HC Deb 13 March 1908 vol 186 cc10-99
*MR. P. W. WILSON (St. Pancras, S.)

in rising to move the Second Reading of the Unemployed Workmen Bill said: Mr. Speaker, I am well aware that this morning I am faced by a somewhat formidable task, in the discharge of which I shall plead for the indulgence of the House, and possibly also for some measure of forbearance on the part of my friends. I have been a good deal criticised in public and in private for having taken up this Bill, but I will venture to lay before the House three simple considerations. First of all, this problem, which is a national problem, is long overdue. In the second place, we shall not dispose of this problem by pretending that we have forgotten about it. If we are perplexed, as some of us are, then it is better that we should seek some solution in the comparative privacy of a Friday afternoon when a suspicious number of Members have sought refreshment in the country, than that we should go year after year back to our constituents with apologies upon our lips. I have never criticised the administration of the Local Government Board either under my right hon. friend or under his predecessor. This Second Reading is not moved as a vote of censure upon Governments, whether past or present. Many of us who support this Second Reading voted for the Government in a somewhat critical division on the Address, and I submit to the House that the figures of that division indicate a concern and anxiety which is not confined to any section of the House in reference to this problem. In the next place, I welcome and endorse all the exposure which has been made from that bench of our existing methods. We agree with my right hon. friend that charity has failed. We agree that soup kitchens on the Thames Embankment, however useful they may be to a Cabinet Minister who may be wandering about in Windsor uniform, are absolutely useless for the purpose of relieving this problem. We have also our suspicion as to the administration of out-door relief. All these criticisms we put in as part of our case. We welcome them because they prepare the mind of the House for a proper policy. They show that the present position is impossible, and that advance is now inevitable. I will just trouble the House with one simple quotation, it will be very short. It comes from the Report of a Distress Committee:— The Committee are of opinion that the Act of 1905 has altogether failed to benefit the class of persons specially aimed at. They are, however, of opinion that the Act by Amendment and amplification can be made most beneficial. That opinion comes, not from Poplar, not from West Ham, it comes from the great municipality of Glasgow, the birthplace, if I may say so, for the benefit of my hon. friend here, of Adam Smith [An HON. MEMBER: No, he had a chair there.] Well, he went to Glasgow when he had arrived at years of discretion. Now, there are some who pin their faith to indirect methods of dealing with this problem, and a very convenient faith it is. I have nothing to say against the value of licensing reform, land reform, housing reform, an eight-hours day, and I will not even argue the question whether the taxation of the poor man's larder will, as we are told it will in the protectionist camp, give us a lower income-tax and work for all. I will merely remind the house that the burden of unemployment is equally as grave in Berlin, Chicago, and New York as it is in London, Manchester, or Sunderland. On the general question of indirect methods I would point out to the House that while it is right to seek to improve the general health of the body politic, we must also treat special maladies on their own ground. There was a piece of special inquiry at Whitechapel, conducted by the residents of Toynbee Hall. They investigated the causes, and they came to the conclusion that in a large number of cases the causes were economic as well as individual, as even in prosperous times you have an average margin of unoccupied labour. That was the view of the late Parliament. We have the Act of 1905, for which we are all ready to give full credit to hon. Members opposite, which recognises the duty of society whole to the unemployed man. May I just give to the House one further quotation, which I give for the very simple reason that it is an acccount of the Act of 1905 by one who took part in those debates. A Member of this House at that time said— It recognised the right of the man to call upon the State to provide him with work. The State replied by recognising the right, but would not provide the work. The Bill was like a motor-car without petrol, or only such petrol as it could beg on the road, an elaborate machine without motive power. Personally he was not afraid; he wished that its, object had been enlarged. Whose words were those? They were the words of the right hon. Gentleman. who was now the President of the Board of Trade, and my loyalty to the Government prevents me from disagreeing with him. I will also remind the House of the King's Speech of 1906. I will not argue the question whether the promise in that Speech indicated a grant of £200,000 partly to the unemployed and partly to the Sinking Fund. I will not argue that point, I will simply say that by this grant, the present Government endorsed the Act of 1905, and endorses the policy of that Act as one on which both sides of the House are agreed. What is the history of this present Bill? We are all agreed that organised trade unions in this country represent, in the usual term, the cream of the working class. They have done all that they can to deal with unemployment in their own way. In this great task they have had no help from the State. Help from the State! At one period the State stepped in and actually mulcted them of the very funds which they were devoting to this beneficent purpose. There has been a suggestion that the trade unions should have a proportional subsidy for unemployment benefit allowance, and it has been pointed out to me that that is not in the Bill. I wish to say that it is solely a matter for the Treasury, and that in these days we can do that, and almost anything else, on the Appropriation Act. The trade unions are represented by three central organisations—the Parliamentary Committee of the Trade Union Congress, the General Federation of Trades, and the Labour Representation Committee. It was a Joint Committee of these three centra-organisations, quite as much represental tive of the other as of this side of the House, which drafted this Bill, and I would point out that it was placed first upon the list of measures for which, according to the Committee of Advanced Radicals—I believe that is what we call ourselves—we were invited to ballot at the beginning of the session, and it was at the request of Members on my own side of the House, without reference to the suspects on the Bench opposite, that I took up this Bill. I have a great deal of ground to clear, I am bound to do it, and I must say a word as to the Royal Commission on Poor Law. Royal Commissions we all know, are one of the innocent hypocrisies of public life, and no Member of this House talking over a Royal Commission in the lobbies fails to smile the smile of the Roman augur. If a Government is not particularly anxious at the moment to deal with Welsh Disestablishment they appoint a Royal Commission, with a judicially-minded Chairman. Hon. Members opposite had agreed to appointing this particular Royal Commission, but when we were on that side of the House they accused us of coquetting with Socialism. What about this Royal Commission which is dominated by the Fabian Society, and in respect of which doubtless we have an explanation of the fact that there was such an extraordinary spread of Socialism in the recent amendments to the Address on the part of the Conservative Party opposite? On general grounds you cannot permanently refer this question to a Royal Commission, however able and however exhaustive its inquiry may be. Now, let us look at the Bill itself. It consists of two parts: the machinery clauses on the one hand, and the working clauses on the other. I will begin with the machinery clauses. At present the Distress Committees are sporadic bodies, working in a tentative fashion, a kind of isolated excrescence on our general system of local government. The Bill establishes regular Unemployment Committees for all authorities, I think, of over 20,000 population, otherwise it is the County Council. Before we go a step further, you have there at any rate a uniform policy applied to the whole country, and you will never stop the dramatic march of the unemployed from one district to another or the far more serious silent drift from one district to another until you have a uniform policy applied to the whole country. In the first place the first duty of these Unemployment Committees is to register the unemployed. With that registration we shall for the first time have what we have not at present, accurate returns for casual, as well as organised labour. That register is in itself almost a ready-made universal system of labour exchange. We have to deal with the small margin of labour, say, 5, 7 or 10 per cent., whatever it is we do not know. Let me point out to the House that the State itself is already the largest consumer of labour, whether direct or by contract. We have no vestige of an attempt so to schedule the labour given out by the State as to deal with this margin of unemployed from private sources. We have been discussing the Navy Vote, and we have been told that the Admiralty are going to build docks all along the sea coast by way of showing affection for the German Ocean. If all the millions they are going to spend in the next ten years on those docks were added to other public expenditure, the result would be enormous. We in London are going to enlarge and add to our port. We are converting our trams at the cost of millions from horse traction to electricity. This is precisely the kind of work which the trade unions are not at the moment able to deal with so well. It is labour which is arduous and muscular rather than skilled labour, just the sort of labour which we want for the unemployed of a city. At this moment the State is the largest builder of public buildings. We in London are going to put up a palace on the Thames Embankment. Its cost will be £2,000,000 of money, of which £600,000 or £800,000 will be spent in wages. We are told in this House that this question of unemployment is specially urgent in the case of the building trade, and why is it not possible to schedule public buildings of that sort and so regulate trade from time to time and season to season. At any rate there is no attempt to do this at present. The Bill also gives us a central committee to advise the Local Government Board. The Secretary of State for War has told us that if we want to organise our Army we must do hard thinking, and we want a body of experts to take hold of this business thinking hard not to give us a nation in arms, but in order to give us a nation at work. Then we have in this Bill three Commissioners. There is a precedent for that in the Small Holdings Bill, and I think the problem of unemployment is very parallel to that of small holdings, because here, as there, you will have to break new ground, you have to deal with varied local conditions by adaptable schemes. Now I come to the working clauses, and I want to point out that the working clauses deal with two distinct subjects: the work of the national authority, and the work of the local authority. All the criticism of this Bill has been directed against work provided by the local authority. But if you cut that out of the Bill altogether you would have still a very useful advance in this matter. You would have the Local Government Board itself under the wise leadership of my right hon. friend establishing national schemes of afforestation, farm colonies, or coast erosion, or whatever may be considered suitable. I am told that that means national workshops, but I can only say that that is one of the many things which are not in this Bill. You must have a right if you are going to deal with a question of this sort to frame your measure, and you may be perfectly certain that if you want to call a spade a spade, you will also have, according to the lawyers, to call it by a good many different names. I do think that "Paris in 1848" has done duty enough. You take a city in a state of revolution, with barricades in the street, and public opinion in an absolutely electrified condition, and you say that that is a fair parallel to a country which has enjoyed sixty years of unmistakable municipal progress and pacific social development. I come to the most provocative part of this Bill. I notice particularly on reading my right hon. friend's speech that with remarkable accuracy he made use of his now historic phrase "universal pauperism qualified by gaol." [Mr. JOHN BURNS: Tempered.] I beg pardon, "universal pauperism tempered by gaol." I am glad of that interruption, because I want the House to know how accurate my right hon. friend's mind is in working when he is dealing with this matter. He limited that criticism to certain provisions, which you will find in Hansard. I am perfectly certain that those provisions do not include registration or such clauses for national work as might easily be drafted on the present clauses. It applies to the provision of work and maintenance by the local authority. The hon. Member for Leicester on Wednesday went to Battersea and made a speech. He said— I view with great terror"— note the words— the return of the Opposition to power. Most sound doctrine, which I hope my hon. friend will repeat elsewhere. He further said he had no objection to amendments to this Bill provided that they did not strike at its principle, and what is its principle? That unemployment should be regarded as a national and not as a local problem, and with regard to that principle, which is the principle of the Bill, there is a great deal of common ground. I have always been prepared either to postpone or to amend the right to work, and I think this has been common knowledge on the Front Bench. But I must say that, even with regard to the right to work clause, there has been a certain amount of misapprehension. I will not argue the question whether employment by local authorities according to this Bill must be at a standard rate of wages or not. It is an arguable question. But I certainly understood that it was not in the Bill, and I should be prepared to cut it out if it is in the Bill. One thing is certain and that is that there must be maintenance, should the necessity arise. This Bill contemplates coming to the assistance of a man before he has lost his self-respect, instead of coming to his assistance when he has got right down into the gutter. The local authority need not under this Bill supply work at all, provided that it deals with the maintenance problem, which it can do by gift, or a very simple Amendment would make it possible to deal with it by loan or by the issue of rent tickets. I admit that this clause has very important financial aspects for national and local finance, but I do want on the general principle to make an especial appeal to county Members. They have come over and over again to this House and asked us to pity the agricultural labourer, and they have said that the agricultural labourer should have security of tenure. Now what is security of tenure, unless it be the right of continuous work and an assured home to live in? I am simply asking that the security of tenure, which it is the avowed policy of the Government to extend to the agricultural districts, should be applied to my own constituents, who live in tenements, and who are just as fond of their one little room as the agricultural labourer is of his whole cottage, and just as much entitled to consideration by this House. I come back again to the penal clause. That is at least a statement of principle and a statement of a salutary and wholesome principle. We could not ask this House to recognise in any form the right to work unless we also were agreeable at any rate to impose the duty of work, and even here we have made a very important concession which I recommend to the notice of hon. Members opposite. The penal clause is not so drastic as to be applied to the wealthy classes, to the millionaires, or the landholders, or the brewery shareholders. We have only applied it to those who cannot themselves provide maintenance and because in our practical experience we have come to the conclusion that you can never solve this problem until you segregate the loafer and the unemployable, who were so accurately described by the hon. Member for Camberwell a few days ago as those who live as parasites on the classes above them, dragging them down to their own level. In this formidable task I have one encouragement. I am to be opposed by somebody, and I rather hope it is my hon. friend the Member for Preston. Whenever I regard the broad philosophic brow of my hon. friend I am always reminded of the University of Oxford, which was once described as "The Home of Lost Causes." At the same time I am not going to trouble the House with any attempt to answer the economic propositions laid down in a reasoned Amendment. I want to avoid, as far as possible, anything of a purely debating character. I have the notes here, but I think the House would be relieved if I allowed somebody else to take part in this debate. I bring forward this Bill as a convinced Liberal. I believe that Liberalism, if it is to be of any value as a political faith, must be based upon respect for the individual, and that is the basis of legislation for old age, for children, or for sweated workers. This is the only Bill before the House, it is the only hint of a positive policy, on this subject. It is possible that a better hope may arise this afternoon and that there may be a definite pronouncement—I do not know—on this subject. But I do think that we might at any rate put a time limit to the activities of the Royal Commission. I am not fighting for this clause or that clause, but I am fighting for a constructive policy, and if I may just conclude I would simply read to the House a letter sent to me this morning unsolicited, from the police court missionary of the Thames Court House, Stepney, London. This is what this Mr. Fitzsimmons writes— As a worker amongst the poor and the unemployed in the East End for almost twenty years, I heartily wish you success in your effort to-morrow. Certainly not less than fifty, and possibly sixty, persons have since 1st January been driven to commit crime and have been charged at this Court through being out of work and starving in consequence. I have no doubt you will be told that things are not so bad as that, and that the distress committees have a surplus, but are you aware of the numbers of unemployed who have applied in Poplar and Stepney for work, and whom the distress committees have not been able to help? Like the following case: A most respectable man, named Knight, aged thirty-two, wife and three children, out of work since December, gives references to past employers, one of two years, another of twelve years, has been a Volunteer, volunteered for active service, and did one year and ninety-seven days in South Africa; discharge paper marked for conduct, 'Very good.' He has been twice weekly to the distress committee at Stepney, told he must wait his turn, hundreds have their names down before him, and he had not a bit of food yesterday or this morning. Wife and children had a bit of bread yesterday. That is my case, Mr. Speaker, and I beg to move that this Bill be read to-day a second time.


said he thought he could with great propriety congratulate his hon. friend both on the very graceful way in which he had made peace with his friends and also on the remarkable clearness and ability in which he had expounded the Bill, the Second Reading of which he had moved, and he would like, in seconding that Resolution, to emphasise what he had said about the origin of the Bill. This Bill, like the Trade Disputes Bill introduced in the House in 1906, was a Bill which had behind it the combined forces of labour in this country. Let there be no mistaking that. As a matter of fact, he thought the indications that combined labour had shown regarding its interest in this Bill were even greater and more emphatic than the indication which it gave regarding its interest in the Trade Disputes Bill. The Parliamentary Committee of the Trade Union Congress, and the Congress itself, the General Management Committee of the Federation of Trade Unions, and the Executive of the Labour Party, and the Labour Party itself, together with two special conferences called from every trade union in the country, had unanimously and emphatically declared that they were in favour of the principle that they had sought to embody in this Bill. He was perfectly prepared to admit that the Bill had far-reaching results, that perhaps for the first time in the history of the House the problem of the unem-employed man was being faced straight away from top to bottom. The Bill did not propose to remedy the problem from the beginning; it only proposed to deal with the results of certain industrial and economic factors. Legislation that was to remedy the problem from the beginning must be of a different character. They had already indicated from their side of the House, and the Government had also indicated, certain lines upon which this problem should be attacked fundamentally, but whilst they had done that they must remember that there was an enormous reponsibility placed upon the House to alleviate the distress which was the result of the evil conditions under which they lived. The general plan of the Bill was very simple. It imposed certain responsibilities and duties upon certain authorities, partly local and partly national; it declared that there was a combination of interests and responsibilities in this matter, that Whitehall, together with the town hall of every considerable place in the country, must join their forces, intelligence, and powers in alleviating the distress which arose from unemployment. Therefore, the machinery which had been described so well by his hon. friend had been created, based upon the experience of the Technical Education Board of the London County Council and of the Advisory Committee of the Education Department, and upon the proposal of the Government contained in last year's Land Act in respect to Commissioners. There was not much dispute about that machinery, so he would pass on. He felt perfectly certain that when he referred to Clause 3 everybody who had studied the Bill would say: "Yes, that is the centre of the Bill." His hon. friend had said he was willing to postpone Clause 3, but he was bound to confess that they on that side of the House were not. Clause 3 to them was the kernel of the measure. They had never hidden the fact, they had preached the fact from the housetops, and they would leave that House and continue preaching from the housetops the same gospel. The Labour Party stood for the right to work; they had nothing to withdraw from that and no modification to make. The Labour Party was perfectly prepared to admit that to carry out the principle of the right to work without care or consideration might be an exceedingly dangerous and disastrous proposal, but the Labour Party, in drafting this Bill and this clause, had indicated by limiting words and expressions, and also by supplementing Clause 3 by Clause 12, that they were perfectly prepared to allow bye-laws stating the conditions of the application of Clause 3. They had come to the conclusion—and every economist (with the exception of the economists who stood for lost causes; not only lost causes but dead causes, causes that were only mourned over now), and every social investigator, with Mr. Charles Booth at their head, had laid down the dictum that modern industry demanded a surplusage of labour in order to carry it on. There was another doctrine which he believed was just as acceptable to those who had thought it out, and that was that modern industry also required, every now and again, a critical condition of unemployment. It did not only require its 2 per cent. always, but it required its 10 per cent. occasionally, so that whilst in the shady corner of the stage of life they had for ever the tragedy of unemployment being played, they had, periodically, right out in the full glare of the footlights, the same tragedy coming to disturb their consciences and to give them political troubles as well. There was the starting point in the Bill. If they agreed with that starting point would they not agree with this corollary, that if they had to have unemployment, not because the men unemployed were inferior in character to the men employed, but because of the very nature of the organisation of their industry they must have that margin—would they not agree with him that it was a logical, fair, and humane corollary that the burden of unemployment should not be placed upon the backs of those weak men? If it was necessary for society that a section should be without work, was it not the duty of society to take care that that section should not be trodden down to destruction? The more clearly that they understood intellectually the character of this problem, the more difficult was it morally to refuse to recognise the right to work; the more clear their intelligence became regarding the nature of unemployment, the more impossible was it for them to say: "This is a passing phenomenon that has to be dealt with by charity or philanthropy, or by some odds and ends of legislation." The movement for dealing with the unemployed was bound to go more and more in the direction of Clause 3. Some of his friends on both sides of the House fancied they heard a sort of rumble of the tumbril of Socialism; they saw through this clause a sort of doleful and melancholy procession of some-doomed king to the Place de la Concorde where a Socialist executioner with a red cap was going to chop off his head. It was a nightmare vision, and he was bound to say that, judging by the newspapers that morning, those who used to be in high places were very troubled by those nightmares. But if that was so, he would like to know who it was that led the Sansculottes to the bombardment of the Bastille? Who was it that took the Judiths of Saint Antoine out on the streets to start this Revolution? Nobody else but the right hon. Gentleman who represented Dublin in this House. He began it all. He was the man who said to the unemployed: "Entertain expectation to work for the State and of employment by the State." He it was who said to them: "Go to your town halls and your distress committees, and put your name down as being unemployed." He it was who said: "I will supply money or machinery. I will supply money to open registers, and to buy land, and create committees, and employ clerks, and buy red tape," in order that all this sort of thing should be done. If the sound of Socialism filled the ears of his more timorous friends, it was started by the iniquitous operations of the right hon. Gentleman. In 1905 they had that Act. He did not want always to praise that Act, but this was what happened under the Act. In 1907 87,001 applications were received. Of those, after full investigation, and in some districts the investigation was inquisitorial to a degree—60,416 passed, the dependents of whom reached the appalling total of 152,801. They were told that they were all right and exactly the sort of people that the right hon. Gentleman had in mind when he passed his beneficent and humanitarian legislation. Sixty thousand passed, 36,000 received employment. Even the miserably inadequate assistance given under the Act was only given to 36,000 out of 60,000, and to-day the figures were getting worse and worse. Did any practical politician imagine for a single moment that after they had created such machinery, and raised such expectations they were going to stop it? Did the House say for a moment that now they were going to stop finding work or giving maintenance by hook or by crook? They could not do it. It was not possible, because they were now subject to such a steady economic and industrial pressure that they were bound to yield sooner or later. The House was now a mere chip floating on the top of the tide which was begun by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dublin. How did they propose to make the Bill effective? He hoped the House would be good enough to read the Bill accurately. It was perhaps occasionally somewhat badly drafted, but in that respect they followed the Government. Clause 3 of the Bill said that, subject to conditions thereinafter to be imposed, it would be the duty of the local unemployment authority to find work in connection with one or other of the schemes thereinafter provided, or otherwise, or failing the provision of work, to provide maintenance should necessity exist, for the necessaries of life, provided that a refusal on the part of the unemployed workman to accept reasonable work upon one of those schemes or other employment upon conditions not lower than those that were standard to the work in the locality should release the local unemployment authority of its duty under the section. Hon. Members seemed to think that that meant that the local unemployment authority had to provide work at trade union rate of wages, but he would like to know what provision of the clause provided for that. All it meant was this. Let them assume that a trade unionist had to appear before a distress committee, and that a fortnight before he was offered work in the ordinary way of business at wages which were not standard to that district, say at 5d. an hour when his trade union rate was 7½d. an hour. All that was provided for by this clause was that that man who had refused such work, or in other words had declined to become a blackleg, would not have that offer of work thrown in his teeth and regarded as a reason why the distress committee should not assist him. He was willing to admit that the clause might be badly drafted, but the statement he had made was its meaning so far as they were concerned, and in voting for the Bill they were voting for Clause 3 with that meaning. Besides, in Clause 12 provision was made for bye-laws determining the conditions under which Clause 3 was going to operate. Clause 12 ran— The Local Government Board shall, after consultation with the Central Unemployment Committee, frame rules for the carrying out of this Act, and may, by those regulations amongst other things regulate the manner in which any duties under this Act are to be performed or powers exercised by any local unemployment authority. Clause 4 of the existing Act had been found to be most efficacious in laying down conditions, and if Clause 12 of the Bill in Committee required elaboration or extension so that it might be as comprehensive as Clause 4 of the existing Act, they were perfectly prepared to support such extensions. There was an objection or two to the Bill to which he should like to refer. They were told that if Clause 3 came into operation it would be quite unnecessary for a man out of work to try and find work, and that seemed to be a most serious objection. He wondered if right hon. and hon. Members were ever out of work. A good many of them had been undoubtedly, and he wondered how many of them would tell the House that it was a most blessed experience sent from heaven to discipline them and make them better men than they were before, to be out of work, tramping the streets in rain and in sunshine, going about cadging and losing one's humanity, going about from factory to factory and from workshop to workshop begging to be employed, and going home every day without anything found, feeling a horrible sense that one was abandoned by his neighbours and fellow-men. If that was an experience that hon. Members opposite wanted to retain as a precious possession for the twentieth century let them say so; and, if not, let them stop talking about the fearful damage that was going to be done by making it impossible for men to walk about the streets begging for work. Then they said that if they gave good maintenance, they were undertaking something not only objectionable but exceedingly costly. Why was that so? Supposing under Clause 12 they laid down certain conditions for maintenance. Supposing they compelled a compositor to give two or three hours a day, while work was being found for him, to teaching a typographical class in St. Bride's Institute. Supposing they thus got a quid pro quo for society for the maintenance they were giving him, he ventured to say they were making an admirable bargain. The essential point was that which his hon. friend had made. It was all very well for the House to say it provided for the poverty-stricken. It did, that was admitted. It provided for them when they got to the gutter. It provided for the poverty-stricken when they had entered the sombre gates of the workhouse. The Labour Party had come into existence to help the poverty-stricken while they were still capable of working. It was all very well to talk about the cost. The cost would not be more than one "Dreadnought" per annum. The House must not forget, when dealing with economic problems, that its coin was not always gold and silver. It was often of a human quality; and, if they were going to allow a human mass to fester in their midst, they were reducing the vitality of their women and demoralising their men; and from such sources they were creating a poisoned centre which would lower their national vitality. That was the coin in which they were going to pay for this chronic state of unemploy- ment. Pounds, shillings, and pence were too often before the eyes of sections of the House. The human character of the nation was too frequently put aside without adequate consideration. There was another point. There was a misunderstanding about the clause. He was perfectly prepared to shoulder all the responsibility for bad drafting that might hedge about the Bill, but there-was a misunderstanding about the clause-in so far as it seemed to be assumed that their purpose was to put unemployed men to their own work. He knew that in the opinion of some hon. Members he and his friends were an exceedingly foolish party, and that their ideas had carried them away. Hon. Members said that the difference between themselves and the Labour Party was that the latter lived in heaven and the former were content to dwell upon earth. He did not very much mind it; but this Bill was not a case in point. They never suggested in this Bill, and they never had it in their mind when they were drafting its provisions, that that should take place. It was a complex thing, and it required much longer time than was at his disposal to classify the unemployed. The unemployed was not a simple expression at all. It was an exceedingly complicated expression. It consisted of everything and everybody. One man's cure was another man's poison. That was much more true of the unemployed and unemployment than perhaps of any other social problem with which they had to deal. The promoters of the measure were convinced—and a good many of them had had practical experience of these committees and boards of guardians—that they could create a system upon that Bill, and that they could apply the principles embodied in it and give adequate relief when a man had become unemployed, either permanently or temporarily—permanently by drafting him on to the land, or temporarily by giving him some maintenance. They believed that they could adapt the sort of work provided for them in accordance with their skill in a graded scale of employment. They did not want relief work. That was a fallacy. They did not want to put a spade in a iron's hand and tell him to go and dig a hole. That was no good. If it ended there, it was no good, but if it subserved something else, of course it was good. They wanted training work. They did not want to put men to the same work they were doing now, because that would only increase the volume of unemployment. Hon. Members must not think they were the only people who were aware of those considerations. Costing his mind back over twenty years, he had known some hon. Members in that House who had fallen foul of him because he did suggest that the problem was difficult, more difficult than they thought at the time. He stood where he stood then. They did not want to put the unemployed to the same work as that which they could not get in the open market. He hoped the House would take that as a very definite and decisive statement. Moreover, they did not want to supply the same market as existed now. Of course, it was one of the aspects of the phenomena of unemployment that the market was overcrowded. There was the fact, and they had in their minds in constructing this machinery and in imposing this duty upon the State, that new markets should be found, that new work should be found. It might have expression in this way: the utilisation of waste labour upon waste national resources. He had trespassed long on the time of the House. They felt there was no use in blinking the point—that this was a very large question for a Friday afternoon. There were limits to a Friday afternoon debate which could not be exceeded; otherwise, a certain result might follow. But to-day they had an Amendment, clear, definite, and within narrow compass. If they had a vote on that Amendment the Labour Party would be perfectly satisfied. He hoped they were going to have a vote on it. All sides of the House, he believed, were agreed to take a vote. The Labour Party welcomed it. They would be heartily sorry if they did not get that vote. So far as the general principles of their Bill were concerned they felt that it was perhaps necessary to trespass somewhat upon the indulgence of the House, in order to remove some misconceptions, and to make clear certain statements in the Bill which night not be perfectly clear. Right hon. and hon. Members must not expect that this agitation was going to be buried or ended to-day. That was a mere incident in a big agitation. It was the mere opening sentence in a chapter which might be long, which might be exciting, and might be portentous, so that it was necessary for them to make a clear statement of what they meant and what they proposed in the Bill. He felt perfectly certain that the Government was altogether under-estimating the tremendous interest that was being taken by the working men of the country in this question. They were thoroughly ashamed of the spectacle of a workman out of employment, trudging about the streets, ragged and fringed, going down to his own destruction. They believed that the people of the country would support them in asking that the House should lend every energy it had, and use every power at its disposal, to remove that stain and that disgrace from our Christianity and our civilisation.

Question proposed, "That this Bill be now read a second time."

*MR. MADDISON (Burnley)

rose to move an Amendment, to the effect that the House, while ready to consider any practical proposal for dealing with the evil of unemployment, could not entertain a measure which, by wasting the resources of the nation, would throw out of work more persons than it could assist, and would destroy the power of organised labour, but hoped that the Government would give immediate consideration to the recommendations in the forthcoming Report of the Poor Law Commission, so far as they dealt with unemployment. He agreed at once, he said, as to the importance of this question. The mover of the Bill had expressed a kind of regret that his hon. friend the Member for Preston was not in the place which he now occupied, and had described the hon. Gentleman as "the leader of lost causes." He regretted that the hon. Member had said that, because a Radical should be the last to twit people with lost causes. The independence of Poland was a lost and dead cause, but he would sooner be a defeated Pole than a victorious Russian. The short-lived Republic of Rome was a lost cause, but he would sooner be a Mazzini than a Napoleon. The hon. Member for Leicester had said that some of them thought that Socialists lived in Heaven. He confessed that he had never associated Socialism with Heaven. He wanted to admit—and it was an admission which he believed was common to every man who opposed this Bill—the gravity of the evil of unemployment. It was exaggerated, often very grossly exaggerated, and, if necessary, he could show that unemployment had been very much worse in our own country than at present, and it certainly was as bad and sometimes worse in other countries. He agreed entirely with what had been said about the fate of the unemployed man. Of course, a rather realistic picture had been drawn by the hon. Member for Leicester, but in ordinary experience they would have to modify it a little [" No "] among some trades which worked by the hour. They would not, for instance, paint such a picture of a joiner because he was out of employment a day or two. He thoroughly agreed that nothing worse could come to a man. His experience of unemployment, he was glad to say, was a limited one, but it lasted long enough to have burnt into him for all time the misery and despair which came over men from prolonged terms of unemployment. The opponents of the Bill were just as anxious and just as well equipped to assist in the solution of the problem of unemployment as hon. Members opposite. He was a little sick of the notion that the Labour Party, and especially the Socialist section of it, had a monopoly of sympathy with the unemployed. He denied the monopoly of sympathy, and especially the monopoly of knowledge. It was no qualification to sit with the Labour Party that a man must be a labourer. An employer could go there. It would be as well if they wiped away the myth which had grown up in this Parliament that knowledge of labour matters and sympathy rested with hon. Members opposite exclusively. The hon. Member for Leicester, speaking in his own constituency the other night, had said he was very anxious to divide the sheep from the goats. That was exactly what he (Mr. Maddison) desired, because they on that side happened to be the sheep and they would be very glad to see how many goats there were. The problem was not a simple one, and he would expect the hon. Member for Leicester, unlike some of his more reckless friends, to admit that. It was a complex question. The causes of unemployment were varied and obviously the remedies for it must be equally various. Unfitness came into this problem on all hands. There was the physically unfit man, there was the technically unfit man, and there was the morally unfit man, who was the despair of this problem. He could not help saying that Socialists did great harm to their own cause—though with that he had no concern; the more they injured it the better it was from his point of view. But when a man, holding a position in that House, went about the country and played with this great question and pandered to the thoughtless and the thriftless and the demoralised, he said to them they would help to solve this problem far better by talking sense outside than by bringing nonsense inside this House. Let him quote the hon. Member for Colne Valley, the one and only Socialist in the House who ran up the Socialist flag and did not get in under the trade union flag. The hon. Member went to his (Mr. Maddison's) constituency and, referring to the poverty of people, used these words— It is wonderful to mo to think they have not got drunk, and if they have got drunk after playing for their fuel and provender I think they ought to be given credit for extremely good finance. Was that the way to emancipate the workmen, to go to them in their misery, with their lax moral grip and lack of stamina, and tell them in a joking, laughing way that if they had got drunk they were good chancellors of the exchequer of their own affairs? It was not that way that progress came. What was the remedy that hon. Members offered? To begin with, as people usually did who attempted to bring the millennium within a year or two, the two pioneers were already at loggerheads. The hon. Member for St. Pancras, who, with more courage than discretion, had stepped into this conflict, had used some very strange words. For instance, trade unionists opposite must have been very much amused with his statement about the electrification of trams, the laying down of roads, the building of the County Council palace, when he said that these were questions that trade unions could not grip. When he knew more about trade unionism he would know that some of the best unions were those which had actually unskilled labourers. It must not be said that trade unionism had no control over unskilled labour, though he regretted that they had not more control. The more they got hold of unskilled labour to organise it the more they had his sympathy. The hon. Member for St. Pancras, in a light, airy way, coming out of his sublime innocence, said he was inclined to give up the mere trifle contained in the Bill of the right to work. But the hon. Member for Leicester, who had a heavy mortgage on him from the Socialist side, had to clear himself of that at once. The hon. Member was dumfounded at the thought of giving up the right to work. That, according to him, was the thing they had to assert. He hoped his hon. friend saw now how completely he was given up by the comrades, and he hoped Members on that side would have taken in the full import of that. They were not concerned now with machinery here and details there. He hoped the House and the Government too, realised, that they were concerned with a great principle, which was the stock-in-trade of Socialist agitation, which was preached especially on Sunday, when other people were at morning or evening service. Up and down the country men were being told—some of them, through no fault of their own, ignorant men—that there was a way by which everybody could get work, and nobody could be out of work. That was the meaning of the right to work. That was the question that was before the House in this Bill. Let that be given up, and nothing else was any use. In its present form the Bill was unfit to go to a Committee. In a mutilated form it was not worthy of sending to a Committee. That was the issue that had to be faced. Let them just look at the Bill as it really was, not covered with fine phrases, picturing in thrilling voice the terrible plight of the unemployed. He wondered if the hon. Member for Barnard Castle was a subscriber to the doctrine of the right to work.




said all he could say was that the hon. Member had travelled a long distance in a very short time, because he had spent a good deal of time in the constituency he now represented in denouncing up hill and down dale the very doctrine which he had now been driven to admit.


You have gone back.


said if the hon. Member could point out to him any time when he had any such lapse in his reason as to be a Socialist he would apologise. He wondered whether the hon. Member for Leicester really believed in the Bill. The hon. Member took a very isolated position about a certain Bill dealing with sweated industries. The Trade Union Congress was against him, the Labour Party was against him, everybody else was against him, he stood alone, and he thought he stood with a good deal of economic solidity. It was difficult to say if he really believed in the Bill. The temperature of the hon. Member's Socialism was subject to violent fluctuations. It rose from zero in that House, and at Leicester, in an ascending scale through public meetings up to boiling-point at International Socialist Congresses. He was assured that at the Stuttgart Congress he was really a terrible person. He had read some of his speeches. He hoped they had not got to this country, because he was quite sure the hon. Member's association with Dives would be cut off. This Bill was the first-fruits of the Socialist agitation. There was a very interesting circular floating about the House from the Independent Labour Party, which he had not unfortunately been able to get hold of—it was his misfortune that he had so few friends across the road—in which the Party announced that this was the first step—a necessary step, an inevitable step—to Socialism. Trade unionists did not want this Bill at all. But apart from trade unions altogether, this Bill had a very interesting evolution. Socialism last year was getting into a bad way, because hon. Members opposite in the opinion of their friends outside, were making an awful mess of it, and something had to be done. Here was what Mr. Russell Smart wrote in the Labour LeaderThe policy the party has pursued this session is identifying it with the Radicals. The average man who has no eye for nice distinctions is beginning to look on it as the advanced guard of the Liberals. Already we see signs of a Tory reaction. If the Labour Party accepts Macdonald's fatal guidance it will share in the general disaster. That general disaster had got to be averted, and this Bill was intended to avert it. This Bill had afforded rich material for the orations of many hon. Members opposite on the Labour Benches. He sympathised with any little defects in the drafting, and he hoped no apology would be made for any little slips. With the "right to work" principle contained in it, he was not very much troubled about a comma, because this principle was being put forward as the matured product of people who believed they had found in it a remedy for the unemployed problem. Clause 3 of the Bill provided that everyone was to be provided with work. There had been considerable difference of opinion as to whether that work was to be provided at the standard rate of wages, and this all depended upon the insertion of a comma in the clause. He wanted to know if the trade - union rate of wages was meant. What rate of wages was going to be paid? How would it affect the building trade? Were all the building schemes mentioned under this Bill to be carried out at trade-union rates? The first question that suggested itself was: How were the workers so employed to be paid? According to the hon. Member for Leicester, wages paid under the scheme would not be at the trade-union rate. If that were so, the Bill would have the effect of depressing wages, and against that he protested as a trade unionist. In fact, the Bill would be far less serious if the trade-union rates of wages were provided by it, though it would be open to criticism from another point of view. Then came the important question: What was the work to be? Were the promoters of the Bill going to put unemployed boilermakers to ploughing? If they did, he would advise them not to stand very near them. Would they put weavers, whose hands were as delicate as a woman's, to the hard work of making drains? The hon. Member for St. Prancras said he would not discuss economics. It was true that economics had very little to do with the Bill. He said that there was the Consolidated Fund Bill with which they could do almost anything they liked, but he would remind the hon. Member that somebody had to pay for it, and those who would have to pay the most were the working classes. It must be obvious that to provide work they would have to fall back upon land schemes. Of all the fallacies that prevailed in the House, and they were many, the most ridiculous was that the cultivation of land required no skill. ["Hear, hear."] "Put the people back on the land" was now the great cry. He was a compositor, and he would sooner go to gaol than go on the land. Indeed, he thought he would serve his country better in gaol than on the land. He was an advocate of putting the people on the land, but they must be the right people. There was no way in which money could be lost more quickly than on the land. He was all in favour of going back to the land, but it was a luxury he always passed on to other people. He wanted to see the proper people placed on the land. There were tens of thousands of such people in this country, but the Bill would do nothing for them. It would put on the land people who ought never to be there, and would mean ruinous and disastrous land schemes. The hon. Member for Leicester had said that the Joint Board and Parliamentary Committee of the Federation of Trade Unions and the Labour Party had drafted this Bill. He held the Report of that Committee in his hand, and he challenged anybody to get up and cite one single sentence which justified the basic principle of this Bill, which was the right to work. What was the fact? They laid down that two things seemed to be necessary: "(1) To use all our efforts to prevent a decrease in the demand for labour; (2) to meet any decrease which may occur by decreasing the working hours per day or per week, instead of, as at present, decreasing the number of workers employed." The whole plea of the Report was an appeal to trade unionists to stop systematic overtime, so that when employment shrank the hours should shrink also, rather than turn the poor fellows out of work. There was no discrimination in the Bill. Let them take the penal clause. He was not prepared to place the poorest at the tender mercies of the local authority and unpaid magistrates as this Bill proposed. The question would have to be dealt with in a far more careful manner than that. If they put a watchmaker to digging a drain, and he refused to do the work on the ground that he was unfitted for it, would they send him to a penal colony? [LABOUR cries of "Read the Bill."]

MR. ALDEN (holding up a copy of the Bill)

Read the clause. [Cries of "Order!"]


My hon. friend is rather excited. There is great danger in excitement.


There is greater danger in making wild statements.


I am surprised to hear that from the hon. Member. I thought the danger to a cause lay in considered statements.

MR. CURRAN (Durham, Jarrow)

made a remark which did not reach the Press Gallery.


The hon. Member for Jarrow must be excused as he is used to going to Socialist congresses, where there are no manners. ["Oh, oh!"] The right to work could not stand alone. It was his misfortune to have to read a great deal of Socialist literature; and he thought he knew what Socialists were thinking about. If the right to work were admitted, it must be followed up by giving the State—upon whom the burden of providing the work would be placed—a control over the lives of the workers, to which no self-respecting people would submit. Writing of the Socialist State in his work, "Socialism and the Family," Mr. H. G. Wells said— The State will pay for children born legitimately in the marriage it will sanction. A woman with healthy and successful offspring will draw a wage for each one of them from the State so long as they go on well. It will be her wage. Under the State she will control her child's upbringing. How far the husband will share in the power of direction is a matter of detail upon which opinion may vary—and does vary very widely among Socialists. He asked the House to pause before they accepted the flimsy thing called the right to work, because when it was established the State must undertake-all the functions foreshadowed by Mr. Wells. There was a rich domain of social reform, on which the House might enter with safety and to the advantage of the masses of the people. But that solid ground must not be confused with the treacherous morass of State Socialism—the grave of individual liberty and of national strength. This Bill, with all its crudeness and absurdities, invited Parliament to raise hopes which could not be fulfilled, and, in the name of the unemployed, to decrease employment and to strike a fatal blow at organised labour. Such a Bill did not deserve the support of this ancient House. He-begged to move.

*MR. VIVIAN (Birkenhead),

in seconding the Amendment, said he might fairly state that he had no want of sympathy with those who had brought in this Bill—sympathy with their motive and object. The work that he had beers engaged in for many years justified him in making that observation. They were not to-day discussing whether there was an unemployed problem. On that point they were practically in agreement. What they had to consider was whether the Bill now before the House was a remedy for that evil. He submitted that they could not consider this measure merely as a debating society, but must have regard to the fact that they were responsible politicians. He listened to the whole of the speech of the hon. Member for Leicester, and he did not find a single word in it which went to prove that this Bill was a remedy for the evil in regard to which he so eloquently pleaded. He believed he could agree with nearly every word in that speech, though he could not have made it so eloquently. The problem before the House was not merely whether certain shreds of the Bill might come through the discussion in Committee upstairs and be translated into a statute, but whether the main principles of the Bill deserved the approval of the House. Further, they had to consider whether in the circumstances it was wise for this House to approve of a measure of this sort within a few months of a Report being presented to the House by a Commission appointed by Parliament, one of whose duties was to report on this problem on the evidence submitted to it, and to make suggestions as to the remedies they ought to apply. Apart from the question whether the Bill was right or wrong, he held that it was unbusiness-like and unwise to pass a measure which would crystallise a certain type of machinery, all over the country for dealing with this problem when the Report of the Commission and the evidence might prove to the House that this particular machinery was unwise, and its methods fallacious. He asked those hon. Members who favoured the Bill to answer that question, and to say whether from the business standpoint they ought to proceed with it. If this Bill passed into law, he submitted that one of its first effects would be to intensify the evil. What would happen to begin with? It was proposed to create in all borough councils and county councils an unemployed committee. These committees, if they were to take their work seriously, must appoint officials to administer the work, to draw up the necessary schemes, and to make the necessary reports. One of the first effects, therefore, would be to saddle the local life with the cost of a very large number of permanent officals whose salaries would immediately be withdrawn from productive labour and become a burden on the rates and taxes of the country. Before a penny was available for making employment there would be withdrawn from the fund that gave employment tens of thousands of pounds for the salaries of officials. Their duty would be to provide work suitable to the needs of the individual applicant for any or all workmen who registered themselves as unemployed or other em- ployment "upon conditions not lower than those that are standard in the locality," and failing this the Committee were to provide maintenance. If the unemployed workmen showed any disinclination to follow the work provided, they might be detained for a period not exceeding six months. Was there a Member ber of this House clothed and in his right mind, who had the faintest acquaintance with human nature, economics, and industrial life, who believed that these proposals, which formed the heart of the Bill, were a practical remedy for the evil of unemployment? He doubted whether a single person could be found who believed that. The mover of the Bill himself had practically offered to withdraw the substance of the Bill, and surely no one would accuse him of being wanting in sympathy in connection with this question. Even the hon. Member for Leicester, although he boldly defended the main principles of the Bill, frequently apologised for the bad draughtsmanship, and that, in itself, suggested that he was not quite sure of his ground. It was true he did not go so far as the hon. Member for St. Pancras. If the Bill was not a remedy—and it was admitted it was not—why should they vote for it? He had spoken with many Members who intended to vote for the Bill, but in no single case had they been able to defend it or its main principles. There were two reasons given for voting for it. One was that they had been worried by trade unionists in their constituency to support the Bill. The other was that they were so full of sympathy with the unemployed and so struck by the evil around them, that they felt they must vote for something. He submitted that that was trifling with their responsibility as legislators and their constituents had a right to claim that Members should take their work in the House more seriously than that. Let them follow the Bill in practical working. He submitted that they ought to have in defence of the Bill a very different class of argument from that to which they had yet listened. They had merely listened to a plea that the House should do something. Surely, they must show the House, first of all, roughly or approximately what such a measure was going to land the country into in the shape of finance. No board of directors, not even a parish council, would pass such a measure without some calculation and estimate of the financial side of it, and what it was going to let the country in for. They ought to have some information of the work that was to be found under the Bill. [An HON. MEMBER: What do we pay the Government for?] Every Member of the House had his share of responsibility for the Government, and he refused to press upon any Government a mere abstract idea unless he was able to back it up with the support of his own intelligence and conscience. The Government consisted of men like themselves, and they had no right to expect the Government to work miracles when they could not work miracles themselves. Let him take his own town of Birkenhead. First they were to have a costly officialism appointed. Suppose there was depression in the shipbuilding industry, they would have shipwrights, pattern makers, and joiners out of work. What had the Bill to say for these men? There was no Member on the other side of the House who had more sympathy with his constituents out of work than he had himself, and his constituents knew it. What had the Bill to say for them? Fortunately, they had some information given to them by one of the ablest and one of the most sincere and public spirited supporters of the Bill, the hon. Member for the Black-friars Division of Glasgow. There was no supporter of the Bill whom he held more in respect. What had he to say? He was largely responsible for the resolution he had received from the trade union branches in his constituency urging him to support the Bill. Here in the hon. Member's monthly Circular was a summary of the Bill, and then he came to the peroration— It will be no answer to be told that profitable work cannot be found if this Bill is passed. There are many projects which would not be profitable to the individual and which could not be so because not realisable in the life of an individual, but which would be profitable to the State. Such are undertakings for afforestation, land reclamation, coast protection, and for the first time these would cease to be discussed as mere abstractions but would be discussed as simple practical proposals, the means and the agencies having been set up for carrying them into effect. Again, he says— There is imported every year into this country dairy produce of the value of £50,000,000, and it will be the duty of those responsible for the carrying out of the Act to devise ways and means whereby this can be raised on our own shores. His hon. friend the mover of the Bill, and the hon. Member for Leicester, had not the courage of the hon. Member for the Blackfrairs Division. They did not dare to go into any question of this sort. He had not found anyone who could show how this Bill would find employment for the unemployed. What was the position of the men who had been influenced by the hon. Member's circular. Some of them had never seen the Bill. The hon. Member for the Clitheroe Division had spoken of trade unions supporting this measure. He refused to accept the statement that trade unions intelligently supported the measure, unless the arguments both for and against had been put before them by men who understood the case, so that the trade unions could form an intelligent conclusion. The Party opposite, he admitted, had the opportunity of entrance to the trade union branches more than some of them bad. [An HON. MEMBER on the LABOUR Benches: Hear, hear.] Yes, but he submitted that it was in the interest of all parties that the citizens of this country should have an opportunity of reasoning on all questions which came before the public. An attempt to force legislation, which was merely the result of a bias and the result of pressure from headquarters, would not go down with him as the matured opinion of the working classes of this country. Did the hon. Member mean to tell him that afforestation, land reclamation, or dairy farming would be better carried out under this Bill? What had this Bill to do with such proposals as the creation of suitable authorities to deal with afforestation, land reclamation, and dairy farming? Had the hon. Member informed his union and the men of the other unions that there was already a Commission of which one of his own Party was a member, appointed to report on such matters as afforestation, coast erosion, and land reclamation? Had the hon. Member any brilliant ideas of a practical character on these subjects? If so, would it not be better to get the representative of his Party to bring those ideas before the Commissions and have them properly discussed? Or did he only wish to discuss them as abstract ideas? [An HON. MEMBER on the LABOUR Benches: Hear, hear.] An hon. Member said "Hear, hear." Well, it was to be hoped that he would bring his proposals down to something practical. He asked what it was that hon. Gentlemen opposite had to offer to the shipwrights, joiners and engineers of Birkenhead? During a great depression in the shipping industry would this Bill be a remedy for unemployment? Was he to understand that these men were to be offered work, should he say, in North Wales, on mountain tops planting trees: or were they to go driving wheel-barrows filled with mud and stones on some out-of-the-way part of the coast reclaiming land? Had hon. Members opposite no other work to offer as a remedy for unemployment in connection with this Bill? [An HON. MEMBER on the LABOUR Benches: Ask the President.] Yes, but this was the proposal of hon. Gentlemen opposite, not that of the President. It was the matured opinion of one of the ablest men in their Party, embodied in the peroration of the circular to the unions. It was no remedy for the Birkenhead shipwrights, joiners, and engineers, who were thrown out of work during a depression in the shipbuilding industry, to say that they should go out planting trees or reclaiming land. First, it would break up their homes and their families, and all that that meant. Second, afforestation was skilled work or at least must be carried on continuously, and a man would be unfitted to go back to shipbuilding if he were taken away from it for months to plant trees or drive wheelbarrows. It must be remembered, too, that in a boom nearly every great trade in the country demanded practically all the skilled operatives they could obtain. That might not be understood by everyone. He spoke with a knowledge of his own trade, and he thought there were present members of other trades who would agree with him that in boom years every great trade required all the skilled operatives that were available. [An HON. MEMBER on the LABOUR Benches: No.] He insisted that in boom years there was practically no surplus labour in the skilled trades. If that were so, and his statement was substantially correct, what was the shipbuilding trade to do in the boom time, when a fair percentage of its skilled men had been taken away into other professions and occupations by this Bill? How was the necessary skilled labour to be supplied? Then in regard to the extraordinary proposal that the joiners, engineers, and shipwrights of Birkenhead should go into dairy-farming: it was difficult to take that seriously. Did hon. Gentlemen opposite seriously suggest that the skilled operatives of Birkenhead should go into dairy farming in order to produce the fifty million pounds' worth of dairy produce which was imported into this country from Denmark and other places abroad? What about the free trade argument that we pay for those imports by exports; that we cannot have their custom unless we are their customers? The more the Bill was examined, the more it was seen how impossible it was to think of its being carried into practical effect. He was a great believer in experiments. He believed it was only by experiments that they could prove what it was possible to do with human nature. Dogmatism would not do nowadays. They had got beyond that. The age of miracle and dogma was past. They must be able to prove what they could do with human beings by experience. He asked his hon. friends opposite, could they give a single example drawn from the experience of, he did not care how many centuries back, of schemes that approximated in any degree to the proposals contained in this Bill, that had been a success; he in deed went further, and would say had not these been melancholy failures? They had failed to achieve the very object which their promoters had in view. Surely, before they made a revolution in dealing with this problem of unemployment they ought to have some evidence that it was even likely to succeed. In regard to the fifty millions' worth of dairy produce imported into this country, he asked what had become of the Small Holdings Act? Was it a dead letter? Did his hon. friend the Member for Blackfriars Division not know of that Act? He voted for it and avowed that the whole purpose of it was to stimulate the growth of agricultural produce and to get people divorced from the land back to it. He maintained that they should not, under the guise of an Unemployed Bill, attempt to deal with a question with which the Bill had nothing to do. He hoped that before they went to a division they would have from the promoters of the Bill some additions to the proposals for putting the unemployed to afforestation, land reclamation, and dairy farming—some addition to the list of jobs on which the unemployed might be engaged—otherwise the whole thing was a perfect farce. [Dissent from the LABOUR Benches.] He contended that the recommendations contained in the peroration of the hon. Member for Blackfriars in his circular to the trade unions would be admitted by a vast majority in the House as a perfect farce in relation to this Bill and in relation to the problem with which they were now dealing. [An HON. MEMBER on the LABOUR Benches: It is not a farce.] They were entitled to have some other suggestions from hon. Members opposite as to the work to be undertaken by the unemployed committees. In regard to the effect of the Bill upon unemployment he asked his friend opposite and those who were inclined to support this Bill in the House, to show where the money was to come from to start those new industries. All the money spent by the Government or the local authorities must first of all be collected by means of rates and taxes from the people. All the money spent by the Corporation of Birkenhead on the unemployed must first be collected from the ratepayers of Birkenhead. Would a single stroke of employment be provided by collecting money from the artisans of Birkenhead who were on the rate-books and handing it over to an incompetent committee to waste on some madcap scheme from which the contributing ratepayers would not get half-a-crown's worth for every £1 they spent? He asked how that could add one day's work and to the demand for labour in this country? The ratepayers should be allowed to spend their money in a normal way, providing the necessaries of life and boots and clothes for themselves and their children. Was he to understand that in order to meet the unemployment of one class in the community, and that not always the best class—he admitted that there were frequently men of the best class unemployed through no fault of their own—they were to burden the industrious workman still more than at present? He believed that such a proposition was monstrous so far as it affected the industrious workmen. Moreover, such a scheme would be no solution of the problem of unemployment. This Bill would have the effect of creating a large mass of workpeople who would be detached from their unions. These men would be caught by the Free Labour Associations who would be glad to utilise them for their own ends. He maintained that the Bill would be a blow to trade unions. Were they then to fall back on nothing? [An HON. MEMBER on the LABOUR Benches: Fall back on a fine job.] The interruption was meaningless to him, for he thought he had dealt fairly with the points which had been raised. He came to what he felt were helpful suggestions in regard to this question of unemployment. First of all, they must bear in mind that our industries on the whole required all the skilled labour available in times of boom, and therefore, the problem was to deal with depression period. He would ask the President of the Local Government Board whether he could not do something at any rate to improve our system of labour exchanges and perfect the registration of the unemployed, so as to render labour more mobile. These matters were at present, he knew, organised to some extent, but they were very inefficiently organised and not in the hands of experts and those who could make the most of them. [A LABOUR MEMBER: The hon. Member for Burnley does not agree with you.] His hon. friend the Member for Burnley and himself probably disagreed on many things. They represented themselves, and were not the echoes of someone else.


said he thought the hon. Member opposite was too ready in interpreting a gesture. He was not expressing disagreement.


said that he would ask the representative of the Local Government Board whether he would not also consider the importance of organising and concentrating information some time ahead of works to be undertaken by public bodies, such as docks, Toads, streets, libraries and public buildings generally, dividing them into the categories of those which were urgent and those which were less urgent, and the different degrees to which they might be deferred. Public authorities all over the country had control over an enormous amount of expenditure, and he would like to know if the right hon. Gentleman would seek to organise a system whereby such works should, within reasonable limits, be pressed or retarded according to the state of the labour market, as shown by the Board of Trade's Returns. If something was done in that direction it would enable men to obtain employment during a slack time, and do something to check the ebb of labour in depression by creating demands for labour at times when the ordinary industries of the country were slacking off. Would the right hon. Gentleman consider whether a special officer of his Department might not be told off to consider and report from time to time on improvement works, which, though quite sound as to their utility and cost if the long view was taken, would not be of sufficient immediate gain to attract private capital or to claim the attention of a local body? Again, he would ask whether the President of the Local Government Board could not see his way to keep in touch with large employers of labour, with a view to arriving at some systematic arrangement of the hours of labour during slack times? It was no solution merely to reduce the hours to a rigid number, because that did not deal with the oscillation or movement of trade. They must have adjustments in order to equalise the sacrifices made by the operatives. Could not the right hon. Gentleman, in times of severe depression, such as the present, call together representatives of employers and workmen in some of the larger trades and confer with them as to the possibility of lessening the hours of work. For instance, in the building trade, which employed 1,000,000 men in the country, in time of depression there was no systematic arrangement for reducing the hours when the unemployed were shown by the Board of Trade Returns to be excessive. They would by this process have the sacrifice scattered over a wider area, and in that way many thousands of men could be absorbed during depressed times, and then when the revival came these men would be more fit than they were now, after having been unemployed and walking the streets. This was not always practicable, he was aware, but, speaking from experience, he said it was not done on anything like the scale on which it ought to be done. He was interested in and presided over schemes in which 400 building trade operatives were employed, and he would be willing to discuss such a scheme; he was quite certain that if the question were dealt with in that way they would solve the difficulty to some extent and absorb a number of men who would be otherwise unemployed. He would also like to see more organised efforts in our great trades during good times to create insurance funds and reserve funds upon which the workers and their families could live in bad times. That was one way in which the problem could be partly met. The great evil was that now the moment a great depression came in some industries they had a large percentage of their men out of work; it was not merely that they suffered from the fact that they were penniless themselves and without spending power, but they passed on the depression to other industries of which they were customers and buyers, and thus they had unemployment increasing with a cumulative force, and, as a consequence, the whole of the industries of the country were affected. At the present moment the profits of some of our great industries went in too great a degree to millionaires and well-to-do people, and he agreed with the protest of the Labour Party against some of the effects of the present industrial system, but he did not agree that the Bill which had been brought orward was a remedy. He agreed with them in their protests that a larger share of profits belonged to the workers in our great trades, and should be utilised as reserve funds and insurance against times of depression. The men then could not only keep themselves fit but continue to be customers in other trades, and such action would check the depression spreading to other industries. He submitted that there was nothing in this Bill tending in that direction, while none of the suggestions he had made smacked of artificiality. They were in harmony with normal forces, and merely involved the more perfect regulation of those forces. The problem of unemployment was many sided, and he agreed with his hon. friend the Member for Burnley, that there was no specific remedy. He believed, after spending many years of his life in studying it, that the solution of the unemployed problem was not going to come entirely through Unemployed Bills, but through a better organised condition of things being brought about by dozens of other measures and causes, such as Education and Temperance Bills, individual and collective thrift, co-operative action between employer and workmen on such matters as reserve funds, joint action between the Local Government Board and public authorities in the matter of public works and in dealing with the distribution of workmen, and practical, not abstract proposals for land improvement, afforestation and other schemes. They should at least have some practical recommendations given to them by the Commission which had been appointed on these matters. He had given some of the best years of his life to the consideration of this problem, not only as a student of history, but in the field of practical experiment. For nearly twenty years he had been making practical experiments, and had taken risks and responsibilities and endeavoured to learn from those experiments. He had studied this question not merely from books—he believed there were very few books on this subject worth reading—but from human nature which was well worth reading. He had endeavoured to understand human nature. He would briefly, in conclusion, illustrate his objection to this Bill in another way by drawing upon personal experience. When he came to London twenty years ago he was little more than eighteen years of age. It came over him that he might be sick, and that was a trouble to him, and before he got a job he joined a friendly society, of which he had been a member ever since. The next fear which assailed him was that the might be unemployed, and so as soon as he became of age he joined his trade union as an insurance against unemployment, and had remained a member ever since. But supposing this Bill had been in force twenty years ago, when he came to London some of his mates would have got hold of him and said: "There is no necessity for your forethought in joining a friendly society or a trade union, for you have only to register your name in an office at the London County Council and either employment or keep will be assured to you." If that was the kind of impression that could be made on the minds of the young men and the youth of our country coming into our industrial system, if it was to be brought home to them, as some of their hon. friends opposite flagrantly admitted, that there was no need for foresight, and they regarded as enemies of their propaganda a workman who acquired capital and made provision for a rainy day, he pro tested against it, and said that the result would be to discourage men, making provision themselves for the future. The great test by which this scheme and all schemes for advancing human society must be judged was its effect on character. What attitude of mind would it stimulate in large masses of workpeople? Would it tend to increase the number of self-reliant, alert human beings? To the degree to which they inculcated the idea that an individual's salvation could come from anything apart from his own energy, forethought, and sense of duty, and self-sacrifice, they weakened national life. By this Bill they were not making work, but they would destroy the character, the self-reliance, and the moral fibre of the men of the country. The Bill would, in his opinion, if it became law, waste capital, lower wages, weaken trade unions, intensify unemployment, and prove so disastrous generally that not only would it, and all connected with it, be swept away by a disgusted public of taxpayers and ratepayers, but the country's heart would be so hardened that promising schemes for dealing with the evil would go down with the wreck of this Bill. He appealed to the House not to destroy the chance of progress by building up a structure which even its advocates believed to be wrong, for the truth was that there was no man in the House who defended the Bill, and those who would vote for it did not believe in its principle. That being so he asked the House to reject it.

Amendment proposed— To leave out all after the word 'that' and to insert the words 'this House, while ready to consider any practical proposal for dealing with the evil of unemployment, cannot entertain a measure which, by wasting the resources of the nation, would throw out of work more persons than it could assist and would destroy the power of organised labour, but hopes that the Government will give immediate consideration to the recommendations in the forthcoming Report of the Poor Law Commission so far as they deal with unemployment.'"—(Mr. Maddison.)

Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."

MR. BRACE (Glamorganshire, S.)

said he would not have interposed in the discussion had it not been for the fact that two hon. friends, with whom he usually acted, had moved and seconded in most eloquent speeches the Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for Burnley. He had been deeply impressed that the whole trend of their opinion was the idea that trade unions could only exist and prosper upon the misery of their fellow-men. If he had the right to speak at all in the House, or outside of it, it was as a trade unionist, and if he for one moment thought that anything in connection with this Bill would reduce or weaken either the dignity or independence of the trade unions of Great Britain he would quite as strongly as his hon. friends have opposed the Bill. But it was because he was persuaded that, whatever might be its faults in detail, the Bill contained a principle which was the rallying ground of all reformers who wished to deal with the unemployed problem in a way which would carry hope into the homes of the people, and produce a condition of things different from that which existed at the present time, that he should support it. No one who had studied the question would think for a moment that such a Bill was going to solve the whole problem of the unemployed. It was not intended to solve the problem of the unemployed, but it was simply intended, as he read; and understood it, to deal with the evil or the result of unemployment. The Government claimed, in connection with their Small Holdings Act and other Acts of Parliament which they had projected, that they proposed to deal with the unemployed problem at its source, and in proportion to the success of their schemes for solving the unemployed question at its source would the necessity for this Bill disappear, but it was because the progress of the solution of the problem was so slow, necessarily so slow, that they wanted to have a Bill of this kind made into an Act of Parliament, which would make the people wait with hope for the solution of that problem which had puzzled some of the mightiest intellects in the country. What they really wanted was not negative criticism at all, but a positive gospel of hope. It would be perhaps more easy for him to get up and offer destructive criticism on any Bill than to state the case in its favour. It was always easier to criticise than to create, and to offer negative criticism against this Bill was not a sufficient answer to the necessity for dealing with the unemployed problem in the present hopeless position of the unemployed. He was was not speaking as a Socialist, because he was not a Socialist, but as a trade unionist and as a citizen, and it was because he held that the unemployed was a citizen's question beyond all others that he said it was the duty of the House unanimously to co-operate-in the production of an Act of Parliament which would deal with the problem much more effectively than it had yet been dealt with. His hon. friend the Member for Burnley had talked about thriftlessness. He did not like the term at all. It was an offence to him to talk about thrift in the case of a man who tramped about wearing his boots off his feet, looking for employment. A man could not be thrifty on nothing. The Bill was not one to deal with people who could be thrifty, but to deal with the unfortunate people who could not help themselves. He was deeply impressed with the appeal for someone to come forward to defend the principle of the Bill, and without exaggeration, without passion, he would like to tell the House of Commons that he firmly believed in the principle that a man had a right to work. He saw nothing wrong about it at all. It seemed to him the first principle in a great Commonwealth like Great Britain to afford a man the right to work. It was only in proportion as they gave men the right to work, and enabled them to earn a livelihood for themselves and families, that they could hope to build up a sober and self-respecting nation. If anything demoralised a man more than all else, it was to be out of employment day after day. If they wanted to keep men straight, and reduce the temptation to drink, give them the right to work, let them feel that they had an opportunity of keeping themselves out of debt. No one could realise what it was for a man to feel that he had reached the stage of hopelessness. The only thing that made men thrifty and provident and striving was the belief that the opportunity was open to them to rear their families in comfort, and to provide for themselves in the autumn of their days. If they took away that hope and that belief, they destroyed the great driving force in the nation and in human life, and it was that that hope might be given to men who were thrown out of employment that the Bill was projected and they hoped the House would accept it and at any Tate send it to a Committee. His two hon. friends who had spoken were deeply interested in co-operation, and he marvelled at their attitude in connection with this Bill, remembering how sincerely in earnest they were over co-operation. What was the basis of co-operation? Not a credit sytsem, but a cash system. How could they hope to build up a co-operative system unless they gave men the right to work, and earn money to go into the market to purchase what they required? With- out the right to work, families were reared on the credit system, and children whose parents had been compelled to get into debt in their early days had been men and women before their fathers and mothers had been out of debt. To understand this problem, one must have lived it or in it; if they had all lived in it there would be a tremendous passion in the House for such a Bill, and it was so that they might appeal to the best Members in the House outside of party altogether that the Bill had been proposed and the discussion initiated. His friend the hon. Member for Birkenhead had spoken about the problem not being so acute as some people thought. If he knew the figures for his' own particular trade, he would be a bold man to say that. Taking the whole of the carpenters and joiners, the percentage of unemployed now was not less than 13 per cent., and in Sunderland alone it was not less than 14 per cent. Those figures staggered one. He would not stand in the House of Commons and speak a word for the man who was an habitual loafer; the trade union movement had not been built for loafers; he spoke for the men who could not help themselves. In his own division there were out of employment hundreds of men with high moral characters, highly-skilled, with respectable homes and families. Those were the men who wanted help, and when hon. Members said that the passing of this Bill would injure workmen and employers, he was afraid they did not quite discern the underlying problem at stake. What the Bill proposed was not that those men should be allowed to drift, but that the municipality, helped by the State, should make it possible for them to keep their homes going, waiting for the waves of depression to pass. What was the alternative? They drifted and became demoralised; they lost their skill, and as the hon. Member for Woolwich said earlier this year— You may do something with a man who has been idle for three months, but you will do nothing with a man who has been idle for two years You have demoralised him. He has no hope at all."' He believed that this Bill would do something to deal with that side of the problem. Something had been said about the clause that dealt with men who would not work; but he supposed that if they asked for money for such men there would be complaints, and because they said they were prepared to make men work that also was wrong. When an appeal was made for the maintenance of the dignity and independence of the British workman he said: "Hear, hear"; but when upon that was based the argument that this Bill would put into prison self-respecting British workmen, he came to the conclusion that the speaker had not read the clause at all. Deliberate and habitual disinclination to work was the real cause that would send a man to prison. If a watchmaker was offered work for which he was physically unfit it would be accepted as a legitimate excuse. He begged the House to face the main issue. That issue was that a man had the right to work. He was not a Socialist, but he was a believer in the future of the British workman, and it was because he was profoundly convinced that they would add a new dignity and a new hope to human life for all workmen that he so strongly supported the principle of the right to work embodied in the Bill. Was it not better for the House to pass a Bill to give a man the right to work than to pauperise him? They were not allowed to starve him outright if he cared to appeal for poor relief. So long as he was prepared to lose all dignity and self-respect, they would feed him. And that was all that was proposed in this Bill. If the municipality, helped by the State, could not find employment, they must find him food, but without his giving up all the rights of citizenship in so doing and without his having to undergo all the belittling processes of pauperism. He went there as a right, as a member of the State. Was it not infinitely better for the House of Commons to project measures of law which would help to make men strong, independent, bold, dignified, and filled with self-respect, rather than to allow them to drift, saying that if they wanted relief they must depend upon the charity of their friends or apply for parish relief? It was because he knew a large number of men needing such assistance, and that the yearning desire of their souls was to be helped and not pauperised, that he stood without hesita- tion and accepted fully, with all its responsibilities, the principle that a man who could not get employment himself had the right to go to the State to save him from going under. The majesty of the Empire had been a lot talked about. The reason why Rome was destroyed was not because of its lack of intellectual capacity, but because of its failure to realise the needs and requirements of the poor people, and it was because he was persuaded that the majesty and greatness of Britain depended, not upon the few millionaires, but upon the standard of comfort and hope in the cottage homes of the people, that he backed this Bill and stood for the principle of the right to work.

*MR. HEMMERDE (Denbighshire, E.)

said it was no easy task for one who sat for a constituency that was entirely industrial to rise in that House and oppose this Bill. But he rose to oppose it because, although he was not unwilling to support the principle of the right to work he was not going to pass a Bill to give the right to work when he did not think the Bill would ever give it at all. The hon. Member who had just sat down had said that they did not want negative criticism, and he agreed, but neither did they want Bills that might do so much mischief as to set back the whole march of progress, and he thought this Bill might have that effect. It was the mover of the Bill, he thought, who spoke about the convenient faith of dealing with this question by indirect methods, but he believed there were methods that would have a far greater effect than some of those proposed. He voted in favour of an Amendment to the Address dealing with unemloyment, and he did that because he was very much dissatisfied with the speech made by the President of the Local Government Board, as to the means that were being taken by the Government to deal with that question. He believed personally that the way to deal with the question was by root and branch reform of our land system. He sat for a division where almost all his constituents were either miners or steel-workers, and he did not see what he was going to take to them out of this Bill, but he did see what he might take to them if they could only induce the Party opposite to show the same enthusiasm upon questions of land reform as they showed upon measures such as this, which were merely palliatives. Land reform would benefit far more classes than the miners, but he would take that point at any rate. The constituency of East Denbighshire was covered with mines almost from end to end. One speaker had said that they were all agreed that the miners got far too little of the share of the wealth that they produced. Well, there was only one way to give them more share of that wealth, and in that way to give them less unemployment, and that was really to increase the operations of mining in this country and to bring mining land into use that was at present kept out of use. In East Denbighshire they had a number of miners who wanted jobs, and they had too few jobs. The result was low wages and nothing to fall back on in time of unemployment. But if, on the other hand, they were to rate and tax the land in that county division upon its real market value, and not allow people to keep valuable mining land and only pay what was practically its agricultural value, the result would be that instead of having a number of men wanting too few jobs, they would have more jobs than men, and then they would be coming somewhere near solving the question of the lowness of wages. They would always have low wages as long as they had land monopoly, and he wished they could get the same enthusiasm for dealing with that question as they got in dealing with palliatives. It had been suggested that modern industry required a surplusage of labour, and the unemployed, therefore, must be always with us. He did not accept such counsels of despair. It was quite obvious that as long as there was a surplusage of labour, there would always be low wages, except so far as it was possible to get high wages by combination. But if land was put to proper use one would be absolutely certain to get more mills opened and more works going on, and wages would then rise. Let them take the case of the joiners and carpenters. How could they get the building trade to give employment to joiners and carpenters by keeping land out of the market near their great towns? Suppose they imposed a tax on land values, the result would be that if they brought land near the towns into building use they would give work to the men engaged in the building trades, and to the joiners and carpenters as well. He personally thought that instead of advancing the question of unemployment, a Bill like this might simply have the effect of sending people to sleep about these great reforms. He thought the first thing was to get at the essentials, and the essentials were the root and basic facts upon which this industrial depression rested. Let them take the case of Huddersfield the other day, where a man wanted to double the extent of his mill, but in applying to the landowner he was asked for the neighbouring land exactly double the price of the land upon which his mill stood. He found he could not pay it, because if he built his mill he would also be rated enormously on it, and finally he had to give up the idea. What was the result? The men who would have been employed in building the mill got no employment, the men who would have quarried the stone or brought it to Huddersfield got no employment, and the men who were to work in the mill got no employment. He asked then to remember that the millowner and his men had made the land valuable, not the landlord. He wanted to ask the Government to show some seriousness in dealing with the question of land reform, and why he voted in favour of the Amendment to the Address was that he did not think they were showing real seriousness on that subject. They could take no real steps towards dealing with unemployment until the English Valuation Bill was brought forward, and they could base certain land proposals upon it. The present was the Government's third session, and they were still waiting for that Bill. That gave him a reason for voting against the Government as regarded the measures they were taking, but it gave him no reason for voting in favour of the Bill now before the House, which would do no good whatsoever. He did not think the miners and the steel-workers in his constituency would thank them for the Bill at all. He did not think many of them had considered its provisions, though he was sure that they all in theory expected him to support it, but he would not do so, because he thought it was a bad Bill, and that they had got to begin at the other end. By beginning at the wrong end they would simply retard the whole I course of labour. It did not terrify him at all that this might be a Socialist measure, because there were any amount of Socialist measures in which he believed and any amount in which he did not believe. But would this Bill do what its supporters claimed for it? He did not think so. If it was shown that the Government were not prepared to deal with the real root evils, and if it was shown after the Royal Commission reported that there was nothing substantial in their report, then as a counsel of despair he might vote for a Bill like this, but until it had been shown that this Parliament could not deal with the real root evils of the question, he declined to vote for a Bill which he thought would simply allay the public conscience and take attention away from the real issues which lay at the root of our industrial system. For those reasons he intended to vote in favour of the Amendment, and against the Bill.

MR. GRAYSON (Yorkshire, W.R., Colne Valley)

said that Members on his side of the House were usually accused by Members on the other side of wanting the moon or of being ultra-idealistic, and asking for too much at once, or of refusing to perform ordinary social amenities until they had got the ideal they were striving for. He must commend the hon. Member who had just sat down for his wonderful patience and hope, if he expected that the Liberal Government were going to tackle in any very serious manner the great land question, the question of land monopoly. His friends were complained of because they had shown no enthusiasm on the question of land monopoly, but they had a right also to complain that those who were complaining of them on that account had not shown any enthusiasm on the other equally important question of bringing within the area of national control all the great industrial undertakings that would likewise tend to solve this problem of unemployment. They had heard a lot that day from the other side about sympathy for the poor people who were unemployed, and they had been told repeatedly that they on that side had no monopoly of sympathy for the unemployed; did they not also feel sorry for these poor outcasts, show their distended hearts, and say: "We are sorry for them, but we have to sit down in blank despair and evolve specious arguments fordoing nothing"? They on that side of the House had been told that they had to describe what kind of work they were going to give to the unemployed; were they going to place the carpenter on the hill-tops of Wales and ask him to rub the earth with a spade? Might he ask what they did with the unemployed mechanic now, what kind of occupation he was allowed to drift to? The Member for Birkenhead had said they could not put a carpenter with his skilled muscles to planting trees or to digging earth. Why, he had seen carpenters, joiners, engineers, and every kind of mechanic, not only standing in the dock stands of Liverpool and Birkenhead waiting to be taken on as dock labourers, but between sandwich-boards, walking down the public streets, because they had to do it rather than face starvation. It did not devolve upon him and his friends to tell the Government what should be the work; it was not their duty as an Opposition Party to suggest to the Government how to solve these things. The very holding of their position as a Government—[MINISTERIAL interruptions.] He noticed consternation when the responsibilities of the Government were pointed out to them. When they accepted office they accepted responsibility for every social problem, and he confronted them with this problem of unemployment. He had noticed an irresistible tendency on the part of hon. Members opposite to show a distaste for the hateful realism of this question of unemployment. Why impair the beautiful picture that hon. Members had built up for themselves? Why upset their castle of illusions that allowed them to go through life without bothering about these questions? Why bring into the purview of the House of Commons the haggard sight of the working man whom they were meeting every day? Not many yards from the House, hon. Members were confronted every night with a problem that made them feel ashamed not only of having to be jointly responsible for a state of mismanagement such as that, but of the professed Christianity of their nation. He and his friends felt that this problem of unemployment had to be solved, and that if the present Government could find no way of solving it they were giving them the strongest possible argument to use in the country to bring about their speedy superannuation. They heard the other day that there was no great demand for another measure on this question. The hon. Member for Burnley had complained that he (Mr. Grayson) went down to his constituency and made a speech, the philosophy of which tended to destroy thrift and encourage drunkenness. Why did he go down to the hon. Member's constituency? It was a record meeting in that constituency. There were two theatres packed with eager people, and there were 2,000 people turned away. Why? It was because they were discussing the unemployed question. Was there not a demand in the country when one found men tramping from the provincial towns to London in their rags and tatters, suffering hunger and bearing public opprobrium, in order to lay their cause before the President of the Local Government Board? In that constituency, when he was dealing with the argument that the poor were unemployed because they were thriftless, and because they drank, he tried to compare the income of the average working man when working with the amount of money that he, as a Socialist claimed, was taken out of the total product of his labour in order to glut the maw of those who contributed no part to the production of commodities. He tried to estimate what the drink bill of this country was, and how the drink bill was divided between those who drank rich wines and those who drank cheap adulterated beer that made them drunk in half an hour, in proportion to the five hours he had seen it take others drinking expensive wines. It had been his privilege as a journalist to sit in the lowest kind of tavern watching the workers there, and to watch the other people also. He had seen poor debilitated workers coming in sober after a day's arduous labour, and one pint of beer had disturbed their equilibrium. The question of drunkenness was not one of comparative thrift or thriftlessness. They were preparing the organisations of their workers to be played upon by the filth and adulteration that they were tolerating under this regime. It had been said that there would be no one cure for the problem of unemployment, and he had the utmost pleasure in giving his full assent to that proposition. He did not believe that this Bill would solve the problem of unemployment. It had been, said before from that side of the House-that the problem of unemployment was absolutely coincidental with the whole problem of competitive industry. One hon. Member had denied that they needed a surplusage of unemployed labour in order to carry on the industry of the country. Let them imagine then a state of society in which every man willing to work had work to do. Let them imagine that every employer was looking for workmen, instead of hordes of workmen looking for employers. What would be the situation? If the workers were organised in strong trade unions—and that was an increasing tendency—they would demand in return for their labour what they conceived to be the product of their labour. It was unthinkable that they should have a permanence of competitive industry and yet have all the available unemployed employed. They heard of men becoming unemployable—they had heard it from strange lips that day—and that there were loungers and pot-house louts who would use this measure as a means of sponging on the community and refusing ordinary work. They were told that these people who were morally unfit were the despair of those who would solve the problem. He had seen them being manufactured into unemployable men before his eyes, and hon. Members could see it any day if they would open their eyes on an ordinary conventional tragedy in the working part of any town. He had watched a man returning every Friday night, with his wages in his pocket, to a little slum hovel, with his wife with her apron loaded with provisions for the week. The children had been comparatively happy in their rags, and everything had been barely comfortable—an average type of working class prosperity. He had looked at him sometimes and felt that even he had got his minimum of comfort out of the life he led. But some morning the word went round that Mr. So-and-so had stopped. They could hardly realise the tragedy that charged those words. He had watched gradually all the disposable articles of furniture going to the pawnshop and to the broker; he had seen those children gradually growing more and more ragged, and the woman more and more haggard, until the thing had ended in a loathsome tragedy, when the wife had finished in the infirmary and the man gone on tramp. Should they hear more jeers and more gibes now about a man who had started out in life full of hope and strength and robustness, saying, "Only give me work that I may earn a living, even a living prescribed for me by a stereotyped system in which I have had no chance of formulating my desires?" Men in work dreaded being out of work, and he was glad to hear one hon. Member say that when he first came to London he dreaded unemployment. A man who got out of work at first thought he would die in a week, and did not know how he would manage to get along, but he got through a fortnight, and then in three more weeks he was still living, with this daily process of deterioration going on. Shop door after shop door had given him the unsentimental face of the foreman saying, "There is nothing to do." He had been seized with the sense of hopelessness, and should they have moralists declaiming against him when, with his wife to think of, instead of facing that last horrible starvation, he turned round and committed ravages upon society in defence of his individuality? No. This problem was a problem, he admitted, that was not going to have one or ten solutions. The land question mentioned by the hon. Member who had just sat down was a great part of it. The Bill they were considering that day, which caused so much dissatisfaction amongst those from whom one would have expected help, proposed to give a man the right to say to his local authority: "I want work; my muscles are ready for work, my physique is yearning for work; give me work, and I will do the work." It did not matter what kind of work it was. Hon. Members opposite said: "Because you are a watchmaker and your fingers are delicate, we have no work for you to do; we could give you a job at digging, but you had better go on without food a little longer, because digging would spoil your fingers." They were not concerned with a problem of maintaining specific art in a man's fingers; they were concerned with a problem of life and death, of dignity or pauperisation, and he suggested that the present Government was failing in its duty in not dealing in a very serious manner with this problem. There was a feeling throughout the country—and he felt entitled to say it; he had heard the kind of remarks going on in working class constituencies—that the House of Commons could not find the time to deal with the serious, throbbing questions that lay at the door of the working men. Hon. Members opposite must either tell them something they were going to do or else feel sorry for their past ridicule when other Governments had tried to do something. He took part in a demonstration once to secure a Bill similar to but weaker than the one under discussion. He was in a crowded market street where the police came in with their batons and beat down those poor, hungry, debilitated, ragged men. It was in Manchester. It was not because they had injured private property, not because they had broken a window, not because they had committed a crime, but because they stood still in the middle of the street and stopped the wheels of commerce for a moment. The result of that was that in the House of Commons there was a hasty conference of the then Conservative Government, and they managed to get an Unemployed Bill through. Hon. Members opposite had never had a more hilarious time in their lives than then, because there was humour and fun for weeks and weeks, and they flooded the country with ridicule and scorn of that Bill. Hon. Members opposite made speeches night after night and said: "Look at that legislation. It is not legislation, it is a spectre." The President of the Board of Trade said, "Call this a measure. It is a motor car without petrol." This was the third session of the present Parliament and the motor car was still without petrol. When was the petrol coming to supply the motor car? When was the occasion coming when they would deal with this pressing problem? He did not believe that the House would be too generous in its allocation of time to this subject if it devoted a few weeks to its consideration and nothing else. It was not an academic question; it was one which affected the lives of the whole of the people; it was a question which would give dignity and new hope to the life of every workman. It was a question not only for those who were out of work but for those who were in work as well. While the hammers were going inside, while the workers were slaving, there came others knocking at the doors, saying "May we come in?" The unemployed man felt that he could live on a less wage than the trade union rate, and it was not his duty to stand up for an abstract principle if he wanted bread. Therefore he looked on this question as a Socialist without any hope of a solution from the Government. This was practically an opportunist Government, giving a little here and a little there. But if the Bill passed they would still be confronted with the organic social problem of the unemployed. If the Bill passed, in the present chaotic disorganisation of their system of industry, they would stlil have unemployment going on. The hon. Member for Preston had said that they could not pay two men's wages out of one sovereign. Why two men's wages out of one sovereign? The hon. Member had said that they must increase the total wealth product of the country before they could employ any more people. Had it ever struck hon. Members that it was not so much a problem of production as of distribution—of giving enough to those who produced and not so much to those who were only speculators? In the last fifty years wealth had increased by miraculous leaps and bounds, and while it was endeavoured to be shown that the increased wealth of the country was due to free trade, yet this problem remained grimly ever present through all our prosperity. It was not that they could not find work for every one; it was that they were trying an impossible task; they were trying to lift themselves up by their boot laces; they were trying to solve the unemployed problem while leaving vested interests alone; they were trying to find work for workers without interfering with the interests of those who had rents and pos- session of wealth. It would never be done, and he did not hope that this House would do it as at present composed. It would only be done when the means of production, distribution, and exchange, without access to which they could not live, were in the hands of the people and not in the hands of a small clique. It might sound like a dream from afar, but if the Government persisted in their present method of flouting serious social problems, if they continued their dispiriting criticism of serious measures, which might have faults but which contained vital principles, then Socialism would not be so much a dream as it seemed at the present moment, and the ineptitude and futility of the present Government would be realised. The Government had an opportunity which had been afforded to few Governments of fulfilling the pledges which it had given to the people—the opportunity of wiping from the page of promises the things which had occupied their election programme for so long, and of dealing with the social question. In his election address he had put in black type, and with special emphasis, two or three special questions, and the biggest by far was that of the unemployed. It was not a small matter. When he went up and down the country people came and asked him how they were getting on with the unemployed problem. He replied, "Come and see." If they came to see, they would be struck by the futility of the methods now being adopted by the Government. Workers had a destiny beyond mere drudgery. Workers had a right to some part of the gorgeous banquet of intellectual and artistic life now held to be the monopoly of a class. The workers would realise that destiny, and they were standing there that day to defend it. He believed that it was within the power of the Government to get back some of their prestige it only they would deal seriously with the unemployed problem. He did not know what would be the fate of the Bill that day. If it were refused, if the Government voted against it, if the majority were against it, then it would give them more texts for public lectures. It would provide them with more illustrations to point out to the people the true extent of the seriousness and earnestness with which the present Government fulfilled its task. Were they to sit down with the ordinary assurance of the right hon. Gentleman that they could find no solution for this question? If they could find no solution, then, for the sake of their dignity and manhood they should resign and let others try. But they needed money. [Laughter.] He was glad to contribute to the "gaiety of nations." His observation caused hilarity. Why? Obviously this social problem had its financial aspect, and why should that cause hilarity? Whenever it was sought to get money one beautiful area was always left safe and untouched. They believed that the money should come from the bursting bags of unearned increment that the Government were too timid to tackle; they believed that the money should come from that increment which was due to the industry of the people. Let him appeal to hon. Members opposite to consider that this was not a matter of obeying the party whip, but one which lay between them and their constituents, and let them seriously ask themselves what the majority of their constituents would say. If they would do that they would realise that this was not an ordinary question, but an extraordinary question preceding a revolution. If they read the history of France, if they read the history of even their own country, they would realise that even the stolid, slow, and thickheaded British workman would arise out of his slumber, and, though he had not the volatile spirit of the Latin, yet there was something very dogged, often something very ruthless about him when he did wake and rubbed his eyes, and asked the Government what they had done with his destiny. This was a question which ought to be dealt with by serious men in a serious, and not in a frivolous, manner. If it were dealt with by serious men in a serious manner it would not be the problem of Utopia or the millennium, but it would be the first task of the Government—the task of clearing from their programme this longed-for measure, and placing it on the Statute-book of the country.


Since the celebrated year of 1834 when the Poor Law Reports were made, and the legislation resulting therefrom was passed, there have been few subjects, if any, that have evoked more interest and induced more sympathy than the subject matter embedded but not embodied, in this Bill; and for that interest, pity, and sympathy the reason is obvious to every man in this House, whether he be a Socialist or a Tory, a Liberal or a Radical. The workless workman is an object of pity, while the casual worker is a profoundly pathetic figure of sympathetic interest, and we all of us in this Parliament, whatever our views, have done what reasonably could be expected of us, not only in the last two years, but in the last twenty or twenty-five years, to mitigate his suffering and to decasualise his labour; and, generally speaking, to give him, both in house and home, factory and workshop, a more tolerable condition in society than he had thirty or forty years ago. The last speaker has suggested that nothing has been done by the present Government, nothing serious attempted, in regard to this throbbing question. My answer to that is that there is not a platform where landlords most do congregate, there is not a chamber of commerce, there is not a stock exchange, where, instead of saying that of the Government, they do not speak of us as threatening every monopoly, trying to make access to the land possible, and committing the mistake of exalting fustian and corduroy above the frock coat and top hat. Hon. Members with sympathetic aims but fantastic ideals and irrelevant generalisations, accuse us who sit on these benches of lack of sympathy or indisposition to seek real practical remedies for the evil of unemployment. But all that is beside the point, and to accuse the House of Commons of a want of sympathy on this subject is unjust. Hon. Members have done me the honour to-day of not saying an unkind word about my administration of the Act of 1905. It cannot be said. Those who know me are aware that every hour and day that I could get I have devoted to this problem. In a way, I have been the Derby dog running down the Parliamentary course, hon. Members throwing sticks and stones at me all the time. I believe that on one occasion I turned round with the intention of neither barking nor biting; and then complaint was made about my tone. Just fancy Revolutionists talking about tone! We want to ameliorate the sufferings which the hon. Member has described, and we want to bring in, not the one form of relief indicated by this Bill, but many forms of relief. Slowly but surely we are getting to closer grips with this problem, and its consideration is not at all obstructed by want of money in this country. On the contrary, there is no country in the world—mainly because we are a free people and therefore a generous people—where money is so readily forthcoming. We may be mistaken in our charity and generosity, still there is no country in the world where so much money is diverted to the relief of the poor, the impotent, the aged and sick, the halt, the maimed and the blind as in this country. There is no country in which so many noble men and generous women give so much time to the consideration of the lot of those who are less comfortably off than themselves. There is no country whose institutions, whether in the shape of the much-abused workhouse, the infirmary, the almshouse, or that vast fabric of institutions which the trade unions and the friendly societies have built up, and which would not last two years if this Bill were passed——

MR. JOWETT (Bradford, W.)



The hon. Member who made that observation is represented by a town council which, by forty-four votes to twenty-five, shares the view I have expressed.


We will change it.


And I prefer the town council of Bradford on a sane practical question to the hon. Member's extreme Socialistic views.


We will alter it.


When it is, I shall probably adapt myself to the altered circumstances. Now, where is there a House of Commons or a Parliament in which this question would have been discussed as it has been discussed here during the last two years? I know of none where the attention would have been given which the House of Commons has bestowed on the unemployment difficulty. And what is the reason for it? In the last ten years this problem has greatly changed. We have drifted from cash charity for the destitute and impotent to schemes of relief work, and the removal of that temptation to pauperism to which unemployment so frequently leads. That has already manifested itself in many ways. Social activities in our great cities have helped towards this change. There are many agencies, personal, educational, social, religious, and philanthropic which have for their object the prevention of a man from sinking into a pauperised condition. No one single remedy is sufficient for this. A few in combination have helped, and are helping; others are in process of experiment, and some suggested by hon. Members opposite are on their trial, and hardly any of the experiments similar to those that would be carried out by this Bill will be found, in my judgment, to have warranted the faith in them, the money spent on them, and the time wasted on them when the facts are revealed and the results displayed. All these activities of the last ten years resulted in the Act of my right hon. friend the Member for South Dublin. He said that the time had gone by when charity, pauperism, and the relief of the destitute were enough, and we ought to go beyond it. He brought in a Bill in 1905 the object of which was to organise and reduce to something like order the costly, chaotic, and over misguided at tempts to deal with this matter by indiscriminate charity, and that attempt took the form of the Act of 1905. That Act was passed in a hurry. Do not let us commit the folly to-day of passing a worse Act in a greater hurry, because if we do we shall be confronted next year with not only the partial failure—in some cases complete—of the present Act, but we shall be confronted with greater failures than we now see. We found immediately we came into office that the motor car had no petrol. The hon. Member for Colne Valley said that it lacks petrol now. That is not true. The motor-car was started along the road, and a rocky road it is. But engaged, as I am, in the Sisyphian task of rolling the right stone up the wrong hill, difficult as that is, it is easy compared with the task of Tantalus which the hon. Member for Colne Valley wishes the House of Commons to enter on. We found the motor car without petrol. We supplied the petrol, and supplied so much in the first year that, notwithstanding my promptitude in receiving applications and my willingness to go in advance of the local distress committees, I was in the difficult and unsatisfactory position of having to put back into the Treasury money that I asked the distress committees, if they had the opportunity, to expend? The whole subject of distress arising from unemployment was remitted to a Royal Commission specially created to consider this subject. That investigation is nearly complete. Supposing the Government were to be foolish enough to adopt this Bill and send it to an ordinary Committee, which it could not do, or to a special Committee that would have to take some form of evidence, that Committee could not report, however good our intentions were, as soon as the Royal Commission on the Poor Law will be able to report, with its recommendations for consideration and probable action. Then why should we be denied the benefit of the advice, the investigation, the evidence, the wise counsel and recommendations of the Royal Commission, which has upon it two Socialists and a Labour man, which has every phase of economic, social, and political thought represented upon it, and which is preparing its report pending the time that we are administering the present Act in a kindly, generous, and practical way, and at the same time supplying the distress committees with money with which to carry on the Act during the time that the Commission is considering its report. May I ask hon. Members below the Gangway to remember what kind of works it is they would want to be set up if this Bill were passed. They would be works precisely similar to those that I am now administering, and to which I am banker, clerk of works, and foreman. What kind of works are those? I will give one or two. I will take Hollesley Bay, which is an exact replica of the type of work which would be set up by this Bill. That estate, where, on an average, 250 men are employed every day, has cost the Central Unemployed Body in loss than three years a gross sum of £100,000. Before the estate became a public relief works, a steward with eighteen farm hands was able to make a small profit or a small loss every year. Since it became a State relief work, with 250 men engaged on it, it has had a net loss of £21,000 a year.

MR. CROOKS (Woolwich)

It is not true.


But this Bill asks me, and would place upon me, the responsibility of dotting down in every county and district in England relief works of that particular kind. I hope the hon. Member for Woolwich will give his attention to this.


I am listening, but it is not true. I repeat, even if I am suspended, that it is not true.


That is a type of interruption that I had best ignore. What else is happening at Hollesley Bay, and what will happen under this Bill? The labour and the work of these men is brought into competition with the local market gardeners and farmers, and when I go down to Hollesley Bay I am confronted with small deputations of professional decent agricultural labourers and servants of market gardeners, complaining of the fact that our attempt, well-intentioned, charitably-inclined, and fed with State money, on behalf of the unemployed, is dispossessing the decent agricultural labourer. I go from Hollesley Bay to another type of colony. I take South Ockenden, which has cost, up to this moment, £22,000 for purchase, maintenance, buildings, and so forth, and it has an average daily attendance of seventy men. What are the facts, and I put them as charitably as one can. Seven hundred and ninety men have passed through that colony at a cost per week per man of anything between 30s. and 32s., including the allowance to the family, and in the whole time that that colony has boon in operation—and no one will but admit that I have given it the most generous and the most fatherly assistance—out of the 790 which have gone through that colony, its object being to train men for the land to take them back to the land, there is not a recorded instance of the men going; back to agricultural work.

MR. MASTERMAN (West Ham, N.)

Surely that is not the solo object of the colony. You are converting it into a rural workhouse.


How can the hon. Member say we are converting that place into a country workhouse, when the average cost per man per week is just double the rate of wages paid to the agricultural labourer in the district? I come to my third illustration. I will take the rural workhouse called Laindon. Laindon has cost to this moment in round figures for cost and maintenance £20,000; and it extends to 100 acres and has an average of 140 men engaged upon it Laindon is a type of the thing we should come to if we had penal colonics. I went there and saw an old agricultural labourer, between sixty and sixty-five years old, digging in a field within 200 yards of it, getting 15s. or 16s. a week. I said to him, "How long does it take you to dig an acre of land?" He said "It takes me a fortnight to dig an acre of that land." I went across the rail and found on the public works sixty-seven able-bodied men under conditions approximating to a penal colony similar to those under right-to-work conditions, taking ton days to dig an acre and a half.


The right hon. Gentleman will forgive me I know, and the House too, but I say that this was an able-bodied workhouse and not a test for unemployed. They were put there under the Local Government Board's orders to do such work as they might be found fit to do. They were sent there like all able-bodied men in workhouses to kill time and not to do work.


If the hon. Member will look at his Bill he will find that Laindon obviously approximates to that, and is a replica of the penal form of labour colony. If you look at Clause 7, subsection 3, you will see that my facts rightly applied to Hollesley Bay, to Ockenden, and to Laindon, can similarly be applied to experiments like Hadleigh, Murieston, and Starnthwaite, and there is not a single type of relief work suggested in this Bill, there is not a penal labour colony that is indicated in Clause 7, subsection 3, in which this will not be the case. It will be said that this Bill, which seeks to multiply these places, is extremely popular with those who know most about it. Lot us examine the support at the back of this Bill. I am peculiarly and properly situated to know the views of Boards of guardians and of local authorities. A resolution of the Tottenham Urban District Council was apparently sent to all the local authorities in the country that were likely to take any part in support of the Bill, or to express views about it, but the result of this effort was that we have only received at the Local Government Board resolutions in support of the Bill from three town councils out of 322; from sixteen urban district councils out of 818; from four rural district councils out of 671; and from one board of guardians out of 657. And what is more, the hon. Member for Leicester speaks with an authority which is not equal to his assertion. The Leicester Town Council has voted against the Bill by twenty-four to nine.




Because they do not believe in it.


No; because it did not supply enough national funds to enable them to spend money at Leicester.


If that is so, it was the worst reason they could possibly urge. The Board of Guardians were against it by twenty-one to fifteen, and the Central Poor Law Conference was practically unanimous against it. So far as I can gather, with the exception of a few small bodies, well-drilled and finely disciplined, but sometimes over-persuaded, there is practically no public support of what was known as the Right-to-Work Bill. To come to the trade unions. I have two circulars, and I find that the Trade Union Congress with that practical sagacity which distinguishes that body—I am an ex-member of it, and it is because I know it so well that I am going to quote its opinion——


It has got along without you.


I once purified that great body, and "Pride's Purge" may have to be applied again. The Trade Union view is expressed in its last circular. It says— Two things, therefore, seem to be necessary:—

  1. 1. To use all our endeavours to prevent a decrease in the demand for labour, and,
  2. 2. To meet any decrease which may occur by decreasing the working hours per day or per week, instead of, as at present, decreasing the number of workers employed.
We therefore recommend:— 1. To minimise fluctuations:— That trade unions be urged to abolish overtime, and that where this is not wholly possible, it be restricted to the narrowest limits, and that when worked, it be penalised to the fullest extent. 2. To keen the whole body of workers in employment:— That the present practice of discharging workmen in times of depression be discontinued, and the short time system adopted so that a shortage of employment might be met collectively by all working shorter hours. 3. To ensure the practical application of the above suggestions:— That the Joint Board seek the sanction of the three national labour organisations to circularise all trade unions urging them to place these proposals before their members so that uniform action towards their adoption may be taken throughout the whole country. It is signed by Mr. Steadman, Mr. Ramsay Macdonald, and Mr. Mitchell, and the only reference there is to this Unemployed Bill is in a little paragraph on the top of page 2 which says— We suggest this evil should be met by endeavouring to secure the maximum number of workmen to perform such work as may be required, and, where the volume of work can be increased to advantage, to foster such increase with a view to employing any surplus labour which may exist. The second of these proposals, we suggest, can best be secured by the Unemployed Workmen's Act about to be introduced by the Labour Members. But the circular says nothing about the "right-to-work," or the very very difficult or impossible conditions embodied in this Bill that we now have under consideration. The hon. Member for Leicester, who has been a member of the Central Unemployed Body ought to know that all the distress committees throughout the country, including the Central Un employed Body, are agreed that relief works, whether carried out by philanthropic efforts or by public authorities, do the workmen more harm than good, and perpetuate and stereotype in industrial society the very chaos they are supposed to remove, and yet the hon. Member for Leicester, who nods assent to that view, is asking the House to adopt a right to work Bill that will give employment to every unemployed man and woman according to their capacity at the standard rate of wages—which means the trade union rate of wages. The hon. Member cannot deny that.


There is no provision for that.


Suppose I employed any of those out of work carpenters or other skilled workmen and reduce their pay from 10½d, to 7½d. or 6d. per hour, would hon. Members below the Gangway opposite not heckle me? This Bill demands the compulsory right to work. Under this Bill every local authority is to be compelled to employ every unemployed man and woman according to their capacity at trade union or standard rates of wages, and, in the event of its being unable to provide such work, there is to be maintenance. What is to be this maintenance in the absence of work? Is it to cost 24s. per week as at the Laindon rural workhouse, or 30s. as at Hollesley Bay and South Ockendon? We all know, as practical men, that if once we concede the principle of this Bill we shall have the lanes of our country districts black with men, no longer content to receive 15s. or 18s. a week, coming into our towns and cities where the minimum rate will be 28s. or 30s.; and thus we shall reach this condition of things, that the last lot of the poor in our cities will be infinitely worse than the first. I will give the House a practical illustration. What will become of the riverside labourors and the casual dock labourers if this right to work Bill is passed? Their ranks will be increased by the alluring temptation that this Bill will hold out, not only to men who are unemployed, but also to men who are in work in country districts at lower than the guaranteed standard rates in the towns under this Bill. In connection with the existing relief works there are cases in which men have left their ordinary work, where they have to give full measure, and sometimes overflowing measure, to engage in country relief works which can never be properly organised or profitably carried on under a Bill such as this. What effect will the Bill have on the unemployed of all trades? What class of work are they going to do? They cannot work at their own trade, because it does not afford employment. In a penal colony there is market gardening, which is three times more unprofitable than free competitive work. The only trade that offers employment under this Bill is the building trade. That is the trade which is always most fluctuating and has always the largest number of men out of work. It is the building trade that will have to absorb the residuum of the unemployed of every other trade, and the result will be that the standard of efficiency of the men will be reduced and the trade will be damaged in every respect by the building trade being made more casual than it is. What are we to do with the women? What are we going to do with unemployed women?


Make them suffragettes.


I believe there is not much need for schemes of relief work for unemployed women when there is such a demand in domestic service. Let hon. Members look at the advertisement columns of any London daily paper. Take, for example; the Daily Telegraph. I tested the matter the other day. I was asked to provide relief work's for women, and I said, "Yes, I will give them three or four years generous treatment as an experiment." I wrote to the editor of the Daily Telegraph and asked him to state how many women were advertised for in his paper in any one week. The reply was that for that week there had been advertised in the Daily Telegraph vacancies for 1,000 unemployed women of different classes and descriptions at the same time I was being criticised for not supporting more liberally a scheme for a few dozen of women. However the experiment is going on, and my experience is that £1,514 has been paid for clothes made by women employed at these relief works, which could be got, better in cut and style, and probably in quality, for £994. Moreover, in the reports from East-end board of guardians it is pointed out that this work displaces professional women who have been hitherto doing it. There are 100,000 navvies in this country. In my judgment these men are probably the best unit in our industrial army. What we owe to the navvy has never been recognised. I am trying to recognise it by improving his housing on public works wherever he is employed. There are also 30,000 Irish labourers, equally good human material, who conic over to this country to work. If the right to work is recognised and every navvy has the right to claim work or maintenance, then men will not take the trouble to walk from job to job, from railway to waterworks; they will not cross the channel to do laborious work for three or four months in the year. They will remain in their own parishes, and when they are out of work they will go to the town hall and register their names. They will consider that they have done their duty in looking for work when they have registered themselves at the labour bureau, especially when maintenance rewards their indisposition to look for work. That kind of thing ought not to be encouraged. The hon. Member for South St. Pancras has suggested that Clause 3 should be postponed, but the hon. Member for Liecester, who in this matter is acting in the capacity of Warwick the Kingmaker, has declared that Clause 3 is the kernel of the Bill, and that it cannot be postponed. It is because Clause 3 cannot be accepted, because the Bill cannot be amended, because we cannot make a good overcoat out of a bad pair of trousers, that I ask the House to reject this measure. If the House does not reject it hon. Members will encourage every workman to be indifferent to the claims of his trade union and to the claims of collective providence in other ways. Our workmen have the highest wages, the shortest hours, and, on the whole, the best housing in the world, with the exception of New Zealand, mainly because they have been taught that while prosecuting their own social aims and political ideals they have a right to hold on to the practical remedies for improving their lot, which this Bill would undermine and ultimately overthrow. The Government consider that this Bill is unworkable, that it is a delusion and a snare, and we intend to vote against it. We intend to vote for the Amendment, which, in the light of experience, we heartily commend to the House.

MR. WALTER LONG (Dublin, S.)

I apologise to the House for intervening in this debate; I should not have done so but for the allusions which have been made to the Act of 1905. It is almost unnecessary for me to point out that the fate of this Bill has been decided by the speech of the hon. Member for Burnley, who moved the Amendment, and by the speech of the President of the Local Government Board. The right hon. Gentleman has addressed himself to the Bill itself, which has not been the case in regard to the majority of the speeches we have heard in its support. During the five years I had the honour of being President of the Local Government Board it was my lot to listen to many debates upon this subject of unemployment in the House, and I have read a great deal about it outside the House. On most of those occasions I confess that after the debates I have gone away feeling that there has been very little learned or done of a practical kind, but never before have I entertained the feeling so profoundly as I do to-day as the result of the debate upon the Second Beading of this Bill. The hon. Member for Leicester, in his able speech, sought to justify his contention that the Bill found its origin in the Act of 1905. If that is the use which is to be made of honest efforts on the part of men who do not hold Socialist views and who are utterly opposed to them because they believe they are destructive of society and the best interests of this country—if that is the use which is to be made of our endeavours to do something towards the solution of a question as to the gravity of which we are all agreed, then I venture to say that not only will this discussion have offered no practical solution of the question, but it will have set back the whole of this movement for many a day. Remember what the effect is of the attitude taken up by the hon. Member for Leicester. The hon. Member thought it right to express some moderate approval of the Act of 1905—an approval which I realise arose not so much from the merits of the measure as from the possibility it offered to him and his friends to turn it to useful account for themselves. Having expressed some rather tepid praise of that measure on one or two occasions, he says that it is the real origin of the Socialist movement in this direction, and he actually gave to me, as the member of the Government responsible for that Act, the credit for this great movement which is now advancing, and which its supporters think is going to sweep the country. I wonder whether the hon. Member for Leicester ever gave me that credit when addressing Socialist meetings in the country. I wonder whether, when he is making speeches at Socialist meetings and holding up to contempt and ridicule all other Parties indiscriminately—and I am bound to say that they distribute their favours in that respect equally—I wonder whether he has ever said that in reality Socialism is not due to him and his friends, but that the real author of this great movement is to be found on the Opposition Front Bench. I doubt whether he has ever made that statement out of this House, and I question, if he did make it, whether, he would find anybody in the audience who would believe it. This is only the personal side of the question. Is it likely that in dealing with a problem so complicated and difficult as this, anybody, whether he approaches it as a student, or has had to approach it officially as some of us have had to do, can entertain any feeling except that expressed in all quarters, namely, that it is one of the utmost gravity? It moves men deeply when brought into close contact with it, and any man would be justly proud to apply his brains and labour to it if he could find a solution. In that we are all agreed. In regard to this Bill, how much nearer, I ask the House, are we to a solution of the question? Hon. Gentlemen below the gangway have attacked the President of the Local Government Board because he is, as they allege, unsympathetic regarding the work in which they and their friends are engaged. It is no use attacking ex-Presidents or the present President of the Local Government Board. The duty of those who believe that experiments such as those which have been made can be made permanent works is to show that the allegations which have been made against them are untrue, and that the statements as to the extravagance and bad results from this temporary and artificial employment are incorrect. The hon. Member for Leicester says that the foundation of the measure is to be found in the Act of 1905. I deny that statement absolutely and in toto. There is nothing to be found in the Act of 1905 that justifies the claim of the "right to work" principle and that the unemployed should find employment at the hands of the State. What were the conditions which led to the passing of that Act? There was at the time, as I hope there will not be for many a day again, great stress in the labour market, demonstrations were being held in the cities, and applications were being made to town councils and boards of guardians for assistance. Boards of guardians were in difficulties, and they came one after another to the Local Government Board for counsel and advice. Town councils were also in difficulties, and because they could not turn a deaf ear to the entreaties which were addressed to them they were finding employment for these men out of the ordinary rates. It was no new thing, only it was done by the town councils in a manner which was neither carefully worked out nor in any way properly arranged. What was the object of the Act of 1905? It was to co-ordinate these authorities and set up a body which would have power to discriminate between the good and the bad and be able to act as a single body. Whore was the right to work? That Act expressly provides that the work should be temporary in its character. It imposes upon those employed, a large number of limitations which I have not time to go into now and further than that, it enacts that no money drawn from the rates should be used in the payment of wages; and to advance the argument that that Act is a justification for the Bill we have here to-day, is to show that the arguments in favour of the measure are few indeed if the promoters have to have to fall back on one so unsound and having so little real existence. Having said so much in regard to my own responsibility, or the responsibility of the Government of which I was a member, I ought to ask the House a question which has been asked by those who are opposed to this Bill and which has not been answered by those who support it. Indeed, the hon. Member for the Colne Valley in his speech cast ridicule on those who asked him how this Bill was going to solve the difficulty. He was asked what was the kind of work you are going to provide, how you are going to provide it, and what would be the practical effect of this Bill if passed into law. The hon. Member for Leicester says you would give what is the real kernel of the measure—you would give to the people of this country the right to work. Each and all out of work can go, with a few limitations, to their local authorities and demand work, and say that they have a right to get it. I put on one side the provision as to maintenance, because I cannot believe that it is seriously proposed by those responsible for it, or that it would in Committee stand the test of examination for a moment. How is that work going to be provided? There must be many Members in this House who have served on boards of guardians, county councils, and borough councils. Has anyone of them answered for himself the question? How are we to find the work we have to find under this Bill if it becomes an Act of Parliament? It has been very well said that the unemployed do not want to be set to the digging of holes and to the filling of them up again. They do not want work which is artificial. Where is it to be found if it is not to be artificial? If it is remunerative work, it would be there now. If it is not remunerative, but of an artificial character, how is the local authority to find it, and what kind of work is it to be? We heard the speech of the hon. Member for the Denbigh Boroughs who is individually in some little difficulty. He told us that it was very difficult for a Member representing an industrial constituency to oppose the Bill, and thon he endeavoured to show the House reasons why he was not going to support it, and what it was he was going to support. It was very courageous after the speech of the hon. Member for Burnley to fall back on land reform as the real solution of the unemployed question. I have heard some ridiculous proposals made, but I have never heard one so ridiculous as that land reforms—that is to say, the various measures of land reform which the hon. Gentleman and his friends advocate—are going to settle even in the smallest degree the question of the unemployed. What did the hon. Member for Burnley say on that subject? I listened to the speech of the hon. Member with admiration and I am delighted to find that one who said himself that he had no connection with the land took so practical and sensible a view of this proposed remedy. He says he would sooner be sent to jail than on to the land.


I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman does not wish to misrepresent me. I was dealing with the policy of putting on to the land people who are not acquainted with the land.


I did not intend in any way to misrepresent the hon. Gentleman. I was going to say that subsequently he made it perfectly clear that he was himself in favour of drastic land reform, though that in itself was no remedy for the unemployed question. The hon. Member for the Denbigh Boroughs took exactly the opposite view. He said that this Bill is impossible, and that it would bring about no real reform, but that land reform would get the people back to the land. We who have been the target of hon. Gentlemen I opposite for so many years are glad to find, at all events, one advocate on their own side of the House who understands and realises that land reform, even if it did bring people back to the land, would not touch the fringe of this question. What is the kind of work which the local authorities are to find? They are to find work which, presumably, is to be paid for out of the rates It is work which is not remunerative, because we may assume that if it was remunerative, it would probably be carried out by private enterprise. You are to add to the burden of the rates the cost of working this Bill. That is the proposition which is seriously made to-day when there is no man who has looked into the question of municipal life, either in town or country, who does not know that the question of the burden of the rates is one of growing importance and of increasing difficulty, and one which Parliament will be bound to face before very long. Yet with the difficulty connected with the education rate, the highways rate, the sanitary rate, and the poor rate, bearing upon you at the present time, and when there is urgent need for some Parliamentary treatment of this question which shall divide the burden as between Imperial and local exchequers, with all these difficulties facing you and which Parliament up to the present has not been able to deal with satisfactorily, hon. Members come forward and with a cynicism which is extraordinary propose a measure which if passed would add enormously to the burden of the rates, and give in return, what? We were told by an hon. Member below the gangway that, it would give a great return, not perhaps in money, but in character and quality, because it would make the people of this country happy and contented. Would it do so? Would it add to the character of the British race? Would it make them self-respecting and contented if they realised throughout the length and breadth of the land, when not by some great passing wave of depression, not through some unexpected difficulty, but in the ordinary everyday course of business, they had suddenly been cast into the slough of despair, they had not to look for work for themselves, but had only to go and registor themselves, and say "I need employment., I have to live in this house or in that neighbourhood." Does anybody believe that that would add to the character of the people? If we doubt that, where is the return to come from? A return in money there certainly cannot be. This House has been ready, as the legislation passed in former years shows, when it is in difficulties to throw work on the local authorities. Something new is required and some difficulty is to be met in connection with the administration of local affairs, and this House not knowing how to got over the difficulty passes a Bill which casts the work and the responsibility on the local authorities, and then, when the work is not done quite as well as it ought to be, people are apt to criticise the local authorities. I think that the local authorities are beginning to wake up and to realise that Parliament is not to be allowed to throw this increasing burden upon them without, at all events, defining in some degree the way in which the work is to be carried out. I listened to the figures given by the President of the Local Government Board without any surprise. I gather from him that only one board of guardians out of 670 has expressed approval of this Bill, and that only two or three municipal authorities are in favour of it. That surely speaks for itself. This Bill has not been before them, but it is not a new thing. It has not been suddenly introduced without preparation and advertisement. Its main provisions are perfectly well known to local authorities and to the people generally. It is a most interesting fact that, although it has been before them in its main ideas and principles so long, there is practically no local authority to be found in the country in favour of the Bill.


Only twenty-four out of 2,468.


I think we may say that the Bill has practically no support among the local authorities of the country. Are we to throw on the local authorities this burden which they are unwilling to accept, and which they, I am convinced, would say they could not carry out? In this debate nobody has shown how the Bill is to be carried into effect, or what kind of work the local authorities are to introduce. As I have already said, it is unnecessary for us to argue that this Bill would be destructive of all that is best in local character and national life, and to press our views home, because the President of the Local Government Board has destroyed the measure in the speech which he has made, and certainly we shall vote for the Amendment of the hon. Member for Burnley without any hesitation. I would only once again urge upon those who are really anxious—and I believe that hon. Members belonging to the Socialist Party are as anxious as all other Parties—to find a solution of the question, that they are going a very bad way to secure the end they have in view if they seek to justify measures like this by falling back on the efforts made by others, not having the same direction, but made with the object of lessoning the weight of this national burden. On the contrary, you are far more likely to make people hesitate before they attempt a solution of this question, or to deal with some of the minor parts of the problem, and to paralyse the hands of rather than to give renewed strength to those who are engaged in considering and dealing with this question. Whatever may be the result of this measure, I am satisfied that its passing would add to unemployment instead of lessening it, and also lessen the amount of money available for wages in the country. If there were no other argument than that, it alone would justify opposition to this Bill.


The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has repudiated with not, I think, unnatural warmth the imputation that the germs of this measure are to be found in his own Act of 1905 and that, as I think was rather suggested by my hon. friend the Member for Leicester, henceforth he must be regarded as the stepfather of Socialism in this country. I do not think that any of us who have followed, whether as friends or foes, the political career of the right hon. Gentleman for the last twenty years will regard that as a charge which he need take either much trouble or time to confute. But I only rose for the purpose of pointing out before we come to a division, as I hope we shall, first what is, and next what is not, the issue before us. The real issue is whether we are to give a Second Reading to a Bill of which it is admitted by all its promoters, with the exception of my hon. friend who occupied a somewhat difficult position in initiating the debate, and who discharged his duty in an admirable manner, that the gist and essence is to be found in the third clause. The hon. Member for Leicester described it as the kernel. To pass the Bill without that third clause would be to pass a bloodless and boneless absurdity, to set up a machine and at the same time to deprive it of that measure of fuel and motive power which alone could set it to work. The real issue raised is whether the third clause does or does not meet with the approval of the House. What is the clause? Shortly stated, it comes to this, that, as a remedy for the problem of unemployment, you are to give to every man and every woman who registers himself or herself as an unemployed person the right to demand and to impose on the local authority in the district or area in which he or she resides the obligation to provide work, and work, as I read the Bill, at the standard rate of wages, for I am perfectly certain that trade unionists would not submit to work being given on any other condition, or, in default of such work, to maintain him or her and all those dependent on them. That is, as the right hon. Gentleman has said, an entirely novel principle. That is a principle which involves in its application, as the hon. Member for Burnley said, the complete ultimate control by the State of the full machinery of production, and which, in my opinion, for the reasons which have been given by previous speakers, and which I will not repeat, so far from remedying or helping to remedy the problem of unemployment, will vastly aggravate it. That is the issue before the House. But there is another matter which has very naturally and very properly bulked largely in the speeches of hon. Members which is not in issue at all. That is whether we are satisfied with the provisions at present made by the law and the administration of the law for dealing with the problem of unemployment. For my part, I say without any hesitation, and I speak for my colleagues as well as for myself, I am not satisfied. The problem of unemployment is a many-sided one. It is a problem which you cannot solve unless you consider causes as well as remedies unless you are prepared not merely with correctives, but with preventives, and, for my part, I very much deprecate any attempt to solve it except in a comprehensive and thoroughgoing fashion upon an all-round survey of all the conditions of the case. The problem is of the gravest magnitude and the greatest urgency; I do not think that any spectator of our social conditions will deny that. The real gravity of it consists in this—I am not going into controversial matters; I am not going to say whether it exists in a more or less degree in free trade or in protectionist countries or in certain periods of trade development more than in others; the real gravity of it is this—that we have in this country, and in all highly-developed commercial communities in these days, a chronic state of intermittent employment on the one side, with its concomitant of casual labour on the other. That is the real difficulty you are dealing with. It is an economic difficulty in this sense, that it arises from economic causes, and from the want of ease and automatic adaptation in the machinery both of production and distribution. But the fact that it is an economic difficulty does not absolve the State, in my opinion, from taking regard to it, and from seeing whether it cannot, at any rate, facilitate the solution of it. Even the Act of the right hon. Gentleman himself, of which I do not wish to say one word in disparagement, or to draw from it conclusions which he would not admit, is an admission on the part of all parties in the State that in this matter the State must step in—either the central authority, or the local authority, as the case may be—at least to this extent, to co-ordinate and supplement the ineffectual private and communal efforts—[An HON. MEMBER on the LABOUR Benches: That is our Bill]—which have, hitherto, failed effectually to deal with the problem. I accept that principle, but I am not going to commit myself to a particular application until I am perfectly satisfied that I am not going to do more harm than good. We are expecting, we hope to receive in the course of a very few months, the Report of the Commission which has been sitting for some years. I am sanguine enough to believe that, at any rate, the Report of that Commission will throw a great deal of much-needed light on the darker and more obscure sides of this problem; but, speaking for the Govern- ment, I can assure the House that we are giving, and shall continue to give, with such assistance as that Report may supply, the most careful and earnest consideration during the autumn and winter to the best way of dealing with the matter, whilst I do not pledge myself—it would be dishonest to do so, not having in my mind anything like what I could regard as a complete and adequate solution—to introduce specific legislation. Certainly we shall not fail in the most earnest, strenuous, and resolute desire to bring before Parliament some practical method of dealing with this chronic, but at the same time most urgent and pressing problem. I say that to make it abundantly clear to those who vote, as I am going to vote, with the hon. Member for Burnley, that we are in no sense indifferent to the question of finding a solution of the problem that confronts us. But I would recall the House to the fact that the real issue is not that. The real issue is, Is this House going to recognise, for the first time in the history of Parliament, this principle of the right to work and the obligation to provide work, which, once recognised, will, I venture to say, lead to conclusions little dreamt of or suspected to-day, though fully roalised by some hon. Gentlemen opposite? I believe that these conclusions, if carried into practical effect, will have consequences which, in my judgment and the judgment of the Government, would prejudice no class of the community more seriously than the working class.

MR. ARTHUR HENDERSON (Durham, Barnard Castle)

said he was not going to detain the House more than a minute or two. He understood that there was a general desire to come to the vote, but he was quite sure that that desire could not exist more strongly I than it did with the Members with whom he was associated. He had heard nothing which would induce the Labour Party to depart from the responsibility they had taken up when they introduced this Bill at the hands of the hon. Member for St. Pancras. At the same time he did not wish it to be thought that he did not accept and recognise to a very large extent the sympathetic tone of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's speech, and he thought that it would have been probably better for those with whom the right hon. Gentleman was associated if the same amount of sympathy and determination to deal with this great economic problem had been shown in earlier speeches Let him say that they had a right to expect more from a Liberal Government than they had given them that afternoon. This was no new question. Trade congresses and other organisations had discussed it annually for some time past; and he was astonished that no reference had been made to the decision of one Conference which represented what the hon. Member for Burnley called ten per cent. of the trade unions of the country. That Conference of the Liberal Federation Association, meeting at Newcastle in March, 1905, was attended by a large section of hon. Gentlemen sitting opposite, including the hon. Member for Burnley, and the following resolution unanimously—(the hon. Member for Burnley did not dissent from it)—passed:— This Conference is of opinion that the State should create some permanent machinery applicable to the whole country for investigating and alleviating the lack of employment. Was not this Bill an attempt to provide that machinery? [MINISTERIAL cries of No.] Someone said "No," but he thought it was an attempt to provide machinery, although it might be that the machinery was not of the same character as the mover of the Resolution, the hon. Member for Wansbeck, desired. In order to show that the Labour Party were justified in looking for something more than they had received from the Liberal Government, he desired to quote a speech made at Portsmouth on November 16th, 1905, by the Prime Minister, whose absence no one deplored more than the Labour Party, and with whose illness they all symathised. He hoped his hon. and right hon. friends above the gangway who were going to be bed-fellows, and strange bed-fellows, on this occasion with the Government, would take this quotation into their consideration. The Prime Minister then said— Nothing could be more culpable than the levity with which the Government had dealt with the question last session; postponing it, and turning it into a mere vote-catching intrigue: hustling it through Parliament at the end of the session; tricking out a skeleton and putting upon it no flesh or blood. That is not the way to deal with a great and growing and vexing problem such as this, a problem which requires most delicate handling "— (MINISTERIAL cheers.)—He thought that would be acceptable to his hon. friends opposite— but which requires as little delay as possible in the handling of it.

That speech was made before the general election. Three years ago, according to hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, it was necessary that this question should be dealt with as speedily as possible. Three years had gone by the Government with its great majority, and yet they were asked by the President of the Local Government Board in the most emphatic manner to wait until next year. He wondered why those gentlemen who before the general election in the name of the Liberal Party spoke of the serious character of this problem did not say "We cannot do anything with this problem until the Royal Commission appointed by our opponents has reported." If they had told them that it was a question of three years' waiting, and then another year's waiting until the Royal Commission had reported, he ventured to say that it would have had some weight in the minds of many of the working class electors at the general election. He wanted to draw the attention of hon. Gentlemen opposite to the position they were getting into in regard to this question. They were going to have in the lobby with them the whole of the Protectionist Party. (An HON. MEMBER: "How do you know?") He came to the conclusion that they were all going to be loyal to the whips they had received, and therefore when the right hon. Member for South Dublin told the House that he was going to vote against the Bill, he presumed that his followers would go with him. This matter had created a great stir in the London Press, and there was an article in one leading London paper which concluded as follows:— In the background is the haunting question, 'Why should such a Bill as this ever be demanded in Free Trade England?'

Yet they were going into the lobby together. The article proceeded:— Even free traders must allow that the problem of the unemployed is urgent and grave, but the true remedy for it is to be found in fairer conditions for British people and British industry, and not in any wild cat measure. He could imagine that some of their protectionist friends had a thought in the

back of their minds that, in the interests of protection, it was advisable for them to get this Bill out of the way, and that they should assist the Government in their policy of inaction on the question. [An HON. MEMBER: Why?] Because there had been three or four bye-elections in the last few months which had been injurious to the Government. What had the Members of the Opposition who went down to those bye-elections been doing? They had preached protection as the only solution for the unemployment from which the electors were suffering, and it was their business to prevent the Government from doing anything to recover the lost ground with the working classes. He was surprised that the Government had not more political insight than to play into the hands of their opponents.

MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN (Worcestershire, E.)

Hear, hear.


Yes, the junior captain of the host was endorsing his opinion. Birmingham was with him on the point. Let him say, as his final word, that the Government could not have played a better card to assist protection. They did not like protection, and they did not like Socialism, but they could not have played a better card to assist both.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question.

The House divided:—Ayes, 116; Noes, 265. (Division List No. 40.)

Abraham, William (Rhondda) Beale, W. P. Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romf'rd
Alden, Percy Beaumont, Hon. Hubert Bignold, Sir Arthur
Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch) Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R. Bowerman, C. W.
Atherley-Jones, L. Bennett, E. N. Brace, William
Branch, James Holden, E. Hopkinson Richardson, A.
Brodie, H. C. Horniman, Emslie John Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Cameron, Robert Hudson, Walter Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradf'rd
Clancy, John Joseph Jacoby, Sir James Alfred Rowlands, J.
Cleland, J. W. Jenkins, J. Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)
Clynes, J. R. Johnson, John (Gateshead) Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)
Cobbold, Felix Thornley Jowett, F. W. Scott, A. H. (Ashton under Lyne
Cooper, G. J. Kekewich, Sir George Seddon, J.
Cotton, Sir H. J. S. Kelley, George D. Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)
Cowan, W. H. Kennedy, Vincent Paul Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie
Crean, Eugene Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester) Snowden, P.
Cremer, Sir William Randal Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E.) Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)
Crooks, William Lehmann, R. C. Summerbell, T.
Curran, Peter Francis Luttrell, Hugh Fownes Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Davies, Timothy (Fulham) Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe
Davies, W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs Thomas, David Alred (Merthyr
Delany, William Macpherson, J. T. Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E.
Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.) Toulmin, George
Dobson, Thomas W. M Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester) Wadsworth, J.
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness Masterman, C. F. G. Walsh, Stephen
Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne) Meagher, Michael Walters, John Tudor
Edwards, Enoch (Hanley) Money, L. G. Chiozza Walton, Joseph
Esmonde, Sir Thomas Murphy, John (Kerry, East) Wardle, George J.
Fenwick, Charles Nannetti, Joseph P. White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)
Ffrench, Peter Nolan, Joseph Wiles, Thomas
Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid Williams, J. (Glamorgan)
Gill, A. H. O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarth'n
Glover, Thomas O'Grady, J. Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Grant, Corrie Parker, James (Halifax) Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)
Grayson, Albert Victor Pickersgill, Edward Hare Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)
Gwynn, Stephen Lucius Pirie, Duncan V. Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Hall, Frederick Pollard, Dr. Yoxall, James Henry
Hart-Davies, T. Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
Hayden, John Patrick Redmond, William (Clare) TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr George Roberts and Mr. John Ward.
Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'th
Higham, John Sharp Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n
Acland, Francis Dyke Bryce, J. Annan Crossley, William J.
Acland-Hood, Rt Hn. Sir Alex. F. Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Dalrymple, Viscount
Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R. Burdett-Coutts, W. Dalziel, James Henry
Agnew, George William Burns, Rt. Hon. John Dewar, Sir J. A. (Inverness-sh.)
Ainsworth, John Stirling Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Charles Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon
Allen, Charles P. (Stroud) Byles, William Pollard Doughty, Sir George
Arnold-Forster, Rt. Hn. Hugh O. Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard Knight Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-
Ashton, Thomas Gair Cave, George Du Cros, Arthur Philip
Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry Cavendish, Rt. Hn. Victor C. W. Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan
Astbury, John Meir Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Dunue, Major E. Martin (Walsall
Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H. Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey- Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (City Lond. Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.) Elibank, Master of
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Chamberlain, Rt Hn. J. A (Worc. Erskine, David C.
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Chance, Frederick William Esslemont, George Birnie
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Channing, Sir Francis Allston Evans, Sir Samuel T.
Baring, Capt. Hn. G (Winchester Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R. Everett, R. Lacey
Barker, John Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Faber, George Denison (York)
Barlow, Percy (Bedford) Clark, George Smith (Belfast, N. Faber, G. H. (Boston)
Barran, Rowland Hirst Clive, Percy Archer Fardell, Sir T. George
Beauchamp, E. Clough, William Fell, Arthur
Beckett, Hon. Gervase Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Ferens, T. R.
Bellairs, Carlyon Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W. Ferguson, R. C. Munro
Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonp'rt Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Fiennes, Hon. Eustace
Berridge, T. H. D. Corbett, C. H (Sussex, E. Grinst'd Findlay, Alexander
Bertram, Julius Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Fletcher, J. S.
Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon) Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Forster, Henry William
Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine Cory, Sir Clifford John Freeman-Thomas, Freeman
Bowles, G. Stewart Cox, Harold Furness, Sir Christopher
Boyle, Sir Edward Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth Gardner, Ernest
Bridgeman, W. Clive Craik, Sir Henry Gibb, James (Harrow)
Brigg, John Crosfield, A. H. Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)
Brocklehurst, W. B. Cross, Alexander Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John
Glen-Coats, Sir T. (Renfrew, W M'Callum, John M. Ronaldshay, Earl of
Gordon, J. M'Calmont, Colonel James Rose, Charles Day
Greenwood, G. (Peterborough) M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald Runciman, Walter
Gretton, John Maddison, Frederick Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland
Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Magnus, Sir Philip Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos. Myles
Grove, Archibald Mallet, Charles E. Seaverns, J. H.
Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill Manfield, Harry (Northants) Seely, Colonel
Guinness, Walter Edward Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston) Shefficld, Sir Berkeley George D.
Haldane' Rt. Hon. Richard B. Marks, H. H. (Kent) Shipman, Dr. John G.
Hamilton, Marquess of Marnham, F. J. Simon, John Allsebrook
Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry) Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John
Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r) Mason, James F. (Windsor) Sloan, Thomas Henry
Harmsworth, R. L. Caithn'ss-sh. Massie, J. Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)
Harrison-Broadley, H. B. Menzies, Walter Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) Micklem, Nathaniel Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk
Hedges, A. Paget Mond, A. Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)
Hemmerde, Edward George Montagu, E. S. Stewart, Halley (Greenock)
Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.) Montgomery, H. G. Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)
Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe) Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen) Stone, Sir Benjamin
Hill, Sir Clement Morley, Rt. Hon. John Straus, B. S. (Mile End)
Hills, J. W. Morpeth, Viscount Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)
Hobart, Sir Robert Morrell, Philip Stuart, James (Sunderland)
Holt, Richard Durning Morse, L. L. Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ
Hope, W. Bateman (Somerset, N Morton, Alpheus Cleophas Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury
Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Murray, James Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)
Hunt, Rowland Myer, Horatio Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.
Hyde, Clarendon Napier, T. B. Thornton, Percy M.
Idris, T. H. W. Newnes, Sir George (Swansea) Tomkinson, James
Illingworth, Percy H. Nicholson, Charles N (Doncast'r Torrance, Sir A. M.
Isaacs, Rufus Daniel Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield) Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Jackson, R. S. Nield, Herbert Valentia, Viscount
Jardine, Sir J. Norman, Sir Henry Verney, F. W.
Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea Norton, Capt. Cecil William Vivian, Henry
Keswick, William O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth) Ward, W. Dudley (Southampt'n
Kincaid-Smith, Captain O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens Waring, Walter
King, Alfred John (Knutsford) Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek) Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull) Pearson, W. H. M. (Suffolk, Eye) Wason, Rt. Hn. E. (Clackmann'n
Laidlaw, Robert Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney
Lambert, George Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden) Waterlow, D. S.
Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm. Percy, Earl Whitbread, Howard
Lamont, Norman Perks, Robert William Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)
Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich) Philipps, Col. Ivor (S'thampton) Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)
Layland-Barratt, Francis Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke) Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)
Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham Powell, Sir Francis Sharp Wills, Arthur Walters
Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central) Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)
Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich) Price, Robert John Norfolk, E.) Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)
Levy, Sir Maurice Priestley, W. E. B. (Bradford, E.) Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.
Lewis, John Herbert Pullar, Sir Robert Winterton, Earl
Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Dublin, S. Radford, G. H Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Lonsdale, John Brownlee Rainy, A. Rolland Wood, T. M'Kinnon
Lough, Thomas Raphael, Herbert H. Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Lowe, Sir Francis William Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Lupton, Arnold Rees, J. D. Younger, George
Lyell, Charles Henry Ridsdale, E. A.
Lynch, H. B. Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.) TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Whiteley and Mr. Fuller.
Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Robson, Sir William Snowdon
M'Arthur, Charles Rogers, F. E. Newman

Question put, "That those words be there added."

The House divided:—Ayes, 241; Noes, 95. (Division List No. 41.)

Acland, Francis Dyke Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonp'rt
Acland-Hood, Rt Hn. Sir Alex. F. Banbury, Sir Frederick George Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)
Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R. Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine
Ainsworth, John Stirling Barker, John Bowles, G. Stewart
Allen, Charles P. (Stroud) Barlow, Percy (Bedford) Boyle, Sir Edward
Arnold-Forster, Rt. Hn. Hugh O Barran, Rowland Hirst Bridgeman, W. Clive
Astbury, John Meir Beauchamp, E. Brigg, John
Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir H Beckett, Hon. Gervase Bryce, J. Annan
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (City Lond Bellairs, Carlyon Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn
Burdett-Coutts, W. Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Hedges, A. Paget Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)
Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Charles Hemmerde, Edward George Perks, Robert William
Byles, William Pollard Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W. Philipps, Col. Ivor (S'thampton)
Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard Knight Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)
Cavendish, Rt. Hon. Victor C. W. Hill, Sir Clement Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Hills, J. W. Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central
Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E. Hobart, Sir Robert Price, Robert John (Norfolk, E
Chamberlain, Rt Hn. J. A. (Worc Holland, Sir William Henry Priestley, W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)
Chance, Frederick William Holt, Richard Durning Pullar, Sir Robert
Channing, Sir Francis Allston Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Radford, G. H.
Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R. Hunt, Rowland Rainy, A. Rolland
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Hyde, Clarendon Raphael, Herbert H.
Clark, George Smith (Belfast, N Idris, T. H. W. Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Clive, Percy Archer Illingworth, Percy H. Rees, J. D.
Clough, William Isaacs, Rufus Daniel Ridsdale, E. A.
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Jackson, R. S. Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)
Collins, Sir Hm. J. (S. Pancras, W Jardine, Sir J. Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea Robson, Sir William Snowdon
Corbett, C H (Sussex, E. Grinst'd Keswick, William Rogers, F. E. Newman
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Kincaid-Smith, Captain Ronaldshay, Earl of
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. King, Alfred John (Knutsford) Runciman, Walter
Cory, Sir Clifford John King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull) Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)
Cox, Harold Laidlaw, Robert Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos. Myles
Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth) Lambert, George Seaverns, J. H.
Craik, Sir Henry Lamont, Norman Seely, Colonel
Crosfield, A. H. Layland-Barratt, Francis Shipman, Dr. John G.
Cross, Alexander Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham Simon, John Allsebrook
Crossley, William J. Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John
Dalrymple, Viscount Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich Sloan, Thomas Henry
Dalziel, James Henry Levy, Sir Maurice Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)
Dewar, Sir J. A. (Inverness-sh.) Lewis, John Herbert Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Dublin, S Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk
Doughty, Sir George Lonsdale, John Brownlee Stanley, Hn A. Lyulph (Chesh.)
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Lough, Thomas Stewart, Halley (Greenock)
Du Cros, Arthur Philip Lupton, Arnold Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)
Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan Lyell, Charles Henry Stone, Sir Benjamin
Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred Straus, B. S. (Mile End)
Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor) Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)
Elibank, Master of M'Arthur, Charles Stuart, James (Sunderland)
Erskine, David C. M'Callum, John M. Talbot, Rt. Hn J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.
Esslemont, George Birnie M'Calmont, Colonel James Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury
Evans, Sir Samuel T. M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)
Everett, R. Lacey M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester) Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)
Faber, George Denison (York) Maddison, Frederick Thornton, Percy M.
Faber, G. H. (Boston) Magnus, Sir Philip Torrance, Sir A. M.
Fardell, Sir T. George Mallet, Charles E. Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Fell, Arthur Manfield, Harry (Northants) Valentia, Viscount
Ferens, T. R. Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston) Verney, F. W.
Ferguson, R. C. Munro Marnham, F. J. Vivian, Henry
Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry) Waring, Walter
Findlay, Alexander Mason, James F. (Windsor) Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Fletcher, J. S. Massie, J. Wason, Rt. Hn E. (Clackmannan
Forster, Henry William Menzies, Walter Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Freeman-Thomas, Freeman Micklem, Nathaniel Waterlow, D. S.
Furness, Sir Christopher Mond, A. Whitbread, Howard
Gardner, Ernest Montgomery, H. G. Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)
Gibb, James (Harrow) Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen) Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)
Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West) Morley, Rt. Hon. John Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)
Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John Morpeth, Vicsount Wills, Arthur Walters
Glen-Coats, Sir T. (Renfrew, W. Morrell, Philip Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)
Gordon, J. Morse, L. L. Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)
Greenwood, G. (Peterborough) Morton, Alpheus Cleophas Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.)
Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Murray, James Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Grove, Archibald Myer, Horatio Wood, T. M'Kinnon
Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill Napier, T. B. Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart
Guinness, Walter Edward Newnes, Sir George (Swansea Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncast'r Younger, George
Hamilton, Marquess of Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield
Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis Nield, Herbert TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Whiteley, and Mr. Fuller.
Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r) Norman, Sir Henry
Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithn'ss-sh Norton, Capt. Cecil William
Harrison, Broadley, H. B. O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)
Abraham, William (Rhondda) Grayson, Albert Victor Redmond, William (Clare)
Aldon, Percy Gwynn, Stephen Lucius Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'th
Atherley-Jones, L. Hall, Frederick Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n
Beale, W. P. Hart-Davies, T. Richardson, A.
Beaumont, Hon. Hubert Hayden, John Patrick Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Bennett, E. N. Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradf'rd
Bethell, Sir J. H (Essex, Romf'rd Higham, John Sharp Rowlands, J.
Bignold, Sir Arthur Holden, E. Hopkinson Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)
Bowerman, C. W. Hudson, Walter Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)
Brace, William Jacoby, Sir James Alfred Scott, A. H. (Ashton under Lyne
Branch, James Jenkins, J. Seddon, J.
Brodie, H. C. Jowett, F. W. Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)
Cameron, Robert Kekewich, Sir George Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie
Clynes, J. R. Kelley, George D. Snowden, P.
Cobbold, Felix Thornley Kennedy, Vincent Paul Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)
Cooper, G. J. Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester) Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Cotton, Sir H. J. S. Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E.) Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr
Crean, Eugene Lehmann, R. C. Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E
Cremer, Sir William Randal Luttrell, Hugh Fownes Wadsworth, J.
Crooks, William Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Walters, John Tudor
Curran, Peter Francis Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs) Wardle, George J.
Davies, Timothy (Fulham) Macpherson, J. T. White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)
Delany, William MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.) Wiles, Thomas
Dickinson, W. H (St. Pancras NW Masterman, C. F. G. Williams, J. (Glamorgan)
Dobson, Thomas W. Money, L. G Chiozza Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarth'n
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness Murphy, John (Kerry, East) Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)
Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne) Nannetti, Joseph P. Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)
Edwards, Enoch (Hanley) Nolan, Joseph Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Ffrench, Peter O'Grady, J. Yoxall, James Henry
Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter Parker, James (Halifax)
Gill, A. H. Pickersgill, Edward Hare TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. George Roberts and John Ward.
Glover, Thomas Pirie, Duncan V.
Grant, Corrie Pollard, Dr.

Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.

Resolved, That this House, while ready to consider any practical proposal for dealing with the evil of unemployment, cannot entertain a measure which, by wasting the resources of the nation, would throw out of work more persons than it could assist and would destroy the power of organised labour, but hopes that the Government will give immediate consideration to the recommendations in the forthcoming Report of the Poor Law Commission so far as they deal with unemployment.