HL Deb 09 February 1894 vol 21 cc207-8

asked the Lord President of the Council whether the grants due to Luton and Luton New Town National Schools for the year ending 30th September, 1893, had only just been paid; and whether the reason alleged for the delay was that plans for improvements suggested by the Inspector at his last visit had not yet been submitted to the Department; and whether the Lord President would consider the hardship inflicted on schools by the nonpayment of grants earned for past work pending the settlement of arrangements which referred to future work? When his attention was first called to this matter these grants had not, he believed, been made at all, but they had since been paid, The matter arose out of a difference between the Department and the schools as to certain improvements which were necessary in future. The Department had power to compel anything to be done which they thought necessary by withholding any future grant till it was carried out. But what was complained of here was that the grant was withheld for past services, thereby making the school unable to meet the liabilities they had incurred, and to pay the ordinary expenses of the staff in carrying on the school. That was clearly a hardship. A distinction should be made between what was owing and what was prospective, and schools should not be deprived of money due to them merely as a, means of forcing them to carry out requirements in the future, and announcing to them that after a certain period they would be declared inefficient. He therefore asked the noble Earl whether that distinction would not be made in regard to future grants, and if any explanation could be given of what had been done in this case?


My Lords: The explanation is extremely simple. There was no desire whatever on the part of the Department to deal hardly with this school. I need not go into details of the sanitary changes required; but it is sufficient for me to say that, according to the Report sent to the Department, the sanitary condition of these schools was not satisfactory, and the school managers were thereupon called upon to make the necessary alterations, and to submit plans in accordance with the requirements of the Department. Not having done so, they in point of law forfeited the grant; but the Department thought it very hard upon them to insist upon their losing the whole of the grant, and had postponed its payment until the managers had complied with the requirements of the Department. That is the only mode in which the Council can compel the managers to do what is required, and I think a good deal of consideration has been shown to them in the matter.


asked when the decision was announced to the managers?


The Inspector, after his visit in October, reported at some length upon the position of each school, and thereupon a correspondence ensued.