HC Deb 14 April 1938 vol 334 cc1298-9
41. Mr. Logan

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education whether his attention has been called to the decision of the Liverpool City Council, of 6th April, not to make grants to non-provided schools; has the council sent in schemes to meet the requirements of the Education Act, 1936; is he aware that a suggested scheme to build council schools to meet the full demands under the Acts will be most expensive to the ratepayers and, if built, will not be used by the denominational bodies; and, in view of the costly expenditure in this city on council schools and the necessity for modern non-provided schools, what action does he intend to take to see that the provisions of the Education Act, 1936, are put into operation in Liverpool?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education (Mr. Kenneth Lindsay)

The Board have been informed by the Liverpool local education authority that they have decided to make no grants towards the provision of new or the enlargement of existing non-provided schools and that they have instructed the education committee to take all steps necessary to provide such additional school accommodation as may be required to comply with the provisions of the Education Acts. My Noble Friend is aware that the provision of council schools will involve the authority in heavier expenditure than would have resulted from the exercise of their powers to make grants under Section 8 of the Education Act, 1936, and is likely to give rise to other difficulties. But as the hon. Member has already been informed, the Board are not in a position to compel the authority to make grants for non-provided schools. They are, however, in a position to require the authority to carry out the duty imposed upon them by Section 17 of the Education Act, 1921, to provide a sufficient amount of elementary school accommodation, and this they propose to do.

Mr. Logan

Is the hon. Member not aware that through the Government an agreement was arrived at which was adopted by this House, which was a national compromise unique in the history of the House; and, in view of the possibility that sectarian differences may arise in Liverpool, is it not possible for the grant which is made by the Treasury to be altered and deductions made seeing that the local authority seems to avoid its responsibility in this matter? Is he not also aware that in the past sectarian differences have created great difficulty and that we are anxious to get rid of them and that might be possible if this solution could be applied by the Treasury?

Mr. Lindsay

I am aware of some of the points raised by the hon. Member, but such a grant is not permissible under the Education Act. I may add, for my hon. Friend's information, that since we have been informed of the authority's decision my Noble Friend has called upon them for a statement of their alternative proposals. As a member of the education committee he will be aware of that.

Mr. Logan

If I bring the matter up after the Recess will the hon. Member be able to give a further reply?

Mr. Lindsay

Possibly I may have some further information by then.

Mr. Thorne

Can the hon. Gentleman say why there is always trouble in Liverpool when we do not get it in any other part of the country?