HC Deb 27 March 1922 vol 152 cc936-9

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the unrest created in the country by the Geddes Committee recommending serious cuts in the cost of education, and the serious effects such economy will have upon our educational system if adopted, he will set up a Select Committee to inquire and take evidence and report before any action is taken to carry out the recommendations?


asked the Lord Privy Seal whether, in view of the public interest and anxiety as to the proposals of the Government to secure economy in the expenditure on education, he will consider the advisability of appointing a Select Committee to consider these proposals and report?


The recommendations of the Committee on National Economy with regard to educational expenditure were very carefully examined by the Government, and the proposals for reduced expenditure in the coming financial year, which are embodied in the Civil Services Class IV Estimates, represent the decision which the Government has taken, after a survey of the educational needs of the country and of the resources available from taxes and rates. In the circumstances I do not think that any advantage would be gained by the appointment of a Select Committee for the purpose suggested.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the far-reaching effect of this Report in its various details, apart from the question of salaries of teachers, and other things, and the extensive nature of its effect on children who cannot help themselves, and would it not be advisable to inquire into that aspect as well as the economic aspect?


So far as the Government are concerned, they are very well informed, after careful examination given to the matter, of the results that may be expected to follow upon their decision.

53. Mr. BARKER

asked the President of the Board of Education whether he would consider the desirability of the appointment of a Select Committee to go fully into the education question as it affects the exclusion of scholars from the schools, the closing of schools and consequent dismissal of teachers, the ques- tion of teachers' pensions, and other measures affecting education, so that local education authorities and the teachers can place their views on these matters before the Committee for report before the Government brings in legislation dealing with any or all of these important questions?

55. Mr. J. GUEST

asked the President of the Board of Education if ho is aware of the strong feeling in the country against the proposed reductions in the Estimates for Education; and whether, before these cuts are made operative, he will propose the appointment of a Select Committee to consider the proposals of the Geddes Committee and to receive evidence from education authorities and the teaching profession with reference thereto?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of EDUCATION (Mr. Herbert Fisher)

I would refer the hon. Members to the answer given to-day by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House to the hon. Members for the Forest of Dean and Pontypool (Messrs. Wignall and Thomas Griffiths).


Is it not a fact that the Government are the employers of the teachers, and will they refuse to give the teachers an opportunity of stating their case before any of these alterations are made?


The answer is that the Government are not the employers of the teachers. The teachers are employed by the local aducation authorities, who have the power of appointment and dismissal.

57. Sir W. de FRECE

asked the President of the Board of Education whether he can make any further statement as to any actual steps now taken or about to be taken to effect any reduction in the outlay on education; and whether, in the case of important changes of policy, the House will have an opportunity of discussing them before they are put into force?


If, as I hope, the discussion on the Board's Estimates for the coming year takes place at an early date, I will make a full statement on the subject.


With all the cuts that are taking place, will what are known as necessitous areas lose some of the grants they received in days gone by?