HC Deb 20 February 1941 vol 369 cc276-7
12. Mr. Lipson

asked the President of the Board of Education why the Government grant to local education authorities for buildings and equipment for school canteens is only 50 per cent., whereas the Government bears the whole expense, under certain conditions of buildings and equipment of communal feeding centres set up by local authorities; and whether he will take steps to increase the grant for school canteens to 100 per cent.?

The President of the Board of Education (Mr. Ramsbotham)

The rate of grant to local education authorities on their expenditure on the provision of meals, including buildings and equipment, was substantially increased last July—the increase being in no case less than 20 per cent.—and now ranges from 50 to 92 per cent. with an average rate of 70 per cent. I see no reason to increase this grant further. The provision of meals for school children is a normal peace-time service, part of the capital and running cost of which has always been met from the rates on the ground that it forms part of the education provision of the area. It is expected that the war-time developments of this service will be permanent. On the other hand, communal feeding is an emergency war-time measure, to which the rates could not be expected to contribute.

Mr. Lipson

Is my right hon. Friend aware that, in reception areas, there has been a great increase in the need for feeding school children, and that, therefore, additional expense in buildings and equipment is required; and will he not treat this expense exactly on the same lines as that for communal feeding centres by local authorities?

Mr. Ramsbotham

This must remain an educational service.

Mr. Lipson

Is it not a fact that education authorities are treated very badly in the matter of grants?