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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 Mr Daniel Lipson Mr Daniel Lipson , Cheltenham

The Financial Resolution is important. Unless we can get the finance of the Bill right, any hope of its being implemented must go. If the finance of the Bill is to be put right, it is obvious that the Government grant must be very much bigger than has hitherto been contemplated. I do not agree with my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) that local authorities should receive 100 per cent. Government grant for the whole of their education expenditure. If they were to be given such a grant they would have no claim to local control. But there is certain expenditure involved in the Bill which the Government might bear up to 100 per cent. I have in mind new capital expenditure. This expenditure would only be incurred if the Board of Education had first expressed its approval. Once it had decided that the capital expenditure was necessary and night, the Government must be prepared to pay 100 per cent. grant.

In certain areas there is a special expenditure involved, which will be increased under the Bill with the provision of new secondary schools, such as the transport of school children. There, again, the Government might consider whether a special expenditure of that kind should not be met by 100 per cent. Government grant. The lessons of the past with regard to our not being able to make greater progress in education are, again and again, that local authorities, with the best desire in the world to carry out the intentions of Parliament, have been unable to do so for financial reasons. The only way in which that difficulty can be overcome is for the Government to give more financial help. I, therefore, hope that my right hon. Friend will be successful—and I am sure he desires it—in trying to persuade the Treasury to be more generous to education in the matter of grants. We know from experience of the Home Office in Civil Defence that it was only when the Government were prepared to give 100 per cent. grants for shelters that the job was done. I think that that will happen in regard to schools. I can assure my right hon. Friend that any efforts he may make to try to persuade the Treasury to loosen the purse strings and help in financing this Bill will meet with support from all quarters of the Committee.