HC Deb 27 July 1944 vol 402 cc975-7

Lords Amendment: In page 74, line 8, at end, insert: ;and (b) where immediately before the date of the commencement of Part II of this Act a former authority had been required under the Education (Institution Children) Act, 1923, to make payments to another former authority in respect of any child and was liable to make such payments, then, so long as the first-mentioned former authority would have remained so liable if that Act had not been repealed, the child shall he deemed to belong to the area of the local education authority responsible for the liabilities of the first-mentioned former authority.

Mr. Ede

I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

The Bill alters the law as laid down by the Education (Institution Children) Acts. Unless this paragraph were inserted, such cases would have to come up for review, and liability in certain cases might be shifted from the shoulders of one authority to those of another. In view of the shortage of local authority's staffs, and the undesirability of creating the amount of work which this would involve, it is enacted by this Amendment that existing liabilities will still remain the liabilities of the local authorities that now bears them. In the event of a child ceasing to be liable and becoming liable at some future date, the child will have to be treated under the enactments of the Bill.

Question put, and agreed to.

Lords Amendment: In page 75, line 24, at end, insert new Clause F: (Power of Minister to authorise local education authorities to provide temporary assistance for voluntary schools.) If upon representations made to him by any local education authority the Minister is satisfied that by reason of difficulties arising out of war conditions or out of conditions occasioned by the coming into operation of Part II of this Act temporary accommodation for children who are, or whose parents desire them to be, registered pupils at any voluntary school is required until permanent accommodation can be provided for them by the managers or governors of the school in accordance with the development plan for the area, the Minister may authorise the local education authority to provide, or assist in providing, such temporary accommodation in accordance with arrangements approved by him, so, however, that any such authorisation shall be withdrawn as soon as there has, in the opinion of the Minister, been sufficient opportunity for permanent accommodation for such pupils to be provided by the managers or governors of the school.

Mr. Butler

I beg to move "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

I think I should say a word about this new Clause, which gives power to the Minister to authorise local authorities to provide temporary assistance for auxiliary schools, and, if hon. Members will look at the terms of the Clause, they will see that the Minister has to be satisfied that, by reason of difficulties arising out of war conditions or conditions occasioned by the coming into operation of Part II of this Act, temporary accommodation ought to be provided. The fact is that we have been having to undertake certain temporary assistance to our voluntary schools under Section 23 of the Education Act, 1921. As the Bill stands, local authorities would not be able to continue such emergency temporary assistance to voluntary schools, unless we put this in the Clause. I say "temporary," because there is no question of permanent assistance being given under this new Clause. Otherwise, the whole balance of the Bill would be upset. Hon. Members have asked about temporary assistance in some cases, for reasons at present arising out of war conditions. It may be necessary to set up huts or some such temporary accommodation, and we have been glad to have the powers under the Section of the Education Act which I mentioned to deal with these emergency matters.

The other emergency situation arises after the introduction of Part II of this Act, and will mostly arise on the raising of the age. It would be very wrong if there were no emergency provision to tide over managers or governors of a voluntary school during the period of the raising of the age, although this Clause will not permit of such assistance being given permanently. In these circumstances, it seems wise to insert the Clause, but it does not affect the permanent operation of the long-term provision for bringing up the standards of voluntary schools. It is necessary under war conditions and in the emergency which may arise on bringing the Act into operation.

Mr. McEntee

Will the Minister say if there is any provision in the Bill to deal with a situation such as we frequently meet now in regard to temporary buildings and the licensing of temporary buildings? What we find in practice is that, if we license some factory or perhaps a church or other building in an emergency for a temporary purpose, that building is put up and there is the greatest difficulty in the world for years afterwards in getting the person, to whom the temporary licence has been issued, to erect a permanent building. We find that plans for all kinds of premises are sent to local authorities, and that the people say "If you are willing to give us a licence for this temporary building, we hope to be in a position in a very short time to remove this not very pretty thing, which is purely temporary," but, once it gets up, like the houses built during the last war, which we were told were purely provisional and temporary, but are still there, it is very difficult to remove. In this case, I agree entirely that circumstances may arise during and after the war which make this necessary, but I think local authorities should be given very strict powers.

Mr. Ede

This Bill deals with no other buildings than educational buildings, but some schools have been erected in the past as temporary schools which have long outlived their usefulness and frequently become great hindrances. In this Bill, this provision is safeguarded by the development plan, and the local authority will have to show how it proposes to develop the various schools in its area. Immediately after the war, in areas where considerable damage has been done, it may be essential that temporary provision should be made, but the development plan ought to indicate a date at which it will be proposed to erect a permanent school to take the place of the temporary one, and when the development plan is confirmed by the education order, this provision becomes mandatory upon the local education authority.

Question put, and agreed to. [Special Entry.]

Subsequent Lords Amendments to page 76, line 21, agreed to.