Education.

Part of National Expenditure. – in the House of Commons on 1st March 1922.

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I propose to deal, in the first place, with the subject of education. The recommendation is for a reduction of £18,000,000 in the expenditure of the Education Departments. Part of that, really, is not a reduction in expenditure, but a transfer of obligations from taxes to rates. It is not a very large amount, but it is appreciable; it amounts to transferring about £3,000,000 from taxes to the rates. While that would be a reduction so far as the taxpayer is concerned, yet in the capacity of ratepayer I do not think he would be particularly grateful for it. The two items which in the main make up the £18,000,000 recommended by the Geddes Committee are the reduction in teachers' salaries and the exclusion of children from school below the age of six years. I wish to say a word upon both these matters. The Government have very carefully considered the recommendations of the Committee, and are of the view that neither of these proposals Can be put into operation.