HL Deb 07 August 1913 vol 14 c1731


Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, this is a small Bill necessary to amend the law under the Education (Scotland) Act, 1908. Under that Act school boards have certain powers and duties as to the provision of food and clothing in the case of children whose parents, after investigation has been made by the school board, are found to be unable, either by reason of poverty or ill health, to make proper provision for their children. Those powers and duties were intended to apply to the provision of necessary medical treatment for the same class of children, and some school boards, interpreting the Act in that sense, as it was intended to be interpreted, incurred expenses for medical treatment, but the Court of Session has in a recent decision declared that such expenditure upon medical treatment is ultra vires and that the school boards should not spend further money in that direction. This Bill gives to the school boards in Scotland powers which the local education authorities in England have had since 1907. The object of this Bill is simply to secure to the school boards powers which they were thought to have when the original Act was passed. It is specially desirable that this measure should receive the consent of Parliament, because so long as the law remains as it is at present the only money which school boards can spend on medical treatment is a Parliamentary grant of £7,500 a year and any supplementary sum they can get from voluntary contributions. That sum, of course, is quite inadequate to meet the expense of those schemes which had been actually put into operation before the decision of the Court of Session was come to, and which are now suspended or seriously curtailed for want of funds. This Bill will put the matter right, and I hope that your Lordships will give it a Second Reading.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(Earl Beauchamp.)

On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Monday next.