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Orders of the Day — Education [Money]

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 28th January 1944.

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Photo of Mrs Beatrice Rathbone Mrs Beatrice Rathbone , Bodmin

I want to add to what a previous speaker has said about those areas which will not be able to meet the expenditure involved in the Bill without undue hardship or greater financial assistance from the Board. I admit that, like the hon. and gallant Member for Ayr Burghs (Sir T. Moore), I came here to-day hoping that I might get off my chest a speech which I did not get the opportunity of making on the Second Reading. However, I have the good fortune to come after him rather than before him, so I have learned the error of my ways, and I have cut the several pages of my remarks down to a few sentences. I still would like, with your permission, Mr. Williams, to stake a claim on the Committee stage of the Bill on this Question. The phrase "to stake a claim" was used advisedly to me to-day by a man of considerable authority in this House, and, obviously, it was a leader to me on what I could and could not say. Those of us who are not admittedly allowed to say to-day that we represent areas which have a low rateable value, nevertheless, can say we represent counties which are extremely poor. We do not want to see these counties suffer. Naturally, the Financial Resolution as it stands is very wide, and, if we like to think optimistically, can provide the necessary moneys so that we can see in our areas adequate schools and teachers, and the Bill carried out not only to the letter, but in the spirit in which it has been so nobly conceived.

Those of us who represent poor rural areas hope that, in the intervening period between now and the Committee stage of the Bill, the President of the Board of Education will not have allowed his mind so to crystallise that he deprives himself of our valuable advice on this matter, because it is a matter of very great concern to those whom we represent. I believe that I am not allowed to mention that the rating in Cornwall is considerably lower than the rating anywhere else and, naturally, I shall not pursue that point, but it is, nevertheless, true.