Education (Scotland) Bill.

Part of Supplementary Vote of Credit, 1941. – in the House of Commons on 16th December 1941.

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Photo of Mr Thomas Johnston Mr Thomas Johnston , Stirlingshire and Clackmannanshire Western

I do not know. All I know is that the surcharge was not imposed. It is obvious, however, that changes in the law must be made if the policy of the Government is to be proceeded with. Under Sub-section (1) of Clause 1 of the Bill, it is provided that an education authority may purchase and provide food for all children attending school in its area, both on days when the school meets and on other days. Subsection (2) says that, where a child is unable to take full advantage of the education provided the authority shall make such provision in the way of feeding as it may determine. This makes it obligatory where the authority finds a child undernourished. All the difficult procedure to which I have referred is abandoned. The third Sub-section empowers the local authority to recover such portion of the expense as it may deem fit. I ought to say that in no case will the costs which may be recovered include the costs of equipment. People may be charged only for food. Clause 2 repeals the provision of the Act of 1914, which empowered authorities to feed children on Sundays and Saturdays and holidays. That Act is repealed because Sub-section (1) of Clause 1 of this Bill authorises authorities to provide food both on days when the school meets and on other days.

Clause 3 deals with a point raised by the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) in a recent Debate. Under the present law, local authorities can feed a necessitous child, an under-nourished child, until the age of five. But in some cases there is a gap between the child reaching the age of five and the date of the child entering school. The purpose of Clause 3, Sub-section (1, a) is to bridge this gap, and to empower local and education authorities to continue without intermission feeding arrangements for the under-nourished child. Paragraph (b) secures that deaf children, blind children, and defective children of any kind who are educated by special provision whether in schools or at home, can come in for the benefit of these full arrangements.

I have covered the Bill Clause by Clause, and I am sure that it will be welcomed by local authorities all over the country, and I am equally certain that it will be welcomed by the House and that it will be a tremendous help and benefit to the rising generation of Scotland.