HC Deb 06 April 1922 vol 152 cc2519-67

(1) Where a person entitled to benefit is a married man, whose wife is living with him or is being maintained wholly or mainly by him, or being a widower or an unmarried man has residing with him any female person for the purpose of having the care of his dependent children and is maintaining that person, or has and has had living with him as his wife any female person, or where the person entitled to benefit is a married woman who has a husband dependent on her, the weekly rate of benefit authorised by the Unemployment Insurance Acts, 1920 and 1921, shall be increased by a sum of five shillings, and where the person so entitled has dependent children the weekly rate of benefit shall be increased by one shilling in respect of each such child:

Provided that the additional sum of five shillings shall not be payable in respect of a wife or female person who is in receipt of benefit (including benefit under any special scheme), or who is in regular wage-earning employment otherwise than as having the care of the dependent children of the person entitled to benefit, or is engaged in any occupation ordinarily carried on for profit.

(2) If any question arises as to whether any addition ought to be made to the weekly rate of benefit in respect of any wife or other female person, or any husband or any child, that question shall be decided by the Minister.

(3) Paragraph 6 of the Second Schedule to the principal Act (which limits the power of the Minister to prescribe rates and periods of benefit) shall have effect as though for the words from "the rate of benefit" to "for women" (where the last-mentioned words secondly occur), both inclusive, there were substituted the words "or reduce any of the rates of benefit for the time being in force by more than two shillings per week."

(4) This Section shall continue in operation so long as the rates of contribution fixed by this Act remain in force.


I beg to move, in Subsection (1), to leave out the words "being a widower or an unmarried man."

This raises a case of obvious injustice. A married man who, for some reason or

other, is separated from his wife, and has the custody of the children, has no provision made whereby he can get assistance towards calling in some other woman to help him with his household. One particular case I wish to bring under review is a case that has been brought to my notice of a man granted separation from his wife without alimony and with the custody of his children. He got a woman to look after the children, but he was refused the allowance of 5s. a week for this woman. Another case that occurs to me is that in which after the separation the woman goes to live with another man. In that case an allowance could be given to the man in respect of the woman, although they are separated and she has not the custody of her children. Surely it is only equitable to grant an allowance to the man who is compelled to employ someone to look after his children.


I beg to second the Amendment.


The main object of the Amendment is to give a married man with children an allowance for a housekeeper or unmarried wife although his wife is alive but not living with him and not being maintained by him. The Unemployed Workers Dependants' Scheme was originally intended to operate for six months, but I have carried it forward for 14 months more, and I have asked to be allowed to carry it forward along the same general lines. Here is a very serious breach of those Regulations. Under that scheme no allowance for a housekeeper is payable to a married man when his wife is alive, and I cannot under any circumstances accept this Amendment.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 159; Noes, 70.

Division No. 82.] AYES. [8.10 p.m.
Amery, Leopold C. M. S. Blades, Sir George Rowland Burn, Col. C. R. (Devon, Torquay)
Armstrong, Henry Bruce Blair, Sir Reginald Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.
Atkey, A. R. Biane, T. A. Carr, W. Theodore
Baird, Sir John Lawrence Borwick, Major G. O. Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Boscawen, Rt. Hon. Sir A. Griffith- Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A.(Birm.,W.)
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Bowyer, Captain G. W. E. Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Ladywood)
Barnes. Rt. Hon. G. (Glas., Gorbais) Breese, Major Charles E. Chilcot, Lieut.-Com. Harry W.
Barnett, Major Richard W. Brittain, Sir Harry Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H. Spender
Barnston, Major Harry Broad, Thomas Tucker Coats, Sir Stuart
Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes) Brown, Major D. C. Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W. Bruton, Sir James Coote, Colin Reith (Isle of Ely)
Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.) Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A. Cowan, Sir H. (Aberdeen and Kinc.)
Davidson, J. C. C. (Hemel Hempstead) Johnson, Sir Stanley Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)
Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H. Jones, G. W. H, (Stoke Newington) Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)
Dawson, Sir Philip Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Lianeily) Rodger, A. K
Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark) King, Captain Henry Douglas Roundell, Colonel R. F.
Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M. Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Rutherford, Sir W. W. (Edge Hill)
Falcon, Captain Michael Law, Rt. Hon. A. B. (Glasgow, C.) Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Fell, Sir Arthur Lindsay, William Arthur Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert Arthur
Forestier-Walker, L. Lloyd, George Butler Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.
Fraser, Major Sir Keith Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'tingd'n) Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)
Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Lorden, John William Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)
Ganzoni, Sir John Lort-Williams, J. Seddon, J. A.
Gardiner, James Loseby, Captain C. E. Shaw, William T. (Forfar)
Gee, Captain Robert McCurdy, Rt. Hon. Charles A. Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.)
Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham M'Lean, Lieut.-Col. Charles W. W. Smith, Sir Harold (Warrington)
Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel Sir John Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J. Smith, Sir Malcolm (Orkney)
Gray, Major Ernest (Accrington) Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I. Stanton, Charles Butt
Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.) Macqulsten, F. A. Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.
Greene, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Hack'y, N.) Maddocks, Henry Stevens, Marshall
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Sir Hamar Marks, Sir George Croydon Strauss, Edward Anthony
Gregory, Holman Martin, A. E. Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. Frederick E. Mitchell, Sir William Lane Sugden, W. H.
Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Morden, Col. W. Grant Sutherland, Sir William
Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) Moreing, Captain Algernon H. Taylor, J.
Hamilton, Major C. G. C. Murray, John (Leeds, West) Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Neal, Arthur Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (Maryhill)
Harmsworth, C. B. (Bedford, Luton) Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter) Thorpe, Captain John Henry
Henderson, Lt.-Col. V. L. (Tradeston) Newson, Sir Percy Wilson Townley, Maximilian G.
Hennessy, Major J. R. G. Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge) Waddington, R.
Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford) Nicholson, Reginald (Doncaster) Waring, Major Walter
Hlider, Lieut.-Colonel Frank Norris, Colonel Sir Henry G. Watson, Captain John Bertrand
Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy Oman, Sir Charles William C. Wild, Sir Ernest Edward
Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard Parker, James Williams, C. (Tavistock)
Hood, Sir Joseph Pearce, Sir William Williams, Lt.-Col. Sir R. (Banbury)
Hopkins, John W. W. Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike Wilson, Col. M. J. (Richmond)
Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley) Peel, Col. Hon. S. (Uxbridge, Mddx.) Winterton, Earl
Hudson, R. M. Perkins, Walter Frank Wise, Frederick
Hume-Williams. Sir W. Ellis Pownail, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton Wootcock, William James U.
Hurst, Lieut.-Colonel Gerald B. Pratt, John William Yeo, Sir Alfred William
Inskip, Thomas Walker H. Ramsden, G. T. Young, E. H. (Norwich)
Jameson, John Gordon Randies, Sir John Scurrah
Jesson, C. Renwick, Sir George TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Jodrell, Neville Paul Richardson, Sir Alex. (Gravesend) Colonel Leslie Wilson and Mr.
Dudley Ward.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. William Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central) Robertson, John
Ammon, Charles George Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Rose, Frank H.
Banton, George Grundy, T. W. Sexton, James
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertiliery) Guest, J. (York, W. R., Hemsworth) Shaw, Thomas (Preston)
Barnes, Major H. (Newcastle, E.) Hancock, John George Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Hartshorn, Vernon Sitch, Charles H.
Bromfield, William Hayday, Arthur Spencer, George A.
Cairns, John Henderson, Rt, Hon. A. (Widnes) Swan, J. E.
Cape, Thomas Hogge, James Myies Thomas, Brig.-Gen. Sir O. (Anglesey)
Carter, W. (Nottingham, Mansfield) Holmes, J. Stanley Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)
Casey, T. W. Irving, Dan Tillett, Benjamin
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R. Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Walsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)
Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale) Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Waterson, A. E.
Davies. Rhys John (Westhoughton) Kiley, James Daniel Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. D.
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedweilty) Lawson, John James Wedgwood, Colonel Josiah C.
Edwards, G. (Norfolk, South) Lunn, William White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)
Edwards, Hugh (Glam., Neath) Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan) Williams, Aneurin (Durham, Consett)
Finney, Samuel MacVeagh, Jeremiah Williams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough, E.)
Foot, Isaac Myers. Thomas Wilson, James (Dudley)
Forrest, Walter Naylor, Thomas Ellis Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Stourbridge)
Galbraith, Samuel Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan) Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)
Gillis, William Rees, Capt. J. Tudor- (Barnstaple) Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Goff, Sir R. Park Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)
Graham, R. (Nelson and Colne) Roberts, Frederick O. (W. Bromwich) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Mr. Kennedy and Mr. W. Smith.

I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the words "dependent children" ["having the care of his dependent children"], and to j insert instead thereof the word "home."

The effect of this would be that where a widower or unmarried man has residing: with him a female person for the purpose of having the care of his home, he would be able to claim 5s. in respect of her. I have brought this forward to-day because I have had a letter from the North of England describing a case in which this Clause, as it stands, inflicts not only a great injustice on the individual, but a greater injury on public morals. A widower whose children are just over 16 has living with him a housekeeper, and applies for the 5s. in respect of her, but he is told that he cannot have it, and it is added that if this woman were living with him as his wife he could have it, but because she is living in a respectable way as his housekeeper, he cannot have it. I am sure the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill, and indeed everyone who hears that case, will consider it discloses a monstrous state of affairs. I say nothing with regard to the case of a woman living with a, man as his wife getting the 5s. One cannot inquire whether or not they are legally married, but I do protest at the idea of a couple living together in that way being put into a superior position to the man who has a respectable housekeeper looking after his home and children, although they may not be technically dependent children, because they are just over 16. If the woman were living with the man as his sham wife, no question would be asked whether there were any children at all, or whether she is looking after the house or anything else. If she is living with him as his wife she is entitled to the 5s.

If the words "dependent children" are left out and the unemployed man is given a right to claim 5s. in respect of a woman who is residing with him for the purpose of having the care of his home it will remove a great anomaly, it will do away with a great injustice to many respectable people, and it will prevent injury to public morals. Take the case of two couples living side by side, one with no children at all, just a man and a woman passing as his wife, although she is not his wife. She gets the 5s. in that case. Next door to them there may be a man who is a widower with several children all over 16 years of age whom he is preparing, it may be with great difficulty, for some higher station in life. He has a respectable woman to keep house for him and to look after his children. He applies for the 5s. in respect of her and is told he cannot have it, although he could have it if the woman were living with him as his wife. Surely no further words are needed to show the monstrous state of law thus created. I have worded my Amendment very carefully so as to avoid letting in any woman who might happen to be living in the house. It will meet the case of the genuine housekeeper, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will see his way to accept the Amendment and thereby remove a very great blot from the Bill, a blot which, I am sure, he would be the last man to desire to exist. It will be very much resented up and down the country if this blot is not remedied before the Bill becomes law.


I beg to second the Amendment.


The whole object of this provision is to ensure that assistance shall be given in cases where there is housekeeper to look after the children, and if this grant of 5s. is to be made in every case where there are no children but where the woman is there to look after the home, I suggest it will be going far beyond the intentions of the Act. This is an Insurance Act. I have strained things considerably already, but to provide that the 5s. shall be paid in all cases where there is a woman looking after a home, and where there are no children, is altogether foreign to the object of the Bill. It could not be described as coming within the purview of even the shadow of an Insurance Act. The hon. Member has supported this Amendment by stating a case which someone has communicated to him, and on the strength of that communication he asks us to make this very great alteration in the law. On the strength of such a representation, I do not think we would be justified in altering the whole scope and character of this Bill, and in ruling out its one main purpose, which is to do something for the children. The Amendment carries the Bill much too far, and I cannot, under any circumstances, accept it.

Amendment negatived.


I beg to move, in Subsection (1) after the word "person" ["any female person"] to insert the words "or has and has had living with him any adult relative dependent upon him."

I shall speak quite briefly to this Amendment as I am encouraged to be brief by the reception which other Amendments of a similar character have had from the right hon. Gentleman. I am not disposed to waste the time of the House or my own time in putting arguments to a Minister who has made up his mind, or to empty Government benches. In regard to the last Amendment, I know that scores of hon. Members took part in the Division without knowing anything at all about the arguments which had been presented.


That never happens to my hon. Friend.


I take care to inform myself on matters on which I record a vote, and I think I may say the same on behalf of the majority of Members on this side of the House. I will content myself with bringing to the notice of the Minister the substance of the Amendment, from the principle of which I think he will have some difficulty in escaping. The Act, as it now stands, brings within the scope of benefit a widower or an unmarried man if he has residing with him any female person for the purpose of taking care of his dependent children, or if he has and has had living with him as his wife any female person. If an unmarried man who has a female person living with him as his wife can get these benefits—I am not discussing the morals of the situation; that is not necessary—surely it is reason able to ask that an unmarried man whose aged mother, say, is residing with him, or whose father is residing with him—


Are there children?


There may be, but I am speaking of the unmarried man whose father, say, is aged, and who has the responsibility of maintaining him. Surely it is reasonable that that unmarried man should get the same benefit as is extended to an unmarried man in the circumstances I have previously described. That is why I am asking for the acceptance of this Amendment.


I beg to second the Amendment.

I think that the scope of this Clause should be enlarged. It seems to me too restricted, and to inflict unnecessary hardship upon many deserving persons. Take the case of a man who, when he is in employment, may be maintaining an infirm relative, perhaps a sister, who may be considerably older than himself. If he becomes unemployed, his means of supporting her are cut off, but he is under the same moral obligation to endeavour to support his sister as he would be to support any other member of his family. He finds himself, however, unable to do so because there has been no provision made for the sister to get the 5s. in case he is thrown out of employment. That would apply to other relatives besides a sister. It would apply to any relative that the unemployed man may have been maintaining while in full employment, and I am certain that the Minister cannot find any real, substantial reason why this Amendment should not be accepted. I know, from the experience that I have had with him, that he is very sympathetic in cases that are brought before him, and that he has, on one particular occasion at any rate, used his powers in a most beneficent way. I would appeal to him now to allow this Amendment to go through. If it does not go through, it means that, when this Bill becomes law, it will inflict great hardship on many deserving working men. There are many men amongst the working classes who are relieving the State of obligations by the way in which they maintain their dependent and infirm relatives, who have no legal but have strong humanitarian claims upon their support. Therefore, I hope the Minister will accept the Amendment.


My hon. Friend who seconded this Amendment said that, if the Bill stands as it is, it is going to inflict very great hardship. It is going to carry on, for 20 months in all, what was originally designed for six months, that is to say, the scheme of the Unemployed Workers' Dependants Act. That may not, and I know it did not, satisfy my hon. Friends opposite. They said so. But during the winter it has had a very timely effect upon poor people so far as it has gone, and there is no infliction of any new injustice in carrying on the scheme of that Act. We have made in that Act a provision, now merged in the present Measure, for 5s. a week for a wife or housekeeper looking after children, and 1s. a week for each child. This Amendment will enlarge very considerably the class of persons who might claim the 5s. My hon. Friend's idea was that a single man might claim it, but as it is drawn the 5s. would be confined to an adult relative in cases in which the applicant is a widower or an unmarried man. That is not my hon. Friend's intention. He would say that it should be applicable in every case, as I gathered from his speech. Of course, he realises that the 5s. is only paid once. I do not want to make more of this than there is in it. There would not be several sums of 5s., but it would largely widen the scope, particularly if applied to single men, as my hon. Friend intends—and he may be right, though I do not think so myself. It very considerably widens the number of persons who might say they are entitled to the 5s. According to a rough calculation, I think I am safe in saying that in that case, because of the great variety of adult relatives, of both sexes, who might claim this 5s., the additional charge would certainly be several millions. Now this is not a fund—I hope my hon. Friend will forgive me for saying so—for furnishing a compassionate grant; it is an insurance fund, and I have strained it in a way in which it has never been strained before. It will come all right. The vast amount of uncovenanted benefit paid to-day will be all right when we get back to more profitable times. The people will pay, and I shall make up the debt, which is already about £15,500,000, and will, before I have finished with it, be very nearly £30,000,000. They will pay, the Measure will then be safe for the future, and I hope that in some form it will be a permanent part of our social machinery. This is a sort of Amendment which is carrying the strain upon the machine further than is justified, and I do beg my hon. Friends to be satisfied with the Measure as it has worked during the winter, and not here and now to try to extend it in the way proposed.


The right hon. Gentleman has just drawn the attention of the House to the fact that this is an insurance Measure, and not a Measure which enables charitable grants to be made. I do not think it is the intention of the Amendment, and certainly it is not the intention of those who moved it, to extend this insurance scheme on the lines of a charity Measure, but it is because it is an insurance Measure, and also because it is an Unemployed Workers' Dependants Measure, that we submit this Amendment. I can quite see, from what the right hon. Gentleman has said, that there might be some difficulty in accepting this Amendment in its present wording. Could he not see his way clear to accept it if the word "solely" was put before the word "dependent"? That would meet us on this side, and at the same time it would not add to the burden to any considerable extent. Some of the cases which would be affected by an Amendment of this description would be amongst the most deserving. It might be argued, if the word was not inserted, that a single man living at home with his mother might have a brother who might be earning money, and it might be considered unfair to extend the benefit to him, although if it is an insurance Measure it might be argued that he would be entitled to it. But we desire to meet the case of a man who has a home of his own, or, perhaps, living with a relative. They have a home of their own, but are dependent upon him for their livelihood. With the insertion of this word there could be no wide interpretation placed upon the Clause which would add materially to the expense, and at the same time it would enable us to meet really hard cases which could be justified even under the terms of an insurance Measure.


I should like to support the Amendment, especially with the insertion of the word '"solely." We all know dozens of cases where a boy is the sole support of his widowed mother. It is not a bit of good unless the Minister accepts this, because the empty Benches across there will very soon be filled, or at any rate hon Members will come out from the subterranean passages and crowd into the Lobby having heard not one word of this debate. The Minister says this is no new-injustice. That is no answer to the case at all.


I made that comment because the hon. Member for Abertillery (Mr. G. Barker) rather put it as if I was imposing an injustice.


I said unintentionally, at any rate.


Is there anyone more worthy of consideration than the widowed mother of a boy, such as many of us here know? Under this Bill the mother gets nothing. A man can live in adultery with a woman and the woman can get 5s. a week. If a man or boy has a widowed mother solely dependent on him she gets nothing at all. Surely this is a matter which must receive consideration from an intensely human Minister such as the Minister of Labour. I hope he will give it further consideration after the suggestion of the hon. Member for Wellingborough (Mr. W. Smith), and with the word "solely" inserted I am certain it will remedy a great injustice and give consideration to that most worthy of all women and the most worthy of all young men who are devoting their lives to the support of a widowed mother who is unable to help herself. I hope the Minister even now will accept the suggestion and let the Amendment go forward. If he

does not we shall divide, although I know the registering machine will come up and defeat us. Let me beg of the right hon. Gentleman, as a man who knows the homes of the people as well as anyone in the House, to give that intense human sympathy which I know he has to a deserving case such as this.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 65; Noes, 156.

Division No. 83.] AYES. [8,42 p.m.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. William Graham, R. (Nelson and Colne) Robertson, John
Ammon, Charles George Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central) Rose, Frank H.
Banton, George Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Sexton, James
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Grundy, T. W. Shaw, Thomas (Preston)
Barnes, Major H. (Newcastle, E.) Guest, J. (York, W.R., Hemsworth) Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Hancock, John George Sitch, Charles H.
Bromfield, William Hartshorn, Vernon Spencer, George A.
Cairns, John Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Widnes) Swan, J. E.
Cape, Thomas Herbert, Col. Hon. A. (Yeovil) Thomas. Brig.-Gen. Sir O. (Anglesey)
Carter, W. (Nottingham, Mansfield) Hogge, James Myles Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)
Casey, T. W. Holmes, J. Stanley Tillett, Benjamin
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R. Irving, Dan Walsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)
Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale) Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. D.
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedweilty) Lawson, John James Williams, Aneurin (Durham, Consett)
Edwards, G. (Norfolk, South) Lunn, William Williams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough, E.)
Edwards, Hugh (Glam., Neath) Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan) Wilson, James (Dudley)
Finney, Samuel Myers, Thomas Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Stourbrdge)
Foot, Isaac Naylor, Thomas Ellis Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Forrest, Walter Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)
Galbraith, Samuel Reel, Capt. J. Tudor- (Barnstaple) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Gillis, William Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Mr. W. Smith and Mr. Kennedy.
Goff, Sir R. Park Roberts, Frederick O. (W. Bromwich)
Adair, Rear-Admiral Thomas B. S. Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon) Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)
Amery, Leopold C. M. S. Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M. Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Lianeily)
Armstrong, Henry Bruce Fell, Sir Arthur Kidd, James
Atkey, a. R. Forestier-Walker, L. King, Captain Henry Douglas
Baird, Sir John Lawrence Fraser, Major Sir Keith Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Lewis, T. A. (Glam., Pontypridd)
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Ganzoni, Sir John Lindsay, William Arthur
Barnes, Rt. Hon. G. (Glas., Gorbals) Gardiner, James Lloyd, George Butier
Barnett, Major Richard W. Gee, Captain Robert Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'tingd'n)
Barnston, Major Harry Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham Lorden, John William
Sell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes) Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel Sir John Lort-Williams, J.
Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.) Gray, Major Ernest (Accrington) Loseby, Captain C. E.
Blades, Sir George Rowland Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.) M'Curdy, Rt. Hon. Charles A.
Biane, T. A. Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Sir Hamar M'Lean, Lieut.-Col. Charles W. W.
Borwick, Major G. O. Gregory, Holman Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.
Bowyer, Captain G. W. E. Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. Frederick E. Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.
Breese, Major Charles E. Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Macquisten, F. A.
Brittain, Sir Harry Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) Maddocks, Henry
Broad, Thomas Tucker Hamilton, Major C. G. C. Marks, Sir George Croydon
Brown, Major D. C. Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Martin, A. E.
Bruton, Sir James Harms worth, C. B. (Bedford, Luton) Mitchell, Sir William Lane
Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A, Henderson, Lt.-Col. V. L. (Tradeston) Morden, Col. W. Grant
Burn, Col. C. R. (Devon, Torquay) Hennessy, Major J. R. G. Moreing, Captain Algernon H.
Butcher, Sir John George Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford) Murray, John (Leeds, West)
Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R. Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank Neal, Arthur
Carr, W. Theodore Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)
Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard Newson, Sir Percy Wilson
Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Ladywood) Hood, Sir Joseph Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)
Chilcot, Lieut.-Com. Harry W. Hopkins, John W. W. Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)
Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H. Spenoer Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley) Nicholson, Reginald (Doncaster)
Coats, Sir Stuart Hudson, R. M. Norris, Colonel Sir Henry G.
Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis Oman, Sir Charles William C.
Coote, Colin Reith (Isle of Ely) Hurd, Percy A. Parker, James
Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities) Inskip, Thomas Walker H. Pearce, Sir William
Cowan, Sir H. (Aberdeen and Kinc.) Jameson, John Gordon Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike
Davidson, J. C. C. (Hemel Hempstead) Jesson, C. Perkins, Walter Frank
Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H. Jodrell, Neville Paul Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton
Dawson, Sir Philip Johnson, Sir Stanley Pratt, John William
Doyle, N. Grattan Johnstone, Joseph Randies, Sir John Scurrah
Renwick, Sir George Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.) Wallace, J.
Richardson, Sir Alex. (Gravesend) Smith, Sir Harold (Warrington) Waring, Major Walter
Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich) Smith, Sir Malcolm (Orkney) Watson, Captain John Bertrand
Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford) Stanton, Charles Butt Wild, Sir Ernest Edward
Rodger, A. K. Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K. Williams, C. (Tavistock)
Roundeli, Colonel R. F. Stevens, Marshall Williams, Lt.-Col. sir R. (Banbury)
Rutherford, Sir W. W. (Edge Hill) Strauss, Edward Anthony Wilson, Col. M. J. (Richmond)
Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney) Sugden, W. H. Wise, Frederick
Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert Arthur Sutherland, Sir William Woolcock, William James U.
Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave O. Taylor, J. Yeo, Sir Alfred William
Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South) Young, E. H. (Norwich)
Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange) Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (Maryhill)
Seddon, J. A. Thorpe, Captain John Henry TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Shaw, William T. (Forfar) Waddington, R. Colonel Leslie Wilson and Mr.
Dudley Ward.

I beg to move, in Subsection (1), to leave out the word "five" ["five shillings"], and to insert instead thereof the word "ten."

This Amendment was debated fully in Committee, and defeated there, and we bring it forward now in order that the House may express an opinion upon it. The proposal is to increase dependants' allowances to 10s. It may save time if I anticipate the objections of the Minister of Labour, so that the House may see what they amount to. We were told that the adoption of this Amendment would break the machine, would involve increased contributions, and exhaust the resources now at the disposal of the Ministry of Labour in connection with insurance schemes. This Bill, and the whole insurance system, at this moment, are not on a sound insurance basis, and in order to meet the exceptional circumstances in which we are living to-day exceptional measures have to be taken. I should, myself, be ready to see the Minister of Labour—and in saying this I think I express the general feeling throughout the country—exhaust his present financial resources and exceed the borrowing powers which he now has, rather than see the misery and suffering that are involved in a continuance of the present policy. The fact is that the allowance for dependants is supplemented greatly by the guardians, and I move this Amendment, I admit frankly, in order to put on the national exchequer a heavier burden than it is bearing at present, so as to relieve the local authorities from a burden which they should not be called on to bear, because this matter of unemployment is a national problem, and should be treated as such, and this Amendment carries us one small step towards the establishment of that principle.


I beg to second the Amendment.


The Amendment is to increase the weekly allowance to a housekeeper or wife as the case may be from 5s. to 10s. Last November, when we introduced this unemployed workers dependants' allowance we discussed the question of fixing the amount at something beyond 5s., and we also discussed this Amendment upstairs. I would ask my hon. Friends to consider what I have been trying to do. I am first carrying on a provision, which was first intended for six months, but which has been of such value, small as it is, that it has been extended another 14 months. The Unemployment Insurance Act provided, since the slump came upon us in September, 1920, for 52 weeks' benefit. I am making it find more now to the end of October, and more from the end of October up to June, 1923, and for a great many people who have not paid any contributions at all, and a great many more who paid nothing like the number of contributions which would be required as a condition precedent under any permanent insurance scheme. I am not blaming them for that, because they have not been in employment, and they could not find the contributions. But that is a big strain upon what is called an insurance scheme. Since the slump came upon us in the autumn of 1920 down to the present time, we have paid out under the Insurance Act to unemployed workers and dependants grants amounting to £80,000,000, and from now to June, 1923, we shall pay another £60,000,000.

When we remember that very many of the recipients have paid no contributions, and very many more have paid very few, I think my hon. Friend is not entitled to ask that we should increase the amount to 10s. I am finding now for a man with a wife and two children 22s. a week, not out relief, not poor relief, but under an insurance scheme which, so far as it goes, does enable hundreds of thousands of them to retain their self-respect. I am very glad to be able to do it. The amount which I had in my Estimates for this fund was first some £8,000,000 odd. At one time I thought I might have to reduce the ordinary unemployment benefit. I am very glad I was relieved of that necessity and that more money was found. The charge which will come in course of payment between now and the end of this emergency scheme, that is in June, 1923, is not something over £8,000,000 but £14,700,000. It has taxed my ingenuity to devise this scheme and has taxed the Chancellor of the Exchequer's resources a great deal more than my ingenuity. This proposal has increased the charge by nearly £7,000,000. I could exhaust my borrowing powers more quickly, but in a very short time, the fund would become bankrupt. On the whole, having regard to our straitened national finances, much as one would like to do more, we cannot do more. I do not pretend that this is sufficient for maintenance, but there is nothing like it in any other country in the world and nothing like it has ever been attempted before in this country. To increase the charge by £7,000,000 is out of the question.


I hope hon. Members who approve of the Amendment will force it to a Division. The Minister has told us that we are doing better in this country towards our unemployed than any other country. These payments to the unemployed have at any

rate kept our people from turmoil. If any hon. Member from this country went, for illustration, to New York, where there is no unemployment benefit paid, and carried money in his pocket, it is very doubtful if he could pass through some of the streets without being molested. The payments made in this country to our unemployed are a guarantee against turmoil here. If we increase the amount paid to the wife, as the Amendment suggests, I am sure our people would be less discontented than they are. When we began paying this 5s. in respect of a wife our people had a little money set aside from the good days of the past, but that has all gone, and they are now down to rock bottom. Some of them are in abject poverty. It is grossly unfair that local authorities should be called upon to pay money out of local rates, and so relieve the Government of an obvious duty. This unemployment is definitely a national problem, and it ought to be dealt with as such. The Minister of Labour has told us several times that this is an insurance scheme. It is nothing of the kind. The 5s. we are now discussing is not in the nature of an insurance payment at all. Insurance means that everybody who contributes to a scheme will be entitled to receive something from that scheme. This scheme falls far short of that.

Question put, "That the word 'five' stand part of the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 146; Noes, 62.

Division No. 84.] AYES. [9.2 p.m.
Adair, Rear-Admiral Thomas B. S. Chilcot, Lieut.-Com. Harry W. Hamilton, Major C. G. C.
Amery, Leopold C. M. S. Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H. Spender Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry
Armstrong, Henry Bruce Coats, Sir Stuart Harmsworth, C. B. (Bedford, Luton)
Atkey, A. R. Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale Henderson, Lt.-Col. V. L. (Tradeston)
Baird, Sir John Lawrence Coote, Colin Reith (Isle of Ely) Hennessy, Major J. R. G.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Cowan, Sir H. (Aberdeen and Kinc.) Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Davidson. J. C. C. (Hemel Hempstead) Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank
Barnes, Rt. Hon. G. (Glas., Gorbals) Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H. Hohier, Gerald Fitzroy
Barnett, Major Richard W. Dawson, Sir Philip Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard
Barnston, Major Harry Doyle, N. Grattan Hood, Sir Joseph
Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C H. (Devizes) Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark) Hopkins, John W. W.
Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.) Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M. Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)
Blades, Sir George Rowland Fell, Sir Arthur Hudson, R. M.
Blane, T. A. Forestier-Walker, L. Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis
Borwick, Major G. O. Forrest, Walter Hurd, Percy A.
Bowyer, Captain G. W. E. Fraser, Major Sir Keith Inskip, Thomas Walker H.
Breese, Major Charles E. Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Jameson, John Gordon
Broad, Thomas Tucker Ganzonl, Sir John Jesson, C.
Brown, Major D. C. Gardiner, James Jodrell, Neville Paul
Bruton, Sir James Gee, Captain Robert Johnson, Sir Stanley
Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A. Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Lianelly)
Burn, Col. C. R. (Devon, Torquay) Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel Sir John Kidd, James
Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R. Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.) King, Captain Henry Douglas
Carew, Charles Robert S. Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Sir Hamar Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement
Carr, W. Theodore Gregory, Holman Lloyd, George Butler
Casey, T. W. Guest, Capt Rt. Hon. Frederick E. Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'tingd'n)
Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Lorden, John William
Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Ladywood) Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) Lort-Williams, J.
Loseby, Captain C. E. Perkins, Walter Frank Stevens, Marshall
M'Curdy, Rt. Hon. Charles A. Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton Strauss, Edward Anthony
M'Lean, Lieut.-Col. Charles W. W. Pratt, John William Sugden, W. H.
Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J. Randies, Sir John Scurrah Sutherland, Sir William
Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I. Rees, Capt. J. Tudor- (Barnstaple) Taylor, J.
Macquisten, F. A. Remer, J. R. Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Maddocks, Henry Renwick, Sir George Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (Maryhill)
Marks, Sir George Croydon Richardson, Sir Alex. (Gravesend) Thorpe, Captain John Henry
Mitchell, Sir William Lane Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich) Waddington, R.
Morden, Col. W. Grant Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford) Waring, Major Walter
Moreing, Captain Algernon H. Rodger, A. K. Watson, Captain John Bertrand
Murray, John (Leeds, West) Roundell, Colonel R. F. Wild, Sir Ernest Edward
Neal, Arthur Rutherford, Sir W. W. (Edge Hill) Williams, C. (Tavistock)
Newson, Sir Percy Wilson Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney) Williams, Lt.-Col. Sir R. (Banbury)
Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge) Sanders. Colonel Sir Robert Arthur Wilson, Col. M. J. (Richmond)
Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster) Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D Wise, Frederick
Nicholson, Reginald (Doncaster) Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Woolcock, William James U.
Norris, Colonel Sir Henry G Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange) Young, E. H. (Norwich)
Oman, Sir Charles William C. Shaw, William T. (Forfar)
Parker, James Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Pearce, Sir William Smith, Sir Harold (Warrington) Colonel Leslie Wilson and Mr.
Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike Stanton, Charles Butt Dudley Ward.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. William Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central) Robertson, John
Amnion, Charles George Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Rose, Frank H.
Banton, George Grundy, T. W. Sexton, James
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Guest, J. (York, W.R., Hemsworth) Shaw, Thomas (Preston)
Barnes, Major H. (Newcastle, E.) Hancock, John George Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Hartshorn, Vernon Sitch, Charles H.
Bromfield, William Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Widnes) Spencer, George A.
Cairns, John Hogge, James Myles Swan, J. E.
Cape, Thomas Holmes, J. Stanley Thomas, Brig.-Gen. Sir O. (Anglesey)
Carter, W. (Nottingham, Mansfield) Irving, Dan Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R. John, William (Rhondda, West) Tillett, Benjamin
Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale) Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Walsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. D
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedweilty) Lawson, John James White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)
Edwards, G. (Norfolk, South) Lunn, William Williams, Aneurin (Durham, Consett)
Edwards, Hugh (Glam., Neath) Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan) Williams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough, E.)
Finney, Samuel Myers, Thomas Wilson, James (Dudley)
Foot, Isaac Naylor, Thomas Ellis Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Galbraith, Samuel Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)
Gillis, William Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Goff, Sir R. Park Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Mr. Kennedy and Mr. W. Smith.
Graham, R. (Nelson and Colne) Roberts, Frederick O. (W. Bromwich)

I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the words "one shilling" ["the weekly rate of benefit shall be increased by one shilling in respect of each such child"], and to insert instead thereof the words "two shillings."

This is an Amendment which has been before the Committee and also before this House several times. I hope that as the persistent dropping of water wears away stone, so eventually some impression may be made by our efforts on the rugged front of the benches opposite and that the Minister's kindness of heart and good nature may be able to impose themselves on those around him. One feels certain that if one had only the Minister to deal with there would be no difficulty on this particular Amendment. His experience of school life and his knowledge of and sympathy with the child are such that it would be impossible for him personally to reject an appeal like this. I do not, however, wish to dwell particularly on the humane and sympathetic side, because I am sure the House is at one on that score, but with the more practical side of the question. The Minister, when he was resisting this Amendment in Committee, said this was an insurance scheme and not a compassionate allowance, and that to make the grant of £2,000,000—which he estimates would be necessary to carry out this Amendment—would bankrupt this insurance scheme. I ask him to consider whether this part of the Measure, dealing with dependants, is really an insurance scheme. Reference has already been made to the fact that an insurance scheme is something built up by a series of contributions from people who are going to share in the benefits of that scheme. This fails to answer that test on two counts. In the first place the scheme has not been built up in this way. You are mortgaging the future; you are relying upon reserves which may accumulate in the future, to pay this allowance, and therefore it cannot be considered really as a matter of insurance.


What is it?


It is a special grant to meet an emergency resulting from the War. The unemployment from which we are suffering is national unemployment, and is directly due to the War from which we recently emerged. No insurance scheme as such could stand the strain which is being put upon us. We had to undertake special measures, many of them of a non-financial nature, during the period of the War, and this is a continuation of those schemes. In the second place, this is not really an insurance scheme, because many of those who do contribute towards it cannot participate in the benefits accruing from it. The contributions paid by many young girls and boys are used for these dependants' allowances, and to the extent that the fund is being used for that purpose, this is not a real insurance scheme. It is really of the nature of a compassionate allowance, and one that can be justified on sound financial grounds. Last Session the Prime Minister referred to unemployment and to the various schemes of the Government to meet it, and he referred to the question as being national and not local. He went back into history and pointed out that after the Napoleonic wars the country made the mistake of leaving these matters to each district to settle locally, and he mentioned the tremendous difficulty which the country got into as a consequence of the distress which was rampant. He said we were wiser to-day, and were dealing with it on national lines. To a certain extent, the Government are dealing with it on national lines. It is all a question of degree, but to a certain extent it is being dealt with nationally. Why not deal with it thoroughly and properly on national lines?

Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Sir E. Cornwall)

The hon. Member is now discussing the whole scope of, the Bill rather than the present Amendment.


I am sorry. In trying to combat the argument used by the Minister upstairs that this was purely an insurance scheme I have been led astray, but I will come back to the particular point involved. I wish to stress one reason why this grant should be raised from 1s. to 2s. If you do not give the increased grant under this Bill, the children and their parents will have to get the money from the guardians. It all comes out of the public purse whether it be the national purse or the local purse. If by increasing the grant from 1s. to 2s. you are enabling many thousands of people to keep off the guardians you are really effecting an economy. If they went to the guardians they would get 25s. or 30s. more than they are getting now, but a great many of them, for the sake of self-respect and because they are anxious to have nothing to do with Poor Law relief, will manage with the one or two extra shillings suggested in the Amendment instead of taking the larger amount which, otherwise, you are forcing them to have. Who could wait at home and see children starving and hesitate to sacrifice pride and self-respect by going to the guardians? It is therefore a real economy to make this extra grant, even though it may mean £2,000,000 more from the insurance fund, because you will save the drawing of many millions more from the guardians and from that branch of the public finances which is locally collected.

I submit that since this Measure was before the House last time, there have been at least two new factors. Private savings have been exhausted, and trade union benefits have been exhausted, and, what is more, the springs of private charity have been largely exhausted, so that it becomes more difficult every day for those who get the 15s. or the 5s. to help to maintain their families. The second point, which I think is material, is this: The Minister has put in a Clause which requires that the guardians shall take into account everything that is received as unemployment benefit, whereas before they did not take into account anything under 10s. Because of that Amendment, it is incumbent on this House to see that the grant which is given is adequate. No one would suggest for a moment that 1s. a head is an adequate sum to meet the occasion. The Minister himself does not, but he said, "What can I do? My funds are depleted." Yet, by a new Clause which he carried earlier on, he allocated, for the purposes of administration, a large sum of money which up to the present has gone to swell the ordinary funds. By the Act of a year ago, or the year before, he took credit for the £22,000,000, or thereabouts, which had been built up in the reserve. That sum, I think, should have been a charge on the national funds, and, therefore, it is only right that they should restore part of that in the way which is suggested. Already the Government has recognised, by making special grants under its Education Act to necessitous areas, that this special burden on the rates is a matter which should be relieved from the central authority, and I stress that point, that this is a national charge, and that the State as a whole should help those districts which are in the most deplorable condition, with rates mounting up to 20s. and 30s. in the pound, because they have to carry a burden which might be met by this Bill. In other districts throughout the country, where they have not the industrial trouble, the local rates are 10s., or even less, in the pound, and it is unfair, when you are dealing with a problem, which is essentially national and is a result of the War, that one district should have to bear double or treble the burden that another is doing. On those grounds, I move that the 1s. should be increased to 2s.


I beg to second the Amendment.

I would like to agree with my hon. colleague the Member for West Middlesbrough (Mr. Thomson) when he said that this allowance of 1s. is totally inadequate in the present circumstances. There might have been some defence for it on the original Bill, but poverty has so struck into the lives of the working classes that to-day, if the Minister adheres to this allowance of 1s., the child life of this nation will be neglected and is bound to suffer. I know the cry of economy, but there are certain things that you cannot economise on, both with regard to the individual and with regard to the nation as a whole. A man may economise on what he smokes and, to a certain extent, on what he eats and drinks, but if he attempts to economise on breathing he dies. A nation is the same. It may economise on a good many things, but if it economises on the care of its child life it dies, because the child life is the source from which the nation of future years derives its vigour, and therefore I beg my right hon. Friend to give this matter his very careful reconsideration. It will, I believe, cost him about £1,750,000. I think he estimated that in the 15 months it would cost him £2,400,000, so that in the 12 months it would cost somewhere about £1,750,000, and that is not very much more than we voted in that new Clause of his for the administrative expenses of this fund. I beg of him not to go down to history as the Minister who passed that economy on the same night as he refused to increase the allowance to children, and if he cannot increase it by Is., I beg of him to try and increase it by 6d.


Of course, my two hon. Friends have made very powerful appeals. The case of the child is always a pathetic one, which appeals to all of us, and I am sure the Amendment was not pressed on the ground of any greater humanity possessed by those who moved it as contrasted with those who, like myself, have the rather ungracious task of opposing it. There is one thing my hon. Friend the Member for West Middlesbrough (Mr. Thomson) said, which I think I should not let pass. It would not be fair. He said that if we only had the Minister to deal with, there would be no trouble in getting the Amendment accepted; but I cannot let that pass, for, in the circumstances in which we find ourselves, it would not be fair for me to make it seem that if I had my way I would do more than others would do. I stand by this, and there it is. I cannot do more, and I take all the responsibility. The House is familiar with the discussions we had last November, and it is quite true that although on the one hand things are more acute, and slender resources are more exhausted, on the other hand, for what it is worth, since the day when we discussed this last November, the cost-of-living index figure has fallen 17 points. I do not say that that balances the argument put by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for East Middlesbrough (Colonel P. Williams). The arguments which have been urged were largely covered by the previous Amendment, to increase the wife's allowance, but I should like to say this, that I think this 1s. allowance is very often put rather unfairly. It is said, for instance, that I am to go down to history—I do not mind—as the man who would not give the children more than Is. That really is not quite fair—to talk, as is so often done, of the meanness of 1s. a week to the children. I think an hon. Friend opposite worked it out at so many farthings a day, but that is not quite fair. What are the facts? No hon. Member opposite will deny them. Here we have an Insurance Act which was finding 15s. a week benefit. Here comes the winter and the long continued depression, the exhaustion of personal resources and of trade union out-of-work pay; we say that, with all our straitened finances, we must see if we can make some further addition to the 15s. in respect of the wives and children, and to that 15s. we add 5s. for the wife and 1s. for the little children. That is to say, a man with a wife and two children instead of 15s. will get 22s. Is not that the fair way to put it?


Is it not a fact that the 5s. so added is the 5s. previously taken off?


My contention is that it is not quite fair to say"a shilling a week for the children"; it is an addition to the 15s. unemployment benefit, i.e., 5s. for the wife and 1s. for each of the little children. I have always protested against the use of the word "dole." The word irritates me beyond measure when it is used in relation to a payment of which the people find four-fifths themselves. I say it is not fair to say "a shilling a week for the children." I would rather say, "Here is unemployment benefit of 15s., to which this addition was made for six months, i.e., 5s. for the wife and 1s. for each of the little children." I would add this, that although our undertaking was to do it for six months, in the circumstances in which we found ourselves, and notwithstanding the emptiness of our Exchequer, we said we must play our part and carry it on for 14 months more. If we could have done more, I should have been very glad. I think we have done something to assist so many of these poor people, and if I do not argue the matter further, it is not that I have not plenty of arguments, but that I do not want to irritate my hon. Friends. All I will say is that, much as I regret it, I am bound to oppose this Amendment.


In connection with this matter, I wish to take one typical case. I happened to be an enumerator during the Census, and in the district I went round every family had eight or ten children. We will take eight, the father and the mother and eight children. That gives 28s. for ten persons, less than 3s. a week each. It seems to me it is like a penalty on the big family. It is indirectly teaching the doctrine of Malthusianism. It is not fair. There has been a difference of opinion as to what we should call this Bill. Some say that we should call it an Insuraince Bill. I would call it an Insulting Bill to the Working Men of this Country. When you wanted us to fight we fought, but when we cannot get work you will not help us to live. The bigger the family, the more the penalty, and you allow 1s. a week. Many men have dogs that cost more than that. We are men with red blood. Perhaps a time will come when we have more power.


It will be blue-blood then.


I mean what I say. I am known as a fighting man, and if I fight I want to fight for the children. We are often asked to support a certain Bill before this House in the interests of animals that cannot defend themselves. Our children cannot defend themselves. I see here the sardonic smiles on the faces of the millionaires, sarcastic smiles, but those who laugh last laugh best, and we will laugh the last. I have a good deal of sympathy with the Minister. He has his marching orders from those who are not here. While we have been discussing this question to-night those benches opposite have been nearly empty, and the only occupants have been the Minister himself and one or two others on the Front Bench. If it had been a Debate to discuss the principles of the men who composed the Cabinet, or if there had been money in it, the House would have been full. Somebody asked the other day for £4,000,000 and got £57,000,000. I hope—nay, I dare not hope; I have no hope; I have lost hope in that side; but I have very great pleasure in supporting the mover and seconder of this Amendment.


I have had the advantage of reading an hour or two ago a Debate which took place in this House in November of last year, and I rise to support the Amendment moved by the hon. Member for West Middlesbrough (Mr. T. Thomson) on the ground that if this Bill is to do anything to assist the children, that assistance must be adequate. To offer 1s. is no offer at all, and I would very much rather that the Bill were held up in respect of the children until some reasonable offer was made, an offer that would be considered reasonable in every home in the land where children have to be maintained. I think it is altogether unfair to refuse this gift simply on the ground of the depleted Exchequer. The comparison must not be made with the depleted Exchequer, but with the expenditure the community makes in every other direction. We were only told to-day, in answer to a question, that in one direction no less than £500,000 has been spent as a contribution to one family that in itself has done nothing to deserve that amount from the State. The only way in which we can deal adequately in this matter is to realise what the resources of the State are, and to see that those resources are dealt out to those who have the first need. We are all taught, surely, in every other walk of life that children have the first claim. Here, apparently, they are having the last consideration. It will not meet the case to say that money has been spent in other directions, on adventures abroad, in this land, and other lands, and that now we have not anything with which to meet the children's claims.

We have, if necessary, to reorganise our whole finance rather that there should be on this generation the rather shameful condemnation that the children came in for the last consideration. One shilling a week is the suggestion that is being made. I understand that the Minister in charge of the Bill rather resented the calculation in facthings, but how else can we calculate? The fact is that it amounts to not quite seven farthings per day to each child. I am quite sure that when the Debate took place in this House in November of last year the greatest possible resentment was aroused throughout the country, and if we should confirm the decision then arrived at I believe that resentment will be exacerbated and intensified. I would reinforce the argument of the Mover of the Amendment that this inevitably leaves the heavier burden on the guardians throughout the country who in many places are at their wits' ends and are beseiged by angry men, men who are angry at their own distress and still more angry at the distress of their children. It is better that it should be borne by the national funds rather than by money raised by the guardians, which means that we ask in many cases the very poorest to help the poor, and we put an additional burden on just those parts of the community most distressed by unemployment. For these reasons I support the Amendment.


I rather regret the tone which was taken by the hon. Member for Middlesbrough (Mr. T. Thomson) when he said—I have no doubt quite honestly—that there were some sections of this House which had no sympathy with the children.

Mr. T. THOMSON rose


I apologise. It was the hon. Member who followed.


I made no such statement.


I said it.


I apologise to the House for not knowing that the hon. Member represents Morpeth, but I think he is wrong. I am quite sure there is no section of this House which has not sympathy with the children. At the same time, I can say at once that it is my intention to vote for the Amendment, and I shall do so, not only on the ground of humanity, but on that of economy. If a man and a woman are genuinely out of employment, I do not see how they can keep themselves and one child on 21s. a week. I think 2s. in such a case is low enough, but I think 1s. is quite inadequate. As has been pointed out, a great number of these parents will have to go to boards of guardians, which will really mean that the money in relief will come out of the pockets of the ratepayers rather than the taxpayers, and when people say it does not matter whether it comes out of the pockets of the ratepayers or the taxpayers, I would point out there is a great difference, because, after all, the money of the taxpayers is derived from all over the country, whereas in every locality a certain number are not ratepayers at all, and it falls more heavily on some than on others. There is no doubt whatever that proper provision for the children is a national concern, and therefore the arguments on these grounds are very strongly in favour of the Amendment. There is another point. Whether we think very much of it or not, the sentiment is strong on the part of very many parents against going to the board of guardians for relief. It might possibly lead to some of them economising to such an extent as seriously to affect the health of their children. Not only on the ground of humanity, but because anything that really tends to handicap a child in its growing must surely be very bad economy from the point of view of the nation at large, I feel compelled to support the Amendment.

Rear-Admiral ADAIR

I should like to associate myself entirely with the words which have just fallen from the hon. Member, but there are other points in its favour, and they are these. I have never heard any objection come from the workers themselves or from the employers as to the additional burden that is thrown upon us by this extra 5s. for the wife and 1s. for each child, and I do believe that the great bulk of the taxpayers would have no objection to paying the extra 1s. Further, it is illogical. If a man is given 15s. to support himself, and a woman 5s., surely 2s. is the minimum we can give for a child. I resisted just now the proposition that there should be 10s. paid to the wife, instead of 5s., for the reason that when the wife has no children she can do something towards supporting herself. But when she has children to look after, she requires something more than the 5s., and the extra 1s. now proposed for the child meets this need. Therefore I support this Amendment.


I am more than ever proud of the fact that I happen to come from one of the poorest constituencies in Great Britain, where we try to level up the situation as near as we can out of our local funds. When the great British Empire can only find 1s. per head for the children of the poor in case of necessity, and we in West Ham are paying 5s. for each child that comes before us, then I think I have reason to be proud of the constituency I represent. And we are not extravagant, because the scale we are paying as a local board of guardians was laid down by the Minister of Health, who will never go to Heaven for paying too much to anybody. In this particular instance no Member of the House, hon, or right hon., could possibly justify the 1s., because it costs 2s. 6d. a week to keep a dog in the Battersea Dogs' Home. Nobody in this House has yet got up to justify the amount. All that is said is that the State cannot afford it, and yet there is not a board of guardians in the country that is not paying to these recipients of Poor Law relief more than is laid down in the provisions of this Bill, and, as representing one of the poorest constituencies, I want to thank the two hon. Gentlemen who have just addressed the House for the sympathy they have expressed. It shows, after all, that sometimes the Labour party do put forward a good case.

Of course, I know that in all the other Amendments we have moved millions have been thrown about. I do not know much about figures, and I know less about finance. The only thing I can understand about it is the fact that I have been without it nearly all my life. But I want, if I can, to make this appeal to the right hon. Gentleman, seeing that he admits that this will amount to about £2,000,000 annually. He is going to pawn the credit of the State, as he says it is, or the credit of the contributors, because it is supposed to be an insurance scheme. In my opinion, it is an insurance scheme against revolution, because if you leave these people to starve, and if their children have to go down into the welter of poverty, you will have to face the responsibility, perhaps, at another period. But you are going to draw on part of the fund for potential results in the future, and you are going into debt. The scheme itself is at present insolvent, and therefore you have to draw post-dated cheques on the banks of security. You might have objected to the larger amounts embodied in previous Amendments, but surely this smaller amount could be added to the potential debt which the right hon. Gentleman says is part of his responsibility, and this is for the sake of the children, of whom he has always been the champion. How are you going to educate children who have been starved on 1s. a week? How are you going to build up the national asset of a healthy population? You have here the chance of redeeming the promise of 1918 of building up an A1, instead of a C3, population.

This Amendment is a reasonable one, and I hope my hon. Friends will take it into the Division lobby to test the sympathy expressed. I have heard so much sympathy expressed since I have been a Member of this House, that I expected to see this country a land flowing with milk and honey. If sympathy could solve our problems, there would not be a hungry child in this country. But sympathy can only be backed up by people who have power to do it, and the Government have the power if they will. There is a dinner going on downstairs, and I venture to suggest there will be as much money spent there to-night as would feed the children of London for twelve months. The children who want this 1s. would be well provided for by the extravagance displayed now. In asking, on behalf of the poorest section of the community in the East end of London, that this additional 1s. shall be granted, I am asking that Great Britain shall prove, after all, that it is a place fit for children to live in.


The House must not forget that this Is., paid to dependants of those unemployed, has not been provided by the State altogether. The money is found under the Act that we passed at the end of last year, which made provision for giving this allowance to the children—


For six months!


Yes, for six months, and it has been extended for a further period?


Fourteen months.


I do not think that a single employer in the land would object to the burden placed upon him, nor would a single workman object to making his contribution towards this fund to provide the dependants' allowances. I am quite sure that if the right hon. Gentleman had increased the obligation upon the employers and the employed workmen that not one would have complained in order to provide this money. When the Minister set himself to make this provision he should certainly have made it more adequate than he did. While I have the utmost admiration for my right hon. Friend, who, I am sure, has a sympathetic heart—it is his head that has gone wrong in this case—when my right hon. Friend set himself to set up this differentiation between single men receiving the 15s. and married men of the same category getting only the same benefit before the dependants' allowance was set up—when he set himself to provide that differentiation which makes such an enormous difference in the benefits given as between the un- married man and the married man with a family, he should have made a better allowance for children than this paltry Is. He ought to do it still. I believe he has over-estimated the amount of unemployment that is going to continue for the next 14 months. He has estimated it at the highest possible point.

In all likelihood the fund would be more than adequate, that is in borrowing the additional £10,000,000, making thirty with the Supplementary Estimate, which he is bringing forward and, therefore, I think he might have made provision for meeting the very strong case in favour of the children receiving at least 2s. per week. I suggest to him that there is another course that he might follow. If he cannot apply for a larger sum in the Supplementary Estimate, or have powers given to him to borrow a larger amount, I suggest that the deficiency period might be extended. If the Fund is not adequate to provide the additional 1s. the deficiency period should go on until it is repaid. Ultimately if unemployment insurance benefit is to be put upon a proper footing sums for the deficiency period must be provided for.

My right hon. Friend would have done more credit to his Department if he had sought ways and means whereby this concession could have been made. It would have been more in proportion to the 15s. and the 5s., if the 2s. per child were granted. I am quite sure this Bill is not an insulting Measure by no means. My hon. Friend on the other side who stated that does the cause he has at heart a great injustice. No good is done by using that sort of language. It certainly is of great importance that upon the 15s. the family should have this additional money, which adds to the family income as a whole. To that extent I quite agree with my right hon. Friend that we have not to refer to the 1s. as an isolated item, but as an addition to the income of the household. When, however, he was faced with making some allowance for the children it would have been more worthy of his Department and himself if he had tried to find the larger amount. I do not know any man in the whole community who would have objected. I feel sure of this, that if all the Members who will take part in the division were present in the Chamber and heard what is being said, probably there would be a different result than what we are likely to have. It is an unfortunate factor in our Debates that the men who are now in the House should vote without having heard the Debate. It would be a very graceful concession on the part of the Minister, and would create a good feeling in the House and in the country if he could give way in this one instance, and agree that the 2s. should be given to each child, or meet more adequately the case than it has been up to the present.


I want to touch upon the point made by the Minister of Labour in reply to the Amendment moved by my two hon. Friends in pointing out that this 1s. was not to be taken as an isolated item, but rather as an addition to the family. He said there was 15s. being paid to the husband and 5s. for the wife, and on the top of this there. was this 1s. for each child. The right hon. Gentleman objected very strongly to any Member describing the Is. per week as a mean contribution to the household finances. But he forgot to tell the House that the original sum paid to the man was 20s. a week.


Yes, for a few months.


Then it was reduced to 15s., with 5s. for the wife, which brought the amount back to the £1 where there was a married couple, and then 1s. for each child. I hope my right hon. Friend will attend to his arithmetic a little better when he again addresses the House. The 1s. per week provided is not sufficient. We have maintained that all the time. In November we pointed it out and advocated a larger sum. The Minister was adamant. He was adamant upstairs. He is just as hard down here. I do not blame him personally. I do not blame the Cabinet personally. I blame the whole of them collectively for not analysing the circumstances properly, and for not having a sufficient outlook upon the condition of the country and sizing up what the feelings of the people will be with regard to this matter. My hon. Friend the Member for Silvertown (Mr. J. Jones) told the House that the boards of guardians in districts where there were not large ratepayers, but where the ratepayers were composed mainly of workpeople, artisans, labourers, and casual workers, were paying 5s. for each child. Yet the House of Commons, the House of the nation, can only afford Is.! If there was a war on you would have to afford more. For a war you could get money to any amount, and why cannot you get money when it is for a war against the starvation of the children? That is the position taken up all along by the Members of the Government. This is a contributory scheme from the workers and the employers, and no objection is raised to that. Personally I do not believe in a contributory scheme, and I think the money should all come out of the national funds. Nevertheless you have a contributory scheme, and no one has objected to these sums being paid. The Minister of Labour told us that he was going to take £1,500,000 for administrative purposes, and yet this Amendment is opposed. The financing of this matter is absurd. While I do not doubt the right hon. Gentleman's humanity—I do not believe we have a monopoly of humanity, and we have never said that we have—the fact that we have had speeches such as we have listened to tonight from those who are generally found in the opposite Lobby is an indication that their hearts are sound and not so hard as the hon. Member for Mossley (Mr. Hopkinson), who has no heart, and has only a volume of Einstein's "Relativity" in its place.

I hope hon. Members will asisst us in getting this extra 1s. per week for the children. Hon. Members are aware how little 1s. per week will purchase. We hear a good deal about the fall in the cost of living, and that it has gone down by 17 points, but even tinder those conditions 1s. per week will not keep a child. It is true that this shilling per week per child makes the sum total so much more, but on these benches we have to realise that you are now going through abnormal circumstances, and that this period of unemployment is the aftermath of the War, and has to be looked upon as a national problem. Everything that all classes can do to pull the nation through this abnormal period has to be done, no matter what sacrifice it entails. When the time comes, when we get into better circumstances, then with work going on freely throughout the country, any deficiency can be built up, and no person will contribute more gladly to the build- ing up of that fund than the children whose lives you will help to save by increasing this amount from 1s. to 2s.


On the last occasion when this matter was before the House I made one or two observations, and everything that has happened since then has convinced me more and more that the proposal contained in this Amendment is right. I am not very much impressed by the right hon. Gentleman's argument as to the funds at his disposal for this scheme. The children must be cared for somehow, and the money in some fashion must be provided from our national resources. The whole question is, how should this money be provided? I was glad to hear the hon. Member opposite say that he sympathised with those parents who had objected to go to the Poor Law Guardians in England or the Parish Councils in Scotland. I am sure the Minister of Labour sympathises with that feeling, because he has had a very wide experience of the difficulties of parents in bringing up their children. It has been said that the people do not seem to have the self-respect that they used to have, but I do not agree with that statement. I will, however, assume the possibility that there might be something in it, and, if so, I think it is for this House to see that a state of things will not be allowed to exist which in any way weakens self-respect.

There is another consideration, and it is that the scheme as it now stands penalises the home with children as against the home where there are no children. If this scheme is to really give the children a chance it should be made a progressive scheme, so that the first child would be allowed so much, and the second and third child so much more. I do not think this House can too strongly express its opinion that the provision now proposed is totally inadequate. I speak as one who has had a considerable experience of difficult times so far as dealing with mothers and children are concerned, and I agree with the statement that we are making a very bad investment for the future if we do not build up now the best stamina and strength in the body and minds of the children who are to be the citizens and parents of the future.

10.0 P.M.

I am afraid it is no use making any further appeals to the Minister of Labour. We do him the credit of thinking that if this were a matter within his own personal and individual power he would give us not only what we are asking for but a good deal more. Unfortunately there are powers beyond him, but nevertheless I think we should put it on record that this nation did not rise to the height of its opportunity when the time came, and those of us who support this Amendment will be assured at any rate that what we did in this matter in 1922 will give us a clear conscience. I am sorry for the right hon. Gentleman's own sake that he is not able to give us the concession for which we are asking.


The question before Us is one of the greatest importance. We have heard a good deal about sympathy in regard to this question, but I think we ought to hear a good deal more of the actual condition of the children living in our midst. In my own district there has been a comparison made between the children in elementary schools and secondary schools, and our medical officer reported that at the age of 13 the children in attendance at the elementary schools were four inches shorter in stature and over one stone lighter in weight than the children in attendance at the secondary schools. That means that tens of thousands of children in attendance at the elementary schools in Leicester were shown to be physically unfit to bear the burdens of life.

Some time ago we were reminded of the condition of our population in Leicester when the recruiting sergeant was seeking out recruits for the Army. Now we have the opportunity, if we have the will, to remedy that condition of things. It seems to me a most astounding thing that the Government, with all the knowledge that has been brought under their observation, should raise any obstacle to this amount being increased from 1s. to 2s. Two shillings is not sufficient, we are fully aware of that, but it would be a great help. Last night in the discussion the thought was given expression to, why it was that the Labour party are growing in strength. The reason why the Labour party are growing in strength is because these grave inequalities and injustices are being brought home to the workers, and they are determined that this condition of things shall be remedied. It is for the sake of the children we are fighting. We want to have our children not only better fed, better clothed, and better housed, but we are determined they shall be also in a good condition to receive the education we spend so much upon. I would plead with the Minister to take the responsibility of increasing this amount, and, if necessary, trespassing on the future to pay for it.


A previous speaker mentioned that when this extra contribution was required from employed persons and employers both paid cheerfully the further amount. I heartily endorse what he said, but that is not the end of the story. As employers of labour we have a great responsibility. It is we who have got to set a policy in our own affairs which will restore prosperity and give full employment to the workers of this country. I object to this Amendment, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will stick to his guns for the simple reason that it would make our position more difficult. It is, I agree, a very cheap thing to give sympathy, but it has certain advantages to Members of Parliament; but we have to remember that if we increase these benefits, we are going to prolong the period of unemployment, livery penny which is spent in the relief of unemployment prolongs the period of unemployment a little bit further. Although I have taken what many people will consider an extreme view of the matter, because I have advocated a policy, and I advocate it in respect of this Amendment, which must inevitably lead to very great suffering and privation on the part of the workers of this country, I believe that policy will have the undoubted effect of shortening the period during which those privations are necessary. I appeal to the House not to be guided by any question of what will be popular among the constituencies, not to be misled by that cheapest of all things, spoken sympathy, and in particular not to be misled by the phrase that the Government are mean in this matter. Of all the dangerous things, the use of words without thought is perhaps the most dangerous, and when hon. Members, especially leaders of political thought in this country, come down here and talk about a Minister being either generous or mean, they are simply misusing words in a way which shows that they are utterly unfit to represent their fellow countrymen in Parliament. How can a Minister be either generous or mean with money that is not his own? As far as this Amendment is concerned, I should like to say to the right hon. Gentleman, to use the words of the Leader of the House, "Stand fast, Moses."


The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down seems to imagine that in him resides all the virtues of public life and that he alone among all the Members of this House of Commons is the one man who stands outside all popular clamour and always takes the right and the just view. We are rather tired of the lectures of the hon. Gentleman opposite the Member for Mossley (Mr. Hopkinson). We are rather tired of his logic. We are rather tired of the cheap sneers which he delivers from below the Gangway. We are dealing now with the physical efficiency of the children of unemployed, and the proposal of the Minister is that that can be maintained at the rate of 1s. a week My hon. Friend draws a picture of the Labour Minister being generous or ungenerous with money that is not his. I do not remember what exactly happened in the Division on the first Clause, and how my hon. Friend voted. I presume he was in the House. I presume ho was not looking to his constituents, but was giving an honest vote, as he always does, in sympathy with those principles to which he clings so tenaciously. By the first Clause the Labour Minister took over £1,000,000 to give to the officials of his Ministry in administering this Act.


I did nothing of the kind.


Will my right hon. Friend tell me what precisely he did do? The Order Paper quite distinctly states he substitutes one-eighth for one-tenth. Is that so or not? My right hon. Friend is very silent now.


It is not so.


There is no use sitting still and saying it is not so. Will the right hon. Gentleman get up and say how much it means in money?


That is going back on the first Clause.


I am not going back on the First Clause, but my argument is drawn from that Clause. It is this, that when my hon. Friend below the gangway says we are generous with other people's money in dealing with children, I must point out that the Minister already has taken over £1,000,000 for administration expenses, and the argument I use is, that if that amount can be taken for administration purposes, I do not see why my hon. Friend should object to a like sum being given to the children. I do not know how my hon. Friend voted on that Clause, or if he voted at all; probably his mind was too fluid at that state of the proceedings to be made up on a question of this kind. It is not merely a question whether we should take a certain sum of money for the maintenance of children. In this matter we do not take that short view, and if my hon. Friend will get that into his placid mind I shall be glad. We take a long view, and it is this, that we are dealing with unemployment, and if we do not maintain the children of the unemployed while the unemployment exists, we are going to saddle this community with a much greater expenditure in the future than we are asking of the Minister to-night.

If there is one period in the life of the citizen of this country when it is more necessary than at any other that the physique of the applicant should be built up in order that he may make a good citizen, it is when he is a growing child. A citizenship which is built up of children who have been properly maintained is a bigger asset to the State than is represented by a citizenship built up from children of a poor physique. We do not care for my hon. Friend's sneers; we do not believe he represents anyone in the community but himself. But those of us who are more in contact than he is with the life of the community know that the greatest contribution we can make to the growing citizenship of this country is to equip it physically. During the War we had many discussions on the question of the physique of this population. C3 was a term which everyone used in almost every speech, and we were shocked over and over again by the particulars we had with regard to the physique of the population. Now as a direct result of the War, due to the inefficiency of this Government, we are faced with a period of abnormal unemployment, and the idea that anybody should deny an extra 1s. per child to the children of the unemployed is inconceivable to anyone who thinks of the future of our race. My hon. Friend apparently lives in his own present, and therefore takes a short view.

Captain ELLIOT

When the hon. Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Hogge) begins to dilate on the hollowness of the arguments of the hon. Member for Mossley (Mr. Hopkinson), one can be sure we are in for some peculiarly ineffective statement which has nothing whatever to do with the question under discussion, and when in particular the hon. Member goes on to claim that he is more in touch with the life of the great industrial community in this country than the hon. Member for Mossley, who, as everyone in this House must admit, has shown in practice and in thought that there is no subject which he feels more keenly than the well-being of the industrial community, it makes one inclined to reconsider one's previous decision to vote against the Government on this particular Amendment. The hon. Member for East Edinburgh has almost turned me from my decision to vote against the Government on this Amendment, but not quite. I am still of the opinion that, in spite of his speech, there is only one course for me to adopt this evening, and that is to vote for the Amendment now under consideration. I can, however, assure the hon. Member that, if anything could have shaken my opinion on this occasion, ix is the speech that we have just heard from him, and particularly his reference to the War Parliament, which, I think, was somewhat out of place in regard to the speech of the hon. Member for Mossley (Mr. A. Hopkinson), who, on the occasion when these questions were being debated, was doing something a little more practical than talking on behalf of the workers and their children in this country.

I find myself at variance with the hon. Member for Mossley on this occasion, and in sympathy with the Labour party on this Amendment, for one or two practical reasons which I think the hon. Member for Mossley has overlooked. The first point that I should like to put to him is that the burden of unemployment, falling, as it does, with peculiar severity on particular areas of this country, is unjustly severe on those areas where great masses of our industrial population are gathered together, and that any means by which we can spread this burden over the shoulders of the nation should be adopted. I would point out to the Minister and to the House that any sum which is contributed in this way from national sources is actually a contribution in relief of rates. It tends to relieve the burden on the locality and spread it over the shoulders of the nation, and I think that that is a just principle, especially in these times of severe and continued and long-lasting depression. It is not a case of expending or not expending the money which is at present under consideration; it is a case of expending it from national sources or from local sources—from the rates or from the taxes. The rates are already bearing an extremely heavy burden in this respect, and one which, in my opinion, cannot indefinitely be borne by them. A certain transference of the burden to national sources, therefore, is not a bad thing but a good thing, and I would ask the Minister—not on the point of economy or squandermania, for these questions do not enter into the matter—to reconsider his opinion and see whether, since the money has to be voted, it is not better that it should be voted from national rather than from local sources.

My second point is the point that I and my Friends with whom I am associated made last year when we moved the Amendment which is now being debated, namely, that the distribution of this grant is disproportionate. Five shillings for a wife and 1s. for each child—that is to say, a grant of one-fifth for a child as compared with an adult—is not in accordance with what we know in respect of their different needs. That one-fifth does not represent the need of the child as compared with the adult, and I would beg the Minister's attention to that. Even if he had to re-arrange the money within his fund it would be worth his while, because of the fact that a child requires more than one-fifth of the expenditure as compared with an adult. As anyone knows, a man and his wife with an extra 5s. an re far better off than a man, his wife and a baby with an extra Is. A childless couple on 5s. are in an infinitely better position than a couple with a family of one, two or three and a supplement of one, two or three shillings. The household expenses are quite different. The wife is not able to earn money in support of the house. In every circumstance the case is entirely different when a man has set up a house and established around himself the nucleus of a home within which to keep his family.

The third point I should like to put to the Minister is this. It is said by the Minister with truth that 1s. does not represent a contribution being made by the country for the sake of the children, because there is the Feeding of Necessitous Children Act. I admit that that is a point of substance which the House would do well to attend to, but in the years between one and five, which are amongst the critical years of a child's life, it is coming into small benefit in respect of this grant and into no benefit in respect of the meals provided at schools. It might be possible for the right hon. Gentleman to make a concession in respect of these children. I ask the attention of the Minister of Education whether it would not be perfectly easy for him to give information to the Labour Ministry as to whether these children had or had not reached the age of five. Last year the Minister refused our request on the ground, first, that it was a temporary Measure and before it could be ascertained the period of six months for which the Bill was designed would have expired. That argument does not hold now. He is coming back for a period of 14 months. If he had done it six months ago the thing would have been complete by now. I ask him whether he could not see his way to make even a small increase in respect of the child between one and five years old. The Education Ministry knows when the children are coming to school age. It has its inspectors. It has the school population mapped out and could supply the information with very little difficulty. I ask him to see whether he cannot, in conjunction with the Minister of Education, make some provision for children in those critical years when they are not able to get any benefit from the provision of food at the schools and when they have lost the money they may get in their infancy in respect of maternity grants from welfare centres. The problem was debated last year. If it is not altered this year we shall certainly debate it again in years to come, because the problem of unemployment will be with us for years. I ask the Minister seriously to reconsider the verdict he gave in Committee.


One is always placed in a difficulty whilst listening to the hon. Member for Mossley (Mr. Hopkinson) speaking on such a question as this. It is always difficult to believe that he is really sincere in the statements he makes, because if one carries to a logical conclusion the suggestions that he puts forward in regard to this question of unemployment, it really means that he hopes to reduce the rate of unemployment by increasing the death rate, because unless there is assistance given to people who are unable to provide anything for themselves, the death rate- must ultimately determine their position. I think that there is a great danger in the suggestions of the hon. and gallant Member for Lanark (Captain Elliot) so far as the feeding of school children is concerned, because the feeding of school children is not universal in the country. If it were taken as a contribution to meet this contingency, it would mean that in the large industrial centres, where you have got more progressive educational authorities, it would have application, but when you get to the rural and semi-rural parts where you have county education authorities, the feeding of school children, very largely, does not operate. Therefore, I do not think that the suggestion of the hon. and gallant Gentleman can be taken as meeting the difficulty.

I would draw attention to the difference in the amount of money which is considered adequate for a child now as compared with what was considered adequate during the War, and also as compared with the allowances considered necessary under the present pension rates. The allowances then were much more substantial than what is suggested in this Bill. I know that it may be argued that there is a great difference between the two conditions, but both the War conditions which necessitated the separation allowances and the pensions scheme after all arose out of a national emergency, and the present unemployment is also a question of national emergency connected with the same cause. Therefore it is difficult to understand how it is possible for the Government to stand by their proposal of this paltry allowance of 1s. so far as children are concerned. The Minister of Labour, when speaking on this question, took exception to the way in which it was put before the House by some hon. Members behind him, and said he thought that it would be fair to put it in this way, that the present Bill was extending a six months' period to a 14 months' period, but I would like to suggest to him that the extension of an injustice does not in any way remove it.

Another important point is this. Any deficit which arises is to be carried forward by the borrowing powers, and will ultimately have to be met by future contributions to be made by the insured person, the employers and the State. If the people in the country later on are to be called upon to meet the deficit that is now being accumulated as a result of these benefits, then those who to-day are the children receiving this miserable allowance will be the persons who very largely will be called upon to make contributions to make up the deficit. That being so, it is easy to assume that those children who are nearing the age of leaving school would have reached the age of 16, at which they will become insurable persons, and therefore out of their earnings at that period they will have deductions made to meet this deficit. This is a very strong reason why the children of to-day should have a more adequate allowance made to them under the provisions of this Bill.

Perhaps if we were approaching this question purely from the standpoint of party politics we should ask the Government to take a Division, and we should accept our defeat upon it. But we desire to put this question on a rather higher level than that. We are concerned with the interests of these children, and the position of parents who are responsible for their well-being, and we are conscious of the fact that local authorities, if we do not meet this difficulty, will be called upon, although already overburdened, to deal with the problem. Having regard, further, to the fact that the Government have inserted in the Bill a Clause whereby guardians in giving relief must have regard to the amount of money paid under this Bill, there is a very strong argument for an increase of this benefit. I hope the Government will take their courage in their hands on this occasion, even though it may add to the deficit.


I wish to reinforce the very cogent pleas put forward by the hon. and gallant Member for Lanark (Captain Elliot). My experience of the Minister of Labour is that in resisting Amendments of this sort on any of the Bills dealing with unemployment, it has not been for want of heart that he has resisted, but for want of means. I am sorry that for the moment the Minister is out of the House, but perhaps the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, who is in charge, will take note of the point. What was suggested was that in this increase of the child's allowance from 1s. to 2s. a week the Government have an opportunity of meeting what is a genuine demand coming from industrial areas all over the country on account of the present state of unemployment. Everybody who is associated with any of these industrial areas knows how real the pressure is and how the demand is being voiced by men who would be the last in the world to make pleas for grants or doles or relief of any sort if they did not feel that such pleas wore absolutely necessary. What I understood the hon. and gallant Member for Lanark to say was that if the Government would accept the Amendment the effect would be exactly the same as if there were a grant to these particular areas. It would act as a relief to the rates. The Government have to meet that pressure and to answer it. The Minister of Labour might reply, "That is a Ministry of Health matter. It is their burden and trouble, not mine, and there is no reason why I should shoulder a burden which should fall on the Ministry of Health." But this Government is not run in watertight compartments. It is one Government, with one people and one problem.

The Government can find an opportunity here of doing what they might very well feel it proper to do in another way. I can quite understand that the Government may feel that they cannot embark upon the principle of relieving special areas of special burdens. But by accepting this Amendment they will, in effect, be doing what is wanted. There is an additional reason for doing it. If this is not done, what will happen in Newcastle, on the Clyde, in Birmingham, in Sheffield, and in every part of the country? Men who cannot get relief in this way must go to the guardians, and the guardians are bound to help them. The help given by the guardians will not be repaid. It is a grant; it will never come back to the Government. But if help be given in the way suggested by the Amendment, it will come back. This will all be included in the loan which is coming from the Treasury, and I understand the Government expects that in due time the loan will be wiped off by unemployment contributions, when the fund gets back to a normal state. The Government have a two-fold chance: they have a chance of relieving necessitous areas and of doing so by loan instead of grant.

The argument used by the hon. Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Hogge) may also be taken into account. During the passage of this Bill through Committee the Treasury has relieved itself of a sum at least equal to what would be required to meet this extra shilling. They have got rid of two and a-half per cent, of the cost of administration and put that upon the fund. There is, thus, really a threefold ground for acceding to this request. First you will relieve the necessitous areas, secondly, you will do it by means of loan instead of by a grant, and, thirdly, you will give a quid pro quo to the fund for what you are taking out in respect of administration expenses. It may be the Minister will say he cannot accept the Amendment. Will he then consult the Cabinet as to whether when this Bill comes to another place, the Cabinet will not take into account the whole problem including the demands that are being made on the Ministry of Health? Having given consideration to the whole problem they might see their way, if they cannot do so here, to give this increase in another place.


I must point out to the House that hon. Members are now repeating arguments used previously during this discussion, which has now lasted nearly two hours. There is a Standing Order against repetition, and I fear that I shall be obliged to put it into force.


I would not have risen at all in this Debate had it not been for the comments of the hon. Member for Mossley (Mr. Hopkinson). I always listen to him with tremendous interest. I believe him to be absolutely sincere, and I believe that upon all occasions he speaks from a good and a full heart. I recognise, at the same time, that he often speaks to the discomfiture of his own friends, inasmuch as he gives away the position of those with whom he is associated. On occasions, when directing his attention more particularly to the Labour Benches, he is often very assertive and sometimes extravagant, but, setting his weaknesses against his virtues and weighing up the two together, we are compelled to give him the benefit of the doubt. His lopsided idea of political economy causes him to put forward some strange doctrines. I think about the strangest doctrine he has ever sought to propagate was contained in his speech this evening, when he asserted that if we gave 2s. a week for each child instead of Is. we should prolong the period of unemployment. We must put that into the category of the assertions which the hon. Member hurls across the House, but does not support with any kind of argument or Any justification whatever. We by no means accept the views which he has presented to us on that matter.

When this point was under discussion in the original Bill, I remember talking the matter over with one of my colleagues and expressing great regret at the paucity of the offer that we made. I was discussing it from the point of view that I believed the Bill was making provision for Is. a day per child, and even then I felt dissatisfaction. Imagine my surprise when I was reminded by my colleague that it was not Is. a day, but 1s. a week. I think even now, particularly under existing circumstances, that we are entitled to come much nearer to that 1s. a day than the provision set forth in this Bill. It is admitted by the right hon. Gentleman himself that the prevailing conditions are infinitely worse than they were when the original Bill was introduced. Gradually trade union funds are being depleted, the sources of private generosity are being dried up, and from every point of view the condition of things is worse now than it was then. Further, I think we are entitled to make an appeal on another line. The provisions of this Bill are only, we understand, for a period of about 15 months, and I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that, having regard to the fact that he can measure his responsibility from the point of view of that period of time, and having regard to the exceptional conditions that prevail, he might stretch the other shilling in the direction of these children.

The House must remember that if this shilling does not go into the homes of the people, the same shilling, or an equivalent amount, will have to be found elsewhere, and those of us who are associated with the working-class life of the country know very well that it is much sounder economy to have 1s. in the home than a relative amount to be drawn elsewhere. We do not get the same results if it is expended either in Poor Law administration or in the direction of what can be granted in the school clinics and the school services and elsewhere. Again, there is a move on foot at the present time to reduce or to deprecate the expenditure which has been incurred in the direction of the feeding of the school children, and from that point of view this matter is entitled to some consideration. On the broad humanitarian appeal, we ought, I think, to take cognisance of the fact that it is not desirable, even in these hard times, to impose the oppressive burden of the period upon those who are least able to bear it, and whoever or whatever causes may be responsible for the present condition of affairs, it is not the children who are responsible, and we ought not to put the burden of existing circumstances upon them. I therefore add my appeal to those already made, and urge on the right hon. Gentleman to make this concession.

Mr. C. WHITE rose


"Divide, divide!"


This is the 15th time I have risen, and I have not been fortunate enough to catch Mr. Speaker's eye.


This is not the Committee stage of the Bill, and there are 700 Members of the House. Everybody cannot speak upon every Amendment.


I quite agree, but at one time to-night there were only about 20 Members here and I was one of the 20. I will endeavour to obey your ruling, Sir, as to no repetition, although it is difficult, 'speaking so late in the Debate, not to repeat what has been said before. I want, however, to refer to what has been said by the hon. Member for Mossley (Mr. A. Hopkinson).


That has been referred to four times already.


Very well, but I was going to refer to something that had not been referred to by other hon. Members. I do not appeal to the Minister at all. Notwithstanding the good character that has been given him, I am sure it is futile appealing to him after what he has said about this matter. But I want to appeal to his supporters or those who usually support him. I want them to be comutineers to-night, and to vote against their own Minister. This would not be a party Division. The Government would not have to resign if they were defeated. What has not been said to-night is that the Government, having taken this responsibility for an insurance scheme, has not provided an adequate sum not only for insuring the men, because it does not end there. The wife and children depend on the man when he is in employment, and they also depend on him when he is not in employment. Therefore the sum for which the Government have now made themselves responsible should be such as to ensure a decent standard of comfort in the homes of the people who are out of employment. The present rate does not do that. There are men and women to-day actually existing on the present unemployment pay. They are too proud in many of the districts I represent in this House—although it is a very aristocratic Division—to go to the parish for that relief. They have sold up their homes, used up their few savings, and the Minister has spoken of a man and wife and two children having twenty-two shillings! I am not taking a shilling a week for a child, but am

averaging it between the four. It means five-and-six a week for each. Let us work it out in a little bit of human arithmetic. This has not been said tonight. In the matter of meals, three-pence a head for each is a shilling a day; three meals a day is three shillings; and seven days is twenty-one shillings a week, which leaves one shilling for all the other necessaries of life. And what sort of meal? A bit of bread, and often nothing to it for breakfast, the same for dinner, the same for tea, and no supper.

I am tired of hearing so much of the financial and technical side of this question. The child is the greatest asset of the future, the future citizen, and it is our duty to look after the children in this instance more than in any other respect of which I know. I remember when this House would freely have voted, if it had not been for the Opposition here, millions for clothing the soldiers of this country in red. Let us look at this from the human side. I have had to get up and earn the breakfast for my children many mornings before they could have it, and I can enter into the feelings of these people who have to live on this unemployment pay as few Members of this House can. I do not appeal to the Minister, because I know he will not alter his word; I do not. appeal to the Government, but I appeal to those Members who are actuated by that intense human sympathy that has been expressed to-night, to go into the Lobby with us, to carry this Amendment, and thus to give the children the much-needed comfort they deserve.

Question put, "That the words 'one shilling' stand part of the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 137; Noes, 84.

Division No. 85.] AYES. [10.55 p.m.
Amery, Leopold C. M. S. Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R. Fraser, Major Sir Keith
Armstrong, Henry Bruce Carew, Charles Robert S. Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.
Atkey, A. R. Carr, W. Theodore Ganzoni, Sir John
Baird, Sir John Lawrence Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Birm. W.) Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Ladywood) Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel Sir John
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Chilcot, Lieut.-Com. Harry W. Green, Joseph F, (Leicester, W.)
Barnett, Major Richard W. Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H. Spender Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Sir Hamar
Barnston, Major Harry Coats, Sir Stuart Hacking, Captain Douglas H.
Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes) Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K. Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W. Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale Hamilton, Major C. G. C.
Bonn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Conway, Sir W. Martin Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry
Blades, Sir George Rowland Curzon, Captain Viscount Harmsworth, C. B. (Bedford, Luton)
Blane, T. A. Davidson, J. C. C. (Hemel Hempstead) Hennessy, Major J. R. G.
Borwick, Major G. O. Dawson, Sir Philip Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank
Boscawen, Rt. Hon. Sir A. Griffith- Elveden, Viscount Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy
Bowyer, Captain G. W. E. Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M. Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard
Breese, Major Charles E. Falcon, Captain Michael Hood, Sir Joseph
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive Falls, Major Sir Bertram Godlray Hopkins, John W. W.
Brown, Major D. C. Fell, Sir Arthur Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mosstey)
Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A. Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L. Inskip, Thomas Walker H.
Burn, Col. C. R. (Devon, Torquay) Forestier-Walker, L. Jodrell, Neville Paul
Johnson, Sir Stanley Parker, James Sugden, W. H.
Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Llaneily) Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike Sutherland, Sir William
King, Captain Henry Douglas Perkins, Walter Frank Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (Maryhill)
Law, Rt. Hon. A. B. (Glasgow, C.) Pratt, John William Thorpe, Captain John Henry
Lindsay, William Arthur Ramsden, G. T. Townley, Maximilian G
Lloyd, George Butler Randles, Sir John Scurrah Townshend, Sir Charles Vere Ferrers
Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'tingd'n) Rees, sir J. D. (Nottingham, East) Turton, Edmund Russborough
Lorden, John William Reid, D. D. Waddington, R.
Lort-Williams, J. Renter, J. R. Ward, William Dudley (Southampton)
M'Lean, Lieut.-Col. Charles W. W. Renwick, Sir George Watson, Captain John Bertrand
Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J. Richardson, Sir Alex. (Gravesend) Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.
Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I. Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford) Willey, Lieut.-Colonel F. V.
Maddocks, Henry Roundell, Colonel R. F. Williams, C. (Tavistock)
Manville, Edward Rutherford, Sir W. W. (Edge Hill) Williams, Lt.-Col. Sir R. (Banbury)
Mitchell, Sir William Lane Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney) Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir M. (Bethnal Gn.)
Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C. Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert Arthur Wilson, Col. M. J. (Richmond)
Moreing, Captain Algernon H. Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D. Winterton, Earl
Murray, John (Leeds, West) Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange) Wise, Frederick
Neal, Arthur Seddon, J. A. Wood, Hon. Edward F. L. (Ripon)
Newson, Sir Percy Wilson Shaw, William T. (Forfar) Wood, Major Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)
Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge) Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.) Young, E. H. (Norwich)
Nicholson, Brig. Gen. J. (Westminster) Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)
Nicholson, Reginald (Doncaster) Smith, Sir Harold (Warrington) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Norris, Colonel Sir Henry G. Stevens, Marshall Colonel Leslie Wilson and Mr.
Oman, Sir Charles William C. Strauss, Edward Anthony McCurdy.
Adair, Rear-Admiral Thomas B. S. Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Robertson, John
Adamson, Rt. Hon. William Grundy, T. W. Rose, Frank H.
Ammon, Charles George Guest, J. (York, W. R., Hemsworth) Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)
Banton, George Hancock, John George Sexton, James
Barker, Major Robert H. Hartshorn, Vernon Shaw, Thomas (Preston)
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Hayward, Evan Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Barnes, Rt. Hon. G. (Glas., Gorbals) Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Widnes) Sitch, Charles H.
Barnes, Major H. (Newcastle, E.) Henderson, Lt.-Col. V. L. (Tradeston) Smith, W. R. (Wellingborough)
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Irving, Dan Spencer, George A.
Bromfield, William Jameson, John Gordon Stanton, Charles Butt
Cairns, John John, William (Rhondda, West) Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.
Cape, Thomas Johnstone, Joseph Sturrock, J. Leng
Carter, w. (Nottingham, Mansfield) Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Swan, J. E.
Casey, T. W. Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Taylor, J.
Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock) Kennedy, Thomas Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)
Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities) Lawson, John James Thomas, Brig.-Gen. Sir O. (Anglesey)
Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale) Loseby, Captain C. E. Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, Wast)
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Lunn, William Walsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedweilty) Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan) Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. D.
Edwards, G. (Norfolk, South) MacVeagh, Jeremiah White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)
Edwards, Hugh (Glam., Neath) Marks, Sir George Croydon Williams, Aneurin (Durham, Consett)
Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark) Myers, Thomas Wilson, James (Dudley)
Finney, Samuel Naylor, Thomas Ellis Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Stourbridge)
Foot, Isaac Newman, Sir R. H, S. D. L. (Exeter) Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)
Forrest, Walter Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan) Woolcock, William James U.
Galbraith, Samuel Rattan, Peter Wilson Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Gillis, William Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)
Goff, Sir R. Park Roberts, Frederick O. (W. Bromwich) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Graham, R. (Nelson and Colne) Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich) Colonel Penry Williams and Mr.

Hon. Members on my left have handed me a large number of manuscript Amendments. I must point out that we cannot allow the Report stage to be a repetition of the Committee stage. I have, however, endeavoured to pick out the most important of these Amendments, which I think will give scope for the chief points hon. Members wish to bring forward.