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House of Commons Hansard
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14 October 1943
Volume 392

Association Of Education Committees (Resolutions)

43.

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asked the President of the Board of Education whether he has considered the Resolutions relating to Part III. Authorities and the proposals of the White Paper passed at a recent meeting of the Association of Education Committees; and what action he proposes to take thereon?

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The Board have received copies of the resolutions passed at the general meeting of the Association of Education Committees and have expressed their readiness to discuss them with the Executive Committee of the Association.

Teachers (Service In Forces And War Work)

44..

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asked the President of the Board of Education how many certified teachers have now left their employment to serve in His Majesty's Forces and in other war work?

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Exact figures are not available, but it is estimated that the number of men teachers who have left employment in public elementary and secondary schools to serve in His Majesty's Forces or on other war work is between 20,000 and 22,000.

Teachers' Certificates

54.

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asked the President of the Board of Education how many teachers' certificates were issued in 1938 and in 1943 in England; and how many in Wales?

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The numbers of students who qualified for recognition as certificated teachers in 1938 were: England 5,530, Wales 638. Figures for 1943 are not yet available, but the numbers for 1942 were: England 4,366, Wales 479.

Schoolchildren (Use Of Countryside)

55.

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asked the President of the Board of Education whether he proposes to give effect to the recommendations in the Scott Report for organising visits of schoolchildren to rural districts and for educating the public in the proper use of the countryside?

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The Board have for many years encouraged organised visits of schoolchildren to the countryside, and I hope to see a wide extension of such visits in the future. As regards the second part of the Question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer which I gave him on 23rd September, a copy of which I am sending him.

Council For The Encouragement Of Music And The Arts

56.

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asked the President of the Board of Education whether it is within the powers of C.E.M.A. to finance the building of theatres?

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The moneys at the disposal of C.E.M.A. would not permit them to embark on enterprises such as my hon. Friend suggests.

Education Bill (Roman Catholics, Lancashire)

57.

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asked the President of the Board of Education whether he is aware that estimates prepared by the Catholic hierarchy in Lancashire show that the new Education Bill will impose a burden of £2,500,000 on Lancashire Catholics; and whether he will consider ways and means whereby this other burden can be considerably reduced?

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I have seen some estimates of the anticipated burden on the Roman Catholic community. I have also received representations from the Roman Catholic Hierarchy, and these, together with representations from other interests, are being considered.

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Will my right hon. Friend see that every feeling of injustice is removed from this section?

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Does the right hon. gentleman not agree that it is very unfortunate that private pockets should be called upon to defray such a large share of the expenditure on national education?

Mass Unemployment (Prevention)

45.

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asked the Prime Minister whether the Government are prepared to consider granting facilities to Sir William Beveridge to have access to information available in Government Departments in connection with the independent inquiry he is carrying on into the problem of unemployment and its cure, in view of the great importance of the question and the necessity for obtaining the fullest advice on the subject?

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On this particular subject I have nothing to add to the answer which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for East Islington (Mrs. Cazalet Keir) on 13th April last.

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In the event of any application for facilities being received, would it receive sympathetic consideration?

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Does the Prime Minister appreciate that if Sir William Beveridge is to be accorded such privileges every hon. Member is entitled to them?

Tobruk

46.

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asked the Prime Minister whether he is now in a position to complete the story of the fall of Tobruk, in view of the escape from captivity of General Klopper?

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General Klopper has returned to South Africa. Everyone will congratulate this gallant officer on his escape from being a prisoner of war. In due course I have no doubt the story of what happened at Tobruk in June, 1942, will be reconstructed, but I have no new information about it at the present time.

Electoral Reform

47.

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asked the Prime Minister whether it is now proposed to give the House an opportunity of discussing questions of electoral reform?

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Yes, Sir. The Government propose to give time for a Debate on electoral reform.

As the House is aware, a Bill has been presented to give effect to the scheme recommended by the Departmental Committee on Electoral Machinery. The Government are fully conscious of the importance of giving attention to all measures designed to secure that whenever there is an appeal to the country—whether at by-elections or at a General Election—the result shall be fully and truly representative of the views of the people. It will no doubt be the wish of the House, as it is of the Government, that this Measure should be passed before the end of the present Session. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has also announced the Government's intention to submit to Parliament legislation on the subject of redistribution.

In addition, however, to measures of this kind designed to improve the machinery by which the existing Parliamentary franchise is exercised, the Government recognise that full consideration ought to be given to various proposals for changes in the existing franchise law, for controlling the expenditure allowable to candidates, and for other amendments designed to secure the maximum of fairness in the conduct of elections. In the opinion of the Government the best method of securing a full examination of these problems will be by a Conference, presided over by Mr. Speaker, and if the House concurs in the proposal the Government would propose that Mr. Speaker should be invited to undertake this important task in addition to his already onerous duties.

In the first instance, however, as I have already stated, the Government desire that there should be a wide Debate on electoral reform in order to give the House a full opportunity of expressing its opinion. We propose, therefore, to set apart two days for this Debate early in the new Session.

Post-War Employment

48.

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asked the Minister without Portfolio what economic reforms he proposes to introduce before the end of the war so as to ensure that in time of peace there may still be more jobs to be done than there are people to do them as has proved to be the case in time of war?

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If my hon. Friend will refer to the speeches of the late Chancellor of the Exchequer on the subject of economic policy of 2nd February last and of my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade on the same topic of the following day, he will find a complete survey of the problem of employment after this war and of the lines we should follow to secure maximum employment. I cannot add to the statements then made except to say that the maintenance of full employment in time of peace is under the constant and continuous study of His Majesty's Government.

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Would my right hon. and learned Friend give his mind to the terms of the Question? He has not dealt with the Question at all. If he does not understand the Question, will he consider taking a course at the School of Economic Science?

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Cannot this familiar reply, that the matter is under the constant study of the Government, be varied in some way? Can it be amplified? Can my right hon. and learned Friend add something new to what he has already said?

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It was amplified by my answer in which the lines of study were indicated.