HC Deb 24 February 1927 vol 202 cc1965-2012

I beg to move, in page 2, line 27, to leave out the word "an," and to insert instead thereof the words "a written."

I do not know whether the Government will accept this.

The SECRETARY of STATE for SCOTLAND (Sir John Gilmour)


Amendment agreed to.

Question, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.


On a point of Order. There is a further Amendment to Clause 3 on the Paper.


I think not.


It is an Amendment to leave out the Clause.


You do not move to leave out a Clause in Committee. A Clause is put, and if you do not like it, you object to it.


But this is the vital Clause of the Bill, in which everyone is interested.


I trust that no one will object, merely on a point of order, to our discussing it.


I am in the position that I do not wish to create a precedent, and yet, at the same time, I understand that there was a genuine misunderstanding in the matter. I think I may lay it down that in Committee there is no Amendment that can be accepted to leave out a Clause. A Clause has to be put, whether amended or not amended, and those who oppose it can speak and vote against it. On the Report stage it is different. There, a Clause is not put, and if anyone wishes to omit it, he has to put down an Amendment to that effect. Under these circumstances, I think, as there is evidently a genuine misapprehension, I will put the Question again. The Question is, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill.'


I beg to thank you, Mr. Hope, on behalf of many Members on this side who are interested in this very serious innovation in Scottish Poor Law, for the privilege you have just given us of explaining our position. The Lord Advocate, not only on this Bill, but on all other occasions in dealing with Scottish law, has shown an incisiveness and a clarity which are very welcome in these difficult matters, but on this point, so far as we have been able to understand, he has not given any reason whatever why what is an irrelevant matter to the main purpose of the Bill should have been imported at all. The main purpose of this Bill is, I believe, simply to legalise the position so far as the payment of relief to miners' dependants, as a result of the Circular issued by the Scottish Board of Health during the recent stoppage, is concerned, but here in Clause 3 there is imported into Scottish Poor Law practice that which has never hitherto been done. We are told that it is to assimilate the Scottish practice to the English practice, but if we are going to assimilate all our Scottish Poor Law practice to English Poor Law practice, it will not be a miserably small Bill of this kind that will have to deal with it, but a very large one indeed. Out of all the mass of dissimilarity which exists, the Government are seizing upon this one, which gives parish councils the power to give relief by way of loan and not, as hitherto, by way of simple grant.

There is some experience of what this means in England. I have here the particulars of the Wakefield Union, where there has been almost £200,000 given by way of loans to necessitous people in their area. Not only to miners' dependants, but outwith the miners, they are insisting upon an applicant signing a declaration that whatever money he is given is to be regarded as a loan and is to be recoverable as an alimentary debt. Here is £200,000, which this particular union has issued by way of loan, and when an applicant, an able-bodied man gets work, the union endeavours to get him voluntarily to pay from his wages the moneys which it has advanced. I beg the attention of the Committee to the fact that it is in the initial stages after a man has got work, that it is almost impossible to pay back the money advanced. He is probably in debt to his grocer, in debt to his landlord, and to all sorts of people round about him, and these he naturally regards as the first charges he has got to meet. But the Wakefield Union comes along and solicits repayment. If it cannot get it, for one reason or another, then it writes to his employer. His employer, unless the man be willing, cannot deduct the money from his wages, as it would be a violation of the Truck Act. The next step is for the Wakefield Union, or any other union, to sue the man in the nearest County Court for recovery, and get power to abstract from his wages so much per week. In this particular union the amount that is asked is not less than 2s. per week.

One can imagine what happens in the case of a labourer at a pithead, getting 36s. a week, in debt to his grocer, to his landlord and so on, suddenly being called upon to meet this, and to pay legal expenses in addition. That, I submit, will land us, if it be carried out in Scotland, in very serious legal expenses, and will do the very reverse of bringing about that peace in industry which is so loudly proclaimed to be the policy of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. Why is this proposal in this Bill at all? As I understand it, there have been four or live big changes in the law of Scotland as far as the financial side of the Poor Law is concerned since 1579. Since the Act of 1579, there have been wide disparities between our practice and the English practice. For instant e, under the Scottish Poor Law Act of 1579, there is no provision for enabling the overseers to provide work for the able-bodied unemployed at all. In England they had such power, but in Scotland they had not. In England, the unemployed were regarded as sorners, gypsies and as vagabonds, and a whole string of legislation, almost covering three centuries, has dealt with these able-bodied vagrants, as they were called. Under one Statute power was given to seize them on the King's highway, brand them, and compel them to work for private persons. Under our Scottish Poor Law there never existed the power for the Poor Law authorities to set able-bodied men to work, and the sole source from which Poor Law relief could be got was from the Kirk Session collection, and that existed right down, as far as I can discover, until after the second Jacobite rebellion. The Kirk Sessions, until 1755, were able to provide relief of seine kind. Then there was the Presbyterian Secession, when people left the Established Church. Heretors and Elders did not see they way to provide—


The hon. Gentleman is getting a long way from the question of loans.


I want to explain the successive stages after the settlement in the period of the Reformation, when it was a definite charge upon the heritors that they should pay for the poor, and I am seeking to show very roughly, by successive stages, that the heritors have divested themselves of their liabilities, and now we have arrived at the position when it is not relief that is to be given at all, but the poor are to be compelled to maintain themselves; because if this be carried out, there will be no longer an assessment for the poor at all. The poor would be getting a loan. Clause 3 specifically says that this is to apply not only to strikers, not only to the dependants of strikers, but even to every case under the Poor Law Act of 1845. So that the authority of the Parish Council may in future decide that every relief shall be by way of loan.

If this be carried, there will be a boom for the legal fraternity. I see the hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Kidd) smiling. He has differed from the other parts of the Bill but given whole-hearted support here. There will be a tremendous increase in the number of prosecutions of the poorest of the poor, and it is going to add to the cost of Poor Law administration. It would not be so bad if this were limited to cases, say, during a trade dispute. Under Clause 3 every recipient of Poor Law relief can be compelled to sign a declaration of debt before he can get a penny. It is common knowledge that it is part of the policy of hon. Gentlemen opposite not only to amend the Poor Law Acts of Scotland, but to amend the Franchise Act, and we have learnt in some press organs that there is a strongly backed proposal to wipe out of the franchise roll those who incur an alimentary debt; it is a matter of purging the roll of recipients of Poor Law relief. If this be an indirect method of getting rid of the burden of the poorest of the poor, I think the House should have a frank, clear and full statement from the Lord Advocate as to exactly what this means, because I think public opinion in Scotland is entitled to know exactly where we stand in this matter.


I welcome the opportunity of explaining the proposal in Clause 3. Some of the speakers on the other side, it appears to me, are very anxious to have all the benefits of the English system which we are incorporating in our Scottish law by this Bill, without any of its limitations. This relief to dependants which has been granted for centuries in England has all that time been coupled with the power to do it by way of loan, and I shall hope to satisfy the Committee very shortly by some information regarding the experience in England as to the reasonableness of having that same limitation in Scotland. I would like to make quite clear once more, that one of the main reasons for dealing with the gap in the way we have dealt with it, is this power to give relief by way of loan. In England, where the power is fully as wide as, and almost identical with what we propose in Clause 3, and has existed for centuries, the experience is that substantially it has been very little used for centuries.


Only since 1836.


It has existed for centuries, and the experience is that substantially it has been very little used except in connection with the very class of circumstances arising out of a trade dispute which we are here more immediately considering, and both in 1921—to take an illustration—and last year, the majority of the relief given was given by way of loan. It may also interest the Committee to know that of the amount given by way of loan, looking at it as a whole, undoubtedly a larger amount than 50 per cent. has actually been recovered, and in some cases 100 per cent. has been recovered. That means that, in these circumstances, a substantial proportion—I do not mean to put it higher than that—of the relief given to the dependants of the unemployed men, has never gone on the rates at all in England. Now the proposal of the hon. Member to leave out Clause 3 would mean that the whole of the cost would go on the ratepayers. We take the opposite view, namely, that if you are going to import this relief for dependants—and it seems fair to do so in present circumstance—then you should import with it also the conditions under which it has been administered here, and one of the most inherent and important conditions is that the larger part of the relief so granted has been granted by way of loan. I cannot give the actual figures, but, roughly speaking, I think I can fairly say the larger proportion, taking the experience in 1921, is actually recovered, and relieves the rates to that extent.

That was one of the most material reasons why the Government gave the 40 per cent. grant; because—if hon. Members follow what I mean—as regards the bridging of the gap, that is already past and done with, and in order that we might legalise the expenditure during that period we could not declare that any of it was granted by way of loan. If this Bill had come into operation, say on the 1st May last, then the experience would have been that a considerable amount would have been granted by way of loan and the whole of the £650,000 would not have fallen on the ratepayers. That is one of the reasons which have influenced the Government—others have been given, but it is one important reason—that it is fair that the parish councils should not have to bear the whole of that £650,000.

If I may take the opportunity of replying to observations made from the Opposition Front Bench yesterday, that also makes it quite clear that this is no precedent for any particular claim for the English system; it is merely in order to put the Scottish parish councils during that gap period, in the position in which they would have been if the English law had existed that it is necessary, or wise, or fair to give this contribution from the Exchequer. Therefore we ask the House to pass this Clause as being an essential part of that portion of the system of English Poor Law administration which we are adopting in Clause 1; it is an essential and, from the financial point of view as well, a very important part. I quite appreciate the criticism that in doing this we have included not only this particular relief that we are more immediately considering under the Bill hut relief given under the 1921 Act and the 1845 Act. The reason is that it is administratively impossible to separate them. Let me take an illustration. A man applies for relief for his dependants during the dispute, and under conditions which would entitle that relief to be given. Under Clause 1 of the Bill that relief is given—or will be given—at the beginning stage under this Bill. But who can tell at what stage the condition will be reached when that relief will really be under the 1845 Act? In cases like that, it very often passes from the one category to the other, and it really is quite impossible to separate the two administratively.

That is the reason why we have put it in, and I have no reason to suppose that the parish councils of Scotland which, as everyone will agree, do their work very well and very fairly, will administer the law any less fairly, or on any substantially different lines from the lines on which English guardians have dealt with this question of loans. Their experience has been that this power to give by way of loan is not a normal accompaniment of relief. In how many of the cases under the 1845 Act would it be worth while even to write out the receipt or to give the notice? There are cases where there would be no hope of repayment, and nobody would dream, either in fairness, or from the point of view of practicability, of suggesting that it was a loan. Once more I would accentuate—the hon. Member who spoke last undoubtedly realises it, but I am not sure that every hon. Member realises it—that this is purely an option to the parish council. It is entirely in their discretion, and surely we can trust the parish Councils to administer it fairly.


Has the right hon. and learned Gentleman any figures respecting cases in England showing how many, if any, were taken to the Court?


No, Sir; but there were very few.


Are we to understand that under Clause 3 it is to become a permanent part of the system in Scotland.


Until 1930.


What is the procedure for the recovery of these loans?


The Small Debt Court.


I would like the hon. and learned Gentleman to explain what is the procedure for the recovery of these loans.


Before the right hon. Gentleman finishes, will he tell the Committee whether it is not the case that, under Clause 3, it not necessary that the recipient of Poor Law relief should have signed undertaking admitting that it is a loan—that a simple intimation from the parish council, without either the assent or the consent of the recipient, will be sufficient to make that relief a loan?


The words of the Clause make it quite clear. He must either have a receipt for the actual payment of relief containing the statement that it is given by way of loan, or a notification in writing that the relief is so provided must be given. And of course you must give the notification at the time you give the relief.


I think we are all indebted to the Lord Advocate for making quite clear to us matters on which we were somewhat doubtful previously, but even after that explanation I am not satisfied as to what is going to take place. As I understand it, we are incorporating this new provision in Scottish law so that it may be in keeping with the law as it exists in England. The fact that we are incorporating a good thing from English law is no reason for attaching a bad one—as we think this one to be. The Lord Advocate said that 50 per cent. of the money loaned since 1921 in England had been recovered, and in some cases even more than that.


The relief given "during the 1921 stoppage" was w hat I said.


True it may have been recovered, but what were the conditions under which it was recovered? Was it obtained by stress or a threat, because it was alimentary, because the person had not complied with the law, and a decree had been given, or a threat had been made to apply to the Court? At any rate it would be recovered at a time when the man was deeply in debt, and when his financial position was as bad as it had been at the time when the relief was granted. During the stoppage the man would not only incur debt in the shape of a loan from the board of guardians, but would also incur debts to his landlord, his grocer, and other people; and then, a week or two after he had started work again, with perhaps only £2 or £2 10s. a week coming in, an application is made for him forthwith to make contributions towards the reduction of the debt. The Lord Advocate knows as well as I do that the relief given is never quite sufficient to meet the cost of the absolute necessities of life, and this privation over a prolonged period tells its tale, and at the end of the struggle the man is actually in need of some relief to supplement his wages for the time being.

As I said on Tuesday night, I have had some experience of the Poor Law, and I am glad to bear testimony to the fact that since the time when I was a member of a parish council the administration of the Poor Law has entirely changed, and that where there was what I regarded at the time as foolish cruelty it is now quite common to find a humanitarian administration of the law such as was entirely absent previously. While that is true, however, it is also true that there still exists amongst a section of the people a feeling that things have gone too far; there is a desire, shared by the hon. Member for North Lanarkshire (Sir A. Sprot) if I did not misunderstand him, to get back to the glorious days when relief was not given so indiscriminately and without regard to the ratepayer. I would beg the Lord Advocate to consider seriously what is going to be done. In view of the extraordinary position that has cropped up, and the tremendous burden which will be thrown on the ratepayers in nearly all industrial districts of Scotland, the Board of Health, in their desire for economy, may feel the necessity for a stricter administration of the law, and -urge the recovery of loans which were incurred by people to tide them over the period of distress. The parish councils may be compelled by circulars from the Board of Health to take more action than they are taking. The Bill says the money "shall be" recoverable by the parish council. Those words "shall be" may be interpreted as something in the nature of compulsion, and the parish councils may have circulars from the Board of Health—I think I have seen them in days gone by — ordering action to be taken on lines such as the parish councils themselves would not altogether favour. In incorporating this provision in the Scottish law I think the Government are doing a bad thing for Scottish Poor Law administration.

Another point was made by my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee. There is throughout the country and in a section of the Press a demand that recipients of Poor Law relief shall be deprived of their votes. Here there is an opportunity for it to be done. If a loan has been granted and not repaid, or if an attempt has not been made to repay it, it may be that this demand for disfranchisement will become stronger and it may become the law once again that anyone who has received Poor Law relief either in the shape of a loan or a grant shall be deprived of his right of citizenship. I can see no reason whatever why this bad part of the English law should be forced upon us, and I hope the Committee will reject the Clause as it now stands.

5.0 p.m.


I wish it had been possible for the Lord Advocate to have met us in this matter, in view of what has been said from his side of the Committee and also from our side. I realise that hon. Members opposite have no idea of establishing anything in the way of a new system of nationalisation, but unwittingly this Bill, although hon. Members opposite are opposed to nationalisation, is going to set up national pawnshops so far as Scotland is concerned—pawnshops on a gigantic scale. There will be only this difference between those pawnshops and privately-owned pawnshops, that in a privately-owned pawnshop you must have security before you can get a loan, while under Clause 3 the Government are going to give rights to the parish councils to grant loans without any security so far as the applicants for the loans are concerned. The security in many instances will only have to be the mental stability of those individuals who are compelled, because of poverty, to apply for relief. There are so many who because of poverty are compelled to apply for relief, and who, where that relief is granted on loans and they have given a promise to repay it, will do everything possible to keep that promise. There will be over hundred of instances, if this Clause goes through, where people will be prepared to starve themselves and their wives and children for the purpose of fulfilling the bargain that has been imposed upon them by the parish council. There are many parish councils that will seek in a humane way to administer this particular Clause if it goes through this House, but I likewise know that there are many parish councils who are willing to take full advantage of a Clause like this and to impose their sweet will upon those who are compelled because of poverty to apply for the assistance that the Poor Law can give them.

Clause 3 is not to deal with an emergency. Clauses 1 and 2 and the pro- longation of the 1921 Act in Clause 4 are really put forward to deal with an emergency, but Clause 3 does not deal with that emergency. It seeks to impose upon Scotland something in connection with the administration of the Poor Law which could quite well be dealt with, if the Government thought fit to deal with it and if they are in office, in 1930 when they are really overhauling the whole of the Poor Law system. I would plead with the Secretary of State for Scotland, who no doubt will be replying to the Debate, that if you are going to deal with emergency conditions we on this side of the House are willing, but this particular Clause seeks to enforce certain conditions and it has not the support of the parish councils. I do not know of any parish council that has passed a resolution in favour of Clause 3. All the parish councils have passed resolutions in favour of the other Clauses of the Bill, many of them wanting the Bill to go further in regard to finance. I do know of parish councils and public authorities that have sent telegrams to Members of this House asking them to oppose these provisions for loans, because the Parish Councils Association have not yet had time to consider this particular proposal. If the Committee does pass this Clause, they will be going entirely in opposition to the views of the parish councils in Scotland and in direct opposition to the expressed views of those who are responsible for the administration of the Poor Law. For the reason that the Government are now seeking to set up national pawnshops so far as Scotland is concerned without asking the applicants for loans to provide possible security I oppose this particular Clause.


The attitude adopted by the Lord Advocate and the statements he has made do not clear up the doubts that are in my mind in regard to this matter. I do not see how this Clause can be made workable at all. It seeks to impose upon parish councils duties that they are not particularly well fitted to perform. As the hon. Gentleman the Member for Peebles (Mr. Westwood) has said, Clause 1 deals with a particular condition of things. It refers "to relief to the destitute dependants of any destitute able-bodied person who is out of employment owing to his being directly involved in a trade dispute."

That is quite understandable and I am quite sure that the parish councils in Scot- land will be able to deal with that situation fairly well, but when you come to Clause 3 it raises an entirely new situation. It deals with the matter generally and lays it down that any relief whatever given to any person or to his dependants, which the parish council shall direct to be provided by a loan, shall be deemed and is hereby declared to be a loan to the person to or on account of whom or to whose dependants the relief shall have been provided. In that connection the parish councils, in very many cases, are not able to distinguish between the man who is idle in consequence of the dispute and the man who is idle because of depression of trade or the caprice of the employer or, in some cases, the vindictiveness of the employer.

To make my point clear, I would draw attention to the fact that in the months immediately preceding the stoppage in the mining industry, the mining parishes in the county of Lanark were giving clear evidence of an exceptional amount of unemployment. Figures were given to us in reply to questions in this House in regard to the following parishes in the county of Lanark:—Blantyre, Both-well, Cambuslang, Carluke, Carmichael, Carnwath, Dalserf, Douglas, Hamilton, East Kilbride, Lanark, Stonehouse, Cadder, Cambusnethan, and Carmun-nock. In those parishes, which are largely mining, in the first three months of 1926 there was an increase of 623 persons, or fully 52 per cent., on the unemployed list compared with the first three months of 1925. We find that in the county of Lanark a very large proportion of parishes had no unemployed at all, or, at any rate, no relief to pay during those two years. It is the common impression, largely stressed by Members on the other side, that had there been no dispute in the mining industry everything was pointing to a return of good trade. Those figures show the opposite, at least so far as the mining parishes in the county of Lanark are concerned. Since the dispute has ended, we have thousands of men idle in Lanarkshire who should be working. I would point out that in the mining industry, in particular, instead of fewer men being employed, there is room for a considerable addition to the numbers already engaged. It is all a question of organisation; but I cannot deal with that aspect of the matter now. In the county of Lanark we have ten thousand or fifteen thousand persons at present idle, and no parish council can say that they are idle in consequence of the late dispute. But some of the parish councils in the county of Lanark would have it that these men, before they may be entitled to get any relief under Clause 3, must enter into an obligation to pay this money back when they find employment. They may have to leave their district entirely before they can find employment.

I quite appreciate the reasonable proposition, generally speaking, that the Lord Advocate adopted when he was replying to my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee (Mr. Johnston), but I do not agree with him that this matter will be so easily worked as apparently he thinks. I know that there is a considerable difficulty here and I am quite willing to admit and to appreciate the difficulties that the Government are faced with in a matter of this sort. Possibly their desire to assimilate the law of England to the law of Scotland—to the better part of the English system of law—may be desirable, but I would remind my right hon. Friend that in England this does not work any too well. If all the reports we get are true, the system does not seem to work very well, so that there can be no necessity for bringing men into the County Courts and no necessity for threatening them and pointing their furniture. This proposal may effect the very opposite to the end the Government have in view. A big proportion of the men will have to shift from one district to another, probably from one county to another, and possibly from Scotland to England. You will find that a fair proportion of the men will use their wits to get out of an obligation of this kind. They will accept—and they will be perfectly right in accepting—the proposal which is laid down in the Bill. They will accept this money. Some people say that that would be an immoral act, but it is no more immoral for them to get out of an agreement forced upon them—an agreement where advantage is taken of their social and economic necessities—than it would be for the parish council to impose such an unreasonable condition upon them. I submit that, all things con-sidered, it would be a very great advan- tage to the bringing about of a better state of feeling in the country between capital and labour—which hon. Members on the other side assume to be an absolute necessity and which we hear so much talk about—if the Government in these cases would declare a complete settling of the account, and if they did not put into operation or try to impose upon the parishes in Scotland the duty of imposing an obligation of this kind upon the ratepayers.

You will have the parishes all divided. The people in each parish will be divided and it will create a sort of semi-civil war with one section fighting against the other. You cannot bring peace along those lines, and your proposal will work out to the disadvantage of peaceful conditions. Therefore, I want to put to the Government the danger of passing this Clause because of its unworkable character, and because it will tend to create bitter feelings between the community and the members of parish councils. What is being proposed is clearly an interpolation and something which is entirely foreign to the object for which the Bill has been introduced. Any amount of difficulties will be created which the parish councils do not want cast upon them. For these reasons I ask the Government to reconsider the whole position, and if they want to assimilate the law of Scotland to the law of England the whole question should be dealt with without interfering with the prerogatives of any particular party.


We are dealing this afternoon with a large question which may have far-reaching results. The Lord Advocate said these powers had not in normal times been taken advantage of throughout England. I would point out that we are now dealing with abnormal times in this emergency Measure. We have seen to-day how great may be the burden of a parish council. The Member for Dundee (Mr. Serymgeour) indicated a district—I think it was Wakefield—where they had £200,000 out on loan and another colleague on these benches told me yesterday that in his district the sum out on loans from boards of guardians was nearly £300,000. Therefore, this is a far-reaching question affecting Poor Law administration in Scotland very seriously. The Lord Advocate said that some of us were disposed to take the advantages of the English law without submitting to its limitations and drawbacks. I was very curious to know how far this proposal had been an advantage in English Poor Law administration and I took the pains to read up what was said on this particular subject of loans in place of grants on the part of boards of guardians under the English Poor Law Amendment Act, 1884. I went into the details of this subject so far as it was traversed by the Poor Law Commission of 1909. I find that there are a number of representatives of boards of guardians, local government officers and others who plead for the system, but there are just as many who oppose it. Some of them put the proposal forward on the ground that it would be a deterrent; arguing that persons able to pay, if they knew there was to be recovery of this kind, would not apply at all. On the other hand, it was argued that the very people who were least deserving would be least deterred because they would have no conscience at all about an obligation to repay, whereas those in dire need, who had a conscience in this matter would be deterred. The Commissioners say: It is undesirable and impolitic that the poorest classes, when in real need of relief, should be placed in fear of harassing actions in the future. Instead of being a terror to evil doers and a praise to them that do well, this proposal is going to do something which is a terror to those who desire to do well and which will win the praises of the evil doers who are ready to declare that they will pay hack the money without having the least intention of doing so. The Commissioners use an argument in which they say that, if you enforce in a time of distress or at the close of a period of distress regular payments week by week of this kind, you are preventing deserving men from laying in store for old age and sickness and for maintenance in after days, and thereby the public authorities themselves would not gain anything at all because they would have the later burden that might have been avoided if the man had been encouraged to aim at a position of true independence because then he might have been able to provide for himself. On the ground of sound finance, serious exception can be taken to this proposal. Surely it is in the interests of parish council finance that they should know exactly how they stand and have a clear hill, and not have debts running into thousands of pounds that may be assets or may be no assets at all. I was led to look at this matter from the point of view of the recipients, and I wish to point out, as stated in the Circular of the Board of Health of the 8th May, that the amount here concerned may not be connected with the merits or demerits of the dispute at all. I take safety men who worked for many weeks after the stoppage and who, on grounds of economy, were dispensed with and who were unable to obtain relief because the coal dispute was in existence. These safety men, but for the dispute, would have seen employed, but they were unable to obtain unemployment benefit, and many of them were obliged to go on the parish. Here you are dealing with men of that type who are to be penalised although they were not able to follow their daily employment. Instead of coming forward and helping these men in a brotherly way and showing them more of the spirit of brotherly sympathy and helping them to make a new start, you are going to put a millstone round their necks. Because you have saved a man from shipwreck, you decree that henceforth all the voyage of his life must be bound in shallows and in misery. The Lord Advocate has told us that, in normal cases, very little of this money is recovered. He told us that 50 per cent. is recovered in these abnormal times in certain districts. All credit to the men who have suffered so much and are now repaying money to that extent! If, however, you let your vision range over the normal condition of things, you will find it works out that very little of this money is recovered. I will give one or two instances. The Commission say: The results are so uncertain that the guardians are reluctant to put the law in motion at all. One of the witnesses who was a member of the Marylebone Board of Guardians, said: The recovery of loans has always been a difficulty. We have attempted to recover amounts, but the difficulty is that unless you can prove earnings, and unless you can prove position, it is hopeless. Another witness said that the amount. recovered is comparatively trifling. I know these are individual cases, but I was very much struck by a statistical statement in Appendix 19 of the Report in which a Poor Law officer, Mr. Baldwyn Fleming, in charge of a big area covering Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire, gives statistics for 54 unions which had given money on loan, and only in 10 cases was anything recovered in connection with those loans. The whole sum recovered in that area was £443, and of that, £373 was recovered from Portsmouth alone. In 53 cases there was only a sum of £70 recovered in all. Therefore, I think it will be clear that we are stepping on very shaky ground in regard to the new proposal which it is proposed to set up. I think this proposal lends itself to great laxity and even crookedness in administration, and there is a great deal of make-believe about it. By a form of make-believe, those who are giving the relief are launching out into extravagance and saving themselves by saying that the money will be recovered. I visualise what would have been said if this Clause had been proposed from this side of the House. It would have been said that we were proposing to pay the dependants of strikers and those who are out of work and place them on the rates; that we were sapping "the glorious privilege of being independent" of the Scottish people, and were coming up against the traditions of our ancient virtue in Scotland. They might even have said that there was some Russian influence behind what we were doing. What do we find now? We find the Government, having failed in all their other enterprises, coming forward and playing the part of the pawnbroker and the moneylender, while we on this side stand as the sole custodians of the ancient independence, traditions and virtues of the Scottish people.


I am sorry that the Lord Advocate cannot produce figures showing in how many cases those who had been provided with loans had to be taken to the Courts. The fact that that particular part of his evidence was left out has, no doubt, its own significance. The principle of the case here is a national one. If there is a case for application for relief from. a parish council on the score of destitution, even under such special circumstances as those which are particularly provided for in the Bill, then it is a question Of being either right or wrong. If it is right, then the money should be given without any bargaining. In Scotland we do not want, although You have it in England, any haggling over the question whether a person is entitled to get relief without having to refund it. The argument is put forward by the Lord Advocate that we have been, or at least a section of the House has been, following the line of England in acceptance of the Bill generally. For myself, I am not looking to England for any particular lead in this or anything else. My own feeling is that Scotland, as has been already said, can do very much better, not only in the granting of relief, but in settling how we are to get the fund for the payment of relief.

As regards the idea of poor people coming before parish councils and having to face circumstances like these, that certainly, to anyone like my hon. Friend the Member for St. Rollox (Mr. Stewart) and myself, who have had years of experience in parish council work, would be a very deplorable development. I am glad to know that the parish councils are represented here to-day, although they are not able to get a look-in as regards what they wanted to do in making a protest. The Government have been cute enough to dodge that particular aspect of this case, but I am glad to know from the chairman of the Dundee Parish Council that they at any rate do not want this particular Clause. If we think of the experience that Scotsmen have had of lending money at times to people in unfortunate circumstances—people in England appear to give it without any expectation of its being returned—I can assure the Government that in Scotland people do lend money under such circumstances, and it is true that it is very difficult to find people able to refund the money lent in that way. The truth is that, when we come to face the question of poverty and destitution, it becomes an absurdity to arrange for anything of this kind. The introduction of this Clause suggests the idea that poverty is a sort of emergency; but as a matter of fact it seems to he a settled condition of affairs from which large bodies of the people do not seem to he able to get out. Of course, that raises very large issues, which we are not entitled to touch upon here, but at the same time we are entitled to say that England and Scotland, as matters stand now, are inter- linked and absolutely responsible in the collective sense for the production of that poverty, and, if there is a claim in respect of special necessitous circumstances, it is the national Exchequer that ought to meet that situation.


That is getting away from this Clause altogether.


In a certain degree, I agree that that is so. To get back to what the Lord Advocate said as to this being better than having the financial responsibility resting upon the rates, that is to say, the local ratepayers, while that is quite satisfactory from his point of view, it is not satisfactory from the point of view of men or women who have been ratepayers, and many of whom, indeed, are actually ratepayers at the time of making their application; and for them to be placed in the position of having to find the money for their own circumstances would in reality be giving an optional power to the parish council to deprive the ratepayer of the rights which formerly he had. As regards the old-time situation, into the history of which my colleague (Mr. Johnston) has gone, there undoubtedly was a guarantee to those who were legitimately in need of assistance that they would obtain it; but here you are going to adopt an entirely new system, which, if applied, for instance, to the case of the Army pensioner, would involve the exaction of repayment of the sums that are being, and have for some years been given, to any of these men. These are industrial soldiers whose cases we are considering here. They are always in the conflict, and, in the circumstances that we are now contemplating, they are in the position of being defeated soldiers, they are broken-down soldiers, broken down in striving to build up the interests of the nation; and, while I am quite confident that some improvement has taken place in these parish councils, undoubtedly there are elements in them, which are to some extent represented here to-day by the hon. Member for North Lanark (Sir A. Sprot), that would undoubtedly take advantage of this Clause to assist their particular ideas and proclivities. It will give them the opportunity to give some relief on condition that it is handed back at an early date. As a Scottish Mem- ber, I protest against this situation, and I trust that the question will be pressed to a Division.


I have no intention of traversing the ground that has already been covered by my colleagues on this side, but I hope that the Secretary of State for Scotland will answer the questions which they have put to him when he comes to reply. In order to justify the inclusion of the ordinary poor in this Clause, the Lord Advocate used the argument that there was a point which would be reached when you could not say when emergency relief became relief under the ordinary Poor Law.


It is quite true.


The right hon. Gentleman says it is quite true. The question that I wish to put to the Secretary of State for Scotland, and it affects the parish councils who have been making these emergency payments, is this: Are all the payments that have been made by the parish councils during that period to 13.3 included in the sum that is to be relieved by the Scottish Board of Health? Is the 40 per cent. to apply to the whole of the money, or is the Scottish Board of Health going to draw fine distinctions between those who have been paid ordinary Poor Law relief during that period, those who have been paid, under the Act of 1921, as able-bodied unemployed, and that section who have been paid what is known as emergency relief? My contention is that, if it has been possible for the parish councils to keep a clear statement as to those who were paid ordinary relief, those who were paid relief as able-bodied unemployed, and those who were paid emergency relief during this emergency period, it is quite possible for the parish councils in future to make a distinction between the ordinary poor and those who receive relief either under the Act of 1921 or in the form of loans if they are engaged in a trade dispute. If the Lord Advocate or the Secretary of State for Scotland would agree to keep the ordinary poor out of the operation of this Clause, I do not think there would be very much objection to the Clause on this side of the House; but if they are all to be lumped together under this Clause, our contention will be, and I hope the Secretary of State will meet the point, that no fine distinctions should be drawn in regard to the payments made by parish councils during the emergency period, but that the whole sum that has been paid out by the parish councils should be subject to the 40 per cent. grant that we are to get from the Government. I hope the Secretary of State for Scotland will deal with that point when he comes to reply.


There are one or two items in the Bill which are a cause of very great dispute. In the first place, while the Bill deals specifically with payments to destitute people who are out of employment on account of a dispute., and particularly leaves it open to the parish council to treat any grant as a loan, it will, I think, surely follow that public pressure will cause every parish council to regard such a. grant as a loan. It would lay every official of a parish council open to very great difficulties with the ratepayers of his district if, in making such a grant, he did not take advantage of Clause 3 of this Measure. The second point is that, according to Clause 3, either the person receiving the grant must sign a document stating that he is so receiving it, or it is to be considered as a loan if the parish council themselves send an intimation to him that the money paid to his dependants is paid by way of loan. I have never known in Scots law any contract which can be constructed in that way. In the case say, of the dependants of a man who is out of employment on account of a dispute, it says that., directly his dependants are supported by the parish council, he may receive an intimation from the parish council that that money has been given to his dependants by way of a loan, and by that he is, under this Measure, bound as a debtor to the parish council. Moreover, the parish council are obtaining a greater power over their debtor than any other creditor or moneylender would have in England, for the debt is to be considered as an alimentary debt, and the parish council will have the right to pursue that man, by way of arrestment, further than any other ordinary creditor will in England. It means that, if this is allowed to go through as an alimentary debt, the parish council, having a decree, could proceed to arrest the debtor's wages, and the Limitation of Arrestments Act would not apply; the 35s, a week which is granted as an exemption from arrestment in all ordinary claims would not be granted to him in this case. I agree that it is not likely that a parish council would exercise many of these powers, but we must have in mind the public pressure which would be imposed upon the officials of a parish council.

Let me take an instance that occurs to me. It is a pure speculation, but it occurs to me that a parish council will issue its accounts, in which necessarily on the asset side will appear loans to the dependants of able-bodied persons unemployed on account of a trade dispute. In the first year that may not be a very large sum, but year after year goes by and there is a very large accumulated asset. Immediately you have every member of the parish council subjected, at every meeting he attends, to questions and criticisms as to why it is that the parish council, having these people now employed, does not pursue them to repay the debt. I can foresee clearly that you will have in certain areas from a certain section of the people, a. great deal of pressure applied to parish council members and officials to compel payment from people who they themselves may well know are quite unable to pay. I do not think it is a good thing that officials or members of parish councils should be in that position. I do not think any man whose family is in want, and is relieved because it is in want, through no fault of his own should at the end of a time of dispute or unemployment have to set out to maintain his family with the burden on his mind of the debt that has been incurred during that period. Still less do I think that man ought to start out with the possible dread of having this liability against him which can be enforced against him as an alimentary debt.

After all, for what do parish councils exist, and for what do we pay our rates? It is to maintain in life and efficiency the men and women and their dependants who are at a certain time in real want. I do not think we ought to enquire as to the cause of their being in that condition so long as it is not due to their own deliberate fault. If we relieve want, we surely know perfectly well that the margin even between want and necessaries is small, that the margin allowed over necessaries for the trifling comforts of life is almost non-existent, and that in ordinary circumstances the workingman's wife, who is the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the home, fixes her household economy according to the wage her husband receives. You are now going to add to one of the most magnificent, though one of the most burdened of all the people of Scotland, the wife of the artisan, the torture of knowing that behind all the economy which she arranges for the expenditure of her husband's wages when he is employed there is the dread of this debt, and the right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well, both in the rural and in the urban districts, perhaps even more in the rural district, the feeling of humiliation which is in the minds of the women of Scotland when they know they are in debt. Therefore I object to Clause 3, first because it institutes a new principle in our Scottish parochial life which I think is not a good one and, second, because it opens members and officials of parish councils to outside pressure to do things which otherwise they would not be willing to do, and, thirdly, because it puts a. man, on account of it being an alimentary debt, in a situation when he does start work in which I think no man, without it is his own direct fault, ought to be put either by the Legislature or the local authority. I hope the Secretary of State for Scotland will yet reconsider the introduction of this principle.


I want to join with others in objecting to this Clause remaining in the Bill on the ground that it is setting up a very dangerous and unsatisfactory method which has not hitherto existed in Scotland. The Clause as it stands says, "any relief," not relief granted to those who are defined in Clause 1, but any relief whatsoever, whether by payment in money or payment in clothes or in food. The cost price of anything that is given by a. parish council in the way of relief is to be considered as a loan. It may even be construed that anyone admitted into a poor-house may be sued afterwards for the cost of his maintenance. I hope the Secretary of State for Scotland will make it clear whether that is so. Then there is another point. Supposing a man is unemployed. who has been working for a period of years, paying his rent and rates regularly. For a certain period he will be in receipt of unemployment benefit. If he cannot find employment within the period, his unemployment benefit may cease, and he becomes helpless so far as receiving anything that will keep him going, unless he applies to the parish council.

There is no stipulation made here as to whether he is to be permitted to draw benefit for a certain period before he is asked to agree to any relief from the parish council being considered as a loan. According to the wording of the Clause, as soon as he applies for relief, and the parish council agrees to pay him relief, the very first week's relief granted to him can be considered as a loan, irrespective of the fact that he may have been paying poor rates for 10, 15, 20 or, it may even be 30 years. He is not going to receive anything in respect of the poor rates he has paid, which, after all, are as much an insurance against unemployment and bad times as is the amount of money he pays week after week into the Unemployment Fund in deductions made from his wages. The one is an insurance against distress, and the other is an insurance during his period of unemployment, and a man is just as much entitled to get Poor Law relief without being asked to repay it as he is at present to obtain unemployment benefit, and he is not asked to repay that. It is insurance in both cases, and if this Clause is allowed to go through without protest, we may very well, see at some future date something introduced by the Minister of Labour of the same character, that all benefit paid to an unemployed man or woman is to be looked upon as a loan.

6.0 p.m.

The Secretary of State for Scotland has only to consider the statement made by the parish council authorities in Govan and Glasgow, who made certain very startling statements and submitted some very staggering figures to the Blanesburgh Committee. If you are going to consider every payment of poor relief by either of these parishes as a loan, you are going to he faced with a considerable number of difficulties amongst the people there. Glasgow pays £6,500 a week in Poor Law relief, and Govan £4,645, that is £11,000 in those two parishes, which constitute the major portion of the Poor Law area of Glasgow. Is the whole, or part, of that £11,000 going to be brought under Clause 3, because according to the geography of Glasgow and of the coal mining area of Scotland there are very few dependants of miners living in Glasgow who come under the category of the remainder of this Bill. The great amount of Poor Law relief paid in the West of Scotland is paid by the parishes of Glasgow and Govan, the industrial parishes in Scotland. Edinburgh comes in as well. Clause 3 means any relief at all,, not merely monetary but relief given in kind, including admission and maintenance in a Poor Law institution, and the whole of this sum of £11,000 plus the amount of money it is costing to maintain the poor people in Poor Law institutions in Glasgow can be made recoverable under Clause 3 if the recipients of relief are notified by the parish council. Let us know where we are. Is that the method under the English law? If so, it is entirely foreign to the method of dealing with Poor Law relief in Scotland. If the Government are going to introduce this new system of Poor Law relief, why could not they bring in a special Poor Law Bill for Scotland, dealing with the matter specifically, instead of smuggling it. through in this way, in a Bill which would obtain general consent in every Poor Law area in Scotland where there has been a considerable increase of unemployment and destitution due to the miners' dispute. The Government are getting a Bill through with practical unanimity in this House dealing with the emergency question, and in getting that unanimity they are taking advantage of it by smuggling through Clause 3, and saying that unless they get that Clause it will wreck the Bill.

I submit to the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Lord Advocate that when they are planning a new principle of Poor Law relief in Scotland, they ought not to insert it in a Bill which is dealing with an emergency. They are introducing a new principle into the Poor Law of Scotland, and they are doing it in a Bill which is intended to make provision as to poor relief to dependants and persons involved in a trade dispute in Scotland, to enable relief to be given by way of loan… The primary part of this Measure deals wth the emergency queston, while the new principle has been left to a secondary phrase in the title of the Bill. Clause 5 says: This Act may be cited as the Poor Law Emergency Provisions (Scotland) Act, 1927.


The Moneylenders Act!


Not a, Moneylenders Act but a Moneytakers Act: moneytakers on the part of the Government. I do not think that hon. Members opposite understand the Bill correctly. This Act may be cited as the Poor Law Emergency Provisions (Scotland) Act, not as the Poor Law Act, but as an Emergency Act, and the Government are asking us to establish this new principle in the Poor Law of Scotland under this Emergency Act. The Lord Advocate and the Secretary of State for Scotland are not dealing fairly with Members in this House, and they are dealing less fairly with the Scottish Members and the Scottish people. They are here to protect the interests of the Scottish people and to conserve their rights under the Act of Union, and to see that no new principles are enacted in any Acts of Parliament dealing with Scotland that are foreign to Scottish law.

The Secretary of State for Scotland is now a Secretary of State and is looked upon as possessing a higher status than formerly, and he and the Lord Advocate come to this House and bring forward a Bill in which they are doing an injury to Scotland which no one would have expected two Scotsmen such as they are would have done to the Scottish people. They are placing themselves very much in the category of some of the old Secretaries of State whom we had when we had Lord Bute practically dominating the Government of the country, in the days when "Junius" was writing his famous letters. We have got right back to those old times, and we have a Secretary of State and a Lord Advocate who are simply placing the whole of Scotland and Scottish affairs under the feet of Englishmen, for them to do as they will. So long as we have Scottish Members in this House, Labour Members upon whose shoulders seem to rest the duty as well as the desire, intention and determination of maintaining the ancient liberties of Scotland, protests will be made. I want to warn the Secretary of State for Scotland, and the Lord Advocate, that if, as a result of what has transpired to-day, and a succession of election results similar to the one announced today, this Government goes out of power very soon, one of the first Measures that I and my colleagues from Scotland will demand from the Labour Government that will take the place of the present Government, will be the abolition of this particular Clause.


I want to emphasise what was said by the hon. Member for Paisley (Mr. Rosslyn Mitchell) regarding this Clause. I believe that the Exchequer ought to have stood the whole of the expense of all that was done in Scotland. Confining oneself to the present Clause, I think a very bad principle is being introduced. It is certainly a new principle and I think it will be a humiliating and crippling principle and, therefore, a vicious principle to be introduced into Scottish law. I think it emphasises the good claim that every Scottish Member might make now for Scottish home rule, but, as the novelists would say, "that is another story," and we shall have to do that later on. I had thought that our fears were exaggerated. I had no idea, until my fears were aroused from words that came from the lips of some hon. Members, that this principle will apply to money other than that given to people in emergency in a trade dispute. I thought the Bill would be purely confined to that, but there has been no statement from the other side and I have seen no one on the other side anxious to make a statement to allay the fears that this principle will apply to people who get ordinary Poor Law relief. If that is to be the effect, I trust that we shall be able to frustrate it by getting this Clause cut out of the Bill. I hope the Secretary of State and the Lord Advocate will, in that case, take a different view, and not put that principle in the Bill

Let us consider the state of the man who is in receipt of any assistance during a dispute, during emergency, or at any other period. There is no incentive for that man to get well if he has been sick, or to go back to work if he has been unemployed, or to get things straightened out, if there is to be entailed upon him perpetual pauperism. Our men are always on the verge of poverty, and with this added burden hanging over the household, hanging over the breadwinner, what hope is there that any man can go back to his employment with any chance of doing his best, knowing that this money is recoverable in the same way as an alimentary debt would be, that his wages may be arrested and that he has not the relief that we have already obtained in Scotland?

This Clause ought to be taken out of the Bill. If a man has the right to be assisted, then it should not be by way of loan. That is a sound principle, but if there is a fear in the mind of the man, and if a sword of Damocles is to be continually hanging over him, the position a ill be very much aggravated. I do not say that parish councils would always exercise pressure, but there would be a fear that they might, and there might be pressure behind the parish councils, and the officials to extort the very last penny from the people who owed the money. Even the giving of the loan might be against the minds of many people in that particular area. I think the Lord Advocate and the Secretary of State for Scotland ought to give us some assurance on these points, if they cannot withdraw the Clause. Why should this be imposed upon Scotland, of all countries in the world. We need not be very Mate in putting the thing forward. People may scoff, the Sassenach may scoff, but it still, thank God I remains true that the dearest thing to the heart of a Scotsman or a Scotswoman is independence. There is nothing they cherish more.

Why, then, should we be saddled with a think like this, brought forward, ostensibly, for the relief of people but saddling them with something which they will not be able to pay and putting upon them something which otherwise they would not have incurred? I trust that we shall do our best to convince every Scotsman who cherishes independence to assist us in this matter, I am sure that Scotsmen among the party opposite cherish Scottish independence as much as I do, that they see the weakness of this Clause as much as I do, and that they are as anxious to get it out of the way as I am. I hope they will be as anxious and determined as I am to get it out of the way. Then, there will be no fear. Otherwise, there will be a fear hanging over the household, and the weight of it will be upon the person who will be getting the loan, and the result will be not to help but to hurt. Therefore, I hope the Clause will be rejected.


No apology was needed for an Englishman intervening in the earlier part of the Bill, because it was a question of England paying a part of it.


England is paying nothing. We are only getting back something of what we have paid.


That is another question. On this Clause an Englishman is not directly concerned, but when Scotsmen fall out it is possible that an honest Englishman may be allowed to express an opinion. I must confess that, in the first place, I think it is a little unfortunate that the change in the Poor Law which is proposed in this Clause should be introduced in this way in an emergency Bill, so called, and that it makes this alteration not merely for the purpose of relief given in a, case of emergency, but relief given under the old existing Poor Law of Scotland. Apart from the inadvisability of bringing it up in this Bill, it is bringing Scottish law into accordance with English law in regard to relief by way of loan, and, taking the principle broadly, I think perhaps it is not inadvisable that the principle should apply in proper cases, that is to say, in cases where the persons relieved are people usually earning substantial wages but who have ceased to earn those wages and are in want by reason of an industrial stoppage or dispute but who in the course of time will again earn wages out of which they might pay for the period of the stoppage.

I want to ask for some reply from the Government on the last line of the Clause which provides that any loan given in this way shall be recoverable as an alimentary debt. I do not profess to know exactly the meaning of an "alimentary debt," but so far as I understand—there is nothing equivalent to it in England—the creditor has to go before the Court and obtain an order from a Judge enabling him to "arrest," using the Scottish word, money Which is due to the debtor. That procedure is perfectly well known in this country, but our Courts being what they are orders are not made in that way and are not enforceable by imprisonment, except in those cases where the debtor is reasonably able to pay if he chooses to do so. If I am right in understanding that the last line of the Clause means that the creditor, the Poor Law authority, could go—I am not saying they would, but that they have the power—and arrest a man's wages regardless of whether they were sufficient to provide any surplus beyond the maintenance of himself and his family, then I think that is wrong—


It is quite clear they could not do anything without going to the Court in the same way as in England, and it would be for the Court to say whether instalments should be paid or not.


Is it not the case that after obtaining judgment in England, which corresponds to our decree in Scotland and which carries the right of arrest on an alimentary debt, the creditor in England would require to go to the Courts for a second judgment authorising arrest?


I am much obliged to the Lord Advocate for what he has said, but I hope when he comes to reply that he will explain the matter a little further. Having raised this question it may be that a little more light will be thrown on the subject, and the Lord Advocate may be able to satisfy the Committee that this is not putting a Scotsman who is relieved under the Poor Law in any worse position than an Englishman who is relieved under the Poor Law. If he can satisfy me entirely upon that head I have nothing more to say about it, but if it be the case that it would give Scottish Poor Law authorities any more powers to seize a man's wages than the Poor Law authorities have in this country, then I think on Report stage the Government should reconsider this particular Clause.


I have before me a copy of a consolidation Poor Law Bill which is at present before the House of Lords. As far as England is concerned, as I read it there is an alternative remedy. The guardians may either go to the County Court, or other Court, for the recovery of small debts and get their decree in the ordinary way, or they may go to a justice of the peace and make application for getting the man and his employer before them and getting a payment of so much out of the man's wages having regard to the circumstances of the man and his family. That is an alternative not a cumulative remedy. In Scotland, the second remedy does not exist, and it will be necessary, before putting in force the recovery of any loan contemplated here, to go to the Courts and get a decree, and the small debt Court will be the appropriate place to go. The hon. Member opposite will agree that this will be the normal place where proceedings will be taken.


Is it not the case that the right of arrest, if this Clause be passed, follows automatically?


That is just what I am saying. You cannot arrest on this Clause. You must have a decree before you can arrest. That is as clear as anything. It could not possibly be done under this Clause.


The Lord Advocate has quite misunderstood me. Is it not the case that, having a, decree from the Court, the power to arrest the full earnings of a man follows automatically? There is no limitation on the decree, whereas in England you have to get further power.


I beg pardon. The hon. Member, I thought, was talking about doing something without getting a decree. The Court will have to be approached to get a decree, and in the small debt Court you would certainly have to satisfy the Court that it was reasonable you should get your decree. Does the hon. Member suggest that a parish council, having got a decree, will go and arrest a man's wages It would make him an applicant for relief immediately afterwards—


They do it in England. It has been done in my own division.


It would be a vicious circle. It would be merely driving a man on to their own Poor Law funds again. What is the advantage of that? A parish council will not do that any more than a board of guardians. One must assume a certain amount of common sense on the part of parish councils in these matters, and it seems to me that there is no hardship involved.


I do not think the Lord Advocate has made the position quite clear. He has done so in regard to Scottish law, but not in relation to Clause 3 of this Bill. In relation to that Clause the Government are asking for something that does not work in Scottish law. The moment you get a decree, then the power follows as night follows day, and you do not require to go back to the Court for any further powers. I have been told by some English Members that it has been done in certain cases in England, and that men who have received relief as a loan have had to become applicants for relief the next day. This is the way it has actually worked in England, and the Lord Advocate wants to apply it to Scotland! We ought to understand very clearly what is to be the amount of income in any household before we begin to take diligence upon the home. There is nothing in the Clause to say what the standard of income is to be in any house before you can start taking something from that household. As a matter of fact, in England no cognisance is taken whatever of the income of the household, and a learned professor only last night, dealing with the cost of keeping a man, his wife, and three children in health, providing them with the plainest possible food necessary to maintain these five persons in good health, stated that it would take at least 42s. per week. There is nothing in this Bill about any standard rate of income of a house, and I think something should be done on the Report stage in order to fix the standard of income in relation to the dependants of a man before anything is taken from that household. I want this point answered.

Then, of course, there are various types of persons in receipt of Poor Law relief. You have the ordinary applicants, who are described as "ins-and-outs." Here we are dealing with a man and his dependants who through no fault of his own is not able to earn his living, and I resent any implied intention to include this kind of man under the purview of this Bill and among those who are called "ins-and-outs." The type of individual which this Bill seeks to deal with is the man who does not want to have a loan; he wants to have work. The Government will have to be very careful, for we have a great reputation in Scotland for our sense of independence, and we are often quoted as being a thrifty people. But by thrift we do not mean that a working man who has been compelled to get a loan must, in order to repay that loan, cut down the food supplies of his wife and children. That is a false kind of thrift, it brings a charge upon the State, because the moment you decrease health you increase rates. I want the question I have put answered, if possible, from the Front Bench, and I hope the Secretary of State will make it clear that this Bill will not have the effect of pillorying these people as paupers.


It is desirable that we should make clear what is the position in England in enforcing loans made by the guardians under the conditions that we have been discussing, and what is the position in Scotland under the Bill. I do not profess to know exactly what is the effect of the Scottish law, but of English law I think I do know a little. Under the English law it is open for the guardians to sue in the County Court for the amount due as a debt on the loan. The guardians would get judgment there from the Judge. If the debt was not paid they would either levy execution on the man's goods, which probably would not be worth while, or they could go to the Court on what is called a judgment summons, and they could ask the Judge to order either payment of the whole sum due or payment of the debt by instalments. The Judge would not make the one order or the other without being satisfied that the man could pay something. The Judge having made the order, whether for a shilling a week or five shillings a month or whatever it might be, if it was not complied with, a further application could be made to the Judge to commit the debtor to prison. The Judge would bear evidence as to the circumstances of the individual, and he would in the ordinary course, in all probability, if the debtor was not contumacious, make either a fresh order for a smaller amount, or, if the debtor was contumacious, he would make an order committing him to prison, the order not to be enforced for a certain time so as to give the man another opportunity of paying.

Under the Poor Law Act, No. 17, Geo. V, which the Lord Advocate has handed to me, there is an alternative remedy. The guardians can go before the magistrates in our police courts, and they can then have a summons and call on the employer to attend as well, and on hearing the whole of the circumstances of the case the magistrates could in their discretion—and apparently if the debtor did not attend they would have to do so —make an order which, I gather, is really an arrestment of wages. They could order the employer to pay a certain amount or the whole out of the wages as they became due. It would be really administered in the same way as the judgment summons. They would take account of the circumstances of the family, how many children there were, what wages a man was receiving, and the man would have to pay by instalments. I would like to be clear on one point as to Scottish arrestment. I understand that on an alimentary debt there is a procedure by which they get a decree or judgment, and then the Judge has still a discretion to order payments by instalments the same as in England. On that point I am not quite clear. If it is a fact that the Judge has no alternative but to order payment of the full amount out of the wages and to take the whole wages, it is obviously unfair.


The Lord Advocate has been good enough to give me an explanation, and if it be the case that by this process of arrestment it is still in the discretion of the Judge or magistrate who makes the order to order something less than the whole to be paid and not to give the creditor the opportunity of seizing the whole of the amount, then a very great part of my objection is withdrawn. Of course, one is at a considerable disadvantage in having to deal with a question of Scottish law, but I am given to understand that it is really necessary to make this particular debt to the Poor Law authority an alimentary debt under Scottish law. Otherwise the Scottish law gives no means of recovering a debt of this kind, and, if that be so, it may be hard on the debtor, who has the misfortune of finding Scotland in this particular instance behind England in the matter of its law. I think that in the circumstances there can really be no answer to the Lord Advocate's case, if it be that unless this debt is an alimentary debt it is really irrecoverable. If it be correct that the Court or magistrate has a discretion under which he need not give the creditor the power to arrest the whole of the wages, then I think the objection to it goes.


Is the point not further complicated? The explanation of the Lord Advocate is that the Government are bringing the Poor Law in Scotland into line with the Poor Law in England, but they are leaving the legal aspect entirely different. They are not altering the recovery of debt. In order to make both things equal it will be necessary to alter the law of Scotland as regards the recovery of debt, just as the Poor Law is being altered. What has satisfied the last speaker is merely the recovery of debt and not the legal aspect at all.


Of course I am impressed by the argument of the hon. Member for Paisley (Mr. R. Mitchell), that if you have a very unreasonable parish council it might happen that they would use this power in a way that one would not assume that any ordinary parish council would do. The arrestment of wages would not apply in the question of an alimentary debt, but for practical purposes it does not seem to me to matter very much whether the word "alimentary" is there or not. The word "alimentary" being there, it did not enter my head that any reasonable parish council which is liable to support a man if he had not an alimentary income, would drive him into the position of not having an alimentary income. The Government, however, are quite willing to undertake to reconsider the closing sentences of this Clause before the Report stage. We will consider them in the light of the criticisms that have been made.


The hon. Member for Watford (Mr. D. Herbert) explained one reason why he thought there was some purpose to be served by the use of a loan. A person receiving substantial wages might find it an advantage to have the use of a loan with a reasonable prospect of repayment at no distant date. One could agree with that point of view if it represented the posi- tion of a vast number of our people in Scotland. The reverse happens to be the case. The hon. and learned Member for East Grinstead (Sir H. Cautley) explained a number of the points of English law, for which we were very much obliged to him. I am sorry he did not explain it in all its bearings, because I am informed by two of my colleagues who have had experience of mining areas where this question has arisen, that it is possible for the board of guardians to apply to the Court with a view to having arrestment of wages, which may in some cases amount to 10s. or 15s. a week, and in such cases the home is left absolutely destitute. That may take place where the colliery is working full time or part time. It is enough to involve enormous hardship on a vast number of the working people of Scotland. We must look before we leap into this dangerous position which already affects so many of our people. I want to put a question to the Lord Advocate, who is always filled with a spirit of sweet reasonableness, for which I am grateful to him. Cannot the Government reconsider or withdraw the whole of this Clause? It may be true, as they say, that there has been no rush with regard to this Bill, but it certainly will come as a great surprise to vast numbers of parish councils in Scotland, so far as this particular Clause is concerned.

I am convinced that the Government would meet not merely the wishes of Opposition Members, but of a large number of the parish councils in industrial areas if they reconsidered the Clause. We have asked the Government to concede many points during the last few days but they have conceded scarcely one. This is not an unreasonable request to make. I regard this particular Clause with considerable apprehension, striving to represent, as I do, an industrial area which is very much concerned about this matter. It is not my area only, though it has suffered very severely during recent years. We heard from the hon. Member for Motherwell (Mr. Barr) this afternoon, in an excellent speech, what have been the actual facts in regard to loans made in England in days gone by. In a large number of cases they have not been repaid. One need not he surprised. It is an old saying that, You cannot get butter out of a dog's throat, also that, You cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, and further that, You cannot take the 'breeks' off a Highland man. You cannot do the impossible. The Lord Advocate was good enough to tell us that the English system of loans has existed for centuries, although he was careful to explain that it had been very little used. It so happens that I have hail considerable experience of industrial disputes in this country. My first experience of an industrial stoppage was in 1875, and in one way or another, I have been mixed up in many big disputes in the coal mining industry. I have never known a case until quite recently where the miners have availed themselves of this opportunity of loans. Certainly there were no such cases previous to 1893, and the dispute of 1893 lasted for sixteen weeks and affected 400,000 men. In 1892, there was a dispute in Durham and I think in Northumberland, which lasted for many weeks, and this practice was not in operation then. In 1894, in the mining areas of Scotland it did not apply and it did not apply, I am told, in 1912. I shall be obliged to the Lord Advocate for some further confirmation of his statement as to the extent to which it has been used.

There is the further point that it will inflict a grave hardship upon a deserving class of the community. Let the Committee consider what will happen if this money be paid in the form of loans and has to be repaid in Scotland on the terms which have already been enforced in Durham. What happens on the termination of a dispute in the mining or some other industry? To begin with, arrears of all kinds have to be met by the perplexed housewife. There are arrears of house rent which have to be paid after the commencement of work—not merely the ordinary rent but something additional towards the arrears. It may be a quarter or half the amount. Then there are arrears due to the insurance company; there are loans from tradesmen to be repaid; there are arrears due on the hire purchase system, whereby an increasingly large number of working people have to furnish their homes. According to the standard of home life these payments may cover a number of years. There are also loans from relatives and other sources. It has also to be borne in mind that when work is resumed the collieries may only work for two or three or four days in a week, and all money that is going into a household will be required for the provision of the barest necessities of life. If this proposal becomes law, it will inflict an additional burden on an already overburdened section of the community in Scotland.

It will come into law with the opposition of the whole body of Labour Members here, and without a single word in its favour from a Scottish Conservative Member, except that in two cases Amendments have been moved, one by the hon. and gallant Member for Northern Lanarkshire (Sir A. Sprot) and the other by the hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Kidd), both of which were rejected by the Government. So far as I can recall, there has not been a word in favour of this proposal from any of the Conservative Members from Scotland who represent chiefly agricultural areas and not industrial areas. Therefore, it will became law by the votes of Conservative Members who have not heard the Debate and who do not understand the conditions which prevail in Scotland. It is another reason in favour of Home Rule for Scotland. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] Hon. Members opposite may "Smile, and smile, and smile," and, if I knew no more about Scottish life than they do, and if I were in the happy position in which they are, perhaps I too could afford to smile. But if one has been among the people of Scotland and has lived their life, followed their work, and understood their hardships, then one must have a heart of stone to smile at the kind of thing which is going on at present. Just now the people of Scotlnad are suffering grievous burdens with extraordinary patience and they ought not to be called upon to bear further burdens. I hope this Clause will be withdrawn. We have heard much in this House in recent months about the principles which exist in industry in America and the prosperity which prevails there. I should like to see some effort made by the Government, if they are sincere in their thoughts about peace and goodwill in industry, to see if it is not possible by modern methods and machinery to pay the highest wage and sell products at the lowest price in order to bring real prosperity back to the country. That is not the method which we usually advocate, but I am sure it is taking place there and I hope it will take place here.


I hope the Committee is now prepared to come to a decision. We do not complain of the length of this Debate. I welcome the opportunity which it has afforded to Members on all sides of expressing their views upon this problem. It may be observed in passing that there has been a measure of advantage in having the Committee stage of the Bill on the Floor of the House in order that the vexed points of difference between English and Scottish law might be fully explored. I hope hon. Members will believe me when I say that, in introducing this particular Clause of the Bill, there was no desire on the part of the Government or of those responsible for promoting the Bill, other than to produce as nearly as we might, similar conditions in the administration of this relief in England and in Scotland. I will not labour this point, but I would observe that some hon. Members have talked as if they only desired this Bill to deal with what is past, and to leave the situation in Scotland in the position in which it was when this relief was declared illegal. I have said that such a proposal is impossible. It is clearly a condition of the making of the 40 per cent. grant by the Government that this Clause 3 shall be part of the Measure. I am at a loss to understand why a system which it has been possible to administer in England over a long period of time should be found impossible of administration by Scottish methods.


No, it is only a recent matter.


The hon. Member says it has only been introduced recently, but that is not the fact. The fact is that the law has made it permissible in England for over a generation to carry out this method of relief.


But it was never put into operation until this Government came into power.


Not at all, that is quite erroneous. I think the Lord Advocate made it clear that in regard to the ordinary method of Poor Law relief in this country, the system of loan was not largely or in many cases adopted. Yet it is the fact that it has been used. It has been used during large industrial disputes such as this country has unfortunately had to go through. Some hon. Members have quoted to us evidence given before the Poor Law Commission in 1909. Is there a single lion. Member here who would say that the conditions and circumstances which we have to face to-day are the conditions and circumstances which those who were giving evidence in 1909 had to face? The truth of the matter is that the only justification for this relief is to be found in the modern difficulties which have arisen in connection with these great disputes. In these circumstances, I am confident that the common sense, not only of the general populace in Scotland, but of those who have to administer parish council relief and who will be responsible for the carrying out of what is always an onerous duty, will realise the advantage which this proposal gives to them in dealing fairly and honestly with the cases which arise and in doing their work properly. Something has been said about Scottish independence. I am not going to attempt a definition of independence, but is it conceivable that, if a man wishes to be independent, he will be less ready to take, in fair and proper circumstances, a loan but will prefer to become dependent on poor relief?


He is a pauper all the same.


I do not agree.


The man who receives Poor Law Relief on loan is a pauper, remains a pauper, and is still a pauper, even if the full amount be repaid. That is the law.


But if we are dealing with what we call moral independence, does anyone suggest that the acceptance of a loan is not a far more independent line than the other line? Be that as it may, this is one of the conditions under which this advantage is being given to the dependants of those concerned in industrial disputes, an ad- vantage which has been denied to Scotland up to now. Hon. Members cannot have it both ways. I was asked a question by the hon. Member for Dunferm-line (Mr. W. M'Lean Watson) as to the distribution of this 40 per cent. If I understand the position aright, it is essential that the disbursements which have been made by the parish councils in this respect, and which have been kept in separate accounts, must be submitted to the Board of Health. If and when these accounts have been properly audited there is no doubt that the councils will get 40 per cent. of their approved expenditure. That was, as I understood it, the nature of the question, and I think that is a fair and reasonable way of dealing with it.


Does that apply to emergency relief or to all relief by the parish council?

7.0 p.m.


Of course, it is to apply only to what has been called the "illegal relief," such as that which was dealt with in the Constable judgment. Nobody has suggested any other method of meeting this problem. That was the reason for the Government having to take action in the matter. The decision in the Court brought the matter to a head, and it was to deal with the problem and regularise the situation that the Bill was introduced. It cannot be expected to extend to other circumstances. I think it will be found by experience that the proposal is fair, honest and just; that it will make the administration equal in its justice, or injustice as hon. Members may like to say, between Scotland and England in dealing with this problem, and it can at the end of 1930, or even before that, come up for review if and when Parliament may determine.


I have no intention of standing for any long time between the Committee and the taking of the Division, but there are some points which want some amplification before we finish the debate regarding this Third Clause. In his closing statement, the Secretary of State for Scotland said that evidently hon. Members wanted only to deal with the past without making any arrangements for the future. So far as my colleagues and myself are concerned, that is not our attitude. We have a pro- found difference on certain points of the Bill. For instance, we differ on the amount that is to be paid by the Government. We have differed from the right hon. Gentleman on the question of the loans, and we differ profoundly this afternoon from the Lord Advocate particularly, on the question of making an alimentary debt. I want to thank the Lord Advocate for making the concession that he has made regarding the question of an alimentary debt. It certainly removes one of our difficulties.


I have undertaken only to consider it.


I understood that the Lord Advocate informed us that that was a matter that he would consider and put right on the Report Stage. That was our understanding.


I said I would undertake to consider it before the Report Stage. That is all that was said.


I understood it was to be considered from the point of view of the difficulties we have pointed out. I do not want to put words into the Lord Advocate's mouth that he did not say, but that is quite frankly what we understood. So far as Clause 3 is concerned, we still profoundly object to what it contains. The Lord Advocate has told us, just as the Secretary of State for Scotland has told us in the course of these discussions, that this is emergency legislation. It is legislation to tide us over for a certain time. Surely it is a mistake to put into emergency legislation such a vital change as is implied in this question of a loan so far as the Scottish Poor Law is concerned. It is a principle we have never had embodied in our Poor Law during the whole course of our history, and surely, if you are bringing forward an emergency Measure that is to tide us over until you can go into the whole question of the Poor Law of the country, it is a mistake to make a vital change of that character. Consequently, we are profoundly dissatisfied with Clause 3.

The Lord Advocate, in addition to what I have already quoted, said we evidently want the benefit of the English law without its limitation. I want to ask the Lord Advocate why not, if, from the experience of the English people, this has been found to be a vicious principle? I do not know whether the Lord Advocate was in the House two nights ago when we were discussing this same thing, and we had from my hon. Friend and colleague the Member for the Hillsborough Division of Sheffield (Mr. A. V. Alexander) a statement in which he painted a picture of the tragedy involved in the very point that we are discussing in this Bill, namely, the loan. He drew a picture of hundreds of miners being dragged before County Courts in England in order to recover the loans that they had obtained during the last nine months. Is that a tragedy that the Lord Advocate and the Secretary of State for Scotland can calmly contemplate so far as Scotland is concerned No, that is a phase of this qeustion that is far too serious to be calmly contemplated by any section of the Scottish Members, and I would earnestly appeal, even at this late stage in the discussion, to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Lord Advocate seriously to discuss the point that we are objecting to in Clause 3 where money granted by way of emergency relief is going to be looked upon as a loan. Some of us who live in industrial districts, and particularly in the mining districts, know what it would mean if this particular law were in operation now. We know that in the mining districts there are families owing as much as £20 for rent and rates. In addition to that, there are the arrears for medical attendance on the wives and families. They have also the debt they have incurred to the grocer and the baker and to others who have been supplying their wants during those nine months. If this particular Clause we are now discussing had been in operation, it would simply have meant a-at they would have had an additional debt amounting in each family to between £15 and £20 which would have meant that the wages of the miners in Scotland would have been in pawn for the next 18 months or two years. That is the position that is involved in the point we are discussing.

May I say further to the Lord Advocate that, even the concession with regard to alimentary debt, even the granting of that concession and the removal of the difficulty, will not place the Scottish miners and the English miners on exactly an equality, because in some of the mining districts of England, at least during these stoppages, no debt is accumulating so far as rent is concerned. In our Scottish districts, under present conditions, a heavy debt is being piled up against the Scottish miners during the course of these disputes. There have been cases where there is a debt of something like £20 against each family for rent and rates. Consequently, we cannot see our way to support a Measure that contains such things as the point we are discussing, namely, the granting of a loan, instead of giving to the relief of those who are caught in an emergency such as that for which this Bill makes provision. I hope the Lord Advocate and the Secretary of State for Scotland will see their way at this late hour to concede the point that we are asking, that it will not be a loan but that it will be a grant. I hope that they and the Government will recognise that the persons who are caught in an emergency are those persons who are paying their rates under normal conditions and circumstances, and, when they ate caught in an emergency, surely they are entitled to be treated in a different fashion than simply to be granted a loan which will hang round their necks like a millstone for months and possibly for years to come. We do not want

repeated in Scotland some of the things they have had in recent times in England with regard to emergency relief, with men dragged up in hundreds in the mining districts and, if I understood one of my colleagues aright, in one case a man being left with only 11s., after he had been charged in Court and a decree given against him, on which to maintain his wife and children. I hope the Government, even this Conservative Government, are not going to be so hard hearted as to pass a law which will place that round the neck of the Scottish people. If they do, we at least on these benches will oppose it to the utmost of our power.


May I put one question to the Lord Advocate? He discussed loans as being available in England for generations. Will he specifiy the mining areas in England for the 50 years preceding 1921 where these loans have been used by the miners?


I should certainly need notice of that question.

Question put, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 200; Noes, 107.

Division No. 21.] AYES. [7.13 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Chapman, Sir S. Gadie, Lieut.-Colonel Anthony
Albery, Irving James Charteris, Brigadier-General J. Gates, Percy
Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l) Christie, J. A. Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John
Apsley, Lord Cobb, Sir Cyril Glyn, Major R. G. C.
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W. Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Goff, Sir Park
Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W. Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir G. K. Gower, Sir Robert
Astor, Maj. Hon. John J. (Kent, Dove') Cope, Major William Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)
Atholl, Duchess of Courtauld, Major J. S. Greene, W. P. Crawford
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L. Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John
Barnston, Major Sir Harry Craig, Capt. Rt. Hon. C. C. (Antrim) Grotrian, H. Brent
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W. Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend) Gunston, Captain D. W.
Berry, Sir George Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick) Hanbury, C.
Birchall, Major J. Dearman Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro) Harland, A.
Boothby, R. J. G. Cunliffe, Sir Herbert Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)
Bowyer, Captain G. E. W. Dalkeith, Earl of hartington, Marquess of
Braithwaite, Major A. N. Dalziel, Sir Davison Hawke, John Anthony
Brass, Captain W. Davidson, Major-General Sir John H. Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.
Briscoe, Richard George Davies, Dr. Vernon Henderson, Capt. B. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Dawson, Sir Philip Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks Newb'y) Ellis, R. G. Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.
Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.) Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.
Bullock, Captain M. Everard, W. Lindsay Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)
Butler, Sir Geoffrey Fairfax, Captain J. G. Herbert, S. (York, N.R., Scar. & Wh'by)
Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward Falle, Sir Bertram G. Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy
Campbell, E. T. Fanshawe, Commander G. D. Holland, Sir Arthur
Carver, Major W. H. Fermoy, Lord Hopkins, J. W. W.
Cautley, Sir Henry S. Fielden, E. B. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City) Ford, Sir P. J. Hume, Sir G. H.
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth. S) Forestier-Walker, Sir L. Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) Forrest, W. Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.) Foxcroft, Captain C. T. Hutchison, G. A. Clark (Midl'n & P'bl's)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.) Fraser, Captain Ian Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon, N. (Ladywood) Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)
Kidd, J. (Linlithgow) Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld.) Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)
Kindersley, Major Guy M. Oakley, T. Starry-Deans, R.
King, Captain Henry Douglas O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh Streatfelld, Captain S. R.
Lamb, J. Q. Penny, Frederick George Strickland, Sir Gerald
Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley) Peto, G. (Somerset, Frame) Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green) Philipson, Mabel Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Lougher, L. Ratmden, E. Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere Rees, Sir Beddoe Tasker, R Inigo.
Lumley, L. R. Reid, D. D. (County Down) Templeton, W. P.
Lynn, Sir Robert J. Remer, J. R. Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)
MacAndrew Major Charles Glen Rhys, Hon. C. A. U. Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
MacDonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart) Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint) Wallace, Captain D. E.
MacIntyre, Ian Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford) Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)
McLean, Major A. Ropner, Major L. Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Wells, S. R.
McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John Salmon, Major I. Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.
MacRobert, Alexander M. Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham) White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dalrymple-
Makins, Brigadier-General E. Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney) Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Malone, Major P. B. Sandeman, A. Stewart Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Margesson, Captain D. Sanders, Sir Robert A. Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Marriott, Sir J. A. R. Sandon, Lord Wilson, M J. (York, N. R., Richm'd)
Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K. Savory, S. S. Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Meller, R. J. Scott, Rt. Hon. Sir Leslie Wise, Sir Fredric
Merriman, F. B. Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W. R., Sowerby) Withers, John James
Milne, J. S. Wardlaw- Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W) Wolmer, Viscount
Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark) Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Univ., Belfast) Womersley, W. J.
Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M. Skelton, A. N. Wood, Sir s. Hill- (High Peak)
Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr) Slaney, Major P. Kenyon Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Moore, Sir Newton J. Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.) Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury) Smith-Carington, Neville W. Young, Rt. Hon. Hilton (Norwich)
Nelson, Sir Frank Smithers, Waldron
Neville, R. J. Spender-Clay, Colonel H. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter) Sprot, Sir Alexander Mr. F. C. Thomson and Captain Lord Stanley.
Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge) Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Harris, Percy A. Shepherd, Arthur Lewis
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon Shiels, Dr. Drummond
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Hayday, Arthur Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Ammon, Charles George Hayes, John Henry Sitch, Charles H.
Baker, Walter Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley) Slesser, Sir Henry H.
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield) Smith, Ber (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Barnes, A. Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Smith, Rennie (Penistone)
Barr, J. John, William (Rhondda, West) Snell, Harry
Beckett, John (Gateshead) Johnston, Thomas (Dundee) Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Bondfield, Margaret Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd) Stephen, Campbell
Buchanan, G. Kelly, W. T. Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel Kennedy, T. Sullivan, J.
Cape, Thomas Lawrence, Susan Sutton, J. E.
Charleton, H. C. Lee, F. Taylor, R. A.
Cluse, W. S. Livingstone, A. M. Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R. Lowth, T. Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Connolly, M. Lunn, William Thurtle, Ernest
Cove, W. G. MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon) Tinker, John Joseph
Dalton, Hugh Mackinder, W. Townend, A. E.
Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale) Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan) Viant, S. P.
Day, Colonel Harry March, S. Wallhead, Richard C.
Dennison, R. Mitchell. E. Rosslyn (Paisley) Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen
Duncan, C. Morris, R. H. Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Dunnico, H. Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Fenby, T. D. Naylor, T. E. Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah
Garro-Jones, Captain G. M. Owen, Major G. Westwood, J.
Gardner, J. P. Palin, John Henry whiteley, W.
Gillett, George M. Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Potts, John S. Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.) Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Windsor, Walter
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Riley, Ben Wright, W.
Grenfell, D R. (Glamorgan) Ritson, J. Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Groves, T. Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)
Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland) Scryrngeour, E. Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr. Charles Edwards.
Hardie, George D. Scurr, John

Question put, and agreed to.

Clauses 4 (11 and 12 Geo. V. c. 64 to be further continued) and 5 (Short title and extent), ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Bill reported; as amended, to be considered upon Monday next.