§ *Mr. ALDEN (Middlesex, Tottenham)
in moving—"That this House welcomes the statement of the Prime Minister with regard to the national importance of the problem of unemployment, and approves of the steps proposed to be taken by 1632 the Government to meet the present emergency," desired to say how profoundly he was impressed with the change in public opinion during the last few months. They all rejoiced at that change, and they all hoped that it would lead at no distant date to the 1633 taking of some steps towards the permanent solution of this difficult problem. He wished to approach this question from a non-Party point of view. He feared it was not altogether possible, but he was convinced that every man in that House was in sympathy with the genuine aspiration of the working man for honourable and useful employment, and that on all sides of the House they were agreed that some steps should be taken in order to supply him with such employment. He wished he could agree with the hon. Member opposite who was going to move an Amendment which implied that some fiscal reform would bring about a solution of this problem. He could not say that his observation, extending over a good few countries, enabled him to come to that conclusion. He had lately come back from Canada and the United States, where he found a very great deal of serious unemployment. He had talked with labour leaders with the view of ascertaining their views on the subject and almost without exception they were of opinion that protection was no remedy. Mr. Post, a Labour leader in Chicago, a man well known in the labour world, who stood in very high estimation, said—General observation clearly indicates that employment in the United States is in fact inadequate and unstable; not only is now, in the present period of hard times from which American industry is suffering, but has been all along. No one can doubt it who realises the universal fear among American workingmen of losing a steady job.Referring to the distress prevailing in the industrial centres, he added—You cannot see much of this from the windows of our Pullman cars, but you can learn it from the lips of those who live and work in and about these points of production. It is sadly true. But could it be true after nearly forty years of protection, if protection protected?He was speaking on this aspect of the question not because he wanted to score a point against the Opposition or any member of the Opposition, for if they could convince him that protection or tariff reform was a cure for unemployment, he would join them and go over to their side. He was so sincere on this question that he would willingly join any party which had a complete solution. He might be allowed to quote the official figures of the Labour Department of New York State, for he thought they were conclusive, 1634 though like our own statistics he admitted that they were imperfect for they referred only to skilled traders. In 192 trade unions with a membership of 95,000 the average idleness for the first six months of the year war, 34 per cent. Taking the first six months of any year since 1902, it would not be found that the figures were very promising. The average number of unemployed during the five years was 8.5 per cent. in March and 12.5 per cent. in June. This year the percentage was 37 in March and 30 in June. He knew what some hon. Members opposite might be inclined to say: "You are referring to the United States, and although it is a protected country, it is not on all fours with England."
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR (City of London)
I rise to a point of order, I do not like to interrupt the hon. Member, but this is really of vital importance. I understood that the hon. Gentleman was going to move a Resolution praising the Government for all they had done and for what they intended to do. As a matter of fact he has said nothing as yet except on the fiscal question. That is an aspect of the broad question of unemployment on which we feel very deeply on this side, but we certainly did not contemplate that it could come in any large measure within the scope of this debate, and I wish to ask how that in your opinion stands.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
I think the hon. Member is really anticipating an Amendment which will not be moved. He is really fighting the air in this matter, for he is discussing an Amendment which we shall never reach, and which cannot be reached, because it will be excluded by the first Amendment. I would suggest, therefore, that he should discard that portion of the subject until, if ever, it comes forward, and confine himself to the terms of his own Motion, and, if he pleases, to the terms of the Amendment which will be moved, and not to the terms of one which will not be moved.
§ *MR. ALDEN
Of course, I bow to your ruling, but my opportunity will be gone if such Amendments are moved later on. I was under the impression that this Amendment would be moved, and I was meeting the arguments in 1635 advance. I am glad to hear that those arguments are not to be used, and that we can have a plain and practical discussion.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
I ought perhaps to make it a little clearer. I understand that the Motion of the hon. Member relates to the steps which have been announced by the Prime Minister, and which are going to be taken immediately, leaving for future discussion what has been called the permanent solution of the difficulty. Well, it is obvious that no question of tariff reform can be an immediate solution of the difficulty because it would require legislation, and, therefore, so far as it relates to tariff reform there can be no Amendment to the Motion now before the House. To begin with, I doubt very much whether it is relevant, and in the second place it could not be moved after the first Amendment standing in the name of an hon. Member has been moved.
§ *MR. ALDEN
said the matter was, of course, one of national importance and required to be discussed on broad lines. He bowed to the ruling and would proceed with his argument. The proposals of the Government were avowed anodynes and palliatives to meet the present difficulty. That would explain to some extent the position in which he found himself that day. Up to the present, as was well known, he and some of his friends had been in disagreement with the Government on this question, but they were promised—and this it was that had determined his position that day—"a real and effective blow at the permanent causes of unemployment." Whether these promises were destined to meet fulfilment or not, it was not for him to say, but he believed the pledge the Prime Minister had given was sincere and honest, and he thought it would be churlish not to recognise the courage of the Government in facing that stupendous task. Putting aside all these vexed questions as to what would be the permanent cure for the unemployment problem, might he deal with the first part of the Resolution with regard to the national importance of the problem? The Leader of the 1636 Opposition had asked a Question that day which seemed to him to be of great value, and to point in a direction, at any rate, in which it was important for them to move. The first thing they had to do was to get information. He did not mean by that that they had at present no information at all, but what they wanted was accurate information. He would suggest as one thing which the Government might do immediately that it should circularise all the districts where there was great distress or want of employment, and request the distress committees or, failing the distress committees, the local authorities to make a census by means of a house to house canvass of the districts to ascertain in that way the number of the unemployed, and to classify them when they had been enumerated. That had been done before in England with great effect. It was discovered that a large number of the unemployed did not register because they found that they failed to get work when they did so register. Many of them were skilled workmen who were receiving out-of-work pay, and they felt that they were to some extent demeaning themselves by putting their names on the labour registers. The actual number of unemployed was nearly double the number shown by the registers. The first thing to be done was to speed up the labour bureau and registry in order to get some accurate knowledge of the number of unemployed and to get them properly classified. Whether the Board of Trade or the Local Government Board should do that work was to him a matter of no moment. He would make one other suggestion to the Government, though he imagined it might be thought unnecessary, namely, that there should be a permanent and consultative committee, not sitting just at moments of emergency, but always sitting, or always ready to sit to meet the difficulty of unemployment. He did not think it was possible for anyone to survey and investigate all the numerous schemes of work which were likely to be put forward in the near future. There were, schemes of afforestation, land reclamation, foreshore reclamation, the improvement of canals, and so on, and it seemed to him that these were matters for a committee of experts. The least they could do was to have a 1637 Committee of the Cabinet, the members of which would deal with their own respective departments from the point of view of employment. He hoped the Government would see its way to appoint such a committee in order that the national importance of the question might be duly recognised and the national responsibility fairly faced. He thought it would appear to every Member of the House that this was a question which could not be solved locally. He had never heard anyone say that this was merely a local question, and yet they were somehow or other unable to face the question nationally owing to lack of machinery and organisation. Public opinion was still in favour of the present social and industrial arrangements. Public opinion still strongly supported the competitive system. That being so, he said it was the duty of the community to endeavour to meet the difficulties which were inherent in the system. The community could do that in three different ways. First, there was organisation, for without better organisation than they had at present the solution of the unemployment problem was impossible. Then they needed to encourage the local authorities. The President of the Local Government Board must encourage them to do their duty and to play their part. If they were to carry out that duty cheerfully and successfully they must be met in a very frank and generous spirit. At the present time when there were hundreds of thousands of men out of work, and when there were many hundreds of thousands of women and children dependent upon these men, he thought it was necessary for the Government to be open-handed in dealing with this matter. He would suggest that whatever subventions were going to be granted should be granted as speedily as possible, so that local authorities might know what amount of money they might have to reckon with and what it would be possible for them to do in the future. And, finally, they could offer an alternative of work. He was not at all in agreement with those who thought that it was impossible for the State to find useful work. He thought he could mention half a dozen men in the House who, if they sat in council for 1638 only half an hour, could suggest schemes of work which would meet with the approval of the House, and which could be usefully carried out so as to afford employment to 100,000 men. Why was it not possible for those schemes to be carried out at the present juncture? Because nearly all those schemes of work depended upon getting hold of the land. What he meant was that nearly all the land—waste and derelict land, which they would wish to use for special purposes—was land that could not be obtained without buying it from private owners. He did not wish to say that many private owners were not willing to sell their land, but that would mean a long period of negotiation and the while those negotiations were proceeding people were starving. Therefore they must look to the Government to find ways and means for obtaining that land in the future. That proposal, however, must be reserved for next session. As to the present emergency, he had already spoken of the helplessness of the distressed districts to face the problem. He would give a few reasons for that statement. Nearly all the distressed localities which had a large number of unemployed were the most highly rated. Take his own district, Tottenham. The rates there amounted to 10s. 7d. in the £. and they had recently gone up 6d. It was the same with West Ham, Walthamstow, East Ham, and other districts. If they went to the North of England the case was very little better. The fact of the matter was that those highly rated boroughs and districts could not afford to help the unemployed. They had a larger number of poor than other districts; they had the children of the poor to educate, which was a very costly business; and they had a large number of unemployed. He was sure that these poverty-stricken districts deserved the sympathy of the House. The men who lived in them and the labourers who worked in them were not the men who created wealth for the district, but for London. One could see hordes of these men pouring into trains in order to come to London to work. Tottenham, Edmonton, West and East Ham, Walthamstow were nothing but the dormitories of London. That being so either London or the Government should give some 1639 assistance. He would prefer that the Government should give it, for, after all, London had its own problem of unemployment; it had 17,000 on its labour registries to-day, and these men had to be assisted. Let him say that he was at one with the position which the Government had taken up in regard to the 1d. rate. It was useless to ask Tottenham or West Ham to employ the men out of work and pay them a fair rate of wages out of a 1d. rate, even if they could afford to put an additional 1d. on the existing high rate. Although a 1d. rate would be of some value to other towns and districts it was of no value to those highly rated towns which had large numbers of unemployed. It seemed clear that they must have schemes of work submitted to them by the Government if ever they were to deal with the total distress to be found elsewhere than in London, and he believed that the Government were prepared to consider such schemes. He would do his best and he was sure that hon. Gentlemen opposite would do their best to back up the Government in carrying out such schemes. He would urge the Prime Minister and the President of the Local Government Board not to wait for the Report of the Poor Law Commission. Those who knew what was going on in the Poor Law Commission were perfectly well aware that there could be no unanimous Report. Not only that; there would be no Majority Report that could be considered. [OPPOSITION cries of "Oh!"] It was fairly well-known that the Majority Report would advise that the unemployed should be handed over to the tender mercies of an extended Poor Law. [OPPOSITION cries of "How do you know?"] He only said that the general impression had got abroad—of course he did not bind down himself to it—that the majority of the Poor Law Commission, led by the Secretary of the Charity Organisation Society, would make that recommendation. But whether that was so or not, it was useless to wait for the Report of the Poor Law Commission, because it would not be anything like unanimous. [OPPOSITION cries of "What do you know about it?"] He spoke from some knowledge of the subject, and therefore it would be advisable to take any action that was deemed necessary 1640 before that Commission had reported. The Prime Minister in his speech had said that he would endeavour to impart more elasticity to this work of helping the local authorities to assist the unemployed. He trusted that this would be the case. He had just one suggestion to make in regard to the Unemployed Act of 1905. He thought the right hon. Member for South Dublin would agree that it would be desirable to accept the suggestion which he made, and he believed that it was possible. Section 2 of that Act said—This provision shall extend to any municipal borough or urban district with a population according to the last Census for the time being of less than 50,000 but not less than 10,000, if the council of the borough or district make an application for the purpose to the Local Government Board, and the Board consent.All he asked was that the Government should, as far as possible, allow the borough or district councils with a comparatively small population—approximating 10,000 rather than 50,000—to appoint distress committees. That would improve the machinery working at the present time and make it much more possible for the unemployed in many of those smaller districts to obtain relief. He saw an Amendment down on the Paper which seemed to imply that the measures of the Government were uneconomic in their character. He believed that the hon. Member for Preston had stated that these proposals were merely to provide preferential employment for the unfit. He wished the hon. Member would go down to Preston and say that at a meeting of the unemployed. If that were accepted in his constituency the answer to the hon. Member was that the unemployed in Preston must be a very bad lot. He had had experience of the unemployed in many cities, and it was entirely opposed to that of the hon. Gentleman. He might be allowed to quote some figures as to a census of the unemployed made in West Ham by the Charity Organisation Society by their own investigators in order to check that made officially by the West Ham authorities, to test whether the registered unemployed were genuine or not. The unemployed were divided into four classes. Of the 4,194 men on the register 49, or 1.2 1641 per cent., were regular artisans; 648, or 15.5 per cent., were casual artisans and regular labourers; 1,662, or 39.6 per cent., were casual labourers; 825, or 19.6 per cent., were men who did not work, could not or would not work; and 1,010, or 24.1 per cent., were un-classed. Class 4 was sub-divided into three sections. Those who were past work, 293, or 7.0 per cent.; those who were prevented from working by illness, etc., 157, or 3.7 per cent.; and of the whole 4,194 those who would not work through drink or indolence were 375, or 8.9 per cent. He contended that those figures proved that the unemployed problem was a real problem and not a problem of the unfit or inefficient. If he had misunderstood the hon. Member for Preston he apologised; but he did understand him to say that the Government proposal was one to give preferential employment to the unfit.
§ *MR. ALDEN
said that he would give the hon. Member more evidence. He had had a talk with the manager of the gasworks at Tottenham who took on men only of a very high standard. He asked this question: "Are these men who apply to you for work genuine unemployed; do they really want work?" And his answer was: "I could get 1,000 men in two or three days time quite up to my standard." He was quite sure that many hon. Members would agree from their own experience that that was the case. The hon. Member for Preston was extremely kind-hearted, a humane man, an extremely honest man. If he were not an honest man his constituents would not allow him so much latitude as they did. But he was obsessed by the fear of an economic law. He commended to the hon. Member the words of Professor Marshall, of Cambridge—The doctrine of the economic man has become an engine for keeping the working classes in their place.It was really time that they remembered that economic laws were modified by considerations of humanity, and that gradually they would be so shaped and modified that in times like the present the 1642 problem of unemployment could be dealt with without any questions at all. Why was it uneconomic to assist the unemployed by starting relief works? He agreed with the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board that relief works were an evil, but they were a necessary evil at the present time. If he were asked whether he considered the help given by the Poor Law or that given by relief works was the more economic, he would certainly say that the former was not the system which would recommend itself to the economist as against the relief given by relief works, properly supervised. Last year Tottenham engaged 1,827 unemployed. The estimated cost of the work was £6,046, and the cost at which it was actually carried out was £5,705. There might be all sorts of explanations for that. It might be that the engineer's estimates were too high, but the fact remained that the work was carried out under proper supervision, and the men who were engaged upon it were carefully chosen. Relief works, properly carried out and properly supervised, need not be disastrous from the economic point of view. They were infinitely to be preferred to the relief afforded by the Poor Law as at present administered. It was pointed out by a Member of the present Poor Law Commission some years ago that the relief given by relief works was the same in its nature as that given by the Poor Law, though the recipient in taking it thought that he was not a pauper. But that was an important psychological distinction. It was absolutely necessary that a man should not think he was a pauper in accepting this relief. If he did he was degraded in his own estimation, and went rapidly down the scale. They wanted the man in receipt of relief works to feel that he was giving something in return. He was persuaded that it was the one expedient left for the immediate emergency and that under proper supervision and ordinary care relief works were not the great evil they were represented to be. He believed in the sincerity of the pledge that the Prime Minister had given. He believed the right hon. Gentleman was sincere when he gave that pledge. He should await the future action of the Government, and 1643 so long as the Government acted up to its promises and its pledges they were sure not only of his support, but also of the support of many who sat near him. He begged to move.
§ *MR. J. M. ROBERTSON (Northumberland, Tyneside)
, in seconding the Motion said his hon. friends on the Labour benches had put down an Amendment which was apparently one of condemnation, but his hon. friends would agree with him that the policy now under discussion represented an immense advance in political thought in one generation. The mover of the Motion had spoken of the great development during the last twelve months. As to that he was not quite clear, but those who remembered the utterances of Liberal statesmen a generation ago must have noticed a very great change. It was then said by a Liberal statesman that no Government could undertake to deal with such a trouble as unemployment, because "Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward." But there was not a Conservative now in the House, with the possible exception of the hon. Member for Preston, the champion of partially obsolete causes, who would maintain the general proposition that it was no part of the duty of a Government to face the evils of unemployment. It was true that the interest shown by the Opposition, in relation to this Motion, was due to other considerations; nevertheless he was glad to see that the Opposition, as a body, took an interest in the question of unemployment, though that interest might be somewhat factitious. It was at least a historical fact that during ten years of office hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite had not made a single effort to deal systematically with this question. But it was all the more creditable to hon. Members opposite that they should show a real concern to lessen as much as possible the evil of unemployment in the first of the two bad winters in which it was prophesied there would be great unemployment. It was, however, remarkable that when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham sought re-election in 1900 he claimed re-election on the score of years of unexampled prosperity which 1644 he represented to be the result of his party's policy. In 1900 there was certainly no recognition upon the Opposition side of unemployment as a standing evil. On the Radical side, on the other hand, there had always been a doctrine of intervention. More than a generation ago John Stuart Mill declared that of all distressed persons, men out of employment through no fault of their own, had the best kind of claim to the earnest and kindly consideration of any Government, and he pointed out that inasmuch as the criminal poor had to be provided for while under detention, to leave the honest poor out of employment, unprovided for, was simply to put a premium on crime. But John Stuart Mill had no constructive policy. The difficulty was how to grapple with this problem, even with temporary and palliative measures. He was not sure that the Prime Minister was not too modest when he called his proposals mere palliatives. Palliaatives which relieved the distress of many thousands were important measures. He was glad to second this Motion, because he considered the policy pursued was an honest attempt to grapple with the evil, and was on the whole the best line of policy to follow. Of all methods of providing work for unemployed in circumstances of this kind the extension of employment by the action of local authorities and others in promoting works of construction was the soundest. He did not allege that it would cover the whole field of unemployment. He would simply say, in justification of the policy of the Local Government Board, that it was the right course to strive to the utmost to set all local authorities to work to employ labour on considerable works, and to leave relief works as a last resource. While he agreed that relief works were better than Poor Law relief, still they were not much better, and they had this drawback, that if the relief works turned out to be the farce that they often had in recent years there was an element of demoralisation set up which almost equalled the demoralisation and the deterioration which became apparent when people were in receipt of Poor Law relief. It was said by the opponents to this Motion that the proper 1645 way of dealing with this question would be to set up a Government Department. He remembered on a former occasion the hon. Member for West Ham saying—In the name of all that is sane in Socialism let us not seek to set up Government industries with the unemployed.The hon. Member then received, he was glad to see, the assent of all hon. Members on the Labour benches, and that fact should be kept in mind today. He associated himself with the hon. mover of the Motion. Their support of the Government's policy in this matter turned on the promise of the Government that these measures of temporary alleviation and betterment would be followed by a systematic policy to which the country could look to stop a recurrence of this evil. He would not attempt to forecast that policy, but would simply say that to be successful it must involve and force the utilisation of the land. That was fundamental. It was finally a matter of the promotion of production. But beyond, that he thought, even in regard to the present measure, it might be possible to borrow certain methods, of which they had certain examples elsewhere, to deal with unemployment generally. When in Germany, in the year 1879, the Imperial Government resorted to a policy of tariffs, one of the first effects was to create an enormous amount of unemployment involving the existence of 400,000 idle men travelling the roads of Germany seeking work. It was that fact which in Germany led to the creation of a number of institutions to grapple with this problem. He did not praise all these institutions, but some of them contained things it would be well to copy. Whilst it was true that in some German towns three men might be seen seeking for one vacant post, on the land there were more openings than men seeking work. That was a great relief to unemployment in Germany, and that was a matter in which a lesson might be learned from the German system. With regard to the theoretical right of a man to work, he did not see how a right could be said to vest in an individual to demand of society something which society was not organised to provide. He thought that form of appeal was the more to be deprecated, because there was a more persuasive appeal, which 1646 was that it was in the interest of society to organise in every way to prevent unemployment. Unemployment tended to impoverish the State, and therefore it was the business of the State to seek to guard systematically against unemployment. If the wealth of the country fell off it was the business of the Government to face that question and seek to remove the evil. When his hon. friend, in moving the Motion, said something about economic laws which would have to be modified, he inwardly dissented from the hon. Gentleman, because he could not see how an economic law could be modified. If an economic proposition required to be modified, then it had not really stated an economic law. It was to the interest of the State to insure the maximum of production, and it was because this policy would tend to promote the maximisation of production that he was with his hon. friend. He would be sorry to see this matter put upon an economic basis alone, because there was also a moral basis to be considered. All social progress presented itself, morally, in the form of extension of sympathy, and materially in the form of extension of co-operation. It was because the policy under discussion implied and promoted, and in some measure achieved these things that he was glad to second his hon. friend's Motion.
§ Motion made and Question proposed, "That this House welcomes the statement of the Prime Minister with regard to the national importance of the problem of unemployment, and approves of the steps proposed to be taken by the Government to meet the present emergency."—(Mr. Alden.)
§ *MR. KEIR HARDIE (Merthyr Tydvil) moved the following Amendment—"That whilst recognising the importance of the promise of the Prime Minister to introduce legislation next session for dealing with unemployment on a permanent basis, and whilst welcoming the promise to administer with more elasticity the existing Act and to provide more money to make that possible, this House is of opinion that the proposals made are quite inadequate to meet the pressing needs of the unemployed this winter, and that the responsibility for the absence of proper machinery even for carrying out existing 1647 powers, and the general unpreparedness of the country to meet the present unemployed crisis is due to the neglect of the Government to make provision for a state of affairs which was clearly foreseen," He said the most extraordinary feature of the speeches to which they had just listened from the hon. Members who moved and seconded the Motion was the very careful way in which they had steered clear of the Government proposals. The hon. Member for Tottenham had, he knew, done a very great deal of self-sacrificing work in the cause of the unemployed, but he had never undertaken any work which had so excited his (Mr. Keir Hardie's) sympathy as the task which he had just performed. The hon. Member for Tyneside had embarked on a very abstruse discussion on the sanctity of economic law. There was no such thing as economic law outside the four corners of the multiplication table. Certain propositions were laid down by economists, and certain deductions drawn from them. That was all the political economists had ever done. Two and two made four. When they had said that, they had exhausted economic law. The hon. Member further said that the right to work was not a right which the State would recognise, but the State never did recognise a right, political or civil, unless it had been forced upon it by opinion outside. The franchise was a case in point. When the right to live was assumed together with the right to be protected by the State the right to work must be deduced from that. He should have thought the right to be employed was no longer denied, except by such antediluvian political economists as the hon. Member for Preston. They were not there to consider the abstract proposition of the right to work. The only question before the House was whether the Government proposal was adequate to meet the emergency in which they now found themselves. He hoped that nothing was going to be done that would give the discussion a party bias. The mover of the Motion steered clear of that fatal point, but he was afraid the seconder did not follow his example. He had alleged that the Party on the Opposition benches had been in power for ten years without doing anything.1648
§ *MR. KEIR HARDIE
said the only Act passed by any Government dealing systematically with unemployment since the days of Queen. Elizabeth was the Act of 1905 introduced by the right hon. Member for South Dublin. It was a curious fact that the only power the Government had at their disposal of distributing the proposed money grant was the power given under that Act. Emigration was no longer available as a remedy for unemployment. As the result of emigration they had, as the hon. Member for the Tottenham division had said, large numbers of unemployed in Canada and elsewhere. In the city of Toronto alone 10,000 heads of families this winter were receiving relief owing to unemployment. Those figures were obtained from Mr. McLeod, the Chairman of the Relief Committee. The policy of dumping down our out-of-works in the Colonies had strained the loyalty of large numbers of workpeople in those Colonies. The very name of Englishman was being held in disrespect in Canada owing to the quality of emigrants now sent out under the distress committees for unemployment. The real point before the House was the adequacy of the statement of the Prime Minister to meet the emergency which the right hon. Gentleman had told them the other day was neither unanticipated nor unprovided for, and yet, strangely enough, this crisis which was foreseen and which they were told was provided for did not seem to have led the Government even to take elementary steps to find out the extent of the problem with which they had to deal. It was said that the Government had no figures to assist them in dealing with this matter. In times past chunks of figures had been thrown to the House with regard to exports and imports as proving the prosperity of this country. If anything of the kind was attempted that afternoon he would forewarn the House that such figures were no longer to be taken as a reliable index to the state of the labour market. They could, consistently with an increase of import and export trade, have an actual 1649 decrease in numbers employed. Constantly improving machinery and the better organisation of industry made it possible for the output to be increased, and the number of men and women, employed to be actually decreased. He had attempted to make the best estimate he could with the means at his disposal as to the extent of the evil. In August last, when the House was about to be adjourned without having done anything to meet the coming winter, the Right to Work Council, of which he happened to be a member, issued a circular letter to the trade unions and other kindred bodies seeking information as to the extent of unemployment. They had now got returns from the trade councils and the chief officials of trade unions. The Board of Trade Labour Gazette gave the number out of work in certain trade unions as 9.4 per cent. Might he once more remind the House that this figure represented the number of members of trade unions who were at that moment receiving out-of-work pay. Every trade union did not pay out-of-work allowance, and those who did so only paid for a limited period, at the end of which a member ceased to draw his pay, and no longer appeared in the Board of Trade Returns. Therefore, 9.4 per cent., serious as the figure was, did not necessarily represent the full extent of the evil. The figures he had were for September, and were as follows: Trade unions showing less than 5 per cent. of unemployed, 49; over 5 per cent., and under 10 per cent., 33; over. 10 per cent., and under 20 per cent., 26; over 20 per cent., and under 40 per cent., 12; over 40 per cent., and under 50 per cent., 13. He had a list of unions which were not connected with either the shipbuilding industry, the building trade, or the engineering trade, all showing large percentages of unemployed ranging from 45 per cent. in connection with the United Society of Smiths and Hammermen down to 10 per cent. in connection with the Amalgamated Society of Brush-makers. Taking the figures altogether, and assuming, on the most conservative estimate that could be made, that only 15 per cent. of the skilled artisans were out of work—and let it be remembered that in the shipbuilding industries the 1650 percentage was 25—they had the very conservative estimate of 750,000 skilled artisans out of employment in September, many of whom had been unemployed for twelve, fifteen, eighteen months, or two years. If they came to unskilled labour, he was sure that there was no Member of that House or person out of it that knew anything about employment, who would dispute his statement that the number of unskilled people out of work could always be safely set down at double the number of unemployed skilled artisans. If that were so, the number of unskilled workers unemployed was 1,500,000, making a total of skilled and unskilled of 2,250,000 unemployed. If they allowed that each of these men represented in addition to himself two dependents—again a very moderate estimate—they got the appalling total of 6,750,000 as the number of persons whose case was being considered by the House that afternoon. He submitted that whatever opinions they held about Socialism, tariff reform, land reform, or any other question of the like kind, this was a human problem which must be faced and solved. They could not allow this enormous mass of men, women and children to face this winter without some kind of adequate provision being made for them. His estimate about skilled and unskilled labour had been borne out by the experience of the distress committees. The President of the Local Government Board, speaking on 29th, July of this year, and reported in the next morning's Times, said that ninety-eight distress committees were at work, and with these 90,000 men and 3,000 women had been registered; 54,000 were qualified, of whom 37,000 received work. The young and the strong were affected. Of those between twenty and thirty years of age, there were 80 per cent.; and between thirty and forty years of age, 25 per cent. Of those registered, 70 per cent. were labourers or builders, leaving 30 per cent. skilled artisans. These figures were for the year 1907, and the skilled artisans who applied to the distress committees had reached a very low ebb indeed. And if skilled artisans to the extent of 30 per cent. applied in 1907 for employment, then 1651 God only knew how these people were living at this period of 1908.
Now he came to the Government proposals. First, with regard to the penny rate, the Prime Minister, who he was sorry to see was not at present in his place, appeared to be under a misapprehension. The suggestion made from the Labour benches to the right hon. Gentleman and to the Government was not that the local authorities should be authorised or empowered to raise an extra penny rate to deal with unemployment. Under the Unemployed Workmen Act of 1905 the distress committees had power to spend with the sanction of the Local Government Board up to the extent of a penny rate. They might spend that rate for certain purposes. They might not spend it upon wages, and the suggestion from the Labour benches was that the embargo which prevented their spending that money for wages should be removed. That was the only suggestion. The Prime Minister spoke lightly of the sum likely to be raised by a penny rate, yet he admitted that it would amount in the distress areas to £370,000, or £70,000 more than the Government proposed to spend. Comparatively, therefore, it could not be called a small sum. There were some ways in which the distress committees could assist the unemployed which would not be possible to a local authority, and the proposal from the Labour benches was that the distress committees should have their hands free to grapple with the problem during this winter. Might he say generally with regard to the local authorities that there was nothing new in the proposal which had been made by the Government; it was as old as the days when the right hon. Gentleman, who was now President of the Local Government Board, was carrying the red flag of the unemployed in Trafalgar Square. In that very year the President of the Board of Trade issued a circular to the local authorities calling upon them to expedite and antedate any work they had in hand; and that policy had been pursued regularly every distress year since. To put this forward, then, as something special to meet the crisis now upon them was misleading 1652 the House and the public outside. There was nothing special about it. In his speech on Saturday the right hon. Gentleman had given as the true reason why local works had not been proceeded with, that for a number of years after the Boer War the money market was tight, the rate of interest was high, and the municipal authorities did not undertake works which could be delayed. As the President of the Local Government Board said, money was now cheaper, and the local authorities were trying to make up arrears of work, yet in face of this it was alleged that this proposal of the Local Government Board was a special means to meet the distress with which they were now face to face. Then they came to the other step taken by the Government, that of enlisting now instead of later on 24,000 men of the Special Reserve. The remarkable fact, which appealed strongly to some of them, was that the Government thought that £300,000 was enough to meet the requirements of 6,500,000 of decent people. [MINISTERIAL cries of "No."] Yes; that was the position. ["No."] Hon. Members might say "No," but he had listened to the mover and seconder of the Resolution to hear what else the Government had proposed, and the only proposition was a £300,000 special grant to meet the needs of the unemployed.
§ *MR. KEIR HARDIE
That may be so, but the Prime Minister's pledges have been broken before in regard to this matter. Continuing, the hon. Member said he was not now speaking in the region of prophecy; he was addressing himself to what was before the House namely, the promise of £300,000 for nearly 7,000,000 of decent people. It was the old old story. If money was wanted for preparations for war it could be found in abundance. It was only where it was wanted to preserve human life that there was stinginess in the way it was doled out. He should have thought the Government would be above using a crisis like the present as a means of completing a scheme of their own creation. Now he came to the Post Office, 1653 the most fraudulent part of the scheme. The country was told that 8,000 men were to be employed, and now they learnt that that was done every year. He learned, too, that the bulk of the men were only employed for two weeks. That morning he had a call from a man who was out of work. He informed him that he was a supporter of the Conservative Party, and had some shame about coming to him, but he showed him the reply he had had to his application to be taken on at Christmas two days after the statement of the Prime Minister. This was how it read—it was on a printed form; evidently the authorities at the Post Office were prepared for what was going to follow the Prime Minister's speech—With reference to your application for temporary employment at the Post Office in the coming Christmas season, I regret to have to inform you that no such employment can be given you here as all the men required at this office have already been obtained.Now came the central fund. In the first place, they had no guarantee that the money would be spent. There had been grants of £200,000 in the past two years, and in neither year had the money been spent. It was most significant that they were informed that afternoon that the money was only to be voted to distress committees. There were large areas of the country in which there were no distress committees, but in which there was much distress. In South Wales one miners' union had already exhausted its funds in giving relief to its members, and the whole Welsh coalfield was to be levied to provide a further relief fund. But there was no distress committee. Was the old niggardly cheese-paring policy which had brought such discredit upon the Local Government Board during the last two years to be continued in the spending of this money? If so, the grant was meant more for mere window-dressing than for practical purposes. The difference in cost between work done under distress committees compared with ordinary contractors was to be made good. But what about skilled artisans? Were they to receive no recognition from the Government at such a period? Was the man who made some provision against unemployment through his trade union to be shut off from sharing in the fund? That appeared 1654 to be the policy as laid down at present. Perhaps the hardest case of all was that of unemployed women. Workshops and other means of assisting women were limited and restricted on every hand. Was nothing more to be done to relieve them? And what about provision of meals for hungry school children? There were agencies all over the country, both public and private, for the provision of food to such children at school and at home; could not part of this money be given to assist these funds to make more adequate provision for this purpose? If it was left to the Local Government Board to distribute the money, he had the greatest fear of what would happen during the coming winter. He would strongly press upon the Government the advisability of not leaving this grant to be distributed by the Local Government Board, but to give them either a special Committee of the Cabinet or of the Whole House to supervise distribution. If it was left to the Local Government Board every application would be viewed in the narrowest possible light, and would be subjected to the narrow scrutiny which the law imposed upon the ordinary Local Government Board work. But if it was given to a Committee, the human claims of the case would be considered rather than the strict legal interpretation of the application. He strongly urged that this course should be taken. An extra grant of £100,000 was to be made this winter, which would make in all £300,000, representing 3½d. a head of the number of people requiring relief. He asked that the Government should take further and more adequate steps to deal with the situation. The local authorities were being urged to speed on their work; why did not the Government set an example in other Departments than the Admiralty? Had the Commissioners of Woods and Forests no land that could be turned to account? Had the First Commissioner of Works no public buildings or improvements to put in hand? The responsibility for the country finding itself in its present unpreparedness rested entirely and exclusively with the Cabinet. Everybody except the President of the Local Government Board knew that the crisis was upon them. On five separate occasions the Labour Party had brought the 1655 subject before the House this session. Those of then who had brought the question forward had been stigmatised as panic-mongers, political mischief-makers, Jeremiahs, exploiting the unemployed for party interests. Hon. Members cheered. Let them assume that those taunts were true. That did not justify the Government in not having taken measures. The Unemployed Act Amendment Bill brought forward by the Labour Party had been denounced, misrepresented, and lied about by members of the Government, especially when seeking reelection. The proposal that that Bill contained was that there should be placed upon the nation as a whole, locally and nationally, the obligation to find work for those out of employment, or, failing work, food. The Prime Minister eulogised the President of the Local Government Board the other day. It was essentially one of those occasions where to excuse is to accuse. If the work of the Department was not its own justification their eulogies would only accentuate the failure. Each time they pressed this matter upon the attention of the Government they were told that they had to wait for the Report of the Poor Law Commission, which was to have appeared in September or October, and which had now been postponed till March. They could not wait for any Report of any Poor Law Commission. This question of unemployment had been shelved from year to year, and from Government to Government, with the one solitary exception to which he had referred, and even that Act, under the present Government, had been narrowed down to its utmost limits. Part of the Hollesley Bay scheme was to acquire a second estate to which men could be drafted after their sixteen weeks training in the colony itself. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of Dublin, during his tenure of office, sanctioned the idea of the second estate being acquired, but when the present President of the Local Government Board came into office he put his foot down and prevented that scheme being carried out. They felt strongly on this subject, and if they said strong things about the Local Government Board, it was 1656 not because of any personal bias—[MINISTERIAL cries of "Oh, oh!"]—but because they felt keenly that a Department, specially charged with the responsibility of dealing with the question, was the old man of the sea about the neck of the Government in this very matter, and they could not afford to sit quiet and allow that state of things to continue. They asked for some declaration from the Government of a further extension of their proposals. He would say, as he had said before, years ago, that if these people were to be placed outside the law they had no right to expect them to obey the law, and if the worse came to the worst he should not content himself with speaking from the sanctuary of a seat in Parliament, but would go amongst his own people who were suffering from hunger and cold, and he would take the responsibility, and the consequences, for the advice he would give them. The country was in earnest in this matter, and he wanted the Government to reflect the feeling of the country by doing something adequate to remove the scandal and the reproach of men, women, and innocent children dying of hunger in the capital of the Empire, the richest city on the face of the earth. He begged to move.
§ MR. CROOKS (Woolwich)
said they had always been placed in a difficult position by an Amendment of this character, because it invariably took a personal turn. He had always tried to point out that this was not a personal but a national matter. For the twentieth time certain statements had been made, certain bogeys stuck up, for the purpose of being knocked down again, but they had no real existence, although they were good enough for a fight. He complimented the Prime Minister upon his statement, but he sympathised with him because he had been obliged to trot out a stage army of figures from the Local Government Board. He had heard those figures until he was tired of them, and there was nothing in them. Every President of the Local Government Board—and he remembered eight or nine—got out the same kind of figures, and they amounted to this, that: "You had only got to pawn your shirt 1657 and live on it." That was the effect of the statement, and those who wished to persuade them that that was dealing with the unemployed did not appreciate the fact that the Elementary Education Act was passed in 1870. They were told that they must be very careful what they did for the unemployed, because all the time they were sapping the backbone of the working-men who had been the safeguard of the British nation. Something had been said about the thrifty working-man on Saturday, but he was like the suffering ratepayer, for they could always hang a story on him. Who had created the thriftless working-men? The continued neglect of the Government. They talked about the working-men making no provision when they were in work for those bad times which must inevitably come. Out of what? Out of wages? There was a class of men in the docks who held a B ticket. They knew what the hon. Member for West Ham would say about the man with a B ticket. He knew of the case of a man with a B ticket who had been waiting at the docks for eight weeks, and he had not got an hour's work. Fancy reading that man a homily upon thrift. Their system created the worthless men. Many of the people to whom this sort of thrift had been preached were teetotallers and trade unionists, and even then had had to walk about on the uppers of their boots. That was wicked, to say the least of it. Nothing took the manhood out of the nation like compulsory rest. The Government ought not to interfere with the manly independence of the nation, and find in it an excuse for doing nothing. The Prime Minister had trotted out a list of figures of the loans granted to the various local authorities, but he was getting a little tired of those figures, because he had seen them in season and out of season. What had they always asked for? That in times of plenty some provision should be made for times of scarcity, want, and distress. Why had the Government not done this? The Prime Minister would be a little bit surprised to know that the concession he made on Wednesday had added considerably to their burdens and trouble in London. The Government had promised to give £300,000 where they had given £200,000 before. 1658 Even when the grant was £200,000 they did not spend it all, and yet men were starving in the streets, and women were praying and beseeching for a loaf of bread for their little children. He had seen the children clinging to their mothers' skirts, and he had heard them saying: "Come home, mammy; I am so hungry." They knew how the Local Government Board had told them that it was no part of its duty to adjust social inequalities. What was the House of Commons created for? To adjust social inequalities. There was no critic in the world equal to that of the Local Government Board, for all that it did was to condemn everything placed before it. When Parliament granted money the Local Government Board paid it back again into the Exchequer account. The Local Government Board had made some wonderful suggestions during the last month or two for doing what he had been condemned for doing. They had been giving able-bodied men relief under the Poor Law and paying 5s. 9d. a week to a family of four people. Now an Order had been issued to stop that relief, and they were putting the Modified Workhouse Test Order, passed in 1849, into force. What about this wonderful Order which was going to deal with the unemployed? It provided that if an able-bodied man applied for relief he might be sent into the workhouse, and have his wife and family relieved outside. The result of that Order was that they shut the man up in the workhouse, and he was doing absolutely nothing at all. That man would cost between 10s. and 12s. a week to maintain in the workhouse, and they would be giving what was called adequate outdoor relief to his family costing between 12s. and 14s. a week, so that the people who were satisfied before with 5s. 9d. per week would cost the ratepayers 25s. per week. He did not know whether there was any more glorious initiative left in the Local Government Board permanent official staff after that. Nearly 300 of these men were shut up, and he supposed that he should have given evidence against them, but he did not. They were looking at one another, doing nothing, but thinking and worrying about their wives and children all the time. Bad men did not care whether they were 1659 sent to the workhouse or not, but good men did, and it was to try to preserve them if possible that these orders had been suspended. Despite the conditon of things at present with respect to unemployment, this Government, like the Governments that had gone before, said: "We cannot do anything." What was proposed was like drawing money out of the bank to build a house before the plans were ready. It was not money they wanted at this moment, but an organised system which would put the unemployed to work. It was the absence of that system of which they complained bitterly, as they had done in bygone days. It was no excuse to say that that complaint had not been brought forward. It had been constantly brought forward, and the answer had been always the same. There was one scheme under which a sum of £40,000 was raised and yet not one ha'porth of work could be found. The whole of London was up in arms in regard to that scheme. They were asked: "What are you doing? Why don't you spend some of that money?" They had to wait until 1st January, 1905, before they could do anything. He remembered that they appealed to the then Prime Minister in the name of twenty town councils, fifty-six unions, and four rural districts, and requested him to call Parliament together at the end of 1904 to discuss this question. They got the same stereotyped answer which they always got. In the case of the women they were told that to find employment meant subsidising drunken husbands, but the actual facts did not baer out that contention. It was time to get away from shuffling with figures in order that they might do something worth doing. What were they doing? They had passed a Small Holdings Act to keep men on the land, but every obstacle was placed in its way. The noble Lord at the head of the Board of Agriculture would go to tremendous lengths to see the whole of the Act put in proper operation. Then why was it not done? Whose fault was it that they left the poor man who wanted a bit of land at the mercy of some local magnate who would frown him out of the place if he so much as asked? What he desired was that the money set aside for small 1660 holdings should be spent. Why were not information bureaux set up so that men, without going to their landlord, or their representative on the county council, could learn exactly what to do to secure the land? No. The Government were going to give them £300,000 to keep them quiet. Meanwhile people were starving, and if the Prime Minister had offered them £1,000,000 last week they would be no better off. "The time has arrived for a great scheme," they were told in 1892. He supposed the scheme would come along presently. They had Town Planning Bills which were to do much. The House forgot that four-fifths of the population were housed on 600,000 acres, while the total acreage was something like 77,000,000. There was plenty of room for the people, and if they had a statesman to tackle the land question there would be no unemployed. They were told they were pandering to loafers. Perhaps so, but they were mostly rich loafers. And in the administration of the Unemployed Act they had taken the bottom man and, because he was not up to sample, had declared the lot bad. There were three classes to deal with—the man who was willing to work, the man who was unwilling, and the man who was unable—and they could be dealt with easily with proper organisation. If the Government had asked town councils, and borough engineers and surveyors the question: "What would you do in times of commercial depression if you had money, quite apart from those works of utility for which you get loans from time to time from the Local Government Board?" they would have had schemes pigeon-holed on which the unemployed could have been set to work as easily as possible. They were told that some wonderful schemes were being thought out by the Local Government Board, but what they were nobody knew, and he was almost going to say nobody cared. The question was: What are the Government going to do at this moment? It was no part of his duty to suggest. [MINISTERIAL cries of "Oh!"] He was only following the example set by right hon. Gentlemen opposite, who, when they were asked during the time of the late 1661 Government what they would suggest, replied that it was not their duty to suggest what should be done; it would be time enough to do so when called in by the nation. He did not expect to be called in by the nation, and he did not want to be. The right hon. Gentleman said years ago that the suggesting was to be done by the people who were paid to do it. But he would repeat his suggestion that foreshore reclamation would take all the rough men they could find. A good deal of labour could be absorbed in dealing with coast erosion, waste or derelict land reclamation, in afforestation, in developing the Small Holdings Act, and in making it work—not by adopting the penny-in-the-slot system and saying: "Some day you will get a bit of land," and in pushing through the Town Planning Bill. The fact of the matter was that there was frequently a waste of energy in praying for something to come along. They would not get anything by praying for it. [Cries of "Oh!"] They had got to go out and fetch it. He remembered an old mate who used to say to his wife: "Trust in Providence," and she replied: "Not me, old man; He has done me too many times already." The Government were paid to look for schemes to find work for the unemployed. They had got full plenty of money; there was ground enough to provide work for every man and woman in the country. If, in the interest of party tactics, they went on as they did for another year and another year, these unemployed men would become so degraded and sink so low, that nothing would lift them up again. Look at 400 human beings creeping into a night shelter for a basin of cocoa and a bit of bread, and crawling out in the morning incapable of doing a day's work if it were given to them. What put them there? Was it because Nature could not supply them with food, clothing, and shelter? Nature supplied these full and to spare, and why they did not get them was because there were no administrators. He repeated that a man who was willing to work should be kept up to his capacity to work and found work. A man unwilling to work should be made to work. [Cries of "How?"] By keeping him without food for a time he would work all right. A man unable to work should be taken and given hospital treatment 1662 until he was able to work and take care of himself. There was food full and plenty for all. As John Davidson said—More than would for all sufficeEarth from her full bosom pours,Yet in cities, wolfish eyesHaunt the windows and the doors.
In line 1, to leave out from the word 'That,' to the end of the Question, and add the words 'whilst recognising the importance of the promise of the Prime Minister to introduce legislation next session for dealing with unemployment on a permanent basis, and whilst welcoming the promise to administer with more elasticity the existing Act and to provide more money to make that possible, this House is of opinion that the proposals made are quite inadequate to meet the pressing needs of the unemployed this winter, and that the responsibility for the absence of proper machinery even for carrying out existing powers and the general unpreparedness of the country to meet the present unemployed crisis is due to the neglect of the Government to make provision for a state of affairs which was clearly foreseen."—(Mr. Keir Hardie.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Resolution."
§ *THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. JOHN BURNS,) Battersea
The clear, comprehensive, and kindly speech made by the Prime Minister last Wednesday on the broad plan and general proposals of the Government as to future legislation and future work on behalf of the unemployed, reform of the Poor Law, and such problems as vagrancy which arise out of this difficult subject, renders my task simpler and humbler than it otherwise would have been, and I thank him, as I have a right to thank him, for the powerful, loyal, and cogent way in which he dealt with this difficult subject, a way in which I venture to say few other men in the kingdom could so ably have done. My duty to-night is to deal with a transient policy we have adopted to cope with a temporary depression, and to set forth what the Government has done by administration, by organisation, and by helping local authorities in this very difficult problem. It is only right that I should tell the House of Commons, especially after what they have heard this afternoon, 1663 that, in the absence of direct and matured guidance from the tribunal which all of us agreed should be appointed when the temporary Act of 1905 was instituted, we have no right to adopt any schemes, however sentimental they may be, or to embark on any project with which, according to those who have spoken this afternoon, it is reasonable to assume the Commission is likely to disagreee. That statement in itself ought to make us pause. If it were true, though I want to know where the evidence comes from, that the Commission appointed by the last Government has decided to do nothing, surely that is an answer to many of the schemes of a far-reaching, serious, untried, and almost revolutionary character that are projected. But the House has a right to know what has been done and is being done by my Department and the Government in administering a temporary Act and in spending the £200,000 that was granted, and also what will be done in spending the additional grant that has been conceded. Well, I have a right to claim that in the administration of the fund we have done our best sympathetically to disburse it, and we have not received a single adverse criticism from a distress committee or a responsible authority of having deprived them of the money and assistance by means of which their work could be carried out, and when it is suggested by people of whose speech it is most charitable to say that they did not altogether know their subject, that we have been niggardly and have stinted the authorities, my answer is to point to West Ham, to which I have probably devoted more time than any other President of the Local Government Board has given to any fifty other districts. Niggardliness is the charge alleged against me, but at this moment West Ham has a balance in its coffers of £8,500 out of the £22,000 I voted to it last year. Its neighbour, East Ham, has at this moment a balance of £1,500, the use of some of which I sanctioned last week for the employment of 400 or 500 men. I challenge any Member of the House to produce a resolution, fact, or figure to show that we have not done everything we could with the money and machinery at our disposal to help the administrative bodies and 1664 the distress committees. But we are, I admit, confronted to-day with a situation temporarily more acute than that of last year or the year before, but not so bad, in my judgment, as the winter that produced the Unemployed Workmen Act, [Cries of "Oh."] The depression in America, where the tariffs come from, hit this country very hard six or seven months ago, but I think I have a right to claim that all the ills that financial flesh is heir to in America and here should not be visited on my Department, or on my devoted head. The North-east Coast dispute has involved those districts in difficulties, and none of the hon. Members who, from the Labour point of view, represent those districts, have either privately or publicly complained of the want of promptitude, energy, or sympathy on the part of the Local Government Board in dealing with that area now that depression has struck it. The American depression, the North-east Coast dispute, the cotton trade dispute, and the sudden collapse of shipbuilding have made it necessary for the Government to do more this year than they have done on previous occasions, and we decided, as far back as March, when I addressed the municipal corporations of this country, to accelerate all our efforts, and to anticipate winter distress by the various methods to which I intend to refer later on. The House has heard the suggestion made that it is possible for the State all at once, and a Government Department in three or four months, to grapple with the problem, and practically almost to deprive unemployment of its sting and poverty of its misery. The men who buoy up the working classes with that illusion, that groundless expectation, are doomed to a disappointment of which they will be the first to hear from the working classes themselves. The causes of unemployment are so numerous; they strike so deep; they are social, economic, personal, and political. They are not created in a year and cannot be dissipated in a month. They are the accumulation of ages; the heritage of past neglect; the burden of ignorance and selfishness; the result of communities of men disobeying natural as well as economic laws; and not one single Act nor one 1665 single Department will be able at once to remove either the follies of communities, the neglect of ages, or the vices and dissipations of individuals. I am to be commiserated. Because of what other Departments might have done, and should have done, and did not do, all the criticisms of hon. Members are poured on the devoted head of the President of the Local Government Board. I do not mind. As I said last year I do not object to being treated as the "Derby dog" of the Government on this question; but I do suggest that, in criticising myself or my Department, the origin of the complaint, the disease itself, the remedy, the palliatives which are under review, and the seriousness of them shall not be lost sight of in the personal obsessions which afflict some people when they are putting forward their solution of such a problem as this. May I give an instance? Last Friday I received a deputation from the Navvies' Mission, a very good organisation, approved of by the Navvies' representative in this House. It was headed by the Bishop of Croydon, Canon McCormack, and five or six kindly ladies and gentlemen who, not knowing what the Government proposals were, asked me to be very careful in spending public money upon works during the coming winter, and above all in sanctioning the expenditure of money by municipal authorities, not to displace from employment the regular navvy, a trained and efficient individual, who had the first claim, and in my opinion the strongest claim, to employment in such undertakings. We have done our best to avoid this. I find that for three years the building trade has been depressed, and in that connection I may say that that trade has hitherto provided two-thirds of the men registered at the unemployed depots. The depression in the building trade is not due to inactivity on the part of the Local Government Board. There are 1,250,000 men in the building trade in this country, and the men, women and children dependent upon that great industry number from three-and-a-half to four millions, and all the trades dependent on that industry have also suffered. That depression is due, not altogether to the fact that we are a vanishing race, with dying trades and 1666 disappearing industries, and therefore not requiring factories and workshops, but to the fact that there has been overbuilding in the past. The depression has occurred partly because some of the country's staple trades—coal, iron, steel, cotton, and wool—have attracted cheap capital that ordinarily would have gone to the building trade. The result is that the building trade has suffered from dear capital and high interest; that has created unemployment to an extraordinary extent, and brought about the result that for the last three or four years local authorities have been unable to borrow at low rates—we have had a bank rate of 4,5,6, and even 7 per cent. Another cause different from those I have enumerated, of which the Labour Members must take note, and for which no Government or municipality can possibly be responsible, is the change in the method of constructing buildings which has gone on rapidly in the last five or six years, and which has affected skilled artisans even more than the unskilled labourers. Owing to this exceptional condition of things we, anticipating distress this winter, decided to see what we could do to prevent that distress. Immediately cheap money became obtainable, about six months ago—I did my best to inform the local authorities that the deficiency of employment which might reasonably be expected in 1908–9, and which was due to dear money in 1906 and 1907, ought to be provided against, now that cheap money was obtainable, and that if they had any works of definite public utility to the execution of which public money and labour could be applied, we would only be too happy to assist them to undertake them. We always had skilled artisans particularly in mind. In September, 1908, there were 16 per cent. more labourers employed in the building trade than in September, 1907; but there were 8 or 9 or 10 per cent. fewer skilled artisans at work in the same trade than there were a year ago. This year, in London there are some, although not many, more unskilled labourers at work than there were last year; but the proportion of skilled artisans out of employment remains as large as it was last year, and in some trades it is worse. Being a mechanic and an engineer, who, in this 1667 matter, hoped not to be "hoist with his own petard," I thought it was our duty to do something that would at once bring the skilled artisan into employment, and we selected loan work for that purpose. It has an advantage over other forms of employment for this purpose in that the ordinary workman known to the contractor, the surveyor, or the engineer, gets the first call according to his known character, ability, and deserts; the ratepayers through the ordinary channels get good work at a contract or estimated price; and the profit with the contractor prevents that malingering which too frequently prevails on State or municipal works. The work is work that has to be done, and such as the ratepayers have sanctioned; and if there is loss upon it there is dismissal, while if there is no bad result there from, everyone profits. Moreover, on loan work the electoral influence brought to bear upon councillors or Members of Parliament is at a minimum. The right men get the right work at the right place and the right time, without the demoralising effect that too often occurs to good workmen from recurring relief works, and which are too well known for me to emphasise further. The effect of this is that we have been able to do that which I shall now submit to the House. I know no more industrious man than a Member of this House, and certainly no more industrious man than the average Minister, whether in or out of office. We take no particular credit for our work, but we certainly have a right to say that it has been our object to anticipate distress by preventing it. We have endeavoured to do that by putting into operation some £2,000,000 or £3,000,000 of loan work. Now I come to the financial aspect. In nine months of the present year the Local Government Board has sanctioned loans to the amount of £9,418,000, or more than during the whole of the previous twelve months. From 1st June to 22nd October, the Local Government Board has sanctioned loans amounting to £959,403 more than in the corresponding period of 1907. From 1st August to 22nd October for unemployed purposes alone the Board has sanctioned £859,000 worth of work as against £8,090 in the corresponding 1668 period of the previous year. In the week ending 10th October the Department sanctioned seventy-two loans, amounting to £170,000; in the following week 103 loans amounting to £271,000; in the week ended 24th October, 116 loans amounting to £250,000; or, in three weeks, 291 loans amounting to a total of £691,876; and there are seventy-seven applications at present remitted to the inspectors for loans amounting to £374,000. Therefore I claim that we have facilitated inquiries and expedited the borrowing of loans; speeded up procedure and antedated work, so that we could compress into the months from November to March something nearer £3,000,000 than £2,000,000. Now I shall be asked to give an example of how it has been done, and I could not do better than take the example of Leeds, which is typical of many of our towns and cities. For the last three years Leeds has been interesting itself very seriously and, I think, scientifically in the way to grapple with the problem of unemployment in both aspects, the unemployable and unemployed, and to see if work could not be steadied so far as the local body itself was concerned. Leeds came to the Local Government Board some time ago, and asked for sanction to a loan of some £47,000 for work, and they have in contemplation I believe a total loan expenditure of some £120,000 the great bulk of which will be produced in the slack period in the coming six months. This work is not for mere charitable purposes, but is what the city needs in the way of roads, sewerage, drainage, parks, tramways, and electric lighting extension and improvement. At this moment Leeds has out of employment a larger number of men who normally keep to this particular class of work than usual, so that on the loan being sanctioned the work will not be done at a loss either to the local authority or to the men who are engaged in their ordinary industrial trades. But for the Local Government Board speeding up the work it might have been delayed till May, June, or August, when, on the resumption of prosperity in these trades, the men would have been provided with work elsewhere. But in addition to this, Leads has collected some £20,000 from its citizens which will be spent on the 1669 type of work to which the Prime Minister referred when he spoke of certain works requiring Government subvention. With this money the corporation of Leeds will be levelling rough ground, making a lake, grading roads in parks and open spaces, and on that work will be employed a number of men who would be ordinarily employed in other occupations; unemployable many of them, others unemployed from other trades who are not capable of the full output of the work on which they are temporarily engaged. If that work is carried out usefully, sensibly, and generously, I will go to the Leeds Corporation on behalf, not of the Government, but of the House of Commons and the people as a whole, and say that the difference between what the work would have cost under contract labour and done by efficient men and what it will cost because unemployed wool-staplers and others have been employed, I will make good up to 30 per cent. from the Government grant. Beyond that, the corporation of Leeds I am informed, has taken £10,000 from the profits of their municipal undertakings to distribute among men, women, and children incapable of being employed on the loan or relief works, but who might be engaged in very minor tasks, which, after all, is only well-directed charity. If you multiply this a hundred times in different localities and in proportion to the poverty and unemployment of each area you will find that we have been able to bring into work an enormous sum of money that otherwise would not have been spent. What are the Government doing in other directions? We say that these criticisms have been made in innocent ignorance, or, as Dr. Johnson would have said: "In pure ignorance of the facts." It has been said that the Department of Woods and Forests should do this, that, and the other. I take the Department of Woods and Forests because it has been mentioned in debate. Well, that Department is to have a new office in Parliament Square. My right hon. friend the First Commissioner of Works has thought that it is practicable to begin that work some months sooner than had been intended, thereby spending a very large sum of money and finding 1670 employment for at least 100, and probably 200, men on the building. Beyond that we have decided to spend £10,000 on road-making. The Board of Agriculture have done their best in the eight or nine months since the Small Holdings Act was passed to acquire 14,000 acres for small holdings, and, anxious to have a beginning in afforestation, they have purchased 13,000 acres for that purpose. Beyond that the ninety housing schemes which I have been doing my best to push forward will provide that which otherwise would not have been available. It may interest the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil to know that while, like Ulysses, he was taking his world tour I was not unmindful of the claims of the poor industrial workers, and was doing my best to hurry up the housing scheme in the hope of giving work this winter to the hon. Member's own constituents. The hon. Member probably does not know it, but I have already had an application for sanction (and I hope I have practically sanctioned it) to a loan of £22,600 for a castle, park, and recreation ground, in the titivation of which I hope that some of the hon. Member's constituents will find honest, decent, and profitable employment. The next department to which I have a right to refer is the Office of Works, which I have mentioned incidentally in connection with the Department of Woods and Forests, and which at this moment have given the Central (Unemployed) Body all the facilities they possibly could in nine of the ten Royal parks in or around London. We hope that some 500 or 600 men at least will be employed there in the winter. The First Commissioner has ante-dated and speeded up the extension of the Tate Gallery and a number of other minor works, whilst the Admiralty, who we are told have been leaden-footed and tardy in dealing with this problem, have given employment to 2,100 men on repairs at a cost of £73,000, and have expedited orders to enable contractors to spend at least £200,000 six months sooner than they would otherwise have done, and contracts have been and will be fixed for the expenditure of £2,500,000 sooner than would otherwise have been the case. The War Office, in a similar manner, has done its best by not reducing work, by enlisting 1671 for the Special Reserve, and by giving work in the right direction. May I also say that the Board of Trade, whose active operations in the provision of work cannot immediately bear fruit, are considering, and, I trust, devising, improved methods of securing information which may enable them to establish an efficient system of labour exchanges and bureaux, linked up in such a way all through the kingdom that they will be able to be used as an auxiliary for helping the unemployed and for the purposes of migration, in some cases of emigration, for relationship of employer and employed, and, I hope, for differentiating the honest workmen from those who are disinclined to work. In all these ways we anticipate that by March next we shall have brought into fruitful development something like £5,000,000, which would not otherwise have been spent, or £2,000,000 more than was spent on the Lancashire cotton famine in 1862–3–4. I may be asked why the local authorities have been chosen for this method. I will tell the House. I am not in favour of the intervention of the central authority, the State, at this moment, for a temporary emergency, a passing depression, while we are considering, pending the report of the Royal Commission, how best we can act in the future. For instituting large relief schemes the local authorities are the best for the simple fact that there are so many of them, and because they can deal with a problem that is proportionately as acute sometimes in a village of fifty people as in a city of 5,000,000. They command resources for exceptional work better than a central State department can. Their present officers are the reserve officials whom the Local Government Board can call on to extemporise work; their experience of the deserving is greater than that of any central authority, We cannot persuade the local authorities to adopt any means by which the rates would be secured unless we persuade and educate them gradually, for in the last resource the Local Government Board has to rely on them for money, officers, discrimination, tools, land, and other facilities by which any scheme for unemployment can be undertaken. Now, the next proposal for which we ask the consideration of the House is this. Beyond the measures I have mentioned is what we 1672 propose to do with regard to the further relaxation of the provisions of the Regulations under the Unemployed Workmen Act. The Government first increased the grant to £300,000. We propose to relax the existing regulations so as to allow: (a) Assistance to be given in proper cases to persons who had received Poor Law relief during the last twelve months; and (b) to remove the disqualification of persons who were assisted under the Act in each of the last two years. We will continue between now and March next, to expedite the loans, and bring more work into operation; we will press on the local authorities the need of executing further works during the winter, and do our best to urge those people who are able to do it, to make voluntary contributions. Beyond that I propose—to add to what the Prime Minister said last Wednesday—to give a liberal interpretation as regards the character of the work to be aided out of the grant. I mean by that, we shall not confine it wholly to parks and open spaces, to lake-making, and ground levelling, particularly in those areas where those opportunities and facilities are denied to them by reason of their character and density of population. Generally, we hope in a sane and practical and adaptable way to keep the situation between now and March next less acute than it would otherwise be. We shall be asked, as we have been asked, why we did not amend the Act, and allow the 1d. rate. The Prime Minister, in my judgment, easily and successfully disposed of the argument for 1d. rate. A 1d. rate over all the areas of the eighty-nine distress committees, would only bring in £232,000. Not more than thirty out of the eighty-nine would be found to ask for money, and twenty-four out of the total of distress areas could not realise more than something like £60,000 to £66,000. As has been pointed out, the more distressed the area the higher its rates, and it is impossible for us to ask them to add to their already burdensome rates. We decided to adopt loans as against the 1d. rate, and I believe that in so doing we shall be justified by the House.
I come to London, if I may, because it is the storm-centre of the unemployed movement. I deal with 1673 London, because a few persons have talked about the number of people who are out of work. I heard with surprise the statement made that there were from 6,000,000 to 7,000,000 of people dependent upon 2,000,000 or 3,000,000 breadwinners out of work.
§ *MR. KEIR HARDIE
May I ask whether the figures are mine? If that is so, the right hon. Gentleman cannot have heard them.
§ *MR. JOHN BURNS
All I can say is that the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil spoke of from two millions to three millions of men out of work, and from six millions to six and three-quarter millions of people who were dependent upon them.
§ *MR. JOHN BURNS
Certainly, I am quite content to leave the figures as the hon. Member left them. They furnish their own refutation, and it is needless for me to enlarge upon them. But I do say this, that if the figures were anything like what he mentions, and that men have been out, as he said, from six, twelve, and eighteen months, then the awful misery, poverty, and destitution arising from unemployment would have reflected itself—even if the number was two millions—in the figures for the year as to pauperism. What are the facts? I am not dependent upon figures, but I must resist the suggestion that we have six millions of people out of work and in misery. If it be true, taking the lowest computation, it would have reflected itself, as I have said, in figures as to pauperism enlarged to an extent that we have never had before. In 1907, in London, 24.1 per 1,000 of its people were paupers; in 1908 it was 24.7 only. In England and Wales last year it was 21.5 per 1,000, and at this moment it is 21.9. In no sense can it be said that either facts or reasonable assumption warrant the extravagant statements made by the hon. Member. Let me give another striking fact. At this moment, in London out of thirty-one boards of guardians, fifteen show a reduction of pauperism 1674 as compared with last year. It is true that there are three or four parishes in the East End of London, to which I have been giving advice, when I have not been correcting them for the error of their ways, where there is extra trouble. Let me deal with the East End of London, and I ask the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil to listen to these figures in the light of the allegations which he has made. There are seven East End parishes with a population of 715,739, and they had 25,826 paupers. Of the seven parishes, three showed a diminution of pauperism, and four showed an increase, the whole seven together showing an increase of 2,883, of which Poplar was responsible for 2,673. Why do I dwell upon that? Because these parishes in the East of London have been the Mecca of social reformers, the right-to-work advocates, and of people who think that short cuts to the millenium can be secured without sterilising the independence and morale of the people. There is a lesson to be learnt from these short cuts: one is this. In one of these parishes, 52 per cent. of the old people of seventy years of age on 1st January next will be deprived of the old-age pension because they have been disqualified for receiving it in consequence of indiscriminate charity, put upon them by mistaken friends who have made them paupers instead of free and independent workers. [A LABOUR MEMBER: Is that something to be proud of?] No, it is not. [A LABOUR MEMBER: You seem to be proud of it.] On the contrary, I am giving that serious and significant fact to warn the House and the working classes throughout the country that indiscriminate charity and mistaken philanthropy at other people's expense, and relief works badly organised and badly conducted, make for universal bankruptcy in the interests of universal loaferdom. I say that because I have unique, intimate, and practical knowledge of this subject; because I have gone through the New Cut, Lambeth, through Poplar, through Limehouse Reach, and Ratcliffe Highway, feeling the pulse of the people, and seeing the extent to which under the guise of political reform, social amelioration, and economic change, good and kindly but uneducated people are having their morale and independence sapped to an 1675 extent which, if it were spread throughout the whole of the country, would make the East End of London and elsewhere dependent and subjected, and often as free from work, as certain sections in Belgravia and Mayfair. It is because I do not want that to be made universal that I have taken the line which I am following. The hon. Member for Woolwich, whose attitude on this question I can quite understand, incidentally suggested that thrift was too often taught to the working man. He, like myself, is a temperate man, of simple tastes and spartan habits. Both of us early in life, to our credit, and it is what has landed us both where we are, adopted the Vicar of Wakefield's motto—Our tastes are simple because our wants are few.If for ourselves, why not for all workers? The hon. Member for Woolwich, like myself, is a trade unionist, and the man who forgets to tell the workman when adversity meets him—and then is the only time, as for all of us, when the workman should learn—that his shortcomings in the past are responsible for his immediate discomfiture, is no friend. The average workman spends, as we all know, anything from 5s. to 7s. a week on drink. [LABOUR Cries of "Not true."] I believe it to be true, but I will take the hon. Member for Merthyr's own figure, if he will give it to me. Is it 3s.?
§ *MR. JOHN BURNS
I will split the difference and make it 5s. The average workman spends at least 5s. a week on drink. Let me tell the House of Commons that it is from £15 to £18 per family per annum, and that £100,000,000 per annum spent in drink is confined to the working classes alone. Let me tell the House what 1s. per week will do for me when I am disrated and evicted from the Treasury Bench, and once more happily resume the chisel and the file in the engineer's workshop. In the Amalgamated Society of Engineers 1s. a week, after twelve months qualification, entitles a man to 10s. a week out-of-work pay, 10s. sick money, 10s. a week superannuation, and a 1676 number of other benefits. Supposing the enormous number of millions of money that the men had wasted in a good time had been devoted to insurance against unemployment in their trade unions or friendly societies, much of the trouble that we now have we should not experience. May I give a concrete case, to put my argument clearly? In 1906–7—and I would ask the tariff reformers to listen to these figures—the River Clyde produced 620,000 tons of the best and fastest shipping in the world. That is twice as much as Germany produced, and as much as all Europe, with Japan thrown in, produced. Within a month of the depression from America striking that river hi the West of Scotland there were unemployed meetings, and complaints were made at those meetings that the grant instead of being £11,000 for the Clyde should have been £19,000. And yet in the preceding twelve months 4,000,000 golden sovereigns were spent among the same artisans on the River Clyde in alcoholic liquor alone! If this were my last speech as a Minister I should be false to my class and false to my duty if I were not to tell the working men that if they rely too much on the State and the municipality, and not enough on their own good selves, it will be bad for them and bad for the country. I shall be asked by Labour Members what are we going to do in London for the approaching winter. I will outline one or two schemes. We shall have nearly five hundred men in the royal parks, and we have already 1,600 in the County Council parks. I have made arrangements by which this number shall be nearly doubled. I am glad to say that the London Water Board—and it deserves the thanks of London for doing it—by the ante-dating of its work, has brought into employment 2,100 navvies six months sooner than they would otherwise have done. The County Council hope to have £500,000 of money. The borough councils are doing similar work. I have done everything within my power to press forward work, so that the largest number of men shall be so employed. Now I come to one or two small points. The Leader of the Opposition will perhaps sympathise more with what I am going to say than with anything I have previously said. Every day letters have been appearing in the papers asking the 1677 War Office to provide work for the old soldier and the Reservist. Well, the Local Government Board has been in co-operation with the War Office. I mention this because we have, I regret to say, allowed soldiers who fought for this country in Africa, India, and elsewhere to be treated as too frequently they are. I asked a relieving officer the other day how many ex-soldiers there were out of 133 tramps who had gone through in a short time a casual ward not more than twenty miles from London. He said the number was forty-one. It has been said that the Local Government Board is unsympathetic. Where is there a deputation I have not seen?
§ *MR. C. DUNCAN (Barrow-in-Furness)
The right hon. Gentleman has made a challenge. I was approached—not on this particular question—by the chairman of the Electricity Committee of the County Borough Council of Barrow and asked the right hon. Gentleman to receive a deputation on the question of electricity, and he refused.
§ *MR. JOHN BURNS
No, our friend is talking about a year ago. That had nothing to do with the unemployed, but with the periodicity of loans for electric lighting or payment of wages out of loan moneys. I have seen three deputations of hunger marchers, and the last I saw consisted of a master builder, in work, a commercial traveller, profitably engaged, and an agent who had no necessity to join the ranks of the unemployed. I saw another deputation of hunger marchers, consisting of six, and I let every one have a quarter of an hour, and I ascertained this significant and grisly fact, that five out of the six were old soldiers or Reservists. I have thought of this, and my right hon. friend and I have adopted a scheme which, had it been adopted twenty years ago, would have reduced our 17,000 casual population to 4,000 or 5,000, and would have eliminated nearly all the old soldiers and Reservists from it altogether. It is that the old soldier and Reservist should not, when in receipt of his pension or his reserve pay, be compelled to reside in the United Kingdom, but should on application to the War Office he given permission to emigrate to 1678 any of His Majesty's Colonies, and in two years nearly 10,000 ex-Reservists have availed themselves of that opportunity. But for that simple little change we should have had in our tramp and casual shelters an enormous number of Army men. It is in a multiplicity of little things like that where we can grapple with the vagrant and casual ward problem.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
We are not quite sure whether we heard the right hon. Gentleman accurately. Did he say 10,000 reservists had left the country by permission of the War Office?
§ *THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. HALDANE,) Haddington
We have arranged that to the extent of 10,000 we should allow these Reservists to reside in the Colonies. That can be done perfectly safely. To the extent of 5,300 they are there now.
§ *MR. JOHN BURNS
Does the hon. Member suggest that they would be so unpatriotic that they would not respond? The answer to that is that 97 per cent. of the Army Reservists responded when the Boer War claimed their reluctant services. Ten thousand Colonials volunteered who had no obligation to the old country. Is it not better that these men should be getting one and a half or two dollars a day for useful profitable work in Canada, South Africa, and New Zealand, than that they should be on the road, in tramp shelters or casual wards, weak, debilitated, ruining their physique, and having no strength left for when they are wanted? Arrangements have already been made for their return in the event of their being required, and it would be a very indiscreet Chancellor of the Exchequer and a foolish House of Commons that would not pay not only their fare, but a considerable bonus to attract them back if attraction were wanted. I have only mentioned that one out of fifteen or twenty ways in which we can reduce vagrancy, eliminate the unemployable, and provide profitable work in the colonies, where it is not possible for that type 1679 of man to secure it here. I could give a number of detailed illustrations of the way in which we have done our best to apply multiplex remedies for a multiplex, delicate, dangerous problem brought about by multifarious causes. But I am convinced the House of Commons is satisfied that what reasonably could be done to tide over this winter I have done. I have done it under great difficulties. I have been subjected to much unreasonable criticism. I have endured undeserved blame and been subjected to misrepresentation, but when 31st March arrives and the Government place before the House a full and detailed account as to what loans have been spent, how the grant has been distributed, how work has been speeded up, and how departmental work has enabled a number of people to mitigate the hardships of the forthcoming winter, I shall be quite content to rest by the verdict and judgment of the House of Commons. I can assure the House of Commons and the country that if they will but leave this vexed and tangled problem to me, I am prepared to worry through the winter. If they will only leave it to the eighty-nine distress committees and to the Local Government Board to devise means to provide money and to adapt means to the end of providing men with work, they will be content when six months are over to say that the municipalities have responded handsomely to the appeal of the Local Government Board, that not hundreds but thousands more men have been supplied with honest public work at the current rates of wages, and that the amount of the Government grant which will have to be made as expressing the difference between contract labour and unemployed prices will not be so large as is supposed. The House may rely upon it that, if circumstances warrant it, the whole of the £300,000 will be spent in the necessitous districts in relieving honest claims of the unemployed to which I shall be as responsive during the coming year as I have always been during the three years I have had the onerous duty of administering one of the most difficult Acts it ever fell to a Minister or a statesman to carry out.
§ MR. WALTER LONG (Dublin, S.)
No one will complain of the length of time which the right hon. Gentleman has occupied. He has had a difficult case to present to the House, and hon. Members, I am sure, will be ready to grant to him the sympathy and support which he asked for at the end of his address. But the speech which the right hon. Gentleman has made, and the figures he has produced, only lend force and emphasis to the criticism that the House ought not to be called upon to discuss a question of this magnitude at such short notice. After the speech to which we have just listened it must occur to the most casual student that it is almost a public scandal that a question which goes so deep down, and covers so wide an area, should be attempted to be discussed within the limits of a few hours. The Leader of the Opposition predicted that this would be the case. No hon. Member representing the Opposition has had an opportunity of speaking on this subject before 7.30 p.m. That is not the only criticism I have to make. I venture to say, without fear of contradiction, that after the statement made by the Prime Minister, which opened up many important questions, some of which have been referred to by the President of the Local Government Board, we ought to have been given more time in order that we might have approached the consideration of these questions with a much fuller knowledge. The eloquent and clear statement of the Prime Minister was but a sketch of the policy of the Government. We all know the immense labours which fall upon the Prime Minister, and nobody would expect him to be familiar with the details of the scheme he unfolded. That scheme was not only incomplete but almost unintelligible without the fuller information given by the President of the Local Government Board. That information has only been furnished after we have got half-way through this debate, and there are only three or four hours to discuss it. The right hon. Gentleman, after he had been engaged during his powerful and eloquent speech in seeking to prove, so far as I could gather, 1681 that practicably there was no unemployment, wound up by making the announcement that 10,000 Reservists, upon whom we rely to fill up the Army, and whose presence may be needed at comparatively short notice, had been given permission, of which it is hoped they will avail themselves largely, to go to various parts of the Empire; and, when the right hon. Gentleman was asked how the presence of these men could be secured in case of war, he mistook the question and the reason for it and told the House what we all knew, that when Reservists had been called for they had always come up with the utmost speed. But the right hon. Gentleman and the Secretary for War know perfectly well that, when the Reservists were called out the last time, many had only a few hours in which to present themselves. The object of the question was, not to elicit the information that these Reservists would be as patriotic and unselfish as their predecessors, not to ask what would be the cost of bringing them back, but how far it would be possible to secure their presence in any reasonable time. Here is a matter which affects our military policy thrown in at the end of a speech on unemployment, and that itself justifies the participation in this debate of many speakers who would probably not have spoken had not such an announcement been made. The Opposition will not be too critical in examining either the speech or the action of the President of the Local Government Board. We know he spoke with truth and feeling when he said that he had had to undergo much misrepresentation and calumny. I join with the right hon. Gentleman in everything he has said in repudiation of the calumnies of his Department. There is no Department in which more trouble is taken and more interest displayed in the solution of these difficult social questions. I am not going to criticise the right hon. Gentleman too closely; but, when I come to the speeches of the two hon. Gentlemen who are the sponsors of the Resolution of confidence in and commendation of His Majesty's Government, I find myself in a very different position. Where is the commendation of the Government? The hon. Gentleman who seconded the 1682 Motion not only condemned the Government but condemned both sides of the House, ignoring the fact that the only Act of Parliament which provides machinery for dealing with this question is one for which the Opposition were responsible. The hon. Gentleman made a pathetic appeal that no party politics should be introduced into this question. I do not want to bring in party politics, but I wonder if it has occurred to the two hon. Gentlemen that they have been supporting a Government whose legislation has certainly not helped employment or tended to give confidence to the employer or the workman. I wonder whether they remember the Coal Mines (Eight Hours) Bill, which an hon. Member opposite has told us will lessen the output and increase the cost of coal. The Prime Minister in his recent speech appealed to capitalists to come forward and assist in a solution of this great industrial problem by finding work for the unemployed. Did the right hon. Gentleman remember the language of his colleagues sitting behind him when he made that eloquent appeal to the well-to-do of the country? Did he think of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and his projected invasion of the hen roost? Did he think of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's proposed search for the twelve rich men? Did he think of his other colleagues who have not hesitated to say in the country that if they could not do what they wanted with a particular trade by legislation they would be prepared to do it by taxation? When language of that kind has been used by the Government we do not wonder that their supporters are asked to move Motions lauding them and expressing confidence in them, but I think their speeches should be of a very guarded and non-laudatory character. The hon. Member who moved the Motion began by a reference to fiscal reform, and told us that he did so because he wanted to anticipate the arguments that were to come from this side of the House. The Leader of the Opposition was not anxious to interfere with him in the unfolding of his views. We are not reluctant to express our views and convictions on that branch of the subject, but we realise that this is not the occasion to express them; to 1683 introduce them into this debate would be altogether improper. We are as anxious as anybody opposite to avoid party politics, but we cannot ignore the fact that the policy of the Government up to the present has been one which has not increased, but rather decreased confidence and therefore decreased the amount of capital available. The President of the Local Government Board told us just now that there was very much less unemployment in the country than has been suggested. If there is any doubt upon the facts it is the Government who are to blame. It is the Government who have failed to produce as they might easily have done—I speak from experience—some reliable facts and figures on the subject. I heard with some surprise the President of the Local Government Board quote pauperism figures as a reliable indication—
§ *MR. JOHN BURNS
The right hon. Gentleman will pardon me. I did not quote the figures about pauperism to mitigate the unemployment that prevails. I quoted the figures with regard to pauperism and said that if the statement made by the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil be correct that there are 6,000,000 to 7,000,000 men, women, and children dependent on workless workers, it would have reflected itself in the figures of pauperism. I quoted the figures to show that distress did not prevail to the extent the hon. Member alleged, and not to show that there was no unemployment.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
Not to show that there was no unemployment. If I said so I exaggerated. I did not intend to say that the figures were quoted to show that there was no unemployment, but I submit with confidence that the whole tendency of the right hon. Gentleman's speech, apart from the figures, was to show that wildly exaggerated statements had been made as to the amount of unemployment in the country. The right hon. Gentleman was eloquent as to the present condition of things and he quoted the pauperism statistics with confidence in answer to the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil. In my humble opinion pauperism statistics have nothing to do with the question. 1684 It takes a very considerable time before the result of unemployment makes its mark on pauperism. All I can say is that I have been at some pains to find out the root cause of the state of things in the country. I have corresponded with reliable people in various parts of the country, I have sought information from the larger centres and from the manufacturing districts, and the information that reaches me—not in figures, for I have no means of getting at figures which would be available for quotation—points to the fact that there has been an immense amount of unemployment, that it is growing, and that in many parts of the country it is by far the most serious question at this moment. If that is right then all I can say is that the figures of the right hon. Gentleman seem to point in a contrary direction. I think the Government might, as the mover of the Motion said, without much difficulty have had comparative and classified statements made, showing what the returns of unemployment are in different parts of the country and what classes of labour are mainly affected. If we are deficient in information at the present moment it is because the Government have not thought fit to give us that information. Both the proposer and the seconder of the Motion fell back with considerable relief on the fact that the proposals of the Government were only of a temporary character. I have already said that nobody with whom I have the privilege to act desires unduly to criticise the policy of the Government or to find captious fault with them, but I cannot forget—I do not include the President of the Local Government Board in this—that many of those now sitting on the Government Benches, when they were sitting in Opposition, used very different language about our action in 1905. Then we were told that, while they were willing to support our legislation, it was altogether inadequate, that it required strengthening in this, that, and the other direction, and that it ought to be altered. One claim made by the present Government and their supporters was that they had foreseen and guarded against this emergency. If they have foreseen and guarded against it, is it not an extraordinary 1685 thing that they have allowed practically three years to elapse without altering the Act in any degree whatever?
§ MR. WALTER LONG
I did not know that the hon. Gentleman had shown his previous views of the Government with so much determination. I can only conclude that the ceremony of to-day was a much more interesting one than we realised, and that it was a great act of atonement on his part. We were witnessing a touching reconciliation between him and the Government. I was not talking of the hon. Gentleman so much as of the Government of which he is a supporter. Many of those when in Opposition criticised the Unemployed Act of 1905, but all that they propose to do to-day is not even to alter the Act itself, but to alter the regulations made by the President of the Local Government Board under the Act. Reference has been made to the 1905 Act as being my Act. I do not wish to divest myself of any responsibility, but of course that Act was carried by my right hon. friend Mr. Gerald Balfour, and I regret that he is not a Member of the House at the present time. The credit for the passing of the Act through the House obviously belongs to him and not to me. I take it as a matter of credit to the late Government that the present Government have not found it necessary to amend the Act. Anyone who shared the responsibility for the passing of the measure would be prepared to consider any suggestions for its amendment. Nobody would pretend that it was a perfect piece of legislation, but I think we are entitled to take credit for it, notwithstanding all the debate and controversy that have raged round the question, and the attitude of hon. Gentlemen opposite at the time they were sitting here in Opposition. Having made no attempt to amend the Act, it may be assumed that on the whole they found it sufficient for their needs and purposes. Really the whole thing so far as the Government proposals are concerned turns on the question of loans. I confess I have 1686 been a little astonished at the line adopted by the Prime Minister, who has powerfully advocated this policy of loans. The President of the Local Government Board also did so just now. The right hon. Gentleman told us more of this scheme than the Prime Minister. He told us that the subsidy to be given to these loans would only be given in a limited number of cases. He went on to say that when you compare the amounts to be got from a rate and a loan you find that in many cases the amount you would get from a rate would be too small, and that in addition many of the places are already heavily burdened, and therefore to expect them to rate themselves would be unreasonable. But how is the repayment of these loans to be met if it is not to be by a rate which in many cases will be much larger than a 1d. rate?
§ THE PRIME MINISTER AND FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. ASQUITH,) Fifeshire, E.
I said so.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
The Prime Minister said so, but his colleague argued that the pressure of the ordinary rates would be too hard, and that it would be easier for the locality to raise a loan as if they had not to raise a rate for that purpose. The Prime Minister said that the product of 1d. rate would not be sufficient, and that it was necessary to have a loan in order to get adequate funds. But what the President of the Local Government Board did not tell us to-day was that in many places there would be no loan at all. In many places no loan is required or applied for. What is to be the policy there in regard to the unemployed? In some parts of the country the pressure of the unemployed may be just as hard, or even harder, and no loan is required, and I shall be interested to know how the Government propose that provision for the unemployed is to be made in these places. I presume they will fall back on the Distress Committee [An HON. MEMBER: Not in London.] I will allude to London in a moment. We are told by the Prime Minister, and with even greater insistence by the President of the Local Government Board, that these proposals are to 1687 meet the present difficulty. The President of the Local Government Board said he thought it would be gone in two or at most three years. Ought we not therefore to pause before giving approval to a scheme of loans which will last thirty or forty years in order to meet an emergency of only a passing kind? The Prime Minister stated that our proposals are to confer rating power on the localities, and he pointed out that the localities had never asked for that. Why should the localities ask for that? They have rating powers at present. They have exercised them in times gone by, and as a matter of fact every single proposal the Government have made up to the present moment, save the alteration in the regulations under the Act, i exactly similar to the proposals we made short of the special subsidy. The Prime Minister said that the terms of these loans would be as easy as they could be made.
§ MR. ASQUITH
What I said was that many of these loans would be for a short period, as my right hon. friend suggested a few minutes ago.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
Of course the President of the Local Government Board should have told us what a short period is. Are they to be for ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five or thirty years?
§ *MR. JOHN BURNS
They are to be for the usual period for the kind of work which is undertaken. The bulk of the loans would be for short periods, such as five, ten, or fifteen years; but the largest amount of money and the longest periods would be for remunerative undertakings, such as gas, water, tramways and such like; which would probably be no burden on the community at all.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
The list of loans given was loans for gas and water mains, street improvements, general town improvements, and ordinary works connected with the town. In the old days, in my own experience, before the Act of 1905, we found that the municipalities which had been forced to deal with the unemployed, met their demands by undertaking public improvements, making 1688 new streets, doing ordinary sanitary work, within their area. These municipalities instructed their officers to take on a certain proportion of these people in the execution of such works. What was their experience? Without exception it was found that the ordinary surveyors and foremen of these local authorities were quite unfitted to deal with many of the unemployed. They were perfectly competent to deal with the ordinary working man, and to get from him a full day's work and thoroughly satisfactory work, but they were not competent to judge of the men who had been out of work and were not up to the mark. The result was that when they emerged from this employment they were no better off than when they entered into it. One object of providing money out of the rates for the payment for such works is to reduce the number of men who are deteriorated in mind and body from want of employment. That combination between the local authority and the relief committee which led to proper supervision and made the work more effective under the Act of 1905, will not, as I understand, be obtained to the same extent under the Government proposals; and in that, I believe, the Government are taking a retrograde step. I make a suggestion, although I am bound to say with great caution, for I know how difficult this question is and how easy it is to take a false step. Knowing that the President of the Local Government Board is averse to establish National Government Works, I am thankful he has not adopted the other and far more dangerous alternative. Apart from dealing with the unemployed question not in a permanent form, but as a temporary difficulty, surely, if you are going to take men now out of work, or who will become unemployed in the course of the next few months, and who if not properly supervised will become permanent paupers, you will not have that kind of supervision which you ought to give them. When we were called upon to introduce our Act of 1905 our own experience and that of the municipalities was that the Work done here in London, such as sweeping the streets, and scavenging by the unemployed, left the men as bad at the end as when the work was found for them. 1689 I remember one man describing to me the state of his mind about being called upon to do the same kind of job day after day without relief. That is the kind of work which the President of the Local Government Board rightly condemned, and I agree with him. But there is all the difference between that and genuine work, which practically enables the unemployed man to get some training, and makes him better than when he was temporarily engaged. I was glad to hear the expression of approval from the Prime Minister of the work done by the Central Unemployed Committee. I believe it is impossible to exaggerate its importance. They have not only at enormous labour made inquiries which resulted in separating the unemployed from the unemployable, but made experiments which were of the greatest possible value. I do not appeal now to the President of the Local Government Board to extend the work of the Central Unemployed Committee in London, or to sanction anything which is extravagant or will have a bad effect on the people themselves; but I do ask him to realise that it was extremely difficult for the Unemployed Committee in London to commence work of this kind, for they had practically no previous experience to guide them in their labours. If it be true that they have made some mistakes, I ask that at all events they may be given an opportunity to complete some of their experiments, so as to see by the test of experience whether or not that kind of work is reliable and ought to be encouraged. I began by saying that we have no desire to criticise the proposals of the Government unduly. It would be quite fair, if we did, for the response to be made to us—"What proposals would you make if you were in the position the Government are now in?" Well, subject to what I have said about the rate, I do not think there is any suggestions to be made better than those which the Government offer. I confess that I was astonished that the Government made any proposals at all, considering the view which the President of the Local Government Board takes of the unemployment problem. But the Government have withstood, with courage and determination, extreme proposals which, if they had been adopted, would, I believe, have 1690 been disastrous to the country. The situation called for action on the part of the Government; I do not think it would have bern possible for this House or the Government to have ignored the question of the unemployed, or to have turned a deaf ear to their demands. I think I hear the outcry that would certainly have been raised if anyone had made the suggestion that you should turn the unemployed over to the Poor Law alone. I say that anything like that would be disastrous. Poor Law relief cannot cope with the situation; certainly I do not think that any good would be done the working classes by the adoption of some of the extreme suggestions which have been made in the House and outside it. But you would do as much harm if you made the cruel suggestion that a man out of work for no fault of his own, should fall back on the Poor Law, and that no other avenue was to be open to him. That is an impossible attitude, which could not be taken by anyone who realises the condition in which so many people are just now. In reference to this branch of the subject, I desire to make an appeal to men like Mr. Loch, whose name cannot be mentioned without respect and gratitude for the work he has done. We all know how he has laboured in the interests of the poor. It is to men like him that we must appeal to consider some -scheme by which those people who are out of work through circumstances over which they have no control may find that there is some machinery, it may be inadequate and insufficient, but some machinery by which opportunity may be given to them to improve themselves and return to their position as self-supporting, self-respecting citizens of the empire. I am glad that the Government have made definite proposals, which I venture to criticise in no hostile spirit. The proposals in regard to the Post Office, the Army, and the Navy, do not call for reference by me at the present time. I make a final appeal to the President of the Local Government Board to be generous in his consideration of the work done by the Central Committee in London, and not to cry halt of them in their experiments till he is satisfied that they have had a full trial.
§ *MR. HALDANE
I only rise to offer a word of explanation on the statement with regard to the Reservists which fell from my right hon. friend the President of the Local Government Board, and which has excited such great interest in the minds of hon. Members opposite. There is no doubt it is extremely desirable, if it can be done safely, to allow a certain proportion of Reservists to reside in the Colonies. If they reside there they will keep fit and in good condition, whereas, if they remain here at home, they will probably be wandering about. The principle of allowing a certain proportion of our Reservists to go abroad where we can keep our hand upon them is not a new one. It has been acted upon before, and in the South African War they came back to a man. The House of Commons passed, in 1906, the Reserve Forces Amendment Act, which empowered this very thing. The question the Minister of War had to consider was whether it could be safely acted upon. Could we get home quickly enough on mobilisation the men required for mobilisation of the expeditionary force? To mobilise the expeditionary force, he would require from 70,000 to 80,000 Reservists. At this moment the Reserve, instead of standing at 117,000, which it ought to be at the normal, is 134,000, and therefore he had something far in excess of what would be wanted for the mobilisation of an expeditionary force. It is for the Minister responsible to consider whether he can allow any number to go abroad consistent with mobilisation. After having consulted the Adjutant-General we had not the smallest hesitation in coming to the conclusion that we could allow 10,000 Reservists to reside in the Colonies, and thus give some relief at the present juncture. But that is not the only safeguard. We have now also the Special Reserve, the men of which are under obligations just as binding as the ordinary Reserve. I say that without the smallest hesitation, and, speaking with the fullest knowledge, I can say that there is not the smallest danger in allowing 10,000 Reservists to reside in the Colonies. At present, 5,300 have taken advantage of the provision. I only deal 1692 with this for the purpose of clearing up the point.
§ *MR. HAROLD COX (Preston)
said he thought it was common ground that they were all of them anxious to do what they could to assist the genuine unemployed, and he did not object to the Government scheme so far as it acknowledged that the problem of unemployment was a grave and a national one, but he objected to it because, instead of remedying the disease, the Government scheme would make it worse. He believed that instead of bringing any relief whatever to the unemployed the scheme would increase the number of unemployed, and that was why he was opposed to it. The right hon Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board made a speech on Saturday last in which he denounced relief works; now he proposed a scheme for the establishment of relief work which was in a large part the nature of the Government scheme. Let him call attention to some other parts of the scheme which he considered dangerous. Take the question of the Admiralty and shipbuilding. His hon friends on his right—the mover and seconder of the Resolution—said nothing about shipbuilding, but at one time they demanded that the Admiralty charges should be reduced. Now when it was proposed to spend money on ships the right hon. Gentleman did not object, because it was not for the purpose of protecting our shores but to give work to the unemployed. Was there not this danger in building ships? Were they not speculating upon the chance that there would be less unemployment next year? Was it not gambling with the future; when there was still unemployment were they to discharge all those men at present engaged? That question must necessarily arise. After the ships were built and the sewers and other relief works finished there would still be unemployment, and the remedy could only be justified if it were certain that this was merely a temporary emergency. If it was a temporary measure, then the Government were justified. With regard to loans, it seemed to him that the right hon. Gentleman had an idea that these loans dropped down from Heaven. What 1693 he wanted to ask was what hon. Members proposed to do for the better class of the unemployed; The people who would be benefited by these relief schemes were not the best of our working classes. The navvies had asked the right hon. Gentleman not to throw efficient men out of work in order to give work to inefficient men.
§ *MR. JOHN BURNS
The hon. Member misrepresents me. He has asked what I was doing for the navvy; £600,000 would be spent by the Water Board to give employment out of the loan work to the efficient navvy who had claimed all that work. With regard to the £120,000, work for that would be done by the ordinary efficient men, but the £20,000 work would be done by men who were not of the ordinary navvy class.
§ *MR. HAROLD COX
said the right hon. Gentleman drew a distinction between loan work and other work. What was to become of the efficient navvy? The vice of the whole system of relief work was that our taxes were to be used to bribe the local authorities to employ inefficient workmen in the place of efficient workmen.
§ *MR. JOHN BURNS
said that if this £20,000 was only for a temporary emergency until the adopted and more permanent measure, then it would save the unemployed going into the workhouse or going to stonework.
§ *MR. HAROLD COX
said his statement was that they were using money of the taxpayers in order to bribe local authorities. A navvy would go to one of these jobs, and would say: "This is my work, have not you a job for me?" The foreman would reply: "You are just the man I should like to have, but I cannot employ you because the Labour Party is terrorising the Government and so you lose your job." Then where was the work to come from? That was the difficulty which had never been faced. The Chairman of the London Unemployed Body had a long letter in The Times that morning pointing out that it was useless to give money if they could not rind jobs. They soon got to the end of sewer digging, road-making, and so on. Under the old Poor Law the guardians came to the 1694 conclusion that it was quite impossible to find work for the men and that it was better to pay them wages without their even, making a pretence of doing any work. Again, where was the money to come from? It was sometimes imagined they would get it out of the pocket of the rich. But did that end the matter? Not at all. Supposing they did take the money out of the pocket of the rich, what effect would that have on the people whom the rich employed? Let them increase the income-tax; the rich man would cut down his expenses; he would say: "I must dismiss my gardener." Thus a skilled workman was turned out of work and the remedy they offered him was to dig sewers or to plant trees on the top of a moor. They all had to ask themselves sometimes: "Am I my brother's keeper?" What the Government was doing was saying: "Do not bother about one another, the Government will manage all; we will take your money from you in the form of taxation and will use it to pay people whom you do not want employed." That method of procedure must inevitably destroy the feeling of comradeship. The doctrine that people by spending extravagantly made work for the poor was no excuse for selfish expenditure. Whether they spent money on themselves or on others, they made just as much employment. The real difference was in the final utility. It seemed to him that the question was one for rich and poor alike. Were they spending their money so as to increase the general happiness of the community or were they spending it solely on their own selfish pleasure? That applied to the motor-car owners as well as to the man who spent his money in drink. They could not look at any social problem from a purely economic standpoint. If they placed taxes on the small shopkeeper for the benefit of the unemployed he would be inspired with a feeling of bitter resentment. A great Teacher told them nearly 2,000 years ago—Ye have the poor always with you,and they would not solve the difficulty of poverty in one day's debate sandwiched in an overcrowded programme of an autumn, session. But there were some things which might be done. They could do much to organise unskilled 1695 labour, very much as had been done at the London Docks; they could establish labour exchanges, as had been done in Germany; they could train the unfit so as to make them fit. He was willing to spend any amount of money on this latter object, because there would be some result to show for it, but what he objected to was spending money which gave no return, but only magnified the evil. After all, the final responsibility must rest with the individual and with his trade organisation, for a man had no right to spend the whole of his wages and then ask his neighbours to support him. That was the effect when the State intervened to subsidise the unemployed. He contended that it was their duty to oppose to the utmost of their strength these proposed remedies which would do nothing to solve the problem but which would make the disease worse than before.
§ *MR. RAMSAY MACDONALD (Leicester)
said the hon. Member for Preston had that day been more generous with good advice than usual. He had been telling them that they could not solve the problem of poverty in one day's debate. He ventured to say that no one would put forward any such statement. He remembered when the hon. Member for Preston occupied a different position from that which he occupied that day. Then he had been trying to go to one extreme, now he was going to the other extreme. The question of taxation and rating, the hon. Member knew, affected the general distribution of wealth. It mattered very little whether the State or the individual spent revenue. But it mattered very much whether the money the individual spent was well or ill earned. By judicious imposition of taxes the Government could discourage uneconomical expenditure. That was all the Government was doing. So far, he defended the action of the Government. The Government was taking a part of the national income and using it in preventing the physical, moral and spiritual deterioration of a most deserving class of the people. That was the proposal and the House had now to consider whether it was adequate or not. In considering the statement of the Prime Minister he dismissed from 1696 his mind any idea of permanence. The right hon. Gentleman's proposal was made to tide over a difficulty. One of the usual periodical crises of unemployment had occurred. It was found in Germany, in America, in free trade and in protection countries. Unemployment was above the normal, and the Government, following the lead of the Opposition, was now attempting to carry things on through the winter in as tolerable a way as possible. But the speeches to which the House had listened that day had shown that the Prime Minister in his recent speech had not told them all that he was going to do. He drew attention to the magnificent opportunity of the Works Department. They were told that the Office of Works had large undertakings in hand, but was the Works Department going to be as mean as usual? It was true that it had employed men through the Central Unemployed Body, but it was the only body that had refused to pay the Central Unemployed Body any recoupment for the work it had done. If the Department would only turn over a new leaf, and blot out that objectionable feature, the Central Unemployed Body would be more obliged to the Works Department than it had ever been yet. Another point which he wished to emphasise was that though the great experiment in afforestation must await legislation by the Government, the Government had in their possession large areas of land which could be put under trees at once. They had only to advertise for a competent forester and in a few weeks scores of men might be employed on this land. The hon. Member for the Leith Burgh had been conducting during twenty years on his estate in the north of Scotland an experiment in afforestation which had gladdened the heart of everybody who wanted to see the people back on the land. Whoever had gone through that estate and seen that interesting and valuable experiment would really be burning with a desire to see the Government using public resources for the purpose of supplementing such voluntary efforts. He now came to what was really the gist of the Government proposal. The debate to-day had left him a little confused on the subject. The Prime Minister in his statement last 1697 Wednesday gave the impression to the House that the characteristic of the great schemes to which he referred was that they were to give work to what were ordinarily called unemployed men—not merely to steady the market, not to give work to men who were not now unemployed but who would be unemployed during the winter, but to find employment for the thousands now on the registers; and the right hon. Gentleman explained that he was going to find £300,000, and to provide from that Government grant the difference between the cost of these schemes as carried out by unemployed men, and the cost as carried out by competent men. The suggestion was that these works were to be carried out by unskilled men. But to-day they had been given a totally different assurance. They were told that the great bulk of the work was to be carried out by skilled men. If that was so, what was the use of the £300,000?
§ *MR. JOHN BURNS
explained that there was no difference between the Premier's statement and his own in effect. He had said that the two or three millions of the loan money which would be spent on useful public works between now and March next would be spent on ordinary work, less efficient labour, which generally followed up that kind of work, but which was now known as unemployed. But the £300,000 would go this year to a larger extent than it had hitherto been spent in paying the difference between the cost of the work as done by contract and that done in this way. In some cases nearly the total amount of certain works would be done out of the grant.
§ *MR. RAMSAY MACDONALD
said he was obliged for that explanation. The point in that case was simply that the Government would continue what was now the practice, but extend it, and instead of paying out £150,000 as was done last year, would double the volume of the grant. What then was the use of talking about the loans? The loans were just the normal operations of municipal activity.
§ *MR. RAMSAY MACDONALD
said that if Members looked at the Papers circulated that day they would find the amount of money asked for last year was practically the same as that which had been sanctioned by the Local Government Board up to date. The amount sanctioned in 1905 was £10,000,000; in 1906, £10,000,000; in 1907, £9,000,000; and in 1908, up to date, £9,500,000. At the very best, the loans could only amount to a million or so more than those of 1905 or 1906, and it was necessary to remember that in order to get a relative idea of what the Government were doing as against what was done without Government pressure in 1905–6. They had to remember that the normal work in those years was somewhat delayed by dear money, and that in the ordinary course of event; 1908 would be marked, and ought to be marked, by a large increase in the demand for loans, and that probably 1909 would be more marked still, employment or unemployment notwithstanding. He suggested, therefore, that nature and economic law were to a certain extent responsible for the pressure this year. He held in his hand a Report of a committee of the London County Council, of which the right hon Gentleman was vice-chairman, issued in 1903, a time when they were considering this question. That Report, which was signed by the right hon. Gentleman, said—It is only at times like the present that the subject of unemployment is generally considered, and then the aid of the local authority is invoked to meet sudden emergencies. This demand and this suggestion is apt to be not useful but often pernicious in the long run, for the subject is one that needs great consideration.That Report was issued at a time when a demand was being made that those matters should be removed from local authorities altogether. They found, and hon. Members who were present during the discussions on the Unemployed Workmens Act should remember, that local authorities were subject to all sorts of political pressure to which they ought not to be subjected. They therefore thought that the whole work of dealing with unemployment should be taken out of the hands of the local authorities and be put into the hands 1699 of distress committees and such bodies as the Central Unemployed Body. If the work to be conducted by the municipalities was really the sort of work the Prime Minister gave them to understand it was, it was relief work of the worst kind. It was either useful or useless. If it was useless it was abominably bad relief work; if it was useful, it simply meant that they were putting unskilled men to do the work that skilled men would do and thereby they were mortgaging the future. If that was so it was not sufficient to give the municipalities the difference between the cost of skilled and unskilled labour, because a municipality anticipating a loan which naturally would only be asked for in, say, 1911, and asking for it in 1908, was upsetting its financial arrangements, and undertaking burdens which normally it would not, and ought not, to be asked to undertake. Therefore the relief the Government should give to such municipalities should be the difference between the cost of the work plus, say, anything between 10 per cent. and 20 per cent. of the value of the work done, in order to recoup them for other burdens. But the whole purpose of the Unemployed Workmen Act, and this was the gravamen of the charge against the Government, was to take from the public authorities—and experience had shown that whilst the public authorities did this they were subject to most illegitimate influences—the responsibility of providing work for the unemployed. Why was it that in the Prime Minister's speech not a single word was said about distress committees as agents for the administration of this fund. They were told only to-day that no grant was going to be given except where there were distress committees. That showed how subordinate distress committees had become. This was the position. The Act of 1905 was passed for the purpose of enabling them to experiment in treating the unemployed. It created distress committees in the provinces and a Central Unemployed Body in London. The Local Government Board was charged by that Act to give these authorities certain facilities and powers. It had not carried out its duties. The Prime Minister told them the Government was preparing to deal 1700 with a specially bad time of unemployment, and he went back to precisely the position they were in in 1905 before that Act was passed, and he had not got a single word to say about the development of the powers and the opportunities of the distress committees. The fact was that distress committees at present were at their wits end to provide work for the unemployed. The municipalities had shunted off the responsibility to a very large extent on to the distress committees where they existed, carrying out the idea of the right hon. Gentleman in the Report.
§ *MR. JOHN BURNS
No. I was one of the few men on that side of the House who predicted that the Unemployed Workmen Act whispered relief to the ear, and broke it to the hope, and to the extent that the Imperial Parliament gave a subvention for local work, so would the muncipalities shirk their obligation to the community and to the workmen; and it has come true, I am sorry to say.
§ *MR. RAMSAY MACDONALD
said the right hon. Gentleman's statement was right, but in this report he took up the position that the municipalities, when they were asked at times of special distress to provide work for the unemployed, would provide useless work and do it badly, and the whole thing foreshadowed in the paragraph from which he had been reading was some independent authority looking after this particular kind of work. But if the prophecy of the right hon. Gentleman had been fulfilled, and the distress committees had done so very little, fortunately for him it had been in his hand to have defeated that doleful prophecy of his, and the result was that the prophet in this respect was Providence, and he was able to defeat the purpose of the Act by carrying out his own intentions and preventing the administration of the Act. The grave omission that they found in the statement was this, and it was a supreme omission. As the hon. Member for Woolwich had pointed out, the difficulty with the distress committees had not been so much the want of money. The right hon. Gentleman had told them 1701 in the most gay way that some committee had £3,000 in hand and another £1,200. But why? Because they had not finished their work—they had unfinished schemes in hand.
§ *MR. JOHN BURNS
You cannot accuse me of niggardliness on the one hand and extravagance on the other. The fact is I gave West Ham last year £21,000; £7,000 was put aside for emigration and the rest was given them for works. The balance in hand only six weeks ago was £1,500 on works and over £7,000 for emigration. I sincerely regret it, but I in no way restricted the activities of West Ham either for emigration or for works. It was due to the fact that I gave them all they asked for. Their ability to provide work was not proportionate to my generosity. That was not my fault, but West Ham's misfortune.
§ *MR. RAMSAY MACDONALD
said that was exactly his point. The emigration scheme for some reason did not come off, and they were left with money but the money was earmarked, and the money that was still to be spent on work had to be spent upon work which was not finished.
§ *MR. JOHN BURNS
No, the hon. Member is entirely mistaken. Immediately they came to me with the information that they had a balance I at once did what any sensible man would do. I sent for the secretary of the distress committee and said: "Bring schemes of work so that you can at once start spending the £7,000," and we are mutually engaged in promoting that useful measure.
§ *MR. RAMSAY MACDONALD
said that was exactly it. They brought schemes of work, and now they were carrying them out. If they had any unexpended balance upon the work it was owing to the fact that they found it practically impossible to find new work. He was not quite sure whether, as a matter of fact, they had an unexpended balance, but if they had it was because their work was not exhausted. Before it was exhausted the whole of the money would be spent, so that the balance was only a fictitious 1702 one. If on the other hand they had not enough work to enable them to spend money it was owing to the fact that distress committees were beginning to experience more and more the difficulty of finding enough work. That was the whole of his argument. There was no man in the whole country to whom they owed more than to the Chairman of the Central Unemployed Body, Mr. Russell Wakefield, for the laborious work he had put into the solution of this intricate problem. In a letter which he had sent to the papers that morning he made this important point—But all this" (that was the money) "will not suffice; and one does not see where to turn in order to find some employment for a large number of men really deserving and capable of earning very nearly 100 per cent. of their wages. I trust that some of you may be able to assist in this matter, but I cannot help feeling that the Government has accepted to some extent the responsibility. They tell us that the problem is serious; they say, we will make it easy for men to apply for work; they add, we will do our best to supply a generous amount of money; but at the present moment they would be doing infinitely more for us, for London especially, if they would show us something, if possible national work, that our people may be employed upon.That was the important point at present. Hon. Members must not be misled by the quotation of large sums of money which were being thrown at distress committees. The distress committees wanted work, and the duty of the Government had been just as much to tell them how to provide work, because it could not be provided locally, though it could be provided nationally. They had no machinery for this. The right hon. Gentleman said they never had any complaints from distress committees. It all depended on what they meant by complaints. He was the Chairman of a committee of the Central Body, and they were constantly complaining about the right hon. Gentleman. He told them he had refused no deputation, but he had refused deputations from the Central Unemployed Body, and he had refused in answer to the hon. Member for Manchester to receive a deputation from the Municipal Corporations Association.
§ *MR. JOHN BURNS
That was not on the unemployed question at all. It was a question of electricity loans, as to 1703 whether the salaries of permanent officials and the wages of permanent men should be paid out of loans.
§ MR. CLYNES (Manchester, N.E.)
My information in connection with that deputation is entirely different.
§ *MR. RAMSAY MACDONALD
said he was not mistaken about the women's work deputation. The Board did not receive it, but requested them to put their demands in writing and the Board would consider them. But then that was not the only test. They would like to know whether any local authority entitled to appoint a distress committee under the Unemployed Workmen Act asked that a distress committee should be appointed and met with a refusal. A public authority responsible to electors was allowed to do certain things under an Act of Parliament provided the Local Government Board gave them sanction to do them, and if those authorities asked to be allowed to act under that Act, and if the Local Government Board refused to allow them, surely that was a complaint. The fact of the matter was that deputations had been refused—
§ *MR. JOHN BURNS
I am very reluctant to interrupt the hon. Gentleman. I see the Chairman of the Central Unemployed Body, and have done for the last three years on an average, between November and March, twice a week, and when I was asked to see him with two ladies in connection with women's workrooms, I assented. But it seems to me if I am always to be giving what time I have to spare to endless deputations, I cannot do the material work.
§ *MR. RAMSAY MACDONALD
said that if the right hon. Gentleman had stated he did not refuse any deputation which appeared to have a right to see him, they could understand. But his statement was much more absolute than that, and gave another impression to the House altogether. He left the matter as it was. The records were on the minutes of the Unemployed Body for anyone to look at. Their charge against the Government in connection 1704 with this proposal was that it had neglected all opportunities for meeting a crisis except by issuing a circular and asking certain local authorities to put work into operation. The Prime Minister, for instance, talked about elasticity. He had given them a pledge that the Act was going to be administered with more elasticity than before. The hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil asked for a consultative committee in order that the £300,000 might be administered by a committee of the Cabinet or an outside committee. He hoped they might criticise the Department without appearing to raise the question of the personal conduct of the head of the Department with whom they would be only too glad to work more harmoniously than he had allowed in the past. The two heads of the Local Government Board had been the most severe critics of that Board. He could remember the right hon. Gentleman in the old days using the initials L.G.B. for the purpose of pouring scorn and contempt upon Whitehall, and the hon. Member for West Ham had told them, within twelve months, that its methods were antiquated and its machinery difficult to move. The point that the Labour Party wanted to make was that they would have no elasticity in the administration of the Unemployed Workmen Act until a consultative committee had been appointed. Taking Hollesley Bay as an example—that establishment was started as an educational experiment and not for the purposes of relief work. It subsequently became mere task work, the heart went out of the men, and the superintendent would tell them what fatal results followed. A deputation went to the Local Government Board to ask to be allowed to carry out the original scheme, and were told by the President that it could not be allowed because there was no legal power to do it. A really live Local Government Board would have recognised that the success of the experiment depended upon its being an annexe to a small holdings settlement and would have undertaken to see that the facilities required for success were provided. Let them take, as another instance, the women's workroom; a correspondence was begun on 16th March—raising the question whether 1705 the committee could sell the stuff made at the room—which was not finished until 20th October. The Board objected to all the schemes.
§ *MR. RAMSAY MACDONALD
Well that was the interpretation of the committee as the correspondence abundantly showed. That was the sort of assistance the Local Government Board had given the committee. The cause and origin of all their complaints was the slowness, the want of sympathy, the sort of non possumus attitude that had characterised the administration of this Act by the Local Government Board. If the Prime Minister really wished to give the Labour Party a guarantee that there was going to be elasticity of administration, let him appoint a consultative committee on the lines of the Consultative Committee of the Board of Education. The money would not nearly meet the case then, and the work that was required before the money could be spent would then be provided by the Government. A circular ought to be issued to the distress committees pointing out what had been successful experiments and what had not. The circular issued during the last three or four days about which so much credit was being claimed by the Local Government Board was not nearly so helpful as the circular issued by Mr. Chamberlain in 1886.
§ *MR. JOHN BURNS
I have not issued any circular during the last three or four days. In reply to a question on Friday last I have issued a statement of the loans. I have not issued a circular similar to that issued in 1886, because experience between that date and now shows that if you issue such a circular it is only a signal to those out of work, and to those who do not want work to come to those particular districts from all parts of the kingdom to share it.
§ *MR. RAMSAY MACDONALD
said he saw a letter in the Press written by the right hon. Gentleman, and he understood it had been sent to several authorities. It was published in full, as sent to the London County Council, and he 1706 Certainly understood that it was generally sent out.
§ *MR. RAMSAY MACDONALD
asked why then had the Prime Minister told them that the Local Government Board had brought pressure to bear upon the local authorities. That had added to his confusion. The only way he could imagine the right hon. Gentleman bringing pressure to bear was to write a nice civil letter, and he assumed that such a letter had been written in the form of an ordinary Local Government Board circular. During the last three years some of the experiments had been miserable failures, sometimes because nature was against them. Some of those experiments had been a sort of half failure and half success. If the Local Government Board would issue a statement to the authorities that were going to be responsible for the expenditure of public money during this winter telling them, not what they ought to do theoretically and hypothetically, but what other authorities had done successfully and what they had failed to do, it would be of great benefit. They wanted the Local Government Board to take up the attitude, not only of negative critic but also of positive adviser at this moment. They wanted the Local Government Board, now that they were scientifically considering the administration of the Unemployed Workmen Act, to extend the experience of that administration. If that was done, there would be no vote of censure, or motions that meant a vote of censure moved from those benches. The fact of the matter was that hon. Members must accept the assumption that their experience of the last three years had made the Labour Party come to the conclusion that in the further administration of unemployed schemes the Local Government Board ought not to be held in absolute confidence. The Local Government Board as a department, as part of the administrative machine of this country, had forfeited the confidence of every strong-minded and strong-willed reformer in the country, and in order to restore confidence, some sort of positive and constructive action should be taken, 1707 and it was for the purpose of getting a statement to that effect that the Amendment had been moved.
§ MR. PICKERSGILL (Bethnal Green, S.W.)
said the House was not now considering what should be the permanent solution of the unemployed problem. The Prime Minister had promised to deal with that in the course of next session and nobody who heard the speech of the right hon. Gentleman on Wednesday last could doubt for a moment that he would carry out that promise. All that they had to consider now was how to get over the coming winter, and whether the proposals of the Government were adequate for that purpose. He wanted to say a word with regard to the question of loans, and particularly those loans to which the Prime Minister called special attention as having been sanctioned within the last few months, namely, those amounting to £1,500,000 which were to be spent on ordinary municipal work. The right hon. Gentleman said that these loans had been sanctioned upon the distinct understanding that the unemployed were to be put to work upon them. If that was so, it seemed to him that there was very serious risk of their employing the relatively unfit and of throwing the more expert and fit workmen out of their jobs. He was very happy indeed that those loans had been sanctioned, but so far as ordinary municipal work was concerned, or rather this addition to it, it ought in his opinion to flow through the ordinary channels. [An HON. MEMBER: "It will."] He had his misgivings, for the reason that these loans had been granted to the local authorities upon the distinct understanding that they were to go to the relief of the unemployed. Where were those responsible for the carrying out of the works going to look for their labour? Were they going to the registers of unemployed? If they were, he thought it would be a very mischievous thing. They ought rather to go to the labour yards, the builders' yards, or to the offices of the municipal authorities. This additional municipal work ought, as he had said, to flow through the ordinary channels, otherwise it might do harm rather than good. He hoped he was wrong, but he was afraid that as the result of the stipulation to which the 1708 Prime Minister drew attention with respect to these loans this supply of work would not flow through the ordinary channels. Ordinary municipal work was not proper work on which to put those who registered themselves as unemployed. For this purpose they ought to go outside of the ordinary routine work which municipalities performed. It seemed ridiculous to him to suggest that there was no work outside of ordinary municipal work which could be described in the best sense of the term as useful work that would increase the amenity of the district in which the work was done. It was said that there was a difficulty in finding that work. He suggested with great respect that Ministers should follow the precedent set at the time of the Manchester cotton famine in the early sixties, when Sir Robert Rawlinson was sent by the Government to Lancashire to see what useful work could be undertaken. Let the Government send selected and expert men—not officers of the Local Government Board, because that Department by its traditions and its association with Poor Law administration was disqualified from dealing with this problem—into the distressed localities, and there would be no difficulty in finding work of the kind which he had indicated—work which would not otherwise be done, and yet would be useful. What a large portion of the unemployed required was not only work but training. He had intended to refer at some length to the experiment at Hollesley Bay, but his hon. friend the Member for Leicester had already dealt with that subject. He might say that social reformers in the East End of London, and not especially those of the party to which he himself belonged, had regarded Hollesley Bay as a most promising experiment, but not so promising as it might have been if only the right hon. Gentleman had allowed it to be extended. The Central Body desired that it should be extended. On the last occasion on which the right hon. Gentleman spoke, just before the recess, he assumed an unsympathetic attitude towards those work people, and he quoted the chairman of the workrooms committee and conveyed to the House the impression that the chairman has spoken disparagingly of the work and thought little of it. A fortnight later 1709 the chairman in a letter to The Times stated that the right hon. Gentleman, no doubt unintentionally, had entirely misrepresented her own views on the subject. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would not discourage the use of these workrooms, but rather allow them to be extended. He wrote to the Press some time ago urging that the restrictions on the imposition of the rate under the Act of 1905 should be removed. When he made that suggestion he had mainly in view the case of London, because if it were applicable to these works it would produce a considerable sum. The Government refused to amend the Act in that direction. If it had been so amended the responsibility would have been thrown to a considerable extent on the local authorities. By refusing to do that the Government had taken a greater responsibility upon themselves. The case of London was particularly hard. The right hon. Gentleman had stated that in Leeds the voluntary subscriptions amounted to £20,000, while the amount which could be obtained in London in the shape of voluntary contributions was absolutely inappreciable. Last year only £572 was received. At the present time there were 17,000 names entered on the unemployed register. That was a fact which certainly ought to appeal to the Government. He wished to point out what happened last year. In Woolwich there were 1,658 applicants and only 283 were helped. In Camberwell there were 2,223 applicants and only 725 were helped. The local distress committees were very sore about the way in which they had been treated. [An HON. MEMBER: By whom?] By the Government's raising hopes and not fulfilling them. For instance, the local distress committees were urged to collect the names of those who required work, and they did so. That raised hopes in the minds of these poor people, and then they found that only a miserable percentage of the persons who applied could be relieved. In his own borough of Bethnal Green the council refused this year to appoint representatives to the distress committee altogether. He regretted that they had done so, but their action showed how they felt the difficulty of the position in which they 1710 were placed. On Wednesday last the Prime Minister used these words—There can be no doubt, I think, that during the present autumn and winter, if nothing is done, we shall be face to face with a large body of industrious men and women who, through no default of their own, find for the time no demand for their labour in the ordinary market, and who, unless steps be taken, must be compulsorily reduced to idleness and want. Sir, I need not say—speaking for a moment on behalf of the whole House—they have our profound sympathy. They have a right to demand, and it is our duty to give them, something more.Let the House note the gravity of that statement. It was really granting the whole case of the hon. Gentlemen on the Labour benches. Having accepted in that statement the principle of the right to employment, the Government ought to go further and find the means for making that acceptance operative. There was a most remarkable difference between the tone of the Prime Minister and that of the President of the Local Government Board. Nothing could exceed the gravity of the emergency in the opinion of the Prime Minister. His language was as grave as it was possible to be, but, from the speech of the President of the Local Government Board that night one would have thought that there was scarcely any emergency at all. In fact the President of the Local Government Board had never recognised the gravity of the case, and it was clear that he did not recognise it that night. He appealed most respectfully to the Prime Minister to give some assurance to the House before the debate closed that the spirit of the statement he had quoted would be carried out by the Government.
§ *MR. HELME (Lancashire, Lancaster)
congratulated the President of the Local Government Board on securing the help of the Admiralty and Board of Works in anticipating necessary expenditure, and said the work proposed to be given by the Government plan in different localities would be most helpful to the districts to which it applied. In the matter of unemployment prevention was better than cure, and that would be the case in respect to the provision of work now being arranged. He, however, urged the President of the Local Government Board to turn his attention to the 1711 case presented by the Deputation of Indian Railway Companies and other Indian traders last year in regard to the urgent want of railway stock on the Government and other railways in India. The deputation went fully into the question with Lord Morley, Secretary for India, and showed that £2,000,000 or £3,000,000 could be profitably spent in increasing the rolling stock for the Indian railways, which rolling stock could be made in this country. If the orders were now given for that rolling stock it would do away with the distress existing in towns dependent on that large industry. In the constituency he represented they felt very keenly the lack of employment ill consequence of the delay in placing work in that direction. He asked the President of the Local Government Board to continue the work done in other Departments by conferring with Lord Morley as to expediting work which might be done for the Indian Department.
§ MR. KETTLE (Tyrone, E.)
said they had heard a great deal about the spirit with which the Local Government Board had dealt with this question of employment. What was the spirit of the Irish Local Government Board? Had it any spirit at all? Ireland was not a great industrial country and the problem of unemployment did not arise in Ireland in the same shape as it did in England. In Ireland they had not solved the problem by the same would-be scientific methods as in England. There they had found a much simpler solution. They exported the unemployed to America. The people who could not find employment in Ireland made their way to Greenore or Queenstown and took tickets for the United States. In that way this country and the House were saved any effort to provide employment for them. Forty thousand went to the United States last year and 40,000 were going this year. That particular aspect of the question would be only solved when the Government had the courage to enter on a complete solution of the land question. Ireland, as he had said, was not a great industrial country, and when he saw the success of the system in such centres of light as Manchester he sometimes thanked God that Ireland was not a great industrial 1712 country. Nevertheless she had got some industries, and in his short experience he had never known such distress as Ireland was going through this winter. He was surprised that the hon. Gentlemen who represented the most benighted portion of Ireland were not present trying to do what they could for that magnificent industrial population in Ulster of which they heard so much. He wondered if they had heard of the acute depression in the linen trade. He noticed that a Question had been put as to how much of the £300,000 to be granted by the Government to assist unemployment was Belfast getting. That was the sum total of their interest in unemployment in Ireland. He did not profess to know or understand the great industrial community in the North of Ireland, but he knew that there was great distress in Belfast. He knew, however, something of the distress that existed in Dublin. West Ham and East Ham were always cited as examples of terribly poor communities in favour of which the English Local Government Board must dip its hands into the Imperial treasury. He thought in the poor Catholic districts of Ireland there was far acuter poverty than in West or East Ham. In Dublin there were 24,000 artisan and labouring families living in single-roomed tenements. The industrial depression had hit Dublin very hard. They had no statistics on the subject. They had no statistics in Ireland except of the number of the police and of the salaries of the judges. They had no satisfactory reports as to the administration of the Unemployed Act of 1905 in Ireland. They did not know what the Irish Local Government Board had succeeded in doing, or what they were going to do in regard to unemployment. All they knew was the information they obtained from living in Dublin, and all he could say was that this winter was going to be one of the very worst in recent experience in regard to distress. An official of the printers' trade union in Dublin told him that the men in that trade were generally well employed, but that at this moment 300 of them were out of work. And the same story could be told of every skilled and unskilled trade in Dublin. He agreed with his friends on the Labour 1713 benches as to the inadequacy of the plan of the Government. There were few men in Ireland, he thought, who would enlist in the Special Army Reserve. The working of the Unemployed Act in Ireland had been a failure. The total amount in aid of distress received in Ireland from the Imperial subvention was less than £5,000—less than the salary of a single Judge of the High Court. And why was that? It was because it was made a principle in order to secure an Imperial subsidy that they must either strike a rate or raise subscriptions in the locality. They could not do that in Ireland; certainly not in the small industrial towns with which he was acquainted. That was the policy of feeding a dog with his own tail, with the addition that in this case the dog had no tail on which to feed. It was an absolute mockery and derision to ask small towns like Dungannon to raise £500 locally on the chance of getting £1,000 by way of subvention from the Imperial fund. Was there any fixed ratio between the amount of the Imperial contribution and the amount raised locally? He found that it was £3 to £1 in West Ham, and only £2 to £1 in Dublin. But supposing they succeeded in Ireland in raising money in many of these towns, who was to be responsible for its administration? Who was going to see that Ireland got her share of the £300,000? He wanted to know if the Government had got any information, any statistics, or any policy whatever with regard to unemployment in the industrial centres of Ireland. His belief was that it had not. The impression that the debate had made on him was something in the nature of the effect that it had had on their absent friend the Member for Colne Valley in regard to English unemployment. England knew nothing about it; she cared nothing about it. He did not know at this moment whether the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board for England knew anything about it, but he felt somewhat at home when he found the English Local Government Board as unpopular as that of Ireland. He did not know if Ireland got £4,500 last year. He came over to Parliament 1714 without being himself interested in the progress of the Licensing Bill. He came over to try and discover whether the Irish Government had any policy as regards unemployment in Ireland, and above all whether it had any money and if so, how much? His theory was that unemployment in Ireland as it affected rural districts was due to the land question, and that the English people were doing nothing to solve the question. Neither was the Government. The only people endeavouring to solve the question were the cattle-drivers. Their theory was that unemployment in the industrial centres of Ireland was due to political arrangements in that country. They had got a solution, but it was not free trade or protection, but Home Rule. Although he might have seemed to have slipped into levity he wanted serious action, if there was any within the precincts of the House, as affecting the unemployment question in Ireland.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I do not wish to deal with the Irish aspect of this problem which has been referred to by the last speaker, because there are other things on which I desire to speak which do not touch one portion of the United Kingdom in contradistinction to another portion, or to the exclusion of another portion. I have to deal with a problem belonging equally to every part of the kingdom to which we belong. I hope the Prime Minister has noticed that we have now reached a period of the evening when it is by custom necessary for the Leader of the Opposition to get up and speak from the point of view of his friends. So far, not a single one of his friends has had an opportunity of speaking except my right hon. friend who was so long connected with Local Government Board work. I do not believe such an event has occurred before in our Parliamentary history. The magnitude, complexity, and importance of the questions are not likely to be denied in any part of the House, and that the regular Opposition should only have been allowed to have one speech before the Leader of the Opposition gets up at a quarter to ten o'clock is, I believe, absolutely without parallel. It is most deplorable that the Government should 1715 not have found an opportunity of giving us a second day on this question. Ground for that statement is surely to be found in the condition of ignorance in which we, on this side of the House, and, let me add, Gentlemen on the other side of the House, necessarily find themselves on the present occasion. I put in a plea when the Prime Minister made his speech the other day that we should be allowed rather more than the four days which have actually elapsed before this debate was taken, because I knew from my not very brief Parliamentary experience that it would be quite impossible to elicit from the Government by Monday all the information which was necessary to enable us to discuss the question in an intelligent fashion. The right hon. Gentleman's statement was made on Wednesday, and any questions put down later than Thursday could not appear in the Paper till to-morrow. Therefore it was perfect folly to suppose that we could enter upon this thorny topic armed with the information necessary to form a judgment upon it. Hon. Gentlemen below the gangway thought they were helping their cause by suggesting that the debate should come on as early as possible, and the Government, I need hardly say, enthusiastically seconded the proposal to hurry on the debate, not because the date of the debate would affect the unemployed, because what the Government is doing is done irrespective of this debate. It was not because a single man would be injured by having the debate next Thursday or next Monday, as I suggested, but simply because they saw that the earlier the debate came on, the less would be the meagre information at our disposal. Nothing was pressing except that the Government should get over the question, and, in consequence of the happy alliance between the Government and those who moved the vote of censure, we approach this topic in a greater state of ignorance of the facts with which we have to deal than I suppose has ever occurred before in dealing with such a question. At Question time I asked the Prime Minister to give the best information he could in regard to the extent of the distress, the character of the distress, and the classes of workmen thrown out of employment; but the Prime Minister frankly admitted that he could not give 1716 me any information. How on earth we are to approach this discussion when the Government themselves, who have framed these proposals, admit that they have not in their possession the facts on which alone a proper judgment can be formed, passes my understanding.
If I turn from the circumstances of the debate to the debate itself, I can only add my tribute to the tribute already paid by my right hon. friend to the peculiar character of the two speeches made in favour of the Resolution which in its terms passes so enthusiastic an eulogy upon His Majesty's Government. I suppose the Whips of the Party selected the Gentlemen as sponsors for this unmeasured expression of confidence, but I admit that I think they have chosen extremely badly. There was a perfunctory tribute to the eloquence of the Prime Minister which was really not in question—it is commonly admitted on both sides—but as for any praise of the Government's policy, I really heard none at all. Not only were these two Gentlemen very cold and grudging commentators on the Government's policy, but they could not even agree among themselves. The mover of the Motion began his speech by an observation which seemed to be a preface to a tariff reform discussion—a subject with which we have no reluctance to deal—if the Government desire to give us a day to do so. The hon. Gentleman turned to commentaries which really seemed to me even more inappropriate than those with which he began. He began by saying that he thought the burden of dealing with the unemployed should not fall on the rates, but he thanks the Government for having introduced a plan throwing a burden on the rates. His second observation was that economic law had been under the tutelage of the present Government entirely abolished, for which he was taken to task by the seconder. He went on to say that what we ought to do was to have a free and ungrudging recourse to relief works. If there is one thing upon which the vehement and courageous orator who presides over the Local Government Board insists, it is that relief works are an abomination, that they are corruptive, demoralising, and costly. That is his comment on the admirable plans for finding employment. 1717 To do the seconder justice, he was more careful. He said nothing very violent against the Government. After a preface in which he hoped that this would not be treated as a arty question, he told us that, after all, the arty to which we belong had done nothing in the question of unemployment, but he congratulated us upon at last showing an interest in the subject. He then went into a survey of the economical history of the last seventy years, and posed as a sort of apostle of the philosophic Radical Party. Indeed, I heard a quotation from John Stuart Mill, which the hon. Member seemed to suppose supported his contentions. As a matter of fact, the philosophic Radicals of whom the hon. Member is a distinguished representative have always, until the hon. Gentleman spoke to-night, vehemently opposed the policy of the Government. I am not going to dispute economics with the hon. Gentleman, but I may make this observation, that it is on the Act—for good or for evil—passed by the late Government that the whole proposals of the present Government are founded. It is on the Act passed by the late Government that all the references in regard to labour bureaux and the interchange of labour, of which, personally, I have the greatest hope—on that Act all these proposals are founded. I can see nothing novel in what the present Government are doing, except in certain particulars to which I may be allowed to advert. I am sure the Government themselves will not assert there is anything new, except in the particulars upon which I will say a word, worthy of consideration. What are the novelties to which I refer? There is, in the first place, the Post Office. I do not remember that we claim any credit for the work done by the Post Office for dealing with temporary unemployment, and I cannot quite make out what the present Government are doing. I believe an hon. Gentleman below the Gangway said the Post Office proposals were a fraud, but I do not associate myself with that rather vehement Statement. I will content myself with saying they are microscopic and negligible. It seems that in London, where the difficulty is deeply felt, they are going to add 300 men to the number they used last year, when, we are told, trade was booming 1718 and every labourer could find employment. That was the kind of argument used last year. Yes, I remember it quite well; it was said in connection with tariff reform during discussion; but hon. Gentleman do not bring their statements into harmony one with the other. It is really extraordinary that the Prime Minister, exhibiting in his shop window all the good things that are to be, or might be used, should give such a prominent place to this insignificant figure of 300 whom the Post Office are going to help.
§ *THE POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Mr. SYDNEY BUXTON,) Tower Hamlets, Poplar
Will the right hon. Gentleman allow me to explain that what the Prime Minister referred to was a change in the policy of the Post Office, by which we departed from the custom of taking on for extra work at Christmas men who are partially employed, and are engaging as far as possible those who are wholly out of other employment? That is what we are carrying out this year, and the system will be extended to the provinces. The Central Unemployed Committee have been informed that we have placed at their disposal 1,500 places; and, in addition to these, many thousands, probably, in London and the provinces will be taken from the unemployed.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I do not see how the right hon. Gentleman's interruption—the quite courteous and relevant interruption—agrees with the figures he gave us at Question time. The right hon. Gentleman stated at Question time that he was going to employ 8,000 this year, and that last year he employed 7,700. I believe that by all the rules of arithmetic 7,700 taken from 8,000 leaves 300.
§ *MR. SYDNEY BUXTON
The position I want to make clear is that we shall in the coming Christmas, as last Christmas, as far as possible employ wholly unemployed men instead of men who are doing other work.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
It now becomes clear that in order to employ more unemployed the right hon. Gentleman is 1719 going to displace some employed. Let me tell the hon. Gentleman opposite who says I am unfair that I was here at Question time and he was not. If there has been any misrepresentation it has not been wilful, but has been due entirely to the right hon. Gentleman himself. But I pass from that, which seems to be a small matter from every point of view, including the point of view of the unemployed. I turn to another of the novelties which the Government have introduced into their scheme. With regard to shipbuilding, I understand what they say is that if the Navy required certain ships at once they would have been ordered at once, but that what they have done is to order ships before they are required in order to meet the case of the unemployed.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. MCKENNA,) Monmouthshire, N.
The ships will no be finished any sooner.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The First Lord of the Admiralty has anticipated the precise criticism I was going to make upon this proposal. Everybody who knows anything of shipbuilding knows that there is no more costly way of building battleships, cruisers, or destroyers than that of expanding the period during which they are being built. If there is one matter upon which all Boards of Admiralty have been agreed it is that when you begin a ship you cannot go on with it too quickly in the interest of efficiency.
§ MR. MCKENNA
The amount of time involved is that of forestalling the laying down of the ships by some six or seven weeks. By that means the contractors, before 31st March, will have spent £200,000, which means the employment of from 7,000 to 8,000 men. But the laying down seven or eight weeks earlier of contracts which last a couple of years does not materially affect the completion of the ships by more than three or four weeks one way or the other.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
This again shows the desirability of giving more time to the discussion of this matter. If time availed, I should like to ask the 1720 right hon. Gentleman how an alteration which makes only three weeks difference in the time of the completion of the ships gives additional employment to 8,000 men. After the explanation of the two right hon. Gentlemen opposite, I am, indeed, surprised that the Post Office does so much and gets so little, and that the Admiralty does so little and gets so much. Now I come to the last of the exceptional methods which the Government have devised for dealing with the crisis, and those are the two plans which are due to the ingenuity of the Secretary of State for War. One of the plans deals with the Special Reserve, and the other with the Reservists. As regards the Reservists, the right hon. Gentleman made a brief but clear speech in the dinner hour in which he told us that the absence from this country of 10,000 Reservists, whom we might require in the case of an emergency, carried with it no danger, in view of the fact that our Reserve is now above its normal limit. There may be some truth in that. Again we have no opportunity of pressing the right hon. Gentleman. Here is a problem started upon us in the middle of a debate which deals with one-tenth or one-twelfth of our Reserves—the Reserves upon which the whole efficiency of our Army depends. We hear nothing of it until seven o'clock in the evening, and get no explanation till the right hon. Gentleman gives us one at 8.30 p.m. when the House was extremely thin, and a matter which really concerns the whole defensive interests of the country is dismissed without the majority of the House having the smallest conception of what has been done. I turn from the Reserve to the Special Reservists. Again the Prime Minister showed almost superhuman ingenuity in displaying his goods in the shop-window. When I read his first utterances outside the House, and when I heard him in the House last Wednesday, I thought there was some new arrangement of the War Office which was going to give an extra amount of employment to a most deserving class of His Majesty's subjects. I cannot discover that there is to be any change at all. The Government are not going to ask for any more men, they are not going to ask for them under different conditions, and they are not going to 1721 give them more pay. What have they done for the unemployed which they did not do last year or the year before? I have been interrupted by two right hon. Gentlemen. I should be most gladly interrupted by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War, if he will tell me what they have done by these announcements except advertise their Army scheme.
§ *MR. HALDANE
Nothing would have induced me to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman excepting his pressing invitation. We have opened up the Army Service Corps and the Army Medical Corps, which are necessary for the mobilisation of the Expeditionary Force. That is the change we make.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I understand now that doctors are out of employment. I was left in some difficulty and confusion by the other two interruptions, but both the Postmaster-General and the First Lord of the Admiralty were lucidity itself in comparison to the Secretary for War. It appears that the War Secretary has done nothing, but he has advertised two things. He has advertised the fact that men may enter the Special Reserve, and he has given special emphasis to the fact that by paying £3 they may get out of it. By entering the Special Reserve, they get all the wonderful things promised them—1s. a day, admirable food, excellent and delightful lodgings—and while they get all these admirable things, if they pay £3 the country gets nothing. I cannot make out by this precise advertisement whether the right hon. Gentleman wanted to fill his Army scheme or to empty it. I have the advertisement here. He emphasised the fact that a recruit in ordinary circumstances is allowed to purchase his discharge at any time for £3. That was in the advertisement which the right hon. Gentleman perhaps very properly put in the papers to give publicity to the Army scheme. But what has this got to do with the unemployed? I have gone through all the three things which His Majesty's present advisers have done outside the Act we passed in 1905, and, the House will agree with me, I find them all wanting. I cannot see 1722 that the smallest benefit or anything more than the smallest and most microscopical benefit is done to any of the unemployed by anything in the plan of the Government.
I come to another point on which I wish to ask a few questions. The Government made a considerable point of having altered, not the Bill brought in by Mr. Gerald Balfour, but the regulations passed by the Local Government Board when he was President of that Board. They have given no justification for those relaxations at all. Avowedly and obviously, the Act of 1905 was so novel an experiment that any Government would have been justified in proceeding cautiously and tentatively with such a great problem, and nobody could have complained if their successors, after three or four years experience of the Act, had desired a change, or required some modification. But I think that the change should, at all events, have been argued by the Government. Not a single word has been said, so far as I know, either by the Prime Minister last Wednesday or by the President of the Local Government Board to-day, justifying that change. The reason I brought this up is not in the least because it is a change from what was proposed in 1905, but because I think it does really raise a rather important point. The two regulations which they have abolished are these. It was laid down in the Regulations of 1905, in the first place, that no man who had received Poor Law relief was eligible under the schema of 1905. It was laid down, in the second place, that no man should obtain relief under the Act of 1905 if he had received relief in each of the last two years. Now what were the objects of those regulations? They were to keep perfectly clear the distinction between the man in regular work, the skilled artisan on the one hand, and the casual labourer—the man who is not only unemployed but unemployable—on the other. It was intended to distinguish between the workman by some accident temporarily thrown out of employment and the unhappily large class who are either casual labourers through no fault of their own, or who, through fault of their own, are unfit for anything but casual work. Now that was a good object, and I think we 1723 ought to be told quite clearly why those two regulations have been abolished. Observe the particular kind of evil which pressed upon us so acutely in 1905. It was this, that if a man in regular work, sober, industrious, skilful in his occupation, found himself by a temporary accident thrown out of employment, and he was driven to the workhouse, his family was broken up, his home life was utterly destroyed, and he and those belonging to him were on an incline leading to hopeless demoralisation and perpetual pauperism. Ours was a real attempt to deal with want of employment of the employable, and it was to differentiate their case—however crudely and ineffectually—from that of the persons for whom the ordinary Poor Law exists that we laid down these regulations. This really does touch a vital problem, with which we have got to deal and which, be it remembered, is at least twofold. What we have to deal with in the future in this country is, in the first place, the problem of the artisan or the labourer thrown out accidentally by one of those changes in trade, alterations in public confidence—whatever that may be—which make for prosperity or adversity, and we want to have that man protected from the consequences for which he was not responsible, so that when better times come he can return uninjured to his normal life. That problem is absolutely different, and must be dealt with on wholly different lines, from the problem of the drifting population — those who, through faults of their own sometimes, do not deserve continuous employment. If you obliterate that distinction, you do infinite harm. You apply to the undeserving a rule which ought only to be applied to the deserving; and I think you encourage a certain class of employer, who ought to be utterly distinct—the employer, who at the favourable times of the year looks to have at his disposal a vast amount of labour competing for employment, but who is quite delighted to throw them upon the municipality or the taxpayer during the months when he does not want them. I am afraid that by this rather rash alteration of the rule you have obliterated the distinction between those two problems, and, in doing so, I do not think that you 1724 have done a good thing in the interests of that which we all have at heart. I could not for the life of me bring together or get into one picture, or one focus, the general view the President of the Local Government Board laid down about relief works, demoralisation, and the necessity of the poor laying by for an evil day—with all which I have the profoundest sympathy—and the actual proposals of the Government. I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that I listened with sympathy to his speech, and I admired, as I always admire, his courage, but I could not make a coherent theory out of the various fragments he laid before us; I could not see in one picture his views of the demoralisation which relief works necessarily produced, and the scheme of relief works which he is going to carry out largely at the cost of the local authorities. Perhaps the Prime Minister will be able to bring these various utterances into harmony and show that concord exists where I see only chaos and discontinuous atoms unconnected by any general law. That brings me to a question I particularly want to ask the Government. The Prime Minister, speaking on Wednesday, detailed at great length and immense elaboration a catalogue of the kind of loans which had been sanctioned by the President of the Local Government Board. The Prime Minister's view, in short, is that loans are the proper way of providing for work which may or may not be of utility, which may be electric tramways, or sewers, or also ponds. He thinks the proper way to deal with these is by loan. Yet the right hon. Gentleman particularly has explained that the one thing which is criminal is to carry out any permanent works by loan.
§ THE PRIME MINISTER AND FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. ASQUITH,) Fifeshire, E.
I never said anything of the kind.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Which is the part of my statement to which the right hon. Gentleman objects? If it is the word "criminal" I withdraw that.
§ MR. ASQUITH
No, Sir, not at all. I do not object to the right hon. Gentleman's trick of rhetoric. The statement 1725 I refer to is that I said it was wrong to carry out permanent works under any circumstances by loan. I never said anything of the kind.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I will say then now in more detail what I think he has said. I assert that in the last Parliament, when we were in office, and subsequently on many occasions, the right hon. Gentleman has made it the boast of the present Government that they were going to abolish the system of loans by which in the time of the late Government certain naval and military works were carried out. Then does it turn on "naval and military?" It cannot turn on the word "permanent." All these works which the right hon. Gentleman boasts he hopes to be able to carry out are all permanent, from the tramway to the pond. Is it to be supposed, therefore, that it turns on the fact that they are naval and military? Why is naval and military work not to be carried out by loan if other works are carried out by loan? Why is a work which touches the defence of the country or the health and comfort of your soldiers not to be carried out by loan if other works, perhaps less valuable, are so carried out? There are no works more fitted for loans than naval and military works. There is a naval work lying at the hands of the Government at this moment, and the necessity for which they have admitted. I refer to the new naval base at Rosyth. That requires by common admission an immense amount of labour. Why has the Prime Minister not said a word about Rosyth? Why has he refused to borrow himself? I can imagine no reason except the worst reason of all—namely, that he has too accurate a memory for his old speeches on this subject, and that he is unwilling to violate the principle which he has laid down a hundred times with reference to Imperial Government, and which he thinks has no application whatever when you are dealing with the ratepayer.
Now I come to another point on which I wish some further information. One of the things all of us are most afraid of in these suggestions is that you may do a thing which is socially and economically injurious—namely, that you turn an expert in one trade in which he is qualified 1726 to produce excellent work, into one in which he is unqualified to do such work by physical inaptitude and training. The worst of these relief works is this. There is no security that they are suited to the kind of people out of employment. I ask the Prime Minister whether he can tell us what the kind of person out of employment is to do, and I should like to compare him with the relief works to be started. The right hon. Gentleman has told us about Bradford and that the woollen trade there is bad at the present time, throwing a great many men out of employment.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The right hon. Gentleman gave us little information, and he must excuse me for making inferences which are natural and legitimate, if inaccurate. He said there was great distress at Bradford, and I assumed it was the staple trade of Bradford. You cannot evidently help any one engaged in the staple trade of Bradford by making a pond at Bradford. What you have to do is to make that demand for labour suit the character of the people who want employment. I was told of a case the other day—which I got on report, but which I believe to be true—as to a tender made in Wolverhampton for railway material for the Indian Government. There was doubt whether the contract would go to Wolverhampton or Germany. Ultimately it went to Germany. Of course, the Indian Government must buy in the cheapest market under our existing system. Under our system I do not think they have any alternative. But observe. It would have been incomparably cheaper for the ratepayers of Wolverhampton to have paid the difference between the German contract and the Wolverhampton contract and kept these skilled workmen doing work for which they were competent, carrying with it employment for shopkeepers and for the large number of unskilled workmen in the district, and all the collateral occupations which skilled labour carries with it. The Government, from some pedantry I cannot explain, would much rather, apparently, that the Wolverhampton ratepayers paid to make these 1727 skilled workmen dig a pond than enable them to go on with the work for which they were really qualified. Is that defended by the Government, and, if so, on what principle? The truth is that nothing is more obvious to anybody who has listened to the debates in this House than that the old doctrine—half believed in, half disbelieved in now, on the other side—that all you have to think of is the consumer, is wholly abandoned. You are not thinking of the consumer any more. The present Local Government Board induces localities to make buildings in the winter time when everybody knows that winter is not the best time. Where does the consumer come in? The First Lord of the Admiralty does not think of the consumer. Nobody thinks of the consumer when dealing with the unemployed. They only think of him when discussing the fiscal question. I differ from the hon. Gentleman the Member for Preston in many things, but he would be, I think, the first to admit that the logic the Government adopt in this matter is a logic wholly inconsistent with free trade—as, at all events, Preston understands it. What you are doing under this policy is, you are making the taxpayer, who includes the poorest of the poor, and the ratepayer, who includes the poorest of the poor, not buy the best goods in the cheapest market, but the worst goods in the dearest market. I am pointing out, as the hon. Gentleman would see if he had done me the honour of listening to me, that the orthodox, or what used to be the orthodox, doctrine, that the community was best served by never turning your eye on the producer but by keeping your gaze on the consumer and on the consumer only, is blown to atoms by the whole policy of the Government. They have abandoned it, and my complaint is that having abandoned it they have not abandoned it wisely. They have not abandoned it in a way to secure the object we all have at heart. They have not done their best to see that, although you make the consumer, as ratepayer or as taxpayer, pay more for the goods than he would otherwise have to pay, you should at all events so contrive your arrangements that every producer and every productive agent should be able to use the gifts which 1728 God has given him, and the education with which he has been supplied by the State, to the very best possible advantage. They have not done that. They have not even tried to do that, and I do not see myself how they can, after this, go about the country explaining to everybody that the only way of really producing prosperity which shall touch every class of the community, and especially the working man, is by seeing that the price of a particular commodity should regulate the whole policy of this country. It does not regulate policy under their own management when they are dealing with one part of the social question, and you cannot dissociate the different parts of the social question by any arbitrary division. The hon. Gentleman below the gangway who interrupted me just now seemed to think that I was going into the fiscal question. I am not going to do so because it is really not relevant to the plan which we have been deliberately told by the Government is merely a passing expedient, a temporary anodyne. I believe myself that fiscal reform has a great bearing upon permanent employment in this country. I do not pretend, and I have never pretended, that it can avoid those oscillations that are due to changes of expectation on the part of the producing community, those alternate waves of sanguineness and discouragement which, following some law which has never been fully explained by economists, passes in excessive waves over the face of the economic world. But while I do not think that any expedient can wholly obliterate those changes and those alterations, with all the ill-consequences that follow from them, I do think, and I believe it can be shown, that fiscal reform does produce a steadiness of employment. I agree with the President of the Lord Government Board when he told us that the causes affecting this question are so numerous and so complex that it would be folly to point to any one and say: "That is responsible for the whole." I quite agree. It cannot be so; but I do say that there is one cause for which we are justified in making the Government directly and personally responsible. That is the lack of confidence which all they do and all they say inevitably inspires, perhaps wrongly, but inevitably inspires, 1729 in the general community. By common consent, security is the basis of all industrial progress, and I charge the Government with having done all they could to destroy that security by rash proposals and by rash sayings. One gentleman will tell you that the proper plan of dealing with the question is to go for the richest men in the community. Another gentleman—I am not sure it is not the same gentleman—talks of robbing the hen-roosts when you are in a difficulty. You have gentlemen below the gangway—I see a whole lot of them—who believe that the whole solution of the question of poverty and unemployment is to be found in robbing the landlords.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I put it from the point of view of the landlords. The traveller and the highwayman deal with the same problem, though they may look at it from somewhat different or indeed, opposite, points of view. The legislation on which we spend, week in and week out, almost all our time at present is open to the same kind of criticism. It is very difficult to say what a Government can do for unemployment; it is easy to say what they ought not to do. The present Government have done all that they could do, apart from substantive legislation passed into law, to shake that public confidence which is at the basis of successful industry. I do not care what system you have, whether a Socialistic or an individualistic system as at present, you must hive confidence in it. You have shaken that confidence quite unnecessarily, and upon your heads lies some part of the great responsibility for the difficulty in which the country now finds itself.
§ MR. ASQUITH
The right hon. Gentleman began and ended the speech which he has just delivered—a speech which I venture to say is in marked contrast both in tone and in temper with that of his colleague who addressed us earlier in the evening—with topics of prejudice which, without any disrespect to him, I think I may treat with the brevity which they deserve. ["Oh, oh."] 1730 He made in his peroration two remarkable statements: one of a positive and the other of a negative kind. The positive statement was that fiscal reform would give steadiness of employment. Before we either assent to or deny that proposition, we should like to know that which still remains an inscrutable mystery tightly locked in the breast of the right hon. Gentleman—what does he mean by fiscal reform? He told us next in his peroration that the degree of intensity of unemployment from which we are now suffering in this country was largely due to the want of confidence inspired by the policy of the legislation of the present Government. Sir, does the right hon. Gentleman suppose that that phenomenon of unemployment is peculiar to this country?
§ MR. ASQUITH
Will the hon. Gentleman who says that it is worse take a Voyage across the Atlantic? Let him go to the United States. Let him go to the State of New York. Let him go to any of the eastern States, or, for that matter, to the western States.
§ MR. BONAR LAW
May I interrupt? Will the right hon. Gentleman, then, kindly explain why so many of our citizens are going to America now? [Cries of "And not returning."]
§ MR. ASQUITH
I do not think that that is a very relevant question. [Cries of "Oh."] My point is this, that the degree of intensity of unemployment is quite as great as, and, indeed, greater than, in this country, and when the right hon. Gentleman talks of it as a striking phenomenon due to the want of confidence inspired by the present Government, does he compare the figures of unemployment now with those of years gone by in our own country?
§ MR. ASQUITH
Yes, we have the figures of the trade unions. Was Lord Beaconsfield an enemy to capital and confidence? Yet in 1879, when he was 1731 Prime Minister, the figures were much higher than now. Was Lord Salisbury an enemy to capital and confidence? Yet in 1887, when he was Prime Minister, the percentage was much greater. No, Sir, there is no fallacy more childish. I repeat that these changes are due to what the right hon. Gentleman in a better inspired moment described as the oscillation of trade and the general economic conditions of the world rather than to the action of particular Governments. Let me now come back to the beginning of his sepech. His first complaint was as to the date for which this debate was fixed. So far as I can gather, he had a double complaint. The first was that we did not adjourn it until a later date, and the next that we have not allowed it to occupy a longer time. These may be reasonable enough suggestions if we were professing to bring forward anything in the nature of a permanent definite solution of the problem of unemployment; but we are doing, as the right hon. Gentleman admits, nothing of the kind. I endeavoured to explain, with, I hope, sufficient clearness for most people to understand, the outlines of our proposals on Wednesday last. They have not been in any degree modified or supplemented by what has been said to-day, and although the right hon. Gentleman makes a covert attack on them, neither he nor his colleagues on that bench have ventured to put on the Paper any Resolution in opposition to them.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I understand that this began as a contest between the President of the Local Government Board and hon. Gentlemen below the gangway, and I did not know whether Mr. Speaker would or would not have considered, in such circumstances, that the front Opposition bench should have precedence. In any case, I did not think it right to intervene between them.
§ MR. ASQUITH
We shall see presently what the right hon. Gentleman does when we come to the division lobbies. Then, again, he complained, and I was rather amused that he should have made it a complaint, that my two hon. friends the mover and seconder of the Resolution, had not shown proper warmth and enthusiasm in their references to the 1732 Government. I do not know what his standard of temperature in that matter is. He has had a long and very varied experience. Speaking for myself and my colleagues, I wish to assure him that we are perfectly satisfied with the measure of warmth shown by my hon. friends.
I pass from that to the more substantial criticisms which the right hon. Gentleman has offered on our proposals. I will deal very briefly with what he has said with regard to the different Government Departments. The Post Office is making a very substantial contribution towards this question, because not only is it bringing into employment during this special and critical season a large number of persons who would otherwise be entirely unemployed, but it is abolishing overtime. As regards the War Office and the Reservists who are serving abroad, the Secretary of State has disposed of that; but, if necessary, I will do so again. The action taken by the War Office in this matter is in pursuance of the direct authority conferred by an Act of Parliament which was passed by the present House of Commons, and received two years ago the Royal Assent; and which, so far as I know, was never seriously opposed either in this House or the other. As a matter of fact, if you look at the defensive necessities of the nation, as my right hon. friend pointed out, the total number of Reservists who could possibly, under the strongest and most extreme emergency, be called for, is 117,000. As a matter of fact, he has now in his Reserve 134,000. What harm is he doing; to what peril is he exposing the defensive forces of this country, when he allows 6,000 of these men to reside in our Colonies, instead of adding to that long and dismal procession, to which my right hon. friend the President of the Local Government Board referred, of Reservists who are compelled to tramp the country and take their nightly lodging in the casual ward of the workhouse? As regards the Special Reserve, I need say no more than that it has always been part of the right hon. Gentleman's scheme—a scheme framed partly in view of these industrial exigencies to which we are now exposed—that instead of the old Militia training, which took place in the summer, it should take place in the winter, when the demand for labour falls 1733 short of the supply; and that he has this year added to the opportunities to men in that Special Reserve the openings of the Army Medical Corps and the other corps to which he has referred. Then we come to the Admiralty. The right hon. Gentleman refers to what has been done by the First Lord of the Admiralty as a microscopic, contribution. Is it regarded as microscopic by the people engaged in the shipbuilding industry in this country? A sum of £2,500,000 in shipbuilding contracts is let loose six weeks earlier than it would have been otherwise available, and £200,000 is to be expended in wages on the Clyde and the other rivers where our shipbuilding industry is located. Whether it hastens or does not hasten the delivery of the ships, what it does do is to meet a temporary emergency and employ a large sum of public money at the right moment for the right purpose. It is better to bring these things to a point. Let me compare the contributions which the Government is making from central resources—I am not speaking of the local authorities at all—to the tiding-over of the difficulties of this winter, with the contribution which was made last year. Last year the whole sum was £145,000—that is, the amount of Parliamentary grant actually expended. This year we have a grant of £300,000; War Office expenditure, £200,000; Admiralty expenditure, £273,000; and expenditure by other Departments which may fairly be put at something like £27,000. In other words, we have a total expenditure on the part of the central Departments and the Executive of £800,000 compared with £145,000. I venture to say to hon. Gentlemen below the gangway who may be disposed to belittle the efforts of the Government that that is a very substantial addition to anything which has ever been done before.
I pass to what the right hon. Gentleman said about our dealings with the local authorities, the policy of loans, and so forth. As regards the policy of loans, I can assure him that my withers are entirely unwrung. I have never said, and no responsible politician in this country has ever said, that under no circumstances is it right for the Imperial Government to borrow money for works of a permanent character, 1734 whether connected with the Navy, the Army, or the Civil Service. What we did say, and what I repeat, is that under the late Administration the habit of borrowing money for expenses which ought to have been defrayed out of revenue was erected into a system. The result was that large parts of our naval and military expenditure never passed under the review of Parliament, and, being withdrawn from review, the money expended was to a great extent wasted on works temporary in their character, and many of them of dubious or no utility at all, and it was high time to return to the sound system which regulated our finance in the days of Mr. Gladstone, the payment of the current expenditure of the year out of the current revenue. I believe that to be a perfectly sound doctrine and consistent with borrowing for temporary emergencies and with regard to permanent works when such necessity may arise. My right hon. friend pointed out that the burden of the expenditure now authorised to be defrayed out of loans charged on rates and raised by local authorities in so far as they are not works of a permanent and remunerative character falls upon the ratepayers in the immediate future. When the right hon. Gentleman asks me what is the character of the works, when he takes the case of Bradford and Wolverhampton, my answer is very simple. The character of the works, subject, of course, to a power of veto on the part of the Local Government Board, in the case of obvious improvidence, is determined by the request of the local authorities, who know their local circumstances better than we do and whose ratepayers will in the long run have to pay for them. The right hon. Gentleman cited the case of Wolverhampton, as to which, I think, he has been singularly misinformed. The contract was a contract for screws for Indian railways. Belgian firms—not German firms—tendered at a much lower price than the English firms. The Wolverhampton firms were invited to the India Office and offered reconsideration, but they refused to reduce their price to the Belgian level or near it, and they refused to guarantee delivery. Could any responsible Minister, whether 1735 he sat upon that bench or upon this, in these circumstances recommend the acceptance of the English tender? Everybody knows he could not. Any Minister would have been guilty of a breach of trust if he had taken any other course. The right hon. Gentleman takes a further point—namely, the relaxations which my right hon. friend proposes in the old regulations of the Local Government Board in regard to labour of this kind. I could not quite gather whether he objected to it or not, but I certainly understood the right hon. Gentleman who sits beside him was inclined to agree. Certainly in our opinion they are necessary. They are first to allow assistance to be given in proper cases to persons who have received Poor Law relief in the last twelve months. Is that objected to? Secondly, to remove the disqualifications of persons assisted under the Act during each of the last two years. I have been told of cases in which men who have been employed for two or three days in the first year and in the second period for comparatively a short time, and by reason of that these men were disqualified from receiving employment. I do not believe there is a man who would not say that that is a pedantic and wholly unjustifiable interpretation of the regulation. I want to bring this matter to a point, not by going into these comparatively small questions of detail, but by asking the House to consider what are really the propositions which we laid before them and for which the Motion asks approval to-night. The first proposition is this: Whatever may be the causes of it, there is in this country at this moment a prevalence of unemployment, exceptional alike in range of distribution and in intensity of hardship. In view of that state of things—I do not go into figures and I do not enter into controversy with the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil—in view of that admitted state of things, the Government think that we need not be, and ought not to be, too minutely analytic and, still less, too austerely judicial in measuring the responsibility and in apportioning praise or blame. Which of us, who examines his own antecedents, is so assured in his own mind of his own rectitude as to entitle him to cast the first stone? That is our first proposition. The second proposition is this: That it is 1736 essential in any measures proposed, whether they be temporary measures or measures of long duration, to maintain, and maintain clearly and distinctly, the dividing line between unemployment and pauperism, between those who are for the time being victims of the present industrial dislocation and those who for one reason or another require to be regarded as subjects for treatment, punitive, curative, corrective, or penal, of a more lasting, or possibly even of a permanent, character. I say, further, after laying down these propositions, in the measures actually proposed by the Government, which profess to be no more than tentative and provisional—these distinctions are carefully preserved. Our measures aim at organising and co-ordinating our immediate available resources, central and local, so as to give in the widest area immediate and effective relief with the minimum risk of demoralisation and humiliation, and without prejudice to our ultimate policy. Lastly, I say measures such as these, tentative and provisional as I have declared them to be, are put forward even when they are in the character of palliatives, not as dogmatic, not as final specifics, but subject to such reconsideration in detail and additions and supplements as experience may recommend. Such is the policy to which the Government ask the approval of the House, and I submit it is a policy dictated not only by prudence, but by humanity, and one which if consistently followed will have behind it the support of the great body of public opinion in this country. It will lead, not, indeed, to a final solution of the difficult problem, but to the mitigation, if not the removal, of hardships that press so hardly on well-deserving working people in the community.
§ MR. ARTHUR HENDERSON (Durham, Barnard Castle)
I promise not to detain the House for more than a few minutes, and the very short time I plead for is for the purpose of asking one or two questions which I thought the Prime Minister would probably have referred to in his interesting speech. I may remark in passing that I have sat very closely throughout the whole of the debate to-day in the hope that I should hear some justification for our 1737 withdrawing the Amendment for which we have made ourselves responsible, and, instead of dividing against the Motion of the hon. Member for Tottenham, giving it our support. Unfortunately the only attempt which has been made throughout the whole of the debate to justify the position of the Government is that contained in the speech of the Prime Minister. I listened most attentively in the early part of the debate to the speeches of the mover and seconder of the Motion in order that I might hear what was their justification for tabling their Motion. Like the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, I may say that if those speeches were the standpoint of the Government, we on these benches regard them as most disappointing. The greater part of the speech of the President of the Local Government Board seemed to me to be taken up, as is usual in his speeches, with a defence of the shortcomings of the Department over which he presides. Therefore, we have to come to the speech of the Prime Minister in order to find any justification for the Government's position; and yet how disappointing that speech really is. In some of the closing parts of it the sympathy the right hon. Gentleman expressed for the great and serious problem with which we are faced we can all admire; but what disappointed me with the speech was that it contained no suggestion as to how the relief which the Government say they are providing by way of grants is going to be spread over a wide range. As the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition pointed out a few minutes ago, the whole of the efforts in the way of relief which the Government are going to make are based on the Act of 1905. I know I may be reminded of the efforts in connection with the Admiralty, the Post Office, and the Works Department, but they seem to have been so completely demolished by the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition that I need not refer to them. I am dealing with the increased grant, the extra £100,000, which the Government are going to provide this next winter over and above the sum they have provided during the last two winters. Let me 1738 remind the House that the grants in the past two winters have been applied in a very limited area. We elicited to-day from the Government in reply to a Question put by my hon. friend the Member for Sunderland, the fact that, in the first place, the local authorities in the smaller places in the country were not of their own right at liberty to set up distress committees. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board admitted that his Department had fifty-eight applications from such localities for the right to set up distress committees. This has a most important bearing on the application of the extra money which the Government is going to provide. Notwithstanding the fact that they have received applications from fifty-eight districts, the right hon. Gentleman tells us to-day that his Department have only given permission to set up committees in fourteen of those districts. That means that in respect of thirty-three cities a definite refusal has been given, and in respect to eleven others the application has been withdrawn. To-day we are expected to give our approval to the policy of the Government, which means, though the distress is greater, though the number of unemployed workmen is larger to-day than it has been for ten years, that two or three scores of districts, where the local authorities thought they were entitled to share in the grant which the Government provide, are going to be denied any share whatever, although the grant is £300,000 instead of £200,000. They are going to be denied because the grants are only to be given in the future as they have been given in the past, to the distress committees and to the localities where those distress committees exist. I want the House to remember, when they are voting to-night for the approval of the Government scheme, that if they have not a distress committee in their district—and there is a wide area of country in which there are no distress committees—though they are voting for a grant of £300,000 instead of £200,000, their area will not receive a single halfpenny, unless, of course, there is a change in the administration of the grant as a response to the appeal we have so often made that the Unemployed 1739 Workmen Act shall be so amended as to make it possible to give the localities powers which they do not possess to-day. Though some localities have powers to set up distress committees, others cannot do so without the permission of the Local Government Board, and that permission has been refused. That has limited the localities which may participate in the grant. I am not going to quarrel with the estimate of the total number of unemployed. We know that it is large. We know that there are only ninety-eight distress committees in the whole country, and the fact that the Local Government Board has refused to assent to others being set up in localities where great distress exists is a complete justification for our refusal to be associated with these proposals which have caused so much disapproval in many parts of the country. The Prime Minister told us on Wednesday, and also to-night, that there was going to be greater elasticity in the administration of this money. We are anxious that this elasticity should be made secure, and we do not think it can be made secure unless a Committee of the Cabinet make themselves responsible to this House for it. We are justified in saying we shall not have the elasticity that is intended except under those conditions. I venture to say that, if we could get here and now from the Prime Minister an assurance upon this matter, there is not a single Member on those benches who would doubt that in the administration of this fund a greater measure of justice would be done. I should like the Prime Minister to turn that over in his mind. In view of the point that I have made with regard to the limited number of distress committees, and the difficulty of getting distress committees set up in small districts where there is acute distress to-day, I should like to ask whether it is even now too late to provide machinery, in the shape of some Amendment to the Act of 1905, which will enable us to go through the coming winter with the knowledge that distress will be relieved by the Government, not only in the large districts but in the small. In this matter numbers should not count for anything so far as our sympathy is concerned. I ask the Government, therefore, if they cannot 1740 respond to this last appeal. I believe if they can they will be able to deal with the whole of the pain and suffering that exists through unemployment.
§ *MR. HEMMERDE (Denbighshire, E.)
said that in justice to one's constituents one must take an opportunity of discussing this matter of so much importance. He hoped the House would bear with him while he ventured to put before it a few points. They were told that London was the storm centre of unemployment, and great parts of the country had been left absolutely untouched. He failed to see how one could discuss the Amendment of the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil without considering the position that the Government had taken up in providing for or failing to provide for the present crisis. He wanted to draw the attention of the House, not to any theories, as the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition had done, with reference to land reform which he said was robbing the landlord, but to a few cases which made London the storm centre at the present time. The President of the Local Government Board took as an instance the building trade. He told them that it was at the present time depressed, and that that very largely accounted for a lot of the unemployment. He agreed with him. The right hon. Gentleman also told them that they had overbuilt, and that there had been a transfer of capital from the building to other trades, as well as a change in the methods of building work. In his opinion the building trade suffered not from overbuilding but from under-building, and, as a matter of fact, capital was being transferred to other trades because the Government had failed to carry out measures making it profitable to build on lands. He would take a case in his own constituency—a village occupied by miners; within a mile there were 1,500 miners employed. He had been spending his leisure time during the vacation in studying the difficulties of living in certain parts of his constituency, and he found that in this village no land could be got for building except at a most unreasonable price. The result was that the building trade, owing to the price of land, was at a standstill. His experience of the 1741 building trade was that owing to the neglect of the Government, in North Wales land was almost Unprocurable. He instanced the case of a doctor whom he had met staying at a hotel while he was endeavouring to secure a house. The same doctor was still there a month later, and he told him there was not a house to be had in the town. He asked someone why he did not build a house. His reply was that the cost of land was too high. What did he find next? He found that the workmen who should have been engaged in building houses in that district had gone up to London because there was no work to be done in the district. That was a state of things for which the Government was largely responsible. This matter ought to have been dealt with a long time ago. It was putting too great a strain on some of them to put off this question of valuation. The President of the Local Government Board said there was no one remedy for unemployment. Quite so, but as to the way the present land system caused under-building, overcrowding, and unemployment, [...]et him quote the late Prime Minister—The existence of overcrowding is to a large extent due to the same sort of restriction of privileges at home as those which free trade has abolished in connection with our international commerce. In my opinion the only thing that will suffice is the taxation of land values in order to get at the root of this great and vitally essential matter.Those were the words that encouraged the supporters of the present Government. They had been led by member of the Government after member of the Government to expect totally different treatment. They were now to get £300,000 with difficulty. Only the other day they were told by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that £10,000,000 were added to the ground values of London alone annually. The fact that money went into the pocket meant that it came out of another. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer made a speech in Newcastle some time ago, in which he said—I was in Liverpool some time ago and was given a remarkable example. Just outside Liverpool, but within the corporation area, there was a man who had a piece of land in respect of which he received £19 a year rent, which was as much as it was worth. Liverpool few, and this land was afterwards let for 1742 building purposes, and the Earl of Sefton received £70,000 premium for letting the land, and is now in receipt of £16,000 a year for land which would be worth £700 were it not for the fact that great hives of industry have grown up. And will he contribute to the expenditure of the corporation one penny? I was given other figures in Liverpool. I was told that the Lords Derby, Sefton, and Salisbury are in receipt of the sum of £345,000 a year for ground rents in the city, and out of that enormous revenue they do not contribute one penny to the public expenditure on the place—[A voice: Swindlers]—and that is the name of them all.It was upon speeches like that on which he was returned to that House. He meant that remark, it was not an accident. It was upon speeches like that that he was returned, because he believed them to be absolutely true. No man who had seen the land system in Wales would doubt what was at the bottom of all the troubles there. The Chancellor of the Exchequer knew this because he began his political career in Wales, and he began his there in a sense also. Then the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs had told them that the party which first mastered the question of the taxation of land values, which first made it its own, and which showed itself capable of dealing with it, was really prepared to deal with it, and did not allow itself to be hampered by vested interests from exercising its intelligence upon it freely, would have a great and solid ground on which to appeal to the country. He agreed with him. He had learned this question at the feet of most of the Members of the present front bench, and he maintained it was monstrous that at the end of three years they should be asking precisely what they asked from the late Prime Minister at the beginning of this Parliament. They were asked now to deal with questions which this Government had not in his humble opinion made the best endeavours in its power to solve. He believed that, in advocating this reform, they were not going to rob landlords. They were just going to prevent landlords from obbing them. It was merely a question which was the traveller and which was the highwayman, and any ordinary man who looked at the question of land values in London and Liverpool would understand which was the traveller and which was the highwayman. He could tell the Government, 1743 as one of their most devoted supporters, that the present attitude of negation adopted upon this great question absolutely paralysed all their efforts in the country. What did they put forward against what was already put forward as the Socialist remedy, the remedy of production, not for profit but for use? The only thing they could put forward with any hope of convincing the country was by giving them greater freedom to produce. Personally, he thought every man had the right to demand work. He remembered that a great democrat once told them that—So long as a single one of your fellows languishes in poverty, able and willing to work, through want of work to do, so long you will have no country.Those words were true; but, if they would not go the whole way and say every man had the right to demand work, at any rate they had a right to demand that he should not be prevented from working by bad laws. A great writer once told them that there would be no need for laws to provide for distress if there were no laws to produce it. If the Government would not go the whole way of dealing with distress, let them grapple with this question which was one of the causes of distress. He spoke in no carping spirit about the matter. He really believed that the whole existence of Liberalism in the country was bound up in the proper use the party made of the powers which they now had of dealing with the question. He believed the very existence of the party as an instrument for good depended upon it. That was why he felt bound to protest; and he was confident that he protested in the name of thousands of young men in England, Scotland, and Wales, who wanted to see the question resolutely dealt with. If the Liberal Party could not put forward a more consistent policy based on principles to deal with the matter, they would simply have to give way to a party who could. He was merely trying to get the party to carry out that for which they were returned to Parliament. He begged the Government to give the question of land reform their most earnest consideration to see whether they could not make greater advance during the 1744 next than they had made during the last three years.
§ *MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER (Croydon)
Too much time has been taken up by speeches by hon. Members whom, I suppose, I am constrained to call supporters of the Government, and too little time has been left to any of us on this side of the House to express views which some of us feel very strongly indeed. The speech of the hon. Member for East Denbigh has opened a considerable field for discussion, but I am not desirous of following the hon. Member. I do desire, however, before the debate closes, even under the very unfavourable circumstances in which we are compelled to take part in the discussion, to say something which has not been said, and which ought to be said, before this matter passes out of public controversy. It is an essential part of the Government proposals that a contribution should be made by the British Army to their policy. I want to say a word with regard to that contribution. The Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for War have both said a little, and a very little, about it. I think they have not touched the real question to which I shall draw the attention of the House. In the first place, let me say, as has been pointed out by the Leader of the Opposition, that so far as the remedy goes it is like everything they have done with regard to the Army—a pure imposture. Nothing is going to happen. Not a single man is to be added. Not a shilling is going to be voted in addition to whatever has been provided for the Army. The fact is the Secretary of State for War has simply put a red, white and blue ribbon in his hat and is going round touting for recruits in order to make up the contingent which he has not yet been able to secure. I do not think the House realises the real nature of the proposal. The infantry of the Special Reserve is supposed to have an establishment of 55,000 rank and file. The right hon. Gentleman is now asking for 24,000 recruits, and he tells the House that if he gets the whole lot of them they will not exceed the establishment. There is no power, except by Act of Parliament, to exceed the establishment of the Army Estimates; the right hon. 1745 Gentleman is not going to exceed that establishment, and the whole thing so far as the House is concerned, and so far as unemployment is concerned, is a pure imposture. I want to say something very much more serious than that. I do not know whether the House realises what is really happening with regard to the Special Reserve. These boys of seventeen are being invited to join—
§ *MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
The advertisement the right hon. Gentleman himself has issued says they are to be recruited at seventeen. There is no question about it. I have the advertisement in my hand. They are passing into the Special Reserve, but they are not remaining in it. They are passing away into the Regular Army. In one of the depots alone, where I was the other day, only five boys had remained in the Special Reserve. When I asked a member of the staff who they were, "Oh" he said "they have some defects, Sir." My main point is this: I protest, and I ask the House to associate themselves with me in this protest, against the British Army being treated in this way at all. The British Army is now told it is to be regarded an annexe to the casual ward of the workhouse—that the depot of the British regiment is to be a substitute for the stone-breaking yard. At the present time everything ought to be done to raise the prestige of the British Army. How are we raising it? In this advertisement we are telling unemployed boys of seventeen that they have only to go to the nearest infantry depot—to the depot of some regiment which is famous in the history of the Army, and to apply there for board and lodging for six months. Since Mr. Gladstone sent the Guards to Malta at the beginning of the Crimean War, with a return ticket, I do not suppose a public statement of this kind was ever made to the Army. The right hon. Gentleman seems to think that these boys, when they go into the substitute for the workhouse, a British regiment,—boys, remember, who do not want to go into the Army, and whom the Army does not want—may be alarmed lest they should be tarred with the brush 1746 of service in the Army for the rest of their lives. But he says: "Do not get disheartened about that. There is an avenue of escape from it. You are not going to be soldiers. You are only going to relieve the workhouse during six months." The Secretary of State asking these soldiers to enlist in the Army says—The question will be asked how long the recruit who takes advantage of these terms, with his board and lodging, candles and food, for six months, will be committed. The recruit in ordinary circumstances is allowed to purchase his discharge at any time for £3.That means that you are inviting these boys to go into these infantry depots and wait till they have accumulated 60s. to buy themselves out. When they have done that, every day which they have spent in the depot will have been a fraud upon the public. They will have fraudulently deprived the nation of every farthing spent on their keep. Someone said the other day it was a very wise thing to get men from the unemployed for the Army. I do not agree with that. But this is not a case of getting men for the Army. I will tell the House the life history of the soldier. I spent thirty years of my life trying to find out what it is. Three young men go into the Army. At the end of seven years two of them have vanished for one reason or other—have fallen ill or been discharged—and the third, who has campaigned, been disciplined, doctored and fed, has passed into the Army Reserve, a grown man. These are the soldiers who enter the Army. But who are these boys? They never see their regiment, their officers or their non-commissioned officers. They will never do a hand's turn of work for anybody in peace or war, and that is the stuff out of which you think you are going to make the British Army. That is a most disastrous proposition. What is the great trouble that the British Army is now fighting against? Loss of prestige. The whole interest of the country is being diverted to a branch of the Army which is never going to fight anybody at all, and the fighting branch of the Army is suffering from want of prestige and want of interest and attention. I have seen something of the armies with which we may have some day to come in contact. It is a perfect calamity that you should imagine for a moment that you can fight the manhood of a great 1747 nation if you recruit your Army in this manner. This announcement has gone out to every barrack in the United Kingdom. It has gone out further than the United Kingdom that the British Army is to be used as a temporary relief for the workhouse authorities. At the present moment it will pay any benefit society to discharge their members to military depots for six months, and pay 2s. 6d. a week and at the end of that time buy them out. It is a paying operation for them, and that is exactly what the right hon. Gentleman has invited these unemployed boys to do. That is one of the most lamentable propositions that I have ever seen put forward for the supposed benefit of the British Army. I do not believe it was put forward for the benefit of the British Army. I cannot imagine soldiers who bear on their breasts medals which indicate service, and who have earned the respect of the Army, being responsible for a proposition of this kind. Men will die for many things. They will die for love of their country, or because of the pressure of discipline. They will die occasionally under the pressure of want.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND (Clare, E.)
Mr. Speaker, I beg to draw your attention to the fact that I have not heard a single word. May I ask you whether the noble Lord (Earl Winterton), who has been absent the whole evening and has just come in, is entitled to address me as he has done.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
The noble Lord called the hon. Member to order, and I think I should have done so myself if I had been in his place. The hon. Member was keeping up a running commentary on the speech which is being made.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
I do not care who accuses me of saying what is not true. I was making no running commentary on the speech, and I absolutely repudiate what you say.
§ *MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
I was endeavouring to illustrate a point which is very near my heart indeed. A man will die for many things but he will not die for the kind of consideration the right hon. Gentleman is holding out. I have seen a great deal of what is happening on the Continent, and I say that if you are going to fight intelligent armies on the Continent with men recruited in the way the Secretary for War is now trying to recruit the British Army, you are destined to undergo defeat, and you will deserve defeat. This proposal to make the Army into a charitable institution is a scandal to the Army, a danger to the country, and a fraud upon the public. Such a proposal is as repugnant to the officers and men of the Army as it would be to those of the Navy. The Army has been left to the tender mercies of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War, and if it can find no better champion the Army must suffer, as the Navy would suffer, by being subjected to such treatment. I raise my protest against the Reserves of the British Army being utilised for the relief of the unemployed, on the ground that the British Army ought never to be made an adjunct to the machinery of the Poor Law. The moment you do that you are injuring a great institution which ought always to be inspired by feelings of honour and patriotism, and not by such sordid considerations as the Secretary of State for War appears to think are sufficient.
§ MR. CURRAN (Durham, Jarrow)
said that in a discussion of this kind each section had some particular panacea to apply to the problem of the unemployed. He agreed to a certain extent with his hon. friend opposite who had advocated the taxation of land values. Those sitting on the Labour benches not only went the length of advocating the taxation of land values, but they also claimed that the land of this or any other country belonged by a natural right to the population and the inhabitants of that country. Land being a natural element they thought all sections of the community ought to co-operate in working it for the benefit of the community. That was coming back to first principles, but it did not get them much "forrarder" in the solution of the problem immediately before them. He 1749 wished to say a few words in regard to the attitude they were taking up against the Government in this matter. They had no desire to be misunderstood, and if the Labour Party claimed the indulgence of the House, and, to some extent, monopolised the major portion of the time, they did so because they had a deeper interest in the problem than any other section of the House. [MINISTERIAL cries of "No, no."] Those sitting on the Labour benches had been sent to the House of Commons directly to voice working-class opinion. This was not a question of exploiting the unemployed problem nor of wasting the time of the House, but it was a question which must be tackled not only by the Minister responsible but by every section of the House. While the Prime Minister disputed the figures put forward by the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil as to the number of unemployed he admitted that they were face to face with a very serious problem which must be immediately dealt with. What were their chief complaints against the scheme laid before them on Wednesday last by the Prime Minister? Their first complaint was that the sum granted was hopelessly inadequate to set up the necessary machinery to cope with local distress. Their second complaint was that they believed that the money which was going to be paid to the Reserves would be better spent in the direction of assisting local authorities to carry out useful and necessary work instead of organising these men for the Army. His third point was that prior to the Prime Minister's laying his scheme before the House nothing had been done to speed up local authorities in regard to making preparations. Letters were being received from districts where distress was now very acute along the north-east coast. In many cases the formation of distress committees had been refused because the population did not come up to the standard required by the Act. The Government ought to speed up local authorities by making it a condition when making grants that the local authority should not go on digging holes and filling them up again, but should carry out useful and necessary improvements. As far as he knew that could be done without any great delay, or at any rate no greater delay than a day or a week. 1750 He wished to remind the House that he and his friends came into close contact with the working classes of the country, classes which sometimes met Ministers of the Crown with serious objection. Those who had mixed with the unemployed knew their passions. They knew that these men wanted work but could not get it. They knew it was men of that class whose passions to-day were getting the better of them. He was sure that the Government would agree that the Labour Party had done its utmost to carry out this agitation on the most constitutional lines. They had had to meet abuse in the country for asking the unemployed to wait till the Government displayed its plan, and for saying that they themselves would wait till that plan was displayed to take what action they thought necessary to see that the solution was adequate. All that was not only well known to the Ministry but to many Members of the House, and they thought, therefore, that they had now a right to put forward their demands. They thought that more money might be expended and that an immediate system of speeding up local authorities should be put into operation. He would remind the House that local public bodies were not always willing even to spend money usefully. The reason for that was very simple. They had a very large number of successful retired tradesmen, pawnbrokers, brewers, publicans, clothiers and hosiers, making up the local public bodies, and these people were not anxious even to put themselves to the trouble of spending in a useful manner any money the Government might be willing to give. They believed, therefore, that a speeding up policy must be adopted, while, at the same time, a large extension of the grant should be made. The Labour Members would do their utmost to see that so far as their local influence went in every case this money would be well spent and not wasted on useless projects which were unfruitful to the country, and demoralising to the people. They said that that must be carried out at once. If the House would allow him to say so, he did not believe in levying a penny rate. The reason for that was tint the most oppressed districts in this country were already over-rated. If the Government 1751 could spend money in placing 24,000 men on the Reserve List they could surely extend the grant to £500,000 instead of £300,000. If that were done and if the Government issued some definite instructions to local authorities, in his judgment the opposition which they had been compelled, and which they would be compelled to bring till they got a definite statement from the Government, would be withdrawn. Until they got that definite promise, their opposition to the Government in regard to this question of unemployment would be continued.
§ MR. WILLIAM ABRAHAM (Glamorganshire, Rhondda)
said he was not going to argue the question as a whole, but wished merely to make an appeal to the Prime Minister. The able speech of the hon. Member for Barnard Castle had made it so clear that certain portions of the country were not to receive the necessary relief from the provisions that were being made, that he felt it was absolutely necessary that something more should be done. He had been a supporter of the Government for over twenty years and had never voted against it, except on some extreme labour question. He considered the matter before the House was an extreme labour question. He considered it was one of the most important questions they had debated in the House since he had been there. He felt grateful from the bottom of his heart for the provision which had already been made. This Government could take credit to itself for putting forward proposals to meet the necessities of the country which no Government had ever done before, but the one thing necessary now to enable him and his friends to vote for instead of against the Government was for the Prime Minister to get up in his place and say that he would give the guarantee which had been asked for, that a small Committee of the Cabinet should be formed, not to put his right hon. friend the President of the Board of Trade on one side, but to assist him in his work. If the Government would give that assurance he felt it would be giving a very good reason for him and his friends to be thankful for the provision which the Government was making, and to wait and give them an 1752 opportunity to deal with the main question when an opportunity arose. He believed it was possible that that might be done; he was hopeful that it would be done, and he asked that the Government should give them an assurance that it would be done. The Labour interest was the main interest in that House, and as a Labour representative of twenty years standing, he appealed to the Prime Minister and his Cabinet to give them security that there should be the elasticity which they wanted.
§ MR. ASQUITH
I am not in order in speaking again, but after the appeal of the hon. Gentleman the House will perhaps allow me to do so. I can assure my hon. friend that in regard to the future administration of this grant, and of matters connected with it, my right hon. friend the President of the Local Government Board and I myself will be in constant and close communication, and if it is shown to our satisfaction that there is a case for further steps to be taken, and that distress committees which do not at present exist, should be set up, we shall be prepared to make proper provisions.
§ *MR. BARNES (Glasgow, Blackfriars)
said he had listened to the debate and to the speeches from the front benches, including that just made by the Prime Minister, and he had been profoundly disappointed with the result. He had listened to the speech of the Prime Minister of the previous week, when he put forward the Government proposals and explained the position generally. That speech, so far as the outlook was concerned, seemed to him to be fairly satisfactory, but when they came to the proposals contained in it, it had seemed to him that a good deal might be done by putting their own interpretation on what he said, when he told them that they were not only to have additional money, but the elements of elasticity and liberality in regard to disbursement of the fund. He had listened to all the speeches that day, but so far had heard nothing which would show that there would be any security that the elasticity and liberality which had been referred to would be used. He admitted that the statement just made by the Prime Minister was an 1753 improvement on what had preceded it, but he was still dissatisfied, and would continue to be dissatisfied till the Committee for which they had asked was set up. They had had from the President of the Local Government Board a speech characterised by his usual vigour and optimism. As he had listened to that speech he had wondered whether there were any unemployed. It happened, however, that he had come up from Glasgow on the previous night, and while in Glasgow he was in contact with the unemployed. The unemployed were a reality so far as he and his colleagues on those benches were concerned. On the previous day he had gone into the figures of the unemployed dealing with the society of which he had been chief officer, and of which the President of the Local Government Board was a member. He had found that in the city of Glasgow alone 794 of their fellow members were now signing the unemployed books, and if they included the districts of Clydebank and Renfrew they found that nearly 1,000 skilled engineers, out of a total of 6,000 in the area, were to-day and tomorrow, and would be for a good many days to follow, walking about looking for work but unable to find it. When they were told that pauperism had not increased in proportion to the increase of the number of unemployed, his mind went to that class which came under his eye day after day, and he was prepared to say that these statements about pauperism had no relevance so far as he was concerned. He knew these men of the engineers, and he knew that they were far removed from pauperism. He knew also that the conditions were such that they lead to pauperism, not for the present men, but for their children. A man walking about day after day, and month after month, seeking to find work and not finding it, had to sink down into the meaner streets of the town, where his children came into contact with the children of a class which was already pauperised, and they became pauperised themselves. That was going on all over the country so far as skilled workmen were concerned, and he said therefore that any figures as to pauperism comparing the numbers with the numbers of last year, or even in the year before, had no relevancy to the increased urgency 1754 and gravity of this question of unemployment now as compared with last year or two years ago. The complaint they had against the Government was, briefly, that the Government was now faced with the situation which they on those benches had foreseen and foretold two years ago, of which they had constantly reminded the House on many occasions since, and which had now come before them, and there was no properly co-ordinated machinery, local or imperial, which ought to have been ready to deal with that situation now that it had arisen. It was not a question of more money, for £300,000 was now available for the unemployed, instead of the £200,000 which was voted last year and the year before. It was not so much a question of money as of a proper arrangement which they thought ought to be made, not only that the local authorities might get on with that work which was necessary, but that the Government might set them an example by putting their own house in order. They must therefore press the Government for some security that that rigidity and hardness which had characterised the disbursement of the central fund hitherto should be made an end of, and that in future they would have generous dealing. He did not know whether the disbursement of the money in Scotland came under the control of the President of the Local Government Board, and therefore what he was about to say of Scotland could not be taken as being in any sense a personal attack on him. He knew that in Scotland the money that was given for the relief of distress last winter was altogether inadequate for the necessities of the situation, and was afterwards admitted to be so by everyone concerned. It was not until the members of the distress committee of Glasgow resigned their positions, it was not until the unemployed in Glasgow got out of hand and rushed the public buildings — although he said nothing about that, it was regrettable—it was not until later on that the unemployed men demonstrated in St. George's Square, Glasgow, and they made it manifest that for the future at all events the unemployed at Glasgow were not going to be the dumb, inarticulate masses they had been, but that they 1755 had at last found their voice and were going to use it—it was not until these things had taken place that more money was forthcoming for the relief of the unemployed in Glasgow. And even now the money was not characterised by that liberality that they were led to believe last week would characterise the disbursements from the Central Fund, for at the present moment there was friction between the powers that be and the local authority in regard to the payment of men on work connected with the distress committee. It had even been stipulated, and was now a rule, that these poor men, for every hour they were unable to work owing to the weather being bad, though they had travelled fourteen miles to their work, were not to be paid for the time during which they were not actually employed, through no fault of their own. That showed that, although the Local Government Board were driven to take some other more generous action than had characterised the disbursement of the money some six months ago, even now a great deal remained to be done in more generously interpreting the needs of the situation. Having just come up from Glasgow, where he had been in contact with these men, he knew that the engineers and other skilled workmen were out of work in very large, and, he believed, increasing numbers, and although he knew that the outlook was a little better than it was a month or two ago, yet he did not suppose that the numbers of unemployed would be very much lessened this side of Christmas. Therefore, having regard to the increasing urgency of the matter, he joined with the hon. Member who preceded him, as well as others who had spoken from those benches, in asking the Government to give a more satisfactory assurance that liberality, elasticity, and even generosity should attend the disbursements of this fund by a special committee of the Cabinet appointed to deal with the matter. Before sitting down he wished to refer to the observations made by the President of the Local Government Board as to provision against unemployment. In the same speech his hon. friend the Member for Merthyr Tydvil was twitted with having exaggerated the figures of the unemployed. He would in turn, and with equal truth, 1756 twit the President of the Local Government Board with not having put the true position with regard to payments to the skilled men's union. As a matter of fact the payments made by members of that society were not 1s. per week, but nearer 2s. per week. For the past twenty years or so they were 1s. 8d. per week. Something had been done by the skilled men as proved by these figures to insure against unemployment. The Minister for War, speaking about a week ago, stated that in his judgment this of itself was one of the main things that could be done to provide against unemployment, The Minister for War was said to be a philosopher, and he generally found that philosophers were the most perplexed people when dealing with ordinary mundane affairs. The right hon. Gentleman did not seem to be aware of all the money being spent now for insuring against unemployment. But so far as the great mass of the people who were now employed were concerned, they could not insure against unemployment, because their wages were only barely sufficient to cover the necessities of life when at work, and therefore they had nothing to lay by for the rainy day about which the Secretary of State for War had spoken. He was not satisfied with the position of things, although he admitted the speech of the Prime Minister, so far as the outlook was concerned, was a very considerable improvement upon the speeches previously made from the Treasury Bench. They had now apparently got away from the idea which satisfied some a year or two ago that unemployment was merely a question of want of technical training, Everyone, including the Prime Minister, now admitted that men who were technically trained were out of work. He and other members of the party to which he belonged wanted some more satisfactory assurance from the Government—and they were going to keep up the debate all night if necessary—that the £300,000, which would be found to be only half enough, was going to be disbursed in relief, and the best way to get that done was by a Committee of the Cabinet who should as often as possible submit reports of its proceedings to the House.
§ MR. WYNDHAM (Dover)
The hon. Member who has just spoken concluded 1757 his speech by requesting from the Government some further, and some more satisfactory, assurance than has so far been given to hon. Members who sit below the gangway. The few brief observations made by the Prime Minister in response to the hon. Member for the Rhondda Valley did not satisfy them. The last speaker said that unless their request be acceded to, hon. Members below the gangway are prepared to continue this debate until the House is weary or until they extract such further information. I rise to make an appeal from another quarter. I rise to make an appeal on behalf of hon. Members who sit behind the front Opposition bench. Not one Member sitting behind the front Opposition bench has had an opportunity of addressing the House to-night. One of them, to my certain knowledge, has risen seven times without being called. I do not know whether that is described as an opportunity for debating this subject. I do not wish to introduce contentious matter into what is an appeal, but it is a fact that the first speech made from the Opposition benches at all was made by my right hon. friend the Member for South Dublin, and was not begun until twenty minutes past seven and concluded at eight o'clock. Many important speeches have been made in other quarters, and I appeal on behalf of hon. Members who sit behind the front Opposition bench. I make that appeal to the Prime Minister in his capacity of Prime Minister, in command of a large majority, and also in his capacity of Leader of the House. I know that appeal was made to him at the beginning of our business by the Leader of the Opposition, and it was then refused. We thought the refusal unreasonable, but we anticipated from that refusal that the pronouncement to be made by the President of the Local Government Board and by himself would be of such a character as to justify him in limiting this debate to one day from his point of view. We have listened—I hope with courtesy—to all that has fallen from the President of the Local Government Board and the Prime Minister, and do not think—still, I hope, courteously—that these speeches justify, or attempt to justify, the limitation of this debate to one day. Instead of contracting the issue to a temporary 1758 expedient and leaving a full liberty of considering larger questions under more favourable circumstances, the President of the Local Government Board reviewed the policy of every Department of State, and there is not a right hon. Gentleman sitting on the front Opposition bench who in his day was responsible, whether for the Army, the Navy, the Post Office, the Local Government Board, or the Board of Trade, who is not entitled, according to ordinary Parliamentary usage, to get up, it may be for only six or seven minutes, to make some remarks upon the views of the Government as to the best way in which those various Departments can co-operate in this great national endeavour. Suggestions have been thrown out which do not on the face of them commend themselves, so far as I gather, to the judgment of right hon. Gentlemen who have themselves been at the head of these great Departments. Indeed, one of my right hon. friends, the Member for Croydon, felt it incumbent upon him to get up, obviously sincerely, to speak on a subject near his heart, and near, I believe, the heart of the majority of our countrymen. No right hon. Member or hon. Member of this House who has cared, as my right hon. friend has cared, for the British Army, could hear the perfunctory, casual suggestion that this plan might be adopted—a plan never explained to the House on any previous occasion—without feeling bound as a man determined to do his duty in this House, to get up and say what he thought right in the matter. But that is only one case. There must be many right hon. Gentlemen, and certainly many of my hon. friends behind me, who are deeply exercised about many aspects of this problem. But if the Prime Minister believes that an important proposal affecting the Reserves of the British Army can be introduced into the House as an aside by the President of the Local Government Board, and, after a brief but concise speech of some fifteen minutes from a man who has devoted many years of his life to the care of the Army, be dismissed by a paltry sentence or two from the Secretary of State for War, then I say the Prime Minister does not understand how deeply this question in all its bearings concerns the 1759 House. The Prime Minister has, by leave of the House (and we were only too glad to give him that leave), got up once or twice, certainly once—
§ MR. WYNDHAM
He has, I say, got up once, and then he gave an answer in one sentence to the questions which had been put to him. But when the right hon. Gentleman had a larger opportunity of replying, when without asking leave of the House he was able to speak at any length he chose, when, in fact, he was in possession of the House, he did not think it incumbent upon him to reply to a number of very pertinent questions which were put to him by my right hon. friend the Leader of the Opposition. He gave them the go-by. I am not going to speak on the merits of the unemployed question, but I feel that I am justified in pressing the Motion for the adjournment of the debate, because we have had no answer to the two right hon. Gentlemen who have spoken from the front Opposition bench, and because the hon. Gentleman who sit behind that bench have had no opportunity of addressing the House at all. I believe that the majority of Members of the House will really agree with me that this is so large a question that it cannot properly be compressed into one debate alone. The hon. Member for Rhondda Valley said it was the most important question of debate that had come before the House for twenty years and yet it is going to be decided in one day without a single Member of the Opposition, except right hon. Gentlemen on the front bench, offering a word. My hon. friends behind me have been chafing under the conditions of this debate and I feel bound to express their feelings in this matter. Technically the Motion for the adjournment of the House is called a dilatory Motion, but if the Motion is carried it will cause no delay to the Government. They can proceed with their little dodges in this Department and that Department, and we will wish them God-speed in any of their efforts to meet the great danger and calamity now oppressing the country. But I unhesitatingly say that the House of Commons on this occasion is entitled to resume its ancient liberties. In 1760 previous Parliaments it was the right of any Member on any night to move the adjournment of the House if he felt that a grave question of public importance was being dismissed by the Government without sufficient consideration and without giving Members of the House a sufficient opportunity to express their views upon it. That was formerly one of the liberties of the House of Commons, but since this Government came into office it has been largely curtailed, and we meet this autumn under far more stringent conditions of debate than have ever been imposed on the Parliament of any self-governing country. The resolution passed by the Government for the purpose of forcing the Licensing Bill through the House has put it in the power of the Government to prevent any other subject being discussed in this House. This is a dilatory Motion only in a technical sense. It is in reality a Motion to allow the House of Commons the right to speak on a question which has truthfully been said to be the most important subject of debate for twenty years, and that being the case I venture with confidence to press my Motion.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the debate be now adjourned."—(Mr. Wyndham.)
§ MR. ASQUITH
I think the right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken is under the impression that he has been making a persuasive appeal to the Government. I should like to say, after a considerable experience of the House, that a more contentious speech I have never listened to, or one more likely to defeat its own professed object. The House is not discussing anything in the nature of the solution of a great political problem, but is discussing merely temporary expedients for meeting a particular emergency, and the policy of the Government has not been challenged either by the front Opposition bench or by those hon. Gentlemen who sit behind it. In view of these facts, of the time the discussion has already taken, and of the impossibility within a reasonable time of affording another day, I am compelled to resist the Motion.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I rise to say that I do not think the general feeling of 1761 the House really supports the Prime Minister. Undoubtedly Members are all very anxious to go to bed. I am aware that hon. Members below the gangway think that after eleven o'clock is too late an hour for the discussion of a subject that interests other parts of the House, but in my earlier days it was not thought a very late hour. I do not doubt that hon. Gentlemen below the gangway are anxious to go home, but I would point out that it does not affect the interests of a single member of the unemployed whether the debate is concluded now or three weeks hence. There ought to be another day for the discussion of this problem, and if the House adjourns the debate there will be an opportunity to ventilate further various important aspects of the question which have not received adequate consideration. I must enter a strong protest, not for the first time, against the manner in which our discussion has been restricted, and I think the House has been badly used by the Government.
§ *MR. SUMMERBELL (Sunderland)
said he wished to enter his protest against the proposed adjournment. He had attended every all-night sitting since he had been in the House, and he had been in the House for thirty hours to consider questions of much smaller importance than the subject of the present debate. If it suited the Opposition to keep the House there for about thirty hours on a question of smaller importance, this question, which was one of the most important they could discuss, ought to be discussed as long as possible. He had noticed that about eight o'clock that night there were only four hon. Members on the Opposition Benches, yet it was the Opposition leaders who said that those Gentlemen that sat behind them had been very anxiouss to take part in the debate, and were still anxious to do so. If they were really anxious there was plenty of time to debate the question. There was no time-limit, and they could have until a quarter to three that afternoon. To argue, therefore, that there was no time was to beg the question. There was no more important question for the House to discuss than the unemployed problem. In the town which he had the honour 1762 to represent they had had more severe unemployment than in any other town. There they saw people going sixteen miles day after day to gather coals. He had seen them going, and he had seen them coming back, and he wanted to appeal to the House that morning to try and put itself into the position of the unemployed, who were turning out morning after morning—
§ *MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Member is not entitled to discuss the general subject on the Motion for the adjournment.
§ *MR. SUMMERBELL
said that the House, in his opinion, could not debate a more important question, and he hoped they would reject the Motion for the adjournment by an overwhelming majority, in order that they might discuss the question and get that unanimity which all the members of the House proclaimed they desired. They were interested in the question, and they desired to see it solved.
§ EARL WINTERTON (Sussex, Horsham)
said that the hon. Gentleman who had just spoken had laboured under some misapprehension, which had led him to take up an inconsistent attitude. He had read some of the speeches made by the hon. Gentleman and some of his friends immediately after the last general election, and he had understood that one of the things they most objected to in the House of Commons was its habit of discussing important matters in the early hours of the morning. Yet the hon. Gentleman was now supporting the Government in their determination to force the House to discuss in the small hours of the morning what by their own admission was one of the most important questions the House had discussed for twenty years. The hon. Member had referred quite irrelevantly to some former occasion on which he said that the House had been kept up on a much less important matter. He was sure that the hon. Member would remember, or if he did not remember himself, some of his friends would do so, that on every all-night sitting they on the Opposition side of the House had endeavoured 1763 to get the debate adjourned, in order that it might take place at a more reasonable time. He had risen to support his right hon. friend who had moved the adjournment of this debate. Despite the laughter which had Come from below the gangway when his right hon. friend had suggested that some of them were as interested in the unemployed question as those in other parts of the House, such was, of course, the case, and he would remind hon. Gentlemen who had laughed that it was not those who talked the loudest who did the most. It was possible to take an interest in the unemployed question and to feel very strongly on that question as they did, without constantly referring to the fact that they were direct representatives of democracy. He appealed to the Prime Minister to assent to the Motion which had been made by his right hon. friend. The hon. Member for Yarmouth and others on that side of the House had from the beginning of the debate been anxious to take part in it, and it was not fair that they should be asked to discuss the question at that time of the morning, and that those of them who desired to support the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil in the lobby thould be compelled to do so at so late an hour. The Prime Minister, if he insisted on the course which he had laid down, would not gain but would rather lose support in the country and among his own followers. The people of this country knew perfectly well that if the Government intended to deal with this question in a proper manner they would not endeavour to force it through the House in the early hours of the morning.
§ *MR. JOWETT (Bradford, W.)
said that in reply to the noble Lord he might say that both he and his colleagues on those benches were still opposed to discussing important questions at a late hour such as that when it could be avoided, but so far as he could gather they were unfortunately so situated that they could not really help it. They had had no promise from the Prime Minister that another day would be given if the debate were adjourned. He wished to ask the Prime Minister if he would give them another 1764 day. Unless he would do so he did not think they could be expected to allow the discussion to be adjourned. Some of them were very concerned to have the question of unemployment discussed fully and voted on. He found it very difficult to keep within the Rules of the House on the Motion for the adjournment. They were not all old hands like some hon. Members above the gangway. He would like to give the reason why in his opinion the debate should be closed if the Government would not give them another day. A week or two ago he was waited on by the parents of a youth who were very greatly concerned about their son, who had enlisted in the Special Reserve in accordance with the Government's scheme for enlisting the unemployed. He was aged seventeen years and a few months, and if the debate were adjourned more cases of that kind would be heard of. It was a most unfortunate thing. The parents of this youth were decent, hard-working people, who did not feel that their child was a suitable child to be taken into the Special Reserve.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Member is not seriously bringing forward that as an argument against the adjournment.
§ *MR. JOWETT
said he was serious to the extent that he honestly held that things would be allowed if the adjournment took place as the Prime Minister wished it to be—
§ *MR. JOWETT
said if they were not allowed to deal with such cases as he had described it would of course affect the question of the adjournment. He hoped the Prime Minister in answer to the very earnest appeals which had been made would give another day for so important a subject. The matter had net been properly discussed, and all manner of important issues had been raised by the Conservative Party and by the Labour Party as well as by Liberal Members below the gangway, any one of which would take a whole sitting to debate properly. Under the circumstances he thought the Prime Minister could not deny them another day.
§ MR. R. DUNCAN (Lanarkshire, Govan)
said there was a desire in all parts of the House that more time should be given. It was agreed that that was one of the most important questions they could discuss. He had held that opinion for a long time; it was not an opinion of yesterday but one which he had held ever since he first studied the subject. Till that moment no employer of labour had spoken on the subject. He last addressed the House on the previous Friday, and had felt that he was perhaps too often on his legs. He ventured to say in all seriousness that many of them had the most serious thoughts on this subject. They held that the welfare of the men, women,
§ and children of the country depended on the employers. They gave Labour Members credit for desiring a solution of the question, and not merely having a desire to talk. Employers, he claimed, were also working in the same direction, and yet not one of them had been allowed to say a word upon this question of unemployment. He appealed to the Government to allow the debate to be postponed until 3 p.m. that day, so that the House might have a further opportunity of discussing this momentous question.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 70; Noes, 293. (Division List No. 290.)1769
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Craik, Sir Henry||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Ashley, W. W.||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Balcarres, Lord||Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Morrison-Bell, Captain|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (City Lond.)||Fell, Arthur||Oddy, John James|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Forster, Henry William||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Rawlinson, John [Frederick Peel|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Gretton, John||Renton, Leslie|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston)||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Bull, Sir William James||Guinness, W. E. (Bury S. Edm.)||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Hamilton, Marquess of||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Stanier, Beville|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh.|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Hill, Sir Clement||Talbot, Lord. E. (Chichester)|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Hills, J. W.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Worc.||Hunt, Rowland||Winterton, Earl|
|Clark, George Smith||Kerry, Earl of||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Clive, Percy Archer||Keswick, William||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Lane-Fox, G. R.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Viscount Valentia.|
|Collings, Rt. Hn. J. (Birmingh'm||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Dublin, S.)|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Marks, H. H. (Kent)|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Barran, Rowland Hirst||Brocklehurst, W. B.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Brodie, H. C.|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Beale, W. P.||Brooke, Stopford|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Beauchamp, E.||Bryce, J. Annan|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Beaumont, Hon. Herbert||Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn|
|Alden, Percy||Bell, Richard||Burns, Rt. Hon. John|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Bellairs, Carlyon||Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Benn, W. (T'w'r Hamlets, S. Geo.||Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Charles|
|Armstrong, W. C. Heaton||Bennett, E. N.||Carr-Gomm, H. W.|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Berridge, T. H. D.||Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard Knight|
|Astbury, John Meir||Bertram, Julius||Cawley, Sir Frederick|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romf'rd||Chance, Frederick William|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Channing, Sir Francis Allston|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Black, Arthur W.||Cheetham, John Frederick|
|Barker, John||Bowerman, C. W.||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Branch, James||Cleland, J. W.|
|Barnard, E. B.||Brigg, John||Clough, William|
|Barnes, G. N.||Bright, J. A.||Clynes, J. R.|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Horridge, Thomas Gardner||Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W.||Hudson, Walter||Pollard, Dr.|
|Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Hyde, Clarendon||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Cooper, G. J.||Idris, T. H. W.||Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinst'd||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Priestley, W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Jacoby, Sir James Alfred||Radford, G. H.|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Jardine, Sir J.||Rainy, A. Rolland|
|Cowan, W. H.||Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Raphael, Herbert H.|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'|
|Crooks, William||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea||Rees, J. D.|
|Crossley, William J.||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Curran, Peter Francis||Jowett, F. W.||Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n)|
|Dalmeny, Lord||Joyce, Michael||Richardson, A.|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Kearley, Sir Hudson E.||Ridsdale, E. A.|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Kelley, George D.||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Laidlaw, Robert||Roberts, Sir John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Dobson, Thomas W.||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Robinson, S.|
|Duckworth, James||Lambert, George||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)||Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E.||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington)||Rose, Charles Day|
|Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall||Lehmann, R. C.||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.|
|Erskine, David C.||Levy, Sir Maurice||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Essex, R. W.||Lewis, John Herbert||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Lupton, Arnold||Scarisbrick, T. T. L.|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne|
|Fenwick, Charles||Lynch, H. B.||Seaverns, J. H.|
|Ferens, T. R.||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Seddon, J.|
|Field, William||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs||Seely, Colonel|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Mackarness, Frederic C.||Shackleton, David James|
|Findlay, Alexander||Maclean, Donald||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.)|
|Freeman-Thomas, Freeman||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Macpherson, J. T.||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Fullerton, Hugh||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.||Simon, John Allsebrook|
|Gill, A. H.||M'Crae, Sir George||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John||M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Glover, Thomas||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||M'Micking, Major G.||Snowden, P.|
|Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Maddison, Frederick||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Grant, Corrie||Mallet, Charles E.||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Greenwood, Hamar (York)||Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Massie, J.||Stanley, Hn. A. Luylph (Chesh.)|
|Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Masterman, C. F. G.||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Gurdon, Rt. Hn. Sir W. Brampton||Menzies, Walter||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||Micklem, Nathaniel||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Hall, Frederick||Mond, A.||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hn. L. (Rossendale||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Montgomery, H. G.||Stuart, James (Sunderland)|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Summerbell, T.|
|Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)||Morrell, Philip||Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury)|
|Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithn'ss-sh||Morse, L. L.||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Hazel, Dr. A. E.||Nicholls, George||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncast'r||Toulmin, George|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Nolan, Joseph||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Norman, Sir Henry||Verney, F. W.|
|Henry, Charles S.||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Vivian, Henry|
|Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Nuttall, Harry||Walsh, Stephen|
|Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Walters, John Tudor|
|Higham, John Sharp||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)||Walton, Joseph|
|Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||O'Grady, J.||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton|
|Hodge, John||O'Malley, William||Wardle, George J.|
|Holland, Sir William Henry||Parker, James (Halifax)||Waring, Walter|
|Holt, Richard Durning||Paulton, James Mellor||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Hope, W. Bateman (Somerset, N.||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Wason, Rt. Hn. E. (Clackmannan|
|Horniman, Emslie John||Pearson, W. H. M. (Suffolk, Eye)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Waterlow, D. S.||Whittaker, Rt. Hn. Sir Thomas P.||Wilson, P. W. (St, Pancras, S.)|
|Wedgwood, Josiah C.||Wiles, Thomas||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Whitbread, Howard||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)||Winfrey, R.|
|White, Sir George (Norfolk)||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)||Williamson, A.|
|White, Luke (York, E. R.)||Wills, Arthur Walters||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Joseph Pease and Master of Elibank.|
|Whitehead, Rowland||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.)|
§ Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ Sir JOSEPH LEESE rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."1770
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 227; Noes, 110. (Division List No. 291.)1771
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Idris, T. H. W.|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Crossley, William J.||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Dalziel, James Henry||Jacoby, Sir James Alfred|
|Alden, Percy||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Jardine, Sir J.|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire|
|Armstrong, W. C. Heaton||Dobson, Thomas W.||Kearley, Sir Hudson E.|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry||Duckworth, James||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)|
|Astbury, John Meir||Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)||Laidlaw, Robert|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Lambert, George|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall||Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis|
|Baring, Godrey (Isle of Wight)||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington|
|Barker, John||Erskine, David C.||Lehmann, R. C.|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Essex, R. W.||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich|
|Barnard, E. B.||Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Levy, Sir Maurice|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Everett, R. Lacey||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Ferens, T. R.||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David|
|Beale, W. P.||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Lupton, Arnold|
|Beauchamp, E.||Findlay, Alexander||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes|
|Beaumont, Hon. Hubert||Freeman-Thomas, Freeman||Lynch, H. B.|
|Bell, Richard||Fuller, John Michael F.||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs)|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Fullerton, Hugh||Mackarness, Frederic C.|
|Benn, W. (T'w'r Hamlets, S. Geo.||Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John||Maclean, Donald|
|Bennett, E. N.||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||M'Crae, Sir George|
|Bertram, Julius||Grant, Corrie||M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)|
|Black, Arthur W.||Greenwood, Hamar (York)||M'Micking, Major G.|
|Branch, James||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Mallet, Charles E.|
|Brigg, John||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Manfield, Harry (Northants)|
|Bright, J. A.||Gurdon, Rt. Hn. Sir W. Brampton||Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||Massie, J.|
|Brodie, H. C.||Hall, Frederick||Masterman, C. F. G.|
|Brooke, Stopford||Harcourt, Rt. Hn. L. (Rossendale||Menzies, Walter|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Micklem, Nathaniel|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||Mond, A.|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithn'ss-sh||Montagu, Hon. E. S.|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Montgomery, H. G.|
|Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Charles||Helme, Norval Watson||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)|
|Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard Knight||Henry, Charles S.||Morrell, Philip|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Morse, L. L.|
|Chance, Frederick William||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Higham, John Sharp||Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)|
|Clough, William||Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||Nicholls, George|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Holland, Sir William Henry||Norman, Sir Henry|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Holt, Richard Durning||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Hope, W. Bateman (Somerset, N.||Nuttall, Harry|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinst'd||Horniman, Emslie John||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Horridge, Thomas Gardner||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Cowan, W. H.||Hyde, Clarendon||Pearson, W. H. M. (Suffolk, Eye)|
|Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)||Seaverns, J. H.||Vivian, Henry|
|Pollard, Dr.||Seely, Colonel||Walters, John Tudor|
|Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.)||Walton, Joseph|
|Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)||Sherwell, Arthur James||Waring, Walter|
|Priestley, W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Silcock, Thomas Ball||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Radford, G. H.||Simon, John Allsebrook||Wason, Rt. Hn. E. (Clackmannan|
|Rainy, A. Rolland||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Raphael, Herbert H.||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro')||Soames, Arthur Wellesley||Whitbread, Howard|
|Rees, J. D.||Soares, Ernest J.||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Rendall, Athelstan||Spicer, Sir Albert||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Ridsdale, E. A.||Stanger, H. Y.||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)||Whittaker, Rt. Hn. Sir Thomas P.|
|Roberts, Sir John H. (Denbighs.)||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Robinson, S.||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen|
|Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Strachey, Sir Edward||Williamson, A.|
|Roe, Sir Thomas||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Rogers, F. E. Newman||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Rose, Charles Day||Stuart, James (Sunderland)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)||Winfrey, R.|
|Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.|
|Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||Toulmin, George||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.Joseph Pease and Master of Elibank.|
|Scarisbrick, T. T. L.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne||Verney, F. W.|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Ashley, W. W.||Glover, Thomas||Oddy, John James|
|Balcarres, Lord||Goulding, Edward Alfred||O'Grady, J.|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Gretton, John||O'Malley, William|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (City Lond.)||Guinness, Hn. R. (Haggerston)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Guinness, W. E. (Bury S. Edm.)||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington|
|Barnes, G. N.||Hamilton, Marquess of||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Hardie, J. Kier (Merthyr Tydvil)||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Renton, Leslie|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n)|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romf'd)||Hazel, Dr. A. E.||Richardson, A.|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Hill, Sir Clement||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hills, J. W.||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hodge, John||Seddon, J.|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Hudson, Walter||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Worc||Hunt, Rowland||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Snowden, P.|
|Clark, George Smith||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Stanier, Beville|
|Cleland, J. W.||Jowett, F. W.||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh.)|
|Clive, Percy Archer||Joyce, Michael||Summerbell, T.|
|Clynes, J. R.||Kerry, Earl of||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham)||Keswick, William||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos, H. A. E.||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Collings, Rt. Hn. J. (Birmingh'm||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E.)||Walsh, Stephen|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Dublin, S.)||Wardle, George J.|
|Craik, Sir Henry||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Crooks, William||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Curran, Peter Francis||Macpherson, J. T.||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)||Winterton, Earl of|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Marks, H. H. (Kent)||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Fell, Arthur||Morrison-Bell, Captain||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Viscount Valentia.|
|Field, William||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)|
|Forster, Henry William||Nolan, Joseph|
§ Question put accordingly, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."1774
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 236; Noes, 68. (Division List No. 292.)1775
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Erskine, David C.||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Essex, R. W.||M'Crae, Sir George|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Evans, Sir Samuel T.||M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Everett, R. Lacey||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)|
|Alden, Percy||Fenwick, Charles||M'Micking, Major G.|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Ferens, T. R.||Maddison, Frederick|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Mallet, Charles E.|
|Armstrong, W. C. Heaton||Findlay, Alexander||Manfield, Harry (Northants)|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry||Freeman-Thomas, Freeman||Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)|
|Astbury, John Meir||Fuller, John Michael F.||Massie, J.|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Fullerton, Hugh||Masterman, C. F. G.|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John||Menzies, Walter|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isles of Wight)||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Micklem, Natheniel|
|Barker, John||Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Grant, Corrie||Mond, A.|
|Barnard, E. B.||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Montagu, Hon. E. S.|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Greenwood, Hamar (York)||Montgomery, H. G.|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)|
|Beale, W. P.||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)|
|Beauchamp, E.||Gurdon, Rt. Hn. Sir W. Brampton||Morrell, Philip|
|Bell, Richard||Haldane, Rt. Hon Richard B.||Morse, L. L.|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Harcourt, Rt. Hn. L. (Rossendale||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Benn, W. (T'w'r Hamlets, S. Geo.||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)|
|Bennett, E. N.||Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncast'r|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)||Norman, Sir Henry|
|Bertram, Julius||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithn'ss-sh||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Nuttall, Harry|
|Black, Arthur W.||Helme, Norval Waltson||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)|
|Branch, James||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Brigg, John||Henry, Charles S.||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Bright, J. A.||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Pearson, W. H. M. (Suffolk, Eye)|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)|
|Brodie, H. C.||Higham, John Sharp||Pollard, Dr.|
|Brooks, Stopford||Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Holland, Sir William Henry||Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)(|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Holt, Richard Durning||Priestley, W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Hope, W. Bateman (Somerset, N.||Radford, G. H.|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Horniman, Emslie John||Rainy, A. Rolland|
|Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Charles||Horridge, Thomas Gardner||Raphael, Herbert H.|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'|
|Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard Knight||Hyde, Clarendon||Rees, J. D.|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Idris, T. H. W.||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Chance, Frederick William||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Richardson, A.|
|Charming, Sir Francis Allston||Jacoby, Sir James Alfred||Ridsdale, E. A.|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Jardine, Sir J.||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Roberts, Sir John H. (Denbighs.|
|Clough, William||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Robinson, S.|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Kearley, Sir Hudson E.||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W.||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Laidlaw, Robert||Rose, Charles Day|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinst'd||Lambert, George||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis||Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Cowan, W. H.||Lehmann, R. C.||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Scarisbrick, T. T. L.|
|Crossley, William J.||Levy, Sir Maurice||Scott, A. H. (Ashton under Lyne|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Lewis, John Herbert||Seaverns, J. H.|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Seely, Colonel|
|Dobson, Thomas W.||Lupton, Arnold||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick, B.|
|Duckworth, James||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)||Lynch, H. B.||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs||Simon, John Allsebrook|
|Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall||Mackarness, Frederic C.||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Maclean, Donald||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Soames, Arthur Wellesley||Thornton, Percy M.||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Soares, Ernest J.||Toulmin, George||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Spicer, Sir Albert||Trevelyan, Charles Philips||Whittaker, Rt. Hn. Sir Thomas P.|
|Stanger, H. Y.||Verney, F. W.||Wiles, Thomas|
|Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.||Vivian, Henry||Wiliamson, A.|
|Stewart, Halley (Greenock)||Walters, John Tudor||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)||Walton, Joseph||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Strachey, Sir Edward||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.|
|Straus, B. S. (Mile End)||Waring, Walter||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.||Winfrey, R.|
|Stuart, James (Sunderland)||Wason, Rt. Hn. E. (Clackmannan||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)||Waterlow, D. S.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)||White, Sir George (Norfolk)||Mr. Joseph Pease and Master|
|Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)||of Elibank.|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston)||O'Malley, William|
|Ashley, W. W.||Hall, Frederick||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Barnes, G. N.||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Beaumont, Hon. Hubert||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Hills, J. W.||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Hodge, John||Seddon, J.|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hudson, Walter||Shackleton, David James|
|Cleland, J. W.||Hunt, Rowland||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Clynes, J. R.||Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Snowden, P.|
|Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham)||Jowett, F. W.||Summerbell, T.|
|Collings, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm'gham)||Joyce, Michael||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Cooper, G. J.||Kelley, George D.||Walsh, Stephen|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Wardle, George J.|
|Crooks, William||Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E.||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Curran, Peter Francis||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Macpherson, J. T.||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarth'n|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan||Marks, H. H. (Kent)||Winterton, Earl|
|Field, William||Nicholls, George|
|Gill, A. H.||Nolan, Joseph||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Glover, Thomas||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Mr. George Roberts and Mr.|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||O'Grady, J.||Charles Duncan.|
§ Sir JOSEPH LEESE claimed, "That the Main Question be now put."
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 196; Noes, 35. (Division List No. 293.)
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Bertram, Julius||Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W.|
|Alden, Percy||Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Compton-Rickett, Sir J.|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Black, Arthur W.||Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinst'd|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Branch, James||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.|
|Armstrong, W. C. (Heaton||Brigg, John||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry||Bright, J. A.||Cowan, W. H.|
|Astbury, John Heir||Brodie, H. C.||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Bryce, J. Annan||Crossley, William J.|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Dalziel, James Henry|
|Barker, John||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Charles||Dobson, Thomas W.|
|Barnard, E. B.||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Duckworth, James|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard Knight||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Cawley, Sir Frederick||Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall|
|Beale, W. P.||Cheetham, John Frederick||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)|
|Beauchamp, E.||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Erskine, David C.|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Cleland, J. W.||Essex, R. W.|
|Benn, W. (T'w'r Hamlets, S. Geo.||Clough, William||Evans, Sir Samuel T.|
|Bennett, E. N.||Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Everett, R. Lacey|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Fenwick, Charles|
|Ferens, T. R.||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Seely, Colonel|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||M'Crae, Sir George||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick, B.)|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Fullerton, Hugh||M'Micking, Major G.||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Maddison, Frederick||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John|
|Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Mallet, Charles E.||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Grant, Corrie||Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Masterman, C. F. G.||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Gurdon, Rt. Hn. Sir W. Brampton||Micklem, Natheniel||Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.|
|Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||Mond, A.||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Hall, Frederick||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hn. L. (Rossendale||Montgomery, H. G.||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)||Morse, L. L.||Stuart, James (Sunderland)|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Hazel, Dr. A. E.||Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Nicholls, George||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncast'r||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Henry, Charles S.||Norman, Sir Henry||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Toulmin, George|
|Higham, John Sharp||Nuttall, Harry||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||O'Malley, William||Verney, F. W.|
|Holt, Richard Durning||Paulton, James Mellor||Walters, John Tudor|
|Hope, W. Bateman (Somerset, N.||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Walton, Joseph|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Pollard, Dr.||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton|
|Hyde, Clarendon||Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)||Waring, Walter|
|Idris, T. H. W.||Priestley, W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Jacoby, Sir James Alfred||Radford, G. H.||Wason, Rt. Hn. E. (Clackmannan|
|Jardine, Sir J.||Rainy, A. Rolland||Watson, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Raphael, Herbert H.||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea||Rees, J. D.||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||Rendall, Athelstan||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Kearley, Sir Hudson E.||Richardson, A.||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Ridsdale, E. A.||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Lambert, George||Roberts, Sir John H. (Denbighs.)||Williamson, A.|
|Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis||Robinson, S.||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Wilson, Henry J. (Yorks, W. R.|
|Lehmann, R. C.||Roe, Sir Thomas||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.)|
|Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Rogers, F. E. Newman||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.|
|Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Joseph Pease and Master of Elibank.|
|Lupton, Arnold||Scarisbrick, T. T. L.|
|Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Scott, A. H. (Ashton under Lyne|
|Lynch, H. B.||Seaverns, J. H.|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Glover, Thomas||Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n|
|Barnes, G. N.||Hills, J. W.||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Hudson, Walter||Seddon, J.|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hunt, Rowland||Summerbell, T.|
|Clynes, J. R.||Jowett, F. W.||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Collings, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm'gham)||Joyce, Michael||Walsh, Stephen|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Macpherson, J. T.||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Crooks, William||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Curran, Peter Francis||Marks, H. H. (Kent)|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Nolan, Joseph||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. O'Grady and Mr. Claude Hay.|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Fell, Arthur||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Field, William||Redmond, William (Clare)|
§ Main Question put accordingly.1777
§ Resolved, "That this House welcomes the statement of the Prime Minister with regard to the national importance of the problem of unemployment, and approves of the steps proposed to be taken by the Government to meet the present emergency."1778
§ Whereupon Mr. SPEAKER, pursuant to the Order of the House of 31st July, adjourned the House without Question put.
§ Adjourned at ten minutes before Two o'clock.