I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."
A statement has been made in regard to non-provided schools, and I should like to say how much I appreciate the action taken. On behalf of those for whom I speak, we are very pleased with what has been done, but there is one particular point still left out. I have not put down an Amendment on this point because I received instructions too late. The owners of a non-provided school may possibly be unwilling to accept the payment offered by the Commission because with that payment goes the obligation to rebuild. The owners might say that the payment was insufficient to cover the cost of rebuilding and, therefore, they would refuse to accept the payment offered. I wish to ask that where owners of non-provided schools cannot see their way to accept the payment because of the obligation to rebuild, that payment should go to a local authority. Where owners do not undertake to rebuild, the onus is transferred to the local authority to provide a school, and we consider that the money which the Government are willing to pay towards the provision of the rebuilding of a school should go to them.
I do not think that the point made by the hon. Member for Stone (Sir J. Lamb) is really raised in this new Clause. He asked a question which I thought I more or less dealt with at an earlier stage. I said then that payments which would be made in the case of non-provided schools would come within the discretionary payments of the War Damage Commission. These discretionary payments under the Bill have to be made after consultation—
with such persons or bodies as appear to them to be appropriate having regard to the nature of the purposes to which that interest is held.
That, of course, would primarily be the managers or whatever body was concerned with a non-provided school. The hon. Member raised the point that if that payment was such that it would he impossible to restore the non-provided school, he would like it to be made to the local education authority who have statutory duties with regard to the education of the area. The local education authority might not necessarily restore that particular school in order to carry out their functions, but they would have to see that education was adequately carried out in their area. I have said that I should have thought that in the general consultations "with such persons or bodies as appear to be appropriate," the War Damage Commission would surely have to bear a local education authority's responsibility to an area just as much in mind. The whole thing is part of the complex system of our educational affairs. It would necessarily follow, I should have thought, that they would consult both parties and make such discretionary payment as they thought fit, in order to carry out the purposes in view. I do not think I can take it any further—certainly not at this moment. We cannot accept this Clause—in any case we could not amend it—but I shall be glad to consider the matter further to see whether it is necessary to make it any clearer. I do not think it is necessary to make it clearer because I believe the words in the Bill cover the point which has been raised
and that they would have to consult everyone concerned.