HC Deb 29 April 1926 vol 194 cc2293-4

Motion made, and Question proposed, That a sum, not exceeding £1,075,110, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1927, for Expenditure in respect of sundry Public Buildings in Great Britain not provided for on other Votes, including Historic Buildings, Ancient Monuments, and Brompton Cemetery."— [Note: £530,000 has been voted on account.]


The Committee would like to have some explanation as to what exactly is meant by item C, where there is Such a large decrease in the amount for unemployment relief work as £25,000. This sort of thing is running through all the Votes, and it is a pretty clear indication that the Government are saving money at the expense of the unemployed. As this is such a big item we are entitled to some explanation.


I will explain the decrease, though my reply a short time ago to the hon. Member for West Willesden (Mr. Viant) on another Vote really covers what I have to say in connection with this particular item. Although it is anticipated that the labour and material costs will actually be higher in 1926 than in 1925, the decrease shown in the last year's provision is due to the fact that, in view of the special need for economy at this time, the work of re-decoration has as far as possible been deferred.

I would argue that one of the reasons for deferring redecorations— which if the country were more prosperous could be gone on with at once— is because, in spite of what the hon. Member has said, there is not a great deal of unemployment in this particular trade. That being so, we would not necessarily, by increasing the amount of money spent on decorations, be giving more employment. The employment in the particular trade is so good at the moment that we would simply be transferring workpeople from another place into our employment.