HC Deb 04 December 1922 vol 159 cc1216-8W

asked the President of the Board of Education if he will reconsider the very severe limitation of the grant proposed for the year ending 31st March, 1923, to the sum of £l,500 on behalf of the City of Bradford Education Authority, in regard to the provision of meals for school children, in view of the fact that the total expenditure for this work for the preceding year was £14,482 and that the heavy reduction in the grant proposed was not notified to the authority until August of this year, by which time it was impossible, as well as against the public interest, to cut down expenditure sufficiently to meet the proposed reduction of grant?


As I have stated in reply to other questions, I shall shortly be reconsidering the amount on which grant car, be paid for the provision of meals in 1922–23, both for Bradford and for other areas, in the light of the returns which have been asked for. I may point out that the Bradford authority's own estimate for their expenditure in 1922–23 was not £14,482, but £7,250, and the amount which the Board allocated to the area last August was £3,000. As regards the question of notice, the Board issued to all authorities on 5th April, 1922, a copy of the answer given by the President of the Board to Mr. Grattan Doyle on 4th April. 1922. in which he announced the limitation of expenditure on meals on which the Board could pay grant to the sum of £300.000, and circulars on the subject were also issued to all authorities on "8th May and 22nd July.


asked the President of the Hoard of Education on what grounds his Department decided to curtail expenditure, which would rank for grant, upon the feeding of necessitous children in the Borough of West Ham from £10,000 to £5,000 in the current year;. is he. a ware that the average all-in cost per meal per child is 3½d.: and, under these circumstances, which are most efficient and economical, will he take steps to ensure that the amount permitted to be spent will be revised by his Department and the original £10,000 allowed?


The curtailment of the expenditure which would rank for grant in the current year upon the feeding of necessitous children in West Ham, as in many other areas, was necessitated by the restriction imposed by Parliament on the aggregate grant available for the purpose. I have asked for returns from all authorities showing the exact position for the country as a whole on 1st December, and I propose to consider the position of individual authorities when these returns are complete.


asked the President of the Board of Education whether he has decided that the Bradford education authority has been giving meals to schoolchildren otherwise, than lawfully as provided by Section 84 of the Education Act, 1921: and, if he has not so decided, on what statutory authority he refuses to provide by means of grant from the national Exchequer not less than one-half of the net expenditure towards the cost of meals for necessitous school-children in Bradford?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. The Board's Estimates were voted by Parliament on the supposition, clearly stated in the White Paper which explained them, that the aggregate expenditure for provision of meals to be recognised for the calculation of grant-would be limited to £300,000. In order that this limitation may be observed, I have no alternative but to exercise the power reserved to the Board by Section 118 of the Education Act, 1921, and to regard expenditure involving an excess over the sum specified as expenditure in aid of which Parliamentary grants should not be made.