HC Deb 12 August 1907 vol 180 cc899-927

As amended (by the Standing Committee), considered.

Mr. HARMOOD-BANNER (Liverpool, Everton)

said that on Clause 3 he had given notice of three Amendments, the object he had in view being to leave out the sanction of the Local Government Board. The object of the clause was to give the same rights to counties as to boroughs. That might be all very well in its way—


The Amendment proposed by the hon. Member does not make the Bill read.


said that unfortunately he had been obliged to draft his Amendments on the old Bill before the Committee Amendments were inserted. [Cries of "Order."] Many hon. Members opposite were in a great hurry to deal with this question, and he would like to refer them to the communications they had received from various town clerks in which they had been requested to vote for this Motion, which provided that the term of sixty years should be applicable to the repayment of building loans under the Education Act. That was a matter of the very greatest importance to county and municipal boroughs, and one to which attention bad been drawn in the House for some considerable period. He would have thought the necessity of extending the period to sixty years would have been at once apparent, and would have been sanctioned by the Local Government Board.


I must again remind the hon. Member that his Amendment does not read.


said his object was to extend the period of repayment to sixty years.


So far as I can understand, what the hon. Member wishes to do is to take away the discretion of the Local Government Board, and to extend the period of repayment from thirty to sixty years in all cases. Does not that increase the charge on the rates?


It lessens the charge. I wish to relieve the ratepayers.


submitted that the amount repaid must be larger on account of the interest having to be continued over a greater number of years.


said the repayment of £5,000 in a period of thirty years would fall more heavily on the ratepayers than if the repayment were spread over sixty years.


If the bon. Member would put himself in that position he would find that more money was taken out of his pocket in sixty years than in thirty years.

MR. RAWLIXSON (Cambridge University) moved to omit Clause 3. He protested against power being given to extend the period of repayment to sixty years. It was an excessive time over which to spread the repayment of money borrowed for the building of schools.

THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION (Mr. MCKENNA, Monmouth, N.) indicated dissent.


said the right hon. Gentleman shook his head, but looking to the progress which had been made in the last thirty or forty years in the construction of school buildings he held that sixty years was an excessive period to take as the life of schools which were being put up at present. This was thoroughly bad finance. Each generation should bear its own burdens.


seconded the Amendment. He considered that the clause was an absolute shame and a delusion and should be recommitted until it was made a real and proper clause. The provision for extending the period of repayment to sixty years was an imposture, because those who desired to extend the period were hampered and tied by I the necessity of obtaining the sanction of the Local Government Board. The Local Government; Board would say that they did not believe the schools would last for more than thirty years, while the Local Education Committee insisted that they would last for sixty years. Therefore, the Local Government Board would override the Local Education Committee. This was a very important matter to all counties and boroughs, for it meant excessive cost to them. Therefore, he contended that the clause ought to be eliminated from the Bill or made a really effective clause.

Amendment proposed— In page 3, line 4, to omit Clause 3.

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."


said that the clause simply put the county council in exactly the same position as every borough and urban district council.

Question put, and agreed to.

*VISCOUNT MORPETH moved to omit Clause 5. The point he wished to raise was comparatively simple. A difficulty arose where the county council provided the furniture or buildings out of revenue and not by way of loan. It was argued by the Local Government Board that that was not capital expenditure, and that therefore the county council were not entitled to charge three-fourths of the cost on the parish as they would otherwise have been. But the Courts had given a decision which made it plain what was a capital expenditure and what was not. He was satisfied to rest himself on the decision of the Courts which rendered it quite unnecessary for the Local Government Board to say what was capital expenditure and what was not. He preferred to rely upon the decision of the Courts rather than upon what might be the varying decisions of the Local Government Board.


seconded the Amendment.

Amendment proposed— In page 3, line 31, to leave out Clause 5."—(Viscount Morpeth.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out to the word 'as' in page 3, line 34, stand part of the Bill."


said that the noble Lord was perfectly right in his reference to the decisions of the Court of law; but there were other decisions, and the hon. Member by his proposal would be depriving the local authorities of a really valuable power if he did not allow these authorities to be informed in advance by the Local Government Board what would be regarded as capital expenditure when the audit came to be taken.

SIR WILLIAM ANSON (Oxford University)

said that as he understood the present situation it was that the question of capital expenditure was left to be determined by the Local Government Board, which had decided that nothing should be regarded as capital expenditure unless the money had been raised by way of loan by the local authority. The question had been already before the Courts of law which had decided in favour of the local authorities. If the local authorities desired to have access to the Courts of Law, he urged the right hon. Gentleman not to exclude them from their jurisdiction.


said that that question would arise in a later Amendment.

LORD R. CECIL (Marylebone, E.)

thought the Amendment would carry out the wishes of everybody and leave things as they were. As he understood the question it was that capital expenditure was confined to the expenditure of money raised by way of loan. That solitary question had been disposed of by the Courts, who said that capital expenditure was capital expenditure, and although it was not quite clear he agreed that it was sufficient for this purpose. He did not see the necessity for the clause, because it would give the local authority power to over-rule what the Courts had said, and to charge on a parish what the Courts said should not be charged. If the clause were struck out the position would be exactly defined by; the Court of King's Bench, which said that the fund which accountants said was capital expenditure was capital expenditure. The clause, however, instead of doing any good for the local authority would be likely in his opinion to add to the confusion of the law, and it seemed to him that in view of the decision of the Law Courts the right thing was to strike out the clause. He might point out, moreover, that the clause was drafted before the decision of the Law Courts was given, and since the Courts had spoken he could not see that the clause was needed.


pointed out that under the clause there would be an appeal to the Court if the necessity arose. The noble Lord appeared to think that the only dispute which would arise would be that which was dealt with by the decision he had quoted, but there were other cases in which it was desirable that the Courts should decide what was and what was not capital expenditure, and that contingency was dealt with under the words of the section.

Mr. ADKINS said the only question in the minds of hon. Members was whether this provision did really secure that appeal to the Court which they were desirous of having. If they were assured that it did there was no need for an Amendment, but if it did not he thought they should have an Amendment.

Amendment negatived.

MR. ADKINS moved an Amendment providing that no question should be raised "on audit" as to the treatment of expenses which, by order of the Local Government Board, it was declared might or might not be treated under Section 18 of the Education Act, 1902, as expenses incurred in respect of capital expenditure. He said the insertion of the words "on audit" would meet the desire of local authorities to have an appeal to the Courts of law.



Amendment proposed— In page 3, line 34, after the word 'raised' to insert the words 'on audit.'

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


said that as a feeling had been expressed on both sides of the House that these words should be inserted he would accept the Amendment.

Question put, and agreed to.

MR. GEORGE WHITE (Norfolk, N. W.) moved an addition to Clause 9, which provides that the condition that the annual expenses of the maintenance of a school not managed by a school authority are, to the extent of not less than one-third, to be defrayed out of sources other than local rates or money provided by Parliament shall cease to be a condition required for the grant of a certificate under Section 7 of the Elementary Education (Blind and Deaf Children) Act, 1893, to such a school as a school suitable for providing elementary education for blind or (leaf children. The Amendment was to add the words "on condition that the local authority shall appoint one-third of the governing body."

Amendment proposed— In page 4, line 28, after the word 'children' to insert the words 'on condition that the local authority shall appoint one-third of the governing body.'

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


said he would accept the Amendment.


objected to the introduction of the words as not being applicable to this class of school. Besides, he complained that the words not being on the Paper the House had had no opportunity of considering them.


argued that the words were quite unnecessary, and pointed out that there were not a great many of these schools. County councils had to send children to them a very great distance in another part of the country, and it might not be convenient for them to appoint representatives in regard to the management of schools which might be hundreds of miles away from their own county. He did not think the object which the hon. Member had in view would be obtained by this proposal.


said that hitherto these schools had been maintained out of private funds mainly on condition that one-third of the expenditure was provided from public funds. For the first time it was sought to relieve these schools from the necessity of being carried on by private enterprise and the whole cost of them would be paid for out of rates and taxes, whereas the management of them was carried on by an absolutely private body. It was therefore desirable that there should be some control on the part of the public. This was not a religious question at all, but a question of management, and as the request was only for one-third of the management acting on behalf of the public he did not see any objection. He admitted the administrative difficulty which had been raised by the noble Lord, and if the claim bad been for a majority of the members of the Board being nominated to represent the public it would no doubt have been difficult to work the provision. But all that was asked for now was that there should be some public representation to keep an eye on the expenditure of public money, and under those circumstances he thought the Amendment was a perfectly reasonable one.

SIR HENRY CRAIK (Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities)

said there might be several local authorities who sent children to these deaf and dumb schools. Were those local authorities to be represented?


said certainly not; only the local authority where the school was.


said that that was not what the Amendment provided. The Amendment provided that each local authority should be represented.


said it did not appear that hon. Members quite understood what the Amendment was; perhaps Mr. Speaker would put the Question again.


Amendment proposed— Clause 9, to" add, 'on condition that the local authority shall appoint one-third of the governing body.'


submitted that that meant each local authority. How did anyone know that the trusts of the school, if there were any trusts, would permit any such appointments to be made? If not, they would not be able to take advantage of this clause. Moreover, what provision was there for the appointment of these people? No such power was given, no machinery was provided. To put in these words in a casual kind of way in order to express the aspiration of the hon. Member for Norfolk was not good legislation. The terms of the Amendment ought at least to be carefully considered if the Government thought it was necessary.


said there was a great deal in what the noble Lord had said. He had words to propose which, he thought, would meet the case—"Provided that on the body of managers at least one-third are members appointed by the local authority." He would move those words or see that they were inserted in another place.


said that he accepted the wording suggested by the right hon. Gentleman. The clause dealt with national funds as well as with the local rates, and where institutions were maintained by public funds some public control should be claimed.

MR. WALTER LONG (Dublin, S.)

said that they must not be taken as assenting to the suggestion of the President of the Board of Education that this matter should be dealt with on a subsequent occasion. The hon. Gentleman who was responsible for the original proposal suggested that because these schools were paid for by public money, the local authority should have a share in the management, but the right hon. Gentleman opposite had contended times out of number that the main expenditure came out of the taxes, and not out of the rates. How then could it be contended that the ratepayers should be represented on the management? It was now suggested that the local authorities should have a share in the management. That could only be dope by a scheme which had been the subject of very careful consideration. He suggested that the hon. Member should not accept the suggested Amendment as it did not meet the view which he had put forward, and that the House should not be committed to the casual proposal of the right hon. Gentleman.


hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would adhere to the undertaking he had given, carrying out some measure of local control. It was hardly correct to say that the local authority represented the ratepayers and that this House represented the taxpayer. The local authorities represented the community generally, and he hoped that if the Amendment was not carried in another place the clause would be struck out, and that this serious precedent would not be created. Local oversight of a representative character was needed for the expenditure of this money.


said the right hon. Gentleman felt, and he thought rightly, that they could not deal with this difficult question to-night. It was admitted that the original Amendment would not do what was the Government substitute for it? It was that a third of the body of managers was to be provided by the county councils. But who was going to settle what county councils? It would be necessary to have an additional Amendment by which the Board of Education or Local Government Board could frame a scheme by which the various county councils might have their representatives, and rival claims might be settled. That was not beyond the powers of legislation of that House, but it could not be done that night, and he suggested that the point should be left over in order that the Government-might have time to consider it.

MR. WALTERS (Sheffield, Brightside)

said that if this was a question so fraught with difficulty that it was not possible to frame an Amendment to meet the case then they must fall back on the other alternative and omit the clause altogether. There was this difficulty about accepting; the clause with some such qualification as had been suggested, that they would be granting a large sum of public money for the maintenance of these schools; they would be really dealing with one aspect of the question without dealing with the other at the same time. If they were going to grant an additional sum of money, surely at the same time they should have a provision for a larger measure of public control. Therefore, if the Amendment could not be dealt with now, he suggested that the clause should be omitted altogether.

MR. COURTENAY WARNER (Staffordshire, Lichfield)

pointed out that it ought to be possible to amend the Amendment in the form which had been suggested. Nobody had raised any objection on the other side of the House.


said the Amendment did not suggest what county councils; it suggested unknown county councils.


said that if the county councils were unknown, then instead of putting in the words "local authority" they might put "the county council in whose area the school is situated." That would give public control for the money given under the Bill The only other alternative was that the whole clause should be struck out, unless hon. Gentlemen opposite were willing to accept some form of words which would meet the case of the taxpayer and ratepayer.


hoped that the suggestion of the hon. Member for the Brightside division would not be acted upon, and that the clause would be retained in the Bill. Anyone who knew anything of these schools knew what a valuable work they did; they were of the utmost importance for blind and deaf children. He trusted that, whatever happened, the Government would not part with this clause, whether they accepted the Amendment or not.

Mr. BYLES (Salford, N.)

said he agreed with the hon. Member as to the value of these schools, but he would like to say that there had been a good many opinions expressed since this provision was put into the Bill in Committee. He was present in the Committee when it was submitted. The new clause came on just at the end when they were a little hurried, and he thought that perhaps the clause itself was accepted without full consideration. Since then there had been a considerable expression of opinion among his colleagues around him that some such provision as was suggested by the Amendment should be carried as a proviso to the clause. None of the speakers on the other side or in any part of the House had taken any objection to the essence of the Amendment, but only to the method by which it was proposed to be applied. He hoped that the clause would not he dropped, but that some provision would be made that where the total annual expenditure was provided for out of public money there should be some representative of the local authority to see to the administration of it. The committee or managing board of any of these schools would welcome the presence of the mayor or some competent local representative to assist them in the administration of these valuable institutions.


asked leave to withdraw the Amendment. [OPPOSITION cries of "No."]

Leave to withdraw being refused, Question put, and negatived.


, on Clause 11, moved to leave out subsection 1.


, on a point of order, asked whether it was too late for the clause to be withdrawn.


said that if the Amendment had been withdrawn then it would have been possible to withdraw the clause, but as there had been a decision on the Amendment it was not possible to go back.

MR. McKENNA said he might state that in the proceedings on the Bill of 1902, it was intended to amend Section 23 in that direction, but owing to words of hasty advice by the hon. Baronet opposite that was not done. On the present occasion he proposed to repeal those words, which appeared to him to be the simplest form of dealing with the matter. He begged to move.

Amendment proposed— In page 4, line 35, to leave out subsection (1)."—(Mr. McKenna.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment proposed— In page 5, line 13, at the end, to add the words 'and the words ordinarily resident in the area of the council," in subsection two of section twenty-three of The Education Act, 1902, are hereby repealed.'"—(Mr. McKenna.)

Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and agreed to.


proposed to insert in line 25 after the first "the" the words "power, and where required by the Board of Education, the." In the past he had done all he could in favour of medical inspection, but he felt certain that the scheme which the right hon. Gentleman was now putting forward was fraught with danger. When the Government came forward for the first time to establish a great and noble work of the highest importance for the future of the the nation it ought to be done in a way that showed promise of working in a smooth and easy manner. What would be thought of a proposal under which, after asking local authorities to establish these schools and maintain and manage them they said "we have no help for you, but we shall probably give you directions and offer you grants, but not just now." That was practically what the right hon. Gentleman was saying. He was placing upon the local authorities a very heavy financial burden which would be very severely felt and would involve enormous difficulty, because it would require the highest scientific skill and direction at every step. To carry out this proposal the local authorities would be required to interfere very seriously indeed with individual liberty. In beginning the work they would have to face the fact that it would be necessary to deal with very serious prejudices. The difficulty was one which the Government ought not to place upon the local authorities without taking a large share of the responsibility both financially and in a scientific direction. By proceeding in the way now proposed they would perhaps do more harm than good. There was a precedent for what he suggested in a measure of a similar kind for Scotland at present before Parliament. That Bill proposed that "a school board may, and where required by the Department shall, provide for medical inspection." That was what he wished to be done in this Bill. They ought to give them this power before forcing them to take an over-zealous or mistaken step. The right hon. Gentleman might reply that he was going to have a medical department at the Education Department. He would like to know if that matter had been laid before the Chancellor of the Exchequer? [Cries of "Divide, divide."] Were hon. Members who were so impatient aware of what this proposal was going to cost? When the Government came forward with a scheme of this kind the House ought to see that it was a complete one. They were now proposing to enter upon the biggest work which the nation had to do. [A LABOUR MEMBER: "And the best."] If they began in a wrong wrong way they would probably do more harm than good. It was for these reasons that he moved the Amendment standing in his name, which would put the English Bill on the same footing as the Scottish Bill. His proposition would enable the local authorities to do what they wanted instead of forcing them to act prematurely.



Amendment proposed— In page 5, line 25, after the first the, 'to insert the words' power, and where required by the Board of Education, the.'"—(Sir Henry Craik.)

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


expressed the hope that the hon. Gentleman would not press the Amendment. The hon. Member said he wanted a more complete scheme but his words, instead of increasing the scheme would cut it down.


said he generally concurred with his hon. friend on education matters, but he confessed that on this occasion he entirely differed from him. What he proposed would be a great impediment to an important reform. Englishmen looked forward with the greatest interest to the work which was contemplated. This question was raised last week at the conference on hygiene, and opinion on it was practically unanimous. He hoped the House of Commons would sanction this proposal, and so give effect to public opinion as expressed by large bodies throughout the country. It was a good work which all civilised nations desired.

SIR WILLIAM ANSON (Oxford University)

expressed the hope that his hon. friend would not press the Amendment. The Government were taking an important step in laying on local authorities a very serious duty and, if it was to be carried into effect, the means of giving proper guidance should be supplied. He felt sure that the resources of the local authorities-would have to be supplemented by a Government grant. He and his friends-would like to have an indication from the Board of Education as to whether that demand would be met by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. There were serious difficulties in the way of medical inspection, and he would like the Government to give some assurance that they were alive to the importance of the step they were taking, and that they were preparing the machinery for giving the step all the efficacy it was likely to demand.


supported the Amendment, believing that it was a proposal in favour of local and individual liberty.

MR. WADSWORTH (Yorkshire, W.R., Hallamshire)

asked whether there-was any prospect of the formation at the Board of Education of a medical department specially devised for dealing with this question. Apart from the question of assistance from the Exchequer towards the cost of this scheme, there was the far more important question of guidance and direction being given by skilled persons, so that the best value might be obtained not only from the expenditure of the money, but from the accumulated experience of those who would be engaged in the work.


said it had always been their object to establish a medical branch for the purpose of guiding local authorities in the new work they would have to undertake. The formation of that branch had been occupying the attention of the Board for some time. Their duties would be obviously to collect information and to give such instructions to the local authorities as would enable them to carry out the duties which were imposed upon them.

Question put, and negatived.

*SIR PHILIP MAGNUS (London University) moved an Amendment to provide for instituting a system of periodic measurement of the children which would afford definite information on their physical condition and development. In the second part of Subsection (b) of Clause 13 there was a permissive power given to the local authority to make such arrangements as might be sanctioned by the Board of Education for attending to the health and physical condition of the children. He had considerable difficulty in understanding the meaning of the words "for attending to the health and physical condition of the children." He hoped the President of the Board of Education would give some indication of the exact moaning. Did they mean that the medical officer appointed should give advice to the children, or the parents of the children, and, further, would he be permitted to supply medical treatment to the children? The words of his Amendment would enlarge the powers of the local authority, but they were purely permissive; if the local authority did not care to undertake the work, no obligation would be cast upon them. It had been pointed out at a meeting of the British Association and at the Hygiene Congress that very great advantage would be derived by the nation, by the individual children, and by their parents, if these measurements were taken periodically. They were the very best means of ascertaining whether any physical deterioration had taken place He wished to draw attention to a very important Report which had been presented to the Glasgow School Board by Dr. Leslie Mackenzie and Captain Foster, and issued by the Board of Education of Scotland. From that it appeared that the facilities now asked for in England already existed in Scotland. The results arrived at in the report were almost startling. They showed that the weight, height, and physical condition of the children depended absolutely on the home surroundings in which they were brought up. For instance, the average weight of a boy who lived in a family occupying one room was 52.6 lbs.; if he were one of a family living in two rooms he weighed 56.1 lbs.; if he were one of a family living in three rooms he weighed 60.6 lbs.; and a boy from a four or more roomed house weighed 64.31 lbs. The cost of these measurements would not be very great, and Dr. Leslie Mackenzie said that the teachers in the school took a lively interest in the measurements, and showed how they could be made by the ordinary teachers under the guidance of the medical inspectors. Last week a joint meeting of the Anthropological and Educational School Sections of the British Association adopted a resolution urging on the Government the pressing necessity of instituting in conneetion with the medical inspection of school children a system of periodical measurements. As this matter was under the consideration of the House for the first time, he hoped they would deal with it in a comprehensive manner. He begged to move.

MR. LEHMANN (Leicestershire, Market Harborough)

seconded the Amendment.

Amendment proposed— In page 5, line 33, after the word 'schools' to insert the words 'and for instituting a system of periodic measurement of the children which will afford definite information on their physical condition and development.'"—(Sir Philip Magnus.)

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

* Sir W. J. COLLINS (St. Pancras, W.)

said that the hon. Member for London University had come back fresh from the British Association meeting imbued with ideas of a more scientific but less practical character than those which had engaged the attention of the members of the School Hygiene Congress which he (Sir William Collins) and the hon. Baronet the Member for Wigan had been attending. The latter Congress directed their attention to the practical work of the inspection of the school children rather than to the scientific investigation suggested by the British Association. What they had to consider were the practical needs of the children as ascertained by medical inspection rather than embark upon the scientific investigations advocated by the hon. Member. It should be remembered that 7 to 20 per cent. of the children suffered from ocular defects, which required treatment before they could gain the full benefit of their education, and 44,000 out of 199,000 children examined were found to have verminous or otherwise offensive heads. He believed that the practical way of dealing with the problem of these children would form a very good basis out of which the scientific investigations advocated by the hon. Member might incidentally arise. But the work must be approached tactfully and in a considerate and not a compulsory way, and the medical man must be a guide, philosopher, and friend, rather than a mere collector of statistics.

MR. BUTCHER (Cambridge University)

agreed with the hon. Gentleman who had just spoken that the primary object of this clause was not to arrive at scientific results, but to attain truly practical ends with regard to the children, and all he would ask the House was not to throw away the valuable results of this inspection, which, he hoped, would assist other scientific purposes. He ventured to hope that this clause, which at present was, he thought, very timid and very tentative, should be made more complete and more thorough going. He did not believe that by accepting the Amendment that had just been proposed anything whatever would be done to make medical inspection less effective. He thought quite the reverse, because medical inspection, which was very sketchily marked in this clause as it stood, would probably be more thorough-going if it were understood from the first that the results of the inspection were to be recorded systematically on a uniform plan for all parts of the country. There were three things, as he understood, which this clause proposed to do. First of all, there were compulsory powers for medical inspection, when a child first went to school. Next, there were compulsory powers for what he might call periodical inspection, and he was exceedingly glad that the Government had added powers of that kind, because he thought that inspection if not so conducted from the beginning to the end of the course would he very imperfect. Thirdly, there were optional powers for what was called attending to the health and physical condition of the children. In Committee upstairs it was explained that attending to the health of the children meant, or at least included, medical treatment for minor ailments. It did not mean what the words meant when originally introduced by an Amendment by the hon. Member for Berkwickshire, he thought in July, 1906. The words, as they had been told in Committee upstairs, now included medical treatment for all minor ailments. That was optional. He would pass on to the words which were the essential part of the Amendment. They might surely fairly add an optional power to the local authority of making scientific records. Personally he thought the whole clause ought to have been much more thorough and comprehensive in its character, and that it ought to have been more what the hon. gentleman the Member for Glasgow indicated in his speech—a thorough medical inspection followed by scientific records and accompanied by financial provisions which were absent from this clause. A subvention from the Treasury, he believed, was absolutely necessary in order to make the whole of this clause carry out its original purpose. He would only add in favour of the Amendment that what they wanted was not merely to attend to the minor ailments of the individual children at school, but to arrive at some scientific basis of knowledge as regarded the laws of health affecting populations in large towns, and to get some scientific data which would enable them to know something about what was called physical degeneration, and all those other questions which concerned the health of the people, as to which they were at present working in the dark. He admitted that the Amendment would require financial assistance from the Treasury in order to make it thorough and useful, but if inserted as something to be striven after it would be a very great gain and would in no way detract from the immediate primary purpose of looking after the individual children.

MR. McKENNA said he had listened to the speeches of the hon. Members, and he thought the existing words in the Bill appeared to cover every point that had been raised. He did not think the hon. Member who moved the Amendment would wish it to be understood that attending to the health and physical condition of the children would not afford information as to their physical development; if it did, the words were clearly covered by the Bill as it stood, and if they were not he must remind the hon. Gentleman that it would be imposing a new burden on the rates; but he believed the Bill as it stood was sufficient for the purpose.

Amendment negatived.

MR. LANE-FOX moved an Amendment to provide that the cost of any treatment consequent upon the medical inspection should be charged against, and recovered from the parent as an expense under Section 2 of the Education (Provision of Meals) Act, 1906. He knew that he was laying himself open to the charge that he was not anxious to forward the medical inspection of children in elementary schools; but nothing could be further from the truth He was anxious to make the inspection thoroughly effective, but what he wanted to ensure was that a man who was taking care of his own children should not be penalised by having to pay for the treatment of children whose parents were neglectful. They must remember that they were not there as philanthropists. They were, or, at any rate, they liked to think they were, business men; it was one of the pet delusions of every Member of Parliament to pretend, at any rate, that he took a business view of things. All he wanted to prevent was that those who took care of their children should not be penalised. What they ought to guard against if they could was a, system springing up by which medical attendance, such as the parents ought to undertake themselves, would be undertaken at the public cost. In making that objection he was merely raising a point which was raised in connection with the Provision of Meals Bill last session, and he suggested that the remedy lay in the same direction. There was no doubt that a large number of the ailments from which children suffered, and which it was hoped to remedy by this clause, were the small ailments. He did not wish to prevent these being dealt with, and if dealt with on the spot they need not do harm. Therefore, if the Amendment he was moving could be improved by the addition of any such words as "conducted outside the precincts of the school," he would be very glad to accept it. Of course under this system what they would hope to see were village nurses employed to deal with small matters such as children arriving with dirty heads, which could be dealt with quickly. Very often the unhealthy condition of children in school was largely due to neglect, and therefore it would be manifestly wrong that some parents should be able to send their children, after being neglected at home, to be treated at school. What he wished to insist upon was that where a parent had deliberately neglected his children he should be in some way penalised. If any such words as he had suggested would be an improvement to his Amendment he would be very ready to accept them. Certainly it was not his desire to prevent proper medical inspection of children or that development which he was sure all thought to be so very desirable.


seconded, and thought there was one point not yet mentioned, and that was the important effect which the Amendment would have in making parents more careful to avoid during the early life of children things occurring which retarded their physical development. He did not think there was any hardship in the method laid down in the Education (Provision of Meals) Bill as to the means by which the money could be obtained from parents. The duty of attending to the physique of their children was a duty which should be impressed on parents in the strongest possible way. No one would deny the importance of having medical inspection, or the value which statistics as to the physique of the elementary school children would have if published, and if they were as clear and lucid as statistics in other countries generally were. The Amendment in no way affected the principle of the clause, but really brought the clause, he thought, more into accord with the principles which Parliament had hitherto laid down in matters of this kind. He could not conceive any case in which it was more desirable to carry out the principles originally laid down in the Education (Provision of Meals) Bill, and he believed the Amendment would do a great deal to bring about what both sides of the House desired.

Amendment proposed— In page 5, line 33, at the end, to add the words, 'Provided that the cost of any treatment consequent upon the medical inspection hall be charged against and recovered from the parent as an expense under Section 2 of the Educaton (Provision of Meals) Act, 1906.'"—(Mr. Lane Fox.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."


said he regretted after much consideration of the proposed Amendment that he could not see his way to accept it. If the words suggested were adopted it would compel local authorities to make such a provision in every case. Under the circumstances of the case it was much more desirable to preserve a greater latitude. He asked the hon. Member not to press the Amendment, but to leave the matter in its present form, which was as fair as it could be.


said the Amendment provided that where parents could afford to pay they should be made to pay. So far as he could make out local authorities were not likely to provide very much medical inspection if they had to pay for it. Yet the opinion of the House was that there should be medical inspection. Certainly it was hard that the parent who looked after his children should have to pay for medical inspection which was necessary owing to the neglect of other parents who could afford to pay for their children but refused to do so. All hon. Members must know that there were a great many parents who did not do their duty in; respect of the health of their children. He hoped that his hon. friend would go to a division on the Amendment.

* MR. REES (Montgomery Boroughs)

submitted that while the medical inspection of children on their admission to schools was very proper, it was perfectly consistent with approving such inspection to lay it down that where a parent could afford to pay he should be made to pay for any treatment or inspection other than that at the time of admission into school. He could not see how hon. Members could otherwise argue at a time when the progressive increase in the rates so greatly neutralised the great advantage the country derived from free trade in the way of cheap food and clothing. The cheapness of these was almost counterbalanced by the dearness of lodging, and in rents, rates were, if not the dominant, at any rate, a dominating factor. In no other country was house rent so dear, he believed. He wished to urge that the proviso to this section, should be compulsory instead of permissive. He had good reason to speak in favour of this Amendment, because it ran on the same lines as one which he himself had put on the Paper, but having urged his views in Committee he thought it would be waste of time to move it. It was at his instance and on his motion that the proviso had been added to the hon. Member for Scarborough's Bill, which he presumed would now be dropped, and it was he who, had urged in the House that such an Amendment should be made to an identical clause in the Education Bill which passed the House last year. Such an Amendment was eventually made in another place, but of a permissive and not a compulsory character. He would like-to see it made compulsory that parents should pay where they could, and that local bodies should avail themselves of existing organisations, before calling on the rates. He realised, however, that the House was against him.


regretted very much that the right hon. Gentleman could not see his way to accept the Amendment or something like it—that was to say, the provision of any treatment outside school. He called attention to the extreme vagueness of the clause. In Committee the Parliamentary Secretary, when asked what was meant as an arrangement for the children, described a small hospital outside the school. He thought that the charge for treatment should operate on the parents of children who were treated. He agreed there would be some difficulty in arranging this, because it would be rather difficult to apportion the nurses' salaries in the charge on the parents concerned


assured the hon. Baronet that he had endeavoured with the greatest sincerity to find suitable words to carry out the object they had in view. He asked his hon. friend to withdraw his Amendment. He thought no other course was open to the House in order to attain the end they had in view but to accept the clause as it stood.


said he did not agree that the words as they stood in the Amendment could not be accepted. He saw no difficulty in working the proposal even in the extreme case of allocating the nurse's salary. He did not see what objection there was to carrying this out on the same principle as the provision of meals. He attached the greatest importance to the principle. He thought it very important to show to parents who did not fulfil their duty to their children that the children should be taken care of, but that the cost should be borne by the parents who should be made to pay. He knew that the vast majority of parents took proper care of their children, but on the other hand there were drunken and careless parents whom it was a scandal for the State to treat better than other people.


The Bill does not do that. It empowers the local authority to make charges, and the local authority can make suitable arrangements for a particular district.

MR. WALTERS (Sheffield, Brightside)

said the experience of local authorities who had appointed medical officers was that they called the attention of neglectful parents to their children to induce them if possible to give them the necessary attention. Children with drunken parents in some few cases did fall on the ratepayers, but surely the interests of the children were enough to justify this. He thought that in cases whore there was a medical officer appointed it would be found that the benefits would in no way be abused.


said that this was one of the most important principles they had considered in Committee. It was very disappointing to hear from the President of the Board of Education that he could not devise any form of words to meet the urgent ease set out, nor accept the words suggested by the hon. Baronet. The right hon. Gentleman said he could assure the hon. Baronet that his words were unsatisfactory, but no reason had been given to show why they were unsatisfactory. To his (Mr. Butcher's) mind they were eminently satisfactory—for this reason. There were a great many people who objected to having more serious medical treatment of children thrown on the rates when the parents of the children could afford to pay, but who at the same time did not object to paying for the services of a trained nurse to look after the minor ailments of children on the school premises. Such a case would be met by the suggested Amendment of the hon. Baronet. From experience in this country and elsewhere they knew there were many places where there was medical inspection out of public money. At the same time there were health-visitors or nurses, or whatever they might be called, whose function it was to look after the health of the children in the schools and who then advised the parents and often succeeded in inducing them to adopt the treatment recommended. That was the method he would have much preferred in the present instance. As it was, surely it was inconsistent to have laid down the principle in the Provision of Meals Bill that public money should not be given to provide even the necessaries of life for the children of parents who could afford to pay; and now to enact that public money should go towards providing what in some sense were merely the luxuries of life, such as a pair of spectacles. The precedent of the Provision of Meals Bill was one of the strongest arguments for the acceptance of this Amendment.


said he wished to reply to the speech of the hon. Gentleman who had spoken last on the opposite side of the House, a speech which he thought was exceedingly misleading. The hon. Member had said that local education authorities who had appointed medical officers had found that they were mostly employed in discovering the causes of illness and pointing them out to parents. But he would like to draw his attention to the wording of the Amendment, which was not designed for the medical inspection, but for the treatment consequent on medical inspection. They were informed in the Grand Committee, on behalf of the Government, that the kind of treatment that was expected was the washing of children's dirty heads, and the treatment of small sores and wounds. He wished to add his protest there, as in the Grand Committee, against the parent who looked after his child properly being compelled to contribute towards the treatment in the school of the child of the neglectful parent It was quite a wrong principle, it was surely right that some burden should be placed on the mother who neglected her child rather than that the burden and disadvantage should fall on the mother who treated her child properly and looked after it. He rather gathered, from the way his remarks, were received in Grand Committee, that the Government intended to give careful attention to this matter. He accepted the assurance of the right hon. Gentleman that he had done so, but he must express his regret that the result had been so small—in fact there had been no result. He was very glad to have had an opportunity of protesting in the House against the course the Government had pursued, and he hoped his hon. friend would go to a division.


said he could understand the impatience of hon. Gentlemen below the gangway, who were obviously quite anxious that the Amendment should be rapidly disposed of. The Minister in charge of the Bill had told them that the Amendment would not have the desired effect, but he did not tell them why. The situation before the House was a perfectly simple one. Clause 2, as amended, would do what most of them wanted, and would do it most efficiently. What they wanted was that where this medical treatment, consequent on the inspection, took place outside the school they should not take advantage of this proposal by a side wind to cast the cost on the rates. If the Amendment was not inserted the cost would have to be met out of the rates. This was the only method they had of protesting, and he trusted his hon. friend would press the Amendment to a division.

* Mr. ALDEN (Middlesex, Tottenham)

trusted the right hon. Gentleman would not change his mind. A good many Members who had spoken in support of the Amendment evidently had very little knowledge of the poor at all. He knew something about them, having lived amongst them a good many years. He believed a lot of the diseases of the poor which were complained of were due to the ignorance and poverty of the poor, and not to their carelessness and neglect. It would be almost impossible to discriminate between the cases due to wilful neglect and those due to ignorance. He hoped the Advisory Medical Board would act as generously as possible in laying down regulations for the guidance of medical authorities. He believed that if the Amendment were adopted all the parents would be immediately turned against medical inspection. What they wanted to do was to popularise the idea of medical inspection and of medical treatment. He trusted the right hon. Gentleman would stand firm in the matter.


asked leave to amend his Amendment so that it should read:—"Provided that the cost of any treatment conducted outside the precincts of the school, and consequent upon the medical inspection, etc." The remarks of the last speaker only bore out what he had said in moving the Amendment, that Members who supported him were liable to misrepresentation. He did not say the hon. Member had made that statement intentionally. They had no wish in any way to interfere with the medical inspection of the child, but they merely desired that those who had neglected their children should pay for them.


seconded the Amendment.

Proposed Amendment amended by inserting after the word "treatment," the words— conducted outside the precincts of the schools, and"—(Mr. Lane-Fox.)

Question put, "That those words, as amended, be there inserted in the Bill."

Acland-Hood, Rt. Hn Sir Alex. F. Chance, Frederick William Morpeth, Viscount
Anson, Sir William Reynell Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Arkwright, John Stanhope Courthope, G. Loyd Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Ronaldshay, Earl of
Banner John S. Harmood Fell, Arthur Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Beckett, Hon. Gervase Forster, Henry William Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Bowles, G. Stewart Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West) Turnour, Viscount
Boyle, Sir Edward Gordon, J. Valentia, Viscourt
Bridgeman, W. Clive Gretton, John Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire
Bull, Sir William James Harrison-Broadley, H. B.
Butcher, Samuel Henry Helmsley, Viscount TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Lane-Fox and Mr. Hicks-Beach.
Carlile, E. Hildred Hills, J. W.
Castlereagh, Viscount Hunt, Rowland
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Long, Rt. Hon Walter (Dublin, S.)
Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.) Magnus, Sir Philip
Acland Francis Dyke Hall, Frederick Morse, L. L.
Adkins, W. Ryland D. Hardy, George A. (Suffolk) Nicholls, George
Ainsworth, John Stirling Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r) Nicholson, Charles N (Doncast'r).
Alden, Percy Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale) Norton, Capt. Cecil William
Asquith, Bt. Hon. Herbert Henry Harwood, George O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Haworth, Arthur A. Paulton, James Mellor
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Hazel, Dr. A. E. Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek)
Beauchamp, E. Hedges, A. Paget Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)
Beaumont, Hon. Hubert Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Pollard, Dr.
Beck, A. Cecil Henry, Charles S. Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)
Benn, W. (T'w'r Hamlets, S Geo. Higham, John Sharp Radford, G. H.
Berridge, T. H. D. Hobhouse, Charles E. H. Rainy, A. Rolland
Bertram, Julius Holt, Richard Durning Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro')
Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine Horniman, Emslie John Rendall, Athelstan
Bowerman, C. W. Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'th)
Brace, William Hudson, Walter Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n)
Bramsdon, T. A. Hyde, Clarendon Ridsdale, E. A.
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Johnson, John. (Gateshead) Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Byles, William Pollard Jones, Leif (Appleby) Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)
Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard Knight Jowett, F. W. Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradf'rd
Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R. Kelley, George D. Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. King, Alfred John (Knutsford) Rogers, F. E. Newman
Cleland, J. W. Laidlaw, Robert Rowlands, J.
Clough, William Lambert, George Runciman, Walter
Cobbold, Felix Thornley Lamont, Norman Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E.) Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Cooper, G. J. Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington) Seely, Colonel
Corbett, CH (Sussex, E. Grinst'd) Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich) Sherwell, Arthur James
Dalziel, James Henry Levy, Sir Maurice Shipman, Dr. John G.
Davies, W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Lewis, John Herbert Simon, John Allsebrook
Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N) Lough, Thomas Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Lupton, Arnold Stanger, H. Y.
Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne) Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh)
Edwards, Clement (Denbigh) Mackarness, Frederic C. Strachey, Sir Edward
Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor) Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)
Essex, R. W. MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.) Summerbell, T.
Evans, Samuel T. M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald Sutherland, J. E.
Everett, R. Lacey M'Killop, W. Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Fenwick, Charles Manfield, Harry (Northants) Ure, Alexander
Ferens, T. R. Mansfield, H. Rendall (Lincoln) Walters, John Tudor
Fuller, John Michael F. Markham, Arthur Basil Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Fullerton, Hugh Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston) Waterlow, D. S.
Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John Marnham, F. J.
Goddard, Daniel Ford Massie, J. Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Grant, Corrie Micklem, Nathaniel Weir, James Galloway
Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Montgomery, H. G. White, George (Norfolk)
Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. Morrell, Philip White, Luke (York, E. R.).

The House divided:—Ayes, 39; Noes 149. (Division List No. 408.)

Whitley, John Henry (Halifax) Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.) TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Whiteley and Mr. J. A. Pease.
Wiles, Thomas Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Wills, Arthur Walters Yoxall, James Henry

Amendment proposed— In page 5, line 37, at end, to add, '(2) This section shall come into operation on the first lay of January, nineteen hundred and eight.'"—(Mr. McKenna.)

Question, "That those words be there added," put, and agreed to.

Amendment proposed— In Schedule, page 7, line 27, at the end, to insert—

2 Edw. 7, c. 42. The Education Act, 1902. The words 'ordinarily resident in the area of the Council,' in sub section two of section twenty-three.'"—(Mr. McKenna)

Question, "That those words be there added," put, and agreed to.

Bill read the third time and passed.