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Free Grant Account—Credit Balance

Volume 180: debated on Thursday 15 August 1907

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I beg to ask the Secretary for Scotland, with reference to the annual fee grant of £40,000, the amount of the Scottish share of the Customs and Excise which, by Section 2 (ii) of the Local Taxation (Customs and Excise) Act, 1890, is to be applied in relief of the payment of school fees of children in State-aided schools in Scotland, together with the annual balance of the Local Taxation (Scotland) Account referred to in Section 2 (6) of The Education and Local Taxation Account (Scotland) Act, 1892, which by that Act is to be applied as a supplement to that fee grant in Scotland, and is to be distributed accordingly, and which amounted to more than £37,000 in the last financial year; if he can state for what reason and under what authority these revenues, instead of being expended annually as fee grants, have been accumulated to such an extent that the credit balance of the Fee Grant Account, at the end of the last financial year, amounted to more than £113,000; and whether he can say to what purposes it is intended to devote these accumulated funds.

The credit balance in question has fluctuated from year to year, owing to the variation in the amount received under the Act of 1892, which amount was in some years actually nil. In view of this circumstance, it has not seemed desirable hitherto to raise the fee grant beyond the rate of 12s. per child in average attendance. Now, however, that the balance has attained the figure named by the hon. Member, it is a question whether this rate might not be somewhat increased.