HC Deb 25 February 1936 vol 309 cc342-4

Motion made, and Question proposed, That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £4,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1936, for Grants in respect of the expenses of the Managers of Approved Schools, and of the expenses of Education Authorities in Scotland in respect. of children and young persons committed to their care.

Lieut.-Colonel COLVILLE

This additional sum is required for the extra amount necessary for the maintenance of the approved schools. I would be glad to answer to the best of my ability any questions which hon. Members wish to raise, but I think that it will be generally agreed that the approved schools must be properly and thoroughly maintained.

7.1 p.m.


We on this side of the Committee will not oppose this particular Vote, but of all the Supplementary Estimates that have been submitted today and will be submitted this is the most disquieting and the most alarming from the Scottish point of view. We are being asked to vote an additional sum of £2,200, of the £4,000 which has just been asked for, "in view of an increasing number of children and young persons committed to the schools, and higher cost of maintaining the schools." I trust that it may be possible for the Under-Secretary to tell us how much of that £2,200 is due to the increasing number of children, and then we shall be in a position to know what is due to the higher cost of maintaining the schools. I will quote, if I am in order—and I have not been ruled out of order to-day—from the last available Prisons Report of Scotland, in which we find a statement which seems to be justified by the Vote to which we are now asked to agree. On page 9 of the Annual Report of the Prisons Department of Scotland it is stated: As was to be expected, the lack of employment continued to be the prevailing cause ascribed by parents or guardians for the downfall of these young offenders. Apparently because of unemployment, and particularly because of its operation against young persons in Scotland, we now have this increase—I hope that it is not as alarming as it seems—in the number of young persons who have had to be committed to the approved schools. I find that two of the chief constables in Scotland in quite recent reports have been making the same statement—that it is due to unemployment in Scotland that we have an increasing number of young offenders. The chief constable of Roxburghshire has commented on the fact that actually more than 60 per cent, of the offenders dealt with for crime in Roxburghshire last year were youthful offenders. This is reflected, I presume, in the Vote we are asked to agree to to-night, and it is a rather disturbing state of affairs. Young offenders must be dealt with and you must have the approved schools. I gave notice to the Under-Secretary that I would raise the question of where the approved schools were.


I do not think that that arises on this occasion.


I am sorry that I am ruled out of order; I shall have to reserve it for a future occasion. I do trust that we shall be able to hear what proportion of the £2,200 is due to the increasing number of children and young persons who are committed to the schools, and what proportion is due to the higher cost of maintaining the schools. There should be some big central institution to which we could send children who have to be committed to a school where they would have a chance of starting out in life again in a proper way.

7.6 p.m.

Lieut.-Colonel COLVILLE

Perhaps I might dispose of the hon. Gentleman's question satisfactorily now. The Children and Young Persons (Scotland) Act of 1932 brought a new age group of young persons of between 16 and 17 into the range of these approved schools. Young persons up to that age could be sent to the approved schools, so that there was an enlargement of the number who could be sent. There were 35 more young persons than were provided for sent to these schools, and we have to make provision for them.


Is that the figure for the whole of Scotland?

Lieut.-Colonel COLVILLE

Yes. That accounts for part of the increased Estimates. I am not able to say for how much, but for less than half of the whole sum required.


Could the Under-Secretary give us any idea of the increase year by year, apart from the increase brought about by the Act of 1932, due to the conditions under which these children have to live?

Lieut.-Colonel COLVILLE

I think that it would be impossible for me to give an answer on that subject. I have only been able to give the figure of the actual increase.

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