HC Deb 22 October 1973 vol 861 cc894-8

Lords Amendment: No. 38, in page 75, line 28, after Clause 127 at end insert new Clause A: A.—(1) Where, immediately before 16th May 1975, any educational endowment is to any extent vested in the existing local authority for an area specified in the first column of Table A below, that endowment shall on that day to that extent be transferred to and vest for the same purposes in the appropriate new local authority for the area specified in relation thereto in the second column of that Table.

Existing area New area
County Region or islands area
County of a city
Large burgh District or islands area
Small burgh

(2) Where, immediately before 16th May 1975, any educational endowment is to any extent to be vested, by virtue of his office, in the holder of any office connected with an existing local authority specified in the first column of Table B below, that endowment shall on that day to that extent be transferred to and vest for the same purposes in the holder of the office, specified in relation thereto in the second column of that Table, of the appropriate new local authority as determined by reference to subsection (1) above.

Existing office-holder New office-holder
Lord Provost chairman of council
Convener of county
Chairman of district council
Magistrate Councillor, or any other person nominated by the council
Chairman of or member of committee
Any specified officer The corresponding office or (if there is no such officer) the proper officer.

(3) Where, immediately before 16th May 1975, any power with respect to an educational endowment is vested in an existing local authority, or (by virtue of his office) in the holder of an office connected with such an authority, that power shall on that day be transferred to and vest in the appropriate new local authority or (as the case may be), in the new office-holder of that authority, as ascertained by reference to subsections (1) and (2) above.

(4) Subject to the provisions of the governing instrument of an educational endowment, where as the result of the election of a local authority occurring after 16th May 1975, it is necessary for a person to be nominated by the authority or by a committee thereof to be vested (to any extent) with the endowment, in terms of subsection (2) above, or to be vested with any power, in terms of subsection (3) above, that person shall be so nominated at the first meeting of the authority or committee held after it has been elected or appointed; and in such a case the person who (to the said extent) was last vested with the endowment or, as the case may be, who was last vested with the power, before the meeting shall continue therein until the date of the meeting.

(5) In this section, unless the context other wise requires, expressions used in Part VI of the Education (Scotland) Act 1962 have the same meaning as in that Part, and "the appro- priate new local authority" means, in relation to an existing local authority, the new authority whose area comprises the whole or the greater part of the area of the existing authority: and if, in any case, there is a dispute as to such appropriate authority, or as to the person or persons corresponding to an existing office-holder or office-holders for the purposes of this section, it shall be taken to be such new local authority or, as the case may be, person or persons as the Secretary of State may direct.

(6) Nothing in this section shall affect any other power to reorganise any educational endowment or otherwise to alter the provisions of any trust."

The Under-Secretary of State for Health and Education, Scottish Office (Mr. Hector Monro)

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

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this we shall take Amendment No. 61, in page 134, line 38, after "property" insert: which is subject to the provisions of section (educational endowments) or (property held on trust) of this Act or property".

Mr. Monro

The purpose of the new clause is to transfer to the appropriate regional, islands or district authorities educational endowments vested in existing local authorities. Its purpose is also to replace by appropriate representatives of the new authorities members or representatives of the existing local authorities who are included on the governing bodies of other educational establishments.

Mr. Carmichael

Why is it necessary at this late stage to bring forward a new clause of this length? I can see that the purpose is simple enough, but why was it missed in the first place? It is strange that it was not included originally. It is further evidence of the slackness of the Bill.

Mr. Monro

It may have been overlooked in earlier stages but it is important and it was taken up by the Government in another place. It is important that there should be a transitional period for these endowments, which will have to be looked at again in the not-too-distant future when the area schemes are worked out so that endowments now existing can cover the areas which those who gave them intended them to cover.

Mr. Hugh D. Brown

I am not clear about this. It looks as though this matter was overlooked in previous discussions. Surely there must be some problems. Do not some endowments specify that they shall be used, say, for children of people in certain areas with romantic names like Monro or Campbell and so on? Is there not some technical difficulty here, in that some of the endowments may not be related to an area but to people who are living in an area, or in that it may not be appropriate to transfer endowments? For example, there may be endowments specifying that only those living within the existing boundaries of the city of Glasgow should benefit.

Mr. Monro

The hon. Gentleman is right. I tried to indicate as much to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Woodside (Mr. Carmichael). We are talking about a large number of endowments—perhaps 1,500 or more. They all have to be looked at. It will take a very long time but it is important that those who gave the money for them for particular areas or particular groups of children, for example, should have their wishes honoured.

Once the regions have settled down and the education areas are straightened out, we must try perhaps to bring in new legislation to deal with this point so that the money goes to the areas or groups for which it was meant in the first place.

Mr. Ross

This is a fascinating document. We are dealing here with educational endowments. Table A refers to an existing area as "county of a city". But as far as I know counties of cities are to be replaced by districts. The Government are not, however, giving power to the new district area which was formerly representative of the city. Again Table A refers to "large burgh", "small burgh" and "district". They go to districts—and districts are not to be education authorities, since education is to be a function of the regions.

I wonder whether, in the haste of this operation, there has not been a slip-up. We have power to make manuscript amendments. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman would like us to talk on a bit while he considers whether a manuscript amendment would be desirable. We have already been told that one kind of au- thority is going to have really no connection with the other—in other words, the district authority, whose function will not include education, will not be interfering with the regional authority or in any way representing it. Perhaps it would be better to regulate this in relation to the new education authorities themselves within whose areas the former large burghs, small burghs and districts were. But if we are not regularising the position, then we need to insert something to cover the point.

1.0 a.m.

Mr. Monro

I note what the right hon. Gentleman has said. Certainly, the regional authority has complete charge of education and the regions will have to be certain of the running of the endowments after 1975. That is the purpose of this new Clause after Clause 127.

Mr. W. H. K. Baker (Banff)

My hon. Friend and I have recently had some correspondence on the question of endowments, and he has given me certain assurances. Having read through this new Clause I should like to ask him whether he can reassure me, in view of what he has just said. He mentioned a figure of approximately 1,500 endowments which have to be dealt with. Will the introduction of this new Clause mean that the work currently being carried out will have to be done again?

Mr. Monro

Area schemes have been worked out according to the new procedures, under the regional education authorities. This may not affect my hon. Friend's area at all. We are thinking more of areas around Glasgow where present education areas will be overtaken by the new boundaries. The situation in my hon. Friend's area should not change. We will look at this point as quickly as we can, although it is bound to take some time in view of the large number of endowments involved.

Question put and agreed to.

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