HC Deb 29 May 1924 vol 174 cc671-743

Again considered in Committee.

[Mr. ENTWISTLE in the Chair.]

Question again proposed. "That Item A (1) be reduced by £100."


I was saying that I did not understand why hon. Members opposite should be so anxious to gibe at speakers on this side for endeavouring to concentrate attention upon the international aspect of the unemployment question, when we realise that, at the present time, the volume of our export trade is only 75 per cent. of what it was in pre-War days. In the case of Russia we had a volume of trade representing about £50.000,000 per year, and in the case of Germany a volume of trade representing about £100,000,000 per year.


Does the hon. Member assert that we had an export trade of £50,000,000 with Russia?


Export and import. The total volume of trade in the year 1913–14 was about £50,000,000, or possibly a little less—about £48,000,000.


This is a very interesting point. Can the lion. Gentleman tell the Committee how much we exported in goods to Russia?


I think about £14,000,000 in 1913. The Committee will realise the importance of re-establishing our foreign markets, and any policy on the part of this Government which will tend, in the long run, to re-establish those markets must be encouraged by this country. I am, not suggesting for one moment that the beneficial results of the foreign policy which is being followed by the present Government are likely to mature at once. Taking the short view, I daresay it will be two years or so before we realise the benefits of the foreign policy of the present Government, but the fact that the beneficial results are latent rather than patent is, to my mind, no reason for speaking in derogation of a policy which will produce those beneficial results in the long run. The same applies to our home markets. The amount of purchasing power in this country is considerably less to-day than it was before the War. I am not suggesting that the policy of deflation followed in the years subsequent to the Great War was a bad policy. There is a difference of opinion among economists on the point and, not being an economist, I am not prepared to offer an opinion one way or the other, but it is interesting to note that one of the greatest economists in the world, Professor Cassell, in his interesting memorandum on monetary reform, published in 1919, while strongly advocating deflation, suggested that it should be done very gradually and very carefully. That policy was not followed in this country, and the result has been that purchasing power has been diminished to a greater extent than should have been the case.

I am not suggesting that the reduction in nominal amount is any criterion. The question is what is the real purchasing power? Is the real purchasing power of the working classes equivalent to what it was before the War? If we examine the statistics we must come to the conclusion that, so far as large numbers of the working classes are concerned, the amount of real purchasing power at their disposal is considerably less than it was in pre-War days. We know, for example, in the case of workers in the shipbuilding industry that their purchasing power is 50 per cent. less than it was before the War or perhaps I should put it the other way—their purchasing power is only 20 per cent. more than it was in pre-War days whereas the cost of living at the moment is 70 per cent. more. The same thing applies in the mining industry. The miners in many districts are considerably worse off than they were before the War. Hon. Members opposite must take this factor into consideration when dealing with possible solutions of the unemployment problem. I do not suggest that a policy of inflation should be followed, but I think the Government might well consider the granting of facilities for credit for industrial purposes. Such facilities would have to be carefully watched and extensions of credit should not be on too great a scale, but Professor Keynes, one of the greatest economists in this country, said the other day that he was of opinion that a gradual extension of Credit might provide employment for probably 100,000 men per year.

These other aspects of the unemployment problem must be taken into consideration when we are endeavouring to ascertain the best means of dealing with them. Another point which is to the credit of the present Government is the remission of indirect taxation to the amount of £30,000,000 which has been produced by the Budget. That will correspondingly increase the amount of purchasing power available for the purchase of commodities within the country, resulting in a greater demand for commodities, and a greater demand for workers to produce these commodities, followed by a corresponding reduction in the amount of unemployment. Having regard to the lack of policy and to the mismanagement exemplified in the administration of the last Government, it is not for hon. Members on this side of the House, it is not for the Government, to apologise for its position with regard to unemployment. If anyone has to apologise it should be hon. Members opposite who have such a black record on this question. I trust. the Government will not be deterred from following the lines of progress by any threats of Votes of Censure on the part of hon. Members opposite. If the Government is interfered with, if its task is made more difficult, if the reforms which it has set itself to accomplish are prevented by any policy of obstruction on the part of hon. Members opposite, then the responsibility will rest with them and not with the Government.


The Prime Minister's apologia this afternoon followed the lines of that of the Minister, his colleague, who spoke last week and who said it was unreasonable to expect the Government's full programme to be initiated in four or five months, and that a great constructive scheme would necessarily take time and in some cases legislation. There must be a large measure of agreement on that point, but I respectfully submit that whereas that is a valid excuse for not proceeding with large national schemes it is no excuse for the Government's failure to enable local authorities to carry out schemes of work which they have in hand and which they would be prepared to push forward if only the Government were willing to assist. The local authorities, the unemployed and this Committee have reason to complain that much more might have been done than has been done to assist employment on the. lines I have suggested. It was my privilege earlier in the week with other hon. Members to interview the Minister of Labour and the Minister of Health along with representatives of the municipal associations of this country. We had representatives from Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and all the big cities and towns. They were unanimous in putting forward this proposition, that they had work of a useful character which could be put in hand at once, and which would absorb a large number of the unemployed if.the Government would only allow them to go on and give them additional assistance.

The Prime Minister this afternoon referred to the position of the local authorities. He said when the Government came into office in 1924 they found that the local authorities had over-spent in providing work of this kind, that their accounts were over-drawn, and that they had come to the end of their tether. After that pronouncement I was hopeful that the right hon. Gentleman was going to say that the Government, in view of those circumstances, were prepared to assist the local authorities in the future and enable them to carry out programmes of useful work which the Government were unable to carry out themselves. Instead, we have had what I cannot characterise as other than a most unsympathetic reference by the Prime Minister to the relative responsibilities of the State and the local authorities on this question. Apart from the declaration that a change of policy—which we welcome—was going to take place with regard to certain main arterial roads, no hope was held out that the Government would enable the local authorities to carry out the schemes which, with the necessary assistance, they are prepared to undertake. As has been frequently said, this is a national question. We must cast our minds hack to what happened during the War in these towns. Munition workers flocked into them, and in many cases where munition works were established there was an increase of population due entirely to the exigencies of the War. Owing to the lack of housing accommodation, those who flocked into the towns have been able to go back, and the consequence is that you have in many industrial areas an increased population for whom there is no work to do. Therefore, the State has an added responsibility, and what the Government are doing, and what the late Government did, is altogether inadequate.

The most favourable terms given to local authorities, namely, 65 per cent. of the loan charges up to one-half the period of the loan—in some cases 50 per cent. of the interest charges, in others 60 percent. of the wages paid on relief work—are altogether inadequate. Papers were submitted to the Minister of Health and the Minister of Labour the other day on behalf of the municipal corporations, which show that the percentage of cost borne by the localities varied from 10 per cent on certain works up to 32 per cent. on certain other works. In my own town of Middlesbrough, where we have spent during the last few years over a million of money in unemployed relief work, totalling nearly £9 per head of the population in capital expenditure—a tremendous burden, when it is remembered that our rates are 20s. in the £—the average assistance that we get on this unemployed relief work from the State comes out at 26 per cent. of the total charges. That is altogether inadequate, especially when it is remembered that this is work which would not otherwise be undertaken, but is put in hand and expedited in order to help relieve this problem of unemployment. It is work also which is carried on on a more costly basis because of its character, and, therefore, I submit that the local authorities have a right to claim from the Government greater assistance than they are getting. Members of the Labour party, when they were sitting on the other side of the House, were very eloquent in pressing the claims of the local authorities on the Government of that day, and I wish they would use the same influence and the same energy now in order to impress upon their friends in the Government the need for this work.


We do it in a quiet sort of way.


It may be quiet, but it is not very effective, judging by results. I submit, further, that if the 65 per cent. for the half period of the loan up to a maximum of 15 years is adequate in certain cases, it is not adequate in others. Conditions vary so tremendously in different parts of the country that you have a most unequal burden. You have rates up to 25s. 6d. in the as at Merthyr Tydvil, and you have rates down to 8s. 5d. at Bournemouth and 8s. 2d. at Oxford, and it is obvious, therefore, that a flat rate of contribution from the State to the local authorities cannot be an equitable contribution. The Government ought to be willing to increase the percentage of 65 per cent, to some larger figure, so,as to enable the local authorities to get on with useful work, of a productive character in many cases, which would find employment for many of those who are now either going to the guardians or receiving unemployment benefit. The Minister of Labour himself, speaking on this question, as has already been quoted to-night, referred to the unemployment as being a direct result of the War. I wish the hon. Member had completed the quotation, but perhaps I may be allowed to do so. The right hon. Gentleman said: In the opinion of the Government, that unemployment is directly caused by the War, and ought to be considered as.a national responsibility.… The nation itself is escaping a liability that ought to fall on it, and is putting it on to the poorest of our population and making them bear a burden much too hard for them to bear."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 18th February, 1924; cols. 1381–2. Vol. 169.] I submit that that is sound and that the Government stand condemned in the eyes of the nation, because they have not accepted this responsibility. The previous Government and this Government have come to the assistance of the rural ratepayers with a grant of £4,250,000. I do not grudge them that. but I submit that, if there be a good case for the relief of the agricultural ratepayer, there is an even stronger case for the relief of the necessitous boroughs in the industrial parts of our country. Reference was made by the Prime Minister to the fall in unemployment, but he admitted that in shipbuilding and in engineering the percentage was higher. You have on the North-East coast, in the shipbuilding industry, a figure to-day of 36 per cent. unemployed, which is an increase on last month, so that, whereas the rate may be falling throughout the country, there are certain districts where it is increasing. When you have 36 per cent. unemployed in one district, as compared with 9 per cent, as the average for the whole country, those figures alone make out a very strong case for differential treatment and for some extra assistance where the burden is so exceedingly heavy. I hope the Government will realise their failure to deal with this question on lines of equity and justice, and although it may be said that, whether the money comes out of the taxes or the rates, it all comes out of public funds, there is a difference in the incidence of the burden. When you take money out of local rates, it is a first charge on the cost of production, whereas if it comes out of the national taxes it is a charge on profits, and that makes a very big difference in the burden which is placed on industry. Might I fortify what I have said by a quotation from one who will carry great respect in this House, the ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer, the right hon. Member for Ladywood (Mr. N. Chamberlain). Speaking on this question in the August Debate of last year, he said, with regard to heavy rates a burden which is not, like Income Tax, dependent upon profits made, but which has to be borne by the industries whether they make profits or not."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st August, 1923: col. 1651, Vol. 167.]

The DEPUTY- CHAIRMAN (Mr. Entwistle)

I do not think the hon. Member may go into a discussion of the relative incidence of local and national taxation. The question before the Committee is quite wide enough, without embarking upon that.


I was trying to use that as a reason why, in dealing with the assistance by the State for unemployment, a greater percentage should be given in certain industrial areas, but I will leave that, as you rule it out of order, and merely beg that the Government should do more than their predecessors. We have been told that we should pass this Vote of Censure to-night and turn out the Government. What for? To place hon. Members opposite in power? They were even greater culprits than our friends above the Gangway are, and we should be making no change in the way of benefiting the unemployed. They have been tried, and found wanting. We are hopeful that, by encouragement, when they have served a longer apprenticeship, the Government may be amenable to pressure and willing to carry out those schemes of productive work which they say they have in hand, but for which they demand greater time. On this question we can appeal, I am sure, with confidence to the President of the Hoard of Trade. When the question was being discussed in August last year, he spoke very sympathetically and very emphatically on the lines that I have indicated. Urging that local authorities should have greater assistance, he said: The assistance offered to them by the Government has not been adequate to make them willing to undertake, with present trade conditions, large municipal enterprises. Are we going to stop there? The Government is full of good intentions, but if the municipalities are not willing to do it, are we going to rest there? I would say to the right, hon. Gentleman this afternoon: Does he stand where he did, is he prepared to leave things as they were? He went on to say—and I think the advice is equally as good to his own Government: I suggest the Government must really do something more. The Government must really manage to pass beyond the region of good intentions. I appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour to follow the advice of the President of the Board of Trade and to go beyond good intentions. The advice given to his predecessors in office is equally sound and valid to-day, and I hope that, with the pressure which the President can use, as a member of the Cabinet, he will be able to persuade his colleagues to adopt the advice which he gave in August last to the right hon. Gentlemen opposite. A difference has been drawn in the Government scheme between revenue producing and non-revenue producing work, and I would like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary why that distinction should be made. Revenue producing schemes are necessarily of a limited character, but why stop there? Surely it is as important that health producing schemes should be encouraged and assisted as it is that tax relieving schemes should be encouraged. There is any amount of work which local authorities can undertake of a health producing character which will find work for their own unemployed. There are the questions of additional schools, school clinics, hospitals, playgrounds, maternity and child welfare centres—all works of a useful character—and instead of spending, as we were doing last year in Middlesbrough, something like one million of money in unemployment pay and in relief by the guardians to men and women for no services rendered, we had far better spend an even larger sum and get something in return. Every local authority and every municipality has schemes of this character which it can put in hand at once, if only the Government are willing to give the necessary financial assistance, and these schemes would yield valuable national assets in the years to come, and instead of pouring out money and getting nothing in return, we should have something of an invaluable nature to show.

7.0 P.M.

It is not merely a question of the Government refusing to give adequate financial assistance; they are refusing also to allow certain municipalities to carry out work at all under the Unemployment Grants Committee. There was a case put before the Department this week from the City of Birmingham, which put up a scheme to spend half a million of money in the making of an open storage reservoir. The scheme is essential for the water supply of that district, but the Unemployment Grants Committee have turned it down. I submit that that Committee, which has to take its orders from the Cabinet, should not stop useful productive work of that kind, which would find employment for a large number of people, and I appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary to use her influence with the Government to see that such schemes are not turned down by the Unemployment Grants Committee, which is not a statutory body, independent of the Cabinet, but has to take its orders from the Cabinet, and, therefore, the Cabinet is responsible for its niggardly treatment of these local authorities. I therefore appeal that the Government should realise that, while they are unable to carry out their own large national schemes because they have been in office for only four or five months, that is no reason at all why they should prevent local authorities getting on with their schemes for the relief of unemployment. It is perfectly true you are but touching the fringe of the question. I do not suggest for a moment you are going to employ a million people, but every man and woman that you employ over and above those who are employed at the present time form some contribution towards this problem. I hope the Government will reconsider the attitude they have adopted, and will be more sympathetic to the claims of these local authorities, who are willing to do their part if only the Government will do their share.

Viscountess ASTOR

There is an atmosphere of unreality about the House to-day, but there is no unreality about unemployment. It is a grim and terrible thing. Hon. Members opposite blame us for it. I know that many Socialists are honourable, honest, and earnest men and women, who thoroughly believe in the policy they preach, and believe it with their whole hearts. We on this side of the House believe just as firmly in our policy. Members opposite have said that the late Government caused unemployment. The only way to get work going is to get our trade going, and the only way to do that is to produce something that someone else wants, and cheaper and better than anyone else is producing it. Have hon. Members opposite done anything towards that end? The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour said the other night that this question had been going on since 1917. Of course it has, but what have hon. Members opposite been doing since 1917? They have been preaching a policy which has hindered industry, and brought us to the position in which we are now.

The Prime Minister has said that what we want is peace abroad. I agree we want peace abroad, but we want it just as much at home. It is no good preaching international peace when you are preaching industrial warfare here. The Government now have the opportunity to alter matters, and to bring about a condition of prosperity. The Independent Labour Party passed a resolution at Glasgow, which condemns all attempts to bring about any rapprochement between labour and capitalism, or to arrive at any more amicable relation between labour and capitalism, short of the total abolition of the capitalistic system. The Labour candidate at Kelvingrove, who tried to come into the House, preached open class, warfare. In fact, all the Members of the Labour party on his platform preached class warfare. [HON. MEMBERS: "You are wrong."] The hon. Member who yelled out I was wrong is one of the hon. Members who are always talking about religion. He is the most pious talker in the House of Commons. How on earth he can reconcile his conscience—


The Noble Lady must address the Chair.


On a point of Order. I am guilty of a good many things, but, on this occasion, I did not interrupt the hon. Member for Plymouth.

Viscountess ASTOR

I am delighted that the hon. Member was not one of the hon. Members who interrupted.


The Noble Lady should tell the truth.


I do not know whether she can.

Viscountess ASTOR

I am not bound down to any party. I am one of the roost independent people in the whole country, and the hon. Member knows it.


I do not know it at all. I only know that you do not need a trumpeter.

Viscountess ASTOR

We need to get industry going. Do hon. Members really think that what they are preaching in the country helps toward industrial reconstruction? They talk about normal trade in Europe, but how can we ever get back to normal times, until we have got one of these systems going, Socialism or Capitalism?


You have got it going. It is going on at the docks.

Viscountess ASTOR

It is very difficult to continue with these interruptions. It is difficult enough when you are outside the House, when people are howling at you, but then you can answer without being called to order. Hon. Members opposite have not put forward a single constructive thing. The Minister of Labour knows as well as the Prime Minister, that the only hope is co-operation between all classes and all sections of the community. Yet every one of the hon. Members opposite preaches this vile doctrine of class hatred and "Kill the capitalist." Killing the capitalist would be all right, perhaps, if you could get more work, but why are the Russians over here? To get capital. And why have they had to come? Because Cornmunism has failed. I would like to remind the Minister of Labour that those people who are always talking about capitalism are responsible for all the ills of the world.

Since the inauguration of the new economic policy in Russia, in 1921, the system of Labour legislation there has been transformed. The new Labour code is based on principles which differ completely from those on which the former system was based. The conditions of labour are determined by free agreement between the parties. The value of work is determined by the law of supply and demand. The Central Power confines itself to fixing a minimum wage, leaving to the parties themselves the duty of determining the actual remuneration of labour by agreement among themselves. The conditions of work in Russia are at present governed less by legislation of the executive authorities, in spite of the considerable change in the principles of such legislation, than by economic and social conditions, and in particular by the growth of private capitalism side by side with State capitalism. In Germany a Socialist Government also discovered that their theories were impracticable, and substituted a kind of glorified and extended Whitleyism instead of nationalisation. The Government know that only good will and co-operation will restore trade and reduce unemployment. When the Minister of Health wants to build houses he does not talk about "class," but about cooperation. The Prime Minister makes the most beautiful speeches in the country, when it suits his convenience; but the other day he went down to the women and told them that the people over here did not want to build houses. That is a cruel thing to say. [Interruption.] It is a wicked thing to say. Here you tell thousands of people in the country that "the only way to get work is to kill capitalists."


Who said that? [Interruptions.]

Viscountess ASTOR

Well, how are you going to kill capitalism without you kill the capitalists?


We would not lose you for any money.

Viscountess ASTOR

You could not lose us. I am not one of the people who want to turn out the Government. They have made the mess, and they ought to clear it up. They are responsible more than anybody else in the country for the conditions of labour to-day. Hon. Members opposite never preach one word about efficiency. The Prime Minister spoke about the importance of electricity. How can you get people to put their money into anything like that, if they think the Government are going to take it over in about five years? It is not practical politics. Hon. Members do not deal with the facts. There is not a Member here, not even the hon. Member for Harrow (Mr. Mosley), who would put his money into anything from which he did not anticipate a good return. An hon. Member reminded us recently that the Miners' Federation refused an offer to reorganise the coal industry, after the Sankey Report, on the ground that it might bar the way to nationalisation. Is not that really what is keeping the country back now? When fighting an election one is almost knocked down by this wave of class hatred, based on nothing except the pernicious preaching of Socialism.


You are getting the result of it now.

Viscountess ASTOR

I shall vote with my party on this Motion, but not because I want to turn the Government out. I want to keep them in. If I thought they were going to he turned out, I would not vote with my party. Hon. Members opposite should preach to the people the things that would help, namely, efficiency in industry, the need of co-operation, and of brotherly love.


Why does the hon. Member say it in that tone?

Viscountess ASTOR

Preach those things to the people, for they only will pull us through. I beg hon. Members opposite to think well what they are doing. We might get the foreign markets, but if we have not got peace at home, but only have beautiful speeches from the Government Bench and class hatred in the country, matters will not be improved. Hate is very contagious, and I agree there are conditions which make for hate in the people that live in them. I do not blame those people in the least, and I want to make those conditions better. There are thousands of people throughout the country who are not in the least interested in their possessions, but who are desperately interested in the condition of the majority of their fellow citizens. We on this side, or rather a great number of us, are willing to co-operate with you. We want to do these things, how can we do them when you go round the country telling your followers that Liberals and Conservatives must be opposed because they are in favour of capitalism?


May I suggest to the Noble Lady that the question with which we are dealing is one of unemployment.

Viscountess ASTOR

And that is exactly what I am dealing with. I really do not see how we are going to get employment without capital. Lenin discovered that is was easy enough for the State to control supply, but that the State cannot control demand. You cannot control the demand so far as women are concerned. Hon. Members may laugh, but that is my serious conviction. I am a mother of six children. They will never be economically equal. but if I can teach them to do unto others as they would be done by, if I can teach them it is the duty of the strong to look after the weak, I shall be satisfied. Socialism is telling them that the strong must come down on the weak. That is why so many of us feel just as keenly about the system under which we live as hon. Members opposite do. This fight will have to be fought. I do not think we are going to get industry going until it has been fought. Men are sending their capital abroad. You cannot control that. I beg the Government to stop preaching these pernicious lies about Socialism up and down the country. If they think it is the truth let them go to the country. The sooner they do it the sooner they will be found out. It is essential for the welfare of the country that we should get work going, but we shall never do it as we are proceeding to-day.

I am a simple-minded woman. I believe sometimes what people say to me. There are thousands of women who honestly believe that you have a remedy, and they think that that remedy is Socialism. I do not for one moment believe that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Government Bench themselves hold that view. They have learned since they have been in office, as the Prime Minister said to-day, that it is very easy to talk about the ills of the world, but very difficult to put them right: The time has come for honest, plain speaking. Go out and tell the people you have made a mistake and want co-operation, and not only the world abroad will be made better but the world at home will be improved and you will find thousands who will willingly follow you.


I shall not attempt to follow the Noble Lady in her characteristically pieturesque and discursive survey, but in the very few minutes in which I may claim the attention of the Committee I shall devote myself to the more practical issue of ascertaining how we are to vote to-night. The Prime Minister, in his interesting speech, made, I am glad to say, a large additional contribution to our knowledge, which, before, was very sketchy, of the actual programme of the Government with regard to unemployment. I confess for myself that if the matter had been left where it was left a week ago, I should have felt constrained to have voted myself, and to have used any influence which I may possess in so advising and counselling my followers, for the reduction of the right hon. Gentleman's salary. A more unsatisfactory, a more jejune, a more inadequate, and in some ways misleading account, has never been presented to Parliament. As has been pointed out, there is nothing so striking in the whole picture, there is no contrast so glaring and so tragic, the contrast between promise and performance. It was made clear to the ordinary elector when he gave his vote last December that the remedy proposed by the Labour party was to put work before maintenance. In practice they have put maintenance before work. And there is still a great deal that re- mains to be explained, and still more to be achieved, before we can be satisfied that anything substantial is going to be done.

There was a remarkable passage in the Prime Minister's speech which the Noble Lady very pertinently-referred to. It was the passage in which he said there was a great difference between a platform programme, and pamphlet panaceas and actual administrative and legislative work. It is a pity the right hon. Gentleman did not think of that before the General Election. I should like to refer to the dangers of what I may call amateur propaganda in referring to a speech the right hon. Gentleman made in this House on the 15th November last year, before the change of Government. Speaking of the right hon. Gentlemen who at the moment sit near me and speaking of their proceedings, he asked, and I agreed with him: Where is the well-devised scheme based upon a detailed and complete conception of the problem that the present day unemployment presents? That is what we want to know to-day. And then he went on: Where is all the co-ordination, the keeping of the skilled, the helping of the families, the training of the children? When have you had produced to this House, or where outside this House, any legislation or any administration, any co-ordinated movement that was directed carefully, concisely and accurately to meet the precise problem of unemployment? You have had none."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th November, 1923 col. 402. Vol. 168.] That is what the right hon. Gentleman said to the occupants of the present Front Opposition Bench, and he was cheered by the Labour party. Yes, I too ask where are the well-devised schemes based upon a detailed and complete conception of the problem? Where are they to-day? The right hon. Gentleman piled up adjectives. He used generalities. He laid down counsels of perfection. But when he came to sit on the Government bench and had to deal in office, with the aid of draughtsmen and under the criticism of skilled expert advisers, he realised the difficulty of the problem for the first time. It is a great advantage that we now have the admission of the right hon. Gentleman of the experience which he has had. I do not in the least hesitate to associate myself with his indictment of the late Government with regard to the hiatus between their professions and their actual achievements. Sir Montague Barlow, who was Minister of Labour at the time the right hon. Gentleman made this speech about well-devised schemes, also had a scheme, described by the Prime Minister himself, which was full of grandiose intention. It was a scheme under which altogether £100,000.000 was to be spent in the course of last winter on the unemployed [interruption] to come on part out of the rates and taxes and in cart from other sources. It was certainly the general impression produced by the speech at Plymouth of the late Prime Minister—an epoch-making and earth-quaking speech—that £100,000,000 was going to be expended in the current winter on unemployment. The General Election, however, came, and I will give my right hon. Friend the benefit of that-, because he and his colleagues, instead of working this great machine, were occupied in trying to get. votes for Protection. Still, making every allowance, we have the extraordinary fact, as we have been told to-day, that the total expenditure up till the 21st March in the present year was only £250,000. I am not making myself responsible for that figure. The right. hon. Gentleman opposite, speaking with full responsibility, and with official knowledge, would, I believe, not have, made a gross miscalculation as that! I am not concerned, except incidentally, with what the late Government did or neglected to do. The practical question is what is now being done -by the Government. in power? The Prime Minister, who, I know, is unavoidably absent, told us a number of interesting facts in regard to the various channels in which this stream of unemployment can be dried up. I am not complaining of any of them, for, they would be most excellent if properly administered, and, if adequately supplied with funds and powers, they would effect a beneficent purpose. I think that would very largely assist the labour market and provide remunerative, and, what is more important, productive, employment for those now out of work. I am not criticising the objects and schemes, but I observe that they are almost all of them proposals which only last week, or a week ago to-day, were anticipated, adumbrated, and sketched out in considerable detail by the right hon. Gentle- man the Member for Rusholme (Mc. Masterman) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North-West Camberwell (Dr. Macnamara). Arterial roads which I understand are to be constructed out of Imperial resources and without any local conditions.

There is Electricity. This is a point to which personally I attach the very greatest importance, as I think does everybody who really desires the permanent development of the productive resources of this country. There is nothing in which we are more behindhand, as compared with foreign countries—and particularly in Europe, Germany and Frances—and I have no doubt it is the case with America also—there is nothing in which we are more behindhand than in the proper organisation, generation, and distribution of electrical power. The right hon. Gentleman says that out of 15 schemes, so I understood him, nine have been accepted and adopted. There arc, however, two serious gaps with which the Government have not attempted to deal. In the first place, the right hon. Gentleman referred to local interests. He used the euphemistic expression—a very odd expression coming from a Socialist—that local interests have got "to be squared." But there is only one way in which you can square local interests; or rather there are two necessary ingredients in the process. The first is -by buying them off, and if they will not be bought off—and very often they will not be by voluntary negotiation—to acquire compulsory powers.

The history of this matter is very curious. As a matter of fact, as far hack as 1921 a Bill was passed through this House on the responsibility, I think, of the Government of the day, and was sent to the House of Lords, which would have given compulsory powers. [An HON. MEMBER "1919, not 1921!"] Well, that makes it all the worse. The House of Lords, in one of those strange and not unusual fits of tenderness for minor interests which is the hall-mark of its legislative activities. omitted from the Bill what was, of course, its core and essence these compulsory powers. I did not hear from the Prime Minister that the Government are taking steps to acquire these powers without which the whole of this electrical development will become nugatory and ineffective for years to come.

The LORD PRIVY SEAL (Mr. Clynes)

The Prime Minister indicated that he would.


The right hon. Gentleman opposite has been in office for five months—not a long time, I grant; still a Bill of this kind would have passed through this House by a large majority and with a small expenditure of public time. At any rate, we shall be glad to hear from the Government not only that they intend by legislation to acquire these essential preliminary conditions, but that they are going to bring in their legislation at the earliest possible moment.

There is another Department of national development referred to by the Prime Minister which might give considerable employment to those now out of work — I refer to afforestation. I do not see my right hon. Friendthe. Member for Tiverton (Mr. Arland) present. He is one of the greatest experts in this country on the subject. This matter has been going on, but it has not been going on at anything like the rate, nor on the scale, that it ought to have been. Why? The. question here, so far as I understand it, is not so much the absence of compulsory powers as the absence of cash. We should have been glad to know from the Prime Minister as to whether or not the Chancellor of the Exchequer was ready to provide the fonds which are so urgently needed. No one would begrudge this productive expenditure. I have only alluded to these schemes for the purpose of saying that I, and I believe all my friends, consider that they might tend to be a very considerable advance on anything we have previously done.

A long and sometimes disappointing experience of public life has taught me one thing, and that.is the value, and, indeed, the necessity of patience. No one has had more occasion to exercise it than I myself. No one would be so unreasonable as to expect right hon. Gentlemen opposite to achieve these things within four or five months. What however, it is important to know is that the schemes are on the stocks, that they are real living propositions, and that they are to be supplied with the necessary resources and statutory powers, without which they cannot in the long run enure, even to a partial settlement of the unemployment problem. I am prepared to give the Government a little more time in this matter. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear?"] Which of you is not? The late Government talked about £100,000,000. What is their record? I should like to know what number of unemployed the £100,000,000 have set to work. They have less reason than anyone to complain of a certain tardiness on the part of people newly installed in office who, as the. Prime Minister stated, were without administrative experience in matters of this kind. I am for fair play. [HON. MEMBERS: "Bear, hear !"] Why those ironical cheers? Is it intended to suggest that I or any other Liberal has become—that I am willing to leave to others with a richer and more copious rhetorical power than I possess to describe. Because we are willing for the moment to give the Government more time to turn round, are we to be called the subservient and obsequious minions of the Labour party? We want to give them fair play. [An HON. MEMBER: "For how long?"]

This is, of course, a paper programme put forward by the Prime Minister. I am willing to believe in complete good faith, and with the concurrence and the cordial co-operation of his colleagues. It is, however, a paper programme and so far, to all intents and purposes, it has not fructified and it has not brought in the unemployed. It has not put people to work who were out of work when the Government came into office. Therefore I shall only give my consent to the. Government proposal before the Committee on the distinct understanding that this Vote is to be kept open, and that we are to have opportunities—of which I can assure the somewhat sceptical hon. Members behind me if we may judge from the expression of their faces—we shall take advantage to have the fullest and a perfectly independent scrutiny of the results which have been actually obtained. That is our attitude, and I think myself it is the only attitude worthy of the position of a great political party. We have no reason to love the Labour party. But as a party we are not so anxious to pay off scores, or to indulge in rancour and revenge, as to contribute., if we can and in whatever way we can, towards a real settlement of this great and overwhelming national problem of the employment of our fellow subjects who, through no fault of their own, find themselves out of work.


I want to say a word or two upon the statement which has been made by the Prime Minister and which was also referred to by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Paisley (Mr. Asquith). Both those right hon. Gentleman stated that the party to which I belong had said that we proposed to spend £100,000,000 on work schemes, whereas the amount we actually spent only came to £250,000. That is a complete travesty both of what Sir Montague Barlow said and of the facts, because the late Minister of Labour never, at the Stationers' Hall or in this House or anywhere else, suggested that we had provided £100,000,000 for these schemes. What he did say was that we had put into operation a great national programme, and he was careful to point out that it was made up of three different items. First of all, he said it was made up of money which has been provided by the Government; secondly, of money which has been spent in acceleration of the normal programme; and, thirdly, money which has been spent in consequence of the encouragement which the Government gave. I remember that my right hon. Friend made substantially the same speech in this House as at the Stationers' Hall when he stated that these schemes amounted to £100,000,000. That statement was accurate then and it is now, and I am prepared to justify it, as my right hon. Friend did in a long speech he made, item by item, in which he said that £100,000,000 would be provided for these schemes. Therefore, to say that we only spent £250,000 is an absolutely travesty of the facts.


I simply quoted the Prime Minister's statement.


I quite appreciate that. I want to say how this money was made, up, because it is not only relevant, but it is only fair to my right hon. Friend, who is not at present in this House, to state what his position was. First of all, in this £100,000,000 he quite clearly and candidly stated that there was the sum of £35,000,000 which was included in the railway programme, and it included also £38,250,000 which came under the Trade Facilities Act, and the sum of £4,500,000 which was sanctioned under the Export Credits Scheme with another £4,000,000 which was guaranteed under the Export Credits Scheme. The most surprising thing of all was the omission of the Prime Minister to say that, under the Unemployment Grants Committee presided over by Lord St. Davids, £16,100,000 worth of work was approved. All his was to be started during the financial year, and when we went out of office the greater part of that had actually been started, and no less than £24,000,000 under the Trade Facilities Scheme was actually in operation.

In addition to that, Sir Montague Barlow referred to sums which were directly spent by the Government in acceleration of the normal programme, and he told us the General Post Office were undertaking work up to about £1,000,000, much of which is already in hand. He also said the Admiralty were allocating £860,000 for anticipated works, and that nearly all the contracts in question had been actually placed. He also told us that the Office of Works and the Forestry Commissioners were spending further sums up to about £150,000. In addition to all that there were two great road schemes, one for £7,000,000 and another £14,000,000, and Sir Montague Barlow said he hoped that the whole of the £7,000,000 would be expended before the end of the financial year, but for reasons he gave rather less was spent when we left office, but at any rate the amount was well over £5,000,000 actually spent.

With regard to the £14,000,000 road scheme, it was pointed out that, in regard to a scheme of that size, it could not be expected or desired that the money would be all expended at once, but it was a scheme to be spread over a considerable number of years. I have just given this plain statement of the figures, because I thought it only right and fair to the House and to all parties to remove the complete misconception which was created by the Prime Minister. We are just as anxious to clear up misconceptions as anybody else, and when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Paisley asks us how many men we put on to work, we want the country to know the facts, and in order that there may be no doubt on this point, I ask the Minister of Labour to lay a White Paper definitely stating the work provided for when we went out of office compared with the work provided for at the present time. I hope he will see his way to lay that White Paper, because misconceptions and these misstatements on vital questions of fact ought to be cleared up in the interests of every party in this House.


Of course I shall have the greatest possible pleasure in supplying any information I can. The last thing want to do is to misrepresent anybody, and I can only give the figures presented to me by my staff, after careful instructions to see that the facts are as stated.


I should be the last person to suggest that the right hon. Gentleman wishes to misrepresent anybody or anything, but I want this White Paper to show exactly where we stand. When that is done, I am quite certain the statement- of Sir Montague Barlow will he found to be erring rather on the low side than on the high side. With these few remarks I ask the right hon. Gentleman to lay a White Paper on this subject.

8.0 P.M.


I agree with the Noble Lady the Member for the Sutton Division of Plymouth (Viscountess Astor) that there is an air of unreality about this discussion, because I do not believe that the Opposition who put down this Amendment really des[...]re to see the Government defeated to-night. My own opinion is that they would rather fear an appeal to the country, and with Toxteth before their eyes they know there is very little hope whatever of achieving a different result in this House from that which exists at the present moment. I am not so much concerned with the details of the case put up by the right hon. Member for the Hillhead Division of Glasgow (Sir R. Horne), because I have tried, as far as I possibly can, to get down to the roots of this unemployment problem, and I have come to the conclusion that all the bits of tinkering any party can do, as the House is constituted at present, are of no use in solving this problem, Taking Members who are prominent on the Opposition Benches, the discussion to-night has failed to get; anywhere near a consideration of the problem that confronts the country. The Leader of the Opposition, in considering this question some time ago, assumed, as I gathered, that the unemployed problem in this country was passing from the stage of a mere epidemic to an endemic stage, and that it was becoming a permanent feature of our industrial organisation. I believe the right hon. Member for Hillhead has recently declared that modern industry is able to function without the employment of the million persons now unemployed.

The right hon. Member for Hendon (Sir P. Lloyd-Greame), in the course of discussion in this House a night, or two ago, stated that throughout the whole of the countries that were connected with the War, we had at the present moment industrial capital far in excess of the requirements of modern society on its present basis, and we had the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Remer) a night or two ago echoing the statement that so far as America even is concerned, there was excess of production to an alarming extent, and we might expect to be flooded out by goods from that country. We hear from the benches opposite, time and time again, gibes at us on these benches because we do not persistently, as they say, back up demands for increased efficiency and for increased production. We know only too well that industry is organised at the present moment, increased production means an increase, ultimately, of unemployed. It is no use attempting to blink that fact. We have had it time after time. Period after period of unemployment has followed one another with sickening regularity, until now it has become apparent, that, passing from the epidemic stage, we have approached that period of permanence with our unemployment problem that demands far more drastic and far different treatment from that which we are able to give it at the present time. That being so, it is no use continually talking about solving unemployment by schemes of roadmaking.

I understand it is a fact that the late Government quickened up the production of boots for the Army. I believe they were doing their best to deal with the problem from that point of view, and they anticipated demand. I am not speaking now with exactitude, but I believe it to be the case. I do not blame them for doing that. They were doing what, I think, any Government would do in like circumstances. They were dealing with the problem that confronted them at the moment, and they anticipated demand, and while that did help at that moment to solve a problem, the situation now is that the present Government are only able to place 10 per cent. of the orders for Army boots, because of the anticipation of the late Government. So that helping to solve the problem a few months ago by the late Government has increased the problem of the present House, and it will go on from Parliament to Parliament, and from Government to Government, and I say it is no use attempting to find solutions by this particularly haphazard method.

The Noble Lady the Member for the Sutton Division of Plymouth chided us of this party with creating these problems of unemployment because we continually preach class antagonism and class hatred. I am not an unrepentant believer in the class struggle. I know of no Socialist party that preaches what is called, on the Opposition Benches, the class war, There is no word in the Socialist vocabulary of that description. It is not the preaching of class war, but I believe there is a struggle, and I believe the history of this House is a record of that struggle. I believe the party of hon. Gentlemen who sit below the Gangway originally came here as an outcome of the struggle of the commercial classes against the old landed aristocracy, and our political history is a struggle of one class against another for political power. It has been a struggle for political power for century after century. At the present moment, the working classes are struggling for political power, and they will have to transform the power they win to the economic field before they can bring about what they believe to be real liberty so far as the mass of people is concerned. I believe that your system has produced that struggle. It is not we who create it. We simply explain what we find, and we are chided at times from benches opposite that we do not exhibit the brotherly love that we ought to. We do not find it anywhere in modern industry and modern society.

We have to take facts as we find them. A short time ago, in my constituency, 3,000 me[...] [...]ere turned out of work at a few days' notice and added to the unemployed. I am not condemning the owners of the pits, who say they were compelled to close down because those pits had become uneconomic, but there is the fact that 3,000 men were turned out of work, and there is no employment for them. There is no profitable employment for their labour, and, at the present moment, they are added to the unemployed who already exist. I was told that, so far as output was concerned, those men were turning out more coal per man at the pits than was the case in 1914. Their individual output had increased, yet there was no economic use to be found for their labour in those particular pits. That is the problem which confronts us, and we are not going to solve that kind of problem by continually discovering whether these people can make a road here or a road there. We on these benches believe that, ultimately, we shall be driven to a reorganisation, gradually, of our industrial system; otherwise, the whole of this problem will prove insoluble. At the present moment we in this country are not faced with this terrible poverty problem because we lack the means of producing wealth. I have heard politicians say from time to time that we in this country are poor because of the destruction of industrial capital during the War. It. is not true. The right hon. Member for Hendon told us a short time ago that we have more machinery than we know what to do with. That is true. We have more power to create wealth than we ever had before, and, quite apart from the physical destruction which was caused where actual fighting took place, the War left the world richer in the power of production than was ever the case before in the whole of its history. In spite of all this marvellous power, we are confronted with 1,000,000 men for whom can be found no useful or economic employment.

The whole thing is so monstrous that those of us who believe in some change in the industrial system are confirmed in our belief from day to day. I believe that only in so far as we begin to bend our energies and our attention to probing this problem, and trying to find a solution from an entirely different point of view than has been the case before, we are not coming anything like near to solving the problem. I understand that a great number of Members desire to cake part in this Debate, and it is not my intention to prolong it. So far as I am concerned, I care little how this vote goes to-night—very little, indeed. The question as to whether the Labour party remains a Government or not for three months longer or six months longer, leaves me cold. If Members on the Opposition Benches have thought we shrink from fighting the constituencies, they have made a huge mistake. We on these benches are just as much entitled, and a little more entitled, to express dissatisfaction with the smallness of achievement of the Labour Government than anybody else in this House, and I am quite sure I am voicing the opinions of a large number of my colleagues who sit around me when I say that we are not satisfied, that we want to see more done, but we recognise that part of the difficulties of our Government is due to the fact that they dare not propose the schemes they have in view, because they fear that by proposing interference with vested interests, they will rouse the opposition of those below the Gangway who will throw them out of office.


May I point out that no such scheme has yet been produced, and, further, that, as the hon. Member will acknowledge, the only constructive suggestions for interference with vested interests have come from the Liberal party?


I am not saying that that is true of all Members below the Gangway, but I say that the fear exists in the minds of the members of the Government that they will receive such opposition from a section below the Gangway to an extent sufficient to throw them out. We do not mind at all. We think that, if we were thrown out by an incident of that description, 'we should come back here a Government, not only in office, but in power, with a majority in this House. I believe it is only by tackling this question from the Socialist point of view that we shall come to anything like a solution of our difficulties. Science and -invention are doing all that they possibly can, and will ultimately break down the conceptions of industry that have hitherto controlled it. I believe that hon. Gentlemen opposite, who express such fear of the changes which I believe to be imminent in industry, will discover that, whether they like it or not, they will be driven by sheer economic pressure to accept the position that many of us lay down.

We hear expressions of opinion as to how we are going to extend electric power. I am quite content to go on doing all that can be done for electricity, but. I am not prepared to see this mighty power pass into the hands of private and vested interests. If our Government were to propose that all their schemes should be based on private interest and control, I, for one, would oppose them, unemployment or no unemployment. We have to think of the future as well as the present. We are not concerned to see this tremendous power pass permanently into the hands of private and vested interests. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillhead talked about schemes in connection with electricity that were being put forward by private enterprise, but private enterprise has never touched municipal enterprise in matters of that kind. Glasgow Corporation and Manchester Corporation have done more for electrical power in the last three years than all your private companies in England, Scotland and Wales put together. They have done it from the point of view of public control, and it is in that direction that we are proving the supremacy of our type of organisation over the type of organisation advocated by hon. Gentlemen opposite. We stand by that, and we believe that our method alone is ultimately going to get us out of the quagmire in which the present social and industrial organisation has plunged the people, and kept them poor in spite of the mighty power that mankind has had placed at its disposal.

We have this marvellous fact, that, as the power of mankind increases, the poverty of the people remains just about the same. Sir Josiah Stamp, who is often quoted in this House with approval, has recently declared that, from an economic point of view, the classes do not draw together. There is no drawing together at all; the chasm that yawns between rich and poor is as great now as it was 100 years ago, and I declare here that the poverty of the mass of the people of this country, in proportion to the power of production, is deeper and denser now than when the country, from the point of view of modern conceptions, was sunk in a state of penury and poverty. Compare the condition of our country 150 years ago with the condition now. It is no use talking about wealth, capitalism or private enterprise solving problems. It creates more problems than it knows what to do with. As far as we on these hack benches are concerned, we are viewing this vote with equanimity. Appeals to the country do not concern us at all, because we know that ultimately we are coming here, not in a minority but in a majority, and then we shall show what we can do so far as dealing with the problem of unemployment is concerned.

Viscount WOLMER

I listened with great interest to the hon. Member who has just sat down, and I listened particularly to know what he was going to do about it all; but that, so far as I can make out, did not transpire. It was very like the policy of the Government; it ended all in words. I think the hon. Member's very brave words would have carried a little more conviction if he had told us that he was going to do something to enforce the views he has so eloquently expounded upon the Government, which has no policy at all. I am glad, however, to see the hon. Member there, and some of my hon. Friends in the same quarter, because I wish to remind them, if I may, with all civility and courtesy, of some of the things they have said in the past, both in their election addresses and in this House. I know that they are, every one of them, stern, unbending men of principle, and that, whether it is against their own party or against the wicked Tories, it will not make the slightest difference. If they think the right course is not being pursued, they will show it by their votes in the Lobby. In the first place, may I remind the hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood) of this passage in his election address at the last Election: This is the first general election to be fought on the question of unemployment, a problem which will bring down successive Governments until it is solved. I mean to make it the main issue of the contest, and to prove to the electors that the prosperity of the whole community depends upon its speedy settlement. We shall see whether the hon. Member is going to do anything to enforce those views to-night. Then the hon. Member for Dundee, from whose election address I have been supplied with a quotation—


You will not blame that on to the Clyde!

Viscount WOLMER

I have some more quotations from the Clyde. The hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Morel) said: The Labour party's programme of productive schemes of national work on a large scale offers the only alleviation of the immediate problem of unemployment. The Labour party has been persistently urging this, not vaguely, but in considerable detail, for the past four years, just as it has been urging the extension of the school age limit in order to prevent hundreds of thousands of young people from being flung on a stagnant labour market. Not only have the Government failed to produce their schemes, but they have also failed to raise the school age limit, and we shall be interested to see what view the hon. Member for Dundee takes of it in the Division to-night. I see the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) in his place. We know, at any rate, that he is a man of his word, and he certainly will not be deterred by mere party considerations from doing the right thing. This is what he said, I think, in his election address: Practically nothing has been done for this terrible evil which is sapping the very lifeblood of our race. Neither this Government"— that is to say, that of my hon. Friends on these benches— nor the previous one started any drastic reform to help the unemployed. Labour says State undertakings must be begun at once. And then, in this House, on the 21st January of this year: It the Labour party form a Government, and does very little more than past Governments have done to solve the problem, they will deserve the same fate, the same censure, and the same scorn that the other parties deserve from the mass of the people."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st January, 1924: col. 625. Vol. 169.]


Hear, hear.

Viscount WOLMER

I am glad to see the hon. Member is still of the same opinion. No doubt. he will vote accordingly. Then there is the hon. Member for Govan (Mr. Maclean): The question which requires most immediate attention by the Government of this country is the problem of unemployment. The Labour programme of national work includes the improvement of national resources by town planning, housing, land drainage, reclamation and afforestation, dock and harbour schemes, the development of transport by road, rail and canal, and the establishment of a national system of electric, power stations. Not a single one of those schemes has seen the light. We have only had the same vague generalities from the Treasury Bench that we have had from hon. Members at the hustings at election time.


The Noble Lord did not quote my election address. He would have found I said that the most practicable and immediate step I knew of which could be adopted was not really the making of roads, but to restore the wages of the working people that the previous Government had taken off. I want that done as soon as I can.

Viscount WOLMER

No doubt the hon. Member will suggest in the course of the Debate how it can be achieved, and if he does not get a satisfactory answer from the Government he will go into the Lobby with us. One more speech from the hon. Member for Govan at Glasgow on 10th February of this year. If it suits the Liberals' purpose to defeat the Tory Government, and put a Labour Government into office, that surely must not be considered a notice to the Labour Government to be moderate in its proposals, and to throw aside the principles on which its propagandists preached the gospel of discontent, and rallied the multitude around them. It is not a notice that the programme on which we fought the election must be either scrapped or watered down to secure for a year or two Liberal support.


I think I said it must not be taken as a notice to the Labour Government.

Viscount WOLMER

I am much obliged for the correction. I have only a typewritten copy. One more quotation, this time from the Secretary for Mines, who before he got on to that bench, where all just and honest men are contaminated and leave their principles behind—I have been there myself so I know what a very demoralising place it is—said: The Labour party has a positive remedy for unemployment. We have demanded the adoption of national schemes of productive work. These measures could be immediately put into operation. It is quite right to describe this Motion as a Vote of Censure. It is a Vote of Censure on the Government, and the party the Government. represent, for two things, first, for what they promised before they came into office, and, secondly, for what they have failed to do since they came into office. May I say in answer to what fell from the last speaker, that we of the Conservative Party have time and again tried to bring the Socialist party to an issue on this question. We were prevented by Liberal votes last Thursday. I notice, by the way, that the Prime Minister made a special complaint of his difficulty in failing to get the Closure on many occasions. We offered him the Closure last Thursday and he did not accept it. We propose to offer him the Closure again to-night, and I am afraid he will not accept it either. If there is a failure to join issue on this question, it does not come from the Conservative party but from hon. Members below the Gangway, who do not wish to turn this Government out because they are frightened of an Election. They know quite well that three-fourths of the Liberal voters will either vote Conservative or Socialist at the next Election, and this is the last time, in all probability, in which they will be in this House. Everyone knows that, and therefore when we are treated to a speech from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Paisley (Mr. Asquith) who says, "In view of the weighty pronouncement which has been made by the Prime Minister, he has reconsidered the attitude that he would have adopted last Thursday"—that attitude was one of supporting the Government in refusing the Closure" he still intends to assist the Government in staving off a decision on this question," what does the Prime Minister's weighty pronouncement amount to?

In the first place, there was the amazing assertion that of the programme sketched by Sir Montague Barlow last autumn only £250,000 had actually been spent in hard cash. I am very glad the hon. Member for Rushcliffe (Mr. Betierton) has asked for a White Paper, which will state the facts and will show exactly how much of that programme has been carried out. But what did the Prime Minister say in defence of his Government after having made that extraordinarily inaccurate statement about the Conservative party? He said absolutely nothing. He talked in generalisation about afforestation and electrification. We have heard all that sort of stuff before. [Interruption.] The hon. Member may say that, but, at any rate, we have, as the White Paper will show, accomplished certain things, and we can claim, and the White Paper will prove, that the performance that the late Conservative Government accomplished, until its tenure of office was interrupted, was commensurate with the programme that we put before Parliament, and was one of which no political party need be ashamed. We have asked for that White Paper, and we do not fear its publication in the least. The Prime Minister talks about afforestation. He says, "We cannot get on with afforestation until we can nationalise the land" [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] I took down the phrase he used: Afforestation must go with land settlement. Then he complained that he had not got the legislative power to acquire the land. I am not misrepresenting him. But the facts are that the Government has hundreds of thousands of acres in its own possession—Crown lands—w4hich at has not planted, and previous Governments have been carrying out a certain programme. The Prime Minister says in his judgment 30,000 acres a year ought to be planted. The Labour party dame into office in January. The planting season runs from the beginning of February to the end of March. They have just been holding office right through the planting season. If the Labour party really had carefully co-ordinated schemes for afforestation, they would have made some attempt, at any rate, to increase the rate at which afforestation was going on. There is an ample supply of seedling trees in the nurseries very largely to extend the programme of the Forestry Commission—I do not say to go up to 30,000 acres a year at once, but very largely to extend the programme. Therefore this afforestation programme which the Prime Minister trotted out is nothing but an afterthought. It is nothing but a little window-dressing. If the Government. really had prepared plans, such as they led the country to believe, and such as they spoke about in their election addresses and on the Floor of the House when they sat on this side, they would have found it perfectly easy to extend that programme, to increase it, and to speed it up. The same in regard to electrification.

It is all very well to say these things take time, but why did not hon. Members explain that when they were addressing the electorate and criticising the late Government on the Floor of the House? On the contrary, in nearly every one of their speeches the word "immediate" occurred, and the impression they conveyed to a large section of the community was that once the Socialist party came into power work would be found for an enormous amount of the unemployed. I hope that this will make our friends on the other side a little more careful at the next election. I am certain that they do not wish to mislead the people. They will go to their constituencies, I trust, and say, "There is no doubt that we promised that the advent of the Labour party to office would mean an immediate solution of a large part of the unemployment problem, but we have found that it was not quite so easy as we expected. Therefore, we cannot renew the promises we made to you at the last election. We can only promise something much more modest." I sincerely hope that hon. Members will adopt that attitude at the next election.

Hon. Members on this side greatly regret, personally, that we have had to criticise so strongly the Minister of Labour, and to deliver such strong attacks upon him, because I do not think there is a more popular Member on either side of the House than the right hon. Gentleman. It is not his fault, but the fault of his colleagues. He has been put in an intolerable and impossible position. He was not alone in making these promises. They were made by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen who sit round him, and he is saddled with the responsibility. He is charged with the task of giving effect to the promises and is not allowed to do anything by his Prime Minister, or his Chancellor of the Exchequer, or his Cabinet colleagues. In fact, he is put up as an Aunt Sally to be shied at from all quarters of the House.


Is the Noble Lord in order in referring to the Minister of Labour as an Aunt Sally?

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr. Dennis Herbert)

If the Minister of Labour does not raise the point, it is unnecessary for any other hon. Member to do so.

Viscount WOLMER

The responsibility for this position rests upon the Labour party as a whole. Hon. Members opposite have not heard the last of this matter. They have had to admit that they have not been able to produce the schemes which they led a large section of the community to suppose they had ready in the pigeon-holes of the cupboards at Eccleston Square. They have been unable to produce a scheme to solve the unemployment problem, and they take refuge in the statement that the unemployment problem cannot be solved without a complete socialisation or nationalisation of the means of production. distribution and exchange. If hon. Members opposite really believe that, why do not they go to the country on that. issue? [HoN. MEMBERS: "We did!"]


If the Noble Lord who has been so industrious in going into the election addresses of hon. Members on this side had taken the keynote of those addresses, he would have found that in each address it was pointed out that the questions with which they were dealing were only temporary, and that the only solution for the economic problems was Socialism.

Viscount WOLMER

If that is what hon. Members opposite mean, why do not they face the position, instead of being in the intolerable position of bearing the responsibility of office and not being able to carry out the policy which they believe is going to settle the problem? They ought to do what the Conservative party did at the last election. The Conservative party went to the country on the question which they believed to be a solution of the unemployment question. The Conservative party may be right or they may be wrong in their views as to the solution, and hon. Members may think that we are bad electioneers, or that we are bad tacticians, but as a Conservative I do not regret the action that the Conservative party took last year. It is an action which will always be remembered to the honour of the Conservative party. They might have stayed in office three or four years longer, but they preferred to go to the. country, even at the risk of defeat, in order to put before the people a policy which they believed to be right for the country.

Are hon. Members opposite less courageous and less patriotic than the wicked Tory party in their attitude towards the unemployment question? If they really believe that Socialisation is the remedy, they ought to produce their Socialisation policy, introduce it here, challenge the House of Commons on it, and appeal to the country on it. The Prime Minister has his eyes fixed on the foreign horizon—although he diverted his glance to below the Gangway this afternoon—and he is quite content to allow the Minister of Labour to be shied at, and himself to come down occasionally and talk vague generalisations about afforestation and electrification. That is not a contribution towards the unemployment problem. The truth is, and ion. Members opposite know it, that the Labour party is trifling with the unemployment problem and is not acting up to the opinions it expressed when on this side of the House. I cannot help giving expression to my regret as to the way in which these incorruptible apostles of political purity have fallen from grace, and expressing the hope that they may yet see the error of their ways.


The speech to which we have just listened, and the wonderful researches that have been made by the Noble Lord into the electioneering history of hon. Members on these benches, shows that, at any rate, hon. Members opposite are beginning to take notice of that which hitherto, or until quite recently, they did their best to ignore, namely, the growth of a very strong Socialist and Labour movement in this country. The very fact that they have thought it necessary for the purpose of this debate to go into our speeches and do us the honour of reading the statements made in our election addresses, shows that they are now interesting themselves in a particular side of the political life of our country, and I am certain that the more researches they make and the deeper their interest is in these things, the more they will come to appreciate the point of view, not merely of hon. Members on these benches, but of the millions of electors who do us the honour of reading our addresses and listening to our speeches and then come to the conclusion that we are the only individuals who can properly represent them in this House. It. may be that one, day the Noble Lord himself may be constrained to vote for a Labour and Socialist candidate. I hope, therefore, that his researches will continue.

The Noble Lord asked why we do not take our courage in our hands and go to the country on the Socialist issue, It is not we who are seeking to censure the Government; it is his own party. Why should we play the game of the Noble Lord and his party? Why should we make ourselves catspaws for the other side? When we have anything against the leaders of our party, against the members of the Labour Government, we can discuss the matter with them and tell them what we want done in a manner in which the Noble Lord cannot do it. Consequently, we consider ourselves masters in our own house, and no amount of appealing on the part of the Noble Lord will take us across the road to his dilapidated tenement. The Noble Lord also suggested in some degree that we were in the power of hon. Members below the. Gangway, and particularly of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Paisley (Mr. Asquith). I think that the quotation which he read from my speech in Glasgow on 10th February should completely dissipate that idea from his mind. I went further and pointed out that we were going to have no dictation from the Member for Paisley at the very time when he. was saying that unless the Labour Government, once he and his party had put them in office, did what the Liberal party desired them to do they would turn us out just as readily as they did the previous Government, and I said that we should have no dictation from the Member for Paisley or any other Member of the House, and that we were going on our own policy.

My colleagues and I are quite unconcerned as to whether we are defeated to-night or not. I challenge any hon. Member opposite to come and oppose any of the 15 of us who come from the Clyde. We are not concerned with whether Members below the Gangway go into the Lobby with hon. Members opposite. We are quite free and we look to the Division with perfect equanimity. Be the majority for or against us, we are quite unconcerned. We came into this House after fighting elections in our constituencies for a total of £100 or £110. It does not cost us much to fight an election because of the devotion and self-sacrifice of the thousands who work to send us here. Hon. Members opposite cannot get that because they have to pay for everything that is done for them, while those who work for us do not expect payment. The right hon. Member for Hillhead (Sir R. Horne) in that great speech which he delivered to-day criticising the Labour Government for its lack of performance according to its pledges, reminded me of the individual who had a lapse of memory and consequently could not remember his past. The right hon. Gentleman spoke to-day as a man who had no political past and as if his political knowledge had commenced with the advent of a Labour Government in this country.

I can remember when the right hon. Gentleman stood at that Box as Minister of Labour, in the same position as the right hon. Member who is now being made the Aunt Sally of the Noble Lord and his Friends, and he had to expound a labour policy on behalf of the Coalition Government, and the right hon. Gentleman and those who sit beside him, and hon. Members below the Gangway, cheered wildly the statements which he was making. The Noble Lord was one of the supporters of the Government. He sat on these benches for the first two years of the Coalition Government, and then he went over to the other side with the die-hards. The programme of the Noble Lord, which he supported in those days, and the programme of the right hon. Member for 11 illhead, who was Minister of Labour, was. the following: A national maximum—not in one trade, but a national maximum 48-hour working week. Have we got that? Who has broken a pledge in that You have had four years in which to bring it in. We have had four months. The Noble Lord sat with them.

Viscount WOLMER

I never gave the Coalition Government any support. I may have sat over here for a short time, but not for two years. But the support that I gave to the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) was very soon dissipated. Very few Members of this House were more sedulously opposed to him than that section of the Conservative party of which I was a member.


I understand that the noble Lord received the coupon in 1918.

Viscount WOLMER

I declined it.


At any rate, you admit that you supported the Coalition Government, when it came in, without the coupon. You wore a free lance; you could go where you chose.

Viscount WOLMER



Well, you chose to give them your support.

Viscount WOLMER



I must ask the hon. Member to address the Chair.


The Leader of the Opposition was then a Minister in the Coalition Government, and he supported the programme, sitting behind the then Prime Minister, while he was declaring his policy, and sitting behind the Minister of Labour the right hon. Member for Hillhead when he was declaring the Government policy. These are the points of the programme. A living wage for all workers, and they reduced the wages of the workers by £700,000,000 a year during the last three years. Workers to have (a) a voice in the working conditions, (b) a financial interest in their work, (c) provision for unemployment. Whitley Councils to be developed. Healthy houses and expeditious transport. Coal mines, State purchase of mineral rights, a levy on purchase price for social amelioration of miners, miners to help shape conditions of industry, reorganisation and economical management of mines. Labour representation on controlling boards of mining areas. A free career to talent throughout the industry.

A Committee on output to be set up immediately."

Then there was trade policy: Free imports with certain exceptions, not specified. No Government support of foreign exchanges except to prevent complete collapse.

No dumping of foreign goods for sale at sweated prices.

Power to prevent any flood of imports competing unfairly with British goods through a collapse of exchange in the country of origin.

No undue profits at the expense of the community to be made by reason of protection of unstable key industries."

There is a host more, but that is quite sufficient for the moment.


What is the document from which the hon. Member is quoting?


It is the future as described or edited by the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs when Prime Minister.

Captain EDEN

What is the connection between that document and Members on these benches?


The ex-Prime Minister and present Leader of the Opposition sat beside the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs for four years. He was a Cabinet Minister in the Coalition Government. You talk of broken pledges. There they are. The right hon. Member for Hillhead (Sir E. Horne), the Noble Lord the Member for Aldershot (Viscount Wolmer) and others on the benches opposite have the deliberate audacity to come before this House as critics to-night. They sat for four years supporting a programme of that kind. Having broken every one of their pledges they have the audacity to challenge a Labour Government for not doing in four months what they failed to do in four years. It is hypocrisy. The right hon. Member for Hillhead said, "Where is the political hypocrisy?" Hon. Members opposite know perfectly well for what they were supposed to stand. The same Government came in on a policy of housing. No Member of the House to-day who was in the House at that time objected to any statement that the Leader of that Government made, but backed him solidly with votes until the last year of the Coalition, when a number broke away and became the Diehard group, which pulled the Coalition Government down and brought in the Conservative Government. But at the time to which I am referring, when some hon. Members Who are here to-night were backing the then Prime Minister, he told the House, in speaking of housing, "We have played with it; we have toyed with it for 50 or 60 years." The "we" referred to the Tories and the Liberals Who then made up the Coalition. Now you come and talk about the four months that the Labour Government have been in office. You condemn the present Government for not redeeming all Labour's pledges in four months, and you say that we deserve to be turned out. Well, turn us out to-night! There are more men on the Opposition side than on this who are afraid of an anti-Government victory to-night. There are men opposite who are shivering lest the Government should be defeated. The Noble Lady who represents the Sutton Division (Viscountess Astor) said she was shivering to-day, and there are many probably who are inn a worse state than the Noble Lady.


Not at all.


I say one thing to the hon. Member who interrupts—"Come down to Govan, and I will show you what a scare means. Come clown and oppose me."


When I have a few moments to spare I will.

9.0 P.M.


There are many other matters that I could have quoted from this book, but hon. Members who have been through the last three or four Parliaments know the book pretty well. It is the "War Magazine," with speeches by the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs, who was then Prime Minister, by the late Mr. Bonar Law, who was later Prime Minister, by Lord Long, and by 101 other men who were all behind the "little Welsh Wizard" at that time, and they were all outlining a wonderful and glorious programme for the future of this country. There were to be homes for heroes, pensions for soldiers, land for ex-service men. We were to have slums swept out of existence. There were to be new conditions established in this country, which was to be a wonderful nation. We were all set upon the highest purpose and with the highest ideals that any individual could suggest. We were going to make this country the most wonderful nation in the world. And here we are to-day, after four years of Coalition Government, after one year of Tory Government, still with over 1,000,000 unemployed.

Captain Viscount CURZON

Do not forget six months of Labour Government.


No, less than five months. Six months is the time for which the Noble Lord's licence was endorsed, and that is what he has in mind. We have been little more than four months in office. The pledges that hon. Members opposite gave in 1918, and the programme which they outlined, have been smashed into fragments. They have carried out no part of it. They have cheated the public out of the things that were promised to them. The Labour Government has not a majority in this House, but the Coalition Government had the greatest political majority known in this Chamber during the past 50 years. They could have done everything that they wanted to do and everything that they promised. There was no section or party in the House that could have prevented those things being done. All that they lacked was the will to put those things upon the Statute Book. It conies with a very ill grace from Members on the opposite side to seek to saddle Members upon this side and Members on the Front Bench with the responsibility for all the muck and mess and political filth that has been left behind by the patty now sitting opposite. We do not always agree with our Front Bench, and that is where we differ from Members opposite. We do not blindly follow our leaders into the Lobby because they are our leaders. If we follow them it is because we believe they are acting properly and doing right. We have our grievances against our Front Bench for not proceeding as fitly as we desire an various questions, but we are not going to lend ourselves to the political tricks of men who threw up office but are now watering at the teeth to get back into office—some of them—while others are frightened lest there should be an election while they have not a chance of being included in a Tory Cabinet. They need have no fear. Even though there should be a defeat of the Labour Government and an election next week, there will not be a Tery Government in this country for the next 50 years. I am putting it at 50 years because that is about as long as I expect to live, and what comes after I am gone will be no concern of mine.


After you, the deluge!


The hon. Member's party will be in the deluge. I submit to our leaders, to the hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Bench, that there are many of us on the back benches who are going with them into the Lobby tonight because we will not be parties to what is being attempted by hon. Members opposite. We are going into the Lobby to support them and we will fight for them loyally against the attacks of those who have no right to criticise and no right to attack a Labour Government. But we on these benches want to lay it down clearly, distinctly and emphatically that they must get a move on. We represent people who are in misery, and those people, on reading the newspapers, cannot but have their regrets, cannot but feel that something is lacking, when they find that oar Ministers have not time to explore avenues and sort out schemes for dealing with unemployment, cannot devote time to working oat methods whereby some of the hardships of working-class life might be ameliorated, but have plenty of time to go to flunkey banquets in full dress. I say frankly to hon. Members on the front bench that Labour supporters in the country are growing restive under these things, and sooner or later there will have to be a stop to these functions, and the Labour Government will have to deliver the goods which they promised to the people.

Captain F. GUEST

I am anxious, as a member of the Liberal party who is unable to-night to follow what I take to be the guidance of the Leader of that party, to give some reasons for my attitude. I have followed Debates of this kind very closely, and it is not necessary to go back further than last Thursday to see that those of us who voted for the Closure on that occasion should follow up that action to-night by a logical vote and vote against the Government. It is true there were only 15 or 16 of us, but I hope that those of us who, on that occasion, voted in favour of the Closure will give the logical vote and the corollary vote to that and vote against the Government. I have no intention of wasting the time of the Committee by going over a great deal of the material which has been discussed to-night. I condense it all into one sentence. I am not satisfied that the promises by which votes were obtained by the Labour party at the General Election have been translated into action in the five months they have been in occupation of those benches. I have heard to-night the ineffectiveness of their proposals described by the Leader of the Liberal party, who says they are practically worthless paper schemes. I support that view so strongly that I propose to register my vote in disapproval of this waste of time.

At the end of the Debate on Thursday night a challenge was thrown across the Floor of the House by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour. I am glad that one party in the House has shown sufficient courage to take up that challenge, and that to-night it has been taken up by the Conservative party. My only regret is that it has not been taken up with equal activity and strength by the Liberal party. It may be said that a great mistake was made by many of us in putting the Labour party into office, but it is no good going back over ancient history. Some of us wished to register an Opinion against the Socialist party as well as against the Conservative party, but the machinery of Parliament did not enable us to do so. That was a vote that I shall regret to my dying day, but as far as I am concerned, I propose to remedy any harm I may have done by a steady opposition to the Labour party as long as it remains on those benches. It may he impertinent on my part to address any remarks to the Liberal party, because I am not quite certain what it is going to do. I do not think the Members themselves are quite certain. I have an idea a good many of them will abstain. I do not understand what they are sent to Parliament for if they abstain, and I think it better to vote definitely one way or the other.


They tell me they have decided to expel you.

Captain GUEST

I feel it will not be regarded as an impertinence, however, if I address a word of warning to the Liberal party. It may be said I have no right to do so, but I think as a member of the party that I have. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] I have the honour to represent a Liberal division and I have the nomination of a Liberal Association, and as such I have as much right to speak on this subject as any member of the Socialist party, and if the hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood) stays in the House much longer he will appreciate the truth of that remark. My friendly warning to the Liberal party is that it is in grave danger of disintegration To start with, it acted on principle and I take off my hat to anyone who acts on conscientious principle. It felt that its first duty was to put the Conservative party out of power. Since then, however, the policy of the Liberal party has come down merely to a question of tactics, and the next stage after tactics is drift, and drift invariably brings about public contempt—the one thing which a party should be very careful to avoid. I have listened to a great many speeches by leaders of the Liberal party of the first class and the second class, and I cannot understand how; after those speeches, they can have any doubt in their minds as to which way they should vote to-night, if it were not for one thing, and that is fear of the challenge which was issued by the Prime Minister across the Floor of the House. I do not believe any party can retain its strength or any good cause can gain by being afraid of facing an issue.

Nobody wants a General Election. I do not suppose that any of the three parties want it, but if political events force us to an issue of such a character, the party that is bravest in a matter of this kind is the party which, in my opinion, will command the public support of the millions outside. If I had any doubt at all as to the wisdom of recording a vote to-night against the Labour Government, it has all been removed by some remarks dropped by the Prime Minister in the course of his speech this afternoon. He admitted on the Floor of the House only three or four hours ago that until the Socialist party obtained the power to introduce their full programme, he did not pretend that he had any cure for this evil of unemployment. Therefore, I say, why should we, the so-called constitutional parties in the House, allow them time during which they will increase their power and prestige and strength? I suggest that there is a way in which the constitutional parties can quite easily get out of this tangle. [An HON. MEMBER: "Constitutional parties?"] By constitutional parties, I mean those which are opposed to the Socialist programme, which, when you get down to bedrock, is neither more nor less than capital levy and nationalisation. The Liberal party do not believe in it, the Conservative party do not believe in it, and I for the moment call them the two constitutional parties in the State.

I submit that the proper course is, for those who are prepared to put the interests of their country first and the interests of their party second, to join together before it is too late and take common action against the common foe. If we allow the Socialist party to choose their own moment—and it is child's play for anybody who has been brought up in the Whip's Office to know exactly what they want to do—to choose a moment when it is difficult for what I may call the richer classes to oppose some important item in their programme—and the vote-catching illustrations of the last few months are quite enough for anybody to know what their game is—if we do that, if we allow them to choose their own moment to go to the country on some such issue or set of issues, it seems to me that there is a grave risk that they may be returned with an independent majority.


"The fear of the Lord came upon them."

Captain GUEST

I think we should look this matter in the face while there is still plenty of time, and it can be done by appreciating this fact: To experiment in Socialism is, at any rate, dangerous for a country like England, depending, as it does, perhaps even more upon confidence and credit than any other country of a similar size. Even a very little experiment, if tried, would, I am confident, not only not relieve unemployment, but would add to it five-fold, and you would find the condition of the working classes worse than it is to-day. Therefore, I think it is up to us, if we have the courage and if we have the patriotism—those who believe alike in this matter—to take common action, to resist this gamble, and to do what we can for the millions, instead of the small section of the public, less than 4,250,000, which they represent.


The right hon. and gallant Member for Stroud (Captain Guest) has delivered a speech characterised by great sincerity and courage, and I believe that he will have the respect of the majority of hon. Members in this House, even though they may not agree with him. We were entertained just now by an interesting speech from the hon. Member for Govan (Mr. Maclean). The burden of his argument, if I understood him aright, was that this first Labour Government was not so very much worse than the Coalition Government, and I think perhaps he represents public opinion on that subject. In his closing remarks, he said that unless this Government got a move on, they might not have his support and those of his friends very much longer. I listened to the speech of the Prime Minister, and I have been wondering what the right hon. Member for Paisley (Mr. Asquith) found in it to make him change what I understood was probably the attitude of the Liberal party. He had the usual denunciation of the motives which prompt the Opposition, he had the usual declamation, "Thank God, I am not as other parties are," and the usual cry that, while everybody else was clearly out for party advantage, he was out to help the unemployed. Besides that, we were told that, in his opinion, Scotland and Wales were first-rate countries in which to start electricity schemes, and we were told, in an eloquent passage which I will not attempt to quote, that trees—I took them to be trees—were very lovely things on the hills of Scotland, But they were all the constructive suggestions which were made. There was no scheme for afforestation, there was no scheme for electrification, all that there was was that it would be an excellent thing to try some of these schemes, and if the right hon. Member for Paisley and his party are satisfied with that, they are welcome to it.

We have heard a lot about the difference between the promises of this Government and their performance, and I think the case has been proved sufficiently, at any rate, so far as the masses of the people are concerned, that this Government can make wonderful election promises, but ii finds that it cannot carry them out. That does not relieve the House of Commons from looking at this question, not from a party point of view, but trying to look at the vital importance of this problem of unemployment and how big it is. It is obvious, from the declaration of the Minister of Labour on the Unemployment Insurance Bill, that the Government regard this great volume of unemployment more or less as permanent, and it is, therefore, necessary to see what they are doing in their general policy to try and reduce this great volume of unemployment. The first plank seems to be the development of Russia. As I represent the Port of Hull, I am all for the development of trade with Russia: the more the better. But if it is going to do such a tremendous amount, why are not the Government prepared to guarantee a loan to Russia? Then we hear that owing to the new atmosphere which has come over the Foreign Office since the Prime Minister went there, very soon there will be a settlement in Europe. I hope very much that will be the case. It would mean that, with luck, we are going to have some of the old markets which we had before the, War, ready again to take our goods. That would be an excellent thing. But surely we have got 1,000,000 mere men to provide with work in this country than we had before the War. It is, therefore, no use merely restoring old markets. We want fresh markets. I regret that in this Debate, so far as I have heard it, there has been practically no mention of any development of trade within the Empire. I regard unemployment and the development of trade within the Empire as two things indissolubly hound up. We are often told that talk about Empire trade is only the chatter of Imperialists. To me, it is bread and butter to the people of this country. I do hope hon. Members opposite—who, so far, have not shown a very great interest in this subject—now that they have formed a Labour Commonwealth group in their party, will begin to look at this subject with a view to trying to help unemployment here. We have learned in this Parliament to pay no attention to the speeches which the Prime Minister or other Members of the present Government make before an election; but the speech of the Prime Minister this afternoon has taught me one other thing. I refer to his travesty of figures of what the last Government provided for unemployment. He said that only £250,000 had been spent. My hon. Friend, the late Under-Secretary to the Ministry of Labour, was able to show that was a travesty, and to nail—I say it deliberately—that lie down. [HON. MEMBERS: "Withdraw!"]


Is it in order for an hon. Member to characterise the statement of a responsible officer of the Ministry as a lie?


If the hon. Gentleman meant to indicate that the right hon. Gentleman was telling a lie, it was distinctly out of order.


If it is out of order, I unreservedly withdraw it. It was an extraordinarily inaccurate statement for the first Minister of the Crown to make.

Brigadier-General Sir H. CROFT

It was a terminological exactitude.


It leads me to take all I hear from the present Government Front Bench with a considerable grain of salt. I understand this Vote is now a- foregone conclusion. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] That is, unless the remarks of the last speaker have been able to overcome that fact. This problem may, in a sense, have been the downfall of the last Government. Unless it is grappled with on broad lines, and unless every factor, not only Russia, but the whole Empire, is brought into the purview of the Minister of Labour in his efforts to deal with it, this grave problem will continue to break Governments.


I want for a few minutes to speak, as representing some local authorities, with special reference to a deputation of the Municipal Corporations Association to the Minister of Health and Minister of Labour early this week. Four representatives of local authorities got up one after the other, representing important towns, and said, almost in the same words, "We are getting to the end of our tether. We cannot keep the work going. We cannot keep these men employed unless you give us increased grants," and they asked particularly that grants for main roads should be increased from 50 to 75 per cent. We are very glad indeed to hear from the Prime Minister to-day that he is going to give us not merely 75 per cent. but 100 per cent. for main roads. There is one point which needs safeguarding. We in Manchester would prefer to keep the management of our own road work. I do not know whether the Government intend to pay the whole of the cost, and leave the road making to the local authorities. But we do feel that the work ought to be done by the local authorities, and a great many of them would prefer to pay a portion of the cost themselves to having the Govern- ment coming into their areas, and doing the work for them. In any case, we take the action of the Government as a sign that they are prepared to give us early and substantial help in this matter. We are glad to welcome this because the deputation was received rather frigidly on Tuesday, and we were not led to expect what we have heard to-night.

I am glad this Debate has had the effect of accelerating the action of the Government on behalf of unemployment. The Prime Minister said he was not going to bring chaos into the whole conflicting question of local and national finances, and that he was not going to encourage ramshackle doles. We are not going to ask for that. Governments have been a little timid. We simply ask for a reasonable increase in the grants which are already being made for work such as this work on main roads, which, from the point of view of unemployment, is, admittedly, national work. We are not representing only distressed areas such as Middlesbrough and other places, but, as a matter of mere justice, we say this is a national work, and the Minister of Labour himself has said that he regards it as such. Therefore we say that the grants at present being made are totally inadequate. The average grant paid to the local authorities of great cities all over the country by the Government for this kind of work is under one-third. Two-thirds of the cost fall on the rates. The rates have got to such a high point that they really cannot stand any more, and, therefore, an immediate increase is needed. We are very glad to have this increase on the main road grants, but there are other things where an increase might also be given. The Minister told us we had not made out a very good case in the matter of suggesting work which will be really remunerative from an industrial point of view, excepting perhaps work on the main roads.

May I suggest one thing which would be remunerative? A great deal of work has been done in many towns in the way of laying down tennis courts and howling greens. We have in Manchester received a grant of about one-third of the cost of this work, and we have laid out 200 hard tennis courts and 20 bowling greens. The result is that many thousands of people are getting games which they would never have got but for this unemployment problem. A great deal more could be done in that direction if the local authorities were given a more substantial grant. It may not give a direct industrial return, but there will he a return in the increased health, happiness and well-being of the people who get decent games, and fresh air and healthy conditions. If the Government would give a grant of two-thirds of the cost of the work instead of one-third, I believe in the course of a year or two it would do a great deal to revolutionise conditions in our great cities and to relieve unemployment at the same time. It would enable a very large number of playing fields to be fitted out, and that would be a permanent achievement of value to the people of this country. There are other things which could be undertaken without any danger of introducing chaos in local finances. All we ask is that we should have a grant of two-thirds instead of one-third of the cost as at present.


I have sat here to-day wondering how many hon. Members are prepared to give suggestions to the Government for dealing with this great problem of unemployment. As a new Member of this House, may I say that I very much regret this question has been made a matter of party politics. Hon. Members have spoken as if the object was simply to provide party and political capital. It is a very serious subject. If a man is out of a job it is not because he is a Liberal or a Tory or a Socialist, but it is largely because of the blundering policy of statesmen since the War terminated. So serious is this that in the city in which I live—Manchester—this week-end great unemployed demonstrations are to take place. Some one has said that hungry men are apt to become angry men, and unless we are prepared to deal with this question otherwise than-on party lines I am afraid there is likely to be trouble.

One of the most interesting speeches I have listened to was that delivered by the right hon. and gallant Member for Stroud (Captain Guest). It is pleasing indeed to see anybody thus finding his spiritual home. But what amazed me about that speech was the alarm it expressed at the growth of the Labour party. Let me remind the right hon. Gentleman that you cannot engage the population in a great war, you cannot call upon young men and women to make tremendous sacrifices on behalf of their country without their learning something, and the one thing they have learned as a result of their recent experience is not to pin their faith or their social salvation to the old constitutional parties. I use the term. "constitutional" in the sense in which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Stroud used it. I deny, however, that the Conservative or the Liberal parties are the only constitutional parties. If this party has done nothing else, it has shown in the four months it has been in office that it has as deep a regard for the constitution of the country as any party which preceded it.

This subject has been discussed today as if it were an almost new problem. It is a very old one. In pre-War days almost always 5 per cent. of the working classes were unemployed—at least 5 per cent. and those unemployed were always used by employers to keep down the wages of the men at work. In those pre-War days men knew what it was to tramp the streets in search of a job. There is nothing worse in our social system than the life of a man, with a wife and family, walking the streets and asking for work which he cannot find. But still in those days there was some chance at least of finding work. It was possible for a man in search of work to get it some time or other. It is not so to-day. Why is this great difference between the unemployed problem of 1913 and of today? It is due to the attitude of our statesmen. Had it not been for the trade unions, there would have been more unemployment, and the present situation is due I claim to the blundering statesmanship and weak policy of the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), of the late Mr. Bonar Law and of the right hon. Member for Bewdley (Mr. Baldwin). Had Mr. Churchill not spent the taxpayers' money in assisting to fight the Russian Government, we should not have been faced to-day with negotiations with Russia for the establishment of trade relations between that country and this. When we took office four months ago there was a good deal of talk about confidence and credit. I assert that the confidence and credit of this country is better to-day than at any time since the War. When we took office four months ago we were in the position very largely of an applicant for the key of a house. That house was No. 10, Downing Street. After 30 years' agitation we have secured that key. It was very unwillingly surrendered. When we took the place over we discovered a foundling on the threshold left there by the right hon. Member for Bewdley, who said in his speech on the 15th January, that so far as he and his party were concerned there would be no fractious criticism from them and that in any matter where they could get unity in the House whether in regard to agriculture or unemployment they would certainly not be behindhand in putting something into the common stock for the advantage of the country. That speech ought to have been read by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillhead (Sir R. Horne) before he opened out this afternoon. It appears to me that if we could just get that spirit we might do a great deal for the solution of this unemployed problem.

I happen to be a member of a municipality. That municipality deals with the problem of unemployment and general administrative problems. We do not deal with these subjects in the spirit I find in this House. I should like to see a Committee of all parties formed. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] If for the benefit of the unemployed, why not? Every section of this House professes sympathy with the unemployed, and I see no reason why men of good will, instead of indulging in this fractious criticism, should not combine to do the best they can and to cooperate for the purpose of finding a solution to this great problem. [An HON. MEMBER: "They cannot (do it!"] They cannot do it. But it appears to me if these things can be done by the local authorities, they can easily he clone in the House of Commons. I see no reason why it should not be so.

We have been told to-night that if this Vote is carried we shall have to go to the country. Personally I think the sooner we go to the country the better. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite do not know the feeling of the country at the moment. I move about to a large extent in commercial circles. [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!"] Hon. Members opposite may think that sounds strange, but we have a certain amount of business ability on this side of the House. Hon. Members opposite would be amazed if only they knew what the business ability was on this side of the House! Hon. Members ought to know the good effect that the administration of only four months has had upon the commercial community of great Britain. We have won thousands of converts among the commercial men in this country. We have made a tremendous effect upon the country. We might as well say it because nobody opposite will do so. Take the result of the, last election but one. [An HON. MEMBER: "Take the last."]


That was a vote for the Communists.


That is true, that is just what it was.


I know Liverpool. I once fought a contest there. It is the hotbed of Conservatism. If the Labour party can go to Liverpool and do what we have done there and send one Member to the House of Commons, God knows what we will do if you send us to the country. Personally, I am convinced that if we go to the country, if you turn us out, the people of the country will turn us in. They will send us back again with a working majority. It must be an unbearable position for the Prime Minister and the Government to be in to receive from the Opposition, one nag from below the Gangway, and another from opposite, to receive condemnation for each in turn, and to have to endure the sniping that has taken place during the four months they have been in office. One thing is certain. It is almost impossible for any Prime Minister to introduce definite plans when he is not certain of the situation from one week to another. It is impossible for the Minister of Labour or anyone else to come to this House with certain plans when they cannot get the co-operation of the other parties to the fullest possible extent. I have seen what goes on. I have been in the Lobby with Liberals and I have been in the Lobby with Tories.


Which do you like best?


We will leave that point. As a matter of fact, if we go to the country it is almost certain that the people will see, and know, that hon. Gentlemen opposite are merely using an occasion of this kind for the purpose of making political capital. [HON. MEMBERS: "What are you doing?" As a matter of fact, I am educating you! We are charged with not having produced a definite scheme for the solution of this great social problem four months after taking office. I came to this House as a consequence of the complete failure of a recent Minister of Labour—I refer to Sir Montague Barlow—to do anything for the unemployed. I came here as a protest, and, if I may say so, a very good protest. Hon. Members connected with the Opposition have each had their turn. They have had their turn at this and other problems since the War. They had their turn before the War. We are having our turn now. The difference is that in the case of hon. Members opposite and below the Gangway they had great majorities to hack them up. We have no majority, and we Dave to depend on the divisions between hon. Members opposite and hon. Members below the Gangway. Our task is extremely difficult, but we are doing the hest we can, and hon. Members opposite in those limited conditions and circumstances could not have done any better.

When the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bewdley (Mr. Baldwin) was in office the unemployed used to tell a story of an unemployed worker travelling from Glasgow to the Cheetham Hill district in Manchester where the Jews reside. It took him three weeks to do the journey, and when he got there he sang at the corner of the street for coppers. He sang for two hours all kinds of Scottish songs, and then he passed his hat round, which naturally was returned empty. He then looked into his hat and said—[An HON. MEMBER: "Rabbits."] "Having scrutinised your faces very carefully, I now regard myself as lucky to get my hat back." I think we are lucky to get the hat back to-night, but we are doing our best, and the country knows that to such an extent that if for mere party politics to-night you turn the Government out, the electors will see to it that we are sent back with a working majority.


I am sure the Committee has listened with great pleasure to the speech of the hon. Member for South Salford (Mr. Toole). I only wish it were possible for me, in the short time at my disposal, to go at greater length into the subjects which he raised. I will, however, content myself by saying that I think the cloak of innocence worn by the hon. Member's leader would rest with much better grace on his shoulders. I think it lies somewhat curiously in the mouth of the hon. Member for South Salford to charge us with making a partisan attack when he himself began by imputing the whole of our present evils in regard to unemployment to the work of myself, the late Mr. Bonar Law, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George). If the hon. Gentleman had been a Member of the last Parliament, he would have remembered some very vigorous assaults on the Government then in power on similar Votes to this. I think he would have played his part as a man in those discussions and in the Division, and I think the last thing that would have entered his mind would have been that he was taking part in a partisan Division.

10.0 P.M.

This has been a most interesting Debate. This month of May has been one of the most changeable in weather that I ever remember, but I do not think that there (could have been any more remarkable changes of temperature than those I have observed on the benches below the Gangway last Thursday and to-day. Last Thursday the thermometer on those Benches stood at freezing point, but to-day it has warmed up to temperate. I imagine that the decision to keep the Labour Government in office for a further period is dictated possibly by the desire to complete -the whirlwind campaign of which we have heard so much, when through every loud speaker in the country the electors will be urged to throw out of power the very Government which the Liberal party are voting to-night to keep in office. I gathered so much from the Leader of the Liberal party to-night, and while I cannot compete with what he called the copious and variegated vocabulary of his colleagues, or the chiselled sentences and phrases of himself, I will do my best to justify the vote we are going to give to-night.

I propose, in the first place, to make a few observations upon the speech of the Prime Minister. It is a tribute to the importance of this Debate that we no longer have the Minister of Labour in charge, but we have brought down to the rescue the Prime Minister and the Lord Privy Seal. I am rather afraid to enter into any Biblical similes to-night, because there has been a dispute between two distinguished Scotsmen on this subject and because the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillhead (Sir R. Horne) was corrected by the Prime Minister in some references he had made. I will not attempt to compete with them, but I will confine myself to observing that however much I may be tempted to break any of the first Nine Commandments I shall not be led to break the Tenth Commandment, which forbids me under all circumstances to covet my neighbour's oxen. I cannot help wondering how the Minister of Labour himself is feeling at this moment. The words occur to me Achilles ponders in his tent. The Kings of modern thought are dumb. The Prime Minister has improved on the statement he made last week, and I think we may find in his speech two reasons why nothing has yet been done: an asseveration concerning his own innocence and inexperience, and a certain number of platitudes. I say this in no offensive sense, because I am myself a master of platitudes, and a platitude is simply a truth repeated until people get tired of hearing it. The same treatment is often meted out to the makers of platitudes, I might call them platitudinarians. It was meted out to Aristides for the reason that people got tired of him being called "The Just." I cannot, however, allow to pass unchallenged the claim of the Prime Minister to a double dose of innocence and inexperience. Nobody has greater respect than I have for the Prime Minister, but I have never associated him with innocence. Nor can I imagine that when Blake wrote his "Songs of Innocence" he had in his mind as his prototype the present Prime Minister. Nor can I believe when he said, Little lamb, who made thee? he was thinking about the sheepfold in Eccleston Square. Nor will the plea of inexperience do. The Prime Minister claimed that it was the inexperience of Ministers that made them sign a certain manifesto, of which we have heard a great deal, but he forgot for the moment that two of those signatories had already held high office—one of them was a Mem- ber of the War Cabinet—and I am quite sure that there is little that either of them has to learn that experience can teach.

The Prime Minister said we had brought this Debate on for partisan purposes. Well, was it for partisan purposes that he used to bring Debates on He suggested that we were doing it to better our future. I do not quite know what he meant by that. He could not have meant financially, for I have found myself a considerably poorer man by taking part in politics. Could he have meant that leaving out the financial side, it was better to be in high office than not to be? I do not think anyone who has been in high office would assent to that doctrine for a moment. Let those who have held high office answer him. His comparison, with which he made so much play, of the present unemployment with past periods of unemployment was misleading for this reason. In comparing figures of unemployment, you must have regard to the period of depression and to the capacity for recovery in trade. We are passing through a longer period at present than we have done in the past, and there are few who would say that there are signs yet of such recovery as can indicate in the near future a period of normality.

Is there no novel feature in the unemployment to-day compared with the unemployment before the War? That is a question on which those at the Ministry of Labour and Board of Trade must satisfy themselves before they are in a position to decide what is the best means by which they can combat unemployment. It is quite true that the settlement of Europe roust play a part of the first importance in the rehabilitation of our trade, but will that be sufficient? It was pointed out by one of my hon. Friends that the number of unemployed with which we have to deal to-day is proportionately far larger than the increase in our population, and we want something more than the rehabilitation of Europe. Are the Government really sanguine that any one of the measures of which we have heard to-day is going to prove a "positive remedy for unemployment" I could not help remembering, while the Prime Minister was speaking, and while he was holding out hopes of providing more employment, that only within this last fortnight, when the Financial Resolution on the Unemployment Insurance Bill came before this House, the Government had budgeted for an unemployment figure of 1,000,000 for this year, for next year, and for the year after, thus showing that, whatever they may say as to their hopes of the result of any measures they may bring forward, their belief is as conveyed in the projected legislation, that they cannot hope within the next two years to see any substantial and permanent reduction, and that, therefore, they are as far off to-day as they have been since they came into office from providing that "positive remedy" of which we have heard so much.

One of our complaints is that there is nothing new in any of the proposals of the Government, in spite of the promises made at the Election, and though there may be differences of opinion as to the pace at which this or that policy has been carried out, the fact remains that the Government, are merely carrying out what has been the policy of the last three. Governments, and have added nothing to it. Did the Government consider for a moment the question of unemployment when they proposed to abolish the McKenna Duties? My own belief is that those duties were abolished from a desire to make an offering on the altar of Free Trade, and without any regard to their effect. I am the more ready to believe that when I have in mind the speech made in defence of the course taken by the Government by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who gave no reasons connected with unemployment. He merely treated us to those acidulated asperities with which we are familiar, and with silky innuendoes against employers. He offered no reason as to whether or not those duties would lessen or increase employment. The result was that, having made that offering on that particular altar, his decision was received with enthusiasm by the disciples behind him, by the disciples below the Gangway, and, as I heard in correspondence only yesterday, by the Association of Automobile Sellers in the United States of America. Have the Government considered the possibilities of Empire trade, and the possibilities of how that trade may be affected if any of the existing preferences on our manufactures are withdrawn? I think that is a relevant point, and one on which, I am sure, the House, at any rate when the Preference Debate takes place, will be glad to have information. Whatever course they may be going to take, whatever view they may hold, they must have come to that decision by some process of reasoned argument, and the House will be interested to hear it.

One other question. There is no more tragic sight in this country to-day than the amount of unemployment amongst young people. That is a question which I know the Minister of Labour has near his heart, as every Minister of Labour must have. But has he considered the possibility of extending considerably the work which our Government began—the work of fitting young people for life in the Dominions, where there is more room, and helping them to a profession and a start where prospects are better and where markets have more hope of development than in an older and more industralised country like our own? Is there no hope of helping these young people in that way? Has the Minister examined that question, and, if he considers that nothing can he done, can he tell the House why? After all, we cannot wait for what I have heard alleged in some quarters as a positive remedy, that is to say, for the creation of the Socialist State; because, although there are speakers on the other side who take refuge in saying that their remedies would not take effect until those halcyon days arrive, yet there is no one on those benches who believes that the Socialist State—whatever may be meant by that term—is a thing that can be introduced in the whole plenitude of its integrity within a period of two or three years.

I do not know whether we are expected to wait till then, but if we are, there is nothing new in a Socialist State. It must have been WO years before the Christian Era that they had a Socialist State in China. It was founded by a great philosopher, whose name remains to this day; and he was so disgust ed by finding that—owing, I suppose, to our frail and fallen human nature—the results of that State falsified his hopes, that he disappeared with its fall, leaving behind him one proverb which I think deserves to be remembered, that, as the result of his State, The poor became poorer, with a poverty that war perfect. From time to time in human history we have seen that repeated, and we can see it being repeated under our eyes to-day in Russia. It is not there that the positive remedy which this country will support can be found, nor is it in that direction that any positive remedies that may be put forward by the Front Bench of the present Government can be found or sought for. It can be no remedy for the present discontent. But our chief object to-night is to challenge the Government on this Vote, for not having attempted to fulfil one of the most definite and clear promises that was ever given to the electorate at the time of an Election. I would remind hon. Members opposite that, long before many of them entered politics—and I will deal with nothing in which any living Member of this House took a prominent part—there was an election won by a cry which combined in mystic union three acres and one cow; and I would remind the House that, as none of these things materialised, the party that obtained a majority on that cry was out of office for the better part of 20 years. I just mention that by way of warning. I know perfectly well, none better, how easy it is in the excitement of an election to give promises which are difficult to fulfil. I know perfectly well, and I think everyone in politics must recognise, how tempting to many people is the avidity of the electorate for definite promises of amelioration. I have a friend who a short time ago met a gentleman in the street who tried on him the old confidence trick of ring dropping.


Giving interviews!


My friend was not taken in, but he said to the man who had attempted the trick upon him, "If I do not hand you over to the police, will you promise that you will never try this on again?" And he replied, "No, I will not. How can you expect a chap to he honest when there are so many mugs about who will believe any story you tell them?" There is a great deal of human nature in that, and a great many votes were got at the last election by hon. Members opposite by that undertaking that they had a positive remedy. When the positive remedy was asked for here it was found that there had only been passed a cheque which has been returned with the mysterious letters "R.D." upon it. Some of my hon. Friends behind me know what those letters mean. For the benefit of hon. Members opposite let me tell them they mean "relegated to dooms- day." The Labour party has always claimed—we do not admit this, but it is their claim—that it is more than any party in the House the party of the workers, and they claim this because many of them have been workers themselves, and it is undoubtedly for that reason, and that reason alone, that they get many of the votes they do, because in the present day, when there is so much suspicion, partly natural and partly fomented, between the classes, many voters feel that they can trust Labour members. We believe that it is that very trust that has been imposed upon by these promises. We believe that in giving our vote to-night we are giving it as a protest against the handling by the Government of this subject of unemployment after the protestations which hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite have made. We may or we may not win in the Lobby to-night. [An HON. MEMBER: "You hope not!"] The hon. Member has no right to say that. An hon. Member for Glasgow spoke of us shivering. I am not accustomed to shivering. On this side, we are absolutely unrepentant and unashamed, and whenever the time comes to accept the challenge which you, in due course, will throw down, we shall be ready to take it 1113 and fight you in every constituency in the country.


We have listened to a very entertaining commentary on a great variety of speeches, and my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour must have given his attention to the Debate with pleasure, because he has heard scarcely a word of criticism of the particular Vote that is before the Committee. We have been reminded that there was once a Socialistic State, away back in the remote and dead centuries, and that even then those who constituted it succeeded in producing poor people, so poor that their poverty could not be excelled; it was so perfect that no improvement upon it could be made. We, in these days, know something of poverty and its causes, and we say that those who defend the system which produces the poverty now endured by the poor in Britain should be ashamed of the stand which they are taking.

The least that can be said, and said in terms of hopefulness for the poor, is, that these Debates are tending more and more to lift an old problem on to a new plane. No one now accepts the doctrine that the State has no responsibility for the unemployed. No one now dare declare that private enterprise, private undertakings, private activities are equal to meeting the needs of the millions of working classes in this country. The State, therefore, is driven by the pressure of events and the force of economic facts to recognise every day, more and more, its responsibilities towards the unemployed. Indeed, so fully does each party accept the right of the working man, not merely to the opportunity, but to the certainty of work, that each party is competing with the other to produce a remedy that will secure that end.

These Debates, unfortunately, are rooted in party inspiration. The main theme in the discussion to-day, as on last Thursday, has been the story of promises made as baits to the electors, and pledges offered to secure votes, and then broken with little attempt to fulfil them. We must think in terms of the last General Election. The right hon. Gentleman opposite caused that election because he said that he had discovered a cure for unemployment, That cure was expressed, roughly, in these terms: Millions of money were to be taken from the pockets, of the foreigner; those millions were, in the first instance, to be paid to the British farmer, who, in turn, would pay the labourer a higher wage than he had ever received before. That was the programme offered to the country by a party which makes no endeavour to mislead the electors of this country!

But that was not the only cause of the Election being forced on the country in 1923. I do not question the courage of my right hon. Friend, but he is not altogether devoid of fear. He fears the Labour party. Speaking at the Junior Constitutional Club, a few nights ago, he explained that, if the Election of 1923 had not been arranged or organised as it was, what would have happened would have been that, by the end of 1926, we should have had in power, with a majority behind it, the Labour party of this country. So it was fear of the future of the Labour party which inspired that endeavour by which he hoped to induce the electorate of Britain to respond to the specious promises which were then offered by the Conservative party. The right hon. Gentleman talked of broken pledges. Why, the pages of the OFFICIAL REPORT are packed with the pledges that have been uttered and broken by hon. Members opposite on this subject! Let hon. Members turn to the speeches put during the past four years into the mouth of the King. In each King's Speech it will be found that explicit promises have been made to deal, with this question, to afford a solution, to bring relief to the unemployed, and to provide the work which they were demanding. Year by year most solemn pledges were made in that manner.

The Prime Minister was able to show to-day that, although in the course of the last Election £100,000,000 was promised as the sum, to be spent in the course of last winter, a comparatively small proportion of that amount was expended in the actual conduct of any work that tended to absorb any of the unemployed. Notwithstanding what was said by the hon. Member for the Rushcliffe Division (Mr. Betterton), we await the figures which have been promised to-day in detail in a White Paper, and nothing has been said in the course of the discussion materially to disturb the conclusions drawn by the Prime Minister this afternoon. We have at least the satisfaction that, as a result of the sustained pressure, the ceaseless demand that we have made as advocates of the claim of the unemployed, parties now have been brought to that stage where all equally recognise their party's obligations in the matter, and where all will be driven ever to keep this question before successive Governments so as to shield the workman against the trials and privations which he has had to endure in the past.

We were asked what we have done, particularly in the case of finding work for the unemployed women by rearranging or relaxing the Regulations and conditions under which women were trained for employment. Between January and May more than double the number of women have been trained under the conditions of the present moment. The number of women unemployed as between January and now has been reduced by more than 25 per cent. In so short a period there is no corresponding record of effective assistance to unemployed women by any preceding Government which has held office since the unemployment problem became acute. We have never alleged that by any one Measure in any one Session of any one Parliament any Government, Labour or otherwise, could solve the unemployment problem. We have repeatedly declared, and our words are on record, not only as expressed in this House but in our election addresses, that our international policy, our Budget, a succession of Budgets, a succession of Measures, alone can afford what might be termed a cure for the unemployment in this country. Our first Labour Budget has made some contribution to that end. We welcome this display of increasing interest in the future place and fortunes of the unemployed workmen and workwomen of this country, and we ask that all parties in Parliament should apply themselves to this question: Can the State employ men for mutual benefit and national advantage when private employers fail to engage them? That question has inspired the formulation of Labour programmes and that body of labour doctrine which has forced this problem to its present point of consideration, and if parties will join with us in affording an answer to this question, the benefit will not only be a benefit to the workman, but a benefit to the nation.

Have we not always said in this House that the measure of national wealth is the sum total of the national products. We have said that the greatest disgrace is idleness, whether displayed by the rich or the poor. We ask, that when remunerative service cannot be found in the private market it should be regarded as a State obligation to find it, and that the necessary State measures should be provided. That is Labour's alternative to the course foolishly and recklessly pursued as soon as the Armistice was declared, the course of pouring out millions of money for the idleness which then occurred, a course which was inevitable because the national workshops were closed, sold, or almost given away. The national obligation was neglected or evaded and the country was asked to face the prospect of men and women remaining idle for a very long time at a national cost of hundreds of millions of pounds. By this time it is admitted that that sum has been wasted, wasted except in the sense that it has bought off the people's anger and has afforded a certain measure of security and investment against the disturbance which otherwise inevitably would have followed. Had that Labour doctrine been followed what would have happened? Even if we had to wait for a restoration and improvement of trade which in the ordinary process would have absorbed the women workers of the country in the meantime we would have kept these workers in the service of the State paying them money not as relief or as doles, but as wages to which they were entitled. That counsel was rejected whenever it was offered, and if it were repeated again it would be rejected once more.

What then did we find when Labour had to face its responsibility to try to reduce the number of unemployed? We found that both national and local finances were nearly on the border of ruin. Bankruptcy was the term used by a former Chancellor of the Exchequer. We found that that condition of lack of means greatly intensified the difficulties which the Ministry had to face in organising or arranging schemes with the local authorities, through whose agency these schemes in the main have to be conducted and carried through.

It cannot be said that Labour has not tried to secure the restoration of trade by inculcating the doctrine of peace in industry in place of industrial disputes.


How many strikes have there been?


That is a matter of common knowledge. How many strikes have been settled? It is too well known that we inherited an atmosphere of strike and of conflict, created by our predecessors. When first employers of labour, organised and unorganised, sought economic case and betterment by reductions in wages, they were encouraged by the Conservative party in this House.

Viscount CURZON

Absolute rubbish!


We warned them that danger surely would be reached by that policy of diminishing the purchasing power of the masses of the working classes of this country, and after having suffered untold privations through reduced wages, is it to be wondered at that, as soon as any sign of trade betterment appeared, the working classes asked that some advance in their wages should be conceded to them? One of the enduring causes of conflict has been at all times the employers' unwillingness voluntarily to concede any advance, however little, to the masses of the wage earners, and strife has been fomented by that mistaken and foolish policy on the part of the employers. I claim then that we have sought to give assistance to the unemployed by preaching peace in industry—[Interruption]—and by exerting the influence and the instrumentality of State Departments to secure agreements between employers and employed, and to hasten speedy settlements of conflicts wherever they have arisen, so that, while there have been too many stoppages, too many strikes, during our short term of office, those strikes have been made short in duration by the policy that the Labour Government have carried out.

It has been alleged, whenever the subject has been referred to—and it was referred to at some length by my right hon. Friend who began this debate this afternoon—that one way of affording great relief to the unemployed of this country would be to get going great schemes of housing. I was able to announce to-day that next week the House would have an opportunity of discussing, not merely the financial aspects but, I hope, the broad general outlines and principles of the scheme on which the Government have been working during the whole period of their short term of office. How mach we are expected to do in the matter in four months has been revealed in these successive debates. There is no wrong that we have not committed in that time. Whatever is the matter, nationally or internationally, why, it is asked, has it not been settled by this Government during its four months of office Right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite who associated with different Governments over a period of four years did things which even a Labour Government could not remove in four months. I remember very well the first Bill on an unemployment subject passed by this House. It was passed by a Conservative Government, but not voluntarily, not in accordance with any Conservative doctrine. It was another concession to fear. [Interruption.] It was due to the pressure of a small group of Labour Members in this House at that time on the Government of the day; and from that time to this, hon. Members on this side of the House have, without ceasing, pressed the claims of the unemployed. They will continue to press them. They are being compelled, just as, eventually, all parties in this House will be compelled, to meet them; but through these 19 years there has been a continuous stream of effort, always being increased, and evidently still further to be increased in view of the acceptance, as we now see, of quite new theories by hon. Gentlemen opposite as to what is their duty in the matter of unemployment.

I can assure hon. Members opposite that we cordially welcome the spectacle of the Conservative party competing with a Labour Government for the solution of this baffling problem. I need, therefore, only add that if we are to be asked to go from this House to the country to be tested upon what we have done, and what others have prevented us from doing, we shall go, not merely with confidence, but with the certainty that, just as we have enormously increased in numbers at each Election during the nineteen years of which I have spoken, just as we have come back strengthened and even doubled in numbers, as was the case at the last Election—I say we shall face the electorate confident that they will see the folly of reposing further confidence in a Conservative Government, and they will give the Labour party a majority with which to carry its will to the Statute Book.


I want to say why some of us are influenced to cast our votes to-night in favour of the. Government. We have to consider that if this Government were turned out one of the possibilities is—it may be a remote one of course—that hon. Members opposite may come in and that is a thing which all interested in unemployment should try to avoid. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, speaking at a leading town in the West of England recently, said the only way in which they could possibly deal satisfactorily with this problem was by imposing a full system of Protection on the country, and if that were not done he would have to go pottering about and things would be getting absolutely worse. He said that without the system of Protection things would get into a very bad way and he would have no opportunity of remedying the trouble. Since that time the right hon. Gentleman Conservative Government has thrown over the policy of Protection. [Interruption.] Surely there is no necessity to give him the chance for which he asks, and for that reason I would rather face the ills we know of than fly to ills

we wot not of in the shape of another Conservative Government.

Question put, "That Item A (1) be reduced by £100."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 252; Noes, 300.

Division No. 86.] AYES. 11.0 p.m.
Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T. Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)
Ainsworth, Captain Charles Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester) Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)
Alexander, Brig.-Gen. Sir W. (Glas.C.) Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S) Lloyd-Greame, Rt. Hon. Sir P.
Allen, Lieut.-Col. Sir William James Dawson, Sir Philip Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Deans, Richard Storry Locker-Lampson, Com. D. (Handsw'th)
Apstey, Lord Dixey, A. C. Lord, Walter Greaves
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W. Dixon, Herbert Lowe, Sir Francis William
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover) Doyle, Sir N. Grattan Lumley, L. R.
Astor, Viscountess Dudgeon, Major C. R. Lynn, Sir R. J.
Atholl, Duchess of Eden, Captain Anthony M' Connell, Thomas E.
Austin, Sir Herbert Edmondson, Major A. J. McLean, Major A.
Baird, Major Rt. Han. Sir John L. Elliot, W. E. Macnanhten, Hon. Sir Malcolm
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Elveden, Viscount McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John
Balfour, George (Hampstead) England, Colonel A. Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel
Banks, Reginald Mitchell Erskine. James Malcolm Monteith Makins, Brigadier-General E.
Banner, Sir John S. Harmood- Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray Marriott, Sir J. A. R.
Barnett, Major Richard W. Ferguson, H. Mason, Lieut.-Colonel Glyn K.
Barnston, Major Sir Harry Fitz Roy, Capt. Rt. Hon. Edward A. Meller, R. J.
Becker, Harry Forestier-Walker, L. Milne, J. S. Wardlaw
Beckett, Sir Gervase Frece, Sir Walter de Mitchell. W. F. (Saffron Walden)
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W. Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Galbraith, J. F. W. Moles, Thomas
Berry, Sir George Gates, Percy Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.
Betterton, Henry B. Gaunt, Rear-Admiral Sir Guy R. Morden, Col. W. Grant
Birchall, Major J. Dearman Gilmour, Colonel Rt. Hon. Sir John Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)
Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.) Gould, James C. (Cardiff, Central) Nail, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph
Blades, Sir George Rowland Greene, W. P. Crawford Nesbitt, Robert C.
Blundell, F. N. Greenwood, William (Stockport) Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)
Bowater, Sir T. Vansittart Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London) Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)
Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W. Gretton, Colonel John Nicholson, D. (Westminster)
Brass, Captain W. Guest, Capt. Hn. F. E. (Gloucstr., Stroud) Nicholson, William G. (Petersfleld)
Brassey, Sir Leonard Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. W. E. Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert
Briscoe, Captain Richard George Gwynne, Rupert S. Oman, Sir Charles William C.
Brittain, Sir Harry Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William
Buckingham, Sir H. Hall. Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) Pease, William Edwin
Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Pennefather. Sir John
Bullock, Captain M. Harland, A. Penny, Frederick George
Burman, J. B. Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent) Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)
Burney, Lieut.-Com. Charles D. Hartington, Marquess of Perkins, Colonel E. K.
Butler, Sir Geoffrey Harvey, C. M. B. (Aberd'n & Klncardne) Perring, William George
Butt, Sir Alfred Henn, Sir Sydney H. Philllpson, Mabel
Caine, Gordon Hall Hennessy, Major J. R. G. Pielou, D. P.
Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R. Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford) Pilditch, Sir Philip
Cassels, J D. Herbert, Capt. Sidney (Scarborough) Pownall, Lieut. Colonel Assheton
Cautley, Sir Henry S. Hill-Wood, Major Sir Samuel Raine, W.
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City) Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G. Rankin. James S.
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth. S.) Hogbin, Henry Cairns Rawllnson, Rt. Hon. John Fredk. Peel
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone) Rawson. Alfred Cooper
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.) Hohier, Sir Gerald Fitzroy Rees, Sir Beddoe
Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton Hood, Sir Joseph Reid, D. D. (County Down)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Birm. W.) Hope, Rt Hon J. F. (Sheffield, C.) Remer, J. R.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood) Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley) Remnant, Sir James
Chapman, Sir S. Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N. Rentoul G. S
Chilcott, Sir Warden Horne, Sir R. S. (Glasgow, Hillhead) Rhys, Hon. C. A U.
Clarry, Reginald George Howard, Hn. D. (Cumberland, Northn.) Richardson, Lt -Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)
Clayton, G. C. Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Col. C. K. Roberts, Samuel (Hertford, Hereford)
Cobb, Sir Cyril Hughes, Collingwood Hobinson, Sir T (Lanes, Stretford)
Cockerill. Brigadier-General G, K. Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis Ropner. Major L.
Cohen, Major J. Brunel Hunter-Weston. Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer Roundell, Colonel R. F.
Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips Huntingfield, Lord Russell. Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Cope, Major William Iliffe, Sir Edward M. Russell-Wells, Sir S. (London Univ.)
Courthope, Lieut.-Col. George L. Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H. Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham
Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington,N.) Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S. Samuel, Samysl (Wdsworth, Putney)
Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South) James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert Sandeman, A. Stewart
Cralk, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Jephcott, A. R. Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Johnson, Sir L. (Waithamstow, E.) Savery, S. S.
Crooke, J. Smedley (Derltend) Joynson-Hicks, nt. Hon. Sir William Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchangs)
Cunliffe, Joseph Herbert Kindersley, Major G. M. Sheffield, Sir Berkeley
Curzon, Captain viscount King, Capt. Henry Douglas Shepperson, E. W.
Dalkeith Earl of Lamb, J. Q. Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)
Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H. Lane-Fox, George R. Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Univ., Belfast)
Smith-Carington, Neville W. Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South) Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Somerville, A. A. (Windsor) Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (Croydon,S.) Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Somerville, Daniel (Barrow-In-Furn'ss) Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement Wise, Sir Fredric
Spender-Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H. Turton. Edmund Russborough Wolmer, Viscount
Spero, Dr. G. E. Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P. Wood, Major Rt. Hon. Edward F. L.
Stanley, Lord Waddington, R. Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West).
Steel, Samuel Strang Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull) Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn) Warrender, Sir Victor Wragg, Herbert
Stuart, Lord C. Crichton Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley) Yate, Colonel Sir Charles Edward
Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser Wells, S. R. Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.
Sutcliffe, T. Weston, John Wakefield
Sykes, Major-Gen.Sir Frederick H. Whaler, Lieut.-Col. Granville C. H. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Terrell, Captain R. (Oxford, Henley) Wilson, Sir Charles H. (Leeds, Central) Commander B. Eyres-Monsell and
Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey) Wilson, Col. M. J. (Richmond) Colonel Gibbs.
Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Ackroyd, T. R Falconer, J. Jowitt, W. A. (The Hartlepools)
Acland, Nt. Hon. Francis Dyke Finney, V. H. Kay, Sir R. Newbald
Adamson, Rt. Hon. William Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L. Keens, T.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Fletcher, Lieut.-Com. R. T. H. Kennedy, T.
Alden, Percy Foot, Isaac Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Franklin, L. B. Kenyon, Barnet
Allen, R. Wilberforce (Leicester, S.) Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton) Kirkwood, D.
Alstead, R. Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, North) Lansbury, George
Ammon, Charles George Gavan-Duffy, Thomas Laverack, F. J,
Asqulth, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry George, Major G. L. (Pembroke) Law, A.
Attlee, Major Clement R. Gibbins, Joseph Lawrence, Susan (East Ham, North)
Ayles, W. H. Gillett, George M. Lawson, John James
Baker, Walter Gorman, William Leach, W.
Banton, G. Gosling, Harry Lee, F.
Barclay, R. Noton Gould, Frederick (Somerset, Frame) Lessing, E.
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Linfield, F. C.
Barnes, A. Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central) Livingstone, A. M.
Batey, Joseph Greenall, T. Loverseed, J. F.
Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith) Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Coins) Lowth, T.
Berkeley, Captain Reginald Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Lunn, William
Birkett, W. N. Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)
Black, J. W. Groves, T. Mc Entee, V. L.
Bondfield, Margaret Grundy, T. W. Macfadyen, E.
Bonwick, A. Guest, J. (York, Hemsworlh) Mackinder, W.
Bowerman, Rt. Hon, Charles W. Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Southwark, N.) Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)
Brlant, Frank Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvll) Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.
Broad, F. A. Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland) Maden, H.
Bromfield. William Harbord, Arthur Mansel, Sir Courtenay
Brown, A. E. (Warwick, Rugby) Hardie, George D. March, S.
Brunner, Sir J. Harris, John (Hackney, North) Marley, James
Buchanan, G. Harris, Percy A. Martin, F. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dlne, E.)
Buckle, J. Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon Martin, W. H. (Dumbarton)
Burnie, Major J. (Bootle) Harvey, T. E. (Dewsbury) Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F, G.
Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel Hastings, Sir Patrick Maxton, James
Cape, Thomas Hastings, Somerville (Reading) Meyler, Lieut.-Colonel H. M.
Chapple, Dr. William A. Haycock, A. W. Middleton, G.
Charleton, H. C. Hayday, Arthur Millar, J. D.
Church, Major A. G. Hayes, John Henry Mills, J. E.
Clarke, A. Hemmerde, E. G. Mitchell R. M. (Perth & Kinross, Perth)
Climie, R. Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley) Mond, H.
Cluse, W. S. Henderson, A. (Cardiff, South) Montague, Frederick
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R. Henderson. T. (Glasgow) Morel, E. D.
Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock) Henderson, W. W. (Middlesex, Enfleld) Morris, R. H.
Collins, Patrick (Walsall) Hillary, A. E. Morrison, Herbert (Hackney, South)
Compton, Joseph Hindle, F. Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, North)
Comyns-Carr, A. S. Hirst, G. H. Morse, W. E.
Costello, L. W. J. Hobhouse, A. L. Mosley, Oswald
Cove, W. G. Hodge, Lieut.-Col. J. P. (Preston) Moulton, Major Fletcher
Crittall, V. G, Hodges, Frank Muir, John W.
Darbishire, C. W. Hoffman, P. C. Muir, Ramsay (Rochdale)
Davies, David (Montgomery) Hore-Belisha, Major Leslie Murray, Robert
Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh) Howard, Hon. G. (Bedford, Luton) Murrell, Frank
Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale) Hudson, J. H. Naylor, T, E.
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Isaacs, G. A. Nichol, Robert
Davison, J. E. (Smethwick) Jackson, R. F. (Ipswich) Nixon, H.
Dickle, Captain J. P. Jonkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) O'Connor, Thomas P.
Dickson, T. Jewson. Dorothea O'Grady, Captain James
Dodds, S. R. John, William {Rhondda, West) Oliver, George Harold
Dukes, C. Johnston, Thomas (Stirling) Oliver, P. M. (Manchester, Blackley)
Duncan, C. Johnstons, Harcourt (Willesden, East) Owen, Major G.
Dunn, J. Freeman Jones, C. Sydney (Liverpool, W. Derby) Paling, W.
Dunnico, H. Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Palmer, E. T.
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Camborne) Parkinson, John Allen (Wlgan)
Edwards, G. (Norfolk, Southern) Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Parry, Thomas Henry
Egan, W. H. Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontyprldd) Pattinson, S. (Horncastle)
Emlyn-Jones, J. E. (Dorset, N.) Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W. (Bradford, E.) Perry, S. F.
Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Simpson, J. Hope Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen
Phillipps, Vivian Smillie, Robert Ward, G. (Leicester, Bosworth)
Pilkington, R. R. Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe) Warns, G. H.
Ponsonby, Arthur Smith, T. (Pontelract) Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Potts, John S. Smith, W. R. (Norwich) Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Raffan, P. W. Snell, Harry Webb, Lieut.-Col. Sir H. (Cardiff, E.)
Raffety, F. W. Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Ramage, Captain Cecil Beresford Spence, R. Wedgwood, Col. Rt. Hon. Josiah C.
Rathbone, Hugh R. Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe) Weir, L. M.
Raynes, W. R. Spencer, H. H. (Bradford, S.) Welsh, J. C.
Rea, W. Russell Stamford, T. W. Westwood, J.
Rendall, A. Starmer, Sir Charles Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.
Richards, R. Stephen, Campbell White, H. G. (Birkenhead, E.)
Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Stewart, J. (St. Rollox) Whiteley, W.
Ritson, J. Stewart, Maj. R. S. (Stockton-on-Tees) Wignall, James
Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich) Stranger, Innes Harold Williams, A. (York, W.R., Sowerby)
Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell) Sturrock, J. Leng Williams, David {Swansea, E.)
Robertson, T. A. Sullivan, J. Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)
Robinson, S. W. (Essex, Chelmsford) Sunlight, J. Williams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough, E.)
Romerll, H. G. Sutton, J. E. Williams, Lt.-Col. T. S. B. (Kennington)
Rose, Frank H. Tattersall, J. L. Williams, Maj. A. S. (Kent.Sevanoaks)
Royce, William Stapleton Terrington, Lady Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Royle, C. Thompson, Piers G. (Torquay) Willison, H.
Rudkin, Lieut.-Colonel C. M. C. Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.) Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe).
Samuel, H. Walter (Swansea, West) Thornton, Maxwell, R. Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Scrymgeour, E. Thurtle, E. Windsor, Walter
Scurr, John Tinker, John Joseph Winfrey, Sir Richard
Seely, H. M. (Norfolk, Eastern) Toole, J. Wintringham, Margaret
Sexton, James Tout, W. J. Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C)
Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston) Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P. Woodwark, Lieut.-Colonel G. G.
Sherwood, George Henry Turner, Ben Wright, W.
Shinwell, Emanuel Varley, Frank B. Young, Andrew (Glasgow, Partick)
Short, Allred (Wednesday) Viant, S. P.
Simon, E. D. (Manchester, Withington) Vivian, H. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John Wallhead, Richard C. Mr. Spoor and Mr. Frederick Hall.

Question put, and agreed to.

Original Question again proposed.

Several hon. Members rose—

It being after Eleven of the Clock, and objection being taken to further Proceeding, the CHAIRMAN left the Chair to make Report to the House.

Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Monday next (2nd June).