§ Mr. KELLY
I beg to move,That, in view of the urgent necessity that, wholly apart from the Poor Law, pensions adequate for the proper upbringing and maintenance of children should be provided by the State for all widows with children or mothers whose family breadwinner has become incapacitated, this House calls for the introduction this Session of the required legislation.I find that if each of the parties in this House is not wholly pledged to pensions for mothers, at least most of them have given promises at various times that they would bring into the system of the country pensions for widowed mothers and for those whose husbands are incapacitated. The difference between us probably is that on this side of the House we are convinced that this method of pensions must be brought into operation without the demand from the individual of a direct contribution. On that there can be no question, and I hope to show some of the difficulties that even the 1422 Government would have in carrying what it has suggested in various speeches and manifestoes. One thing is very clear, that the necessity for these pensions has come home to everyone in the community. When you think of the widow struggling at this time against the cruelty of this period and endeavouring to bring up her fatherless children, it is a position that not only demands from every one of us the best feelings of the heart, but it even appeals to our reason that the country which neglects its families, and particularly those where the breadwinner has been taken away, is not doing its duty to its people. We see that those of you who have looked to the Poor Law to help in this difficult time with these families have done something that you would not care to carry into effect if understanding had come your way with regard to the position, One sees the position under the Poor Law and how badly these families are treated, the inadequate amounts that are given them, and the conditions which are attached to the payment of this out-relief. Even in this House when I hear hon. Members speaking of relief, even they give a taint to it when they refer to something that has happened in Poplar or West Ham, or some other borough where they have realised something of the position that ought to operate in the case of these fatherless families.
These people who resort to the Poor Law find themselves being paid sums which are not a credit to those districts. On looking into it I find that in some districts families are expected to exist upon a grant of 1s.8d. to 4s. per head. They cannot maintain the family on such a figure. Even the best of them, leaving out Poplar and West Ham, only grant between 4s. and 9s. per week. When one compares that with what you pay for institutional treatment it seems to come badly from those people who on platforms talked of Mothers' Pensions and then suggested that there should be a direct contribution demanded from the parents. In some institutions we find that it costs something like 26s. a week to maintain the children. Give the mother 26s. per week and she will not only maintain her child, but, with that affection which can only come when the children and the mother are living in the home, she will bring them up in a way which will be a credit to the country. We have tried to per 1423 suade the country to come away from that system of Poor Law Relief in the case of the fatherless children. Now we have the suggestion made that some contribution should be asked for. I have wondered how that contribution is going to be paid. Is it to be demanded from those who are already covered by the National Insurance Acts? If so, that is going to leave out of account a great many thousands of people. It is going to leave out of account a good many of those who have written to me within the last two days, and who refer to themselves as the minor professional classes. I cannot quite tell you what they mean by that term, but they are not covered by the Insurance Acts, and it means that you are going to leave those people out of account.
Again I would ask how many of those people who feel themselves secure to-day, even with the settlements that they have arranged for their families, can feel quite secure that when their time comes to pass from this world they can leave their families in such a position that they will not have need to resort to the assistance of the State or to private charity. I cannot see any contributory system which is going to help you out of this difficulty, and what is more, in setting up what is suggested in the Amendment, is it your intention that we must wait until there is an accumulation of funds which will enable benefit, or a pension, to be paid? Does it mean that this suffering that we know exists, this semi-starvation, this struggle of the widow and the children, is to go on for some time longer whilst you make up your mind'? The evil is here. The evil is bearing very heavily upon the country at the present time, and we ask in this Resolution that the House should not wait for some future period in the lifetime of this Parliament, but should deal with this problem at once, so that pensions of an adequate amount may be paid in the immediate future.
As to the number of people covered by this proposal, we estimate that somewhere about 170,000 widows, with 250,000 children, are affected. Assuming that to be a correct estimate, the figure of about £20,000,000 that has been put forward in discussions on this matter at various times, would cover the cost of the pro posed pensions to the widows and 1424 children for whom we are speaking. That is not, in its entirety, a totally new charge upon the country. We are paying somewhere about £3,500,000 already in the form of relief, and in a way that is not giving the results that we ought to expect and that we ought to have in the maintenance of this portion of the population. The charge that we ask Parliament to impose can be justly asked for, because of the urgent necessity of the pension problem so far as widows and children are concerned.
The Resolution also refers to homes where the husband is incapacitated. It those homes we find something that is tragic. We find the man struggling hard to recover from an illness, and finding himself unable to maintain his wife and family and struggling, as I could tell in many cases if time permitted, in the hope that he can return to the condition when he first set up the home in which he takes so great a pride. In that case, we estimate that, basing the calculation on the National Health Insurance Act and the number of those who have had lengthy periods of sickness, there would be some where about 70,000 of these people, and at the very worst it would cost another £5,000,000. We shall be told that in these days that is a large sum of money to ask It may be a large sum of money, but we realise the purpose for which it is needed. It is needed in order that these families may grow up in health and not grow up to be a charge upon the State in later life. It is a sum that would be well spent and would be a real economy in the fullest sense.
It may be argued in this discussion, as it has been argued in previous discussions, that we are making an appeal to the heart. I am doing no such thing. I am appealing to the reason. I am appealing to the reason of this House, and asking hon. Members whether they consider it is wise on the part of Parliament to allow the deterioration that has set in to continue, owing to the struggle which is undergone by these widows in endeavouring to maintain their families. Not only in the towns, but in the country districts we often find these people depending upon charity and looking to out-relief occasionally, and being badly treated under it, and one sees an unmistakable look on their faces in the midst of that struggle that is bringing bitterness into 1425 their homes and into the minds of their children. These children are denied the opportunities that should be given to children in regard to education, certainly in regard to food, and they are also denied the surroundings that ought to be given to every child in the community.
Parliament should not allow that state of things to continue. You may talk of the Far East, you may talk about your great engines of war, you may talk about those great engineering feats with which some of us are concerned, but if you neglect as you are neglecting these children, where the breadwinner has gone, it counts very little whether you build up a great Singapore base, or whether you have an armed force as strong as some hon. Members desire. You are continuing a system which is a peril to the country. We ask the House to agree that this is an urgent problem: a problem that is not new, but which has been brought before the House time after time. Women have urged it on the House since 1908. It has been debated in this House since 1919. You have done nothing at all to bring about the accomplishment of a pension system that will enable these women to carry on, and to bring up their families.
It is not as though they could have prevented the position in which they find themselves. It is not as though they were responsible for the condition in which they find themselves and their families. These women have struggled, with their husbands by their side, in the hope that they might see their children growing up and taking a better place in society than their parents have had, and then the widow finds herself with the breadwinner gone and she has not a chance of maintaining the children. The children ought not to be left in that condition. It is the duty of the State to come to their assistance, and. I ask the House to agree to that proposition. Never mind what have been the faults of other Governments. I hope we shall not be reminded to-night by hon. Members opposite that we were in office last year. It is only shirking the problem to say that other Governments have had the chance and have failed to do anything. The present Government has a great majority; it has the power, and it should and must raise the funds in order that the child life of this country may have a chance, and that the widows 1426 of this country shall not be left struggling and striving, as they have to do to-day, to bring up their sons and daughters. We look to these children for the carrying on of this country in years to come. I ask the House to reject the Amendment and to carry the Resolution, so that these women and their children will have some chance in the life of the country.
Lieut. - Colonel WATTS-MORGAN
I beg to second the Motion.
Having been fortunate in the ballot on the same day as my hon. Friend, I have pleasure in seconding the Motion, which is identical in terms with the one appearing in my name on the Order Paper. The House will agree that my hon. Friend has presented the case very ably and in temperate language, and that he has produced convincing reasons, supported by a good number of figures, why the House should adopt the Resolution. As already indicated, we have been talking in this country since 1905, I believe, about the necessity of providing for widowed mothers and dependent children. We have been lagging far behind other countries in this respect. Those of us who have been advocating this measure of reform are aware that in the United States of America they have had this system since 1911, and nearly all the States that go to make up that great union provide legally and systematically, though it may be not very generously in some cases, for the mothers and the children who are bereft of their breadwinners by those chances in life which carry away men either by accident or disease.
I do not propose to give any figures, but, as it has been said on many occasions that we have no knowledge or information to guide us on the right path, I may point out that that argument does not hold good any longer. To-day we have a very large number of examples of places where this policy has been carried out. Even though we may solve the problem, with regard to mothers' pensions, and may achieve a high standard of public health as the result of the work done by the best brains in the best House of Commons, we cannot stamp out largely at present the diseases which are ravaging the land, such as tuberculosis and cancer, and which take such a very heavy toll of life among the breadwinners of this country. When everything that is possible is done there 1427 will still be fatherless children to care for and foster, and it is essential that the State should provide a buttress against the harm that is caused in this way.
Two main objections have been raised in the past. The first is that the State should not interfere with the home life, and the second is the cost of any scheme of mothers' pensions, which, of course, would have to be on a non-contributory basis. I do not think that any Government can shelter behind the first reason any longer in this country. No longer tan the excuse hold good that the domestic life of the children is too sacred for the State to interfere in it. We interfere in many ways every day. We insist that the child shall attend school and be educated. If contagious disease breaks out we remove people from their homes, and put them in isolation hospitals. I could go on quoting many enactments, under which we have decided that for the benefit of the community these things must be done. The State have already realised in various directions that it is to their benefit to protect their members and to secure for them the highest possible minimum of comfortable conditions which will promote their health, and increase the usefulness of their lives as citizens of this country. Already we have provided partial pensions to keep the widow and the fatherless children. The figures quoted by my hon. Friend the Member for Rochdale (Mr. Kelly) have been very full. We advocate a more constructive policy with regard to this matter than to force the widows and children to get relief under the Poor Law of the country.
On looking over the speeches of Members on all sides of this House during the last Election, I am very glad to note that there is almost a common line of unanimity prevailing among leaders of every party in this House—I see that there are some of our friends of the Liberal party present—and also among the rank and file, and the only difference, as has been pointed out by my hon. Friend, which exists among them is as to whether the new scheme shall be a contributory or a non-contributory scheme. If we are going to ask these people, who have waited so long already and struggled so bravely against adversity, to wait any longer we are going to crush their hopes 1428 entirely, and I would join my hon. Friend in asking the House not to entertain that idea, because it means waiting a very long time. On the question of cost I think that it is generally agreed that, if the scheme which has been spoken about in this House were to be brought forward now and embodied in a Bill, it would cost somewhat., in round figures, the amount which the ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer estimated—£20,000,600. If that be so, then that is only the same amount of money as that which we spent on the Foreign and Colonial Services during the year 1922–23, one-third of the amount which we spent last year upon the Navy, one-third of the amount which we are spending upon the Army, and one-fourth of the amount which we spent last year upon pensions.
In quoting the figures I want to point out that we have a system of partial pensions in operation at the present time. I hope that no one will charge me with want of sympathy with the ex-service men's widows and children. In this House and elsewhere I have always done my best to fight for the ex-service man's widow, because I know what such women have gone through. God knows, we pay them none too much now. But let me ask hon. Members to visualise the situation. The ex-service man's widow gets £1 6s. 8d. a week. For the first child she gets 10s., so that a widow with one child would receive £1 16s. 8d. If there is a second child she receives 7s. 6d. in addition. If there is a third child the amount is reduced to 6s. for that child, and so on for each succeeding child. A widow with four children—there are thousands of such cases in the country—has a pension for herself, and for her children until they reach the age of 16 years, of £2 16s. 2d. a week. These figures are none too generous in face of the sacrifice that has been made. Take the case of the officers. The officer's widow receives a minimum of £100 for herself, and £24 a year for each child, and from the age of nine to 16 years the expenses of education up to £50 a year may be granted by a special Grants Committee. Therefore we have a complete mothers' pensions system in operation at the present time. Our only quarrel is that it is a partial system, and does not operate universally.
The industrial mother who loses her husband through natural causes or because of some disease has to depend upon Poor 1429 Law relief. I say emphatically that in this age that is a disgrace to Great Britain. To my mind nothing could be more noble or more magnificent than to abolish the stigma of pauperism in the case of widowed mothers and their children. We want to make the widowed mother feel that in bringing up vigorous, self-reliant children she is rendering a service to the State. She ought to be put on the county roll to be paid, so that her self-respect and pride shall not be crushed, and so that she can maintain herself and her children in moderate comfort without Poor Law relief. The examples of the application of mothers' pensions in other countries demonstrate that such pensions are quite within the realm of practical politics. The difficulties are by no means insurmountable. Some of the countries that have adopted mothers' pensions are by no means the richest or the most able to produce revenue. On the contrary, some of them are very poor countries. In the past this country has not required the stimulus of foreign nations as an example in doing righteous, noble and great things. It is true that Britain has a very heavy burden of debt to carry, but she has also a great moral obligation to these women and children. Many of these obligations we have met in the past. Here is an urgently needed reform, and if we are to pay £20,000,000 we can face the cash payments. In doing so, we shall be relieving these mothers and children and making, them better citizens, and also we shall be making our Britain a country fit for British mothers to live in.
§ Sir HENRY CURTIS-BENNETT
I beg to move, to leave out from the word "That", to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof the wordsthis House, while approving the principle of a scheme of State-aided pensions for widowed mothers, is of opinion that this should form part of a general extension of the insurance system upon a contributory basis and that legislation for this purpose should be introduced during the present Parliament.May I say, first of all, that this is the first occasion upon which I have ventured to intervene in a Debate in this House, and, that being so, I know that I need not crave from this House that indulgence which is always so kindly meted out to novices? I desire at the earliest possible moment to make it clear, in case anybody 1430 should be under a misapprehension, that this Amendment is not one which I am moving in any antagonistic spirit at all. I agree with most of what has been said by the Mover and the Seconder of the Resolution; I agree with the pathetic instances which they have given or widowed mothers who have to leave home daily to earn their livelihood. The sole reason why I am responsible for this Amendment is that I desire, if possible, to put before the House not merely an attractive and seductive solution of this problem, but to put forward what I believe to be the only practical remedy for the difficulty. May I assure hon. Members opposite that there are upon this side of the House hon. Members who are just as sympathetic towards this great question as those who sit on the other side. In my view it is essential to be able to find, and, as has been said, to find quickly, a solution of this problem, which has not only troubled those of us who have come recently to this House, but has troubled previous Governments and previous Oppositions. It is necessary to find some practical solution. There is nothing more pathetic in this world, I suppose, than the widowed mother who has to go out and leave her children behind in order that she can carry on some sort of work, work with which very often she is not acquainted, and work to which she would not have gone unless necessity had driven her.
She does that for the purpose of avoiding the cold charity of the Poor Law. Now it is that charity of the Poor Law which we want to avoid. We want, if possible, to make the pension of the widowed mother a pension to which she is absolutely entitled; a pension which is, in no sense of the word, a charity; a pension to which she is entitled without all that inquiry which is so detrimental to pensions paid only after inquiry and with inquiry. The pension should be paid as a right without inquisitorial inquiry being made not only day by day but month by month and even year by year You can only make such a pension payable as of right, if it is a contributory pension paid as the result of a contributory scheme. In spite of what the Mover and Seconder have said—and of course I accept at once from them what is their personal view upon this matter—it would be interesting to hear what is 1431 the official view of the Labour party as to whether this should be a contributory scheme or not. I say that because hon. Members on the other side of the House know just as well as we do that this very important matter has been before the House on several previous occasions. It came before this House in February of last year when the right hon. Gentleman the late Chancellor of the Exchequer pointed out that, sympathetic as he was and as we all are, it was necessary to pay regard to the financial position and, having to pay regard to the financial position, what do we find?
I am not doing what the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Kelly) suggested I might do, namely, seeking to hide behind some excuse when I am saying this. I am merely reminding the House that although this matter was discussed in detail, discussed in full, discussed practically and sympathetically in February last, after the statement to which I refer was made by the late Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Labour Government were in power—[HON. MEMBERS: "In office!"]—in office, with most sympathetic supporters in many ways upon this side of the House in regard to this question, and, although they were, I repeat, in power, for some months after February of last year nothing practical was, in fact, done upon this question. Why was nothing practical done upon this question? Was it found impossible to put forward a scheme by itself for the payment of widows' pensions on a non-contributory basis because of the heavy burden which it would impose on the taxpayers of this country. Was that the reason? If that was not the reason why nothing more tangible or practical was done from February until September of last year, then what was that reason?
I should like to see the payment of widows' pensions made part of an enlargement of the insurance scheme in
this country. It is impossible to deal with one particular in insurance. It is essential to deal with widows' pensions as part of a scheme, and, speaking for myself and I hope for many hon. Members on this side, I say that scheme should be one by which in a single weekly contribution collected upon one card a man could insure not only against old age—I sup 1432 pose if we do not hope for it, old age is at any rate something we are led to expect—but against other eventualities. The pension payable at a certain age, and I am not going to enter into controversial questions as to what that age should 'be, should be paid as of right and should not be subject to inquiry as to the thrift of the man concerned. I should like to see that one weekly contribution collected upon one card also include insurance against unemployment. I suppose I can speak for those on this side of the House—and I think hon. Members opposite will agree—in saying that to all of us, at some time during our lives, unemployment has been something which we have dreaded, and to the British working man and woman it is something which is a continual dread. I should like to see the one contribution provide an insurance which would cover unemployment as well as old age. Even people who assist in the administration of criminal justice in this country sometimes fear unemployment. Sickness is another terrible scourge which everybody in this country is brought up from their earliest years to fear, and sickness should be covered by that one contribution weekly collected upon the one card.
Then we are left with the death of the breadwinner—death, the summons for which comes quite unannounced, the summons against which, when it comes, there is no appeal. It is only right, in my view, that that weekly contribution should cover, for the man who is paying it, the pension of the mother of his children. That is the scheme which I, at any rate, should like to see come into existence, because the scheme, however high sounding it may be, however attractive it may be, of paying these pensions to widowed mothers without contribution is a scheme which, in my view, cannot be practical politics, otherwise the party opposite would have brought it into existence last year.
The scheme being such a one as I have ventured to suggest, I also urge upon this House that at this time—indeed, at any time—it is improper to weaken those elements of self-respect, self-confidence, and thrift which have been for many generations traits in the character of the British working man. I believe that the British working man prefers—I do not say he can always do it—to have some 1433 thing to which he has a right, something for which he has paid and which has, therefore, a value to him, and I do ask that the Government should, at the earliest possible moment, put forward some scheme which will have reference to the thrift which has been shown by the British working man and British working woman, the thrift, indeed, which was referred to by the late Chancellor of the Exchequer, in February of last year, when he drew attention to the splendid efforts made by the working classes through fraternal organisation and by thrift to provide against the calamities of life. I ask that the Government should see that the times when, owing to illness, unemployment or other causes, those contributions, although they have been contributions dictated by the thrift of the contributors, cease, should be covered by some scheme which can be put forward.
I am very grateful to the House for listening to what I have ventured, in my novice effort, to urge upon it in relation to this very important matter. The Prime Minister dealt with this matter in his election manifesto, and he dealt with it not only practically but, I think hon. Members opposite will agree, sympathetically, and, speaking for myself, and I doubt not for other hon. Members on this side of the House, we are, ILA was said by the hon. Member for Rochdale, pledged to see that at an early moment, and during the lifetime of the present Government, legislation is brought in to deal with this very important question upon the lines which I have ventured, shortly, I hope, to expound to this House. Having put those views before the House, I beg to move the Amendment.
§ Sir GEOFFREY BUTLER
I beg to second the Amendment.
I wish to associate myself very cordially with the spirit in which the hon. and learned Member for Chelmsford (Sir H. Curtis-Bennett) exposed his views to the House, and my first task is a very simple and easy one, which is to congratulate the hon. and learned Member, and I think the House, on the excellent and the cogent speech which he has made, an augury of many contributions of great value to our Debates in the future. Also, while in the congratulatory mood, I am not sure that I should not spare a little pittance of congratulation to the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Kelly), who 1434 moved this Resolution, on having rather less leisure for the process of reflecting on my hon. and learned Friend's dexterity than most of those who run counter to his forensic eloquence. What is it that we are dealing with to-night? If it puzzled the acumen of a distinguished member of the major professional classes, can the House wonder that to a very humble member of the minor professional classes like myself it is a little puzzling? Have we to do with a lonely but inspired prophet, or is this another case in which the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, as, I think, in the cases of Singapore and of the Protocol, is brutally using his overwhelming minority to force upon the attention of the House a question on which, should a brighter sun shine and the position of parties be reversed, he might find himself forced to adopt a slightly different attitude?
I am very loath to provoke controversy, and I wish to try to put it in such a way as may command the cordial consent of the House, but can anyone deny that this is one of those questions in the handling of which there is, shall we say, a brisker technique displayed in Opposition than upon the Government side? I remember in a former Debate the right hon. Gentleman the former Chancellor of the Exchequer claimed a spotless character for the Labour party in connection with this question. He said: "I think that the charge that we are men who have deserted the widowed mothers will never be included amongst the broken pledges of the Labour party." The right hon. Gentleman had a perfect right to maintain that attitude. I do not say for a minute that that was not so; but, alas! "It is not in parties to command success." If I may be permitted to guess for a few moments what is passing in the minds of the responsible leaders of the party opposite, I think I might, without impertinence, suggest that it is possible that they are in a dilemma, and that they have to choose between two alternatives—between maintaining the spotless character of their party's record, or, on the other hand, indulging only in very cautious utterances, so that if on a future occasion, having been returned to power, their utterances, if "Hansardised," will not be found among the more wild utterances of those who or this and other occasions have spoken from those benches. The equilibrium of choice is 1435 one which, no doubt, is nicely balanced, and it would be an impertinence for me to try to disturb it; but if I might quote the dictum of a very great philosopher, one who had had some experience of the subject which we are now discussing, I mean Mr. Weller, senior, I might say, "Never mind the character, Samivel, stick to the alleybi," and" my opinion is, Samivel that if yer guv'nor don't prove a alleybi he'll be what the Italians call reg'lar flummoxed."
There has been, however, one pleasant feature of the Debate to-night—of course, with the exception of myself—and that is that the spirit of party has been kept out. I think that Members of the House who read the reports of other Debates, or were present at those Debates, will feel that it is a very great problem, and one discovers the further one goes into the investigation of this question how persistently progressive, I would almost say organic, has been the growth of our law of State relief and pensions. To this law, of course, all parties, and something more than all parties, have contributed. That is important, I venture to press upon the House. If we consider what man or what party first spoke of pensions for mothers as a matter of responsible consideration, I speak in the presence of people much more qualified to give an opinion than myself, my feeling is, after some former study of the subject, that from what I remember, it would be very difficult to resist the impression that the first person to speak about this as a practical matter of legislation was Prince Bismark. This was in the discussion on State insurance which preceded and accompanied the formation of Modern Germany. If we look to our own country, we should find that the matter received prominence in a famous Memorandum of Lord Goschen, in stating the exception to a rule, an important exception, of which neither he nor his advisers at the time apparently foresaw the vital character. If I am right in that contention, it seems to me that the corollary at the back is that it is not by what they have done that any parties in the State can be judged, because—to be quite frank about it—it is precious little. I suggest that 1436 the test is the measure in which, within the necessary and healthful limits of party conflict, all parties can co-operate with and smooth the way for the efforts of that vast body of expert opinion whose aid in the way of technical knowledge, financial and administrative experience, is in, the end the determining factor in putting on the Statute Book any really workable or comprehensive scheme of insurance, pensions—call it what you will! That that expert opinion is in favour of the principles contained in the Motion of my hon. Friend opposite, there was not the slightest shadow of proof. I do not think in justice it could be attempted to assert that it was. That is my first count against the Mover of the Resolution.
My second charge is this. I do not think it is false to say that the time is now ripe for a cry to the whole nation to gather up its forces, to collect all its powers, for an unparalleled effort in insurance legislation. Great legislative measures of this kind, after all, accompany great movements in national life. The days of the French Revolution and the days of the founding of the German Empire saw gigantic national movements in an effort for the construction of codes of law. Those movements had heroes of their own. Men patiently inquired, men worked with their brains, and that is, after all, the hardest work of all. They sacrificed themselves for those great movements. Their labours were not in vain. They inspired their land and they educated their countrymen. They touched the soul and added to the tradition of the nation. I venture to suggest that progressive steps in social legislation during the last 50 years, whatever be the party from which they emanated, have indicated without shadow of doubt that we are on the verge of demanding from our nation just such a test of its intellectual and moral fibre. Yet the hon. Gentleman, without any hint of the larger possibility, has asked us to concentrate on immediate action in a very small corner of the field. Of course it is an important corner, and of course there is not a Member in this House who does not sympathise with women who are subjected to what was finely termed in the last Debatethe removal of the economic foundation of the family.1437 The hon. Gentleman must not think me unreasonable if I say he has asked us to concentrate our attention on one group only in the vista of poverty and suffering. I believe that his ultimate end is the same as ours, and I think if he wishes to attain that end he is making a psychological mistake in attempting the piecemeal action which he seeks. As one progresses little by little down that horrid corridor, the spirit of even the most optimistic is likely to droop, and the sinews even of the tireless relax. It is not thus that we can obtain statutory form for what might be a new dispensation in our country's history. It is not to job out a task of piece-work that the nation can rally to its assistance artificers responsive to its every purpose rising to a great civic crisis. The problem is a gigantic problem which first, last and all the time must be actuarial. I think the inspiration must be apocalyptic.
The Amendment has been amply explained by the last speaker. First of all, it suggests that any Measure must be part of a well-considered scheme. Secondly, that in that well-considered scheme the mechanism must be contributory and, lastly, there must be the maximum of expedition in its introduction. Legislation which would not be part of a well-considered scheme would be regarded as an example of capricious finance, irresponsible finance and finance divorced from policy. It would make us mocked by those countries of the world who watch us, and in the end not alleviate the situation. I said secondly that the scheme should include a contributory feature of some sort in its mechanism for reasons that my hon. and learned Friend expressed, and which I need not repeat, but finally I plead with Members of the Government for real expedition. An American critic of our institutions wrote just before the War that he foresaw the breakdown of our Constitution in the divorce which must exist between the Labour Government when it came into power and what he termed the sun-baked Toryism of our experts and permanent officials. It is probably easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a foreigner to understand our institutions. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] I think hon. Gentlemen opposite will agree that I have been a fairly constant attender of the House, and I have endeavoured to understand their 1438 point of view. I have never interrupted, and if I cannot appeal to them in a friendly fashion not to render more difficult a task that would try anyone, I can at least point out that if they now restrain their dissent, it may possibly condense into eloquence and even argument at a later stage. This constant breaking out into a cold sweat of interjection is robbing the House of the pleasure which they might enjoy later.
I say that this foreigner misunderstood, as is so easy, the remarkable loyalty of the silent service to the powers that be. There was a deeper thing than that, and I think it is cognate to this ease. There is, of course, no danger of political partiality in this service from that great tradition. The Civil Service is a compound of many elements, but one might find that the political element if ultimately analysed in the original civil servant would be never Tory, but Whig, I believe indubitably Whig, and whatever else the party on this side of the House is it is not Whig. I believe there is as great a gulf dividing a Conservative Prime Minister from his experts and nonpolitical officials as divides them from a Labour or Socialist Prime Minister. I know there is something paradoxical about that, but I believe it to be so, and I believe it is a profoundly good thing for our constitution that it is so. In no sense of the word do I constitute myself a representative of any section of the Conservative party. That would be too ludicrous, but I have kept my eyes open, and I venture to say, not to the Prime Minister, who wants no information about his own party from me, but to the House, that all the more living elements in this party, those most in touch with the people who sent them here, those most grateful to those people for the confidence and support they have given, line and score and underline and underscore again and again the urgency of this Measure. There, perhaps, we can leave it, except for the Division Lobby, and I ask that the vote in the Division Lobby should bear me out. We know we can entrust our leader to interpret to his experts, to his permanent officials, what is a very real driving force in this party, and the force that gives this party life, and in that confidence and in that belief, and in a certain sense joining hands with the hon. Member who moved this Motion, I beg to second the Amendment.
§ Mr. G. THORNE
It is a very pleasant practice of this House for all sections of it always to recognise and appreciate a maiden speech, but I feel that it would be something in the nature of an impertinence for me to offer congratulations on a maiden speech to a Gentleman who occupies the position of the Mover of the Amendment. His position in the country is such that we all knew that the success of his speech was a foregone conclusion, consequently, we all rejoice in the fact that he is now a Member of this House, and so capable of taking part in its deliberations. The Seconder of the Amendment, in the course of his speech, asked what I could not help realising was a very pertinent question. His question was, "What are we dealing with to-night?" I am bound to say I had some difficulty in realising what it was during the course of his speech. As I understand it, it is a very sincere and earnest attempt, following previous attempts, to deal with what is regarded throughout the whole House as a very anxious and important matter. It is an attempt to deal with it by way of Resolution, and not by way of Bill, and I for one will consider the Bill when we see it.
I think it is far wiser to-night to adopt the course which was adopted last year than the one now urged upon us by those who have moved the Amendment. Last year the same Motion as is now before the House was received very sympathetically by the then Government, and they and the whole House acquiesced in the passing of it. In view of the indications of sympathy which have been expressed by the Mover of the Amendment, I sincerely trust that Members will realise to-night that we can best further matters by following the course adopted last year and agreeing unanimously to a Motion in favour of so great a reform. I appreciate very deeply indeed the sympathy which, I know, was genuinely expressed by the Mover of the Resolution, and I am satisfied that it is shared very largely by hon. Members opposite. But I rather think the party with which they are associated are more sympathetic than those who have moved this Amendment. I have before me a report of what took place at the National Unionist Conference at Plymouth at the end of 1923, and the effort there was very much 1440 stronger than the effort which is indicated in the Amendment before the Rouse to-night. There it was moved thatas soon as the financial position of the country permits it is desirable to grant pensions to widows left with young children.An Amendment was moved to delete the provisoas soon as the financial condition of the country permits,and this was carried by a large majority, and the amended resolution was then agreed to. I wish the resolution so adopted by that great conference had been the Amendment moved to-night rather than the present Amendment.
I am heartily in accord with the Motion before the House. It is not the first time I have spoken for it. I have been associated with this reform during the whole time it has been before this House. I was first brought into connection with it in an interview with His Honour Judge Neil, who had the great satisfaction of introducing it to America and helping to bring it to this country. He so convinced me of the reasonableness and wisdom of the policy that I have been a strong advocate of it ever since, and until I am absolutely satisfied that a contributory scheme is feasible and practicable, and will be better than the scheme now proposed, I stand by the Resolution. I support it broadly on three grounds. I support it from the standpoint of the child. The welfare of the child ought to be the supreme consideration of the State. A child left under the conditions referred to in the Resolution is one of the most pathetic objects a man can see, and I cannot conceive that any man will fail to realise the need of doing everything possible to give that child its chance. Consequently I would urge upon this House to concentrate its thoughts in order that something may be done and done quickly. What I am troubled about in regard to this Amendment is, that it looks like a shelving Amendment, intended to get rid of the Resolution, and it asks us to wait for something to happen in the future. I want the House to do what it has done before on this question, that is to pass a strong Resolution in favour of these pensions, and so help to create public opinion in the country.
1441 What is suggested in this Motion is in the interests of the State itself. An old question arises from the past, "Is it well with the child?" I ask myself, "Is it well with the State?" My answer is, that it will never be well with the State until the State has made it well with the child. The child is the greatest asset of the nation, and it is absolutely vital that we should watch the children's interests, and in what way can we do it better than by providing pensions for widows. A widow may be left with a number of children. Some live and prosper and some are cut off by disease, and very often little children are left to the mercy of a not very tender world. I think that is the time for the State to come in and provide something in the direction of equality of opportunity.
I hope the appeal, which has been made to the Government to-night, will be complied with, and that some practical proposals will be put forward. It seems to me that this is not a matter for delay but one in which the whole House should urge upon the Government the vital necessity of facing this question at once. It has been urged that this method of acting, both in regard to old age pensions as well as widowed mothers, saps the moral fibre of our people. If it did, I would not support it, because that moral fibre is vital to the welfare of the nation, and I want to promote it and not to stop it. I am supporting this Resolution because, instead of sapping the moral fibre of the nation, I think it will increase the strength of the nation.
What does sap the moral fibre of the nation is hopelessness. You find a man looking forward to old age who is engaged in toil. It is the hopelessness lying in front of him that saps his moral fibre If, however, we give some certainty to the man in his old age, or to the man engaged in work, that he can rely on, then all his efforts will be directed to extending that certainty, and instead of robbing him of his motive for thrift, it will give him hope and it will be an inducement to thrift. That is why I have always stood for universal old age pensions. I have the same feeling in regard to the Motion now before the House, and because I think it is good for the child the State, and the individual, I give it my hearty support. I have been 1442 particularly anxious to promote a country which is fit for heroes to live in, and I am quite content also to promote the welfare of a country that is fit for children to live in. For these reasons I ask this House to unanimously pass the Resolution which is now before us.
If there is one question that ought to be above party politics, surely it is the question of widows' pensions. This ought to be a question upon which we should all be agreed, although some questions are very difficult to keep out of party politics We know perfectly well that, although the late Government were in sympathy with pensions, they found it to be one of the most difficult of all questions to deal with, and if this question of pensions for widows had been as simple as some hon. Members opposite have made out, the late Chancellor of the Exchequer would have brought in proposals at once. As a matter of fact the older politicians ought to be ashamed of looking the pension question in the face. Politicians have been pleading and fighting for better wages and almost every other sort of thing, and yet no one had been found to fight for the widows in the past. We must, however, face the difficulty now. There are four things that drive people to ask for State help. They are sickness, old age, unemployment and widowhood. The first three have been dealt with in some form of insurance schemes, but the widows have had to go to the wall. In my view of all the people who ought to have been forced on to the Poor Law, the widows are the last of all. We have been told that the State should not interfere in this matter, because it takes away initiative; but no one can say that of a young widow with children, at any rate, no one who knows anything at all about the difficulties. I will read to the House a pitiful letter, which is really only typical of thousands of others—I have just been reading about widows' pensions. How true it is, and what sufferings it would save, only those who have gone through it can possibly know. I was left a widow with five children all under the age of 13 years, and no pension, and I struggled on with what I earned as a tailoress. I worked from 8 a.m. till 8 p.m. first part of the time, and did work for people when I got home at night, and more often it was 2 a.m. when I retired. I did that for two years and three months; then I had a breakdown, and the children, of course, mentioned it to the governess of the school, who 1443 interceded and got the three youngest in an orphan's home; but my youngest little girl, who is now seven years old, has been sent home to me, as they cannot bear the responsibility of her. She is not very strong, and her health gives way very often. I must add that I am not strong now myself, and at present am ill in bed. I have had a most terrible struggle. I have to go 'to work, but the worry is getting someone to look after my little one, and I have been worried terribly of late, and I am sure that is the cause of my illness.That is only one of thousands of cases, and, speaking as a woman, I cannot conceive how a Christian nation could have gone on so long neglecting the widows when they, of all people, should have 'been the first charge on the State. I rejoice now to think that all parties are in favour of widows' pensions, and I think we can trust the Prime Minister to carry a scheme through. I do not agree that this is a shelving Amendment, and if I believed it was I should vote against it. [HON. MEMBERS "Oh, oh!"] Those hon. Members who interrupt know that it is one thing to talk out of office and another thing to talk in office. I do not want to go back to what happened last year, but if the Labour Government in dealing with the surplus, instead of taking something off taxation, had devoted that money to widows' pensions, they could have carried out this reform. I do not, however, wish to make this a party matter.
Some hon. Members talk about this question in a rather vague way, but my view is that if women had had a vote as long as men had had the vote, we should have had this reform long ago. None of them are in any position to hold up their hands in horror at any Government, and I want to leave it at that. As I have said, I rejoice now that we have all come to see the necessity for it. I am in favour of a contributory system, of loathe charity—I loathe the idea of anybody, rich or poor, getting something for nothing. I hate it. It is a bad principle, and I am perfectly certain that most hon. Members think so, too, in their hearts. I am convinced, also, that the average working man of this country hates it as much as anyone else. If you put it on a contributory basis, it will be far better for the whole moral of those who are getting it. I hope very much that the front Opposition Bench will really tell the truth about this matter, 1444 because they know as well as we do that it is one of the most difficult of all problems. It is not only a question of money, but a question of administration, and the reason why they did not bring it in at once was that it was too difficult, and they could not get it done in time. I hope that Members opposite will realise that the Government, having given their pledge, mean to carry it out. After all, the present Government have no excuse, because they have a large majority behind them, and they have also behind them the country, which believes them, and sent them here with that enormous majority because it believed them.
There are one or two things that I want to ask the Government. There are some cases in which the difficulty is very great. If the present basis is taken, of insurance of those employed in industry, it would, presumably, leave out present widows, whose husbands, being dead, cannot insure their wives. I hope that the Government, when bringing forward their proposals, will remember the case of the present widows, and also that of a large number of workers who are not industrially employed—cobblers, for instance, and small shopkeepers, who are not insured, but who work for themselves. It is going to be very difficult to include them, because they are not insured, being in business for themselves.
I am in earnest about this, and I really think that, if hon. Members opposite were, we should not have these interruptions from the hon. Member for Silvertown (Mr. J. Jones), particularly after dinner.
I want to ask the Government to bear in mind those who are not insured, because, if the bread winner dies, they are in a really tragic position, and I hope that in some way, in the new scheme, their case will be dealt with. Again, if these people are going to be taken off the Poor Law, they will have to get an adequate sum to keep them and their children. That is an absolute necessity. Mr. Rowntree in his book on "Human Needs of Labour," put the scale in 1914 at 12s. a week for the 1445 widow plus 3s. 6d. for each child. In November, 1923, his figures were 21s. for the widow and 6s. 1½d. a week for each child. When the Government bring in their scheme, they ought to bear in mind that, if a widow is to stay at home, as you want her to do, and keep up her home and take care of her children, that cannot be done unless she is given a sufficient allowance. I am perfectly certain that it is the wish of the country that widows with young children should be able to stay in their homes and bring up their children properly. That is the whole argument for unemployment insurance. Therefore, I beg the Government not to bring in any niggardly scale, which will not be enough to give them what the whole country desires to give them.
Further, I hope the Government will consider making a dowry grant on remarriage. They did so in the case of the soldiers and sailors, and it is really a very sound policy. I cannot go into the whole question now, but the Government will see the reasons why, during the War, a dowry was given to a widow on remarriage, and they will find that it was a very sound policy. From the point of view of the State it is not extravagant, and it is a more moral policy from the point of view of the widow. I hope I have not kept the House too long, but I do feel that Members in all quarters of the House should not try to make party capital out of the widows and fatherless, who have for too long been neglected. Do not think for one moment that the Members on this side of the House are not just as much interested in the case of the widows as Members opposite are.
I am just going to sit down, because I realise that many other Members want to speak, but I do want to say that we want something practicable and workable. Although some hon. Members opposite may not believe individually in a contributory scheme, do not let us fight over that, but let us have something practicable and workable. I want to urge that upon the Government, in order that they may give real relief to these widows and children.
§ Mr. SUTTON
I shall not occupy the time of the House for more than a few moments, because I have been informed that a number of Members want to speak, particularly Front Bench men. I do, however, want to say a word or two in support of this Motion. The Noble Lady who has just sat down has been pleading very eloquently for mothers' pensions and for pensions for children, but I am afraid she is going to go into the Lobby against mothers' pensions and pensions for children.
§ Mr. SUTTON
She will go into the Lobby, along with her party, for deferring these pensions which are necessary at the present time. The hon. and learned Member for Chelmsford (Sir 1447 H. Curtis-Bennett), who moved the Amendment to this Motion, wanted to know what the late Government or the late Chancellor of the Exchequer had done last February, when we were in office and not in power. He is now not in his place, or I should have reminded him that the Labour Government had only been in office and not in power one month when the question of mothers' pensions was discussed in this House, and that it was an impossibility in one month's time in taking office to prepare a scheme for mothers' pensions. I am of opinion that had the Labour Government been in office for another year, during this year we should have had a scheme of mothers' pensions, because I believe my right hon. Friend the late Chancellor of the Exchequer had appointed the Committee to go into the whole questions of pensions for widows and orphans.
During the last Election Members of this House connected with all parties, from the Government side, from the Liberal side and the Labour side, advocated mothers' pensions, but, unfortunately, now that the opportunity has presented itself for the first time of bringing it forward, I am sorry to say that the Government who are in power with a large majority want to defer this question for a long time to come. They are speaking of a contributory scheme. What does it mean? It is said, as the Mover of the Resolution suggested, that we have 175,000 widows in this country with some hundreds of thousands of dependent children. Who is going to contribute for that number of women and children in years to come to get a pension? It will be an impossibility. I am of the opinion that even the Government with their large majority will not attempt for a few years to come to legislate in the direction that they are intimating with the Amendment to-night moved by the hon. and learned Member for Chelmsford. What little experience I have of this House is that never until the last Session of a Government, before they appeal for a General Election, do they bring forward anything that is going to benefit the people as a whole. Seeing that they advocated, along with other Members of this House, a pension scheme, I am of the opinion that something 1448 ought to be done. It may not be done at once, but they could at least prepare a scheme, perhaps in a few months' time. We have 175,000 widows in this country. Take the case of the colliery disaster that happened the other evening. There you will have another large number of widows and dependent children who will have to apply to the Poor Law guardians for relief. Those of us who live in the midst of poverty-stricken areas and who are at home for week-ends see these people, many of whom come and tell us how they have been blown into when they have to appeal to the guardians for support when they have lost their breadwinner and have dependent children upon them, and many of them come with tears in their eyes. We are all most anxious that something should be done for the widows and children. There is no contributory scheme for the high officials in the Army and Navy, and in the case of ex-service men there is no contributory scheme. They get their pensions as a right. We on this side of the House believe that people who are unable to contribute to a scheme on account of their poverty and of the low wages they have received, seeing they have contributed to the wealth of the nation, ought to be entitled to pensions when they are in need of them. I shall not transgress. I promised to speak about 10 minutes, and I have pleasure in supporting the Motion, and I hope even hon. Members opposite will come into the Lobby with us to help us to carry this Motion.
§ Mr. FORD
I would certainly not support the Amendment to this Motion if I thought there was the least substance in the charge that it was a shelving Motion. I would rather, if I may venture to do so, deprecate anything that has been said on either side that has tended to raise any party feeling in this matter. It is far too serious a business for party feeling. All of us are up against the brutal and essential considerations of finance in this matter. It is a matter of proportion, of considering with the greatest sympathy the needs of the widows and her dependent children. But there are other cases that have to be considered also. If we are going to begin to fritter away the resources that can be collected and conserved for a very big scheme for the 1449 benefit of the whole people without having got a proper financial basis for it, we are going to do grave injustice all round. There are many trades where the present statutory limit at which old age pensions can be received ought to be substantially reduced. There are trades in which men and women are worn out much sooner. There are cases of inadequate provision made in many cases to the dependants of the men who fought. It is all very well to say that people in the industrial world contribute to the nation. These men gave their lives directly and knowingly, and the inadequate provision is a thing that hurts us all to contemplate.
The scheme the Government have in view is a great scheme of national insurance in which all these things will be brought together on a contributory basis for those who are coming into the scheme. It is ridiculous to say that you are going to make an old age pensioner contribute or that the widows of the men who have died already in the incidence of the accidents of industrial life are to be made to contribute. That is nonsense. We must have an actuarial basis to the scheme or we are not entitled to embark on a big scheme like that. The only thing I feel any doubt about in connection with the Amendment is that it is asking the Government to introduce this complicated scheme in this Session, but let us keep in view that we must have a great comprehensive national insurance scheme on a contributory basis dealing with it in a sensible way. We will get it, I hope; we must make every effort to get it. Let us keep that in view. Let us remember that when and where there is a surplus of funds in the hands of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, one of the first claims from year to year should be for such a scheme as this. There is no good promising what you are going to do, what you have got the money to do. I fought an election and I lost it largely over misrepresentation with regard to the removal of the means limit for old age pensions. It was a scandalous misrepresentation. The same kind of misrepresentation might be made on this question, but the fact has been proved that the people who talk common sense on this subject came back with substantial majorities, because the country realises that windy promises are no good, and that you are entitled not to hold out false hopes 1450 but the really solid, financially-sound way in which you can meet the very proper claims and desires of the people of this country. We have to keep that in mind. We are far more carrying out what is reasonable and sensible if, instead of trying to urge the Government to do something that in the present state of the finances of the country it is quite obvious it cannot do this year, if instead even of urging, as this Amendment does, the introduction of very complicated but very necessary legislation this Session, we urge upon the Government—I hardly think we need to do so when we remember the recent speeches of the Prime Minister and others—the absolute necessity of pressing forward the actuarial facts and bases of these schemes. It may not be so showy as saying "We will introduce a Bill this Session," but if they will work, not in order to play a trump card at an election as is suggested, but if they will work and take the lay mind in along with the expert and see that a really sound scheme is produced, that will be far more than any little political advantage which can be gained by playing this or that card and alleging this suspicion or that. Let us, therefore, support this Amendment as the best thing we can get at present, and, at the same time, seriously urge the Government to go on assiduously and unremittingly preparing this great national scheme, which, I think, ought to be the salvation of the country.
§ Mr. CLYNES
We on this side of the House have at least the consolation of this subject having done some work as pioneers, and we have the further consolation of seeing a very real measure of headway made, not only within these walls, but in public opinion outside. Year by year Motions have been introduced on the initiative of the Labour party, and year by year we have seen them strengthened by the votes in the Division Lobby until last year, I think in February, there was not even a vote cast against the Motion submitted from the Labour Benches, and unanimously the House of Commons assented to a Motion precisely similar to that which is submitted to-night. It was a Motion in favour of the State undertaking fully the obligation of providing widows' pensions and clearly calling for them upon a noncontributory basis. I ask the attention of the House to the fact that then, while 1451 a Labour Government was in office, not a single suggestion was made from the Conservative quarter of the House that contributions should be paid, and no opposition of any kind, as I have said, was offered to the Resolution on that occasion. The objection, which we think is a real one, to the idea of the scheme suggested in the Amendment is that such a scheme would inevitably fail to reach those who were most in need of this aid. The very poorest, once more, would be found to be outside the range of the scheme, however far it might go. It is well known that in the case of every form of insurance on which benefits depend, the people most in need of the benefits have the greatest difficulty in securing them and frequently fail entirely to receive them, because of their inability to pay. There would be by inquiry and delay a very great aggravation of the existing distress and difficulties due to the absence of any adequate provision for pensions for widows.
The hon. and learned Member who moved the Amendment made, if I may say so—and I say it with the general assent of the House—a speech of real excellence, but the general merit of that speech, surely, did not apply to his argument that unless a contribution was paid, the pension could not be received as a right. We must put right upon a broader and more generous basis than the payment of a contribution, and we are entitled to say, that if it be true that a pension cannot be received as a right without a contribution having been paid for it, then many rich men who have received pensions are not entitled to them.
I congratulate hon. Members who have spoken from the other side of the House upon the simulated seriousness and upon the excellence of the pretence with which they have so often put the question, why the Labour Government of last year did not introduce a Measure and carry it through, covering what is now before the House. I shall not shirk the effort to answer that question. The last Government, I suppose, was the shortest one on record in recent times, and the reason why we did not carry through this provision, like many others that we should like to carry through, is that we came into office too late and were pushed out of office too early. We came so late that we 1452 could not be answerable for the conditions of national finance at that time; but we were honest and made provision for this scheme. The declaration of the late Chancellor of the Exchequer is on record, when he said that a scheme was well advanced in its preparatory stages, and that financial provision for making it good would be made in the next Labour Budget.
Was that scheme contributory or non-contributory? It would be very helpful if the House could know that. Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us?
§ Mr. CLYNES
Throughout, at every conference, and at every Labour gathering, whether in this House or outside, the scheme always has been on a non-contributory basis.
§ Mr. CLYNES
On this matter of pensions, the Labour record is clean. No one can charge us during our term of office with having neglected the just interests of pensions in this country. Beginning with the old-age pensions, we removed almost entirely the disabilities under which many thousands of old-age pensioners suffered, and we added a very large number of new old-age pensioners who had not been entitled to pensions on any previous occasion. We do not under-estimate the financial difficulties of this question. Statesmanship is a quality designed to face and overcome difficulties. What is the good of making a boast of doing easy things I We recognise difficulties, but I say that there is still wealth enough in this country to draw upon in support of the children who are in such a state of distress and want because the father of the children is dead.
We have had to meet it is true very heavy demands for the pensions which we pay now. Very likely the right hon. Gentleman the Financial Secretary to the Treasury will later give the House some record of what is the present obligation of the country in respect of pensions. In anticipation may I say that taking the figures relating to all kinds of War 1453 pensions as well as to old age pensions, and taking the whole sum put together paid since the end of the War to all these pensioners, it is not too much to say that nearly the whole of that money would be made up from the duty on beer alone. We have very large resources of all kinds upon which to draw and taxation, if need be, for such a purpose is not a measure from which any Chancellor of the Exchequer would shrink. The children have a claim upon this House as well as the aged, as well as the soldiers, and this is essentially a children's question. It is primarily a question of greater care for the children, greater opportunities for their education, greater certainty for their health and care than, say, providing even an ordinary means of livelihood for the mother.
There is nothing more pathetic than the plight of the widowed mother in this country. Her struggle for life, even in conditions of ordinary good fortune, is enough to face and undergo, but one great handicap in the case of women referred to in this discussion is a handicap which would be diminished if not removed by a fuller application of our great financial resources. I agree with the Noble Lady as to what is the effect on the children of what may be described as institutional upbringing. To rear children in an institution is not a good thing, but many thousands have to be sent to homes of all kinds because of the inability of the widow to make duo provision which will make it unnecessary to break up the home. We on this side have often been charged falsely with not having due regard to the home life of this country, and hon. Members might on this occasion join with us in seeking to rescue those children from institutions and in that direction doing what is possible to secure a proper place for the children in the home.
The proper person to rear and care for the child is the mother, and it would pay the State and pay the mother to undertake the necessary human and material task. It will save the physique of the children. I read recently some lament about our inability to fill our armies, as we were easily able to do in bygone times, and that one cause of our difficulties in recruiting was the enormous proportion of men rejected from the Army who were willing to join it. Some five out of every eight men who offered themselves for 1454 military service even now are not fit for it. Probably they are drawn largely from the children of the widowed mothers. In a commercial sense, in every sense of character and manner, as well as for reasons of general physique, I assert that it will pay this country to pay this bill, and we have reached a stage I hope at which Parliament, and the nation as well, will readily accept this new obligation even although it may be a heavy financial burden.
The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. Guinness)
It is very pleasant to speak on behalf of the Government in a Debate which has produced such general agreement. After the very moving appeal on the merits of the case, as we have heard it from the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Kelly) and other hon. Members on all sides of the House, who have urged the importance of early legislation on this subject, it is not necessary for me to cover the same ground. I have for very long past felt that it is very remarkable, considering the provisions which we have made for the misfortunes of ill-health, of old age and of unemployment, that we have waited so long to deal with a class of misfortune which is far more shattering in the domestic life of our people. Seeing also the amounts which we have found out of public resources for the education of our people, it is high time that we should ensure that our future citizens should not lack adequate maintenance and sustenance to enable them to take advantage of those mental opportunities which the State has recently extended. I am sure that we all recognise the heroic and heart-rending effort which many of these widows, left in penury, make to keep their homes together. If I do not take up the time of the House further on that matter, which is of general agreement, it is because I know that other hon. Members want to speak, and I do not want to stand too long between them and their opportunity. We are all agreed on the major premises. We have to have legislation. But we are sharply divided on the alternative methods of dealing with this question. On the one hand, there is a section of the Labour party which is in favour of a non-contributory scheme.
I understand it was only a part of the Labour party, but this is a matter which needs a great deal of inquiry and explanation, and I would like to be quite clear as to what was really-meant by the right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken. Are we to understand that the Labour party have never made inquiries on any basis, except the basis of a non-contributory scheme? Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will make that quite clear?
§ Mr. CLYNES
All manner of inquiries were made. My hon. Friend who moved this Resolution can depend upon the unanimous support of every Member of the Labour party in the Division Lobby.
The explanation clears away a misapprehension. It is clear that the right hon. Gentleman and those who sat with him in the last Government were not convinced as to the possibilities of an non-contributory scheme, and they did examine, as we are examining, the alternative of dealing with this matter on a contributory basis. After all, there is nothing to be ashamed of in that attiude, and I ask that question, not as a matter of criticism, but because I thought Members of the House were misunderstanding, and those who sat behind the right hon. Gentleman were misunderstand, a remark that fell from him during his speech. This matter must be considered in terms of cost, and it is very remarkable that in all the proposals for a non-contributory scheme, there is the same element of vagueness. The-most definite proposals we have had were those brought forward last year by Mr. Dukes, who said that the provision for widows' pensions and the pensions of their dependants should be the same as those given to War widows—26s. 8d. for the widow, 10s. for the first child, 7s. 6d. for the second child and 6s. for the third child. He did not go into those details, but that, I assume, was what he meant. He gave the cost of that scheme as £20,000,000. I have made inquiries from our experts, and I am informed that such a scheme would cost £16,000,000 for the widows during the period of their children's dependency, £10,000,000 for the children and from £7,000,000 to £8,000,000 for mothers left in difficulty owing to the incapacity of the breadwinner. So it was not a matter of £20,000,000, but somewhere between £30,000,000 and £35,000,000.
That would apply to all widows during the period while the children were dependent upon them.
On the basis which is laid down—and this is not our scheme but the scheme of hon. Members opposite and I am only giving an illustration of the cost—the amount for the widows would have been 26s. 8d. Hon. Members opposite had the opportunity of carrying such a scheme. The late Chancellor of the Exchequer last year gave away a surplus of much more than £35,000,000. He gave away a surplus amounting in a full year to no less than £48,000,000. On Customs and Excise alone he gave concessions amounting to £32,000,000, a sum which would have been nearly enough to finance such a non-contributory scheme as is advocated by his supporters to-day but which was looked upon with so much doubt when hon. and right hon. Gentle men opposite were responsible for the government of the country. What did the late Chancellor of the Exchequer say on this matter last year?I doubt if ever there was a Chancellor of the Exchequer in a position more unfortunate than that in which I find myself. I am expected to do all kinds of impossible things. The miracle of the loaves and fishes was a comparatively trivial thing compared with what I am expected to do."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 20th February, 1924; col. 1890, Vol. 169.]What about my right hon. Friend the present Chancellor of the Exchequer—[HON. MEMBERS: "With 400 majority!"]—who is left with an absolutely bare cupboard? His predecessor deliberately shaved the bone, so as to leave only £4,000,000, and, as a matter of fact, only £3,500,000 has been left according to the figures published this morning.
We are not discussing the Budget now. If £34,000,000 of remissions in the financial year which has just closed did not represent enough loaves and fishes to finance a noncontributory scheme, I think it is pretty obvious that it is difficult for my right hon. Friend the present Chancellor of the Exchequer to attempt anything of the 1457 kind at present. The deeds of a Chancellor of the Exchequer live after him, and we have to face a further drop of £14,000,000 as a legacy from the late Chancellor of the Exchequer. But it is not merely because of any temporary lack of resources that we are compelled to reject the method, which finds favour opposite, of a, non-contributory scheme for dealing with mothers' pensions.
No; mothers'. I am dealing with their scheme, and the Noble Lady may not have noticed that it is definitely limited to mothers' pensions, but it is by no means to be assumed that it would remain limited to mothers' pensions. If you have non-contributory pensions in a matter of this kind, it is inevitable that you will be driven to concessions far beyond what were originally proposed, and if you begin with widows with children dependent upon them, you may be quite sure, in the light of our experience on old age pensions, pre-war pensions, and other instances of that sort, that we shall be irresistibly pressed to go far beyond the original scheme. If, however, you deal with the problem by a system of insurance, you have a definite test: What additional risk can be assumed by the fund without threatening insolvency? If the State is merely a partner in an insurance scheme, the credit of the fund and the vital interests of the insured are a defence against the extension of benefits beyond what can be justified on an actuarial basis. I believe that such a safeguard is absolutely necessary in the interests of our national finance.
The Treasury in these days is beset day after day with insistent claims to pay one section at the expense of the rest of the community, and our constant problem is to conserve the general interest against special encroachment, in spite of our very elaborate method of Parliamentary procedure, which hedges the system of public finance with such elaborate safeguards against encroachment on the part of hon. Members who are playing up to their constituents. Though the finances of the country are very strong, after all, our resources are limited. The structure of British commerce and industry is very well built, but even there there is a limit to the weight which its foundations can hear, and already 1458 there are ominous signs of cracks and settlements, which point to the necessity of lightening rather than adding to the stresses which the foundations can carry. Our policy is to deal, therefore, with this question on the only safe basis of a contributory scheme, such as that brought forward so forcibly by the hon. and learned Member for Chelmsford (Sir H. Curtis-Bennett), in the very eloquent maiden speech which he made to-night. Of course, I cannot commit myself to all the details of the rather ambitious scheme of all-in insurance which be outlined, but in a word, our method is that of State-aided self-help. Our policy is not doles from charity, but pensions as a right. We believe that only in that way can you avoid that inquiry as to means which has been resented as inquisitorial, as in the case of the old age pensions administration. If you have the test of insurance it is perfectly simple to see whether or not people are qualified by the condition of contribution. All those who have studied this matter during the past year are coming more and more to the opinion that it is only by a system of insurance that this matter can be safely and adequately dealt with.
It is interesting to find, not only on this side of the House, but below the Gangway on the other side, that this opinion exists. The Noble Lord who leads the Liberal party—
I refer to the Earl of Oxford and Asquith who, in the joint manifesto he issued with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), said:The Liberal party advocated pensions for widows and allowances for orphans, to be carried out by a comprehensive policy of contributory insurance.To-night we have witnessed a new split, and a new fissure in the party, for the hon. Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Thorne) has thrown over his leader. He has committed himself wholeheartedly to a scheme which was brought forward by the hon. Member who sits next to him above the Gangway (Mr. Kelly), and in spite of what his leader has said, he asks, Why it was the Conservative party did not agree with the Labour party in supporting a non-contributory scheme? He went further, and he asked: Why did not the Conservative party oppose a non 1459 contributory scheme last year? The fact is that the present Minister of Agriculture, who spoke in the Debate last year, was careful to save himself being committed to a non-contributory scheme. At the end of his speech he said:In that I include the desirability of a close examination of the question whether or not that is the best way of doing it."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 20th February, 1924; col. 1898, Vol. 169.]At that time we were already engaged, as a party, on an inquiry as to the actuarial basis of a system of widows' insurance. That is the explanation of the impossibility of committing ourselves more than a year ago, and before this inquiry had been advanced. The last Election, however, could have left the House in no doubt as to our position. None of our pledges were more specific than those given on this subject, not only by the Prime Minister, but by all his followers. I suppose there is hardly a Member inside the House who did not commit himself up to the hilt, in his speeches and in his Election address, to dealing with these mothers' pensions during the present Parliament. I would remind the House that, on this side, we are restrained in our Election promises. Hon. Members will find that we have limited them to what we think is within our intention and our power to perform. I would remind hon. Members opposite that a sound scheme of insurance must not only be built upon sympathy but also arithmetic. It is for that reason that the Treasury are now associated with the Ministry of Health in examining this problem in all its bearings with a view to bringing forward definite proposals. It is obvious that an insurance scheme needs far closer and detailed examination than a scheme which throws the whole burden on the public Exchequer.
The complications of the scheme which will satisfy the House have been shown by the hon. Member who sits for Plymouth (Viscountess Astor). She asked whether existing widows—so did hon. Members opposite—are to be brought in, or whether they are to wait till the scheme has rolled up a credit out of which they can be paid. That is a matter which needs careful inquiry. The Noble Lady also asked if a dowry would be given to the widows who marry again. Probably, there would be a great actuarial benefit 1460 in compounding the liability to the widow who is bringing up children if she can get a breadwinner to take over. That, again, is a matter which wants a good deal of inquiry, and it needs not only a study of arithmetic, but also a study of human nature.
Besides these particular points, the Prime Minister, in his manifesto at the last Election, indicated that he was proposing to cover a far wider field than merely widows' pensions. He defined his object to supplement the present old age pension with provision for the aged people beyond the possibility of employment in industry at an earlier age. These subjects cannot be dealt with in the few months that have been at the disposal of the present Government. [HON. MEMBERS "The last Government!"] You were not able to deal with a far smaller scheme. On behalf of the Government, I can only say to-night that we are glad to accept this Amendment, in full confidence that during this Parliament, as soon as our inquiries are completed, we shall be able to bring forward a Measure to give relief in their necessities to the widows and the orphans.
§ Major HORE-BELISHA
This proposal began with a sympathetic plea for widowed mothers. It has terminated with a most tearful appeal for the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It has been said that he has been left only a shaved bone on which to dine. He is rather worse off than the hon. Member for Silvertown (Mr. J. Jones), who has not had any dinner at all.
§ Major HORE-BELISHA
What the House, and particularly this side of the House, wants to know is, when these widows are going to get their pensions. The right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken has made a great punctilio of the precise words on which a motion can be voted for or voted against. He takes conscientious exception to the terms of the Motion, and thinks no honest Conservative can vote for it. It so happens that every Conservative Member of this House voted for a similar Motion with a good heart a few months ago. The Motion, which was not even challenged, and was, indeed, welcomed with unanimity and enthusiasm by hon. Members who 1461 were then in opposition, was a Motion to give, by the agency of the State, pensions to widows with children. We have the same Motion to-night, and we are told that the Government are going to reject it.
§ Major HORE - BELISHA
Precisely. What I want to know from my right hon. Friend is why he wants to divide on the Motion to-night?
§ Major HORE-BELISHA
It is a very well-known method of advocacy, but one more suited to the hon. and learned Gentleman who moved this Amendment than to the right hon. Gentleman who is now indulging in it, to try to shelve one's responsibility and inconsistency by pointing out divisions in some other party. What the Liberal party are anxious for, and that with unanimity—[Interruption]. I am not in the witness box—what the Liberal party are anxious for is that a scheme of widows' pensions should be brought
§ into operation. It would be a vindication of Liberal history. The Liberal party have been responsible for every single measure of social insurance upon the Statute Book, in defiance of hon. Members who sit upon the other side. Where were they when we proposed old age pensions? They were not in the Lobby with us. Where were they when we proposed the insurance scheme? They were not in the Lobby with us. What we do know is that only just over a year ago, at Plymouth, they gave adherence to the very principle of the, Motion which has been moved by my hon. Friend. They have now turned round and say that any widow accepting a 'pension upon these terms would accept the stigma of charity. It is a little bit late in the day to talk of charity. I invite the right hon. Gentleman to search his own conscience and see if he cannot see his way to accept this Motion.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 153; Noes, 274.1465
|Division No. 71.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Gosling, Harry||Lawson, John James|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Lee, F.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Lindley, F. w.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Greenall, T.||Livingstone, A. M.|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhamton, Bilston)||Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Lowth, T.|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Mackinder, W.|
|Barnes, A.||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||MacLaren, Andrew|
|Barr, J.||Groves, T.||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Batey, Joseph||Grundy, T. W.||March, S.|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth)||Maxton, James|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Southwark, N.)||Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley)|
|Broad, F. A.||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Montague, Frederick|
|Bromfield, William||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Murnin, H.|
|Bromley, J.||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Naylor, T. E.|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Hardie, George D.||Oliver, George Harold|
|Buchanan, G.||Harney, E. A.||Palin, John Henry|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel||Harris, Percy A.||Paling, W.|
|Cape, Thomas||Hastings, Sir Patrick||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Hayday, Arthur||Ponsonby, Arthur|
|Cluse, W. S.||Hayes, John Henry||Potts, John S.|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Rees, Sir Beddoe|
|Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Connolly, M.||Hirst, G. H.||Riley, Ben|
|Cove, W. G.||Hirst, W. (Bradlord, South)||Ritson, J.|
|Crawfurd, H. E.||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)|
|Dalton, Hugh||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Robinson, Sir T. (Lanes, Stretford)|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Robinson, W. C.(Yorks, W.R., Elland)|
|Dennison, R.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Duncan, C.||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Sakiatvala, Shapurji|
|Dunnico, H.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|England, Colonel A.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Fenby, T. D.||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Scurr, John|
|Forrest, W.||Kelly, W. T.||Sexton, James|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Kennedy, T.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Gillett, George M.||Lansbury, George||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Sitch, Charles H.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)||Wheatley, Rt. Hon, J|
|Slesser, sir Henry H.||Thurtie, E.||Whiteley, W.|
|Smillie, Robert||Tinker, John Joseph||Wignall, James|
|Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.||Williams, David (Swansea, E.)|
|Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)||Varley, Frank B.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Smith, Rennie (Penistone)||Viant, S. P.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Snell, Harry||Wallhead, Richard C.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)||Windsor, Walter|
|Stamford, T. W.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)||Wright, W.|
|Stephen, Campbell||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Sutton, J. E.||Welsh, J. C.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Taylor, R. A.||Westwood, J.||Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr. Warne.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Hopkins, J. W. W.|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.|
|Ainsworth, Major Charles||Curzon, Captain Viscount||Howard, Capt. Hon. D. (Cumb., N.)|
|Albery, Irving James||Dalkeith, Earl of||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Davidson, J. (Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)||Hudson, R. S. (Cumb'l'nd, Whiteh'n)|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Hume, Sir G. H.|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Davies, A. V. (Lancaster, Royton)||Hurd, Percy A.|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, E.||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Iliffe, Sir Edward M.|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Dixey, A. C.||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)|
|Astor, Viscountess||Drewe, C.||Jacob, A. E.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Eden, Captain Anthony||Jephcott, A. R.|
|Atkinson, C.||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Elveden, Viscount||Kindersley, Major Guy M.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||King, Captain Henry Douglas|
|Balniel, Lord||Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Everard, W. Lindsay||Knox, Sir Alfred|
|Barnett, Major Richard W,||Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Lamb, J. Q.|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Fielden, E. B.||Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Col. George R.|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Finburgh, S.||Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)|
|Bethell, A.||Fleming, D. P.||Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Ford, P. J.||Little, Dr. E. Graham|
|Bird, E. R.||Forestier-Walker, L.||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)|
|Blundell, F. N.||Foster, Sir Harry S.||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (Handsw'th)|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||Loder, J. de V.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Fraser, Captain Ian||Looker, Herbert William|
|Brass, Captain W.||Frece, Sir Walter de||Lord, Walter Greaves-|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Fremantle, Lt. Col. Francis E.||Lougher, L.|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Gaibraith, J. F. W.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir H. V.|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Ganzoni, Sir John||Lumley, L. R.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Gates, Percy||MacAndrew, Charles Glen|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Gee, Captain R.||Macintyre, Ian|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||McLean, Major A.|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Macmillan, Captain H.|
|Burgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Alan||Gower, Sir Robert||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John|
|Burman, J. B.||Grace, John||MacRobert, Alexander M.|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Makins, Brigadier-General E.|
|Campbell, E. T.||Gretton, Colonel John||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn|
|Cassels, J. D.||Grotrian, H. Brent||Margesson, Capt. D.|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Mason, Lieut.-Colonel Glyn K.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Meller, R. J.|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Merriman, F. B.|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Hammersley, S. S.||Meyer, Sir Frank|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Hanbury, C.||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-|
|Christie, J. A.||Harland, A.||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Harrison, G. J. C.||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Hartington, Marquess of||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.|
|Clayton, G. C.||Haslam, Henry C.||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hawke, John Anthony||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Murchison, C. K.|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Nall, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.||Nelson, Sir Frank|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Cope, Major William||Henniker-Hughan, Vice-Adm. Sir A.||Nuttall, Ellis|
|Couper, J. B.||Herbert, S. (York, N. R., Scar. & Wh'by)||Oakley, T.|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)|
|Courthope, Lieut.-Col. George L.||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Pennefather, Sir John|
|Cowan Sir Wm. Henry (Islingtn, N.)||Holland, Sir Arthur||Penny, Frederick George|
|Craig, Capt. Rt. Hon. C. C. (Antrim)||Holt, Captain H. P.||Percy, Lord Eustace Hastings)|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Homan, C. W. J.||Perring, William George|
|Crook, C. W.||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Shepperson, E. W.||Waddington, R.|
|Philipson, Mabel||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)||Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Power, Sir John Cecil||Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Univ., Belfst)||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton||Skelton, A N.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Preston, William||Slaney, Major p. Kenyon||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Price, Major C. W. M.||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Radford, E. A.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Wells, S. R.|
|Ramsden, E.||Smithers, Waldron||Wheler, Major Granville C. H.|
|Rawson, Alfred Cooper||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Reid, D. D. (County Down)||Spender Clay, Colonel H.||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Rentoul, G. S.||Sprot, Sir Alexander||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)||Winby, Colonel L. P.|
|Rice, Sir Frederick||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)||Steel, Major Samuel Strang||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Ropner, Major L.||Storry Deans, R.||Womersley, W. J.|
|Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.||Wood, Rt. Hon. E. (York, W.R. Ripon)|
|Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Salmon, Major I.||Styles, Captain H. Walter||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.).|
|Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Templeton, W. P.||Wragg, Herbert|
|Sanders, Sir Robert A.||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Savery, S. S.||Tinne, J. A.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)||Titchfield, Major the Marguess of||Sir H. Curtis Bennett and Sir|
|Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mel. (Renfrew, W)||Turton, Edmund Russborough||Geoffrey Butler.|
|Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there added."
§ Mr. MACLEAN rose—
§ It being after Eleven, of the Clock, the Debate stood adjourned.