§ Order for Third Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."
§ Mr. CLYNES
I beg to move to leave, out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words, "upon this day three months."
The announcement that the House has been able to hear from the Leader of the House on the miners' dispute is an additional reason for not proceeding with this Bill and placing it on the Statute Book. Surely if, as we anticipate and desire, there should be an early resumption of work in the coal industry, that would probably be followed in the immediate future by a return to work of a very large number of men and women at present unemployed, in part because of the coal stoppage, and for other reasons connected with it. At no distant date the right hon. Gentleman may anticipate there will be a considerable reduction of the numbers of persons at present obliged to seek relief by the means provided in the National Insurance Act. When this Bill was introduced no early settlement of the miners' dispute could be foreseen; the stage had indeed been reached when the parties to the dispute, as well as the country, had settled down to the idea of a rather prolonged stoppage. No doubt that was one of the factors that induced the right hon. Gentleman to submit proposals to the House to diminish benefits, so that his resources might be spread over a wider area, and cover an increasing number of people. I put it to the right hon. Gentleman that that circumstance, if it has not entirely disappeared, has been completely altered by the announcement that we have just heard. One harbours the expectation, amounting almost to a certainty, that at no distant date the miners will have returned to work and there will be a corresponding and speedy reduction in the number of persons now unemployed. There is, therefore, no urgency, financial or otherwise, to justify the right hon. Gentleman in proceeding with this Bill.
2004 The Bill proposes a severe reduction in the payments, and that at a time when the severity will be greatly felt, for it takes no account of the depleted household resources and reserves that have been more deeply and deeply felt week by week. A couple of months ago £1 a week did not stand alone as the resources of the household, but was in all likelihood supplemented by other items of income scraped or collected together after a manner known in the common experience of many working-class homes. Those reserves, household goods, and so on, have gradually disappeared, having gone into the pawnshop; borrowing resources have been exhausted, and past savings are no longer at the disposal of these various families. Having now by this prolonged and bitter experience not merely endured privations, but having completely exhausted the supplemental additions to their ordinary household and domestic needs, many have reached that stage where the income from unemployment benefit is the sole source of support to which they can look forward. It is at such a time when, as I say, they are deprived of every other kind of assistance, that the right hon. Gentleman chooses to reduce the level of pay from £1 to 15s. We hear a great deal—and rightly!—of employers of labour seeking too large a reduction in the wages of their workmen at one time. That is the first cause of most of our present-day industrial troubles. But there are few employers who are going so far as the Government. I know of cases where employers are asking for reductions of 2s. 6d. or 3s., some even of 4s. in the £, but few, if any of them, have dared to demand that their men should forfeit a fourth of their income. I seriously press upon the right hon. Gentleman the cruelty of this degree of reduction. He has so far contented himself to it on the ground that ways and means could not be devised out of the financial resources of the Government—
§ Mr. CLYNES
—to enable him to find the money. That surely is closing his ears to the appeals which have been addressed to him to draw, if not upon present resources, upon what has been termed our future resources. Bad as things are, the condition of things outside the House gives us—if I mistake not—a great deal of hope of a speedy 2005 recovery, or, at any rate, of a gradual and complete recovery, from our industrial difficulties. Suppose we do think that we shall not emerge from these difficulties for, say, six, nine, or twelve months, we should not then even be compelled to despair of finding the money required to maintain the level of payments which up till now the people compulsorily unemployed have been able to receive.
We have not elected to follow this line to solve the unemployment problem. It is the line pursued by the Government. No special measures have been devised or applied by the Government specially to meet the very exceptional circumstances of this extraordinary unemployment in the country. If the right hon. Gentleman accepts this line of insurance, he must, in reason, make the level of benefit reasonably adequate to the needs of the mass of the unemployed. He has failed to do that, and has made no attempt whatever to procure the money upon the lines that we are suggesting. If there is one thing left to this country it is the idea of British trade and such credit as we might be able to retain and even increase ultimately by a return to that state of industrial prosperity which we enjoyed before the War. Therefore, we may look with a confidence amounting to a sense of certainty to a state of trade 12 months hence out of which we could draw, if necessary, financial support to meet the present pressing necessities of the unemployed workers.
The right hon. Gentleman has looked out upon the disputes and upon the enormous increase in the number of unemployed with a good deal of relief because of the way in which those disputes have been conducted. In regard to general conditions of peace, orderliness, submissiveness to conditions which in face of the industrial position were inevitable, we have had in the behaviour of our people a notable instance of how well they can face privations, and how stoically they can suffer even when they think they are suffering in the wrong. I do not think my right hon. Friend is treating that aspect of the question respectfully, but he is rather presuming upon this exhibition of patience, and is rather concluding that those who have so long endured and endured so much can endure much more.
2006 Let any hon. Member of this House put himself for a moment in the position of the head of an ordinary working-class household in which there may be two or three persons unemployed. Such a household has already suffered for months, and its resources have been thinned, its goods have gone to the pawnshop, its borrowings are exhausted, and its sufferings have disappeared, and they have reached a level where £1 a week, or some other sum, has been all they have had to live upon. We have to remember that the cost of living is still very high, and there are a great many things which are still absolutely indispensable in a household which never find their way into the list of items which go to make up the cost of living. Let us consider what would be the position to which we should be reduced ourselves under such circumstances? It would be a position of absolute desperation if any of us had to face a week's living on such a sum as the right hon. Gentleman now proposes to allow to those who have already endured so much. Those in such a position might very well say that the complete exhaustion of their resources is a sufficient reason for maintaining the benefit at the higher figure until the unemployment problem has been solved.
The Bill does not merely err on the side of a general reduction, but on the side of exclusions and making it impossible for some people to get any pay at all. I say nothing at this stage on the question of contributions. We have during the Committee stage had our opportunity and we have said our say and we cannot do more, and we intend seriously to press the case with regard to an increase of contributions. This is a matter of some importance, but it does not present difficulties which cannot be overcome, and we may reasonably call upon those in work and able to pay contributions to make even still some little additional sacrifices in order that the funds shall be well supplied to meet the needs of those who have no wages at all.
I pass by the question of increased contributions, but I ask the attention of the House to the conditions of exclusion introduced into this Bill which deprive certain workers who are compelled to pay of any opportunity of ever being able to receive the benefit for which they must contribute. Insurance at least should mean equity of opportunity among the insured persons becoming 2007 unemployed in varying and differing degrees according to the custom of their occupation and according to the varieties of the demand for their services or employment. One man may be out of work, say, for a full spell of three weeks at once, while another man may be out of work for a period of three weeks spread over three months. The extent of the suffering is practically the same for both, but they do not both get an equal opportunity of benefit according to the provisions of this amending Bill.
Hon. Members behind me in the discussion last night pressed upon the House the particular hardship of the men employed in the docks in our coast towns. I know that much has been attempted to make their work more regular, but especially in periods of severe trade depression and at a time when our export trade is in such a condition as it is at present, dock workers and seafaring men stand to suffer severely and their irregularity of employment becomes more irregular and the casual nature of their work is increased, and they are helpless and can do nothing to remove these difficulties, and nothing the State can do can be done to lessen their difficulties. They are greater than the difficulties of other men and their opportunity of getting benefit is less than that of their fellow workers within the terms of this amending Bill. Therefore I claim that next to the reduction in pay the greatest blemish within the terms of this Bill is that of the absolute exclusion from the opportunity of benefit of certain workers whose conditions of unemployment do not allow them to be brought within the terms of this Bill.
This subject of insurance has become almost a regular one in the House of Commons. During the life of this Parliament there has scarcely been a month in which it has not been discussed. This is the fourth Bill. The right hon. Gentleman, indeed, is establishing a record. I can assure him that he is not without the real sympathy of many of us in the extremely difficult duties which he has to discharge, but, as this is the fourth Measure treating with the subject of unemployment insurance, surely it ought to have been a better Measure and not one which will have to be followed by a fifth. My right hon. Friend must anticipate a 2008 fifth Measure, for such will be the trouble arising from these reduced benefits, and such the anger and dissatisfaction, that Ministers before long will feel the pressure, and, being responsive as they are to all manner of popular appeals when manifested in the right way, they will find some ways and means for coming forward with some Amendment. The level of £1 per week was reached for some such reason, and they will have to return to the level of £1 for corresponding reasons. Therefore, although the right hon. Gentleman may be establishing a reputation for the number of Bills treating with this question, I would suggest to him that it is better to go in a little more for quality and a little less for quantity. Let us have fewer and better Measures dealing in a more satisfactory way with this problem. I do not know how far my right hon. Friend personally acquaints himself with the actual position of the large number of persons who are in search of his money week by week, but, if he does, especially in certain parts of London, personally inquire into the household circumstances of many of those who are driven to seek unemployment relief, he must surely feel some sensation far deeper and more wholesome than the sensation of sympathy. Sympathy will not assist those who are in need.
I do not know what other remedies other hon. Members may suggest, but we have suggested a remedy. The real solution of the problem of unemployment is to find other work, remunerative, profitable, and enduring work. If work cannot be found—my hon. Friend below the Gangway (Mr. Hopkinson) shakes his head and he makes an effective contribution to the finding of employment—either by employers or the State, then the State is driven to this device of providing some measure of maintenance rather than let people be left in a state of absolute starvation. It is no use dissenting from that proposal. I say deliberately that when people cannot find work they are entitled to be maintained at some reasonable level of existence until work can be found for them. If that be not the law, it is justice; if it be not political economy, it is common sense; and, if it be neither, it is at least a human doctrine. The right hon. Gentleman, at the beginning of these discussions, clearly made it known to the House that there were very few vacancies and very few opportunities for employ- 2009 ment in the case of more than 2,000,000 men who are at present unemployed. I do not know how many of those listening to me have personally endured the experience of being out of work with an empty pocket and an empty cupboard, faced literally with all the distresses which produce such a state of desperate mind in men who have been driven to expose their hardships and their difficulties in the streets by forming processions, making collections, and in other ways appealing to the sympathies of the people to assist them.
We in this House have no greater internal or domestic problem to deal with than this matter of unemployment. There is no greater or pressing question. It will affect the life of this country for years and years after the problem has disappeared. People who have suffered severely from conditions of prolonged unemployment do not speedily forget what they have endured. I ask hon. Members of this House to act in relation to this problem in the terms of the deepest human sympathy. It is not an ordinary party or political issue. We are dealing with men and women outside these walls in the sense that they are our brothers and sisters enduring conditions of misfortune from which we ourselves are shielded. It is on that account that we are entitled to say that this condition of difficulty should have been met by the extraordinary financial device of pledging our credit and of trusting to that which is more than a belief and must in our minds be an absolute sense of certainty, namely, a return to that state of prosperity which all of us are most anxious to hasten. I repeat that this above all moments is one when a reduction in benefit ought not to have been imposed upon those who have already suffered so much and who will feel bitterly and resent strongly the law as it is to be expressed in the Bill now before the House.
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
For over nine months now unemployment has continuously deepened and spread, and during the last three months it has assumed the gravest dimensions. During the whole of that period I have sought to adapt such provisions as we could make to the needs of the situation. My right hon. Friend, in his very moving and kindly speech, referred to the fact that I have established a record in the number of Bills designed to meet the problem before us. That is 2010 true. I have sought, as I have said, to adapt such provisions as could be made to the needs of the situation with which I was confronted. In March last with the greatest care and painstaking, revised plans were made which it was reasonably hoped would have carried us over the 16 months between March last and the end of July, 1922. The basis of the plan was that I should have to make provision for an average of 1,000,000 persons unemployed week by week during the whole of the 16 months from March to the end of July, 1922. It was a forecast based upon the most careful scrutiny of the cycles of prosperity and depression in our industrial history over a long series of years. I admit that it was at once, or almost at once, falsified. Within a few weeks, I found myself confronted with 2,000,000 men and women wholly unemployed and 1,000,000 working short time. I found myself paying out £2,000,000 per week in unemployment benefit, with an income from the weekly contributions of those who, happily, were in employment of between £300,000 and £400,000 per week. There are people who will say immediately, "Your March estimate was a bad one. You ought to have foreseen what was immediately going to come upon you." It is so easy to say that. It is so easy to forecast the future when it is behind you. We are all of us apt to do that, and, indeed, there are some people who, if wisdom is to be the criterion of true perspicacity with the march of events, make Solomon look very silly indeed. I tender my profound congratulations to those of my critics who say that I ought to have known what would happen on the fact that they have not my job to perform. The tremendous drain upon the Insurance Fund, which in March last stood at £22,500,000, and which at this moment has fallen to something like £3,250,000, with a rapidly diminishing income week by week in consequence of the spread of unemployment, compels me to make new plans for the future. Those plans are set forth in the Bill to which the House is now asked to give a Third Reading. Shortly, as the right hon. Gentleman has stated, perfectly fairly, they involve the disagreeable necessity of reducing benefits, of increasing contributions, and of reverting to the six days 2011 waiting period instead of the three days in the Act of 1920.
There is this much to be said with regard to the benefit. When the benefit was 7s. per week for men and women, the index figure of the cost of living got as high as 125 per cent. above pre-War. When the benefit was 11s. per week for men and women, the cost of living index figure got as high as 164 per cent. above pre-War. When the benefit was last 15s. for men and 12s. for women, as I am sorry that it will have to be again, the cost of living was 176 per cent. in November, 169 per cent. in December, 165 per cent. in January, and 151 per cent. in February above pre-War. I am glad to say that it has now been reduced to 119 per cent., with every prospect of a further fall. I agree that it is hard that this reduction of benefit has to be made. I do not disguise that fact, and I never have done so. It is particularly hard upon men and women with little children dependent upon them, but I have no alternative. Although financially embarrassed as I am, I have felt bound, as the result of the continuous unemployment with which we have been recently confronted, to make provision in this Bill for weeks of benefit additional to the weeks provided in the Bill of March this year. I will not go into that matter. Hon. Members know the terms under which the additional provision is made. I agree that it is at the lower level. As regards the increased contributions again I regret the necessity. The House knows what the figures will be for the men and women employed and for employers. My right hon. Friend says the State ought to do more. As one of the three parties contributory to this scheme as far as it goes, let me point out that the State is doing more. Under the Act of 1920 the State contribution was at the rate of about £4,250,000 a year. Under the Act of March last, as a consequence of the increased contributions from employed persons and employers, the taxpayers' contribution would have been at the rate of £5,750,000 a year. Under this Bill, to which the House is now asked to give a Third Beading, the State contribution will be at the rate of £7,750,000 a year, as a result of the increased contributions of employed persons and employers. It has been said both here and upstairs that in making these changes I have been 2012 guilty of a breach of contract with the public. I think it very unfortunate that that should be said. It is a very dangerous thing to say, and, what is more, it is not true. As a matter of fact, from the very first Unemployment Insurance Act, 1911, there has in every Act been a Clause under which a reduction of benefit and an increase of contribution could be made.
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
I could have gone a long way along the road I propose to pursue in this Bill by Administrative Order, but I preferred to come to the House of Commons, and lay the whole of the facts before it. It is said this is a breach of contract. My reply is that in every Unemployment Insurance Act there has been a Clause which permits the Treasury to pay a reduced benefit and to charge an increased contribution if insolvency is apprehended. I repeat I could have gone very far along the road I am proposing to pursue. I could have lowered the benefit and increased the contribution, although I could not perhaps have extended the waiting period without coming to this House for legislation. But I preferred instead to come to the House of Commons. Even with the reduced benefit and increased contribution and the extended waiting period I shall on the estimate of unemployment which I have to face—and I hope with the right hon. Gentleman opposite that my estimate may not be realised—it is an estimate of an average of 1,250,000 unemployed persons week by week for the whole period between now and July, 1922—
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
It is somewhere round about 12½ per cent. I cannot work it out exactly as I stand here at the table. My basis is 1,250,000 unemployed during the whole period down to July, 1922, and even on that basis with a reduced benefit, and increased contribution, and an extended waiting period I shall run into debt with the Treasury under this scheme to the extent of £16,000,000. If I continue the reduced benefit and the increased contribution and the extended waiting period for a year after July, 1922, this fund will then be solvent on that basis. But to incur a liability of £16,000,000 2013 I have to ask for increased borrowing powers. I already have power to borrow £10,000,000, and here I may say I rather did an injustice to the hon. Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Hogge) in the Committee stage on the Finance Resolution, by an interruption which I made in his speech. An Amendment had been moved by the right hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury) to strike out the additional borrowing powers to enable me to borrow up to £20,000,000. My hon. Friend the Member for East Edinburgh was supporting that Amendment and I interrupted him and said, "You will wipe out my power to borrow altogether." Of course, that was not the case. The power to borrow £10,000,000, which I already possessed, would stand, and I hasten to make the correction and to say the hon. Member would not wipe out my borrowing powers altogether. It would remain at £10,000,000 instead of being £20,000,000 as asked for in this Bill. As I have stated, I had to increase my borrowing powers by £10,000,000.
In the Second Reading Debate I made an appeal which I now wish to repeat with emphasis. To be entitled to the benefit, a person, among other things, must prove that he is genuinely seeking work and is unable to obtain suitable employment. The only way in which that test can be applied is for me to be in a position to say, "Here is a vacancy which appears suitable for you. If you do not taka it, I am bound to suspend your benefit and submit your case to the referee." There is only one field, of course, in which there are vacancies to any large extent at the present time, and that is the field of domestic service for women. When you come to the men, broadly speaking, as a result of the position of industry to-day, I have no large number of vacancies available. This is the appeal I desire to make. When things begin to pick up, as we hope they soon will do, I appeal to employers of labour to send their vacancies to the employment exchanges. If I get those vacancies, I can really make my scheme function as I would like to see it. The proper function of the scheme is in every way to assist men in their endeavour to find work, and if a man cannot find it, then he is provided with the unemployment benefit. That is how 2014 I conceive this scheme should work, but unless I have vacancies I cannot carry out that as it should work.
My right hon. Friends the Members of the Labour party have consistently advocated a different course, and have maintained their attitude to the extent of moving the rejection of the Bill this afternoon. They want the Government to take a course very different to the one proposed in this Bill. They say, "Do not increase the contribution, do not lower the benefit, do not extend the waiting period, but pledge the credit of the State. Subsidise, carry on as you are at present, and trust to the future." I think I can show them that on the estimate of 1,250,000 unemployed week by week for the whole succeeding year, and adding the two extensions of the six-week periods which I am making on the present benefit and contribution, I should have to borrow not £16,000,000 between now and July, 1922, but £41,750,000. That is supposing the contribution and benefit remain as at present, and the waiting period is three days instead of six. Assuming that thereafter there are 500,000 unemployed in the year following July, 1922, I should be in the position on the current obligations for benefit, and so on, of not even being able to pay off any of that £41,750,000. In fact, I never could pay it off. It would be an irrecoverable balance for all time on the present basis of contribution and benefit. It would be irrecoverable from the Fund, and with great respect, I say that really will not do. It therefore does not help very much to talk airily about pledging the credit of the State. I have already pledged it to the extent of £16,000,000. I was bound to do that. Frankly, I could not reduce the benefit any lower or raise the contribution any higher. £1,000,000 of this £16,000,000 is interest, which will make no return whatever to the unemployed persons for whom I am trying to provide. We cannot go on pledging the credit of the State. Every step we take in that direction increases the cost of living, and widens the margin between the real and the nominal value of wages, and it really is not fair to the working classes themselves to pursue such a policy as that.
In the Debate yesterday one matter conspicuously emerged from what was said. It is a fact that under all the Insurance Acts, from the very beginning, men thrown out of employment by a trade 2015 dispute in the establishment in which they work are rendered ineligible for benefit, even although they are not directly responsible for the stoppage. Take the case of the labourer. It is one with which we are all familiar. It has always been cited in these Debates. The labourer may have no dispute or dissension with his employer, but he is thrown out of work because the craftsman, whom he assists, either downs tools or is locked out. Under the law this man, because he is working in the same establishment, although he is thrown out of employment, is ineligible for the unemployment benefit. I have admitted the hardship, but the difficulty is to remove it without creating other evils which may be even more serious. When the Act of 1920 was under discussion, I said: "Let representatives of employers and workmen get together and see whether they can agree upon a form of words. If they are workable—and I will not gratuitously suggest that they are not—I will see what I can do to get them placed in the Bill in another place." They did meet, but without result. I was asked yesterday by the Noble Lord (Lord R. Cecil) why I took that course, and why I did not take the matter upon myself? I took that course because the employers and the employed are together by far the greatest contributors to the scheme. My estimate of income, for the year for which I am now budgeting, is, roughly, £37,000,000, made up of contributions from employed persons, the taxpayers, and the employers. Of that sum, £15,800,000 will come from the employers and £13,750,000 from the workpeople. That is a total of £29,550,000 out of nearly £37,000,000. That is why I said to them: "You have the greatest interest in this; see if you can agree upon a form of words."
I appreciate the solicitude of the House on the matter, and I can assure the Noble Lord and the House that my attitude is not that of one who would quibble over forms of words. Far from it. During the short time that I have been Minister of Labour, this matter has been the subject of frequent discussions between my advisers—to whom I am profoundly obliged for their assistance—and myself. We have not, so far, been able to find a way out; and, knowing the extreme difficulties of the problem—the apparent simplicity of which is only exceeded by 2016 its real complexity—I regret that I cannot go any further towards a solution between now and the few hours which will elapse before this Bill must, if their Lordships so please, be placed upon the Statute Book. I will, however, take the matter up again. I will myself get together the representatives of employers and employed, and see whether it is possible, in the first place, to agree upon the principle. My right hon. Friend (Mr. Clynes) told us that the principle is not yet agreed upon, and it is no use trying to find a form of words until there is agreement upon the principle. I rather gathered from my right hon. Friend that it broke down at the outset on the question of principle. I will do what I can to get together a representative body, and see if we cannot agree upon the principle; and thereafter, if that is agreed upon, to find a form of words which would give effect to any agreement as to the principle.
§ Lord R. CECIL
I quite understand that on the details the right hon. Gentleman would desire to receive the assistance of the employers and the employed, but is the principle a matter for them? Is not the principle a matter for the Government and for Parliament?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
No doubt it is, finally, but I suggest that I am on pretty good ground when I take the line that, as these two sets of people are by far the greatest contributors to the scheme, I should like them to see if they can settle it themselves. I think that is perfectly sound.
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
At any rate, I recognise the solicitude of the House. I listened to the Debate yesterday with profound interest, and the subject is one which is constantly in my mind. I will call these people together with a view to agreeing, if possible, upon the principles and then finding a form of words. It is very difficult, and it will take time, and I want it to be perfectly understood that it is utterly impossible to embody the words in this Bill, because this Bill, if I can get it, must be Law and commencing to operate by Friday, and I gravely doubt whether we could get agreement upon this matter, which has been debated all these years, in such a 2017 form as to implement it at any rate during the present Session. I thank my right hon. Friend (Mr. Clynes) for his kindly speech. He disagrees with the policy I have pursued, but nevertheless he put his case, as he always does, with great consideration and thoughtfulness, and in a very winning way. I have lived with this problem of unemployment, ever growing and ever deepening, since last autumn. For ten months I have planned and contrived to make some provision for these poor people. Last week there were 2,000,000 men and women registered as wholly unemployed, and nearly 1,000,000 registered for benefit as working short time. For all of those 3,000,000, save some 60,000 or 70,000, this scheme finds something. What effort has there been in this country or any other comparable with that? It has helped to bring us through the greatest period of trade depression that this country has ever experienced. I have found no alternative, I regret to say, but to make the changes set forth in this Bill. I profoundly wish that circumstances had enabled me to avoid those changes, but they do not, and my altered plans must stand until I get a certificate of solvency. If, as the result of improved trading and improved industrial conditions—and what has happened to-day ought to bring us nearer to that improvement—that certificate can be given to me earlier than my plans provide for, the House knows me well enough to know that no Member of it will be better pleased than I shall.
§ Mr. MILLS
I venture to think that, if the existing conditions of unemployment had been prophesied in the closing days of the year 1918, the man who made such a prophecy would have been laughed to scorn. One of the most startling things that one has noticed during these Debates has been the singular silence of those Members who support the Government. I could hardly have imagined that some of those who have spoken so brilliantly on medical science could remain silent when such proposals as these were being brought forward. The Minister of Labour is in the same position as was the former Minister of Health, namely, that of a man dealing with the needs of the people but with no executive power, dependent upon a Cabinet for the means to carry on. The Cabinet can give the means in other directions, but the order for economy is always put into 2018 practice from the bottom. I wonder if the Minister of Labour has consulted the Minister of Health as to the possible effect that this will have on local finances, because, after all, it is only transferring the burden. You are not saving money by this, but merely diverting the burden at the bidding of those wasters who have come in under the auspices of anti-waste. The expenditure is merely being diverted to the shoulders of the already overburdened local authorities. For these reasons we oppose these proposals. We do not believe that the right hon. Gentleman has stated the whole truth in the case that he has made out. We believe, or at any rate I believe, that he has pleaded with the Cabinet for a more generous contribution from the Treasury to meet this issue, because he knows, from a long and intimate association with the organised industrial workers, that very many things that have been said against this Measure during these Debates are utterly untrue. There was the statement made by the hon. Member for Mossley (Mr. A. Hopkinson)—the modern Sir Galahad, the man who by his very actions, by the very fact that he strives his utmost to prevent himself from becoming a millionaire, proves the viciousness of the method of distribution of the products of labour. This is what he said:If only the Government would stand out of the way and not be continually reducing the capital available by all these socialistic devices of taking the money from the thrifty and distributing it amongst the thriftless, we might be able to pull the country round and avoid some of the worst disasters which are facing us."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st June, 1921, cols. 1151 and 1152, Vol. 143.]I venture to suggest that the hon. Member would not willingly repeat that statement, after having read it in cold print, that it is handing it to the thriftless.
§ Mr. A. HOPKINSON
I would repeat is a dozen times if Mr. Speaker would allow me, but I am afraid he would not.
§ Mr. MILLS
Handing it to the thriftless! The Minister of Labour knows, and the Parliamentary Secretary knows, that the most thrifty sections of the community are those who are suffering at the present time. I myself was brought into this scheme, and I never drew a halfpenny from it during the whole period while I remained at work until I left the 2019 workshop to come here. During those five years of war, there was continuity of employment. The trade unions were receiving regular contributions from thrifty men, and what has happened? Those trade unions have run through practically the whole of the accumulated capital that has come from their members. They have done their best, and the most that they can hope to do, but what they did during the whole time they have been in existence was what the State had always refused to do, up to 1911, except at the cost of the recipients' rights of citizenship. They endeavoured, during those periods when employers did not want men, to give the men a minimum bare existence during their compulsory idleness. The Insurance Act helped that a bit, but the men who were contributing compulsorily out of their weekly wages were also contributing voluntarily through the trade union movement. The speech of the Parliamentary Secretary on the 15th June did not quite do credit to the trade union movement. He suggested that the precedent for reducing the benefit could be obtained by looking at the record of the trade unions, which had had to reduce their benefits owing to abnormal periods. Yes, but surely no analogy can be drawn between the case of trade unions, with their voluntary contributions from men already suffering under the wages system, and a State whose capital, however rocky it may be at the moment, has at least been contributed to by those who are now denied the opportunity of working.
We say that not one man in a hundred would draw unemployment pay if he could draw wages. We say that the simple solution would be to bring the energies of the people, and the needs of the people, into the closest possible relationship. We cannot do that, because we are merely here as a minority, but surely it is not beyond the wit of those who are fit to govern, according to their own denunciation of our party, to devise some machinery for setting the countries of Eastern Europe going, and putting those who want to go to work into touch with those who need the products. It is no use saying that there is no demand for the goods. There is a demand, but somehow or other the Government cannot or will not interfere with the processes of 2020 international finance to such an extent that they can in some way balance the exchange values of the world. Locomotives are wanted; boots and shoes are wanted. It is known, from the official records of the Commission that inquired into the condition of Austria and of Hungary, that great men of science in Eastern Europe are going to work to-day with just an overcoat to cover their nakedness, and that women are going to work with the remains of a curtain made into stockings. That proves, if it proves anything at all, that if something could bring together those who need these products and those men who are out it would be better for the whole world, and it is not beyond the wit of man to devise that if only there was the will to do it upon the Benches opposite, where there is the power to do it if they would only take the step. They are quite eager to take the step when material interests are at stake, and there will not be half the resistance to the proposed £60,000,000 subsidy for the railways that there is to this measure, which, on your own showing, only works out at £7,750,000 a year.
We speak on behalf of men whose efficiency must obviously be reduced, if dealt with in a niggardly spirit and treated under conditions which cannot keep them in a state of efficiency at a time when the employers need them again. How far can 15s, go? On 1st July you will be compelling those who are living in a house still further to increase their expenditure. In the Division I represent an ordinary five-roomed house costs 13s. a week. How is it going to be done? Take three meals a day at 2d. a meal with a family of four. There is 14s. a week in addition to the 13s. I will read a letter bearing on that from an unemployed man in Dartford, and it is typical of every constituency:I notice you made the statement that the poorer classes who get their coal by the 28 lbs. pay at the rate of £4 a ton I beg to state that my wife cannot get her allowance of coal, 56 lbs., for less than 2s. 10d. for a half cwt., which is £5 13s. 4d. a ton, and she has to walk to Erith, a 2½d. fare, each week in order to get a permit to get that.Assume that we get back to the normal and assume it is 1s. 6d. Is ½-cwt. of coal the weekly consumption of the people who will go into the Lobby against us? That is what you have to come down to. Some of you talk about these people being thriftless. I know thousands of cases 2021 —they could be multiplied almost into millions of cases—where five years continuity of employment during the War has shown, by investments in War Loan, a saving on the part of the working people unparalleled in the previous history of the working classes. They have saved in the main and they have used it up in the main. They have never complained until the whole of their resources are gone. War Savings Certificates have been realised within the five years at a loss. These things all prove that before these people make their protest they do the utmost possible they can with the resources at their disposal. I want to keep myself within Parliamentary limits, but it is very difficult when one knows that the accusation has been levelled at the great mass of those who are without work that they are thriftless. You do not realise the struggle to bring up a family and then to go through a period of unemployment.
We claim to represent the outlook and the feelings of the working classes because we ourselves have been through the mill. I have looked for work many a time without finding it. I have walked from Woolwich to Acton and back looking for a job. That has happened to many men on these Benches. But to-day is it worth while going to look for a job? The Minister of Labour knows perfectly well that it is not. A man living in Bexley gets tired of waiting about day after day doing nothing. He makes up his mind for a journey. I told some men in the trade I belong to that there was a job going at the new aerodrome, where they were initiating an aeroplane service to France. I found the employment exchange had sized up that opportunity for employment within an hour of it being open. The employment ex change manager had got every available local man into work. Every employment labour exchange manager is in the most efficient competition with every other employment exchange manager to place his men into work. But men will go and men will try, and they are paying 2½d. for a penny fare to look for work on a 15s. a week allowance. It does not even pay the cost of a newspaper. You cannot "buy a newspaper now for less than Id. How is it possible to buy them for six days every week to look for a job? I put it to the House that you are reducing the efficiency of those who are out of 2022 work through no fault of their own to such an extent that when you call upon them to resume work again their vitality will be lowered and their power for output will be correspondingly reduced. There are exceptions to every rule, but it is with regard to these people that you make use of arguments which ought not to be defended, and are not even worthy of being answered. They are used by people who would alter their view if they tried to live for three days on a basis of 15s. a week.
Get down to an average centre. Go to Bermondsey, Deptford, or Woolwich, or any other centre where there is an Employment Exchange. Line up with the queue. Go as shabbily dressed as you like. It is not always good and warm weather like it is now. I have seen men and women on the hottest days of this month. You can go down on a bus from this House to Deptford on a Friday and see the room packed with women standing on their feet in a slowly moving procession from 2 o'clock till 6, whilst the people work at their utmost in paying them as quickly as they possibly can. Do people mean to tell me that people are going to queue up and wait for hours to register themselves on a paying day and then wait for further hours to draw this miserable dole if it is possible to get work? It is not true, and because it is not true, and because the suggestion is unworthy of those who make it, I most strongly protest against it. We believe another way can be found. We believe that in this particular case the capital of the country should be drawn upon in order to keep up the efficiency of the workers, because, after all, the worker, when put to work, is the capital of the country. We have made our protest against the extension of the waiting period. We have done the best we could. We cannot do more. So far as suitable employment goes, the Minister has met us. He has said it is possible to deal with these cases within six weeks. I will give him a case again from my constituency, which can be reproduced by every Member in every constituency, of a girl who found work for herself, apart from the Exchange, and was offered, in 1921, 14s. a week for a seven-day working week. She turned it down, and because she turned it down she has been without unemployment benefit from 9th April, and cannot get it. These are facts which should commend themselves to hon. 2023 Members opposite. We believe we are not asking you to sink your money into a bottomless pit. We do not agree with the Minister that it is irrecoverable. It is recoverable in the continued efficiency of those who are kept out of the mire of destitution, and if there were no other justification than that, that alone would justify the claim that we are putting forward.
§ Mr. HOPKINSON
I am afraid hon. Members opposite are inclined to say from time to time that I take a melancholy view of these matters. I take a very serious view of these matters whenever I hear Members of the party opposite speak upon them, because it is a thing which should give rise to most profound sorrow as to the future when we hear hon. Members calmly give vent to proposals such as the hon. Member (Mr. Mills) has done. He says surely the way to get over this difficulty is to give the unfortunate patients a little more of the poison which has caused the disease. It is most ungrateful of hon. Members to blame the Government, and particularly the Minister of Labour, for their action in this and other matters, for, after all, the policy of the Minister of Labour is one which has been forced upon him by hon. Members opposite. It is the policy of the Labour party itself to deal with unemployment by giving money out of the public purse—that public purse which they think belongs to an individual called the State, who carries a purse from which untold millions may be drawn and dispersed to prove any theory which they hold. I hope the House will kick this Bill through into the other place as quickly as possible. We want it kicked there so that there will be room for the next Bill on the subject. As far as I can guess, on the information at present available, we shall have about two more of these Unemployment Insurance Bills before the repeal comes about. Having regard to the fact that the rate at which the repeal of the Government's Measures of social reform is taking place shows a constant acceleration, so that although some Acts of Parliament exist for some six months before repeal, such as the Agriculture Act, others, such as the German Reparation (Recovery) Act, will become dead letters in a much shorter period, I hope we shall see very shortly the repeal of some of the Government's Acts before they are ever 2024 brought forward. Therefore, it is the duty of the House to kick this thing through into the other place with the least possible delay, and particularly so tonight, when we are all anticipating a most interesting announcement and an interesting Debate upon another subject.
But in doing so those who think with me ought, at any rate, to raise some little protest against the whole policy involved. Hon. Members opposite may possibly, in the course of time, get to believe that some of the things which I so repeatedly tell them are not altogether untrue. The reason I have opposed the policy of these Insurance Acts in the past, and the reason why I welcome one which, at any rate, reduces the harm that is done by that policy, is that, the Government being committed to what is termed a policy of social reform, it is quite certain that we shall always have this unemployment problem with us, for the policy of social reform is a policy of producing what I call a submerged tenth. It dates from the time of the doctrinaire Liberals of the middle of the last century, who thought the prosperity of their own industry should only be secured if there was a surplus of degraded and unhappy creatures upon whom they could draw in times of prosperity and could return to misery in times of trade depression. It is a most significant fact in the history of the last 100 years that it was those doctrinaire Liberal employers who resisted every real improvement who initiated this abominable policy of social reform. This policy by which—
§ Mr. SPEAKER
Debate on the Third Reading is supposed to be confined to matters contained in the Bill. I do not object to a little preamble, but the hon. Gentleman is going exceedingly wide of the subject.
§ Mr. HOPKINSON
Having initiated the argument, it is not necessary for me to complete it, because the logical minds of the hon. Gentlemen opposite will be able to deal with it much more satisfactorily than I can myself. I should like to point out one thing with regard to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Platting (Mr. Clynes). He suggested that the way to get over the difficulty was not to reduce the doses of poison we are administering to the patient through unemployment 2025 insurance, but simply to increase these doses, to increase the amount of benefit by drawing on what he called the credit of the State. If there is one thing that would cause unemployment, and increase the cost of living it is going on borrowing and borrowing. The right hon. Gentleman talked about pledging the credit of the State. The credit of the State is pledged to the extent of £8,000,000,000 at present, a burden almost too heavy for the industry of this country to bear as it is. What hon. Members opposite do not understand is this, that borrowing money is a process which has to be paid for in the long run, and that in the case of money borrowed by the State under present conditions, and the price at which that borrowing has to be done, the inevitable result would be further trade depression, further rises in prices, and further unemployment. Hon. Members opposite seem to think that if there was only goodwill on the part of the Government, this problem would be solved. They seem to imagine that I myself and Members of the Government and Members behind me take a real delight in seeing their fellow countrymen unhappy and unfortunate. They suggest, as the hon. Member for Dartford (Mr. Mills) said, if the Government only had that goodwill they could immediately solve this great problem, and everybody would be happy. But they never give us any sort of suggestion or proposal which would be of the faintest use in solving it. The hon. Member for Dartford said some way ought to be found out of the difficulty. If hon. Members opposite would give us some sort of idea for a solution of the problem, I am sure the Government would be the first to jump at it.
§ Mr. HOPKINSON
I have said again and again on the floor of the House there is no solution of the unemployment problem on the part of the Government or on the part of the State—that the State or the Government of the country in interfering in these matters is only making matters worse. That is the main reason why I am supporting this Bill, because it does reduce the interference of the State in these matters. I would recommend hon. Gentlemen opposite, although they have turned down the Communist party, to study the writings, and more particu- 2026 larly the recent writings, of Mr. Lenin. He has tried all these wonderful methods of making people happy without working, and, whatever his faults, with the most singular intellectual honesty he has most openly stated what the result has been. He has said that, without this capitalist system which he set out to abolish, it is impossible to have free labour. I am going to ask hon. Members opposite to consider two things, and to consider them without any idea of controversy, because they are really very important to so many of our fellow countrymen. Consider, first, what has produced this present state of unemployment, and, in the second place, I should like hon. Members opposite to consider whether their policy of complete demarcation of trades and complete consolidation of wages is not a mistake. The whole policy of trade unionism has been devoted to the consolidation of wages at certain fixed rates, which shall be as the laws of the Medes and Persians, unalterable—
§ Mr. HOPKINSON
—except in the right hon. Gentleman's trade where he has a sliding scale. But the whole tendency has been to consolidate wages rather than leave them liquid. If you are to carry that policy to its logical conclusion you are bound eventually to produce a very serious state of unemployment, and it lies with hon. Members opposite who are the representatives of trade unionism to consider whether they cannot be a little more careful in getting the balance of consolidation or liquefaction in wages properly adjusted. If they consider whether it is not possible to get at any given moment that balance between what I call liquid wages and consolidated wages, then I think if they can do that they would reduce unemployment in this country. I quite admit that the time is past—
§ Mr. HOPKINSON
When one is an enthusiast on a subject of this sort, it is extremely difficult to keep within the bounds of order. I will not say more than I have said. If hon. Members opposite can take these broken fragments, although they may think it is all very foolish, I think they will find something which may be of some use to them. I 2027 should just like again to emphasise the necessity of getting this Bill through and out of the way before a worse thing happens.
§ Mr. G. LOCKER-LAMPSON
I quite agree with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Miles Platting (Mr. Clynes) that we shall have to have another Insurance Bill at a very early date. I do hope that during the next two years while this Bill runs the right hon. Gentleman will do his utmost to think out a really proper and sound scheme of unemployment insurance. To my mind the great blot upon this Bill is that every possibility of contracting out of the Bill and of industries forming schemes of their own has been abolished. I do not think the right hon. Gentleman has treated very fairly those industries who wanted to contract out. First of all he brings in a Bill in which he allows contracting out in the text of the Bill, and then issues Regulations which make it impossible for any but a few industries to make special schemes and contract out at all. He now brings in a Bill which abolishes contracting out altogether at a moment's notice, involving in great expense several industries who went to a great deal of trouble, consulted legal luminaries, and made special schemes, but were not able to come in by 8th June. This contracting out is really vital to a proper insurance scheme. In the first place, under a State scheme, there is no doubt that in a great many cases contributions are far too large for certain classes of employment. To my mind it is not fair to oblige persons in regular employment to pay as high contributions as persons who are likely to lose their work. I have got here the report of the Government Actuary, issued a short time ago, and we find, for instance, that at the docks unemployment is 10 per cent. We find also that among general labourers unemployment is 10 per cent., whereas in the mining, public utility services, and the railways it is only 1 per cent. I do not think it is fair to oblige people who are engaged in 1 per cent. unemployment industries to come into a scheme and pay exactly the same amount of contribution as the people who are far more likely to be thrown out of work. It is rather significant that, so far as I know, the only single industry which has been able to 2028 contract out under the scheme, and has come in under a special scheme by the date allowed in the Bill, is the insurance industry. It is very significant that the one industry that knows more about the insurance question than any other is so anxious to get so quickly out of this Bill. They have formed a special scheme under which the State pays far less contribution, the employers pay the same contribution, and the employed pay no contribution at all. That is the kind of scheme that appeals to me, a special scheme that saves the State a great deal of money, and under which the employed people themselves pay far less.
There is another reason why contracting out is important. There is no doubt that under the scheme of the Bill abuse of the provisions does take place. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Miles Platting on the Second Reading agreed that under the State scheme abuses of its provisions did take place very frequently. The Minister of Labour quoted two letters which he had himself had sent to the local authorities pointing out exactly the same thing. The weak spot of the State scheme to my mind is that the benefit is payable in an event which the insured person can bring about himself. Under a contracting out scheme, where an industry sets up a special scheme of its own, it is in the interest of every single employed person to see that the claimant for benefit only receives that benefit when he is entitled to it. Therefore, on these grounds, I do hope that in the future the right hon. Gentleman will think out provisions giving power for these special schemes to be formed.
I should like to mention a further point which I think is very important. Under a contracting out scheme the expenditure of the State is no doubt considerably less. Under the State scheme of the present Bill the minimum of administration expenses is 10 per cent. of the whole of the income. These expenses may be much more; but under a contracting out scheme it has been calculated that the administration expenses would be between 5 and 2 per cent. of the whole of the income. Under the scheme which the insurance society has undertaken there are no stamps, and the whole of the work is done in the office itself. There is no expense of a Civil Service staff. Under the State scheme the Government contribution is very much larger. The Government con- 2029 tribution works out at about one-quarter of the whole contribution; it works out at about 4d. per person, whereas under contracting out schemes the Government contribution only amounts to one penny. That makes a great difference. The State scheme has been in existence year after year. In 1919 we were told by the Minister of Labour that it was going to cost £3,000,000, and in 1920 he told us. it would cost £5,000,000. It is now over £6,000,000, and on the Second Beading of this Bill the right hon. Gentleman told us that the cost was going to be over £7,000,000. Under a scheme which allows industries to contract out under their own special schemes, it has been calculated that the cost to the Government would only be £1,000,000 a year.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of LABOUR (Sir Montague Barlow)
The real difficulty about contracting out is that the hon. Member is taking out the good risks and leaving in the bad risks. The economics he suggests will only apply to the good risks which he proposes should come out, and not to the bad risks which would stay in the fund.
§ Mr. LOCKER-LAMPSON
I agree that is the difficulty; but the right hon. Gentleman, when he brought in his Bill, put in a Clause allowing these industries to contract out of the Bill. He pointed out at the time that such provisions would be allowed and that the scheme would be solvent. Therefore, if it is the case that it would be solvent if he allowed these schemes to go through, he ought to allow them to go through wherever possible. At present the State scheme is insolvent; and we cannot do that; but during the next two years the Ministry of Labour ought to do their best to prepare a scheme of unemployment insurance which would allow all these societies who want to do it to contract out of the scheme of State insurance and make their own schemes by arrangement between employers and employed. Large employers could have their schemes arranged between themselves and their employés, and small employers could group themselves under the same kind of scheme as under the present State scheme. Where contracting out is quite possible there would have to be a 2030 modified State scheme. If these suggestions could be carried out it would mean far less cost to the State, it would be more efficient and it would be more satisfactory to employers and employed.
§ Mr. CAIRNS
I am opposed to this Bill. I am opposed to the proposed allowance of 15s. a week for men. I do not know what the Government expect the men will be able to do with that sum. A man may have a wife and three children, and probably may have to pay 10s. a week rent. That only leaves Is. a week each upon which to live. Surely no one will defend that. I have gone through the mill, and I know what it all means. I have had twelve months' idle time when I could not get a day's work. Unemployment insurance pre-supposes that the workman has not sufficient money out of his employment which he can save. We never hear of an employers insurance Bill. The contribution of 7d. per week is too much. I was financial secretary to the northern miners for 16 years, and although our contributions were only 6d. per fortnight, we covered all expenses, paid our unemployment allowances, and saved £200,000. On 7d. a week we could save £1,000 a week and pay unemployment insurance benefit. We could not get the money for strikes and lock-outs. I have had long experience of coalmining conditions. If one section of workers caused another section engaged in the mine to be unemployed there would be no unemployment insurance under this Bill. I remember one instance of a colliery that was idle for 17 weeks and 200 hewers were out of work. Under this scheme they would get nothing at all. Common sense tells me that this Bill will be unworkable. Although our contributions were only 6d. per fortnight we paid 25s. per week unemployment allowance when the men were out of work. 2d. of the 6d. was used for this particular purpose.
Since I have been in this House I have learned from the legislation that has been passed that this is no place to come to in order to get good thinking, and it is no place to come to in order to get good feeling. We could get better conditions from the coal-owners. Many times they have offered us better conditions than these, and what is true of the coal-owners is true of other employers, shipowners, farmers, and others. It is all 2031 because there is a prejudicial feeling in the House against working men. If you want this scheme to be successful the contributions must be less, and the unemployment allowance must be more. It is mockery to give 15s. a week. How can you expect people to live on that? In 1886 when I began my twelve months out of work we could get bacon at 4d. a lb., meat at 6d. a lb., and sugar at 1¼d. a lb. To-day sugar is 7d. or 8d. a lb., eatable bacon 2s. or 2s. 6d. a lb., and mutton 2s. 8d. a lb. Things are altogether different to-day. I do not blame the Minister of Labour, but I blame the Government. The curse of unemployment lies at the door of the Government. In September last, when the Government said that no more coal was to be exported, that was the beginning of the slump and of the down grade. The hon. Member for Dartford spoke about coal being sold in London at £5 a ton. Who gets the difference in the price between the small sum that is paid to the coal hewer in Northumberland and the price per ton paid in London?
I hope that this House will not pass the Bill. If I wanted the Coalition Government to fall I should say that I hope the House will pass the Bill, because it means their doom. The writing is on the wall. In every constituency, and I have been in several addressing unemployed men, I know the feeling. You may call them communists and lawbreakers, but they do not break the law. A Communist is supposed to be a man who breaks the law and sets fire to things. They have not done that yet. They behave like men. I hope the Minister of Labour will take heed of what we say on this subject. I mean what I say, and what I say is born of experience. When 15s. a week is offered to my fellow-men I know that they will use un-Parliamentary language which I am not allowed to use in this House. I hope that the Whips will be taken off by the Government when we come to a Division on the Bill, and that the House will reject it.
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
Without any disrespect to the hon. Member who has just spoken, who always improves every time he speaks, I very much regret that the House was so empty when the hon. Member for Dartford (Mr. Mills) was speaking. The speech of the hon. Member for Dartford was one of 2032 the most remarkable speeches we have had in this House. It came straight from the theatre of war, from the unemployed and the suffering poor in this country. How anyone can vote for this Bill after what the hon. Member told us—every word of which I believe was absolutely true—I cannot understand. The Government ought to take the Whips off for the Third Reading of the Bill. If the Bill is defeated they will have to continue paying 20s. a week for men and 15s. a week for women, and a very good thing too. That is the very least we can offer to the unemployed, who are unemployed through no fault of their own. The Government, in their most optimistic frame of mind about unemployment, expect an average unemployment of 1,250,000 up till July next year. They cheerfully expect that. If we are going to have 1,250,000 unemployed for the next 14 months it means that we are not going to regain our markets, that we shall not restore our trade, that the revenue will be down, and that this country will be face to face with real financial disaster. It means that although Europe is requiring articles of all kinds, textiles, boots, and all kinds of manufactured goods, we shall not be able to supply them, and if we cannot so adjust our arrangements that we can supply those wants it will be a very poor look-out for the financial recovery of this country. Do the Government know the opinion of the financiers in the City of London, the heads of the Stock Exchange, of the great banks, of the great accepting houses? Do the Government take these gentlemen into consultation? These gentlemen are most alarmed about the future of our trade and of our financial prospects.
Apart from the results of the coal stoppage, the unemployment in the country to-day is due to the general slump in trade which had set in before the coal stoppage. Hon. Members on this side blame the Government to a great extent. I agree that the Government's foreign policy has ruined, temporarily at any rate, the trade of the country. But what alarms me is the fact that the Government apparently have no remedy for unemployment except the policy of drift and doles.
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
While men are unemployed through no fault of their own, we cannot see their 2033 wives and children starving. We have got to help them out, but the lack of any other cure for the situation fills me with the greatest alarm at the present moment. I do not think that I should be in order in saying at any length what would be my remedy, but first we have got to do everything we can to restore trade instead of passing the ridiculous Bill which we are taking to-day. Secondly, we have got to recast many of our international arrangements under the Peace Treaties and aim at a policy of peace and not of continuous war and friction as in Upper Silesia. Third, we have got to work out a much greater scheme of international credits to get Europe started again. Along those lines we shall look for a final cure. Meantime it is absurd and criminal to reduce the benefit to people who cannot help these things and who are out of employment through no fault of their own. I would humbly suggest to Members of the Labour party that they should devote their minds to this great problem. So far I have seen little enough in all the speeches of leaders of all parties throughout the country of real remedies for the present lack of employment.
§ Mr. W. R. SMITH
Does the hon. and gallant Member wish to convey that the Labour party have no constructive policy on this question?
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
No, but in the speeches of the leaders of all the parties I see little enough which deals with this critical matter. The problem that faces us is a devastated Europe, while we have warehouses in this country overstocked with goods of all kinds which cannot be sold. Whoever can solve that problem and persuade the people of this country as to the solution will be deserving of the gratitude of all his fellow countrymen. But it is the Government who are most to blame for the present position. It is not for the Opposition to provide a policy. We can only point out the weak points in the Government policy. I think that the best way to help would be to turn out the Government but if we cannot do that we can make suggestions. Meantime I am going to vote against this Bill.
§ Mr. W. R. SMITH
In supporting the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Platting (Mr. Clynes), I wish to repudiate the suggestion which 2034 seems to be made in one or two of the speeches that we on these Benches can only look to the paying out of doles as the only method of dealing with this problem of unemployment. I would suggest that if other sections of the House had endeavoured to apply their minds to finding some solution of this problem as the Labour party have done, and submitted it for consideration as we have done, possibly out of the various contributions some solution might have been found. I am surprised that the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy) seems to be ignorant of what the Labour party have done in regard to suggestions for the solution of the problem of unemployment. From these Benches we have repeatedly put before the House proposals which we claim if followed would prevent the unemployment from developing, and would diminish it at any given moment, and ultimately would carry us to a moment of prosperity when it could be reduced to an absolute minimum.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I do not want to be misrepresented. I criticised the heads of all parties for not applying themselves to the solution of this problem. I know that the Labour party have brought forward certain solutions, but they have not pressed them.
§ Mr. SMITH
As far as this House affords opportunities, we have repeatedly pressed them, and we are entitled to claim that it is the failure on the part of the Government to adopt these suggestions that is responsible for the present position. Those of us who are minorities in this Chamber have no power to initiate schemes or policies which might contribute towards a solution of this problem. We can only make suggestions. We can point the way which we believe to be right, and we believe firmly that had the suggestions, which we have made continuously in this House, and by deputations which have waited on Ministers following the great national congresses and conferences held in different parts of the country, been adopted, the position of this country would have been much better. But we have got to face the situation as it is to-day. We can only hope that the time is not far distant when this Government will have passed out of office and provided an opportunity for some other body 2035 that is more competent to deal with these questions.
This afternoon, in answer to a question, one of the Ministers said that certain natives of India should receive some punishment for breaking certain contracts, and I could not help wondering what punishment would be meted out to this particular Government for the breaches of pledges and contracts of which they have been guilty since they have been in office. In this Bill we have a breach of contracts and pledges, not only in the sense of the reduced benefit and increased contributions, in themselves a mockery of the men and women who are unemployed, but in the fact that the facilities which were, granted in the original Act are being withdrawn, facilities that would have enabled industries to provide some more practical way of dealing with this question. My complaint against the Government in regard to this Bill is that they do not seem to know what their policy is five minutes at a time.
Only a few months ago we had a Measure to deal with unemployment, and the policy was, that if in any particular industry the circumstances were such as would enable them to bring in a better scheme whereby, possibly, better benefits could be given, it should be adopted. I am inclined to think that the Government themselves realised the possibilities in that direction, because in any special scheme which might be constituted under that the allowance from the Government instead of 2d. was only three-tenths of a penny, which implied that they realised that a special scheme could be more economically worked than the ordinary scheme under the Act itself. It is true that the Parliamentary Secretary told us that that is an impossible position, because all the good risks would be taken away and the bad ones would be left. I do not think many of us will dispute that that particular point of view is one of considerable substance, but our complaint against the Government is that in face of the knowledge of that fact they put in the original Act Clause 18, which makes it possible for industries to evolve special schemes of their own, and now under this Bill the Government provide that that shall not apply unless a notice to issue an Order had been published by the 8th June.
2036 I belong to an industry which has been working for some months on a special scheme, an industry which has been quoted by the Government as, in some respects, as a model. We have had conciliation machinery for many years, so efficient in its application that, in an industry which was concerned with the production of boots for the forces of all the Allies, there was not a single stoppage of work during all the years of the War. The understanding between the two sides is complete. Then the right hon. Gentleman knows that in another direction, so far as training disabled soldiers is concerned, it has produced a record. Yet this industry is now being cut off entirely from any possibility of putting into operation a scheme that is drafted and is complete in practically every respect. What possibility have the Government left to people outside of having any confidence in constitutional procedure while this game is being played by those in authority at present?
If the Government want to say that it is a wrong policy to take all the good risks out, some of us are not prepared to argue against that. If we are to have a complete scheme with all the unemployed in—the very principle of insurance possibly means that the good risks have got to help out the bad risks—we will not complain if that is to be the policy. What we do complain of is, you say that we can contract out, that we can have our special scheme. We apply ourselves to the task. It is not an easy task. It requires many hours of study and collaboration between the two sides. Now that we have done it we are told, because of a technical point, because we were not able to have our notice published on the 8th June, we are ruled out for a period of years. This kind of thing discredits constitutional procedure. In regard to this special problem my regret is that the Government have perpetuated this difficulty by Clause 5 of the Bill We on these benches want to do the best we can for the men out of work. We wish, if possible, to do away with unemployment insurance altogether. Some of us hope that the time will ultimately come when we shall be able to do it by a better organised system of society than unfortunately we have got at present. But apart from the difficulty which I have already emphasised, this Bill reduces the benefit at this particular moment when 2037 there is a greater amount of distress than there has ever been before.
It has been stated in this House that the working classes are not thrifty. After six months of trade depression, during which time men and women have been out of work, what explanation can be given of the fact that thousands have not been reduced to an actual state of starvation? Is not the explanation that, during the years when they were earning good wages they were thrifty and accumulated savings? Of course, working people are thrifty, and are willing and anxious to help themselves. They do not ask for these unemployment benefits to be paid to them, but for employment at which they can earn wages. The system prevents them from getting employment. Those who are the unfortunate victims of trade depression ought not to be penalised as they are being penalised by this Bill, and ought not to have their benefit reduced to 15s. a week at a time when all their reserves have gone and the benefit will be their sole income. The House will be well advised to reject the Measure and to urge the Government to deal with the problem in a more effective and efficient way. I very much regret, as one who has had some association with the preparation of a special scheme, that after months of action we have reachsd the present position. In future the difficulty will be greater in getting employers to collaborate with their workers if, after they have prepared their schemes, they are not to be allowed to put them into operation. I ask the Minister whether it is yet too late for something to be done in the matter. If nothing is done, having regard to all that is contained in the Bill and to the fact that it does not help in any practical way those who are out of work, I say it is not worth while to place the Bill on the Statute Book.
§ Sir GODFREY COLLINS
The Debate has revealed two channels of thought—a great and human need and the financial necessities of the day. I have no doubt that the Minister of Labour would say that his view combines two policies, the needs of the individual consistent with the safeguarding of State finance. But I think the House before voting will ask itself whether the provisions of the Bill will secure the object in view, whether its provisions are so drawn that the benefits 2038 of 15s. and 12s. per week respectively will be forthcoming for the period stated in the Bill. Before addressing myself to that main consideration may I make a preliminary observation? Throughout the various stages of this Bill question after question has been asked of the Minister regarding certain Financial Clauses in the Bill. I suggest that on such a Bill, involving the expenditure of public money, intricate in its applications, the House of Commons will be well advised to address itself to a detailed consideration of the subject. The basis of this Bill is contained in the White Paper: There the Minister lays down the policy that the unemployment for the period under review would be 10 per cent. If that estimate is excessive he will have budgeted for a surplus, and if it is exceeded there will be a deficit. What experience has the House on this subject? Take the unemployment figures for several years before the War. I find that the average unemployment in the skilled trades, covering some 800,000 workmen, over a long period of years was 5.3 per cent. That figure covered over 800,000 workers in the most skilled trades of the country, skilled men on whom the prosperity of the country depends, in trades where there was a limitation of apprentices. This Bill covers about 10,750,000 workers.
What will be the percentage of unemployment among 10,750,000 workers in an abnormal time after a great war? The highest ranges of unemployment before the War were in the two years 1908 and 1909. During those years the average level of unemployment was 7.8 and 7.7. Again, I give the figures only for the skilled trades. The Minister of Labour bases this Bill upon a mean 10 per cent. unemployment during the next two years. If you take into consideration the fact that the mean level of unemployment for many years before the War was as high as 5.3 per cent., and that that figure was based on returns from skilled trades where the number of apprentices is limited, I suggest to the House that the Minister is over-sanguine and that once more, as in February last, his Estimate will be found not to stand the test of time. The reason for this Measure being introduced is that the hopes which the right hon. Gentleman held out in March cannot be fulfilled. If my analysis of the situation is at all accurate and if my figures are at all within the range of 2039 possibility, it appears to me that he will be forced to come and ask for further powers in order to continue payment of a benefit of 15s. a week. The Minister is budgeting for a certain deficit at a certain time. I hold that that deficit will be larger than he anticipates and that he will be forced to borrow further large sums of money. The benefits he offers under the Bill are too high for the contributions, or the contributions are too email for the benefits given. The right hon. Gentleman has held out to millions of workers hopes which experience has overthrown. 3,000,000 people to-day are drawing 20s. a week. They are not in close touch with the economic necessities of the time; they are not as fully cognisant as hon. Members of the true position of national finance. In asking the House to pass a Measure based upon 10 per cent. of unemployment for the next two years the Minister is asking the House to adopt a policy which experience will show to be unsound.
Having come to these conclusions the question I ask myself is, how should one vote? If one votes for the Measure, one is voting for a Measure which has been introduced because of Government policy during recent months, and indirectly one is voting for the support of that policy. On the other hand, if one votes against the Bill, one will be met, perhaps, with the taunt that one is voting against husbanding the financial resources of the nation. I am prepared to face that taunt, because I believe the Bill is not part of a balanced policy. The Government should come to the House with a complete policy based on a reduction in all services.
§ 6.0 P.M.
§ Mr. SPENCER
I want to say a few words in reference to the hon. Member for Mossley (Mr. A. Hopkinson). The hon. Member takes up the attitude in this House of Judas Iscariot with regard to the breaking of the alabaster box of ointment. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] Yes, Judas Iscariot said it might have been sold and the proceeds given to the poor. The hon. Member for Mossley takes up that position with regard to many of these things. It does not matter whether it is the Labour party or the Government. Whatever they have said or done is wrong and something else ought to have been done. He comes here and lectures the Labour party and other sections with 2040 a supercilious patronage that we resent. We like a man to fight. I appreciate any man who honestly fights the Labour party and its principles. What we resent strongly is patronage and lecturing from any section or Member. With regard to the Bill, I have been present throughout the discussions at all stages, and I do not remember a Bill in regard to which fewer concessions have been made by the Government. The Labour party put a number of Amendments on the Paper, but both in Committee and on the Report stage the Minister of Labour has had, so he said, blankly to refuse to accede to any point we have put forward. He has done so very largely on two grounds. The first ground, and it is the ground upon which he has taken his chief stand, is the ground of solvency. He will not move in the direction indicated by our Amendments, because what he is aiming at is the solvency of the scheme. I understood him to say, if he could get over this abnormal period and come to deal with a permanent army of unemployed of about 500,000, that he hoped to be solvent somewhere about 1923. I think in that he is taking up a very unwise position. Had he given more consideration to the claims of the workmen from a humanitarian point of view, he would not be so keen on achieving solvency any sooner than 1924 or 1925. If I understand his figures aright, this scheme will give an annual return of about £36,000,000 per annum—that is, taking the contributions of the three parties to it. If he has to deal with an army of unemployed, permanently numbering about 500,000, that will not exhaust more than £18,000,000 or £20,000,000.
§ Mr. SPENCER
My point is that if you have 500,000 unemployed it will leave a very great margin of money each year—anywhere from £10,000,000 to £20,000,000—and this the right hon. Gentleman could use for the liquidation of his debt. I think he could with safety to his scheme have made his debt greater. As a matter of fact, he said that if he went to the 18s. and 15s. benefits which we asked for, he would be putting off the day of solvency from 1923 until 1924. That is not a very lengthy period. Surely, if that is all involved in the difference between the right hon. Gentleman and ourselves, he might very easily accede to our request. After 2041 all, this is the main point with us. Whatever Amendments we proposed aimed at one definite object—to get more money for those who will be called upon to suffer. The right hon. Gentleman has failed to see things in their proper perspective. His picture of the situation is so painted that a mythical figure termed "Solvency" appears in the foreground, and human sorrow is put remotely into the background. He is unable to see sorrow for solvency. Just as Queen Mary said that if her heart was looked into after she died the word "Calais" would be found written upon it, so if the right hon. Gentleman were by any misfortune to pass away on the Front Bench and we were to have a post-mortem examination upon him, we should find the word "solvency" written upon his heart. He has become so obsessed with the idea of solvency that ii has assumed undue proportions and is preventing him from appreciating the suffering which exists in the country. The right hon. Gentleman has based opposition to our Amendments upon another and a fallacious ground. He has said that if he gives this money it will tend to extend unemployment and increase prices, because every attempt to inflate credit will increase prices. I say that is not true. It is not a necessary economic fact unless your demand has come within measurable reach of the supply. At present there is a disparity, and the right hon. Gentleman could have inflated our credits without prices going up one iota. We are suffering in this country because the banks, unwisely, deflated the credit of this country too rapidly, with the consequence that there was an immediate contraction of trade. If it had been done more steadily there would not be the abnormal unemployment which we have to deal with now.
Mr. T. THOMSON
I feel conscious the House is anxious to come to a decision, but, unlike the majority of hon. Members present, I happen to have sat through the whole of the Debate and I promise those who have done the same not to detain them for more than a few minutes. I should like to reinforce the appeal made by the hon. Member for Wellingborough (Mr. W. R. Smith) and by the hon. Member for Wood Green (Mr. G. Locker-Lampson) that the Government even now should reconsider Clause 5, which withholds the consent of the Minister from special schemes. It 2042 was my privilege to sit on a Departmental Committee dealing with the question of employment exchanges, and incidentally with the questions of unemployment generally and of special schemes in particular. One of the recommendations made by the majority of that Committee was that the Government should give every consideration and facility to the formation of these special schemes for contracting out. They realised that it was impossible for the whole of industry to contract out, because, as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry has, interjected, you cannot take out the whole of the good risks and leave only the bad risks, but the scheme which the Minister submitted in his Bill of March made provision for a much greater amount of contracting out than he has yet sanctioned. I submit this Clause is going to retard very considerably indeed the further progress of the movement in favour of industry bearing its own burdens. In connection with these schemes, such as that of the boot and shoe trade, which has been referred to, and other schemes which we had before us at the Departmental Committee, a large amount of time has been given by employers and employed to the working out of the details. It will discourage further efforts on those lines if at this juncture the Minister withdraws his sanction from schemes already made. Not only may these schemes be worked more economically, but, in addition to providing unemployment benefit, they also provide a real incentive for an industry to avoid unemployment by endeavouring to spread its work over the whole period of a year or a series of years, so that the amount of unemployment is reduced to the lowest possible figure. At the present time there is no special interest in an industry to reduce the amount of unemployment, because the employer knows that when he requires extra hands he has only to go to the employment exchange or the market, but if he knows that it is a cost and a charge on his own industry if he has more unemployment to provide for, then he has a direct incentive to keep down the amount of unemployment.
One realises that there are limitations to the possibilities of these schemes. I disagree with the hon. Member for Wood Green that where you have unemploy- 2043 ment of 1 per cent. only, it should be exempt from the larger contribution required from those industries with 10 per cent. unemployment. The whole basis of insurance is that the strong should bear the burdens of the weak. At the same time, I do not think there is any conflict between the idea of sharing risks and that of contracting out. Let those who contract out have the advantage of their smaller amount of unemployment, but also let them pay proportionately more to the general pool, so that those who are left in shall not have to bear a bigger burden than they are or-
§ dinarily forced to bear. I hope the Minister will not wreck the prospects of the special schemes for contracting out, and also the prospects of industry, where it can, bearing its own burdens, by refusing his assent and closing the door on these schemes. I hope that even now, when the Bill goes to another place, that responding to the appeals made to him, he may see his way to modify this Clause so that the future of employment may be better safeguarded.
§ Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 240; Noes, 81.2045
|Division No. 202.]||AYES.||[6.12 p.m.|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Kellaway, Rt. Hon. Fredk. George|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Denniss, Edmund R. B. (Oldham)||Kerr-Smiley, Major Peter Kerr|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Dockrell, Sir Maurice||Kidd, James|
|Allen, Lieut.-Colonel William James||Doyle, N. Grattan||King, Captain Henry Douglas|
|Archer-Shoe, Lieut.-Colonel Martin||Du Pre, Colonel William Baring||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement|
|Armstrong, H. B.||Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||Law, Alfred J. (Rochdale)|
|Astor, Viscountess||Evans, Ernest||Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)|
|Atkey, A. R.||Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray||Lindsay, William Arthur|
|Bagley, Captain E. Ashton||Farquharson, Major A. C.||Lloyd, George Butler|
|Baird, Sir John Lawrence||Ford, Patrick Johnston||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Foreman, Sir Henry||Lorden, John William|
|Balfour, Sir R. (Glasgow, Partick)||Forrest, Walter||Lowther, Major C. (Cumberland, N.)|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.||France, Gerald Ashburner||Mackinder, Sir H. J. (Camlachie)|
|Banner, Sir John S. Harmood-||Fraser, Major Sir Keith||M'Lean, Lieut.-Col. Charles W. W.|
|Barlow, Sir Montague||Gange, E. Stanley||Macleod, J. Mackintosh|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Gardner, Ernest||McMicking, Major Gilbert|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Gilbert, James Daniel||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel Sir John||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.|
|Bennett, Sir Thomas Jewell||Glyn, Major Ralph||Magnus, Sir Philip|
|Bird, Sir A. (Wolverhampton, West)||Gould, James C.||Mallaby-Deeley, Harry|
|Blair, Sir Reginald||Goulding, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward A.||Mallalieu, Frederick William|
|Borwick, Major G. O.||Grant, James Augustus||Marriott, John Arthur Ransome|
|Bowles, Colonel H. F.||Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)||Martin, A. E.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Greenwood, Colonel Sir Hamar||Mason, Robert|
|Breese, Major Charles E.||Greenwood, William (Stockport)||Middlebrook, Sir William|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Greer, Harry||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred Moritz|
|Broad, Thomas Tucker||Greig, Colonel Sir James William||Montagu, Rt. Hon. E. S.|
|Brown, Major D. C.||Gretton, Colonel John||Moreing, Captain Algernon H.|
|Brown, T. W. (Down, North)||Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.||Morison, Rt. Hon. Thomas Brash|
|Buchanan, Lieut.-Colonel A. L. H.||Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Morris, Richard|
|Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Harmsworth, C. B. (Bedford, Luton)||Morrison, Hugh|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Murray, C. D. (Edinburgh)|
|Burdon, Colonel Rowland||Harris, Sir Henry Percy||Murray, Hon. Gideon (St. Rollox)|
|Burn, Col. C. R. (Devon, Torquay)||Haslam, Lewis||Murray, John (Leeds, West)|
|Campbell, J. D. G.||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Murray, William (Dumfries)|
|Carter, R. A. D. (Man., Withington)||Henry, Denis S. (Londonderry, S.)||Nail, Major Joseph|
|Casey, T. W.||Hewart, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon||Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)|
|Cputley, Henry Strother||Hickman, Brig.-Gen. Thomas E.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Birm., Aston)||Hinds, John||Nicholson, Reginald (Doncaster)|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Hoare, Lieut.-Colonel Sir S. J. G.||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A.(Birm.,W.)||Hope, Sir H.(Stirling & Cl'ckm'nn.W.)||Nield, Sir Herbert|
|Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Ladywood)||Hope, J. D. (Berwick & Haddington)||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Cheyne, Sir William Watson||Hopkins, John W. W.||Ormsby-Gore. Hon. William|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Palmer, Major Godfrey Mark|
|Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H. Spender||Horne, Edgar (Surrey, Guildford)||Palmer, Brigadier-General G. L.|
|Coats, Sir Stuart||Houston, Robert Patterson||Parker, James|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis||Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Hunter-Weston, Lieut.-Gen. Sir A. G.||Peel, Col. Hon. S. (Uxbridge, Mddx.)|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Hurd, Percy A.||Pennefather, De Fonblanque|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Hurst, Lieut.-Colonel Gerald B.||Percy, Charles (Tynemouth)|
|Coote, Colin Relth (Isle of Ely)||Inskip, Thomas Walker H.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Cope, Major William||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.||Perring, William George|
|Cory, Sir C. J. (Cornwall, St. Ives)||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Philipps, Gen. Sir I. (Southampton)|
|Cowan, Sir H. (Aberdeen and Kinc.)||Jephcott, A. R.||Pinkham, Lieut.-Colonel Charles|
|Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South)||Jodrell, Neville Paul||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Davidson, J. C. C. (Hemel Hempstead)||Johnstone, Joseph||Pratt, John William|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Jones, Sir Evan (Pembroke)||Prescott, Major W. H.|
|Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)||Jones, Henry Haydn, (Merioneth)||Pretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest G.|
|Davies, Sir William H. (Bristol, S.)||Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Llanelly)||Purchase, H. G.|
|Raper, A. Baldwin||Stanley, Major Hon. G. (Preston)||Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)|
|Ratcliffe, Henry Butler||Stanton, Charles Butt||Weston, Colonel John Wakefield|
|Raw, Lieutenant-Colonel Dr. N.||Steel, Major S. Strang||White, Col. G. D. (Southport)|
|Rees, Sir J. D. (Nottingham, East)||Stevens, Marshall||Williams, C. (Tavistock)|
|Reid, D. D.||Stewart, Gershom||Williams, Col. Sir R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Renwick, Sir George||Sueter, Bear-Admiral Murray Fraser||Willoughby, Lieut.-Col. Hon. Claud|
|Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)||Surtees, Brigadier-General H. C||Wills, Lt.-Col. Sir Gilbert Alan H.|
|Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Sutherland, Sir William||Wilson, Capt. A. S. (Holderness)|
|Robinson, Sir T. (Lanes., Stretford)||Sykes, Colonel Sir A. J. (Knutsford)||Winterton, Earl|
|Rodger, A. K.||Taylor, J.||Wise, Frederick|
|Rothschild, Lionel de||Terrell, George (Wilts, Chippenham)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Thomas, Sir Robert J. (Wrexham)||Wood, Hon. Edward F. L. (Ripon)|
|Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Thomas-Stanford, Charles||Yate, Colonel Sir Charles Edward|
|Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert Arthur||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)||Yeo, Sir Alfred William|
|Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||Thorpe, Captain John Henry||Young, E. H. (Norwich)|
|Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Tickler, Thomas George||Young, Sir Frederick W. (Swindon)|
|Shaw, Capt. William T. (Forfar)||Townley, Maximilian G.||Younger, Sir George|
|Simm, M. T.||Tryon, Major George Clement|
|Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)||Walters, Rt. Hon. Sir John Tudor||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Sprot, Colonel Sir Alexander||Walton, J. (York, W. R., Don Valley)||Colonel Leslie Wilson and Mr.|
|Stanier, Captain Sir Beville||Ward-Jackson, Major C. L.||McCurdy.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Francis D.||Hayday, Arthur||Roberts, Frederick O. (W. Bromwich)|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hayward, Evan||Robertson, John|
|Barton, Sir William (Oldham)||Hirst, G. H.||Rose, Frank H.|
|Bell, James (Lancaster, Ormskirk)||Hodge, Rt. Hon. John||Royce, William Stapleton|
|Bramsdon, Sir Thomas||Hogge, James Myles||Seddon, J. A.|
|Briant, Frank||Holmes, J. Stanley||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Cairns, John||Irving, Dan||Smith, W. R. (Wellingborough)|
|Cape, Thomas||Jesson, C.||Spencer, George A.|
|Carter, W. (Nottingham, Mansfield)||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Spoor, B. G.|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Swan, J. E.|
|Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Kennedy, Thomas||Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)|
|Davies, A. (Lancaster, Clitheroe)||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Devlin, Joseph||Kenyon, Barnet||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plalstow)|
|Edwards, G. (Norfolk, South)||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Walsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)|
|Edwards, Hugh (Glam., Neath)||Lawson, John James||Ward, Col. J. (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Finney, Samuel||Lunn, William||Waterson, A. E.|
|Galbraith, Samuel||Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)||Wedgwood, Colonel Josiah C.|
|Gillis, William||Matthews, David||Wignall, James|
|Glanville, Harold James||Morgan, Major D. Watts||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Murray, Dr. D. (Inverness and Ross)||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, Consett)|
|Graham, R. (Nelson and Colne)||Myers, Thomas||Wilson, James (Dudley)|
|Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central)||Newbould, Alfred Ernest||Wilson, W. Tyson (Westhoughton)|
|Grundy, T. W.||O'Connor, Thomas P.||Wintringham, Thomas|
|Guest, J. (York, W. R., Hemsworth)||O'Grady, James||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Hallas, Eldred||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Halls, Walter||Rendall, Athelstan||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hartshorn, Vernon||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Mr. Arthur Henderson and Mr. T.|
Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.