§ Mr. LANSBURY
asked the President of the Local Government Board whether he was aware that many education authorities in the country were willing and anxious to feed necessitous school children during such periods that the schools were closed owing to holidays, but were 1899 unable to do so owing to the fact that certain auditors had declared that payment out of the rates for food so supplied was illegal; and whether, under the circumstances, he would issue a circular informing local education authorities that expenditure out of the rates on the feeding of school children during school holidays would, if surcharged by the auditors, be authorised by the exercise of the powers he possessed and which he proposed to use for legalising illegal expenditure out of the rates on festivities in connection with the forthcoming Coronation?
§ Mr. BURNS
I am aware that certain local education authorities have incurred expenditure on the feeding of school children during the holidays; but, as I stated in the House on 15th July, 1909, in reply to a question on the subject, I am advised that the authorities are not empowered to defray such expenditure. The question of extending the scope of the Education (Provision of Meals) Act, 1906, is not one for me but for Parliament to decide, and I do not consider that I could properly exercise the powers which I possess under the Local Authorities (Expenses) Act, 1887, in the manner suggested in this question.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
Does the right hon. Gentleman's Department consider that it is more important to sanction illegal expenditure on festivities connected with the Coronation than to sanction expenditure for the feeding of hungry school children?