HC Deb 29 October 1906 vol 163 cc700-1
SIR HENRY CRAIK (Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities)

I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether in view of the decision of the Government to appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal in the case of the King v. the West Hiding of Yorkshire County Council, he can make any statement for the guidance of local education authorities as to the continuance of payments for the provision of religious instruction in non-provided schools.


The difficulty which the local education authorities feel in this matter appears to arise out of the doubt whether payments of the kind referred to in the Question will be disallowed by the district auditors. The expenditure which comes before the auditors at the audits now being held relates to the financial year ended 31st March—i.e., before the decision of the Court of Appeal was given. The Local Government Board are sanctioning this expenditure under the Local Authorities' (Expenses) Act, where application is made to them for the purpose, if no objection is raised by ratepayers at the audit. No disallowance can then be made. Where ratepayers object at the audit to the expenditure, the Board think that the matter had better stand over until the decision of the House of Lords has been given. Expenditure during the present financial year will not come before the auditors until after 31st March next, and presumably, therefore, after the decision of the House of Lords has been obtained. It is premature to consider now what course should be taken after that decision, but I may say that there will be no desire on the part of the Government that members of local authorities should suffer personally for bona fide expenditure incurred before the decision is given.