Bishop Beck thanks them for progress to school justice
DETERMINED, selfless, unpublicised efforts by non Catholic M.P.s of all parties championing the rights of Catholic schools have helped to bring forward now the Government's proposals for amending legislation that would save Catholics about 15,000,000.
They also arouse a new hope that full justice will eventually be clone—though the proposals, cordially welcomed by the Hierarchy as a measure of relief, make no appreciable difference to the bill for 151,000,000 which Catholics are being called upon to pay to carry out the provisions of the 1944 Act.
Bishop Beck, chairman of the Hierarchy's Action Committee, in a speech on Sunday mentioned five non-Catholic Labour champions.
First on his list is Mr. Leslie Hale (Oldham West), " who although he has described himself as an agnostic, has been one
of our greatest friends in the
Labour Paris aty ." bother Nonconformist minC HAMPION ister, the Rev. Gordon Lang, who is
not seeking re-election.
The others are Mr. Leslie Lever (Ardwick), Mr. Anthony Greenwood (Rossendale), vice-chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party, and Mr. E. Shackleton, Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Foreign Minister, Mr. Herbert Morrison.
" But you are all aware," remarked Bishop Beck, " that we have sympathisers and good friends in the other parties; and I sincerely hope that I may be given an opportunity in the near future to mention some of them, and to thank them for the help which they have given us."
In a statement issued on Sunday, the Archbishops and Bishops say: " The proposals contained in the Government's statement, if carried into effect, would, within the framework of the existing Education Acts, give us very considerable relief."
At the same time, the Hierarchy insist on the Catholic claim that " wherever there arc sufficient children, a Catholic school should, like the county schools, be provided entirely from the rates and taxes."
The proposals go no further than a move to relieve Catholics — and other supporters of denominational schools--of a burden which Parliament, when the 1944 Act was being discussed, never intended them to bear. This burden for Catholics, it has been discovered, would amount to about £5,000,000.
The proposed relief depends on an amendment of the definition of " displaced pupil."
When the Act was passed, it was believed that on account of legislation relating to housing and town and country planning, substantial numbers of children would move together from one area into another, and the school which they would then attend would rank for a building grant.
In fact, the registers of the new schools show that children come from a great number of former schools, and as the law stands such children do not attract the grant.
It is proposed to amend the definition to include pupils who have attended or would, in the opinion of the Minister of Education, have attended an existing denominational school now no longer available to them.
The £5,000,000 burden would not be spread over the whole Catholic body, but would be concentrated in a number of comparatively small areas in which Catholics would be saddled with the task of raising tens of thousands of pounds.
The Government's proposal, in fact, is aimed at granting relief where at present it is most urgently needed.
Hierarchy's statement : p. 5. 'Keep it out of politics': p. 5. Family bills: p. 6.