Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £10, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1926, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Ministry of Health; including Grants and other Expenses in connection with Housing, Grants to Local Authorities, etc., in connection with Public Health and Unemployment Services, sundry Grants in respect of Benefits and Expenses of Administration under the National Health Insurance Act, 1924, certain Expenses under the Widows, Orphans and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act, 1925, certain Grants in Aid, and certain Special Services.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of HEALTH (Sir Kingsley Wood)
Perhaps it will be for the convenience of the Committee if I give an explanation of one or two matters referred to on pages 46 and 47 of the Supplementary Estimate. The first item of any considerable magnitude is for salaries, wages and allowances mainly in connection with the Widows, Orphans, and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act, which was passed last year. This is the first time that this item has appeared in the Estimates. The amount that has been spent in this connection has been required to establish the scheme and to deal with the very large number of claims which have already been received. There has been considerable advance as far as this particular legislation is concerned, because the Widows and Orphans Scheme has been worked very largely as part of the National Health Insurance Scheme. In that way, I think it will be agreed that the Act has been economically administered.
There is also an item for insurance stamps. New stamps have had to be 352 printed. Another item is expenses under Sections 29 and 38 (8) of the Widows and Orphans Pensions Act. This is mainly to cover a very small honorarium to three distinguished gentlemen who are now acting practically as a court of appeal in connection with certain matters that arise in connection with decisions given by the Minister of Health. The Minister and myself are very much indebted to these gentlemen, who are practically giving their services in dealing with important matters of that kind. Another item refers to what is called the Central Index Register. That is part of the administration of National Health Insurance. A central Register was set up to facilitate the notification by Approved Societies to the respective Insurance Committees of changes of residence or status of members of Approved Societies with regard to medical benefit. Those who are interested in the administration of National Health Insurance know that the establishment of this Register has always been a matter of some difficulty. The item which has been put in this Supplementary Estimate indicates a new arrangement which I hope will make for economy in administration. For the first time, we are going to work this matter in conjunction with the Valuation Register. At the present time we have a Central Index Register and a Valuation Register. We have now come to the conclusion that it is time to stop this duplication of work, and under the new arrangement the two registers will be made one. This item appears as an indication of the new arrangement.
The only other matter to which I need refer is the item G 8, which appears at the bottom of page 47, and refers to "grants in respect of unemployment schemes." We are asking for £100,000 for an additional provision which is being made in respect of capital works undertaken by local authorities, statutory bodies, and Public Utility Companies and approved by the Unemployment Grants Committee, under the chairmanship of Lord St. Davids. The reason why this extra item appears is that many of the schemes have progressed much more rapidly than was anticipated when the original Estimate was framed, and it is estimated that a further sum of £100,000 will be required 353 in that connection. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour will be able to answer any questions on that matter. Up to the end of January approval had been given, since the initiation of this particular administration, to 7,500 schemes of local authorities and other statutory bodies, involving a total expenditure of approximately £80,000,000 a very considerable figure. Approval has also been given to public utility schemes involving a total expenditure of £3,500,000.
§ Sir K. WOOD
Two kinds of work—non-revenue producing work, such as roads, sewerage and sewage disposal, and parks and recreation grounds, and revenue producing works, such as docks, electricity undertakings, water undertakings tramways and gas. Those are the main classes of work covered. With reference to Appropriations-in-Aid, we shall get a refund of the cost of administration of the Central Index Register, practically in full. The reason why the figures do not quite agree is that the balance is carried over to next year. Under Section 12 we recover a sum of £184,000, being the amount of the expenses incurred in connection with the administration of the Contributory Pensions Act. There are certain savings which we have been able to effect in connection with the administration generally. I am asking for a token vote of only £10. I hope that the Committee will consider that the work, particularly in connection with widows' pensions, has been well and economically done. From all accounts which we are getting at the Ministry the machinery is running smoothly, and whilst, of course, there must be a number of claims rejected, as is the case in every scheme of the kind, I can report that up to to-day no less than 120,000 claims have been admitted in respect of widows' pensions. Therefore, I commend this Vote to the House.
§ Sir WILLIAM DAVISON
What is the period covered by the figure of £80,000,000, to which the Parliamentary Secretary referred?
§ Mr. ARTHUR GREENWOOD
I beg to move to reduce the Vote by £5.
I move this Amendment primarily in order to draw attention to the Miscellaneous Grants, G.8, in respect of unemployment schemes. We have had in operation for some years an established system for aiding local authorities to provide schemes of work as a contribution to the solution of a great national problem. The Parliamentary Secretary has said that since the inception of these grants work to the value of £80,000,000 has been done or is being done; but it seems to me that at this stage, during the trade depression, with the depleted resources of local authorities, with the added difficulties and the burdens of the Poor Law, there is a very strong case for more generous financial assistance from the State to local authorities who are promoting schemes of work. The Government, however, have not improved the financial terms offered to local authorities. On the contrary, they appear to be tightening up the conditions under which grants are made, in such a way as to bar out local authorities who would otherwise be glad to carry out schemes of work. The money which we are to vote to-day will, I assume, cover grants made under the earlier arrangements and grants made under the new arrangements.
Nearly a year ago local authorities were pressed to prepare schemes of work for the Winter of 1925–26. Quite naturally, not being informed to the contrary, they assumed the good faith of the Government, and assumed that the conditions which had hitherto operated would continue to operate. Those who are acquainted with local administration know that the preparation of these schemes involves a considerable amount of work and the expenditure of considerable time. By the time many of these schemes had been brought to the stage when they might have been put into operation, a bombshell fell among the local authorities in the shape of the Circular letter of 15th December, in which they were told virtually that the schemes that had been prepared would, at any rate as regards the majority of them, no longer be eligible for assistance.
§ The CHAIRMAN
This is an item for £100,000. I am not clear, on the face of it, whether it relates to former schemes that were sanctioned without the limit- 355 ing conditions of the Circular, or whether it refers in part to schemes approved since the issue of the Circular. Can any light be thrown on that?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of LABOUR (Mr. Betterton)
The £100,000 is required for the provision of interest on loans. The greater part of it, and, for all I know, the whole of it, will be in respect of loans raised before 15th December, the date of the Circular. But I am not in a position to say, and do not say, that it is not possible that loans have been raised between 15th December and the end of the financial year, for the service of which some of this £100,000 will be required. That is the position.
§ The CHAIRMAN
In the circumstances there is a doubt in the matter, and I must allow the discussion to proceed. I wished only to safeguard the principle that discussion on Supplementary Estimates must be limited to the increase.
§ Mr. BETTERTON
I have no desire whatever to limit the discussion. I wish only to give, to the best of my ability, the position as I understand it.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
I was saying that local authorities, who had not expected any alteration in the conditions of the system, were astounded at the new conditions which were imposed. It is perfectly true that the Minister of Labour in November last did hint that it was the intention of the Government to make certain alterations in the conditions of grant, but I am certain that the attention of local authorities was not drawn to that fact, and, from what I have heard from large and important local authorities, I am pretty certain that they were quite unaware of the proposed changes until the circular letter was received. The result of that circular letter was to create a state of consternation and uncertainty, which is undoubtedly leading to the holding up of schemes and to a diminution in the amount of employment that might be available. As soon as the matter became public the representatives of local authorities were interviewed by the newspapers.
In the case of Birmingham we are told that, up to date, relief schemes estimated to cost nearly £750,000 have been 356 approved by the City Council for submission to the Grants Committee. According to the Lord Mayor, the Government had twice urged the local authority to promote schemes of work. Last autumn works costing approximately £500,000 were accordingly recommended, mainly on account of roads, sewers and bridges, in connection with public works and town planning, and the Lord Mayor at the time said:You may judge of our surprise when, after spending a considerable time in preparing these details and applying for the necessary forms, the Unemployment Grants Committee informed us that in their opinion the existing circumstances did not warrant approval of any further schemes.That was in a town where unemployment still exists. The same situation occurred in Sheffield, where the chairman of the finance committee said publicly that the effect of the Circular would be to stop the whole of Sheffield's £200,000 worth of winter relief work. That is a very serious state of affairs. The same remark applies to practically every large town in the country. In the case of Manchester the local authority passed a very strong resolution against the change, and said that the only effect of it would be to limit the amount of work that the local authorities could do, "although the extent of unemployment in the city is still serious." The very day when the Circular of 15th December first became public, which was early in January, there appeared in the press this statement relating to Manchester, whose schemes had at that point been turned down and rejected by the Unemployment Grants Committee:An advertisement for six unskilled men by the English Texilose Company, whose works are at Trafford Park, Manchester, led to a threatening situation this morning. At six o'clock applicants began to arrive, and at seven o'clock there were 500 men. At 9.30, when the officials of the firm appeared, there were over 2,000.There was nearly a breach of the peace. 2,000 men applied for six jobs at the very time that the Unemployment Grants Committee had rejected the schemes of the Manchester City Council. I submit that in circumstances such as those which prevailed in Manchester, the Government, so far from discouraging the Manchester City Council ought to have given them increased financial assistance. The Circular does not alter the terms of the loan, but imposes two conditions 357 which, in fact, will bar out the schemes of a number of local authorities. The first condition is that the schemes submitted by local authorities must be schemes "which would not otherwise be undertaken for a considerable period, ordinarily more than five years." The second condition is that "the unemployment which it is sought to relieve must be exceptional." I submit that the first condition is an arbitrary one, raising a question which is largely hypothetical and which the Unemployment Grants Committee will have the utmost difficulty in answering. How is anyone to say whether or not a scheme which is put forward "would not otherwise have been undertaken for a considerable period, ordinarily more than five years"? It appears to be a device for leaving the judgment entirely in the hands of people who have been instructed by the Government that this expenditure is to be reduced. The second condition is that the unemployment is to be exceptional. What is "exceptional" unemployment? Is it not exceptional in Manchester, when 2,000 men apply for six jobs? Yet Manchester is told that her carefully prepared schemes are to be rejected because they do not fall within the new conditions.
We suggest that the long-continued drain on the resources of local authorities, and the fact that unemployment is not their problem, but is a national problem, make the strongest possible case for greater latitude in the conditions applying to schemes of this kind, instead of more restricted conditions. The only effect of these restrictive conditions will be to cripple local authorities in carrying out perfectly useful and desirable public works, and the result of the inability of the local authorities to carry out those schemes will be to drive upon the Poor Law an increasing number of unemployed people. That process, in fact began last year. People were then being driven to the boards of guardians because of the unemployment situation, and, to-day, the guardians are bearing an increasing burden in this respect. In the Bedwelty Union, at the end of 1924, 7,600 insured workers and their dependants were receiving outdoor relief. At the end of December, 1925, the number had grown to 12,690, and the average monthly cost of out-relief to that authority had in- 358 creased in the year from £14,059 to £25,097, or nearly double. Those figures can be paralleled in other towns. In Cardiff the amount of out-relief per month increased from £1,740 to £4,886 between the end of 1924 and the end of last year. In Gateshead, a year ago, about 1,400 people—unemployed workers and their dependants—were receiving out-relief and at the end of last year the the number was actually well over 21,000 and the out-relief bill in respect of these people had increased from £220 to £5,110. I could give other cases of a similar kind showing that last year, notwithstanding the pretence made in this House that there was an improvement in trade, the burden on local authorities through the Poor Law was actually increasing. Yet at this stage, when local authorities are almost driven to desperation, the Government has decided—no doubt as part of a general economy campaign—that the help given to local authorities must be reduced.
I understand that representatives of the local authorities recently met the Prime Minister and discussed the whole question and I gather that the argument of the Government—it was used by the Minister of Labour in the House last year—is that when there is a prospect of reviving trade, our limited supplies of capital ought to be devoted to productive industry. I am not sure how far our productive industry is at the moment crying out for fresh capital. I am not sure that the available supply of capital is quite as small as the Government argument would suggest, but my point is that the effect of the diversion of capital from he local authorities—in respect of loans provided' for productive and non-productive services—will be inevitably to drive more people on the Poor Law, to increase the poor rate and to take more money out of industry than you can put into it by the method which the Government suggest. It is a very clumsy way of dealing with the problem. Is it to be supposed that any money which may be saved in this way will go to Bedwellty or Cardiff or Middlesbrough or Barrow? Not at all. Even if that industrial capital were available, those areas will be left with an increasing burden of rates which is far more destructive to industry than national taxation can be. Whatever may be its effect in the long run, the immediate 359 effect of the Government policy—the effect during the coming twelve months—will be an increase in the burden of local rates and consequently an increase in the burden on struggling industries. We are still faced with a situation in which we have a large number of unemployed and everybody agree® that useful work is better than idleness for them. Even if there were only five per cent. of men unemployed in any town, I should still regard that as serious enough to call for special assistance from the State to help in the provision of relief work.
I hope that during the Debate we may have a reasoned defence of the Government's policy in this matter. I hope that we may look for some revision or postponement of the new conditions which are bearing so hardly on the local authorities—though I am not sure that we can entertain that hope in the face of the Prime Minister's statement to the local authorities. We must, however, fight this new parsimony on the part of the Government from these benches. So long as there are more than one million unemployed, the Government ought not to discourage those local authorities who, in the past, have so courageously taken enormous burdens upon themselves in order to provide work for their citizens. Our view is that their power to provide such work should be increased and not diminished. They should be urged to go on, and so far from the conditions being made more restrictive, the Government should give these authorities an increasing volume of assistance to enable them to make their contribution towards the solution of this great national problem.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
As I was responsible for initiating the policy of these grants—as far as I can recollect, it was in the autumn of 1921—I should like to be allowed to make a few observations upon the Vote. I understand from the intervention of my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour that he is of opinion that part of this Vote deals not only with past commitments—I mean not only with commitments in preceding years which we cannot discuss—but also with new commitments during the course of the present year. I think he very clearly indicated that part of this £100,000 covers new commitments during the year.
§ Mr. BETTERTON
What I said was that I think it possible, though I cannot say so with certainty, that a part of the £100,000 will be in respect of commitments entered into between 15th December, the date of the circular, and the end of the financial year.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
That raises an issue upon which I should like to make a few observations. I support the appeal made by the hon. Member for Nelson (Mr. A. Greenwood), not so much for high grants—although I think they are inevitable—as for greater latitude in the objects upon which State assistance is to be expended. I think it is far too limited now in its scope, and not altogether the most useful method of spending the money. In 1921 when the House of Commons committed itself to this policy, everybody thought the period of unemployment would not last very long and that in a very short time there would be such an improvement in trade as would render it unnecessary to proceed with these grants as a constant, almost permanent policy and part of our machinery for years to come. That was the general opinion, not merely of those who advised the Government, but of the whole trading community. Nobody knows better than the Prime Minister, that the opinion of those who advised him at that time was that trade on the whole was likely to improve, at any rate in the course of a certain number of months. I think the right hon. Gentleman was then at the Board of Trade and there was no one who advised him at that time, that unemployment was going to last for years on a very large scale. But here it is, We have 1,000,000 unemployed and there is a certain stubbornness in the condition, a refractoriness which somehow or another does not seem to yield to treatment.
Therefore, I have been appealing to the Government for some time to take that into consideration as a fundamental fact in connection with every expenditure which they may incur. I do not think this ought to be treated merely as a question of giving grants to local authorities. Here I see that not merely local authorities are subsidised, but public utility companies as well, and that is right. But that means that the Government themselves admit that it is not merely a local question for areas 361 where there is bad unemployment, but a national question. Could not they broaden that idea and treat the matter from that standpoint? I am told that in Germany, where the unemployment is very bad, they are making such use—I will not say taking advantage—as they can of unemployment to add to the permanent resources of the country, either by the reclamation of land or by drainage, or by means of public works, which could not be undertaken during periods of prosperity because it would not pay the community to do so. Not only would it not pay the community to do so, but the labour would not be available for the purpose, for the labour would be much more usefully and profitably employed in industry under those conditions, and therefore it is a kind of work which could not be undertaken except in periods of unemployment. What will be the result? When Germany emerges from its period of unemployment, it will have used its unemployment for the permanent enrichment of its own resources.
I am rather making an appeal to the Government than a criticism. Is it not possible for them to reconsider this Vote altogether? I am speaking as one who was responsible for its initiation, when no adviser of mine in trade or finance could have told me it was going to last all these years. It was initiated in the autumn of 1921, that is 4½ years ago, and there was no man whom I consulted then who would have said to me that 4½ years' hence we would have a million and more out of work. Nobody realised quite what we were up against. We were acting upon that advice, but the Government know now. They have got the facts; they are established facts. I beg them not to give way to the kind of optimism which is quite useful in encouraging people not to lay down their arms, but which is fatal from the point of view of a decision of policy by the Government. I am asking for no declarations to-day, for it is a thing which has to be considered very carefully. I am very glad the Prime Minister is here. Is it not possible for him to reconsider the whole of this Vote, and, instead of making it a Vote for the purpose of subsidising local authorities to deal with exceptional conditions in their particular area, to consider whether it is not possible for the Government to make 362 their grant from the point of view of works which will be of permanent use to the nation as a whole, works of a character which could not be undertaken in periods of prosperity, but which can usefully be taken in hand when you have got a surplus of labour on hand?
The danger is this, and I do not think we all realise it. We talk about £1,300,000 being voted here, and about £80,000,000 being spent by the local authorities. That is not the greatest cost to the nation. The most expensive, the greatest cost of unemployment is the demoralisation of labour. You had for four years hundreds of thousands of men, young men largely, out of work. There is nothing which is more disastrous to a community than that. The hon. Gentleman talks about poor relief, and about grants and about doles. I agree with him that it is infinitely better to employ them even at the expense of a contribution of this kind than to leave them absolutely idle. The document which the Government issued a short time ago—I think was issued by the Ministry of Labour—showing the ages of the men who were out of work, is a very terrible document. Under ordinary conditions it is the more inefficient, it is the older men who are left out and the efficient men are provided with work and kept in the factories, but unemployment now is of a kind that makes it impossible to give work to the new men who are coming in. You cannot dismiss the men who are already in employment in order to take in the young fellows of 14, 15 and 16. What is the result? Those men are going on from year to year without learning the habits of industry and work. I am told in every part of the country that that is having a most demoralising effect upon the young people. That is the real cost of unemployment.
I am asking the Prime Minister whether it is not possible to appoint a Departmental Committee or a Cabinet Committee to consider whether there is not something in the way of public utility works, not necessarily by local authorities, in either Sheffield or Bedwellty or anywhere else, but work of a national character, which can be undertaken which will permanently improve and increase the resources of the nation, make it more powerful, make it richer when it is over, something that may 363 never pay, perhaps, 5 per cent., 4 per cent., or 3 per cent., but which will have its value later on? I trust he will be able to do that and to consider the possibilities. To-day there was a question put to the Secretary of State for Scotland with regard to the sum of money which is to be spent upon drainage. That is very useful. I do not know whether that will come under this Vote or under what Vote, but that is the class of work which could be undertaken, which is undertaken in other European countries. I hope that the Prime Minister will give a promise, at any rate, to look into the matter and to see whether the time has not come to make a step forward.
May I point out, not by way of boasting, that there has really been no new idea initiated in this problem for years? We have the Trade Facilities Scheme; we debated that yesterday. To-day, we have this grant to the local authorities. There is nothing new, but there is a very great change in the conditions. This unemployment insurance, these trade facilities, these grants to local authorities, are the same things. Is not it possible for the Prime Minister to get a committee to work upon the question? Has not the time arrived for him to reconsider the facts, as we ought to do having regard to the addition of 150,000 a year to the labour market? There was a boast made by the Minister of Labour that we are absorbing those. We may be absorbing those, but we are leaving the million practically where it was. That is the trouble. You have got to absorb another 150,000 this year before you begin to bring down this figure of unemployment. Is it not possible for the Prime Minister to promise—not any definite schemes, that would be unfair—whether he would not consider the possibility of whether something could not be done on a larger scale, of a different character, on a bigger and wider prospect altogether than has been done up to the present, with a view to utilising this surplus labour and preventing these hundreds of thousands of young men going on, year by year, without ever acquiring the habit of work?
Mr. TREVELYAN THOMSON
The right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken supported dealing with this question on national lines. I would like in 364 some supplementary remarks to show how unequal is the present method of dealing with it. The importance of dealing with the question on national lines has been stressed many times in this House, and that surely is emphasised by the fact that the burden of unemployment is so unequal in different parts of the country. You are placing on the poorest and weakest districts the heaviest burdens. Whereas you have an average percentage of unemployment of 11 per cent. throughout the country, you have in the shipbuilding areas in the north-east coast nearly every other man unemployed. It is not a question of a month, but for months, almost for years, that has been the case. In the marine engineering trades on the north-east coast you have every third man out of work, and to expect the local authority to deal with that question on ordinary lines is placing a burden upon them which is far beyond what they can possibly bear. I have dealt with the question of comparison by trades. If you take another comparison, comparison by districts, you find that the differentiation is as great. In the Durham area, according to the "Ministry of Labour Gazette," you have over 20 per cent. unemployed, whereas, if you go to a part of the country which is not industrial, you find that in the area of Warwickshire it is 1.9 per cent., and in Derbyshire 2 per cent. That illustrates the very great inequality of the burdens of this question of unemployment. Therefore, I want to appeal to the Government that they should follow the advice given by the right hon. Gentleman and deal with it on national lines rather than on local lines.
If you take another series of figures given by the Ministry of Labour Gazette for the last month, the figures in the industrial areas of the number relieved, you find that there is a very big difference between one area and another. If you take the average number relieved for the industrial areas of England and Wales, it is, according to the latest returns, 362 per thousand, but on Teeside, and Tyneside that number is 717 per thousand, more than double the rest of the average of the areas of industrial England.
See the result of these figures in the differentiation in rates. The burden is hitting the poorest districts most heavily. In Middlesbrough, which I have the 365 honour to represent, the rates are 18s. 8d.; in Rotherham 17s. 3d.; in Merthyr Tydvil they are 26s. Compare those in residential areas like Bournemouth, 8s. 2d.; Blackpool, 7s. 4d.; and Southport, 8s. 3d. Those figures are reasons why this question should be dealt with on national and not on local lines. Not only is the burden very heavy on those very areas, but the worst effect of it is that these heavy rates retard the recovery of trade which is so essential.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I think the hon. Member is going a little wide. He is rather going into the question of rating.
I was trying to give an argument showing why the Government should make an increase. I am rather showing why this Supplementary Estimate is justified, because this difference of burden according to rating is hitting these districts, whereas if the local rates had been less the industries would have a chance of recovery. I wonder if we realise the amount of money spent since the Armistice in the way of unemployment relief, out-of-work donation, and Poor Law relief. According to figures supplied recently by various Government Departments, the total sum amounts to nearly £400,000,000 paid away in those various directions—paid away without any service whatever in return.
§ The CHAIRMAN
A general discussion could not arise under any of these items. It must have some direct relation to grants in respect of unemployment schemes. The whole question of Poor Law relief and local burdens and general provision for unemployment does not arise.
According to the figures given the other day by the Minister of Labour in answer to a question, the total number employed under the various schemes in December, 1925, was 33,280, as compared with 38,605 a year ago. That shows a reduction of over 5,000 men employed on these various relief schemes. At the same time, the number of the unemployed throughout the country had increased, because in December, 1925, we had 11 per cent. of unemployment, as compared with 9 per cent. in the year before, and while unemployment was going up, the relief through the Unemployment Grants Committee was going down. I submit that 366 there is no reason for this decrease in the amount of grants at the same time that unemployment was increasing. The amount of loans sanctioned by the Unemployment Grants Committee for the period October to January, 1925, was £7,250,000, as compared with £9,250,000 in the corresponding period of the previous year. Again, the alteration was in the wrong direction, for instead of there being a decrease in the amount of money granted to local authorities under Unemployment Grants Committee schemes, we should have had an increase corresponding to the increase in unemployment. Therefore, I wish to join in the appeal which has been made that, instead of cutting down these grants, they should be increased, and that there should be a withdrawal of the Circular of 15th December. It is impossible for local authorities to comply with those conditions. Who can tell whether work will be in hand during the next five years? Unless local authorities can have more rather than less assistance, it will be impossible for them to go on.
Reference has been made to the money spent in various towns in the distressed areas. In Middlesbrough we have spent over £1,000,000 under the Unemployment Grants Committee, and unless we can get an increased percentage of assistance it is impossible for us to go on. In a town of over 130,000 inhabitants, with rates at 18s. 8d., that £1,000,000, with interest on the expenditure, is equal to a rate of 1s. 8d. in the £, and that is bringing us to the breaking point. In addition, the administration of unemployment benefit has sent up the amount of men on the local rates by over 1,000 a week, which is equal to another rate of 1s. 8d. in the £, and, therefore, we have really got to the breaking point, and unless the Government can come forward with considerable assistance, instead of reducing the grants which it is giving, I am afraid the position of many of the towns on the Northeast coast will be a very black one in the near future.
The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister suggested, in reply to a deputation that went to him last week, that not so many schemes had been put forward, and, therefore, he seemed to think that there was not the same need. I submit that the reason why, in some cases, schemes have not been put forward 367 is that the local authorities cannot afford to go on increasing their rates by these schemes. The amount of grant from the Unemployment Grants Committee works out at only 31 per cent. It looks all very well to say on paper that you are giving 75 per cent. for half the loan period and 50 per cent. for revenue-producing schemes, but when you analyse it out, you find you only get less than one-third of the total cost, leaving two-thirds to be borne by the local authorities, and I submit that it is much better to spend even more money on providing useful work, on schemes of a beneficial character, than to drive the men on to poor relief. There seems to be a certain prejudice against the term "relief work." It seems almost as if you were making work merely for the sake of finding employment; but that is not so.
As the Parliamentary Secretary read out, the various types of work for which the grant can be made are works of a really useful character which would be valuable assets in years to come, such as improved transport, improved roads, tramways, waterworks, afforestation, reclamation of foreshore, and docks. All those types of work have been sanctioned by the Unemployment Grants Committee, and I submit that the local authorities and the Government themselves have by no means exhausted the amount of works of that kind which could be put in hand. It is not a question of turning watchmakers or factory workers on to work to which they are not used. In those areas where unemployment is heaviest, in the heavy iron and steel districts, it is perfectly natural labour for shipyard and iron workers to turn to the navvying in connection with roadmaking. After a very few weeks they get practically skilled at the job, and, therefore, they are doing work to which they are accustomed, and it is work of a very useful character. I wish to join in the appeal that has been made, that local authorities should have more sympathetic treatment, because they are bearing burdens which are beyond their carrying. They have borne the heat and burden of the day manfully for the last five years, and they are really getting to the breaking point, and I submit that they deserve more sympathetic consideration than they have yet had at the hands of the Government.
§ Mr. BETTERTON
I will deal with some of the criticisms that have been made in respect of the item of my hon. Friend's Estimate which relates to grants in respect of unemployment schemes. As the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) truly reminded us, these grants have been in existence since, I think, 1920 or 1921, and the conditions under which they are made are four in number. The Committee has power either to make a grant of 75 per cent. of the interest charged, including sinking fund, for half the period of the loan, subject to a maximum period of 15 years for non-revenue-producing works; or, for revenue-producing works, it may make a grant of 50 per cent. for 15 years or for the period of the loan, whichever period is the shorter; or, thirdly—although this is not strictly relevant to this Estimate. I may perhaps be permitted to mention it—it may, in respect of schemes financed out of revenue, make a grant of 75 per cent. towards the wages cost; and there is a fourth alternative, under which it may make a grant under certain limited conditions to public utility companies.
As I have already explained, this £100,000 for which we are now asking in this Supplementary Estimate relates only to the first two conditions to which I have referred. The terms of assistance under which this grant was made from the beginning were always, first, that the distress should be exceptional, and, secondly, that the work should be accelerated. Those conditions were, as I say, inherent in the system from the very beginning, as they are now, and it was always intended that these grants should be really grants for the relief of unemployment. As year follows year, it is obvious that the numbers of cases that you could truly call accelerated cases must tend to diminish as we continue the process of giving grants for that purpose, and the Committee has found on more than one occasion that there has been a mere substitution of one kind of work for the other; it has found itself doing work which a local authority in a normal case would be doing for itself; and in other oases it has found that there was in some districts an actual difficulty in finding men to carry out the work.
I may say at once that there is no task which appears more difficult, or 369 more necessary, or, if I may say so, more thankless, than that of endeavouring to apply to the very human problem of unemployment certain economic laws which are no respecters either of party, or of government, or of country. One of those laws which has been realised, I think, by everybody who has been faced with responsibility in this matter, is this, that if you draw off from the normal channels of trade large sums which would be otherwise spent in trade, and expend them in extemporised measures which are only at the best palliatives, whereas you may take off men from the rates in one direction, you put them on at the other end of the scale. That doctrine has never been more clearly expounded than it was by the right hon. Member for Aberavon (Mr. Ramsay MacDonald). When—speaking, no doubt, with a deep sense of responsibility, because it was the very first speech which he made when he stood at this box after he became Prime Minister—he was announcing the deliberate policy of the Government in this matter, he made this statement, with every word of which I agree. Speaking on the 12th February, 1924, he said:I wish to make it perfectly clear that the Government have no intention of drawing off from the normal channels of trade large sums for extemporised measures which can only be palliatives. That is the old, sound, Socialist doctrine, and the necessity of expenditure for subsidising schemes in direct relief of unemployment will be judged in relation to the greater necessity for maintaining undisturbed the ordinary financial facilities and resources of trade and industry."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th February, 1924; col. 760, Vol. 169.]At the time when the right hon. Gentleman felt it his duty, as, indeed, it was, to' remind the House at the beginning of his tenure of office what was the true doctrine in this matter, may I remind the Committee of what was the financial position with regard to these schemes? The Reports of the Unemployment Grants Committee come out and are made up to the end of June in each year, and so, when he made that considered declaration on the 12th February, 1924, the right hon. Gentleman had before him, no doubt, the Report of the Committee which is dated the previous June, that is, June, 1923. I find that at that date the total Exchequer burden, as stated in the Report in connection with these grants, was £14,000,000, and the actual 370 amount of loans sanctioned at that date was £28,837,000. The next year those two figures rose, respectively, to £22,000,000, and just over £48,000,000. Last year they had risen to £30,000,000, total Exchequer burden, and £63,607,000 loans sanctioned. Therefore, what the right hon. Gentleman said in February, 1924, when he warned us of the danger of taking this money from the normal channels of trade, is intensified more than twofold, if you consider what the financial position is to-day. I might remind the Committee, that from June, 1925, to January, 1926, the figures of loans sanctioned have been further increased by a sum of nearly £10,000,000. Therefore, I think that we were bound to consider this matter further, to call the attention of the Committee to it again, in order that the Committee might realise the position we are in, and again to remind them of that fundamental economic doctrine of which the right hon. Gentleman reminded this House more than two years ago.
It is perfectly true, as the hon. Member for West Middlesbrough (Mr. T. Thomson) said, there are some areas so necessitous, and there are some districts where the distress is so acute, that it is necessary to impinge somewhat upon this principle which I have just stated, and it is in endeavouring to meet such cases as those that, in the Circular-of December, it is made perfectly plain that where it is clear that the distress is exceptional on the one hand, and where the work proposed is to be accelerated on the other, in such cases applications will continue to receive attention.
I think it was the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Greenwood) who asked what was "exceptional," and how you were to judge it. He, I am sure, with his experience, will be the first to realise that it is quite impossible to lay down some binding definition. Each case must be considered on its merits. For instance, in a district where distress has been exceptional, and where unemployment has been very high for several years, or over a long period, where one industry is suffering particular hardship, the conditions which would apply to such oases would not apply to another district where, perhaps, the distress is not in respect of one particular industry, and where it has not, perhaps, been of the same duration. 371 I only say this in order to make it clear that each one of these cases must be considered by the committee and judged on its merits.
Mr. T. THOMSON
Does that exceptional treatment refer to the five years' limit in distress areas? Does the hon. Gentleman not realise that the five years' limit practically bars even distress areas from getting assistance?
§ Mr. BETTERTON
That would be a point, no doubt, that the Committee would take into account in considering these applications. On the other point which, I think, was raised also by the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne, he said, if I understood it rightly, "You, the Government, invited local authorities to make proposals. Local authorities in many cases not only made proposals, but incurred expense, relying on the representations of the representatives whom you sent down." That, shortly, is the point which he made. Now that is exactly the point, or one of the points, which was made by the deputation which was received by the Prime Minister on Friday last, and I think I might read what he said:While he made it plain that the Circular of 15th December could not be withdrawn, he undertook to confer with his colleagues, in the light of what had been said, with a view to the sympathetic examination of schemes that had been prepared in response to the Circular issued by the Unemployment Grants Committee in March of last year.And, of course, my right hon. Friend, having given that undertaking, will see that it is carried out. The right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs asked us to withdraw this Vote. Of course, that, as he would be the first to realise on reflection, is quite impossible. It being the Supplementary Estimate, the money voted on the original Estimate has already been spent, and I am afraid that we could not withdraw the Supplementary Estimate. The right hon. Gentleman knows as well as anybody here the difficulty of providing new schemes or new methods of dealing with this difficult problem, and everything he suggested, and everything the Government can think of, is being considered in this connection. So far as the actual Circular is concerned, I can only give the answer which my right 372 hon. Friend gave the other day, and say again that, while giving sympathetic consideration to those schemes which have already been prepared, for the reasons that I have endeavoured to give, he is unable to withdraw the Circular.
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
I feel sure that the Committee will have listened with considerable interest to the reply of the Minister. I feel certain, too, that Members on this side of the Committee, at any rate, will have come to the conclusion that the hon. Gentleman has not carried us very much further on the question at issue. But I do not rise to pursue the subject which has already been touched upon. I desire rather to divert the attention of the Committee, if I may, to other items appearing in the Supplementary Estimate, and I propose to submit a series of questions to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health. There is a sum here of £60,000 in respect of salaries and wages in connection with the administration of the Widows' Pensions Scheme. The first point I desire to make is this. Complaints have reached me that the appointments in connection with the administration of this scheme were not advertised; and I would like to ask the hon. Gentleman if he can tell us, in the first place, where these members of the staff are recruited from, where was the advertisement inserted, and what is the number of the staff employed? It will be noted that this money is recoverable from the Fund established in connection with the scheme by way of contribution paid weekly by employers and employed.
The question arises here, too, as to the amount to be paid, not only by way of wages and salaries to members of the staff who administer the scheme, but I should very much like the hon. Member to tell the Committee what is the amount payable to the approved societies for investigation. It will be understood, of course, that before any pension is paid under the new scheme, the approved societies in many cases will provide information to the Minister in order that he may decide whether the pension is payable or not. I noticed from the remarks of the hon. Gentleman that 118,000 claims have already been settled; but I understood from the figures given the other day that the number of awards which were then in suspense would, if favourably settled, bring the figure very 373 much higher than that. I desire to know, further, how many claims have been turned down by the Ministry, and how many are still in suspense in respect of cases up to the 4th January, 1926? There is one other point in regard to the staff. I should be pleased to know whether the staff are temporary or permanently employed, and whether they are regarded now as members of the ordinary Civil Service staff. The hon. Gentleman has also pointed out that there is a small sum here of £100 as remuneration or gratuity to three medical men who are acting as a court of appeal in settling these cases.
§ Mr. DAVIES
That does not destroy the point I desire to make. I asked a question of the Minister of Health the other day as to what had been done to appoint assessors or referees to decide doubtful claims under this scheme, and was informed that there were three or four legal gentlemen already appointed. I understood, however, during the protracted proceedings when the Bill went through, that there was a promise—I am not sure that it was very definitely made—that when these appointments were to be made, one or more of the persons to decide cases of this kind, and who would form the Court of Appeal, would be women. The argument was especially used on this side that women referees or assessors should be appointed because nearly all the cases that came to be dealt with under the scheme up to the 4th January last were cases of women and children In view of that important fact, I should like to know from the hon. Gentleman whether the Minister has yet appointed any women referees or assessors, or whether it is the intention of the Ministry to appoint women to such posts. It will be remembered that there are women now legally qualified, so that the argument cannot be used against their appointment that we have no legally trained women to do this sort of work. The Minister in his opening statement referred to the Central Index Register, and I agree with him entirely that this is a great improvement in the administration of the National Health Insurance Scheme. I have been wondering, however, whether the register will in any 374 way provide a basis for actuarial calculations under the Widows' Pensions-Scheme. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will be able to let us have some information on that score.
I have only one or two other points to raise. When the hon. Gentleman is giving us information as to the staff employed in England in connection with the Widows' Pension Scheme, he might perhaps give us information also as to the number of staff employed under the Welsh Board of Health; for although I represent an English constituency, I will venture that very pertinent question about Wales. In recruiting the members of the staff of the Welsh Board of Health under this scheme, was there any qualification stipulated that the members of the staff could understand and speak Welsh? I am very anxious that in any public appointments in Wales those appointed should understand and speak Welsh.
§ Mr. DAVIES
Then there is the item at the foot of the Supplementary Estimate—£2,890 Miscellaneous Receipts. I think the hon. Gentleman ought to give us some indication as to the details of these receipts. What do they include? Although my last is a very small point, it will nevertheless be important to those interested in the administration of this new scheme. I find that under the heading of the Welsh Board of Health there is a sum of £450 for travelling expenses. There is no similar item at all down in the Supplementary Estimate for England. Wales is very much smaller geographically than England—not smaller otherwise by the way—and it seems to me that if this £450 is necessary for travelling expenses in Wales, how is the English staff going to carry on its work without any travelling expenses at all?
In one word, I want to support what the hon. Gentleman opposite has said, that I think the administration of the Widows' Pension Scheme is being carried out with great satisfaction within the limits of the law. There is, of course, great dissatisfaction with the law as it stands, but it would be out of order for me to touch upon that now. I repeat, however, that great satisfaction prevails at the way in which the law has been administered. I wish the hon. Gentleman had just gone a step further, and when he 375 was thanking the special staff of the Ministry of Health, he had also given a word of praise to the staffs of the Approved Societies for the way they have helped in this connection. I hope the hon. Gentleman will give us replies to these several questions, for although they may not appear important to some hon. Members, they will interest very much indeed those who administer these schemes of social insurance.
§ Mr. R. RICHARDSON
I want, if I may, to ask the attention of the Minister to the North East coast and in particular for the moment to the town of Sunderland. In the view of some of us, that town and that portion of the county needs some assistance from the powers that be. Sunderland is, I believe, about the worst in respect to unemployment of any place on the North East coast and the present condition of affairs there has continued longer than elsewhere. There has been far more suffering there than one would care to speak about. The necessity for something being done has already been pointed out; and also with respect to-saving the land right along from Sunderland to Seaham Harbour, where coast erosion goes on from day to day, month to month, and year after year. Since my boyhood days many acres of the most valuable land has gone into the sea. We have asked time and again that something should be done to prevent it. Even the railways are getting to the point of danger, and, if things go on as they are some day we will wake up to find that millions of pounds will have to be spent where thousands would suffice now. We suggest that instructions should be given, and help, to do the work that is needed, and work that will be of great advantage in employing skilled men. We only want to save the situation. I cannot understand why something has not been done.
Last year Sunderland, despite the Unemployment Insurance Fund, had some 130 on the Poor Law books, and that 130 has risen to nearly 1,100 now. Something should be done, because the expenditure from the rates for unemployment has risen from £85 per week to £790. In the county of Durham, with the exception of Barnard Castle and a few other places, the rates are already far too high for the people to meet. In my own area, that of Houghton-le-Spring, where miners live, 376 the rates are 26s. in the £; consequently, whatever good will the people have there, they cannot help the poor people who are about them. I would ask the Minister to see to it that at least some portion of the work should be done under such schemes as the Minister could initiate, and tackle it at once with a view to saving the situation.
It is not very long since a deputation from the county of Durham waited upon the Minister of Transport with a view to asking permission to make a road from the south side of the county to the north side, to take the heavy traffic and so save the interference of that traffic with the towns, where it has considerably developed. This scheme was turned down. The county council feels sore about the matter, and are trying to get the Ministry to do something or allow them to go on with the scheme. May I also say, while on this question of roads, that more and more roads are wanted. New roads ought to be constructed. But the Ministry have turned down the county council because they say they have no funds. Work could be provided for many unemployed miners in road making, of which they could take advantage until they got back into their own industry.
I would ask the Minister to consider these matters so as to give us some relief from the terrible condition of things prevailing. It has not been for weeks, nor for months, but for years that many of our people have been suffering. Again, there is the question of the young people who are leaving school at 14. The position developing there is one that the country will have to face in the future, because our skilled artisans are seeking employment in other countries, and their numbers are being reduced, and what is to happen in the future in respect to this? I would ask the Government to consider if under some of these schemes they could not put work in hand that will be good for the country when some of us have passed away.
I would urge, therefore, that what schemes there are in the County of Durham ought to have the serious attention of the several Departments. I want to plead that the Department should not continue to take up the "dog-in-the-manger" attitude that has been taken up. If money cannot be found for schemes, money has to be found to keep 377 the people alive. I would rather have them working for the sake of their morale than I would pay them for doing nothing. There is national work, work in the national interest, which ought to be done by the nation, and not by the local authorities. Therefore, I would appeal to the hon. Gentleman to do all he can here and now to save the situation.
§ Mr. PILCHER
A very strong case was made out by the Parliamentary Secretary for Labour against grants from the unemployment committee. In principle that case was based on the fact that this system of grants to unemployed areas was uneconomic. The idea now appears to be to drive both labour and capital into the normal channels of employment rather than to maintain them under conditions which now obtain. The system is uneconomic. That seems to be the basis of the case. Might I just test that by reference to one particular question in the country—one close to my own constituency? In Falmouth at the present moment there are very nearly 1,000 persons out of work—almost a record number for the comparatively small population there of some 12,000 or 13,000. The unemployment is due primarily to something which is almost fundamental and very deep-seated in connection with the shipping industry at the present moment. The depression in the Indian and Australian trade has resulted in fewer ships coming into Falmouth for repair, and the new conditions are resulting in fewer coasting vessels coming in for unlading. Unemployment will be more or less constant so long as the shipping trade remains in the unsettled condition it is in.
The unemployment is there and is likely to be there for some years to come. In the last two or three years it has been mitigated by a drainage scheme which has been in operation at Falmouth, but that drainage scheme is nearing an end. We have been led to hope and believe that in the adjoining constituency—in the same unemployment area—another drainage scheme would have been put into operation. But the local authority responsible for that has spent its money, exactly as the Parliamentary Secretary has described, and I was informed a few days ago by the Minister of Labour that no sanction would be given to that scheme at the present.
378 We have 3,000 men now out of employment in the Mid and Western unemployment area of Cornwall. We had the Chairman telling us a little while ago that unemployment benefit grants were costing £4,000 per week. In reply to a question I put on the Paper a few days ago I was told that the drainage scheme for Redruth and Illogan, estimated to cost £120,000, which the local authorities had been led to nope and believe would be put into operation, is not likely to be, on the ground of the purely economic considerations which are actuating the Government at the present time in regard to unemployment schemes. What I want to press upon the Parliamentary Secretary is, at any rate, to give careful consideration to the point as to whether it is not more economic to make these grants than to continue paying out £4,000 per week in a single area on account of unemployment!
I should be the last person in the world to press for extravagance in any Department of the State. I am one of the younger Members of this House who were elected mainly—I am quite clear on that point—on the very real and determined pledges we gave to put a check, wherever we possibly could, to extravagance in every Department of the State. I hold by those pledges, I realise that I made them, and, in common with 200 or 300 other Members of my party, I am very anxious to give the Prime Minister every support in working for economy. My point is that this may not be real economy. Is the £4,000 being spent down there more or less economical than would be the £120,000, which would come partly from local expenditure and be partly provided by the Central Unemployment Committee? I should like to hear the comment of the Parliamentary Secretary on that particular case. The unemployment position down there is acute, and there is going on there what we have heard described by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), deterioration of character, particularly among the younger members of society, who ought to be found work, and found it soon, so that they may become self-dependent members of society. We want to see that deterioration checked in the West of England quite as eagerly as hon. 379 Members wish to see it checked in the great industrial areas of the North.
§ Captain MOREING
The subject to which my hon. Friend the Member for Falmouth (Mr. Pilcher) has just referred deeply concerns my own constituency. It is in that constituency that the scheme he spoke of would be put into operation. One of the grievances of the local authorities is that they were more or less invited by the Unemployment Grants Committee to submit suitable schemes, and that the letter from the central authority of 15th December appears to cut right across the policy previously followed. Although unemployment in that area is substantially better than it was four years ago, when, I believe I am correct in saying, Camborne and Redruth were described as one of the most necessitous areas in the country, the position is still far from satisfactory. A revival of the tin-mining industry, which has made great progress, cannot hope immediately to absorb anything like the amount of unemployed labour at present available. Unemployment there has been relieved partly by the scheme referred to by my hon. Friend, partly by a scheme which is now nearing completion in Camborne, and partly by the employment of a large amount of labour upon the road schemes of the county council, all of which are drawing to an end. The figures of unemployment must of necessity be greatly increased so soon as these schemes do end.
I would ask my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to consider, in the terms of the pledge given by the Prime Minister the other day, whether he cannot stretch a point in favour of this distressed area. I am not going to repeat at this stage the argument that the position of affairs is partly due to the action of the Government itself in connection with the supply of tin during the War, but undoubtedly the unemployment there has been exceptional and, to my mind, is still exceptional. I have a feeling that the criterion set up in deciding whether the employment to be relieved is to be regarded as exceptional is a little arbitrary in some cases. I hope the Department concerned will give fresh and favourable consideration to the scheme which has been put forward, which would go a long way to absorbing the unem- 380 ployed labour in the district, the figures of which are steadily mounting.
§ Mr. MONTAGUE
During the speech of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour I could not help recalling to mind the old saying that the Devil can always quote Scripture to his own advantage. His reference to a speech made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Aberavon (Mr. R. MacDonald), the first one he made from the Treasury Bench when he became Prime Minister, seemed to me to be somewhat disingenuous. It is perfectly true that the right hon. Gentleman did say there was no advantage in taking away the normal resources of trade and industry for the purpose of applying the resources so obtained to palliative measures for dealing with unemployment, but the point—I remember the speech very well—of the speech was that it was against the consideration of palliative measures alone rather than that it invoked an economic law such as that referred to by the Parliamentary Secretary. When I hear of economic laws, I am always reminded of the fact that whenever anything in the way of reaction and neglect has had to be justified in this House in the past the attempt was always made to justify it by a reference to so-called economic laws. I suggest that, whatever there may be in the phrase "economic law," an economic law is not quite the same thing as a law of Nature, it is not a physical law; and economic laws or no economic laws, we have got to face facts, and the first and most urgent fact before us to-day is the existence of the present large measure of unemployment and, as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) pointed out, the deplorable moral and physical effects arising from it.
Quite a number of economic laws have been scrapped in the past under the stress of necessity, and his particular appeal to economic laws appeared to be based upon the same kind of fallacy as—according to us on this side of the House—the proposals of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Budget speech of last year were based upon. What I refer to is the apparent assumption that there is trade available, that there is employment available, and that the application of capital to industry is possible, but that the 381 capital itself is not available. Surely that is not the case. As the hon. Member for Falmouth (Mr. Pilcher) pointed out, the unemployment in that port is not due to lack of capital, or to capital having been taken away from its normal service, but to certain economic facts concerning trade with India and the Far East. It is the same throughout the whole of our industry—if we could get the trade, if we could find profitable employment, it would not be capital that we should lack. The capital would be available. There is stagnation of capital, of course, but the stagnation is due to the lack of trade, and not to the impossibility of obtaining plenty of capital provided we could reach a normal state of affairs in trade and industry.
With regard to the unemployment grants, I suggest to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health that it is no use talking about economic laws and the necessity for economy in order to brush aside the problem of unemployment. There is no economy in neglecting the problem, in saying to this or that local authority, "Your scheme is not an economic one, "or," We cannot give you financial support for this particular scheme." It may be desirable that the Government should look at the question from a wider point of view, more from the national point of view. It ought to be "up to" the Minister to suggest to the local authorities profitable schemes, economic schemes, by which the unemployed could be partially absorbed. The thing ought not to be neglected by saying to the local authority, "You have not come forward with economic schemes, and therefore we cannot give you a grant."
In talking about economy, we must take a large number of things into consideration. If I may use an analogy—for the purposes of analogy only—I would like to refer to something which would not ordinarily come within the compass of this Debate. Suppose it was a question of putting people on the land of this country, a question of training men to become efficient agricultural workers, and so helping to solve the unemployment problem by colonising the land of the country. It might easily be said that that would not be an immediate economic proposition. It would not be, not until those men were trained, but when the men were trained then it would become an economical proposition. To-day we are 382 paying away as unemployment benefit and poor relief millions upon millions of money withdrawn from the normal channels of trade and industry; and so long as we keep this country under-cultivated we shall pay more than we need pay for armaments in order to protect our trade routes. All these things are part of the cost of cheap food.
If we are going to talk about economy, let us look at the question of economy from a national point of view. There is no economy in allowing young men to grow up without any idea of work, without any kind of training, and without the moral discipline which work in normal avenues of employment give them. That is not economy to the nation, and that economy ought to be considered in pounds, shillings and pence, in the same way as the actual grants of the Ministry are considered. I urge the House to consider the necessity for taking the lead nationally by getting local authorities to do their best to find useful work for men to be put to and to be trained for. The Government ought not to neglect the thing because particular schemes which they favour are not put forward by the local authorities. We shall have to handle this question, sooner or later, irrespective of meticulous questions of economy or economic law. Sooner or later we must settle the problem of unemployment, or it will settle this country. I believe that the one thing which the nation has got to do is to colonise the country. You are prepared at the present time to send your best agricultural material to Canada, and pay in order to make them go out of the country. We do not want that sort of thing. We want those trained and efficient men kept in this country, and there is plenty of land for them here.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Captain FitzRoy)
I think I have been very patient with the hon. Member, but he is now clearly out of order in dealing with a general question of that kind. This is merely a grant to local authorities.
§ Mr. MONTAGUE
It did seem to me that the question of efficient plans on the part of the local authorities might be linked up with the larger national principle, so that the general question of the development of this nation and the use of all this labour material available for national development would be able to relieve the burden of the community.
§ Mr. MORGAN JONES
I should like to add a few words to the appeal which has been made on behalf of a district which is heavily burdened by this problem of unemployment. I have already availed myself of an opportunity of speaking on behalf of some areas in South Wales, and I think it is appropriate that this case should be put before hon. Members once more. I think most hon. Members know that of all parts of the country no part has been more heavily hit by the incidence of unemployment than the southern portion of the Principality. During recent years the only provision that the local authorities have made has been by way of providing some form of public works. Personally, I rejoice that we have been able to get some share of the money available for this purpose, but I want this afternoon to say how very much I deplore the probable effect of the recent circulars issued by the Minister of Labour in regard to this matter. There are areas in South Wales which have been hit in a very peculiar way by reason of this problem of unemployment. A large number of pits in South Wales have been closed for a long time, and, as a consequence, there has been a reduction of the rateable value of those areas, and the local authorities find it ever so much harder to provide their proportion in order to secure a grant from the Ministry of Labour.
I want to refer to an incident which happened only within the last fortnight. The City of Cardiff, during the last fortnight, has attempted to float a loan for municipal purposes. It was not subscribed to any considerable extent, and the underwriters were left with a tremendous burden on their hands. The Water Board also tried to float a similar loan for the erection of a great reservoir, and only 9 per cent. of the whole capital was subscribed within the time for which it was advertised. What is the reason for this curious result? The real reason is that the burdens of the local authorities and of local government have become so heavy that the local rates have mounted almost sky high. In my own area the local rate reaches the enormous figure of 28s. 2d. in the £, a figure which has seldom been reached in the constituencies of any other hon. Member of this House.
When these authorities advertise their requirements by way of loans, lenders 384 will not look at the proposition at all, and the consequence is that they cannot embark upon public works of real public utility. That is why we are urging upon the Government the very special difficulties of these very heavily-rated areas. I assure the Committee that they are in this difficulty not on account of bad government or because we have worse government in South Wales than elsewhere but, rather, because the problem of unemployment has been so intense that they are unable with their local resources to meet the problems with which they are confronted. Therefore, I urge that these areas ought to be rescued from dependence upon mere palliative provision such as is indicated by these grants. It is really not a big enough or a broad-minded enough way of dealing with this problem by merely tinkering with it, and making small grants of this description from the Treasury.
I should like to refer to another subject which has been raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies), and it is a question as to whether, in the appointments made by the Welsh Board of Health, Welsh-speaking officers are being provided in connection with the administration of these grants. Many of us representing Welsh areas know full well that there are innumerable Welsh people who can only speak their own language, and they do not know what the meaning is of these various circulars. They are in this position, that they cannot interpret their needs or convey their desires to any of these officers unless they have access to someone who can translate the English language into Welsh. This is a most important matter. I was brought up myself on a hearth where at least one of my parents was utterly unable to speak a word of English in my early days, and I think it is probable that there may be a large number of other people like that. I urge that this difficulty should be faced by the Minister. Only this afternoon, at a meeting of the Welsh Members upstairs, we were informed that at a meeting held to-day in Cardiff, dealing with war pensions, some of those present were only able to speak the Welsh language. I submit that this is a real grievance, and I would urge upon the Minister of Health that attention should 385 be paid to this matter, and we should have some reply from him in regard to the points which I have raised.
§ Sir K. WOOD
I hope the Committee will now consider that sufficient time has been devoted to this Supplementary Estimate, and I only want to say that the various matters which have been raised connected with unemployment will receive the attention of the Government. I quite appreciate what has been said about the condition of many areas up and down the country. I have had the privilege of hearing the speech which has just been delivered by the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones) once or twice before. I do not blame him for pressing it upon the Committee again, and no doubt he will have another opportunity when we deal with the Motion in regard to necessitous areas of repeating his speech.
I should like to answer a few of the questions which have been put to me, more particularly in connection with the Widows' Pensions Act, I have been asked a question about the appointments of staff involved by the new Act and the question of advertisements. In reply to that question, I may say that all the appointments for the outdoor staff were fully advertised and were made by a Selection Committee on which a representative of the Civil Service Commission sat. As regards the indoor staff, the whole of the extra appointments were taken from the existing civil servants recruited from other Departments, and ex-service temporary men. I have had many letters from hon. Members on this question, and I think they generally agree that the Ministry have adopted the right course in giving these appointments to ex-service temporary men whose services in other Departments had been terminated, and I hope this arrangement will be considered satisfactory by those hon. Members who have raised this question. I have also been asked a question about the payments in regard to Approved Societies and the work they are doing. I think we are very much indebted to the Approved Societies for the cordial manner in which they have responded, and they are assisting us very much. An arrangement has been made with these societies under which they furnish the certificates.
386 So far as Wales is concerned, a question was asked, in the first place, about the extra allowance which was set out in the Supplementary Estimate amounting to £400 for travelling in Wales, and I was asked why a similar amount was not in the Estimate for this country. I do not know whether the hon. Member who asked that question thinks that I ought to increase my Estimate by that amount, but the reason for the extra amount of £450 for Wales is that the cost of the frequent journeys which have to be made cannot be met out of savings as in this Country. I have been asked a question about the Welsh language in connection with the administration of the Widows' Pensions Act. So far as the staff in Wales is concerned, I am told that many of the officers are recruited from men who can speak the Welsh tongue. The arrangement in connection with this Act is that all the important leaflets which are issued by the Government in this connection are issued in both the English and the Welsh language. I also understand that every inspector appointed under the Act has to satisfy a condition that he must be able to speak and write the Welsh language.
I have been asked to give the latest figures in connection with the Widows' Pensions Act, and I have also been asked if I have ascertained whether the staff is sufficient or insufficient. The number of pre-Act widows' pension claims received was 180,700. The actual awards made have been 124,500, and the number of rejections, 35,730, while the number of claims still in hand is 20,470. A large number of these claims, as I know personally, have been retained by the Department in order, if possible, to get some further information concerning the cases, because we are most anxious to obtain every evidence we possibly can that will justify an award, although, of course, we have to comply with the provisions laid down in the Act of Parliament. Pre-Act claims are still coming in at the rate of 1,200 to 1,500 weekly. I think, therefore, the Committee will see that a great amount of work has been done and still is being done in connection with the administration of this scheme. My hon. Friend raised the question of women referees, and asked why no women referees had been appointed. As I stated when I introduced this Supple- 387 mentary Estimate, my right hon. Friend the Minister has been fortunate in obtaining the honorary services of three eminent King's Counsel, who are undertaking the work at the present time. Up to the present there has been no necessity, in their judgment, for any oral evidence in connection with the claims; they have been able to deal with them on the basis of the information given on the papers. If, however, any cases should arise in connection with which oral evidence is necessary, and if it appears that in any such cases women assessors might be of use, we should not hesitate to make some appointments.
§ Mr. R. DAVIES
Does that mean that, if no occasion arises for oral evidence, no women assessors will be appointed?
§ Sir K. WOOD
I do not think there would be any necessity for them. I am sure my hon. Friend would not wish a woman to be appointed merely because she was a woman, but we shall utilise the services of women assessors if we think they would assist in any particular case. I think I have now answered all the questions that have been put to me, and, while I know the reservations with which hon. Members have spoken, I should like to thank them for what they have said in connection with the administration of the Act. I know that the Department and the Approved Societies have done their best to make the scheme a success, and that the best consideration possible has been given to the applications which have been made. I hope I may now appeal to to the Committee to let me have this Estimate. I need hardly remind hon. Members that there are others to be considered, and I venture to suggest that very full consideration has now been given to this matter.
§ Mr. DAVIES
The hon. Gentleman did not give one very important piece of information for which I asked, namely, the total number of the staff employed in connection with the Widows' Pension scheme, respectively, in England and in Wales.
§ Sir K. WOOD
I think I can give my hon. Friend that information. I should say, in the first place, that no new Department has been set up in connection with the scheme, but that it has been fitted in with the National Insurance 388 Scheme. I think my hon. Friend will understand that it is not possible to state now what permanent arrangements will be required in connection with the Act; we shall have to see what develops. In addition to the National Health Insurance outdoor staff which has been engaged on this work, we have appointed 278 temporary ex-service male clerks, who, as I stated just now, are all men whose period of service in other Government Departments has terminated. So far as the permanent staff is concerned, we have appointed 75 women clerical officers and 127 writing assistants. Of the 75 women clerical officers, 26 were brought from the Post Office, and 49 were appointed as the result of an examination held last year.
§ Mr. SEXTON
I do not want to embarrass the hon. Gentleman in connection with this Vote, but I want to put in a claim for my own particular locality. I quite sympathise with my hon. Friend the Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones) in regard to the Welsh language, but I want to call the attention of the Parliamentary Secretary to some schemes which have been brought forward from my own locality—schemes of a productive character, which will pay, and not just digging holes. They might, perhaps, mortgage the future, but that is unavoidable in the present state of unemployment. At any rate they are of a productive character. In this connection I want to draw attention to the extreme lavishness of the expenditure of the Government to-day. Take the case of Northern Ireland. I have no quarrel with Northern Ireland, either politically or personally or in any other way, but Northern Ireland is being granted several millions from the Treasury to assist in the provision of unemployment benefit. Northern Ireland, however, has been granted a Parliament of its own to collect its own revenue and manage its own business, and I think that, if any charity is to be bestowed, it ought to begin at home, where it is more wanted than in Northern Ireland. Again, we have the item in connection with Civil Service sports. I am a bit of a sportsman myself, but I ask, in all sincerity, is this the time to expend £ 200,000—
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I cannot hear the hon. Member very well, but I am quite sure he is out of Order.
§ Mr. SEXTON
I will endeavour to keep within the limits of your suggestion, Captain FitzRoy. My only object is to try to draw a comparison between the plea of the Parliamentary Secretary as to lack of funds and the possibilities of finance. Therefore, I suggest that the hon. Gentleman should get on the blind side of the Treasury, and should whisper in their starboard ear that there are other directions in which money is needed beside this unnecessary and extravagant expenditure in certain directions. I put a question to-day about the large sum that is being granted to a foreign sugar company. I wish we could have a fiftieth part of that to carry out the schemes which have been suggested in my locality. There we have a small industrial town, with a population of less than 100,000, and there are 5,000 men there out of employment. Not only is there unemployment, but there is also under-employment in the mines—it is essentially a mining district—the average employment of a miner being not more than 2½ days per week. I suggest that the heads of the various Departments should get together and approach the Treasury with a view to stopping this leakage in other directions, because, as I have already said, charity should begin at home.
§ Mr. CHARLETON
I desire to support the Amendment, and, in doing so, should like to refer to a statement made a little while ago by an hon. Member below the Gangway to the effect that he believed in supporting the policy of the Government in providing capital through normal channels. I have been watching lately what has happened in the case of various loans which have been floated, and I find that the money does not seem to flow there. In reading the speeches at the annual meetings of the banks, too, I find that those who spoke for the banks have been advising the investment of money abroad. It seems very hard on the municipalities, and especially the progressive municipalities, that want, on the one hand, to overcome the mistakes of the industrial revolution, and to sweep away bad housing, slum areas and so on, and who also on the other hand want to do their best for the unemployed, that they should find, if they go into the money market to get money, that they cannot get it, and that now the Government is going to cut off the supplies in that direc- 390 tion. It seems to me that the Conservative party in pursuing this policy are doing the very opposite of what they preach on the platforms and at meetings.
They say they want to provide work, and do not want to give something for nothing. I should like to point out that in the case of the City of Leeds, one of the divisions of which I have the honour to represent, this policy, if pursued, would mean that the already rising number of people in receipt of Poor Law relief will become very much larger still. During the last 12 months, owing somewhat to the way in which the payment of unemployment benefit has been administered, the number of persons now in receipt of Poor Law relief is about 69 per 10,000 inhabitants above what it was 12 months ago.
In Leeds we have a set of very public spirited City Fathers, and they have been engaging in a good deal of work during the last few years in order to keep the unemployed at work. There are now somewhere about 1,600 men a week engaged in relief work, and it would appear that this is to be stopped. Leeds has already budgeted for about £90,000, and this, it appears, is going to be cut off, which means a very serious state of affairs for the people there. There is much that requires to be done. Dr. Addison was in Leeds a couple of years ago, and he looked at the houses. There are 70,000 back-to-back houses, and he said 32,000 of them were an abomination. It is impossible in such a City, where we have a century-old congestion, for the municipalities to do it all unaided, and, if the Government is going to withdraw everything, I am afraid Leeds will have to remain as it is very much longer. This seems to be a case of Income Tax versus human lives. Where there is congestion, bad housing and narrow streets, the death rate is very much higher than in the better portions of the City, where the streets are wider and the houses better. It seems to me this ought to be looked at from that point of view. We ought to know whether anything has emerged from the deputation that met the Prime Minister last Friday. It was a very powerful deputation from the large cities all over the country asking for the regulations to be relaxed in order that we may still keep on with our work. I 391 should like to know whether that is likely to be done.
§ Mr. BETTERTON
If the hon. Member asks me that now, I will answer it. I do not think he was in the House when I dealt with the point. The Prime Minister said he would undertake to confer with his colleagues in the light of what had been said with a view to the sympathetic examination of schemes which had been prepared in response to the Circular issued by the Unemployment Grants Committee in March last year.
§ Mr. SPENCER
In my own constituency, we have not a very great deal of unemployment, but there is a considerable amount in the City in which I live, and I know of no City that is worse off at present than Nottingham. A very great deal could be done to assist the unemployed there if grants were given for the erection of at least two new bridges. The whole of the traffic going South is over the Trent bridge. That traffic might well have been diverted either to the North of South of the Trent if we had had means of constructing two more bridges. A question was put to the Minister of Transport to-day with regard to the grants that have been made out of the Road Fund for this purpose, and he said that, notwithstanding the fact that he had power, little or nothing had been done.
I am certain if the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Labour were prepared to make grants for the purpose of constructing one or two bridges, it would be of immense value to the city. Nottingham is becoming more and more congested, because on the South side of the city there is little or no approach to the building site that now remains. There is little or no use for the existing toll bridge. A new bridge between Nottingham and Beeston, nearer to Beeston probably than Nottingham, would be of immense value. That would not be unproductive labour. It would be very productive, because it would assist the building site, and in the long run it would throw Nottingham out on that particular side, so that it might use the building sites that are now available. I hope at some future time the Minister will be able to turn his attention to these possible schemes, because the City is becoming more and more cramped. They have asked for power to extend their 392 boundaries. We are interested in the fact that they shall not extend them on two particular roads. The time has got to come when the boundaries must be extended, and it is high time another bridge was put up to serve the traffic that comes in and out of Nottingham. These two bridges would be very valuable to those who live in the City.
§ Mr. WARDLAW-MILNE
The speeches we have heard in the last hour from the other side, both above and below the Gangway, have consisted of an appeal to the Ministry to grant more money for these works for the unemployed. There is no one in the House who is not in sympathy with that view, but I wish to bring this point to the Committee's notice. The reason for these complaints, regarding the inability of the various councils which have been trying to raise money not receiving from the public the response they would like, is largely because of the very high rates, or in other words, the fact that their credit is not now as good as it was probably in the old days when county or town loans immediately received a response from the public. If that be the case, it is manifest that to some extent credit of that kind is not suitable, and consequently it is not possible to get the money in the same easy way as it was in the old days. The appeal now is made to the Government to grant the money.
An hon. Member said that, in his view, it was a question between the Income Tax and human lives. An appeal is made to the Government, therefore, to grant the money. But is not the Government going to be very much in the same position if they are not extraordinarily careful as to how they advance that money? In the end it may come back to this, that, if the Government do not take the very greatest care in dealing only, where it is possible to do so, with productive schemes—schemes which within a reasonable time would bring a return to the neighbourhood, and, therefore, to the country—they themselves will be faced with the fact that they cannot raise money on the same terms as before. That, in effect, will mean that the whole credit of the country will be lower, and they will have to pay larger sums for even greater loans required for national purposes. If that be borne in mind, and if it be realised, as I am sure it is, that the only real remedy in the end for un- 393 employment is an improvement in trade, and that an increase of Income Tax or national charges of any kind makes the burden upon trade still heavier, and again makes the Government a larger partner in the profits of industry, while paying no share of the losses, it will readily be seen that it is not possible for the Government to go beyond a certain distance in starting schemes, and that the movement they make to assist all these grants must be conducted in the most prudent way, with very great regard to the necessities of the case, and, above all, to the fact that such schemes are remunerative within a reasonable number of years.
§ Mr. BATEY
I want to joint in this Debate to voice the discontent of two large urban district councils in my division. I have received letters from each of them. Both are protesting against the new policy of the Government. The clerk to one of the councils forwards a copy of a resolution passed by the council. It reads thus:That this council puts on record its profound regret at the decision of the Government, as set out in the Circular Letter, dated l5th December, 1925, issued by the Unemployment Grants Committee, stating that future grants will only be made to local authorities in cases where unemployment is exceptional, for work, which anticipate requirements by at least five years.That in the opinion of this council the effect of any change of policy such as is foreshadowed by the Circular will be to increase the burdens cast upon local authorities, and is therefore strongly to be deprecated. That the Government be asked to continue making grants towards the relief of unemployment upon the lines previously worked on.The Brandon Urban District Council sent a deputation to the Ministry of Health last August. They were asking permission to construct a new road into Brandon. They received no satisfaction. In December, I myself wrote to the Parliamentary Secretary, who replied that, owing to the conditions of the conditions of the collieries in that district he could not grant permission to the district council to make the road. There is undoubtedly a road into the village, but there could not be a worse road into a mining village. At present, it is almost impossible to get into it.
There are four collieries in the district, and three of them were idle. Within a 394 week or two of receiving the Parliamentary Secretary's reply another of these collieries started work, and since then part of another has started. Yet the urban district council is prevented from making the new road. The Parliamentary Secretary has told us he is going to inquire into every case that has been mentioned. I want him to add this case to his list. We believe this is the best time to make this road. We may not be so hardly hit as other districts in Durham, but we have large numbers of men who are either on unemployment benefit or on parish relief. The council was willing to make arrangements with the board of guardians to take the men who were receiving parish relief to construct this new road. It would be better to have them employed making the road than existing on parish relief. Besides, if the hon. Gentleman is going to wait until all the collieries start, he will not then find the labour so readily as he will find it now. With those men unemployed, it is possible to get them on to making this new road which is so essential for that mining village, and it would be fetter to do it before the collieries start work. I want to urge upon the Parliamentary Secretary to-night to add this case to his list and see whether permission cannot be given to this urban district council to construct this new road.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I want to say, first, that I hope this Debate will not end in the usual manner of doing nothing and doing it very thoroughly. Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen who have spoken on the other side have told us that they are going to consider, and probably something may be done which should be done. This is about the sort of ending of the Debates that we had during the last three or four years. The hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Wardlaw-Milne) told us terrible things were going to happen if we go on spending money in this way, but he forgot to tell the Committee the terrible things that are happening at the present moment. I should like to try to bring the Committee back to realities. You have been discussing a question affecting the lives of a million and a quarter of men and their dependants. We are discussing whether the Government are doing right in giving grants to local authorities for public improvements.
395 The Debate has turned altogether on the question of whether the issue of a circular, informing local authorities that in future the grants will be restricted, was right or not. I am not one of those who think the piling up of debt in a local authority is a good way of dealing with unemployment. I think very often a great deal of municipal work is carried out by unemployed labour that ought to be carried out in the ordinary way by ordinary labour under ordinary conditions. It was the late Mr. Joseph Chamberlain who invented this scheme which has developed to such a very large extent. In a Debate of this kind, with the greatest respect to the Parliamentary Secretaries, if the Ministers would have shown a little more courtesy they would have been here themselves.
§ Mr. BETTERTON
My right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour could not be here this afternoon, as he had a very important appointment at one of our training centres which he could not put off.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
Yes, but it is getting a habit of right hon. Gentlemen opposite to treat the House with very contemptuous indifference on these questions. There is no one with any authority on those benches that we can appeal to this evening at all. The Minister of Labour is taking up an attitude which in the end must mean either that you drive the whole of the unemployed on to the Poor Law or that they just starve. The hon. Gentleman's Department will assist them in starving, as they are doing in various districts just now. The district that I represent in this House is being mulcted to the tune of about £50,000 for this current half-year because of the action of the Ministry of Labour. £50,000 on a district where the rates are at present 23s. in the £ is a pretty hefty burden. I have not heard a single word of hope from either of the hon. Gentlemen for my district or any other district. When the hon. Member for Kidderminster talks about unproductive expenditure, I would like to know what he means. We are obliged to spend money on the unemployed, and it is always very expensive and very doubtful if anything very much will come. There must be an end in every district to the number of streets you can 396 lay, or the number of electricity mains you can put down, or even, nationally, the number of roads you can build.
If it be possible within the limits of this Estimate, I want to suggest that there is at our very doors a method by which a considerable amount of money should be spent by grants to local authorities to place men on the land. I know that the Department is doing some training, I think, down in Suffolk and in another part of the country, and London itself is doing a little. It is extraordinary, if the story is true in the "Times," that men at one of those training centres are expected to plough and replough the land because there is not enough land to keep them going properly in ploughing. You talk about digging a hole and filling it up again. Is there anything more demoralising than to set men ploughing this way and then that way, just in order to keep them going? I should have thought that even in those centres we might have done better than that. I want to suggest what I suggested two years ago, that it is past time when the Department, instead of coming down here and wringing its hands because of the expenditure that is going on just now in a more or less useless sense, should give grants to local authorities in order to develop colonisation here. I think, while it is true we could not advocate that as a national policy to be carried out by the Central Government, we could, within the limits of this Vote, argue that the Government should spend money in this way.
The one reason that impelled me to get up to-night was that I do not believe any of the men engaged in administering the Poor Law or unemployment insurance realise the extent of the compulsory demoralisation that has been going on these last few years. People in this House cheered me once when I said I would not give money to anybody who did not go to work or earn it. That is true, but when you do not offer them work you are obliged to keep them alive. That is something every one of us here stands for. We do not stand for it as a policy to be pursued year after year. You have this mass of unemployed men, and the more you put industry on an efficient basis for a time the bigger number of men you will have on your hands. I do not see in the Ministry of Labour or the Ministry of Health any- 397 body who is considering any real practical scheme for dealing with this matter. There are two ways to do it. You have either to colonise this country or develop the Colonies abroad. I have no objection to men being trained in your training centres, and, if they choose, going abroad. But there will be large numbers of them who do not want to go abroad, and, while there is any land in this country available for them, they ought to be able to colonise England first. So I want to put in this plea and perhaps it will be considered.
I am sorry the Ministers are not here, so that we could say it to their faces. I want them to consider whether the time has not arrived when they should reverse the whole policy, certainly so far as young men are concerned, in regard to these grants to local authorities, and, instead of giving grants for what are called local improvements, give grants definitely for the training of the men and the development or colonisation of our home country by those men. Unless we do that, I am certain that in a few years, whoever is in this House discussing the question, will be doing what we have been doing to-day, talking right round it and at the end nothing practical will have been done. The hon. Member for West Woolwich (Sir K. Wood) and the hon. Member for one of the Divisions of Nottingham (Mr. Betterton) and their chiefs may go on cutting down public assistance and driving people off the Unemployment Exchange, and cutting down all the assistance that is being given to local authorities, but the problem will remain when they have done it all, and they will have on their hands a population C3 mentally, morally and physically.
Every hon. and right hon. Member in this House knows perfectly well that at the end of the War the reason you set up the Ministry of Health, the reason you gave money for the Unemployment Insurance, was because you discovered during the War that the physique of the nation was much lower than anyone imagined it. For a certain number of years we have been trying to build it up. Now you are driving them off the Employment Exchange; you are taking away from local authorities the means of finding work, and to some extent boards of guardians are being discouraged through the Auditor and through Cir- 398 culars and otherwise from giving sufficient. It is time, instead of trying to put your head in the sand and not see the problem, that you looked at it fairly and squarely and dealt with it in a scientific manner by giving the men work here in our own country rather than trying to starve them and pretend that the unemployed are diminishing and so on. It is perfectly true that, speaking for myself, none of these is any remedy for unemployment. The only real remedy is a reorganisation of our society on lines which will enable us to produce food for people to eat, clothes for them to wear, and houses for them to live in, but it is out of order to pursue that question.
§ Mr. HARRIS
The first thing I want to do is to congratulate the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) on his appearance at that box. I only hope that he will not be demoralised by his surroundings. His character is strong enough to withstand the temptation of getting the Treasury Bench manner. At any rate, he made a very good opening. I want to be clear about the position of the Central Unemployment Committee, which is the Statutory Committee responsible for the initiation of work to relieve unemployment at a time of great distress. That committee is still in existence, and I am informed that it has met. Certainly, the various local authorities are sending representatives to it. The London County Council elects three or four representatives to serve on that body, and the various local authorities of London send their representatives, but as far as I can see the Committee is failing to function. We are asked to vote a very considerable sum of money for grants in respect of unemployment. Any grant to be effective in London should not merely be administered locally. That is recognised by some amount of assistance being given to the London County Council, but the County Council is very restricted in its powers of initiating unemployment relief schemes. There is a committee in existence which reports from time to time to the main council, but during the last two or three years, owing to the fact that its powers are very limited, it has largely ceased to function.
Local authorities where the greatest unemployment is to be found are, obviously, restricted in their powers of carrying out large works. They are largely confined to road construction. If 399 any effective work on a large scale is to be done in London or in the provinces the authority to do it must be the Central Unemployment Committee. There are two Parliamentary Secretaries on the Front Bench opposite, both very able and competent men, who represent the two Departments jointly responsible for this work. We might have a word from them as to the position of the Central Unemployment Authority. That authority has officials, and it has an office. The authority still exists. I should like to know something about it. I do not know what its relation is to Hollesley Bay, but I believe that nominally it is still responsible for that experiment in training men for the land. If London is to make any substantial contribution to the training of men for rural occupations, whether in our own country or abroad, surely the only authority that can do it effectively is this Central Unemployment Authority.
We London Members are entitled to have some explanation as to the position of this body. I have asked questions in this House about it, but I have not had a satisfactory reply. If we want to make some substantial contribution to dealing with this problem in London we ought to revive and bring into life again this authority, which is the statutory authority for initiating relief schemes in London. It is the only authority that can administer schemes on a large scale for the whole of London. A local authority cannot have a fair chance, because its area is too small and its powers are too limited. The London County Council has not sufficiently wide powers in this matter. We ought to know what this unemployment authority is doing and in what way it is carrying out the function which Parliament entrusted it to carry out.
§ Mr. CONNOLLY
I should like to draw the attention of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health to what is happening in respect of widows who obtained pensions since the beginning of the year. I have already drawn the attention of the Minister to the matter at Question time. I am referring specially to cases of widows who have been in receipt of Poor Law relief and who have now come on to the widows' pensions list and whose positions have 400 been made infinitely worse by receiving the pension. I have a case in my own constituency which I am trying to get rectified, and, if I do not succeed, the matter will have to come to this House. It is a case symptomatic of other cases in my Division and in all Divisions. It is the case of a widow who received 24s. a week parish relief prior to the beginning of this year. She is now receiving a widow's pension of 18s. a week and the guardians have wiped her off their books. The consequence is that she is 6s. a week poorer than she was before the 4th January. In a few weeks her position will be still worse. Her boy will be leaving school on reaching the age of 14. He will reach the age of 14 about seven weeks before he will be allowed to leave school, on account of the approximate date of the term. The 5s. allowance for the first child will be wiped off, and a net loss of 3s. a week will be incurred for a further seven weeks. I am trying to get this case put right in my constituency in Newcastle.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I am afraid that this is not the time to bring up cases of widows' pensions. This Vote is purely for the salaries of staff. If every hon. Member in the House brought up various pensions grievances we should never get through this Vote.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
The point which the hon. Member wishes to raise is not simply that of pensions but the fact that the Poor Law authorities are using this Pensions Act to reduce the amounts received under the Poor Law. The point is that the staff of the Ministry of Health are not administering the Poor Law side of pensions in the way that they ought to do.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
Surely, if the staff for whom we are asked to vote this Supplementary Estimate are not administering the Act in the spirit in which it was passed in this House, the hon. Member is right to raise it in debate?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
This Vote is for additional staff. Probably it is because the Department requires more staff.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
While the Vote is for additional staff, the fact remains that the 401 additional staff are already at work, and it is against the treatment meted out by that staff that the hon. Member is making his complaint.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
That may be a reasonable point to raise on the main Estimate, but I do not think it is in order on this Supplementary Estimate.
§ Mr. CONNOLLY
I thought I was in order in bringing the matter forward, but I accept your ruling, and I will not carry the matter further than to say to the Minister that this is an aspect to which he might give his attention.
§ Mr. CONNOLLY
I am sure that it is not the intention of the Minister, and that it is not the intention of hon. Members on this side, or of hon. Members on the opposite Benches, that the position of the widow should be made worse by the new Act.
§ Sir K. WOOD
I hope the hon. Member will send me particulars of the case. I do not understand it at all. I am eager to see the particulars.
§ Mr. CONNOLLY
There is a further matter, which has been raised by the hon. Member for Bootle (Lieut.-Colonel Henderson) and the hon. Member for Spennymoor (Mr. Batey), with respect to the giving of grants from the Unemployment Grants Fund to augment relief from the parish, and for carrying out schemes of road-making, etc. I put a question to the Minister a few days after the hon. Member for Bootle had called attention to the matter, and from the answer which he gave I understood that no limit in reason was to be set down as far as carrying out these provisions were concerned. After receiving that answer I drew the attention of the Newcastle City Council to the provisions that were being made for the carrying out of these schemes by unemployment grants augmented by Poor Law relief, but after getting the town improvement committee on the way of it, I was greatly disappointed when I heard that they had received a notification that as far as the Unemployment Grants Fund generally was concerned there was to be a tightening up.
402 I hope the Minister will look on Newcastle as a necessitous area just as much as other areas. We are particularly hard hit. As I have said half-a-dozen times in this House, our parlous position has been brought about and perpetuated by the policy pursued in respect of reparation tonnage and other matters. We have been made a great deal worse than we otherwise might have been. In the giving of grants from the Unemployment Grants Fund, I suggest that instead of a tightening up there should be a loosening and elasticity so that the necessitous areas may be given as free a hand as possible under the provisions of the Act in the relief of unemployment.
I am uneasy about the grant of a further £100,000 because, like most hon. Members who have taken part in this Debate, I feel very seriously that enormous amounts of money are being granted for what is in great part almost completely non-productive labour. Although I did not agree with many of the conclusions drawn by the hon. Member who spoke from the Front Bench opposite below the Gangway, I certainly, if I understood him aright, thought that there was running through his mind, as there is running through the minds of other Members of the Committee, a feeling that not only is most of this money being spent on non-productive labour, but that members of all parties, and local authorities governed by representatives of all parties in different districts are, quite naturally and quite properly, under the circumstances, sometimes doing work not only non-productive but not even strictly necessary, in order to keep things going.
I want to ask the Committee whether they will not seriously consider how much better it would be if, instead of voting millions upon millions as we have done since the Armistice in unemployment grants, outdoor relief and in unemployment allowance for men out of work, we had found productive employment. The figures I have obtained from various Ministers as to the millions of pounds that have been poured into my constituency in these ways without doing any practical productive good in regard to the people of that constituency or the country generally, are simply staggering. In my constituency, which is one of the most necessitous areas in the country, 403 men have been unemployed for two, three and more years and they cannot find work because there is no work to do. We have been badly hit, as the hon. Member for Newcastle (Mr. Connolly) said, by the policy in respect to reparations, etc., and owing to the fact that the rates of exchange enable engineering labour to be done much cheaper in other countries, men are out of work through no fault of their own, and the industries in which they should be normally engaged have no prospect, as far as I can see or as far as the experts whom I have consulted can see, of getting on their feet again in any reasonable period.
Millions of pounds have been poured into Gateshead and Newcastle and other Tyneside towns. If the Government had said to the local authorities, "We will not confine you merely to doing unproductive labour on which no one can make a profit, but we will allow you to carry on your glass works, provided that no individuals benefit from the undertaking, and we will allow you to go ahead with minor industries and give you grants for the purpose," then I submit, and I do it in no partisan spirit, that the cut glass industry and other minor industries would have been put on their feet and the community would have benefited. I have consulted trade union leaders and employers, and I have had the pleasure of going into the whole matter with the President of the Board of Trade, and, so far as I can see, there is no prospect for the glass industry in this country while glass goods are sold at present prices. If, instead of keeping us fiddling about with non-productive jobs, which do
§ not add to the wealth of the country, the Government had said to us, "You can buy that glass works, and put your unemployed glass workers into it, and you can make glass and have a subsidy to do it," the industry in Gateshead could have been re-established. That would have been better than pouring out £100,000 here and £500,000 somewhere else on unproductive work. We would then have had the satisfaction of knowing that, in return for the money spent, "we had not only relieved destitution, but had maintained an industry which would be of considerable service to the community.
§ I ask right hon. and hon. Members to put aside prejudice as to private enterprise and competition and publicly-controlled enterprise. The hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) talked of a rate of 23s. in the £. Our people at Gateshead are completely impoverished. It is not an occasion when we can afford to face the problem with a prejudiced mind, and to say that things can be done only in a certain way. The position is desperate. It calls for new methods and impartial minds. I wish the right hon. Gentlemen opposite would consider whether this money could not be used to enable our municipalities to manufacture the things that our people need, and to maintain in the forefront of the world's markets, some of the industries which are gradually being strangled.
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 267; Noes, 127.407
|Division No. 43.]||AYES.||[7.37 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Christie, J. A.|
|Albery, Irving James||Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Clarry, Reginald George|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Brass, Captain W.||Cobb, Sir Cyril|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Briscoe, Richard George||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W.Derby)||Brittain, Sir Harry||Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Cohen, Major J. Brunei|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Brooke, Brigadier-General C R. I.||Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Cooper, A. Duff|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Brown, Col. D. C (N'th'ld., Hexham)||Cope, Major William|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Brown, Brig. -Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Couper, J. B.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Buckingham, Sir H.||Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Bullock, Captain M.||Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Butt, Sir Alfred||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)|
|Berry, Sir George||Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Cunliffe, Sir Herbert|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Curtis-Bennett, Sir Henry|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)||Curzon, Captain Viscount|
|Blundell, F. N.||Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Dalkeith, Earl of|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Dalziel, Sir Davison|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir John H.||Hume, Sir G. H.||Remer, J. R.|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis||Remnant, Sir James|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Huntingfield, Lord||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||Hurd, Percy A.||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Ropner, Major L.|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Jackson, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. F. S.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Jacob, A. E.||Salmon, Major I.|
|Dixey, A. C.||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Samuel A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Duckworth, John||Jephcott, A. R.||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Jones, G- W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Sandeman, A. Stewart|
|Elveden, Viscount||Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|England, Colonel A.||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)||Savery, S. S.|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Kindersley, Major G. M.||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. McI. (Renfrew, W.,)|
|Fairfax, Captain J. G.||King, Captain Henry Douglass||Shaw, Capt. W.W.(Wilts, Westb'y)|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|Fanshawe, Commander G. D.||Knox, Sir Alfred||Shepperson, E. W|
|Fermoy, Lord||Lamb, J. Q.||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Fielden, E. B.||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Skelton, A. N.|
|Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Forrest, W.||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (Handsw'th)||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Loder, J. de V.||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Looker, Herbert William||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)|
|Gadie, Lieut.-Colonel Anthony||Lougher, L.||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Galbraith, J. F. W.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Lynn, Sir R. J.||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Gates, Percy||MacAndrew, Charles Glen||Storry-Deans, R.|
|Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||McLean, Major A.||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.|
|Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Macmillan, Captain H.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Gower, Sir Robert||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Grace, John||Macquisten, F. A.||Tasker, Major R. Inigo|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||MacRobert, Alexander M.||Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Greene, W. P. Crawford||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-|
|Gretton, Colonel John||Malone, Major P. B.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Grotrian, H. Brent||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn||Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough|
|Guinness, Rt. Hon, Walter E.||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Meller, R. J.||Waddington, R.|
|Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Merriman, F. B.||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Meyer, Sir Frank||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Hemmersley, S. S.||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Hanbury, C.||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Harland, A.||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Moore, Sir Newton J.||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Harrison, G. J. C.||Moreing, Captain A. H.||Wells, S. R.|
|Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)||Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dalrymple|
|Haslam, Henry C.||Murchison, C. K.||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Hawke, John Anthony||Nail, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Nelson, Sir Frank||Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)|
|Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld.)||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Nuttall, Ellis||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Oakley, T.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Hills, Major John Waller||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Withers, John James|
|Hilton, Cecil||Penny, Frederick George||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Holland, Sir Arthur||Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)|
|Holt, Captain H. P.||Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)|
|Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.).|
|Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Pitcher, G.||Wood, Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|Hopkins, J. W. W.||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Preston, William||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Howard, Captain Hon. Donald||Ramsden, E.|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Rees, Sir Beddoe||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)||Reid, D. D. (County Down)||Mr. F. C. Thomson and Captain Margesson.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Briant, Frank||Connolly, M.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Bromfield, William||Cove, W. G.|
|Amnion, Charles George||Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Buchanan, G.||Dalton, Hugh|
|Baker, Walter||Cape, Thomas||Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Charleton, H. C.||Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)|
|Barnes, A.||Clowes, S.||Dennison, R.|
|Barr, J.||Cluse, W. S.||Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)|
|Batey, Joseph||Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Edwards, John H. (Accrington)|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Fenby, T. D.|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Compton, Joseph||Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.|
|George, Rt. Hon. David Lloyd||Lee, F.||Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Livingstone, A. M.||Stamford, T. W.|
|Gillett, George M.||Lowth, T.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Gosling, Harry||Lunn, William||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Greenall, T.||Mac Donald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)||Sutton, J. E.|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||MacLaren, Andrew||Taylor, R. A.|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||March, S.||Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro. W.)|
|Groves, T.||Maxton, James||Thurtle, E.|
|Grundy, T. W.||Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth)||Montague, Frederick||Varley, Frank B.|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Morris, R. H.||Viant, S. P.|
|Hardie, George D.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Wallhead, Richard C|
|Harris, Percy A.||Naylor, T. E.||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Oliver, George Harold||Warne, G. H.|
|Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Owen, Major G.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Hirst, G. H.||Potts, John S.||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Welsh, J. C.|
|Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Saklatvala, Shapurji||Westwood, J.|
|Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Scrymgeour, E.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Scurr, John||Whiteley, W.|
|Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Sexton, James||Williams, David (Swansea, E.|
|John, William (Rhondda, West)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Kelly, W. T.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Windsor, Walter|
|Kennedy, T.||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)||Wright, W.|
|Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Slesser, Sir Henry H||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Kenyon, Barnet||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)|
|Kirkwood, D.||Snell, Harry||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Lansbury, George||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip||Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr. Hayes.|
|Lawson, John James||Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)|
§ Question put accordingly, "That a sum, not exceeding £5, be granted for the said Service."408
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 137; Noes, 271.411
|Division No. 44.]||AYES||[7.47 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hardie, George D.||Sexton, James|
|Ammon, Charles George||Harris, Percy A.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Baker, Walter||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Barnes, A.||Hirst, G. H.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Barr, J.||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Batey, Joseph||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Snell, Harry|
|Briant, Frank||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Bromfield, William||John. William (Rhondda, West)||Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Stamford, T. W.|
|Buchanan, G.||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Stephen, Campbell|
|Cape, Thomas||Kelly, W. T.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Kennedy, T.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Clowes, s.||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Taylor, R. A.|
|Cluse, W. s.||Kenyon, Barnet||Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Kirkwood, D.||Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro. W.)|
|Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Lansbury, George||Thurtle, E.|
|Compton, Joseph||Lawson, John James||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Connolly, M.||Lee, F.||Varley, Frank B.|
|Cove, W. G.||Livingstone, A. M.||Viant, S. P.|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Lowth, T.||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lunn, William||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)||Warne, G. H.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Mackinder, W.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Dennison, R.||MacLaren, Andrew||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Fenby, T. D.||March, s.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Maxton, James||Westwood, J.|
|George, Rt. Hon. David Lloyd||Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley)||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Montague, Frederick||Whiteley, W.|
|Gillett, George M.||Morris, R. H.||Williams, David (Swansea, E.)|
|Gosling, Harry||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Greenall, T.||Naylor, T. E.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Oliver, George Harold||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Owen, Major G.||Windsor, Walter|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Wright, W.|
|Groves, T.||Potts, John S.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Grundy, T. W.||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth)||Saklatvala, Shapurji||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr. Hayes.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John|
|Albery, Irving James||Forrest, W.||Macquisten, F. A.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Fraser, Captain Ian||MacRobert, Alexander M.|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Gadie, Lieut.-Col. Anthony||Malone, Major P.B.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Galbraith, J. F. W.||Manningham-Butter, Sir Mervyn|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Ganzoni, Sir John||Margesson, Captain D.|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Gates, Percy||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Meller, R. J.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Merriman, F. B.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Meyer, Sir Frank|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Gower, Sir Robert||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Grace, John||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Berry, Sir George||Greene W. P. Crawford||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Gretton, Colonel John||Moore, Sir Newton J.|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Grotrian, H. Brent||Moreing, Captain A. H.|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. (Bristol, N.)||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)|
|Blundell, F. N.||Guinness Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Nall, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Nelson, Sir Frank|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Neville, R. J|
|Brass, Captain W.||Hammersley, S.S.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L.(Exeter)|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Hanbury, C.||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld.)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Harland, A.||Nuttall, Ellis|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Oakley, T.|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Harrison, G. J. C||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Penny, Frederick George|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Haslam Henry C.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Hawke, John Anthony||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Henderson, Capt. R. R.(Oxf'd, Henley)||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Philipson, Mabel|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Heneage, Lieut.- Col. Arthur P.||Pilcher, G.|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Preston, William|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Ramsden, E.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Rees, Sir Beddoe|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Herbert, S. (York, N.R., Scar & Wh'by)||Reid, D. D. (County Down)|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Hills, Major John Waller||Remer, J. R.|
|Christie, J. A.||Hilton, Cecil||Remnant, Sir James|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy||Richardson, Sir P.W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Holland, Sir Arthur||Robert, E. H. G (Flint)|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Holt, Capt. H. P.||Ropner, Major L.|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunei||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Salmon, Major I.|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Cope, Major William||Howard, Captain Hon. Donald||Sandeman, A. Stewart|
|Couper, J. B.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington,N.)||Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Hume, Sir G. H.||Savery, S. S.|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. McI. (Renfrew, W.)|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Huntingfield, Lord||Shaw, Capt. W.W. (Wilts, Westb'y)|
|Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Hurd, Percy A.||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Cunliffe, Sir Herbert||Jackson, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. F. S.||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Curtis-Bennett, Sir Henry||Jacob, A. E.||Skelton, A. N.|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Jephcott, A. R.||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Dalziel, Sir Davison||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir John H.||Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovll)||Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||Kindersley, Major Guy M.||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Storry-Deans, R.|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Knox, Sir Alfred||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.|
|Dixey, A. C.||Lamb, J. Q.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Duckworth, John||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Tasker, Major R. Inigo|
|Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||Locker-Lampson, Com. O.(Handsw'th)||Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Elveden, Viscount||Loder, J. de V.||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-|
|England, Colonel A.||Looker, Herbert William||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Erskine. Lord (Somerset, Weston-s-M.)||Lougher, L.||Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Lynn, Sir R. J.||Waddington, R.|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||MacAndrew, Charles Glen||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Fanshawe, Commander G. D.||Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Fermoy, Lord||McLean, Major A.||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Fielden, E. B.||Macmillan, Captain H.||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Waterhouse, Captain Charles||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)||Wood, E. (Chest'r Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)||Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)|
|Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)||Wood, Sir S. Hill-(High Peak)|
|Watts, Dr. T.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Wells, S R.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dalrymple||Withers, John James||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)||Wolmer, Vicount||Major Sir Harry Barnston and Mr. F. C. Thomson.|
|Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)||Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)|
Original Question put, and agreed to.