HL Deb 10 April 1924 vol 57 cc245-7

LORD LAMINGTON had given Notice to ask His Majesty's Government whether the Scottish Education Department has had an application from the Lanarkshire Education Authority to spend about. £70,000 on buildings in Glasgow, if so, whether in lieu of this large expenditure they would try to make an arrangement with the County Council for accommodation, and whether this is not evidence of the heavy cost of having two rating and spending authorities in the same area.


My Lords, on behalf of Lord Lamington, I beg to ask the Question which he has placed on the Paper.


My Lords, it is my duty to act as mouthpiece for the Scottish Education Department in answering this Question. The Question is in three parts. The first is whether the Scottish Education Department has received an application from the Lanarkshire Education Authority to spend £70,000 on buildings in Glasgow. There has been, I understand, such an application, and it is under consideration. The Department are making further inquiries, and will be ready later on to answer a question on the subject. With regard to the second part of the Question, whether in lieu of this large" expenditure they will try to make an arrangement with the County Council for accommodation, the answer is that it is not part of the function of the Education Department to make any arrangement of that sort. It is within the competence of the education authority to do so, but whether they will do so or not I suppose the Department is hardly in a position to say. With regard to the last part of the Question, the Department do not consider that it is their business to express an opinion upon the subject, because it is questions rather of policy than of administration which come before them. It is to be remembered, however, that when the Education Act was before the House it was considered by Parliament that opinion in Scotland was strongly in favour of having a separate Education Department and not doing anything in the direction of the combination of the two authorities which is referred to in the Question. That being so, I am not authorised to give any answer of a positive kind to that part of the Question.


My Lords, I must apologise for not having been present when my Question was put by my noble friend. With respect to what the noble Lord has just said, I am not aware of Scottish opinion being strongly in favour of a separate body. My experience is to the other effect, and that the people of Scotland are so aghast at the enormous increase in the cost of education that the great bulk of the people, and certainly the great bulk of the ratepayers, would be glad to see some change and some system of economy introduced. I should have thought that this was a splendid opportunity for the Government to see their desire for nationalisation realised. We are told that an improved system of education is absolutely essential for the welfare of the country; therefore, it should not be made a charge to any great extent upon the pockets of a very limited number of people—namely, those interested in the land. I think this is a fine opportunity for the present Government to put into force one of their principal articles of faith.