§ 23. Sir Annesley Somerville
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education whether, and, if so when, fair compensation will be given to schools compulsorily evacuated to make room for Government offices and consequently forced to incur heavy expenses; and whether, as the hardship caused has been aggravated by the obligation of secrecy, which has made it more difficult for such schools to obtain suitable accommodation, he will give an assurance that they will not suffer financial loss because of Government action?
This is not primarily the concern of my Department. I have, however, ascertained that compensation in respect of schools requisitioned under the Defence Regulations will be paid in accordance with the terms of the Compensation (Defence) Act, 1939. The prescribed forms on which claims under that Act may be made have been sent to the school authorities and it is hoped that interim payments may be made as soon as the claims have been received and examined. His Majesty's Government are anxious that compensation to the full extent authorised by the Act should be paid as soon as possible.
§ Sir A. Somerville
Have the Board of Education been consulted in each case, and does not my hon. Friend think that 1542 in many cases there has been an astonishing lack of due care and consideration?
I am not altogether happy about the situation. Perhaps my hon. Friend can put these questions down.
§ Mr. Tomlinson
Will the amount of compensation cover the interest and sinking fund on newly-built schools which have been taken over for this purpose?
§ 24. Sir A. Somerville
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education whether he is aware that considerable unemployment amongst teachers will be the result of the commandeering of schools, especially amongst science teachers, who are deprived of their laboratories; and whether the Board has taken action in the matter?
I am aware that there is some unemployment among teachers, particularly in boarding and other schools outside the jurisdiction of the Board, as the result of the commandeering of premises. As my hon. Friend is aware, no appointments of teachers are made by the Board and the re-employment of such teachers turns on the ability and readiness of governing bodies and local education authorities to absorb them. The whole question of the provision of education in evacuation areas is, as I said before, under the immediate consideration of the Government.
§ Sir A. Somerville
As the unemployment is caused directly by Government action ought not the Government to take direct action in the matter?
I think that the unemployment is due not so much to the commandeering, but to the temporary closing of certain schools, both girls and boys. I have said that immediate action is to be taken, and I think that that is the answer.
§ Mr. Lipson
Where unemployment is due to commandeering will my hon. Friend see that the Board will take direct action?
I am not aware that where a school has been transferred to another place through commandeering there has been unemployment, but I will look into specific cases.
§ Mr. Lipson
Does not my hon. Friend know the instance I have in mind of a training college being closed as a result of being commandeered?