§ 1. Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £130,269, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1902, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Local Government Board."
§ DR. MACNAMARA (Camberwell, N.)
said he proposed to move a reduction of the Vote for the purpose of calling attention to a matter of great public importance, namely, the urgency of the question of the housing of the working classes, and his desire in so doing was to urge that the Department should be more zealous than it had been in the past in that matter, and that it should treat the local authorities more generously and sympathetically, Especially in regard to the period allotted for the repayment of loans incurred by local authorities in respect of housing schemes. That view had been pressed upon the Department of which the right hon. Gentleman (Mr Long) was the head, for a considerable period by municipal authorities, and by Members of Parliament on both sides of the House, and it had been cordially endorsed by the right hon. Gentleman's colleague, the Home Secretary, by the 603 London County Council, and by twenty-two of the London borough councils, and he certainly thought they had a right to expect considerably more zeal from the right hon. Gentleman's Department. It was a fact that at the General Election the war in South Africa was the Aaron's Rod which ate up all matters of public interest, but still he did not suppose that there was any platform put forward by any political party at the General Election on which the question of the housing of the working classes did not have a prominent place. He knew that no fewer than forty of the colleagues of the right hon. Gentleman in their election addresses gave that questions a very prominent position, and declared that the subject was one which called for energetic and sympathetic treatment. Among the hon. Members who so declared was the hon. Member for St. George's in the East. He placed it in the forefront of questions demanding immediate attention at the hands of Parliament, while the Home Secretary, when receiving a deputation which urged upon him the matter of temperance reform, threw out the suggestion that what was more important than a reduction in the number of public-house licenses was the dealing with the question of the housing of the working classes. But in spite of the strong consensus of public opinion in favor of immediate action, they had failed to see anything like an echo of those sentiments in the administration of the Department over which the right hon. Gentleman so ably presided. Early in the session he asked him whether he would consider the advisability of appointing a Committee of the House to see how far the Local Government Board might assist local authorities in this matter, and in reply to that the right hon. Gentleman had promised that the matter should have his earnest attention. He would like to know what steps the right hon. Gentleman had taken. If any hon. hon. Members wished for information on this subject, they need only refer to the report in Hansard of the Second Reading debate on the Housing Bill of last year, and there they would find on every page a tragic story showing how people lived crowded together in rooms, paying extortionate rents for miserable hovels, 604 with the result that disease, Immorality and other terrible evils followed. The other day the chairman of the White chapel Board of Guardians called a conference on this very question, and at that conference the rector of Spitalfields himself made the following statements, which pointed to a perfect scandal on the fair fame of this great country. He said that from one of his parochial buildings he had seen through the thinly veiled window of a house four men and six women retiring for the night in one room. These people were hard-working people of the working class, who were compelled by the lack of accommodation to live under such conditions. At a late period the Rector made a statement that at a Christmas gathering attended by some 200 poor children he asked how many of them lived in one-roomed homes, and all but seven of that gathering lifted up their hands to show that they lived under such conditions. The other seven lived in two rooms. The rev. gentleman also went on to say that within the past two days he had had a census taken of one or two of the typical alleys in his parish. In one alley there were ten houses, containing fifty-one rooms, the average size of which was 8 feet by 9 feet. In these rooms 254 people lived. In another alley there were six houses, with twenty-two rooms, with eighty-four people living in them, and in one house of eight rooms there were forty-five people actually resident. Surely something ought to be done to remedy such a terrible state of affairs. He was asking for nothing heroic. He was only desirous that the Department should show a little zeal in dealing with that terrible evil. The London County Council was doing all it could to provide a remedy, but it was beset with difficulties, especially in regard to the period within which loans had to be repaid. Those loans, which covered as well the value of the land, had to be repaid within a certain number of years, and the proposal of the Council was that the cost of the land should be taken entirely out of the Sinking Fund, and treated as an undiminished asset. The net result of such a proposal might not be very large, but still it would do something to meet the difficulty.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. WALTER LONG,) Bristol, S.
I have nothing to do with loans to the London County Council, that matter is controlled not by the Local Government Board, but by statute and by the Treasury, and to do what the hon. Gentleman suggests would necessitate legislation. It does not come, therefore, within the purview of the Local Government Board.
§ DR. MACNAMARA
said he was quite prepared to accept the statement of the right hon. Gentleman, but he would urge that municipal authorities should be granted the facilities which he suggested, and, which, in his view, would enable them to reduce the rents to a small, but still a material extent. He accepted the view that he was not entitled to argue the case in regard to London, but still he would ask to be allowed to cite an instance from London in support of his argument. Under the present conditions, the London County Council were compelled to fix the rents of the dwellings they erected at a rate which was practically prohibitive to the people whom they had discoursed. For two rooms they had to charge between 5s. 6d. and 7s. 6d. weekly; for three rooms from 8s. to 10s.; and for four rooms from 10s. to 12s. That of course was a rough average, but the net result was that the prices were prohibitive to the very class that was discoursed by the London County Council schemes, and he did suggest that if their proposal to extend the period of repayment were given effect to, it might be possible to reduce the charge by 3d. or 4d. per week for each room, and that, although apparently a small sum, was really a material reduction to the class who were affected. He could only repeat that he was asking for no heroic measures; he was asking for but a small concession which was unanimously desired by municipal authorities throughout the United Kingdom, and which would be certainly a decided step towards the solution of the terrible problem which all these authorities had now to face.
§ MR. FLOWER (Bradford, W.)
agreed with a good deal of what had fallen from the hon. Member. He would be very glad 606 if the period for the redemption of loans could be extended, but still that would only be a partial remedy. The root of the whole difficulty was to be found far deeper than that. The hon. Member had quoted some very interesting remarks made by the rector of Spitalfields. Now he (the hon. Member) knew London pretty well, and he was also acquainted with the district to which the rector of Spitalfields had alluded. It was a curious fact in regard to that part of London that it was entirely populated by the poorest part of the aliens; and a few years ago the only house in the street in which the vicarage of Spitalfields was situated which was occupied by Englishmen was the vicarage house itself. All the rest were taken up by aliens. The London County Council, with all the best intentions in the world, had failed completely to carry out its main object in entering upon the housing schemes. That object was, of course, to provide homes for the very poorest, which had been done by private enterprise to a very considerable extent, and there were in the East End of London large blocks of buildings, owned in some cases by private individuals, and in other cases by public companies, who undoubtedly managed to accommodate their tenants at rents far lower than those quoted by the hon. Member for North Camberwell.
§ MR. COURTENAY WARNER (Staffordshire, Lichfield)
On a point of order, Sir, are we not out of order in discussing questions affecting the County Council on this Vote?
§ MR. FLOWER
said he would only use it by way of illustration. He wished to reply to the remarks of hon. Members opposite. Take the case of the Boundary Street area in Bethnal Green. The county council there entered upon an heroic task, dealing as they did with one of the most criminal and unsanitary parts of London. They pulled down the houses—
§ MR. FLOWER
said he would content himself with saying that he believed the difficulties with which the municipalities had to contend in their refocusing schemes were difficulties which might be met by the municipalities themselves, if they recognized the need of greater economy in the building of the houses. It was, after all, the very poorest class which it was necessary to recourse by municipal housing schemes, but the houses built were for the accommodation of persons earning comfortable wages. It was the business of the municipalities not to erect houses for a class of people who could afford to pay for accommodation elsewhere, but to build dwellings for the poorest—to build houses at such a cost that they could be rented by the poorest of the people. As this was a Vote for the Local Government Board, he desired to ask a question with regard to pauper children. That question had been raised many times in the House, but this was the first opportunity which had been given for discussing it in the new Parliament. In 1894 a Departmental Committee reported upon the subject, and drew attention to the grave physical, mental, and moral evils which had resulted from the aggregation of large numbers of children in the barrack schools. It was universally admitted five years ago that the time had come for the dissolution of these large schools; yet there were more children in the Sutton school a few months ago than ever before. In 1894 they numbered 1,541, and according to the last figures obtainable they now numbered 1,558. He wished to know how far the Local Government Board were prepared to carry out the pledge which had been given by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Seaford when he was President of the Local Government Board in regard to this matter. The Departmental Committee which reported upon this subject recommended that 200 should be the maximum number in any school, and he asked that the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board would give to-day a clear indication as to what the Board was doing with regard to the matter. He knew the right hon. Gentleman could not depart from the views of his predecessor as to the urgency of closing these large schools, but he would ask him to be a little more 608 active in prosecuting them, and he would like the right hon. Gentleman to issue, if possible, now, or very shortly, a statement fixing the date when these barrack schools would be finally closed. There was another point with regard to this matter. What was to be done with these children? With regard to that, they were face to face with several proposals. Some guardians were carrying out the most enlightened system. For instance, Sheffield and Bradford had for the benefit of these children initiated an extremely wise system. They had taken cottage houses, where these children were placed under the care of a woman, who looked after them. They went to the ordinary elementary public school of the neighborhood in which they lived, and partook of a life of purity, and in that way shook off the taint of pauperism, which otherwise would cling to them in after life. He could not imagine that the view of the President of the Local Government Board would be otherwise than sympathetic in a case of this kind. Then there was a scheme of boarding out; but this, like all dual schemes, was not easy of treatment. They had first of all to find the right class of family with which the child ought to be boarded out, and where it would receive the right kind of inspection. He thought in a scheme of that kind the Local Government Board would do well to invoke the aid of a local committee. There would be no difficulty in getting together a local committee of ladies and gentlemen who would be willing to undertake the work of inspection, and it was obvious that such a committee would take a large amount of interest in the children who were placed under their control. Those children would no longer be orphans, but would have friends to take a personal and kindly interest in their welfare and well being. Such committees were in existence to-day, but it was within the power of the Local Government Board to encourage them to a very much larger extent than at present. Those were the two suggestions which he made, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would stimulate as far as possible the action of the boards of guardians who were willing to deal with these children by means of cottage homes, and that he would also do all he could to encourage 609 the system of boarding out. The evil of large aggregations under unsuitable conditions could not be exaggerated. He hoped the action of the right hon. Gentleman would not be confined to sympathy in this matter, but that he would put the views of his predecessor into practice.
§ CAPTAIN NORTON (Newington, W.)
said that the matter which he desired to bring to the notice of the Committee was a matter which was an injustice to an individual in the first place, which effected an undue interference with the freedom of local self-government in the second place, and which in the third place showed a desire to go behind the Act of Parliament. The case which he desired to raise was that of Dr. Scott Tebb, who was selected by the district of Pence as medical officer of health, and the appointment of whom the Local Government Board declined to sanction. Dr. Tebb was an M.D. of Cambridge, and had trained himself for the position of medical officer of health, to which he was appointed after open competition. On the 2nd of April last he entered upon those duties, and has been invited by his Council to carry them out until the 30th September. On May 8th the Urban District Council received a letter from the Local Government Board in which they requested to be informed "whether this gentleman is the Dr. Scott Tebb who has publicly expressed strong opinions in opposition to vaccination, and is the author of a book entitled 'A Century of Vaccination and what it teaches,' published under the auspices of the National Anti-Vaccination League." The district council in reply said the book was not published under the auspices of the National Anti-Vaccination League, but by the well-known publishers, Swan Sonnenschein and Co. The hon. Member said this was not a question of vaccination, and in order to make his position clear he might say he was not an anti-vaccinator. Yet the Local Government Board penalized a promising individual because he had some doubts in connection with vaccination. The hon. Member then referred to the Medical Act of 1858, and read Clause 73, which he said went to show that the Local Government Board were attempting to 610 go behind the Act of Parliament in this matter. In the face of that Act the Local Government Board actually attempted to penalize this medical officer of health because he had issued a book in which he showed he had some doubts as to the value of vaccination. The Board was, in fact, claiming to impose a test of belief over and above that required by the statute governing the medical profession. In other words, they had established an Index Expurgatorial, and because a man had written a certain book he was to be disqualified from practicing in the branch of the profession for which he had specially prepared himself. If the Government held such views with reference to the duties of medical officers of health, it was within their power to embody them in their Orders, but they had done nothing of the kind. Looking at the matter from the public point of view, with reference to the powers of local bodies, was this a fair way to deal, not with an obscure council in some out-of-the-way part of the country, but with a council such as that of Penge—practically a suburb of London? The members of the council were not ignorant men; they were men who thoroughly realized the great responsibilities resting upon them, with the knowledge that if an epidemic broke out in that district it would very rapidly spread throughout the whole of London south of the Thames and probably also cross the river. If the Local Government Board could be consistent throughout, there might be something in its action, but it had the power of putting a veto on an appointment only when the district drew half the officer's salary for monies supplied by Parliament, and, according to the last report of the Board, out of 921 medical officers of health there were 141 of whose salary no portion was repaid by the county council. This, therefore, was an arbitrary and tyrannical way of dealing with one particular council. Other medical officers had openly expressed their distrust of vaccination, and yet were allowed to continue in their positions. Before the Commission on Vaccination, Dr. MacLawrin, the Medical Officer for New South Wales, stated that he relied not on universal vaccination but on early isolation, and it was a well-known fact 611 that Australia had never had an epidemic. Sir James Simpson and other great authorities also stated that they looked more to stamping out than stamping in. The right hon. Gentleman was a member of the Government which in 1898 brought forward the Bill relieving from all fines and penalties those who had conscientious objections to vaccination.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
pointed out that under the Act persons had to apply to a magistrate for certificates.
§ CAPTAIN NORTON
contended that that was practically the same thing, and yet the right hon. Gentleman was here going behind the Act in order to penalize this gentleman for having a doubt as to vaccination. The law gave statutory recognition to conscientious objections, and therefore it was not fair that this individual should be thus singled out. No duties were cast by law on the medical officer of health; they were all discharged by either the vaccination officer or the public vaccinator. By the Public Health Act of 1875, urban authorities could pay what they liked and appoint and remove at pleasure if they were not obliged to call on the Government to supplement their funds so far as the official's salary was concerned, and the Local Government Board might prescribe the qualification and duties of these practitioners, but those precautions had not been taken. Doubtless the reply of the right hon. Gentleman would be that it would not be right for him in his position to sanction the appointment as a medical officer of health of one who, in his opinion, might attempt to thwart any rules or orders issued by the Local Government Board, which might indirectly affect the question of vaccination. But if that view was adopted all round they would be at a complete standstill. It was often the case that men who had doubts on any subject were before their time. In every walk of life such men were frequently superior to their fellows, and, in this instance, the particular individual concerned, because he had had the courage and ability to write a book, were placed in a worse position than other medical officers who had precisely the same doubts on the subject of vaccination.
§ SIR ALBERT ROLLIT (Islington, S.)
desired to express the strong feelings against the administration of the Local Government Board with regard to the undue limitation enforced by the Department in relation to the term for the repayment of local loans. He regretted that his action had to take the form of an Amendment on the question of the President of the Board's salary, because all who had been brought into contact with the right hon. Gentleman would acknowledge not only the courtesy but the sympathetic attention and the desire to effect any reasonable reform which the right hon. Gentleman invariably displayed. He therefore hoped that such a reply would be given as would make it unnecessary to press the Amendment. The right hon. Gentleman had hitherto been in a position of difficulty owing to the long established practice of the Department; he had been environed by precedents to which many Members were averse. From those bonds it was desired to release him, in order that he might take a more modern view of the matter than that suggested by even the Act of 1875, and do something to enable local authorities to carry out the great duties entrusted to them by Parliament.
Let the Committee look at the position in regard to the terms for the repayment of loans in connection with the housing of the working classes. The housing question was one of acknowledged importance, not only in London, but throughout the country. Although the Acts bore the name of the "working classes," the legislation against overcrowding—for the reduction of congestion, which was sometimes of a very dangerous character—was not in any sense class legislation; it was in the interests of the health and strength of the whole community. It must not, therefore, be said that the local authorities were pressing socialistic propositions. On the contrary, they were consulting the best and highest interests of the whole community in endeavoring to end a state of things such as that under which in London—and the same might be said of other great cities—at least one-fifth of the population were overcrowded, more than half a million living under conditions in which many, persons, of both sexes, occupied one room, and in that endeavor the 613 Department ought to give the local authorities every possible facility in its administration of the Acts of Parliament. By the Act of 1890 the term for the repayment of loans was fixed at not exceeding sixty years. That was indicative of the feeling of Parliament, and it was doubtless intended to cover not one part only, but the whole scheme. The Housing Act incorporated the loan provisions of the Public Health Act, and the words of the Act passed in 1875 were very material. Those words were—Money may be borrowed for such time not exceeding sixty years as the local authority, with the sanction of the Local Government Board, may determine in each case.Whatever might have been the practice of the Department, the primary duty and right to determine the period of the repayment was there cast on the local authority, doubtless because the local authority had knowledge and experience of the locality and was charged with the responsibility of local administration. But the practice had grown up of the Local Government Board determining the period, despite, and very frequently in absolute conflict with, the determination of the local authority. In other words, the Local Government Board had usurped the functions of the local authority and reversed the principle established by Parliament.
But there was worse than that. Parliament had suggested sixty years as the maximum, and the practice of the Local Government Board had been to reduce that period to forty years. The words he had already quoted meant that the particular circumstances of each application were to be taken into account, enforced by the local knowledge and experience of the local authority, and sanctioned or otherwise, according to the circumstances, by the Government Department. Instead of that, a crystallised and cast-iron rule had been established, and the common-form answer to the local authorities was that "It is our practice to allow a term of forty years." That, he submitted, was not in accordance with the spirit or the letter of the section. It seemed to him that the Department, without any legislative authority whatever, had sub-divided the thing into three parts—(1) fifty years in respect of the land (2) forty years for 614 the buildings, and (3) twenty for street improvements. What an anomaly the last item was, for local authorities constantly came to the House for gas Bills, and they regularly got whole terms of sixty years upon things which partly depended upon perishable pipes in the streets. He ventured to say that sixty years was a reasonable term, and there was no reason for its reduction as a general rule to forty years. As a result of this, the repayment of loans over a period of forty years in respect of land amounts to £3 15s. per cent.; in respect of buildings, 5 per cent.; and in respect of street improvements, £6 15s; and so they got to 6 or 7 per cent. before they came to any question of repairs or maintenance, which any authority must see to before it could expect anything in the shape of remunerative return. That meant either that the rates would have to be appealed to, or that they would be providing for a class not contemplated by Parliament; or it meant probably that local authorities would do little or nothing at all to carry out the intentions of Parliament whatever the demands of the situation. But the local authorities did not think that Parliament thus meant, from sentimental or other political or partisan or campaigning reasons, to give with one hand a public advantage to be taken away with the other hand by the Administrative Department.
Feeling as they did their responsibility in this great matter, the local authorities asked that every possible facility should be given by the Department to carry out the intentions of Parliament. He did not think that he ought to put a case of that kind merely in general terms, and he felt bound to give some specific instance. He would take the case of Hull. He had to acknowledge the very great courtesy extended to him by the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board when he brought the matter before him. Hull was permitted to erect dwellings, and had appealed to the President to make the term of the loan sixty years, and it received the inexorable answer that the Department was bound by practice and precedent, and it was impossible for him to do what was asked. The right hon. Gentleman not only gave that answer, but the Department put an insoluble problem 615 before the Hull Corporation. They said the Corporation must not charge rents which the classes for whom the dwellings were intended could not afford to pay, and they must secure a revenue adequate to meet all expenses. So that two obligations were put upon the Corporation which were absolutely impossible of fulfilment, and were practically self-contradictory. If the first obligation was carried out, the Corporation would suffer, and from what he heard he thought the Corporation would be very careful before entering upon such a crusade again without knowing what the Department was likely to do. Why should the Hull Corporation have only forty years when London had sixty? What was the reason for such a distinction between the two cases? Was property more perishable in Hull? It might be said that the Act of Parliament gave sixty years in London. But the Act of Parliament said, "not exceeding sixty years." Then why should the figures be commanding in London and under the same words be refused for Hull? He thought the same obligation recognised in London should be allowed to provincial corporations, and they should be dealt with exactly on the same footing.
He would now take the case of Plymouth. He had seen the Mayor and Town Clerk of Plymouth upon this subject, and they told him that the result of the action of the Local Government Board in Plymouth had been to saddle the Corporation with a loss of £800 a year. The mayor told him that they were most anxious to carry out these matters on business and reasonable, and even, to some extent, philanthropic principles. They had done their best to do so, but, owing to the administration of the Department, they had practically found it impossible to make the houses pay a reasonable percentage, or to serve the class intended to be benefited. Though it might be said that the difference created by the longer term might be small, it was that very margin of difference which often created the difference between a reasonable and an exorbitant rent. It was just that difference which made it either possible on business terms or impossible upon philanthropic terms to do what Parliament intended. He 616 could confirm absolutely the figures of his hon. friend opposite in regard to North London, where there was a difference in two and three-roomed houses of 1s. 4d. down to 11d. per week, which sums were of the greatest importance to men of the smallest means who had the greatest claims to be cared for in this matter, and who were the very class who were ejected, and whom they were bound to do their best to reasonably accommodate and help, and he altogether objected to the practice of the Department, as at Hull, in fixing one general rule of forty years instead of the local authority getting the benefit of the Act by determining the term, according to the probable life of the works, which they knew best, with the sanction of the Department.
He could not do otherwise than admit that there should be some reasonable central check upon local expenditure, but it should not be full of anomalies. It should be consistent, and what was good for London should be also given to the provinces in dealing with this matter; the maximum London term ought, moreover, to be increased, with the provincial one, to 100 years instead of sixty. What he complained of was that the Department, instead of acting up to the statutes, and making the most of them, limited and narrowed them down. The right hon. Gentleman's predecessor told them when he was speaking upon this subject that he was the trustee for posterity. Nobody objected to posterity having a trustee, but they should remember that posterity would get the benefit of this expenditure by works of longer life than forty years, by healthier surroundings and better conditions, and one who was also trustee for the overburdened taxpayers of to-day ought not to be seduced from his duty by thinking too much of posterity in this matter. Posterity ought to bear its share of the burden, and they desired that the trustee should look at this matter and see that the burden was properly adjusted. He had had opportunities of ascertaining what the feeling of local authorities was upon this matter. The Municipal Corporations Association which, representing all the corporations of the country, had made the strongest representations to the right hon. Gentleman and his pre- 617 decessors upon this subject. He had had the pleasure of attending a conference held in his own constituency of Islington upon this matter, and a resolution was unanimously passed, indicating the strongest feeling upon this subject on the part of the metropolitan boroughs. He did not think that what they asked for was at all unreasonable. They asked for a maximum term of 100 years, that the term for buildings should be increased, and that the land should be regarded as a continuing and permanent asset against the liabilities. There were precedents for this in the Public Health Act of 1875 in the case of sewage farms, where the amount to be borrowed might be three-fourths of the value or cost, and here the land was regarded as a continuing asset just as they asked that land should be treated in this instance. In some other Acts the property acquired was held as a continuing asset, and was not to be taken into account in calculating the powers of the local authorities to borrow under the Acts—for instance, under the Small Allotments Act.
They had to go to Germany for a great many things, and they had a precedent in that country which was worth following. In Prussia the general loan repayment term was 100 years, and it might be increased in the case of the housing of the working classes because of the excellence and the necessity of the object in view. He would remind the right hon. Gentleman that a similar recommendation for lengthening the term was made by the Royal Commission of 1884–85. He did not wish to labour the point, and all he had endeavoured to do was to put what he considered was a reasonable case before the right hon. Gentleman, and he felt sure that he would have his sympathy upon this point. He hoped the President of the Local Government Board would be supported in this matter by both sides of the House. He did wish to go to a division with his Amendment, because he knew that the right hon. Gentleman would very readily grasp what was the general sense of the House upon this matter, if that sense was adequately expressed from both sides, for this was no party question.
There was one other matter he wished to allude to. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would take some steps to limit the number of inquiries which had 618 to be held before any scheme was settled. Why could they not follow the precedent of Parliament in regard to Provisional Orders, and make one inquiry do? He knew of instances where good sites had been lost in consequence of delays. He asked the President of the Board of Trade to deal sympathetically with the Corporations who were most anxious to do their duty, not only to the working-classes by housing them properly, but also to the community by securing healthier surroundings. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would listen to the appeals which had been made to him on behalf of the local authorities. He moved the reduction of the Vote by £500.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Vote by reduced by £100."—(Sir Albert Rollit.)
§ MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)
said this was a question which all London Members must take a keen interest in. As a London representative he hoped he was behind none in his desire to see some practical measure carried out in order to deal with the housing of the working classes. He wished, however, to be quite candid. He regretted to hear that this subject was being run upon the line of extending the time, and making it easier to borrow at the present moment, which was not in any way a solution of this great problem. This was to his mind a delusion. It seemed a very easy thing to extend the period of repayment, and it was said that this would at once reduce the cost and make rents cheaper. But anybody who would go into actuarial facts knew perfectly well that th difference between sixty years and 100 years made only a fractional difference in the result of the borrowing. Some people seemed to imagine that if a sum of money could be borrowed for 100 years at a certain rate the same sum could be borrowed for 200 years at half the rate. The difference between borrowing for 60 years and 100 years was merely fractional, and the result made very little difference in the rate charged. He protested against the statement which had been made by the hon. Member who had just spoken that this made all the difference between housing those who de- 619 served to be housed and those who did not. The extension of the period would practical y make no difference. It was a most dangerous thing to encourage localities to borrow with very long periods for repayment. Those who had watched the growth of local indebtedness during the past thirty years could not be otherwise but alarmed at the enormous development which had taken place. He hoped the President of the Local Government Board would continue to hold a very strong hand in preventing the extension of the period for the repayment of loans. The tendency of localities was to borrow largely. Some people seemed to think that if they left out the land that would really make a substantial difference in the loan, but it would practically make no difference at all. He therefore wished to dissociate himself altogether from the idea that the housing of the working classes would be benefitted to any great extent by the extension of the period for the repayment of loans.
The subject wanted the most careful and far-reaching investigation. One great difficulty to his mind was that they had made it almost impossible for private local effort to assist in the matter. All the best results had been achieved by private local effort, but that had been discouraged both by the action of municipalities and by the law; and it seemed to him that the matter should be inquired into very carefully. The law of landlord and tenant was now in a very unsatisfactory condition, and that was largely responsible for the abhorrence of many persons to invest in property, and to have any transactions in small property. To his knowledge a great part of a section of London owned by a City company was not let to individuals at all, but was let to middlemen eight or ten houses at a time. Nothing could be worse than that system, because it removed all interest between landlord and tenant. It was because the law between landlord and tenant was so unsatisfactory, so complicated, and so unfair to the landlord that people would not invest in houses in the ordinary way, and the consequence was that houses were farmed out as he had stated. Before that great question could be settled, Parliament must be bold enough to put an end to the whole system of the tenure of houses, 620 not from any mere claptrap point of view or from political expediency, but in order to encourage people in every class of life to invest their money in buildings Some years ago Miss Octavia Hill did great work in that way. She lived in a block owned, or partly owned, by herself, and he considered that that system had prospects of great success. He should like to see people of culture encouraged to own houses and to live on the spot, but in the present state of the law it was impossible to expect people to do that. He had had to do with the building of several blocks, and although he did not wish to parade anything he had done, he had seen most excellent results. He found, however, it was very difficult to get rid of objectionable tenants who were a nuisance to all their neighbours, and the law was such that unless the landlord were very drastic indeed, such tenants could not be got rid of. The idea was that the question could not be dealt with by private enterprise, but that it must be settled by the local authorities in an heroic manner. He did not mean in any way to discourage local authorities, but they knew very well that the result of the action of the London County Council was not satisfactory. It was extremely costly, and. did not supply the wants of the people it was intended to cater for. If that was the system on which the great mass of the people were to be rehoused, it was a bad look-out. He also ventured to say that it was not desirable, from political and. other standpoints, that a great body like the London County Council should be the landlord of an enormous mass of the population. It was obvious that that was undesirable. He should like to see a small practical Commission or other inquiry into the present administration of the law as between landlord and tenant, and some means devised by which people would be encouraged to interest themselves in that class of property. Again, the interference of the local authorities was very serious. They, no doubt, meant well, but they discouraged people from entering on such enterprises. He had previously stated his own experience, in which the action of the local authority was so drastic that really and truly the premises had to be closed. There were also continual irritation and changes of 621 opinion on the part of the local authority. One day a cistern was to be put in; later the same man required it to be taken out; and later again it had to be replaced. That prevented people from investing money in the improvement of the housing of the working classes. As regarded people better off than the absolutely poor, there was no difficulty in providing for them by private enterprise. Several hon. Gentlemen were engaged in building in all quarters of London hundreds and thousands of houses for people of moderate means. There was no reason why that should not be encouraged for the poor also. He protested against the delusion that the question was to be settled by extending the period of the loans. That would effect very little, almost nothing, in the direction of reducing rents, and posterity should not be saddled with such enormous debts. Sixty years should be the outside limit, as few artisans' dwellings were worth much after that period, and probably before it elapsed they would be out of date. The Committee ought to support the Local Government Board in requiring the present generation to bear its just share.
§ MR. HARWOOD (Bolton)
said that he had listened to one or two of the axioms of the hon. Gentleman who had just spoken with amazement. He wondered whether he was listening to one of the greatest financial authorities in the House, as the hon. Gentleman was known to be, or to Baron Munchausen, when he heard the hon. Gentleman state that it really made no difference, or scarcely any, whether a loan was for forty years or sixty years. His own experience was that it made a great difference. It might be quite true that sixty years was long enough—that was another question—but to take up the position that the period of repayment made no difference—
§ MR. HARWOOD
said it made a difference, and a substantial difference. The poor lived within a very fine margin, and therefore the whole problem should be worked out on that prin- 622 ciple. He was sorry to have to run across the track of such an interesting subject, but that was inevitable in such debates.
He desired to impress on the President of the Local Government Board the importance of the great problem of dealing with pauper children. He was quite aware he need not ask the personal sympathy of the right hon. Gentleman, but great officials could not act without the support of public opinion. He wished to say a few words to help in a small way to arouse a little more public interest in the matter, and to create public opinion to support the right hon. Gentleman in pursuing what he thought was the right course. The public did not quite realise the seriousness of the problem. Hon. Members as representatives of the State should remember that they were the fathers of 50,000 children, and were practically responsible for their future as well as for their present. Not only that, but that family was in the greatest jeopardy of going wrong. They were the 50,000 children of whom they should be the most anxious, because they stood in a most difficult and dangerous position. He wished to impress on the Committee a truth which was forced on them more and more by experience, that if they wished to get rid of pauperism they should put in an intercepting pipe. That policy had been most successful as regarded crime. He had to do with a reformatory for many years, and he had watched the careers of hundreds and hundreds of boys, and the system of taking them from their evil surroundings and placing them in good surroundings had been eminently successful. He wanted that system to be applied to pauper children. Pauperism, after all, was like crime and drinking—it was very much of a profession, and descended from father to son. The children grew up in that atmosphere, and took to the occupation of the parent, and what, therefore, should be done was to take them from the atmosphere and put them into another air, to lift them up to be ordinary citizens, and in a wonderfully short time they became as good as anyone else. As to the conclusion to be drawn, they were all agreed that pauper children should be kept as much as possible from every association with the workhouse. 623 If they had to be detained for a short time, they should be detained elsewhere. There was a subtle influence of contamination in the workhouse, and the children caught words and tones of thought and feeling from which they might never be rescued. Therefore the first condition was that pauper children should be kept free from the contamination of the workhouse. But, as a matter of fact, in the Metropolis alone, more than 3,000 children were in workhouses or in infirmaries connected with workhouses. That was not as it should be, and they could imagine how far it extended all over the country. It might be said that that was temporary; but he would put it to hon. Members, if their own children were concerned how jealous and careful they would be that they should not be brought even for a short time into touch with contaminating associations.
Granted, therefore, that these pauper children should be kept clear of workhouses, what remained? Two systems were available; one was to put them into what were called barrack schools, and the other was to send them into homes either among other people or into small homes by themselves. A great deal of extravagant nonsense had been talked about the question. There were some people who could see nothing but good in one system, and nothing but evil in any other. He did not believe that view was correct. Certain things could be said for the large barrack schools. He had seen one which created a very admirable impression, and therefore he was not prepared to say that they were all bad. But he wanted the Committee to look at the matter from a general point of view. He was bound to say that experience seemed to point in the direction of boarding out the children in small homes rather than putting them into large houses. It should be remembered that when large masses of children were brought together it made them mechanical and dull; they became a sort of machine-made article, and the consequence was that they did not in after life come up to what was expected of them. It was a moral as well as a physical question. The right hon. Gentleman knew that in some large institutions ophthalmia was twelve times 624 as prevalent as it ordinarily should be, and moral ophthalmia was equally prevalent. What was the experience of other countries? Scotland, whose example was worth following in matters of education, boarded out 84 per cent. of her pauper children; Switzerland, 74 per cent.; Russia, 90 per cent.; France and Germany boarded out all their pauper children; whereas England only boarded out 5 per cent. That showed that they had not given the boarding out system a sufficiently large trial. His hon. friend had stated that the Government had not kept their promise, but of course the right hon. Gentleman was not responsible for that. Although the right hon. Gentleman's predecessor had stated that the policy of the Department would be a policy of segregation, yet £50,000 had since been sanctioned for barrack schools, and although they were told in 1898 that one of the largest barrack schools—Sutton—would be closed, it was still open. He thought there should be some explanation on those two points. He did not say the boarding out system was absolutely and entirely the best system, but it ought to be fairly and completely looked into. He did not guarantee the figures, but it was said that while the cost per head in the barrack schools was £29, boarding out only cost £13 a head. A child boarded out with a family learned one of the most important things possible for a child, and that was the spirit of family life, interest in the practical affairs of everyday life, and the humanities of family life, which all counted for a good deal of education. Again, the children made friends. In Bolton the system had been tried. About 100 children had been boarded out, and the universal opinion was that it was extremely successful in every way, a number of philanthropic, kind-hearted women taking charge of it. Those children made friends, and he could not imagine anything better for a poor pauper child than that he should have a friend to take an interest in him in after life. The system also helped the people with whom the children boarded. He would not discuss the question further. It was a difficult one, and he admitted that it might be regarded from more than one point of view.
§ SIR MICHAEL FOSTER (London University)
, referring to the case of Dr. Tebb, said that he had the pleasure of knowing that gentleman was one of his pupils, and he could speak in the highest terms of his general ability and character; but he had read his book on vaccination, and he found that Dr. Tebb was of opinion that vaccination was perfectly useless in struggling against smallpox. Vaccination was the legalised means of struggling against smallpox in this country, and he could not conceive how anyone holding the views of Dr. Tebb could be a proper and efficient instrument of the Government in the combat against smallpox. He was the last person in the world to find fault with a man for his opinions, but he ventured to think that there were certain opinions which it was essential that an officer of health should hold. Supposing Dr. Tebb held that smallpox, measles, and scarlet fever were not infectious, could he possibly act as medical officer for health when it was his duty to struggle against the infection of those diseases by means of the instructions which the Government supplied? He thought the refusal to accept the appointment of Dr. Tebb was perfectly justified.
§ MR. DUKE (Plymouth)
hoped the President of the Local Government Board would not adopt the reactionary views of the hon. Member for North Islington on the housing of the poor. If the matter were left to private enterprise it must only be set back. The disgraceful and scandalous conditions of life that were to be found in this country had grown up under private enterprise, whilst the improvement in the last twenty years had been the result of encouragement, and sometimes coercion on the part of the State, to put an end to the scandal, and to recommend the victims of the present system to the tender mercies of the speculative builder was, in his opinion, a severe form of irony. The hon. Member for South Islington had referred to the experience he had had in these matters, and he showed very clearly that the present system was a long way from being perfect. That was very general experience. In Plymouth there were some of the most congested districts that could be found in the country, and the Corporation of Plymouth were doing and 626 had done their best for many years to remedy the evil of overcrowding. They had cleared certain insanitary areas, and, though they had provided a few excellent blocks of buildings, they had come to a dead stop, because under the present system there was no adequate provision for replacing the population displaced by clearances. It was true they had re-housed a certain number by the erection of artisans' dwellings, but the population the Corporation of Plymouth had to deal with was much below the artisan class, and they were driven into the slums provided by private enterprise, because no other houses were provided. What was wanted and what they looked for in Plymouth was that the Local Government Board should, at any rate, make the best of the existing facilities, and he contended that they had not done so. With regard to the extension of time for the repayment of loans he pointed out that when hon. Members spoke lightly of the repayment of a loan in forty or sixty years, they did not realise that the longer time given represented a difference of 1¼ per cent., and that 1¼ per cent. meant the difference between private enterprise and municipal enterprise. There had been a stereotyped mode of dealing with this matter by the Local Government Board. Some of the inspectors, who were as familiar with this system as most men, could show the right hon. Gentleman where it was defective. He thought the time for the repayment of loans should be extended, as he objected to this system of treating the capital expended on houses for the working-classes as if it were the duty of the present generation to provide coming generations with dwellings. Why should the struggling man in these days be required to put his hand in his pocket in order that the ratepayer of the future might become possessed of landed property? He submitted that the solution of this difficulty lay in reducing the burden on annual expenditure and not increasing it. If that were done it would be the first step towards getting rid of a great difficulty in the way of improving the housing of the poor. That was an obstacle which it was in the power of the Local Government Board to remove. Another obstacle that might be re- 627 moved was the expense of the inquiries as to how housing schemes should be carried out. They had to economise to the utmost possible point; they had to find the means of providing dwellings which could be let at a shilling a room per week, and they could not afford to disburse such items as 1¼ per cent. on the capital outlay or hundreds of pounds in holding needless inquiries, which might be altogether dispensed with if there was a little more liberty of action. The members and officers of the local authorities were quite as capable of dealing with these matters as those sent to supervise them. Again, the housing schemes were burdened with very extravagant expense in respect of plans, and still larger expense by reason of regulations and conditions of the Local Government Board, which insisted that the security for the loans should be provided in the most expensive manner. It was complained that when Local Government Board inquiries were held in connection with loans for the erection of dwellings the inspector did not consider himself bound by the local bye-laws, but might insist on requirements which were not contained in them. Could there be anything more inconsistent than that, that a community itself should not be permitted to erect dwellings for the poorest classes in its district under bye-laws which had been sanctioned by the Local Government Board. That was in his opinion, a great blot on the present system. He was told by persons seeking to administer the Housing Acts that these things put difficulties in their way, and that the practical result was a deadlock. The mistake made by the Local Government Board was that it had applied too hard and fast a rule to this matter. The result was that whilst in Liverpool, where the corporation had a free hand, the problem of housing for the poorest members of the community had, it was believed, been practically solved, in the country at large the system put into operation under the rules of the Local Government Board provided accommodation for the artisans, but failed to benefit those who were pent up in slums, where no human being should be allowed to live. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would see his way to deal with the matter in such a way that other towns 628 could do what Liverpool had already done.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)
said he rose for the purpose of saying a few words mainly on the children's question. His hon. friend the Member for Bolton had said a few moments ago that there was a great deal of nonsense talked about it on both sides of the House. He (Mr. Russell) did not know how that might be, but a great deal had been said which was without knowledge. There was a good deal of talk without knowledge, and in order to get information from the right hon. Gentleman he proposed to put a few questions to him. In the first place, he should like to know what progress had been made in the matter of breaking up the barrack schools. He knew that a good deal of progress had been made at Sutton. That school had been described as one of the worst of the barrack schools. He did not believe a word of that statement; he believed it was one of the best. The only fault he had ever heard of that school was as to the large number of children which had to be crowded into it. Apart from that, he thought it was a most admirable institution, and undeserving of the strictures passed upon it. He desired to know what progress had been made with regard to separate homes in Camberwell for these children. They had heard over and over again complaints about the delay that had occurred in breaking up the barrack schools, but the Committee must remember that if they had to provide for five thousand children elsewhere they must first make the necessary provision, and this necessitated a great deal of time. The boarding-out question had very properly been alluded to. The hon. Gentlemen who had discussed that matter altogether forgot that there was only a certain class of children in England which could be boarded out. They looked at a school like Sutton, and other large schools in the country, and said, "Why are these children kept there; why is not family life cultivated; why should they not grow up among other children in private families?" He reminded hon. Members that it was only orphan and deserted children under the law who could be boarded out. He 629 asked the Committee to imagine the condition of affairs which would arise if they boarded out some of the children whose parents were alive, and the parents went down to the foster-mother and took these children, as they could claim the right to do, under the law. As to the subject of loans with regard to the housing problem, he submitted that there was no sacrifice that could be made that ought not to be made in order to facilitate this work, and he was sure that was the opinion of the Local Government Board, from the President downwards. But let them not run after a delusion. The only way that the point between his hon. friends the Members for Islington could be solved was for the Local Government Board to reduce the matter to figures. He had seen the figures worked out himself, and although he was not in the habit of agreeing with the hon. Member for North Islington—his belief was that he was absolutely right in his contention. There would be a great difference between ten and twenty years, but the difference when they got to forty—between forty and sixty, or between sixty and seventy—was infinitesimal, and would not alter the rent of a single working man in this country. His hon. friend the Member for Bolton had referred with something like horror to the fact that there were 3,000 children still in the workhouses and infirmaries of London. But how many of those children were infants-in-arms? When the hon. Gentleman spoke of London, let them remember that he was speaking of a city with a greater population than Scotland or Ireland, and that those 3,000 children largely consisted of children-in-arms, who could not legally be separated, and ought not on any account to be separated from their parents.
§ MR. HAY (Shoreditch, Hoxton)
did not agree with the view that the extension of the period for the repayment of loans from sixty to 100 years would not make an appreciable difference in rent.
§ MR WALTER LONG
called attention to the fact that he had no power to extend the loan beyond sixty years. That would require an Act of Parliament.
§ MR. HAY
said he only desired to show that the period of repayment materially 630 affected the rent charge to the working man. He had particulars relating to buildings erected in St. Leonard's, Shoreditch, which showed that if repayment were extended from sixty to 100 years the rent of a three-room suite would be reduced from 8s. 6d. to 7s. 2d. a week, and of a two-room suite from 6s. 6d. to 5s. 7d. That would be a very great boon to the working classes. He was of opinion that something of the same sort would result if land were treated in the same way. He sincerely hoped that the red tape which seemed to have clogged the administration of the Local Government Board, and perhaps the Treasury, in this matter, might be removed, and that when next year his right hon. friend laid his Estimates before the Committee the Board would have made a marked step in the administration of the present law. He hoped they would not be met with a rebuff; if they were, he feared a very serious blow would be dealt to the question of housing.
§ SIR WALTER FOSTER (Derbyshire, Ilkeston)
Before the right hon. Gentleman replies on the very discursive debate which has taken place, I would just like to say a few words with the view of bringing all the matters touched upon into focus. With regard to the question of the appointment of medical officer of health, a strong position was taken up by the hon. Member who sits for the University of London. I can quite understand the hon. Member for Newington bringing this matter forward as one of considerable hardship on an individual; but that is not the way in which to look at this question, and I think the right hon. Gentleman opposite was quite right in the interests of public health in refusing to sanction the appointment of a medical officer of health who was known to be unfavourable to vaccination. Vaccination, and its enforcement to a certain extent, is the law of the land, and the principle of its enforcement is not in any way interfered with by the recent Act; and I am bound to say that I think the right hon. Gentleman was quite right when he felt it would be a very dangerous experiment to appoint a medical officer of health who had published opinions which strongly opposed—or criticised—the efficacy of vaccination. But that is not a subject of general 631 interest, and I think we are satisfied with the attitude of the Government in the matter.
As to the housing of the people, I have a good deal of sympathy with some of the views expressed by the hon. Member behind me. The Local Government Board can really do only a very little in this direction. We want more drastic legislation—legislation of an almost revolutionary character—if anything like adequate housing provision is to be made for the poorer classes. While we have only comparatively meagre Acts of Parliament dealing with the matter, we can never hope for a complete reform of the system or of the conditions. Although Acts of Parliament give authority to municipal and other bodies to clear out places in which people live under conditions which are insanitary, and which make decency impossible and morality a miracle, yet very often those clearances cannot be effected because there is no other place to which the people can go. That is the great difficulty. You may have powers for pulling down rookeries in large towns, but until you have large powers for taking land and erecting other houses for the people you can never deal with the question satisfactorily. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will be a sufficiently good Radical while he is in power to try to deal with this matter on very radical lines, and not in the somewhat tinkering fashion hitherto adopted. I think there might be exhibited by the Board a spirit of greater sympathy with local authorities when they are attempting housing schemes. The difference between forty and sixty years must be measured, not in pounds, shillings, and pence, but in the amount of encouragement given to local authorities to try to do such work. Many a local authority which is now deterred from taking up certain public improvements would be encouraged to do so if they felt that the fullest possible latitude in connection with the repayment of loans would be given to them by the Local Government Board. In all cases where money is borrowed for a purpose directly affecting the health—and this question affects not only the health, but also the morality—of a community the widest possible extension to the period for repayment should be 632 given. I would therefore urge the right hon. Gentleman, when applications are made for loans in connection with such questions as housing, water supply, drainage, or the general health of a locality to consider them in a most liberal spirit. We all know what a bogey the question of rates is in a locality. There are thousands of villages in a condition which is absolutely disgraceful as regards sanitation. Why is not that condition altered? Because they happen to have grown a little faster than was expected, the sanitary arrangements are still somewhat primitive, and they are afraid of the amount it would put upon the rates if they attempted to cope with the evil. They therefore put off dealing with the matter from year to year, until the condition becomes so grossly bad that they are obliged by some outbreak to do what ought to have been done years before. If, however, the local authority had the knowledge that the Local Government Board was willing to give them every possible consideration with reference to the loan they would be obliged to raise, by that means, in many cases, a halfpenny or a penny on the rates being saved, they would be encouraged to do their duty by the people who live in the locality.
I wish to say a few words with regard to the schools. As the hon. Member opposite said, there has been a great deal of talking on this subject without knowledge. Sentiment has clouded the judgment of many people on this question. At different times there were different fashions. Some years ago we were all delighted at the building of barrack schools. We have learnt better since then, and we now want to get rid of the barrack schools. But that cannot be done in a day, or a month, or a session. They must be got rid of gradually, because there again we have the terrible question of the expense to the ratepayers staring us in the face. The right hon. Gentleman should encourage, as far as possible, a little more rapid movement in the direction of getting rid of the system, and if he could devise a method by which the distribution of the children under favourable conditions might be expedited, we should be glad to hear of it. It must not be forgotten that some of the other systems before the country also have 633 evils in them. The right hon. Gentleman is in the difficult position of having to go from one system, which is popularly described as "a great evil," to other systems which to a large extent contain the elements of evil. The system which generally commends itself is that of boarding out, but there is no system in which there might be greater abuses. It requires the most careful superintendence not only by the central inspectors, but by local friends of the children. If the children get into the hands of bad foster-parents they may be demoralised and debauched in every direction, and there may be worse evils than ever occurred in a barrack school. The system of boarding out cannot be applied suddenly, without efficient inspectors centrally, and instructed and well-informed inspectors locally—and they are not easy to get. Those who are most eager to do the work are not always the most capable. They have not the information and training necessary for good inspectors, and they are too apt to look at things merely on the surface, without enquiring into the way in which the children are brought up. As the boarding-out system is extended, as I hope it will be, I trust we shall have a more generous spirit of self-sacrifice on the part of citizens in rural districts, so that they will give up more of their time and attention to the careful inspection of boarded-out children and the homes in which they are placed.
But although the boarding-out system is an ideal one that we should like to extend everywhere if we could find suitable foster-parents and people to look after the children when they are placed out, there are other systems which have in them elements of good also. Of all systems yet devised I think the Sheffield plan comes next to that of boarding out. It does not congregate the children together in large numbers; it keeps them, as it were, members of the general community amongst which the isolated or scattered homes are placed. I do not like the system of building little pauper villages, with a dozen, or fifteen, or twenty houses, and a single school to which all the pauper children go. Although that is better than the barrack school system, it has the defect that the children are kept apart from the general community, and they grow up with a sense of separa- 634 tion. Our great object should be to take away all distinctive conditions, so that the children may mix with the general community, and grow up without any sense of shame, but with that self-respect and self-confidence which will enable them to succeed in life. Some children brought up under the poor law, even under the worst conditions, do succeed. I know of children who have been brought up in workhouses, and who have by strength of character attained eminent positions in the world. There is no barrier to the exceptional child under any system, but it is the, ordinary children we want to deal with and provide for, and such are more likely to grow up into good citizens if they live the ordinary life of the children of labourers or artizans. The system of scattered homes, with a good foster-parent in each, the children, by attending the board schools, having an opportunity of mixing with the children of the general population—growing up possibly with the same vices, but more often with the same virtues—is more likely to turn out good average citizens than any system which separates the children into a distinct class. I would therefore urge the right hon. Gentleman to do all he can to encourage not only boarding out, but also the system of small isolated or scattered homes.
I would also refer to a subject which has been raised only incidentally, namely, that of local inquiries. I wish the right hon. Gentleman would direct his attention, if he can—even to the extent, if necessary, of proposing legislation—to the doing away of a great many Local Government Board inquiries by delegating them to county councils in the various localities. There are many things which now require the intervention of the Local Government Board which might be done more expeditiously, and even more efficiently, by the county councils, because they would be done by people in the locality. Much of the delay in sanctioning schemes and promoting measures for the good of rural districts would be got rid of, and more general satisfaction would be attained. The unpopularity of the Local Government Board arises largely from the enormous amount of work which is thrown upon it. It is the Cinderella of Government 635 Departments. Everything that cannot be done anywhere else seems to be heaped upon the Local Government Board, and while I say it is the Cinderella—I do not say it of the right hon. Gentleman—it is also the worst dressed or worst endowed Government Department; it is the most ill-paid. It not only has bad pay, but an enormous amount of overwork. We must, therefore, deal gently with the tardiness in its work, and the delay in the execution of public schemes. But that delay could to a large extent be avoided by more delegation to local authorities. In cases where preliminary inquiries are held by the local authorities they might be regarded as final, without any second inquiry being held by the Board.
With regard to the sanitary aspects of the functions of the Local Government Board, I hope the right hon. Gentleman will do all he can to persuade county councils and others to appoint medical officers of health. Some county councils have wisely taken that step, and have endeavoured to co-ordinate the work of medical officers of health all over the rural area. The right hon. Gentleman has no power to force this step on the county councils, but I hope he will give them all the encouragement he can, not only in the appointment of medical officers, but also in the amalgamation of small areas which are insufficient for the useful exercise of health functions, and the creation of larger areas, so that you may have men giving more time to the sanitary duties of the rural areas. There as a great scope for reform in this matter, which is really of the utmost importance in local administration, and in the bringing about of better health and better conditions of labour.
§ SIR JOHN BRUNNER (Cheshire, Northwich)
said in 1888 he tried to persuade the present Home Secretary, who was at that time President of the Local Government Board, that it would be a great advantage to the public if medical officers of health had large districts, fair salaries, and no private practice. His experience since that time—and he had no doubt it was shared by a great many hon. Members who were concerned in local administration, especially in rural districts—had strongly confirmed the 636 opinion he then expressed. It was eminently desirable that medical officers of health should be men of independence. They would be very much more efficient in their work if they were able, without fear of persons, to put right anything in sanitary within their area. He had no doubt whatever that if this reform could be introduced a very great improvement in the public health would result, and any right hon. Gentleman who could bring it about would look back upon it with pleasure.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
There is no doubt that in the abstract there is much to be said for the view just advanced by the hon. baronet, but I think that in putting it before the Committee he somewhat lost sight of the fact that if the areas under the medical officers of health are to be made larger, it would be necessary to combine two or more districts, or the officer of one district would have an invasion of his sphere by the medical officer of another district, and that is not desirable. I can assure the hon. baronet, however, that anything we can possibly do to secure the devotion of the whole time of the official to his public duties and his adequate remuneration by the local authority is being done at present, and will always be done, whoever may happen to be responsible for the Department.
The hon. Member for the Ilkeston Division has been good enough to refer to the position of the Local Government Board with some sympathy. Not only did he refer to our penurious condition and the dilapidated state of our garments, but he also suggested that we had too much work to do, and that some of it might be delegated to the county councils. I think the hon. Gentleman has forgotten the experience of the past. More than one attempt has been made to carry out this principle of devolution. Like certain other subjects which have been discussed to day, this is a matter that is easily debated without a full appreciation of the difficulties surrounding it. An attempt was made to deal with the matter in 1889 by the issue of a provisional Order. That Order went to a Committee, but it had to be withdrawn, because it met with universal opposition. In 1897 there was a Committee of in- 637 vestigation into the organisation of the Department. That Committee was presided over by a very distinguished old Member of this House, Sir John Hibbert, and in their Report they referred to the Provisional Order of 1889, stating that the Committee had carefully considered the whole question, and had come to the conclusion that the opposition which prevented the passing of the Order of 1889 had in no way abated. I have had some experience of the opposition evoked by any attempt to confer on the county councils powers which are now held by a Government Department, and although it sounds very well in theory, it is one of the most difficult, if not impossible, things to put into practice. I am rather inclined to think that the hon. Member for South Islington would have something to say on the subject if we were to attempt to transfer to the county councils the duty of doing for non-county boroughs the work now done by the Local Government Board. The hon. Gentleman has suggested that if this transference of powers took place there would be an acceleration in the discharge of some of the duties of the Board. I very much question whether there would be. I do not know that we deserve all the blame we get for unnecessary delay. At all events, whether or not it would accelerate the business of the country, I am sure it would not be practicable to carry it out now because it would evoke to-day as much opposition as in 1889, if not more.
Upon a very important subject referred to by two or three speakers, my reply may be of the briefest kind. Allusions have been made to the question of poor law children, and I think it will be convenient if I reply, first of all, to the direct questions of the hon. Member for South Tyrone. I was very glad indeed to hear the terms in which he spoke of the Sutton Schools. A great deal has been said here and elsewhere in reference to the way in which poor law children should be treated, and I have listened with great respect to the hon. Gentleman who has asked that we should suspend our judgment, that we should not be in a hurry to condemn one particular system and set up another which might be imperfect, and that we should endeavour to examine them all, realising that there 638 are many other difficulties which have to be considered beyond those of finding the best way of training pauper children. These Sutton Schools were undoubtedly allowed to become overcrowded, although there were other reasons than that for the unsatisfactory state of things found there. I believe myself that there must be difficulties whatever system you adopt, be it the scattered home system, or the cottage home system, or the system of the village community. I was sorry to hear the latter called a pauper community Anybody who visits a village in which there are several of these homes will find very little that savours of pauperism. In the children there is very little of that sodden, depressed appearance characteristic of pauperism; they are as bright as any other children, they take a keen interest in everything going on around them, they are warmly attached both to their foster parents and their instructors, and, on the whole, there are abundant signs that that method of training is a satisfactory one. No doubt in the Sutton Schools there was a large number of children more than there was room for, and there were evils to which reference has been made. But what was the cause? You will find these difficulties either in the barrack schools or in the village communities, in scattered homes or in cottage homes, if there is not on the part of the Committee responsible for their supervision the most careful and energetic exercise of their powers from week to week, and even from day to day, and if, in addition to that, there is not a most careful and vigorous supervision by the Government Department whose inspectors are responsible for seeing that the work of these Committees is properly done. If you get supervision of that kind, and take heed that there is no care lessness, there is a choice between a variety of good systems rather than a necessity for the condemnation of several as bad and the selection of one only as good. But however this may be the Sutton Schools were condemned, and the South Metropolitan District has been dissolved. My hon. friend asks what is the present position of the South Metropolitan district. He is aware of the fact that an Order 639 deferring its dissolution was issued on the 20th September last. The date of the dissolution was postponed to the 25th March of this year, and the period has again been extended to 29th September next. My hon. friend expressed the hope that I should be able to say that that would be a final postponement. Knowing the history of this case himself, he did not suggest that it would be possible to make that declaration to-night. He knows, and the Committee will realise, that when we have issued an Order dissolving the district, when we have ordered certain schools to be closed or disposed of, or made use of for some other purpose, when we have done everything we can to secure that the guardians should take every possible step to make the necessary provision for the children who will require accommodation, that is everything that can be done and all that any prudent man would desire us to do. It is obvious that no greater disaster could happen than that these children should be suddenly turned out of the buildings without proper accommodation having been provided for them elsewhere. I hope there will be no further delay; there will certainly be none that can be avoided; and I believe myself, notwithstanding what has been said, that the guardians are as anxious as we are that as rapidly as possible new accommodation should be provided for the children. The five unions concerned are Camber-well, Greenwich, S. Olave's, Stepney, and Woolwich, and the number of children to be provided for are respectively 700, 800, 700 to 800, 330, and 350. The steps taken by the guardians of these unions to provide for the children are briefly as follows:—Camberwell.—Thirty scattered homes provided and occupied by 344 children. Site and premises purchased for central home.Greenwich.—Site purchased and buildings in course of erection to accommodate 224 boys and 300 girls. Receiving home provided.St. Olave's.—Site purchased and plans for 600 children generally approved, but plans not completed. Two receiving homes provided.Stepney.—Site purchased and plans for 350 children approved. Branch workhouse to be adapted as receiving home.Woolwich.—Site purchased and buildings for 304 children in course of erection. Receiving home provided.I think that is a satisfactory answer to the definite questions put to me by the hon. Member for South Tyrone. My 640 hon. friend and those who are interested in the question may rest assured that we shall adhere, generally speaking, to the principle laid down by my predecessor in regard to the numbers contained in one building and to the general lines adopted by him.
One or two statements have been made which are not quite correct in regard to the present state of things in the Metropolitan district. For instance, it has been said that, notwithstanding the declarations made by my predecessor, notwithstanding the fact that everybody who takes an interest in this question is agreed that it is desirable, if possible, to get the children out of the workhouse, there are in the Metropolitan district over 3,000 children in infirmaries and workhouses, and the hon. Member for Bolton asked, if this was the case in London, what must it be all over the country? As the hon. Member for South Tyrone reminded him, that total includes children under two years of age, of whom there are no less than 1,040. Surely the hon. Member does not suggest that children under two years of age should be taken from the workhouse and transferred to the district school or some other school? It is impossible to move them. In many cases they cannot be taken from their unfortunate mothers, and it is impossible to deal with them in any other way than that of retaining them in the workhouse until they are fit to be sent to some other home. In addition to that, it it must be remembered that there are the children known as "ins and outs"—the most difficult class we have to deal with in connection with the Poor Law—and the remand children. It must also be borne in mind that, happily, the guardians and managers are far more particular now than they used to be as to the condition of children before they are removed from the workhouses and taken to the district schools. The examination in respect of the particular diseases from which many of these children unfortunately suffer is stricter than it used to be. All this tends inevitably to the retention in the workhouse of a certain number of children, and must not be held as being an indication of a departure, on the part of either the guardians or the Department, from the rule laid down that so far as possible these children 641 should be brought up in one or other of those homes to which reference has been made, and that everything that is possible should be done to dissociate them from pauperising conditions, and to help them to become self-supporting citizens.
Another statement made was that an expenditure of £48,000 has been sanctioned in the last five years on barrack schools. That sum has been spent on eleven schools, only five of which accommodate so many as 600 children, and out of the £48,000 only £8,000 was spent on those five schools. The whole of the remaining £40,000 was spent on the other six schools, of which only three accommodate so many as 250 children. Although this expenditure has been sanctioned by the Department, no increase in the accommodation has been sanctioned in any one case. The rules laid down have been strictly observed, and expenditure has been sanctioned only when it was made clear to the satisfaction of the Department that without the expenditure the accommodation for the children would not be satisfactory or sufficient. In some cases the opportunity has been taken to issue a fresh certificate, and to reduce the numbers for which the schools are certified. In this case, again, the mere fact of the expenditure must not be held to indicate that there has been anything done to which my hon. friend and those who feel strongly on this subject would object.
The hon. Member for Bolton referred to the statistics of children boarded out. I think his figures were not quite accurate. He told us there were only 5 per cent. boarded out. He was referring, I think, only to children boarded out beyond the union. If he takes the figures of the children boarded out both within and without the union, he will find that they represent 15 per cent. of the pauper children. As compared with some of the figures he gave us of other countries, that may seem a small proportion. As to the system of boarding out, I agree that if you can secure the right kind of homes it is very difficult to improve upon the system. But I confess that I have myself very considerable respect for the large school system, at any rate for boys. After all, 642 what are these lads to do afterwards? Must they not be so brought up that they may be able to make their own way in the world? I am not now speaking of what is known as a barrack school for, say, 1,500 boys, but a good-sized school large enough to enable the managers or guardians who control it to equip it thoroughly with its cricket and football grounds, with its gymnasium, and with its swimming bath, so that the boys may be fully developed both in mind and body. Such a school can turn out lads trained so that they can go into the Army, the Navy, or other service of the country—lads not only physically fit to hold their own in the world, but probably better equipped than those who have not the same opportunities. I confess that what has remained in my mind when I have visited these marvellously equipped schools is not merely so much sympathy for the poor lads whose misfortunes have brought them there, but as the thought of what must be the feeling of the working man close by who, earning his living with great difficulty and labour, realises that his own boy has not the same advantages as the pauper boy.
§ MR. FLOWER
These pauper schools do not give anything like the same educational advantages as the board schools
§ MR. WALTER LONG
I am not quite sure that my hon. friend is not straining the case. I have done my best, and the Local Government Board have done their best to induce the Education Department to take over the inspection of the education of the children in the poor law schools, and the responsibility for that not being done does not rest with the Local Government Board. We are not prepared to hand over to the Education Department the supervision of the general management, control, and maintenance of these pauper children. That is as much the work of the Local Government Board as the supervision of the management of a workhouse or infirmary, but we shall be thankful if the Education Department will allow their inspectors to examine the children in poor law schools. I do not want to 643 argue the question of the elementary education given in those school sat the present time. The comparison of that education with the education given in board schools is one which I do not think my hon. friend the Member for Bradford is clearly entitled to make. It is a comparison which is almost an impossible one. The Committee must remember the conditions under which the majority of these boys live in their early days. The first thing to be done with them is not to give them ordinary elementary education, to teach them how to spell, and so on, but to remove the hideous traces of their early days, which are stamped upon their minds, and render them very different indeed from the children in the ordinary elementary schools. This is very often a more difficult and a more necessary task even than the training of their minds in the elementary schools.
I do not ask the Committee to express an opinion in favour of one scheme of dealing with pauper children or another. I do not ask them to say that one alone is good and the others are bad, but I do ask them to realise that there is a great deal of good in all of them so long as they are properly managed, that the burden on the rates is heavy, that the guardians have gone to great expense and trouble to provide for these children, and that unless it is certain that the present arrangements are unsatisfactory it is not reasonable to call upon the guardians suddenly to get rid of all the accommodation they have provided, and to provide something very different at a moment's notice My hon. friend the Member for Bradford may rest assured that we shall do all we can at the Local Government Board Office to strengthen and extend the system of cottage homes, and we shall do all we can to stimulate the system of boarding out. There are many difficulties to be encountered, and very often the number of these children to be provided for is very large. In some cases it is impossible to provide for them all in cottage homes. The Committee, however, may rely upon it that we shall do our best, and shall take care to see that whatever be the mode adopted in which the children are to be educated, everything that is possible will be done to give 644 them such an education both in mind and body as will enable them to go into the world properly equipped to hold their own and become self-supporting. That is the object which we have in view, and I think the Committee will be satisfied with what we are doing in regard to this subject.
I now turn to the motion made by my hon. friend the Member for South Islington, who has raised the question of the period of loans. Two or three suggestions have been made in the course of the debate, and one is that the period of loans should be extended from sixty to a hundred years. Another suggestion made is that the land should be treated as an asset and held in perpetuity. These are not suggestions upon which I can say anything now, because I have no power to give effect to them even if I desired to do so. Those suggestions could not be carried out without legislation, and therefore, as I am only responsible for the sins which I have committed, and not for anything with which I have no power to deal, I can only say that they are matters which do not come within the purview of my reply. I have to meet the charge which has been brought in perfectly courteous, plain, and unmistakable terms by the hon. Member for North Camberwell and other speakers, that the Local Government Board has been guilty of want of zeal and energy in the administration of the Acts in respect of the housing of the working classes. I should like to correct a mistake into which the hon. Member for North Camberwell fell when he referred to what had been said by my right hon. friend the Home Secretary. He stated that the Home Secretary had declared himself in favour of the extension of the period for the repayment of loans from forty years to sixty years.
§ DR. MACNAMARA
It was reported in The Times when the Home Secretary discussed the question of the housing of the working classes, and the right hon. Gentleman then stated that it would be advisable to extend the period from sixty to a hundred years.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
My right hon. friend is not here now, but he re- 645 quested me to correct that statement. What he did say was that the extension of the period to sixty years was worthy of consideration. The charge made is that the Department for which I am responsible has not shown sufficient zeal and energy in the administration of the Housing Acts, and the hon. Gentlemen who make that charge rely upon the period allowed for the repayment of loans. I will deal with the statements made by my hon. and learned friend the Member for Plymouth in a moment. My hon. friend the Member for South Islington in his interesting speech argued that the Local Government Board, in claiming the right to fix the period of repayment, have usurped the powers of the local authorities in this matter, and he says that it was intended by the Act of Parliament that the local authorities should fix for themselves their own period of repayment, provided it came within the statutory limit of sixty years, which was the maximum allowed by the Act.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
I must admit that the view is a new one to me. The Local Government Board have for a long time acted in the full belief that it is their duty not merely to consent to the period of repayment, but to decide what is the period to which they can properly consent, and to do so upon very carefully ascertained facts, and upon lines strictly laid down. The general principle upon which the Department has acted has been, in the first place, to consider the amount of the indebtedness of the local authority; and, in the second place, to consider the estimated life of the work upon which the money is to be expended. I do not think that in adopting this course we have shown any want of zeal or energy, which is the charge which has been brought against us. It is said that I ought to have used the powers of the Acts to their fullest extent in order to stimulate and encourage local authorities. I do not think that there is anything in the Act which will justify me or anybody else in my position in granting the maximum period stated in the Act for work which is not of the 646 most durable character. The view which the Department has always taken is one which I do not see any reason to depart from. The view of the Department has always been that the period of loans should be estimated according to the life of the work, and that the maximum period must be held to apply only to that which is the most durable part of the work; and that while the maximum period may be, and often is, allowed for the purchase of land, the shorter periods should be given to the different kinds of work according to the estimated life of the work. It has been said that our policy is shortsighted and unwise, but most certainly it has never been our desire by enforcing this principle to do anything to deter local authorities from doing good work. The reasons which have actuated me have also actuated my predecessors, and our only desire has been that local authorities should realise fully their indebtedness, and that in fixing the period of the loan every effort should be made to take care that it should be repaid within a reasonable time. The hon. Member for South Islington was inclined to cavil at my predecessor's description of himself as "a trustee for posterity." The description may provoke a laugh, but, none the less, that is the position of the President of the Local Government Board, and from it he cannot possibly escape. Not only that, but he is the only trustee that posterity has in this matter. He is the only person who can act for posterity, who can interfere between posterity and the men of to-day, who are naturally anxious to obtain opportunities for spending money to do good work, and are anxious at the same time that the conditions should be made as light as possible for themselves. Consequently they are naturally a little forgetful of what may happen to their successors. It is said that by spending this money we are presenting the generation to come with a valuable asset. No doubt the generation to come will inherit the accommodation provided for the surplus population of to-day, but is it fair to assume that the generation to come will have no difficulties of their own to deal with? Is the housing of the working classes as it is being carried out to-day going to settle 647 this question for all time? Are there to be no similar difficulties for those who come after us, and are they to find themselves saddled with a heavy debt which they will have to discharge while they are dealing with the difficulties which may arise in their own time? I have indicated the reasons which have guided the Department in this matter, and they seem to me reasons which are worthy of the thoughtful consideration of hon. Members of this House. If hon. Members will look carefully at the figures relating to the local indebtedness of this country, they cannot afford, I think, to treat them with contempt. I have before me the figures from the year 1874–75 to the year 1898–99. In the year 1874–75 the outstanding loans amounted to £92,820,000, and they had risen in the latter year to £276,229,000. That does not look as if want of zeal and energy on the part of the Local Government Board has deterred the local authorities from carrying out the works they desired to carry out. It shows, however, that the Local Government Board should not, without very grave consideration, and without proof being given that it is absolutely necessary in the interests of all classes of the community, depart from the conditions which they have laid down, and which, I believe, operate in the best interests of the community as a whole. The only change which it is competent for me to consider is the extension of the period of forty years to sixty years, and I think it can be shown that a great deal of what has been said here to-day upon this point comes well within the criticism passed upon this question by the hon. Member for North Islington. I will give only one very simple instance. Take a loan of £1,000 for forty years payable by means of a Sinking Fund at 3 per cent. The amount to be paid annually would be £43. Take the same sum for sixty years at the same rate of interest, and the amount repayable annually would be £36, or a difference only of £7. Now, what is the difference if you calculate the amount paid to the end of the period? What will be the total amount of the money which the locality would have to pay for the work under these two periods? If the loan is repaid in forty years that 648 £1,000 will have cost £1,720, but if the period of the loan is extended so as to be repaid in sixty years it will cost £2,160; the difference between these sums is the price which the locality would have to pay for the present advantage of only £7 per annum. I ask, is it worth while to depart from a principle which has long been laid down, and which, I think, has been in the general interests in order to pay so high a price for so small an advantage?
When I speak of local indebtedness, and urge that it is worthy of the attention of the House, I do not for a moment suggest that there is extravagance or folly on the part of local authorities. As long as the money is well spent I am glad that they realise their responsibility in regard to improving the conditions of life; but I think that those who plan great works and intend to incur great expenditure should do so with the wholesome check upon them of public opinion. Public opinion is likely to be more active if it knows that it will have to pay for the tune which it calls itself, and if it understands that public opinion cannot call the tune for somebody else to pay. I think, therefore, that the principle of repayment of loans within a reasonable period ought to be maintained, and that this principle is in the interest of sound local finance. The hon. Member for South Islington told us that the municipalities were unanimous upon this subject, but that certainly is not the result of a careful investigation which I have made. We have been accused in this matter of want of zeal and enterprise, but it is hardly realised what a short period has elapsed since the Act of last session amending the Housing of the Working Classes Act became law. It is very hard for an outsider who has no practical experience to find out where the difficulties really exist. I issued a circular to 266 local authorities making inquiries as to difficulties found to exist in dealing with the housing of the working classes, in the hope that the replies might assist in the settlement of this important question. I have received 232 replies, and, so far from the local authorities being unanimous, only 91 recommended the extension of the period of the loan as desirable and necessary.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
In forty-five out of these ninety-one oases they had never had a report made to them by the medical officer of health, and the first condition necessary for putting into effect Part I. of the Housing of the Working Classes Act had never existed in these cases, and although they had never faced the problem, they recommended that the period should be extended. One only out of the 232 gave as a reason for not having done anything in their own area the short period of repayment. I sympathise with the difficulties with which local authorities are confronted, and I will do anything which I properly and reasonably can do to help them and to stimulate them, in order to show that I am in sympathy with the good work which they are doing. But, as trustee, I cannot do that at the expense of other people who cannot be consulted, and who will have to pay for the extension of time. I admit the justice of the complaints as to the existence of deplorable slums in many towns, and I admit the necessity for active work, but I cannot admit that the only remedy is the concession of a long period for the repayment of loans. I think we must ask the local authorities to show clearly that they exercise the most rigid economy in regard to the purchase of the land, and in the erection of sanitary, wholesome houses, in which the poor can live at rents which they could pay. I think we are entitled to ask, before we are called upon to accede to any extension of the period for a loan, that a locality shall make it clear to us that they have exhausted all their ingenuity before asking our permission to allow them to charge the coming generation for work which is largely for the benefit of this generation.
My hon. friend the Member for Plymouth referred also to some departmental shortcomings, and he said that when a local authority had in hand a housing scheme which satisfied the requirements of the local building bye laws the Local Government Board's inspector imposed extra conditions. I can assure my hon. and learned friend 650 that this is not the case. The inspector has no discretion which enables him to impose conditions, and he has to act under the instructions of the Local Government Board. The requirements of the Local Government Board are that there should be ample open space in the front and in the rear of dwellings erected for the working classes, that the dwellings should receive a reasonable amount of sunshine and air, and so forth. Those are the kind of things which, if they are not provided for in the bye-laws, have to be insisted upon by the Local Government Board. I have gone into this matter closely with my inspectors and experts, and I cannot find any justification for the charge that the Department, through its inspectors or in any other way, has unduly interfered with local authorities who have applied for loans. The Local Government Board consider it to be their duty to see that all these things are provided for, so that the buildings may be satisfactory in regard to reasonable durability and sanitary conditions, in order to protect the health of the people who have to live in them. I do not think the hon. Member will say that we ought to hold our hands when we think that it is necessary to insist upon these matters in the interests of public health.
I am afraid my hon. friend the Member for South Islington will not consider my reply very satisfactory, and I can only tell him that, in conjunction with my right hon. friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department, I am now considering the whole question of the housing of the working classes. I have not yet had the full results of the inquiries to which I have alluded, the replies being very voluminous and very lengthy. Up to the present I have only gone into some of the smaller points. I am deeply impressed, and the Government are deeply impressed, with a sense of the evils arising from overcrowding, and we are anxious to do everything we can to help local authorities in their endeavours to cope with their difficulties. I can assure hon. Members that I shall only be too grateful to them if they will furnish me with reliable information as to any shortcomings of my Department or any action which may appear to them to restrain 651 unduly the work of local authorities. I do not see the hon. and gallant Member for West Newington in his place. He has made a very serious attack upon me in connection with my refusal to sanction the appointment of Dr. Tebb as medical officer for Penge. I do not think that this question requires more than a passing word from me, for it has already been dealt with by my hon. friend the Member for the London University, and also by the hon. Member for the Ilkeston Division. So long as I am responsible for the office which I now hold no power on earth will induce me to sanction the appointment as a medical officer of health of a gentleman who holds the views of Dr. Tebb with regard to vaccination. It is impossible to imagine what disasters might happen in a great city like this, liable as we are at any moment to terrible forms of infectious disease, if our medical officers are in doubt as to the efficacy of the only method of dealing effectively with one particular disease. I should be entirely unworthy of my trust if I did not take action in such a matter.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT (Monmouthshire, W.)
I think the House has heard with great satisfaction the general statement which has just been made by the right hon. Gentleman. He is always frank and practical, and always firm in his own opinions. I think the House of Commons has spent a very useful after noon considering some very important social questions. I should not have interposed, even for these very few minutes, had it not been that I desire to express my entire satisfaction with the language which the right hon. Gentleman has expressed in his capacity as "a trustee for posterity." I wish that all his colleagues would act as trustees for posterity, because the doctrine he has laid down with reference to local loans is applicable in a still higher degree to loans of another description, which are not limited to sixty years, but which are permanent loans. I would remind the Committee that there is another Department called the Treasury, who are also trustees for posterity. When the right hon. Gentleman pointed out how it was a violation of his trust to allow any local 652 body to cast upon posterity too large a share of the burden, I could have wished that his words were printed in letters of gold and hung up in the Treasury for the perusal of the First Lord of the Treasury. I should like, if the right hon. Gentleman will permit me, to borrow his opinions, and, if possible, to imitate the language he has applied to local loans, in regard to loans of a much larger description, where we find that the amount to be paid by the present generation constitutes an enormous proportion of the amount borrowed. I humbly desire to approve and to emphasise the doctrine laid down by the right hon. Gentleman as the trustee of posterity. If you are going to apply the maxims of prudence and unselfishness to the local communities of this country, I hope that the nation at large may be guided by the same principles, and act with the same prudence and with the same regard for others which the right hon. Gentleman, as the trustee for posterity, has, I think, so wisely expressed, and which I hope he will always adhere to.
§ SIR ALBERT ROLLIT
said that though the right hon. Gentleman had not by any means satisfied him, still he had met the case so frankly, fairly, and fully that he should not put the House to the trouble of dividing on a mere technical motion to reduce his salary.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question again proposed,
§ MR. CORRIE GRANT (Warwickshire, Rugby)
said he wished to move a reduction of the Vote in order to call attention to the attitude of the right hon. Gentleman to the case of Dr. Tebb. That gentleman was chosen as a medical officer, and because he held certain opinions, and for no other reason, the Local Government Board had refused to sanction his appointment. It was not suggested that he would not carry out the duties of the office thoroughly and satisfactorily, and therefore the man was to be punished merely for holding opinions to which he had con- 653 scientiously come. The right hon. Gentleman did not suggest that he would have anything to do with the carrying out of the law with relation to vaccination. The Vaccination Acts were not in the hands of the medical officer at all.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Vote be reduced by £100."—(Mr. Corrie Grant.)
§ Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £130,169, be granted for the said Service."
§ MR. WALTER LONG
said that a medical officer would have a great deal to do with vaccination if his district were invaded by an epidemic of malignant smallpox.
§ MR. CORRIE GRANT
said that if an epidemic of smallpox broke out in a district, the duty of enforcing the vaccination law would not rest upon the medical officer, but upon the vaccination officer. The right hon. Gentleman was punishing Dr. Tebb because he had written a book against vaccination. We seemed to be passing from the tyranny and despotism of the priests to the tyranny and despotism of the doctors, and he really thought that the despotism of the doctors was worse than that of the priests. He protested against the attempt to deal in this way with a man for holding his own opinions. He moved the reduction of the Vote by £100.
§ MR. CHARLES HOBHOUSE (Bristol, E.)
said the President of the Local Government Board had told them that he was one of the trustees of posterity in the matter of local loans. He wanted him to take a further step in that direction. The Local Government Board were extremely critical in the matter of local loans so far as those loans were confined to paper, and the local authorities, before they had power to borrow, were forced in nearly every case to go to the Local Government Board and obtain sanction for the sum which they proposed to raise. But the moment the 654 loan was sanctioned there was no check upon the local authority for spending that money in accordance with the specifications which they had presented to the Local Government Board. If they were to have interference by the Local Government Board, that interference ought to be complete. They should not only inquire whether the proposals of the local authority were reasonable, and whether the specification which they were required to put before the Board was sufficient, but they ought to see that the money borrowed by the local authority was really spent in carrying out the proposals made. If it was right that the local authority should be controlled entirely by the Local Government Board in the question of loans, the local authority should be controlled in the spending of the loans. The right hon. Gentleman had pointed out that local indebtedness was increasing exceedingly fast, and had indeed assumed alarming proportions, but so long as the money was well spent it need not alarm us very much. If there was no guarantee that the locality, and to a certain extent the nation, got an actual return for the money spent, there was a chance of the money being wasted and a debt created for which there were no corresponding assets. He hoped that before the debate closed the President of the Local Government Board would give the Committee an indication whether or not he would act upon the suggestion now made.
§ COLONEL BLUNDELL (Lancashire, Ince)
said he was anxious to draw the attention of the President of the Local Government Board to one subject with reference to local loans. Cases had arisen in which a local body had been obliged by the Local Government Board to build a new workhouse. The workhouse would last for several generations. It seemed hard that the generation which had to build it and incur a large loan should be obliged to pay for the whole of the debt which it had incurred, not by its own wish, but by the order of the Local Government Board.
§ MR. J. A. PEASE (Essex, Saffron Walden)
asked the President of the Local 655 Government Board what the views of the Board were in regard to the recommendations which were made by a Committee two years ago in connection with the providing of cottage homes for the deserving poor. In the year before last he, in conjunction with hon. Members on the other side of the House, introduced a Bill which had for its object the securing of some amelioration of the lot of the aged and deserving poor who now came under the operation of the poor law, and who had nothing better to look forward to than a pauper's grave. The Bill was sent to a Select Committee, and so impressed were the members of that Committee with the evidence received from experts in different parts of the United Kingdom, as well as of those who had experience abroad, that they made the following recommendations—Some of the boards of guardians had adopted some of the recommendations, but some were not so progressive as others. He desired that the recommendations should be made compulsory. In a constituency such as he represented, men could not be expected with 12s. a week to bring up a family and save sufficient for their old age, and if old age pensions could not be given the Government might at least see that proper recognition should be given to the deserving poor under the poor law system, and adopt the recommendations of his Committee. He asked whether the Local 656 Government Board could see their way to carry out the recommendations which were unanimously made by the Committee.
- "1. That it is desirable so to classify the inmates of work houses that the aged and respectable poor shall not be forced to mix with those whose character or habits are bed or disagreeable.
- "2. That in order to make room for proper classification, all children, other than infants, be provided for outside and apart from the workhouse premises.
- "3. That it should be the duty of the county councils to provide suitable accommodation in separate institutions for the proper treatment of all pauper imbeciles and epileptics.
- "4. That the aged and deserving poor, so far as it is possible, should receive adequate outdoor relief, and that when they are in the workhouse they should constitute a special class and receive special treatment and privileges.
- "5. That guardians should provide special cottage homes within the unions, or other suitable accommodation for married couples and respectable old persons whose poverty is not their own fault but the result of misfortune."
§ MR. BROADHURST (Leicester)
said that before the last General Election a circular was issued to boards of guardians on the question of the better treatment of the deserving and aged poor, but he feared that it had had very little effect. It would, he understood, be out of order to suggest legislation on the subject when debating the question of Supply, but it could not be out of order to suggest that another circular should be issued by the Local Government Board instructing the boards of guardians to give adequate relief to aged persons outside the workhouse. When the circular was sent out their minds were excited over the forthcoming election, and they were not free to give it the attention it required. Why should not the Department issue another circular now that the elections were over and when they had more time and better opportunity to study the question and apply their minds to its solution? If the President of the Local Government Board would do that he was sure he would do a great and benevolent work for the aged poor who were outside the workhouse. The Government had had one splendid opportunity this session of doing a great work to assist the meritorious poor. They might, if they had so willed, have induced their friends in another place to have passed the Out-door Relief (Friendly Societies) Bill, and which had passed this House. That Bill provided that members of friendly societies should have relief from the poor law funds, irrespective of the relief they enjoyed from their friendly societies. He did not blame the Colonial Secretary for disappearing from the House when he saw the drift the discussion was taking, but if that right hon. Gentleman had stayed it would have been entertaining to have heard his views on this question, had he cared to assist in the debate.
§ DR. SHIPMAN (Northampton)
said he felt it necessary to rise and enter his protest against what the Local Government Board had done in regard to Dr. 657 Tebb. That gentleman had been appointed by the local authority as medical officer, and his appointment had not been confirmed by the Local Government Board because he had written a work against the efficacy of vaccination. He could not conceive of anything meaner than that. Admitting that the gentleman had written a book against the efficacy of vaccination, that would not prevent him from acting honestly in the administration of the law. Many men certainly held private opinions which might conflict with their public duty. He had heard hon. Gentlemen say that they had voted for the Government Education Bill, not because they believed in the Education Bill, but because it was a Government measure. Again, they had only to think of South Africa to-day, where there were many men engaged in duties which were abhorrent to them, but which they sternly fulfilled because those duties had been cast upon them by those in authority over them. He had never previously troubled the House with any observations, and he craved the indulgence of the House for having intervened in the debate.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
said that a question had been raised by the hon. Member for East Bristol as to the control over the local loans. That was a matter which ought to be brought under the notice of the auditor. The hon. Member for the Saffron Walden Division had appealed to him in reference to the Aged Poor Circular, and so also had the hon. member for Leicester. He did not think it was necessary to issue another circular. He could not agree that the boards of guardians had neglected their duty in respect to the accommodation of the aged poor. As a matter of fact, the boards of guardians throughout the country had done their best to carry out the recommendations of the Circular issued last year. When the hon. Member for Saffron Walden talked so lightly of progressive boards of guardians, he ignored the fact that many of these boards governed very small areas, where
§ it was impossible to impose an assessment of even £200 or £300 without inflicting a heavy burden on the people, who were not much better off than those in the workhouse. The Department did all they could to lighten the burden and the grievances of the deserving poor whose poverty was not the result of anything but their misfortune. As to Dr. Tebb, he did not think it necessary to add another word to what he had already stated, and he would endeavour to bear with equanimity the condemnation of the hon. Member for Northampton.
§ MR. CHANNING (Northamptonshire, E.)
said he would be glad to know whether the Committee presided over by the hon. and learned Member for Wigtownshire had yet reported in regard to the use of preservatives and colouring matters, and whether the Local Government Board would be able to deal with that Report in the immediate future. This was not only of urgent importance because of the excessive use of preservatives, which had become a serious matter, but also the Report might give the Local Government Board an opportunity of checking the misuse of colouring matter, and so of undoing the error, in his opinion, in the Food and Drugs Bill of not forbidding the colouring of margarine to imitate butter.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
said that the Report of that Committee had not yet reached him, but he had been informed that it would be in his hands in a few days, when he would take it into his serious consideration, and deal with it promptly. To any of the Committee's recommendations which the Department thought they could carry out with advantage the hon. Member might rest assured the most earnest attention would be given.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 93; Noes, 171. (Division List No. 336.)661
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.||Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Boland, John|
|Allen, Chas. P. (Glouc., Stroud||Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Brigg, John|
|Ambrose, Robert||Beil, Richard||Broadhurst, Henry|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Leamy, Edmund||Price, Robert John|
|Burt, Thomas||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Reddy, M.|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Levy, Maurice||Redmond, J. E. (Waterford)|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Lewis, John Herbert||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Lundon, W.||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Cogan, Denis J.||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Rigg, Richard|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Mansfield, Horace Rendall||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Crean, Eugene||Mooney, John J.||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Cullinan, J.||Murphy, John||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Delany, William||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Newnes, Sir George||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarshire)|
|Doogan, P. C.||Nolan, Col John P.(Galway, N.)||Sullivan, Donal|
|Duffy, William J.||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Tennant, Harold John|
|Duncan, J. Hastings||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipp'r'y Mid.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Tully, Jasper|
|Fenwick, Charles||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Ffrench, Peter||O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)||White, George (Norfolk)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||White, P. (Meath, North)|
|Flynn, James Christopher||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Gilhooly, James||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||O'Dowd, John||Wilson, F. W. (Norfolk, Mid)|
|Harmsworth, R. Leicester||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Wilson, Hy. J. (Yorks, W. R.)|
|Hayden, John Patrick||O'Kelly, Jas. (Roscommon, N.)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E.)||O'Malley, William||Young, Samuel|
|Horniman, Frederick John||O'Mara, James|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonsh.)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Corrie Grant and Dr. Shipman.|
|Joyce, Michael||O'Shee, James John|
|Kennedy, Patrick Jamas||Partington, Oswald|
|Lambert, George||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)|
|Langley, Batty||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Jackson, Rt. Hn. Wm. Lawies|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Davies, Sir H. D. (Chatham)||Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Denny, Colonel||Johnston, William (Belfast)|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Dewar, TR (T'rH'mlets, S. Geo.||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop)|
|Arrol, Sir William||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Kimber, Henry|
|Bain, Col. James Robert||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||King, Sir Henry Seymour|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore||Laurie, Lieut.-General|
|Balcarres, Lord||Duke, Henry Edward||Lawson, John Grant|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Fardell, Sir T. George||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. G. W. (Leeds)||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.||Leveson-Gower, Fredk. N. S.|
|Balfour, Maj. KR (Christchurch||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen B.||Fisher, William Hayes||Long, Rt. Hn Walter (Bristol, S.)|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol)||Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Lonsdale, John Brownlee|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Foster, P. S. (Warwick, S. W.)||Loyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Bigwood, James||Foster, Sir Wal. (Derby Co.)||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth|
|Blundell, Col. Henry||Gardner, Ernest||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred|
|Bond, Edward||Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nairn||Macdona, John Cumming|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hn. St. John||Gore, Hn. G. R. C. Ormsby-(Sal'p||Maconochie, A. W.|
|Brookfield, Colonel Montagu||Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby (Linc.)||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire|
|Butcher, John George||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John E.||Majendie, James A. H.|
|Caldwell, James||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriessh|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Greene, W. Raymond-(Cambs.||Melville, Beresford Valentine|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Groves, James Grimble||Mitchell, William|
|Cavendish, V C W. (Derbyshire)||Hain, Edward||Molesworth, Sir Lewis|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Hall, Edward Marshall||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.)||Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord G(Middx||More, R. Jasper (Shropshire)|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (W'rc'r||Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robt. Wm.||Morrell, George Herbert|
|Chapman, Edward||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Morris, Hon. Martin Henry F.|
|Charrington, Spencer||Haslam, Sir Alfred S.||Morrison, James Archibald|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Heaton, John Henniker||Morton, Arth. H. A. (Deptford|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Helme, Norval Watson||Mount, William Arthur|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Henderson, Alexander||Murray, Rt. Hn. A Graham (Bute|
|Collings, Right Hon. Jesse||Higginbottom, S. W.||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)|
|Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas||Hoare, E. Brodie (Hampstead||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Hope, J. F. (Sheffild, Brightside||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Hoult, Joseph||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Howard, J. (Kent, Faversham)||Pease, Alfred E. (Cleveland)|
|Peel, Hn. Wm. Robert Wellesley||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Pemberton, John S. G.||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Percy, Earl||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)||Wills, Sir Frederick|
|Pierpoint, Robert||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)||Wilson, A Stanley (Yorks. E. R.|
|Plummer, Walter R.||Simeon, Sir Barrington||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Smith, Hon. W. F. D.(Strand)||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Pretyman, Ernest George||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.)|
|Purvis, Robert||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M' Taggart||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R.(Bath|
|Pym, C. Guy||Stone, Sir Benjamin||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Quilter, Sir Cuthbert||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Randles, John S.||Sturt, Hon. Humphrey Napier||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Ratcliff, R. F.||Tritton, Charles Ernest||Wylie, Alexander|
|Reid, James (Greonock)||Valentia, Viscount||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Rentoul, James Alexander||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Ridley, Hn. M. W. (Staly bridge||Warr, Augustus Frederick||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Ridley, S. Forde (BethnalGreen||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney|
|Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Webb, Colonel William George|
|Ropner, Colonel Robert||Welby, Lt.-Col. ACE(Taunton|
|Royds, Clement Molyneux||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-|
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. TULLY (Leitrim, S.)
said there were one or two questions to which he desired to call attention with regard to this Vote. It would no doubt be objected that as an Irish Member he had no interest in English Local Government, but inasmuch as some of the proceedings of the English Local Government had been made precedents for imposing Acts on Ireland to which he and others who thought with him objected, he was interested in this matter. With regard to the Poor Law Officers' Superannuation Act, there was a question to which attention had not been called. According to the Local Government Report of 1896, the total amount voted for superannuation was £6,000, and the year after this Act was passed, for which the officials of the Local Government Board were responsible, the amount jumped up to £19,000; now the charge for pensions amounted to £74,000, and at the end of thirty years the English ratepayers would have a burden cast upon them of something like £320,000, of which the contribution of the poor law officials was only £47,000. Recently an attempt was made to place a similar burden upon Ireland. He complained that this burden had been placed upon the people of this country without proper information having been vouchsafed to them, and believed that if the English ratepayers knew that these proceedings would eventually involve a charge of a quarter of a million they would not tolerate such a state of things for a moment. Poor law officers were generally astute men, 662 and made themselves useful to Members of Parliament, who, however anxious to keep down the rates, shrank from making so many permanent enemies in their constituencies. He complained that the Local Government Board auditors had taken no steps to draw attention to this matter.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. GRANT LAWSON,) Yorkshire, N. R., Thirsk
, upon a point of order, asked whether the hon. Member could discuss upon this Vote an Act which was not passed by the Local Government Board, and one which they did not administer.
§ MR. CALDWELL (Lanarkshire, Mid)
pointed out that the Local Government Board were responsible for seeing that the ratepayers were not prejudicially affected. At present the ratepayers were not paying anything like their fair share of the pension fund, which was part of the salary of the poor law officials, but an enormous burden was continually increasing year by year, and it was the duty of the Local Government Board to inform Parliament as to the condition of this fund, and they were not doing their duty in allowing it to go on without doing so.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN
The Local Government Board could not control the auditors or the levy of rates, and the hon. Gentleman would not be in order in referring to those matters.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 168; Noes, 77. (Division List No. 337.)665
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.||Majendie, James A. H.|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Maxwell, W. J. H (Dumfriesshire|
|Allen, Charles P. (Glouc., Stroud||Finch, George H.||Melville, Beresford Valentine|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Molesworth, Sir Lewis|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Fisher, William Hayes||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Montagu, Hon. J. Scott(Hants.)|
|Arrol, Sir William||Foster, Philip S.(Warwick, S. W.||More, Rbt. Jas. (Shropshire)|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||Morrell, George Herbert|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Gardner, Ernest||Morris, Hn. Martin Henry F.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r)||Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nairn||Mount, William Arthur|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. G. W. (Leeds)||Gore, HnG. R. C. Ormsby-(Salop||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)|
|Balfour, Maj K. R(Christchurch||Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby-(Linc)||Murray, Col Wyndham (Bath.|
|Bathurst, Hn. Allen Benjamin||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Bell, Richard||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)|
|Bigwood, James||Greene, W. Raymond-(Cambs.)||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Groves, James Grimble||Peel, Hn. Wm. Robert W.|
|Bond, Edward||Hain, Edward||Pemberton, John S. G.|
|Brookfield, Colenel Montagu||Hall, Edward Marshall||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Bull, William James||Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord G (Midd'x||Plummer, Walter R.|
|Burt, Thomas||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Butcher, John George||Harmsworth, R. Leicester||Purvis, Robert|
|Caldwell, James||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Pym, C. Guy|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Haslam, Sir Alfred S.||Quilter, Sir Cuthbert|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Helme, Norval Watson||Randles, John S.|
|Cavendish, V. C. W.(Derbyshire||Henderson, Alexander||Ratcliff, R. F.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J.(Birm.||Higginbottom, S. W.||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r||Hoare, Edw. Brodie (Hampstead||Rentoul, James Alexander|
|Chapman, Edward||Hope, J. F.(Sheffield, Brightside||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Charrington, Spencer||Horniman, Frederick John||Ridley, Hon. M. W.(Stalybridge>|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Howard, J. (Kent, Faversham)||Ridley, S. Forde (BethnalGreen)|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Jackson, Rt. Hon. Wm. Lawies||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs)|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Ropner, Colonel Robert|
|Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Laurie, Lieut.-General||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Lawson, John Grant||Samuel, S. M. (Whiteehapel)|
|Davies, Sir HoratioD.(Chatham||Legge, Col. Hn. Heneage||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan)||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Denny, Colonel||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Dewar, T. R.(T'rHaml'ts, S Geo.||Leveson-Gower, Fred. N. S.||Stanley, Lord (Lanes.)|
|Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Lewis, John Herbert||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Stroyan, John|
|Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Bristol, S.)||Strutt, Hon. Chas. Hedley|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Sturt, Hn. Humphry Napier|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir William Hart||Macdona, John Gumming||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire||Valentia, Viscount|
|Warr, Augustus Frederick||Willox, Sir John Archibald||Wylie, Alexander|
|Wason, John Cathcart(Orkney)||Wills, Sir Frederick|
|Webb, Col. William George||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C. E (Taunton)||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.|
|Whitmore, Chas. Algernon||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Whittaker, Thomas Palmer||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Abraham, William (Cork. N. E.)||Grant, Corrie||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Ambrose, Robert||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E.)||O'Malley, William|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Jones, William (Carnarvonsh.)||O'Mara, James|
|Boland, John||Joyce, Michael||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Kennedy, Patrick James||O'Shee, James John|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Lambert, George||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Cameron, Robert||Langley, Batty||Price, Robert John|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Leamy, Edmund||Reddy, M.|
|Cawley, Frederick||Levy, Maurice||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Lundon, W.||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Cogan, Denis J.||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Rigg, Richard|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Crean, Eugene||Mansfield, Horace Rendall||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Cullinan, J.||Mooney, John J.||Sinclair, Capt. John (Forfarshire|
|Delany, William||Murphy, John||Spencer, Rt. Hn. C. R (Northants|
|Dewar, John A.(Inverness-sh.)||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Sullivan, Donal|
|Dillon, John||Newnes, Sir George||Trevelyan, Chas. Philips|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Nolan, Col. John P.(Galway, N.||White, Patrick (Meath, North|
|Doogan, P. C.||Nolan, Joseph (Louth South)||Whitley, J. H. (Hallifax)|
|Duffy, William J.||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary Mid)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Fenwick, Charles||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.||Young, Samuel|
|Ffrench, Peter||O'Connor, James(Wicklow, W.)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Tully and Mr. Thomas O'Donnell.|
|Flynn, James Christopher||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)|
|Gilhooly, James t||O'Dowd, John|
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £26,094, be granted to His Majesty to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1902, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Board of Agriculture, and to pay certain Grants-in-Aid."
§ MR. LAMBERT (Devonshire, South Molton)
said he was glad this Vote had been reached, because everyone would admit there were several important matters which had arisen since the Vote was granted last year. The first question he wanted to discuss was the fixing of the milk standard. The right hon. Gentleman's predecessor appointed a strong Committee to consider whether it was desirable to fix a milk standard or not. That committee came to the conclusion that it was, but the conduct of the right hon. Gentleman had not convinced him that he had shown due regard for the 666 conclusions to which the Committee had come. The majority report of the committee recommended that the milk standard should be fixed at 12 per cent. of the total solids, but the right hon. Gentleman had not taken the advice of the Committee in this matter, and had practically brought the standard down to the lowest recommendation made except one, and that one was only lower for the months of March to June inclusive. He thought if a standard were fixed at all the milk standard should be fairly high, otherwise milk would be watered down. The right hon. Gentleman's standard was 11.5 per cent. upon the total solids instead of the 12 per cent. recommended. He had not been able to gather, but hoped to do so, the advice which guided the right hon. Gentleman in fixing this standard; but he observed, from the evidence given before the committee, that all the middlemen were of opinion, which was not surprising, that the lower standard should be fixed. 667 The committee found by practical tests that the average milk of the country-contained from 12.5 to 12.8 per cent. of solids, and therefore he could not understand why the right hon. Gentleman had reduced the standard to 11.5. He pleaded in this matter for the poorer classes, who were defrauded by unscrupulous dealers, who, after receiving the milk pure from the farmer, mixed it with water and separated milk.
The first report of the Intelligence Division of the Board of Agriculture had only just been placed in the hands of hon. Members. In the first place, he asked whether it would not be possible to receive those reports earlier than six months after the period to which they referred had elapsed. According to that report, the Board had endeavoured to assist the local authorities in the administration of the Food and Drugs Act. Some time ago it was thought to be quite sufficient if one sample per thousand of the population was taken. He desired to ask whether the power conferred on the Board by the Food and Drugs Act of 1899 had succeeded in bringing the local authorities up to the mark in the way of taking samples of food to prevent adulteration. Nothing was so clear as the fact that if samples were frequently taken in the local markets fraud and adulteration were put down to an enormous extent. In regard to margarine factories there were 2,229 rooms registered, but only 800 were visited by inspectors. This inspection was a valuable means of preventing the fraud of margarine being sold as butter, and he would like to know why 1,400 of these factories had not been visited. As to the prosecutions under the Merchandise Marks Act, practically the whole of them had been for the sale of American bacon for English or Irish. But there were frauds other than that in connection with bacon. Many shops in the metropolis professed to sell Devonshire or Welsh mutton, but, unless he was much mistaken, no such mutton was ever seen in them, and he should like to see the provisions of the Act put into force in regard to other products than bacon or lard. If an attempt was made to put into force the Act with regard to manures and fertilisers, it practically meant a declaration of war on the manure merchants, because they had to be informed that 668 samples were to be taken, and invited either to attend or to send representatives which naturally showed the buyer had a suspicion he was being defrauded, He suggested that the conditions might be so relaxed as to allow a man for his own information to send samples of manure to the district analyst at the same fee, without any consequences attaching to the seller of the manure. The buyer desired, without this declaration of war, to be able to find out whether the seller of manure was selling him manure of the proper standard or not.
The most serious matter the Committee had to consider on this Vote was that of swine fever. The disease had increased to an enormous extent. It was said in 1893 that if only there was uniformity of practice swine fever would be suppressed. The right hon. Gentleman's predecessors had taken steps to eradicate the disease, but it was still very flourishing. The last half-year had produced more outbreaks than any six months during the previous four years, and probably even a longer period. The lowest this year for one week was 28 outbreaks, but on 27th April there were 152. That was a very serious state of affairs. It was not spasmodic; it was a continual increase. In the first twenty-six weeks of this year there had been 2,115 outbreaks, while the average for the first six months of the last four years was only about 1,400. The Board of Agriculture had introduced a new policy, namely, that of not slaughtering pigs which had come in contact with diseased animals. In connection with the 2,115 outbreaks in the last six months only 10,231 pigs had been slaughtered, but when the average was 1,400 outbreaks 21,237 pigs were slaughtered. He did not know whether that had anything to do with the increased prevalence of the disease, or whether motives of policy or economy had dictated the change of practice. The figures for the last quarter were positively appalling. There were actually 500 more outbreaks than in the previous quarter, and 100 more than in the previous nine months. It was not as if a large amount of money had not been spent in the matter. The cost of endeavouring to suppress swine fever in 1898–99 was £112,000; in 1899–00, £71,500; in 1900–01, about £52,000; 669 but while the expenditure had gone down the number of cases unfortunately had considerably gone up. The right hon. Gentleman had stated in answer to a question that he was not satisfied that the local veterinary surgeons adequately carried out the instructions of the Board, and that the magistrates did not always deal with cases in such a way as to discourage the evasion of the law. But the same veterinary surgeons and the same magistrates were in existence now as when the disease was much less prevalent, so that that was hardly a valid reason for the increase. He urged the right hon. Gentleman to endeavour to stamp out the disease. The existence of swine fever was most harrassing to men living in rural districts. They had to put up with many restrictions; they were unable to move their animals from one part of the country to another; and it was a very serious matter indeed to small holders who owned pigs and did not know what regulations were brought into force
He would cite a little history of the year 1893 to show what gentlemen they were on that side of the House. In June of that year, when the Home Rule debate was in full swing, the adjournment of the House was moved by one of the Gentlemen now on the Treasury Bench, in order to call attention to the increasing prevalence of swine fever in many parts of the country, and the persistent neglect of the Government to take measures to check it. From the 1st January to 20th May, 1893, there were only 800 outbreaks, while in the same period this year there were 1,565. If the present Opposition had been at all infected with the spirit of obstruction—or of that "intelligent interest" in swine fever—that animated the right hon. Gentleman (because he voted in the division) they would have moved the adjournment of the House several times over, but they had preferred to take the more constitutional course of discussing the matter on the Estimates.
Other diseases also had increased. In the first half of the present year there had been 360 cases of anthrax and 638 cases of glanders, the average of the last four years being 287 and 428 respectively, and there had also been twelve cases of foot-and-mouth disease. At the time when the right hon. Gentleman 670 was appointed Minister for Agriculture it was said that he was too good for the position, and that some peer should have been brought in. But, brilliant critic though the right hon. Gentleman had been, he had not yet succeeded in carrying out the duties of his office even as well as his predecessor had done. It was to be hoped, however, that as the right hon. Gentleman gained more experience in his Department, he would be able to show to the country a much more satisfactory balance-sheet in regard to these diseases. With the object of enabling the right hon. Gentleman to explain his position, he begged to move a reduction of the Vote by £100.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Item A (Salaries) be reduced by £100, in respect of the Salary of the President of the Board of Agriculture."—(Mr. Lambert.)
§ MR. O'SHAUGHNESSY (Limerick, W.)
desired to impress upon the President of the Board of Agriculture the necessity of placing upon the Departmental Committee appointed to inquire into the standard of water in butter some persons having a practical knowledge of the salted butter industry. Resolutions in favour of this demand had been passed by most representative bodies in Ireland, including the Irish Dairy Association, representing all classes of Irish butter producers, the South of Ireland Butter Merchants' Association, and the Limerick Chamber of Commerce. He would not weary the Committee by reading all the resolutions; he would take one as a sample. The resolution passed by the Irish Dairy Association was as follows—That we, the Irish Dairy Association, representing all classes of Irish butter producers, regret the constitution of the Committee appointed to fix the standard of water in butter, as some of the members have already expressed their views and committed themselves to a standard which would practically abolish the manufacture of salt butter in this country, and prevent farmers making butter in their own homes. As the Committee stands there is no representative of the salted butter industry or even of Limerick, now the largest centre of the Irish butter trade. We respectfully request that two gentlemen should accordingly be appointed to represent this industry on the Committee.671 The substance of all the resolutions was that as at present constituted, so far as Irish representation was concerned, the Irish people had not the slightest confidence in the Committee. It was a one-sided tribunal, manned almost exclusively by creamery representatives. Both Mr. Plunkett and Mr. Anderson were creamery enthusiasts, the only man in whom the people had confidence being Mr. Dunne, but he had no practical knowledge of the Irish salted butter industry. Sir Charles Cameron, the analyst, had committed himself to a standard which, if adopted, would destroy the industry. This was not a fair or impartial tribunal to consider this most important matter, and he appealed to the right hon. Gentleman to give a full representation to all classes interested.
§ MR. LOYD (Berkshire, Abingdon)
desired to emphasise the necessity of paying great attention to the question of swine fever. His constituents had recently had a cruelly severe experience in the loss of a large number of animals, the property of people—many of whom were allotment holders—who could ill afford to lose them. There appeared to be great doubt in the localities as to the respective duties of the local authorities and the Board of Agriculture in the matter. When the matter was entirely under the jurisdiction of the county council, the people knew exactly whom they had to look to, but now that it had been transferred to the Board of Agriculture they were under the impression that the councils were not only relieved of all responsibility, but deprived of all power to take any action whatever. The local authorities should be instructed as to their position. They had the belief that if an outbreak occurred the Board of Agriculture must be called in, and that the Board, if satisfied that the animals were diseased, or in a dangerous condition, would direct their slaughter and compensate the owners. He believed, however, that the Board of Agriculture no longer did no such thing, but that their present policy was not to slaughter and compensate, because It diminished the vigilance of the people of the localities in looking after the 672 matter, but to isolate. Having isolated the dangerous animal, they left the owner to make up his mind whether or not to keep the beast, and if he decided to slaughter it no compensation was paid. There was also much doubt as to who was the owner of a beast after it had been sent to market, but was not condemned as diseased or dangerous until the hammer had fallen. Was the property still in the seller or had it passed to the purchaser? The auctioneer was between two fires, neither able to deliver to the purchaser and receive the money, nor to pay the seller whose pigs he had received for sale. The result had been most disastrous in the case to which he was alluding, and had resulted in a deadlock with large numbers of suspected swine isolated by order of the Board of Agriculture, and dying off by degrees while the owners had been looking in vain for any order for slaughter either from the Board of Agriculture or from the local authorities. The information would be very valuable, and prevent much misapprehension if the right hon. Gentleman would state exactly what was the position with regard to these points.
§ MR. CHANNING
called attention to the present system of administering the Swine Fever Act and the irregularity of the system of inspection adopted. He said that the administration of the other Animals Diseases Acts had resulted in clearing the country from those diseases, which used to inflict incalculable loss upon agriculturists, and it was a great pity that the same principle had not been carried out in regard to swine fever. The Central Chamber of Agriculture had addressed inquiries to all the county councils in England. The general effect of the facts disclosed by the replies showed that in the counties, where the policy of compulsory slaughter had been carried out, there was a distinct improvement in the position, and in some localities this policy had resulted in practically sweeping away the disease or reducing it to a minimum. Owing to the irregularity of the system of inspection and administration of the Act, areas were left which formed centres of infection, and the 673 many temptations to fraud of various kinds under the compensation and other procedure, already great, were undoubtedly increased by the irregularity with which these diseased animals could with impunity be transferred from one district to another. The policy of isolation was unwise. In the opinion of many experts the result of a policy of isolation was to leave permanent sources of infection behind, and in this way the disease was spread. He had received many letters upon this question, and that eminent agriculturist, Mr. Thomas Duckham, formerly a Member of the House, had made to him the strongest representations in favour of dealing with swine fever by the same methods of compulsory slaughter as in the case of pleuro-pneumonia. Mr. Duckham had sent the letter of a distinguished veterinary surgeon, Mr. McFadyean, in which it was stated—There is undoubtedly an analogy between pleuro-pneumonia of cattle and swine fever in respect to the danger which attaches to every animal that has been at any time exposed to the risk of infection. Many of the apparent cases of recovery from swine fever are merely cases which have become chronic, and such cases are very dangerous as centres of infection.Other veterinary experts had shown that the lesions in swine fever heal over temporarily, and then may open again and emit germs of the disease. It was a very serious thing that there should be this irregularity of administration, and he regretted that the Board of Agriculture had adopted isolation instead of the policy which had been attended with such splendid results in regard to pleuro-pneumonia and foot-and-mouth disease. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Agriculture stated the other day, in reply to the agricultural deputation, that the changes adopted in the policy of the Agricultural Department were effecting a saving of some £140,000 a year. He thought that was a very misleading estimate of the advantage to the country of this policy. Anybody who had gone about amongst farmers, large and small, knew what a serious thing the loss was, not only from the disease, but from restrictions in regard to the transfer and sale of animals. The real loss to the agricultural 674 interest by allowing this disease to exist was very much heavier than the amount saved to the country by this policy of isolation. He advised the President of the Board of Agriculture, if he were acting on the advice of one group of experts to go more closely into expert opinions from other points of view, and if he did, he felt sure the right hon. Gentleman would find that the balance of evidence was in favour of the policy recommended by the Chambers of Agriculture, which advocated the entire slaughter of the diseased animals, and of the animals in contact with them.
§ MR. HENRY HOBHOUSE (Somersetshire, E.)
said it was most unsatisfactory that, after all the Board of Agriculture and the local authorities had done to stamp out swine fever, the disease was as prevalent as it now was. He could not help feeling that the germs of the disease might be propagated in unhealthy styes, and thought it would be advisable that there should be some authority with the duty of inspecting pig-styes and requiring them to be kept in a healthy condition. In many localities this disease broke out several times in the same stye, and in the same farm buildings, and he felt sure that if his right hon. friend would make careful inquiries he would be able to find some better method of dealing with this difficulty.
With regard to rabies in dogs, he thought they ought to have some more information. For some years past the predecessor of the present President of the Board of Agriculture had been fiercely attacked from various platforms up and down the country on account of the strenuous efforts he had made to put down this dangerous disease, and he wished to know what the actual results of those efforts had been. He was informed that the result had been entirely satisfactory, and if that was the case, then they ought to give credit to the present President of the Local Government Board for having stamped out entirely in this country a very dangerous and objectionable disease. He regretted that for many years past agricultural instruction had been com- 675 paratively neglected in this country, owing to the fact that both the Board of Agriculture and the Board of Education had duties in the matter, but they had never seen their way to co-operate, and their duties did not cover the whole ground. In the past it had proved extremely difficult for those who had attempted to secure in this country as good agricultural instruction as was provided in every other civilised country in the world to strengthen the chain by linking up the two Departments upon this question. It had been suggested that it was quite possible to get this subject brought under the supervision of a single Department. The President of the Board of Agriculture had assumed full responsibility for this matter, and those who knew the energy which the right hon. Gentleman had manifested in other Departments felt confident that he would be able to carry this undertaking through. The right hon. Gentleman had already promised that the Board would continue to supervise the useful experiments they had been supervising for some years past, and that he would do what he could to co-operate with the local authorities, who were taking up this important subject. But that did not cover the whole field. In most countries where agriculture was an important industry the State conducted experimental farms. In this country, where there was a large sum of money placed at the disposal of the local authorities which they could devote to the purpose, experimental farming by the State was not necessary, but the Board of Education ought to give guidance to the local authorities and to put at their disposal the services of first-rate experts. He urged that in all higher schools where instruction was given in agriculture there ought to be inspections from time to time by practical men. It was also important that the Board should co-operate with the Board of Education. There were also institutions conducted by the county councils where valuable experiments were carried out, and he thought that they ought to have from the Department every year a full survey of all those experiments, together with their relative bearing on each other, so that the local authorities might co-operate with each other in order to cover the whole experimental field.
676 With regard to these schools, many of them were now doing a considerable amount of agricultural work. He thought, however, that those schools ought to be inspected not merely by educational inspectors, but also by practical men who understood agriculture. One of the subjects taught was called "The Principles of Agriculture," and certificates had been given in this subject without insisting upon any practical knowledge of agriculture. After all, agriculture was not an abstract science but it was a practical art which required to be assisted by science, and which always ought to contain a very large practical element. He was convinced that no certificate ought to be given for agriculture unless the person receiving such certificate possessed some practical knowledge of agriculture. The Board of Agriculture ought certainly to have some say in framing the syllabus for this subject and in conducting the examination. He thought a good deal of good might be done by the appointment of a Committee to inquire into this matter. Some systematic plan ought to be adopted for the inspection of all the higher institutions promoted by county councils and agricultural colleges, and the Board of Agriculture should see that every class interested in agriculture had full opportunities of receiving good and beneficial education upon this subject.
§ CAPTAIN SINCLAIR (Forfarshire)
supported the suggestions made by the hon. Member for East Somerset. He said that anyone who knew the good work done in this respect in Canada, the Cape of Good Hope, and Cape Colony must recognise that good had come out of it, and in England they had not been so fully alive to the benefits which accrued from a practical knowledge of agriculture. In the United States most admirable and stimulating work had been carried on for years amongst the farmers and the elementary school pupils, and this had stimulated amongst the people a love for country life in preference to town life. The people of Scotland had long desired to see something of this kind initiated. What part the Board of Agriculture and the Board of Education should 677 take in this work he was not prepared to discuss, but he did feel that a local university was needed to afford higher instruction for those who were likely to require it. In 1896 the Animals (Diseases) Bill had the result of excluding the importation of live American cattle to these shores. Questions had been put to the right hon. Gentleman asking for information upon this point, and it had been reported that the Canadian Government had protested against the continued exclusion of Canadian cattle. The Committee would remember that one of the grounds upon which this Bill was passed was that in every succeeding year cases of pleuro-pneumonia had occurred. It had been stated that the ground of the protest made by the Canadian Government was that since 1896, when the Act was passed, out of 800,000 cattle there had not been one case of pleuro-pneumonia. He did not express any opinion upon that, but he asked the right hon. Gentleman whether he could give them the information now which he was not able to give when the questions were put to him upon this subject. He hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would also tell them if he could lay the papers on the Table in regard to the policy which the Government had pursued in this matter.
§ MR. TOLLEMACHE (Cheshire, Eddisbury)
said he did not consider the system of wholesale slaughter the best way of dealing with swine fever. The system of isolation, if properly carried out, might be more fair. He submitted that where isolation was ordered by the veterinary inspector, and swine fever subsequently broke out, the owner should be allowed to slaughter the animals and get some compensation. He knew a case where a farmer gave notice of an outbreak of swine fever, and the local authority inspector gave orders for the slaughter of four or five animals, ordering isolation for the remainder. Disease broke out again among the isolated animals, and the farmer lost them all without any compensation, as the authorities refused to slaughter them. It had been proposed that the magistrates should inflict severe penalties for breach of the regulations in regard 678 to swine fever. His experience was that the magistrates recognised the necessity of inflicting some penalties, but they also recognised that the restrictions were in some cases harassing. He would suggest that a possible remedy for this disease lay in the closer examination of the premises of small pig-dealers, which were often in a horrible condition. The chief causes of contagion were to be found in the markets and fairs, and also in the custom of small pig-dealers going about from farm to farm selling pigs. There was some sort of inspection of markets and fairs, but the premises of the small dealers were often in a very insanitary condition. He believed they were the centres of the great majority of the outbreaks of swine fever, and he suggested as a matter for consideration whether these small dealers should be compelled to take out a licence, not so much for revenue purposes as to give the authorities a hold over them.
MR. HERBERT ROBERTS (Denbigh, shire, West)
said he was glad that there would be an opportunity that night of receiving from the President of the Board of Agriculture a clear and full statement on the subject of swine fever. It was most desirable that the views of the Board of Agriculture should be clearly stated on this important question. Many people in the country thought that the huge sums, amounting to hundreds of thousands of pounds, which were expended in trying to root out this disease had been more or less wasted. He could not help thinking that a great deal of money had been wasted, and that it was on the whole the wisest course to adopt the policy of isolation. He called attention to the excellent agricultural education given by the agricultural department of the University College of North Wales at Bangor. Agricultural education had direct reference to this question. He would be very glad indeed if he could persuade the President of the Board of Agriculture to pay an early visit to this part of the world. He would have the greatest pleasure in showing him, not only some of the beauties of the district, but also the schools, where admirable work was being done through the stimulus and guidance 679 of the agricultural department of the college at Bangor. He asked the Committee to bear in mind that all they received in the shape of grant from the Board of Agriculture towards carrying on that splendid work in North Wales was the paltry sum of £800. He hoped that in future the important work which was being done would receive more financial support from the authorities who sat on the Front Bench opposite. In the unanimous Report of the Welsh Land Commission it was recommended that there should be a diffusion of intelligence useful to farmers through the medium of the Board of Agriculture, and three specific points were mentioned—the distribution of literature upon agricultural topics, the exhibition of weather forecasts at post-offices throughout the country, and periodical information as to the prices of produce. These were small matters that would not cost much, and he recommended them to the attention of the President of the Board of Agriculture.
§ MR. LLEWELLYN (Somersetshire, N.)
said that farmers should not look too much to the State for protection in regard to swine fever, for unless they took measures to safeguard themselves they would find very great difficulty in getting rid of the disease. The fact was that the farmer who was freest from it was the man who looked after himself, and when an outbreak occurred, got the animals isolated without waiting for orders from the Board of Agriculture inspector or the police. It rested very much with the farmer himself whether this disease could be, he would not say stamped out, but greatly lessened. It was usual to speak of the State aid given for instruction in agriculture as quite insufficient as compared with what was done by the State in other countries, but those who made these complaints left out of view the large amount of practical instructions given by the Royal the Bath and West of England, the Highland and Agricultural, and many other societies great and small. The assistance thus given to agriculture would represent an enormous sum, and it was given in the most practical way by the very men who would have 680 to be employed if the State undertook the work.
§ MR. MANSFIELD (Lincolnshire, Spalding)
asked whether the time had not come when the restrictions on the importation of Canadian cattle might be removed. Grazing farmers found the greatest difficulty in getting store cattle cheap.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF AGRICULTURE (Mr. HANBURY,) Preston
This is a matter settled by legislation in 1896, and therefore the regulations of the Board of Agriculture have nothing to do with it.
§ MR. MANSFIELD
then referred to the serious increase in swine fever. He would like to speak of the appointment of the right hon. Member for Preston as President of the Board of Agriculture. [Ministerial cries of "Oh!"] Some one said "Oh!" That was just what was said all over the country when the right hon. Gentleman was appointed.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member can discuss the salary of the President of the Board of Agriculture, but not his appointment. He can discuss the right hon. Gentleman's action as President of the Board.
§ MR. MANSFIELD
I do not think there has been any action to speak of. I should be happy to refer to it if there were. In my own constituency there was considerable dismay when it was found that a gentleman who had no connection with agriculture—[Ministerial cries of "Oh!"]—was appointed President of the Board. To enter my protest I shall vote against the amount put down for this Department.
§ SIR JAMES RANKIN (Herefordshire, Leominster)
said the Board of Agriculture might do something to encourage fruit culture by instituting a system whereby certificates would be granted to those persons who, under the 681 instruction given by the technical committees, were able to show that they had both a theoretical and practical knowledge of pruning, grafting, and other things of that kind. It was known that many of the orchards of England were not in the state they ought to be in. That was because there was a want of knowledge how to prune in autumn. If certificates were granted to qualified persons, farmers when engaging men would know that they were capable. Referring to the subject of swine fever, he pointed out that there was much conflict of opinion among veterinary surgeons as to the slaughter of swine suffering from fever, and he would be glad to know the modus operandi of the Board of Agriculture.
§ MR. STRACHEY (Somersetshire, S.)
said the Board of Agriculture ought to pay more attention to the sanitary conditions of pig-styes. He admitted that this was a very difficult question, and there might be cases where the Board would require to spend money for disinfecting, but there were also cases where the owners of the farms should be called upon to put their pig-styes in proper condition. The insanitary condition of the places where swine were kept was one of the reasons of outbreaks of swine fever. Swine fever was increasing by leaps and bounds, while the expenditure which fell upon local ratepayers was also increasing. The only real remedy was slaughter of all infected animals and all pigs in contact with them. The Central Chamber of Agriculture laid it down that not only should infected swine be slaughtered, but all pigs that had been in contact with them. The policy of isolation was not only ineffective but harassing. He could not help feeling that one of the great difficulties was that the inspection was of a perfunctory kind When he had the honour, as vice-chairman of the Central Chamber of Agriculture to be one of a deputation to the President of the Board of Agriculture, he had argued, as he did now, the desirability of appointing properly qualified veterinary inspectors for different parts of the country to make investigations in cases of swine fever—men who 682 would have the confidence of the farmers. He said without fear of contradiction that young men who had failed in everything else had been in the past appointed inspectors, and the farmers of the country had no confidence in them, and thought it ridiculous that they should be sent down to make inspections. What was more, the inspectors of the Board of Agriculture interfered with the local authorities when they were reducing the swine fever, and made orders against the wishes of the local authority He was not attacking the present President of the Board of Agriculture, but he wished to specially emphasise that there was a strong feeling that what was wanted was not lay inspectors, but qualified veterinary surgeons. He himself did not believe in isolation; and slaughter should be carried out without delay. It had been said that isolation was much better than slaughter, and that it would save money; but the question was not the saving of money, but the stamping out of disease. He desired as an agriculturist to repudiate the suggestion of his hon. friend the Member for Spalding that the appointment of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Preston as President of the Board of Agriculture was not regarded with favour. Agriculturists were glad to see a man of such proved ability at the head of the Board. With regard to the standard of milk proposed to be set up by the right hon. Gentleman—3 per cent. of milk fat and 8.5 per cent. of solids—the general opinion seemed to be that it ought to be 3 per cent. of milk fat and 12 per cent. of solids, while the Central Chamber of Agriculture suggested 11.75 percent, of solids and 3 per cent of fat. He thought there ought to be a seasonal limit, and if that were impossible, as the Departmental Committee said it was, would it not be possible to allow county councils to make regulations to meet the difficulty? He hoped the Board of Agriculture would so frame its regulations that a farmer might not be subjected to the indignity of a prosecution for fraudulently selling milk which was not up to the standard, and the deterioration of which might be entirely due to seasonal causes, over which he had no control—it was his misfortune, not his fault—but should 683 be charged simply with selling milk which was below the standard. He could assure the House that farmers generally felt very strongly on that point. They were agreed that there should be a high standard, but at the same time they should not be prosecuted for adulteration when the low standard of their milk was due to seasonal accidents or causes over which they had no control. He should like to hear whether the President of the Board of Agriculture proposed to deal with the recommendation of the Departmental Committee as to the identifying or ear-marking of separated milk by the addition of some suitable and innocuous substance. At present milk of high quality was adulterated by some dishonest traders in their large towns who were not very scrupulous by the addition of separated milk, which it was impossible to detect by analysis when added in certain proportions. He did not wish to interfere with the sale of separated milk, but it ought to be sold for what it was at a fair price; but people in large towns often bought it as pure milk. If separated milk were identified as suggested by the Committee, its mixture with milk of high quality would be more easily detected, and this fraud on the public could be stopped and punished.
§ MR. HANBURY
The discussion has been of a very practical nature, and has dealt with a great variety of topics, and I have nothing whatever to complain of in regard to the criticisms directed against the administration of the Agricultural Department. The hon. Member for Limerick raised the question of the representation of the Irish Members on the Butter Standard Committee, and I am bound to say that his complaint was justifiable and I shall do my best to meet this objection. What happened in connection with the nomination of the Butter Standard Committee was this. A Committee of ten was nominated, and I thought that four would be a fair number to represent the Irish Members, who are so interested in the butter trade. It seems however, that those interested in the salt butter trade were not adequately represented. I did not think it would be right to add to the number of Irish Members on the Committee, for 684 I think that with four out of ten they were sufficiently represented, and that therefore the best way to meet the difficulty would be to place another member on the Committee who would represent the consumers or the trade in this country. An hon. Member on this side of the House asked me a question as to the present condition of rabies. The courageous policy of my predecessor, carried through in the face of great unpopularity, has been an eminent success. The country has been practically cleared of the disease. To rid this country of a disease so horrible, and which extends to human beings, is a work of which my predecessor may indeed be very proud. Then a point was raised by the hon. Member for South Molton on the report of the Intelligence Division of the Board as to the carrying out of the Food and Drugs Adulteration Act. The Act has only been in operation about eighteen months, and the local authorities have hardly had a fair opportunity of carrying it into effect; but I am bound to say that there has been in too many cases, and especially in some of the large towns, a neglect of duty. I am, however, determined that the Act shall be carried out, and, if I find that local authorities are not doing their duty, I shall consider it my own duty to put in force the powers given to me under the Act.
Then I come to a very interesting question raised by one of the hon. Members for Somerset —that is the question of agricultural education. I feel that agricultural education is one off the subjects which has been somewhat overlooked in the constitution of the Board of Agriculture. I do not think the staff of the Board is sufficiently qualified to deal with this important subject, and therefore I have come to the conclusion that directly opportunity offers I shall strengthen it. During the autumn I hope to take steps which will give me an educational adviser. Professor Somerville, professor of agriculture at Cambridge, will, I hope, join the Board as one of our assistant secretaries before the end of the year. The hon. Member for Somersetshire said that this question of agricultural education should not be entangled with that of primary education, but I 685 do not see why, where the boundary line between their work is not very distinct, the Boards of Agriculture and Education should not act in co-operation. I have never understood why there should be this line of demarcation between Government Departments, as if they did not both serve the same master. Reference has been made to the education in agriculture which is being given at various colleges which receive grants from the Board. I think it would be a great pity if those colleges ceased to be connected with the Board of Agriculture. There is a good deal done there that is outside the scope of the Education Department. I think that, with the consent of the Treasury, we might go somewhat further than we have done in regard to those colleges. Hitherto grants have only been given in cases where more than one county is concerned. I think this rule operates hardly against large counties, and that the system of grants might be extended in their favour. I agree that a good deal of money has been thrown at the head of county councils, without any guidance as to how they ought to expend it; and when they had received the money they might object to dictation from the Board of Agriculture. But I do not wish to dictate; all I want to do is to co-operate with them and let them feel that the Board of Agriculture is ready to give any service it can in co-ordinating work and in giving information as to what has been done in different counties. To a certain extent the money spent by the Science and Art Department upon agricultural subjects—in our large towns certainly—has been wasted. Grants were earned by people who had no connection with agriculture.
As to the milk standard, I have been agreeably surprised to find there have been so few complaints. The criticism which has been made is that I have fixed a standard lower than that suggested by the Departmental Committee. That is perfectly true. The Central Chamber of Agriculture also desired to have the standard fixed below that suggested by the Committee. I went into the subject very thoroughly, and I was myself convinced that, at any rate, so far as the morning milk was concerned, the standard recommended was 686 much too high. No doubt there are a large number of cattle in this country which do not pay the farmer, and that it would be very much to his benefit if he got rid of a number of his cattle which give poor milk; but on the other hand we have to deal with facts as we find them. The main object of this Departmental Committee was to see, not that the consumer was supplied with milk of a high quality, but that the milk was genuine. That being so, it is at once clear that it would be impossible to maintain this high standard during the whole of the year. It was admitted even by those members of the Committee who were most anxious for the high standard that, at any rate during the months of April, May, June, and July, it would sometimes be impossible to maintain it, and it must also be remembered that the morning milk is a great deal poorer than the evening milk, owing to the difference of time which elapses between the milkings. I felt that as the farmers of the country would be liable to prosecution if the milk fell below this high standard, it would be thoroughly unjust if I were to agree to any standard which would expose innocent men to the risk of prosecution. Looking at the experience of other countries, especially Germany, I am not quite sure that I have not fixed the standard rather too high. The standard in Leipzig up to last year was 3 per cent. of fat; but now it has been reduced to 2.75 per cent. I ought to say that I thoroughly agree with the hon. Member for South Somersetshire as to what he said on the subject of separated milk. Then with regard to the question of prosecutions, our milk regulations have not yet been issued. I have put myself in communication with the Irish Board of Agriculture with a view to the two Departments issuing similar regulations, and that has led to delay; but I hope I shall be able to issue these regulations within the next fortnight, and certainly a period of at least a month ought to elapse after they are issued before they come into force as law. It is said that I have gone below the average yield, taking the country generally, in fixing the standard. That may be so, but when prosecutions are likely to occur it does not do to take the average. We have to take the case of the poorer 687 farmer and the small man who perhaps has only two or three cows. If we had to deal with large herds, then, of course, we could afford to fix a much higher standard; but where a poor man with perhaps only two or three cows is concerned it would fall very hard on him if the standard were so high as to render him liable to prosecution.
I pass from that to what appears to me to be the still more interesting subject of swine fever. With regard to that, I must say frankly to the Committee that I am not going to be tied by any red tape in this matter. I am not going to do anything merely because it has been done by the Board before. I want to go into this matter very thoroughly indeed, because I am satisfied that the great outbreak of the disease during the present year is a very serious fact for the farmers of this country, and the Board of Agriculture is bound not to stand on ceremony in any way whatever, but to go if it can to the very root of the question in dealing with this very serious disease. What is the position? When I came to my present office I found that the policy of isolation had taken the place of the policy of slaughter. I adopted that policy, and up to the present I have seen no reason whatever to alter the view that I have constantly held, that the policy of isolation is, at any rate under the existing law, the wisest policy that can be adopted. Let me say that we have adopted this policy not merely from a desire for economy. In the first place, the expenditure is not altogether Imperial expenditure, and does not fall on the Imperial purse. The saving of £140,000 has not been a saving to the Imperial purse, but to local taxation. If the policy of isolation does not tend to stamp out—I will not say stamp out, because I agree with my hon. friend that that is not likely to occur—but if it does not tend even to control this disease, then I would say at once, drop that policy. But is there no danger connected with the policy of practically wholesale slaughter? I am bound to say that the law at present seems to me to be in a most ridiculous state. The minimum compensation which by law can be offered when swine are slaughtered in connection with a swine fever outbreak is probably a larger price than the owner would get if the 688 animals were sold in a perfectly sound condition, in the ordinary way. That has, of course, the effect of encouraging the spread of the disease. It tends to make farmers, and more especially pig-dealers, who are most to blame in this matter, careless, and I do not know whether I will not suggest an alteration of the law next year. If one were able to follow the example of Canada, where the owner of the slaughtered animals only gets two-thirds of their value, then I think there would not be so much encouragement to carelessness, and that, under such circumstances, much might be said for the policy of slaughter. But at the present moment I am quite certain, not only from the theoretical views I have advanced, but from past experience, that the policy of slaughter, so far from limiting disease, has gone a long way to encouraging it. It will be asked, what steps am I taking? In the first place I am struck by the almost complete ignorance shown by the veterinary profession of this disease. In 1895 an expert inquiry was held which convinced the veterinary profession that all the symptoms which had up to then been regarded as symptoms of the disease were not symptoms at all, and what was supposed to be their knowledge of the disease was proved to have rested on a false basis altogether. In a great number of cases it is practically impossible for anyone to recognise the symptoms of swine fever during life. It is possible for an animal to go about for four or five months and to fatten and thrive, and yet to have the disease very heavily upon it. It is only when the carcase is opened that swine fever is found to exist. That makes it very difficult indeed to deal with a disease of this kind. There is the further fact that, while we have no doubt been able to stamp out pleuro-pneumonia, and foot-and-mouth disease also I am glad to say, swine fever is a much more difficult disease to deal with, not only on account of there often being no external symptoms to disclose its existence, but also owing to the fact that the bacillus of the disease lingers for a longer time outside the diseased animal, and to a much greater extent than in any of the diseases I have named. It does, no doubt, linger about filthy pig-styes for weeks, and almost for months, 689 after the animals themselves have been disposed of. I feel, after all, that it is the pig-dealers who are the principal agents of the dissemination of this disease. Pigs collected from various farms are congregated in one spot, very often in very filthy circumstances, all of which tend to spread the disease. I propose, therefore, shortly to issue an order which will require the cleansing of all buildings and styes where pigs are placed by dealers, and also the disinfection of the carts in which the animals are carried.
I am convinced also that the veterinary profession does not know so much about this disease as one would expect, and that is especially applicable to the purely local veterinary surgeons who are so often called in when disease has to be dealt with. I have had official cases of ignorance of that kind brought before me at the Board of Agriculture What I propose is no longer to trust to the merely local veterinary surgeon, the small man, who may be to a great extent under the influence of the farmer or pig-dealer. I propose to select two or three of the very best veterinary surgeons in every county, to whom these cases will be referred. Then we shall have a better diagnosis of the disease than at present. I think also that our own veterinary staff should be increased, and I propose to double the number of travelling veterinary inspectors.
There is, I think, a great deal to be said with regard to some of the complaints which have been made as to the alleged irregular action of the Board of Agriculture. Our instructions are clear and definite, but I admit that very often they have been misunderstood by the local veterinary surgeons. A case has been mentioned to-night by my hon. friend the Member for Herefordshire, with regard to compensation not being paid for certain pigs slaughtered and found not to be subject to the disease. I cannot see how any difficulty of that kind could have arisen, and if my hon. friend will bring the matter before me and give me chapter and verse, I will see that justice is done.
I ought to say that I think the complaints with reference to our lay inspectors are hardly justified. The hon. Member for South Somersetshire talked of them as young gentlemen who 690 had failed in other occupations. I cannot say whether that was the case originally, but I will say that during the term of office of my predecessor and myself we have been most careful to see that nobody was appointed who had not a good practical experience of farm life, which I feel is absolutely essential. I do not think that these appointments should be given to half-pay officers and people like that, who have no practical training at all. In every case I have gone very carefully through the list, and I have appointed young men who have had practical training, and I hope the result will be satisfactory. I am bound to say that that was the policy adopted by my predecessor also; and whatever may have happened with regard to any earlier appointments, at any rate, my hon. friend may make sure that the greatest possible care is now being exercised, and that the work is being carried out to the complete satisfaction of the Board.
There is one other step which I am taking. I have said that there is considerable doubt in the veterinary profession as to the diagnosis of swine fever. I am therefore having experiments made by means of a totally fresh scientific inquiry. I consulted an hon. friend of mine who is a great authority on these subjects as to whether I should have a committee, of experts or whether I should put the matter into the hands of an institution, where experiments could be made on the widest scale, and the greatest scientific knowledge brought to bear on the subject. I have decided on the latter, and the result will be that a totally fresh inquiry will now be made. I am afraid the experiments will last some months, but I hope we shall have as the result a much fuller know ledge of this disease than is available at the present moment.
I think I have now dealt with nearly every subject raised by hon. Members except one—and that is with regard to the diffusion of intelligence, Anyone who knows what is done by the Department of Agriculture in America, and the good results which have followed from the wide publication of information by that Department, will desire something of the same kind for England. I hope that one of the results 691 of Professor Somerville's appointment to the Board of Agriculture will be that some such system will be established. I think we ought not only to publish results of experiments and other information derived from work done at home, but that there is no earthly reason why we should not also benefit by the results of work done abroad. Of course the great difficulty with regard to this matter is getting the knowledge sufficiently diffused. The man whom we really want to get at is the small farmer, and I think he has been hitherto a little neglected in this matter. I feel that the publication of information of this kind may do a very great deal of good. Although a great number of leaflets have been issued there is doubt whether they have reached those for whom they were intended. No doubt a great deal may be done through newspapers, and I propose to make a special appeal to newspapers, which after all reach the small farmers. I propose to appeal to newspapers, especially weekly, county, and other papers, to give as much space as they can to information of this kind. But, after all, we shall have to do a great deal ourselves, by the publication of leaflets and otherwise. The Journal of the Board of Agriculture, important though it is, is not the kind of publication which will ultimately reach the small farmer. It is leaflets he principally reads, and although he is not a man who reads very much my experience is that if he does get a scrap of information into his house he generally reads it over and over again. If we can only get the information into the farmhouses, I believe benefit will be derived from it. I thoroughly agree with my hon. friend that we ought to do a great deal more than we are doing as regards the diffusion of information.
With reference to the exhibition of weather forecasts at the various post offices, that was tried on a large scale for two years. Several thousand forecasts were exhibited during certain months each year, but it was found that they were of very little use to the small farmers in any particular locality, owing to the extensive area dealt with by the different forecasts. Therefore, not on the advice of the Post Office, but on the advice of the Board of Agriculture, the arrangements 692 for the exhibition of forecasts at post offices were discontinued after a large amount of money had been expended, because they were found to be of much less practical use to the farmers than was anticipated. Now, I think I have dealt with the whole of the questions raised by the various Members of the Committee. I can only assure hon. Members that I thank them for some very valuable suggestions. The Board of Agriculture is not tied by any hidebound rules at all; we simply want to cope with these various difficulties, and we are only too ready to listen to suggestions either from Members of this House or from practical farmers outside.
§ MR. NORVAL W. HELME (Lancashire, Lancaster)
said that he desired briefly to offer two suggestions to the right hon. Gentleman: first, that when considering the question of appointments he would go a little further and secure the consent of the Treasury not only to provide funds for the appointment of Dr. Somerville, but also of two assistants who would be able to visit county councils and other authorities, and place the knowledge possessed by the Department at their service. He thought that farmers throughout the country would appreciate the spirit in which the right hon. Gentleman had dealt with the question of the milk standard. He hoped, however, that the right hon. Gentleman would put in force the recommendation of the Committee, so that where a person was challenged as regards the quality of his milk he should have the right of delaying the decision of the justices before whom the case was being heard until a sample of milk taken direct from the herd might be tested, and so give the farmer an opportunity of having his defence fairly investigated.
§ MR. MUNRO FERGUSON (Leith Burghs)
said he was not surprised at the expression of regret which appeared to prevail in farming circles that the right hon. Gentleman was not brought up a farmer; but all who had listened to his speech would be interested in the 693 stress he laid on the subject of agricultural education. He was sure that, if the right hon. Gentleman displayed half the energy in his present office that he did in defence of the interests of the Treasury, the farmers would have cause before long to congratulate themselves on the progress of agricultural education. He thought that the appointment of Professor Somerville would do an immense amount of good to agriculture. The work Professor Somerville had accomplished in Northumberland, and his work since, eminently qualified him for the position. He considered that the grants-in-aid for experiments were very small, although they had been increased
§ by £150. An hon. Member opposite spoke of the desirability of sending men round to give instruction in pruning fruit trees. That, he considered, would effect an immense amount of good to the fruit-growing industry. With the advantage of Professor Somerville's experience he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would turn his attention to agricultural experiments, and also to a scheme in connection with forestry.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 83; Noes, 208. (Division List No. 338.)695
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N. E.)||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Allen, C. P. (Glouc, Stroud)||Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E.)||O'Shee, James John|
|Ambrose, Robert||Holland, Wm. Henry||Partington, Oswald|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Horniman, Frederick John||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)|
|Bell, Richard||Jones, William (Carnarvonsh.)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Boland, John||Joyce, Michael||Price, Robert John|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Kennedy, Patrick James||Priestley, Arthur|
|Caldwell, James||Leamy, Edmund||Reddy, M.|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Levy, Maurice||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Cawley, Frederick||Lundon, W.||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Cogan, Denis J.||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Crean, Eugene||Mansfield, Horace Rendall||Sinclair, Capt. John (Forfarsh.)|
|Cullinan, J.||Mooney, John J.||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Delany, William||Murphy, John||Spencer, Rt. Hn. C. R. (Northants|
|Dillon, John||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Sullivan, Donal|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South||Tennant, Harold John|
|Doogan, P. C.||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Thomas, David A. (Merthyr)|
|Duffy, William J.||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipp'r'y Mid)||Tully, Jasper|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Warner, Thomhs Courtenay T.|
|Ffrench, Peter||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Flynn, James Christopher||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Gilhooly, James||O'Dowd, John|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Lambert and Mr. Strachey.|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||O'Malley, William|
|Hayden, John Patrick||O'Mara, James|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r)|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H.(Bristol||Chapman, Edward|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Charrington, Spencer|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Bignold, Arthur||Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Blundell, Col. Henry||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse|
|Arrol, Sir William||Bond, Edward||Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Brigg, John||Compton, Lord Alwyne|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline Fitz Roy||Bull, William James||Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas|
|Bain, Col. James Robert||Burke, E. Haviland-||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Caine, William Sproston||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir E. H.||Cranborne, Viscount|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r)||Cautley, Henry Strother||Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lanes.)||Dalkeith, Earl of|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds)||Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire||Dalrymple, Sir Charles|
|Balfour, Maj. K. R. (Christchurch||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Davies, Sir Horatio D. (Chath'm|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm.||Denny, Col.|
|Disraeli, Conings by Ralph||Leveson-Gower, Fredk. N. S.||Ridley, S. F. (Bethnal Green)|
|Dorington, Sir John Edward||Llewellyn, Evan Henry||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs)|
|Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Bristol, S.)||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Ropner, Colonel Robert|
|Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. H.||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Egerton Hon. A. de Tatton||Lucas, Col. F. (Lowestoft)||Russell, T. W.|
|Elibank, Master of||Lucas, Reginald J.(Portsm'th)||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn E.||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Macdona, John Cumming||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Finch, George H.||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool.||Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. Edw. J.|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||M 'Calmont, Col. H. L. B. (Cambs.)||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Fisher, William Hayes||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire)||Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln)|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon||Majendie, James A. H.||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Forster, Henry Wm.||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Foster, Philip S. (Warwick, S. W.||Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriesshire||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)|
|Gardner, Ernest||Melville, Beresford Valentine||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nairn)||Milner, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick G.||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Gordon, Maj Evans-(T'rH'ml's||Milton, Viscount||Smith, H. C. (North'umbT'nes'de|
|Gore, Hn G. R. C. Ormsby-(Salop||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Smith, Hn. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby-(Linc.)||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon||Montagu, Hon. J. S. (Hants.)||Stanley, Lord (Lanes.)|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)||Stroyan, John|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Morgan, Hn. Fred. (Monm'thsh.||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Greene, Sir E. W. (B'ySEdm'nds||Morrell, George Herbert||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Grenfell, William Henry||Morris, Hon. Martin Henry F.||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Gretton, John||Morrison, James Archibald||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Greville, Hon. Ronald||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Groves, James Grimble||Mount, William Arthur||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Hambro, Charles Eric||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord G. (Midd.)||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Graham (Bute||Valentia, Viscount|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robt. W.||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Warde, Col. C. E.|
|Hardy, L. (Kent, Ashford)||Newdigate, Francis Alex.||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Harris, Frederick Leverton||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney|
|Haslam, Sir Alfred S.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Webb, Col. William George|
|Hay, Hon. Claude George||Palmer. Walter (Salisbury)||Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C. E. (Taun'n|
|Heath, Arthur Howard (Hanley||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlingt'n||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Peel, Hn. Wm. Robert Wellesley||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-u.-Lyne|
|Hermon-Hodge, Robt. Trotter||Penn, John||Whitmore, Chas. Algernon|
|Higginbottom, S. W.||Percy, Earl||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Hoare, E. Brodie (Hampstead)||Pierpoint, Robert||Wills, Sir Frederick|
|Hobhouse, Henry (Somerset, E.||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Wilson, A. Stanley (Yorks, E. R.|
|Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside||Plummer, Walter R.||Wilson, Henry J. (Yorks, W. R.)|
|Hoult, Joseph||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Howard, J. (Kent, Faversh'm)||Pretyman, Ernest George||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.)|
|Johnston, William (Belfast)||Purvis, Robert||Wodehouse. Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath|
|Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Quilter, Sir Cuthbert||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Kemp, George||Randles, John S.||Wylie, Alexander|
|Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop)||Rankin, Sir James||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Keswick, William||Ratclirf, R. F.||Younger, William|
|King, Sir Henry Seymour||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Lawson, John Grant||Remnant, James Farquharson||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Ridley, Hn. M. W. (Stalybridge|
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ Objection being taken to further Proceeding, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.
§ Resolution to be reported; Committee also report Progress; to sit again tomorrow.