In regard to this Clause, as interested Members are aware, I am not proposing to call Amendments which relate to the setting up of other education authorities. The appropriate place for those Amendments to be moved is on the First Schedule The first Amendment that I propose to call is that in the name of the Minister, in page 4, line 6, to leave out from "property," to "immediately," in line 7, and to insert "which."
§ Mr. Hutchinson (Ilford)
On a point of Order. The announcement which you have just made, Major Milner, is of great importance to hon. Members who have put down Amendments to the Clause. I am sure that it will be the wish of the Committee that the implications of the decision which you have just announced should be fully appreciated. There are, on the Order Paper, a number of Amendments——
I understand the hon. and learned Member is speaking to a point of Order or asking for information.
§ Mr. Hutchinson
The point of Order which I am now putting is of some importance. I was about to say that there are, on the Order Paper, several Amendments which seek to make it possible for local authorities who are neither county councils nor county borough councils to be the local education authorities, within certain areas. I believe that the Committee will wish to be sure that Amendments which have that object will be in Order when we reach the discussion on the Schedule. There are several Amend- 1817 ments put down by hon. Members who desire to discuss that question. It would be a misfortune if, when we came to the Schedule, it should turn out that Amendments which have that object for their purpose should prove to be out of Order. My point of Order, therefore, is: May we have an assurance that Amendments of that nature will be in Order?
I cannot bind myself that particular Amendments will be called, but, without doubt those Amendments which have the intention indicated by the hon. and learned Gentleman will certainly be in Order and there will be a full opportunity for discussion on them, when we come to the Schedule. There is no reason why this question should not be as fully discussed on the Schedule as it would have been on Clause 6, had it been proper to raise it on the Clauses.
§ Mr. Loftus
Some of us refrained during the Debate on the White Paper, and on the Second Reading of the Bill, from raising this subject, in the hope that, on the Committee stage, we should be able to put the case for the Part III authorities. I take it that on the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," we shall have the opportunity of putting the case shortly?
No. Obviously, we cannot have two Debates on the same subject. There may be no objection to the matter being mentioned in passing, but the details must wait until the Debate on the Amendments to the First Schedule.
§ Mr. Loftus
Some of us understood that we would have an opportunity in Committee to put the general case. Many hundreds of thousands of our constituents feel a keen sense of grievance and perhaps expect us to divide on the Clause.
I have already indicated that there will be ample opportunity for discussion on the First Schedule.
§ Sir Adam Maitland (Faversham)
Without questioning your Ruling, Major Milner, may I submit that in this Clause a very important policy is laid down, that the local education authority for each county shall be the council of the county, and for each county borough the council of that county borough. If that principle is passed, notwithstanding the fact that there are many Amendments on the matter on the Order Paper suggesting that 1818 other bodies might be included, those who are submitting these Amendments will be placed in a rather difficult position. This is a very important matter. By the Clause we propose to abolish a very large number of existing local authorities, whose representations should, however, be considered, and who should have an opportunity of being heard in the most general way. This will be a very protracted discussion, and it may be that when we come to the Schedule there will be some pressure or a Guillotine imposed on the consideration of those Amendments. I would like to impress upon you, Major Milner, my hope that, in no circumstances shall we be barred from discussing the principle in the Amendments which are now being postponed.
The hon. Member has indicated the answer to his own questions. Clause 6 (1) says:subject to the provisions of Part I of the First Schedule.…county councils and county borough councils shall be the local education authorities. Obviously no decision can be taken contrary to the First Schedule, having regard to these opening words of the Clause.
§ Mr. Hutchinsonrose——
§ Major Woolley (Spen Valley)
As the principle behind these Amendments is one of the most contentious principles in the Bill, there should be a reasonable opportunity to debate it at a later stage, but there is in our minds the possibility that if the Bill is somewhat delayed the Government may come along with a Guillotine and we shall lose that opportunity. We want to be satisfied on that point.
§ Mr. McEntee (Walthamstow, West)
On that point of Order. I hope it will not be forgotten that some of us in the Committee take an entirely contrary point of view, and that if the Guillotine is put into operation, it will hit us just as much as those Members who take the opposite point of view.
I think hon Members are raising quite hypothetical questions and that it will be better to let The Bill proceed. I may perhaps say that I fully 1819 recognise the feeling of hon. Members who have Amendments down, but I have given serious consideration to the matter, and have taken the best advice available, and I assure hon. Members that they would be well advised to leave the matter until the Schedule is reached. There is no reason why they should not then have full opportunity to put their points.
§ Sir John Mellor (Tamworth)
As the implication of your Ruling, Major Milner, is that the Clause will be the shadow and the Schedule will be the substance, would it not be desirable to postpone discussion of the Clause and discuss it together with the Schedule?
That is not really a point of Order. As hon. Members know I have complete discretion in this matter but I am anxious to facilitate the wishes of interested Members in every way.
§ Mr. Hutchinson
May I put this point arising out of what was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Faversham (Sir A. Maitland)? He has pointed out that the first Sub-section of Clause 6 provides that subject to the provisions of Part I of the First Schedule, certain authorities shall be the local education authorities. I think my hon. Friend is expressing the opinion of many of us that the case for local authorities, other than county councils and county borough councils, will to some extent be prejudiced if we pass to-day a Clause which provides that those two authorities are to be the local education authorities. The point I want to put is this: It does seem to be an illogical thing that we should pass to-day a Sub-section which provides that certain authorities shall be local education authorities, and that, in order to find what authorities shall be the local education authorities, one should then have to look at the Schedule. Would you, Major Milner, be prepared to accept an Amendment to this Sub-section which I handed in to the Table to-day in manuscript form? The effect of it would be that the first Subsection of Clause 6 should be omitted and a new Sub-section inserted which would be in line with the Ruling which you gave earlier to-day. The new Sub-section I suggest would be in these terms:The local education authority for each area shall be the authority mentioned in Part I of the First Schedule of the Bill.1820 If that Amendment were accepted, it would mean that the whole question of which local authorities are to be the local education authorities, would be deferred until the Committee reaches the Schedule, and we could then have a complete discussion on that subject unprejudiced by the fact that we had already passed a Clause which provides that certain authorities are to be the local education authorities.
I have had an opportunity of considering the proposed Amendment but I regret that I cannot select it. The object, in fact, would be to obtain on this particular Clause, a Debate which ought, in my view, to be taken on the Schedule. All the points of substance which Members wish to make can be taken on the Schedule.
§ Sir A. Maitland
I would like to put another suggestion. I am sorry, Major Milner, you could not accept the Amendment which has been suggested. It would have helped those of us who feel strongly on the matter. Unfortunately, if Clause 6 is passed and it should be found later that something which it is wished to put cannot be brought up under the Schedule, the back bench Member is helpless, but the Government could recommit Clause 6. May I ask for an assurance from my right hon. Friend that, if necessary—and I am quite prepared to leave it to his judgment—he will be prepared to recommit Clause 6 if it is found that certain Amendments now on the Paper cannot be put forward?
I really cannot allow that question. Hon. Members know that there are other stages of the Bill during which Members may raise these matters if necessary.
§ Mr. Lipson
Would it be in Order when this Clause is under discussion for Members who object to the principle to say so during the discussion on the Clause, and give their reasons, as if those who object to this principle cannot have this discussion now their only course of action is to vote against the Clause?
It may be possible for one side to indicate their views and for the other side to indicate their objections in general terms, but certainly not in detail. We must now proceed.
§ Mr. Ede
I beg to move, in page 4, line 6, to leave out from "property," to "immediately," in line 7, and to insert "which."
This Amendment runs with a subsequent one on page 4, line 8, after "Act," to insert "was held by the council of any county district solely or mainly."
The effect would be that the opening words of Sub-section (3) would read:All property which immediately before the date of the commencement of this part of this Act was held by the council of any county or district solely or mainly for the purposes of any functions …etc. The Clause as drafted would have transferred from the county district council to the county council any property which was being used for educational purposes on the date of the transfer of the functions from the county district council to the county council. It is clear that there are a substantial number of properties which are used by the district county council for its functions which are used for other than education functions. There may for instance be a school clinic which during some part of the day is used for that purpose and during another part of the day is a maternity and child welfare clinic used by the county district council in carrying out its functions as maternity and child welfare authority. It would clearly be wrong to transfer in every case such a building. Most schools I imagine, if not all the schools, are used for education functions only, but there are a number of ancillary services which are carried on by county district councils and which are housed in buildings which are also partly used for education purposes.
The object of this Amendment is to ensure that only those buildings should be transferred which are solely or mainly used for education functions. I cannot imagine there is any objection to the transfer of those which are used solely for education functions, for clearly on the appointed day the power of the county district council to exercise those functions, where a building or other property is required solely for the purpose, will have finished, and the building would be useless to them, and will be required by the county council for carrying on the education service which was previously the duty of the county district council and which has now become the duty of the county council.
1822 When we come to buildings which are mainly used it is clear that there will be certain cases of dispute, and these are dealt with in a subsequent Clause of the Bill and the dispute will be settled. But I imagine that in most cases there will be a pretty good indication of the extent to which they are in fact used for education functions, for if they are so used the cost of their upkeep will have been charged against the education accounts of the county district council. It is always done with great care for there is a grant payable by the Board of Education in respect of the expense if they are used for education functions, whereas for some of the other functions no grant is payable. Therefore the county district council has taken great care to see that the appropriate sum is charged against the education vote in its accounts in respect of the functions for which that property is used. I hope the Committee will feel that in this Amendment to the Clause we have shown a desire to meet the reasonable fears which have been expressed on certain occasions by the county district councils and their representatives, and the Amendment now moved, coupled with the other one I have mentioned, will enable them to retain those buildings which are more concerned with the other county district council functions than education and will ensure that the education service in their area shall be efficiently carried on by the county council after the appointed day.
§ Mr. Hutchinson
There was an Amendment on the Paper in my name and in the names of some of my hon. Friends which dealt with this matter. Although the Amendment now moved by the Parliamentary Secretary does not quite cover the whole of the same ground, it goes a very long way to meet our point. In those circumstances, I desire to say that we are grateful to the Parliamentary Secretary for the manner in which this point has been met. I have said that his Amendment does not quite cover the ground. There are certain cases of property in the hands of the county districts which stand on a rather different footing from the classes of property to which this Amendment refers. In certain cases the county districts have obtained property, sometimes buildings and land, and in some cases sums of money, which have been given to them or left to them by persons who desired to promote the interests of 1823 education in that particular district. That class of property is on rather a different footing from the class to which my hon. Friend refers. In those cases, it seems undesirable, and certainly quite out of accord with the intentions of the donors, that this property should be transferred to the county council.
§ Mr. Ede
Perhaps it might help if I said that the later Amendment in the name of my right hon. Friend—in line 13, to leave outby virtue of this Section be transferredand to insert:save as may be otherwise directed by the Minister under the powers conferred on him by this Act, be transferred by virtue of this Section"—is designed to deal with the point that the hon. and learned Member is now raising, and I do not want him, when that Amendment is discussed, to be ruled out on the ground that he has dealt with the point on this Amendment.
§ Mr. Wakefield (Swindon)
There is an Amendment down in the name of myself and other hon. Members on this point of the transfer of property. Is it your intention, Sir Cyril, to call that Amendment?
§ The Temporary Chairman (Sir Cyril Entwistle)
No, the point is covered by this Amendment, and the hon. Member's Amendment will not be selected. If he desires to say anything on the point he had better say it now.
§ Mr. Wakefield
The Amendment which I and my hon. Friends put down is somewhat different. I would suggest that the Amendment proposed by the Minister does not cover what we had in mind. As I understand it, the effect of paragraph (3) of Clause 6 is to transfer to the county council all educational property held by the authority. That means that schools and property which have been paid for by the authorities now exercising the powers will be transferred to the county council. The Minister has said that, in the case of excepted districts, it is his intention to give them such powers as will enable them to be practically autonomous and to act with dignity. To transfer all the property from an authority which has been carrying on higher 1824 education—as is the case in my own constituency, where there is a technical college with no debt, where everything has been paid for by the authority and which is carrying out a first-class job of work—together with secondary schools, all belonging to the local authority, is not in accord with what I and my hon. Friends understood to be the undertaking given by the Minister. If an excepted district is, to all intents and purposes, as I understood, to carry out powers of delegation, and if all the property belonging to that authority is removed from its control, there is reason for the grave anxiety which I know is felt by such authorities. If the position has been misunderstood by my hon. Friends or by the local authorities concerned, I hope that the Minister will explain it. As I see it under this Bill, all property belonging to an authority in such circumstances as exist in my constituency will be transferred from the authority to the county council. That is highly unsatisfactory to any authority which has faithfully and successfully discharged its duties in connection with secondary education.
§ Sir A. Maitland
I am not sure whether your reply, Sir Cyril, to my hon. Friend the Member for Swindon (Mr. Wakefield) referred also to the Amendment in my name and that of the hon. and gallant Member for Darwen (Captain Prescott)—in line 23, at the end, to insert a new Subsection (5)—or is that Amendment to be called?
§ Mr. Messer (Tottenham, South)
Much of the ground which has been covered by the Parliamentary Secretary deals with matters contained in my Amendment, to line 18. Will you permit me to speak on my Amendment, as well as on this Amendment? That might save time.
§ The Temporary Chairman
I am told that it would be preferable if that were done on the next Amendment. When an Amendment is not selected, it does not mean that hon. Members can put all the details of it in the discussion on some other Amendment. It can only be referred to, in so far as it is relevant to the Amendment before the Committee.
§ The Temporary Chairman
I have indicated to the hon. Member that he can discuss his points on a later Amendment which the Minister is going to move, on line 13.
§ Mr. Lipson
I rise for the purpose of getting the position clarified. There seems to be some mystery about what is to happen to the buildings put up by an authority which has ceased to function under this Bill and whose buildings have passed to some new authority. It would create a very dangerous precedent unless proper safeguards were contained in the financial adjustment when property is to pass from one authority to another. Is the financial adjustment to be based on the same principle as when boundaries are rearranged under the Local Government Act? Will there be some arrangement by which the local ratepayers who have put up schools and maintained them out of their own resources will get adequate compensation? If we can have a plain answer to that, a great deal of concern will be removed. Local authorities realise that under the new proposals they will be much worse off, and they think that the children under their care will not get so good an education. If, in addition, the property is taken without adequate compensation being paid, they will think that that is adding insult to injury with a vengeance.
§ Mr. Loftus
I take it that buildings used, wholly or mainly for education, will be taken over by the new authority. I could give an instance where some difficulty may occur. In Lowestoft an area school was built, costing £50,000. I had the honour of opening it. I said on that occasion that I hoped that that lovely building, with seven acres of ground, would be used, especially in summer-time, when school was over, as a kind of social and artistic and recreational resort for local people. When you hand over the use and ownership of the school to a new authority 40 or 50 miles away, will that not prevent these grounds being used by local societies and individuals to improve the amenities of the district?
§ Mr. Messer
The local education authority at the present time may use 1826 buildings which are not school buildings, but which are borrowed for the purpose, and when the new education authority takes over the property it will need to continue using those buildings for a time. But the local authority which built them might ultimately require them for the purposes for which they were originally intended. It is purely a war-time expedient that they are being used for other purposes. Is there any arrangement whereby such property can revert to the local authority? Some schools which have taken on a new departure have been compelled to use ordinary private houses. Where no building has taken place, those houses will continue to be needed for a specific purpose which was not intended by their original builders.
§ Lieut.-Commander Tufnell (Cambridge)
I should like to support my hon. Friend the Member for Swindon (Mr. Wakefield) in what he said about this Amendment. It is most important that we should get an answer about the taking over of these buildings. It is all very well if an educational authority like Cambridge, which has for so many years been efficient and had its own buildings, is turned over to the county council. Even though the local education authority are an excepted authority, the fact that they have been turned over to the county council, who have financial control, means that the county council are controlling the policy of education in that particular area. It is most important that these authorities should be assured of their position.
§ Mr. Mack
There is a possibility of this part of the Measure being extended, particularly in boroughs such as mine, where we have a population of 68,000 and where the educational work is carried on in a most efficient and satisfactory manner. We have before us the prospect of that property being transferred to the county council without any guarantee of the same efficiency afterwards. We are an excepted district under the Schedule, and, apart from the feelings of the executive officers in the educational department of the borough, there is a general feeling throughout the whole town, irrespective of political parties, that the very right and proper pride which they have taken in their educational institutions should be reserved to them. It seems that too much authority is to be placed in the hands of the Minister, and provision 1827 should be made for an appeal to Parliament, because if there is to be dissatisfaction in a large number of these non-county boroughs—and the agitation has been made very clear by meetings all over the country—I think the Minister might with wisdom pay due regard, not to a small body of opinion, but to a large and increasing volume. I am not taking a narrow parochial attitude, but there is much to be said for local pride. Time and again hon. Members in this House have expressed pride in their constituencies, and their old customs and traditions, and, as far as education is concerned, where it has been established, and can be assured, that due and proper provision is made to cater not only for primary but for secondary and higher education the Minister might well look into the matter again. He might also have regard to the concern which is likely to be aroused by the transference of these properties. I therefore feel that I can with great justice and sympathy support the point made by the hon. Member for Swindon (Mr. Wakefield).
§ Mr. Lewis (Colchester)
I would like to point out that nine-tenths of these difficulties and anxieties arise from the ill-judged proposal to sweep away a number of efficient education authorities and hand over their work to the county councils. I ask the Minister whether he will not consider this point of view seriously, and reconsider this proposal before we come to discuss Part 1 of the present Schedule.
§ Mr. Viant (Willesden, West)
There are other Amendments on the Order Paper dealing with the points that have been advanced. The Part III authorities, who will be affected in the main, naturally have been rather apprehensive as to what is to happen in respect of the property they have been using for educational purposes. Being put out of business, as it were, by this Bill, they become concerned about the property acquired and used for educational purposes. I am rather pleased with the Amendment which has been moved. I believe it is a far better Amendment than others on the Paper, though it may not go all the way and may not exactly meet the local authorities in the way they desire. That remains to be seen, but I would impress upon the Minister that the point made by the hon. Member for South Tottenham (Mr. Messer) is a very important one. I know that in my own 1828 division property has been acquired and used, not only by the education authority, but by the local authority, for other purposes, and it will need a spirit of arbitration, probably, in order to arrive at an amicable understanding whereby equity may be effected and no feeling of injustice remain. I hope that the following Amendment will enable us to meet that object, and, in ushering in this new Measure, leave no room for any feeling of doubt or injustice.
§ Mr. Ede
I think that some of the misgivings expressed in the course of this Debate have been due to the fact that it has not been quite appreciated that the arrangements in the First Schedule of this Bill have been designed to secure the greatest possible flexibility in administration in various parts of the country. My hon. Friend the Member for Swindon (Mr. Wakefield), for instance, stressed very much his concern for the future management of the property. We must recognise from the start that only the education authority can have the property vested in it, because only the local education authority has the power to raise a rate to maintain it, or raise a loan for its extension or improvement to such an extent that a loan is required for the purpose. But the First Schedule enables the excepted districts, which is the case to which the hon. Member was referring, to frame their schemes for the future management of the property Therefore, it will be up to the excepted districts, that is, those with over 60,000 in population or 7,000 in school population, to put into their schemes such an arrangement in regard to management as will meet their requirements, and I would point out that nobody, between an excepted district and the Minister, can alter the scheme they have prepared. Therefore, in so far as there is any doubt about management in the case of the big authorities, it is quite clear that they are amply able to look after themselves as the Bill is framed. We should not leave property vested in them, because they have no power to raise money or extend the property if that was required. I think that also answers the point raised by the hon. and gallant Member for Cambridge (Lieut.-Commander Tufnell).
The hon. Member for Cheltenham (Mr. Lipson) asked about financial adjustments. He will see that they are referred 1829 to in Clause 89, Sub-section (2) and Sub-section (3) of the Bill, and I should imagine that proceedings under these Sub-sections would follow the precedent which he has named. The hon. Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Loftus) raised the question of a particular school which had the great advantage of being opened by him under auspices which enabled him to deliver an eloquent speech, the full force of which has not been lost up to the present either on the hon. Member or the audience.
§ Mr. Ede
I am going to deal with it, but it was necessary to mention to which hon. Member I was referring before I proceeded to deal with it. He desires, and I am quite sure it is a thing that most enlightened administrators have desired, to see those buildings, and the playing fields and the surround of the school, used for the general amenity of the district in which it is situated. Well, it is true that the school and the playing fields will vest, for the reasons I have just given, in the county council in future, but the school will be under the management of the divisional executive, and I am quite certain that the people of Lowestoft will be just as keen in carrying out the desires of the hon. Member when represented on the divisional executive as they are when represented on the education committee. I can remember days when the hon. Member could hardly have wished to be associated with the Lowestoft education authority, but they are, fortunately, far in the background.
§ Mr. Ede
That is a pleasure in store. The hon. Members for South Tottenham (Mr. Messer) and West Willesden (Mr. Viant) raised points with regard to certain properties which are at present in temporary use for educational purposes, owing to circumstances arising out of the war. It will be hoped that, whoever is the education authority in those areas, will, as soon as possible after the war, replace these temporary premises by proper school accommodation. Under Clause 89, what will then be the fate of the buildings which have temporarily been used for school purposes will come up for consideration, and there is power in that 1830 Clause for agreement to be reached between the county district council and the county council, or for the Minister to decide what the appropriate course should be. If we bear in mind that the buildings and property must be vested in the authority, it is clear, I think, that the Amendments I have moved, on behalf of the Minister, do meet the legitimate fears that have been expressed, and I hope the Committee will feel that we have endeavoured to meet the difficulties Which some county district councils feared might face them when the Bill, as originally drafted, came into operation.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. Ralph Etherton (Stretford)
May I ask your guidance, Sir Cyril, in regard to the Amendment to Clause 6, page 4, line 5, which seeks to insert a proviso? Does that come within your Ruling to leave these matters over?
Further Amendment made: In page 4, line 8, after "Act", insert:
was held by the council of any county district solely or mainly."—[Mr. Butler.]
§ Mr. Butler
I beg to move, in page 4, line 13, to leave out "by virtue of this section be transferred," and to insert:save as may be otherwise directed by the Minister under the powers conferred on him by this Act be transferred by virtue of this section.This Amendment covers the point raised in the Amendment of the hon. Member for Faversham (Sir A. Maitland)—in page 4, line 23, at end, to add:(5) The provisions of subsection (3) of this section shall not apply to any property which was the subject of a gift devise or bequest and which immediately before the date of the commencement of this part of this Act is held by the council of a county district for the purposes of any of the said functions, but the local education authority shall have such facilities for using such property as may be agreed between them and the council of the county district, or as failing such agreement may be determined by the Minister and any such user shall be upon and subject to such terms and conditions as may be so agreed or determined.If it were convenient, I think it would be useful if we could consider these two together.
§ Mr. G. Griffiths (Hemsworth)
Is the Minister including also my Amendment: In page 4, line 23, at end, to add:(5) Nothing in this section shall operate to transfer any officers or servants of the council of a county district not employed exclusively for exercising any functions of the council under the said Education Acts and all such officers and servants shall continue to be the servants of such council.
§ The Temporary Chairman
The hon. Member had better raise his point after the Minister has dealt with the Amendment.
§ Mr. Butler
We are dealing with a very complicated Amendment and if I might give a little guidance we have been considering property. I am only intervening for a short while on the question of buildings which may have been given or bequeathed to an authority which exists at present and of property which may be transferred to a county. The purpose of this small Amendment is to enable provision to be made whereby specific gifts and bequests to a former authority may be exempted from transfer to the new local education authority. It reads:save as may be otherwise directed by the Minister under the powers conferred on him by this Act be transferred by virtue of this Section.It is, of course, necessary for the Government to make some inquiries in the intervening stages before we reach Clause 89, which is the Clause upon which we wish to move the final Amendment dealing with this matter. I would like to consider the nature of these bequests. If the hon. Member would agree to put his Amendment in here it would save the position, as Clause 89 is linked up with this Clause, and it means that we could then consider the exact details of how we propose to deal with this matter. It is the intention of the Government to meet the desires of the hon. Member for Faversham (Sir A. Maitland) in his Amendment and the desires expressed to us by certain county district councils so that property and particular endowments which were bequeathed or left to them shall be saved by provisions such as he has in mind. If the Committee would accept this form of Amendment we shall save the position on Clause 6 and deal with it on Clause 89.
§ Sir A. Maitland
I am obliged to my right hon. Friend and I am quite prepared to accept his assurance that the 1832 words he suggests will cover the points which are proposed, but it is only fair that the Committee should know the kind of example which is in my mind in regard to my Amendment. It raises by way of an example the case where a building has been bequeathed to a city, and where the town clerk has called the attention of the local authorities to the fact that the corporation is using the property for educational purposes. In this instance it was being used for higher education and the education authorities paid a rent to the city corporation. The building concerned is one of the most imposing and artistic examples of natural stone that has ever existed in the district. If the donor of this building knew that it was going to be filched from the corporation by the county council he would almost turn in his grave.
There are wider aspects and I hope my right hon. Friend will have regard to them, but I gather from what he said that he desires to consider the whole question of how he can best retain the present position which is enjoyed by the existing owners. I take it that that is the position my right hon. Friend takes up, and I thank him for his assurance.
§ Mr. Hutchinson (Ilford)
I desire to put this further point to my right hon. Friend. There are certain cases where a sum of money has been left or has been given to a local authority for educational purposes. Such sums of money are usually held under the terms of a trust deed which imposes upon the authority the duty of applying the trust funds to certain educational purposes. The point that I desire to put to my right hon. Friend is, will this Amendment cover the case where the property which is held by the local authority consist of a sum of money as well as the case where the property consists of land and buildings?
§ Mr. McEntee
There is another aspect that I am somewhat confused about and that is the case where a building has been given to a local authority and where, if the Bill goes through in its present form, that building would become the property of the new authority of the county. It may be that the building itself is not an asset but a liability. It may have been an asset in the past but has become a liability, and if it is passed over as a liability to the county who would be 1833 compelled to maintain that liability, would it be the local authority or the county? Would it not be better to give an opportunity for negotiation between the two authorities with, if you like, the Minister finally deciding if agreement were not reached? There are such properties and I think everybody in the House must know of them.
§ Mr. Butler
Clause 89 has been inserted in the Bill to deal with adjustments. It has a very convenient wording to cover property. My Amendment on this particular occasion deals with gifts and bequests, and I am glad to feel that the same buildings I have in mind were mentioned by the hon. Member for Faversham and I am grateful to him for withdrawing his Amendment. The hon. and learned Member for Ilford also had gifts in mind. The hon. Gentleman with his legal acumen must be fully aware of the provisions in Section 268 of the Local Government Act, 1933. It permits certain authorities, which are not local education authorities, to accept and administer gifts of property, and a general provision to this effect is inserted in the Section to which I have referred. It is because we have to have regard to that sort of problem that I purposely got the terms of the Amendment put down. It will be the duty of the Government to examine this in some detail in an attempt to meet the cases that both hon. Members put forward, and if they will agree we will leave it at that.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. Hutchinson
I beg to move, in page 4, line 16, at the beginning, to insert:Unless a scheme of divisional administration under Part III of the said Schedule shall otherwise provide.The Amendment, which stands in my name and that of other hon. Members, has for its purpose the modification of the provisions in the Bill dealing with the transfer of officers. The Bill provides that all officers employed by the council of a county district immediately before the said date shall be transferred to the local education authority. The object of the Amendment is to postpone the transfer of the officers until a later stage, and to provide that the transfer shall take place in accordance with the scheme of the divisional administration. The reason for this can be stated shortly. During the period whilst the schemes of divisional 1834 administration are being formulated by the local education authority, it is, in our view, desirable that the officers of the county districts should continue to be officers of their authorities until the provision of the schemes of divisional administration are known. It would be more convenient for the schemes of divisional administration to be formulated if the county districts retained their officers as their servants during the period of discussion and negotiation. Therefore, we are asking, by this Amendment, that the transfer of officers shall not be carried out automatically as soon as the appropriate date is reached, but that the transfer should be effected under the schemes of divisional administration. It would thus be easier and more satisfactory for the negotiations leading to these schemes of divisional administration to be carried out.
§ Mr. Silverman (Nelson and Colne)
I—and I am sure that I am not alone—have the utmost difficulty in hearing what the hon. and learned Member is saying, and as a great many of us are interested in this matter perhaps he will endeavour to speak up.
§ Mr. Hutchinson
I would like to assure hon. Members opposite that I am very anxious that they should hear everything which I have to say. I was saying that we are asking by this Amendment that the transfer of the officers shall be postponed until the schemes of divisional administration are formulated. I was going on to say that I have seen it suggested in some of the newspapers that the reason why the county districts desire to retain their officers until the schemes of divisional administration came into operation is because they wish to set them against the officers of the local education authority. I desire to say that whoever is responsible for that observation in the newspapers is completely misinformed. They have no desire to do anything of the kind, but they do desire to retain the services and advice of their officers until these negotiations for the divisional schemes of administration have been completed. We are seeking to do that by this Amendment.
§ Mr. Ede
One has to bear in mind here what I said with regard to the vesting of 1835 property, that only the authority can raise the rate to pay the officers' salaries. If a county district council has in fact lost its education functions, I do not know under what power it would raise the money in order to pay the salary of an officer dealing with education functions. That may appear to be somewhat too legalistic, although I am surprised that my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Silverman) should object to anybody being legalistic.
§ Mr. Ede
I will deal with the practical point raised by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Ilford (Mr. Hutchinson). We are aware of the difficulty that will arise with regard to the transfer of the functions, and, clearly, the local administration will have to be carried on as from 1st April, 1945, by somebody or other. It is, therefore, desirable that the arrangements mentioned in the First Schedule to the Bill shall be in a position to come into force on that day, and in order to secure that we have inserted Clause 99, Sub-section (2) in the Bill which enables the Minister to bring forward the operation of Part II of the Bill in so far as it deals with the setting up of the divisional executive. If we may assume—and it is a very rash assumption on the progress that we have made during the last two days—that this Bill is going to become law by, say, the end of June—I am still hopeful of that—there will clearly be plenty of time in which the divisional executives can exercise their option and can prepare their schemes, with their own officers still in their employ capable of giving them advice direct. That practical point disposes of the necessity for the Amendment.
I might perhaps add a word with regard to what my hon. and learned Friend said about certain statements that have been made in the Press. I do not think that anyone connected with the Board of Education has ever paid the slightest attention to these statements. We realise that, although there is very strong feeling on this matter on the part of certain education authorities, when this House has reached a decision on the matter, no matter which way it may go, all those who are engaged in local administration will 1836 carry out their usual practice of seeing that the decision of this House is made effective. I do not think that in practice the point made by my hon. and learned Friend is likely to arise and I hope therefore this will enable him to feel that this particular Amendment is not necessary.
§ Sir Herbert Williams (Croydon, South)
I gather that the hon. Gentleman's objection to the Amendment was that there would be no one to pay the money, but under Part III, paragraph (2) of the First Schedule where it contemplates the setting up of such bodies, obviously these bodies cannot function unless they have officers and the officers are provided with remuneration. Therefore I cannot see what bearing his reference to the point that no one will have money to pay them can have on the Amendment of my hon. and learned Friend.
§ Mr. Ede
Replying to the hon. Member for Gravesend (Sir I. Albery) first, this is a question of whose employment a person is in. He can only be in the employment of the local authority which has the power of discharging certain functions. The functions will be transferred on the 1st April, 1945, to the County Council, and from that date they are the only persons who can raise a rate to pay the officer's salary, and the budget prepared by the county district council in its position as Divisional Executive will in fact be raised by the County Council, and the person to be employed under it must be in the employment of the County Council. It is a question very much like the one we had on buildings. As to who manages the duties after the scheme has been prepared is another matter from the question of with whom the functions were originally placed. I do not quite follow the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for South Croydon (Sir H. Williams). I think it is dealt with by the last part of the answer I have given to the hon. Member for Gravesend. The Divisional Executives will have funds, they derive them from the County Council, and the County Council is the only body which can raise a rate in order to pay the salaries of these people. If the Divisional Executives have any money it is only money that comes from the County Council.
§ Sir H. Williams
But whose servants are they? They may be the servants of the Divisional Executive and not necessarily the servants of the County Council, but the County Council will be under an obligation to provide money for the Divisional Executive.
§ Mr. Silverman
I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman ought to accept this Amendment or not. I can see no reason why he should not. I cannot see that any of his purposes would be adversely affected if the Amendment were accepted, leaving a proper interval of time during which any other arrangements that might ultimately be considered are made. I rise because I am utterly incapable of following my hon. Friend's objection on financial grounds. He says there will be nobody who can raise the money, and I do not understand why he says this. All these people are now the servants of some authority—I am not going to argue of which authority they are the servants because it does not matter in the least—serving under a contract of service which gives them a right to have their salary paid by the authority, whose servants they are. It is idle to say that the authority whose servants they are, who is liable to them for the payment of their salary, has no authority under its general rate-raising authority to pay legal debts of which this would be one. If the hon. Gentleman's only objection to accepting the Amendment pressed upon him is the alleged practical difficulty of finding money to pay the salaries of the officers concerned, then I think it is an objection that he may dismiss from his mind with the utmost confidence because there is really nothing in it at all.
§ Sir I. Albery
I am a little concerned by the answer given by the Parliamentary Secretary because I know the districts which will be affected by this are pinning a lot of faith to the promise which has been held out to them in that direction. If, as I understand, they are to be allowed to frame budgets for the expenditure on education within their districts, it appears to me that has no meaning unless it means that after framing these budgets they are 1838 going to lose the responsibility for framing expenditure and for carrying out expenditure which they are going to get through the County Councils. I cannot see any reason why money difficulty arises at all; in fact, it rather appears to me as if a very good case could be made out that these officials should remain the servants of the Divisional Executives.
§ Mr. Stephen (Glasgow, Camlachie)
If the Divisional Executive wants to dispense with the services of these people, can it do so or must the dismissal be carried through by the County Council?, If the County Council and the Divisional Executive differ about the circumstances of the individual, what will happen?
§ Mr. Ede
In answer to the last question, it all depends upon the scheme. The scheme may give the District Executive the power to appoint and dismiss the officer. It may give it to them in the form that the appointment and dismissal may have to be confirmed by the County Council concerned. The point raised by the hon. Member is entirely one for the scheme.
§ Mr. Stephen
If we agree to what the hon. Gentleman says, the County Council is the employer of the person concerned, but I take it that the terms of service of this employee of the County Council may be determined by the Divisional Executive, according to the scheme, and it is an extraordinary thing that such employer technically will not have the right of dismissal. It seems there would be a possibility of a great deal of trouble in that connection whatever the scheme.
§ Mr. Ede
It is not an uncommon thing in England. For instance, in this case officers include teachers. The whole of the teachers in the employment of the Lancashire County Council, although they are in the employment of that County Council, are in fact appointed, and can be dismissed, by bodies very similar to these Divisional Executives. That is the issue we are really up against on this: it is really a very narrow legal point, and the practical point is the availability of these officers to advise while the scheme is in course of preparation. On that practical point I demonstrated that by the time they pass over to the County Council the scheme will have been completed.
§ Mr. Mack
Might I put this point to My hon. Friend. Will he take the example of a first-class education officer for a certain district, who has carried out his functions with efficiency and gained rightly the respect of the Council? He has then to be transferred after 1st April, 1945, with certain safeguards, from the then divisional executive to the county council authority, which might be situated miles away and be composed of people who do not understand the functions of education, and certainly not the borough with which the officer has been associated. He may conceivably find himself in great difficulties with his new masters and despite the safeguards which have been promised he may, in the opinion of the county council authorities, fail to give satisfaction. I can see many difficulties arising from that situation and unless we have a certain amount of clarity I am sure that officers generally, including teaching staffs, who have been treated with that close understanding that comes from association, would be in trouble. One can well understand the reason for it and it would be unfortunate if a first-class education officer or an official found himself transferred and subsequently in difficulties by having a large degree of reasonable independence taken from him.
§ Mr. Ede
This Amendment, as explained by its mover, only temporarily postpones this transfer. The question of general principle does not come up on this Amendment. This is merely to ensure that while the scheme is being drafted there is an officer who knows the circumstances of the district. I had hoped that I had demonstrated that that practical point had been covered.
§ Mr. Hutchinson
I appreciate the practical difficulties which may arise unless officers cease to be officers of the district authorities after this part of the Bill comes into operation. In those circumstances I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. Messer
I beg to move in page 4, line 16, after, "all," to insert, "teachers and all other."
While I know that, technically, the term, "officers," includes teachers I think every one who has been interested at all in administrative education will be 1840 aware that the meaning of the word, "officers," is regarded as something different from the meaning of the word, "teachers." There are officers who are in administrative posts, such as directors of education and divisional officers, and a whole host of administrative people who are not teachers. I therefore move this Amendment for the purposes of ensuring that there shall be no misunderstanding.
§ Mr. Ede
The Local Government Act of 1933 has laid it down that the phrase, "officer of a local education authority," includes teachers. It is, therefore, unnecessary to have this Amendment in the Bill. In fact, there would be certain disadvantages in putting it in. Teachers, and the local authorities from whom they come and to whom they go, are amply safeguarded by the words already in the Bill.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. Ede
I beg to move, in page 4, line 16 to leave out from "officers," to "immediately," in line 17, and to insert "who."
This Amendment is very much on all fours with the one I moved a short time ago dealing with property. This applies the same principle to the officers. There is no doubt as to the position of officers who are solely employed. Obviously, in those cases where a local education authority has had an education officer he will go over, and people like school attendance officers will go over as being solely employed for this purpose. But, here again, we get a number of people who are employed partly on education services and partly on other functions of the local education authority. There will be, for instance, the borough treasurer, and even the town clerk in certain cases. There will be a number of subordinate people in the finance departments of some local education authorities. It is difficult to give an exact list because the practice of local authorities varies so much. In some local education authority offices you have a complete education section which has its own finance and architectural sections and various other administrative branches.
Whole-time officers will go over but in other cases you have people working on the calculation of teachers' salaries, paying caretakers and similar finance jobs 1841 done in the Treasurer's Department in conjunction with other jobs. In those cases we shall have to arrive at some decision as to those people who go over and those who will remain with the county district council. I admit that the Clause as drafted—which would have transferred everybody—would have gone too far. No one would suggest, for instance, that the town clerk of Swindon should go to the service of the Wiltshire County Council merely because the education service passed from the borough to the county. But there may well be certain officers who are partly engaged on educational functions and partly on other functions, about whom arrangements will have to be made.
§ Mr. Burden (Sheffield, Park)
May I thank the Parliamentary Secretary for moving his Amendment? I think it goes all the way to meet the Amendment which stands in the name of my hon. Friends and myself. As he pointed out, in many councils the work of education, so far as officers are concerned, is inextricably mixed with other council duties The town clerk may be the clerk of the education committee and the borough treasurer may do work in connection with the education rate, and so on. If the Clause had stood as originally drafted there would have been great difficulties indeed in the allocation of the staff. I would like the Parliamentary Secretary however, to clear up one point. If there is any dispute as to the transfer or otherwise of an officer, how will that dispute ultimately be determined? I thank my hon. Friend for the Amendment but I should very much like that point to be cleared up.
§ Mr. Hutchinson
The Amendment goes a very long way to meet the objection that we felt to the Clause in its original form. The difficulty that I see about it arises from the use of the expression "mainly." I put down an Amendment to deal with this matter and I chose the expression "exclusively." I can see that some difficulty is going to arise in determining whether a particular officer is mainly engaged on educational duties or is mainly engaged on other duties. I notice that the Parliamentary Secretary dealt with the case of a number of officers but did not deal with the case of the Medical Officer of Health, or his Assistant 1842 Medical Officer of Health. I can see, particularly in the case of the Assistant Medical Officer, who usually discharges many of the functions of the Medical Officer of Health as school medical officer, that it is going to be very difficult to determine whether that particular officer is mainly engaged on the duties of educational officer or is mainly engaged on other duties. I hope the hon. Gentleman will be able to explain who is going to decide these difficult questions and how they are going to be decided.
§ Mr. Wakefield
May I have your guidance, Mr. Deputy-Chairman? Is it your intention to call the Amendment in my name on line 16 dealing with this matter?
§ Mr. Wakefield
Then I should like to make a few observations on this point. The Parliamentary Secretary described the transference of property, and now this Amendment carries out substantially the same for people as existed for property. A point that greatly concerns local authorities is that in transferring people from their employment to the County Councils, who are to pay them, there will be a duality of loyalty. One authority pays and the other perhaps gives instructions. There is that duality of loyalty and it may seriously impair and affect the efficiency of those officers and teachers. With the best will in the world, and desiring to be as efficient as possible, if you have two masters it is very often difficult to know which to serve. My hon. and learned Friend who spoke last referred to the position of Medical Officers. In my constituency there are one and a half Medical Officers devoted to schools, and I think 75 per cent. of dentists' work is devoted to schools. How is that kind of apportionment going to be made? Is it intended that in any scheme submitted by the executive district these matters are going to be made clear beyond any shadow of doubt? It is these practical difficulties that are troubling the authorities and, unless they can be clearly overcome, I think they will make difficult the satisfactory working of the Bill. I hope the Parliamentary Secretary can give us a little more amplification of how he thinks these difficulties and this duality of loyalty are going to be overcome.
§ Mr. G. Griffiths
I am not quite clear about this Amendment and I am rather suspicious of it. A few months ago there was a fairly good fight with the Ministry of Pensions and a lot of Members on this side, along with me, felt that we were quite clear on a certain point, but when we came to put it in practice we found that it was the opposite thing altogether. I should like to look at the suggested Amendment. "All officers who immediately before the said date for the purposes of any such"—
§ Sir H. Williams
I am not quite clear why the Minister leaves out eight words and inserts 12 when private Members could do it in three. My experience is that, if private Members come on a good Amendment, it is referred to experts and they express it in many more words.
§ Sir Richard Wells (Bedford)
I hope that borough surveyors and district visitors, who often act as nurses, will be considered as well.
§ Mr. Ede
I heartily sympathise with the view expressed by the hon. Member for South Croydon (Sir H. Williams). I have often wondered why it is that Bills have to be drafted in so ornate a fashion. I hope there will come a day when I shall be able to sit beside the hon. Gentleman and enjoy the same jokes as he does. I will now deal with the point raised by the hon. and learned Member for Ilford (Mr. Hutchinson). Here again we have almost as good a case as we had with regard to property. All the persons employed by local education authorities with educational functions have their salaries charged against the Education Vote. If 100 per cent. of the salary is charged against the Education Vote, it is clear that they are solely or exclusively so employed. I imagine that the dentist employed by the Swindon Town Council is probably employed for three-fourths of his time on education and for one-fourth perhaps on maternity or child welfare, or some similar function. These people's salaries are put against the Votes, especially those that carry Government grants, and we have a very 1844 good preliminary way to ascertain whether the person has in the past been solely or mainly employed on this. We shall get to the difficult case where you have 50 per cent. of the salary charged to one Vote and the remaining 50 per cent. to other Votes. I can inform my hon. Friend the Member for the Park Division of Sheffield (Mr. Burden) that there the ever-ready Clause 89 comes to our assistance. The opening words of that Clause are:Where any question arises as to whether any officers … have been transferred …The disputes of the kind he has mentioned will be dealt with under that Clause.
§ Mr. Hutchinson
In the case of an officer, is not the difficulty that the county district council will continue to require his services in respect of those services which he performs otherwise than as an education officer? The effect of the Bill will be to transfer him to another authority altogether, although he continues to perform services for the authority from whom he is transferred.
§ Mr. Ede
That is no uncommon thing in English local government. It is not uncommon for the county council, say, to pay 75 per cent. of an officer's salary and the district council to pay 25 per cent. It is all a matter of arrangement and it is done from day to day, not merely between counties and county districts, but between one county district and another. I have no doubt that in the practical working out of this, the arrangements will follow those that are being made every day of the week and will not present any serious difficulty. The one serious point I have to meet is that which was raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Swindon (Mr. Wakefield) on the question of possible divided loyalty. I cannot think that in Lancashire there is any doubt about the question of loyalty on the part of the great teaching service of that county.
§ Mr. Ede
I do it because if I cited the county where it works best I should be accused of conceit. In a good many county secondary schools the teachers are in the employment of the county council. The county council pays the employer's share of the superannuation, but the teachers are appointed and can be dis- 1845 missed by the governing body. Their loyalty is to the service. I believe that the local government service will be able to work under this arrangement and I have no doubt that the scheme, especially in the excepted districts, will make it clear who has the power of dismissal where an officer is not performing his duties satisfactorily.
§ Mr. R. J. Taylor (Morpeth)
Will not the same practice be followed as was followed when we changed from the boards of guardians to public assistance?
§ Mr. Lipson
The question of divided loyalties is an important one and I think that in practice it may happen very frequently. I am not concerned with the divided loyalties of the teachers because they are not likely to give any trouble on that score. There may, however, be between the newer local education authorities and the old ones some dispute on financial and other matters which may affect some of their officers, and the officers will be in an almost impossible position in having to adjudicate between the two sides. The Parliamentary Secretary must realise that in practice these occasions are likely to arise frequently, particularly as the relations in the past between the authorities which are to be wiped out as education authorities and the new authority have in some instances been none of the best. Therefore, the ground is prepared for a good deal of difficulty.
§ Mr. Ede
I am bound to say that my hon. Friend's personal experience must have been unfortunate. It is clear that the scheme will lay down the person who is responsible for giving orders to these officers and whose orders will have to be carried out. If the scheme does not do that it will be very faulty in its drafting.
§ Amendment agreed to.
Further Amendment made: In page 4, line 17, after "date," insert:
were employed by the council of any county district solely or mainly."—[Mr. Butler.]
§ Sir Frank Sanderson (Ealing)
I beg to move, in page 4, line 23, at the end, to add:Provided that this Sub-section shall not apply to a borough or urban district the council of which has the right to become an excepted district within the meaning of paragraph 4 of Part III of the First Schedule.The Clause as drawn transfers the staff to the local education authority before the claim to become an excepted district can be made so that the officers whose services would be vitally necessary in the preparation of a scheme by the council of the excepted district would already have become the servants of the local education authority. It is submitted that any such arrangement would be embarrassing to all parties.
§ Mr. Hutchinson
There is an Amendment which immediately follows this one in my name which is in identical terms. This is one of the most important and fundamental Amendments on this Clause. Its purpose is to enable the officers of those districts which are entitled to become excepted districts to continue to be officers of the councils of the excepted districts and to avoid their transfer to the local education authority. Part III authorities attach great importance to this question of whose servants the officers are to be. Reference was made a moment ago to the case, which was to some extent comparable, of the guardians committees under the Local Government Act when public assistance was transferred to the county authorities. In that case local guardians committees were not the employers of the local public assistance officers. The result was not satisfactory. Local guardians committees never became an effective body. We are anxious that divisional executives in the excepted districts shall really become effective bodies in the sense that they will succeed in attracting to their service the right type of energetic elected representatives, as we all desire that they should. They will not do so unless they are given a substantial measure of responsibility. The most important responsibility which you can give to them is the selection and employment of their staffs. Therefore we ask, because we attach great importance to it, that the divisional executives in the excepted districts should be the persons who are entitled to employ the staffs.
From the beginning, my right hon. Friend has attached great importance to 1847 the maintenance of local interest in the administration of education. He has made it plain right through the discussion on this Bill and on the White Paper that he desires to stimulate local interest. It is his view that the highest degree of efficiency in the administration of this service is reached where conditions make it possible to establish a substantial measure of local responsibility. In this matter of staffs, local interest and responsibility can be stimulated and promoted more readily than by any other branch of administration. These local bodies should be the employers of their staffs and they should be entrusted with the responsibility of the selection of the proper staff. That staff should look to them for guidance and leadership. I believe that would be a factor which would most readily attract that local interest which my right hon. Friend has always made it plain that he desires that they should have.
One further point with which I must deal was raised by the Parliamentary Secretary in my earlier Amendment. He pointed out that there might be a difficulty if an authority which was not a local education authority continued to employ an educational staff. In respect of this Amendment that difficulty will not arise. If we insert in the Bill a statutory provision that the divisional executive is entitled to employ certain staff, there would be no difficulty in the staff being paid out of the funds of that authority. The fact that the Statute had provided that they should be entitled to employ such staff, would justify them in paying the salaries and the superannuation contributions out of the funds of the authority. Therefore, I hope that my right hon. Friend will see his way to accepting the Amendment, because if he does so I think he will have gone a very long way towards stimulating that measure of local interest which he has always said that he desires to promote.
§ Mr. Palmer (Winchester)
I should like to reinforce very briefly what my hon. and learned Friend has just said. If we are to make the excepted districts a really live show we must make the people who are the representatives dealing with education in those districts really feel that they have a responsibility which is worthy of their time and energy. I would draw attention to the fact that, if my right hon. 1848 Friend proposes to accept the Amendment, or the principle of the Amendment, it will be necessary slightly to alter the wording, perhaps at a later stage, in order to cover a somewhat different point, the principle of which I hope we shall embody later on, of two or more councils who together form an excepted district.
§ Mr. McEntee
I do not agree with the Amendment. It is in the nature of an insult to local authorities. To tell people like myself and many other Members of this House, who have served on local authorities for a good part of our lives, and on local education committees, that unless we are allowed to employ and discharge the people who carry out our work we shall not have any interest in the children and in education in the future, is simply insulting. That was what the hon. and learned Member for Ilford has said.
§ Mr. Hutchinson
No. The hon. Member must not put words into my mouth which I have not used. I said that unless those divisional executives were entrusted with a full measure of responsibility, they would not attract to their service that type of energetic and active elected representative which we all want to see upon them.
§ Mr. McEntee
That is exactly what I am objecting to. Hon. Members who take that attitude think that what attracts people to do this public work is the fact that they are able to interview a lot of people and say: "We are—or we are not—willing to employ you," or at some other time "We are going to dismiss you or to keep you on." It is the service itself which is attractive, and the children, and the possibility of seeing that those children get the best opportunity for education. I do not believe that any local education authority or divisional executive will be influenced in the slightest degree by whether they or somebody else, become the actual employers of the teachers and the directors of education. That is not what influences them, but the service which they give to the children and the opportunities that they can provide for the children in the future. I hope that we are not going to reduce this Bill to such petty miserable little things as that. Let us keep it on a high scale and let us give to people who give service in public life the opportunity of doing what 1849 they have always done, think of the children and of education, and not of the small and petty little things that appear to govern the mind of the hon. and learned Member.
§ Sir I. Albery
I cannot help thinking that the hon. Member who has just spoken is not taking a very fair view of this matter. I do not think that my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Ilford (Mr. Hutchinson) meant for one moment to suggest that those who are going to be responsible for local education work would behave as he suggests but only whether the proposed method was going to give the best facilities for that work to be carried out. One reason why I think that is not the case I can express in one simple point. There is not the slightest doubt that a person who is employed by one authority does not like being directed and interfered with by somebody else who is not his employer. That is only human nature. One gets very many examples of it in one's daily experience. I do not think there is any doubt you get better service from people who are directed and controlled by those who are actually their employers. You do not get as good service if one person is an employer and another person has the power of directing and managing the employed person.
§ Mr. Silverman
I do not want to prolong this Debate but I rise to make this point. It has happened time after time here and in other places that good causes lose some part of their appeal by being recommended for bad reasons. I think my hon. Friend the Member for West Walthamstow (Mr. McEntee) was right in pointing out that one, at any rate, of the arguments in support of this Amendment was a thoroughly bad argument that does not advance the real case of the Amendment at all. I think he was right to say so, but I do not think it is at all wrong that because among the many arguments that can be advanced in support of this Amendment some people have chosen bad or unattractive arguments it necessarily follows that the Amendment is a bad Amendment. [Interruption.] It may be bad but my hon. Friend never gave any of the reasons for thinking that. He merely showed that one of the arguments in support of it was not a good argument.
I nevertheless think that the Amendment is a good Amendment. It seeks only to preserve, as I understand it, the 1850 close connection between the excepted authority and the officials who are actually looking after education in that district. I cannot see what is wrong with that. The case is not that local members will lose their interest in education if they are not allowed to pay and control certain servants; that is not the point. There is no reason in the world why the personal relationship established for many years between particular officers and particular authorities should be disturbed in cases where the authority itself is not ultimately going to be disturbed in the exercise of many of these functions. That is the real case for this Amendment and I hope my hon. Friend will be able to accept it.
§ Mr. Ede
This Amendment really strikes in one aspect at one of the fundamental principles of the Bill. This is an effort to legalise, as the hon. and learned Member for Ilford (Mr. Hutchinson) pointed out, the employment by these authorities of all their teachers and all their other officers and raising the money for their salaries on the local rates, thus perpetuating one of the things we remove by this Bill, the great difference between the education rates of adjoining urban areas.
§ Sir I. Albery
I cannot understand how the hon. Member can make that statement unless I quite misunderstood the whole meaning of the Bill. As I understand it it clearly lays down that an excepted district will frame its own budget to cover the whole of its estimated expenditure, that that budget will be submitted to the county council, and if it is reasonable it will be sanctioned. Therefore, there will be no difficulty whatever about the rate.
§ Mr. Ede
The hon. and learned Member for Ilford moved from that position and said that this would legalise the raising of a rate by the county district council. What the hon. Member for Gravesend (Sir I. Albery) said represented the Bill as it stands. I was dealing with the point raised by the hon. and learned Member for Ilford at the end of his speech.
§ Mr. Hutchinson
The point which the hon. Member made on an earlier Amendment was that an authority which was not an education authority would not be entitled to employ or to pay education officers. I was pointing out that if we insert this Amendment giving the councils of the excepted districts power to employ 1851 education officers they will pay them out of the rates and then presumably recover what is paid out of the rates from the county council on the annual budget.
§ Mr. Silverman
The Amendment itself was in fact within the framework of the Bill, and even if the hon. and learned Member for Ilford went beyond it the Amendment did not go beyond it.
§ Mr. Ede
If that is so, I will accept it that that was not the intention of the hon. and learned Member, but we do get back to this, that one of the difficulties of the education service of this country is the isolated pockets of teachers we have for whom there is very little hope of effective promotion. The inbreeding of the teaching service of this country is one of the worst of its aspects. People who are born in an area go to the elementary school in the area, pass to the secondary school, go to the nearest training college, come back to the area, and serve for 44 years in the area and take their annual holiday for a fortnight in the same seaside town. I venture to say that anyone who has taken an active part in education administration in this country knows that that is one of the difficulties, and we are hoping under this Bill to get a wider sphere of employment and better opportunities of promotion. In my view that is one of the most fundamental reforms we have managed to secure in this Bill, and by going back to local circumscribed employment we should be cutting down a very considerable part of the advantages we hope to get from this Bill.
In spite of that we intend that these divisional executives shall have as wide a measure of local control as is consistent with a great national service, but it was laid down very clearly in the discussion on the first Amendment yesterday that what this Committee desires to do is to get to the basis of education as a national service, and everything that circumscribes that must be regarded as being opposed to the fundamental principles of this Bill. In the excepted districts the 1852 scheme is made by the district council. The county council cannot interfere with it. It may make observations about it to my right hon. Friend but the basis on which all these matters will be settled will be the scheme drafted by the county district council. I am quite sure they will take care to secure that their power to appoint and dismiss their administrative officers is such as to make it quite clear where the immediate loyalty of these officers lies. I should have thought that that would have been sufficient to ensure that those parts of my hon. and learned Friend's speech which were not in conflict with the main principle of the Bill would be realised in actual administrative practice. I must ask hon. Members to believe that. I have given a great part of my life, 35 years, to local government and I know some of the difficulties that arise from misplaced local patriotism and the narrow views that on occasion it engenders. We hope that this Bill will, by its administrative provisions and their flexibility, enable wise local patriotism to fit in with the urgent national needs of this great national service, and we shall do all we can to ensure that it is administered in that way. But we are bound to ask this House to regard the service as a national service, with as wide a range of opportunity for the actual practitioners of education as we can possibly secure.
§ Mr. Maxton
I was interested in the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Silverman) when he referred to wrong arguments for good ideas. I would very fully support the desire of the Parliamentary Secretary to establish the conception of a national service in education: when a teacher goes into the service anywhere he goes into something which is affecting the whole nation. But my hon. Friend supported his argument by a diatribe—if I may use the term—against the teacher who was trained in the district where he was born, who went to the elementary school in that district, who went into the service in that district and remained there all his life, in one locality. I can see the disadvantages of that educationally, but I think a far more disastrous thing has happened to education, under present administrative methods, because teachers in a particular locality, particularly the headmasters, are to some extent birds of 1853 passage. They come in, they spend two years there; then there is a better school in some other part, for which there is £10 additional salary; and on they go. One does realise that there have been great educationists, men who made their name as educationists, not always in big public schools, but in small schools. In Scotland one of our great institutions is the parochial schoolmaster, who goes into a district and makes his life there and makes his name there, so that the school is never called the parish school, but So-and-so's school, using the name of the headmaster. I hope that the President of the Board of Education will not fly from the vicious extreme of the teacher who spends a lifetime in one place, with his vision limited to one little district, to the other extreme of education being conducted by a set of peripatetic dignatories who are on the move all round very big areas.
Let me ask, in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for West Walthamstow (Mr. McEntee), what local control can a citizen have in a locality over education, except the wise choice of the people who are going to run it? It is all very well to say it is interest in children that takes people into educational administration. That is true; but how do you give practical effect to your desire for better ways of handling the children? You do it by the wise selection of the people who are going to handle the children from day to day. I speak, I admit, with every deference to the Parliamentary Secretary and the Minister because of my comparative lack of knowledge of English methods of control and direction. If a local education committee want to do the best by their young, and they have got a teacher in charge of the principal school in the area who has established a good relationship with the parents, who has got the youngsters' interest, who is accepted as a great schoolmaster, the county headquarters, perhaps 100 miles away, say, "There is a good man at So-and-so; we have a vacancy elsewhere, and we will shift him to the other end of the county."
§ Mr. Lipson
Is the hon. Member aware that the county headquarters have no 1854 power to direct that teacher from one school to another? If there is a vacancy and he wants to go, he can apply. Since the Burnham scale came into operation, teachers do not move unless they go to a headmastership or to a university.
§ Mr. Maxton
If that is the case the eloquence of the Parliamentary Secretary was wasted on our ears.
§ Mr. Pickthorn (Cambridge University)
I feel almost bound to intervene at this moment, because I think I am probably a unique instance in this House that I am an extreme example of that abuse which the Parliamentary Secretary described, because I have been a teacher in the same institution for 30 years. I am a little comforted under his strictures of that hitherto respectable class, by reminding myself that every word he says would apply perfectly to the educational arrangements in classical Attica, which have hitherto generally been supposed to be an ideal to which we all might try to attain. I would make one other comment on his speech. The whole of his speech was based on the assumption that where you have 50 or 500—I do not know what it is; perhaps more than 500—local authorities in the country, the teachers will get pocketed in one or other of them and will not be able to move from one to another. I would ask the Committee to consider this, arising out of that argument used in defence of the Board of Education. It is generally assumed in this House, perhaps more on the other side than on this, that in international affairs, the affairs of Europe, for instance, can always be easily put right if you only get people around a table, and they will quickly agree. Here we have had a Board of Education for generations, and they have not yet been able to get education authorities to treat each other as anything more than highly particularist separate entities or to arrange general reciprocal treatment between each other.
I would particularly ask the Minister to correct the hon. Member for Cheltenham (Mr. Lipson), if I am right in thinking that the hon. Member was mistaken about the Burnham scale.
My recollection is that there are two, if not three, Burnham scales, and one reason 1855 why it is so difficult to move teachers as would be best is because a teacher on one scale would not move into an area with a different scale. Another reason is that a teacher, having got enough seniority to reach the £500-a-year level, may be the ideal person for appointment in another county, but they will not take him if they can get someone five or ten years younger for £100 a year less. I hope the Committee will not accept the account of the hon. Member for Cheltenham without further inquiry.
§ Mr. Silverman
I feel entitled to comment upon two remarks made by the Minister in his reply to the Debate. The Minister talked about the Amendment being in conflict with the general scheme of the Bill, and as being dictated by mistaken local patriotism. Will he allow me to say that I am very strongly and enthusiastically in favour of reorganising the educational system on a national basis, as is proposed by this Bill, and that the Amendment was not intended to be in conflict with that view? I think the hon. Gentleman failed to discriminate. I happen to represent in this House a constituency which has two education authorities. They are both very advanced and very progressive authorities, with proud and honourable records. The county of which they are members, and to which their functions will be transferred, is a very factious authority and is as close to the bottom of the scale as my own authorities are close to the top in the matter of educational records. They resent most emphatically any suggestion that the advantages which the children of these districts have derived from having their educational affairs conducted by active and progressively minded authorities should be handed over to a reactionary-minded authority many miles away. If the hon. Member thinks this is mistaken local patriotism, I think he ought to think again. It is not local patriotism at all. It is the determination of those who have done a good job in the past not to have their powers taken away and handed over to others who will exercise them less efficiently.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."1856
§ Major York (Ripon)
I find myself in some difficulty with this Clause on account of your Ruling, Major Milner, and I must be very careful in what I say. I hope to keep within your Ruling and to represent the views of my constituents. It does seem to me that there are two main questions upon which one has to make up one's mind in order to decide whether one can support the Clause or not. The first question relates to whether the bureaucracy, which is liable to be set up by county organisations, will make for efficiency, or will, in fact, make for inefficiency, and this, my great doubt, has not been dispelled by anything which the Minister said in his Second Reading speech, nor yet by any other speech that I have heard. I take a very strong view that, in order to maintain the parental interest in education, that interest must be exercised through the local vote, and that means that the local council of a non-county borough is the right place from which the direction of education should be exercised. I represent a constituency which is almost exactly divided into a non-county borough and a county area, and, therefore, I may fairly say that I have an unprejudiced view of the matter, because my allegiance, such as it may be, is equally divided between the two.
When I come to consider the administration of the county area by the county council, I am not at all satisfied to allow the non-county borough in my constituency to be regulated by the same authority that is regulating the country areas. That means, in effect, that I consider the administration of education in the non-county borough of Harrogate to be of a more efficient and more forward-looking nature than that of the county council. I would propose one example only to illustrate my point. In rural secondary education, we are extremely short of any kind of buildings for that development. There is one in my particular area which has been placed exactly between two large and smelly breweries, and that is not the place in which a secondary school for a rural area should be provided. That is one outcome of the urban mind trying to deal with a rural problem. I need not go further on that point, except to say that the county in which I live is administered in the main by county councillors with urban minds, and, if these same 1857 minds are now going to be applied to the non-county borough of Harrogate, then I am deeply disturbed that the same outcome might well come about in that case.
The second question, which I will only mention, is this. If we accept Clause 6, there will, undoubtedly, be a very grave financial burden upon the Part III authorities. If there were strong grounds for this, and if that financial burden was going to make a degree of satisfaction and help to the county areas, I should certainly not complain, and therefore the question which I have to ask, and which I want answered, is that I must be satisfied in my own mind that the sacrifices which are going to be made by the non-county boroughs will, indeed, be worth while, but I am very doubtful if that will be the effect. There is one further point. Under Clause 6, local education authorities in non-county boroughs are going to lose all the power that they possess, and I would stress the word power, because, at the moment, these Part III authorities have indeed got power. Under Clause 6 they will have no power whatever. Delegated power is no more power than the power of a tenant in respect of the property of a landlord, and however much the Minister of the present day says he wishes them to have power, they will not, in fact and law, have it. I feel most strongly that unless some other method can be introduced there will be a very strong ground for rejecting Clause 6.
§ Mr. Lewis (Colchester)
I think the best thing to do with the Clause is to cut it out, and if the Committee show a tendency to do that, I hope that no one on the Front Bench will say that we desire to interfere with the conduct of the war or desire a change of Government. I have heard that sort of thing ascribed to hon. Members before. The House by giving an unopposed Second Reading to the Bill has shown that it approves of the general principles of the Bill, and the House having done that, I hope the Committee will insist on its right to amend the Bill.
§ Mr. Butler
Surely there cannot have been any impression given by the Government that they do not desire to discuss these matters with the Committee. It seems to me the hon. Member's suggestion is totally unwarranted.
§ Mr. Lewis
I did not say that. What I said was that I hoped no one would 1858 come forward and take that view. The reason that I object to the Clause is that I regard it as an entirely retrograde proposal to take away educational administration from non-county boroughs and transfer it to county councils. I think most Members of the House who have had experience of local administration in the provinces will agree that as a general rule there is more local interest in the proceedings of the town councils than of the county councils. My own experience in Colchester is that I receive, not infrequently, a letter from a constituent on some matter that is more appropriate to the Essex County Council. When I reply to the constituent that in the circumstances I advise him to consult his local representative on the Essex County Council, I not uncommonly get back a letter asking "Who is my local representative?" I have no doubt other hon. Members have had a similar experience.
There is not the same interest in the proceedings of the county council that there is usually in the proceedings of the borough council. I think it would be a thousand pities if we lost that local interest in our educational administration in those areas. For that reason I think the proposal that these matters should be handed over either to the county council or to the county borough council, to the exclusion of the non-county borough council, is a great mistake. I am very sorry that the Minister is persisting in it. I suppose the real reason is that his Department are in such a hurry in regard to this Bill. Obviously it would take longer if you had special inquiries in different areas as to which authority should have these powers. But is there really need for such great hurry? The war is not yet over, and I do not think it is going to end quite so soon as some people believe. When it is over, there will be other matters to be dealt with, such as housing, and when the time comes to implement this Bill there will be various difficulties, including the provision of the large number of teachers required. It seems to me that there is ample time for proper inquiries to be made into the fitness of these bodies that it is now proposed to dispossess, and for consideration of what provision should be made in different cases. It is over-simplification to have only two categories of authorities, the county borough and the county. The best 1859 thing would be to strike out the Clause and let the Government think again.
§ Mr. Butler
As there seems to be a totally wrong view of how the Government are trying to handle this matter, and also as to the intention of this Clause, I think I might be allowed to intervene. Hitherto matters which may be described as business details have been admirably handled by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary. I must say first that the Government have no desire to curtail any discussion or to curtail the opportunities of hon. Members who represent areas which they think are going to be affected by the Bill, to state their point of view. The Government have every sympathy with hon. Gentlemen who represent towns and boroughs likely to be affected by the provisions of this Clause. The Government must accept the Ruling from the Chair that discussion relating to the number of authorities should be taken on the First Schedule, but I would point out that under the procedure adopted this is the first opportunity I have had of explaining the purpose of the Clause as a whole. The reason why we are to discuss this matter on the First Schedule is because there is, as hon. Members will see, a reference in the first part of the First Schedule to joint boards as local education authorities. Why the hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. Lewis) should think it necessary to cut out this Clause when the question is raised on the First Schedule I fail to observe, and I do not think it would be in the interests of education if hon. Members responded to the invitation to cut out from the Bill one of the most important early Clauses dealing with the local administration of education. I hope that hon. Members will not accept an invitation of that sort.
The main object of the Clause is to settle in general outline what shall be the local administration of education subject to additions which may be made on consideration of the First Schedule. Hon. Members will see that Sub-section (1) does come down on the side of the county and the county borough. There is, however, one exception in the First Schedule dealing with amalgamations into joint boards. It may well be that hon. Members will wish to move to insert other exceptions. If so, they will have an opportunity to do so. The Government have taken the 1860 view that we could not continue administration on the basis of the number of local authorities we have now. That is not because we in any way under-estimate the value of the services rendered by local authorities up to the present time. The reason is that the extension of education up to the age of 18 will involve such a vast scope of educational provision that it is not sensible to rely on very restricted areas to give all those facilities. It is not that we want to deprive the smaller areas which have operated under the 1902 Act of the opportunity of taking part in the education services of the country. Therefore, we have asked the Committee to consider the set-up of the counties and county boroughs subject to any Amendments which may be moved to put either other authorities or to consider the case of the excepted districts or the divisional executives under the First Schedule. We have done that on purpose because we realise that the Bill has such a large scope that we must know where we are.
Hon. Members want to know what opportunities they will have on the First Schedule for discussion. They will first of all have the opportunity of considering the addition of extra authorities and on that I would be misleading the House if I were to be too hopeful of their being successful. I have never misled the House during the course of this Bill. They will state their case and the Government will listen to it and give it due weight. Secondly, there is the opportunity they may have of adjusting the elasticity of the scheme as between excepted districts and the other forms of divisional executives. It may well be that we may be able to consider elasticity within the terms of the excepted districts not only in the case of the powers allotted to it but in the type of borough included in the term "excepted district." All that will be open to discussion on the First Schedule and I undertake to see that the excepted district has a life of its own both with regard to its business and educational functions.
With regard to the other divisional executives the chief difference will be that those divisional executives will not frame their own schemes but will have to join in a scheme by agreement with their counties. I believe that in these other divisional executives there will be equal opportunity for serving the needs of their 1861 areas. This scheme has been as difficult for me to balance and, to use a scientific word, to compensate, as has been the whole scheme dealing with the religious settlement. It has been difficult because the problems of boroughs are different in a built-up area and the Metropolitan area from what they are in a county area. If I came down more favourably to a county area than I have done to a borough situated within a built-up area it would arouse those feelings of lack of confidence and jealousy which do unfortunately arise, so keen are the inhabitants to serve the children of their own area. The whole scheme has been very delicately arranged with a view to elasticity and it is that elasticity that I ask the Committee to consider on the First Schedule according to your ruling, Major Milner. If they do that, they will find that the Government will be ready here and now to declare that, if they are not satisfied with the opportunities, the Committee must look again, in the succeeding stages of the Bill, at Clause 6. We do not want to try and rush the Committee on Clause 6, but to have a proper look at it after the Committee has had a chance of looking at the First Schedule. If that happens I hope that the Committee will make progress and let us have this Clause, though we do not wish to crowd out hon. Members who represent areas and districts which have given such singular service to education.
§ Mr. Kenneth Lindsay
The right hon. Gentleman has made an important statement on general policy. I agree with him that in order to get the complete agreement of the Committee we have to have a proper debate on the Part II and Part III issues. I gather that that will be taken on Part III of the First Schedule.
§ Earl Winterton
I hope that the Committee will accept the suggestion that has been made by the right hon. Gentleman. My constituency is as much involved in this matter as any constituency represented here, and I cannot see the objection to raising this question in full on the Schedule. I hope that the discussion will take place then. It will be acting fairly to the Government, to the Committee and to those who, like myself, represent constituencies affected.
§ Several Hon. Membersrose——1862
§ Sir H. Williams
There is no hurry in the least. This is the only part of the Bill that will come into operation when it becomes law. It is far more important than the rest of it. All the rest is to be postponed to appointed dates. This proposal introduces the doctrine of centralisation into education. I have had masses of communications from people who hold very strongly that there is far too great a tendency to impose central power on local authorities. This is the first opportunity of discussing it. There is a vast conspiracy in progress on restricting the powers of similar authorities and centralising them all. It was unfortunate that I was not here when the Ruling was given, but I am by no means satisfied that the Amendments we want will be in Order on the Schedule. The wordssubject to the provisions of Part I of the Scheduleonly take us to a certain point.
The hon. Member must confine himself to the point at issue, of whether the Clause should stand part of the Bill.
§ Sir H. Williams
I was not discussing the Ruling, but pointing out that if my hon. Friends had submitted an Amendment for the insertion of certain words at the beginning of the Clause, the probability would have been that the whole circumstances would have changed, and your Ruling, Major Milner, might have been of a different character. We have to proceed carefully on this issue, which does not affect education only. It is the first time that this principle has been raised, and it is one upon which masses of people up and down the country are very perturbed. That is why we ought to have a little more time. It would not do the Ministers harm to spend a happy weekend re-reading Clause 6 and what they and other people have said and trying to speculate what other people would have said if the Chairman had given a different Ruling. When one tries to find out whether somebody was mainly or solely employed, one receives a strange definition. Use is made of the yardstick of Mammon.
§ Sir H. Williams
On a point of Order. It is surely competent when discussing the Motion "That the Clause stand part of the Bill" to make reference to Amendments to the Clause.
§ Sir H. Williams
I have been ruled out of Order for saying something on the Question "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," but, bearing in mind the mental approach of the Parliamentary Secretary, when one tries to find out what is meant by the words "mainly or solely" it is very difficult. It is difficult to define an elephant, but you know one when you see one. When the Parliamentary Secretary wants to define it he asks, "How much do you put into the kitty?" He comes down to that which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood) said does not matter—pounds, shilling and pence. That is the language for deciding whether anyone is "mainly or solely" employed by any of these authorities. We have to look at every word which is said and to consider the views expressed by the Parliamentary Secretary, who, with great modesty, calls attention to Lancashire, and forgets his own county of Surrey, when, he says, all these things work perfectly.
It may be. I am in the county of Surrey but fortunately not in the administrative county. We are an independent local authority. We find that a certain number of children from Surrey come into Croydon to be educated because they find they are better catered for. The hon. Gentleman is so interested in what happens at Kingston-on-Thames, that he thinks the last word of wisdom is said by the education officer for Kingston-on-Thames. Some of us have other views on this matter and, quite deliberately, as one who does not represent a county authority, as one who is a member of the London County Council—which is the largest education authority in this country—my prejudices from the point of view of my connections——
§ Rear-Admiral Beamish (Lewes)rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put," but The CHAIRMAN withheld his assent, and declined then to put that Question.1864
§ It being the hour appointed for the interruption of Business, The CHAIRMAN left the Chair to make his report to the House.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again upon the next Sitting Day.