§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I beg to move, in page 4, line 6, to leave out the word "thirty," and to insert instead thereof the word "twenty."
This subject has been fairly well debated already, and there is no question on which the House of Commons is 1650 so unanimous. I was not present in the Committee when it was being discussed—certain circumstances led to my absence—but I have read the debates in the OFFICIAL REPORT and I find that the hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. L. Thompson), the hon. Member for White-haven (Mr. R. Hudson) and other hon. Members joined in asking for a reduction of the 30 stamps to 20. The hon. Member for Leith (Mr. E. Brown) asked for a reduction to 15, the hon. Member for North Battersea (Mr. Saklatvala) asked for five, and the hon. Member for West Willesden (Mr. Viant) asked for 20. The Labour party argued that this. qualification should go altogether. The point I want to make is, that from the hon. Member for North Battersea to hon. Members opposite there was common agreement that the 30 stamps' qualification was too severe, and in the circumstances ought to be reduced. I must make it clear that the Labour party does not support a 20 stamps' qualification. In the evidence submitted by the hon. Member for West Nottingham (Mr. Hayday) and the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. A. Greenwood), they definitely said that they were not in favour of a stamp qualification.
But we have to take the Bill as it is, and the House of Commons as it is, and while we have endeavoured to get unemployment as the only test for benefit, while we think that it is the duty of the State to maintain a man if he is unable to find employment, and hope with another Government in power to put it into practice, we have to face the realities of the present position and do not ask that this view should be accepted by the present Government. We have tried to effect a. compromise between the view of the hon. Member for Leith and the view of hon. Members opposite, who ask for 20 stamps. I am sure the hon. Member for Leith will agree that while 20 stamps would not solve our problem, it would go far to mitigate the hardships which would be imposed by this Bill. What is the reason for this 30 stamps' qualification? The only reason is the recommendation of the Blanesburgh Committee and, I have no doubt, the Minister will try to find refuge there. It is true the Blanesburgh Committee recommended that there should be some form of qualification and that 30 stamps 1651 came as near a qualification period as any other figure. But there is no reason for 30 stamps, or for 40 stamps; there is no reason for 20 or for 10. It is said that we ought to have some figure; and by a process of reasoning unknown to me the 30 stamps' qualification has been put in. To enforce this qualification will undoubtedly impose great hardship on people, and should be resisted.
There are two or three points which I am anxious to make. The first is that if this Bill is carried in its present form you will throw an undue burden on local rating authorities. In the White Paper which the Minister issued he states that he expects that only 30,000 persons will be thrown on the Poor Law as a result of these provisions. I cannot find out where he gets his figures. I have heard hon. Members, Liberal, Tory, and Labour, argue that if this qualification operates, hundreds, if not thousands, will be added to the Poor Law in their own constituency, and if we take the cumulative opinion expressed in this House I should say that the figure is much nearer 100,000 than 30,000. But whether it he 30,000 or 100,000, the Minister, so far, has not produced any convincing evidence to show that the number will be 30,000, and I consider that 100,000 is as likely to be correct as his figure. Let me take it at 30,000. Where will they be situated? The worst feature is that these 30,000 will not occur in the towns in the Midlands of England, which have been fairly prosperous for the past two years; they will not have to carry much of this burden. In fact, the whole 30,000 will be cast on two or three very bad areas, who at the present time cannot afford to bear any further burden. The comparatively rich areas will be able to shirk this responsibility and fling it on to areas like Wales and Durham, and parts of Scotland which are already groaning under their present burdens.
It is indefensible from another point of view. As far as we are concerned, we consider that there ought to be one test only; and that should be whether a person is capable of work, whether he has been offered a job, and whether he has refused it. If a man can prove that he is capable of work, that he is willing and anxious to work, ready to take any job that is offered, then we submit he 1652 ought to get benefit. If this qualification of 30 stamps is retained, it means that men who have been out of work for two years, who are as anxious and as keen as possible to get work, will not get benefit. They are men of good character, unexcelled by anybody. Their search for work may have been diligent and over far distances, but that does not matter. The only thing that matters to the Minister of Labour is not their diligence in searching for work, not their anxiety for work, but whether they have this 30 stamps qualification. That is not a satisfactory position.
We have also to consider how far the present Poor Law figures will be affected. I have obtained figures from the Secretary of State for Scotland for my own local parish council of Govan, and I find that in 1924, when the right hon. Member for Preston (Mr. T. Shaw) held office, they spent on able-bodied unemployed relief, roughly speaking, £1,600 per week. A month ago, under the present Minister, it had risen to £5,500 per week. What is the reason for that? The reason is this, that the Minister has been casting men, who have been looking for work and who could not fulfil the qualification, on to the Poor Law. In this district shipbuilding and engineering are the staple industries. I know men who have searched for work morning, noon and night. Their characters will bear the strictest investigation, and they are out of work because of circumstances over which they have no control. Consider what has been happening in the shipbuilding industry—and I think this is quite to the point. Ships, built for steam purposes, are being largely displaced by oil-carrying vessels, and the old boiler makers, who used to make boilers for steam engines, are not needed now. They have become a thing of the past: This new mechanical invention has turned out these highly skilled and energetic men and displaced them by another kind of worker altogether. Many establishments on the Clyde have closed down one after the other, and these men have not worked for years. Nobody has suggested that they have not looked for work, or are not very keen to get it. They will take anything that comes along, sweep the streets, or take up labour of any menial task whatever, and then along comes this Govern- 1653 ment, with this 30 stamps qualification, and these men are automatically cut out.
There is another case I want to put; it has not yet arisen, but it will. I refer to the town of Greenock, where shipbuilding and sugar refining are the staple industries. By the operation of the sugar subsidy, the Government have turned the town of Greenock from a fairly prosperous community into a derelict place, and if this new Clause operates it is estimated that within a few months the refining industry will be closed down entirely. What is to happen then, unless these men have seven months work in two years, which, when you add holidays, means close on eight months in two years? These men cannot qualify for benefit at all. The Minister ought to be reasonable in the matter. We think that the 30 stamps qualification is too heavy. Take the case of the miners. Yesterday every Member who spoke, including the hon. Member for Mossley (Mr. A. Hopkinson), stated that there were from 100,000 to 200,000 men who could never hope to get work again in the mining industry. What is to happen to them? Here are men searching for work, willing to be transferred from Durham to Nottingham or from Lancashire to Scotland or anywhere at all, but they cannot get work. Yet they are to be told that unless they get seven months' work in two years the country cannot do anything for them and they must become a burden on the local rates. That situation is terrible. To be chargeable to the local rates is bad enough, but I fear that they will not become even chargeable to the rates. What I fear is that the operations of the Minister of Health and Secretary of State for Scotland will mean that circulars, each one harsher than its predecessors, will come along and deprive these men even of Poor Law relief.
It is a situation on which the Minister ought to meet us. We are not asking for the abolition of the stamp qualification. We know that this is a Tory House of Commons and that it does not accept our views, but we say, "Let us have a qualifying period, but try to make it as easy as possible and not too severe on the applicants for work." We think 20 stamps should be enough. In reality the Bill demands 33 weeks' work. A man starts work in Glasgow shortly after the 1654 new year. He cannot work seven months without entering at least two weeks of holiday time in that period. Suppose that a man started work now in Glasgow. He could not qualify without having at least a week at the new year, for which he would not have his card stamped, and another fortnight at the end of June or the beginning of July. In the seven months he would have, therefore, at least three weeks to add to the 30, which means that he would have to work 33 weeks in order to qualify. It is a terribly harsh proposal. The provision about "not genuinely seeking work" was in all conscience harsh enough, but here you have an arbitrary and harsher test. We think of the effect on the Poor Law authorities, but I am: more concerned with the terrible consequences to poor men who have helped make this country and its prosperity. It is a criminal thing to those who have helped to make the nation rich that the nation should turn its back on them. If the Minister cannot meet us in all that we have asked, I hope he will at least accept this extremely moderate Amendment.
§ Mr. TINKER
I beg to second the Amendment.
The last speaker referred to the mining industry, and I want merely to emphasise the point that he raised. The Debate of yesterday proved conclusively that large numbers of miners have been thrown out of employment through no fault of their own. When that fact is admitted on all sides it is unfair to penalise these men by saying that unless they can show 30 stamps on their cards, they are to be deprived of benefit. It means that the men will have no chance whatever of benefit, that 200,000 or more will be destitute, and that the poor rate will have to bear the burden. I appeal to the Minister on that one point alone, that for the time being and until the mining industry has been put once more on a proper footing or until this surplus labour has been placed somewhere else, this 30 stamps qualification should be abolished. At a time like this it is entirely unfair to impose this qualification on those in the mining areas. Coming as I do from the mine fields, I know the distress with which the miners are afflicted. One would think that when the facts were admitted the Minister would at least say, "Well, all right; for 1655 this period and until times are normal I shall not enforce the stamp qualification." Then later on, perhaps in two or three years, when trade has improved, the qualification might be established again.
§ Mr. E. BROWN
I do not desire to elaborate further the arguments I used for a lower rate of contributions when the Bill was in Committee, but I want to say one or two other things. It appears to me that the discussion between the Minister and those of us who desire lower contributions is really a, discussion between those who have hopes and those who have fears. I am generally on© of those who are accused of nursing excessive hopes, but in this case I am on the side of those who have fears. I want to say straight away that I am in favour of 15 or 20 rather than 30 stamps. I hop© it may be true that the Minister is right and that we are wrong, but at the moment I am one the side of fear. We are told that an optimist is a man whose face goes one way and a pessimist a man whose face goes another way. The Minister's mind goes all ways. To enforce this statutory contribution of 30 stamps inside two years at the present juncture, when conditions are abnormal, is to undercut the whole principle of unemployment insurance. Contributory unemployment insurance was introduced for one purpose only, namely, to rid the homes of our working people of the haunting sense of insecurity which was there before they were insured.
It sems to me that the effect of this arbitrary rule, at a time when there are 1,126,000 unemployed and when the only answer we have is that the Minister has hopes and that we have fears, is to bisect the insured persons into the secure and the insecure. We desire to have a lower rate of contributions because we desire to have fewer insecure and more secure employed persons. The matter can be stated in three ways. Those who get the 30 contributions in two years will be secure; men who get the normal rate of employment in a normal time will be sure of benefit. It will be a statutory right and to them it will be a great gain to know that as long as they have any ordinary chances of achieving the 30 contributions they are to be secure and not at the caprice of some Department or 1656 Committee, but that it is their statutory right. But consider the other classes, those who are not now able to secure 30 stamps in the two years, and that other class on the border line. Consider the position of the man who has 29, 28, 27, 26 or even 25 stamps on his card. You have given him a paper right. He is within five or four stamps or even one stamp of that paper right, but because he lacks one stamp you cut a clean line between him and the man who has 30 stamps. You drive him into the ranks of the insecure.
You therefore undercut the very design of unemployment insurance. He is driven into the ranks of the insecure and the very thing for which unemployment insurance was designed, to lift the haunting dread of insecurity from the homes of the people, is rendered null and void. On the other hand, if the Minister's hopes are realised and we return to a normal rate of unemployment, even six per cent., then of course the range of persons driven into the ranks of the insecure will be smaller than the present number. Personally I desire the qualification to be 15 stamps. After a great deal of thought I have come to the conclusion that that is a fair test to apply. This stamp qualification is not now a guide as it was before. It is now a test, the basic test. Except in regard to finance, the Minister has kept the letter of the Blanesburgh Committee's recommendation, but in doing it he has defied the whole spirit of the recommendation, for the recommendation was that the permanent scheme should not operate until there was a normal cycle of trade and unemployment had dropped to six per cent., which would be 720,000 unemployed instead of 1,126,000.
The right hon. Gentleman keeps the letter of the recommendation. He is the fundamentalist of modern days. He keeps the letter and denies the spirit of his own Report. He and I differ about it, but that is my assertion. He brings in this Bill but he knows perfectly well that the Report was not designed for an abnormal time like the present. Those who represent distressed areas are much concerned about this proposal. We think it is bad economics. Whether the Minister's figure of 56,000, or the "Times" figure of 156,000, or the actuary's suggestion of 200,000 is the correct one, large numbers of men will be thrown on the rates which, in our 1657 judgment, is the worse possible place for them. We think that is the worst form of economics that could be undertaken in a Bill of this kind. To put on the rates the burden which will be occasioned by these men being unable to qualify for benefit, is to allocate the responsibility of maintaining the unemployed in a most unjust, and an unwise and uneconomic manner. Rates are an addition to costs, whereas taxation merely comes out of profits. Therefore, the burden will be laid on industry just at the point where industry is least able to bear it and an unfair charge placed on the industrial areas. Since the whole nation benefits from our industries, why should industrial districts which have been hard hit for so long, have to bear the heavy weight resulting from this regulation? I think the Minister ought to meet us in some degree. It is a great humiliation to decent. hard-working men who have made contributions while they were in employment, that they should be driven to the Poor Law. Even at this late stage, I hope the right hon. Gentleman will realise that there is reason behind our fears and, if he cannot concede us the 15 figure or the 20 figure, that he will at least agree to a figure of 25 and make it easier for men to stay in the insurance field and in the realm of security, instead of being driven into the ranks of the insecure.
§ Mr. HAYDAY
At this stage, one cannot go into the principles of contributory and non-contributory schemes. The tragedy which lies behind this Bill and the imposition of the 30 stamps' qualification, cannot be passed over lightly and cannot be dealt with by mere assumptions of figures. We must remember that we are dealing with human lives, many of which have become more or less derelict in the struggles of the last seven years. Certainly the present is the worst possible time at which to introduce a Bill containing a statutory condition of this kind. We know that it was found necessary previously to waive a stamp qualification and that, at the moment, eight, 12 or 20 stamps are sufficient to ensure benefit under the Minister's discretion. The Minister's discretion was imposed because it was felt that the circumstances surrounding employment were so precarious that large bodies of men and women would not be able to satisfy com- 1658 pletely the statutory stamp conditions. The present proposal to impose a 30 stamps' condition is too harsh for words. The Minister in the White Paper assumes that at the commencement of 1930 there will be 56,000 unable to meet the qualifications and he argues that out of that 56,000 persons, many will be in receipt of pensions under the Old Age Pensions and Contributory Pensions schemes. That, he argues will bring the number down to 30,000. I have already made the statement that when the test was taken in April, 1927, covering the two years previous, if the 30 stamps' contribution had been put into operation and proportional percentages applied to the two months' file—then, even by the Minister's own method of approach, there would have been 138,000 persons unable to satisfy the 30 stamps' qualification. All the rest is assumption.
It is assumed that there will be prosperous times in the near future; that, before the full force of this Measure is felt, there will be a revival in trade and that between now and April 1930, there will be sufficient time for all those unfortunates who have no stamps to their credit now, to secure the qualification. That is speculating in futures on too serious a scale. It is speculating with the lives of people who have been long unemployed. The Minister said that it would be possible if the 30 stamps represented the last 30 weeks of a two-year period for a person—subject to the fulfilment of all the other qualifications—to draw benefit for a period of about 78 weeks. That is one extreme case. I put a case at the other extreme. Supposing a person can show 30 stamps and passes the test. If four or five of those stamps relate to the first quarter of the two years preceding the claim, that person cannot draw benefit for a period longer than three months. So that under this statutory condition you may have two unemployed persons applying for benefit. Both have 30 stamps to their credit, but the stamps have been secured at different periods in each case. The one who has 30 stamps, representing the last period of the two years, can get 78 weeks—taking the most favourable circumstances. The other with his 30 stamps, equal in value to the stamps of the first man, but some of them relating to the first quarter of the two-year period, can only draw 13 weeks benefit. Therefore, 1659 he ceases to draw benefit with 28 stamps still remaining to his credit, after drawing 13 weeks benefit, while the other man can draw 78 weeks and clear off the whole value of his stamps.
It is true that these are extreme cases, but I ask: Will the great bulk of people be able to supply the 30 stamps and bring themselves within the period that will entitle them to draw benefit? That is the doubt. The Minister has expressed confidence, but his figures are all based on assumptions. The only way you can rectify the position with such a qualification is by transferring the 1,100,000 persons now out of work into the places of 1,100,000 persons who are in work. The latter will have their 30 stamps each and, when they have exhausted the 30 stamps, let them change over again. I do not see any other way of dealing with it. Whatever the figure may be, whether 200,000 or 150,000 or 138,000 or, even at the most favourable, 30,000, surely its magnitude is sufficient to warrant us giving serious thought to the consequences. If trade improves, as we all hope it will—because we can all be optimists to that extent—would not the Minister then feel more content and his Government more satisfied in the knowledge that at this stage they had passed a Measure which inflicted the minimum of injury and pain on a valuable section of the community who require sustenance and help in this crisis? Between now and the time when the full force of the Measure is felt, during this transitional stage, I hope the Minister will try to make it as easy as possible for the honest and genuine workman to secure benefit.
§ Mr. CONNOLLY
I wonder if it is too late to ask the Minister to respond, not to the arguments put for this side of the House but to the appeals which have been made from his own side of the House, and to grant some modification of this Clause? I wonder if the right hon. Gentleman realises that what he is now committing us to means not less but more unemployment. Even on his own showing, at least 30,000 are to be thrown out by the operation of the 30 stamps condition. I wish to emphasise what was said by the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) that hon. Members on the Conservative side, including the hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. L. Thompson), have given vital reasons for a 1660 modification of this proposal. I have been considering what it will mean in the case of Newcastle-on-Tyne. There, we have 4,000 who have contributed under the insurance scheme and who are now thrown off the fund. Taking the figure of 4,000 and the present unemployment figure at a round million, I calculate that, on the showing of the right hon. Gentleman himself, we are going to get another 120 cases to be dealt with under the Poor Law. If the right hon. Gentleman's figures are not correct and if the figures of the hon. Member for West Nottingham (Mr. Hayday) are correct—or if we take a figure between the two, such as that given by the hon. Member for Sunderland of about 100,000 which is perhaps as nearly correct as any—it means 400 to 500 more cases upon the rates of Newcastle-on-Tyne. I have already reminded the right hon. Gentleman that able-bodied relief is now costing us £225,000 a year, equivalent to a 1s. 8d. rate, for men who were on the Unemployment Fund and are now on the rates. The added number which will arise from the operation of the 30 stamps qualification means another 3d. on the rates. The hon. Member for Leith (Mr. E. Brown) and the hon. Member for Gorbals have emphasised what this means.
§ 7.0 p.m.
§ Every business man knows what a penny of the rates means. I was talking to one of our ship repairers the other day, and he showed me an estimate for a £l,200 job—not a considerable job, but a considerable one for them—which they had lost, all over a £10 note. Any Member who has any experience of the heavy industries knows that orders are going abroad all over a question of two or three hundred pounds, and that a penny off the rates might mean bringing these orders here. Now we have the proposal of the Minister that in April, 1929, he is going to put another 30,000 or—what is a more probable figure—138,000 more people on to the rates in our industrial areas—not the residential areas, but the areas represented by the hon. Members for Leith, Sunderland, West Nottingham, Gorbals, myself and others. These are areas which are bearing unduly high rates, and it is the duty of every one of us to protest, on whichever side of the House we sit, against this further imposition upon the local rates.1661
§ The right hon. Gentleman himself is receiving from all over the country protests against this unequal distribution of the burden of unemployment. He has given us certain modifications on different Clauses of the Bill, and we appreciate that. He has been amenable to arguments put forward and to some of our appeals, and I would ask him at this late hour to look equally into this matter to see whether he cannot respond when an appeal is earnestly made to him from his own side to reduce the stamp qualification to 24 stamps, and we ask in this Amendment that it shall be reduced to 20 stamps. I believe it would make a very considerable difference indeed as far as the throwing of further men on to the Poor Law is concerned. I add my voice at this late stage to the appeals made that he should, even on the Report stage of the Bill, give further thought to this matter.
§ Mr. DUNCAN
I should like to say a word or two on this particular matter. Having had at least 30 years' experience in administering unemployment benefit, I think what I say should have some little weight, although I am very doubtful it it will. The Minister of Labour seems to me to show a cast-iron mind in this matter. There is very little bending in the direction that we desire. I could quite understand a 30-stamp qualification if it were coupled with something else. To me, it seems a one-eyed, lop-sided arrangement that will not stand the slightest examination in any circumstances. What I would suggest is this: The Minister has been asked to consider this matter. Whether he will or not I do not know, and, judging by his past attitude, I do not think it matters very much. But if 30 stamps were combined with the percentage of unemployment existing at the time, and varied up and down according to that percentage, then there would be some sense in it. As it is, with a single factor deciding as to whether a man shall be a free man or pauper, it seems to me a one-eyed, cast-iron sort of arrangement. I believe it will bring very great hardship indeed to tens of thousands of people. It does not matter very much what the numbers are.
Everybody in this House knows that this Bill is not a Bill dealing with unemployment but to manufacture paupers. There is no getting away from that. I 1662 have had some little experience of it, and particularly of men who have been working in Government establishments for years. Everybody knows that a great efforts has been made not only in this country but in all countries to cut down armaments and the rest of it, and there has been ruthless slaughter of men who have worked the greater part of their lives in Government establishments. Take places like Rosyth and Pembroke Dock. What is the use of suggesting that men who have been employed there have the slightest possible chance of getting 30 stamps in two years? We all know that these places are practically devoid of employment. Nobody in this House will deny that the effort of the Government is in the right direction in cutting down expenditure for military and naval purposes, but is it fair that the whole weight and burden of this cutting down should mean the slaughtering and breaking of men's lives?
I am speaking with some little feeling because I have had some of this business. I remember one period of six months' unemployment, and I can assure the House that many times the question of suicide crossed my mind. I am not at all surprised that in the times through which we are going many men have committed suicide, and if this proposal goes into the Bill there will be an increase in the number of people committing suicide, because they can stand the pressure no longer. I have had some little experience. In my own union we do not say 30 stamps in two years; we say eight weeks in one year, which is 16 weeks in two years. Some of the hardest cases we have had to turn down have been men who have worked for a number of years in Government employ. They have worked at a peculiar industry, which is not what one would call a competitive industry. They are fit for one particular operation, and it is almost an impossibility for these men to fit themselves into any industry in this country. It may be by the kindness of somebody they get chucked in here and there, but it is a tragedy to look round and see the men displaced at Woolwich Arsenal, Pembroke Dock, Rosyth and Enfield Lock—men on whom this country depended in the War to turn out the munitions, guns and rifles which enabled this country to win the War. There are some very sore hearts among these people. 1663 Besides making paupers by this Bill, you are going to make some people take an infinitely keener interest in politics than they ever did before, and when the vote of these people comes to be cast at the next General Election, it certainly will not be for the Conservative candidates.
I do not know whether it is worth while appealing to the Minister. It seems to me, from my experience in this House, a waste of time to appeal. This one-eyed, cast-iron condition is one which you can neither bend nor break, and the human element is cast on one side absolutely. No consideration of a human character is given to the men who are trying to do their best. Nobody can say they are not trying to get work. We all know that the work is not there to be got. It is no use burking that fact. To put this condition to them simply means you are going to drive people to the Poor Law—a thing which every man with any sense ought to seek to do everything to prevent. It has always been considered in this country that there was a taint of disgrace about pauperism, but now, when we are driving tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands in that direction, the taint is being broken down and people are compelled, willy-nilly, whether they like it or not, if they are going to exist, to live on the amount they can extract from the board of guardians to keep life in their bodies. I do hope that the Minister will reconsider this matter. I suggest to him very earnestly and seriously that 30 stamps is a brutal thing and an inhuman thing. If it were based on a percentage of unemployment as well, then it might work, and at least work with some sense of justice to the people who pay these contributions to the Unemployment Fund.
Let me say in conclusion, that if this Unemployment Fund were a voluntary fund, I do not believe that one workman in 100,000 would contribute to it. This House has got these people in its grip, and they cannot escape contributing to the fund unless they get out of the country. The whole thing has been arranged by the uncontrolled, autocratic power of this House. It is administered under the control of a small body of people—the State pays the least, and the people who pay the most have nothing to do with the administration. It is totally undemocratic; it is autocratic in 1664 the highest degree and we think there should be some elasticity in the system, and that the human element should be considered.
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
I should like to add a word or two to what has been said already from these benches with regard to this question of 30 stamps. My hon. Friend the Member for East Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Mr. Connolly) related what was likely to be the experience of towns like Newcastle, and one can readily admit that the condition, bad as it is, is bound to be intensified by the passing of this Bill, particularly with regard to the specific Clause under discussion. If that be the case in the large industrial centres where there is a diversity of employment, what is to be the case in the large districts where employment is practically of a unitary character, and where unemployment is of a most intense description? The constituency I have the honour to represent is at the present time carrying rates of 30s. 7d. in the £l, and there are thousands of unemployed men. When this Bill becomes law, there are thousands of those men who will not be able to find one stamp to their cards, never mind 30. It is no use talking about an extension of time, for an extension is of no value whatever.
Last night, we had a description of the curtailment of the markets of the world, particularly in regard to coal, and hon. Members can understand that under the conditions at the present moment you could give an extension of two and three years, and even then it might be impossible, and probably would be for men to find 30 stamps upon their cards. What is to be the position of towns like Merthyr Tydvil which, though a small town, has a debt already of £500,000, and to which the Minister of Health refuses further loans because of the town's indebtedness? It is a town where a penny rate merely brings in £1,000. Cities like Manchester or Glasgow or Liverpool could possibly bear this burden far better than small places like Merthyr Tydvil can. In Manchester, a penny brings in £26,000, and in Glasgow probably a like amount, and probably it is the same in Liverpool or Birmingham. But in places where a penny brings in £1,000, and where there is a terrible burden of unemployment, men are bound, because of their inability to comply with the Clause now under discussion, to be thrown on 1665 to the Poor Law guardians. Therefore, a large amount of money must be raised on a very small rateable value where a penny merely brings in a small amount of money, and it means increasing disproportionately the debt of the poorer districts as compared with the richer districts. Under this Bill the poorer districts are being victimised, and badly hit—far worse than the larger towns.
What is to be the effect on industry? In my own constituency it is not only mining which is badly hit. There is a large steel works where for practically five or six years the works have been closed down, and work has been of a particularly intermittent character. There has been a month or two of work, and then the thing has closed down again under conditions of this description. Those works, turning out steel rails, a huge thing that belongs to the Quest, Keen, and Nettlefold group, must be badly affected by the high rates that are bound to be caused, and if the rates do not go higher, they cannot possibly come lower. That is the difficulty, but under this Bill there is no chance of any rate reduction. I do not know whether it is any good appealing to the Minister, but I cannot understand why this Bill contains so many punitive Clauses. If the Bill were directed against towns and communities of an alien race that had been handed over to us by a treaty following a war, they could not have been treated much worse than our towns and communities are being treated under this Bill.
This punitive method of legislation is of the most appalling character, and the local authorities of my constituency view with exceeding alarm the passing of this Bill. They have urged me to do all I can to oppose it. They need not have done so, as I would have opposed it without any urging, but they have sent resolutions asking many of us to oppose the Bill by all means in our power because of the terrible burden that it will entail upon them in the near future. If any words of mine could add to the very eloquent appeals that have been made from these benches, I would use them, but I can use no stronger words than have been used. This Clause is one of the biggest detriments to the recovery of trade in a good many areas that could possibly be imagined. We get from the benches opposite time and time again 1666 disquisitions upon the extravagance of Labour majorities and talk about spendthrift councils and guardians. Will the Minister tell us what the boards of guardians must do? The old idea has gone, and even Conservative boards of guardians now shrink from what this Bill means, because they know they have gone as far as humanity will allow them to go in curtailing relief, but a further curtailment will be necessitated under this Bill if the Minister of Health still continues his intransigent attitude. I hope the Minister of Labour will yet see his way to do something to remedy the terms of this Clause.
§ Mr. BETTERTON
In this discussion hon. Members opposite have, with great feeling, put before the House the situation as they see it and as they think it will affect their constituencies. The hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Wallhead) and others who have preceded him have regarded this proposal with regard to the 30 contributions as being punitive, arbitrary, unconscionable, and unfair, and as designed quite unjustly to punish a large number of innocent people. As a matter of fact, this proposal is nothing of the kind. It is an attempt, and a necessary attempt, to safeguard the other contributors to a contributory insurance scheme. The hon. Member for Leith (Mr. E. Brown) gave an illustration, of which no doubt there may be more than one instance, of a man who failed to satisfy the 15 or 30 stamps rule, and he said that it was very hard, if he had only 14 or 29 stamps, that he should be cut out. Of course it is, but that applies to any rule. He himself suggested, I think, 15 in the two years or seven in one year, but exactly the same sort of hard case would arise whatever test you had. What the House has to decide is whether this scheme is to have within it the necessary safeguards which any insurance scheme must have, or whether the House wishes that the scheme should be little other than a pension fund and the recipients of it mere drawers of pensions.
§ Mr. E. BROWN
Surely the hon. Member is over-stating the case. If his White Paper, on his own showing, only means 30,000 difference, surely the difference between a pension scheme and an insurance scheme is narrowed down to a very 1667 narrow limit. The hon. Member is not entitled to have it both ways, and if his White Paper only shows 30,000, the narrowing of the stamps will narrow the 30,000 to a very small figure indeed.
§ Mr. BETTERTON
That was not quite my point, but the hon. Member also cannot have it both ways. I repeat that what this House has to decide is whether it wants a pension scheme or an insurance scheme; and, therefore, the whole question is not whether you shall have a test, but only if the test which we propose is or is not a proper and a fair test. The hon. Member says it is not, and the hon. Member who moved the Amendment, in both a fair and an impressive speech, if I may say so, intimated that in his view the 30 contributions test was too high, and he asked where the Blanesburgh Committee got the idea of 30 contributions from. As it happens—I do not know how far they were moved by this—they had a precedent for the requirement of 30 contributions before them when they made their recommendation, because, as the House will recollect, the 30 contributions, subject, I agree, to a very limited power of waiver, was the exact number inserted in the Act of 1924. I am not so much concerned at the moment with the fact that the 30 contributions were in that Act as with The reasons given by the right hon. Member for Preston (Mr. T. Shaw) for inserting the 30 contributions in the Act of 1924. He said, on the Committee stage, in regard to the 30 contributions:That is my guarantee that the person drawing the benefits is a genuine unemployed person who has proved in a certain period, by a certain amount of work, that he is the genuine person whom I assume him to be, and whom I desire him to be for the drawing of benefit."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee D, 19th June, 1924; col. 1827.]Those were the reasons why the right hon. Gentleman inserted this requirement in 1924, and they are very much the reasons which are given by the Blanesburgh Committee for inserting the 30 contributions in the present scheme. Using very much the same language as the right hon. Gentleman, they say, on page 41 of their Report, that the schememust never degenerate into a so-called 'dole' or become a mere pension fund. From this fate it must be saved.1668 They say further down on the same page:Thus at the worst our proposals could not shut out many, and they would only be those who had failed to obtain work in an average of 15 weeks out of 52. It will be conceded that in the generality of cases persons with so poor a record of employment could scarcely claim still to be in the insured field; that there is grave doubt as to the genuineness of their search for work; and that the exclusion of such individuals is only fair to the general body of insured contributors.I confess that it seems to me that if you are to have an insurance scheme with any test at all of the amount of contributions, it is not a very high test to say that a man must prove 30 contributions within the last two years. One hon. Member opposite said, quite truly, that there are places in England and Wales and Scotland—and he mentioned Pembroke and Rosyth—which had been very badly hit through a changed national policy, where dockyards had been closed down, or where there had been a great diminution in the number of men employed, so that locally the effects had been very severe. The answer to that is that, sorry as we may be for these people, an insurance scheme is not a scheme on which they can expect to be, in fairness to the other contributors, pensioners for any prolonged period.
The hon. Member for West Nottingham (Mr. Hayday) raised this rather technical point, and I hope he will forgive me if I have not understood it aright. He said that it may be that in certain cases where the 30 contributions come immediately before the claim, the claimant will get 78 weeks, but that you may have cases where he will get a much shorter period of benefit, because the contributions have been spread out during a much longer period before he makes his claim. The answer is that, if the contributions have been spread out in the way that he visualised in the second case, the inference is that during that time the man has been drawing benefit while he has been out of work, and, therefore, naturally he had not got those contributions to his credit to enable him to draw benefit for a much longer period.
§ Mr. HAYDAY
The same would happen in the case of the man whose 30 stamps came late; just before he got his stamps he would be out of work. If these 30 were the last in two years, and 1669 the other man's the first in two years, they would both be out of work an equal number of weeks in those two years.
§ Mr. BETTERTON
Except that where the man was out of work prior to the beginning of the period the presumption is that he was getting benefit during those weeks, but this much is clear, that where a man has the 30 contributions behind him at the moment he makes his claim, that would frank him for a period of 78 weeks.
§ Mr. HARDIE
In that case, if the applicant has 30 stamps when he makes application in November, four of those stamps were made in the first quarter of the two years immediately preceding, and he cannot have 78 weeks, because his review takes place in the first quarter of his benefit, and that quarter is added on to the two years. If he is working, his stamps then represent 26 and not 30, and he automatically comes out.
§ Mr. BETTERTON
The hon. Member is perfectly correct. There is just this other point I want to mention, for I do not think sufficient stress has been placed upon it. The hon. Member for Leith and the hon. Member for Claycross (Mr. Duncan) both used much the same language. They said that this proposal ought to be coupled with something else. It is coupled with something else. It is coupled with the transitional period, for under the Clauses relating to the transitional period the man may have up to two years before the scheme comes into operation at all, and, if he is out of work now, and draws the benefit, he will continue to do so, assuming that he fulfils the conditions, as he is fulfilling them now, for a period which may be as much as two years. That should be, and I am sure it will be, of very great service in helping these particularly hard cases and cases to which hon. Members have referred.
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
What about men in my constituency whom I have quoted? Two years' extension is no use at all to them. They have been told that they cannot get jobs, and there is no work for them inside the next two years.
§ Mr. BETTERTON
Then we come back to the point with which I was dealing at the beginning of my speech. These men cannot become pensioners on an in- 1670 surance scheme. In the words of the Blanesburgh Report, they are not "in the insured field," and you cannot expect them to be borne indefinitely on the scheme.
I did not want to intervene in this Debate, but, after the last speech, I feel that there is no alternative. The hon. Gentleman has pointed out quite clearly that the Government will be sorry for the men but that they cannot do anything. I ask the right hon. Gentleman specifically: What is he going to do with the 56,000 people who, he admits, will be turned out? Is there any proposal?
The absence of an answer shows that the Government have no proposal at all for dealing with these people, and I am going to try and demonstrate that the figure of 56,000 itself is based on such a wild assumption that it can have no foundation in fact. When I tell the House that the actual live register figures to-day are only, roughly, 45,000 less than they were three years ago, it will be realised that, taking these figures at their face value—and nobody knows better than the right hon. Gentleman that this is not a true test—and not making anything of the fact that the figures are not strictly comparable, the Government have succeeded in reducing the unemployment at the rate of 15,000 a year. In this scheme we are taking unemployment at 6 per cent. I have been making a rough calculation, and, without going to more than one decimal point, the result I arrive at is this. With an estimate of 11,700,000 people insured, and with the present unemployment of 1,145,000, there is 9.8 per cent. of unemployment. Six per cent. unemployment means a reduction of over 400,000. Does anybody believe, can anybody credit that the Government, having reduced unemployment by 45,000 in three years, can reduce it a further 400,000 in a limited time? The whole thing is out of perspective, and we really do need an answer to the point that has been repeatedly put—what are you going to do with these people who are thrown out of benefit? Have you any proposals to make? Is there nothing that you suggest that these men can do or are you going to leave them to the tender mercies of the guardians?
1671 It is as well that we should know where we are. The fact that the right hon. Gentleman put 30 weeks into his Bill because I did the same in my Bill has, relatively speaking, got nothing to do with the case. What really does matter is that the Government are responsible for this Bill. On their own showing they say that 56,000 people are going to be taken out of benefit when the Bill comes into full operation. I say that on these figures the likelihood is that nearer three times 56,000 will be the number. It says in the Actuary's Report, at the end of the Blanesburgh Report:From certain data supplied by the Ministry of Labour I draw the somewhat general conclusion that the proportion of the total unemployment prevailing in 1924–25 which would have been disqualified from benefit by such a rule would have been about 20 per cent.The conditions are pretty much what they were in 1924–25 so far as unemployment is concerned. If the Actuary's statement that on this figure the number of disallowances would have been 20 per cent. of the actual, it means 220,000 and not 56,000. How on earth can we calmly look upon this thing and be satisfied with a mere statement that it is a bad thing if this thing grows, but that we cannot have pensioners on the fund. We really are entitled to a definite statement from the Government as to how, if they are going deliberately to take benefit from these people, they are going to deal with them? Unemployment is a big enough subject on which the Government should have some comprehensive policy, and if they are going to throw people off, where are they going to throw them? If they told us plainly, we should know where we are, but we are told nothing. If we are to be told that this thing is being done for the sake of the other workmen who are working and for their protection we reply that this is monstrous. It is a monstrous thing to suggest that the workmen who are in work would consent for a moment to the punishment of their fellows who are out of work. It is not true, and the Government ought to know that it is not true. There is no more generous man in the world than the worker, and there is no man who would go to more sacrifice to help his fellows than the ordinary workman; and it is misleading the House—I am trying to use the word which is least 1672 offensive—it is misleading, not deliberately perhaps, to give the House the impression that the workmen are being protected against those who have been unemployed for a long time.
In three years, the position has been, getting worse, and the 1924–25 figures on which the Actuary based his 20 per cent. are better from this point of view than the present position. Even now, when the basic industries, that were suffering from a great degree of unemployment in 1924, have had another three years, instead of 20 per cent. the proportion is probably higher. Really, the Minister ought to tell us frankly whether that is all the Government has to say. Do they say it is an act of God that these people will go off, and that it is unfortunate, but that there is nothing else to be done? If that be all that the Government can do, we had better give up arguing. The whole scheme is based on a callous disregard of the circumstances now existing, and the story that the Minister in 1924 did this, that, and the other is absolutely beside the mark. What the Minister in 1924 did was this. He tried to form a genuine scheme under which every genuine unemployed worker would get benefit. If it would help the right hon. Gentleman, I will read to him what I said to the House, so that the House shall be under no misapprehension as to what I was doing. Here is one passage where I was speaking of the benefit.Consequently, I have decided to raise these figures to as high a level as I thought the House would give me, all the circumstances taken into consideration."—OFFICIAL REPORT, 20th May, 1924; col. 2047, vol. 173.]That was frank, and the House knew perfectly well where the Minister in 1924 stood, but what does it matter where I stood then? What really matters is, what you are going to do with these people? Is nothing going to be done? When you talk of the Blanesburgh Report, one of the principal statements in that Report is that unremitting effort should be made by the Government to reduce unemployment. Have you carried that out? If so, let us know what you have done, for we certainly cannot see any effects. We shall vote against this Clause, and unquestionably we shall fight against it to the bitter end. I hope that the time will soon come when an unemployed workman will 1673 be treated as well as a criminal and a pauper. At present he is not, and it is time that a change was made.
§ Mr. H. WILLIAMS
The right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken has had the whole matter explained to him in Committee, but it seems to have made no impression on his mind. He quotes the Actuary's Report with regard to unemployment in 1924–25, and he compares that figure with the unemployment now, and makes a calculation which is not correct. If you take the people unemployed in 1924–25, you have to consider what happened to their cards during the period beginning some time in 1922, and you have to consider the unemployment prevailing in 1922–23 in order to get the condition of the cards in 1924–25. The figures for the present United Kingdom were only available from April, 1923. At that date there were 1,778,000 on the live register, in January, 1924, there were 1,571,000 people on the register. You have to consider the unemployment problem in the period which is two years prior to the period of which the right hon. Gentleman was speaking; the condition of the cards reflects the period of two years ago. In exactly the same way, what we have now to consider is what the cards will show on 19th April, 1929, covering the two years back from that date, and not the condition of the cards as they are now, covering the whole period of the coal stoppage, when the coalminers themselves had no stamps on their cards for seven months and when many other people in the heavy industries were also unemployed. I would ask the right hon. Gentleman and other speakers not to judge the cards as they are now but consider what the cards will reveal 18 months hence.
§ Mr. LAWSON
There is one thing to be said about to-day's Debate on the 30 contributions' rule, and that is that I do not before remember ever hearing a back bencher on the Government side defend the proposal. Those who have spoken from the Government Benches have in the main spoken very forcibly against the 30 contributions' proposal. The one exception is the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. H. Williams), who always comes to us with statistics and elaborate arguments composed to his own satisfaction in order to justify this principle. There is at least this to be 1674 said for the credit of the Conservative Members, that as far as I know there has only been one defender—I put it plainly, one time server—of this particular proposal. I do not think the Blanesburgh Committee ever thought that trade and industry would remain in the position they are in at the present time, but whatever they may have thought, whatever calculations the Minister may make, whatever the hon. Member for Reading may attempt to prove to suit his own economic theories, the fact is that we know there are masses of men who cannot fulfil the condition we are laying down as to 30 stamps.
I am not indulging in what is called sob-stuff when I tell the House of a young man living within two miles of my own home. In this case he was receiving unemployment benefit, but he was so tired of it all, wanting work, that he threw himself into a pond and was drowned—committed suicide. That was a fortnight ago, and only a month before that a middle-aged man who had had his benefit stopped went straight to a reservoir and threw himself in. Our people are tired to death of the present state of things, in which they cannot get work. There has been no disposition to take into account that section of the Blanesburgh Report which says very definitely that unemployment schemes ought to be put in hand in an active and business-like way, so that the people may have an opportunity of working. The Government know that men will not be able to get unemployment benefit through being unable to comply with the condition as to 30 stamps; in fact, I fear they could not comply with the condition if, as we suggest, the number were reduced to 20, although that would give them a slightly better chance. The men know they cannot get relief, and all that remains to them is either to get out of the country or to starve; and, indeed, it is not so easy even to get out of the country.
I know nothing more true than what was said by the right hon. Member for Preston (Mr. T. Shaw). There has seldom been a more callous and brutal Government in power in this country. They know quite well that this proposal means death and starvation to a great mass of people. One would be inclined to think that hon. Members opposite would personally not do this, but they certainly are supporting a policy which is a policy 1675 of starving men, of increasing hours, of lowering wages, of carrying out the good old Tory policy, in spite of Disraelian professions, of letting the workers who are unemployed, letting good men and good women, intelligent men and intelligent women, those who have given their best to this country—letting them starve regardless of the results to themselves individually or to this country. Perhaps it is too late to make any appeal to the conscience or to the hearts of hon. Gentlemen opposite. They have agreed, more often than not in silence, to support the Government in this brutal policy,
§ and I hope the time will come when at last it will recoil on their heads. To me this is no mere matter of party. It is not a matter of gaining votes, it is a matter of getting some real, human consideration for people who certainly deserve better of this country. I am sure that time will punish both this Government and this country for acts of the kind we have in the 30 contributions' rule.
§ Question put, "That the word 'thirty' stand part of the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 209; Noes, 122.1677
|Division No. 455.]||AYES.||[7.33 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Fermoy, Lord||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Fielden, E. B.||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Ford, Sir P. J.||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Fraser, Captain Ian||Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Frece, Sir Walter de||MacIntyre, Ian|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Galbraith, J. F. W.||McLean, Major A.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Ganzoni Sir John||MacRobert, Alexander M.|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-|
|Bennett, A. J.||Gibbins, Joseph||Makins, Brigadier-General E.|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Malone. Major P. B.|
|Berry, Sir George||Grace, John||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn|
|Bethel, A.||Grant, Sir J. A.||Margesson, Captain D.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Grotrian, H. Brent||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Waiter E.||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major Sir A. B.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Moreing, Captain A. H.|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Morrison H. (Wilts, Salisbury)|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Hanbury, C.||Murchison, Sir Kenneth|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Harland, A.||Nelson, Sir Frank|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Neville, Sir Reginald J.|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Harrison, G. J. C.||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Hartington, Marquess of||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld.)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Nuttall, Ellis|
|Burman, J. B.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Oakley, T.|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Hawke, John Anthony||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford Luton)|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Cadogan, Major Hon, Edward||Henderson, Lt.-Col. Sir V. L. (Bootle)||Penny, Frederick George|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Cassels, J. D.||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Pitcher, G.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Hills, Major John Walter||Power, Sir John Cecil|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Hilton, Cecil||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Chilcott, Sir Warden||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Preston, William|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D.(St. Marylebone)||Raine, Sir Walter|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Holt, Captain H. P||Ramsden, E.|
|Cope, Major William||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Rawson, Sir Cooper|
|Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Hopkinson, A (Lancaster, Mossley)||Reid, D. D. (County Down)|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.||Remer, J. R.|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.||Remnant, Sir James|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.|
|Cunliffe, Sir Herbert||Hume, Sir G. H.||Rice, sir Frederick|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Huntingfield, Lord||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir John H.||Hurst, Gerald B.||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||Iliffe, Sir Edward M.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Salmon, Major I.|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Iveagh, Countess of||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Jephcott, A. R.||Sandeman, N. Stewart|
|Drewe, C.||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Sanders, Sir Robert A.|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Elliot, Major Walter E.||King, Commodore Henry Dougla||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Ellis, R. G.||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D Mel. (Renfrew, W)|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s-M.)||Knox, Sir Alfred||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Lamb, J. O.||Shepperson, E W.|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Fanshawe, Captain G. D.||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (Handsw'th)||Skelton, A. N.|
|Slaney, Major P. Kenyon||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)||Wallace, Captain D. E.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Sprot, Sir Alexander||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Steel, Major Samuel Strang||Warrender, Sir Victor||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)|
|Storry-Deans, R.||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.||Watts, Dr. T.||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||Wells, S. R.|
|Tasker, R. Inigo.||White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dairymple-||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)||Major Sir Harry Barnston and Mr.|
|Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)||F. C. Thomson.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Ritson, J.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hardie, George D.||Rose, Frank H.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Harris, Percy A.||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Baker, Walter||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Barnes, A.||Hayday, Arthur||Sexton, James|
|Batey, Joseph||Hayes, John Henry||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Bondfield, Margaret||Henderson, Rt. Hon, A. (Burnley)||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Broad, F. A.||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Hirst, G. H.||Sitch, Charles, H.|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhither|
|Buchanan, G.||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)|
|Cape, Thomas||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Cluse, W. S.||John. William (Rhondda, West)||Spencer, G. A. (Broxtowe)|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Stamford, T. W.|
|Compton, Joseph||Kennedy, T.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Connolly, M.||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Cove, W. G.||Kirkwood, D.||Strauss, E. A.|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Lansbury, George||Sutton, J. E.|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Lawson, John James||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Lindley, F. W.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Dennison, R.||Livingstone, A. M.||Varley, Frank B.|
|Duncan, C.||Lowth, T.||Viant, S. P.|
|Dunnico, H.||Lunn, William||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Edge, Sir William||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Mackinder, W.||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)||MacLaren, Andrew||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Welsh, J. C.|
|Forrest, W.||MacNeill-Weir, L.||Westwood, J.|
|Gardner, J. P.||March, S.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Montague, Frederick||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Gillett, George M.||Morris, R. H.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Gosling, Harry||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Murnin, H.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Oliver, George Harold||Windsor, Walter|
|Greenall, T.||Owen, Major G.||Wright, W.|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Palin, John Henry||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Paling, W.|
|Groves, T||Potts, John S.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Grundy, T. W.||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr. White-|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Riley, Benley.|
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
I beg to move, in page 4, line 11, to leave out paragraph (b).
The words of the original Act read as follow:Provided that a person shall not be deemed to have failed to fulfil the statutory conditions by reason only that he has declined an offer of employment in the district where he was last ordinarily employed at a rate of wage lower or on conditions less favourable than those which he originally obtained' in his usual employment in that district or would have obtained had he continued to be so employed.The Government Amendment to that Section will take away a guarantee, which the workman now has, that he cannot be employed or compelled to accept work on 1678 worse conditions than now obtain for him. At the present time he is protected, and the Government propose to take his protection away. He will be compelled, I take it, under this Clause, to accept any work that is offered him in any district; and the character of the work will not enter into it in any degree whatever. There was a great deal of discussion about this matter when the Bill was in Committee. One of the main objections that I should take to this Clause would be that it would, to a very large extent, destroy the pride of craft. The average man, the skilled workman, does not care to be driven to a job in which his touch will be destroyed and his skill rendered to a large extent nugatory. During the 1679 discussion in Committee, the case of the engineer was quoted. One can readily understand that an unemployed engineer, a man used to working to the thousandth part of an inch, may very easily lose some degree of skill by being compelled to accept conditions of labour which will destroy that sense of touch which has developed over a long period of years. Men who are doing finer work even than that may be compelled under this Clause to accept other jobs. There is the scientific instrument maker, the jeweller, who does exceedingly delicate work, and, I suppose, there are men in the textile trade as well. I speak as a craftsman myself, and I say that the sense of touch, developed by familiarity with a certain job, is a very precious thing to a man. A man's pride in his craft is a precious thing, and is something which this House ought to do all that it can to maintain at any cost, especially at a time when industry is being so eaten into by mechanical power and skill. Industry is being cut up and sectionalised, and the skill is almost being taken away from the workman and is coming to reside in machine more than anywhere else. This factor, which enters very largely into the lives of thousands of skilled craftsmen, ought to be preserved by all means in our power.
I regard it as a big indictment against this particular section of the Bill that it will do something to destroy that pride of craft which we should do all we can to protect. For that reason I am moving the Amendment. The protection which the workman now enjoys should be continued to him, instead of his being driven, as he can be driven, under this Clause, if it be applied, from his own district to a district outside, and compelled to take work which will injure his skill as a workman. That is something to be deplored. I do not wish to argue the intricacies of the case from a legal point of view, but the whole thing at present is exceedingly vague. On the Amendment, the Minister tried to clear up many of the doubts of my hon. Friends sitting on these benches, but I am compelled to admit that, from my point of view, he did not succeed. I wish, now, that he would make perfectly clear the particular point that I am raising. At this time, when this country is being driven more and more to exert all its effort and skill to maintain itself 1680 in the markets of the world, we have, in a great many industries, the oldest workmen and craftsmen, who came in with the industrial revolution, and who have been accustomed and trained, and have inherited, almost, a traditional skill. All that is likely to be injured by the policy of this Clause. That is something against which we should safeguard them, instead of doing nothing except to take from the workmen whatever pride they may have left in their work. Thank Heaven, some pride still exists, in spite of all the shoddy work which they are compelled to do, and in spite of the cheapness of production. There is still a pride of craft, and an inherited instinct for doing things decently and well. I know that many workmen rebel at doing cheap and shoddy work; they would rather do the other kind. That was my experience when I was in more intimate touch with them than I am at present. That pride is something that we should very jealously safeguard, and I should like to hear what the Minister of Labour has to say on the subject.
§ Mr. OLIVER
I beg to second the Amendment.
I hope that the Minister of Labour will give us some guidance on this particular Clause as to how a workman will be protected under the definition of "after a reasonable interval." Will the recipient of benefit be told beforehand that he is expected now to look to other trades for employment, or will he be expected, as a right, to do that from the moment he becomes in receipt of benefit? That is one point on which it is necessary that a very clear definition should be laid down, because without it I cannot see how a man—say an engineer—drawing benefit can be safeguarded if, on any occasion, he presents himself before the Committee, and is informed that in consequence of, say, his not having looked in the mining areas where he might have obtained work in the engineer's department of a mine, he has neglected his duty. If that possibility be always present, any person drawing benefit will always be at the mercy of the officials of the Employment Exchange in being told that he has neglected his duty to seek an occupation in industries other than the one which it is customary for him to follow. I echo the sentiments which have been expressed 1681 by the hon. Member for Merthyr (Mr. Wallhead). In expecting many of the craftsmen to find work in other industries we shall be penalising, to a very large extent, the prospects of skilled craftsmen being able to resume their normal occupation at the earliest opportunity which presents itself.
I do not think that the Minister of Labour was present when I spoke on this matter in Committee, and I will repeat, for his express benefit, the effect that will be produced on a highly skilled craftsman in the toolrooms of a skilled industry. If such a man should have the misfortune to be unemployed and should be compelled to take a labourer's job, or to work at brickmaking, or in the stone industry, or should have to do any work consisting almost exclusively of manual labour, then afterwards, immediately he made application to any high-class engineering firm, the very fact that he had been labouring would make it almost impossible for him to be reemployed in that particular industry. In high-class motor car firms, in the machine tool industry, in the scientific instrument-making firms and in jobs of that character, the very fact that the applicant for work has had to accept an inferior position and go to work as a labourer, would penalise him in his prospects of being re-employed in those high-class branches of the engineering industry. Therefore, this particular Clause would penalise him very severely. For that reason, I hope that the Minister will either accept this Amendment or give us some clear definition of how it will be interpreted.
There is one other point. If a craftsman be compelled to accept a job in another occupation than his own, the effect will be that if, for instance, you make him seek a labourer's job, you will squeeze the labourer out of a job, or you will keep another labourer, who would automatically come into his own, out of that job. In consequence, there would be no net gain to the Minister of Labour by making this craftsman seek work in occupations other than those which he is accustomed to follow.
§ Mr. PALIN
I wish to add my plea to those who have asked the Minister to give further consideration to this Amendment. If this paragraph remains in the Bill I am sure it will create a great grievance when it comes to be administered, 1682 and it will seriously handicap these people in their future careers. Sometimes we find that a carpenter or a stone mason comes into the transport industry. We find a great number of engineers driving omnibuses and motor lorries, but if you are going to take a warp twister, whose trade requires a delicate touch, and put him to hard manual labour, you are going to unfit him for a long time to come to do the work in which he is skilled. If you are going to take women textile workers and put them to domestic service; if you make skilled men do the work of bricklayers' labourers, you will find great difficulty when orders come in affecting their own trade in carrying on the skilled industries. I think these are a few considerations to which the Minister of Labour has not given careful attention.
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
Perhaps the House would prefer that I should intervene at this stage in order to deal with this Amendment. I think the complication which has been referred to was made clear during the discussions in Committee. Since that time I have had prepared and put in the Vote Office a cyclostyle document relating to Clause 5. I asked the Whips of all parties in this House to tell their members who were interested that they could obtain a copy of the two Sections that govern this point in their amended form. We have to take Section 7 of the principal Act as amended, and as amended by paragraph (b) to which this Amendment refers, together with Sub-section (2) at the bottom of the same page as this Clause. I have had both those Clauses put together in this cyclostyle copy in order that hon. Members should have these proposals clearly written out.
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
I sent word early to all the Whips' offices that they might tell the members of their parties that these copies could be obtained, and I brought some spare copies which I handed to hon. Members on the benches opposite in order that these points might be made clear. I think it will make matters clearer if I suggest that any hon. Member who is interested should take a pencil and refer to paragraphs (b) and (c) at the bottom 1683 of the first cyclostyle page, and note what are the alterations made in paragraph (b). The words which are newly added that affect this question are in the first line of paragraph (b), and they are "in his usual occupation." That is all, and it was just a slip that I did not have those words underlined in the actual typing. The effect of these two Clauses read together is that in his own trade a man will be able to refuse an offer of a job at lower rates than those which, having regard to his own past experience, he would have been entitled to expect. Under the Bill, he can refuse an offer in his own trade at lower rates, but after a reasonable time he may have to take a job in another trade, but then the rates must be the proper rates for the job.
If hon. Members will compare what is proposed now with the present state of things, they will find that, broadly speaking, it is not a disadvantage, taking everything together, to a man's craft, but really it gives greater protection to the craftsman than the existing law. Taking the whole of the conditions together, they increase that protection. Under the present law different conditions apply to standard benefit and to extended benefit, but under the new system proposed by this Bill there is of course only one kind of statutory benefit right through. Therefore, there has been, as it were, a telescoping of the previous standard and extended benefit conditions. On the whole, there is no question whatsoever that the net result is in favour of the craftsman, and upon that I have no doubt whatever. There is one small restriction which some may think acts to the disadvantage of the craftsman as compared with the present state of affairs. At the present time in his own district, so long as a man is entitled to standard benefit, he can decline any job at a lower rate than that which he might expect having regard to what he was accustomed to receive in his own trade. Under the new Bill, this protection is limited to jobs in his usual occupation.
That is the only way in which it can be said that the protection is at all restricted. I want hon. Members to realise how small is that restriction. It only applies to a man in the case of a job in his own district and even then he could 1684 not always demand the actual full trade union rates if he was himself for any reason or other not getting the full rates before. Supposing a man is a fitter, he is not as good a workman as his fellows, and, consequently, is not getting the full rate of pay. If that man went to another job he could not ask for a fitter's rate but only what he was actually getting before. I know this is a very narrow restriction, but, on the other hand, the man gets this advantage. Under the Bill all unemployed persons without distinction have the express right to stand out for a reasonable period for a job in their usual occupation. Under the present law that is not expressly laid down, but under the Bill it is expressly laid down that all claimants have the right to stand out for employment at their own job.
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
Perhaps the hon. Member will put his question afterwards, because I want to try to make the matter clear, and, if I break off, I shall only confuse it. It is not expressly laid down in law at the present moment, but the umpire, in interpreting the law, does, in effect, give, to those who are entitled to standard benefit, to a considerable extent the same advantage. That is the effect of the umpire's decisions, but this is the first time it has been laid down expressly in a Statute. The next advantage is really the greater advantage. Under the present law, if a man is on extended benefit, he may have to accept at once any job suited to his capacity, whether in the same occupation or in another occupation, or whether in his own district or in another district. Extended benefit will no longer exist under the Bill, and all claimants without distinction will get the same benefit, and will have the express right to stand out for a reasonable period for a job in their usual occupation.
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
I am coming to that. Under the old law, while a similar protection was given in case law to those on standard benefit, it was never expressly laid down, and for those 1685 on extended benefit it was not given. Now everyone, who is drawing benefit—it will be all of one statutory kind—will have the protection. Frankly, without trying to make a party case at all, or anything of that kind, I think that that is a very great advantage, and for this reason, that, on the whole, the craftsman who has had much recourse to the Act tends in time, and very often after a not long interval to come on to extended benefit. In those trades that have been hard hit, it is very often the case that the craftsman is less able to turn his hand to something else, and, (therefore, is perhaps more likely to come on to extended benefit, so that it is he who really gets the greater protection, which did not exist at all before. For these reasons I say quite explicitly that, if hon. Members will read carefully these paragraphs as I have now had them stencilled out, they will find that a very distinct advantage is conferred upon claimants of benefit.
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
That is the point to which I was coming, and to which the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Greenwood) called my attention a few moments ago. The person who will be the final interpreter, and who will make the case law, will he the umpire. I think confidence may be taken from the fact that, although until now the umpire has had no express direction in any Statute to interpret it in this way, yet, as a matter of fact, he has given similar interpretations in the case of standard benefit. Now, he is to be given the express duty under the Statute of giving a reasonable time. He has done it up to the present, in the case of standard benefit, and now he will have this specific direction to do it, and it will lie with him to interpret the phrase. I can only say, in answer to the particular kind of case mentioned by the hon. Member for West Newcastle (Mr. Palin), that I cannot imagine the umpire taking any other line than considering what has been the man's past record and what his trade is. I am not the umpire—hon. Members may be glad or sorry—but I can say at once what sort of line I myself should take if I were. I cannot imagine the umpire 1686 taking any other line, and it is in fact the sort of line that has been taken hitherto. Suppose the case of a man who in his craft has a very definite skill of hand, which roughening his hands in another job would spoil for good. In such a case I should look to the industrial history of the man, and the nature of his craft, and should judge accordingly. On the other hand, if it were the case of a man who had been doing heavy work, and especially if his work had been irregular, I should myself, taking those two circumstances together, have much less hesitation in saying to him that it was reasonable that he should fairly soon find a job in another trade of similar character to his own, where his industrial quality would not be spoilt. If, however, I had to deal with the case of, say, a skilled metal worker, I should think a good many times before I asked him, particularly if he had a good industrial history, to go off and unfit himself for future work in the metal trade. I have put the matter before hon. Members as clearly as I can, and I hope I have done something to explain what is necessarily rather an intricate matter.
§ Mr. T. SHAW
The courtesy of the Minister in having this document prepared is fully appreciated on this side, and it shows the necessity—I am not speaking now in a party sense—that in future, if Bills by reference have to be drafted, they should be drafted in such a way as to show the old Clauses side by side with the changes, so that one can see in the Bill itself exactly what it means; and this would also be of advantage from the point of view of the Judges. I hope that in future the House will refuse to consider any Bill by reference which does not contain within itself sufficient material to enable a Member of the House to understand, by reading the Bill, what it means. To turn to the point under discussion, frankly I shall go into the Lobby against it, because I am not even yet satisfied that the man is not going to lose. One thing is certain, and that is that, as things are at present, the man drawing ordinary statutory standard benefit cannot be asked to take a job in his own town, either at his own occupation or at any other occupation, on wages and conditions that are worse than he enjoys as a worker in his own trade. That is an absolute certainty.
1687 Paragraph (b), however, lays it down quite definitely that it is only in his own usual occupation that he can refuse a job on conditions worse or wages lower than he previously had in his job. That also is an absolute certainty. In the second case it may be that there is a slight advantage over the conditions that now exist with regard to extended benefit, but in the first case I am quite satisfied that there is a disadvantage. It is possible under this Clause—we will take the case of the engineer again for the purpose of illustration—it is possible for an insurance officer to ask an engineer who has been out of work for a few weeks to take a street sweeper's job at the trade union rate of wages. There is nothing to prevent that, and the only guarantee that the man has against being thrown out of benefit is the position under Sub-section (2, ii), which says:after the lapse of such an interval from the date on which an insured contributor becomes unemployed as, in the circumstances of the case, is reasonable"—and so on. The whole question is, is the man, after such period as in the circumstances of the case is reasonable, going to be as well off as he is now? We can only judge from what is taking place throughout the country in the administration of the Act. Let me quote to the Minister a definite case of what an insurance officer did. A man with a wife and seven children was offered a job 30 miles away from home. Everyone knows what the circumstances now are, and what the renter of a house has to pay. This man was offered a job 30 miles away from home, at a wage of 39s. a week—a man with a wife and seven children. Obviously, in the best circumstances that could happen, he would have to remove to this town 30 miles away, if he could get a house. As things are, the almost inevitable thing would be that this man would have had to work 30 miles away and return home weekly. A man with a wife and seven children with 39s. wages, and the case was forced before the Umpire! They were not satisfied with the Court of Referees deciding in favour of the man. How can we take these words, innocent as they are, as being without danger? Frankly I cannot.
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
I think the right hon. Gentleman would make a 1688 great mistake because at present, as he says, an engineer on extended benefit can be offered a street sweeper's job at street sweeper's wages, but under this he could not do it. He would have the protection of the Clause unless there had been a reasonable period.
§ Mr. SHAW
Oh, no; because the only thing the man can refuse is an offer of employment at less wages than those ruling in the district. He could have refused the offer before with every chance of success if the wages for the job were under the trade union rates. If they were at trade union rates he has no protection against that. It does not matter what the job is under this Clause. If the trade union rate of wages is paid he has to go.
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
Under this Clause he does not have to go for a reasonable time. Under the existing law, if it is extended benefit, he might have to go at once.
§ Mr. SHAW
The whole thing then turns on the decision" as to what is a reasonable time. In spite of the fact that I have had the courtesy of this document and I understand perfectly well what the Minister's point is, I think it would be much safer not to leave things to chance. I do not feel that I can leave things to chance as they are at present.
§ Mr. POTTS
Unless the Minister makes the provision read "an offer of employment in his usual working place," I shall be bound to oppose it. It will have a serious effect upon the mining industry. The right hon. Gentleman has surface work in his mind. I want him to see how it will be applied underground. If a day wage worker underground changed his occupation at the request of the management, being paid the same rate of wages he is paid to-day, he would be wrong if he did not accept it. If he was offered a position at a shilling a day 1689 less, he would be able to stop and he could obtain unemployment pay. Now let me come to piece-work. When we get to normal times—I do not see much prospect of it at the moment but I hope it will not be long—we shall have more than 600,000 actually working piecework. There is a large number in every mine changing places almost every day. A man may be working in a place that finishes to-day. To-morrow he may be sent to work at another place in the same district and may not be able to earn as much by 2s. a day or more. If he refused to work and claimed benefit, the employers could prosecute him and claim damages. They could assess damages at 10s. or 15s. a day or any figure they like. They are getting more than that in many cases. They can notify the Exchange that he has had work offered him and has refused to accept it. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to take out the word "occupation" and to make it "an offer of employment in his usual working place," which would cover the miner and make no difference to any other trade in the country. I think those words would help to establish our defence in a Law Court if a summons was issued.
§ Miss WILKINSON
I think the House is generally agreed that this Clause has a germ in it—something which has to be reasonably considered. Where you have a person who obstinately refuses to take what is quite a suitable employment merely on the ground that it is a different occupation, there would he very few people who would have any sympathy with them. I submit that an obstinate case of that kind is already amply covered by other sections of the Bill. In this particular Clause we are dealing with a very different matter, and I do not think the Minister in his reply has quite considered it from the point of view of the value of status to the worker. It is not only a question of wages and it is not only a question of the kind of work done, but it is a question of the status of the worker, which is of very real importance. You might take a boy or a girl who has left the elementary school and spent years in working at continuation classes in order to qualify for certain skilled branches of the clerical industry. They have a job where they are insured and a job which represents a definite amount of skill and a large amount of preparation. I am speaking 1690 of members of my own union, the Union of Distributive Workers, where we make special provision for encouraging young shop assistants and clerks to take classes of all kinds in order to qualify for manager-ship. You may have girls or young men who are definitely in the running for becoming managers or manageresses of shops or heads of departments or heads of offices, and so on. That represents a definite part of their capital. They have sunk a good deal of their small savings in the necessary classes and examinations, and are definitely on the way to reaching a higher status. Then they become unemployed, it may be temporarily or it may be for a longer period. If they are unemployed for a short period the difficulty does not arise, but they may be out of work for six months, not at all an unusual thing, or nine months. What period is the Minister going to consider reasonable? The Employment Exchanges are subject to continual pressure from above in order to turn as many people off benefit as possible.
§ Miss WILKINSON
I know that when I put it as crudely as that the Minister naturally shakes his head. I have no doubt whatever that, if it could be left to the Minister of Labour or his kindly Parliamentary Secretary and these matters were dealt with by them personally, the cases might be treated on their merits, but, in fact, whether the Minister likes it or not, great pressure on the Employment Exchanges is to reduce the number of people who are getting benefit. It does not seem to be possible to explain what is going on in any other way. If you like it better, let me say that the pressure is to induce the people to take; any kind of job. Let me give particulars of a case which occurred in connection with my own union. It was the case of a woman in a drapery department. She was a drapery hand in a co-operative store, well on the way to becoming first sales and manageress. She lost her appointment and was looking round for something else in the same line of business. She was offered a job as a cleaner. Anything more utterly inadequate or more utterly ridiculous could not be imagined. She refused it. It was a position as cleaner in connection with an hotel. Having refused the job, 1691 she lost her benefit. I consider that the woman was perfectly justified in refusing it. You could say that that case came entirely under this Clause. The hotel in question was quite a good employer, but once having taken that particular job it would have been utterly hopeless for her ever to get back into the drapery trade. She had gone through examinations, and was anxious to become head of her department and to go higher in due course. She was a highly skilled worker and she was penalised because she refused to do something that would have meant throwing away all those years of training.
Let me give another case which occurred in my own constituency. This is the case of a man. He was passing his examinations, and hoped to become in due course a certified accountant. He became unemployed because his works had closed down, as so many have done in Middlesbrough. He was a very highly skilled man, quite young, and had not got out of the insurance limit. He was offered a job, I think it was in a sort of tarmac works, filling barrows with slack from the iron at the blast furnaces and wheeling it to a certain place in order that it might be made into concrete for the roads. He refused the job. Had he taken the job, he would have made it utterly impossible, unless he could have kept the secret very carefully in the district, for him ever to get back again into his own work. I suggest that in these matters the Exchange or the Umpire ought to have a very wide latitude. There is all the difference in the world between a man who says, "I have always been a little piecer and I shall always be a little piecer, and nothing on God's earth will ever make me do anything but this particular job." One gets a little impatient with that kind of attitude, because it seems as if nothing on earth will move such people, and it is often a kindly thing to get them to have wider ideas and to go to a new job. But those are not the people we are dealing with in this Clause. Here you have cases where skill has been acquired through painful years of study and examination, and where status is a very large part of the capital of the individual worker. I do think that is an entirely different case from the case that is apparently contemplated in this particular Clause, and I 1692 suggest that the Minister might deal with it. It may not be possible to deal with in this Bill. When we have reached the Report stage, after the stormy passage which this Bill has had, the idea of starting new Amendments must fill the somewhat tired brain of the Minister with utter horror; but would it not be possible for him to consider it from the point of view of administration or the sending of circulars to the Employment Exchanges to call attention to cases like these which I have mentioned, which are not very many in the aggregate but do mean a great deal to the individual?
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
I do not look at this question from the narrow party point of view. I have taken the precaution of having this memorandum typed out for myself in order that I might the better understand it, and I do feel that the Minister's explanation has not quite filled the bill. The part of the new Sub-section which fills me with dismay is that part about the lapse of a reasonable interval. We have heard about the jeweller. That was the case which the right hon. Gentleman took. He imagined a world full of jewellers unemployed, and those unemployed jewellers are not to roughen their hands by going on the roads. But that is not a typical case. I want to put to the right hon. Gentleman or to the Parliamentary Secretary certain cases which we have with us now and which we have had with us for a long time. I want to give the cases of 200,000 miners. What will be the "reasonable period" before these people are to be absorbed into industry again? Will it be to-morrow? Certainly not. These men will never get back into the mines. Nobody believes that the mining industry of this country will ever again employ the number of men who have been employed in the past. With these people it will be quite impossible in a very short space of time, even if they have accomplished the miracle of having 30 stamps on their cards, to fulfil these statutory conditions, because within a day or two, not the Umpire as the right hon. Gentleman says but the insurance officers will be able to say: "Here is a job, in another part of the country, and in an entirely different occupation. If you do not accept this job, you must go off benefit." They are perfectly entitled to say that because a "reasonable period" is a period which in the circumstances of the case appears reasonable. It is not 1693 reasonable to believe that all the unemployed miners are going to be re-employed. in the mines. Therefore, there is every reason why that period should be made very short; and I am afraid it will be, and that you will have a number of jobs used as a decoy to get these men thrown out of unemployment insurance benefit.
Take the shipbuilding centres, where you have platers and riveters, and all kinds of shipyard workers, who have not been able to do a day's work for two years, three years, four years, and as long as five years. Is it reasonable to suppose that they are likely to be employed in a short space of time? Obviously not; and the Employment Exchange official will be able to say after two or three days' unemployment, "There is not the remotest prospect of your being employed in the shipyards again, you must become an agricultural worker, or a street sweeper." The man who objects will be deprived of benefit if in the view of the Exchange officer the period is reasonable, having regard to all the circumstances of the case. This is a very serious state of affairs. In the determination of years the Minister is going to have it both ways. First of all he has the stamp qualification, which these people cannot fulfil, and if they can fulfil it he will be able to get rid of them by offering them jobs elsewhere, which all of them could not possibly accept. He will thus be enabled to deprive them of benefit. The truth is, as the right hon. Gentleman has said, that you have two kinds of benefit, and two kinds of conditions are attached. In the case of standard benefit those conditions are more advantageous to the worker than in the case of extended benefit. Now we are telescoping—I use the word of the right hon. Gentleman—the two kinds of benefit and also telescoping the conditions, which means that although in certain respects there is an adequate protection to the worker the net result of the new conditions is that they prove to be very injurious to the worker.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
That is not the point. To-day you have a large number of people on extended benefit. We think there ought to be more; but the point is 1694 this, that you are going to abolish extended benefit and by telescoping the benefits and the conditions applicable you are, in fact, going to offer statutory conditions for all benefits inferior to those which obtain for statutory benefit to-day. That is my contention, and in the industrial circumstances of to-day this Sub-section (2, ii) is bound to operate to the disadvantage of the worker. This is a proposal for the compulsory mobility of labour. This is the way in which the Minister of Labour is trying to carry into effect the wishes of certain members of the Blanesburgh Committee, expressed on pages 26 and 27 of the Report, where some of the Members say how excellent it would be to drive unemployed workers at less than the standard rates into new trades. I submit to the Parliamentary Secretary that this form of mobility of labour, utilising the lash of refusing unemployment benefit to these people is a cruel and inhuman form of mobility and it is the clumsiest way of carrying it into effect. The State has no right to drive a man into another occupation unless it is prepared to say they will give him opportunities of training himself for that occupation. Those opportunities are not given.
One can see what will happen; the same kind of thing has happened in the mining industry. Men have been sent from Durham into Nottinghamshire, where there are no houses for them to live in. It is all very well to offer a man a job in another occupation, at a distance, and leave him to take care of himself. Then, when he gets there, he has to go into lodgings, to be separated from his wife and children because no house is available for him. Yet this is what is going to be done under this particular scheme. If the Government wants to tackle the problem of the mobility of labour—and I think it should be tackled at once, as it is one of the fundamental industrial problems of to-day—it is not going to be tackled by driving men into other occupations by refusing them benefit in their own, but by the expanding industries sitting down together, trade unions and employers' associations, to consider the proper recruitment of men in those trades.
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ It can only be done scientifically by taking those trades which are going to suffer under this provision, and mining 1695 is a case in point, and getting the people, employers and workers, to consider in what way they can dispose advantageously of their surplus labour. This would be a policy with some foresight and insight in it, but the present proposal is the most brutal and callous way of effecting the mobility of labour. I am only sorry that we have arrived at such a late stage of this Bill without this Clause having been fully discussed. This is the Clause which the Prime Minister tells us we discussed for 29 hours in Committee. We should still be discussing it to-day if we want to get down to what is really at the bottom of these new statutory qualifications. I am prepared to admit that in some respects there is an added protection, but having regard to the economic circumstances of to day, Sub-section (2, ii) with power put into the hands of the officials of the Ministry—this is to be dealt by them first before it goes to the umpire-is going to operate in a way which will be very injurious to large numbers of people in the big depressed industries, the basic industries, of the country. There is this additional point. This is going to be used to drive people out of insurable employment into uninsurable employment.
§ Mr. BETTERTON
I am quite sure the hon. Member wishes to be quite fair in the matter, and he will realise that it is the Court of Referees and the Umpire who will have the final decision in the matter.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
I have admitted that. The point I want to make is this. This will be used to drive people out of insurable occupations into uninsurable occupations. How do we know that in the future a miner is not going to be offered a job on the land; and once he is offered a job on the land he is outside the unemployment insurance scheme. If he wants to return to insurable occupation he has to start de novo, although he may have been an insured person for years. It has been used already, particularly in the case of women, with great effect. The great social problem of the middle classes to-day is the question of the domestic servant. This is a glorious opportunity for increasing the supply of domestic servants. It is perfectly true that thousands of girls on extended bene- 1696 fit, whatever their trade—some of them in my own constituency are skilled weavers who know nothing about domestic service—have been driven into domestic service by the operation of the qualifications for extended benefit, and this is going to be used more in the future because it will apply to all benefit. Under this the Minister will be perfectly entitled, when a girl has been out of work for a reasonable time—in many industries no one can tell what a reasonable time is—to drive her into domestic service. That is operating to-day.
§ Mr. BETTERTON
Surely the hon. Gentleman is under a misapprehension. If a man or woman has had extended benefit he or she is now bound at once to take a job suitable to his or her capacities. Under this Clause they have the safeguard that they cannot be required to take another job until a reasonable period has elapsed.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
That is not my point. On extended benefit you can drive people into any job; I know that. But in future all benefit is to be statutory benefit, and people who are receiving statutory benefit can after a reasonable time, in a way that they cannot today, be driven into other occupations. In the case of women, where there is a large sphere of work which is not within the four corners of the Act, this may prove to be a means and a rather cruel means of driving people out of insurable occupations into uninsurable occupations. When he made his very lucid explanation of Clause V of the Act of 1920, as now amended, the Minister did not bring out these points. But these are the essential points to us. That is why, whatever the Minister Fays now, we really shall have to go into the Division Lobby against the Clause, admitting that in certain respects it is better, but fearing the possibilities and knowing what will happen once these new statutory conditions are put into effect.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
I feel a little bit anxious in regard to this provision and I would like the Parliamentary Secretary 1697 to take note of the fact. The governing sentence is that a man is genuinely seeking work but unable to obtain suitable employment. The governing statutory condition is suitable employment. The definition of "suitable employment" under the Bill is limited in a way different from that under the 1920 Act. It is limited in two ways. He need not take employment in his usual occupation in his own district at lower pay than he has received habitually; or, secondly, he need not take employment in his usual occupation in another district at a rate of wages lower than the standard. Those are the two limiting-conditions defining the words "suitable employment," but only defining suitable employment to a certain extent. "Any other kind of employment that is not in his usual occupation" may be deemed by the insurance officer to be suitable employment. For example, gardening might be offered to an engineer. The insurance officer might consider that that was suitable employment. The only limitation of suitable employment is this reference to his usual occupation in his own or other districts. Then comes Sub-section (2, ii), which says:after the lapse of such an interval from the date on which an insured contributor becomes unemployed as, in the circumstances of the case, is reasonable, employment shall not be deemed to be unsuitable by reason only that it is employment of a kind other than employment in the usual occupation of the insured contributor.That is a provision that definitely allows for change from his usual occupations to some other occupation. But before that there is nothing to prevent the man being compelled to accept other employment than his usual occupation, under the rule that it is suitable employment. If you are going to have two ways and there is going to be a certain period, what is considered a reasonable period by the Court of Referees and the Umpire before the individual can be compelled, I would like it to be put a little more clearly than it is now. I ask the Minister to consider that matter when the Bill goes to another place, if it is not possible to make the matter clear here. This is what will happen: Suppose a man goes to the Exchange, and is unemployed. The insurance officer says to him, "You can have employment at So-and-so. You may go to Such-and-such a place." He replies, 1698 "But I am an engineer, and that is not suitable employment for me. It is a different occupation from that to which I have been accustomed." The insurance officer says, "Oh, this is suitable employment, and you will be quite capable of doing it." The man can turn to him and say, "Yes, but under the Act of 1927 I am entitled to the benefit of Sub-section (2, ii), and am entitled to have the Court of Referees and Umpire decide whether I shall have to go and whether there has been a reasonable time elapsed or not."
If the man took up that position I dare say the Insurance Officer would recognise it and would assist him in going to the Court of Referees and the Umpire; but that is on the assumption that the individual concerned, who has gone to the Exchange, has got to the bottom of the meaning of this admittedly very complicated provision. But suppose the officer tells the man to go to this other job, and the man goes because he does not know that he has the right to refuse until a reasonable time has passed. What I am anxious about is that there should be better protection than that which is provided here for the man who is not skilled in getting to the meaning of the Bill as it is now. The difficulty might be met by a definite instruction from the Ministry to the Insurance Officers throughout the country that every man is to have this matter made perfectly plain to him, and that a man need not go to another job until the Court of Referees had decided. If that were done, it would be something, but I am anxious as to what meaning may be taken out of this provision. It would seem to be quite possible for the Court of Referees if a man has refused what they say is suitable employment, in a different occupation, to hold that there had not been any reasonable time. But there is nothing to say that there must be reasonable time. Both parties can go into the Court of Referees to have a dispute decided, but the Court of Referees may say to a man that Clause 5 (2, ii) does not necessarily mean that there is to be any definite amount of time. They may say that the definite amount of time is something extra which is not necessarily entailed—
§ Mr. BETTERTON
If the hon. Member has any doubts about this matter I can assure him that, in the view of our 1699 advisers, at any rate, there is no doubt at all that Clause 5 (1, b) is governed by Clause 5 (2, ii). There is no question whatever about that, and it seems to answer the hon. Member's point.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
I quite recognise that Clause 5 (1, b) is governed by the part which begins:The following provision shall have effect in relation to the said statutory conditions.I still maintain, however, that the words "suitable employment" do not necessarily involve a fixed period of time and the Court of Referees may claim that this provision gives them definite power to say to a man that in a certain period of time he is to change from one occupation to another. Sub-section (2) (ii) does not necessarily mean that the
§ man is to get the advantage of a period of time. However, the Parliamentary Secretary assures me that it is not intended in that way. There is the other point that it is of the utmost importance that every individual concerned should know that he can go to the Court of Referees and that the court can decide what is the proper period of time in his case. The Parliamentary Secretary will agree that cases constantly arise in connection with the present administration which show the importance of making these points as plain as possible and bringing home to people what are their rights.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 208; Noes, 114.1701
|Division No. 456.]||AYES.||[9.20 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Hurst, Gerald B.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Everard, W. Lindsay||Iliffe, Sir Edward M.|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Fanshawe, Captain G D.||Iveagh, Countess of|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Fermoy, Lord||Jephcott, A. R.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Fielden, E. B.||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Ford, Sir P. J.||Kindersiey, Major G. M.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||King, Commodore Henry Douglas|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Forrest, W.||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement|
|Bennett, A. J.||Foster, Sir Harry S.||Knox sir Alfred|
|Berry, Sir George||Fraser. Captain Ian||Lamb, J. Q.|
|Bethel, A.||Frece, Sir Walter de||Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Galbraith, J. F. W.||Little, Dr. E. Graham|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Ganzoni, Sir John||Locker-Lampson, Com. O.(Handsw'th)|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Gibbs. Col. Rt. Hon George Abraham||Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major Sir A. B.||Gilmour. Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Grant, Sir J. A.||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Greene, W. P. Crawford||MacIntyre, Ian|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Guinness Rt. Hon Walter E.||McLean, Major A.|
|Brown-Lindsay, Major H.||Gunston Captain D W||MacRobert, Alexander M.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-|
|Burman, J. B.||Hanbury, C.||Makins, Brigadier-General E.|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Malone, Major P. B.|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Harland, A.||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn|
|Caine, Gordon Hall||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Margesson, Captain D.|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Harrison G J C.||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.|
|Cassels, J. D.||Hartington, Marquess of||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon. Totnes)||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Hawke, John Anthony||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M||Moreing, Captain A. H.|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd. Henley)||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)|
|Cope, Major William||Henderson, Lt.-Col. Sir V. L. (Bootle)||Nelson, Sir Frank|
|Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Neville, Sir Reginald J.|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Nuttall, Ellis|
|Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Oakley, T.|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Hills, Major John Walter||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)|
|Cunliffe, Sir Herbert||Hilton, Cecil||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Pennefather, Sir John|
|Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Penny, Frederick George|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Holt Captain H. P.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Dixey, A. C.||Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.||Pilcher, G.|
|Drewe, C.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Hume, Sir G. H.||Preston, William|
|Elliot, Major Walter E.||Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis||Raine, Sir Walter|
|Ellis, R. G.||Huntingfield, Lord||Ramsden, E.|
|Rawson, Sir Cooper||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Reid, D. D. (County Down)||Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Remer, J. R.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Remnant, Sir James||Sprot, Sir Alexander||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Rice, Sir Frederick||Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.||Walls, S. R.|
|Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||Steel, Major Samuel Strang||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.||Storry-Deans, R||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Salmon. Major I.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Tasker, R. Inigo||Womersley, W. J.|
|Sandeman, N. Stewart||Thorn, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)||Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)|
|Sanders, Sir Robert A.||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)|
|Sanderson, Sir Frank||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.).|
|Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W.)||Tinne, J. A.||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Sheffield, Sir Berkeley||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Shepperson, E. W.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)||Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough||Major Sir Harry Barnston and|
|Skelton, A. N.||Wallace, Captain D. E.||Captain Viscount Curzon.|
|Slaney, Major P. Kenyon||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Hall, F. (York. W. R., Normanton)||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Rose, Frank H.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Ammon, Charles George||Hardie, George D.||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Baker, Walter||Harris, Percy A.||Sexton, James|
|Barnes, A.||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Batey, Joseph||Hayday, Arthur||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Bondfield, Margaret||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Broad, F. A.||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley)|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Hirst, G. H.||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Buchanan, G.||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Spencer, G. A. (Broxtowe)|
|Cape, Thomas||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Stamford, T. W.|
|Charleton, H. C.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Stephen, Campbell|
|Cluse, W. S.||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Kennedy, T.||Strauss, E. A.|
|Connolly, M.||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Cove, W. G.||Kirkwood, D.||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Lansbury, George||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Crawfurd, H. E.||Lindley, F. W.||Varley, Frank B.|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lowth, T.||Viant, S. P.|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Lunn, William||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Day, Colonel Harry||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R.(Aberavon)||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Dennison, R.||Mackinder, W.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Duncan, C.||MacLaren,. Andrew||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Edge, Sir William||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||MacNeill-Weir, L.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)||March, S.||Westwood, J|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Montague, Frederick||Whiteley, W.|
|Gardner, J. P.||Murnin, H.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Oliver, George Harold||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Gillett, George M.||Owen, Major G.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Gosling, Harry||Palin, John Henry||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Paling, W.||Windsor, Walter|
|Greenall, T.||Potts, John S.||Wright, W.|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Riley, Ben|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Ritson, J.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Grundy, T. W.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)||Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr. Hayes.|