§ "That the claimant Is making every reasonable effort to obtain employment suited to his capacity, and is willing to accept such employment. This condition is of supreme importance. It is intended to ensure that every claimant for extended benefit is a genuine seeker of employment. It means that the claimant will show to the satisfaction of the committee that he is, both generally and at the particular date of claiming, taking all possible steps to obtain any employment for which he may be reasonably regarded as suitable, and that he will continue to take such steps if benefit is granted."
Another paragraph, to show what is expected from the local committees, reads as follows:
It is of the utmost importance that every care should be taken to see that these conditions are satisfied by claimants. The object of referring claims to local committees is to utilise the local knowledge which members of such committees possess and to ensure the advantage of a personal interview with the claimant. The assistance thus provided in the past has been of the greatest value, and the Minister has to place on record his appreciation of their services, and he trusts that he may continue to receive the benefit of their co-operation.
§ If that is the idea of the Minister when the local employment committee have dealt with the cases, they think it highly unfair that a number should be turned down. The committee is made up of employers, workmen's representatives and a certain section connected with neither. They have to study the whole of the facts surrounding the case and surely, when they come to a decision that the applicant is entitled to extended benefit, it comes very hard indeed that the Minister decides to veto their carrying out of the resolution. I can tell him 703 it is almost at the breaking point as to whether the committees will carry on the work they have hitherto done.
§ Before he takes that step of turning down a large number of these cases he ought first of all to consider the whole of the circumstances, and when the rota committee decide that a man is to have extended benefit and the Minister reviewing the case says No, I would ask him to submit the whole case back to the full committee and to send down one of his staff to put the Minister's point of view, and after that, if the local unemployment committee decide almost unanimously that the man is entitled to benefit, I think the Minister ought to give way. If he does not adopt that suggestion what is the use of the local unemployment committee? It is a farce first of all to say that they are the people best suited to examine all the circumstances, that hitherto they have done their work well, and then, when they decide that the claimant is entitled to benefit, to overrule them. More regard ought to be given to those who know all the local circumstances. We know the men who ought not to be entitled to it. We would not give payment to men who are not genuinely seeking work. It is only after thorough investigation, with the knowledge we possess, that we desire that a man or woman should have payment. After we have gone through the whole of that, when we are told, as we are in many cases, that they are not to have benefit, we begin to ask ourselves what is the good of giving our service when no notice is taken of it at all. I would ask the Minister to pay particular attention to this point, because we feel it very keenly. I sit on a local committee which time after time has resented the action of the Minister in turning down cases we have thought ought to go through.
§ That is one point which I would ask him not to pass over lightly. If he really values our services for the good work we have done in the past, he ought to remember that the same good work is being carried on now. If he would do that, it would mitigate many of the complaints that are brought to his notice. These men, who are in search of work and cannot get it are entitled to more consideration than they receive. In a 704 locality where there is little work to be found, it is not right that when the men produce evidence that they are genuinely seeking work, that their ease should be shelved and there is no money for them. That is entirely wrong. It is on these grounds that, I appeal most earnestly to the Minister to consider the point of view of the local committees, and when they have decided that payment ought to be made, only in very exceptional cases ought that decision to be turned down. All the other points with which one might have dealt have been dealt with by other speakers.
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
Like the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) I am not very hopeful about the treatment of the unemployed by the Government. The Vote we are discussing shows a reduction of £2,139,000. That is an alarming indication of the policy which the Government is pursuing. A few days ago, in the Debate on the Economy Bill, I interjected a, remark in regard to a statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer that unemployment had fallen by 30,000 since certain calculations were made. I asked him if that was a genuine fall in unemployment. His sarcastic reply to me was that nothing would convince me that there was a genuine fall, since the idea that unemployment was a continuing and growing factor was a kind of plank in the platform of myself and of my party. I think I was thoroughly justified in interjecting that remark. It ha d been indicated by the right hon. Gentleman that the Government were stiffening up their dealings with this question of unemployment and with the applicants for unemployment pay. The speeches which have been delivered this evening by hon. Members who have given their personal experience of the working of the Unemployment Insurance Act by the present Ministry appears to me to justify my interjection, because it appears from the facts which have been given respecting various localities that there has been a growth in the number of persons in receipt of Poor Law relief in some form or another, coincident with the stiffening up of the Regulations, and that while numbers have disappeared from one register they have appeared automatically on the other. Therefore it does not appear that there is any real fall in unemployment.
705 So far from there being any desire on my part or any appearance of eagerness on my part that there should be no fall in unemployment, let me say that I have experienced unemployment myself. I go into the homes of the unemployed, and I know too much of the horrible sufferings entailed by unemployment to wish for a single moment that any person should be kept unemployed longer than is essential, and I resent very much the idea that purely for political purposes we should he desirous that unemployment should continue. We are anxious that the problem of unemployment should be dealt with effectively. We are justified in coming to the conclusion that the present Government, representing the interests that they do, are incapable of dealing in any effective way with the problem of unemployment. We feel confident that they cannot deal with it effectively. On looking into the records of this question of unemployment I find that it was first discussed in this House in 1879, and it is important and interesting to note that the same kind of reasons for unemployment were given then that are given now.
The hon. Member for Middleton (Mr. Sandman) suggested this afternoon that unemployment was due to the fact that the two sides could not come together. He said that unemployment was due largely to labour problems. That indicates the state of mind of hon. and right hon. Members opposite. They all seem to think that if one could only get the workmen and the employers to come together in a beautiful bond of unity and love, all would be well. The Prime Minister told us the other day in regard to war that blood-shed was disappearing and that the love of God was having a chance to compete with the stupidity of Man. I do wish that the love of God would work in this unemployment problem, so that we could see how far we could get. Before we talk about abolishing war, let us see whether we cannot establish peace in regard to this question
I find that in 1879 when the question of unemployment was discussed the first and most prominent reason given for unemployment was labour troubles. It has been the same all the way through. Labour troubles here and labour troubles there have been advanced as the cause of unemployment. We are now proposing 706 to deal with unemployment to some extent by emigration.
That suggestion is not new. It was fashionable in 1883, so fashionable that the Government of that day passed a Bill to assist passengers for emigration from Ireland. It was afterwards extended to assist persons emigrating from this country. Emigration was, therefore, fashionable nearly 50 years ago as a means of dealing with unemployment. Time passed, and in a Debate in this House the present Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs stated, on the 23rd February, 1910, that unemployment was a continuing symptom of our social system, whether we had good trade or bad trade. I agree that that is so; but if the right hon. Gentleman in 1910, 16 years ago, had discovered that, why are we at the present time in this House, or why is the Government, dealing with this question in such a higgledy-piggledy manner.
When the right hon. Member for Preston (Mr. T. Shaw) was Minister of Labour, he was the most-attacked man in the Labour Government, because in the eight months that he was in office he did not deal effectively with the unemployment question. The position to-day is as bad, or probably worse, than it was then, and although the present Government has been in office with the largest majority that the Conservative party has ever had in this country, it is absolutely helpless to deal with the question.
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
According to the Ministry of Labour Gazette, the mean of unemployment for 1925 was 10.5 per cent. In 1900, the mean was 2.5 per cent., in 1904 it was 6 per cent. and in 1908 it was 7.8 per cent. In those years when the rate of unemployment went up from 6 per cent. to 7.8 per cent. it constituted an unemployment crisis. The difference between 2.5 per cent. and 6 per cent. brought about a tremendous crisis in regard to unemployment. Unemployment, according to the Government's own publication, was 10.5 per cent. for 1925, yet there is no real attempt being made to deal with the problem from any point of view that can be seriously considered as a means towards a solution. It is time that the House demanded that the Gov- 707 ernment should declare policy consists. I cannot its policy.
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
They are never here when we are discussing these matters. I should like to know whether they still accept the point of view as expressed by the right hon. Gentleman the Foreign Secretary in 1910. Have they decided whether the present phase of unemployment is epidemic in character or endemic in character? If it is epidemic why have they not dealt with it as an epidemic? If it is endemic, why have they not made some practical proposals for dealing with it? As far as I am concerned they neither can nor will. I am not one of those who hold that capitalism can solve the problem of the unemployed. I believe that this country holds so much potential wealth in its grasp and has such marvellous powers of wealth production that it can produce sufficient wealth to abolish poverty. There is no need for poverty, it can be driven out. But capitalism cannot solve that problem. The party opposite have been called the stupid party, they are still the stupid party, and I am convinced that they will not even if they could. Every Measure they have introduced has tended to make unemployment worse. They reestablish the gold standard, although they were told that it would create more unemployment. Those who prophesied this would be the effect have been proved correct. This policy was distinctly disastrous in its effect on unemployment; and from every other point of view the same thing may be said.
Then as to the way in which the Government are administering the Unemployment, Acts. I could give case after case of terrible hardship. There is a case in my own constituency; a man who has lost an arm in the War He is unemployed, and he has been refused unemployment pay because he is in receipt of a small pension. What on earth is the good of a one-armed man in a place like South Wales where most of the industries are of a particularly arduous character, and yet this man is deprived of unemployment benefit because he is in receipt of a small pension. I 708 have another case of a man who is deprived of all sources of income. His son, too, has been deprived of unemployment benefit, because he was living with his parents, who have no income. That is the way the Act is being administered. We have necessitous areas where this problem of poverty and unemployment is continuous. So far as my own Division is concerned, and other places in South Wales, it is of a, continuing character, and the men there are being deprived of unemployment pay and driven to Poor Law relief. The rates are going up, and at the same time the works are closing down. And because the works are closing down the rateable value of the area is falling.
Local authorities come to the Department for permission to borrow money and raise loans for new works for the relief of unemployment, and although in my own Division there has been no case of absolute refusal, yet it is becoming increasingly difficult to persuade the Government to allow them to raise loans because, as the Government say, their credit is getting worse. But their credit is getting worse because of the policy of the Government with regard to the payment of unemployment relief. The more you take people off the unemployment register the more they are thrown on the Poor Law rates, and the higher those rates will become. The rateable value will get worse, and the conditions of the whole area must become very serious. It is a vicious circle, and it demands the earnest consideration of the Government. Not only are the working people ruined but the small shopkeepers and the small tradesmen are being ruined. These people have perhaps built up small businesses from which they hope to receive a competency in their declining years, but one by one every prop beneath them is being kicked away, and there is nothing before them but ruin and despair in the old age which is approaching for many of them. It is a terrible position, and it is time the Government stopped for fooling and began to do some practical work for dealing with the unemployment problem.
Why do they not start some scheme of afforestation, not on a pettifogging scale but on the scale outlined by the Forestry Commission some years ago. Why do they not reclaim some of our waste lands? It has been estimated that there are 709 thousands and thousands of acres of land which could be reclaimed and added to the soil of our country. Experts differ as to how far it is possible this could be done but experts always differ. But if British experts differ how far it is possible to reclaim the waste land around the Wash, we might ask the Dutch to send us an expert. They have reclaimed large portions of their land, and they are now proposing to restore -whole provinces from the sea. I am convinced that much valuable work might be done in this direction. If it is argued that the area of soil which might be reclaimed would not be worth the cost, at least, we should get something. In the last few years, we have spent £340,000,000. If we had got some few thousand acres for that money it would be something. At the present moment we have nothing whatever. On those lines I believe that something has to he done to build up our agricultural life, to reafforest our countryside, to reclaim our waste lands, to drain our bad lands, to develop as far as possible new industries, to discover what new markets are in sight, and to begin to alter our attitude towards some of the Crown Colonies by giving them a chance of getting a little more money and so increasing their purchasing power so far as British commodities are concerned.
We talk about developing the Empire. There is not a single man who does not wish the Empire to develop to its fullest extent. But the Empire needs money. I am told that the British Colonies cannot raise, or find it difficult to raise, loan, here if they are in competition with the higher percentage loans for some of the European States which are almost in a bankrupt condition. If Germany or Hungary want loans at 7 or 8 per cent., there is plenty of money for them. If New Zealand wants money the underwriters have to take it up. That kind of thing is a scandal so far as Empire development is concerned. If only those who prate about Empire development would practise it and give the Colonies a chance, give them the loans that Cliff need, and allow them to develop on the lines that they desire, instead of talking about painting India white—along those lines we could do something practical towards solving the unemployment problem. Give them more happiness and 710 prosperity there, and there will be more prosperity here.
§ Mr. GIBBINS
There is one very important point in the instructions issued by the exchange authorities. It has been mentioned in a casual way by one or two speakers. I refer to the cause of disqualification put down in capital letters N.I.P.I.—"not in the public interest." Several of the speakers have said that there is no responsibility attaching to the Labour Minister for the increasing number of disqualified unemployed. They can say what they like about recriminations, but someone is responsible to stand the blame. We are not forgetful that last year the Minister of Labour introduced a Bill which set out to save £4,500,000 or thereabouts, and that that sum could be saved only by tightening up and refusing benefit. One hon. and learned Gentleman said that he thought everything had been done that could be done, and therefore we should not be attaching blame. The Regulations were severe enough before. We know it is difficult for men to get benefit to-day without adding to the Regulations. What has the Ministry done?
§ Mr. GIBBINS
Nothing from the positive side to help to relieve the unemployed or to relieve unemployment, but they have been very positive in providing means of preventing men from drawing unemployment pay. From the point of view of hindering they have plenty of ideas. Take the case I have referred to of N.I.P.I. What does it mean? I know men who have been refused benefit for not having worked a sufficient number of days. They have worked five or six or seven weeks' good work, and they have been again refused benefit because they have earned so much honey; and when they go up and put in an appeal for extended benefit, they are, turned down here use hey have earned too much, although just previously they had been turned down because they had not worked enough. Take a ease in point. It is that of a "docker." He has five children. He is disabled, with a wooden leg, and can do only certain jobs, which are not easy to get. Fortunately the man had a rather good run of work. When he went up for benefit he was turned down because his wages, spread over a period, came to more than half 711 his pay, although the fact that the man was claiming extended benefit proved that he must have had a long period of unemployment to exhaust his standard benefit. That man is compelled to go to the guardians for relief for himself, wife and five children.
Surely the Minister must take responsibility for issuing the new instructions. The man that can get over the original four is a remarkably clever man. I guarantee the authorities would turn down any Member of this House on the original conditions; it is almost impossible to get over them. In spite of that, the Ministry has determined to get a few more men off, not because they are not seeking work, not because they are in an uninsurable occupation, not because they will not be employed again, but because it would not be in the public interest to give them extended benefit if four weeks' earnings, averaged over a period, come to more than half their pay. If that is not deliberately and determinately trying to lower the standard of life of these men, who mainly are casual labourers, I do not know what is. If it were only one case here and another there, one could forget the matter. I asked a question the other day and I was told that 1,400 men had been refused benefit on this ground in a couple of months, "Not in the public interest." Surely, this proves a deliberate attempt on the part of the Government to drive these men to even worse conditions than their previous long periods of unemployment had placed them in.
Take the case of the man with five children. If he had a full week's work at the clocks at l2s. a day his pay would be £3 Gs. Half of that is 33s. That is levelled over a period, and it is considered by the Ministry to be sufficient to keep that man and his family. He must live in future weeks on his previous earnings. The rates of Liverpool have been increased by 6d. in the £ mainly because unemployed men are being subjected to these methods. This is a mean, contemptible and despicable attempt to make the lot of our working people worse than it would be in normal circumstances. Even the allowances which are made would not be sufficient to enable a man to keep a home and a. family, and yet people who have never known what want and starvation mean, are prepared to 712 put these harsh and cruel regulations into force. Had I a tongue as sharp as that which is attributed to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) it would not be too severe to castigate those h o are making life not worth living for hundreds of thousands of our people. I feel that the responsibility for this further hardship rests upon the Ministry of Labour, and the day of reckoning must come when our people will protest, yes, and revolt, against a cruel injustice which could be avoided if those responsible had the soul and the mind to do so.
Sir WILFRID SUDDEN
It is well that this Committee should hear every phase of opinion on this matter from those of us who have a practical knowledge of industrialism, as well as those who offer academic suggestions, and that all should contribute to the discussion on this most important subject. I take this opportunity of offering one or two thoughts, especially in regard to one section of those splendid workers who make the craftsmanship of this nation—I refer to the engineers. The engineers' profession is the very basis of the best industrial life of this country. When one remembers the trained men who have given all their thought and care to that branch of industry: when one remembers those whose parents have deliberately stinted themselves of the necessities of life in order to give their children the best possible technical and practical education not only in this country but even abroad, then appalling to find, in these times nearly 66 per cent. of the trained engineers and shipyard workers in my constituency— The Hartlepools—out of work and enable to get work. That is an essential consideration, and this Committee ought to give special attention to the question of helping the Ministry of Labour to organise and guide the national industrial life in such a way that these great craftsmen of our nation shall have the wherewithal for themselves, their wives and families and shall enjoy a full share and a proper place in the citizenship of this land.
What are the facts? From Governments of every kind we have only had palliative methods of dealing with this great problem. From every Government which has held office since the inception of the Ministry of Labour, we have had 713 nothing but temporary financial propositions to deal with the problem. I challenge the present Government, which I have the honour off-times to support, or any other Government, to deny that little or no practical constructive work has been done for all sections of industry collectively and that no steps have been taken to place the position properly before the people so as to deal successfully with the essential facts of industry. Nothing has been done, for instance, in regard to industrial psychology in its relation do the production of our goods so as to ensure that our workers shall be able to compete against the world competition with a proper standard of comfort. We have had a Committee presided over by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Central Edinburgh (Mr. Graham) dealing with the question of industrial fatigue, but nothing has been done by any Government to put into practical operation the results of the wonderful research carried out by that Committee. Their proposals would mean more output, better conditions, and more educational facilities for all. Some may suggest that this is a purely academic consideration, but, as one who has practical knowledge of industry in Germany, France and the United States, as well as this country, I say that this is not a mere matter of idealism but is something which we must try to attain if we are to succeed industrially, and that it is a matter of definite value in £. s. d. on a competitive basis in the world market. Yet, as I say, no Minister of Labour has tried to put into operation the results of the wonderful research work info the psychology of industrial fatigue and production which have been available for over four years.
I also stand here as the advocate of a higher production wage than that which obtains at the moment. The minimum wage, as a step forward in the progress of scientific industrialism in this country, was supposed to he a great advance, but we are long past the days of the minimum wage. We are marching ahead from those times, and the problem which lies before a Ministry of Labour to-day, and which has never yet been tackled by any Government, is the problem of a production wage, the provision of an opportunity in life for those who participate 714 in the work of national production and of encouragement for that inventive creative genius which is the pride of the British workman. Further, with all the efficiency possessed by the right hon. Gentleman who presides over that Department, the time has come when it is only possible to deal with these matters on the basis of scientific finance. I challenge any member of the Socialist party to say that they have ever been able to present to the nation a clear and practical understanding of the science of finance in its application to this question of employment, trade and industry. No member of the Socialist Government or the Socialist party has ever shown the practical relation of finance to these matters, and especially when we are dealing with national production in relation to international competition, it is most essential that we should consider the question from the financial standpoint. But instead of dealing with matters which are of such importance in connection with the production of the goods which have made our craftsmen the most famous in the world, it is a spirit of disintegration of sullen strife which is beng engendered by the Socialist party. In that respect the Socialist party is doing an ill turn to the ideal of co-partnership, which should exist in regard to mass production among all parties in production. All the parties concerned in production should come together and operate together smoothly, and that is not a matter of idealism alone, but a very practical matter.
Our engineering, mining, textile and transport problems are the greatest industrial problems the world has ever known, but the contributions made to these problems from the Socialist Benches have invariably been of a merely academic nature. I want to plead tonight that there should be an opportunity, by practical means, of dealing, first, with co-partnership; secondly, with production wages; thirdly, with continued conferences and agreement that legitimate averages of profits alone for those who accept the responsibility of management and proprietorship, as also those who sit at the receipt of custom in respect of our goods, shall obtain there; fourthly, with greater and more forcible advance of technical science in this decade. Let me instance only one feature. I am sorry 715 the Noble Lord who presides over the Board of Education is not here to listen to me, but the representative of the Minister responsible for this Vote is present, and that satisfies my purpose.
In respect, however, to the Minister of Education, neither this Government nor the Governments that have preceded it have ever given a full, complete entourage for the great industrial centres that there should be full, sufficient, thoroughly up-to-date, technical apparatus to deal with the education of the craftsmen in those industrial centres. I challenge any hon. Member to prove to me that there is sufficient up-to-date technical organisation and machinery to deal with the forward movement of highest inventive producing machinery, and of proper wage production and mass production that there must be if we are to compete with the world and our craftsmen live in proper comfort and accept their full family and citizen responsibilities. These matters arc vital to us in respect to our future, and not only to our future as a nation, but the future of the British Empire, which stands as the only guarantee of peace in the world, and I say, without any fear, that the peace of the world will only be possible by the future industrial development of our own land and Empire.
I am not going to deal with the smaller technical and statistical details which go to make up a very important part of this Vote. I am not here to-night to say that some of the methods of scrutiny and examination which obtain in the rota committees in these centres of unemployment are equitable and fair, but I want to lay the blame, if blame there be, at the doors of those who should carry it, and I say that, whether it be the inelasticity of bureaucracy, or whether it be the fact that the detailed systems in such organisations which go to make up the Ministry of Labour are inelastic and more mechanical than human, this I know with certainty, that inequity and injustice are obtaining at the present time in respect of this matter of unemployed insurance. I want also to stress that which has been dealt with more efficiently on another occasion, and that is the greater and more careful scientific application of the credit facilities that have been presented in regard to some of our industries.
716 It all goes back to the old central position that neither from these benches nor from those benches has come exact, correct, and practical knowledge of the great science of finance in respect to its application to our industrial position to-day. Steel rolling in my own constituency is being seriously threatened by reason of the wrong use of credit facilities. I trust, therefore, that the hon. Gentleman who represents the Ministry of Labour will remember that his Department can never function efficiently—for it is a subordinate Department in the great sections of the Government in respect of the great problem that we have to face—unless it does more than it has done to promote industrial, educational, financial, and progressive education, efficiency and goodwill, and that will make our nation what she has ever been, namely, a guiding influence for good amongst the nations of the world and the greatest factor for progress in the world.
§ Mr. GREENAL rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put," but the Deputy-Chairman withheld his assent, and declined then to put that Question.
§ Mr. WRIGHT
We have often discussed these problems, but it has been a most unusual Debate on this occasion, because for the greater part of the day there have not been 20 supporters of the Government in the Chamber, while for some part of the day there was not a single Member of the Liberal party on their benches, and we have been driven, under stress of circumstances, to lend them a few for this Debate, an event which is not likely to be forgotten in the years to come. It is all very well to be a little diverted for the time being, and I should enjoy it as much as any hon. Member present, but for the tragedy of the whole proceeding. Here we are, after six or seven years of the most unparalleled period of unemployment which I believe this country has witnessed for over a hundred years, with very tragic consequences to vast numbers of people. We have at the present time government by starvation. We recruit our Army by starvation, and the tragic things which are going on at the present time are almost too awful to contemplate. The present Government, with its vast majority behind it, has, so far as I can 717 judge, been able to make no practical contribution to this problem since it has been in office.
The hon. Member for the Hartlepools (Sir W. Sugden), who has just resumed his seat, began very well, and I think we may congratulate him on some of the observations which he made in the early part of his speech. He was good enough to inform us that he had had practical experience of the engineering trade in this country, in Germany, and in France, and that he had a very considerable knowledge of these problems, but he scolded the members of the Socialist party for not having evolved a scientific form of finance for dealing with these problems. May I remind the hon. Member that some of the most highly skilled men in this country or in any other country in the world have been driven to emigrate during the last four or five years, despite their extraordinary skill, because it was quite impossible for them to find any kind of occupation at all in this country.
§ Mr, WRIGHT
Yes, but if you once give us a reasonable majority, with a reasonable period of years on those benches, we will be able to show you it possible. Give us half or a quarter the time that Liberal and Conservative Governments in succession have occupied office during the last 40 years, and if in the course or the first 10 years of Socialist Government we are not able to deal with the problems in a satisfactory way, let the people of this country sweep us as a party into oblivion.
May I call the attention of the Committee to some of the results during recent years? When the Labour Government came into office in 1924, it abolished the gap, raised the benefit to unemployed workmen, and extended the provision of uncovenanted benefit. The results were manifest at once. During 1924–25 the various boards of guardians spent £4,174,382 in relieving persons who were insured under the Insurance Act. The corresponding figure for 1923–24 was £6,400,000, and for 1922–23, £9,400,000. The present Government, in February, 1922, altered the burden in such a way that, while it moved from the Insurance Fund, it went on to the poor rate, and, consequently, the burden had still to be 718 borne. It is worth looking at the point from another aspect—an aspect of which we are constantly reminded—that of reducing the unemployment figures. I am more than pleased to have observed that my hon. Friend the Member for Merthyr (Mr. Wallhead) resented very strongly the sarcastic observation made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer the other night during the Debate—an entirely uncalled for observation, in my judgment, after the 90 minutes in which he addressed this House, taking over 26 columns in the OFFICIAL REPORT to say not very much of any value, so far as we are concerned.
Let us see how the figures of the unemployed can be juggled. According to the 1924 register of unemployed, there were in November of that year 1,233,000, and the number of persons unemployed per 10,000 of the population was 387. In April, 1925, there were 1,250,000, but the figure had increased per 10,000 to 401. In November, 1925, the figure was approximately the same, 1,220,000, while the figure per 10,000 was 448. So that you have an increase of about 60 per 10,000 for that period. There is a further question of very great importance. Last Friday two colleagues of mine on these benches, who represent divisions in Glasgow, were attending an associated parish councils' conference of the industrial areas of Scotland which are very deeply concerned about this problem. In my own Division of Rutherglen, with three important towns, the Poor Law relief is now five times greater than it was a few years ago, and that is typical of many of the industrial areas throughout the land. I have here the figures of the total cost of unemployment in rates and Exchange contributions. In the year 1913, the expenditure from the rates was 8s. 2d., and the total £11,591,000, the Exchequer contribution being, approximately, £2,500,000. In 1920 the rate had increased from 8s. 2d. to 12s. 6d., and the total amount was £19,479,000, with again a contribution of £2,500,000 from the Exchequer. In 1923, the rate had increased in 10 years from Ss. 2d. to 22s. 11¾d., with a total of £37,237,000, the Exchequer contribution still remaining at, approximately, £2,500,000.
We cannot realise the tragedy of the destitution among our people in the industrial areas, of the ruined homes, of 719 the young people who are growing up to manhood or womanhood without any special kind of training qualifying them to make useful citizens in the years to come, of the despairing old age. No words of mine can adequately describe the misery, wretchedness and despair of people who have made valuable contribution in the course of 40 or 50 years of their lives to the well-being of this country, and who are now destitute, in despair and are at their wits' ends to know what to do. You have evidence of that in the fact that, during the last 50 years, the returns, as supplied by the Registrar-General, are 100 per cent, higher than 50 years ago of people driven to suicide because of the despairing conditions under which they were living. We have the horrible condition prevailing of death actually due to starvation. There was an instance given this afternoon at Question Time by my right hon. Friend the Member for Central Newcastle-on-Tyne (Mr. Trevelyan), who called attention to a case in Worcestershire of a man who was certified by the coroner to have died of starvation accelerated by exposure. Such cases are frequently happening in different parts of the country. I know of a similar case in Worcestershire only two months ago. Since the War, no official returns by the Government have been published as to the actual number of people who have died of starvation. According to the late General Booth, in his "Darkest England," there were in one year 300 people. In this country, the richest nation in the world, with an Empire greater than the world has ever seen, controlling one-fourth or one-fifth of the whole population, where the wealth during the last 20 or 30 years has increased by leaps and bounds, you have vast numbers of people who are driven to these conditions, and die from actual starvation in this land of plenty.
I want to raise a very determined protest against the continual starvation which is going on in this country. If the Government cannot alter it, they ought to have the decency and courage to resign, and say that they are incapable of dealing with it. That is not the only aspect of the question. There is the tyranny that is going on against the people who are employed. We are constantly being advised to promote feel- 720 ings of good will, good fellowship and good relationship. I agree we ought, but what is going on in the industrial world just now? I have some instances in my own district quite recently, where girls are being dismissed from a laundry by gross tyranny, some actually having been insulted. They are being thrown on the unemployed market. Their domestic circle is deprived of the income they would bring in. Yet we are being appealed to to promote feelings of good will. How is it possible, when girls are anxious to organise themselves into a trade union movement, that they are threatened with instant dismissal if they take any steps at all? We have seen those things in our own industries in days gone by. We have fought strenuously to overcome them. I hope steps will be taken at no distant date to remedy this kind of evil. I agree that it is possible, even under a capitalist system of society, to do far more than has been done.
It is perfectly obvious to any hon. Member who travels on the railways that there are millions of acres of land under water after a few days' rain. The value of the land deteriorates seriously. I have no doubt at all that it is possible to produce the food supplies which we require, apart from tropical products, in this land, without difficulty. I have often said so and I repeat it. I make no exception even in the case of wheat, such as my right hon. Friend the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) made reference to a few weeks ago. We spent last year over £500,000,000 on importing foodstuffs from a-broad, every bit of which could be grown in this country. We are spending £17,000,000 a year on eggs brought from distant parts of the world. We are spending £30,000,000 on bacon and food products which could be produced here. What is the good of deceiving ourselves? The Government that cannot deal effectively with the social and industrial problems are not worth their salt. Here is a communication which has been sent to me within the last few days from the "Builders Merchants' Journal." We are importing foreign bricks, which have risen from a total of less than £18,000 in 1923 to more than £450,000 in 1925. Foreign tiles have increased from £93,000 in 1923 to nearly £430,000 least year. Foreign cement imported advanced from £305,000 721 in 1923 to £540,000 in 1925. Foreign slates imported amounted to only £1,000 for the whole of 1900, and during the last quarter of 1925 their value had risen to£85,000.
§ Mr. L. THOMPSON
May I ask the hon. Gentleman a question. Would he prevent those importations coming into this country?
§ Mr. WRIGHT
surely it is perfectly obvious that vast numbers of men are unemployed in stone quarries and brick yards and that it would be possible to produce the goods here. We are importing vast quantities of stones from quarries abroad to make the roadways of this country. It shows the utmost possible incompetence so far as the Government are concerned in regard to all these problems. I want to appeal, finally, in particular on behalf of the people in my own division. There is scarcely a division in the whole land which has suffered more severely than some of the divisions in the County of Lanark. I hope that we shall not appeal in vain on this occasion. Two years ago the present Prime Minister assured the House and the country, that he could not afford to continue unless he had sufficient power to deal with the unemployed problem. That was in 1923. Now he has a majority of over 200 behind him and, as far as I can see, we are no nearer a solution of this problem than we were when the Labour party first came here in increased numbers. I hope the country is aware of what is going on, and that when another General Elution takes place they will remember the interest taken by hon. Members opposite in this Debate to-day. It is to be hoped, in the interests of the nation, than we shall come hack not merely 150 strong but 350 strong and show them what to do.
§ Mr. SEXTON
My intention is to endeavour, if possible, to humanise the methods by which these matters which we have been discussing are considered by the Front Bench opposite. My experience with regard to the Minister of Labour is different from that of some hon. Members who have spoken to-night. Whenever I have had to deal with the right hon. Gentleman, instead of putting a question on the Notice Paper, I put my case before him personally, and I have always received the greatest consideration and 722 attention. Some cases have been satisfactory, but in the majority of cases the cloven hoof appears, not of the Minister of Labour, but of the Chancellor of the Exchequer who, in endeavouring to save his kaleidoscopic Budget, has compelled the Minister of Labour to act the villain of the piece. It is in the hope of piercing the weak points of the right hon. Gentleman's armour, if there are weak points, that I want to put some more humanity into the administration of these hidebound, red tape Regulations.
It is not in the public interest to allow a man to go without his benefit on the ground that he is not genuinely seeking employment. I have had to go three times a day begging for a job. I was not employed, but I was genuinely seeking employment. These men to-day are in exactly the same position. Morning, noon and night they apply for a job and very seldom get it, and because they do not get a job, even although they are applying for it, they are tabulated as not having qualified and as not genuinely seeking work. Among dockers this state of affairs is essentially hard. Take the case of another man who is only employed for half a day. That man's card is stamped, and the full amount is deducted from that half day's wages by the Ministry of Labour as part of his contribution towards National Insurance, The man may not work more than half a day per week, yet the card is stamped representing a full week. I do submit that a little more humane consideration should be brought into the administration of even hide-bound regulations.
May I give the case that has been put before the hon. Gentleman—and if I make use of a document which I have received from him I do it without any disrespect but only to show exactly how the case stands. This is the case of an ex-service man, a Mr. M. McCormack, of 33, Lang-tree Street, St. Helens. This man saw active service and in 1916 was sent back with a shattered left hand. He was certified fit for very, very light work. This question of light work for ex-service men seems a considerable one and a difficult one, when we consider that capable, able-bodied men with all their physical capabilities and intelligence find it very difficult to get work at the present time. If that be the case the man who has a shattered left hand finds it more difficult, 723 and because he cannot get suitable light work he cannot get benefit, on account of not "having been genuinely seeking employment." This man could not get employment with one of his hands practically gone. In desperation he tried to get employment again in the mines. He only worked three hours when he collapsed. Because he showed that genuine desire to do work which he could not do, the reward he gets is to be told that he has not worked sufficiently. He tried again to work at a mine not far from my house. The manager on seeing him said: "You are not fit for work." The reply was: "For God's sake, let me try." The manager said: "All right." The man stood it for two days, and then he collapsed again. The employer said: "It is no use, get away, you are no use here." It was then marked on the man's certificate that the employer had told him to go, and because he left his employment in that way he was disqualified from unemployment benefit. I put it to the hon. Gentleman and his colleague that in spite of all the difficulties of the ease they might give these questions a little more humane consideration in view of the men who are suffering to-day.
§ Mr. MacLAREN
I join with my colleagues in making a definite protest at the vacancies which appear on the benches opposite. I think it is a standing disgrace, in view of the terrible problem of unemployment with which this country is confronted, to see what we do, and to see what interest is taken in this great question! I am not going to join in making an appeal to the Government in the hope that they may solve unemployment. I know they cannot. I will go further, and say that I challenge them to say that they dare—
§ Mr. MacLAREN
Dare to solve the problem. Unemployment in this country will prevail so long as the opportunities that men must have before they can apply remedies are in the grip of monopoly. Hon. Gentlemen opposite, at least, some of them, are the born representatives of that historic monopoly which holds and controls millions of opportunities that men could use to-day if they had the chance rather than go, as they do 724 regularly, to the Employment Exchange. Hon. Gentlemen opposite are in power with a superabundant majority behind them. Instead of being here to look at this matter seriously—if they genuinely feel the gravity of the case—they are absent. I only wish that the people of this country outside could have seen this House all the afternoon: then they would realise how serious are hon. Gentlemen opposite when this thing of national importance, which almost amounts to a national menace, was under discussion.
The only way to remedy unemployment is to open up these opportunities to which I have referred and allow men to employ themselves. That solution would, of necessity, make it incumbent upon any Government in power to challenge the historic vested interests in this country of hon. Gentlemen opposite. We have adopted the policy of trying to cope with unemployment by bureaucratic and Governmental control. We have set up a Ministry of Labour—which is a bureaucratic tampering with unemployment. Never at any time was I enthusiastic for setting up Government Departments to deal with unemployment. Robinson Crusoe had no employment exchange to go to, and I do not think he required one, but this civilised State of ours we have reached a state of mind in which we accept unemployment as an integral part of our modern civilisation and attempt to deal with it by Government Departments, employment exchanges, and so on. When we attempt to treat those social diseases which arise out of the artificial conditions of society created by vicious economic laws by setting up Government Departments, it is only in the nature of the case that we must have what is happening to-day, cold and callous treatment.
The main reason why I have intervened in this Debate is this. In my own Division, where we have in the employment exchanges perhaps as good a staff of men as it is possible to find in the country, we have been tabulating the number of jobs it is possible to offer to unemployed men. We have completed the machinery now, and in Stoke-on-Trent it is now possible for the officials in the employment exchange to calculate to a very fine point the number of jobs that men can have open to them in any given week. But what happens? I and other 725 members sit on a rota committee, and when men come in and we must ask them the proverbial conundrum, "Have you been looking for work?" We get the reply, "Yes," and then we immediately have to challenge a man's honesty to fired out if he has been, while all the time we know from the data in the hands of our officials whether there is a job for that man or not. God knows it is bad enough to have unemployment foisted on you by a vicious condition of society, but it is an incitement to a man who has got any manhood in him at all when he has to appear before a rota committee of his own fellow creatures and they put him through an examination which is a disgrace to his manhood, sapping his very manhood out of him by circumlocution and cross-examination, while all the time we have in our hands the knowledge that the man could not possibly get a job even though we sent him out to seek one. I ask the Minister, if it be possible, to eliminate this contemptible system of asking people whether they have been genuinely seeking work. Can we not use the Employment Exchanges to find out in each area exactly the number of jobs that are Open to men, and save these men from trudging the streets day after day in their hopeless quest? I understand—the Parliamentary Secretary will correct me if I am wrong—that this suggestion was put forward by North Staffordshire, and that it has not been seriously entertained by the Ministry. If that be so, I say it is a scandal and a disgrace. If the machinery of Employment Exchanges could be used to ascertain exactly how many opportunities of work are open to men, they would be in a position to know whether men were genuinely wanting work or shirking it; they would be in a position to test men direct by offering them work; and it is a scandal and a disgrace that the Ministry should not take advantage of such machinery to obviate the necessity of constantly sending men—and women, too—to look for jobs. At my own rota committee I have seen men come before us who have walked their boots off, and we knew perfectly well that they could not get a job, but the committee had to comply with this nonsensical and farcical requirement of the Act and ask them whether they had been seeking work.
726 In Stoke-on-Trent we had a great sewerage scheme which we hoped would absorb a good number of unemployed men. The scheme was going through, but we were held up, as we usually are held up, by the high prices the landowners demanded for their land. While we were thus hung up, a Circular was issued by the Government to say that we must cut down expenditure; and here we have the anomaly that though public works are being cut down, and there are only a given number of jobs in the factories, we continue to persecute these unfortunate unemployed people by asking them, "Have you looked for a job?"
If it be any consolation to the Ministry I would like to tell them that very serious trouble might have arisen in Stoke-on-Trent owing to the depression in the coal mines, and to the pottery industry working only three or four days a week. There were all the makings of trouble, but we have been lucky enough to get a big rubber company to come over from France to establish works there which, we are told, will absorb 10,000 people.
Had it not been for that lucky accident, God knows what might have been happening in Stoke at this time. The people were gathering in the streets, and were coming to my office in Burslem to show me where they had gone to get signatures from foremen and from managers to whom they bad applied for work. And even after that they were impeached when they went before the rota committee by some of the rather crustacean species who sit upon those committees and who said the men were not looking for work. Surely it is not beyond human intelligence to devise through our Employment Exchanges some system of finding out the amount of employment in an area, and thus save these people from trudging the streets. I have just been told that, it would not servo the ends of the present Government to pursue that policy, because if it were carried out in every area we should soon discover the amount of unabsorbable labour floating through the country, and the one thing the present Government do not want is to see that stated in black and white. However, I make the suggestion for what it is worth, and hope that, despite my strident criticisms, the Minister will devise some machinery to 727 avoid the present system, which is brutalising and insulting to the people who are suffering under it.
§ Mr. T. SHAW
We all ought to sympathise with the Parliamentary Secretary for a double reason. The first is that the Minister who is responsible is now engaged on very important work, which, incidentally, I think it would have been much better if he had been engaged upon it 15 months ago. My second reason is, that no Member opposite has risen even to attempt to defend the right hon. Gentleman's policy. I know one hon. Member opposite used an argument, which was really an insult, because he said the Minister of Labour is suffering not for his own misdeeds but because of an Act of Parliament passed by the right hon. Gentleman the. Member for Preston in 1924. In other words, the Ministry is such an invertebrate jellyfish that it must go on suffering because someone put into an Act of Parliament something which the present Ministry is incapable of getting round or dealing with. That is the only argument which has been used, and it is one of the most wicked insults that could be offered to the Minister.
To-day we have had a very comprehensive discussion conducted without recrimination. The Debate began by a criticism of one part of the administration dealing with trade boards and two trade boards were specially mentioned, one dealing with the grocery trade and the other with the catering trade. Really I cannot understand the Minister's reluctance to deal with those two trades, because we are bound by a sacred treaty to take care that the working conditions of this country should be made better than they were before the War. The Treaty of Versailles in the Labour Charter lays a definite obligation on the Government, and why the Government should not act and act quickly in any trade where it can be proved that the wages paid do not give a bare means of subsistence is beyond my comprehension. I hope the Minister will seriously consider this question of trade boards, and wherever his powers can be used I hope he will set up trade boards wherever it is proved that the people are working for less wages than will give them decent subsistence.
728 10.0 P.M.
Of all the people in this country who have been badly treated by our unemployment proposals the women have suffered the most. In all the palliative schemes which have been adopted for the relief of unemployment the women have had neither part nor lot. Hundreds of thousands of men have got sonic employment on account of the schemes which have been adopted, but the women have been left almost completely out of them. I know the difficulties of the Ministry in regard to this matter, and it is a tremendously difficult task to find schemes that will employ women, and the trades that would find them work are so small that I cannot understand why the Minister has cut down this provision at all. In this respect the so-called economy is so small and so unjust that I hope the Minister will reconsider the matter.
Another matter in which I am dissatisfied with the inactivity of the Minister is the question of dealing with young persons. Nobody knows how many young persons in this country are out of work. When I was Minister of Labour I did try to adopt a method that would have given us some idea, but I was met with opposition from all quarters of the House, from educationists who though, that my methods would injure the children, and not a single one of those who opposed my proposal has since moved to help to get this information, and not one of those who used that criticism at that time has ever attempted in a-1y way to help these children since.
The result is that to-day we do not know how many thousands of them are unemployed, because that is a matter of which we have no record. Just at the age when a Government ought to assist them we have no record of this kind, and with the exception of a few committees, which are rendering yeoman service for which we ought to be grateful, apparently there is nobody who will take these young persons in hand. I hole the Minister will be able to do something in regard to these young persons. I hope that in the administration of the Insurance Act everything will be done for the persons whose claims are disallowed, and we should see that no obstacles are placed in their way. On the contrary, we should help them to get their cases dealt with in the most judicial way. If they have a claim to 729 make, or if they have a grievance, it ought to be examined by an unbiassed person. There has sprung up in the administration in this respect an extraordinary state of affairs. You have a committee to deal with these cases, and the decisions of that committee are constantly overridden by the Ministry. That is a most sinister departure and there is no parallel to it. That is a development which ought to be checked quickly, and a mach more sympathetic administration adopted.
Then we have that extraordinary circular advising that benefits should be disallowed on the Minister's recommendation if there is between 10s. and 13s. per head going into the house. The average would be about 1s. 3½. per day, but I put it at the maximum of 1s. 10½. per day. That is for all purposes, including fuel, lighting, clothing, washing and everything else. What a liberal sum that is! After all, working people have a right not merely to bare food and clothing, but to some form of enjoyment and 1s. 10½d. a day would not be sufficient to purchase a good cigar or pay even for a day's washing of many hon. Members of this House. If these poor people have this 1s. 10½d. a day for all purposes then their benefits must be refused. We are, I suppose, said to be a Christian country, but, if Christianity consists in sending out circulars like this, I am beginning to have my doubts about the solidity of our beliefs.
Then we had a speech from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Bristol (Captain Guest), who talked about not recriminating, and about the three Leaders getting together to find a settle-meet. That would be a most excellent method of passing the time, but what hope is there, after the policy of the Government during the last few months, that anything would arise out of that discussion unless there was a radical change of heart on the part of the Government? Even since this Government came into office, it has quite consistently and regularly done what it could, not to decrease unemployment, but to make the figures look less. An example taken from an answer given by the Minister himself will show exactly what the figures are worth. He said, in answer to a question, that, during the quarter ending last November, there had been—I am giving the figures 730 from memory, and the Parliamentary Secretary will correct me if I am wrong—disallowances in, I think, about 175,000 cases. Not more than 74,000 of those people continued to register, and there is no proof that work was found for a single one of the other 101,000, but they all went off the register.
The figures as at present given are absolutely valueless. They do not represent the number of unemployed in this country. Nobody knows how many unemployed people we, have. We know that there are well over a million on the live register, but we do not know how many there are in addition. Let me take some figures that have been given without the administration or the different Regulations of the Ministry of Labour entering into the calculation at all. In 1924, the trade unions that make returns to the Ministry of Labour returned 8.1 per cent. unemployed. In 1925 they returned 10.5 per cent., and for 1926, up to date, 10.6 per cent. These figures, in my opinion, are more accurate than those given by the Department, which everyone, including; the Department, knows do not represent the number of unemployed people in this country. I am willing to admit, because I have no desire to make a wrong use of the figures, that it may be possible that the trade unions who make returns may have for the moment an exceptional spell of unemployment, but, even taking that into account, I think that unquestionably the balance of evidence is that there are more unemployed to-day than there were at this date two years ago.
Is the right hon. Gentleman taking into account the considerable shrinkage in the membership of the trade unions making returns?
§ Mr. SHAW
If that be the case, it does not at all alter the percentage, and the people who leave are those who have more unemployment than those who stay in. I do not think, therefore, that there is much to be gained from that. In view of the answer of the Minister, that 175,000 were refused benefit, and 101,000 of those ceased to register and disappeared from the list altogether, although there is no proof that a single one of them got, employment, I think it will be found that what I have stated is the, fact, and the House wants to know the facts. I am a great optimist in regard to human 731 nature, and I believe that these matters are not attended to simply because we do not understand each other and cannot get to grips with each other. I am sure that if Members of the House were asked individually whether they consider 1s. 8½d. a reasonable amount for a person to live upon, every one of them individually would say, "No"; but they come and vote for a Government which has issued a Circular in favour of making 1s. 8½d. a day the standard. It is a matter of trying to get nearer into the hearts of each other than we have up to the present.
Then we have the question of "not genuinely seeking work," about which I want to say a few plain words. When the 1924 bill became an Act, this and other Clauses were put in to give a guarantee to the country that the new benefits given would not be abused, and with the understanding, on the part of the Minister who passed it, that the administration would be reasonable. The advantages of the Act have been taken away, but, where the Government see an opportunity of using anything in it by which they can screw people out of the list, they allow that to stay in. That is the extraordinary position that exists now. The Minister of Labour to-day could quickly and without any difficulty get over this intolerable difficulty and injustice to thousands of people in the country to-day. Think of it: A man is refused benefit on the allegation that he is not genuinely seeking work. He produces proof that he has been to different firms, and the Exchange officials know that there are thousands of people out of work and that there are no jobs in the town, but yet this man is turned out of benefit. If the Minister wanted to change that state of things, there is nothing to prevent him from doing so.
§ Mr. L. THOMPSON
Is the right hon. Gentleman now applying that condition to standard benefit? Does not the condition as to genuinely seeking work apply to extended benefit only?
§ Mr. SHAW
I apply it to either standard or extended benefit. If an injustice is being done, the Minister of Labour can remedy that injustice, and there is nothing to prevent him. It is rather a paltry excuse, and it is a little 732 mean, to get out of your own crimes by pretending that the other person is the criminal. [An HON. MEMBER: "Rabbits!"] The original and sparkling character of that remark is really worthy of the hon. Gentleman; it shows to what a. fine point his wit has developed. I say, with every desire to speak quite calmly, that it is the greatest humbug in the world to refuse a man benefit on the allegation that he is not genuinely seeking work, when at the same time he has produced evidence that he has been seeking work, and the officials know that there is no work in the town and that there are thousands of people out of work. It is not only humbug; it is dishonest. I can apply no less word to it. It is deliberately defrauding the man of rights that he ought to possess.
Now let me turn to matters of policy. It appears that the Minister is making no attempt at all to survey the position of industry and to suggest a remedy to his colleagues. There is no evidence whatever that he is taking any steps to make any suggestions at all. Take the question of agriculture. Only a few days ago I was in a small town in the heart of Kent, and walking clown the High Street, in almost every shop one saw Danish produce displayed. Why? [An HON. MEMBER: "They cannot get labour!"] Really, I think the hon. Member knows that is rather weak. I will continue my argument, and then he will see my point. What is the Minister doing to call the attention of his colleagues in the Cabinet to the fact that Denmark has worse land than ours, that her transport difficulties a-re infinitely greater, and yet she is a prosperous agricultural country? Her people are not badly fed. They are not badly paid. [An Hon. MEMBER: "How many hours do they work?]. I think it is fairly safe to say the Danish worker does not work longer hours than ours work. He is as highly educated as our men, he is more comfortable than our men, and he is a freer man than our men are. [An Hon. MEMBER: "And he has Protection!"] I have heard about King Charles's head, and Mr. Dick was not a particularly intelligent gentleman. These men have got this result by certain very simple things. [An HON. MEMBER "Protection!"] Really, I do not mind interjections that show some knowledge of the 733 subject, but when I keep hearing about Protection in connection with the Danish agricultural industry I must draw the line. There are some very simple things in Denmark. The most important of all is that the farmers co-operate amongst themselves in order to get the best results. The Danish farmer is not a better man than our farmer. It is extremely questionable whether he knows any more about farming. But he has applied organised commonsense. The Danish farmers do not work every man for his own little hand. They act together, buy together, manufacture together, and sell together, with the result that Denmark is a prosperous agricultural country. Why does not the Minister of Labour, seeing these things, advise his colleagues to deal with the farmers, ask them to help themselves, and give them liberal credits if they are prepared to form these societies in order to put agriculture on a better footing?
Industry, it seems to me, is shifting. We are not in the position that we were as a, manufacturing nation 50 years ago. There will have to be a change in industry, and there will have to be more men employed on our land, and it would be a very good thing if the Minister of Labour would use his powers of persuasion with his colleagues in the Cabinet in order to get a move on in this respect. I have heard what he has said, and not a single idea can I get from him as to what he is prepared to do. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be —that is the argument we get from him. Then there is no question at all of the possibility of speeding up afforestation. Surely, any wise nation that had a lumber of its people unemployed, and had things that, needed doing, would get them done.
§ Commander FANSHAWE
Will the right hon. Gentleman tell the House what his proposals are for getting people back on to the land?
§ Mr. SHAW
I have just told you—agricultural co-operation, with credits. I was saying that a wise nation that needed things doing to make itself richer and more efficient, would do whatever it could to use its money in order to get that result. Instead of that policy being followed, we have a policy that is going 734 the other way. The efforts that were made to palliate the position are being dropped one by one, and the only positive action that emerges from the Minister of Labour's policy is that of getting people off benefits and not getting them into work. That is the policy that we see adopted at the present time.
There is a complaint of the unemployed workers which is thoroughly justified. We bear a crushing burden of taxation owing to the War. We pay nearly £1,000,000 a day interest on borrowed money. That is sacrosanct. No man must touch the ark of the covenant. You can touch the benefits of the poor people, you can make them suffer more and more, but mammon must still be enthroned. There has never been a suggestion from the Minister of Labour that he was going to say to his colleagues, "Here is a burden of over £300,000,000 a year, some of which must be lifted in order to give our people a chance of living." Oh, no! You can take unemployment benefit from the poor, but you must not touch the fringe of the garment of the God of mammon. That is the position of affairs. That is the position that is being seen more and more by the working men of this country.
This would require, legislation. It is not competent for the Minister of Labour to deal with that.
§ Mr. SHAW
I am recommending the Minister to take certain action, and we are moving the reduction of his salary because he has not taken action. We are moving a reduction of his salary because we see no policy which is dealing with the most serious problem of our time. I am trying to make suggestions to him that would help him to get out of the difficulty next year. We do not want to move a reduction c Ins salary every year.
The right hon. Gentleman suggests that the interest on the National Debt should be reduced. That is not in the power either of the Minister of Labour or even of the Government, without legislation. We are now in Committe of Supply, and legislation cannot, be discussed.
On a point of Order. Are the right hon. Gentleman's colleagues in order in examining picture postcards while he is speaking?
I have sufficient to do in maintaining the Rules of Debate without inquiring into hon. Members' occupations.
§ Mr. SHAW
I am going to deal with what the Minister stated in the last Debate on this subject was his policy. He said that his policy was to develop markets and to get people work in a normal way. I ask him how has he applied that policy and what are the results? The three greatest potential markets in the world for us are India, China and Russia. [Laughter.] Hon. Members laugh. I have an idea that India, China and Russia together have a very large proportion of the world's population. Not only are they tremendously important, potentially, as our customers but they are tremendously important potentially as our friends or enemies. From China and India we have not seen any good results from the policy enunciated by the Minister, and we would like the Parliamentary Secretary to tell us what has been done since the last Motion of this kind in order, if one may use a slang term, to "deliver the goods." Where are the results? Take China. There was in China a riot at a Japanese factory. The Government have so managed things that the emnity of the Chinese has been diverted towards us, whereas in the first place the dispute took place at a Japanese factory.
As far as Russia is concerned, we have had that topic raised so often that even I am getting tired of it.. It is so evident. Any Government that does not see the wisdom of making friends with the Russian people and does not try to develop that potential market is perfectly hopeless; and the less said about the matter the better. A large proportion of unemployment is directly due to the War, and I am only going to point to the promises made to the working man as they are laid down in the Treaty of Peace definitely. And none have been kept. The Minister has no remedy. He is no further ahead than his predecessors of 40 years ago. May I give the House what was said 30 or 40 years ago, and by well-known politicians, and then ask the Minister of Labour if he has learned anything or if his party have learned anything. Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman said that there were over 10,000,000 people in this country always on the verge of destitution. [Interruption.] 736 I know it is a funny subject to some hon. Members that people should be on the verge of destitution. When I was in the mill I worked next to one of the finest men in the world, a man who never lost a minute. I went home one week and found that owing to unemployment and sickness he had thrown himself in front of a train and committed suicide. Destitution is not a thing for laughter. I do not want to say any more on that subject because if I did I shall probably say things I may regret afterwards. That is the position. As far back as 40 years ago you had the same state of things. The, present Government have no remedy. You cannot propose a remedy. Sneers will not help you. [Interruption.] Interjections that are at all intelligent can be dealt with. The Marquis of Salisbury, a well-known Tory of years ago, made exactly the same kind of speech when calling attention to the millions of people in our country who were on the verge of destitution. He said:It was time they stopped trying to mend the constitution of Parliament and turned all the wisdom and energy of Parliament in order to remedy the sufferings under which w many of their countrymen lived.Mr. Joseph Chamberlain said this:For my part, neither sneers nor abuse "—and he had both from the Tories of his day—nor opposition shall induce me to accept as the will of the Almighty and the unalterable dispensation of His providence a state of things under which millions will be condemned to a sordid, hopeless and monotonous life without pleasure in the present and without prospect for the future.These things ace as true to-day as they were then, and you stand hopeless in face of the problem, without remedy, without hope without programme, without policy. And because you are in that condition we are moving a reduction in the salary of the Minister in order to know whether you have any method what- ever for dealing with the problem.
§ Mr. BETTERTON
I appreciate the kindly references of the right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken to the absence of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour. But I cannot help expressing regret that this Debate was fixed, by those who arranged it, to take place to-night, when it must have been obvious 737 that in my right hon. Friend's unavoidable absence the Debate would necessarily lose much of its interest. It has been a Debate which, of all the long debates on this subject to which I have listened, has been freer from recrimination than any in which I have taken part. I say frankly, that some of the suggestions which have been made are suggestions which are very well worth consideration, and. they will be considered. The obvious desire of many, indeed, of almost all—I do not want to discriminate—of the speakers, has been to contribute something to a solution of the difficulties with which we are faced. There has also been a greater realisation of the difficulties of my right hon. Friend, and a snore genuine desire to appreciate what those difficulties are than I have ever noticed in such a discussion before.
As the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) said, in a Debate of this kind it is almost impossible, in the course of a reply, however adequate one attempts to make it, to deal with all the points that have been raised, some of them points of great detail on questions of administration, and at the same time to deal with the larger questions of policy such as those which have been raised by the last speaker. As the Committee Knows, speaking broadly, the view of the Government is that; work deliberately created merely for the purpose of putting people to work is nicer likely to do harm than good.
§ Miss WILKINSON
Does the hon. Gentleman think that the making of arterial roads is work created merely for the purpose of putting people to work?
§ Mr. BETTERTON
The development of arterial roads is going on, and it is a very good thing that it should go on, and hope it will go on. But, speaking broadly, it does not help in the long run to take money from the normal courses of trade and to create work merely for the purpose of creating it. Therefore, speaking again broadly, in reply to the right hon. Member for Preston (Mr. T. Shaw), the policy of this Government is to keep up the credit of this country, and to encourage the normal trade of this country by every possible means. If I needed it, I could quote in aid the words of the right hon. Gentleman who was Chancellor of the Exchequer in the last Government. No one has put the case better, and, 738 indeed, no one is capable of putting it better than he. I have before me the report of a speech which was made about a fortnight ago to the Dewsbury Chamber of Commerce:If, however, any such saving were to be effected it was necessary that we should maintain at all costs the financial credit of the country. We had in view a huge conversion of debt in the next few years. If by some financial policy we could reduce the price of money so that these debts, or a considerable part of these debts, could be converted at a saving of even one-half per cent. interest, that would effect a saving of £30,000,000 a year to the taxpayer, while one per cent. would save us £60,000,000 a year. That could not be done unless the Budget was balanced.It is in view of such a statement as that, with which I entirely agree, that we must consider all these schemes which have been suggested to-night. Speaking quite frankly for myself, I greatly regret it has been necessary to cut some of them down, and one of these is the women's training course. I also regret that it has been necessary to cut clown, to some extent, the grant for the juvenile unemployment centres. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why has it been necessary?"] For the very reason given by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley. The hon. Member for Tottenham (Mr. R. Morrison) made a suggestion that we should call together a large conference of all the industries of the country and he said that proposal had already been made by his council to the Prime Minister. I think I may say that the view of the Prime Minister—certainly it is my own personal view—is that until each industry has composed its own difficulties or shown that all the parties within the industry are at one, the, calling of a large general conference embracing all industries would be likely to do more harm than good.
§ Mr. R. MORRISON
I made a further suggestion. I pointed out that my council made the suggestion mentioned, to the Prime Minister, and that it was turned down by the Prime Minister, Then I went on to suggest that a non-party committee of Members of this House should be set up, and I appealed to the hon. Gentleman to take a lead in that matter and see if it would not lead to anything.
§ Mr. BETTERTON
If that suggestion has not already been brought before my right hon. Friend, I will certainly bring 739 it before him. With regard to criticisms on the administration of my right hon. Friend, I must, of course, say something, because the greater part of this Debate, naturally and properly enough, has been directed to points of administration. I confess I did not understand the reference of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Preston to a supposed insult which he said had been uttered by a supporter of the Government. He apparently thought that was to be regarded as an insult that we should feel ourselves bound to administer an Act which he himself passed and which is still in force. Of course, we are bound by that Act so long as it is law. It is true that Act has presented many difficulties of administration. Some of the phrases that have been so much canvassed to-day are, I frankly admit, very difficult of interpretation, and I believe some of the provisions of the Act are not applicable to the state of affairs which prevails to-day. That Act, however, is in force and so long as it is in force it is the duty of my right hon. Friend to administer it. My right hon. Friend, feeling, as I do, that these difficulties exist, has, as the Committee knows, appointed a Committee under the chairmanship of Lord Bledisloe, to advise him as to how these difficulties can best be met, but as the matter stands now that is the Act in force, and that is the Act which we have to administer.
There has been a good deal of confusion—and, indeed, when I look at this volume of Acts which I am supposed to know from A to Z I am not surprised that that confusion exists in the mind of anybody as to what all these Acts contain—in all parts of the House as to what are the powers of my right. hon. Friend under the legislation now in force. It has been assumed in many speeches that my right hon. Friend is a sort of super-relieving officer, who, without regard to Regulations, except those that he made himself, can dispense benefit as he likes, and that, under the exercise of his discretion, he can give benefit where now it is withheld. Really, nothing is further from the truth, because, as the right hon. Member for Preston must know, my right hon. Friend is bound to see to it, not that the Regulations only, but the statutory 'provisions laid down in that Act, are 740 observed, and he has no right and no power to give benefits here or there unless he is satisfied that those provisions are fulfilled. Let us see what machinery he adopts in order to satisfy himself on this fundamental and important fact. The machinery which he has is exactly the machinery which the right hon. Gentleman had.
First of all, the standard benefit cases, in the rules relating to which that phrase that has been so much canvassed to-day, "genuinely seeking employment," occurs, comes under the machinery set up in previous Acts, and if there is a dispute about them there is a reference to a Court of Referees and, in certain cases, to the Umpire. It is idle to say that any action of my right hon. Friend or that any what is pleased to be called more sympathetic administration can alter the fact that he is bound by the words in the Act, and that the authority for construing them is already provided in the Act, namely, the Court of Referees and the Umpire.
Now let me say a word about a totally different class of cases, namely, those of extended benefit. Since I have had anything to do with this most difficult work, I have always been more impressed by this than by anything else, and that is the enormous amount of work, very thankless, very difficult, and very persistent and consistent, which is put in by those who serve on the local committees. It has always struck me that their serving on them is a display of what I may call local patriotism of the very highest order, and, therefore, I do pay my humble tribute to the work which they do. What has been the criticism to-clay 1 There has been no criticism, I think, or, if there has, it has been so negligible that I have missed it, as to the way in which at any rate they try to do their duty. What is the nature of the criticism? some hon. Members have said, "Why do you not always accept the findings of the committees, because you set up these committees, who know local conditions, and who are composed of employers and employed?" Other critics say, "Why do you accept the findings of these committees when such findings inflict hardship on deserving people?" What my right hon. Friend does is the only thing that any person charged with the administration of this 741 Act can do. Speaking broadly, and as a general rule, he accepts the findings of these committees, unless it is clear that these findings are inconsistent with the legal obligations under the Act.
§ Mr. CLYNES
Will the hon. Gentleman allow me to put a question on this matter, as he is pursuing it at such length? Is he not aware that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his speech on Tuesday in support of the Economy Bill, adduced the argument that less money was being spent on unemployment benefit by a stricter administration?
§ Mr. BETTERTON
On Tuesday, I was engaged in the Hours Conference, and therefore the answer is in the negative.
§ Mr. TINKER
What about keeping to the strictly legal definition when he non-suited the rota committee's finding?
§ Mr. BETTERTON
Last year there were something like 1,600,000 cases brought before the rota, committees. The number in which my right hon. Friend disagreed with the findings of the rota committees was just over 8,000, or less than one-half of 7 per cent. Therefore, he does, as he is bound to do, accept in the overwhelming majority of cases the findings of those committees. If he did not, quite obviously you could not expect any gentleman to go on serving, and if the committee system breaks down, I leave it to hon. Gentlemen who take so much interest, as we all do, in the administration of this Act, to consider what you are going to put in their place. I do not know of any body or authority you can put in their place, unless you are prepared to give to officials of the Ministry the powers which are now exercised by the rota committees.
§ Mr. BETTERTON
The hon. Gentleman who opened the discussion referred to a matt2r about which, I am sure, he will expect me to say something. He criticised the action of my right hon. Friend with regard to trade boards, and he said that sweating existed in this trade and that trade, and that it was very monstrous we should refuse to set up trade boards in those cases. The policy of the Government has been stated in the clearest possible words by my right hon. Friend, 742 in answer to a question in December last. It is a very long answer, and I will only read the first line, which was thatThe Government adhere to the principle that the grave evil of sweating must be prevented.Arid he is determined that the grave evil of sweating shall he prevented, so far as it rests with him. He found when he came into office that there were three inquiries on foot—I think instituted by the right hon. Gentleman—on the meat distributing trade, the drapery and allied trades, and the catering trade. In addition to those, he himself instituted an inquiry into the grocery trade. He has received the Report of the Inquiry, and he said in answer to a question:The result of the investigation is being considered in the light of the statement of the Government's policy with regard to trade boards which I made when I took office.Then, he says, he has decided that, in all the circumstances, the conditions that exist do not justify at the present time the application of the Act. I was very sorry for the hon. Gentlemen who desired to raise this question that the reports were not in their hands before this date. I warn them, however, that I am not at all sure that these reports, which they have not yet seen, will be quite so favourable to the contention which they are so anxious to make. Of course we know the Ministry of Labour Estimates come up about once a week, and they will have ample opportunity between now and the time when the Guillotine falls to raise this or any other questions which have been raised on more than one occasion.
The hon. Gentleman the Member for one of the divisions of Leeds raised a point which is one of very considerable complexity, and it arises on one of the Acts to which I have referred, the Act of 1920. It was a criticism by him that, where misconduct was alleged, the man against whom it was alleged should have the charge properly communicated to him and further inquiry made. I am told that in such cases the employer's reply is always communicated to the claimant, who thus has an opportunity of stating his case before the insurance officers, and, if there is any conflict of statement further inquiry is made. So, in answer to a specific request or criticism that further inquiry should be made in such cases, I should like to assure the hon. 743 Member, if he were here, that such inquiry is already made.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Spec Valley (Sir J. Simon) raised the point with regard to that very technical question known as the 30 contributions rule. Under the exercise of the waiver, the power which my right hon. Friend has, he has substituted for the 30 contributions within two insurance years which was provided by the Act of 1922, 30 contributions at any time or eight contributions within the last two insurance years. We are charged with administering this Act in a harsh, hard-hearted and unsympathetic manner, but it may have escaped the memory of the right hon. Gentleman opposite that one of the very first things we did was to relax the rules made by him which, if carried out, would have put something between 200,000 and 250,000 persons out of benefit.
Under the Act of 1925 the rule laying down the necessity for producing 30 contributions as a condition precedent to benefit, was replaced by that to which I have referred. If the matter had remained where it was then indeed we should have found that at least 200,000
§ persons would have been put off benefit. Just one reference to the statement made by the right hon. Gentleman both to-day and the other day. His argument, in which he gave certain figures which I am quoting from memory, was to the effect: "Here you have 175,000 persons who have been rejected during a. certain period, and only 74,000 have continued to register, and therefore 100,00 persons have disappeared from the register during a stated time." The first comment I would make upon that is this, that these were not persons; they were claims. In the total number of 100,000, claims may be made two or three times by the same person. You are really, therefore, not dealing with persons but the number of claims, which is a totally different thing. The second observation I would make is that some of these people may become sick, others may have found work, and some may go into uninsurable occupations. To suggest that this large number of people have simply remained out of work is a suggestion I can not accept.
§ Question put, "That Item Class VII, Vote 3 (Ministry of Labour), be reduced by £100."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 102; Noes, 195.745
|Division No. 96.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Groves, T.||Robinson, W.C. (Yorks, W.R., Elland)|
|Ammon, Charles George||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Rose, Frank H.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hardie, George D.||Sakiatvala, Shapurji|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hayes, John Henry||Sexton, James|
|Barnes, A.||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Barr, J.||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Batey, Joseph||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Simon, Rt. Han. Sir John|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Broad, F. A.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Snell, Harry|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Kelly, W. T.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Buchanan, G.||Kennedy, T.||Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel||Kenworthy, Lt-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Stamford, T. W.|
|Cape, Thomas||Lansbury, George||Stewart, J. St. Rolfox)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Lawson, John James||Taylor R. A|
|Cluse, W. S||Lee, F.||Thurtle, E.|
|Clynes Rt. Hon. John R.||Lindley, F. W.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Lunn, William||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Connolly. M.||Mackinder, w.||Varley, Frank B.|
|Cove, W. G.||MacLaren, Andrew||Viant, S. P.|
|Dalton, Hugh||Montague, Frederick||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Morris, R. H.||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Davison. J. E. (Smethwick)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Naylor, T. E.||Whiteley, W.|
|Dennison, R.||Oliver, George Harold||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Duncan, C.||Owen, Major G.||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Dunnico, H.||Palin, John Henry||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Unlver.)||Paling, W.||Williams. T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Garro-Jones. Captain G. M.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Ponsonby, Arthur||Windsor. Walter|
|Gillett, George M.||Potts, John S.||Wright, W.|
|Gosling, Harry||Pureed, A. A.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Greenall, T.||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Riley, Ben||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Ritson, J.||Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr. Charles Edwards,|
|Albery, Irving James||Ganzoni, Sir John.||Nuttall, Ellis|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Goff, Sir Park||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C, M.S.||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Perring, Sir William George|
|Apsley, Lord||Grotrian, H. Brent||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Philipson, Mabel|
|Atkinson, C.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Pilcher, G.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Hanbury, C.||Ramsden, E.|
|Balniel, Lord||Harland, A.||Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington)|
|Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Reid, D. D. (County Down)|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Remer, J. R,|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Henderson, Capt. R.R.(Oxf'd, Henley)||Rice, Sir Frederick|
|Bethel, A.||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Ropner, Major L.|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R. skipton)||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.|
|Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.)||Hennessy, Major J, R. G.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Blundell, F. N.||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Salmon, Major I.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Herbert, S.(York,N.R.,Scar. & Wh'by)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Hills, Major John Waller||Sandeman, A. Stewart|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Holland, Sir Arthur||Sandon, Lord|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Shaw, R. G (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks,Newby)||Howard, Captain Hon. Donald||Sheffield, sir Berkeley|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Hudson, R. s. (Cumborl'nd, Whlteh'n)||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Campbell, E. T.||Hume, Sir G. H.||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine.C.)|
|Cassels, J. D.||Hurd, Percy A.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Hiffe, Sir Edward M.||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Jacob, A. E.||Stanley, Cot. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Jephcott, A. R.||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Christie, J. A.||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Storry-Deans, R.|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Kindersley, Major G. M.||Strickland, Sir Gerald|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Lamb, J. Q.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Cope, Major William||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Couper, J. B.||Loder, J. de V,||Tasker, Major R. Inigo|
|Courthope, Lieut.-Col. Sir George L.||Looker, Herbert William||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islingtn. N.)||Lougher, L.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Croft, Brigadier-General sir H.||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Lumley, L. R.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement.|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Crookshank, Cpt.H.(Lindsey,Gainsbro)||Macintyre, Ian||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Cunliffe, Joseph Herbert||McLean, Major A.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Davidson, J.(Hertf"d, Hemel Hempst'd)||Macmillan, Captain H.||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir John H.||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||Wells, S. R.|
|Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||MacRobert, Alexander M.||White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Eden, Captain Anthony||Malone, Major P. B.||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Margesson, Captain D.||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset,Weston-s.-M.)||Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Merriman, F. B.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Falls, Sir Bertram G,||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)||Withers, John James|
|Fanshawe, Commander G. D,||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Femoy, Lord||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Womersley, W, J.|
|Fielden, E. B.||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)|
|Finburgh, S.||Moore, Sir Newton J.|
|Ford, Sir P. J.||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Forrest, W.||Neville, R. J.||Captain viscount Curzon and Lord|
|Foster, Sir Harry S.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Stanley.|
|Gadie, Lieut.-Colonel Anthony||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)|
Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ It being after Eleven of the Clock, the Chairman proceeded, pursuant to Standing Order No. 15, to put forthwith time Question necessary to dispose of the Vote.
§ Resolution to be reported To-morrow; Committee to sit again To-morrow.