HC Deb 13 March 1911 vol 22 cc1846-8

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether Regulation V. (1) and (2) of the general regulations made by the Board of Trade in pursuance of Section 2 of The Labour Exchanges Act, 1909, had ever been put into force in respect of an applicant applying for an advance of money in order to pay his passage to Canada; whether, if the reply was in the negative, he would explain whether such an advance would contravene the regulation in question or be opposed to the spirit of the Act itself; whether he was aware that the Act was passed to assist in diminishing unemployment and to bring the workman seeking work into direct touch with the employer seeking labour; and, seeing that the object of the legislature would be more effectively carried out in providing an applicant with permanent employment in Canada rather than with temporary employment in the United Kingdom; whether he would state what action he proposed to take?


An advance of travelling expenses by way of loan to an applicant proceeding to work in Canada would not, I think, be contrary to the spirit of the Labour Exchanges Act or of the Regulations if the employment had been obtained through a Labour Exchange, but no such advances have in fact yet been made, and the subject is not free from difficulty. As stated by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in answer to the hon. Member on 2nd March, the whole matter will be discussed with the representatives of the self-governing Dominions at the coming Imperial Conference.


Is it still the policy of His Majesty's Government not to allocate public funds to emigration expenses?


I think my answer covers the point raised in the question. We are going to discuss the matter with the representatives of the various Dominions, and until we have done so I would rather not give a definite answer.


Are we to understand that it is not against the principle of the Labour Exchanges Act to use for the solving of labour problems in Canada money voted by this Parliament?


That hardly arises out of the question as far as I understand. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will give me notice?


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he would state the rates of wages paid to caretakers of labour exchange buildings in London; whether out of those wages all utensils and materials for cleaning purposes had to be bought; and what were the general conditions of employment?


The wages paid to caretakers at labour exchanges in London vary from 17s. to 26s. 6d. a week, according to the nature of the duties required Fuel and light are provided in addition, but a deduction of 4s. to 7s. is made for rent, and the caretakers have to provide cleaning materials. The engagement is weekly.


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he would state how many appointments, approximately, would be made as a result of putting into operation the authority to establish juvenile advisory committees in connection with Labour Exchanges; how was it proposed to elect the candidates for these positions; by whom would the selections be made; and would any, and, if so, what, public notification be given of openings and vacancies as they occurred inviting applications from candidates?


The number of fresh appointments specifically sanctioned in connection with juvenile advisory committees is seventeen, and it is not at present expected that there will be any large increase in that number. The appointments are made, as in the case of other Labour Exchange appointments by the Board of Trade, and as a very large number of applications have already been received it would only lead to disappointment and misunderstanding if fresh applications were publicly invited whenever a vacancy occurs.


In view of the widespread dissatisfaction which exists with appointments made in connection with Labour Exchanges, will the right hon. Gentleman take into consideration the advisability of filling these appointments in the way in which ordinary Civil Service appointments are filled?


I am not aware that there has been widespread dissatisfaction in regard to these appointments. My information is of the opposite character. There are only a very few appointments in connection with these committees. The general position we have under consideration, and now that the Labour Exchanges are on a working basis, I hope we shall be able in future to make appointments on a somewhat different system from that adopted under pressure of time.