HC Deb 21 March 1923 vol 161 cc2599-600W

asked the Home Secretary whether he can inform the House the full capacity of industrial schools and reformatories in England and the extent of the present demand upon such capacity; and whether the information justifies the closing of certain of these institutions?


Approximately, 86 per cent. of the available accommodation in reformatory schools, and 84 per cent. the South Yorkshire, Notts and Derby coalfields, respectively, to the Miners' Welfare Fund; what sums have been allocated from the fund for betterment purposes in those areas; what is the character of the purposes for which the money has been allocated; and what is the reason for the failure to distribute more of the fund?

Lieut.-Colonel LANE-FOX

The total contributions paid to the Miners' Welfare Fund by these districts up to 28th February last, and the amounts allocated by the committee for local purposes up to the same date, are as follow:

of the available accommodation in industrial schools, is used. As nearly 50 schools have been closed since 1919, and committals show a tendency to increase, I do not think it advisable to close more schools at present, but the question is being watched. It must be remembered that the system as a whole is a denominational one, and the schools are divided into Protestant, Roman Catholic and Jewish schools in accordance with the intentions of the Children Act, 1908. Moreover, it is the policy of the Home Office to discourage the practice of sending children too far from their homes. These considerations make it necessary to maintain a larger margin of vacancies than would otherwise be required.