§ Motion made, and Question proposed,
§ "That a sum, not exceeding £942,350, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1922, for Expenditure in respect of Employment Exchange and Insurance Buildings, Great Britain (including Ministries of Labour and Health)."—[Note.—£500,000 has been voted on account.]
§ 9.0 P.M.
§ Mr. HOGGE
I thought my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour would have ventured to explain this Vote to us. We would prefer to hear him before proceeding to criticise it. There are some very important items in this Estimate on which we would like some information, and the usual practice is for a Minister to give the Committee some idea why the sum mentioned is required and then to reply to criticisms. It saves time when the Minister in charge of the Vote takes the trouble to extend the courtesy to the Committee of explaining in brief why he wants this money, as those of us who rise 2194 to criticise may quite easily take time in criticising what the Minister might put right in a single word. If he is not going to take that course, I should like to ask him for some information with regard to services arising out of the War included in this Vote. This House is very jealous of the maintenance of its pledge to the discharged men who fought in the War with regard to the provision which the Government has made towards their reinstatement in civilian life, and on page 38 of this Vote we have, under Sub-section M, two services in regard to which I particularly wanted to hear what the Minister had to say. The first of them deals with the acquisition and adaptation of factories and hostels for the training of demobilised non-commissioned officers and men of His Majesty's Forces and for the training of women. The original Estimate for these works was £1,200,000, and apparently there is a saving, in so far as the revised Estimate is less than that amount, but there is a sum asked for to complete this Vote, which is in the nature of a re-Vote, of £250,000. However much we may criticise the amount 2195 of money that is in a Vote, this is the amplification of the promise of the Government to the discharged men, and this is the only opportunity we have of my right hon. Friend saying in detail what is being done for these men. These factories and hostels were largely factories which were built for War purposes, and in various parts of the country they were taken over for the purpose of training the demobilised non-commissioned officers and men. I remember last year, when we were discussing this, the point of criticism which was urged from most quarters was that there was a great number of men being trained for occupations to which they could not get access after they were trained. The particular industry most concerned at that time was the building industry, and the point arose as to how far the money expended by the Government on training was a wise expenditure if the men trained could not be absorbed into the industry for which they were trained. That is a point of controversy between the Government and organised industry in this country, and as I am neither in the Government nor in organised industry, I can talk without prejudice, but I would like to know how far those factories and hostels have satisfied the demand made by the demobilised officers and men for this training; I should like to know the various categories into which the demobilised officers and men have been placed for the purposes of training, the number who have entered these hostels for training, how many have been equipped in the factories, and how many have been absorbed into the industries for which they have been trained.
The second point deals with the Ministry of Health, and there is there this vexed question of tuberculosis. The original Estimate was for £250,000, and the revised Estimate is for £143,125. The point about the tuberculosis is this. I expect, like myself, a large number of hon. Members were surprised at the ease, shall I say, with which in particular men who belonged to the Navy are subject to tuberculosis, but it is a fact that a great number of the men who were recruited for the Army and Navy, although they were passed into the Army and Navy as fit men, were discharged from the Army and the Navy as men who were suffering from 2196 tuberculosis. Under the National Health Insurance Act, the number of waiting cases for admission to tuberculosis sanatoria was larger than the sanatoria could admit, and to meet that difficulty with regard to the forces both of the Army and Navy the Ministry of Health took power to provide accommodation for the training of the discharged soldiers suffering from tuberculosis. They were put into institutions where they could gain the advantage of all the atmospheric conditions which were necessary to their recovery and at the same time learn some useful trade by which they might be absorbed back into civil life. Before I criticise I should like to know the results—how many members of the Army and the Navy were, outside the provisions of the National Health Insurance Act, admitted to those sanatoria for the purpose of being treated for tuberculosis, what trades they were being trained in in those sanatoria, how many of them have been absorbed into civil, industry cured, and how many still were in sanatoria.
There are other points in the Vote which I may put later, but my main interest in this Vote—as my right hon. Friend may imagine in view of the interest I once took in discharged men—is to know that we are really carrying our our promises and our pledges to those men. He knows, and we all know, that one of the easiest things for us all to-day, the longer we are removed from the circumstances of the War, is to forget what we pledged ourselves to these men to do. If there is any man connected with the Army or the Navy who has done service in the War and feels aggrieved that he is not getting the treatment he requires these Estimates give us the occasion on which we may expect from the Minister of Labour the facts in regard to these cases. Personally I shall feel much obliged if he can inform me on the two points I have put.
Sir J. D. REES
I challenge attention to the accommodation for the training of discharged sailors and soldiers suffering from tuberculosis. As the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has said, these are men who were passed by the medical service and subsequently led conspicuously healthy lives, perhaps the healthiest lives that could be imagined; lived by rule, fed by rule, in the fresh air all their time, living lives compared with 2197 which that of a Member of Parliament is of a most fatal and deadly description—yet these men are discharged as suffering from this deadly disease and apparently are provided at very large expense with some training. For what occupation? For what occupation is the term "tuberculosis" a qualification? I confess I do not understand. I hope that I am not saying anything unreasonable or capricious, but I do feel the profoundest mistrust of doctors and their opinions and actions in this respect. For the doctors—
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Sir E. Cornwall)
We are not now, I would remind the hon. Gentleman, discussing Health Services. We are now discussing the provision of buildings for these purposes.
Sir J. D. REES
Am I not in order in suggesting that the accommodation provided may be provided owing to erroneous action on the part of the doctors, or too much attention being paid to it by those who provide these buildings?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
Not on this Vote. The Committee and the House have decided to expend money for these services, and this is the Department concerned with providing the buildings. The general policy of these services does not come into consideration, only the question of what buildings should be provided.
Sir J. D. REES
Of course, I quite see that one must keep closely to the building, but the building is a very expensive item, and if I might be allowed to stray so far as to suggest that the filling of the building was a subject for some criticism I should be grateful. However, I quite realise, if I may say so, the absolute justice of your ruling, and I will not trespass any longer on the time of the Committee, except to take the opportunity of repeating what I said at the opening, my profound distrust of the doctors in this matter.
I want to raise one or two questions in connection with the Vote for works in progress. I do not speak in any unfriendly spirit towards the Ministry of Labour, for there is no part of the expenditure of the Government with which I feel more sympathy than expenditure on questions connected with health and labour. But there are one or 2198 two matters which arise on this Vote for works in progress on which some information should be useful and helpful to the Committee. Let me take an example in the work that is going on in the city of Newcastle-on-Tyne, of which I have the honour to be one of the representatives. So far as I can understand, this Vote and the policy adopted—and it brings out several things—first of all, there is the purchase of a site—which is the preliminary to building. A site was apparently purchased, for which the sum of £45,195 was voted in 1920–21. I am on page 34 of the Estimates. I observe on the next page that the sum of £9,995 was voted for the erection of huts for Divisional Office and Employment Exchange. That suggests to me that the policy adopted there was a very sound one, and was in order to enable the Minister to get on with his work. The temporary buildings were put up in order to help this forward. These temporary buildings have cost a substantial amount, nearly £10,000. One has no means of judging whether they are worth the money or not, and I am going to assume that they are, and that the Office of Works-has seen to that. Therefore the position in Newcastle is that a site and some temporary building in connection with the work of the Ministry of Labour is being carried on.
I observe, however, that for the erection of a permanent building the sum of £188,500 has been voted, which would appear to suggest a building of very considerable magnitude. I can only hope that when this building is finished it will be a worthy adornment to a city which prides itself on the possession of very many buildings of very considerable architectural importance. I am not advocating for a moment any extravagant expenditure on architectural frills, but I think if the Ministry is going into-an important city, and spending a large sum of money on this account, that some attention should be paid to the appearance of these buildings and that they will not be any kind of disfigurement. The point I want to raise is this; Apparently the work of erecting this permanent building is going on because there is put down a probable expenditure up to March, 1921, of £21,450. On the Vote £20,000 is required for 1921–22. That suggests to me that this building is going to take something like 10 years to 2199 build. It is estimated to cost nearly £200,000, upon which you are expending at the rate of something like £20,000 a year. I hope I am wrong, and that the Minister of Labour will clear that up in this Committee, because if this be correct it would suggest that at this moment in the buildings that are being erected, not only in Newcastle, but other cities, that if they are of this magnitude they will be spread over a long period. It would suggest that the proper policy to adopt was not to commence to build at all in these days of very high prices, but to be content for a while with the temporary buildings which have been provided in the Vote, and which, as I have already mentioned, for five or seven years during the War saw a lot of useful work done under, of course, more or less comfortable conditions. It appears to me that the sound policy would be not to encourage any building operations that are permanent in character at the present moment, more particularly if they are going to be carried on at the rate of speed indicated in this Estimate, Prices in building materials, as in everything else, are falling, and in two or three years' time there is no doubt that we shall be able to build more cheaply than to-day. If this Department, and every other Department, could content themselves with temporary accommodation arid leave permanent accommodation to the future a great saving would be effected.
The point I have made with regard to Newcastle applies to other places like Leeds, where there has been an expenditure of £125,000 for this purpose, and that appears to be at the rate of £33,000 a year. At Kew an enormous sum is being spent at the rate of £50,000 a year. On that general point I hope the Minister will tell us what is being done with these permanent buildings. All these buildings are being carried out under the supervision of the Office of Works, who have been entrusted with a considerable amount of work in regard to housing in addition to this other work. What is happening is that you have the same body engaged in housing work employing direct labour, and also engaged in this more general contracting work on permanent buildings. I find it difficult to see in what way this does not clash. How can this Department push forward housing schemes and at the same time be 2200 pushing forward these great permanent undertakings. This fact may explain the very slow progress that is being made on these permanent jobs, because the interest and attention of the Office of Works is being directed in other channels.
There is another item for the provision of a dining room for the Claims and Record Office at Kew. It was originally estimated to cost £25,000, which, I think, is quite a handsome sum for a dining room. This sum has now been increased from £25,000 to £40,000, and it must be going forward at the rate of something like £5,000 a year. This is a matter upon which I hope the Minister will give us some explanation. A £40,000 dining room must be going to accommodate a fairly big staff. I want to know why this estimate has been revised. Has the staff increased? Could not the dinner have been worked in shifts and the original dining room retained?. If there has been an increase in the staff, perhaps it will be in order for the Minister to tell us. I think that covers the points that I wished to raise. I think at a time when economy is so essential, if we can have some makeshift arrangement to carry us over the next few years, and the period of construction postponed in the present circumstances, it would be of great advantage to the taxpayers.
§ The MINISTER of LABOUR (Dr. Macnamara)
I did not rise at the outset of this Debate because I saw my hon. Friend opposite (Mr. G. Locker-Lamp-son) had a notice down for the reduction of the Vote.
I divided the House upon the last Vote, but I do not want to divide upon this Vote.
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
I will deal briefly with the points which have been put to me. I hope hon. Members will not accuse me on this occasion of going too closely into details. As a result of the very grave industrial depression in which we have been for a long time, it has been necessary for the State to try and mitigate the situation by unemployment insurance. The Committee will remember that in 1920 the Insurance Act raised the number of persons compulsorily insured to 12 millions. Then we had the Act of December last, and a further amending Act followed on the 3rd of March this 2201 year. It is these successive extensions of insurance which have compelled me to ask for the Vote now before the Committee, because they have thrown a very heavy burden upon the employment exchanges service.
Concurrently with these very large extensions raising the number of insured persons from 4,000,000 to 12,000,000 we have been running into further trade depression. In November last we had 500,000 people registered as unemployed. On the 1st April the total was 1,500,000, and now on the 15th April you have nearly 1,750,000 registered as totally unemployed. In addition to this, on the 15th April, you have 964,000 persons working short time. I want to say here how much we are indebted to the employment exchanges service for having done the increased work in this direction so loyally, efficiently, and willingly. I know there have been long queues waiting to register and to receive their unemployment benefit, but to mitigate this hardship all that has been humanly possible has been done. The growing amount of unemployment and the wide extension of insurance have been met by the Labour Exchanges service loyally and successfully, but it has been hindered by the cry of economy. We had last year a very close inquiry into the work of these Exchanges by a very able Committee, presided over by my right hon. Friend the Member for the Gorbals Division (Mr. G. Barnes). We have taken very many of the recommendations of that Committee into careful consideration, some of them have been implemented, and some of them we are now examining. With regard to the question of accommodation that brings me precisely to this Vote and the reason for it. The Committee reported as follows:We have received evidence from unofficial witnesses to the effect that many of the existing employment exchange premises are such as seriously to hamper the efficient working of the Exchange.After rehearsing the character of that evidence, the Committee go on to say:Our own inspection of a number of the Exchanges confirms these complaints in general. We find that in very many cases the premises now used for employment exchange work are unsuitable. We wish to record our emphatic opinion that the use of unsuitable buildings for employment exchanges is not an economy, and moreover, efficient work cannot be secured if, as in a number of centres at the present time, the work of an employment exchange is carried 2202 out in three, four or five different sets of premises in a single town. We recommend that such premises should be centralised.That Report reached me on the 10th November, 1920. Since then the position in all respects has grown worse by the growing unemployment week by week. I could have come to the Committee and asked it to make permanent provision for these exchanges on the basis of this-emergency. I have not done that, but throughout I have endeavoured to meet the emergency by emergency provisions. I have referred to the position in passing, and I felt it my duty to make reference to the very heavy amount of work done in the last eight months, in the face very often of most unfair and often hostile criticism. Leaving all the exceptional character of the times out of consideration, however, this has to be faced. You have to recognise the facts, first, that the extension of the Unemployment Insurance Act to a further 8,000,000 people has permanently increased, and must permanently increase the work of the exchanges. At the same time there has been no increase in the facilities for carrying on the work, many of which, on the testimony of the Committee presided over by my right hon. Friend the Member for Gorbals, were already wholly insufficient at the time. In deference to the Committee s wish last year that the expenditure on buildings at this time must be kept within the narrowest possible limit, I went through the Estimate provision for 1920–21, which had already been-submitted, very carefully indeed, item by item, and a revised Estimate for these buildings was prepared and submitted. The revision showed a reduction on the-year's requirements for exchange buildings from £529,800 to £464,700. Even that account is being carefully watched, and we are making shift, as we are bound to-do, in view of the stringency of finance. Even that revised Estimate was not fully expended, and, roughly, £146,000 of it wills be surrendered to the Treasury as unexpended at the close of the year.
As regards these Estimates for 1921–22, in view of the urgent need for economy, I desire that the Committee should be reassured that these requisitions for which? I am now asking have been framed with-the utmost regard for economy and represent the lowest possible minimum. In some cases I find I cannot renew tenancies-for premises, and I am bound to look 2203 about for new accommodation. I shall do that in the most economical way, leasing or purchasing existing buildings rather than building new premises. Wherever possible we shall make whatever provision is necessary by way of temporary hutments. There are six cases only in these Estimates in which I am asking for provision of permanent buildings. I am going to give them in detail, as I must justify asking for any money at this time for permanent buildings. Of the £498,600 required for premises of various kinds, the largest item is undoubtedly that in connection with the Claims and Record Office at Kew. Kew is the administrative centre of the Unemployment Insurance scheme, the amount already spent on the extension of the Claims and Record Office is £53,800, and the further amount required for this year is now estimated at £178,100, a total estimate of £312,650 for the extension. That is wholly a reflex of recent legislation in regard to the extension of unemployment insurance.
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
£53,800 is the amount already expended on the extension. The further amount required this year is £178,100 and that will make a total expenditure of £312,650. My hon. and gallant Friend referred to the £35,000 required to complete the cost of providing the dining-room at Kew. He said that it might very well be because of the extension of the staff. The staff was 800, and again, owing to the wide extension of unemployment insurance, it is now 3,000. No increase has been made to the dining-room accommodation beyond the erection of a small hut. I have been there several times, and I felt compelled, in consideration of the great increase of the staff, to set down and put to the Treasury and now to the Committee the addition which I propose to the dining-room accommodation.
The other most considerable item in the Vote is £120,000 for additional accommodation for employment exchanges. That is on the top of page 36 of the Estimates. It refers to a reserve provision. We might find ourselves con fronted during the year with notice to quit from a number of landlords. We have already had to hire temporarily 2204 here and there a church, a Sunday-school, and a chapel building to meet the increasing pressure of unemployment in a number of cases, rather than permitting numbers of people to wait outside in inclement weather in order to secure their unemployment pay. That provision takes the place of a provision which used to be made lower down on page 36 of the Estimates, against which there are no figures at all, under the heading " Urgent Unforeseen Works."
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
It was £127,955 last year. I turn to the detailed proposals regarding Employment Exchanges. That total comes up, and the figure will not be found except by addition, to £165,500. There was not a case, I can assure the Committee, where my hon. Friend and I did not believe that the measures were absolutely necessary. There is a provision of £15,000 odd asked for in respect of premises at Brighton, Borough, S.E., and other places. We also propose to spend £19,500 on the erection of temporary buildings or hutments at Hanley, Nottingham, Wigan, Maryhill, and East Ham, and also a sum of £5,000 for the extension of accommodation at Edinburgh. There is a further sum of £32,715 in connection with minor works in different districts.
I come to the permanent buildings. The Committee are entitled to be satisfied, because of the ultimate liability involved, that these proposals are justified. In the six cases a total of £93,200 is asked for in the current year, and the total expenditure in all the six cases when completed will be £443,500. Take the case of the Leeds Exchanges. At present they are in five different sets of premises and the work is very much handicapped. It cannot be carried on indefinitely on that basis. We made an attempt without success to rent suitable premises, but eventually acquired a site for £37,000. Including that amount, it is estimated that the cost will be £123,000, of which only £33,000 is taken in the present financial year. On the 1st of April there were registered as unemployed in Leeds 17,520. The next case is that of Leicester. There we have at present temporary premises held under the Defence of the Realm Act, which may have to be surrendered, and which, too, are not at all suitable for the business. We cannot get suitable accom- 2205 modation by renting it or purchasing it. There were 11,204 persons unemployed on the register on the 1st of April. We purchased a site for £4,500, and the provision towards the erection of permanent buildings this year is £10,000. At New-castle-on-Tyne we are providing permanent buildings for the employment exchange and for Divisional Offices. The existing premises are held on a tenancy, but may be required by the owner at any time for demolition. The exchanges are in temporary quarters at the Assembly Rooms, and we shall have to give these up. The Divisional Office staff is spread over two sets of premises, both of which are unsuitable and inadequate. We cannot get other premises which are suitable, although we have done our best. A site has been bought for £19,600, and in last year's Estimate a sum of £45,195 was provided.
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
I am afraid I cannot answer at the moment. The Vote in this financial year is for £20,000, which will leave a balance of £147,050 to be provided in future years, the total cost being £188,500. The number of persons registered in Newcastle as unemployed on the 1st April was 5,394. I can only say that this building is absolutely essential for the reasonably smooth and prompt working of the Exchanges.
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
We have already spent that on temporary hut accommodation, and when this new permanent building is complete, that expenditure will come to an end.
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
We have endeavoured to spread the work over a considerable time. The work of the Exchanges is being done under very unfair conditions indeed, but I certainly will look into this case of Newcastle again.
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
I have given the figures, but I do not think you can judge the expenditure by the number of unemployed at a particular time. The building at Newcastle has not yet been commenced, and I would point out that we are there providing not only for Exchanges, but for Divisional Offices, whereas at Leicester we are only providing Exchanges.
According to the Estimate the sum is asked for the erection of buildings for Divisional Offices and Employment Exchanges, and the same terms are applied to the Vote for temporary buildings. The two things seem to be exactly the same, and what was in my mind was that as you had already provided for temporary accommodation, and you were now seeking to replace it by permanent accommodation, the temporary accommodation might be made to serve a little longer.
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
We did not proceed with the huts except those which were to take the place of the assembly rooms in case we are turned out. But I repeat, this is not the last word on the matter. I will look into it again and see whether we can go on with the original proposals and make use of the temporary huts for the time being.
With regard to Govan, which is the fourth of these cases, the need for accommodation there has been fully recognised, and was fully recognised as far back as 1912, when a site was acquired for the purpose at a perpetual feu of £54 per annum. The search for suitable alternative premises has been made repeatedly, but without success. The site is not sufficient to accommodate a temporary hut, and the erection there of a temporary hut is therefore impracticable. The provision in the Vote is for a permanent building. There is a re-vote of £10,000 due to the commencement of building being delayed. I delayed it pending the report of the Committee on Employment Exchanges to which I have already referred. I have received most urgent representations from Glasgow in connection with this case, and also that of Partick, which is the fifth of these cases. At Partick the premises are quite inadequate, and we have temporary premises in the church hall.
There, again, search has been made for years for suitable buildings for the work, 2207 but without success. Partick was included in last year's Estimate, and funds were provided for it, but we did not proceed. The matter has been postponed, so that we might see what line, as regards the future of these Exchanges, the Committee—of which my hon. and gallant Friend was a member—might think best. Steps are being taken to see whether temporary buildings can be erected with advantage at Partick, and, if so, there will be a considerable reduction of the estimated expenditure. Otherwise the estimated cost, including site and buildings, will be £25,000, of which £14,200 is required during the current year and £10,200 is a re-vote. At Partick, on the 1st April, 3,944 persons were registered as unemployed. The final case is that of Port Talbot. At present the buildings there are entirely inadequate, and in any case we are under notice to leave. The case has pretty much the features which I have described in the other cases. The estimated total cost is £22,000, of which £6,000 is now asked for.
I have tried to dissect from this Vote the permanent cases, because they involve, ultimately, considerable expenditure, and to justify the request I have made to the Committee. The hon. Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Hogge) asked for some particulars of cases arising out of the War. The Vote in that connection is for buildings and factories for the training of disabled and demobilised soldiers. As my hon. Friend knows any man, who is prevented by his War service from resuming his pre-War occupation, can come to us and ask to be admitted to a course of training in one of the many crafts for which we have men entered. Up to the present time we have trained 40,000 men in these Government instructional factories and in other buildings—some which we have ourselves acquired, and many which have been lent to us by the educational authorities. The assistance which has been given to us by those authorities, notably in Edinburgh, but also in many other places has been very great, not only in regard to lending buildings, but in sending to us expert teachers, whose aid has been invaluable. We select a man of high disability for a calling which does not involve heavy physical toil, such as basket making, watch and clock making, light leatherwork, French polishing, and so on. Where the disability is not so 2208 great, the men are trained in building operations and occupations of a like nature,
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
Apart from the recent depression, the great bulk of those men found employment, and were doing very well. Undoubtedly they have suffered like the rest of the industrial community because of the depression which has been running now for several months. There is no doubt that the training we gave them did enable them to go into their new callings and earn a decent living. I may say that, in furniture work, for instance, to take a case with which my hon. Friend is familiar, everyone who has seen their work marvels at the very high pitch of efficiency which these wounded men, with great pluck and determination, have been able to reach. We have 25,000 now in training, and there are 16,000 whose names are still upon the list awaiting admission. We cannot admit them as quickly as we should wish, because we have to consult the trade unions and the employers, who have to have regard to the possibility of ultimate employment in deciding upon the numbers which they I can agree with us shall be admitted. Just now it is not surprising that both trade unionists and employers are in clined to make the bounds of admission very narrow indeed, because of the depression; but, if I may say so, the trade unions as a whole have behaved—
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I do not want to stop the right hon. Gentleman, but I must do so, because I should have to stop other hon. Members who went into that subject.
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
I apologise. I was led to say that by the request of my hon. Friend, but I quite agree that it is out of order. I am afraid that if I began to tell the Committee about the building trades, which my hon. Friend perhaps expected me to do, I should again be quite out of order.
§ Mr. HOGGE
On that point of Order. I have some experience of the House, and know what arises on these Votes, but may I put it to you, Sir Edwin, that the Minister has just stated that there are 16,000 men awaiting training? This is a Vote 2209 for building, and surely we are entitled, if there is not sufficient accommodation, to urge the Government to spend more money in buildings for these 16,000 men; and surely, therefore, the right hon. Gentleman ought to be allowed to make out a case why the present buildings are sufficient? Unless he can make out a case that they are sufficient to train the 25,000 men who are under training and the 16,000 who are waiting, surely we are entitled to discuss that point?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member is certainly entitled to discuss the necessity and desirability of more accommodation, if that is considered to be necessary. All that I said was that it would not be in order now to discuss the value of the work done by these men, the number of the men, and the attitude of the trade unions and of the employers. That was what the right hon. Gentleman was saying when I interrupted him.
§ Mr. HOGGE
I only wanted to know with regard to the men who are awaiting training. It is now nearly three years after the Armistice, and the House of Commons should put itself right with those men. I do not want the men outside to say that, when we have the opportunity of discussing this in Committee, we are letting them down, and I was rather hoping that on that account, if there were any kind of latitude that could be allowed, a discussion might take place which would convince the men outside that no further accommodation was required.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I thought I had allowed that latitude. I only intervened when the right hon. Gentleman was going too far away from the question.
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
I apologise. My hon. Friend's question led me further than I should have gone. On the question of buildings, we have buildings enough. We do not want any further building accommodation. The difficulty arises that we have vacancies in a particular locality which could not reasonably be expected to take men of that class. It is not a question of building, but rather of the industrial depression at the moment.
§ Mr. LORDEN
I do not often find myself in agreement with the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Major Barnes), but this time I find myself in considerable 2210 agreement with him, because here we have a very huge building programme, which I claim to know something about, and it seems to me that by deferring a considerable quantity of this building that you are proposing to do during the coming year, you would undoubtedly get it done at a very much lower price in the near future. They are pledged to spend £993,685, which is the difference between the original Estimate and the revised Estimate. You have to do a sum to get to it. It is a pity these things are not put in, so that we can see, without having to go into these calculations, what is the real amount. I think the country cannot afford this expenditure, however desirable it may be. The Minister has made out a wonderfully good case in regard to people standing in the wet. We sympathise very greatly with those people, but if he goes on spending there will be a great many more standing in the wet. It is obvious that they have had to add considerably to their numbers on account of the increased cost of building. That is very largely why you get these revised total Estimates. Take the extension of the Edinburgh employment exchange. It has gone up nearly double, from £6,500 to £12,500. It is an appalling increase. The right hon. Gentleman has said he will take into consideration whether they cannot hold their hand with regard to Newcastle. Cannot he hold his hand with regard to a few more? A few more hundred thousand pounds held up would probably enable some people to live and not have to come on to this fund, and that is what we really want. I merely wish to emphasise what the hon. and gallant Gentleman has said, and see whether we cannot get the right hon. Gentleman to stay his hand as much as possible.
§ Major NALL
I beg to move that the Vote be reduced by £35,000.
The right hon. Gentleman very conveniently wound up with a reference to the training of ex-service men. With that part of he Vote I do not suppose hon. Members would be disposed to quibble in any way, but it is not good enough to suggest that the virtues of that side of the Ministry should condone all the vices of the rest of it. Reference was made to 2211 Kew. £35,000 is asked for for a dining-room for the staff, which has had to be increased to meet the existing abnormal state of affairs from 800 to 3,000. The Minister said he had gone into things very carefully, and considered it was necessary, but is it really absolutely necessary at this time, groaning under taxation as the country is, to build dining-rooms at a cost of £40,000 for a temporary staff? The whole spirit behind these Estimates of the Ministry of Labour discloses an extraordinary lack of any desire for real economy. When my right hon. Friend says he has gone over these Estimates with the idea of reducing them to the lowest possible figure, having regard to the need for economy, one wonders what on earth they would be if he thought there was no need for economy. Here we are, with unemployment at a most abnormally high figure, and in spite of all the difficulties the Minister referred to here he is asking for money for enormous extensions in order to deal with a normally low figure when we again get back to it. I really cannot see the necessity for this expenditure on building at its present cost. The whole policy is really at the root of this expenditure. Here we are voting money for new buildings to deal with unemployment before we really know that the present figures of unemployment are genuine figures. Reference has been made in other Debates to different classes of people who are drawing out-of-work benefit when many hon. Members and thousands of people in the country think they might well find occupation in other callings. Only these last few days I have seen queues of women waiting outside these places where the accommodation is alleged to be inadequate, in fur coats and silk stockings for their 16s. a week. It is not more accommodation for these people that is wanted. It is not more accommodation for staffs to check their accounts and add up their cards that is wanted. It is a sterner handling of their claims and a refusal to pay 16s. a week to people who can very well go out and earn it for themselves. Therefore I have no sympathy whatever with Votes of this description.
Sir J. D. REES
Will my right hon. Friend look at the item—"Nottingham: Purchase of site and erection of temporary premises for Employment Exchange, £5,600" to complete the Service1? It is 2212 not out of any jealousy that I ask this question. The less money that is spent upon exchanges the better pleased I shall be. It is for information I ask. Why does Nottingham have temporary premises? Others—Port Talbot, Edinburgh, Glasgow, for instance—have permanent premises. If these are temporary premises costing £16,600, it would appear rather expensive. I do not understand the distinction. The amount remaining on these Nottingham premises for which the Vote is now required is £5,600. If the original Estimate was made at anything like the building prices obtaining some time back, it is quite certain it cannot be completed for anythng like £5,600, because the cost of building is at least double what it was quite recently. If my right hon. Friend would explain why some are temporary and some are permanent premises, though I raise no objection whatsoever to Nottingham having temporary premises, and if he could say whether there is a reasonable expectation that the balance now voted in a case like that is really likely to be sufficient for completion, seeing what present prices are, I should be greatly obliged to him.
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for the Hulme Division of Manchester (Major Nail) charges me with being wasteful, and he is succeeded immediately by my hon. Friend behind who asks why I make temporary provision at Nottingham. Out of the spirit of real economy. At Nottingham we received notice to quit premises, and our temporary premises being unsuitable, we took a site upon which we are erecting huts as being, for the time being, the most economical provision we can make.
§ Mr. G. BALFOUR
I listened with great care and attention to the explanation which the right hon. Gentleman gave to the Committee, in the hope that I should feel quite convinced that I could support this Estimate. I regret to say his explanation left me entirely cold, and I came to the conclusion that the whole scheme of the Ministry of Labour in regard to the buildings is based upon a chronic state of unemployment. I think that is borne out by the table -which is presented, which gives the allocation of the expenditure distributed over the various years. We have the amount shown for 1921–22, and 2213 we have in the next column the further amount required for completing the service after the financial year 1921–22. If we cast our eyes over the table we see Leeds, for instance, where to complete the unemployment exchange building there is a sum of £53,000 to be spent after the end of this financial year. We are to get through this abnormal year with what, I suppose, we all believe to be the most abnormal condition of unemployment with which we have ever been faced in the history of the country, and with which, we believe, we shall ever be faced in the future. Yet this building is not to be finished and ready to deal with this service until after the expiration of the present financial year. Surely it is possible to get through this abnormal period with the temporary accommodation we have, and, if we can do that, surely we shall not need to provide for a chronic state of unemployment in excess of the present condition.
I can follow up many of the items in the same manner. At Glasgow (Govan), after the end of the present financial year, there is an expenditure of £14,900. At Newcastle, £147,050 is to be expended after the expiration of the current financial year. All this is to be incurred to enable us to deal with the unemployment problem which is abnormal now, and which, if we are ever to regain our commercial prosperity, will surely cease before these buildings can be completed. I feel deeply and sincerely that one of the greatest contributory causes of unemployment at the present moment is the activity of the Ministry of Labour, the multiplicity of buildings and the staffing of buildings such as these with people who have nothing else to do but to keep active on unemployment problems. So long as you have this vast number of buildings throughout the country staffed with an army of people who are concerned only with the problem of unemployment, you will have nothing but a huge manufactory of unemployment. I. therefore, protest against such a Vote as this, and support the Motion for the reduction.
Mr. TREVELYAN THOMSON
The Minister of Labour referred to the findings of the Unemployment Exchanges Inquiry Committee, on which I had the honour to serve, and it is quite true, as he stated, that the recommendation of 2214 that Committee, after making very careful inquiries, investigating places and examining a large number of witnesses, was that the present system was by no means economical, that you had your buildings scattered over various parts of towns, and different Departments working apart from others, which meant a considerably extra cost in administration, as well as in rent, than would occur if the buildings were centralised and put under one head. Leeds has been referred to. We found the cost of the rents of the five departments in Leeds was more than one properly organised central body would be. In a large number of other cases also we found there was a wasteful expense, because office accommodation was unsatisfactory, and that the real economy would be to get buildings that were suitable and not such as were used in too many cases. Hon. Members have referred to these Estimates as being based on an abnormal condition of unemployment. But surely they must have misunderstood entirely what the Minister said, because we had evidence given before us at the Committee that the whole building programme, the whole extension of exchanges, had been held up a considerable time pending the Report which that Committee might make. The Government were uncertain whether the Committee would report that there was no need of labour exchanges in the future, and therefore the work of extending exchanges and of building operations was held up for some months, if not a year or two, pending this Report. Consequently, there is a leeway to make up, and, apart from the abnormal condition of unemployment to-day, and unless I misunderstood the right hon. Gentleman, the figures he submitted are not based on abnormal unemployment, but on the average unemployment which occurred in years gone by, and may occur in future.
There is a further point to remember, that under the Act which this House passed the number of insured people has increased by nearly 8,000,000, and that has trebled the work of the exchanges. Therefore, provision has to be made in these Estimates for that. The Minister referred to the fact that we did recommend unanimously, or with one exception, that it would be more economy in the end, if we are to have labour exchanges, and the House has settled that, 2215 to work them on the most economical lines, and true economy lay in having buildings suitable to deal with the problem. Reference has been made to Kew. We found there centralised in one building five or six local centres which had previously dealt with claims and allowances. Judging by the questions which are put in the House, complaints are made because of delay in the payment of unemployment benefit and in dealing with claims. That is because of the inadequate accommodation for dealing with the work of the claims department and for settling things expeditiously. The Committee found that if we are to have labour exchanges and unemployment insurance we require bigger accommodation at Kew—I am-not referring to the dining-room—in order to deal expeditiously and satisfactorily with the claims that come forward.
Our report, while recommending on matters of policy that these buildings should be enlarged in many cases, and more suitable ones taken, also recommended that under the present circumstances, wherever possible, these permanent alterations should be postponed. Therefore, while on the general policy I agree with what the Minister said, I think there is good ground for carrying out what he has offered to do at Newcastle, namely, to consider whether it is not possible to defer spending these large sums of money, nearly £500,000 this year, and meaning another £500,000 more to complete the scheme in years to come. A sum of £443,500 is the expenditure upon which we are embarking this year, of which £93,000 will be spent this year, and, in addition, there are several hundred thousands. Following the recommendations of the Committee, is it not possible for my right hon. Friend to stay his hand in regard to some of the cases which he says he has cut down to the irreducible minimum, and by a more extensive use of Army huts to get over the more immediate difficulties, and post pone the more immediate expenditure until costs are less. Moreover, the demand for houses is so great at the present time that all the labour and materials that are available should be used for rectifying the housing problem rather than in putting up expensive Labour Exchanges. While the right hon. Gentleman is only carrying out the 2216 recommendations of the Committee, and while it is sound economy in the end to have more efficient buildings, the question does arise whether now is the time to embark upon these permanent buildings, and whether, wherever possible, they should not be postponed until costs are less and other needs are not so clamant.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of LABOUR (Sir Montague Barlow)
Several points have been raised which it is desirable to answer. Complaints have been raised with regard to Kew. I do not know whether people realise the difficulties at Kew or the immensity of the work that is being carried on there. I wish those hon. Members who complain of the money that is being spent at Kew would allow me the pleasure of conducting them to Kew to see what is being carried on there. They would then realise the immensity of the work and the difficulties under which that work is being done. There are at the moment some 16,000,000 files of cases which have to be handled. An immense number of files of course is due to the Insurance Act of 1920 and the staff has had to be increased to deal with that immense number of files. The original staff which was some 800 has had to be increased to 3,000. That is not due to the present lamentable emergency of unemployment, but to the permanent increase required by the Unemployment Insurance Act of last year. Does the hon. Member for Manchester suggest repealing the Insurance Act?
§ Major NALL
My Amendment deals solely with what I consider to be an entirely unnecessary dining room.
§ Sir M. BARLOW
As my hon. Friend does not answer the question, I take it that he does not desire to repeal the Insurance Act. If he does not, he must have a staff to carry it out, and the immense increase of work has caused the staff to be increased from 800 to 3,000. If you have this increase of staff, you must have some place to feed them. Unfortunately, there are no facilities in the neighbourhood, and you must feed them somehow, and in view of this fact the increased dining-room premises has become essential. As he has said that there is no desire for economy I will not weary the Committee with reading, as I 2217 could, instances of the difficulty which there is of conducting the work at the exchanges, and even the real dangers to the staff in some of the existing premises. In one case, No. 10, Wigan, there is evidence of complaints by the local committee of accidents happening to the staff because the premises are so unsuitable, the stairs are so steep, and so on, and difficulties of actual physical exit arise in consequence. I could give a great many more, but I will not labour that because all the evidence was put before the Committee on which the hon. Member for Middlesbrough (Mr. Thomson) served with excellent skill and diligence.
The hon. Member for Hampstead (Mr. G. Balfour) and the hon. Member for St. Pancras (Mr. Lorden) raised the point that you were not entitled to take a period of great temporary unemployment like the present and treat it as if it were a permanent condition of things. That never has been the policy. My right hon. Friend was most careful in his speech to distinguish between the permanent necessities of Employment Exchanges due partly to normal unemployment and partly to the Insurance Act from the present great strain of unemployment with the figures running into a couple of millions. In dealing with heavy emergencies we have resorted to temporary expedients and have had recourse to schoolrooms and any possible buildings. Quite apart from the great temporary strain of unemployment, there is a permanent work for these exchanges to do, and that has been recognised by the Committee of Inquiry. I have here some figures showing under the head of registrations a permanent and steady increase of applications at the registries from 1911 to 1921. The number was 2,000,000 in 1911 and 4,000,000 last year. It is true that in 1919 there was a great temporary change in the figures owing to demobilisation, but apart from that one year the figures have mounted steadily. That figure of registration does indicate, if proof were necessary, the permanent and steadily growing usefulness of the Exchanges. When to that you add the immense burden of work caused by the Unemployment Insurance Act, it is obvious that some steady and permanent provision has to be made for exchange buildings. With regard to the permanent buildings, what has been urged in 2218 criticism will be present to the mind of my right hon. Friend and myself. He has given an undertaking that we will reconsider even the six permanent cases and see what can be done on the lines of the criticism we have heard.
§ Major HILLS
The speech to which we have just listened, though it goes a certain way to meet the criticism, does not go far enough. The real point is this: Even if you prove that it is for the public advantage that you should have buildings that are modernised and up to date and convenient as offices, you have not made out a case for building them now. It may be a much better thing to spend more money on staff now and to postpone your capital expenditure until a time when money is more easy to obtain, when costs are lower and building labour is less precious. Surely of all times this is the worst time to go in for capital building, when we want every man in the building trade to build our houses. I listened very carefully to the speech of the hon. Member for Middlesbrough (Mr. Thomson), and if he will excuse me for saying so, I think the end of his speech contradicted the first part of it. He began by saying that this expenditure was entirely authorised, and I understood him to close by protesting that it should be put off. That applied especially to the enormous Estimate here for the extension of the Claims and Record Office, Kew, £312,000, and besides that there is a Vote of £40,000 for a dining-room for the staff of the Claims and Record Office. I do not suppose that Kew Palace cost as much as £40,000 to build. The sort of building that you will get for £40,000 I cannot conceive; I cannot bring my imagination up to that height. I hope the Committee will accept the offer made by the Parliamentary Secretary and go to Kew to see this dining-room. It is a grandiose scheme. I have never heard of the spending of £40,000 on a dining-room. Assume that it is a good thing that you should have convenient buildings; assume also that unemployment insurance is to be a permanent charge on the State; assume that all these items are for buildings that you will require in normal times. I am still not convinced that the Ministry have made out their case for spending the money now. We shall look rather ridiculous if we who 2219 preach economy vote £40,000 for a dining-room. This I must say to the Ministry, that the only chance we seem to have of effecting economy is to vote against it. I do not wish to vote against it at all, but I think enormous Estimates of this character are not really justified.
§ Sir W. PEARCE
I should like to submit to the Minister one fact which I do not think has been taken into account. If I am any judge of the working-class attitude, the unemployed benefit will become more and more payable through the trades unions and not through the Labour Exchanges. If I read the working-class mind aright, they entirely object to these payments being made through the Labour Exchanges, and as time proceeds the Labour Exchanges will be to a greater and greater extent relieved of this duty. I believe this will add to the power of the trades unions, because as the years roll by they will receive a largely increased membership, for the reason that the ordinary working man objects to go to a Labour Exchange to get this unemployment benefit. I therefore think the Ministry might very well have taken into account the fact that the duties of the Exchanges in this respect are likely to diminish rather than increase, and there should be a good deal of hesitation before undertaking heavy permanent expenses at the present time.
§ Mr. HOGGE
I should like first of all, on behalf of the other Members of the Committee, to accept the invitation which the right hon. Gentleman has extended to us that we should lunch with him in his dining room at Kew. With regard to the speech made by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Durham (Major Hills), be expresses a view with which I can sympathise, because I have been in the same state of mind before now. He does not like to vote against the Government on a Vote of this kind. I think, however, it is an unfortunate thing that in Committee like this we should not vote against the Government and defeat the Government. I am a political opponent of the Government but I should never imagine it to be the duty of the Government to resign their whole functions because they had been defeated in Committee on Supply. I should think it was the last thing in the world for them to do, although I 2220 should gladly see them out of power altogether, from other points of view. [Laughter.] I am quite serious in what I am suggesting now. So far as the Opposition is concerned, I think nobody imagines for a moment that the Government would resign if they were beaten on a Vote of this character. If we took that view in Committee, I think we could keep the Government up to scratch on a great many of these Estimates.
In spite of the discussion we have had and in spite of the explanations we have had, there has not been any justification for the spending of a great deal of this money. If my right hon. Friend will look at page 34 and take the first permanent case there—the case of Brighton—he will see that for the adaptation of new premises for employment exchange the original sum estimated is £4,000. Then the original sum estimated for the alterations and extensions of huts at East Ham is £3,725 or £275 less than the adaptation of a permanent building. Surely that is ridiculous—that in Brighton it is going to cost £4,000—[HON. MEMBERS: "£5,000."]—I am taking the original estimate—for dealing with a permanent building and in East Ham we are going to spend nearly the same amount of money on alterations and extensions to huts. I am not a builder and know nothing at all about the cost of permanent buildings as compared with temporary buildings, but as a member of the Committee when I look at these two figures I am inclined to think that, surely, there must be something wrong there. In a seaside resort like Brighton, where sites and buildings are extraordinarily valuable, you can get, for an original estimate of £4,000, a permanent building or adaptation, whereas in East Ham it will cost the same amount of money to play about with wooden huts. In regard to the dining room at Kew, in the name of common sense why should it be the duty of the Government to provide a dining room for 3,000 of its employés? How many men and women who go to their work every day in the City of London have got to find their own meals?
§ Mr. HOGGE
There are some firms which, under schemes of welfare, provide 2221 dining accommodation for their employes. I myself was attached to a big firm in the North of England, where we could dine 10,000 of our employes at one time, but it is a very different thing a private firm making arrangements for its own accommodation and the State spending money on well-paid employes at places like Kew. Surely to goodness, if there are going to be 3,000 Government employes in permanent employment at Kew, as a result of the Government's insurance scheme, private enterprise will follow, those 3,000 employes to Kew, and will establish sufficient accommodation for them to get their own meals. It is ridiculous, when the Government are claiming to exercise economy, to ask this Committee to spend £40,000 on a service of this kind, which can be adequately met in another way. Therefore, I invite hon. Members who are not prepared to accept the kind of defence we have had from my right hon. Friend, to vote for the reduction of the Vote.
I want to make a point about the differentiation in the amount of expenditure. The Minister said that in Leicester they were spending on the original estimate £60,000, and in Newcastle £188,000, or three times the amount in Newcastle that they were spending in Leicester, and on his own figures there were twice the number unemployed in Leicester that there were in Newcastle at that date. The reason my right hon. Friend used the figure of 11,000 unemployed in Leicester was to justify the £60,000. The real solution of this question is the one that has been put by several hon. Members. This is not the time to build permanent buildings, and there is enough material left over from the War to make temporary accommodation. It is the duty of the Government to make that temporary accommodation and to save these permanent charges, and if they have no other case to make than that they are prepared to go on with permanent buildings, it is the duty of this Committee to support the reduction of the Vote.
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
The original Estimate to which reference has been made by hon. Friends opposite was £529,800. I invited criticism, and have gone through the Estimate item by item, and submitted a new Estimate of £464,700.
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
And even that amount we shall not fully expend. We shall return about £146,000 of it to the Treasury. In many of these cases the premises, on the testimony of the Committee, of which my hon. Friend was a member, were found to be really deplorable. There is no dispute about that. Hon. Members and others have spoken about the need for proper provision being made for the unemployed, and of long queues of poor people standing about in inclement weather waiting to register; and something had to be done. I took the greatest care, as I think my hon. Friend will agree, to explain this estimate in the most close detail, as I considered was my duty to the Committee.
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
I went through the six permanent cases. It has been put to us that this is not the time, if we can possibly avoid it, to go in for permanent buildings, but that it is right and proper to make use of such temporary provision as we have as long as possible. I will undertake to go through these six cases again with the closest care, and if I can possibly make shift—that is what it comes to, there is no doubt about it!—by carrying on in such temporary accommodation, I will do it.
With regard to the case pf Kew—or rather Kew Gardens, because I do not think that at Kew the people could get the food they want—there we have got the whole administration of the unemployment insurance benefit. The building is not in touch with any shops of any kind. I very much doubt whether, as my hon. Friend the Member for East Edinburgh suggests, the need is there and demand would be followed by the supply. I am doubtful, but I will go with the greatest pleasure with him and let him have a look at it. We had 800 people there, but with the extension of insured persons from 4,000,000 to 12,000,000, we have extension of the staff, and then at present there is the increase in unemployment to be dealt with. There is really no accommodation in which food could be got except the premises in that locality. My hon. Friend can judge of that himself if he goes. I do not see that really how the employés can get away from Kew for their meals. I think I am bound to make provision for them. 2223 Again, however, I will take note of what the Committee has said. I will look over the six cases of permanent buildings, as I have said, and if we can possibly make shift with the temporary accommodation, we will do so, as we do in so many other cases. As regards Kew Gardens, I am bound to make some provision for dining, because these buildings are a considerable distance away from the places where these people can get food. I will, however, give the Committee this assurance, that I will reconsider the question of dining-room accommodation.
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
I would carry out my undertaking. As regards the permanent buildings, I am prepared to give the assurance that one of them shall be proceeded with further without the previous sanction of the Committee. I have six permanent buildings here in this Vote, and if we can possibly make shift without them we will do so. If I withdraw this Vote I shall not be able to proceed with certain temporary provision which I cannot wait for.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
It is quite possible for the Minister to withdraw a portion of this Estimate. I am not casting any aspersion on the word of the Minister, but we ought not to pass a Vote on the assumption that in certain circumstances it will not be spent. There are only two courses, one is to vote against the Government and the other is to make a substantial reduction in the Vote and ask for a smaller sum.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
A great many things can be done in this respect. It is perfectly easy to put down a Motion that the Eleven o'Clock Rule shall not apply to certain things.
§ Mr. C. WHITE
I want to make a practical suggestion in reference to Kew. I am sure that the Minister in charge of these Estimates, with his usual enterprise and sympathy, is quite willing to accept something of this sort. Is it not possible to enlist the services of the Kitchen Committee of the House, and to ask them to visit Kew, so that, with their very wide experiences, they can recommend something in this direction. My hon. Friend the Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Hogge) has said, "Why should it be the duty of the Government to provide dining accommodation for the employés at Kew? "I might ask him," "Why is it the duty of the Government to provide dining accommodation for highly-paid Members of Parliament, which it does?" The hon. Gentleman is a member of the Kitchen Committee. If, with his wide experience, he were accompanied by all the other members of the Committee, I am sure some valuable suggestions would be made.
I notice that the revised Estimates are increased in every particular except on page 38, under letter M, for "services arising out of the War." In that case they are reduced. This Estimate provides for the training of ex-service men and of women, and the provision of accommodation for the training of discharged soldiers and sailors suffering from tuberculosis. I had the privilege of going round to these training centres last summer, and we had, to end it off, a very pleasant luncheon at Richmond, which was a very enjoyable part of the proceedings. Is it from the sole standpoint of economy that these Estimates for this particular service have been reduced? There is no Estimate that comes before us which ought to be reduced less hastily than that which provides for this particular work. I am a tradesman myself, and I watched very closely the various trades which these men and women learned there. There is no better work done by any Government Department. I have never voted for the Government since I have been in Parliament except on about three occasions, because I do not think they deserve my vote, but I can say with regard to the training of these men that the work is done very efficiently. Yet the revised Estimate is reduced. We should, at any rate, give credit where credit is due.
2225 I heard the hon. Member who moved the reduction of this Vote by £35,000 talk about women with fur coats and silk stockings standing in queues to draw their 16s. a week. I want to tell him, with all respect, that it is all piffle talking like that. He has never stood in a queue himself, but many of us have, both for food and for work. We know what we are talking about, and it is time we gave over talking like that. With regard to these Estimates, while whatever reduction is possible ought to be made, it is not altogether wise to reduce to any
§ extent the Estimate which provides for the training of these men. I know that there are many on the waiting list at the present time. If the reduction of the Estimate result in more coming on to the waiting list, I shall be sorry that it has been reduced. If this be put to a Vote, I, for one, shall vote for the Government.
§ Question put, "That a sum, not exceeding £907,350, be granted for the said service."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 55; Noes, 153.2227
|Division No. 83.]||AYES.||[10.56 p.m.|
|Atkey, A. R.||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Murray, Dr. D. (Inverness & Ross)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.||Nicholson, Reginald (Doncaster)|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Nield, Sir Herbert|
|Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Hills, Major John Waller||Norrls, Colonel Sir Henry G.|
|Borwick, Major G. O.||Hogge, James Myles||Pearce, Sir William|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Holmes, J. Stanley||Poison, Sir Thomas|
|Breese, Major Charles E.||Hopkins, John W. W.||Richardson, Alexander (Gravesend)|
|Bruton, Sir James||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Cautley, Henry S.||Johnstone, Joseph||Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchln)||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newlngton)||Steel, Major S. Strang|
|Child, Brigadier-General Sir Hill||Kenworthy, Lieut. -Commander J, M.||Sugden, W. H.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Kenyon, Barnet||Sykes, Sir Charles(Huddersfield)|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Law, Alfred J. (Rochdale)||Thomas, Brig. -Gen. Sir O. (Anglesey)|
|Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln)||Lister, Sir R. Ashton||Wallace, J.|
|Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||White, Lieut.-Col. G, D. (Southport)|
|Entwistle, Major C. F.||Lowther, Major C. (Cumberland, N.)||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, Consett)|
|Galbraith, Samuel||Lyle-Samuel, Alexander||Wilson, W. Tyson (Westhoughton)|
|Glanville, Harold James||Marriott, John Arthur Ransome|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Mosley, Oswald||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Major Nail and Mr. Lorden.|
|Allen, Lieut.-Colonel William James||Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||King, Captain Henry Douglas|
|Balrd, Sir John Lawrence||Frece, Sir Walter de||Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||George, Rt. Hon. David Lloyd||Lloyd, George Butler|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Lort-Williams, J.|
|Barlow, Sir Montague||Gillis, William||Lunn, William|
|Barnes, Major H. (Newcastle, E.)||Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel Sir John||Lyle, C. E. Leonard|
|Barnett, Major R. W.||Goff, Sir R. Park||Lynn, R. J.|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Graham, R. (Nelson and Colne)||Mackinder, Sir H. J. (Camlachle)|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)||M'Lean, Lieut.-Col. Charles W. W.|
|Blades, Capt. Sir George Rowland||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Grundy, T. W.||Macquisten, F. A.|
|Broad, Thomas Tucker||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. Frederick E.||Mallalieu, F. W.|
|Brown, Captain D. C.||Guest, J. (York, W. R., Hemsworth)||Mason, Robert|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Moreing, Captain Algernon H.|
|Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Hailwood, Augustine||Morgan, Major D. Watts|
|Burn, Col. C. R. (Devon, Torquay)||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Morison, Rt. Hon. Thomas Brash|
|Cairns, John||Hamilton, Major C. G. C.||Morrison, Hugh|
|Cape, Thomas||Harmsworth, C. B. (Bedford, Luton)||Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert|
|Carter, W. (Nottingham, Mansfield)||Hartshorn, Vernon||Murchison, C. K.|
|Casey, T. W.||Hayday, Arthur||Myers, Thomas|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert||Henderson, Major V. L. (Tradeston)||Neal, Arthur|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Clough, Robert||Henry, Denis S. (Londonderry, S.)||O'Grady, Captain James|
|Coats, Sir Stuart||Hewart, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon||Palmer, Brigadier-General G. L.|
|Colvin, Brig. -General Richard Beale||Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank||Parker, James|
|Cory, Sir J. H. (Cardiff, South)||Hirst, G. H.||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Hodge, Rt. Hon. John||Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas Henry|
|Davidson, J. C. C. (Hemel Hempstead)||Hohier, Gerald Fitzroy||Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike|
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Perkins. Walter Frank|
|Edge, Captain William||Hope, Sir H. (Stirling & Cl'ckm'nn. W.)||Perring, William George|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Inskip, Thomas Walker H.||Philipps, Sir Owen C. (Chester, City)|
|Edwards, G. (Norfolk, South)||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Pollock, Sir Ernest M.|
|Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)||Jameson, J. Gordon||Purchase, H. G.|
|Evans, Ernest||Jephcott, A. R.||Raeburn, Sir William H.|
|Fildes, Henry||Jodrell, Neville Paul||Raw, Lieutenant-Colonel N|
|Ford, Patrick Johnston||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Reid, D. D.|
|Forestier-Walker, L.||Johnson, Sir Stanley||Renwick, George|
|Forrest, Walter||Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Llanelly)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)||Stewart, Gershom||Wheler, Lieut. -Colonel C. H.|
|Robinson, S. (Brecon and Radnor)||Strauss, Edward Anthony||White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)|
|Robinson, Sir T. (Lanes., Stretford)||Sturrock, J. Leng||Williams, Lt.-Com. C. (Tavistock)|
|Roundell, Colonel R. F.||Taylor, J.||Wills, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Gilbert|
|Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert A.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)||Wilson, Daniel M. (Down, West)|
|Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Brldgeton)||Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir M. (Bethnal Gn.).|
|Seager, Sir William||Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (Maryhill)||Wise, Frederick|
|Shaw, Thomas (Preston)||Tryon, Major George Clement||Worsfold, Dr. T. Cato|
|Shaw, William T. (Forfar)||Walters, Rt. Hon. Sir John Tudor||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L|
|Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||Walton, J. (York, W. R., Don Valley)||Younger, Sir George|
|Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.)||Ward, William Dudley (Southampton)|
|Sitch, Charles H.||Waring, Major Walter||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Smith, W. R. (Wellingborough)||Warren, Lleut.-Col. Sir Alfred H.||Mr. McCurdy and Colonel Leslie|
|Stanley, Major Hon. G. (Preston)||Watson, Captain John Bertrand||Wilson.|
|Stanton, Charles B.|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ It being after Eleven of the clock, the Deputy-Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.
§ Resolutions to be reported To-morrow.
§ Committee to sit again To-morrow.