§ Resolution considered in Committee.
§ [Mr. EMMOTT in the chair.]
§ (IN THE COMMITTEE.)
§ Motion made and Question proposed, "That it is expedient to authorise the payment out of moneys provided by Parliament of the salaries of officers and servants appointed under any Act of the present Session to provide for the establishment of Labour Exchanges and for other purposes in relation thereto, and of any expenses incurred by the Board of Trade in pursuance of that Act."
I handed in at the Table an Amendment to this Motion, and I should like to ask whether it would be in order to move an Amendment limiting any money which is spent under this Motion to such buildings as can be acquired rather than building them?
I cannot say that it is out of order, but it is entirely unusual. It seems to me that it ought rather to be put in the Bill than here.
§ Sir FREDERICK BANBURY
I handed the following Amendment to the clerk at the Table: "Provided always that the sum spent in any one year does not exceed £150,000." I wish to know whether the Amendment of my hon. Friend (Captain Craig) would in any way interfere with my Amendment. I think if the hon. Member's Amendment were rejected mine could then be moved. I wish to know the position.
I beg to move to add at the end of the Resolution: "Provided that no capital expenditure be made by the Board unless Government or leasehold premises suitable for the purpose of Labour Exchanges are unobtainable in the locality."
I wish to make it quite clear that I have no objection whatever to the establishment of Labour Exchanges, and to voting the money necessary to carry them on. Anyone who examines the financial statement carefully will see that it covers quite a large number of the items for which it is 748 necessary to provide under the Bill. I have no objection whatever to money being given for the objects stated, except as regards the laying of foundation stones now for buildings to be erected hereafter. I object to that on the ground that whatever sum of money is taken now for that purpose will only be the beginning of a large scheme for erecting fresh buildings of a very elaborate character, presumably at the centres indicated in the Bill. There are a very large number of buildings in these centres suitable for Labour Exchanges. Everyone knows that there are old exchanges and old prisons in certain large towns which could be used for this purpose. I am glad to say that there are prisons in some populous parts of the country which are not now used as prisons. They would make most admirable Labour Exchanges. I know three or four populous towns in Ireland where there are well-built and conveniently situated buildings which could be so utilised. In Downpatrick, in county Down, a large and prosperous town, there is an old gaol which has been lying idle for 20 years or more. It is substantially built, and it occupies about the best site in the town. It seems to me that we ought to restrict the money under this Resolution to the utilising, as far as posible, of such buildings, and in that way allow all the more money to be paid to the staff. If the money is used for beginning the erection of new buildings, it will be some years before they can be used for the purposes for which they are intended. The Government have in view legislation with regard to the reform of the Poor Law. That reform will, of necessity, mean the closing of a large number of poor-houses and workhouses throughout the kingdom, and, on account of the grouping of the inmates more in large centres, we may anticipate that a large number of the buildings will become vacant, and consequently available for the purpose of Labour Exchanges. The Exchanges would be able to get to work at once if these buildings were used in the way suggested, and even present distress in various trades throughout the country would be relieved in some measure by taking advantage of the earliest opportunity of using the money voted under the scheme.
I do not see that this has anything to do with the proposal in the Resolution. The hon. Member is now arguing that it is desirable the Act should be got to work at once. He must confine 749 himself to the question whether it is proper that there should be capital expenditure or not upon this scheme.
I was only trying to show that if the money which is to be used as capital is used for the erection of new buildings, it will mean that less money will be available for the purchase of buildings already in existence, thereby preventing the Exchanges from getting to work at once. This, after all, is the beginning of a new scheme which, I understand, is to cost £2,000,000. I wish that as much as possible should be devoted to the working of the Act, and not for the purpose of being sunk in bricks and mortar throughout the country. Another effect would be to bring prosperity to some of the smaller towns which have those buildings and are anxious to have them occupied. If my Amendment is accepted, it will give great satisfaction throughout the country.
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there added."
§ The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. Churchill)
I have endeavoured as far as possible to facilitate discussion to-day by publishing a statement setting forth in considerable detail the general purposes for which the money is required under this Bill. I hope that the Committee will not adopt the Resolution proposed by the hon. Member (Captain Craig). I agree with him that it would foe very undesiraible for us to spend a lot of money on bricks and mortar in a scheme of this character. I think we have got to work gradually in the matter of permanent buildings. The proposals which I have submitted do not provide for building permanent premises for even the first Labour Exchanges. Until 10 years have passed the new buildings will not be completed, and meantime the Exchanges will be housed in hired buildings. The hon. Member would like to go on permanently in hired buildings. I do not think that that would be economical, foe-cause there would be an expensive charge for rent, and the adaptations necessary are also expensive. As shown in the statement which I have made in the Paper, the result of the building of permanent premises, which will be gradually undertaken year after year at the rate of three or four each year, will be sensibly to reduce the charges for rent, and the fact that permanent buildings are going to foe put up in certain places will relieve us from the expensive adaptations that will have to be 750 made in those places. Because where we are going to build a permanent structure shortly we are going to try to get along as best we can with the minimum of expense of adaptation. Where no permanent structure is to be provided for seven, eight, or nine years, there, of course, the adaptations will have to be of a more extensive character. Of course, no merely adapted buildings will really foe suitable for the purposes of a first-class Labour Exchange. We want two or three or four considerable waiting-rooms, with special lavatory accommodation, and two or three other rooms for the purpose of the service and the administration; and there are several special circumstances connected with this business which will ultimately require a proper building to be put up for us, and I am sure that in that respect the hon. Gentleman will do me the justice of admitting that I have tried to give the fullest information to the House to-day, and that in addition to that we are not launching out in any ambitious scheme of bricks and mortar, but we have tried to develop a plan which in a humble and modest way will enable us to put our project into operation and not commit the country to any undue expenditure until it has been proved by the working to be a necessary part of our social arrangements.
§ Mr. G. N. BARNES
I do not know whether the hon. Member (Captain Craig) who brings forward this Amendment is serious or not, but if it goes to a Division I hope he will be left in a minority of one. It seems to me that if Labour Exchanges are to be set up at all he wants them set up on the cheap. Speaking as one with some knowledge of labour and workmen generally throughout the country, I want to say in my judgment if any spirit of that sort should creep in in setting up Labour Exchanges it would be absolutely fatal to it. I take it that the Labour Exchanges have nothing compulsory about them, but being voluntary in character, must be of such a kind as to attract workmen and employers to get into co-operation to make them a success, and anything more calculated to defeat the object in view I do not know than to send workmen to register their names in old prisons, or as the hon. Gentleman suggested, old workhouses and small-pox hospitals. I can only say that if anything of that sort is done it will defeat the purpose of the Bill, for workmen will never go near them. As has just been pointed out by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. 751 Churchill), we want even the cheapest of these exchanges to be of such a character as to afford all facilities whereby you may have divisions of the separate groups of trades treated according to their special needs; and all this involves, as he said, buildings put up for the purpose and the whole scheme being started in the manner in which it is to go on, that is to say, in a manner to attract the workmen and the employers to co-operate to make the scheme a success. This Amendment is calculated to defeat that object, and therefore I hope it will not be pressed; but if it is, I hope that it will be defeated by an overwhelming majority.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
The hon. Member who has just sat down (Mr. Barnes) has told us that he did not want Labour Exchanges in a cheap form. I presume, of course, that the cost of these Labour Exchanges is to be put on as a super-tax on those who have more than £5,000 a year. I think that the idea of the hon. Member is that all people who have got money should be taxed for the benefit of his own class. I suppose that as he has not got to pay he prefers the expensive kind of Exchanges; but from the point of view of economy and business it does seem to me that the Amendment of my hon. Friend is not only a serious Amendment, but an extremely sensible and proper Amendment to be moved. I fail to see why workmen should not be attracted because the buildings are not of a magnificent character. The object of the workmen is to be at work, and if the place is dry there does not seem to me any reason why the workmen should not go to a building because it has been a prison or a workhouse any more than they should not go to a building that has been newly erected and finished like some of these elaborate municipal buildings on which the money of the ratepayers is being unfortunately wasted. Prisons, as far as I know, are always extremely well-built structures, and the roof is sound. What more is wanted I really fail to see. I should have thought they would be extremely good buildings, and buildings which would be as well adapted for this purpose of making inquiries as to what the industries in the neighbourhood are as buildings specially erected. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Churchill) says that he has given us a very complete financial statement. May I save personally, I thank him very much 752 for the statement which he has issued. I think it is a very good move. I quite admit that it is a new precedent. It has never been done before, and I think we ought to be grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for setting this new precedent, and enabling us to form some opinion of what the object of the financial Resolution is. For my part I thank him for the course he has adopted. But while I say that I think from the speech which the right hon. Gentleman has made that he advances strong arguments in favour of accepting the Amendment of my hon. Friend (Captain Craig). The right hon. Gentleman said that it was not intended to build permanent offices because of the cost. If the right hon. Gentleman will accept the Amendment of my hon. and gallant Friend he could, when ten years have passed, obtain a fresh Resolution, if necessary, to erect permanent buildings. If it is his intention not to have permanent buildings until ten years have elapsed, he ought to welcome this Amendment, because it will prevent pressure being brought to bear on him to exceed his original intention not to erect these permanent buildings before ten years. Then, as he says, there will be heavy charges for rent; on the other hand, there will be heavy charges for interest. If you erect permanent buildings no doubt you will save the rent, but you will have to pay the interest on the money which has been borrowed to erect the buildings. That would be extremely expensive, especially as it is cheaper to rent than to build. You may buy a building cheaper than you could build, and all my experience is—and I have had a good deal in different parts of the country—that it is always more expensive to build than to hire or to buy an old building. Then as to the question of special accommodation. After all, it is not so very difficult to adapt an old building, especially if it is a large one, and that is why I think that my hon. Friend's suggestion about prisons is a very good one. Under these circumstances, I can see many reasons for supporting the Amendment if it goes to a Division. I do hope that in these days, when there is an enormous expenditure going on, that economy will find true champions on the other side of the House. The acceptance of the Amendment will in no way interfere with the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman himself does not contemplate building within ten years, and under these circumstances, if it is desired that these things should be done economically and in a businesslike 753 manner, the Amendment of my hon. and gallant Friend should be welcomed.
§ Mr. ARTHUR FELL
I do not quite agree with the hon. Baronet that the right hon. Gentleman is going to confine buildings to a period after the lapse of ten years. It is a very important point whether these cheap buildings are to be only leasehold, and that at the end of ten years, when they have got sufficient information, they will decide which sites are suitable on which to erect buildings. I gather, however, from the Memorandum which has been circulated, that it is proposed next year, or the year after, to obtain some sites—at any rate, to begin the work of building. I gather that this is very likely to be the plan. But where you have leasehold premises you can change the situation to another part of the town or city, whereas if you have bought a site you are tied to it and you will have to erect your building there, although it may afterwards turn out to be in not the most convenient situation for your purposes. The whole thing is an experiment. It may exist abroad, but I have not had an opportunity of seeing it. I am quite sure, however, that it is a novel experiment, and we would be wise as business men to go very slowly, particularly in a case like this, where you would fix yourselves by buying a site. It is not yet known whether the buildings which you proposed to erect would be more convenient for the purposes of Labour Exchanges on sites in the centre of the town, or in the workmen's quarters. In London, for instance, it is a very important point whether the site should be in the centre of the town, where land is very dear.
This is quite out of order. The only point with which we are now dealing is whether we are to spend money on capital expenditure.
§ Mr. FELL
I was trying to argue that we should not spend capital on any particular site, because it might be in the wrong situation, and that, therefore, it would be a great mistake to have a capital expenditure on buildings. I say this is an experiment, and it cannot be denied that there is no similar thing in the country. I would suggest that you should take premises for a short period, and then, if you find a place turned out to be too small for your requirements you could easily make a change. There are many reasons which will readily occur to business men why you should go slowly, and why you should be very guarded in select- 754 ing places for labour exchanges. On the whole it would be just as well not to put more into bricks and mortar than you can possibly avoid at the present time.
§ Mr. E. H. CARLILE
Hon. Members will have realised from the speech of my hon. Friend that there is nothing in the least bit hostile to the Motion in his Amendment; at the same time it is clearly directed to the proposition laid down by the right hon. Gentleman, who pointed out that it was the intention of the Government to erect permanent buildings at the rate of two, three, or four yearly. We on this side of the House feel that this proposal is altogether an experimental one, though the actual results of it we have very little doubt are likely to be good, useful and valuable. At the same time it must pass through the experimental stage, during which it would be very undesirable to have a large capital outlay. It is merely on that ground that hon. Members on this side of the House support the Amendment of my hon. Friend. I suggest that leasehold property should be obtained where at all suitable in various localities. I heartily support that proposition because one feels that the work of the Labour Exchanges is one which will vary very much. Some of them may cease to be of any importance at all when a class of occupation in the district develops satisfactorily, and when employment becomes general. The whole operations of the Exchange may have to be centred in some other localities. It is clearly desirable at any rate for a time that there should not be permanent buildings. In many places there are leasehold properties which would adapt themselves with very little expense to the requirements of this work.
I am sure it is within the experience of hon. Members that in almost every locality there are lots of buildings which would adapt themselves to this purpose. It seems unnecessary at this stage of the proceedings to involve the country in a large expenditure for permanent buildings. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Churchill) estimates that it may be ten years before those permanent buildings in the principal localities may be erected. Before that period has elapsed large expenditure clearly must be involved as the work goes on, and even the permanent buildings will have to be re-adapted. We all know how difficult it is to acquire an addition to a site where a Government building already exists. If the Government from time to 755 time has to acquire sites immediately adjoining in order that they may extend, readapt and alter and change the construction of existing buildings, then we shall be face to face with the purchase of land and the erection of buildings under most disadvantageous conditions. Those are reasons which must be present to the minds of hon. Gentlemen. It is in no hostile spirit we bring this Amendment before the Committee. We quite realise it would be entirely out of order to make any reference to the work of the Bill or the nature of the Bill, or to our sympathy with the Bill. We feel that sufficient steps should be taken to ensure that unnecessary and especially wasteful expenditure should not be made. That would be clearly the result if in the early stages we were to lay down in any sense, as the right hon. Gentleman has laid down, the proposition that without waste of time we should proceed to the extent of two, three, or four permanent buildings every year, and buildings which cannot fail to be of an expensive character, and at the same time, merely perhaps of a transitory and experimental character.
I must point out that the hon. Member is not only repeating what other hon. Members have said, but he is now beginning to repeat himself.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman a question. I took it that the permanent buildings would not be erected until 10 years had elapsed; and my hon. Friend is under the impression that this capital expenditure will be commenced at once, and proceeded with for 10 years.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
The second statement is the correct one. There will be so much expended each year. Three or four first-class Exchanges will be erected each year, until at the end of the 10 years 30 or 40 will be built. In that way the expenditure is spread over a long period. If he will look at the statement of annual expenditure he will see we so spread it as to avoid any undue expenditure in any one year. The sum of £210,000 is the highest amount we arrive at, then £200,000, until in the tenth year, with the economy in the erection of these buildings, you have a sum of £180,000.
In reply to the hon. Member for Blackfriars (Mr. Barnes) I wish to say there was nothing derogatory in the suggestion I made as to prisons. I forgot to mention about barracks, which are also Government property. Therefore, the hon. Member's argument about the rent of those buildings, of course, does not apply. It was for the purpose as much as possible of conserving the capital that I pointed out where these barracks happen to be lying vacant, or Government buildings of any sort, the Government should convert those buildings to this use rather than have capital expenditure. That is the real meaning of the Amendment. Hon. Members below the Gangway did not quite clearly see what the effect would be if the Government spent this money. The less spent on capital expenditure the more will be available otherwise. From the financial statement they will see that this year £65,000 is ear-marked for capital expenditure, while the salaries are only to cost £15,000. My argument is if you do not spend the money in bricks and mortar you will be able to add a great portion of that £65,000 to the £15,000 for salaries, and the indirect result of that would be to get the Labour Exchanges into full working order at the earliest possible moment. I cannot see how the Labour Members can complain of the Amendment. It struck me—the moment I saw the Resolution— that the effect of my Amendment would be to facilitate the right hon. Gentleman in the very purposes for which he is asking the sanction of the Committee to-day. I thank the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Churchill) for his courtesy in putting this financial statement into our hands, and I wish his example were followed by other Members on the Front Bench. I think the whole Committee will agree with me that it has facilitated us in being able to understand the matter. Hon. Members on the other side smile and laugh, but may I point out they have not got the financial statement in their hands, and, therefore, it is of no use to them. I think this Amendment will commend itself to anyone who is desirous of conserving this large amount of money, for the purposes for which Labour Exchanges should be extended throughout the country. Therefore, I shall press the matter to a Division.
§ Question put, "That those words be there added."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 22; Noes, 89.757
|Division No. 229.]||AYES.||[12.56 p.m.|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.||Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Ashley, W. W.||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (B'y St. Edm'ds)||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford)||Winterton, Earl|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Heaton, John Henniker||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hill, Sir Clement||Younger, George|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Doughty, Sir George||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Captain Craig and Sir F. Banbury.|
|Fell, Arthur||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Forster, Henry William|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Fuller, John Michael F.||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Gill, A. H.||Philips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Glover, Thomas||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Barnes, G. N.||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Bennett, E. N.||Gulland, John W.||Rees, J. D.|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Hart-Davies, T.||Roch, Walter F (Pembroke)|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Helme, Norval Watson||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Brigg, John||Hills, J. W.||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Bright, J. A.||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney Charles||Jowett, F. W.||Stanley, Hon. A. Lyulph (Cheshire)|
|Cameron, Robert||Joyce, Michael||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Kelley, George D.||Summerbell, T.|
|Causton, Rt. Hon. Richard Knight||Kettle, Thomas Michael||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Chance, Frederick William||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Lamont, Norman||Verney, F. W.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Wardle, George J.|
|Clough, William||Lundon, T.||Waring Walte[...]|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Crooks, William||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Duncan, c. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Meagher, Michael||White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward||Mooney, J. J.||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Morse, L. L.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)|
|Falconer, James||Nannetti, Joseph p.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Herbert Lewis and Captain Norton.|
|Fenwick, Charles||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)|
|Flynn, James Christopher||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
moved to add at the end of the Resolution the words "not to exceed the sum of £150,000 in any one year."
I am aware that £150,000 is not as much as the right hon. Gentleman says he will require in some years, and if my hon. Friends agree I should be prepared to substitute £200,000, so as to allow the right hon. Gentleman the money he says he will want, but at the same time to put a limit on the spending power of the Department. In all probability it will fee said that as the amounts will appear in the Votes there will be an opportunity to discuss and, if a majority of the House desire, to reduce them in Committee of Supply. But it is not certain that any particular Vote will come on during the twenty days of Supply, so that we cannot be sure that this Vote would be discussed. It is true that the Opposition are generally allowed a voice as to the Votes to be put down for discussion. But there are many questions which the Opposition would naturally desire to discuss, and this is a comparatively small sum, therefore it would 758 not be safe to rely upon that as a protection against any extravagant expenditure under this Resolution. Then again, of course, we know very well' with the mechanical majority in power at the present time that it would be useless to move the reduction. We should only be voted down. There is very good ground for limiting at the present moment, and at the outset of the matter, the expenditure to be levied in any one year. If I had put down a very small sum it might have been said that my desire was to injure the Bill. I do not believe the Bill will have a very great effect. I believe the money will be wasted. I have put down such a sum as I think reasonable. The right hon. Gentleman smiles, but we will have a little conversation on the matter five years hence. The sum I have put down is larger than the right hon. Gentleman proposes to spend next year, though not so large as he proposes to spend later on. I should like to give the Bill a fair trial. I am prepared to extend the amount in my Amendment to £200,000. It will be some advantage to have the sum fixed. It will give a 759 little backbone to the right hon. Gentleman—I do not suggest that he is deficient in that respect—and a little backbone to the officials of the Department. When people come and say: "Oh, we want this, that, and the other, we must have the money," the reply can be made that the House of Commons has limited the expenditure, and that will be an unanswerable argument. I beg to move the Amendment.
§ Question put, "That those words be there added."
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I think the hon. Baronet has spoken with a little less than his usual logic. In the first place, he thinks all this money will be wasted: how, then, does he find it consistent to suggest the £150,000? Such a proposal, I confess, is likely to make it difficult for the hon. Baronet to maintain that high reputation that he has for financial orthodoxy. Secondly, I think the hon. Baronet is a little illogical in punishing me for my virtues rather than for my vices. He has very courteously expressed appreciation of the financial statement and information which I have prepared for the House. It contains just that sort of information of the estimate of expenditure for future years that might easily have been covered up by the Minister in charge of the Bill, and it is just that information that has suggested the Amendment of the hon. Baronet. I am quite sure that the hon. Baronet wishes to adhere to the cause of financial virtue, and is anxious to encourage me in that Parliamentary procedure that he has expressed approval of. Therefore, I trust that he will not proceed with his Amendment. As a matter of fact, the limitation of £150,000 would absolutely hamper the administration of this Act. We only require £100,000 this year, but we shall want £210,000 next year. All our plans are being made upon that basis, and to arbitrarily cut that estimate down by £50,000, or even by £10,000, would do no good, but only hamper the experiment at a later stage.
§ Mr. CARLILE
I am rather surprised that the right hon. Gentleman should take exception to the eminently reasonable Amendment of the hon. Baronet. By it there will be a larger sum available for the first year than the right hon. Gentleman says that he desires to utilise. The £150,000, I think, is by no means an unreasonable limit. With it he 760 could erect two buildings at £75,000, or three buildings at £50,000—though the right hon. Gentleman is very vague as to the number of buildings that he proposes to put up.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
May I say that it is really an error to suppose that all this money will be spent on buildings. Only a small proportion will be thus spent. Most of the money will be for salaries and general administration.
§ Mr. CARLILE
I have not had the privilege of examining the financial Paper, but I understand from the hon. Baronet that what I say will be so. However, when my hon. Friend suggests £150,000, and has even expressed his willingness to extend—with almost unwonted generosity for him—that sum by 30 per cent., surely that offer should have been at once closed with by the right hon. Gentleman! I think the Amendment is an eminently reasonable one and the right hon. Gentleman should accept it. The principle underlying the Amendment is that there should be a limit. In our own private life we would require to know what the limit of expenditure is to be in any course we may adopt. It seems unreasonable that the right hon. Gentleman should expect the Committee to sanction an unlimited expenditure The Amendment of the hon. Baronet is not moved in any narrow spirit, and the right hon. Gentleman ought to meet in a conciliatory spirit Members sitting upon this side of the House. We are in no sense obstructing the Bill, but we want to see it worked upon lines which will show the House and the country the amount of expenditure to be incurred.
§ Mr. W. CROOKS
The first advocacy we have had from the Opposition side of the House is that we might save money by going into second-hand buildings, and now we have another form of suggestion to reduce expenses. Yet hon. Members declare themselves in favour of the Bill.
§ Mr. W. CROOKS
Perhaps it was right to dissemble your love. But why did you kick me downstairs?You want the Bill, but you refuse the necessary money. One Member wanted second-hand buildings, and from the last hon. Member who addressed the Committee we have had a second-hand speech, for he admitted he knew nothing about the financial statement which had been made by the President 761 of the Board of Trade, except what someone told him. He wants a limited expenditure, but that is to be found in the financial statement—
§ Mr. W. CROOKS
We have the Estimate, which the right hon. Gentleman says will not be exceeded. The fact of the matter is we are not here to argue the points in this Bill, or to argue the Estimate. What some hon. Members are here to do is to argue the hands of the clock round to five, in order that they may possibly prevent something else useful from coming on. The fact is this scheme cannot be worked without money. One hon. Member argued if you spend the money on buildings you cannot have it for salaries. I suppose the hon. Baronet the Member for the City wants a limit to the amount for buildings, and would give a carte blanche for salaries. If the proposal was for salaries, the hon. Baronet would then turn round and ask what authority there was for the expenditure of such money, and we would have half a dozen proposals to kill the Bill. The suggestion was made to use prisons; what a nice thing it would be to suggest to working men that they should go to Wormwood Scrubbs and see if there was anything going, or to the casual wards, or to the Metropolitan Asylums Board to see if there was any chance of being wanted in the small-pox hospital, or to any empty lunatic asylum. We are out to do some good, and we think there is a fair opportunity of doing it here.
The hon. Member is not to talk about the merits of the Bill, but about the Amendment which has been moved to the money Resolution.
§ Mr. W. CROOKS
I apologise, but the four last Members talked about how to save money, and as this is a proposal to spend money upon some useful purpose, I thought I was in order in trying to show the absolute futility of such suggestions as were made. The statement issued shows what can be done, and I hope the Committee will without delay vote the money.
§ Mr. J. F. P. RAWLINSON
The hon. Gentleman has, I think, misunderstood the terms of the financial Resolution. There is no sort of limit in the financial statement. This Amendment proposes to 762 limit the amount of expenditure in any one year—
§ Mr. CROOKS
The statement says: "The total expenditure, so far as can be estimated at present, will be approximately as follows," and so on. That is the usual way. If you need more money, you get a Supplementary Estimate; if less, the balance is paid over to the Treasury.
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
This is not an Estimate in any way. It is what the right hon. Gentleman anticipates is likely to be spent. If this Amendment is not passed, the right hon. Gentleman would be entitled to spend a much larger sum than has been mentioned, and the word "Estimate" is not used in that sense. I would also point out to the hon. Member, he need not be in the least nervous about the 5 o'clock rule. The attempt to limit the expenditure, while at the same time approving the Bill, is a perfectly legitimate position to take up. The object of the Amendment is to put a limitation on the money to be spent, quite apart from the merits of the Bill.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I do not intend to divide. I will simply let the Amendment be negatived. I will not withdraw it, because I believe it is a good Amendment. I think it is in the interests of economy that there should be a limit. Perhaps I should alter the amount to £200,000 instead of £150,000.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I beg to move to add at the end of the Resolution the words "not exceeding the sum of £200,000 in any one year."
§ Question, "That those words be there added," put, and negatived.
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.