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Depressed Districts, Lancashire

Volume 236: debated on Thursday 6 March 1930

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asked the President of the Board of Education whether, seeing that the Lancashire cotton industry has been suffering for eight years from depression resulting in the closing of several factories and much unemployment, he will consider the desirability of offering special financial consideration to such districts on account of the increased expenditure necessitated by the compulsory raising of the school age in 1931?

I do not think that any special arrangements are necessary. The formula under which grant is paid in respect of elementary education already operates so as to secure that the Exchequer bears an increased proportion of the cost in the poorer areas.

Is the President of the Board of Education not aware that there are districts in Lancashire in such serious financial difficulties that they are exercising their minds about the increase which is being put upon them by the proposals of the Government; and what are the Government going to do to help them out of those financial difficulties?

As a matter of fact a large proportion of the increased cost is provided by the State.

In view of the general interest which is taken in this matter on both sides of the House, does the right hon. Gentleman propose, before a Second Beading is given to this Bill, to issue a White Paper explaining more explicitly than has been done hitherto the principles on which the Bill will proceed?

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that it has been stated in a report in the "Manchester Guardian" that the textile workers have unanimously called for the raising of the school age in Lancashire?

I think the information which has been asked for will be found in the Financial Memorandum on the Bill.