious damage to the cause of education.

MR. ALFRED DAVIES (Carmarthen Boroughs)

said he viewed education as a national question, and one that should be kept outside Party politics. The Prime Minister ought to bear in mind it was his duty to legislate for the whole nation, without consideration for any Party, religious or political. Referring to the speech the Prime Minister had delivered earlier in the evening, the hon. Member remarked that he rubbed his eyes when he heard the Prime Minister describe himself as a benefactor to the ratepayers. He thought at once of his own constituency. In the case of Llanelly, one of the two boroughs which he had the honour to represent, a calculation had been made for the year ending 29th September last, which showed that under this Bill on the poor-rate assessment there would be earned an aid-grant of £2,658, whereas under the present law there would be earned £3,041. Here was a loss of £383. How then could the Llanelly ratepayers regard the First Lord of the Treasury as a benefactor? He declined to accept the right hon. Gentleman as a benefactor until he knew of some action of his which would justify the title. If he wished to be a benefactor let him tax ground values and royalties for the purposes of education, and let him divert the three million doles from parsons and landlords to education. There would be severe punishment to the Tory Party at the next election on account of this Bill, but if the rates increased under its enactments, as there was every prospect of their doing, then the punishment would he still greater. Injustice marked every line of the Bill. He would not have the Prime Minister imagine that the feeling of the country against the Bill in this House was represented by the Opposition; on the contrary, the feeling in the country was ten times stronger than that shown upon this side of the House. The Bill might have been introduced and carried a hundred years ago—at the commencement of the nineteenth century—but it was lamentable that on the dawn of the twentieth century, in an enlightened age, such an unjust Bill should be forced through the House. He felt that there was never a better or stronger case for the Liberal Party to tight for. If only they could have William Ewart Gladstone with them for one week, the Liberals would drive the Tory Party out of office. He could not understand why Members opposite did not make up their minds to appeal to the country on the question. The Colonial Secretary had stated on the previous night that he had no objection to appeal to the country if (there was always an "if") other duties did not prevent. He hoped it was clearly understood that many good and noble men would let their goods be sold and would suffer imprisonment rather than pay the rates. He therefore urged the Government to pause before it was too late rather than force through the House a Bill which would cause a revolution in the land.


said the hon. Member who last spoke had given them a discourse on the general iniquities of the Bill, but had hardly touched on the point under discussion. He very greatly regretted that this Amendment should have been moved by a right hon. Gentleman who had, in the past, identified himself so largely with the agricultural interest in that House. The right hon. Gentleman had done a great deal for the agricultural interest, but he could not think he was doing it a good service when he brought forward this Amendment. Some years ago, a Bill was introduced by the right hon. Member for Sleaford, which very much reduced the assessment of agricultural land for the Poor and other rates. He supported that measure, because be believed it to be one of absolute justice. But, having obtained justice, he did not think it behoved those who represented the interests of agriculture to come to the House continually and plead for sympathy or compassion. He would like to hear from the hon. Member for Barnstaple who were the wicked landlords who had put into their pockets advantages which the tenants ought to enjoy, or who had raised their rents on those advantages conferred by Parliament. He knew of no such case, and he doubted it one could be produced for the edification of Parliament. The rating of agricultural land was, to his mind, placed on a fair basis under the right hon. Gentleman's Act, of 1896 —a basis which he thought the House would never upset or interfere with. Having thus obtained justice, let them be satisfied, and not come to that House on every conceivable occasion and say they were ground down, that they were oppressed, and could not live on account of the burden of rates on their shoulders. Curiously enough, on the preceding Sunday he was turning over the pages of a county history and he noticed that in 1801, in three parishes near where he lived new the parish rate was 9s., 6s., and 5s respectively. Nowadays the average rate in rural parishes in England does not exceed 5s., and seeing that agricultural land was assessed at halt its value, he did not think they ought to have that eternal cackle about the rates being too high. There were other things, no doubt, which pressed heavily on them, among them the facilities for borrowing which had been given to the spending authorities, who thus increased their burdens. When the question of education was at stake he did not think they ought to ask for any better bargain than they had got under this Bill. He could not altogether agree with the arguments of the hon. Member for Barnstaple that the benefit of the money spent on education in several districts was lost because a young man went off to the town to make a living. In many cases they came back to spend the money they bad earned, and therefore the expenditure on education was a good investment. County Council elections were not always to be turned by cries of low rates. Much depended on the candidate, and if Ire were a man who enjoyed the confidence of the people of the district he would get elected, so long as he declared for economy with efficiency. His opinion was they had very much overridden their horse of high rates. It certainly was not dignified or to their credit, and he did not think it was to the interest of agriculture to reiterate the plea that the rates were too heavy to he borne and should be placed on the shoulders of other persons.

(9.30.) MR. GEORGE WHITE (Norfolk, N.W.)

said that the debate, in some parts of it at least, had been on the incidence of taxation rather than on the Amendment before the Committee. The incidence of taxation was a very important question, which night to have been dealt with by the strongest Government of modern times before now: but it was not a proper topic to discuss on the present Amendment. He represented a purely agricultural district, and he regretted that, therefore, he was compelled to dissociate himself from some if his hon. friends who found it incumbent on them to support the Amendment. He did not believe that if the Amendment were passed, it could possibly obtain one penny from the Imperial Exchequer. It was a law of Parliament that, no such Amendment would be in order or that under it a penny could he obtained from the Imperial Exchequer for the purpose of reducing the cost of education throughout the country and relieving the rates. Therefore, the result of the Amendment would be that less money would be spent on education, and that education would be less efficient in the country districts. Whatever view the agricultural interest might take on the question, he for one was not prepared to purchase votes by promoting inefficient education. That was the principle on which he stood. He felt, however, that the expense of carrying out one part of the Bill might very properly be borne by the Imperial Exchequer. He referred to the secondary education part. The Prime Minister said, on more than one occasion, that it was necessary to provide for the more effective training of teachers; and he felt that that, too, was, very properly, a national and not a local charge. But as regarded elementary education, he was quite sure that the principle in the Bill was a just one, and that, the locality should bear some, part of the expense. He was very anxious that no Amendment should be passed which would prevent efficient education in the rural districts. He was perfectly well ware that children in tire agricultural districts were placed at a considerable disadvantage already, through the want of proper educational facilities. The appliances rind the teaching staffs were very inefficient, as a rule, because of the want of sufficient expenditure, and his view of the Amendment vas that if it were carried less money would be spent on education. Therefore he was not prepared to support it, even thought it might be regarded is an attempt to relieve the rates. Before the introduction of the Education Act of 1870, the contribution from the Imperial Exchequer was fixed at one-third. It was afterwards advanced to one half, and now the right hon. Gentleman claimed that not more than a fourth should be paid by the ratepayers in the locality. He was rather surprised that Ins hon. friend had not looked with greater suspicion on the Amendment, coming from the quarter it did. The right hon. Gentleman was not in favour of educational progress unless it could be obtained free of cost; and, looking at the character of the support which the Amendment had received, he was quite certain that its aim was not educational efficiency. In these circumstances, he hoped the Committee would negative it by a large majority. He was quite sure that if they put the advantages of education before the rural districts that they would find a response, although it might be slow. If the interests of agriculture could only be promoted by the means suggested in the Amendment, then, indeed, as an industry, it was very near its lowest ebb. He opposed the Amendment as one which could not possibly reduce the burden on the ratepayers, while it would, in some ways, prevent the spread of education on the lines they desired throughout the agricultural districts.

SIR W. HART DYKE (Kent, Dartford)

said he felt it difficult to give a silent vote in regard to the Amendment; and he made no apology for trespassing on the Committee for a few minutes, because, after all, the question was a very important one, which should not be put lightly aside. They were all agreed that some of the burden in connection with education should be put upon the locality; and it was perfectly obvious that, from an administrative point of view, there should be such a charge. In the first place, some of the chief powers would be taken away from the new authority if they had no funds to dispose of; and therefore, from a common-sense point of view, some charge must rest on the locality. His right hon. friend moved the Amendment to safeguard the agricultural interest in particular from the possibility of an indefinite charge on the rates. The Amendment was, in his opinion, an impossible Amendment as it stood. He had had the honour of carrying one or two Bills through the House connected with education; but he never, in his wildest dreams, thought of placing a Clause such as the Amendment of his right hon. friend in any of them. They were dealing with the indefinite in connection with the rates which would have to be paid under the Bill. Neither those who framed the Bill, nor those who had given it the closest attention, could tell within 1d. or 2d. or 3d. what the ultimate cost would be. He would venture to suggest to his right hon. friend not to proceed to a division on the Amendment. He would give a practical reason for that suggestion. They had had a speech from the Prime Minister, who was in charge of the Bill, and if that speech had been unsympathetic, as regarded any proposal for a further charge on the Imperial Exchequer, he would have recommended his right hon. friend, as a protest, to divide on the Amendment; but that speech was sympathetic to a high degree, and although the Prime Minister, very properly, could not pledge himself that, in the future, further relief would be afforded, although he gave no direct promise, he at all events indicated that what had been already done would not be a bar towards further relief in the same direction. Surely, from the business point of view, they could not secure a better situation in connection with the question at issue. He was one of those who believed that the estimates made of what the cost would be under the Bill were much exaggerated. His right hon. friend the Member for Thanet, who looked upon him as a faddist in matters of education, said that the cost would be unlimited, and that there would be extravagance on the part of the local authorities. Nothing of the kind. The local authorities had been dealing with an education problem up to the present which was far more difficult than they would have to solve under the Bill. The Bill would do away with the foolish extravagance in the past, whereby money was spent on elementary education without any guarantee that that education would be continued. Extravagance such as that would be once and for all abolished. Then, with regard to the rate, it was perfectly true that there might be a rise, and even an abnormal rise, in some districts; but the increased rate would be an investment that would bear good fruit. When a school was improved, when a popular master and mistress were introduced, the immediate result was a considerable rise in the attendance, and a consequent improvement in the grant; and that addition to the grant must be balanced against the rate before they came to the net result. He desired to point out to hon. Members who were puzzled as to how they would vote, to remember that a great deal of pressure would he put on the Government in the future to afford further relief where a very heavy charge had been incurred and serious injustice inflicted, and that that pressure would he irresistible. Therefore, looking at the whole situation, he was perfectly satisfied to let it rest as it was, coupling with the speech of the Prime Minister, the certain pressure which would follow if there was an undue increase of the rates in any district—pressure which would be so great that relief must come. Re believed that the whole result would be that there would be a fair balance between the charge from the Imperial Exchequer and that proper charge which ought to come from the local rates. If his right hon. friend went to a division he would vote against him, although he had the greatest possible sympathy with the cause he advocated against the piling up of rates to an unjust extent, whether in town or country.

MR. GEORGE WHITELEY (Yorkshire, W. R., Pudsey)

said he was extremely suspicious of the quarter from which the Amendment proceeded. He was also somewhat timid of the hon. Baronet the Member for South Somerset, and whenever he heard in the speeches of the hon. Baronet an allusion to the Central Chamber of Agriculture, it always threw him into a state of perturbation. The hon. Gentleman took as his text the Amendment, but the gist of his sermon referred to another matter altogether. The Amendment itself was fairly harmless and innocuous. He did not think that any hon. Gentleman would object to some limitation being placed on the rates; but the right hon. Gentleman argued the matter simply from the standpoint of the agricultural interest. The hon. Gentleman's argument was one which was somewhat familiar to the Committee. They had heard it previously, and it amounted to this—that although local burdens might increase, and although other people might be rated, the agricultural interest should go free. He did not, however, think that the hon. Gentleman could argue that in agricultural districts rates bore with very great severity. The average rate on agricultural land was from 1s. to 1s. 3d. in the £ whereas rates in towns were from 6s. to 10s. in the £. The matter was one which affected all kinds of rating; and one which ought to be discussed simply from the standpoint of agriculture. The proper principle was that where they had increased local burdens, all rateable property should contribute equally. Surely the hon. Gentleman could not contend that a farmer, who only paid one-twentieth of his full rateable value, suffered more than a person who had to contribute one-half. The hon. and learned Member for the Stretford Division alluded to the Report of the Royal Commission on Local Taxation. The hon. and learned. Member took a prominent and eminent part in the deliberations of that Commission, and he was sure they would all support the hon. and learned Member if he could only persuade the Government to legislate on the lines of that Report. That was the real solution of the question; and until that was done, discussions such as the present would crop up from time to time and be as useful in the future as they had been in the past.

MAJOR RASCH (Essex, Chelmsford)

much regretted that the Amendment not the support of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Dartford Division, and could only suppose that the agricultural depression had not reached the somewhat suburban constituency he represented. He hoped it would not be long before it did.


I have had twenty-seven years of it.


said in his constituency they always had it. He thanked the First Lord of the Treasury for permitting a certain amount of additional discussion of this Clause and for the sympathetic allusion he had made to what might possibly happen in a few days. If he might venture to suggest a fault in connection with his right hon. friend's management of the Bill, he thought that his right hon. friend might have selected the principle of short speeches instead of that of closure by compartments. Things were very different now from what they were when the First Lord of the Treasury addressed them on the 26th of June, when he promised them a subvention in aid of the rates. They were in a very much worse position now than they were then; and, although it was only four months ago, it seemed almost pre-Adamite. Secondary education was then permissive; it was now going to be compulsory. [Mr. A. J. BALFOUR: Oh, no.] As far as his limited intelligence could guide him, he believed it was going to be compulsory, but he would drop that. With reference to the voluntary schools, by a sort of hocus-pocus which he could not understand, they were to be called "provided" schools in certain circumstances, in which case they too would come on the rates. That was another reason why they should have the sympathetic attention of the First Lord of the Treasury. They stood in a very different position now from that in which they did when the Bill was read a first time. Now they had a new Chancellor of the Exchequer, and there was a good deal in that. At that time, he himself was in the position of Athanasius against the world. He had no friend in the House from an educational point of view. Now things were different. The Times, which used to refer to himself and his friends as rustic individuals, harmless faddists in the matter of education, and all that, had come round to their side in reference to the rates on die land, and what The Times said today most sensible people, at any rate, thought tomorrow. That was his experience at all events. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouth rendered valuable assistance on die Second Reading of the Bill with reference to this particular matter. He had never thought that the right hon. Gentleman was opposed to the agricultural interest, although he was charged with it. Another right hon. Gentleman, rather late in the day, at the eleventh hour, almost at a quarter to twelve—he alluded of course to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Sleaford Division—although he voted for the First and Second Readings of the Bill, now came and gave them what support he could. Of course, every little helped, and it was better late than never. He was reminded, with reference to the right hon. Member, of the anecdote of Lord Chesterfield and. Dr. Johnson. Hon. Members would know to what anecdote he referred, and he need not pursue the reference. [HON. MEMBERS: Quote.] The anecdote was simply this. When the great lexicographer was struggling with the difficulties of bringing out his dictionary, he called on Lord Chesterfield, who kept him waiting in his ante-room a long time and did not after all give him a satisfactory answer. When the initial difficulties had been overcome Lord Chesterfield came to his assistance, and Dr. Johnson said he was not of as much use to him as if he had been there a little earlier. The support of the hon. Members for Oldham ought to be his, for, whether they knew it or not, they were the apostolic successors of one of the greatest of Englishmen—William Cobbett—who said in the House of Commons that he would never put a tax on agricultural land for the purpose of education. He wished to know why the Government could not give a grant of 42s. 6d. for each child; and if people were fools enough to spend more, that would be their fault, and not the fault of the Government. There was no reason why the agricultural interest should he slaughtered to make an educational holiday. He failed to understand the feeling of some hon. Gentlemen on this matter. The hon. Member for Wigan was an enthusiast, even a fanatic, on education. He believed the hon. Member would be quite satisfied if very farm in East Anglia went out of cultivation if he were allowed to put a denominational school on its site. The agricultural interest in this House was long-complaining and long-suffering. They did not make half as much noise as they might about their grievances. They did not ask for doles or loans, and, if they did, they knew perfectly well they would not get them. All they asked was that they should be treated fairly and honestly. He was afraid he had spoken too long on this particular question, and he hoped hon. Members would pardon him for having done so. He represented a constituency almost entirely agricultural; where his supporters were divided into two camps—those who were ruined and those who were going to be ruined: where the rates were absolutely crushing; and where they were at their wits' end to make a living. The only way in which he could justify his continued existence as a Member of the House was by standing up, as best he could, for the men who sent him there.

(10.0) MR. A. J. BALFOUR

said he congratulated his hon. and gallant friend on having kept within his own rule as to a time limit, even on a subject, in which he knew he was deeply interested. It was the highest tribute he could pay to the value of the principle he had preached in the House. He only rose now to suggest to the Committee that the debate on this Amendment might now come to a conclusion. He thought his right hon. friend who moved the Amendment might he content with the interesting debate he had initiated debate winch had dealt adequately, he thought, with the important matters his right hon. friend had raised. He ventured to suggest that, as the terms of the Amendment were hardly of a kind which the House as a practical body of legislators could accept, his right hon. friend might consent to withdraw his Motion.


said he might he permitted to say a few words in reply to the appeal td his right hon. friend. His right hon. friend urged him not to press the Amendment on the other hand he had been urged by a great many people from all parts of the country to press it to the utmost. If he did not press it, what could he tell his friends and supporters? Had his right hon. friend offered anything specific I He did not think he had. Did his right hon. friend give any distinct promise of any further grant I He gave his sympathy, and he was perfectly sure that his right hon. friend was thoroughly sincere in that; and he thought he understood his right hon. friend to hold out some hope —[Mr. A. J. BALFOUR: Hear. Hear]—that he might be able to render assistance later. If his right hon. friend would tell the supporters of the Amendment that they might entertain a reasonable expectation that another year, if not this year, unless unforeseen circumstances arose which put difficulties in the way of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, he might be able to come forward with some further help in the direction he had indicated, he would be ready to withdraw the Amendment.


said he was, always very anxious on such occasions never to say anything that could be twisted into a pledge. It was absolutely necessary that pledges should be fulfilled, and he always endeavoured to fulfil them to the letter, and, that being so, he was anxious not, to use any terms which could give rise to misunderstandings. He thought the actual promise made by his right hon. friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer of £930,000 was exceedingly generous, and he thought it was sometimes forgotten that on a balance it meant several hundred thousand a year in the pockets of the ratepayers if education was kept, at its present level, inasmuch as that gift from the Exchequer was largely in excess of the amount to which voluntary, subscribers would be relieved. He quite. recognised, however, that, probably education would not be kept at its present level, and he did not disguise from the. House that probably there must be a, burden put, on ratepayers who did not now bear that burden. Moreover it, was possible, taking the ratepayers altogether as one corporate community, that they might not be gainers, but rather losers, by the Bill in the long-run. He also recognised that the ratepayers were overburdened, and he desired to repeat the hope which he-expressed earlier in the evening that the Chancellor of the Exchequer might lat no distant date be able to add something to the large and not ungenerous gift he had already made. He hoped that statement would satisfy his right hon. friend. It was not a pledge, and must not be taken as a pledge. It was a hope, an earnest and an honest hope, and one which he trusted the House won d see fulfilled.


felt that his right hon. friend had said as much as a Minister in his position could say at present, and he the before asked leave to withdraw the Amendment.


said before the Amendment was withdrawn, he wished to know whether the rate for the margin of the expense of education would be settled by representatives of people who did not themselves pay the rate.


said that matter had been dealt with.

(10.13).Question put.


declared that the "Ayes" had it.

The decision being challenged,


I will ask the hon. members who challenge my decision to rise in their places.

Several Hon. Members having risen,

The Committee divided. Ayes 291;Noes, 14. (Division List No. 501.)

(10.30.) MR. SOARES

in moving an Amendment to provide for the payment of "the reasonable travelling expenses of the members of the education committee," said the object of his proposal was to promote efficiency in education, and so far as he knew it did not conflict with the political principles of either Party. It was, in fact, a logical result of the decision of the Committee as to the advisability of members of existing School Boards being appointed on the education committees. It would greatly conduce to the power and efficiency of the education committee if the poorer portion of the middle class, and also working men, were represented upon it. The former were perpetually making great sacrifices in order to confer upon their children the great boon of a good education, and many of them were of an altruistic tarn of mind, and would care for the education not only of their own children but also of others. Then it must not be forgotten that it was the children of working men who were principally affected by the Bill, and therefore as a class they ought to have a voice in the application of the principles of the Bill. None would deny that the Labour Members of Parliament were an extremely valuable addition to the House, as they knew from practical experience what other Members knew only from hearsay or in theory. One thing was perfectly clear, viz., that the larger the field for the selection of the education committee the better the education committee would be. They had fought for that principle with regard to the quest on of the appointment of teachers, but had been beaten on that point on denominational grounds. But there were no such grounds to be alleged against this Amendment. Unless some such Amendment as he had proposed was accepted, they would shut the door to the poorer portion of the middle class and to working men. As a matter of fact we found that County Councils consisted mainly of the squire and other wealthy men—not because the poorer men would not be elected if they put up, but because they could not stand as the expenses entailed were so heavy. The education committees at first, would have a considerable number of meetings, and, as the areas were very large, the travelling expenses would form a serious item. He was aware that there was no precedent for the course he was proposing, but there were several things in the Bill itself for which there was no precedent. He did not look upon the Amendment as verbally inspired, and so long as the principle was accepted he was prepared to accept any other form of words.

Amendment proposed— In page 5, line 21, after the word 'Council, to insert the words 'including the reasonable travelling expenses of the members of the education committee.'"—(Mr. Soares.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."


joined earnestly in the appeal of his hon. friend that favourable consideration should be given to this Amendment. It would be difficult enough to induce many of those whom they would like to see on the Education Committee to give their time to the work, and if they removed the difficulty which the expense of travelling imposed it would be a great advantage to the new bodies. Clause 12 provided that persons with an experience of education and acquainted with the needs of the various kinds of schools should be added to the education committee. Among those schools were many which gave practical or technical instruction, and it was very desirable that no consideration of expense for travelling should prevent persons who had a practical knowledge of the work done by the technical schools from being able to attend the committee. This was a valuable principle, and one that could easily be distinguished from the cases of other local authorities. It was a new case altogether. A new system was being started, and they ought to give that new system the best possible chance of enlisting the assistance of a class whose knowledge and interest ought to be in the service of education.


said every one would share the general view of the right hon. Gentleman and the mover of the Amendment that every facility should be given for the attendance on these committees of as many as possible of the capable men whose services they desired to obtain. But no sound reason had been given why in this particular instance there should be a departure from the principle which had hitherto been consistently maintained in regard to all branches of local government. Generalities had been indulged in, but there had been no special evidence adduced to justify the Committee in believing that them would be any difficulties in the way of the attendance upon the education committee of representatives of the labouring class which were greater than those at present existining regard to County Councils, Boards of Guardians, or any other local governing bodies. As a matter of practice, what was it that obtained in their County Councils? There were on nearly every County Council excellent representatives, of the working classes. [OPPOSITION cries of Oh."]

MR. BROADHURST (Leicester)



said he did not know whether the hon. Member disputed his statement as to the word. "excellent" or "representatives," but it was idle for the hon. Gentleman to contradict him, for he was speaking of what he knew.


So am I.


insisted that there were excellent representatives of the working classes on many of their County Councils, and it had never yet been asserted that if working men were absent from County Councils it was because they could not afford to pay their travelling expenses. What had been said, and what was said, by the mover of the Amendment was that it was not the travelling expenses that prevented working men from attending on these bodies, but the fact that they could not spare the time necessary for the performance of these duties.


I said it was the travelling expenses principally which caused them to be unable to be elected on these bodies.


said it was not the travelling expenses alone that prevented working men joining public bodies. Everybody must know that men whose daily employment was a matter of money, in nine cases out of ten could not afford, unless they were paid for the work, to give up their employment to attend the meetings. If they justified the payment of travelling expenses on the ground that they wanted the presence of these men on the County Councils, why should they not go further and pay them their out-of-pocket expenses? That was a proposal which had never yet been assented to by Parliament, and he hoped the Committee would not in this particular instance, and on such insufficient grounds, take a departure from anything that had yet been found necessary in any branch of their local government.

SIR FORTESCUE FLANNERY (Yorkshire, W.R., Shipley)

pointed out that on Urban District Councils travelling expenses were paid.


said that that applied only to members who went outside the area of the Council on business connected with the Council, but it had nothing whatever to do with attendance at the meetings of the body itself within its area. The proposal would be a serious departure from a well recognised and hitherto generally accepted principle which ought not to be made except on much stronger grounds than had been put forward.


said if the right hon. Gentleman had confined his remarks about Labour representation to London he would have strengthened his position, for there were several most careful and powerful representatives of labour on the London County Council. If, however, the right hon. Gentleman meant that there was a good representation of labour by working men on County Councils generally, then he was entirely wrong, and it was on that point that he ventured to contradict the right hon. Gentleman. The difficulty was that many agricultural labourers and village tradesmen would not be able to give their services if their expenses were not allowed, although they would not mind losing a day's work occasionally. The expenses of an agricultural labourer attending meetings of this kind for one day would pro bably be six times as much as his loss in wages. Although it was quite true that County Councils were elected by popular vote, the expenses attaching to service on County Councils really constituted a property qualification, and although technically there was no such qualification, in practice a considerable qualification was necessary. He had served many years on a County Council, and to attend its meetings involved on an average a cost of 10s. per day. That was more than any working man could afford. He should like to do service on many of the committees of the County Council but he had been obliged to resign his membership of those committees on account of the heavy cost attaching to attendance at those meetings. There was no reason why they should not allow expenses in these particular cases. He thought the right hon. Gentleman opposite would remember that in the year 1888 this question was fought in several divisions, and what did they say at that time? Their argument was that in the overwhelming majority of County Councils, labour would be excluded by direct representation by Labour representatives unless reasonable travelling expenses were allowed. That had proved to he true. He did not suppose that they could find twenty real workingmen, representative of labour, on the County Councils in the whole of the kingdom outside London. Therefore his hon. friend's Amendment was only a reproduction of a Motion which they made upon a former occasion with regard to reasonable travelling expenses being allowed. The hon. Member for the Shipley Division of Yorkshire was perfectly right in what he had said. It was an acknowledged fact that they prevented the direct representation of labour by refusing to pay their travelling expenses; and yet the members of the Council, by being appointed on deputations and instructed to undertake all sorts of investigations, experiments, and conferences, could have their expenses paid upon the most liberal, and sometimes the most lavish, scale. Therefore he thought the interjection of the hon. Member opposite was most valuable, and he did not think the President of the Local Government Board appreciated the course of that remark. If his hon. friend behind him would modify his Amendment in order to insert the words "where applied for "—[OPPOSITION cries of "No, no!"]—he was only endeavouring to do something which would ease the rash position which the right hon. Gentleman opposite had taken up. [An HON. MEMBER: That would be invidious.] Yes, it would, but there were some Members of this House who got pensions, and others who did not get them. There was no indignity in connection with that procedure in the House; at any, rate, if he had the opportunity he should not consider it beneath his dignity. He was only now taking a Conservative view of the matter. He was sure his hon. friend would not mind modifying his Amendment in this respect, if by that means they could induce the Government to meet them in regard to this matter. What they prophesied upon this subject in 1888 had come true, for labour had been excluded from direct representation by working men on account of the insurmountable expense, not so much in regard to the loss of wage earning, as in regard to the out-of pocket expenses in regard to travelling and other matters. Now the Government had the opportunity of rectifying the mistake they made in 1888. In that year the Chancellor of the Exchequer stated that no difficulty would arise, and that Labour representatives would find their way on to those Councils, but it had been proved that this was not true, and this object could not be accomplished unless an Amendment, similar to the one now before the Committee was inserted in the Bill.

(10.55.) MR. SHACKLETON (Lancashire, Clitheroe)

said he thought this was a subject upon which a Member representing Labour interests could fairly claim the indulgence of the Committee for a few moments. The right hon. Gentleman representing the Government on this question said there was no precedent for such a proposal. The adoption of this proposal would not be the first precedent set in this house, and he was sure that it would be one of the best precedents that Parliament had ever set. It had been said that these expenses did not, debar working-men from joining public bodies. He thought he could show that the opposite was the case. He could prove that, in Lancashire, working-men were taking a great interest in public affairs. In the borough of Colne, one-third the members of the Council were Labour representatives, simply on account of the fact that there were no out-of-pocket expenses attached to their attendance at the meetings of that Council. In Nelson, there were three or four Labour members on the Council, and in Black-bum there were no less than eight Labour representatives. Those were all places where there were no out-of-pocket expenses entailed in regard to attendance. Those three instances would prove that working-men were anxious to attend on these public bodies in order to give what little intelligence and service they could when they had the opportunity. Probably hon. Members would say that this was not a very expensive business. Let them put the expense at 5s. per week. The trade with which he had been closely connected was one in which the average weekly wage was not more than 23s. or 24s. a week. He would ask hon. Members whose incomes were perhaps something like £50 a week whether they would like to sacrifice one-fourth of that income in order to attend the meetings of any public body? This 5s. a week to the class of men he had referred to would be a far more serious loss to them than the loss of £25 or £30 per week to some hon. Members of this House. The argument put forward in reference to the payment of these expenses proved their case. If it was right to pay men when they left their homes as members of deputations and other such work, by the instruction of public bodies, surely it was right for any other kind of work in connection with those public bodies to pay out-of-pocket expenses with regard to attendance at those meetings. The right hon. Gentleman opposite, representing the Government, stated that there were a large number of working men on these County Councils, but he was very much mistaken. Take for example the County of Lancaster, which had over 100 members, not one of them being a working man. And why? If a Member had to attend the meetings of that Council from Darwen it would mean 3s. or 3s. 6d. railway fare. No working man earning the wages he had mentioned could afford to lose that amount of money out of his wages. He thought the Amendment of his hon. friend was a very moderate one, and this proposal gave the Government an opportunity which they ought to take immediate advantage of. If his hon. friend had asked that not only the travelling expenses but also a certain payment should be made he should have agreed with him. Surely when they were simply asking for out-of-pocket expenses that was a fair and a just demand, and no hon. Member ought to vote against it. He should support the Amendment which had been moved by his hon. friend.

MR. CHARLES ALLEN (Gloucestershire, Stroud,)

said the issues upon this Amendment seemed to be very clear on both sides of the House. On the Opposition side they wished to make it easier for working men to obtain representation on public bodies, while on the other side of the House hon. Members simply relied upon precedent. These education committees would have immense power in the counties for good or evil. Personally, he believed they would be the real education authority. Nominally, he was aware, they were only an advisory committee, but the work which the County Councils were already doing was so great that these education committees would become really the administrative bodies. That being so, they ought to make it easy for working men to serve, for after all it was mostly their children who would be educated in those schools. Not only ought they to allow these out-of-pocket expenses, but they ought to do everything they could to encourage Labour representatives to take part in this educational work. The point referred to upon the Second Reading by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Aberdeen came up again in this discussion, namely, that if they had the enthusiasm of the people behind it a bad system of education was better than a good system with indifference behind it. It seemed to him that they ought to try by every means in their power to encourage the enthusiasm and interests of the working classes in education, and they would be accomplishing this if they made it possible for more Labour representatives to serve on the education committees. He did not quite understand what the right hon. Gentleman meant, when he said that there was no precedent for this Amendment. Perhaps there was not an exact precedent, but an intimate friend of his, who was a member of the London County Council, assured him that when he visited places on behalf of the Council he was allowed expenses and first-class fare.


That is exactly what I said. I stated that where members of the Council went outside their area they got their expenses.


said the Government insisted upon sticking to the old precedent, and would not make a new one, although the distance to be travelled for the purpose of attending meetings was very often much greater than the distance to be travelled in reference to deputations and other matters. In Gloucestershire, for example, it took a councillor practically all day to attend the meetings from some of the outlying districts; therefore the attitude taken up by the right hon. Gentleman Was a very fine point indeed, and he felt that justice, and right, and good policy were on their side.

LORD EDMUND FITZMAURICE (Crickdale), Wiltshire,

said he wished to say a few words from a County Council point of view. He confessed that he was a little astonished when he heard the President of the Local Government Board say, as he did at first, without any qualification, that there were a considerable number of working men upon different County Councils of England. He did not think that was so. He admitted that here and there a working man had found his way on to a Comity Council, but on the whole this was an exceptional thing. In many of the English counties if seemed to him to stand to reason, considering the whole of the circumstances of the case, that it was almost impossible for working men, unless under favoured circumstances, to find their way on to the County Council. With regard to the Amendment they hid been told that it would establish till exceedingly dangerous precedent, and would open the door to an enormous extension of this principle. He could not help thinking that really this was an exaggeration. Why should they draw a distinction between the cases of those who were working, so to speak, at the very doors of the place of meeting, and those who lived close by? A suggestion had been made that the rule should not have general application, but that the onus should he thrown upon the individual to ask for payment. When the question of the payment of Members of Parliament came up Mr. Gladstone pointed out that he would be in favour of drawing some distinction of that kind, but great as was his authority the feeling was at that time that it would be a very dangerous thing to draw such a distinction, and the idea that was present in Mr. Gladstone's mind was fear of the expense which would be involved. Naturally it was felt at that time that it was not a desirable thing to increase public expenditure. He wished to ask whether there was any real danger of a great expense being incurred in this matter. He did not think the Amendment would entail any great expense. The County Councils met on an average only four times a year, though no doubt there would be more frequent meetings of the education authority. If they took the average number of meetings of the Country Council and what would likely be the number of meetings of the education committees and totalled them up, was disposed to think that there would be no such enormous expenditure in this respect as had been indicated by the right hon. Gentleman. He would be willing to accept as a compromise the suggestion of his hon. friend behind him, thought it was open to the objection he had tried to state. He did not believe that a claim openly and honourably made by a man who desired to have his expenses paid would affect his standing as a member of the committee. The President of the Local Government Board had said that the difficulty was that a Labour member who was in somebody else's employment could not afford the time or would not be allowed by his employer to attend the meetings, But it should be borne in mind that there were a great many Labour representatives who were not in that position—men who, thought originally working men, had retired from the ranks of manual labourers, but had not ceased to be regarded by their follows as Labour representatives. He was inclined to think that those were precisely the men who were likely to be represented on the committee. It should be possible for those men to have their expenses paid and that they should not be placed under the great disadvantages they would undoubtedly suffer if they were obliged to travel, at their own expense, from the extreme end of the county to the county town in order to attend the meetings of the committee.

MR. FENWICK (Northumberland, Wansbeck)

said he hoped the Committee would not sanction the suggestion which had been made, that working men on the local authority might have their expenses paid if they claimed them. He would never like to be put in such an invidious position. Whenever an election took place the opponent of a candidate brought forward in the Labour interest would point out to the constituency that if he were elected he would do the work gratuitously. He had the honour to be one of the deputation that waited on Mr. Gladstone on the subject of the payment of Members. When the suggestion was made than an arrangement might be come to whereby Members might be paid if they were prepared to make a declaration that they required payment, he was glad to say that all the Labour representatives repudiated the suggestion at once, and said that, so far as they were personally concerned, they would never tolerate being put in such an invidious position. The Amendment now before the Committee was one that deserved support. Labouring men who were members of Borough Councils at present had no out-of-pocket travelling expenses because they lived in the immediate vicinity of the places where the meetings were held. The case was vastly different so far as County Councils were concerned, because the men were often compelled to travel scores of miles to the place of meeting, paying their travelling expenses and losing a day's pay, except, as in the counties of Durham and Northumberland, where the Labour representatives had powerful trade unions behind them to pay the expenses, and also, in many cases, the wages which would otherwise be lost. Was it fair that the labouring classes of the country should have imposed on them financial disabilities when they desired to represent their fellow-workmen on the local institutions of the country? He believed that no hon. Member wished to exclude representative workingmen from serving on public bodies, but by the present system they had practically imposed upon them a financial test or financial disability. It was impossible for working men in all cases to bear the loss of travelling expenses and wages if they wished to represent their fellow-workers on local authorities, and he hoped the Committee would accept the Amendment which proposed that reasonable travelling expenses should be allowed. The children of the working classes were being educated in the schools. Working men were, therefore, directly interested in the management of the schools, and it seemed to him that they were fit and proper persons to be elected members of the education committee, but that in his judgment was impossible unless the Committee adopted the Amendment.

MR JOHN WILSON (Durham, Mid.)

said he was proud to be a member of Durham County Council, which last week did him the honour of electing him vice-chairman, He did not put forward a claim specially on behalf of the representation of labour on local administrative bodies, but his contention was that these bodies were not so complete as they ought to be unless labour was represented. There were twenty-two or twenty-four working-men members of the Durham County Council, and four or five of them were Aldermen. The question he wished to ask was whether the Durham County Council, or any other local body, was or was not more effective for good by having working men upon it. He held that they were the better for having working men, and if that point was granted it was the duty of Parliament to facilitate their entrance to these bodies. But for the fact that he lived almost at the doorstep of the Durham County Council, he was not rich enough —and he was not ashamed to say so—to throw money away in that direction. He was willing to give his labour, knowedge and experience to the people, but he did not think he was in a position to take upon himself the burden of paying expenses such as must fall upon men who lived at a distance from the place of meeting. In view of the fact which had been pointed out by the hon. Member for the Wansbeck Division that it was largely, if not entirely, the children of working men who would have to be educated in the elementary schools, he thought the education committee should include men of that class. They should be allowed reasonable expenses to refund what they were out of pocket. He knew that the working men of the country, however poor they might be, had more regard for the principle involved in this proposal than they had for getting money into their pockets. If the House were to grant this demand to working men only, the working men would feel themselves insulted. Either all must have the concession, or none.


said he had considerable sympathy with the object of the Amendment, which appeared to him to indicate a legitimate means of facilitating the presence of representatives of the working classes on the education committees. But he very much doubted whether this was a suitable time for introducing a new principle into our system of local government, as they would be undoubtedly doing if they were to accept this Amendment. The truth was that the question now before the Committee appeared to be only part of the very much larger question as to whether it would not be right that reasonable travelling expenses, and possibly other expenses, of County Councillors and members of other local bodies should be paid for them. That was a matter which might be fairly open to argument, and he should like to see it raised in debate in this House. But he could not sufficiently differentiate the position of the new education committees from that of other local bodies as to make it possible for him to say that they ought to pay the expenses of the one and not of the other.

(11.35.) SIR H. CAMPBELLBAN-NERMAN (Stirling Burghs)

said he was glad, and not sorry, to hear the hon. and learned Gentleman say that he felt considerable sympathy with the arguments that had been urged in favour of this Amendment. The hon. Member said this was not the proper place or the proper time to introduce this great change. He hardly ever knew a time or place when it suited the Government of the day to introduce a proposed change of this kind. He differed entirely from the hon. Member for York, because if ever this proposal for enabling workingmen, and men of very limited means, to take part in the discharge of public dities—and all men had some sort of claim as citizens not to be out of pocket on account of discharging public duties—the best of all places to begin with were these education committees. It was the opportunity of admitting to those bodies the very men who of all others were interested in the work. If they had a number of co-opted superior persons on these committees, learned in their own accomplishments, they might be very useful, but not one of them would have a child in the schools controlled by the committee. The men for whom his hon. friends had spoken were those whose children's future would depend on the excellence of the education given in the public elementary schools. He should have thought that this was an occasion, of all others, to introduce a change when nobody could say a word against it on its merits.

SIR JOHN GORST (Cambridge University)

said he would like to make a suggestion. He thought they were all agreed on having on these education committees men such as had been described by the right hon. Gentleman. It was quite certain, however, that some of these men would not be able to attend the committee meetings unless they had a reasonable allowance for expenses. He was one of the few persons in the House who rally trusted the local education authorities, and he would give them power to pay such part of the traveling expenses of the members of the education committee as they thought desirable.

MR. BELL (Derby)

said he desired to contribute a few observations to this interesting debate, and he did so practically on the ground that the Prime Minister had stated the previous night that the number of those on the Opposition side of the House who had spoken against the Bill were very few. So far as this question was concerned he had been a silent Member; he had been content to look on and listen without reiterating what had been already said. So far as the Labour section of the Opposition was concerned he believed they heartily supported the Amendment. He could not altogether agree with the suggestion of the right hon. Member for Cambridge University, inasmuch as he would be the last man to allow any local authority to pay expenses in what was called "deserving cases." He should fell that he would not be a man to be pauperiesed.


said he did not mean that the committee should decide whether the members were to be paid or not their expenses, but that the committee was to decide what kind of expenses were to be paid.


said if that were made general he could see no objection to it, but it should be inserted in the Bill. He thought that hon. Gentlemen in the House would agree, notwithstanding the abuse to which labour representatives on local bodies had been subjected in The Times lately, that it was desirable that working men should be represented on these local bodies by their fellow-workmen. He knew of a signalman on one of the trunk railways who had the honour of being elected as chairman of a School Board, and of his District Council; and there were many men of intelligence among the working classes fitted for these positions. The intelligence of working men was not to be measured by their grammar. They were the people who felt the disadvantage of not having had the best of education in their school days. In many local bodies working men were ably represented by their fellows, and he wished to see the system extended. After all, the working men had to fight their way to these offices on their merits, and he hoped the House and the Prime Minister would give them an opportunity of being chosen to the education committee by paying their reasonable travelling expenses when discharging public duties.


said he wished to support the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University. Frankly speaking, he thought that labour had bulked much too largely in this Amendment. He was not a blind worshipper of labour, but he recognised that there were men of intelligence, but of small means, who would have to do a great deal of the general drudgery of the work in connection with this Education Bill; and he believed that the cause of education would be served if the education committees had the power to pay their reasonable expenses. The right sort of men would always be welcomed in these education committees, and it had been shown, in the course of the debate, that Labour members had no difficulty in securing places on the County Councils. He thought there should be no difficulty in having their expenses paid, as the labourer is worthy of his hire; but he was unable to support the Amendment in its present form.


said he was rather expecting the Government to declare what they were going to do with the suggestion of the right hon. the Member for Cambridge University. There appeared to be only one opinion in the House as to the absolute desirability of having Labour representatives and men of limited means on these education committees. The right hon. Gentleman who voiced the opinion of the Government did not deny that, but he made the stock reply that this was not a good or convenient opportunity to make the change. What he wanted to point out was that if this Amendment were not accepted a disqualification would be placed upon poor men from which they had not suffered under the School Board system. Hitherto there had been no difficulty in having poor men on the School Boards. In his own parish it was considered so desirable to have men of limited means on the School Boards, that the meetings were held in the evening so as to meet the convenience of these members. It would be a hardship on persons of limited means who had to travel some distance to attend the Education committee meetings if they had to pay their own personal expenses. They had poor Members of Parliament who were an honour, and added dignity and power to the House. The hon. Member for Mid Durham, with his characteristic independence, had told the House that he would not be able to attend the House without some pecuniary recompense. Could anybody say that men of the character and experience of his hon. friend should not be represented on the education committees? Alter the speech of his hon. friend, especially when it was conceded that by the Clause as it stood they were placing a disqualification on men of his standing, nothing more need be said in favour of the Amendment. He hoped the Government would be in a hurry to reply. It would be no dishonour for the Government to say that a mistake had been made in this matter. It would be said that they were not weak, but strong, in admitting that they had been convinced that the position that they had adopted was one that could no longer be maintained, and that now was the time and opportunity for rendering this measure of justice to poor men.

MR. LYTTELTON (Warwick and Leamington)

said he thought the Opposition had had the best of the argument on this matter. For his part he desired to move an Amendment to the Amendment, in support of the position taken up by his right hon. friend the Member for Cambridge University. He thought the general principle, of which he was certainly a most cordial supporter, that members of public bodies should not, as a. rule, be paid, need not be infringed by the principle laid down by his right hon. friend. On the two grounds that the working classes were primarily interested in this matter, as it would be their children who attended the schools, and that it had been made compulsory that certain women should be members of these committees—both of which grounds made a clear distinction between this and ordinary cases—he moved to insert in the Amendment after the word "including" the words "such reasonable travelling expenses for members of the education committee as the local authority may think fit."

Amendment proposed to the proposed Amendment— To Leave out the first word 'the,' and insert the word 'such.'"—(Mr. Lyttelton.)

Question proposed, "That the first word 'the' stand part of the proposed Amendment."

It being Midnight, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.

Committee report Progress; to sit again Tomorrow.