HC Deb 04 February 1913 vol 47 cc1976-8
33. Major HOPE

asked whether the right hon. Gentleman is aware that Section 2 (d) of the Minute of the Scotch Education Department, dated 28th June, 1912, has caused inconvenience to school boards, since it arbitrarily reduces the Grant which county education committees have been paying to school boards in aid of secondary education, and as the Minute was not issued until six weeks after school boards had framed their estimates for the year based on previous Grants, and had intimated to parish councils the sum required to be raised by a school rate, many school boards are faced with a deficit of varying amounts for the current year; and whether he will explain why there has been this interference by this Minute with the discretionary power granted to the local authority by Parliament under Section 17 (2) of the Education (Scotland) Act, 1908?


Section 2 (d) of the Minute refers only to those districts which receive a sum in excess of what they would be entitled to under the general scheme of distribution indicated in Section 1 of the Minute. It would be very undesirable that the excess sum awarded to these districts at the expense of districts which receive no special concession should be subject to the accident of the rate which the district committee has determined in previous years. To secure equality of treatment, the maximum rate of 2d. allowed by that Section has been assumed to be fixed in calculating the excess Grant. The Minute, which was the outcome of prolonged negotiations with secondary education committees, was laid before Parliament at the earliest possible moment, and, while it could not be published before school boards had framed their estimates for the current year, very few school boards are in point of fact affected by Section 2 (d) of the Minute, and still fewer to an extent which seriously affects their estimates.

34. Major HOPE

asked whether the right hon. Gentleman can undertake that in the future the Scottish Education Department shall not issue Regulations affecting the annual estimates framed by school boards without giving reasonable notice of their intention to do so, and thereby avoid the hardships of ratepayers of a given year being chargeable with the deficit of a previous year?


Except in the case referred to in the preceding question, which I have explained in the answer to that question, I am not aware that the Scotch Education Department has issued any Regulations which have the effect stated. The Department will endeavour wherever possible to give ample notice of any proposed change in Regulations.

Major HOPE

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Scottish Education Department wrote on 6th January this year to say that this was owing to an unavoidable shrinkage in the Scottish Education Fund, and will he take steps to see that the Scottish Education Fund in future is brought up to the amount of previous years?


That is a very argumentative question. I admit the shortage in the fund. The point is that the money for teachers' superannuation ought to have been deducted from the fund before, but owing to certain circumstances, which I cannot go into now, it took some, and therefore the first year or two it was larger than it would have been if the teachers' superannuation had been deducted, as it ought to have been.