HC Deb 18 November 1926 vol 199 cc1964-6
55. Colonel WOODCOCK

asked the Minister of Transport the total sum paid or promised by the Government towards the cost of making Portway (the Bristol-Avonmouth road); and what amount has already been paid to the Bristol Corporation on account of this road?

The MINISTER of TRANSPORT (Colonel Ashley)

As the answer contains a number of figures, I will, with my hon. and gallant Friend's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the answer:

officials in detail, and that evidence shall be required to be furnished to the Government Department concerned that every contributing member is furnished each year with a copy of the accounts?


Before the hon. Gentleman answers that question, may I ask, on a point of Order, whether, in view of the fact that the information asked for is now at the disposal, not only of the members of the unions in the annual reports, but also to the members of the public on payment of a small fee; and, in view of your recent statement that these questions are unnecessary, and that you would inquire into the matter, might I ask at what decision you have arrived?


Some time ago there was a series of questions of this kind, but in the result the Government gave a Return which, I think, supplied the figures generally. This question asks apparently for something further than that "Return, and the hon. Gentleman is quite entitled to ask for the information.


The present form of account, of which I am sending my hon. and gallant Friend a copy, subdivides both salaries and expenses under head office, district offices and branch offices, and under Section 16 of the Act of 1871 every member is already entitled to obtain a copy of the accounts free of charge on demand. I think that substantially this meets the points which the hon. and gallant Member has in mind.


May I risk whether it is a regulation with regard to these trade unions that every member shall be supplied with a copy free of charge in order that he may know the financial position?


May I ask whether, as further steps are to be taken to give in detail more information about the trade union funds, steps can be taken to give corresponding information with regard to the funds of employers' associations, and whether, as information in detail has to be given publicly about the political funds of trade unions, similar information will be afforded as to the political funds of the Conservative organisation?


With regard to the question asked by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, that quite clearly does not arise out of this question. With regard to the question by my hon. and gallant Friend, these are, under Section 16 of the Act of 1871, given on demand to any member of the union who asks for them.


Is it not a fact that, as the hon. Gentleman states, not only are they given free and without cost, but that the difficulty now is to get the members to take them I Could not the same thing be applied to such institutions as the Stoke Water Company?


As, apparently, there is no desire by hon. Members connected with these trade unions not to allow their members to have copies, will the trade union leaders undertake to see that, copies are supplied?

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