HC Deb 15 December 1908 vol 198 cc1549-50
MR. SLOAN (Belfast, S.)

To ask the Secretary to the Treasury if he is aware that in 1892 the Chancellor of the Exchequer fixed the proportion of education grants for England, Scotland, and Ireland as £80 11s. 9d.; whether this proportion was sanctioned by the Treasury and the House of Commons, and when it was found in 1895 that Ireland had not received her equivalent the arrears due were paid; whether in 1902, on the passing of the English Education Act of that year, an equivalent was acknowledged to be due to Scotland and Ireland, and the amount voted to these countries; whether by the Act of 1892 school fees were almost entirely abolished in Ireland and the Act of 1898 prevented Poor Law unions from contributing any money from the rates to education, thus, by these Acts of Parliament, taking away all local support from schools; whether the Government alone has power to give Ireland authority to raise money locally for education; and, having thus assumed entire responsibility for Irish education, what steps will be taken to give Irish children equal educational facilities with children in Great Britain.

(Answered by Mr. Hobhouse.) The Irish school fee grant under the Act of 1892 was originally fixed roughly on the basis stated. It is true that "arrears" were subsequently granted calculated on another basis. The additional grant to Scotland for the year 1903–4 and the Ireland development grant, corresponding to the additional English grant under the Act of 1902, were calculated on the basis of population. The Ireland development grant was given as a final settlement of Ireland's claim under this head, and was fixed by the Ireland Development Grant Act, 1903. I have no information on the remaining points raised in the Question, which concern my right hon. friend the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant.