HC Deb 02 July 1908 vol 191 cc966-7
MR. DUNDAS WHITE (Dumbartonshire)

I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board why the Local Government Board in May, 1907, sanctioned a loan which included a loan of about £698 as the purchase price of about three-quarters of an acre for school purposes, between Westerhope and North Warbottle, in Northumberland, of which the annual value for rating is about 27s. a year; and whether the Board will take steps to avoid sanctioning further loans for the purchase of land at exorbitant prices.


I can assure my hon. friend that the Local Government Board will take all possible steps to prevent the purchase of land at exorbitant prices where it is in their power to do so. As regards the particular case to which he refers, at the time the loan was sanctioned the annual value of the land for rating purposes had not been ascertained, and the Board's attention was not drawn to its high price. I may add that had not the loan been sanctioned the two parishes served by the school would have had to pay three-fourths of the cost of the site, or more than £500 out of one year's rates.


When a county council makes a bargain, and three-fourths of the cost has to be paid by the parish is that body to have no voice in the matter?


The purchase was carried out by the county council with the sanction of the Board of Education. The Local Government Board sanctioned the loan at the request of the county council. Had there been no sanction three-fourths of the cost would have fallen on the parish.

MR. HAROLD COX (Preston)

If the Local Government Board knew the price was excessive why did they sanction it.


In these cases they do not make detailed inquiries unless some local objection is taken. In this case although local objection was taken at the county council, it was not sent to the Local Government Board.