HC Deb 30 July 1925 vol 187 cc780-833

I beg to move to leave out the Clause.

During the Second Reading Debate, when the Minister was making his apology for bringing in a Bill of such a wretched character, he twitted the Labour Minister of the last Government with the fact that this particular Clause was not included in the original draft of the Labour Government's own Bill last year, and I think he sought to find in that some reason for going back to the provision which existed prior to the Labour party's Measure. I do not think it was a very good reason, and it appeared to me that if the right hon. Gentleman was at a disadvantage to find any reason for this proposal he failed to find one in that direction. In any event there was a great difference in character between the two Measures. The Bill of last year sought to make better the lot of the unemployed and sought to give legislative effect to some of the promises we have made. Hon. Members opposite have made as many promises as most people, but they seek to carry out their promises by making the position of the unemployed infinitely worse. This Clause proposes to undo what the Labour party did last year in regard to the waiting period.

It will be remembered that in connection with the provisions of the Budget there was the suggestion of providing pensions for widows and orphans and extending old age pensions. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said that provision and the general provisions of the Budget were to be related one with another, and he suggested also that the whole thing would be related with the Unemployment Insurance Bill. With remarkable ingenuity he has managed to knit these things together. He has said, among other things, that as a result of the Pensions Bill a certain contribution per week will be put upon the employers, but he has indicated that some alteration will be made in the contributions to unemployment insurance. Time after time we have attempted to get some indication from the Chancellor, the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Labour of what the alterations are going to be, but we could get nothing. Apparently they were waiting to see what effect the contributions that were to be imposed in the Old Age Pensions Bill were going to have on industry, and immediately they were made known, big business in this country shrieked, and the Government had to find some way of placating big business. They proposed to put so much per week on to the contributions for old age pensions; there was a row about it, and they found they must placate them. They took so much a week off the contributions now being made for unemployment insurance, and, as a result of that reduction, it meant that there would be a reduction in the funds, and some equivalent had to be found.

It is to be found out of the pockets of the unemployed. Some £5,000,000, I think, has to be found by increasing the waiting period from three days to six, which means that £5,000,000 less is going to be paid out to these unfortunate people than has been the case hitherto. It is one of the meanest ways of balancing, to use the Chancellor of the Exchequer's term, that I have ever known introduced into this House. The only reason that I can find that the Minister of Labour has given for the introduction of this Clause is that the limitation of benefit by the extension of the waiting period is the least burdensome form of limitation. I think it is quite clear that when a person has been ex hypothesi in employment for a good period, a limitation of this kind is less burdensome at the end of that period than would be such a limitation at a later period. The only argument put is that it is more possible for a man, when he has been in employment and is then unemployed, to go for six days on starvation benefit than it is for a man who has been unemployed for a considerable time.

It is a poor argument, in my opinion, and I should like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary if he thinks the wages that are paid to the working men and women of this country are such that they have any chance of saving a sufficient sum to enable them to be six days unemployed without receiving any income of any description. Campbell-Bannerman, just before his death, gave expression to the opinion that there were 13,000,000 people in this country always on the verge of starvation. I believe that number could be increased to-day, and for the Minister of Labour to suggest that the wages that are being paid to-day are sufficient to cover this waiting period is absurd. The wages average, round about three guineas a week, calculated on a basis of six days a week, but millions of our people are not making six days per week, but two, three, four, and five days a week with the cost of living 80 per cent. above pre-War, equivalent to a pre-War wage of 37s. a week. In answer to the hon. Member for West Middlesbrough (Mr. Thomson), when he pointed out that this extension to six days would mean that more men would be put upon the rates in the necessitous areas, the Minister dissented, and said he thought he could bring figures to prove that that was not so. He has been asked on various occasions to submit such figures, but we have never seen them yet.

As a matter of fact, the evidence of last year's Labour Government proves this, that the benefits that were given under the Unemployment Act actually succeeded in reducing the number of recipients of Poor Law relief throughout the length and breadth of this country. At the end of the Labour Government's term there were less people receiving Poor Law relief than at any other time since the slump in industry came, proving that there is a direct connection between benefits given under the Unemployment Insurance Act and the relief that has to be dished out by Poor Law authorities. In these circumstances, I think that even now the Minister would be wise to withdraw this Bill. This Clause has not a single virtue to recommend it. It takes £5,000,000 off the people who can least afford to have anything taken from them. Talk about balancing a Budget—£5,000,000 from those who are already starving, and £40,000,000 to those who have already more than enough, and yesterday £58,000,000 for a naval force, after a war to end war. The only contribution to the financial solution of all these problems is the suggestion in this miserable Bill, and in this even more miserable Clause, that £5,000,000 should be taken off the unemployed to compensate for some of the things the Government have given to their friends.


I beg to second the Amendment.

My reason for doing so is not exactly the same as that which actuated the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Paling) in moving it. I am dealing with a particular class of men, and I hope I shall be excused for alluding to them, because I think it is due to the Parliamentary Secretary to explain the reason why I was not present upstairs in Committee to move the rejection of this Clause. I happened to be otherwise engaged, on matters connected with the shadow that is hanging over the country to-day, but I have the opportunity now, and I appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary to ask the Minister of Labour, even at the eleventh hour, to reconsider his decision with respect to the casually employed men, of whom there are no fewer than 200,000 at the docks of this country, who are roped into this legislation, which was never intended to cover them.

This legislation was originally based on the principle of constant employment. It was never anticipated that men who were employed for half a day, and whose contract then ended, should have imposed upon them legislation of this character, which does not fit them even now. I recognise, and I am somewhat grateful for, the fact that the spirit of the continuity rule with respect to the casual labourer still continues in the Bill, but that is very much discounted, if not entirely wiped out, by the fact that 15 per cent. at least of the casual labourers of this country will be permanently disqualified, as they were before, by the extension of the three days to six. I know I may be confronted with the fact that, so far as the casual labourer is concerned, he has received considerably more benefit than he has paid in. That may be, but the hon. Gentleman opposite is never tired of telling us that this is an insurance, and that is one of the risks of insurance. Let me put as a typical case that of the casual labourer who works a five and a-half days' week. We have no six days' weeks, and 11 half-days make up our week. I am not quite sure even now as to whether, when this Bill goes through, the half-day on Saturdays will be allowed to count as a day. The man may be idle several half-days in the week, and if the half-day on Saturday is counted as a full day, why is not that continued on the ordinary half-days of the week? I quote that as a concrete case which applies generally. A man's contract ends on a half-day. He may have a full day and four half-days during the week, and yet none of these four half-days counts in order to qualify him for the benefit. A man may only get half-days all the week, or might only get three half-days, and yet although he is only earning on three or four half-days per week, he has to pay every penny and an additional fourpence on account of the Widows' and Orphans' Bill, for which he never qualifies at all.

Then there is the case of the man who may work a full day on one day, but that does not count unless another day follows. The rest of the week may be half-days, and every one of those half-days is absolutely wiped out for this man in respect of qualification. I have had considerable negotiations with the Minister's Department years and years ago, and I do not complain that they have not met me as fairly as the Regulations permitted, but I put it that this goes entirely beyond what was originally decided, and I toll the right hon. Gentleman that it is not fair. This legislation does not affect the casual labourer at all and never will. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will give us some hope that a Regulation will be framed to meet the case I have quoted.


I do hope the Minister, whom we are glad to see back again from his duties upstairs, will be able to make some concession on this most important Clause. When we were discussing this matter upstairs, it was suggested by many of us that the alteration in the waiting period from three days to six days would not only do an injury to the individual insured person but also inflict a considerable hardship on the local authorities where these people live, because whatever may be the feeling of the Minister, the feelings of the local authorities will not permit these people to starve. If the Minister is going to save some £5,000,000 owing to the operation of this Clause, that £5,000,000 has got to come out of somebody's pocket. If it is taken out of the pocket of the insured workers, then they are bound to turn for assistance to the local rates and the boards of guardians. Therefore, the direct effect of this particular Clause will be to throw on to the local ratepayer those burdens and responsibilities which hitherto had been borne by the national Exchequer.

10.0 P.M.

It does seem a somewhat extraordinary proceeding that, at the very time the Prime Minister himself is considering ways and means of attempting to relieve the overburdened ratepayers and industries which are hardly pressed, and at the very time he is setting up a Departmental Committee to consider how they can give assistance to distressed areas, at the same time by this particular Clause the Government should be making an alteration in the law which is bound to impose on those very authorities an additional burden. The Minister suggested that our fears, are exaggerated, but the boards of guardians and local authorities who have to deal with this matter are probably better acquainted with what the effect will be than even the Minister himself. Most of us have had representations from our local authorities that, if this Bill goes through in its present form, it will mean a considerable extra burden on to the rates, because although it may seem a small matter to increase the waiting period by three days, in effect it means a fortnight at least during which a man is out of work before he gets any benefit at all.

I submit that at a time like the present, when unemployment has been so excessive in all districts, the resources of the individuals are exhausted, and any savings they may have had have long since disappeared. Owing to the fact that wages are so small, it has been impossible for them to save. It has been said by an hon. Member that wages upon an average were more than £3 per week. He is fortunate in his district if they average that. I know that in the district I have the honour to represent wages of skilled labourers, shipyard workers and iron and steel workers are more like £2, and out of that 40s. it is impossible for them to save anything in case they are thrown out of work. It means that immediately they are out of work they have to wait for this additional period. They will be compelled to go to the boards of guardians and get assistance from them, and that will make a very considerable addition to the burden of the local rates if this Clause passes in this particular form.

I appeal to Members opposite who represent these distressed industrial areas to raise their voices, if not to exercise their votes, in impressing upon the Government the seriousness of this position in these particular areas, because it is impossible for industry to revive if the rates are being piled up in the way they are. In may cases now they are nearly 20s. in the pound, and from the accounts one receives from these distressed areas, when this Bill goes through the chances are that they will be raised by five or six shillings in the pound. Therefore I do appeal to the Minister that in the interests of these depressed areas, and of industry itself, which cannot recover so long as the rates are so heavy, he should accept the Amendment and allow the waiting period to remain at three days instead of increasing it to six days. Is it really worth while inflicting this injury on the individual and on industry for the short period that this Bill has to run? The present Insurance Acts practically come to an end in June of next year. Is it worth while, when we are facing a winter of unemployment and everything looks so black as it does at the present time, that this extra burden should be put on to the individual and on to the local authorities? I appeal to the Minister to leave things as they are, so that at any rate during the currency of the present Act the individual shall have the advantage of the short period.


The first day that the imprint of this Bill was available in the Vote Office of the House, I said that the Bill, and particularly the Clause we are discussing, was the meanest Bill this Government had yet produced, and that was saying a great deal. The effects of this Clause, in its hardships upon the individual insured worker, have been so graphically described by my hon. Friend the Member for Doncaster (Mr. Paling), that I need not labour that point. That does not mean I do not agree with every word he uttered on the point, but I desire to emphasise the case that has been put by the hon. Member for West Middlesbrough (Mr. T. Thomson) again and again in this House with regard to the effect of the policy of this Government upon the local authorities responsible for administering our Poor Law. We have heard all kinds of criticisms of the Bill, which became the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1924, which was sponsored by my right hon. Friend the Member for Preston (Mr. T. Shaw). One thing that Act did was to bring immediate and very effective relief to the local authorities with regard to their administration of the Poor Law. I can best illustrate that from our experience in Sheffield. The immediate effect of the Unemployment Insurance Act of last year was to relieve the rates in Sheffield, one of the most heavily-burdened unemployed areas, by no less than £68,000 for the year. That had an enormous effect on the rates, and was a real relief not only to the ratepayers, but to those specially burdened industries in Sheffield faced with an overhead charge for rates which bears upon them, not like the Income Tax, which is levied on profits, but an overhead charge which has to be met by industries, whether they make a profit or not, and, therefore, continually operates against the recovery of that industry.

What is the effect of the policy of the present Government? I would be out of order in pursuing very far the argument I used on a previous Clause, but I might say the effect of the operation of this Clause upon local authorities has been very well foreshadowed by the fact that the Minister's instructions have meant an increased charge up to the moment in Sheffield of £610 per week extra for relief. This has to be met out of the local rates, and is an increased charge on the local ratepayers in general, and upon our overburdened industries in particular. We are told that this Clause is going to save to the Fund something like £5,000,000 a year. It means, in the long run, that that money has to be found by the Poor Law authorities, and it has to be found by the very authorities who are least able to bear the burden. We, on these benches make no apology for saying that we often in our speeches say of a lot of our workers that they are poor because they are robbed, and robbed because they are poor. That is just the kind of effect the policy of this Government is having on the local authorities in the areas most heavily burdened with unemployment. They are poor because they have been robbed of any real assistance from Governments which they ought to have had in the last four years, and now, apparently, because they remain poor, they are to be robbed for the benefit of the Fund under this Bill.

Take the rates of my own city, in which my constituency is situated. On the 31st March of this year, because of the situation there, we had outstanding rate arrears amounting to £536,000. We have had to issue for the year ending 31st March, 1925, summonses for uncollected rates against 47,180 individuals or firms. The guardians already have incurred up to the 29th June, 1925, for relief of unemployment, loans amounting to £698,000, and, in addition to that, the ordinary debt is another £92,965, and, as the hon. Member for West Middlesbrough has pointed out, this additional burden is now to be placed upon authorities with those fearful commitments. With no possible hope of escaping from the situation in which they find themselves, they are to be met with a policy, as outlined in this Clause, of an additional charge for the unemployed, which we had been meeting in our Act of last year, and to be faced with another danger of an increased local charge, because of the Government Bill upon rating and valuation. It seems to those who are concerned with these authorities that this Government is going out of its way on every occasion to place more burdens upon those areas which have had to bear the biggest burden with regard to unemployment, and we begin to wonder what is going to be the end of it. I think that while the Debate is proceeding on this Clause, we ought to get from the Minister of Labour some answer on two points. First of all, locally, in regard to Sheffield, what hope is he going to offer, in regard to this policy in this Bill, of redress to the Sheffield Board of Guardians on the case they put in their interview the other day with the Parliamentary Secretary?


The hon. Member is now going somewhat beyond this Clause.


I am the last to want to transgress, but, if I may put it, you will pull me up if I transgress too far. We are raising the effect of this Clause in its incidence upon local authorities which are overburdened. The two cases I wanted to put were, first, the Sheffield case, and, secondly, the deputation from Members of Parliament representing—


I think that is a matter rather with regard to administrative acts. The hon. Member is perfectly in order in saying that the rates in any particular place are very much overburdened, and that this would throw an extra burden on them, but he is not entitled on this occasion to deal with administrative action.


I accept your ruling, and will content myself with expressing the hope that the case we have been putting up on this Clause may have some influence, in regard to the other representations we have made as to administration. But I want to put it to the representatives of the Government here to-night, that in regard to places like Sheffield and similar areas, if the Government persist in this kind of policy, I am certain we shall come to a serious impasse in regard to the administration of local Poor Law. You have had already considerable difficulty in the case of West Ham, and you will get, I am afraid, just as serious an impasse in other localities. What will be the result? If you persist in this policy, you are going, finally, I believe, to have to administer the Poor Law yourself by commission from the Government, because you will find that the locally elected representatives on these authorities are not prepared to go on week after week, month after month, and now year after year administering what seems to be almost a hopeless task.

So far as we are concerned in Sheffield, we can say that the reconstituted board of guardians, and, indeed, the two boards that preceded that board, have given their time, energy, and their undivided labour to economising in every possible way to try and relieve the burden without coming to the State for more assistance than was necessary. Yet every month seems to make the position worse because of the attitude of the Government. Unless the Government can see their way to withdraw Clauses of this kind, I am afraid the position is going to be made still more acute. I would ask the Parliamentary Secretary not to discount this Amendment. At any rate—the hon. Gentleman has been courteous—I would ask him not to treat it in that hard-hearted manner that the other Amendments have been treated by the Government, and to remember that it is not a question of party on this particular Amendment. All parties who are represented on the local authorities in these areas, knowing the difficulties that they have, are waiting for some measure of hope and encouragement from the Government.


The points that I really wanted to emphasise have been taken up by the hon. Member for St. Helens (Mr. Sexton). Indeed, he and I for many years in this House have been on a mission of failure with regard to the particular industries which we represent. We have a case which appears to have some point of resemblance though it is not exactly on "all-fours," for both among the dockers and in the mining we have workmen who are continually working, some four and some five half-days per week, and it is impossible for them on these occasions to qualify for benefit. I know cases in which men have been working at the pit for four weeks and off for four weeks, and then they have made eight days. I know other cases in which, say, an engineer has worked for a couple of weeks and then had holiday for two. He has worked for another three weeks, and then had holiday for another week, and has got unemployment benefit for the week in which he was having holiday; while the miner, who has been working just two days per week, could not get a single benefit because ho had made four half-days only. That is so under the present Act. That position is going to be made infinitely worse by the present Bill.

I should like to ask the Minister of Labour one or two questions. The right hon. Gentleman knows what I am talking about. He is cognisant of these facts, for he and I have talked the matter over many times. Our constituencies are contiguous. I remember discussing some of these questions in 1924. Some hon. Member on the opposite side suggested that the men should not go to work unless a day's work could be found. I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman or the Parliamentary Secretary, if he is going to reply, would we be justified in saying to an employer: "If you cannot find us a full day we are not coming to work until you can"? Would we be justified in doing that? Would we get unemployment pay if we could put that down? Because if we could we would be quite prepared to say to any employer who could not find us a full day's work: "We will wait until you can." We have the utmost difficulty in some instances in going to the employers and asking them to work their pits when they can give us a full day. On the other hand—I say it frankly and honestly—we have other employers who are sympathetic towards us, and do their very utmost to work only when they can give a full day. In these cases we have very little difficulty. We have cases where we have done three days' work, then been out of work a day, and then had two full days afterwards. On the other hand, we have collieries now where the men have been working, through this bit of a fillip owing to the threatened stoppage, two days and two and a half days a week, and that has not qualified them at all simply because the men made half-days. As the Bill stands at present it is going to be difficult in this matter of qualification. I do not know whether any special provision can be made to meet the cases such as the Member for St. Helens and myself have put up?

An insurance scheme ought to give some reasonable prospects of benefits to the whole of the men who contribute to it, and if in certain industries conditions are imposed upon the men which they cannot avoid and which militate against them in the way I have been speaking of, special consideration ought to be given to those industries. We have been told more than once that the Minister is sympathetic, but that it is an administrative difficulty. I admit that so far as the dockers are concerned the Department might not know who had been working and who had not been working; but I do not want to plead my case as against the case of the hon. Member for St. Helens. There may be a measure of truth in that as regards the dockers, but certainly one cannot bring that argument against the miners, because when a pit stops it stops, and anybody who has any knowledge of the working conditions knows that when a pit stops the whole of the men, very largely, have to go home—the exceptions being a few special hands, like winders and others, who are necessary even when the pit is actually at a standstill. If we are to have the six days' waiting period, the Minister ought to devise special Regulations to cover cases of this kind, because he knows as well as I do that in the industry with which I am associated it is almost impossible for men to bear the six days.

I cannot conceive why the Government should have changed the three days to six days. In the Workmen's Compensation Act the period is three days, and it was the present Government that passed that Act. If three days is a fair waiting period in a workmen's compensation scheme, it is certainly a fair period in an unemployment insurance scheme. If a man is away from work owing to an injury for a month he gets paid for the three days, whereas in this case the men get benefit for neither the three days nor the six days, and I submit that the case presented by the hon. Member for St. Helens as regards the dockers, and the case I have presented, call for special consideration and special treatment.


I am sorry I have not been able to take part earlier in these discussions, owing to circumstances over which I have had no control. I consider this Bill one of the worst, one of the most callous, and characterised by the most calculated meanness, that has ever been brought before this House. It robs and plunders the very poorest in the land. The alteration of the law which is proposed by this Bill is definitely robbing the very poorest of the unskilled labourers. It is all very well for the Minister and others to talk about the principles of insurance, but nobody on that side of the House or on this side talked about the principles of insurance in 1919 and 1920, and I want to call the attention of the House to the fact that Lord Derby has put it on record that in other days we were obliged to deal with the unemployed differently from how we are dealing with them to-day because of the fear of revolution. I think there is nothing more mean and contemptible on the part of any government or any party than to differentiate their treatment of human beings because on one occasion you think they are strong enough to fight you, and on another you think you have got them down and you can keep them down and rub their noses in the mud a little deeper. I am not so much concerned about the rate of any borough or district where they find the burden very heavy indeed, but the burden of starving is a very much harder thing to bear than even getting rid of a little mud.

In my district, which is one of the poorest in London—I am sorry the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Remer) is not here—I have to remind the House again that there are between 25 and 30 per cent. of the wage-earners who are always casual workers, and nobody knows it better than the present Minister of Labour, and nobody knows better than he does that this has been their normal condition for the last 25 or 30 years, and the present position of affairs has accentuated that state of things. Only two days ago I bought out of a group in a pawnshop these three stars. Although I am what you consider a person who holds queer views about war, I should think myself the most contemptible person under the sun if I inveigled men to go to war and gave them medals such as these. Here is the Mons Star—


I cannot see how the hon. Member is connecting his argument with the Amendment.


I am speaking, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, of men whom the callous meanness of the Government Bench is going to rob of three days' unemployment pay and thus drive them deeper into the mire. [An HON. MEMBER: "Put them away!"] I will not put them away. In fact I should like to take them to Buckingham Palace. [An HON. MEMBER: "You are disgracing them!"] The disgrace is on you who allow men to be driven into starvation like this. These are the men whom you said stood between you and destruction in France, and all you can do for them now is to drive them to destitution. These are the men upon whose breasts these medals were pinned by the King. [An HON. MEMBER: "What have you done?"] I defy any of you to convince these men that you are treating them properly now when the pawnshops are full of these medals. [An HON. MEMBER: "What did you do?"] I did nothing in the War, in fact I tried to keep men out of the. War.


I think the hon. Member has now got away from Clause 3.


This is a matter of vital importance to the men and women that I represent in this place. It is economising out of the lives and the well-being of the poor men and women of waterside districts, up and down the country. This Bill is a murder Bill. Every man who votes for it will be guilty of sheer murder, because under this Bill children will be starved, women will be. starved, and men will be starved. I understand it has been said that these men can save enough money to tide them over the six days. Those who say that are people who have never bad to live on any such money as any of these men earn. For people, whose incomes run into thousands, to tell poor men, who earn a few shillings a day, that they ought to be able to economise and save so that they can pay for the six days, and not need money from the fund, is, I consider, adding insult to injury; but you do not get away from the fact that, even with the three days' waiting period, men are obliged to do this kind of thing, and you cannot get away from the fact that when it is six days, more of them will have to do it.

When you argue that they may spread the period over so many weeks, how are you going to save the millions you are going to save from this if it is not by taking them off these men in one form or another? You cannot save it unless you get it from someone or other, and you are going to get it out of these unskilled workers who rallied to defend this country—which never belonged to them, but which belongs to you—and who formed what is called the living wall. I am going again to repeat, in spite of the sneers and jeers of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, that to pin these medals on the breasts of unskilled labourers, pat them on the back, and tell them what great, fine fellows they were, and then to starve them so that they have to pawn your wretched medals, is, I think, the most mean and despicable conduct that ever the Parliament of any country was ever guilty of. [Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman might come down to Poplar and to Bow and Bromley and talk to the ex-service men down there, and tell them what his opinion is as to this sort of thing. You dare not do it, and you dare not do it in your own constituencies either, in defence of this most mean proposal to plunder these men in this way. I think that any party or any Government that is so guilty proves to the workmen quite conclusively that you only pat them on the back, you only think them fine fellows, when you want them to fight for you or to die for you. It is not as if there were only these three medals. I invite you to go round the pawnshops of the West End and look in the windows. You will see them there, exhibited for sale, and not merely in my district. I bought three the other day up here in Westminster, pawned by the same kind of people that the right hon. Gentleman is going to rob through this—


The hon. Member is again getting away considerably from the Clause.


I am trying to point out the effect even at the present time, when the waiting period is three days, and what will be the effect when it is six days. Then I want to call attention to the fact that this physical and mental demoralisation not only affects the men, but the children and women also. The right hon. Gentleman knows as well as I do that the death-rate amongst babies under one year old before the War was infinitely higher than it is to-day, and one reason why it has been kept down has been that there has been more generous administration of the Poor Law, and also more generous administration of the Unemployment Insurance Act. But this is all part of a deliberate policy to drive the workman into the position he was in after Waterloo. [Interruption.] If you do not know your history go and read it. Everyone knows that the British worker went through hell after Waterloo.


I must ask the hon. Member to confine himself to the Amendment.


This is part of a policy which was deliberately started by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carmarthen (Sir A. Mond) when he was at the Ministry of Health. He started the policy of restricting relief, and it has been extended by his successors. At the same time the Minister of Labour has been using every endeavour to cut down public assistance through the Insurance Act, and the only reason for it is to give the worker who is out of work no option but either to starve, to go to the workhouse or to blackleg his fellow men, and it is because the great captains of industry want to get the workman down that you are doing your level best to drive those who are unemployed into the position of blacklegs. You are not going to succeed in doing it because the working people are just a little more intelligent than they were 50 or 60 years ago. If they had not more intelligence than people who jeer at this sort of thing they would not have any intelligence at all. The policy of cutting down this assistance through the Insurance Act is part of the policy of depressing the working classes in order that you may get cheap labour. The Prime Minister has told us that the wages must come down not only of miners but of railwaymen and everyone else. This business is being done in order to assist the employers to get blacklegs. It used to be workhouse or starve or take whatever wages you can get.

It is no use the right hon. Gentleman laughing. He knows these facts. He sins against the light. No one knows better than he does the social and indus- trial conditions I am speaking of, and he knows as well as I do that the physical deterioration, the physical and mental suffering of women, the starving of children, the making of a C3 population, has all come from this starving of men, women, and children when the breadwinner is out of work. There is not a man on that side of the House who would have dared to bring in a Measure like this wretched, mean Measure that we are discussing to-night. This is only one part of the iniquitous business. It is only one part of the swindling and robbery of the working class. You tell us you cannot afford it. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said we must economise, and the only people you can economise from are the poor little children of the casual worker in the East End of London. The only people you can economise on are the poor people who, you think, are absolutely friendless, and who live at any time on the border line of starvation. The right hon. Gentleman knows that the late Charles Booth investigated all these conditions, and over and over again in his books he demonstrated that physical, mental, and moral deterioration all came from the fact that men and women had not enough to live on. Here you are, years after the conclusion of the Armistice, and all you can do to deal with unemployment is to drive the unfortunate victims down, and to refuse them the maintenance that is their due. How long could hon. Members opposite live without income? How long would they live if someone was not earning profit for them? Let them go to their own homes—




The hon. Member must address himself to the particular question of Clause 3.


Who is in the Chair? Is it the duty of hon. Members opposite to call "Order," or is it your prerogative to call "Order"?


I want to point out to you, Sir, and to the House that there is only one way of judging whether a thing is right or wrong. When you come to apply such a Clause as this to men and women, the one way of judging whether it is right is to apply it to yourselves. I saw the other morning in my home a man who had been one of the victims of the right hon. Gentleman's mean and callous Measure. That man was starving. He has been dubbed a person not genuinely seeking work. I know what that man does in trying to get work. I know that he served during the War. He was one of the living wall to defend Britain against the German Huns. Could the German Huns do anything worse for him than starve him? Could the German Huns do anything worse than to drive poor men to pawn the wretched medals that you gave them? If hon. Member opposite were in that position, they would be with me in fighting this Bill to the bitter end. Hon. Members talk about saving money. This is being done to help the Chancellor of the Exchequer to save money. It is hoped to save £5,000,000 in this way. The other £1,500,000 will be saved out of the poor fathers and mothers by making them keep their grown-up children, although those grown-up children have paid and will have to pay again. You are going to take these £5,000,000 out of the stomachs of children and out of the men and women who are to be robbed by putting on this extra three days' waiting period.

There is no one in this House who, if they had to endure this sort of thing, would not feel as I do about it. If they had to face these men, they would say exactly what I am saying. The fact that the right hon. Gentleman knows all about these things, knows all about the evil results that will flow from this Bill proves that he is sinning against the light. He knows that the result of this Bill will be the slow murder of children, even before they are born. He knows, and we all know, by our social inquiries, that it is the starvation of the mother that starves the child before and after birth. You are going to rob the mother, you are going to rob the child before it is born, and you are going to rob it after it is born. You know perfectly well that the result will be inevitably an increase in the death rate amongst these children.

Within the last two or three years men driven to despair, not knowing what to do have killed their children, their wives and themselves. You come with me to the men and women down at Hackney Wick, where only the other day an unhappy man killed his family because he could not get assistance either from the Employment Exchange or the board of guardians. What about that South London case of which we heard to-day? You all know that through this Bill you are going to accentuate human suffering to an extent which none of us can measure. None of us who have not suffered can measure what suffering means to other people. I trust that the day will come when the workers of the country will rise, and if you do not let them get what they need in a decent manner will come up here and take it. I am sick and tired of the unemployed just starving at home. I say to them and to you that I wish they would come out of their homes and do something to make a protest against these infamous conditions which exist to-day when you have the Government assisting the employers all over the country, and in addition helping them to drive the working people down in industry. And this is the Government that promise them full work that the Socialist Government could not give them at higher wages. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] Your party said: "We are the people who can bring you better trade and who can give you work at decent wages," and all you can give them is starvation, more, starvation, and again starvation.


I think that this is a most unfortunate Clause, and I am not surprised that it has provoked opposition. During the last four years the patience of a very large part of the population has been very severely tried. Thousands of people have been in irregular employment for from one to four years. In London, perhaps, more than any other part of the country, there is a large amount of casual labour. You have in London none of the big industries, such as you have in the North of England, with highly orgnnised trade unions providing regular work at full rates, owing to the general circumstances of a capital city with large numbers of people out of work from time to time. I can confirm what the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) has said. The pressure upon the family budget has been immense, I have been surprised at the exemplary patience of people after four years of unemployment. Of course, the Insurance Act alone has made it possible to pull through. The concession made last year, I think I must say largely due to the efforts of Mr. Masterman and a number of Members above the Gangway, was one which was immensely appreciated. You can go forward, but it is quite another thing to go back. Once you have made a concession of this kind it is a very serious proposition to take it away.

The Member for Bow and Bromley referred to the Poor Law. Members from the North of England have been talking a lot to-night about distressed areas. In the East End of London the strain on the Poor Law has been immense. It is time that by legislation it has been more spread over London than before the War, but in spite of that the strain on the Poor Law has been very heavy. It is a mistake to think that a remedy could be found in the Poor Law. There are thousands of men and women who, unless they were forced to it by very severe pressure would go for relief to the Poor Law Guardians. There is a reluctance to go to the Poor Law because of its associations built up by years of reactionary administration. Somehow or other they go without it.

There is quite a different attitude towards unemployment insurance. There is a feeling that they are getting help and assistance as a right and without any charity and that they have contributed their quota to the money they draw. Now the Minister comes along and says that the waiting period should be increased from three to six days. But the cupboard is bare. Where there was three or four years ago a certain amount of savings due to the prosperous times of the War, those savings have been eaten up. The rent goes on, whether a man is in work or out of work. The rent is always the first charge on the family budget. Kent has gone up 40 per cent. In the six days' waiting period the rent book has to be met. The landlord will not wait, and it is a remarkable thing to me that in the East End of London there is a tremendous honour about meeting the rent. It may be because of the shortage of houses or the difficulty of finding alternative accommodation if a man loses his home. There the first charge of rent has to be found even in the six days that the man is without benefit, and without anything coming into the home. It may be that he is forced on to the Poor Law. Anybody who knows Poor Law administration in London knows that the guardians already have to carry a burden more than they are able to carry. Rates are high, expenses growing, the machinery of organisation is strained to breaking-point. It would be most unfortunate at a time of labour crisis like this that the message the Government has to send to the people, five years after the War, is that they are going to make it more difficult to get benefit and that they are going to set up difficulties and are going to increase the time that the people have to do without means.

This is a most unfortunate move on the part of the Government after being 19 months in office. We were assured that there was a new spirit in the Tory party, a new progressive spirit was to inspire it, and that there were young men behind the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister has new ideals. This is an unfortunate answer. This is not a new Bill. It is an old Bill. It is a mutilated Bill—mutilated in the wrong direction, and I think this new Clause might very well be dropped. It would disappear, with no regret from any part of the country. The ratepayers will not regret it. The great ideal that the Tory party have adopted of insurance as opposed to poor law relief, will receive a set-back by the embodiment of this Clause in the Bill.


I heard most of the speeches with regard to Clause 3, and, as usual, I listened with particular interest to the speech of the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury). I know he accuses me of sinning against the light, and suggests that this Clause bears peculiarly hardly on the casual worker—whom he knows well and whom I know no less well—down in the East End of London and other places. I do not deny for a moment that if there is money to be saved under this Clause it must come from somewhere, but I do say to the hon. Member that it is not the casual worker who bears the chief brunt. Of course, the money has to be saved. I am not pretending that it comes like manna from Heaven. I have always thought, as the hon. Member knows, that possibly the greatest hardship in industry is the hardship of the casual labourer. Among many hard conditions casual labour has probably produced the most, but I Would point out that casual labourers are not peculiarly hard hit in this Bill, and I think, if anything, they hear rather less of the burden than others.


Do they bear any of the burden, and, if so, why should they?


Exactly. I am coming to that. The hon. Member in his speech said that they were singled out and were particularly hard hit. That, to the best of my knowledge, is not the case.


The clerk to the guardians has made provision for extra thousands—I will not charge my memory with the exact number—for the next half year, anticipating this Bill.

11.0 P.M.


What the hon. Member suggests as to casual labour is not the case. I have tried to explain the matter before, and perhaps the hon. Member is acquainted with it, but he will forgive me if I mention it again. When you get casual labour, the probability is that the operation of the continuity rule relieves them more than it relieves people who have more regular spells of work. The operation of the continuity rule is this: You reckon by periods of three days' unemployment in any six, and where you have two such periods, you can have five or even six whole weeks occurring between the two, and yet by the operation of the continuity rule that gap is bridged, and in cases of that kind no fresh waiting period has to be served. That is a provision which applies, I think, more to casual labour than to any other, just for the very reason that the labour is casual. T know the hon. Member objects to the thing as a whole, and I am not trying or hoping really to overcome his objections, but I am pointing out that, so far as the casual labourer is concerned—and I have always said that the casuality of labour is the cause of the worst hardship—he is less hit under the rule than other classes, and it is by reason of the operation of that continuity rule.

Perhaps the hon. Member thinks it is not necessary to try to balance finance, but while I do realise that necessity, and accept it, I have done my best to see that the savings to he effected by the Bill bear least heavily where they can least be afforded. It is for precisely that reason, just in connection with changes of this kind, that I have been following out an idea which I had before the hon. Member made his last speech in this House, to which I listened with very great interest. I was myself much interested in the case of the young men who have not got the training to which he referred. I can only say that I do not suppose I shall get his support, whether for this or any other Measure, but at least I have instituted since then training centres to meet just that kind of case, so that I hope he will realise that, while I do not pretend to get agreement from the benches opposite, I am trying to see how the burden can be adjusted so that the heaviness can least be felt.

In regard to the Clause generally, I say at once, as I said at the beginning, that if money has to be found, there are people who have to find it, and if one could get manna from heaven, quite naturally one would have benefits greater and contributions less, and so on. But I am really looking to the balance of finance under the schemes of social insurance as a whole, and also under this particular scheme, and it is no good thinking that under certain industrial conditions increased benefits can be maintained without having any regard to the expense involved. It is absolutely essential. Hon. Members opposite may attack the Government and me because we have not reduced unemployment. They may do that, and it is open to them to do it.


As you did last year.


I never promised at any time work for all or good wages or said that any Government could do much. At any rate when you have the degree of unemployment that you have at this moment, and with the burden that it causes, expenses and incomings have to be adjusted together, and the rate of benefits has to bear some relation to the rate of contributions. It is from that point of view that, when the waiver is continued, and when the rate of benefit is continued at its full amount, I am trying to see how things can balance, and, taking all in all, this is how the burden can be so adjusted as to bear least hardly. I have dealt with the case of casual labour and the effect on casual labour of the continuity rule, and it is those people who have been in employment for a certain time on whom the extension of the waiting period falls rather than on those who are in casual work from day to day. That is the case with regard to the burden.

The hon. Member for West Middlesbrough (Mr. T. Thomson) spoke of the local ratepayers. As I pointed out, both the extension of the waiting period and the use of the waiver, if there is need to get a financial balance at all, are the two methods which will probably be best able to be borne and are least likely to cause a burden on the local rates. It is perfectly true that the charge on the local ratepayer in the Poor Law unions was reduced after the Bill of last year, but by far the greater proportion of that reduction was due to the increase in the rate of benefits, which has not been touched, and far the lesser proportion of it was due, either to the use of the discretion or to the waiting period.

I would only ask the House to bear in mind one other consideration. When a plea is put forward for industry and the taxpayer and the contributor, the whole country, the taxpayer and the local ratepayers, have all got to be considered together, the increased Exchequer contributions have got to be taken into account, the relief to the contributor, who is the workman, the relief to the business which gives the employers contribution—all that has got to be taken into account together. From that point of view I say that quite undue exaggeration, to my mind, has been laid on the amount of the burden which is likely to be put on the local rates and ratepayers and on business generally. I submit to the House that if you look on what is really being done in the matter of social services by the Government, that the continuation of the waiver and the relief to the contributor is the fairest and most equitable adjustment and enables the burden, so far as there is any burden, to be borne where it is least heavily felt.


I have heard very little attempt to justify this Clause. The Minister is evidently of opinion that figures are more important than the unemployed. He has made no attempt to prove that the unemployed can afford to "play," or can bear the taking away of three days, and he has said nothing to indicate that they are in a position to bear the burden. The tenor of his song was, "We shall save £5,000,000, and there is an end to it."


Somebody has got to Pay.


I cannot understand the frame of mind of the Government on this matter. Possibly I cannot understand it because of little things that have taken place in my experience. May I tell a little story to the House, in order to explain why some of us look upon these things with different eyes. When I worked in the mill in Lancashire, I worked next to one of the finest workmen that God ever put the breath of life into, one of the best workers I ever met in my life. He was a man of exceptional character; thrifty, sober and honest. I went to Lancashire one week-end and found that, as a result of unemployment and privation that man, who was one of the finest men God ever made, had thrown himself in front of a train and ended it all. That is the type of man we are thinking of. You can talk to us about your £5,000,000 until the moon turns blue: we shall still look at the human being and not the £5,000,000. What does your £5,000,000 mean to the Exchequer? In round figures, it is £1,250,000, and if the Government tell us they cannot afford to pay that sum to the unemployed, we say to the Government, it is humbug, pure and simple humbug. They can find any number of millions when it pleases their politics, when it pleases their friends, when it pleases their policy, but they can take from the unemployed, just at the time of the unemployed's greatest need. Are these men so well-to-do that they can go a week without wages? Take two of the largest industries of the country—one, the largest exporting industry before the War, the other, I think, the second—coal and cotton. There has Scarcely been a full week's wages in the cotton trade for the last five years, and when these people begin to play, not on stock that they have saved while working, but on debts already standing against them, all that the Government say is, "We shall save £5,000,000 on this Fund; you live a week on nothing at all." It is no use saying that this will make no difference to the Poor Law and to the guardians. If the Minister will take the trouble to look at the figures of the Ministry of Health find his own figures, he will find that the numbers put on the Unemployment Insurance Fund by the 1924 Act are strikingly similar to the diminution in the numbers of those applying to the guardians. Is there no connection between these figures, and is it merely a coincidence? I suggest that that striking similarity in figures is due to the fact that the expense of unemployment was put where it ought to be, and taken from the shoulders of those who never ought to have borne it.

I would like either the Minister or some speaker on the opposite benches to try to prove to us that these people are really in a condition to bear the deprivation of this £5,000,000. No attempt has yet been made to do so. Money, money, money; figures, figures, figures; Fund, Fund, Fund; gold, gold, gold—humanity in the background! Mammon is your God; the actuary's report is your Bible. If the unemployed took what they are entitled to, it would not be £5,000,000. Every member of the unemployed who is an ex-soldier—and there are hundreds of thousands of them—is entitled to this Fund. One gets sick and tired of the unhealthy humbug that is talked about this Fund, of the broken promises made to these men, and of the slobber that was thrown over them when they came back from the War, and the treatment they now get. I do not understand the position of the Government. I demonstrated conclusively the other day that with the full unemployment benefit it was impossible to spend more than a penny per head for meals for the unemployed family drawing the maximum contribution from the Unemployment Fund. And yet there are people who will take away from the unemployed part of that they now get. If I were in need, I would take it before I would starve. If it meant fighting, although I am a man of peace, I would fight before I would starve. You are prepared to take these millions from these men, men who do not know where they are going to get the next pair of boots, or whether they can afford a little bit of meat once a day. [An HON. MEMBER: "Rubbish!"] "Rubbish" is very appropriate in the mouth of the hon. Member opposite. Every man who belongs to an industrial constituency, every man who lives in Lancashire knows that what I am saying is true, and any man who denies it denies what is true. I have been back to the places that I knew before the War —one place was a most prosperous town—and I have wondered how my friends have, got along the years that have elapsed since 1918 and 1919. How they have lived is a mystery to me. It is extraordinary that the more the suffering grows the more the people are punished. They have to be punished for the fault of the Government, which cannot make peace in the world. The average wage of the Lancashire cotton worker, I know, particularly during the last five years, has not been 30s. a week. What can a man do with that, and a man perhaps with a wife and family? Yet you say that if a man "plays" he must pay for the first week out of his wages, "then we will give you assistance." Why do you do this? Because there is £5,000,000 that someone wants to balance his accounts with. There was no reason why the Minister of Labour should have introduced this Bill at all. A one-Clause Bill would have maintained the present state of affairs until the Bill expired next year.

The Minister has never yet demonstrated that the people from whom the money is to be taken can bear the loss. He has never demonstrated that it was right to take it. He has never demonstrated that it was in accordance with the whole system of insurance in this country that they should bear this loss. In health insurance have you a waiting period of three days? Under the workmen's compensation you are paid from the first day if you do not work for a fortnight. This is the only insurance scheme in the whole of our insurance system where a man or a woman is to be asked to do this. Why, I simply cannot understand; and I do not know why the Government have never taken the trouble to explain! We have tried to get facts and figures out of them. We have literally tried to extract them like extracting a cork with a cork-screw. They have never attempted to demonstrate that their policy was fair or that it was good; always we have had the reiteration of the phrase, "We save £6,500,000 a year for the fund." I can only repeat what I have said before, that you can save money for the fund at the expense of something that is far more precious than money. These people are far more precious than six and a-half millions of money. They have a right, an absolute right, on the State, to be looked after. Hundreds of thousands of them went to the War. These are the men you are punishing, and you are punishing them doubly, because if they still remain with their parents you are refusing them ordinary benefits as well as making them wait a week when they have any benefits to draw.

This is what this brilliant Bill of the Government is doing—a Government with a huge majority, a Government full of promises, a Government with St. John the Baptist at its head, a Government full of reformers, burning with zeal for social reform, a Government of all the talents, of all the culture, of all the knowledge of the ages, and its first concrete action, with regard to unemployment, and the only concrete action with regard to unemployment, is to steal £6,500,000 from the unemployed. I compliment the right hon. Gentleman on his Bill. If, in finishing my remarks, I may make a suggestion to him, I should suggest that he should give these men a loin cloth each and a handful of rice, and make coolies of them.


In supporting the Amendment, I want to deal with one or two other parts of the country as against Lancashire, which has been dealt with by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Preston (Mr. Shaw). I wish to refer to Macclesfield and its industries, in view of the interjection we have just had. We might change from Macclesfield, and talk of the timber trade and the wages that are paid there in order to show that even when a full week is worked, there are no savings to be made out of which people can exist for the period of six days. It is bad enough as it is, with a three days' waiting period; people have to borrow or to get assistance to carry them through that period. Now that the Government are suggesting a six days' period it will mean something of starvation for these people, who become unemployed, as so many of them are becoming unemployed. Take the silk trade and the artificial silk trade of which we heard so much during the Budget discussions. I have often wondered whether in his interruptions the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Remer) would fling across the House the wages that are paid in that industry. The artificial silk industry, a luxury industry, if I may borrow the Chancellor of the Exchequer's word, pays less than 50s. a week for a full week's work. Can the Minister show that there is a penny to be saved out of that wage? I am giving more than the wage that is paid.

I put it to him that the timber trade—perhaps the hon. Member for Macclesfield will deal with this point—is paying less than that to many of those engaged in that trade. Does any hon. Member suggest that a wage like that is sufficient to make provision for a six days waiting period during unemployment. We are also taking away by this measure any payment to those who are working short time, and those who are on three days a week, and if we divide the 50s. a week by two, making the wage 25s., then this Bill says that those with 25s. a week on short time have no right to receive benefit from unemployment insurance.

That is the man's side. But I want to take the woman's side. There are women engaged in this trade at wages between 30s. and 33s. a week, and where they are on short time it means that they receive in wages about 15s. or 16s. a week, and the Government say "from you, with 15s. a week, we are going to take away even that benefit which is due to you under the Bill which is operating at the present time." It is not only in those industries that we find that the Government is taking this benefit away. We find that even in the case of those employed by the right hon. Gentlemen in the service of the Ministry of Labour women are receiving 17s. a week and 19s. a week and I ask if there is any margin there to provide for a six days' waiting period. Is the First Lord of the Admiralty prepared to say that the thousands of workmen employed in the dockyards are able to save anything for this purpose out of 47s. a week? Is there any margin there to provide for the period of unemployment which will enable them to get over the six days' waiting period? I say that there is no man in this country who can maintain a family decently on 47s. a week, and on that wage they can only exist at a semi-starvation level. I am prepared to prove that, and I think I did prove it during the Committee stage. At any rate no hon. or right hon. Gentleman during the Committee stage attempted to prove that a man could maintain a family on a wage of 47s. a week. What I have just said applies equally to the War Office, to the workers in Birmingham, and those who work in the constituency of the hon. Member for Moseley (Mr. Hannon)—


I think I have allowed the hon. Member considerable latitude by way of illustration, but I cannot permit him to range over the whole country.


We have been told that on those who are in full employment this would press less hardly because the benefit would be sufficient to enable them to tide over that particular period. What I wanted to show was that, so far as the majority of the people who come on to unemployment benefit are concerned, when they are working full time—let alone the half time or short time that is worked so much in the country—they have nothing left each week that will enable them to wait for the longer period which is put into this Measure I need merely instance those cases in which the wages paid are much less than the 47s. and 50s. that I quoted at first—wages of 35s., such as are paid in the engineering trade, and 40s. in the engineering trade in Birmingham. I will leave it at that so far as the men are concerned.

As to the women, who are also included, actually the women employed in preparing, as I told the Committee, the materials and textiles for the Royal Yacht and the Admirals' cabins in the Naval Service, get 35s. a week—widows, with families to maintain; and they are expected to have a margin that would enable them to wait for this six-day period. If there is one fault to be found with us, it is that even we are being satisfied with the three days' waiting period which is in operation at the present time. I am not, like the late Minister of Labour, going to appeal to the Government, but I do hope that even at this stage something is going to break in upon them to show them that they are doing, not merely an injustice, but something even worse, to the people of this country.

They say they have to consider those who have contributed to the Fund. I wonder whom they mean by those who contributed to the Fund. I know of dozens of people who contributed to the Fund during the period from 1914 to 1919, people who went out of insurable employment; and they never complained, they never asked that they should receive back their contributions, they have never asked that other people's conditions should be worsened at this time. Speaking, as one can, for people engaged in something like 100 industries in this country, I have never once heard those who are in full employment, or those who are on short time in the industries, ask for any worsening of the conditions of those who are unfortunate enough to he unemployed. This is a vicious proposal, a proposal that one is astounded to find being made at this time. I hope it will be understood by the people outside, and that they will rise up against it.


I should not, after the right hon. Gentleman's reply, raise further matters in this discussion, were it not for the very deplorable manner in which this Clause, is going to affect a considerable number of people who have not so far had their case put in the Debate on this Clause. I listened with very great attention to what I suppose must by courtesy be called the Minister's reply to the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury), and I regret very much that the right hon. Gentleman should by some unfortunate accident have been in charge of the introduction of such an iniquitous Clause. For five years I lived amongst the casual workers of the East End, who have been mentioned as being affected by this Clause, and I know that the right hon. Gentleman knows their condition as much as I do. He knows it as well as anybody in this House, or as any of these unfortunate people who will suffer in East London from the deplorable effects of what he is going to do, and I am sure he knows that, when his actions have to be judged in the future, no amount of personal courtesy and charity will wipe out acts of public iniquity of this kind.

He particularly said, in his reply to hon. Members on this side, that the casual labourers were not peculiarly hit, but were only hit, perhaps, to the same extent as other classes of workers. The point I want to put forward for the consideration of the House is that, thanks to the policy since the Armistice of the party on the opposite side of the House, ably supported by some Members on the Liberal Benches, almost every class of worker in this country is casual at the present moment. On Tyneside we have our engineers and boilermakers and shipbuilders. Further out from there we have miners and iron and steel workers. Nearly all those men are casual workers at the moment, working half a day, one day, two days, or, if they are very fortunate indeed, three days a week, and their wages are no better, or hardly any better, than those of the lowest-paid casual workers. The shipyard worker is extremely fortunate and has to be very skilled on Tyneside if he can earn as much as 45s. or 47s. 6d. a week. How on earth are men who are working three days a week for two or three weeks to save enough to keep them in the interval which the right hon. Gentleman is so callously placing upon them in this Bill? It simply cannot be done. It means that you will drive them to an even worse stage of despondency than they are in at present. It means that you will make the lives of these men and their women folk thoroughly miserable in order to save your miserable £5,000,000. It means that you will deliberately cramp the chances of development of hundreds of thousands of children. And then you bring in an iniquitous measure like this. You vote for it and go away again refusing to allow yourselves to imagine the appalling conditions that you are deliberately creating, not only amongst the Bow and Poplar casual workers, not only the miners in Yorkshire and Nottingham and the Midlands, but in almost every skilled industry. The Government have first of all deliberately, with their eyes open, degraded the condition of all the finest workers of the land to that of casual labourers and then beat down their wages to such an extent that their purchasing power has gone and they have no power to supply the natural market for their goods, and then, by careful juggling with the Unemployment Insurance Act and the measures introduced by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Preston (Mr. Shaw) last year, after they have robbed these men of their regular work they have proceeded to rob them of even the small pittance that will enable them to keep body and soul and some kind of respectable home together. Earlier in the debate the Parliamentary Secretary told us about the history of the unemployment insurance scheme. He forgot to say it was really not insurance against unemployment at all. It was really in the first place insurance against revolution. That is what it was brought in for. That was its purpose. There comes a time when constitutional methods must give way, and the patience of the poor has lasted long enough. If this Clause is to go through, if they are to be deprived of the small sop you give them in order to keep them patient, I hope we shall do our best to see that it comes about that we shall abandon all hope of reasoning with you by persuasion, that men who can do cruel and callous things of this sort are hardly worth sharing the same atmosphere within the House of Commons, and that we will go to the country and say even the Conservative majority cannot stand against a determined and sullen people, and we will advise the unemployed to make their lives a misery to them, to come out from their homes, to come out from the misery in which they are going to starve under your miserable Clause and wait for you on the Great North Road when you go up to murder birds on the 12th.


That might be more suitable to-morrow than on this particular Amendment.


I was just finishing. If the Clause be carried, I hope the unemployed will refuse to suffer patiently but will take every means in their power to make the lives of the men responsible a nuisance to them.

Captain BENN

We are specially interested in this Clause, because it was an Amendment accepted by the late Government, and moved by hon. Members on these benches, which reduced last year the waiting period from six days to three days. If there was a case for reducing the waiting period last year, the case is far stronger this year, because the reserves of the people have been much diminished by unemployment and hardship. Therefore it cannot be any surprise that we stand to-night by this Amendment for fixing the three days waiting period, as we, were the authors of the Amendment last year reducing the waiting period to three days. We feel strongly the hardship which is placed upon these unfortunate people, the un- employed. There is a further point. The Government are great supporters of the contributory principle. They believe that there is more merit in making people pay for their benefits. I am not concerned to argue as to the best way of running an insurance scheme, but it is clear that those who earnestly support the payment of contributions from the other side should equally earnestly support the demand for the payment of benefits when contributions have been made.

One of the great demerits of this Clause as against Clause 1, which only deals with extended benefits, is that it deprives people who are in full stamps of the standard benefit to which they are entitled. We are not here dealing with any charitable benefit or any benefit given in advance of contribution, but benefit for which people have paid and for which their cards are fully stamped. The Clause is estimated to save £5,000,000. The finance of this scheme unless we get good news to-morrow will be entirely futile. It will break down if the worst happens to-morrow. Assuming that things go no worse, then £5,000,000 will be saved by this Clause. How much of that £5,000,000 is being taken by reducing the period of waiting, how much is being taken from the insured persons who are asking for extended benefit, and how much from those persons who are unemployed who are fully stamped and who are only asking for standard benefit?


Approximately half and half.

Captain BENN

Then you are depriving of £2,500,000 those insured persons who have paid and who under the present law are fully entitled to benefit. What hon. Members opposite mean by the contributory principle is contribution. They are ready enough to insist upon contribution and ready enough to support the Government in that respect, but when the people ask for the benefit for which they have contractual rights you deprive them of it.

Question put, "That the words pro posed to be left out to the word 'have' in page 2, line 13, stand part of the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 191; Noes, 120.

Division No. 330.] AYES. [9.27 p.m.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Gibbins, Joseph Lowth, T.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Gillett, George M. Lunn, William
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Gosling, Harry MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)
Ammon, Charles George Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)
Attlee, Clement Richard Greenall, T. Mackinder, W.
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston) Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) MacLaren, Andrew
Baker, Walter. Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) March, S.
Barnes, A. Groves, T. Maxton, James
Barr, J. Grundy, T. W. Montague, Frederick
Batey, Joseph Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth) Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)
Beckett, John (Gateshead) Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Murnin, H.
Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith) Hardie, George D. Naylor, T. E.
Bromley, J. Harris, Percy A. Oliver, George Harold
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon Owen, Major G.
Buchanan, G. Hayday, Arthur Paling, W.
Cape, Thomas Hayes, John Henry Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)
Charleton, H. C. Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley) Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.
Clowes, S. Henderson, T. (Glasgow) Ponsonby, Arthur
Cluse, W. S. Hirst, G. H. Potts, John S.
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R. Hirst, W. (Bradford, South) Purcell, A. A.
Compton, Joseph. Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield) Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)
Cove, W. G. Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Ritson, J.
Crawfurd, H. E. John, William (Rhondda, West) Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)
Dalton, Hugh Johnston, Thomas (Dundee) Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale) Jones J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W.R., Elland)
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter
Davison, J. E. (Smethwick) Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd) Saklatvala, Shapurji
Day, Colonel Harry Kelly, W. T. Salter, Dr. Alfred
Dennison, R. Kennedy, T. Scrymgeour, E.
Dunnico, H. Kirkwood, D. Scurr, John
Duncan, C. Lansbury, George Sexton, James
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) Lawson, John James Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)
Edwards, John H. (Accrington) Lee, F. Shiels, Dr. Drummond
Forrest, W. Livingstone, A. M. Sitch, Charles H.
Slesser, Sir Henry H. Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.) Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.
Smillie, Robert Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow) Whiteley, W.
Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe) Tinker, John Joseph Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley) Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P. Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)
Smith, Rennie (Penistone) Varley, Frank B. Williams, David (Swansea, E.)
Snell, Harry Viant, S. P. Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip Wallhead, Richard C. Williams, T. (York. Don Valley)
Spencer, G. A. (Broxtowe) Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Stamford, T. W. Warne, G. H. Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Stephen. Campbell Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline) Windsor, Walter
Sutton, J. E. Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda) Wright, W.
Taylor, R. A. Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah
Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby) Welsh, J. C. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro, W.) Westwood, J. Sir Godfrey Collins and Sir Robert
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.) Little, Dr. E. Graham
Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T. Everard, W. Lindsay Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)
Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby) Fairfax, Captain J. G. Loder, J. de V.
Applin, Colonel R. V. K. Falle, Sir Bertram G. Lord, Walter Greaves-
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W. Fanshawe, Commander G. D. Lougher, L.
Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W. Fielden, E. B. Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman
Atkinson, C. Finburgh, S. Lumley, L. R.
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Fleming, D. P. MacAndrew, Charles Glen
Banks, Reginald Mitchell Ford, P. J. Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Forestier-Walker, Sir L. Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)
Barnett, Major Sir Richard Foster, Sir Harry S. McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus
Beamish, Captain T. P. H. Foxcroft, Captain C. T. McLean, Major A.
Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.) Fremantle, Lt.-Col. Francis E. Macmillan, Captain H.
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W. Galbraith, J. F. W. Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Ganzoni, Sir John McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John
Bethell, A. Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham MacRobert, Alexander M.
Betterton. Henry B. Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-
Birchall, Major J. Dearman Glyn, Major R. G. C. Malone, Major P. B.
Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.) Goff, Sir Park Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn
Blundell, F. N. Grant, J. A. Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.
Boothby, R. J. G. Greene. W. P. Crawford Meller, R. J.
Bourne. Captain Robert Croft Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London) Merriman, F. B.
Bowyer, Captain G. E. W. Gretton, Colonel John Mever, Sir Frank
Boyd-Carpenter, Major A. Grotrian, H. Brent Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E. Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)
Briscoe, Richard George Gunston, Captain D. W. Monsell, Eyres, Corn. Rt. Hon. B. M.
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I. Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)
Broun-Lindsay, Major H. Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) Moore, Sir Newton J.
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y) Hall, Vice-Admiral Sir R. (Eastbourne) Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.
Buckingham, Sir H. Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.) Morrison, H. (Wilts. Salisbury)
Bullock, Captain M. Hanbury, C. Morrison, Bell, Sir Arthur Clive
Burman, J. B. Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Nelson, Sir Frank
Burney, Lieut.-Com. Charles D. Harland, A. Neville, R. J.
Burton, Colonel H. W. Harrison, G. J. C. Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)
Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington) Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)
Campbell, E. T. Haslam, Henry C. Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert
Cassels, J. D. Hawke, John Anthony Nuttall, Ellis
Cazalet, Captain Victor A. Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M. Oakley, T.
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxford, Henley) O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)
Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle) O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood) Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Oman, Sir Charles William C.
Chapman, Sir S. Henn, Sir Sydney H. Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William
Charteris, Brigadier-General J. Hennessy, Major J. R. G. Pennefather, Sir John
Christie, J. A. Herbert, Dennis (Hertford. Watford) Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)
Clarry, Reginald George Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone) Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)
Clayton, G. C. Homan, C. W. J. Pilcher, G.
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Hopkins, J. W. W. Pilditch, Sir Philip
Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K. Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley) Power, Sir John Cecil
Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N. Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton
Conway, Sir W. Martin Howard, Capt. Hon. D. (Cumb., N.) Price, Major C. W. M.
Cope, Major William Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Raine, W.
Courthope, Lieut.-Col. Sir George L. Hudson, R. S. (Cumb'l'nd, Whiteh'n) Ramsden, E.
Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Hume, Sir G. H. Rawlinson, Rt. Hon. John Fredk. Peel
Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro) Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis Rawson, Alfred Cooper
Curzon, Captain Viscount Hunter-Weston. Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer Reid, D. D. (County Down)
Dalziel, Sir Davison Hurd, Percy A. Remer, J. R.
Davidson, J. (Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd) Hurst, Gerald B. Rentoul, G. S.
Davidson, Major-General Sir John H. Hutchison, G. A. Clark (Midl'n & P'bl's) Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.
Davies, A. V. (Lancaster, Royton) Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l) Rice, Sir Frederick
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Jacob, A. E. Richardson. Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester) Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington) Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)
Dawson, Sir Philip Kennedy, A. R. (Preston) Ropner, Major L.
Dean, Arthur Wellesley Kidd, J. (Linlithgow) Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.
Drewe, C. King, Captain Henry Douglas Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Edmondson, Major A. J. Knox, Sir Alfred Rye, F. G.
Elliot, Captain Walter E. Leigh, Sir John (Clapham) Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Sandeman, A. Stewart Storry Deans, R. Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Sanderson, Sir Frank Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H. Wilson, R. R. (Statford, Lichfield)
Sandon, Lord Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Sheffield, Sir Berkeley Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn) Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Shepperson, E. W. Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Wise, Sir Fredric
Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down) Thompson, Luke (Sunderland) Womersley, W. J.
Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Univ., Belfast) Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South) Wood, Rt. Hon. E. (York, W.R., Ripon)
Slaney, Major P. Kenyon Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell- Wood. E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)
Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.) Tinne, J. A. Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.).
Smithers, Waldron Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Somerville, A. A. (Windsor) Wallace, Captain D. E. Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Spender Clay. Colonel H. Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull) Wragg, Herbert
Sprot, Sir Alexander Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.
Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.) Waterhouse, Captain Charles TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Stanley, Lord (Fylde) Watts, Dr. T. Major Sir Harry Barnston and
Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland) Wells, S. R. Captain Margesson
Steel, Major Samuel Strang White Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple

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

Division No. 331.] AYES. [11.46 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William
Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T. Glyn, Major R. G. C. Pennefather, Sir John
Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby) Grant, J. A. Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Greene. W. P. Crawford Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Applin, Colonel R. V. K. Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London) Power, Sir John Cecil
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W. Gretton, Colonel John Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton
Atholl, Duchess of Gunston, Captain D. W. Price, Major C. W. M.
Atkinson, C. Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Ramsden, E.
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) Rawlinson, Rt. Hon. John Fredk. Peel
Balniel, Lord Hall, Vice-Admiral Sir R. Eastbourne) Rawson, Alfred Cooper
Barnett, Major Sir Richard Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.) Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington)
Beamish, Captain T. P. H. Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Remer, J. R.
Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.) Harland, A. Rice, Sir Frederick
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W. Harrison, G. J. C. Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Haslam, Henry C. Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)
Betterton, Henry B. Hawke, John Anthony Ropner, Major L.
Birchall, Major J. Dearman Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M. Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.
Blundell, F. N. Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley) Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Boothby, R. J. G. Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle) Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Sandeman, A. Stewart
Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W. Henn, Sir Sydney H. Sanderson, Sir Frank
Boyd-Carpenter, Major A. Hennessy, Major J. R. G. Sandon, Lord
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone) Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.
Briscoe, Richard George Hopkins, J. W. W. Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I. Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N. Shepperson, E. W.
Buckingham, Sir H. Howard, Capt. Hon. D. (Cumb., N.) Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)
Bullock, Captain M. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Univ., Belfast)
Burgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Alan Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer Slaney, Major P. Kenyon
Burman, J. B. Hutchison, G. A. Clark (Midl'n & P'bl's) Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Burton, Colonel H. W. Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S. Smithers, Waldron
Cassels, J. D. Jacob, A. E. Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Cazalet, Captain Victor A. Kidd, J. (Linlithgow) Spender Clay, Colonel H.
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) King, Captain Henry Douglas Sprot, Sir Alexander
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.) Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Stanley, Lord (Fylde)
Charteris, Brigadier-General J. Lamb, J. Q. Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)
Christie J. A. Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)
Clarry, Reginald George Little Dr. E. Graham Steel, Major Samuel Strang
Clayton, G. C. Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley) Storry Deans, R.
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Loder, J. de V. Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K. Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips Lumley, L. R. Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Cope, Major William MacAndrew, Charles Glen Tinne, J. A.
Courthope, Lieut.-Col. George L. Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.) Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart) Wallace, Captain D. E.
Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro) McLean, Major A. Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.
Curzon, Captain Viscount Macmillan, Captain H. Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Davidson, J. (Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd) Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm Watts, Dr. T.
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John Wells, S. R.
Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester) MacRobert, Alexander M. White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dalrymple
Dean, Arthur Wellesley Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Doyle, Sir N. Grattan Marriott, Sir J. A. R. Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Drewe, C. Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K. Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Edmondson. Major A. J. Merriman, F. B. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Fanshawe, Commander G. D. Meyer, Sir Frank Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Fielden, E. B. Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark) Wise, Sir Fredric
Finburgh, S. Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M. Wolmer, Viscount
Fleming, D. P. Moore, Sir Newton J. Womersley, W. J.
Ford, P. J. Morden, Col. W. Grant Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)
Forestier-Walker, Sir L. Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive Wood, Rt. Hon. E. (York, W.R., Ripon)
Foxcroft, Captain C. T. Nail, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Neville, R. J. Wragg, Herbert
Galbraith, J. F. W. Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert
Ganzoni, Sir John Nuttall, Ellis TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Gates, Percy O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh Sir Harry Barnston and Captain
Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham Oakley, T. Margesson.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Cape, Thomas Duncan, C.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Charleton, H. C. Dunnico, H.
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Clowes, S. Edwards, John H. (Accrington)
Ammon, Charles George Cluse, W. S. Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston) Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R. Gibbins, Joseph
Barnes, A. Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock) Gillett, George M.
Barr, J. Compton, Joseph Greenall, T.
Batey, Joseph Crawfurd, H. E. Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)
Beckett, John (Gateshead) Dalton, Hugh Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)
Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith) Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale) Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)
Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish- Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Groves, T.
Bromley, J. Davison, J. E. (Smethwick) Grundy, T. W.
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Day, Colonel Harry Guest, J. (York. Hemsworth)
Buchanan, G. Dennison, R. Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)
Harris, Percy A. Murnin, H. Stephen, Campbell
Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon Naylor, T. E. Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Hayday, Arthur Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter) Sutton, J. E.
Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley) Paling, W. Taylor, R. A.
Henderson, T. (Glasgow) Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Hirst, G. H. Ponsonby, Arthur Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Hirst, W. (Bradford, South) Potts, John S. Tinker, John Joseph
Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield) Purcell, A. A. Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.
Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose) Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Viant, S. P.
Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Riley, Ben Warne, G. H.
John, William (Rhondda, West) Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich) Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Johnston, Thomas (Dundee) Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W.R., Elland) Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah
Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Saklatvala, Shapurji Westwood, J.
Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd) Salter, Dr. Alfred Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.
Kelly, W. T. Scrymgeour, E. Whiteley, W.
Kennedy, T. Scurr, John Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Kirkwood, D. Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston) Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Lansbury, George Shiels, Dr. Drummond Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
Lawson, John James Short, Alfred (Wednesbury) Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Lee, F. Sitch, Charles H. Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Livingstone, A. M. Slesser, Sir Henry H. Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Lunn, William Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe) Windsor, Walter
MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J, R. (Aberavon) Snell, Harry
Mackinder, W. Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
March, S. Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe) Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr.
Maxton, James Stamford, T. W. Hayes.
Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)

I beg to move, in page 2, line 13, after the word "shall" to insert the words from the first day of December, nineteen hundred and twenty-five. I want to say that anyone who is moving such an Amendment as I am doing this evening must have a real reason for so doing seeing I have already registered my vote against the Clause that we have just been considering. There seems to be, in many directions, complete ambiguity as to the nature of the Clause. I want to register my profound disapproval as the representative of one of the greatest industrial constituencies in the country, because I believe it will inflict extreme hardship.


The hon. Member must not go back on the preceding Debate, which dealt with the Clause as a whole The Amendment deals solely with the matter of the date, and the hon. Member must confine his remarks to that point.


I did not know, Sir, whether or not you would allow me to explain—to some extent at any rate—the general reasons for this Amendment. I think, however, as a Division has been taken on the Clause as a whole, that this is an opportune moment for suggesting an extension of the period which is to elapse before the Clause comes into operation. According to the provisions of the Bill, this Clause will come into operation some fourteen days after the passing of the Bill, and that period is inadequate. We should, at least, have some extension. It might be urged that the date of coming into operation should be made coincident with the time when the reduction in contributions will have been made. We should remember the extraordinarily critical time through which we are passing. We should remember that possibly at this moment an endeavour is being made to gain an extension of time to carry us over a very critical period, and in such circumstances it is reasonable to ask for an extension of the period before this Clause becomes effective. By 18th December, the date which my Amendment fixes, we shall have had time to consider the position, instead of being precipitated into this situation without any alternative and without any method of safeguarding the interests of those who may be thrown out of employment. I hope the Minister will seriously and carefully consider the Amendment. I am sure the right hon. Gentleman does not want to accept the responsibility of causing any undue infliction upon those who are or who may be unemployed, and I ask him to accept what I regard as an entirely reasonable proposal.


I beg to second the Amendment.

I do so, in one sense, with mixed feelings, because I have no desire to oppose the Government, but I desire to ask them if even at this moment they cannot see their way to accepting this suggestion. From, the business point of view, this is an Amendment which the Government ought to consider seriously.

My hon. Friend has pointed out that he has selected December 1st for the Clause to come into operation. Might I remind the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill that, if this Amendment were passed, it would not in any way interfere with the Bill; it would merely mean the postponement of the operation of the Clause till December 1st? I am sure there is not a Member of this House who would not agree with me in saying that at the present moment of great industrial unrest nobody can possibly say what the next four months may produce. I know that some hard things have been said of the Prime Minister during this debate. I do not say this simply because I am one of his supporters, but I say without any fear of contradiction that the average man and woman in this country, whether or not they agree with his views, look upon him as a man who is honestly trying to lead us through this industrial trouble, and I think it might contribute towards easing the situation, at any rate, if this Clause were suspended for four months. I know that my right hon. Friend may say that it will cost a certain amount of money, and I am afraid I do not agree with quite all that has been said by the Labour Members to the effect that we can disregard all questions of finance. Of course, we cannot.

I am not in a position to say how much this Amendment would cost, but I imagine that it would cost practically nothing; I do not suppose it would come to a farthing in the Income Tax. On the other hand, if the Clause were postponed for four months, at any rate the air would be to a certain extent cleared. If trade improves, as we all hope it will improve, and unemployment decreases, it is possible that the Minister in charge of the Bill will be very glad not to have to put the Clause into force. On the other hand, supposing things do not turn out so well as we hope they will, and there is a really serious dislocation in the labour market, I venture to think that some legislation will have to be resorted to, because I am certain that if there is any abnormal degree of unemployment the boards of guardians will not be in a position to meet the stress. May I, in conclusion, point out that this Amendment would not in any degree alter the Bill itself? The only thing that it would do would be to allow four months to elapse, during which time we shall hope to be in a better position to judge as to the industrial conditions, because I am quite sure that there is no Member of this House who would like to do anything to cause hardship or injustice towards those men and women who are feeling most acutely the present depressed state of some of the industries of this country.


The Amendment has been moved, in most moderate language, asking me if I would accept a date for this particular Clause later than the date of the passage of the Bill into law, and the reasons which have been given have been, first, by my hon. Friend the Member for Exeter (Sir R. Newman), who seconded the Amendment, that the negotiations that are at present taking place with regard to matters of industrial trouble, and, secondly, by my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland (Mr. L. Thompson), who moved the Amendment, that more notice should be given before new people who are claimants have to undergo a waiting period. I know that the right hon. Gentleman opposite the Member for Preston (Mr. T. Shaw), my predecessor, is one who does not share my views of careful finance with regard to the Bill. Of course, I may be wrong, but I look to the expenditure that may be caused, and I have to realise that under present conditions the debt on the Bill is likely to be a very serious amount. [An HON. MEMBER: "Be reckless for once."] That is an awful appeal to make to a Scotsman! But if my hon. Friends wish it, I could meet them in this way: that is to allow for some period of notice. I am ready to move an Amendment that the waiting period should be from October instead of from the present date. The reason is this: I do not think anyone can forecast the future and say that any particular date in the near future is likely to be better than another. If hon. Members wish it, I am prepared to move as an Amendment to the hon. Member's Amendment to leave out the word "December" and insert "October." Even so the cost will be over £500,000, and money is not easy to come by at the present moment. But under all the conditions, which I realise as fully as any- one, and the troubles at the. present moment, I am wishful not to be unaccommodating.


Possibly I did not make myself clear, but the reason I warned to fix the date as 1st December was that I wanted a period when this House might be reassembling. If the Minister of Labour would meet me with a date that would correspond approximately with the time the House would reassemble so that it can deal with any industrial difficulty that might arise, I should be willing to make it 1st October.


May I add to the appeal of my hon. Friend that the Minister should make it correspond with the meeting of Parliament? The whole idea of the Amendment is that Parliament should have power to review the matter if it comes into force. We are entering into a critical and possibly dangerous time and for all we know the effect of this Clause may be very bad indeed for the country. It may add to the unrest and discontent, and I do feel very strongly that we should have the power of reviewing this Clause.


As my name is associated with this Amendment I want to add a few words to what the mover has stated. It was suggested across the House that certain sections of Lancashire will be adversely affected; that engineers, dock workers, and furnace men also are affected. I want to say that for the in-and-out underemployed trades it severely penalises those who are just coming into benefit and soon are out again continuously and who, as a class, will receive some assistance by this Amendment failing the elimination of Clause 3 which many of us desired. I know that the extension to December would be better than October, but, on the other hand if we cannot have December, I, for one, should support November. I do hope the Minister will, at any rate, give us November rather than September or even October.


I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, to leave out the word "December", and to insert in place thereof the word "October."

If I might say one further word of explanation, I would ask my friends to accept October. I am making this concession to try and show that, if I am asked to do anything when there is a period of great stress, I am willing to try and do it as a temporary measure. But I would point out that if there is acute industrial trouble of course bigger things than this will probably have to go into the melting-pot, and it will be more than likely that this House would have an opportunity of considering this. But I hope that those to whom I am suggesting this will realise that I am doing this so as to give a period of notice, and in order to show that if one be asked to do something in a peculiar time of stress I am not unwilling to try and meet them.

Captain BENN

The right hon. Gentleman does not seem to understand that we are not asking alms of him The charitable note which runs through all his speeches does him credit, but becomes somewhat monotonous. The purpose of the Amendment is to try to secure some sort of Parliamentary control. If the right hon. Gentleman is going to say that Parliament will meet on 1st October, then I think many of the objections would be met. When he said greater things would occur, and that this House would be invited to consider them, was he giving a pledge that the House would meet? [HON. MEMBERS: NO!] Then what is the value of his argument? If it means nothing, and is only just an observation, it has absolutely no relation to the argument, and I would invite the right hon. Gentleman to say if he has the authority of the Patronage Secretary for a promise that Parliament will meet before this new power comes into force. If the right hon. Gentleman will address himself to that, I certainly will support any Amendment which tends to increase Parliamentary control over this power that he proposes to exercise.

Question put "That the word 'December' stand part of the proposed Amendment."

The House divided: Ayes, 98; Noes, 167.

Division No. 332.] AYES. [12.15 a.m.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Harris, Percy A. Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W.R., Elland)
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Hayday, Arthur Saklatvala, Shapurji
Ammon, Charles George Hayes, John Henry Scurr, John
Barr, J. Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley) Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)
Batey, Joseph Henderson, T. (Glasgow) Shiels, Dr. Drummond
Beckett, John (Gateshead) Hirst, G. H. Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith) Hirst, W. (Bradford, South) Sitch, Charles H.
Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish- Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield) Slesser, Sir Henry H.
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose) Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Buchanan, G. Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)
Cape, Thomas John, William (Rhondda, West) Stephen, Campbell
Charleton, H. C. Johnston, Thomas (Dundee) Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Cluse, W. S. Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Sutton, J. E.
Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock) Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd) Taylor, R. A.
Compton, Joseph Kelly, W. T. Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Crawfurd, H. E. Kennedy, T. Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Dalton, Hugh Kirkwood, D. Tinker, John Joseph
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Lansbury, George Viant, S. P.
Davison, J. E. (Smethwick) Lawson, John James Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Day, Colonel Harry Lee, F. Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Dunnico, H. Livingstone, A. M. Westwood, J.
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) Lunn, William Whiteley, W.
Garro-Jones, Captain G. M. Maxton, James Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Gibbins, Joseph Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Gillett, George M. Murnin, H. Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
Greenall, T. Naylor, T. E. Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter) Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Paling, W. Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Groves, T. Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Windsor, Walter
Grundy, T. W. Potts, John S.
Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth) Purcell, A. A. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Mr. Warne and Mr. Barnes.
Harney, E. A. Riley, Ben
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Drewe, C. Loder, J. de V.
Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T. Edmondson, Major A. J. Lougher, L.
Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby) Fanshawe, Commander G. D. Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Fielden, E. B. Lumley, L. R.
Applin, Colonel R. V. K. Finburgh, S. MacAndrew, Charles Glen
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W. Fleming, D. P. McLean, Major A.
Atkinson, C. Ford, P. J. Macmillan, Captain H.
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Forestier-Walker, Sir L. McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John
Balniel, Lord Foxcroft, Captain C. T. MacRobert, Alexander M.
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-
Barnett, Major Sir Richard Galbraith, J. F. W. Marriott, Sir J. A. R.
Barnston, Major Sir Harry Ganzoni, sir John Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.
Beamish, Captain T. P H. Gates. Percy Merriman, F. B.
Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.) Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham Meyer, Sir Frank.
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W. Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Glyn, Major R. G. C. Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.
Betterton, Henry B. Greene, W. P. Crawford Moore, Sir Newton J.
Birchall, Major J. Dearman Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London) Morden, Col. W. Grant
Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.) Grotrian, H. Brent Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive
Blundell, F. N. Gunston, Captain D. W. Nall, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph
Boothby, R. J. G. Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Nuttall, Ellis
Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W. Hall, Vice-Admiral Sir R. (Eastbourne) O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh
Boyd-Carpenter, Major A. Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.) Oakley, T.
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive Hanbury, C. Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William
Briscoe, Richard George Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Pennefather, Sir John
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I. Harney, E. A. Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)
Buckingham, Sir H. Harrison, G. J. C. Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Bullock, Captain M. Hawke, John Anthony Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton
Burgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Alan Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M. Price, Major C. W. M.
Burman, J. B. Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxford, Henley) Ramsden, E.
Burton, Colonel H. W. Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootie) Rawson, Alfred Cooper
Cassels, J. D. Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Reid, Cap. A. S. C. (Warrington)
Cazalet, Captain Victor A. Henn, Sir Sydney H. Remer, J. R.
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) Hennessy, Major J. R. G. Rice, Sir Frederick
Christie, J. A. Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone) Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Hopkins, J. W. W. Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)
Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K. Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N. Ropner, Major L.
Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips Howard, Capt. Hon. D. (Cumb., N.) Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.
Cooper, A. Duff Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Courthope, Lieut.-Col. Sir George L. Jacob, A. E. Sanderson, Sir Frank
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Kennedy, A. R. (Preston) Sandon, Lord
Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro) Kidd, J. (Linlithgow). Sheffield, Sir Berkeley
Curzon, Captain Viscount King, Captain Henry Douglas Shepperson, E. W.
Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H. Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Slaney, Major P. Kenyon
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Lamb, J. Q. Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Dean, Arthur Wellesley Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. sir Philip Smithers, Waldron
Somerville, A. A. (Windsor) Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South) Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Spender Clay, Colonel H. Tinne, J. A. Wise, Sir Fredric
Sprot, Sir Alexander Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement Wolmer, Viscount
Stanley, Lord (Fylde) Wallace, Captain D. E. Womersley, W. J.
Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.) Waterhouse, Captain Charles Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)
Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland) Wells, S. R. Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Steel, Major Samuel Strang White Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple Wragg, Herbert
Storry Doans, R. Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H. Williams, Herbert G. (Heading) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn) Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield) Major Cope and Captain Margesson.
Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George

Word "October" there inserted.

Proposed words, as amended, there inserted in the Bill.


I beg to move, in page 2, line 15, at the end, to insert the words and as though the following proviso were added: Provided that if the continuous period of unemployment is longer than two weeks benefit shall be payable from the commencement. The effect of my Amendment is that if an unemployed man or woman is idle for a period of two weeks or more that man or woman shall be entitled to be paid benefit from the first day of unemployment. This is the plan that is followed under the Health Insurance Scheme and in Workmen's Compensation cases. I think there is a good case to be made out for it in this connection. The Minister of Labour earlier in the Debate argued that a man or woman who was dismissed usually had a little surplus and that therefore they did not feel the first six days of unemployment very acutely. That may be true, but may I point out to him while a person who is idle for six days may not be hard hit, yet if a man is idle for 14 days he is beginning to feel the pinch very much, and ought to be paid from the first day of his unemployment. We are putting forward this Amendment in the hope of a compromise. We have made an effort to modify other provisions without success, but we made yet another effort. I suppose we shall be told that it will cost half a million or a million. I am glad to see the Minister of Labour in his place again. I suppose he has got over his job of lecturing the Tory party. No doubt ho will tell us that it will cost half a million pounds. On a previous Amendment he said it would cost that amount, and made the announcement as if it were a great concession. I can tell him that the working classes do not thank him for it. It seems to be a lot of money when it has to do with the working classes, but when it comes to building cruisers then 58 millions is not much.

The reason why we are moving this Amendment is because we think that any person who is idle for 14 days is entitled to have unemployment pay as from the first day. In the days before the War it was common for workmen, particularly in the great industries, to get long periods of work. The moment a man or woman was given work the employer usually kept him for a long time, but nowadays in the shipbuilding and steel industries it is not uncommon, under the combination of employers, for a man to be taken on for a brief spell and then turned off. He may have six or seven weeks' work and then be idle for three weeks. If these men are going to be idle at the end of every six or seven weeks for about three weeks at a time they are going to be extremely hard hit under this Bill. We ask that the Amendment shall be accepted. I know from past experience of the Parliamentary Secretary and his chief that it will not be accepted. I had some experience when sitting with them on the Committee upstairs. I did have some hope of the Parliamentary Secretary that he had a broader mind than his chief, but after some seven or eight days in the Committee I came to the conclusion that if the Minister of Labour is bad the Parliamentary Secretary is no better. I do not expect that the Amendment will be accepted. The Government only accepted the month of October through fear. You will never convince them by argument. The only thing is to drive fear into their hearts. I put forward the Amendment because it will affect my own constituency and the industrial population of the country. I see no reason why it should not be accepted, except the argument that it will cost us half a million of money. And just as they tell us that they cannot find half a million pounds for the working people of this country I know that tomorrow or the next day if they wanted them to fight as soldiers they would find ten times the amount. Half a million pounds saved for the working people is not half a milion pounds saved at all. It is stolen from them. It is nothing less than a common theft. In my district, people who do this, sort of thing would be looked upon as thieves: in this House they are elevated to Cabinet rank. We shall persist with the Amendment and record another vote in the Division Lobby against the present Government which will one day tell against them in the country. I content myself on moving it. I hate sob stuff as much as anyone, and I hope the Minister of Labour will at least spare our feelings and refrain from giving us a religious lecture when replying.


I beg to second the Amendment.

I am not going to make an appeal for sympathy to the representative of the Government. I have always said that if the Conservative party were in office and in power that they would take away the little advantages which were given to the unemployed during the short period of office of the Labour Party, and, therefore, I am not disappointed with their action in connection with this Bill. I support the Amendment because it is a final attempt to minimise some of the hardships which this Bill will entail upon the unemployed. This Clause compels an unemployed person to have a six days' waiting period. There is no other Act of Parliament which deals with the relief of poor people that makes them wait six days. Under the Workmen's Compensation Act, if a man is injured and is kept from work for some time, he loses three days. If he is off work for a month he gets paid for the full period. If this concession was logical in that connection, surely it is also logical now, and an unemployed man who has been out of work for a fortnight should be entitled to unemployment benefit for the full period instead of being docked these six days. I hope the Amendment will be accepted. It may cost half a million pounds, but a Government that can afford to spend £58,000,000 for building a navy can at least afford to see that the navy when built will be equipped with men; though under the conditions now offered by the Government we shall have a C6 population instead of a C3 population. You will destroy the unemployed by the conditions in the Bill, and the Amendment will do something to relieve real suffering which will be placed on the unemployed people of this country.


I hope the hon. Member who moved this Amendment will not think I wish to trouble him or any other Member of the House with a religious lecture. I have never done so yet, and I hope I never shall in this House. At the same time, I must point out to him that it is not the way to encourage people to try and meet them to say that if you do meet them they will not thank you and that any concession is wrung from you by fear. That is not the way to create a conciliatory mood or induce anyone to meet you. In the present case, I am not moved by the hon. Member's unconciliatory manner or by any other reason. I am moved only by the merits of the Amendment; and on its merits I cannot accept it. In many cases in trade union practice you get a waiting period of six days, and that in some cases without any reimbursement afterwards.


Which unions?


I will send the hon. Member instances if he desires. I think I quoted them upstairs in Committee.


No. The right hon. Gentleman did not quote. I waited patiently to see if he did and I am still waiting to hear the statement of any union which does not pay for the six days.


I shall be glad to send the hon. Member instances. May I say that the patience was not all on one side in Committee upstairs. I know that in many cases trade unions have a waiting period, although in most cases the members are recouped afterwards. But there is this further difference between trade union practice and the Bill, that extended benefits under the Bill are given for an indefinite period. Having regard to all the circumstances of the case, I cannot accept the Amendment.


I rise once again to protect against the idea that this is an ordinary insurance scheme. We will not agree that it is anything of the kind. I state again definitely on behalf of the party I represent that we look upon this exceptional unemployment as a direct result of the War, for which the whole of the nation is responsible. It is a national responsibility to see that these men and these women are looked after. We cannot accept the suggestion that, because trade union contracts before the War were such-and-such, they should be applied in

this case. The conditions and responsibilities are quite different. We look upon the responsibility as a national responsibility, and we shall vote for the nation bearing its responsibility, and vote for this Amendment.

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

The House divided: Ayes, 79; Noes, 150.

Division No. 333.] AYES. [12.42 a.m.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth) Riley, Ben
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Harney, E. A. Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Harris, Percy A. Saklatvala, Shapurji
Ammon, Charles George Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon Scurr, John
Barnes, A. Hayday, Arthur Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)
Barr, J. Hayes, John Henry Shiels, Dr. Drummond
Beckett, John (Gateshead) Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley) Sitch, Charles H.
Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith) Henderson. T. (Glasgow) Slesser, Sir Henry H.
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Hirst, G. H. Smith, Ben (Bormondsey, R'hithe)
Buchanan, G. Hirst, W. (Bradford, South) Stephen, Campbell
Cape, Thomas Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield) Sutton, J. E.
Charleton, H. C. Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose) Taylor, R. A.
Cluse, W. S. Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock) John, William (Rhondda, West) Tinker, John Joseph
Compton, Joseph Johnston, Thomas (Dundee) Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Crawfurd, H. E. Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Dalton, Hugh Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd) Westwood, J.
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Kelly, W. T. Whiteley, W.
Davison, J. E. (Smethwick) Kirkwood, D. Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Day, Colonel Harry Lansbury, George Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Dunnico, H. Lawson, John James Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) Lunn, William Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Garro-Jones, Captain G. M. Maxton, James Windsor, Walter
Gillett, George M. Murnin, H.
Greenall, T. Paling, W. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Mr. Thomas Kennedy and Mr.
Groves, T. Potts, John S. Warne.
Grundy, T. W. Purcell, A. A.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Curzon, Captain Viscount Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.
Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T. Davidson, J. (Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd) Henn, Sir Sydney H.
Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby) Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Hennessy, Major J. R. G.
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Dean, Arthur Wellesley Herbert, S. (York, N. R., Scar. & Wh'by)
Applin, Colonel R. V. K. Drewe, C. Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W. Edmondson, Major A. J. Hopkins, J. W. W.
Atkinson, C. Fanshawe, Commander G. D. Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.
Balniel, Lord Fielden, E. B. Howard, Capt. Hon. D. (Cumb., N.)
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Finburgh, S. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)
Barnett, Major Sir Richard Fleming, D. P. Jacob, A. E.
Barnston, Major Sir Harry Ford, P. J. Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)
Beamish, Captain T. P. H. Forestier-Walker, Sir L. Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)
Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.) Foxcroft, Captain C. T. King, Captain Henry Douglas
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W. Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement
Betterton, Henry B. Galbraith, J. F. W. Lamb, J. Q.
Blundell, F. N. Ganzoni, Sir John Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip
Boothby, R. J. G. Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Loder, J. de V.
Bowyer, Captain G. E. W. Glyn, Major R. G. C. Lougher, L.
Briscoe, Richard George Greene, W. P. Crawford Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I. Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London) Lumley, L. R.
Bullock, Captain M. Grotrian, H. Brent MacAndrew, Charles Glen
Burman, J. B. Gunston, Captain D. W. McLean, Major A.
Burton, Colonel H. W. Hall, Vice-Admiral Sir R. (Eastbourne) Macmillan, Captain H.
Cazalet, Captain Victor A. Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.) Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-
Christie, J. A. Hanbury, C. McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Margesson, Captain D.
Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K. Harland, A. Mason, Lieut.-Colonel Glyn K.
Cooper, A. Duff Harrison, G. J. C. Merriman, F. B.
Cope, Major William Hawke, John Anthony Meyer, Sir Frank
Courthope, Lieut.-Col. Sir George L. Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M. Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxford, Henley) Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.
Crookshank, Cpt, R. (Lindsey, Gainsbro) Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle) Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive
Nall, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph Sanderson, Sir Frank Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Neville, R. J. Sandon, Lord Wallace Captain D. E.
Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter) Sheffield, Sir Berkeley Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Nuttall, Ellis Shepperson, E. W. Wells, S. R.
O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh Slaney, Major P. Kenyon White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple
Oakley, T. Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.) Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William Smithers, Waldron Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Pennefather, Sir John Spender Clay, Colonel H. Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings) Sprot, Sir Alexander Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton Stanley, Lord (Fylde) Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Price, Major C. W. M. Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.) Wise, Sir Fredric
Ramsden, E. Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. Westm'eland) Wolmer, Viscount
Rawson, Alfred Cooper Steel, Major Samuel Strang Womersley, W. J.
Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington) Storry Deans, R. Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)
Remer, J. R. Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn) Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y) Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser Wragg, Herbert
Ropner, Major L. Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A. Thompson, Luke (Sunderland) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham) Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, S.) Colonel Gibbs and Captain Hacking.

I beg to move, in page 2, line 15, at the end to insert the words Provided that in the case of a person who has received benefit in respect of a continuous period of unemployment commencing on a date subsequent to the first day of August, nineteen hundred and twenty-four, benefit for any further period of continuous unemployment shall be payable from the commencement. I will content myself with formally moving this Amendment, which seeks to prevent a hardship. I ask the Minister if it is not possible to accept what I propose?


I beg to second the Amendment.

When a man has been sentenced to bread and water for a number of days, it is not regarded by the Prison Commissioners as right that he should go through the same thing again. That is the best parallel to what the Minister of Labour is imposing of which I am aware. Two periods of that description should not be imposed on the same man.


I think the House will hardly expect the Government to accept this Amendment, if it realises what it means. It means that any man or woman who has served any waiting period at all since August, 1924, is to be free from such for all time hereafter. The result would, certainly, ultimately be that

the waiting period would be abolished altogether. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] That, no doubt, commends itself to the hon. Gentlemen opposite, but they could hardly at this stage ask the Government to accept it. The cost would be about £10,000,000 a year. Under these circumstances, if the facts are as stated, the House will realise that it is impossible to accept it.


May I ask whether the Government could not accept the Amendment by the hon. Member for East Middlesbrough (Miss Wilkinson) which relates to any single year. That, I think, is a fair proposition in view of the Prime Minister's statement in reply to the unemployment Debate, when he said that employment is not continuous but a process of intermittent work in which men are out of and in work periodically. It is not right that a man may have in one year to forfeit three, four, five or six weeks, which would be the case under the Act in its present form. The hon. Member might consider the advisability of doing something to improve the position, so that one man shall not be called upon to forfeit so many weeks because of intermittent unemployment.

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

The House divided: Ayes, 76; Noes, 139.

Division No. 334] AYES. [12.55. a.m.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Cape, Thomas Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Charleton, H. C. Gillett, George M.
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Cluse, W. S. Greenall, T.
Ammon, Charles George Compton, Joseph Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)
Barnes, A. Crawfurd, H. E. Groves, T.
Barr, J. Dalton, Hugh Grundy, T. W.
Beckett, John (Gateshead) Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth)
Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith) Davison, J. E. (Smethwick) Harris, Percy A.
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Day, Colonel Harry Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon
Buchanan, G. Dunnico, H. Hayday, Arthur
Hayes, John Henry Maxton, James Taylor, R. A.
Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley) Murnin, H. Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Henderson, T. (Glasgow) Paling, W. Tinker, John Joseph
Hirst, G. H. Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Hirst, W. (Bradford, South) Potts, John S. Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield) Purcell, A. A. Westwood, J.
Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Riley, Ben Whiteley, W.
John, William (Rhondda, West) Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W.R., Elland) Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Johnston, Thomas (Dundee) Saklatvala, Shapurji Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Scurr, John Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd) Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston) Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Kelly, W. T. Shiels, Dr. Drummond Windsor, Walter
Kennedy, T. Siten, Charles H.
Kirkwood, D. Slesser, Sir Henry H. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Lansbury, George Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe) Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr.
Lawson, John James Stephen, Campbell Warne.
Lunn, William Sutton, J. E.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London) Pennefather, Sir John
Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T. Grotrian, H. Brent Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)
Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby) Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Hall, Vice-Admiral Sir R. (Eastbourne) Price, Major C. W. M.
Applin, Colonel R. V. K. Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.) Ramsden, E.
Atkinson, C. Hanbury, C. Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington)
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Remer, J. R.
Balniel, Lord Harland, A. Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Harrison, G. J. C. Ropner, Major L.
Barnett, Major Sir Richard Hawke, John Anthony Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Barnston, Major Sir Harry Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M. Sanderson, Sir Frank
Beamish, Captain T. P. H. Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley Sandon, Lord
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W. Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle Sheffield, Sir Berkeley
Betterton, Henry B. Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Shepperson, E. W.
Blundell, F. N. Henn, Sir Sydney H Slaney, Major P. Kenyon
Boothby, R. J. G. Herbert, S. (York, N. R., Scar. & Wh'by) Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Bowyer, Captain G. E. W. Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone) Smithers, Waldron
Briscoe, Richard George Hopkins, J. W. W. Spender Clay, Colonel H.
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I. Howard, Capt. Hon. D. (Cumb., N.) Sprot, Sir Alexander
Bullock, Captain M. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Stanley, Lord (Fylde)
Burman, J. B. Jacob, A. E. Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)
Burton, Colonel H. W. Kennedy, A. R. (Preston). Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. Westm'eland)
Cazalet, Captain Victor A. Kidd, J. (Linlithgow) Steel, Major Samuel Strang
Christie, J. A. King, Captain Henry Douglas Storry Deans, R.
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K Lamb, J. Q. Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Cooper, A. Duff Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Courthope, Lieut.-Col. Sir George L. Loder, J. de V. Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Lougher, L. Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, S.)
Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro) Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Curzon, Captain Viscount Lumley, L. R. Wallace, Captain D. E.
Davidson, J. (Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd) MacAndrew, Charles Glen Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) McLean, Major A. Wells, S. R.
Dean, Arthur Wellesley Macmillan, Captain H. White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple
Edmondson, Major A. J. McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Fanshawe, Commander G. D. Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel- Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Fielden E. B. Margesson, Captain D. Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Finburgh, S. Merriman, F. B. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Fleming, D. P. Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark) Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Ford, P. J. Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M. Wise, Sir Fredric
Forestier-Walker, Sir L. Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive Wolmer, Viscount
Foxcroft, Captain C. T. Neville, R. J. Womersley, W. J.
Galbraith, J. F. W. Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter) Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)
Ganzoni, Sir John Nuttall, Ellis Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh
Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Oakley, T. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Glyn, Major R. G. C. Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William Major Hennessy and Major Cope.
Greene, W. P. Crawford