§ Mr. R. RICHARDSON
asked the President of the Board of Education if he is aware that the London County Council proposes this year to feed a much smaller number of under-nourished school children than in any pre-War year; and if he will continue the practice of his predecessor in urging authorities to use to the full the powers conferred upon them by Parliament?
§ Mr. E. WOOD
If the number of children fed is in proportion to the expenditure now proposed by the London County Council, the answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative; but I understand that a large number of children, who would in previous years have been fed at the expense of the Council, are, under arrangements recently made, being fed at the expense of other bodies. With regard to the second part of the question, I presume the hon. Member is referring to the action taken by the Board at the outbreak of the War. The practice of the Board must neces- 2623W sarily depend on the prevailing circumstances and conditions, and I am, in fact, following the course taken by my predecessor last spring.
§ Mr. RICHARDSON
further asked upon what principle the block grant of £150,000, in respect to the feeding of school children, is allocated among the various local authorities?
§ Mr. WOOD
I may refer the hon. Gentleman to the contents of the Board's Circulars 1261 and 1273, copies of which I am sending him. In allocating among the areas desiring to make provision for this service the limited sum, related to a limited aggregate expenditure recognisable for the calculation of grant, which was placed at their disposal by Parliament for this purpose, the Board have regard to all the relevant circumstances of each area, including the expenditure of the authority in previous years and the amount proposed for the present year, the number of children, and the extent and incidence of unemployment. The Board, however, are bound to observe the principle that it is not proper for a local education authority to transfer to the education rate and to the State, which makes grant-in-aid of the education rate, the burden of relieving exceptional destitution which belongs to the province of the Poor Law authorities.