§ 30. Mr. CLOUGH
asked the Minister of Labour why, when there are 18,072 places in the instructional factories, only 8,000 men have been selected for training at the end of the second year after the Armistice; what is the cause of the delay; why these places cannot be immediately filled, in view of the number of candidates; what is the average cost of the training of each man in Government factories, including the charge for interest or depreciation on capital assets; what is the accountancy staff now employed in connection with such factories; and whether he is aware of the public criticisms to the effect that the whole administration of these factories tends to be slow, costly, and thus relatively ineffective?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
I cannot accept the implication that there has been a two years' delay in filling the Government instructional factories that have been set up by the Ministry of Labour. It was not until August, 1919, that, this Ministry took over the full administration of these schemes, and such was the difficulty of obtaining suitable premises that many months elapsed before it was found possible to acquire sufficient accommodation. When the buildings had been acquired, extensive adaptations and the installation of elaborate equipment were necessary in many cases. The average cost of training a man in a Government instructional factory is £25 per month, including his allowance and a proper charge for depreciation on capital assets. The Accountancy Staff now employed at such factories is 229, and the cost is 2 per cent, of the expenditure of the factories. Since I 1226 took up my work at the Ministry of Labour I have visited many training centres in different parts of the country, and I am satisfied that they are carrying out well the requitement of the profound obligation under which we rest to the men being trained in them.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
Will the right hon. Gentleman assure us that there shall be no stint in these factories of the necessary appliances and the necessary upkeep expenses of training these men?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
We shall certainly have regard to the prudent expenditure of public money. Subject to that, as far as I am concerned, these men will get in training all we can give them.