§ The Board of Trade may appoint such officers and servants for the purposes of this Act as the Board may, with the sanction of the Treasury, determine, and there shall be paid out of moneys provided by Parliament to such officers and servants 1433 such salaries or remuneration as the Treasury may determine, and any expenses incurred by the Board of Trade in carrying this Act into effect, to such amount as may be sanctioned by the Treasury, shall be defrayed out of moneys provided by Parliament.
I beg to move, after the word "effect" ["and any expenses incurred by the Board of Trade in carrying this Act into effect"], to insert the words, "including the payment of travelling and other allowances to members of Advisory Committees and other expenses in connection therewith."
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Bill reported with an Amendment.
§ Mr. W. PEEL
I have a short Amendment to move in section (l) of Clause 2, namely, after the word "Exchanges" ["The Board of Trade may make general regulations with respect to the management of Labour Exchanges "] to insert the words "established or assisted under this Bill." This Amendment is moved on behalf of the London County Council, though it may apply possibly to other councils as well. Under Part XI of the London County Council (General Powers) Act of 1905 the council has certain powers in regard to the registration of agencies for the employment of governesses and female domestic servants, and concert, theatrical, and music-hall employment agencies. The council regards these powers as important for the protection of those who seek employment through these agencies, and has decided to apply for Parliamentary power next Session extending these powers so as to meet defects found during the administration of their Act.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. W. R. PEEL (on behalf of Lord Willoughby de Eresby) moved, in Clause 2 (Regulation and Management), at the end of section (1), authorising advances to be made to meet the travelling expenses of workpeople, to insert "but no advance shall be made to enable workpeople ordinarily resident in Ireland to travel to any other portion of the United Kingdom unless it has been found impossible to find employment for them in Ireland." One of 1434 the difficulties in the case of Labour Exchanges is that although they may be useful in bringing labourers to towns and other places where labour is required, they may sometimes bring them in excessive numbers, and thus cause an undue competition or tend to set up the idea that there will be undue competition in those particular places and towns. There is not much danger of any difficulty arising in the case of trades which are fully organised, and the trades unions can take care of themselves. If any difficulty of that kind should arise, and if there was a complaint in a particular district or town that undue competition was arising owing to persons having been brought from another district, representations might be made to the Board of Trade and elsewhere, and the grievance would be rapidly redressed. I do not, however, think that the same facilities apply to agricultural labourers, and I am moving this Amendment on behalf of agricultural labourers. They are unorganised, and have not the same vocal powers as the great unions, and consequently they ought to be safeguarded and protected from any undue competition that may arise through the working of these Labour Exchanges. During harvest time labourers obtain a considerable increment to their usual wages, and other advantages which they cannot get at other times of the year. It is not too much to say that if these advantages were taken from the agricultural labourer his position would be very much changed for the worse. At harvest time, in the districts of the West of Ireland, a considerable number of agricultural labourers come into the Midlands and the North of England and to South of Scotland for the harvest. Already they come over in considerable numbers, and I do not wish to stop, these persons coming over from the poor-districts of the West of Ireland because, unfortunately, Ireland is a very poor country, and in the western districts there is very little employment. I am afraid, however, if much undue encouragement is given by the working of Labour Exchanges to the bringing over of a larger number of agricultural labourers from the West of Ireland at harvest time a very severe and unfair competition will be set up with the English agricultural labourer at home. This may be done in many ways. Farmers may give notice in their own country districts and they may communicate to the labourers in the West of Ireland the information that 1435 they will want a certain number of men, and they may come over in large batches. That is a difficulty I wish to meet, I think there should be some control in this matter and some safeguard against too much competition being set up against the English and Scottish agricultural labourer who finds that competition in his own district, and has not the means or the opportunity of defending himself. An Amendment very similar to this was moved by an Irish Member in the Committee, and therefore it is possible I may get some sympathy from the Irish Benches. I admit that this Amendment is drawn rather widely, because it applies to workpeople "ordinarily resident in Ireland," and that includes more than agricultural labourers. The Amendment also says "unless it has been found impossible to find employment for them in Ireland." I do wish to press upon the hon. Member in charge of this Bill, on behalf of the agricultural labourer and the men who follow the plough—who are not in the position to take care of themselves, who are not organised, and might suffer very hardly from undue competition with other agricultural labourers—to do all he can to mitigate the evil which may arise through the establishment of Labour Exchanges.
§ Mr. ROWLAND HUNT seconded the Amendment.
There is no intention of giving permanent aid to persons who wish to emigrate permanently. The only intention, is to pay expenses in the case of temporary work where a hardship may arise. It only applies in the case where employment has been found, and so the agricultural labourers will not be affected.
That is a conceivable case, but there is no intention on the part of the Government to give this kind of aid to that kind of person. It would be, I think, a distinct disadvantage to tie the hands of the Board of Trade so as to say that in no conceivable case should you ever give travelling expenses to a harvester who wishes to go from Ireland to England. I cannot accept the Amendment in the form in which it has been moved. I believe the hon. Member himself said he did not expect the Government to accpt his words, which he admitted were too 1436 wide. I may say, however, that in the regulations to be made under Clause 2 we may be able to do something which will carry out what the hon. Gentleman opposite wants. For instance, we might so frame the regulations as to provide that care should be taken to avoid unduly encouraging agricultural labourers to come over to this country permanently. I do not know if that would meet the hon. Gentleman, but I suggest ho would be well advised in withdrawing his Amendment, and he might accept my undertaking to have it dealt with in the regulations.
I will consider that, and if it is necessary to meet the hon. Gentleman's point we will frame regulations accordingly.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Lord EDMUND TALBOT
I have an Amendment which has been put down owing to an apprehension which exists in some quarters that in the regulations to be made under the Bill some time limit in regard to residence in the locality in which the Labour Exchange exists might be insisted upon; and it would be obvious, if any such rule were made, it would severely handicap sailors and soldiers on their discharge or on their transfer from the Reserves in obtaining employment. If the hon. Gentleman is able to give me a definite pledge that no such regulation as a time limit of residence will be made, I will not trouble the House by moving my Amendment.
There is no intention whatever of placing any such residential qualification upon any person who desires to obtain employment through the Labour Exchanges.
§ Mr. TENNANT moved to leave out section (3) of Clause 2 ["(3) Subject to any such regulations, the powers of the Board of Trade under this Act shall be exercised in such manner as the Board of Trade may 1437 direct"] and to insert instead thereof the following section:—
§ (3) Any general regulations made under this section shall have effect as if enacted in this Act, but shall be laid before both Houses of Parliament as soon as may be after they are made, and if either House of Parliament within the next forty days after any regulations have been so laid before that House resolves that the regulations or any of them ought to be annulled the regulations or those to which the Resolution applies shall, after the date of such Resolution, be of no effect without prejudice to the validity of anything done in the meantime under the regulations or to the making of any new regulations.
§ Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause," put, and negatived.
§ Resolved, "That the House do now adjourn."—[Mr. Joseph Pease.]
§ Adjourned at Twenty-eight minutes after Eight o'clock.