§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £92,356, 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, 1903, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of His Majesty's Secretary of State for the Home Department and Subordinate Offices."
§ *(12.10.) SIR. CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
said the Report of the Chief Inspector of Factories for the present year was a most interesting document. It was distinguished by the frequent allusions to the transformation which had taken place in British industry through the application of electric power. Two points of view were taken by the inspectors—the great prevalence of accidents in certain classes of work, and the establishment, through the facilities afforded by electrical power, of manufacturing industries in rural parts of England. That, undoubtedly, would become a most serious thing from the point of view of factory inspection. The transference was proceeding very rapidly, as testified by the number of the Electric Power Bills now before Parliament, and the inspectors were experiencing increasing 1017 difficulty in obtaining convictions in rural districts for offences against the Factory and Workshops Acts. They complained that the support given them by stipendiaries and magistrates generally in large towns was entirely wanting in many rural districts, the authorities in which were reluctant to enforce in a sufficient degree the provisions of the Acts. He was afraid from the tenour of the Report that there would be increasing difficulty in getting local authorities to carry out the law These matters bore on the strength and efficiency of the inspection. The inspectorate was undoubtedly very good and compared favourably with that to be found in foreign countries, but the inspectors complained of inability to get through their work, especially the clerical portion.
On one point the inspectors called attention to the need for a stricter enforcement of the law in regard to hours of working. Time cribbing was increasing rapidly, and it would be well to give the assistance of peripatetic inspectors to the ordinary staff. There were some towns in Lancashire in which the practice of starting the factory before the regular hour and closing it later was almost universal. A system of scouting had been established, and directly an inspector reached a town all the works were warned. The need for peripatetic inspection was exemplified in the words of the chief woman inspector, Miss Anderson, to the effect that in the last year she had not been able to keep pace with the applications. This was a serious matter, because the effective administration of the law depended on prompt attention being paid to complaints received from workers. Miss Anderson reported that—Systematic visiting in any of the trades scheduled as dangerous where women are under special rules has unfortunately been impossible for my staff. Of the three inspectors most experienced in this work, one was absent during a great part of the year on Government service, and the others absorbed in other work.There was another point with regard to the strength and nature of the inspection to which he would like to allude, and that was that it had been found perfectly impossible in a large portion of Ireland to enforce the law. There was the strongest possible reason for increasing the inspectorate in Ireland by adding an 1018 inspector who would command the confidence of the working class. It was essential for the proper working of the law in that country that they should get the feeling of the people on their side, and by a little tact he thought that might be done. He wished to know whether the staff of inspectors generally was fully made up, and whether inspection was proceeding at the rate at which the Home Office thought it ought to proceed. The Appropriation Account which came out last March showed that in the year which ended in the previous March there was an enormous saving on the salaries of the inspectors and on the Vote for visits of inspection. Now, the House, when it voted money for such a purpose, expected it to be expended, and the visits made by the inspectors should be at least as frequent as the office seemed necessary when framing the Estimates. Saving on such a Vote was not desired by Parliament.
He passed next to two or three trades which presented peculiar features in connection with this year's Report. He did not propose to say anything as to lead in the pottery trade, on which they had a full debate earlier in the year. He would not, therefore, re-open the question. The motion for a reduction of the salary of the Home Secretary indicated the very strong views he entertained on the subject, but he did not intend to move. Dr. Oliver in his new book, Dangerous Trades, called attention once again to the danger arising from the use of lead in the pottery trade, and the tendency of potters to diseases of the respiratory organs, while Dr. Tatham, in the chapter he contributed to it, states that the mortality of potters from bronchitis was more than four times as high, and for other respiratory diseases three times as high as the mortality of other occupied males in the aggregate. It was clear, therefore, that right hon. Gentlemen had not yet reached finality in their dealing with that trade. There was a trade which occupied the attention of the Standing Committee last year as to which a strong promise was made personally by the Secretary of State—he referred to the fish preserving trade. The right hon. Gentleman met the Amendments which were put forward in a very strong statement indeed, that 1019 it was his intention to fully and strictly enforce the law—the strength of which he deemed to be sufficient. Hon Members of the Committee had complained that the law had not been enforced, and he would now like to know what steps the Home Secretary was taking towards that rigid enforcement of the law. They, last year, advanced certain facts which had come to their knowledge and which had now been confirmed by statements in the Chief Inspector's Report. The assertions he himself made to the Committee last year came from a lady who had investigated the conditions of the trade, and the Reports of the right hon. Gentleman's own inspectors were very much to the same effect. On page 183 of the Report it would be found stated that in connection with the industry at Hull, the fish chiefly dealt with were not fish really intended to be brought within the exemptions of the law. The Inspector reported that these people were—Working with Norwegian herring caught on the Norway coast, and brought in boxes with ice by steamer. They may have been caught for a week … The employer does not always buy what he will deal with in a day, but frequently a three days supply … keeping the boxes unopened.The largest employer in Hull fully agreed with me that the herring were not perishable in the sense that they must be dealt with at once on landing.The Home Secretary, in view of this, would be justified in strongly enforcing the present law. With regard to the fruit preserving industry, the right hon. Gentleman made a promise to the Member for Oxford University (Mr. Talbot) that he would deal with that matter and prescribe further conditions by order. They were told on page XVI. of the introduction to the Report that the Secretary of State had power to do this and he wished to know if he had been able to do so. We were now approaching the fruit preserving season and it was important, therefore, that any further conditions by order should be prescribed at once.
The hon. Member for West Newington had brought before the House the question of Rules for the match trade. About two years ago they had a debate and division on that subject, and in the course of the debate certain of the new Rules were attacked. He was sorry to see that, as regarded one of them—the 1020 boxing of the dry matches—these complaints were justified in the present Report. It was stated on page 173 that an inspector visiting a large match factory found the boxing room—Filled with dense smoke and smelling strongly of phosphorus. …And again the inspector reported—Where an occupier is exempt, on the score of his claiming to box only the oughly dried matches,' there seems to be need for watch to be kept.The point was one which needed attention. Last year the Chief Inspector told them they had stamped out necrosis and some of them boasted that phossy jaw was a thing of the past but he was sorry to say there had been some fresh cases which pointed to the necessity for increased care, even if not for some additional new Rules.
There was another matter which assumed new importance in this year's Report. Last year he tried to draw the attention of the Home Secretary to it and. he got a promise from the right hon. Gentleman to inquire into it—he referred to the carrying of heavy weights by women—a practice which was increasing in some trades. The right hon. Gentleman then said there was great difficulty in taking power to deal with that matter by law, but he might say that France—a country greatly ahead of us in many points of factory legislation—rigidly regulated this practice by law. On page 154 of the Report attention was called to the practice of young girls in factories carrying heavy weights, and on page 175 attention was drawn to the case of a particularly small and slight girl, aged fourteen, who was seen carrying a weight of 107 lbs. In regulating the weight to be lifted by blue-jackets in working quick-firing guns, the limit was put at 100 lbs.; yet here was a girl of fourteen being compelled to carry 107 lbs. That was monstrous. In another case the inspector reported—I visited at her home one weakly girl who had been ill five weeks, and who suffered much from the strain of carrying such loads.And again—At nail and rivet works in Birmingham I have found little girls thirteen to fifteen years of age acting as carriers for the machine men, and fetching long strips of iron in bundles weighing half a hundred-weight, from a distant shop, carrying them across a large yard, and up two flights of stone, stairs.1021 On page 180 they had a description of what was done in the Stourbridge brickworks, where "women were lifting and carrying heavy weights." This was "exceedingly bad for girls between twelve and sixteen." Girls were in fact "employed in the yards of the brickworks as labourers." In one case, in the ironworks in Wales, the inspector "found a gang of twelve girls from fourteen to sixteen years of age working for the furnace men as carriers of fishplates." That, certainly, was work which ought not to be given to young girls.
There was only one other subject he wished to touch upon, and that was the extension of the principle of particulars. It had worked very well in the pen trade at Birmingham, and he wished to know whether the Extension of Particulars Clause, by Order, which was within the powers of the Secretary of State, could not be extended to other small hardware industries. There was undoubtedly a demand for it, and the right hon. Gentleman should make inquiry, instead of waiting for an agitation to be got up. He would end as he began, by asking if the right hon. Gentleman had as large a staff as he needed. Was the staff full? And was a proper expenditure on inquiries being made by the staff?
§ *(12.35.) MR. COGHILL (Stoke on Trent)
said that, according to the figures given by the Chief Inspector, the numbers of cases of blood-poisoning in the china and earthenware trade were—in 1899, 249; in 1900, 200; in 1901, 106; the deaths in the respective years being 16, 8, and 5. These were remarkable figures. They showed that the danger in the pottery trade was being reduced to the very smallest possible point. They were told by Mr. Redgrave that "the extraordinary decrease of cases in the earthenware and china trades was due to the fostering care of the Rules of 1898," and his long experience gave him "no parallel instance of such active effect of remedial measures." He would, however, like to call attention to the fact that in March there were no fewer than twelve cases of lead-poisoning and five deaths among house painters and plumbers, and this showed the necessity for dealing with 1022 that trade. They were told by the Stoke on-Trent inspector that—Broadly speaking, we may say that plumbism has almost disappeared from those shops in which effective fans and other means have been provided for reducing the risk attendant on the use of enamel colours, in form of dust or spray.The contention that the Rules of 1898 would have been sufficient if time had been given for proper working was borne out by the remarks of the Chief Inspector. Why could not the Home Office have waited to see the effect of those Rules before issuing the Special Rules of two years ago? There was, as the figures showed, more urgent reason why the Government should turn their attention to house painters than to the china and earthenware trade. There was another point which required attention. Cases of lead-poisoning had occurred among people not employed in this dangerous trade. One of the evils of the agitation, re lead poisoning, had been that lead had since been used for purposes which formerly never were dreamt of, i. e. abortion, and Dr. McAldowie wrote—When I was collecting evidence for the arbitration, four cases were given to me in confidence where lead had been used in this manner. All were young married women, all were severe cases and one was fatal. The fatal case and one of the others were with lead workers and were reported in the usual way.Surely it was hardly fair that such cases should be sent to the Home Office. One case had been inquired into quite recently. It was that of Ellen Clews, a milliner and not a lead worker, and the Coroner in summing up the evidence said he thought the jury would come to the conclusion that the deceased died from lead poisoning. The deceased could not have got the lead poisoning in the course of her trade, and it must be very difficult to find out where the lead was obtained from. If they had been able to find out, and if the person who supplied it knew for what purpose, that person would find himself in the dock on a charge of manslaughter at least. The jury found that death was due to lead poisoning, brought about by the deceased taking pills for a certain purpose. Now he thought some restrictions should be issued by the Home Secretary with regard to the sale of diachylon plaster and pills, and difficulty should be placed in the way of 1023 people getting them. The Chief Inspector was unable to tell them what progress had been made with regard to leadless glazing of the last twelve months. Some forms had given up the use of fritted lead but they were told that lead-less enamel colours could scarcely be considered within practical reach. He was in favour of leadless glazes but he knew of no firm the whole of whose output was of leadless glaze ware; and out of thirteen plates used in the House of Commons which he had examined only three were marked "leadless glaze". Employers in the trade were accused of being callous and hard hearted, and the Archdeacon of Manchester recently declared that they did not look after the wellbeing of their employees. He was glad to know that that charge was promptly refuted by the Archdeacon of Stoke, who had written—There is no class of employers who study more carefully the health and welfare of their employees than do the masters of the pottery trade.What was the present state of the trade? Low prices were ruling; there was unrestricted foreign competition, and he had a letter from the Secretary of Manufacturers' Association, in which he wrote—The trade is in a dreadful condition; the foreigners are sweeping all before them, and with no limitations as to the quantity of soluble lead, and with the ruin of our trade—which I regard as almost certain—the Government have had no small share.He felt bound to concur in the view that a good deal of the mischief done to the trade was owing to the uncertainty as to the action of the Government. Would the Home Secretary agree to appoint a Committee to inquire into the present state of the china and earthenware trades, and to ascertain—(1) How far the trade had been adversely affected by Home Office action; (2) by foreign competition, especially when articles had been imported which had been manufactured without any restrictions as to the use of lead, etc.; and (3) how far legislation was necessary to give greater protection to British manufacturers in their patterns and designs, and to prevent them being appropriated by the foreigner? Very little confidence was felt as to the future of the trade, and the right hon. 1024 Gentleman should give manufacturers some relief by instituting such an inquiry.
§ *(12.55.) MR. TENNANT (Berwickshire)
said that he had not intended to touch on the subject of lead poisoning, but in listening to what had fallen from the last speaker, certain observations had struck him. First, it did not necessarily follow that because one trade was rather worse than another in regard to this matter, there was no need for further restrictions in the case of the trade which suffered least. Because there were many cases among house-painters, he did not think they should cease protecting the workers in the earthenware and china manufactories. With regard to the charges made by the Archdeacon of Manchester, he would suggest consolation to the hon. Member in the reflection of the First Lord of the Treasury last year that sometimes bad things were done by very excellent people. He had heard some of the remarks of the hon. Member with no little surprise, particularly those as to the latter-day competition and the state of trade in the Potteries, which described as in a very bad way. Had the hon. Member not heard of an assembly of pottery manufacturers recently round the flowing bowl, where they boasted that there was no trade like theirs, that they were beating the foreigner out of the market, and that they were never in a more prosperous condition. He did not know whether the speeches were due to the conviviality of the occasion or not, or whether that conviviality was due to the produce of what the right hon. Member for Oxford University called "the gooseberry machine," but they gave a very different impression from that to be derived from the remarks of the hon. Member. The hon. Gentleman had told them that the manufacturers felt that the rules of 1898 were sufficient and excellent; but, as a matter of fact, they had then declared that they were much too stringent—that they were oppressive, and made it impossible to carry on the trade. The whole answer to the complaints from the Potteries was contained in the 1025 finding of Lord James of Hereford, which advised the manufacturers to put their house in order. He would now examine other points, and he should like to ascertain from the right hon. Gentleman what was being done as to the use of locomotives in factories, file-cutting shops, the manufacture of mill-stones and grind-stones, and basic slag. In previous years the right hon. Gentleman had said he had no power to deal with these trades, but certainly this year it had been in his power to deal with factory locomotives and the file-cutting trade; and he would be glad to know if the right hon. Gentleman had done anything beyond calling for a list of the outworkers in the file-cutting trade. He was aware that circulars had been issued to the manufacturers of wall-paper, Bessemerised steel, and those engaged in the mercurial processes of hatters, furriers, and to Institution Laundries. He understood that the right hon. Gentleman had issued a circular inviting employers to voluntarily adopt his rules, but he doubted if much was to be gained by the voluntary system. Even if a large percentage of the employers agreed to do as he wished, there would be a minority of dissentients, who, by carrying on their trade unhampered and unrestricted, would be placed in a terribly unjust position. In putting this policy in force the right hon. Gentleman was adding to the labours of the officials of his Department, who were already very much overworked; and it was questionable whether he was justified in taking them from work of certain value for work of more than doubtful value. He would point out that though, under this system, occupiers might listen to the Inspector's point of view, the Inspectors were unable to enforce their point of view. With regard to laundries, he would like to call attention to the complaints in the Report of the difficulty in enforcing the law. Mr. Hoare (East London) reported—It is well-nigh impossible to check the hours worked in laundries.Messrs. Wilson and Johnston (West London) said that, in investigating accidents, they noted,A striking resemblance between the various cases on three points. viz., the severity of the injuries, the total lack of safeguards, and the youth of the injured girls.1026 The South London Inspector said that even the men employed in the laundries found the work excessively hard; and when visiting a large laundry a man begged him to prevent the firm working him daily from 8 a.m to 10 p.m. On page 179 of the Report, allusion was made to the complexity of the law and the difficulty of understanding it. In fact, the law gave less protection to laundry workers than to any other class of workers. And yet it was more difficult to give even this limited amount of protection. Also he wished to know what the right hon. Gentleman proposed to do in the case of electrical generating stations. He noticed that a new inspector had been appointed (Mr. Fearon), whose report appeared on pages 27 and 28. He thought the Home Secretary would agree that Mr. Fearon's report bore out the recommendations of the Committee, upon which he had the honour to serve. In Mr. Ireland's district he says—I also found in one case young persons illegally employed at night at the switchboard as voltmeter boys. In this case I was informed that such employment was usual in generating stations.He knew that this was usual, and he understood that some employers in this trade had been very active in their opposition to any change, on the ground that these young boys could only learn their trade at night. Could anything be more ridiculous? He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would make a stand against the employment of young persons at night. Again, with regard to the manufacture of paper bags, he wished to know whether the Home Secretary had included that trade in his Home Work Order. The right hon. Gentleman would also remember that last year an Amendment was put into the Act at his instance, giving the Home Office power to issue an order prescribing the standard of sanitary accommodation. Miss Paterson, reporting upon a complaint as to the conditions of employment of women in Dundee jute mills, says—The objection was a right one, one with which I wholly sympathised; but as a matter of fact the same objection might betaken to the arrangements in half the mills in Dundee, and in the absence of some definition of what is meant by 'suitable' no improved standard of decency seems obtainable.1027 He wished, therefore, to impress upon the right hon. Gentleman the desirability of issuing, as early as possible, his definition of "suitable" in regard to sanitary accommodation. To take another point, last year they tried to impress upon the Home Office the desirability of confining the hours of employment in a shop and workshop within the possible hours of employment in the workshop itself. On page 185 the Report says—Reports to me of long hours in shop and workshops, especially on Saturday evenings, have not decreased in last year. Proof which depends on the workers' word has been hard to sustain in Court.The Committee agreed to put this right last year, but unfortunately the House reversed the Committee's decision.
There was another matter of importance in connection with the preservation of fruit and the manufacture of jam. I In Section 41 of the Act of last year, the period of employment was left absolutely vague in that trade during the months of June. July, August, and September. If the right hon. Gentleman would look at the section, he would see that there was power to issue an Order prescribing certain conditions in this trade during those months. They were now getting near the month of June, and he assumed the right hon. Gentleman was about to issue an Order. He wished to impress upon him the desirability of defining and stipulating in that Order a period of employment for women as well as young persons. The right hon. Gentleman had this power under Section 58, where the health of the women was concerned. He also wished to know what had been done with regard to inflammable paints. Last year he moved an Amendment on this point, and the right hon. Gentleman replied—The limiting words of the hon. Member were extraordinarily wide. What he proposed to do, if it would satisfy the hon. Member, was to communicate with the shipping companies on the subject, and to endeavour, by some suggestion which he thought the Home Office might usefully make, to do away with undue risk in the painting of ships with inflammable paint.He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would give the Committee some information on the points he had raised.
§ (1.8.) MR. ASQUITH (Fife, E.)
I congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on the felicity of presiding over a Department which, for the last year, at all events, has no history. I do not mean that the Department has not been doing useful work. There has been real and substantial criticism, but it has been directed rather to administrative matters of detail than to any large question of principle. The hon. Member for Stoke has spoken of the paralysing effect of Home Office interference on the pottery trade. It is curious that the hon. Gentleman should not have observed that the great improvement in the state of things with regard to lead-poisoning is due entirely to the intervention of the Home Office. If that matter had been left to the pressure of public opinion, to the influence of self-interest, or to the initiative of the local authorities, I venture to assert that the improvement, which is very real, and on which the districts concerned are much to be congratulated would never have taken place. It occurred to me that it might be worth while to see—and this is the only occasion we have in the year of reviewing the work of this important branch of administration—what progress has taken place in regard to this branch of the administration in the course of the last ten years.
It is exactly ten years since I was first connected with the Home Office. I have been comparing the Estimates of 1892 with those of the present year, and the contrast is very remarkable. The total sum asked for and voted for the Home Office ten years ago was £91,000; this year it is £152,000. In-other words, there has been an increase of £60,000, or something like 66 per cent. When we come to analyse that increase to see whence it sprang, I think we shall see it is one of what are called the automatic increases in the expenditure of our public Departments which has been really fruitful and can be thoroughly justified by the results. The actual expense of the Home Office in 1892 was £29,000, and it has only risen in the course of ten years to £35,000. That is not a very considerable increase when the House 1029 remembers the, growing importance and complexity of the duties which are cast upon the staff. It is in the factories branch that hon. Members will see the substantial cause of this apparently very large increase of expenditure. The expenditure on factories—that is to say, the whole cost of inspection of workshops and factories—in 1892 was £31,000. We are asked this year to vote for that purpose £69,000. In other words, there has been an increase of more than 100 per cent. In 1892 there were only 59 inspectors, and that number did not include any women inspectors or any assistants; whereas now we have something like 141 inspectors, 7 of whom are ladies, and 34 assistants. There has, therefore, been in this Factory Department, which is practically the only Department of the Home Office which is annually subject to criticism, a large increase in the staff and a corresponding increase in the expenditure. I venture to say that any one who will compare the Chief Inspector's Report which has just been laid before Parliament with the corresponding Report of 1892, will see abundant justification for the growth of expenditure in this Department. As regards the preservation of life and health it is no exaggeration to say that substantially, and in certain trades in particular, the conditions of labour have enormously improved in the course of the last ten years, and the right hon. Gentleman may well take credit for the readiness which Parliament has always shown to vote this additional expenditure to produce results so beneficial to the community. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will persevere in that course, and adopt with cordiality the suggestions thrown out to him by my right hon. friend the Member for the Purest of Dean and my hon. friend behind me, as to dealing as drastically as possible with some of the dangerous industries of the country in which preventible loss of life and injury to health still prevail, and which are preventing the development of those industries. In that connection I shall not go over the ground which has already been traversed. I will only refer to one particular industry, and that is with respect to laundries, about which we had so much discussion last year. Of course, I know that it would be out of order to go into any question but the purely administrative one in connection with this Vote, but as the law is not in 1030 the way we would like to see it, I do hope that the Home Secretary will give us some assurance that he is not allowing the matter to sleep, that he is pursuing his inquiries, and that he is trying to arrive at some more satisfactory condition of things than that which the reports of the inspectors at present disclose. It is really a shocking state of things that here in London, within a very short range of the House in which we are assembled, these monstrously excessive hours of labour are being imposed on women and young persons, with much injury to health that might easily be prevented with proper precautions. I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman is impressed with the gravity of the situation, and I think the House will be glad to be assured that he is taking steps for its amelioration.
There is another matter which was referred to by my right hon. friend the Member for Forest of Dean, and that is what may be called the magisterial side of the enforcement of the factory laws, for the Home Secretary is not only responsible as administrator, through his inspectors, but in his character as Minister of Justice he has a vague, but at the same time more or less effective, revising authority over the magistrates themselves. I believe myself that the state of things in this respect has improved recently, and that it is easier now to obtain convictions for manifest offences against the factory laws than it was twenty or thirty years ago. But there is no doubt that the law is administered with great want of uniformity in various parts of the country, and that want of uniformity varies according to the composition and the temperature of interest of the magisterial benches. There are some towns in which, so far as the magistrates are concerned, nothing could be better than the way the law is administered. They are vigilant and effective, and where the evidence justifies it they do not hesitate to impose substantial penalties. There are some towns in which the administration of the law by the magistrates could not be improved. But there are some benches of magistrates before whom an inspector has the greatest difficulty in the world in obtaining a conviction; where, when a conviction is necessitated by the overwhelming 1031 pressure of evidence, the penalty imposed is so trifling that it is a mockery. I am told that in some parts of Ireland it is impossible to obtain a conviction at all. Of course the right hon. Gentleman has nothing to do with the Irish administration, and has no responsibility for the Irish bench. But the English magistrates are subject to the right hon. Gentleman's counsel and advice, and I think good might be done if, following many precedents, circulars were addressed to benches of magistrates pointing out the importance of uniformity in this branch of the law, and calling attention to the gravity of the interests involved. On the whole, I am glad to be able to join in congratulating the right hon. Gentleman on the results of his administration.
§ *(1.18.) THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. RITCHIE,) Croydon
The right hon. Gentleman in his opening remarks has fully endorsed what has been said by those who have spoken on this Vote as to the excellent character of the reports of the inspectors contained in the Blue-book which has been presented to the House I entirely endorse all that he has said on that matter. I think the Report has been carefully drawn up and that it is worthy of careful study. I must also take credit to the Department, and those responsible for the work, for the very early period at which the report has been presented this year. I know that the right hon. Baronet has been most pressing on the Department in this matter, and I think this year's issue of the Report is the earliest known. Whether the result is equally satisfactory to both of us is, perhaps, an open question. The right hon. Gentleman has shown that the presentation of this Report has furnished him with a text for a great number of important observations and inquiries on the subjects dealt with in the Report, and with these I will deal in a moment.
I would like to say, with regard to what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife has just said, that the figures he has given of the great extension of the operations of the Home Office in connection with this and other matters 1032 are very remarkable, and show undoubtedly that a great additional burden has been placed on that Office in the years named. The Home Office has endeavoured to carry out the obligations which so far Parliament has placed upon it. Although my hon. friend the Member for Stoke rather animadverted upon the zeal which has been shown by the Home Office and its inspectors in regard to the particular trade in which he is interested, I am sure I may say, without fear of contradiction, that notwithstanding the great increase of the inspectorate and of the responsibility for controlling and supervising a large number of industries, the work has been accomplished, not only without any damage to the various industries which have been supervised, but with great advantage both to the employers and the employed. Though criticisms are made of the legislation which is constantly being passed in regard to many manufacturing industries, I believe that, as far as the great bulk of them are concerned, we have not gone beyond what has been done abroad in regard to those matters, and so when we come to talk of foreign competition, a matter which was raised by my hon. friend, it must be borne in mind that this is not the only nation which is advancing its legislation in the direction feared by the hon. Member for Stoke, and that in many points we lag behind what is the law abroad. I shall not go into particulars on that matter now. At the same time, I can, of course, quite readily understand that too much in this direction might possibly do harm, and I think we must be extremely careful that we do not go beyond what the conditions of things seem to demand. On the other hand, I do not think we ought to lag behind, when we see evils existing which can be remedied by carefulness of supervision, because of any fear that it might have a bad effect on the trade supervised, which experience has certainly not up to now shown to be the case.
The right hon. Gentleman the late Home Secretary has referred particularly to one important question, with regard to which I should like to say a few words, and that is the question of laundries. The hon. Gentleman behind him also referred to that question. 1033 They know, and the bulk of the Members of the House know, that I am not by any means satisfied with the condition of the law with regard to laundries. We did our best last year to amend the law in a manner which would render it satisfactory, and the House is familiar with the circumstances under which we were compelled to abandon our proposals. At the same time, it must not be supposed for a moment that I am indifferent to the importance of this subject. So far from that being the case, as the House knows, I took immediate steps to communicate with the various institution laundries, and to obtain information which might guide me in dealing with this question at a not very remote period. We have had a good many replies, and, on the whole, they are favourable to an Amendment of the law. I have also been in negotiation in other ways with some of those who were most difficult upon the last occasion when legislation was attempted, and I am very hopeful that we may be able to propose to Parliament soon—though, of course, not this session—some Amendment of the law which, perhaps, while not giving everything hon. Gentlemen opposite would desire, will go a long way in the direction they wish. I hope, for instance, we may be able to deal satisfactorily with the questions of hours, the fencing of machinery, sanitation, and several other matters of that kind; and if we can do that, I think we shall have made a very great advance in the direction we all desire. Many of the institutions with which I have communicated, not only did not say they objected to supervision in matters of this kind, but expressed a strong desire that there should be supervision of that sort; and, clearly, with regard to all these matters, no religious difficulty arises at all, and we ought to be able in a very short time to place the law in a more satisfactory position than it is in at present That I feel strongly on this matter is evidenced by the fact that I am doing my best to alter the law. I am not indifferent to it, and I shall not rest content until the law has been placed on a much more satisfactory footing.
Reference has been made by the late Home Secretary, and also by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Forest 1034 of Dean, to the difficulty of getting magistrates in some quarters to impose such penalties as will secure the due observance of the law. There is no doubt that the facts are as stated, and that there is in some parts of the country some difficulty in the matter. The penalties imposed are often quite inadequate to secure the result we desire to attain. It is extremely difficult to know what is the best way of dealing with that. The right hon. Gentleman opposite has said truly that there is a certain amount of supervision exercised by the Home Office over the magistrates, but I am sure he will see that whatever may be the extent of that supervision, it is an extremely delicate duty to perform, and we must be very wary in anything we say or do in that respect. The magistrates are extremely jealous of interference by the Home Office, where they think matters are in their discretion. But I will consider whether any steps can be taken in the direction which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife desires. I am afraid I cannot make any great advance on that statement at present. The right hon. Gentleman suggests a circular.
§ SIR JOHN BRUNNER (Cheshire, Northwich)
I think the inspectors have the right of appeal when there is a refusal to convict. Have they the right of appeal when they consider the penalties absurd or inadequate?
§ * MR. RITCHIE
I will consider whether any steps can be taken in the direction suggested by the right hon. Member for East Fife. I am afraid that I cannot give any better promise than that. It was suggested that the penalty was within the discretion of the magistrates, but the difficulty of the Home Office in the matter is this. If the Department called attention to the fact that the magistrates were not imposing adequate penalties, I think it would be rather a singular position to take up, because the Home Office is the prosecuting authority. It would be a delicate and difficult matter for the prosecutor to press upon the notice of the magistrates the fact that they were not punishing adequately the offences which the Department was prosecuting before them.
§ * MR. RITCHIE
Certainly there is an appeal. Let me turn now to the right hon. Baronet's remarks on "time-cribbing." I am sorry to say that there are a good many cases where a little time is taken at the beginning of the day's work and a little at the end, and the two together make up a considerable total at the end of the week. In many of these cases I quite admit that the penalties are quite inadequate. It is acknowledged that it is better for some manufacturers to go and be punished rather than obey the law. I think it is certainly a wrong to the general body of manufacturers that there should not be adequate punishment for those among them who break the law. With reference to the Factory Act passed last year, the Department has drawn up and issued a circular to the various local authorities with the object of making them fully acquainted with the provisions of the law. The right hon. Baronet asked about an increase in the inspectorships. No doubt that may be desirable, but no increase of the inspectorate would meet the case which the right hon. Gentleman had put forward in connection with inadequate punishments. As to the women inspectors—as probably the right hon. Gentleman knows—one of the women was sent abroad—to South Africa and has done extremely good work, and in her place we have had a temporary woman inspector, whom the Treasury have now, at my instance, made permanent. I quite agree that there is full work for the inspectorate at the disposal of the Department, and I am not at all sure that more inspectors may not be desirable But we must endeavour to balance matters, and I assure the right hon. Gentleman that if it seems desirable I will not shrink from proposing to the Treasury an increase of staff. No doubt there has been a very marked improvement in respect of lead poisoning, and it is clear that the operation of the law is leading to very satisfactory results. The number of cases in the china and earthenware trade has been reduced from 457 a few years ago to 106 in 1901. As regards the pottery rules, and the encouragement which we offered these manufacturers to reduce or abolish lead 1036 in their glazes, exemptions have been asked for by thirty-three manufacturers, and I believe that applications are now coming in from sixty additional manufacturers; so that at present there are nearly 100 manufacturers who have seen their way to do something in connection with this subject for the sake of some other advantages which are offered to them. In respect of the fish trade the right hon. Gentleman is aware that the season is only now beginning. It is too soon to anticipate the kind of questions that will arise, but I can tell the right hon. Gentleman that all exceptions under the Act are now made special exceptions. Notices have to be sent to the inspectors, and also to be affixed in the factories. The inspectors are tinder instructions to watch carefully the working of the exceptions, and to report anything which in their opinion needs attention. In the fruit preserving trade the Department has issued an order dealing, inter alia, with the lifting of heavy weights by young persons. I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that I will seize every opportunity to give effect to the undertaking which I have given in connection with this question. Hon. Members should remember that the subject can not be dealt with by one Order dealing with every trade, but the Department will take advantage of every fresh Order in connection with trades to impose conditions with regard to weight carrying wherever they may be necessary and practicable. If the Committee will excuse me, I will read the draft Order issued the other day in connection with exceptions in the fruit preserving industry—In pursuance of Sections 41 and 58 of the Factory and Workshop Act, 1901, I hereby order that the following conditions shall be observed in factories and workshops in which women and young persons are employed in the process of cleaning and preparing fruit in pursuance of the special exception allowed by Section 41:—(1) There shall not be less than 400 cubic, feet of air space to each person employed in any room in which persons are employed, in pursuance of the said special exception.(2) If any process carried on in any room in which persons are employed in pursuance of the said exception involves the giving off of steam, fans or other means of proper construction shall be provided, maintained, and used for carrying away the steam from the point at which it is given off.1037(3) The floors shall be kept in good condition, and adequate means shall be provided for draining the wet away from the workers.(4) No female young person shall be employed to lift, carry, or move any weight so heavy as to be likely to cause injury to such young person.(5) A woman or young person shall not be employed continuously for more than five hours without an interval of at least half an hour.(6) No young person under sixteen shall be employed before six o'clock in the morning or after ten o'clock in the evening.(7) No woman or young person shall be employed in pursuance of the said exception who has since the first day of October last preceding been employed by the said occupier outside the ordinary period of employment, in pursuance either of the special exception with respect to preserving or curing of fish under Section 41 or of any special exception under Section 50.(8) On every day on which a woman or young person is employed in pursuance of the said special exception, the occupier shall enter in the prescribed register, and report to the inspector for the district in the prescribed form, the hour at which the fruit arrived at the factory or workshop, the processes on which women or young persons were employed in pursuance of the exception, the periods of employment of such women and young persons, and the intervals allowed them for meals.As to necrosis, I think that the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean will not deny that what he calls the revival of this disease has been very small.
§ * MR. RITCHIE
The number of cases has diminished in a remarkable way. In 1898 there were twenty-one cases; in 1899, eight; in 1900, three; and in 1901, four. What the right hon. Baronet called "a revival" must be the increase from three to four; but, when we come to deal with such small figures, they must fluctuate. With regard to those very cases, I may say that only two of them were severe, one was moderate, and as to the fourth it was not stated whether it was severe or slight. I may further say they were cases where persons had been a long time at work under bad conditions, and such a state of things as that must tell in the long run, even when the conditions under which the work is done are made more desirable.
1038 My hon. friend the Member for Stoke has asked me whether I will direct an inquiry into the general state of trade in the Potteries. I do not think the Home Office is the Department to direct an inquiry, if an inquiry were to be made, and I have heard now for the first time that the state of trade in the Potteries is so bad as to call for any exceptional treatment. If my hon. friend will communicate with the Board of Trade, I think he will find that they have much more information on the matter than we have at the Home Office. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Berwickshire has referred to basic slag works and asked what is being done in that matter, and he seemed to deprecate anything in the nature of private arrangements. But he would be the last to doubt the desirability of private arrangements when they carry out what Parliament desired. Of course, if they do not, it might be necessary to take other steps. So far as this matter is concerned, I am informed that the managers under these voluntary arrangements are carrying out the recommendations of the Committee. With regard to the manufacture of Bessemer steel, I am informed that nearly all the manufacturers are voluntarily carrying out the recommendations of the Committee. I am afraid I cannot say what has been the result of the action of the Home Office in relation to inflammable paint used in ship building. As the hon. Gentleman is aware, the Home Office have issued Orders and Rules in regard to many trades. I have been asked whether the manufacture of paper bags has been included in those Orders. It has not yet been included in any Order, but the matter is now being considered. A circular has also been issued with regard to sanitary accommodation. With regard to electrical generating works, we have appointed another inspector for the purpose of advising us upon these and cognate matters. A great many new duties have been imposed upon the Home Office by the Act of last year, and every effort is being made to deal with them. We can only proceed gradually, but I think that even the mere fact that we have appointed this additional inspector shows 1039 that we are quite alive to the obligations imposed upon us, and are doing our best to discharge them. (1.57.)
§ *(2.30.) SIR. JOHN BRUNNER
said he cordially welcomed what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife had said with regard to the action of these magistrates, and also what had fallen from the Home Secretary. It would be a very easy thing to frame a circular to be sent to magistrates on this question which would not give offence. The view which he wished to urge upon the right hon. Gentleman was that Parliament had never shown itself to be sufficiently in earnest in regard to infractions of the law by owners of factories. The penalties provided seemed to be inadequate, because invariably the magistrates imposed the minimum penalty, and he would like the right hon. Gentleman to consider the advisability of raising the penalty.
§ * MR. RITCHIE
There is no minimum penalty for me to raise. The Acts prescribe only the maximum penalty in ordinary cases.
§ * SIR JOHN BRUNNER
said he wished that the penalties should be adequate, and that the attention of the magistrates should be called to the serious character of offences against the factory laws. He was convinced that occasional severe penalties would have much more influence than the visits of the inspectors. One severe penalty would have a deterrent effect, not only upon the employer concerned but upon all others whom it was the object of the law to influence. If this course were taken, the inspectors would find that they would have considerably less work to do. He did not advocate an increase in the number of inspectors. They were continually adding to the number of officials paid by the State, and they ought to guard against the state of things which existed in France, where one out of every nine of the entire population held a Government appointment. He was satisfied if Parliament would show itself to be in earnest upon this question it would have a very great effect. It was 1040 not his intention to occupy the Committee any longer, and he hoped what he had said would not be lost sight of by the right hon. Gentleman.
§ * MR. RITCHIE
I am afraid I have led the Committee astray in an observation which I made on this point before the adjournment. There is, of course, an appeal by the defendant against a conviction, but there is no appeal by the prosecutor in case of an acquittal, dismissal, or the imposition of an inadequate fine, except on a point of law when the Magistrates consent to state a case.
§ * SIR JOHN BRUNNER
said he was certainly misled by the remark of the right hon. Gentleman. In many courts a right of appeal existed because the verdict had been against the weight of evidence, and he did not see why there should not be a similar right given in this case.
§ *(2.35.) CAPTAIN NORTON (Newington, W.)
said he had on the Notice Paper a Motion to reduce the salary of the Home Secretary by £100, because he wanted to review the conduct of the Home Office with reference to its control over the Metropolitan Police. He had experienced great difficulty in dealing with this question, because there were certain points connected with it which came under the special Vote for the Metropolitan Police, and when he had attempted to deal with the broad policy of the Home Office towards the police upon that Vote, it had been pointed out to him that that must be dealt with upon the Home Secretary's salary. He would point out to the Committee that they had only had the Metropolitan Police accounts placed in their hands this morning, which was the very day upon which this Vote was to be discussed. He took it that he should be quite justified in moving this reduction in consequence of that fact alone. They had had to protest over and over again against the practice of the Government not issuing accounts and other information which had a direct bearing upon the management of Government departments until the day when the discussion was taken.
1041 With reference to the policy of the Home Office in regard to the police, this involved dealing with the rural and urban councils throughout the area of the County of London. The councils of several of those areas had made protests upon this subject. A police rate was paid equally by all those districts, whether boroughs, rural councils, or urban councils, and all those bodies had protested against the manner in which the police had been dealt with by the Home Office. He was obliged to draw attention to the area over which the Metropolitan Police did duty. The police were distributed to the extent of something like 200 or 300 throughout, each Metropolitan constituency. He had always protested against the grievances of the police not being taken into consideration at the earliest opportunity, because it was in the interests of the public as well as the police force that these matters should not come before Parliament. Some Members had urged that the day might come when it might be found necessary, owing to the power of great government service organisations, to deprive public servants of the franchise. He would remind the Committee that the Metropolitan Police had never attempted to combine in the fifty-nine Metropolitan constituencies, and they had never brought any pressure to bear upon any Members of the House of Commons. It was for that reason that he championed their rights.
He wished to contrast the way the Metropolitan Police were dealt with, with the manner in which the City Police were treated. The City Police, he knew, were considered to be a superior force to the Metropolitan Police, because they got the pick of the men. The City Police authorities in the Spring of 1900 saw that there had been an immense increase in regard to house rents and rates throughout the County of London, and they realised that in addition to this all the working classes, including both skilled and unskilled labourers, were receiving increased wages and wishing to preserve the City Police force in its high state of efficiency, and to obtain a constant influx of suitable recruits, the City Police authorities granted an increase of pay to their constables and proportionately to those officers above constables, amounting to something 1042 like 3s. per week. He brought that fact to the knowledge of the Home Secretary, and asked him to deal in a similar way with the Metropolitan Police force and after keeping the men waiting from the spring until the winter of the same year, which caused considerable discontent, inasmuch as they found men cast of Temple Par doing precisely the same work as those on the west side receiving 3s. per week more, the Home Secretary granted an allowance of 7s. 6d. per week. The Home Secretary said it had been his intention to give a rise to the Metropolitan Police equal to that given to the city authorities, and he said he proposed giving them a rent-aid allowance of 1s. 6d. per week. The members of the Metropolitan Police force looked upon this as meanness personified. First there was the delay in giving the advance, and then it was given in this shape because the courts had decided that no allowances were pensionable. Therefore, in order to save this infinitesimal sum the Government was guilty of this despicable piece of 'meanness of depriving these men of the fractional amount they would receive in consequence upon their pension. Personally he was a strong advocate of economy, but there was a difference between economy and actual meanness. Only those men doing duty within the borough boundaries could draw this 1s. 6d., and those men in the urban and rural districts did not receive it at all. Therefore they had men doing duty on one side of the road receiving 1s. 6d. more than the police who were doing duty on the other side of the road, and a most arbitrary rule had been laid down.
Not long ago he brought to the notice of the Home Secretary the fact that a new police station had been erected for Highgate on a site 400 yards on the other side of the boundary, and he asked the Home Secretary whether the men doing duty within the borough area would continue to receive that rent-aid allowance. The Home Secretary naturally saw that it would be a monstrous thing to deprive men of this extra 1s. 6d. because their station had been moved a few hundred yards, and so they were allowed to continue to receive the 1s. 6d. He would like to 1043 give a few definite examples. Take the case of Hampstead. This district joined on to the outlying district of Kilburn, and the men in the borough received the allowance, but the men across the road outside the borough boundary did not receive it. At Kilburn a station was built 150 yards away from the boundary of the borough of Paddington, and there some of the married men residing in the same district adjoining the borough, and doing precisely the same duties, were receiving this allowance of 1s. 6d. per week, while others were deprived of it. Nothing could cause more discontent than this inequality of treatment. There were instances of men who had been transferred from a borough to an out-boundary station who had lost their allowance in consequence of their removal. There were a certain number of reserve men, who did special duty attached to outlying stations, who, although they were doing the same duty as those reserve men attached to boroughs, did not receive the allowance because they were outside the area. Ealing was incorporated into a borough, and simply because of that change, without any alteration of the work done by the Metropolitan Police, those men were now receiving this allowance of 1s. 6d., which they did not receive before, whereas other members of the force outside the borough in the same sub-divisional stations did not receive it. It might be argued that the work was greater in a borough, because boroughs were more largely populated, and therefore more difficult to police. He wished to draw attention to the right hon. Gentleman's own Borough of Croydon, which included the suburbs of Penge and Beckenham. The reason why the police in Croydon received this allowance, while they did not receive it in Beckenham, was that it was considered more difficult to obtain house room in Croydon than in Beckenham. As a matter of fact, the contrary was the case, because in Beckenham it was more difficult for men in humble positions to obtain house room. Some districts within the parish of Croydon, but outside the borough, did not receive the rent-aid which was allowed to Croydon, although there were places farther away than Beckenham which received the allowance. He understood that men were frequently taken out of the boroughs and sent into 1044 the outlying districts as a sort of punishment. Therefore those people in the outlying districts who paid the same amount for the maintenance of the police had foisted upon them the men who were, so to speak, the least valuable members of the force. In case any doubt might be thrown upon his statement, he had made it his business to find out how the rents ran. In Beckenham, where the men did not receive the rent-aid allowance, they paid from 9s. 6d. to 10s. 6d. for a house and about 8s. 6d. and upwards for flats. In Croydon, including Thornton Heath and Norwood, they could get a four-roomed house from 5s. 6d. to 6s. 6d. per week, and other lodging accommodation proportionately cheap. He did not wish to exaggerate his case, and he was prepared to admit that within the County of London there were certain patches of comparatively open country where it was possible for men to get house accommodation somewhat cheaper, but those places were few and far between, and generally in such districts it was most difficult to obtain provisions. Therefore what a man gained by a decrease in rent he lost, owing to the increased cost of provisions. If a man's family was growing up, he often had to pay tram or bus fares to enable the members of his family to get to their work. In the past there had been many difficulties in this respect, but owing to the excellent system of tramways which have been introduced all over London by the London County Council, the result had been to equalise house rents throughout the entire area of the County of London. There was a case recently brought under his notice as illustrating the present state of things. A policeman, on account of misdemeanour, was removed to Kingston, where he received an addition of 1s. 6d. to his pay, owing to the absurd and illogical carrying out of what purported to be a fair arrangement. This was a matter which was causing a serious and far-reaching grievance in the police force, and he would ask the Home Secretary to do that which he was practically bound to do, namely, to do justice to all men alike.
He would ask the right hon. Gentleman, in replying, to avoid doing one or two things. In the first place, he hoped the Home Secretary would not walk round the question, and treat the Committee to a eulogy of Metropolitan policemen. 1045 It was well known that they were a most meritorious force, and, without any conceit, they themselves knew that. With the exception, he supposed, of the London City Police, they were superior to all other police forces in the world. That was acknowledged on all hands, and, therefore, the Committee did not require to hear it again from the mouth of the Home Secretary. In the next place, he might say that some line must be drawn in all these matters. He quite agreed; but that a line should be drawn in keeping with common sense, and the only proper line to draw in a matter of this kind was to consider London as one great community. They should not make distinctions in districts here and there. In the fifteen miles area rents had been practically levelled up, and there was no common sense nor reason for having a limit within a less distance than that area. He asked the right hon. Gentleman not to trot out the old, broken-down Front Bench hobbyhorse he had been listening to for the last ten years—"protection of public interests." It was not so much a case of the public interests as the doing of justice to those men. It would cost to the rates an infinitesimal part of a fraction of a farthing, and therefore there was no question of protecting the public interests in this case. He asked the right hon. Gentleman to give a direct and straight answer to the question whether he was prepared to do this or not. If he refused, he asked him to give a reason for not doing it. He did not wish for any platitudes. They had heard a great deal in connection with the present disastrous war, which had cost three hundred millions, that it was being waged to give equal rights to all white men. He asked for equal rights for all those men in blue. To do the measure of justice to those men which he had demanded would not cost as compared with the Government war in which we have been engaged, more than the fortieth part of a farthing. He hoped to have a satisfactory reply from the Home Secretary, but in order to protect himself lest that should not be given, he begged to remove the reduction of the Vote by £100.
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That a, sum, not exceeding £92,256, be granted for the said service."—(Captain Norton.)1046
§ *(3.6.) MR. RITCHIE
I feel bound at once to rise and meet the challenge which the hon. Gentleman has made in the not very elegant language he has thrown across the House. I can assure him that I have more regard for the public interests than he seems to have when he asks me not to "trot out the old hobbyhorse" about the public interests. Although I should be extremely sorry to do a single thing unjust to the police, I certainly cannot accept the hon. Gentleman's suggestions as to what I should or should not do. I will undertake to give him a straight answer when he has demanded it; I absolutely decline to assent to any one of the propositions the hon. Gentleman has raised. Another elegant phrase of the hon. Gentleman was that we had behaved with despicable meanness. These were the elegant phrases which the hon. Gentleman used in endeavouring to persuade me to do something, which he thinks is denied by me, whether in the public interest or not. I will not walk round him. I will not use any of the platitudes he speaks of. The hon. Gentleman said at the outset of his speech, and I entirely agree with him, that the police have never attempted to combine and to put pressure on the Home Office, and I think that is much to their credit, having regard to the way the hon. Gentleman has advocated their cause in this House. We know perfectly well the course from which all these complaints come. They do not come from the body of the police. The body of the police are perfectly content—I undertake to say that they are perfectly grateful for the advantages given to them, both in connection with pay and allowances. There is no agitation. The agitation is confined to a newspaper of which the hon. Gentleman makes himself the organ in this House in ventilating supposed grievances of the men. I venture to say that the great body of them do not feel that they have any grievances at all. It would be a very great misfortune if there was anything in the nature of agitation fomented among the great army of policemen in the Metropolis. The hon. Gentleman, among the other phrases which he used, invited me not again to express the opinion, which I have more than once expressed, with 1047 regard to my high appreciation of the services which the police generally render to London. That is well known. It is not necessary to emphasise the fact; but still I will take the liberty of again saying that if I do not grant what the hon. Gentleman desires me to grant, it is not because of any want of appreciation of the splendid work done by the Metropolitan police. There may be a very limited body who are endeavouring to promote this agitation, to which I understand the hon. Gentleman has lent himself.
§ * MR. RITCHIE
If the hon. Gentleman includes all those who do not get the 1s. 6d. he is absolutely wrong, and I am perfectly sure no one would be more ready to repudiate the suggestion than the policemen themselves. I decline altogether to put it into the hands of the City authorities to dictate to those of the Metropolis what should be the pay of their policemen. That is what the proposition of the hon. Gentleman amounts, to. The City Police is a highly efficient but very small body of men, and, having regard to the heavy demands made on the ratepayers for the maintenance of the police force, I do not feel myself bound at all to base the pay of the Metropolitan Police on what the City authorities do for the small body within their area. The pay of the Metropolitan Police stands on its own bottom, and must be considered, whether right or wrong, just or unjust, without regard to anything that is done in the City.
The hon. Gentleman spoke of the delay in considering the claims of the police for an improvement in their position. I can tell him and the House that I was not a month in my present office before I commenced to make inquiries into the question of their pay and allowances, and, having regard to the difficult nature of the inquiries which had to be made into all the various circumstances of the metropolis, I venture to say that there never was a scheme more quickly matured and more promptly brought into execution than was this question of the adequate pay of the Metropolitan Police. The hon. Gentleman thinks that when we gave an increase of 1s. 6d. in their pay we would not have given anything more in the way 1048 of rent allowances, but for the representations of the hon. Gentleman. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that he is entirely mistaken. When I originally considered the question, within a few weeks of my occupying my present position, the whole question both of increase in their pay and of allowances for their lodgings was before me. The latter part was very much complicated by the different circumstances of the metropolis. I had to consider, in consultation with the Commissioner, a great many schemes which were put before me in regard to the way in which pay and allowances should be dealt with. There was a question whether it would not be better to house the men more largely rather than to give them a rent allowance, bur I had no difficulty in arriving at the conclusion that rent allowance would be much better than building barracks. When a determination had been arrived at on that point, we had to examine into the various methods in which the money should be distributed. I do not claim for our plan absolute and complete justice from every point of view. Wherever you have to draw a line there must be persons on one side who are far better off than others on the other side. Therefore, in any scheme you could have invented, there must always be some difference between men situated on one side and those on the other side.
Now with regard to what is called our "despicable meanness" in respect to the police, I should like to state one or two facts. I should first of all say that this despicable meanness on our part is represented by an increased cost of £90,000 a year—£60,000 for pay and £30,000 for rent allowances. That is the increased charge on the rates of the metropolis.
§ * CAPTAIN NORTON
Will the right hon. Gentleman excuse me one moment while I explain that my statement as to "despicable meanness" applied to the fact that, instead of giving the men a 3s. rise of pay, 1s. 6d. was given in the shape of rent allowance, in order to save the pensions on that wretched 1s. 6d. to those men who might eventually be possessed of pensions.
§ * MR. RITCHIE
I absolutely deny that the reason we did not give a 3 s. increase of pay, and only gave 1s. 6d. as pay and 1s. 6d. as rent allowance, was in order, to save the pension on the 1s. 6d. allowance. It was nothing of the kind. But what is the position with regard to that? The man who is housed gets no rent allowance and no pension on what the house is worth. To the other man we said, "We cannot give you a house, but we will give you 1s. 6d. a week." There was no question upon that point at all. Of course the 1s. 6d. rent, allowance does not and ought not to be counted towards pension. It was something we desired to give to the men in order to better their position. It was a personal allowance which ought not to be the subject of pension. The matter was considered as a whole and we endeavoured to do justice. I may say, whatever the hon. Gentleman may say, that the men are deeply grateful for the enormous improvement in their position which we gave them by the expenditure of £90,000 a year on increased pay and lodging allowances.
I have told the House how much money we have added to the cost of the Metropolitan Police by the arrangement which was made. The hon. Gentleman invites us to copy the example of the City Police. Does the House know that what the hon. Gentleman invites us to do is to add to what we have already given another £140,000 a year, to be borne by the ratepayers of the whole of the Metropolis? But simply because in the limited area of the City the City authorities have felt themselves to be in a position to give exceptional advantages to the police in their employ, decline to be drawn into reckless extravagance at the cost of the ratepayers. The great question is—how are these men paid compared with the constables in any other of our large towns? I will tell the hon. Gentleman. In Birmingham the average pay of a constable is 28s. 9d. a week, in Bristol 28s. 6d., in Leeds 29s. 8d., in Liverpool 29s. 2d., in Manchester 29s, 6d., and in 1050 Sheffield 28s. 9d. That is the average pay, exclusive of allowances, for the year ended September, 1900. [Mr. CLAUDE HAY laughed.] I do not know why the hon. Gentleman should laugh. He might wait until I am finished. The average rate of pay of constables in the Metropolitan force on April 19th last was (exclusive of allowances) 31s. 1d., so that the difference in their favour, as compared with the police in these six towns, ranged from 1s. 5d. to 2s. 7d. a week. Therefore, the Committee will, I hope, see that this "despicable meanness" on the part of the Home Office is not carried out to the same extent as it is in all our large towns. I will give the hon. Gentleman another argument which, perhaps, will not be quite agreeable. Where the Metropolitan policeman ends his beat, the Count policeman begins his. The work is identical. Does the hon. Gentleman pretend to say that the position of the Metropolitan policeman is not better off a great deal than the man who does exactly the same work, on the other side of the line, in the county? Of course he is very much better off in pay and allowances than the policeman on the other side of the line which divides London from the neighbouring parishes. The object of giving 1s. 6d. a week was to compensate the constable for the extra amount he had to pay in London for rent as compared with what he had to pay in the less crowded areas. The constables in the centre of the Metropolis have to live within a certain area, and that entails upon them extra cost for providing lodging, because their area of selection is much smaller and the pressure is greater. I am prepared to admit that there may be cases where there is as much difficulty on the outskirts as in the centre, but that is certainly not the rule. If there is any advantage in a constable coming from the outer area into the inner he always gets the chance of removing into it when opportunity-occurs; but in nine cases out of ten he does' not avail himself of the choice, as his work is much lighter, and the advantages of living in the outskirts are greater as a rule.
1051 These are the considerations which guided us when we came to consider what we ought to grant in the way of pay and allowances. We have gone, think, to as great a length as we are justified in going, and I understand that the arrangements we have made have given the utmost satisfaction to the police. Any dissatisfaction is confined to a very limited area; it is not spontaneous at all; it is stirred up, and although I do not believe the hon. Gentleman has taken part in the agitation, or that he foments the agitation, it is a matter of fact that the position which he has taken up represents a bogus agitation fomented by agitators who have made the hon. Gentleman their mouthpiece, unwittingly perhaps, in this House. I think there would be nothing more unsatisfactory than to lead the police to believe that, by agitation of the kind to which I have referred, their position would be improved. I can only say for myself that, with the utmost desire to recognise to the full the services which the Metropolitan police give to the inhabitants of the Metropolis, I entered into this matter, when I went to the Home Office, with the determination to do what I could, irrespective of cost, to do justice to the force. I believe I have done justice to them, and I must decline to reopen a question which I consider settled, and which, I believe, has resulted in satisfaction to those who are concerned.
§ *(3.26.) MR. CLAUDE HAY (Shoreditch, Hoxton)
said he was very sorry that any heat should have been imported into a discussion of the position of the Metropolitan police. He desired to dissociate himself from the suggestion that those who raised this question voiced a bogus agitation; he, himself, had no communication with any agitator. He earnestly hoped the right hon. Gentleman, in the administration of this new allowance, would do his best to remove the soreness which existed in some quarters. The difficulties which the police encountered in obtaining suitable house accommodation was well exemplified when hon. Members visited "model" residences. They found that these residences, erected to provide housing accommodation for the poor, were used, not from choice but necessity, 1052 by the police, on account of the regulation which required that they should live within a certain radius of their work. He was not aware that this question would be raised that day, and, therefore, he could not challenge the figures given by the right hon. Gentleman; but he was satisfied that a further examination of these figures by the right hon. Gentleman would establish the fact that if the pay of the metropolitan police exceeded that of the police in the provinces, the purchasing power of that money in London was not so great as it was in the country. Rents, for instance, were not so high in other parts of the country as in London. Therefore, he appealed to his right hon. friend to give this matter his closest attention, with the view of removing the soreness that existed in some quarters. In regard to the housing question it had always been held by the Home Office that corporations, such as railway companies, were not allowed to hold house property without express legislative sanction. That view had been called in question by these bodies, and he asked the right hon. Gentleman, the Home Secretary, to take such action at law as would clear up the doubt. There was another matter to which he wished to advert, and that was the right the Home Secretary possessed to refuse admittance to the civil prisons of the country, any soldiers sentenced by courts-martial.
* THE CHAIRMAN
That question cannot be discussed on this Vote. The hon. Gentleman must raise it on the Prison Vote.
§ * MR. CLAUDE HAY
said that this was matter that did not lie within the discretion of the Prisons Commission, but under the Home Secretary who, he understood, could refuse the admission of military prisoners to civil prisons.
* THE CHAIRMAN
All matters connected with the prisons, whatever the ultimate authority may be, must be taken on the Prisons Vote.
§ * MR. CLAUDE HAY
said he hoped that adequate opportunity would be given to discusst his question, which had aroused the deepest interest.
§ * CAPTAIN NORTON
said he hoped to be permitted to say a few words in reply to the Home Secretary. The right hon. Gentleman had complained of the want of elegance in his language. He was not seeking to be elegant, but to be forcible; and he would promise the Committee that he would, in future, model his oratorical efforts on those of the right hon. Gentleman the ome Secretary. He denied that be had ever suggested, as the Home Secretary had said, that the basis of payment o. the Metropolitan force should be that of the City Police. The City Police had always been more highly paid than the Metropolitan Police, but he had pointed out that when, solely through the extension of London, the increase in the cost of living, and the rise in wages in the area of the County of London, the City Commissioners, without waiting for a demand from the force, felt it their duty to increase the pay of the constables by 3 s., the right hon. Gentleman only increased the pay of Metropolitan Police by 1s. 6d. in one direction and 1s. 6d. in another, limiting it, in the latter case, to only about two thirds of the force. The right hon. Gentleman had given figures to the Committee to convey the idea that the London Police were better off than those of Liverpool, Manchester, or Glasgow. He ventured to deny that. The initial pay of the London Police was considerably lower than that of the Liverpool, Manchester, or Glasgow Police, and it was those men who were at the bottom of the scale, and who were stationed in the districts outside the boroughs who felt the pinch most, and who did not receive the extra 1s. 6d. He denied that he was the cat's-paw of the fomenters of what the Home Secretary called a bogus agitation. It was in order to avoid agitation, and to do even-handed justice to all the Metropolitan Police within the area of the County of London, that he had brought forward this question.
* CAPTAIN BALFOUR (Middlesex, Hornsey)
said he was sorry the Home Secretary had adopted so unsympathetic and uncompromising an attitude in regard to what appeared to him to be a not unreasonable demand on the part of the 1054 police in the suburban districts. The grievance was surely a very serious and obvious one. There were districts outside London, which were not boroughs, where living was just as expensive as in London itself. As an old soldier, he would be the last man to lift up his voice on behalf of any bogus agitation, or anything which tended to the subversion of discipline. Nor was it because there was any agitation in the police force that he supported this appeal. Surely the best way to maintain discipline was not to allow anything to exist in the force which seemed to be of the nature of a grievance. There was, for instance, the case of his own constituency. He could take the right hon. Gentleman for a bicycle ride in that district, and defy him to point out where London ended and Hornsoy began; yet the police in Hornsey were without the 1s. 6d. which their fellow policemen just across the boundary were enjoying. At Highgate recently the police station belonging to the nearest London district had been moved across the boundary into Highgate, and there had been a question as to whether the police would lose their 1s. 6d. a week, because they were stationed outside a borough; but it had been decided that as they were doing duty inside the borough boundary, though the station was outside, they should retain their allowance. The policemen actually belonging to Highgate, however, did not get the allowance, though lodgings were as dear on one side of the line as on the other. In Kingston the position was still more extraordinary. Kingston being a borough, the Kingston police got the allowance, but the police employed outside the bounds of the borough did not get it. These men, however, found that living was actually cheaper in Kingston than outside, and so many of them preferred to live in the borough, under the same conditions as the police employed in the borough, but these latter got the allowance and they did not. But the inhabitants of Hornsey were applying for the status of a Corporation, and if that were successful, their police would get the 1s. 6d. allowance, although the rents of the buildings in the district would be no dearer then than they were now. All the Middlesex members felt that there was a grievance in the way in which this allowance was distributed; and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would 1055 consider the matter, and try to make some arrangement whereby those quartered, at all events, in populous districts should not have the cause of complaint they had now.
§ * MR. NORMAN (Wolverhampton, S.)
said he wished to call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to a matter which came within the power which he could wield by an expression of his opinion, even if it were not within his legal jurisdiction. He alluded to the method in which magistrates were enforcing a law admitted by the Government to be unsatisfactory in regard to the speed of motor cars. If the Committee would permit him, he would give an instance of this. This month Mr. Ashton-Jonson and Mr. Blomfield, architect to the Bank of England, were going on a light motor car along the Guildford Road, when they were stopped by a constable, summoned to appear at the Guildford Police Court for furious driving, and fined £5. It was given in evidence by the policeman that there was no traffic on the road whatever, that there was nobody in sight, and that the car was under perfect control and was stopped instantly. The policeman said that he had timed the speed of the car by means of the seconds hand of an ordinary watch, and that he had measured a distance of 176 yards with a bicycle wheel, and in that way he had discovered that the motor car was going at the rate of eighteen miles an hour. It was a matter of impossibility to take the speed accurately by such a method. Now, this case had been subjected to a great deal of public comment, and even The Times had regarded it of sufficient importance to devote a leading article to it. The magistrate who tried the case accepted the evidence of the policeman, based on the seconds hand of his watch and his measurement of 176 yards with a bicycle wheel, and altogether ignored the evidence of the two gentlemen on the motor car, Mr. Ashton-Jonson and Mr. Arthur Blomfield, who were very well known. They swore that the speed of the car during the previous two miles, as estimated by a stop-watch, was only eleven miles an hour. They affirmed that it was absolutely impossible that they could have been proceeding at 1056 the speed alleged. The President of the Guildford Bench, Sir William Chance, declared the charge proved, and fined the owner £5. Now, there were three things to be said against the conviction. First, the extreme uncertainty of the method adopted to prove the facts; second, the testimony of one policeman was taken against that of two gentlemen of honour; and, third, the penalty was unreasonable. Here were two gentlemen, engaged in important business, dragged down to Guildford with' the loss of a whole business day, and for an offence which was purely a technical one, even if an offence had been committed, they were fined in the heavy sum of £5. Now, who was the Chairman of the Guildford Sessions, and what were his views about motor cars?
* THE CHAIRMAN
The Home Secretary is not responsible for the decision of the magistrates, and has no power to over-rule that decision. If the hon. Gentleman says that the Home Secretary ought to reduce the fine imposed on these gentlemen, he might connect the Home Secretary somewhat more closely with the question he is discussing than he now does.
§ * MR. NORMAN
said he was not sure what the strict legal powers of the Home Secretary might be, but he was certain that an expression of opinion by the Home Secretary would necessarily carry very great weight with magistrates.
* THE CHAIRMAN
I have no doubt that any expression of opinion falling from the Home Secretary would be received with the attention it deserves; but I do not see how that would arise under this Vote.
§ * MR. NORMAN
said he might raise the point by asking whether the Home Secretary could reduce the fine. He imagined that he could connect the Home Secretary with this matter in that manner. As a reason for reducing the fine, he asked the permission of the Committee to read the views of the Chairman of the Bench who imposed the fine. Sir 1057 W. Chance, according to a respectable journal called Motoring Illustrated, had said—While I retain the power I shall exercise it. The law has wisely prohibited these noisy, evil-smelling dangerous abominations from tearing madly about the country at break-neck speed, and it should be the aim, as it is most certainly the duty, of alt magistrates to deal with offenders in an exemplary manner.Thus it was duty of magistrates to deal in an exemplary manner with the driver of a light motor car, who had probably not broken the law at all, who was driving along an empty road with no people in view! Could it be expected that magistrates who took that view of their powers would do oven-handed justice? He was not making any kind of plea for people who put the public to danger or inconvenience. For his part he thought hardly any punishment would be too severe for drivers of motor cars who placed the public in danger. His point was that evidently they had on the benches estimable country gentlemen, devoted to other forms of locomotion, who were straining the letter of the law to put down a pastime of which they did not approve. They must remember also that the motor was not exclusively used by the rich.
* THE CHAIRMAN
I have been waiting to hear the hon. Gentleman saying that the fine of £5 was too much. He must either say that, or he cannot pursue the subject. That seems to be the only ground on which he can bring up the case at this moment.
§ * MR. NORMAN
said that he would, then, maintain that a fine of £5 was too heavy to inflict on these gentlemen for what could have been, at the worst, only a technical breach of the law. He hoped that the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary would reduce the fine, and give some expression of opinion on this subject.
(3.55.) MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
said he wished to be allowed to say a word in defence of the fine, accompanied with the suggestion that it ought probably to have been £50. The hon. Member stated that 1058 the evidence of a policeman, with an ordinary watch, was taken before that of the two gentlemen, who had timed the speed of the car for a distance of two miles with a stop-watch. But these two miles might have been uphill, while the 176 yards measured by the policeman might have been downhill, and probably that was the reason why the policeman chose it. It was absurd to say that a stop watch was required for a short interval of time. The speed could be calculated very well with an ordinary watch. The hon. Gentleman suggested that the Home Secretary should give an expression of opinion, in order to indicate what would meet with the approval of the Government. The right hon. Gentleman was asked to say to magistrates sitting or the bench of justice—"Look here, the Government do not approve of the way you are administering the law. You have heard evidence and given a decision, but the Government do not approve of it." He did not know what sort of answer the magistrates would make, but he was sure some magistrates would give a very rude answer indeed. The hon. Gentleman wanted one law for one road and another law for another road.
§ * MR. NORMAN
said that his point was that the law should have regard to the people on the road, and not to the road itself.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said that was exactly what the law did regard. The hon. Gentleman agreed that the road was empty, but how did he know it would remain empty? An old woman, or a dog or a cat—and all were regarded by the law—might enter from a side road. He had never heard such a case against a sound decision based on the evidence of a conscientious policemen.
§ *(4.5.) MR. RITCHIE
said that the hon. Gentleman asked him, first of all, to inform magistrates that they ought not to impose such heavy fines in cases where the motor cars were not travelling beyond a certain speed, and that their decisions were wrong.
§ * MR. RITCHIE
In addition to that, the hon. Gentleman invited him to review the whole of the evidence given before the magistrates in the Guildford case, and to reduce the fine. The case was one in which there was a conflict of evidence, and yet he was seriously asked to reverse the decision of the justices, who heard the evidence which he had not heard. The magistrates who heard the evidence were the best people to decide, and he really could not entertain such an idea. Further, the hon. Gentleman wanted him to inquire into the opinions of the magistrates before he decided whether they were right or wrong. He thought the only proper course, unless there was some strong reason against it, was to leave the matter in the hands of the properly constituted tribunal, which could judge of the value of the evidence much better than he could.
§ * MR. SCOTT-MONTAGU (Hampshire, New Forest)
said that the various opinions which had been expressed on the subject would be useful. At the same time, it was rather difficult to discuss this subject on the Vote before the Committee, in view of the debate the other night when the President of the Local Government Board expressed the opinion that the law ought to be changed, and that the present regulations were absurd. He was one who had been of those equally abused classes, a local J.P. and a motorist. He had carefully reviewed all the circumstances of the case of Mr. Ashton Jonson, and thought that the greatest injustice had been done. The fact was that at the present moment the innocent suffered for a few guilty people. In a few instances benches of magistrates had a personal and profound dislike for motor cars, and any motorist brought up before them had to bear all the weight of their prejudice. The method of timing adopted by the police was of the most perfunctory character. Traps were deliberately laid; the police were sent out to make bags, and if they returned empty they heard about it. The case of Mr. Ashton-Jonson was a case of an excessive fine. The fines imposed were often excessive in view of the fact that very often no person was on the road and no danger could be proved.
* THE CHAIRMAN
The hon. Gentleman cannot discuss fines imposed by local magistrates, over whom the Home Secretary has no authority. The only question is whether the Home Secretary should have intervened in this particular case.
§ * MR. SCOTT-MONTAGU
said that if the Home Secretary would give his personal attention to the cases brought before him, he could do much to see that justice was done. If the right hon. Gentleman would carefully consider some of these flagrant sentences, he would be convinced, as most motorists were, that there was so much prejudice in many parts of the country against motor cars that it was impossible to obtain justice.
§ * MR. WILLIAM JONES (Carnarvonshire, Arvon)
asked what steps the Home Secretary had taken with reference to amending the Metalliferous Mines Acts.
§ * MR. RITCHIE
said he could only repeat that he was ready, when he had an opportunity, to introduce a Bill on the subject. The interests involved were not growing, but they ought not, for that reason, to be neglected; and he hoped to have an opportunity of dealing with the matter, though there was not much chance of that at present.
§ *(4.10.) MR. LOUIS SINCLAIR (Essex, Romford)
said he quite agreed with the Home Secretary that as regards the police there should be some line of demarcation, but he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would take into account the ever-increasing population of London. The police were an admirable body, who did their duty well; but in many cases the duties were as arduous outside the line as within the line, and in these cases he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would do what he could to give the policemen concerned those allowances, without which they would certainly be at a disadvantage. He thought that men who had served their country in the army or the navy should have 1061 precedence for employment in the police force. With reference to the, administration of the Homo Office in regard to home trades in certain shops, such as tinmen's shops, a basin and towel had to be provided for every two men employed. They were rarely used, and were it not for the fact that the inspectors had very large discretionary powers, prosecutions would take place much more frequently, and industry would suffer. He ventured to say that the laws regulating trade should not emanate from the Homo Office, but from the office of a Minister of Commerce. They ought to be administered not by officials who know nothing of the trade of the country, but by men who know what employers had to compete with from other countries. He could give hundreds of instances in which the Factory and Workshop Acts militated against the production of articles, which were consequently more expensive, and which were practically ousted from the field by German or American competitors. He hoped that some clay there would be at the head of the trade and commerce of the country an office which would be able to deal with such matters and that there would be regulations which would not prevent employers putting on the market articles at a reasonable price, and which would not compel employers to provide entirely unnecessary and absolutely unused and expensive precautions which manufacturers in other countries had not to provide.
§ MR. TOMKINSON (Cheshire, Crewe)
said that the hon. Member for King's Lynn had spoken with his usual wit in reference to the Guildford case, but he had endeavoured to turn into ridicule what was admittedly a very serious matter. What were the facts? The magistrates accepted the evidence of a single policeman against the evidence of two gentlemen of unimpeachable character, well known to the public. There was undoubtedly the letter as well as the spirit of the law, and as a chairman of a bench of magistrates himself, he considered it was a much greater offence to drive a motor car at a speed approaching twelve miles an hour through a village, than it was to drive it at twenty-four miles an hour in the open country. The serious part of the case was that the magistrates 1062 preferred to accept the evidence of a single policeman, and disbelieved the evidence of two gentlemen. He was not a motorist himself, but he was a magistrate and, therefore, his sympathy might be supposed to be with the magistrates in that rather serious matter.
§ Mr. SEELY (Lincoln)
said that the question of making proper arrangements for the inspection of laundries—whether they were private laundries or institutions—was one which was not only important in itself, but with which the credit of the House of Commons was considerably concerned. They all knew the history of the question, and he could not help thinking that the fact that a number of women and girls should suffer in health and comfort on account of the difficulty of carrying a measure through the House——
* THE CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member is now dealing with legislation, which cannot be discussed in Committee of Supply.
§ MR. SEELY
said he merely wished to, state that the condition of these women and girls, which was not satisfactory, and for which religious questions were responsible, was not creditable, either to the section of the House concerned, or to the House as a whole. Everyone would agree as to the importance of the subject, and also that the Home Secretary had done his best to remedy the grievance. He was not imputing blame for the fact that the grievance was not remedied, but he hoped the Home Secretary would continue his efforts in the desired direction. Anything that could be done should be done with as little delay as possible. The subject was a thorny one, and raised questions of considerable difficulty, and unless it were handled with great care, it would be difficult to remedy. He hoped that before many months were passed, the Home Secretary would be able to inform the House of Commons that he had made arrangements by which, what he could not help regarding as a great 1063 scandal, would be put an end to. What the Home Secretary said in his speech was quite satisfactory as far as it went, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would continue his inquiries and press them to a definite conclusion, which would render it certain that those who worked in laundries—whether they were private laundries or institutions—should be properly looked after, just as women and girls employed in other industries were looked after.
§ (4.20.) MR. LEVY (Leicestershire, Loughborough)
said he wished to refer to the action of magistrates who refused to grant vaccination exemption certificates in many cases.
* THE CHAIRMAN
The hon. Gentleman cannot do that. If he has a specific instance in which application was made to the Home Secretary, and in which the right hon. Gentleman did not act, the hon. Gentleman can bring it before the Committee.
* THE CHAIRMAN
In what way does the hon. Gentleman suggest that the Home Secretary has power over the magistrates?
* THE CHAIRMAN
If no fine has been imposed, how can the Home Secretary remit it? The Home Secretary has no 1064 power to compel magistrates to grant Certificates of exemption. That is what the hon. Gentleman desires.
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
said, in reference to the remarks of the hon. Member for Lincoln, he did not like to let the statement of the hon. Member pass unchallenged that the condition of women and girls in certain laundries was damaged owing to religious difficulties. What had occurred in reference to regulations for laundries was not based on religious considerations.
§ MR. DILLON
said he did not think so. He was a party to all the discussions, and religious considerations did net really enter into them at all. Other considerations did arise, which, however, he would not be in order in discussing. The Home Secretary certainly did not require any incitement or urging from any quarter to stimulate him in his endeavour to protect women in laundries and other institutions. The right hon. Gentleman showed the most extreme desire to make the Bill as effective as possible, and if all laundries were not included it was not his fault. That was due to the unreasonable opposition of some Members of the Committee. It was not fair that the hon. Member should make charges against other hon. Members which they could not argue in a debate like that. He was quite certain the Home Secretary would do everything in his power to extend al fair and reasonable protection to women 1065 and girls working in laundries. So far as he was concerned, if met in a reasonable spirit, he would be quite ready to facilitate any reasonable protection being given to all employed in the laundries of the United Kingdom. All that was required was a reasonable and fair encouragement which would meet certain difficulties—not religious difficulties—which existed.
§ (4.30.) MR. TENNANT (Berwickshire)
said he agreed it would be impossible on the Vote before the Committee to discuss the question of laundries. He had asked the Home Secretary earlier in the discussion what he had done in regard to a standard of sanitary accommodation, but the right hon. Gentleman did not give him a reply.
§ MR. TENNANT
said that another point he would like to have some information upon was in connection with the fruit and jam preserving industry. The Order which the right hon. Gentleman had read out did not preclude women being employed all day and all night. He desired to know whether it was not possible to make some Order whereby the hours of labour for women would be limited.
§ * MR. RITCHIE
thought it would be more desirable if, before the fruit and jam preserving industry were discussed, the hon. Gentleman saw the Order. All that the hon. Gentleman suggested was that this matter should be considered. If, when the hon. Gentleman had seen the draft Order, he would communicate with the Home Office, they would be happy to consider any suggestions he might make. With regard to the other matters, he did not remember what had taken place, but would make inquiries, and if the hon. Gentleman would put a question later, he should have every information.
§ * MR. CLAUDE HAY
repeated his suggestion that the Home Office should test the claims of railway companies to acquire property without legislation.
§ MR. RITCHIE
said that he could sanction no such course. The condition of the law was under the consideration of a Committee, and it was not for the Home Office to take a test ease in such a matter.
§ MR. CLAUDE HAY
pointed out that it had not been referred to a Committee, and could not be so referred, because it was a matter in the discretion of the Home Office.
§ MR. SOAMES (Norfolk, S.)
said that with regard to the granting, or the not granting, of a certificate of exemption from vaccination, he would just like to say that the predecessor of the right hon. Gentleman, when specific cases were brought before him of the refusal of the magistrates to grant them immediately, wrote to the magistrates and pointed out they were not carrying out the provisions of the law. He submitted that the right hon. Gentleman ought to pursue the same course. There was very grave dissatisfaction existing in many parts of the country because magistrates refused to grant certificates on the statement on oath of the parents that they had conscientious objections to vaccination, and it would be much more satisfactory if the Home Secretary would undertake to draw the attention of the magistrates to the fact that they were not carrying out the provisions of the law when specific cases were brought to his attention.
§ SIR. JAMES JOICEY (Durhaum, Chester-le-Street)
supported the appeal, stating that in some districts it was impossible to induce the magistrates to grant certificates in any circumstances. In Chester-le-Street there was a very strong feeling among persons who had strong conscientious objections who had persistently refused exemptions.
§ MR. CHARLES SPENCER (Northamptonshire, Mid)
asked whether the magistrates had any right in law to impose what amounted to a fine on conscientious objectors by making them pay for their certificate of 1067 exemption. He did not see, if a man had a conscientious objection against vaccination, why he should practically be fined.
§ * MR. RITCHIE
said that the law required a fee of one shilling to be paid for a certificate of exemption. As to the suggestion of the hon. Member for South Norfolk, it was impossible for any Home Secretary to tell magistrates that they must be satisfied of the conscientious nature of an applicant's objection to vaccination when, as a fact, they were not satisfied. The law said that the magistrates must be satisfied on the point.
§ MR. CHARLES SPENCER
asked on what ground were conscientious objectors required to pay for certificates.
§ * MR. RITCHIE
I certainly will not. The law leaves it to the magistrates' discretion, and I have no right to say that they shall be convinced when they are not convinced.
§ MR. SOAMES
said the magistrates cross-examined the applicant for exemption as to the grounds of his conscientous objection in a manner they had no right to do.
* THE CHAIRMAN
pointed out that the Home Secretary had no power over the actions of the magistrates. He did not say that their action could not be 1068 discussed, but it certainly could not be discussed on the Vote for the Home Secretary.
§ MR. CHARLES SPENCER
merely wished to know to whom he could apply for information in this matter, if not to the Home Secretary.
* THE CHAIRMAN
said the Home Secretary was not the legal adviser to Members of the House. All he (the Chairman) had to do was to see that discussion did not exceed the Rules of Order, and he ruled that this discussion was irrelevant and out of order.
§ MR. A. E. PEASE (Yorkshire, Cleveland)
called attention to the grievance of the quarrymen in the north of England. He said they were paid on the quantity of stone quarried, and they felt they had a great grievance in not being allowed to appoint a man to check the weight, so that they might be able to rely on the fact that they were paid a proper wage according to the work done. A Bill was introduced some years ago, but the Home Secretary declined to allow it to pass. He now wished to know whether the right hon. Gentleman would try and evolve some scheme by which this grievance could be remedied, or whether the Government would allow a Bill for that purpose, introduced by a private Member, facilities for passing into law.
§ * MR. RITCHIE
said the only way to deal with the matter was by legislation, and he thought it would be out of order to discuss prospective legislation at the present time.
§ (4.53.) Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 108; Noes, 190. (Division List No. 188.)1071
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Harmsworth, R. Leicester||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Harwood, George||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid|
|Ambrose, Robert||Hay, Hon. Claude George||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Healy, Timothy Michael||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.)|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Blake, Edward||Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E.)||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.|
|Boland, John||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||O'Malley, William|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Horniman, Frederick John||Partington, Oswald|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Jacoby, James Alfred||Pease, Alfred E. (Cleveland)|
|Burns, John||Joicey, Sir James||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)|
|Caldwell, James||Jones, David Brynmor (Swansea||Pickard, Benjamin|
|Carew, James Laurence||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Joyce, Michael||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Cawley, Frederick||Kinloch, Sir John George Smyth||Rigg, Richard|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Lambert, George||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Craig, Robert Hunter||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Crean, Eugene||Leamy, Edmund||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Cremer, William Randal||Leng, Sir John||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Crombie, John William||Levy, Maurice||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Lewis, John Herbert||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Delany, William||Lough, Thomas||Spencer, Rt. Hn. C. R.(N'rth'nts|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Dillon, John||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Sullivan, Donal|
|Donelan, Captain A.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Tenuant, Harold John|
|Doogan, P. C.||M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)|
|Dunn, Sir William||M'Govern, T.||Ure, Alexander|
|Elibank, Master of||M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)|
|Emmott, Alfred||M'Kean, John||Weir, James Galloway|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||M'Kenna, Reginald||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Evans, Sir Francis H. (Maidst'ne||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe||Young, Samuel|
|Ffrench, Peter||Mather, William|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Mellor, Rt. Hon. John William|
|Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Mooney, John J.||TELLERS FOE THE AYES—|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Captain Norton and Mr.|
|Gilhooly, James||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Norman.|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Nussey, Thomas Willans|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Brookfield, Colonel Montagu||Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Dalrymple, Sir Charles|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Brymer, William Ernest||Dickinson, Robert Edmond|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Butcher, John George||Dorington, Sir John Edward|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Glasg'w||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-|
|Arrol, Sir William||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Durning Lawrence, Sir Edwin|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Egertou, Hon. A. de Tatton|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire||Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Faber, George Denison (York)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Charrington, Spencer||Finch, George H.|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne|
|Beach, Rt Hn. Sir Michael Hicks||Coddington, Sir William||Fisher, William Hayes|
|Beresford, Lord Charles William||Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry|
|Bignold, Arthur||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Foster, Philip S. (Warwick, S. W.|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready||Galloway, William Johnson|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Garfie, William|
|Boulnois, Edmund||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick|
|Bowles, T. Gibson (Lynn Regis)||Cranborne, Viscount||Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin&Nairn)|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Cripps, Charles Alfred||Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)|
|Gore, Hn G. R. G. Ormsby-(Salop||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln)|
|Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby-(Line.)||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Macartney, Rt Hn. W. G. Ellison||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Macdona, John Cumming||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.)|
|Greene, Sir E. W (B'ry S Edm'nds||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Spear, John Ward|
|Gretton, John||M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edinburgh W||Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich)|
|Greville, Hon. Ronald||Manners, Lord Cecil||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk|
|Groves, James Grimble||Maxwell, W. J. H (Dumfrie'sh're||Stanley, Edward Jas. (Somerset)|
|Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Milvain, Thomas||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Gunter, Sir Robert||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Stewart, Sir Mark J M'Taggart|
|Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Guthrie, Walter Murray||Montagu, Hon. J. Scott (Hants.)||Stock, James Henry|
|Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Stroyan. John|
|Hamilton, Rt Hn Lord G. (Mid'x||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.||Morrell, George Herbert||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G (Oxfd Univ.|
|Hare, Thomas Leigh||Morrison, James Archibald||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo.||Morton Arthur H. A. (Deptford)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Heath, James (Staffords. N. W.||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray O.||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Henderson, Alexander||Murray, Rt. Hn A Graham (Bute||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Hermon-Hodge, Robert Trotter||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|Hoare, Sir Samuel||Newdigate, Francis Alexander||Valentia, Viscount|
|Hobhouse, Henry (Somerset, E.||Nicholson, William Graham||Wason, John Cathear L (Orkney)|
|Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Welby, Lt.-Col A. C. E. (Taunt'n|
|Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Whiteley, H. (Ashton und. Lyne|
|Hoult, Joseph||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil||Pemberton, John S. G.||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Hutton, John Yorks. N. R.)||Penn, John||Wills, Sir Frederick|
|Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Percy, Earl||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Johnston, William (Belfast)||Pierpoint, Robert||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.)|
|Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.||Pretyman, Ernest George||Wilson-Todd. Wm H. (Yorks.)|
|Knowles, Lees||Purvis, Robert||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)|
|Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Rankin, Sir James||Wolff, Gustay Wilhelm|
|Laurie, Lieut.-General||Rattigan Sir William Henry||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Lawson, John Grant||Reid, James (Greenock)||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Leeky, Rt. Hn. William Edw. H.||Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries||Wyndham, Rt. Hon George|
|Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Renshaw, Charles Bine||Younger, William|
|Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S.||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Loukwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)|
|Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Long, Col. Charles W (Evesham||Ropner, Colonel Robert||Sir William Walrond and.|
|Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S.||Round, James||Mr. Anstruther.|
|Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Lowe, Francis William||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Lowther, G. (Cumb, Eskdale)||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ (5.10.) MR. CHARLES SPENCER
asked the fight hon. Gentleman whether it was in his power to alter the scale of charges for the conscientious objector who demanded exemption from vaccination.
§ * MR. WEIR (Ross and Cromarty)
drew attention to the fact that there were only two inspectors under the Vivisection Act, and asserted that it was physically impossible for them to go all over the country to look alter the work of 200 licensed vivisect ors, some of whom were regardless of the torture they inflicted on dumb animals. He hoped the Home Secretary would be able to 1072 assure him that additional inspectors would be appointed in order to see that these experiments were carried on in a more humane manner. He condemned the use of curara. This, he said, was a drug which paralysed the motor nerves but left those of sensation intact. In fact the animal was deprived of all power of motion, but remained completely sensitive. As the muscles with which the animal breathes were paralysed with this drug, suffocation and death would in the ordinary course, quickly ensue from its use; but to prevent this, before the drug was injected, the animal's throat was cut, its windpipe dissected out, and a tube fitted into it connected with an apparatus similar to a bellows, which instituted an artificial respiration by pumping air in and out of the lungs. 1073 Thus kept alive, the animal laid completely unable to move, but with its capacity for suffering unimpaired, while it was vivisected. He desired to know, further, whether Government offices and workshops were inspected by the Home Office inspector. He moved to reduce the Vote by £500.
§ Motion made and Question proposed—
§ "That a sum, not exceeding £91,856, be granted for the said Service."—(Mr. Weir.)
§ COLONEL LOCKWOOD (Essex, Epping)
said he hoped shortly to bring in a Bill to make certain alterations in the law, which were desired by many people who view these experiments with apprehension. He did not wish to lay any charge against those gentlemen, who honestly, and, he believed, very ably fulfilled the office of inspectors of the various laboratories where experiments on live animals were carried on under due licence by the Home Secretary. But he should like to join with the hon. Member for Boss and Cromarty in the hope that additional inspectors might be appointed to assist in supervising these experiments. It was not that he doubted the humanity of those men who believed that they would gain some advantage from these experiments on live animals, but he believed it was necessary that those experiments should be, if possible, conducted under the view, or, at all events, in the presence, of men who were aware how deep the public feeling was on this subject. The inspectors at present were too few in number to carry on that work properly, and he hoped the Home Secretary would be able to see his way to increasing the number until they were able to lay before the House the views of a very large body of the public on what he looked upon as the causing of needless suffering to live animals.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL (Donegal, S.)
said he abhorred vivisection in all its forms moods, and tenses. Since the passing of the Act of 1876 the people of the country had been under the impression that all was well, and that, though it was necessary for the advancement of 1074 science that these experiments should be carried on, they were conducted painlessly to the animals concerned. But that was not the case. When the effects of the narcotic passed off the torture was simply indescribable. Under that Act two inspectors were appointed, but he believed that one of these two inspectors was a convinced believer in the system of vivisection, and was not therefore likely to look with a very critical eye as to whether cruelty was practised or not. The reports supplied to the House under the Vivisection Act were, in his opinion, shams and frauds. He wished the Act of 1876 had never been passed to legalise these experiments. Certificates were freely given to such men as Dr. Klein, who had avowed that in conducting experiments he never considered the sufferings of the animal. In too many instances vivisection was carried on, not for the purpose of relieving human suffering, but out of a mere devilish spirit of curiosity, and had an effect on students subversive of the best feelings of humanity. [Cries of "Agreed."] He begged the noble Lord opposite to restrain his enthusiasm. He was expressing the feelings of humanity towards animals, and the only interruption carne from the noble Lord.
§ LORD BALCARRES (Lancashire, Chorley)
, interrupting, said that was an improper observation to make. He was greatly interested in the subject, and anxious to hear what the Home Secretary had to say upon it.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
said he had left plenty of time for the Home Secretary to reply. He desired to know whether any addition was proposed to the number of inspectors and whether there had been any prosecutions under the Act of 1876.
§ *(5.27.) MR. RITCHIE
said that as to altering the scale of charges to the conscientous objector, he would prefer not to give an answer on the spur of the moment. It might be rather a question 1075 for the Attorney General to answer. As to the inspection of Government factories, the Act of last year applied, and they were now inspected by Home Office inspectors, while Government buildings generally were open to inspection by the sanitary authority. With regard to vivisection, time did not admit of fully discussing the subject. As to the argument that animals suffered intense pain after recovery from the anæsthetic, he could assure the House that that was very easily overstated, because life was destroyed before return of consciousness in all cases except those where special certificates authorising the keeping alive of the animal were granted. It might become necessary to appoint additional inspectors, but it would be absolutely impossible to ensure that an inspector should be present at all operations, for that would require an army of inspectors. No certificate was given except under the greatest precautions, and even where such certificates were granted, the animals had to be killed m-mediately the object of the experiment was attained. Before a certificate was issued the Home Secretary had to be convinced that every precaution would be taken that the operation would be conducted by a properly-trained person for an adequate scientific object. All possible means were taken to avoid causing animals unnecessary pain; the inspectors were most humane men, and so, generally, were the operators. He did not know that there had been any convictions under the Act.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to. Mr. Ritchie.1076
§ Resolution to be reported upon Monday next; Committee to sit again upon Monday next.