HC Deb 01 June 1908 vol 189 cc1563-4

I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether his attention has been called to the action of the St. Helens Town Council in refusing to let a room in the council buildings for trade union purposes on a Sunday, and to the action of the Welshpool Town Council in refusing to let a room in the council buildings to the Welshpool branch of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants except at a prohibitive rate; and whether he proposes, by legislation or otherwise, to take such action in the matter as will prevent the possibility of local authorities taking up this position in the future.


I have made inquiry as regards the cases mentioned by my hon. friend. I do not understand that the town council of St. Helens have refused the request made to them. A committee of the council have been in communication with the local branch of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants on this subject with a view of ascertaining whether the meetings could not be held on a week-day. The secretary of the branch has now replied on this point, and the matter will be brought before the town council. As regards the Welshpool case, I am informed that the town council offered the society the use of a room on Sundays, at a charge of 3s. for each meeting not exceeding two hours, this charge to include firing, lighting, cleaning, etc. I do not think I could propose legislation on this subject, but I am glad to know that many local authorities are willing to grant facilities for meetings of trade unions, friendly societies, and other similar bodies.

MR. JOHN WARD (Stoke-on-Trent)

How many local authorities returned favourable answers to the Circular sent out by the right hon. Gentleman?


The circular was issued two months ago. I have received forty-two replies, thirty-two of which stated either that accommodation for working men's associations had already been provided or expressed their willingness to provide it.