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Elementary Schools (Provision Of Meals)

Volume 155: debated on Tuesday 20 June 1922

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asked the President of the Board of Education what he estimates will be the approximate additional charge to the ratepayers of the country in the present financial year, owing to the alteration in the payment of grants to local educational authorities towards the cost of providing meals for school children, based on the supposition that the numbers of children so fed are the same as last year?

On the assumption that the number of children for whom school meals are provided in 1922–23 is the same as that in 1921–22, that the cost is the same, namely, £1,056,000, and that the Board's grant is limited to £150,000, the additional cost to the rates would be about £375,000. The assumption, however, is very misleading. The forecast made by the authorities of their expenditure for 1922–23 was about £636,000, and it will probably be less on their revised estimates. It is not a question of placing an additional burden upon the rates, but of removing from public funds intended for education a burden which has been improperly placed upon them.