HC Deb 08 March 1927 vol 203 cc1149-97

I beg to move That a Select Committee be appointed to consider schemes of work of national benefit designed to provide employment for unemployed persons and to report upon such schemes, together with an estimate of the financial assistance required from moneys provided by Parliament; that the Committee do report to this House at intervals not exceeding one month during the sittings of this House; that the Committee have power to send for persons, papers, and records. I think the house will agree when I say that unemployment is the most important question in this country at the present time. The first point with which this Motion deals is the necessity for finding work for the unemployed, and we would like that to apply, not only to the unemployed poor, but also to the unemployed rich, not only to those at the bottom of the ladder, but to those at the top of the ladder. Satan still finds something for idle hands to do, and we are of opinion that work is as good for the rich as for the poor. For the last few years the number of unemployed persons on the live registers receiving unemployment pay, and those not on the live registers and requiring Poor Law relief, must have averaged at least 1,500,000. If we include the dependants of those persons it must bring the number of these directly affected by this lack of employment to between 4,000,000 and 5,000,000. This is a costly affair, involving the country in enormous expense as well as creating misery and degradation. Leaving aside the out-of-work donation scheme, we have in unemployment insurance benefits alone paid out the enormous stun of £275,000,000. To this must be added considerable expenditure on Poor Law relief, which would bring the total to approximately something like £400,000,000.

What has the nation got in return for this enormous expenditure? The nation has got nothing. And this expenditure does not complete the cost of unemployment to the nation. The nation is suffering from a lack of skill and efficiency due both to unemployment and to the fact that a large number of young people have been deprived of the opportunity of training and experience which they would have obtained under ordinary conditions. Every year in this country some 600,000 children leave school at the age of 14. When the choice before those children lay between school and employment—the latter often of an undesirable and unskilled character—the situation was bad enough, but to-day it is far worse. For the large proportion of those 600,000 boys and girls the choice now lies not between school and employment, but between school and the demoralising, idle life of the streets. During the last four years nearly 2,500,000 young people between 14 and 18 years of age have been east upon the industrial market, and hundreds of thousands of them have never done a single day's useful work. This imposed idleness undermines character, injures morale, and destroys the natural desire for work.

What has this Government done to assist in finding them employment? Eighteen years ago Employment Exchanges were opened and the machinery set up to assist in finding work for the unemployed. For a number of years they were fairly successful, and many persons were helped to get back to work by the Exchanges. For some considerable time now, however, the machinery of the Employment Exchanges has been used, in accordance with instructions given by this Government through the Minister of Labour, to deprive genuinely unemployed persons of the unemployment pay to which they are entitled and for which they and their fellow-workers have paid contributions. It is said that the unemployed persons are not genuinely seeking work. They are forcing these destitute people to seek assistance from the guardians, thereby increasing the rates. Let us for a moment consider the attitude of the Government with regard to the recent mining crisis. It is a fact that the Government in the face of their own Commission's Report, which stated that an eight hours' working day would throw out of employment 130,000 miners, on the mere asking of the coalowners, without consulting any other authorities in the matter, brought forward an Eight Hours Bill, and by their large majority forced that Bill through the Houses of Parliament, thus placing an Eight Hours Act on the Statute Book. By so doing they threw upon the Unemployment Fund at least 200,000 miners who became out of work, compelling them to go on the dole, and they brought about such a state of things in the mining industry that never has been known before in the history of that in-industry.

As a result of the Eight Hours Bill passing there are at the present time upwards of 600,000 mine workers working three days and less per week, who are compelled to do this to qualify for unemployment pay or else make application for Poor Law relief, because in their destitute condition they are unable to provide food for their wives and families. I ask the representative of the Government who is now sitting on the Front Bench to tell us what the Government are going to do for these people whom they have placed in this position. Here are hundreds and thousands of men who are able and willing to work in the most dangerous calling in the country, who are prepared to risk life and limb to earn a livelihood for their wives and children and yet they have been prevented by the action of the present Government. This Government, I am sorry to be compelled to say, has brought ruin and disaster for the mining industry through the action they have taken in connection with the strike. What are the Government prepared to do for them? Is their answer going to be in the Division to-night that by their vote they will show that they are not prepared to assist the miners in connection with this trouble? If that is so, in our opinion the time will come when the country will realise the real position brought about by this particular Act of Parliament, and will also realise that as a result of the action of the Government not only the mining industry, but every industry in the country will suffer as a result of their action. Many people are talking about peace in industry, but there can be no peace in the mining industry so long as this state of things exists. The Eight Hours Bill for miners was passed in the interests of the employing classes of this country. It is party and class legislation, and cannot and will not be in the interests of the country as a whole. The proposal before the House is one for lifting the unemployment problem out of the rut of party politics.

The Labour party's Bill for the Prevention of Unemployment has been opposed by the Conservative party because it emanated from the Labour party. They have never considered the Bill on its merits because of their political prejudice against it. The present suggestion is the appointment of a Select Committee from all parties to consider any practical schemes of work for the national benefit, and party considerations need have no more place in that Committee than they have in the Committee stage of a non-contentious Bill. I give the House credit for agreeing with the view that everything possible ought to be done to provide useful work for the unemployed. There fore the question is non-contentious, because on the Select Committee political considerations would give way to a common desire to sit and improve proposed schemes. We bring this motion forward not in the interests of party, not in the interests of class, but in the interests of the whole nation.


I beg to second the Motion.

I suggest that there has been no question since the days of Mr. James Keir Hardie which has occupied the time of the House of Commons more than the question of the unemployed, a question which he certainly made peculiarly his own. To-night we ask for a Committee to be appointed not to consider the question of giving some relief to the unemployed, but rather to suggest that a Committee should be appointed of an impartial character, representing all interests in the House, to consider schemes designed to provide employment for unemployed persons, with power to send for persons, papers and records. It is not a question of giving unemployment benefit; the object of this Motion is to find work for these people which after all is the only thing any decent man wants in order to earn an honest living. When we are considering a most important problem like this, we find that the Conservative party is represented on the benches opposite by no more than a baker's dozen out of something like 400 Members. If that is an indication of their interest in the unemployed, I hope they will get their deserts at the next election.

Parliament has got to examine the problem of unemployment. If the appointment of Committees and the tabulation of statistics could have clone anything to solve this problem it would have been solved long ago, but I am going to suggest that the country looks for more than the mere publication of figures and paying out benefit to help to solve this great problem. Anybody can solve nearly any question by paying out other people's money, and in that respect the Conservative party have excelled, but they have done little or nothing to find useful work for the genuinely unemployed. Only last week this very problem was raised in two definite phases, and on two nights the House of Commons was occupied in discussing several aspects of it. One of the questions discussed, in which a good deal of interest was taken, was that of necessitous areas. I think that every Member of the House, to whatever party he may be attached, will agree that the whole problem of the distress in necessitous areas arises out of unemployment, and anything that can be arrived at as the result of careful and impartial examination by a committee such as we suggest would be a help in removing the tremendous difficulties, and also the sacrifices and burdens, of these areas. I am sorry to see that I am the only one of the 12 Members representing Birmingham who is here to-night on the occasion of this Debate. I hope, however, that, as time goes on, when they have got their dinner over, the others will take a bit more interest in it.

I notice, from the minutes of the Corporation of Birmingham, that a very influential deputation waited upon the Minister of Labour in regard to this problem, but that deputation, influential as it was, had no more than one Member of Parliament belonging to this side of the House who put forward the case on behalf of the Birmingham Corporation. That city, which the Minister of Labour, like myself, shares the honour of representing with the other 10 Members who are not here, was told by the Government that they could hold out no hope of being able to relieve the situation in the City of Birmingham. The representatives of the City of Birmingham told the Minister of Labour that they' were committed, as a corporation, to no less than £3,000,000 in respect of relief works for the unemployed, and they gave figures to show that the same amount, or thereabouts, also applied to the area of the Birmingham Board of Guardians, and yet they had to go away and report to the City of Birmingham that the Government were unable to do anything to relieve the unemployment problem by getting work for the unemployed in useful occupations —necessary domestic and civic developments—because the Government of the day were unable to find any financial assistance or to suggest any schemes for relieving the tremendous burden which that industrial centre is bearing.

The Minister of Labour told the deputation from the City of Birmingham that the abnormal condition of unemployment was due to the considerable falling off of foreign trade. That is a very serious statement for him to have made. If the only hope is an extension of foreign trade over the pre-War position, it is hopeless for the unemployed, because of the developments that have taken place in other countries which we used to supply, and which now are able to supply themselves without buying from us, because of the fact that we have sent them the machinery with which to manufacture the goods which they used to purchase from us. That very thought convinced me, if of nothing else, that the Minister of Labour, perhaps owing to his many duties, had not visualised the situation as he ought to have done; but I trust that the Parliamentary Secretary, who is here this evening, will support this Motion, so that we may examine these schemes, not necessarily to impose them either on the Government or on this side of the House or on the country, but merely that they may be put forward for what they are worth. We cannot hope to continue for ever to be the workshop of the world. It is our own country that wants developing more and more. What about the great problem of agriculture? What about the fact that more and more land is going out of cultivation? Is there not room for examination of a problem of that kind by impartial people, and the submission of schemes on their merits, that they may stand the test of discussion and either fall or go through? Surely there is. We have got to get back to that problem whether we like it or not.

During the discussion last week, the problem of forestry also was raised on the Forestry Bill, and one of the Members for Dundee put some very cogent, facts before the House as to the value of developing forestry in this country. He disclosed the fact that we had imported during the last 12 months no less than £52,000,000 worth of timber and £9,000,000 worth of wood pulp, making altogether something like £61,000,000 worth of goods which could be grown and sold more cheaply to the subordinate industries than they are now imported from other countries. The reply that we got front the Government Benches was that we are doing more than any other country in the world for forestry. That is not going to carry any conviction to the sane minds of the people of this country. The question has got to be answered, "Are you doing sufficient in that direction?"—not, "Are you doing more than anybody else?"

As I have said, numerous Committees have been set up to deal with various phases of this problem. Two of the most important that I recollect were those associated with what was called the problem of Reconstruction after the War. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) played a very important part in that, but now he has forgotten all about it. The suggestions of these Committees were of a very practical character. First of all, they recognised the problem, and, secondly, they gave considered decisions in every case in which it arose. I have a very lively and vivid recollection of the hope aroused by the Committee that dealt with after-War problems in relation to the iron and steel industry. Some very practical suggestions and decisions were arrived at by employers and employed and by outside bodies with a view to helping to resuscitate that trade after the War but nothing has been done in the case of that or any other trades which were examined by the various Committees set up during the War. We have had the Balfour Committee dealing with Trade and Industry for something like two years. They have examined some of the most expert witnesses on various trades and industries. They have collected most valuable evidence and tabulated statistics which must be of tremendous value to the country. What has become of them? [HON. MEMBER: "Hear, hear!"] I say "hear, hear," too. Has it got to be put on the same shelves where the Reports of the After-War Committees have been put? If so, the Committee has not been worth the time and money spent on it. The proposal we bring forward to-night is not put forward in a party spirit. I care little or nothing for party politics, but I care for the welfare of the country and the people who are in it, and that is more important than any. Have our party politics got to such a stage that on the greatest problem that this or any other country can be called upon to examine and endeavour to solve—is the cleavage so keen that we cannot sit round a table and at least examine something and decide by a majority to submit our proposals for what they are worth to the intelligence of the rest of the country? I can visualise out of this Motion, if it is carried, the possibility of setting up something that will take the place of that Parliament of Labour which many of us have talked about to bring about a measure of industrial peace. I can visualise the Committee evolving into what may be called a national economic council for the purpose of examining the whole ramifications of industry and trade affecting all sections associated with it. It is for these reasons that I am delighted to have the opportunity and honour of being asked to second the Resolution which I hope will save our off-spring from the horrors attaching to poverty due to unemployment.


I beg to move, to leave out from the word "That," to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof the words at a time when employment is improving, it is undesirable that industrial capital should he diminishes in order to provide relief schemes and that large sums should be drawn off from tae normal channels of trade for extemporised measures which can only be palliatives. I have listened with attention to the two hon. Members' speeches to ascertain whether they were about to provide, us with any expedient which would be original enough to justify us in a repetition of this oft-recurring Debate upon unemployment. Apart from the consideration that they have failed to address themselves very much to their own Motion or to elucidate the point as to why a Select Committee should be more efficacious than any other body of the kind, I have come to the conclusion that this Debate, like its predecessors, only serves to demonstrate how absolutely barren of practical suggestion the party opposite is even when in Opposition. If, while they are enjoying the delightfully irresponsible situation in which they now find themselves, they are unable to supply any more efficacious expedient than has been brought forward to-night, how completely sterile they would be if and when they are called upon not only to conceive schemes but to give them birth. To provide solutions which would appear to be of any service when the task of translating theory into practice rests upon someone else's shoulders ought surely to be a simple one.

The Socialist party incurred a certain amount of ridicule when in office for not at once proceeding to carry into practice the whole of the Labour party programme. This line of criticism in my opinion was neither just nor legitimate, and I have refrained from taking advantage of it either in the House or outside. It was quite obvious that they neither had a mandate nor a majority to fulfil promises which were conditional upon both a mandate and a majority, but to this generalisation there is one exception. Without any doubt, the country gave them a mandate to provide a solution to this great economic problem, and if they had been competent to produce such a solution, they would have secured an overwhelming majority in the House or perhaps the unanimous consent of all parties, and the seal of public sanction would have been set upon their endeavour. But the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Preston (Mr. T. Shaw) came out by the same door that he entered in.

Our main objection to the proposal contained in this Motion is not, as the two hon. Members seemed to suggest, a party objection. It is that it cuts across a principle which we must all recognise, that should be maintained inviolate if the industries of the country are to be resuscitated. That principle is admirably expressed in the wording of our Amendment, and in case any hon. Member may imagine that my admiration for its phraseology is due to any lack of modesty on my part, I must confess at once that it is a plagiarism, and that the copyright is held by the Leader of the Opposition. They are his words, not mine. It is a curious circumstance that in the last few weeks we have twice appropriated the sentiments of the Leader of the Opposition in order to prove our case against that of hon. Members who sit behind him. In the event of it being thought that I have had recourse to the old familiar trick of isolating a sentence without the context, I have taken care to provide myself with the context. The speech from which this Amendment was drawn was delivered by the right hon. Gentleman in 1924, when as Prime Minister he adumbrated the Labour party policy. In that speech the preliminary remark was to this effect: We shall concentrate, not first of all on the relief of unemployment but upon the restoration of trade. I ask the two hon. Members who moved and seconded, how a Select Committee proposes to deal with the restoration of trade? I rubbed my eyes in bewilderment when my attention was drawn to the speech from which I have just quoted. How did it come about that he was freed on that occasion from the Mephistophelian supervision and control of the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton)? The late Minister of Labour, and I regret to see he is not in his place, is also on my side. When he was in office he expressed views which are very difficult to reconcile with a great deal that he said before, and with what he has said since. When in office he gave vent to these views: If the Government ever accept the principle of paying for ordinary municipal work out of the taxpayers' money, I am afraid that, although we may have an almost bottomless purse, the bottom of that purse will he found. If anybody could help to find the bottom of our purse it will be the Select Committee suggested by hon. Members opposite. But surely, it is rather intriguing to find the Leader of the Opposition emerging as a champion of industrial capital, and the right hon. Member for Preston evincing some tender solicitude for the welfare of the taxpayer. I always prefer the unsolicited testimonials of my opponents to the mechanical support of my own colleagues, and, therefore, I welcome these testimonials in support of my case from hon. Members opposite. I am very glad to see the right hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) in his place. I am sure that he does us honour to suffer the tedium of speeches from back bench Members, and it would be very ungrateful on my part were I to leave him out of my argument. For the time being, I will refrain from quoting from "Reynold's Weekly," but I shall hope later on to ask him a question, the answer to which will not prove altogether acceptable to hon. Members who sit behind him.

In the meantime, let me impress upon the House that we have not only the right hon. Gentleman with us, but we also have the experts on our side. The Unemployment Grants Committee have found that in making grants to accelerate work there is merely a tendency to substitute one form of work for another, and that form of work which can be performed in normal cases by the local authority. Under the present schemes of the Unemployment Grants Committee there has been a gigantic expenditure of money, and the point has now been reached where anticipatory work is well-nigh complete. In their Fifth Report the Committee say: After six winters, the scheme has passed the period of its great utility and it is henceforth difficult to avoid subsidising work undertaken by the local authorities. I should like to quote from that Report a very pregnant sentence which exactly squares with the speech of the Leader of the Opposition which I quoted earlier. They say: In so far as such schemes may continue to be evolved there is the further objection that they might show a tendency to divert capital from the normal trade developments which are now to be looked for, and would therefore hinder rather than assist the relief of unemployment from the proper trade channels. Those words square with the words of the Leader of the Opposition, and surely they rule out any expedient which a Select Committee might devise. Therefore, I am right in saying that we have not only the right hon. Gentleman opposite on our side, but we have the expert witnesses.

Let me briefly address myself to the details of the scheme put forward by hon. Members opposite. Even if the principle of setting up a Select Committee can be regarded as sound, which I am very far from conceding, is a Select Committee the appropriate or convenient body for the purpose? It is true that, according to our procedure, an instruction can be given to a Select Committee to deal with a matter of this kind, but, even so, I very much doubt whether we should not find that this function suggested by hon. Members opposite would be beyond the capacity or province of a Select Committee. I admit that that is a debatable point and it may not be accepted by hon. and right hon. Members opposite, who may know more about the procedure of the House than I do, and are better qualified to speak on the subject; but I do maintain that a Select Committee is not the appropriate authority to deal with a matter of this kind.

9.0 p.m.

I should like to address to hon. and right hon. Members opposite who may speak after me this question: Is this Select Committee really going to be set up to enable the Government to consider new schemes of development? If so, it is redundant. The Committee on Civil Research has already been set up, and it answers the same purpose. Be that as it may, there is one point of detail which in my opinion, and I am quite certain in the opinion of the right hon. Member for Colne Valley, absolutely vitiates the whole scheme. There is in the plan which is being put forward by hon. Members opposite a painful resemblance to the Bill which was promoted by them in the middle of last Session. It will be remembered that that Bill had for its object the setting up of a Board on which the Treasury were not represented. That Board was to be empowered to play ducks and drakes with £10,000,000 of the taxpayers' money. I understand that it is proposed that the Select Committee should frame and submit a scheme of Estimates to this House. In other words, it is to operate over the head of the Treasury altogether. Now comes the question which I desire to put to the right hon. Member for Colne Valley. Can the right hon. Gentleman really with a clear conscience go into the Lobby to vote for a scheme which will absolutely flout the Treasury? It is an absolutely monstrous suggestion that we should have such a scheme put forward. It is a scheme which no responsible Government, responsible to the taxpayers and responsible for the welfare of the industries of this country, could countenance one moment.

Finally, there is this consideration in examining and testing the details of the scheme, that whatever body you may set up to deal with unemployment, be it a Board of a Select Committee or any other body, the modus operandi would be the same. The scheme, I understand, is to fill up the depression by cutting off the apex of the peak ahead of it, so that you get a smooth level of unemployment which is immune from seasonal variations. It is a scheme which looks well enough on paper, especially when it is accompanied by statistics which are beyond the ordinary lay caps city to grasp. What are the ordinary economic facts of the day? At the beginning of this year there were. 200,000 more people out of employment than on the corresponding day of last year. To-day, in round figures, there are only, and I say "only" advisedly, 50,000 more people out of employment than on the corresponding day of last year. With such an improvement. [Laughter.] Hon. Members laugh. Surely, there is improvement if, instead of there being 200,000 more people out of employment, there are now only 50,000 more people unemployed than at this time last year. Taking into account the existing conditions and what has happened in the last six months, surely that is a considerable improvement. Would it not be a very serious risk to allow a, Select Committee to deal with the situation by artificial schemes?

You run the risk that, instead of maintaining an even level of employment, the curve will again take the wrong direction. We can only arrive at one inevitable conclusion. Although it is quite true that there is available credit in this country, It is imperative that this credit should be applied to industry rather than financing schemes of the nature advocated by hon. Member opposite. This question may be asked; what part can the Government play in making credit available for industry? Sometimes I feel that the only solution of this terrible problem is that we should let industry work out its own salvation. That may not be practical politics, and, if it is not a, practical solution then surely a cure is to be found in legislation which encourages, protects and fosters industry, that form of legislation which is represented in the last two years by such measures as the Trade Facilities Act, the Credit Insurance of Exports Act, the Safeguarding of Industries Act, the Electricity Act, the development of those Dependencies of ours overseas which look to us to provide them with the necessary plant for their development and last, but by no means least—I do not mind saying this although it may not be an orthodox view on this side—those international agreements with regard to hours and kindred economic questions. That, I believe, is the right line of advance.

We may not have gone sufficiently far in this direction; that is a criticism which I am quite prepared to accept, but surely the steps we have taken have been towards the light. The Government, I think, have been unfairly criticised for not legislating enough in this directon. The new saviour of the Liberal party, a few days ago, accused the Government of trying to feed Cerebus with birdseed, but there is more vitamin content in one birdseed than there is in the whole of the scheme now put forward.

I have reserved for the end of my argument the strongest advocacy of our case, which is to be found on the benches opposite, but unfortunately the right hon. Gentleman who helps us in this respect is absent. I refer to the right hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Thomas). When I want to discover the bent of the right hon. Gentleman's mind, I do not search in the columns of the OFFICIAL REPORT, I do not necessarily sit in this House as an attentive listener to his speeches; I search in the back numbers of "Answers" and there I get to grips with the right hon. Gentleman himself.


Why not try "Ally Sloper"?


There the right hon. Gentleman gets clear of the "madding crowd," and, like other of his colleagues on the Front Opposition Bench, when he gets into the cool seclusion of his own study, he displays a Toryism which, if I may be allowed to borrow from the extravagant vocabulary of Mr. Chen, "is positively Byzantine." In that organ of the Press, the right hon. Gentleman wrote as follows: There is no absolute internal solution of the problem. The problem is one which is inextricably mixed up with a dozen problems of world wide range. That does not suit the view of some of his colleagues on those benches. Is the right hon. Gentleman opposite going to tell me that he is going to tackle these formidable problems of world wide range with a Select Committee it is proposed to set up by this Motion? Does he not rather agree with the right hon. Member for Colne Valley that the two great Measures capable of restoring economic stability are the operation of the Dawes Scheme and the Treaty of Locarno.


Is that a quotation from what I have said?


I speak under correction, but I thought the right hon. Gentleman did not say it, he wrote it.


Where and when?


I think it was in "Reynolds."


Take it back.


I will take it back, but I should like to be quite sure that my apology is justified. But a Select Committee—is this all that is proposed after what we have heard about the fundamental reorganisation of industry on the lines of public ownership and democratic control of essential services? I confess I prefer the Select Committee to that alternative, but I think the policy of the present Government is preferable to either. Hon. Members opposite cannot get away from the fact that we are at the mercy of relentless economic causes which can no more be hindered in their operation than the tide of the ocean can be stemmed. Let us not attempt to run counter to these laws or regard them as necessarily opposed to the nation's interest, but let us rather have faith that they will operate to solve the problem which has baffled for so long the statesmanship, not of one party but of every party in this country.


I beg to second the Amendment.

I can safely assume that every Member of the Committee realises fully and sympathises deeply with the tragedy of unemployment, and will gladly do anything he can to find a remedy. I propose in my few remarks to deal only with the fundamental causes of unemployment and the possible remedies. The fundamental cause of the wave of unemployment which swept over this country soon after the War was the destruction of capital during the War. The late Sir Hugh Bell, in a letter last summer, told us that it cost at least £250, which someone had to save, in order to provide the plant, machinery and factory space for each new steel worker, and not only that, someone had to save capital in order that the new worker might be fed and clothed. Someone also had to save the capital to provide him with a house after he left his parents' home. In view of this, one would have expected that everyone would have agreed that what we most need to do to-day is to promote, encourage, and assist the saving of capital, at any rate the accumulation of capital at a rate at least equal to the birth-rate, to provide for the workers of the future. I wish it was the case. Unfortunately, we see very much the reverse. Not only that, but there is throughout the country a large body of Socialists who are opposed both to capital and profits—profits which, after all, are the only way by which capital can be accumulated. They hold that the destroying of capital will help Socialism. [Interruption.] I propose to verify that statement.

Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. James Hope)

The last speaker was heard very well on the whole, and I would ask hon. Members to listen to the present speaker without interruption.


I propose to substantiate what I have said. Even Socialism cannot exist without the saving of capital. You see that in Russia, where Bolshevist mines and works, built by British capital to a large extent, are now out of date and gone to waste simply for want of capital, and Socialist or Communist Russia is appealing to capitalists every day for the loan of more capital. Socialism cannot exist without a saving of capital. But if the capitalist calf is ultimately to be slaughtered on the altar of Marx, it seems desirable that the calf should he fatted first. Yet I can give quotations from hon. Members opposite from exactly the opposite point of view. For instance, the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton), the chairman of the Independent Labour party, on 27th July, 1925, said: It is the duty of Socialists to attack Capitalism at every opportunity, and to wage relentless war until it is overthrown. Is that the way to increase capital or to remove unemployment? The hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) on 1st December, 1925, said: I am standing in with the Communists in preaching the overthrow of Capitalism and the establishment of Communism and Socialism in this country. The hon. Gentleman now is a Socialist Front Bencher, having obtained promotion after that speech. Then we come to the Independent Labour party conference at Glasgow, in 1920. At that conference a resolution was passed condemning all attempts to bring about a rapprochement between Capital and Labour, or any method of compromise aimed at arriving at more amicable relations between Labour and Capitalism short of the total abolition of the Capitalist system. The interesting feature of that resolution was that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) was in the chair at the conference, and I presume we may take it that those are the economic views of the Socialist ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer. At any rate I think I have justified my remarks with regard to the Socialists and their objection to the accumulation of capital. But the Coalition and Conservatives are not altogether guiltless in this question of unemployment, because I consider that in their natural desire to help the working man with regard to education, housing, sickness, old age and so on, they have run grave risk of putting such a burden on industry that the workman, though he may reap these benefits, may lose his employment in doing so. That is a point which we must watch very carefully, especially in the critical days of the present time. Taxes, rates and compulsory insurance in tins country have risen from £133,000,000 in 1900 to £958,000,000 to-day. Social reform expenditure here is 78s. 6d. per head, twice the German, six times the French, 25 times the Italian, and I do not know how many times the American expenditure. They have plenty of capital in the States, consequently they have prosperity and practically no social services, and no need for them. Turning to our side of the question, I notice that the secretary of Cammell Laird and Company, the great steel company, stated that the Poor Rate was equivalent to 6d. a ton on steel tyres in 1914, but was 18s. 11d. a ton on steel tyres in 1923. There you get again a very serious handicap on employment.


What part of the country was that?


In Sheffield, I imagine. Personally, I am strongly in favour of social services, but discretion must be exercised in the burden which they place on industry, because continued employment and a fair wage are of far more vital importance to the workman than even social services. In spite of these adverse factors capital was being accumulated and unemployment was being reduced until, in April last, unemployment fell to 981,000 odd, the lowest figure since this crisis began. Then right hon. and hon. Members opposite took action in support of views which I have just quoted from their speeches. They engineered the general strike and the miners' strike. The result of that was that the country lost £300,000,000 to £400,000,000. Unemployment, without including the miners who were out, reached the figure of 1,645.000 odd on 5th July last. It has since fallen to 1,196,000. That is better, but it, is still 70,000 worse than last year, and the whole of the progress that was gradually being made was shattered by the action of right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite. Yet they bring in Resolutions for remedying unemployment.

Let us turn for a moment to the remedy for this disease. It is quite obvious that hon. Members opposite have no remedy. Their period of office showed that up only too glaringly. To-night the hon. Member who moved the Resolution dealt in eloquent terms with the Forestry Bill, but, as a matter of fact the party opposite voted against the Bill. The Socialists attempted to throw it out, and then the next clay they bring it forward as a means to cure unemployment. I read in the "Daily Herald" to-day an article on unemployment which told us what vastly important speeches were going to be made from the benches opposite to-night, and I came across this sentence: Labour holds that there is a remedy for unemployment. I rushed on full of excitement, and the next sentence I came to was: That remedy is work. I wonder what the unfortunate trade unionists in the country have to contribute in the way of salary to the leader writer who produced that brilliant thought. Then I turn to Russia, where you have got Socialism and Communism and confiscation of capital and everything else that any hon. Members opposite could possibly desire. What do we find there? The Commissar for Labour, Mr. Schmidt, reported in Moscow at the end of last year that there were 2,000,000 unemployed in a country of vastly less industrial character and with vastly less industrial employés than this country. These men are paid the munificent sum of 7s. 6d. a week if they are skilled men, and 5s. if they are unskilled. Obviously Socialism and Communism have produced no cure for unemployment in Russia. Employment was very much better before they were introduced.

The hon. Member for Farnworth (Mr. Greenall) who presented this Resolution to-night, proposed a Committee to consider and report on schemes of work and to estimate the financial assistance required from moneys provided by Parliament. He said very little about the Committee, but as far as I could gather part of its function was to provide schemes of employment for the unemployed and another part of its function was to watch Satan who is already providing too much employment. The latter part of this suggestion is certainly a novel one and I do not know of any Committee which is working on those lines at present. With regard to providing employment, there is already, as has been said, the Unemployment Grants Committee, which has been sitting for several years and which has already sanctioned loans, amounting to about £100,000,000, to local authorities, of which the State pays from a quarter to one-third of the interest and sinking fund. That Committee has done and is doing excellent work and it seems entirely unnecessary to duplicate it by another Committee. This other Committee is only going to mean a further burden on industry and further taxes on the capital of this country. I should have thought that if any Committee were necessary to help unemployment it would have been very much more a Committee to consider the shortage of capital accumulation to-day and the consequent unemployment and to consider schemes for relieving capital and industry from their present burdens. I think a Committee on those lines might be able to do a great deal of good.

The true remedy lies in three directions; firstly, the Socialist party must realise that capital and labour have one inseparable and indivisible interest, and every time you attack capitalists or capitalism or capital you are only additionally and more intensely harming working men's employment and wages. I hope that hon. Members opposite will make amends for the disaster they brought on the country last year, and the unemployment which they have caused, by working with us this year to promote good will, co-operation and increased production throughout the country. Secondly, I hope that the Government will make every possible effort to reduce expenditure, even, if necessary, temporarily postponing schemes which they are anxious to bring in but which would further add to the burden on industry. Thirdly, I hope we shall continue, in the terms of the Amendment, to be moved by other of my hon. Friends, to develop our trade with the Empire and do our utmost to build up those enormous resources which are going to prove of such value to this country. If all parties in the House and outside will co-operate on such lines as these, industry will prosper and improvement in wages and employment will quickly follow.


I had hoped when I saw this Motion on the Paper—a Motion to call attention to the question of unemployment and inviting the House to appoint a Committee to examine more deeply the methods of dealing with it—that we should have had a real discussion in this House upon what I consider to be one of the most serious social and economic symptoms of the day. I say quite respectfully and without offence that I regret that so much of the discussion has been utilised in sterile recrimination. Four or five Governments have dealt with this problem, including the Government of which I was the head. We have all done our best; I will say that for every Government. But the net result is that you have at the present moment something that has never been witnessed before in the whole history of this country or in any other great industrial country. Some hon. Gentlemen who have spoken have, I think, under-estimated the gravity of the problem. I regret that they did not devote their undoubted ability, if I may say so as an old Member of this House, to really considering that aspect of the matter. It is no use saying that you are only 50,000 worse than you were last year. What is the meaning of that? This is the seventh year of unemployment, and the best you can say is that you are only 50,000 worse than last year. If anyone had said in this House six years ago that on the 8th of March, 1927, we should have over a million unemployed in this country, it would have staggered everybody in the House and most people would have said, "You are talking folly."

But that is not the real extent of the problem. It is perfectly true that there are about 1,150,000 unemployed—I forget the exact figures, but it is quite bad enough at any rate. Hon. Gentlemen have only to look at the Poor Law to see that these figures are just being squeezed out through a sieve, as it were, into another compartment of unemployment. My hon. Friend the Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Mr. Harris) has been good enough to put in my hand the figures for the London County Council. This time last year there were 42 per thousand of the population on the Poor Law. To-day, you have 52.8 per thousand of the population on the Poor Law. The figures revealed by the Exchanges do not fully or adequately disclose the real gravity, the solemn gravity, of this problem, and it is no use pretending that they do. After seven years we have the worst unemployment that this country has ever seen, in duration and magnitude. Is there an hon. Gentleman who will say that we shall have returned to normal by this time next year? What is normal? Even in the days of prosperity we had very serious unemployment. It was a problem even then that awaited settlement by some Government or by some party. In 1909–10 the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, who was then a, member of the same Government as myself, introduced an Unemployment Bill. Even in the pre-War days when unemployment ranged about 12 per cent. or 2 per cent. and ran up in extreme cases for short periods to 10 per cent., you still had unemployment, but after the last six or seven years, I ask the hon. Gentleman who spoke opposite with such complacency, and his friends, would they like now to predict that we shall return to a figure of 600,000 in the course of the next 12 months? If not, what is the good of merely quoting speeches and what the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition said four or five years ago? He has forgotten it long ago. What is the good of quoting my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby (Mr. Thomas)? What has that to do with it? We are here as a House of Commons, representing 42,000,000 or 43,000,000 people, to deal with one of the gravest problems with which we have ever been confronted, and this is not, if I may say so respectfully, the attitude in which to deal with it.

All hon. Members ask for in the Motion, and I wish they would ask it in the spirit of their Motion, is that there should be a Committee to examine the problem. If it is a Select Committee it must be one on which the Government will have a majority, though there will be representatives of the other parties there also. I do not quite like the framing of the Motion but that is nothing to do with the queston and the Government can easily put it right. For instance, I do not think it is comprehensive enough. I do not think mere relief schemes are going to settle the problem. Even one or two of the suggestions made by the last speaker are quite within the scope and purview of a committee inquiring into unemployment —suggestions with regard to capital and other questions—and therefore, it ought to be a broad committee. It ought to be an investigation of the whole problem. It ought to include agriculture. This Motion in form does not include agriculture, but seems rather to be directed to the setting up of relief works. That will not settle unemployment. You have to consider the whole problem all round and I beg the Government and my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour to take a broader view than the mere flinging of taunts from one side of the House to the other and saving, "You Conservatives" or "You Coalitionists," or "You Socialists" are to blame, as the case may be. You have the fact and it is nothing which can be explained by shallow taunts of that kind. It is something which goes much deeper. Even if you came to the normal, according to the best economists the figures were underestimated before the War. That is the opinion of men like Mr. Layton and others who have re-examined the problem —that there was an under-estimate of the people out of work before the War, and that even normality means 500,000 people out of work. If that be the case there is a problem which, apart from the six or seven years of abnormal unemployment, is worth investigation. Why cannot we do it?

There is a new factor, apart from the War factor, and that is the limitation of emigration. In the old days you had free emigration to the United States. Now it is limited. The surplus population of Ireland went there. Now they are free to come here. You cannot send the same proportion of your population across the seas and in spite of all the talk of emigration to the Dominions believe me, there is a sort of tardiness there to welcome emigration and for a very obvious reason. The emigrants we can offer are emigrants who come from the towns, and the towns in the Dominions are just as congested in many respects as ours. The people they want are people who work on the land and we have not got them to spare. Therefore, you find the same unconscious, unavowed resistance to emigration in the Dominions that you have in America, except that in America definite limitations are laid down. But there are undefined limitations in other lands as well. When I was Prime Minister and was discussing the question of migration with some of the Dominions, I found, in phrase, the greatest readiness to welcome t. But you will find that emigration, on the whole, is regarded, I will not say with suspicion, but as something which has to be very carefully safeguarded. You will not be able to pour people into the undeveloped countries of the world whether under the British flag or some other flag. You will not be able to find the same outlet as you found before the War for a long time to come. Labour is protecting its wages in every country and they know from experience in America that bringing shoals of people from the low wage countries of Europe into America has an effect in depressing wages, and therefore, they have that unconscious resistance to emigration. That is a new element added to our unemployment problem and we have to face it.

I am not going to express an opinion as to whether trade is going to recover to a large extent. The hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment seems very comfortable about it and thinks that unemployment is gradually coming to an end. He was very sanguine that things were going to improve. I wonder why lie thinks so. These figures show that in London, at any rate, there is not that great improvement. We are working off a great many arrears at the present moment, but let him just look at all the output of the world and at our fundamental industries, the essential ones, the biggest ones of all. Take coal, which is up against the fact that before the War you had 3½ per cent. of the ships of the world equipped with oil, and you have now got a third of them; the great development in water power, the great saving in coal by its conversion into power—all those facts, the fact that America has become the great source of capital to the world, and that, therefore-it is capturing the export trade which was ours, because we were the people who provided two or three hundred millions a year to the world for the purpose of equipping its industries—all those facts are fundamental facts which I would advise the hon. Gentleman to look into very carefully if he feels confident that this is merely a passing phase and that at the last we have come to the end of it.


I am not sanguine of that, but I am equally not sanguine that a Select Committee will be of the slightest use. That is my point.


I am coming to that. I do not say that a Select Committee would find a remedy, not by any means, but I say that this is a matter which wants inquiry. Whether it is a question which a Select Committee is the best equipped for looking into is a question which, I think, is worth considering.


But that is the Motion.


I know, but I hope we are going beyond the mere technicalities of the question, and that we are going to come here to-night, when there is no question of confidence in the Government and no sort of party conflict about a thing of this sort, to examine a grave problem which is not a party problem, but which affects the nation as a whole. If the Government were to say: "No, we are of opinion that a Select Committee is not the proper means for inquiry," I cannot imagine, my hon. Friends on this side saying: "We insist on a Select Committee and will have nothing else." A Select Committee has got its limitations. It can only sit during the time Parliament is sitting, I believe, but it does not matter. That is a question to be considered, but surely the hon. Gentleman will not say that we have not come to a time when we ought to make one further effort as a Parliament, with all the parties that represent the nation, to find out what is the matter. Does he deny that there is something serious the matter with the trade, and with the industry, and with the employment of this country? It is not a question of the cost in money, although that is gigantic. We would have done far better to have spent the money that we spend on what we call doles on the provision of work—far better. We would have had something substantial that would have remained, but that is not the worst of the cost.

The worst of the cost is that we have hundreds of thousands of young men who are being brought up in enforced idleness. That is by far the most serious thing. I have heard a good deal of this from my inquiries in the country when I have gone up and down, and they all tell me that this is a very serious factor, that young men are seeking work and cannot find it. They can only find it by putting out older men who have to maintain families, and employers naturally will not do that. The result is that you have young men growing up who are only able to obtain a casual job, which is almost the worst for them—the sort of fetching and carrying jobs, in which they are not learning things, in which they are not having the discipline of labour, and which affects them right through their lives; and even when prosperity comes to this country, we shall be paying a national debt of demoralisation as the result. Those are the things that I hope the House of Commons will go into.

I am not going to answer what was said by the hon. Gentleman—I could easily do it—about the work done on reconstruction when I was Prime Minister. All that I know is this, that there has been no fresh idea evolved since then—none. There was then, first of all, the setting up of a Fund to develop new roads in this country, an essential thing for the business of this country. We raised a Fund which for the first year was £7,000,000; it is now £18,000,000. Since then, since 1920–21, the motor traffic of this country has doubled, and we have not met the problem. The hon. Gentleman asked: "Where are you to find the money?" The money is there. He helped to take away about a fifth of it, but the Fund is there. Then take afforestation. That was started, on a quite inadequate scale, let me say at once, although I was at the head of the Government. It was in adequate for the purpose of even making up the depletion of the forests of this country due to the War, and we wanted a good deal more than that.

I went through some valleys of South Wales the other day. In South Wales they are getting a million and a half tons per 'annum of pit props from the worst land in the South of France. Anybody who knows the country from Bordeaux down to Biarritz will know what poor land it is, utter sand. We are getting our pit props from there for South Wales, and yet there I saw those hillsides, absolutely bare, not used for any purpose at all. They ought to have been covered with those trees for the purpose of pit props, and there were the pits right underneath. That is one of the problems that we ought to be dealing with, and it is worth thinking about. The hon. Members opposite who have spoken regard this as if it were some great Socialist scheme to chase money away, but it is the best investment this country could possibly have. We must face the fact that our population is up by two or three millions and that our foreign trade is down by over 20 per cent. Let me give another fact.


Is the right hon. Gentle man aware that coal goes to France, and they bring back pit props, and that, therefore, the freights on the pit props are so low that it would not pay to grow them here?


There would be no freight at all to pay if you planted the trees along those hillsides, which are within a mile or two miles from the pits. Let me put another fact. The hon. Gentleman who seconded the Motion said we ought really to consider the question of the development of our soil. I have some figures here, I think, from the Balfour Committee's Report, but if not, they come from an equally good Inquiry In 1922, taking food, drink, and tobacco—and we have not increased in drink nor in tobacco, and, therefore, the increase must he in food—at prices which were higher, we imported into this country £484,000,000 worth of stuff from across the seas; in 1924, it was 2543,000,000; and in 1925, the prices were lower, but it was £539,000,000. In spite of the fact that prices are lower, we are increasing our imports from abroad. Meanwhile, the produce of our own soil is going down year by year.

I will put it in another form. In 1913 we will take the imports in volume at 100 for food from abroad; in 1922 they went down to 98.9; in 1923 they went up to 114.5; in 1924 they went up to 125.2; and in 1925 they were 122.9. That is volume. I have given values. Take both, and you will find that the imports from abroad have gone up steadily by enormous quantities, whereas our produce, our yield, at home is going down. I agree with the hon. Members who moved and seconded the Motion that this ought not to be a party question. It is a question which really goes to the very life of this community. You can go on like this a long time, but something will happen. You are making big profits. Why? I will tell you. In the competition of the world we are retaining the sale of the best quality goods. We can beat the world at that, and there is a bigger profit. That accounts for the fact that the seriousness of the situation is rather masked by the Income Tax returns. There are huge profits on good quality goods, which do not provide as much employment as the small profits on the worst quality. Therefore, it is not so much a question of profits for Income Tax. It is a question of employment for the people. You can go on making big profits on these high quality goods, and then maintain a million of your people in idleness. In the end, it will bring us down surely. It will be like a cancer eating into the life of the community.

10.0 p.m.

I beg the Government not to enter into any sort of recrimination and taunt. It is easily done. I have done it myself many a time, and there is nothing easier. This is a grave problem. It is a solemn one. It has gone on year after year, and year after year, and I cannot meet a man who has studied the problem who says that it is at an end. Therefore, I would ask the Government to find out whether it is not possible, instead of spending scores of millions on keeping young men—and that is the new aspect of the unemployment to-day; it is not the old men, but the young men, a very large percentage of whom are on the dole—whether it is not possible to find some form of employment which will enrich the country and enrich them. I believe it can be done. Let them investigate it with a fair, impartial committee. What committee they appoint I do not care. There is an advantage and a disadvantage about a Committee of the House of Commons. A Committee of the House or Commons is very apt, of course, to break up into partisan views. On the other hand, they might have a committee which would examine the thing quite impartially, without any bias of that kind. I ask them not to give a direct negative to this. If they do, of course, they can defeat it easily. They have a very large majority, and I am not blaming them for being obedient to the behests of the Government. You must have a certain discipline; otherwise you cannot keep a Government in at all. Therefore, I am not engaging in any sort of taunt or jibe, but I ask them to go beyond that, and to see whether it is not possible to re-examine this problem, and whether it is not a time to use the fact that you have a million unemployed, to put your house in order, to do things that you could not do if everybody was engaged—making new roads, opening up your towns, making preparations for the great motor traffic, and seeing whether you cannot do something to improve your land. Whatever the problem is, whatever suggestion my hon. Friend below me may make, I would not exclude any method of providing employment, but I do beg them to appoint an impartial committee to inquire into this matter, whether they accept this or not.


The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has made an extremely interesting and suggestive speech, and if I may, very humbly, be allowed to say so, I do not think he has at all over-estimated the gravity of the problem which we are discussing to-night. The right hon. Gentleman mentioned the question of agricultural development, and also the question of afforestation, and I think that before we really consider in detail the problem of unemployment in this country, we ought to get down to the basic facts that, after all, there is nothing which warps, and hinders and holds up the basic industries of any country to such an extent as price fluctuation and currency fluctuation. I do not know whether hon. Members in this House ever read a very interesting Report which was presented to the Minister of Agriculture in January, 1925 —a Report on the Stabilisation of Agricultural Prices, but it shows perfectly clearly in that Report, that every time we have had a great depression in agriculture—and agriculture, after all, is typical of other basic industries in this country—it has been clue to a deflationary policy, and there is no use blinking this fact any longer, that the main cause and the root and fundamental cause of that depression and the unemployment in the basic industries during the last five years is the currency policy which has been pursued in this country. You cannot get away from it.

I am not in the least disposed to argue at the present time that that policy was in the long run unwise. In the future it may prove to be a wise one, but that it has hit the basic industries of this country almost mortally, that it has driven them almost altogether out of action I do not think can be disputed. There are two schools of thought. One says that this country is primarily a mercantile country, and the other that it is an industrialised country, and in the last five years the mercantile school has won. I am not sure they are not right, but in the winning of it they have practically put out, for the time being, the basic industries—the shipbuilding trade, the iron and steel trade and the export coal trade. On the other hand, the banking and the insurance industries, all the mercantile and trading industries have undoubtedly gained, and that is what has enabled us to produce this enormous income year after year during the depression. Obviously because what the Industrialists have lost the merchants have gained in invisible exports.

The fact is that in pursuing the currency policy which we have pursued, we have very nearly destroyed some of the basic industries. Thank God, we have got to the end of that. I think there is no doubt about it. The policy pursued has been pursued to the end. We have got back to the gold standard. We are now shackled to reality, and I do not think any further diversion of a serious character need be anticipated. So that we can look ahead with a certain amount of confidence. But I think there is a great deal that remains to be done, and if I may suggest to the House two lines of thought that might prove to be productive of something, I would say that in addition to assisting agriculture in every possible way—and I think that the credit proposals which have been put forward in this House will do a great deal to assist the farmers of this country —we might really seriously consider whether we should not go in for a very drastic policy of Colonial and Imperial development. After all, if you eliminate the United States to-day, and if you eliminate Russia to-day—two more or less self-contained areas—you cannot help being struck by the fact that there is to-day a glut of production in the big basic manufacturing industries, arid that there is a lack of production in raw materials all over the world. The balance is not evenly struck, and what we have to try and do is to increase the production of raw materials and foodstuffs so as to allow them to catch up with the production in this country of highly manufactured goods. I would urge upon His Majesty's Government that they should seriously consider a very bold policy of development as far as our Crown Colonies are concerned. I know the position is very difficult and I realise that we have done a great deal. The East African and Palestine loans have made demands upon the Treasury which have been very formidable, and I do not suppose that in the immediate future many more demands of this character can be met, but I am perfectly certain that, as far as the Crown Colonies are concerned, every penny that we put forward, whether by way of direct subsidy or by way of guaranteed loan, ultimately repays us with interest in the end.

But there is also the question of the Dominions, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) talked about the question of migration. I do think that General Smuts went to the root of the whole matter when he said in 1923: You cannot expect us to take migrants in large numbers from your shores unless you can provide markets for the goods they handle once they come to us. I would urge the Government—and I know it is sheer heresy on my part to say this—to give very serious consideration to what has been known as the stabilisation policy with regard to the raw materials of the Dominions. I think it would do much to help unemployment in this country if we could get some agreement with the Dominions whereby we could give some preference to the raw materials which they produce, and if they would reduce their tariff against certain of our manufactured goods. But there is a danger, and I think it will be realised in the course of the next 10 years, that the whole of the imports of wheat and meat into this country will fall into the hands of monopolies. There will be a monopoly for wheat—a milling combine to control the import of wheat. There will be also a meat combine which will control the imports of meat. In fact, that is going on now. If that ever comes about and monopolies are established, no Government can possibly afford to stand aside and take no action whatsoever. Some sort of supervision will be absolutely vital. Supposing the millers of this country formed a combine and supposing you were to form them into a statutory authority, charged with the control of the imports of wheatstuffs into this country; there is no reason why you should not be able, without the imposition of any tariff or duty, to give a preference to the Dominions, and if you could give that preference to the Dominions the Dominions themselves would be able to make reductions in certain tariffs.

I could dilate on that subject for an indefinite length of time. I submit that that is the sort of subject to be considered by the Imperial Economic Committee. That Committee ought to be the most important Committee in the country to-day. It is of infinitely greater importance than the Select Committee which has been proposed by the Mover of the Motion. I could only wish that the terms of reference were wide enough, and the powers of the Imperial Economic Committee were strengthened, because it has in its power to do pioneer work in this direction which would be of inestimable value to the country. I would urge the Government not to be led away from the consideration of this great problem of stabilising prices by the cry of Socialism. What does it matter if it is Socialism or not, provided the end is gained. [HON. MEMBERS: "Come over here!"] Why are the farmers in this country in such a parlous condition to-day? It is, first of all, because of the currency policy, and secondly, because they are be-devilled the whole time by fluctuating prices. If we were to stabilise prices in this country and if we were to get some form of control over the imports of wheat and meat and basic products which are imported into this country, it would he to the advantage of the farmers. I do not mind whether it is done by means of an Import Control Board, or a reserve supply of storage of wheat, which could be released or held up by the central authority according as to whether there was a shortage or a glut, but I think it is a problem which requires grave consideration by the Government.

There is only one last point which I wish to raise. It is that the whole of industry in this country is in the process of reorganisation at the present time, and I think that reorganisation ought to be assisted and helped by the Government by every means in its power. You will see on all sides to-day the rise of the great combines; the great horizontal combines and trusts. You will see their successful development in the United States, and you will see it also in Germany. The industrial history of Germany in the last five years is a most fascinating story They have tried vertical trusts but they have been a failure. They have tried Socialism and that has been a failure. [Interruption.] Oh, yes, it has been tried and failed in the coal industry. They have abandoned both of those two, and they have taken to the horizontal combine. The European Steel Cartel is the most remarkable horizontal combine. A similar process is taking place in this country to-day. It is the duty of the Government to watch that process very carefully, and if necessary to facilitate it. I would ask the Government to consider whether in regard to the steel industry of this country they would bring in legislation analogous to that of the Mining Industry Act, 1926, which would enable the steel masters of this country who wanted to amalgamate and increase the efficiency of the industry in that way to be able to sweep aside any obscurantist obstruction on the part of the small men in the industry and to get to business. That was done in the mining industry and it could easily be done in the steel industry and in the cotton industry if they desired it.

If we are ultimately and in the long run to come to any sort of terms with Europe, if we are to come to any sort of agreement with European countries in regard to production, hours, wages, and markets, we must have a negotiating authority on behalf of the industry of this country and not on behalf of one class. Why has this country been unable to enter the steel combine? Because there is nobody to negotiate on behalf of the steel industry. The sections of the industry are so busy fighting each other that they have not time to get together and send somebody to represent them in Berlin. That is why we have been unable to come to any arrangement in regard to wages, hours, markets, and other things with the Continental authorities. Sooner or later these national combines are going to become international, and I think that is a development in the heavy basic industries which is only to be welcomed. I think it is a matter which is vital to employment and to the reorganisation of industry. In whatever way they are to be linked up the matter goes far beyond the appointment of the Select Committee which is suggested in the Motion.

I think we must get something in the nature of an economic general staff, working under the Board of Trade, to advise the Government of the day on all these very complicated and difficult and complex questions, which are always in a state of flux, and to tender advice as to how to deal with particular matters. Cabinet Ministers are far too busy, their administrative duties are far too great, to allow them to follow all the portentous economic developments and world movements of the day, and I would urge the hon. Gentleman who is to reply to-night to consider whether it would not be advisable to set up such an economic general staff. I wonder whether hon. Members in this House have ever made any study of the methods of Mr. Hoover, the Minister of Commerce in the United States? If they have not, I strongly advise them to do so. By comparison with the Ministry of Commerce in the United States, the Board of Trade in this country is a mere spectator of the economic life of this country. It provides not information comparable with the information provided by Mr. Hoover. I wish that the hon. Gentleman would urge upon the President of the Board of Trade the necessity of setting up something in the nature of a research bureau to collect and collate information which might be of inestimable value to industrialists in this country, and which they themselves cannot possibly obtain. I have thrown out a few suggestions of a very wide and broad character which probably will not meet with approval on my own side of the House, but I remain quite unperturbed by that fact. I believe that something on these lines will have to be attempted by the Government if this problem, in my judgment the greatest problem that has ever confronted this country, is ultimately to be solved.


I have listened very carefully to the speech of the hon. Member for Aberdeen and Kincardine (Mr. Boothby) and I am rather perplexed to determine what it is he has been talking about. I was under the impression that this discussion was about unemployment. It is very few words I have to say, and I am saying them with considerable diffidence, because I do not like the task, although I am very capable of it, of putting everybody right; and I very much regret to say that nearly everybody whom I know has taken not quite the right view of this problem and has not been able to probe the real gravity of it. Members of all Parties are fond of telling each other to face the facts, and are all equally unanimous and equally stubborn in turning their backs upon them. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), who has been giving us some statistics, said in the course of his remarks that the estimate of unemployment prior to the War was an underestimate. He was quite right. I am sometimes surprised to hear people talking about the "abnormal unemployment" that exists to-day. There is no abnormal unemployment to-day, and that is the tragedy of it. Trade and employment to-day are perfectly normal. [An HON. MEMBER: "Who says so?"] I say so, and I am prepared to demonstrate it.

In 1911 an Act was passed which instituted unemployment insurance for two industries. Whitehall based their calculations of the possibilities of unemployment, on statistics which had been standardised only by the big trade unions which provided unemployment benefit. In 1920 Dr. Macnamara introduced a Bill which was passed, and which brought into registration 12,000,000 instead of 3,000,000 people, but it brought in the unskilled, the seasonal and the casual trades in which unemployment must have been at the mean average of about 15 per cent. taken over a period of years. I have no hesitation in saying that for the last 50 years 10 per cent. has been the normal average of unemployment in this country, and therefore it is 10 per cent. or something over that you have to reckon with in the future. See what else happens. We have been speaking about the coal industry. In that industry, previously to the War, chronic unemployment was absolutely unknown. There was no such thing as an unemployed collier before the War—of course I mean chronically unemployed. A man might be unemployed through being gassed or through some breakdown of machinery or plant, but of what our forefathers used to call the masterless man there was not one. At the present time there are 200,000 unemployed in the coal trade. This House may rest assured that the coal industry will never employ 1,000,000 persons any more because the world's demand for coal is dwindling. This is not caused by competition or the recent lockout, but simply because people are not burning coal as they used to do but are using other means for producing light, heat and power. If that be so, then we have to face the problem of 10 per cent. unemployment year in and year out, a little below one year and a little above that percentage another year, but over a period of years it will be about 10 per cent.

It does seem to me that this is a far bigger thing than we can approach by pumping out our old-fashioned or our new-fashioned economics. What we want is a little less economics and more humanity because, after all, this is a great human problem. I have been through it myself and I know we old fogies are apt to be tiresome when we start to be reminiscent. I would like to give one recollection. I came out of my apprenticeship on the eve of 1879, one of the blackest years in our industrial history. I had been carefully trained, and I had at my finger ends a highly skilled craft. I had been reasonably well educated. I walked the streets of London for nine months out of the twelve, and I wondered why it was that I, who had been carefully nurtured, highly skilled and possessing average intelligence, was not wanted. It may be that many people will think that a workless year is the only thing that one loses, but there was something more than the nine months lost, because in those nine months there was a moral and a mental decadence which was not made up for in 10 years. Every idle day, every idle week, that happens in the life of an industrious man, means more than the loss of that day's or week's work to the nation; it means a loss to the man, and, in the aggregate, to the nation itself. If this is the best that civilisation can do, we might as well, I think, go back to barbarism. Soon after, it was given to me to sit at the feet of Gamaliel, like Paul—his other name me was William Morris—and since then I have never been afraid or ashamed to proclaim myself a Socialist. I have said on hundreds of platforms, and through other methods of expression, that if in all our millions there is one man who is willing to work and able to work, to whom work is a necessity for him and those who are dependent upon him, and if that man is denied the right to work, that constitutes an anomaly which demands redress. When you multiply it by a million, you do not make the principle one atom worse.

We all admit that something must be done, and you say to us, who represent the people, the employed as well as the unemployed, "Suggest something,". but when we suggest something you find fault with it. I am quite unlike many of my friends on these benches. I do not think we get very far by denouncing the Government and calling them bad names. I do not think that this is a bad Government at all—I mean, that it is not bad in the sense of being wicked. It is a bit stupid, perhaps, but, of course, we cannot help that. What I urge is that the Government should take up this question with us, not because they are the Government and we are the Opposition. Several speakers to-night have laid some emphasis on the fact that this is not a party question. It has never seemed a party question to me. I do not know whether I am suspect, but certainly I do not want to get any party capital out of it at all. I have been through the thing and have suffered myself personally, and many of my hon. Friends here have suffered very much worse than I have. We are not, however, raising the question from that point of view, and I do not want to suggest now that this is to be a Select Committee of this House that is to chew over schemes of road-making or afforestation, and confine itself to that.

There is another scheme, the one scheme, to my mind, that promises success, and it is in the hands of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House. You must increase production. There is only one way to increase production, and that is' by cheapening labour. There is only one way to cheapen British labour, and that is by raising wages. That sounds paradoxical, but it is not; it is a fact, and it can be done. Hon. Members on the other side of the House can do it without any legislation, without any Select Committee; and I would suggest that that is one of the things that might be considered, and that it might be well to see if it did not fit in with the scheme of affairs, apart altogether from what our notions may be of economics. Generally I dislike economics. It is a science the professors of which never seem to be able to agree even on first principles. But I want the thing put straight from the more human point of view. Can we as a nation afford to have everlasting in our life stream millions of bodies that we can neither clothe nor shelter, millions of bellies that we can only fill with the East wind and millions of hands for which we can find no purpose and no useful object? Is civilisation worth while if it is only a civilisation which has learned to fly and has not learnt to feed itself?


I hope I shall not be accused of discourtesy to the Mover and Seconder of the Amendment if I do not follow in the little debating tricks with which they occupied their time. Every Member on these benches is willing and desirous at any time to justify his belief. We all believe that you cannot possibly get rid of unemployment so long as the capitalist system persists. We all believe it is a stupid system to have a ragged cobbler and a shoeless tailor looking at one another, forbidden to produce for each other's use unless some third party can find a profit from the operation, and on any other occasion we should be very glad to justify our opposition to that social order. But for a few moments let us get back to the Motion before the House. It is to set up a Committee—I will not quarrel whether you call it select or any other kind—drawn from all sections of the House to consider schemes laid before it for the immediate alleviation of unemployment—not ultimate theories about Socialism and Tariff Reform, not ultimate theories about currency reform or any other kind of reform, but practicable proposals; I should not imagine any Committee would pass any non-useful proposal or that the House would endorse it if he did—but that a Committee sitting permanently should examine every kind of scheme of immediate practical importance put before it for the alleviation of unemployment. We are told it would be non-economic. Pray what is your economy? Since the Armistice you have spent £380,000,000 through your Unemployment Insurance Fund and your Poor Law Authorities and this is what you call economy. In 1925, Poor Law relief amounted to 31,250,000, and unemployment, £44,500,000—total £75,750,000—and what have you got for it? Not a tree, not a blade of grass, not one brick laid upon another, and your unemployed kept in a state of semi-starvation, and some of them not even that. Reference has been made to what is called normal unemployment. The "Economist" which some hon. Members opposite are so fond of reading, publishes a book—"Is Unemployment Inevitable?" We get Mr. Layton of the "Economist" and Mr. Seebohm Rowntree and all the rest of them and they say that for the future there is to be a normal figure of unemployment of from 400,000 to 500,000 persons.


They are Free Traders and it is founded on Free Trade ideas.


For five minutes let us divest ourselves of these cheap debating tricks. We are to have half a million unemployed for all time, but they are not proposing to be among the half a million unemployed. In my own Division we do not only have 3,805 men signing on at the Exployment Exchange, but we have 754 men signing on at the Employment Exchange, and drawing no benefit. These 754 men have been chased off the Employment Exchange and are costing the local ratepayers 4d. in the pound on the rates. Last year we spent £184,000 in relief and we got nothing whatever in return for it. No words can adequately describe the horror of the position in which these men are placed. There is the daily trudge, the daily search along the streets looking for a master, the failure to find work, the return to their homes where starvation reigns and where the wives and children await them. There is the shake of the head. "No luck." And at the end of it, an early death, tuberculosis, physical, moral and mental waste, and all so stupid and so unnecessary if we would only pool our brains, at least for the beginning, and now, to see what schemes, afforestation or otherwise, we could produce in order to ameliorate the condition of the unemployed and reduce this physical wreckage.

The hon. Member who moved the Amendment said that we were barren of schemes. In the present circumstances and at the present hour I cannot elaborate the matter. He quoted the Report of the Lord St. Davids Committee for last year. What does that document show? It shows that the local authorities of this country have prepared schemes through their city engineers and borough officials. They have submitted no fewer than 18,000 separate schemes for the alleviation of unemployment to the Lord St. Davids Committee, and that Committee have approved 11,900 of those schemes as being suitable appropriate and economic. What is their comment on the schemes which they have financed? The results obtained are undisputably of permanent benefit to the localities concerned: They have spent £40,000,000. That is all that the State have spent in all these years. What have they got for it? They have provided employment—I am now taking full-time employment—for over 600,000 men for a frill year at a cost of £40,000,000. What did the State save? They saved £32,000,000 in the unemployment dole. All that the State lost was a sum of £8,000,000, and in return, on their own figures, they have had works of a capital value of over £104,000,000. They have provided roads, electricity, gas, water, tramways, and sewerage undertakings, docks, harbours and so on. By his method you get something at a very small cost. By your method you get nothing at a very great cost. The hon. Member opposite forgot to tell the House that the present Government have ordered the St. Davids Committee to damp down. They have ordered them to send a circular to the local authorities telling them to send in no more schemes of work, because only in the very worst districts where unemployment is at its maximum density will they be able to de, anything at all. Therefore the present Government far from continuing to find some kind of temporary relief for unemployment have actually discouraged the Lord St. Davids Committee and told them to do practically nothing. It has been repeatedly said that this is net a party question. It is an all-party question. It is no good the seconder of the Amendment coming here to sneer at schemes of social service and to say that we cannot afford them. If we cannot, then what business has the present Prime Minister to put this in his election address: The Unionist party would be unfaithful to its principles and to its duty if it did not treat the task of grappling with the unemployment of our people as a primary obligation. It is a "primary obligation" which we are never allowed to discuss in this House. We are never allowed to discuss the merits or demerits of any schemes. The late leader of the Liberal party, Lord Oxford and Asquith, away back in 1908, said this to a Labour deputation: We must find a permanent machinery for dealing with these emergencies as they arise. The Government are devoting time and thought to the setting up of permanent machinery which will prevent rather than cure unemployment, at least before it becomes acute. All parties are united on the principle; let us do something. Here is something we can do, and those who vote against this or any other scheme for relieving unemployment take a very heavy responsibility on their shoulders.


I hope the House will forgive me if, in the few remarks I have to make in reply to the Debate, I recall to their notice the terms of the Motion. I can assure hon. Members that I have no intention whatever of indulging in what has been described as flinging about party taunts. I agree with the hon. Member who has just spoken that this is not a party question; it is an all party question, and I do not regret for one moment that the matter has been raised to-night, because, beyond all others, it is the most serious question of our domestic preoccupations, involving in its consequences the deterioration of our young people and the demoralisation of those who are thrown on the streets. I absolutely and entirely agree with that, and therefore the contribution of any hon. Member, whether supporting the Motion or the Amendment, should he treated with respect and regard. The Motion on the Paper, which has been supported by the hon. Member who moved it, by the hon. Member who seconded it, and by the hon. Member who has just spoken, but by nobody else on the other side of the House, asks that a Select Committee should be appointed to consider schemes of work of national benefit which would provide employment for unemployed persons, and to report on such schemes.

All those hon. Gentlemen, it is clear, were of the opinion that the promotion of schemes and the provision of money from the taxes or the rates with which to finance them, would of themselves be of advantage. I have often heard the hon. Gentleman the Member for West Middlesbrough (Mr. Trevelyan Thomson) urging exactly the same point of view. Other hon. Gentlemen think that other methods would he more advantageous in dealing with this question. If the right hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) were here, he would say that the most valuable contribution to the solution of this problem would be the taxation of land values. Another hon. Member urged the importance of developing Imperial Preference. Others urged the Safeguarding of Industries and the McKenna Duties. The hon. Gentleman who has just spoken has urged that there should be an absolute prohibition of the import of goods made by sweated labour. All these various contributions must be taken and considered. But the question which the House has to consider to-night is whether any provision of money for relief schemes would be good or bad, and, secondly, whether the Select Committee referred to in the Motion is a suitable and proper way of dealing with the question.

I have no doubt whatever, from the evidence which is forthcoming from many quarters, that the time has arrived when the provision of large sums of money for relief schemes would do far more harm than good. If it were necessary to call in aid evidence in support of that view, one could not have stronger evidence than that contained in the Report of Lord St. Davids Committee, which has been mentioned. The last speaker referred to the large sums of money which had been expended or sanctioned by that Committee. He pointed out that a very large number of men have been found employment during the six years that it has been in operation. But the important part of the Report of that Committee is this. It says: Broadly speaking, it would appear that the scheme which has been in operation for six consecutive winters has, largely for that very reason, passed the period of its greatest utility, and that, if pursued indefinitely to the same extent as in the past, it would be difficult to avoid subsidising works properly undertaken by the local authorities in in the normal course of their business, and in such cases but little would be added to the sum total of work performed in this country. Therefore in the view of that Committee, composed of entirely independent and very distinguished people, to continue in the future what has been done in the past would add but little to the sum total of work performed. But they say something further. They say: In so far as the present schemes might continue to be evolved, there is the further objection that they might well have the tendency to divert capital from the normal trade developments, which are now to be looked for, and would thus hinder rather than assist the relief of unemployment through the proper channels of trade recovery. It is all very well for the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) to twit my hon. Friend who sat beside me because he referred to speeches of the Leader of the Opposition, but the Leader of the Opposition and everybody who has considered this matter and who has been brought face to face with it have come to exactly the same conclusion. It was a conclusion which was arrived at so long ago as 1906 by Mr. Burns. It was a view which was expressed by the Leader of the Opposition directly he took office and it is the view expressed by the Report of this Committee. Everybody, who has been brought face to face with it, is driven, whether he likes it or not and whatever his preconceived opinions may be, to the conclusion which I have indicated.

But there is another consideration which I wish the House to bear in mind. It was brought very vividly to my mind by the very moving speech of the hon. Member for North Aberdeen (Mr. Rose). In truth and in fact, these schemes of relief, whether they employ many men or whether they employ few, do not, and cannot for the most part, employ those whom we would most desire to help. I mean, of course, the skilled artisan, the man who has spent four years in a trade, and who is thrown out of work. At best they only employ for the most part the casual and unskilled labourer. They may have this further effect. They may actually operate and no doubt they do operate in the very opposite way to which one would desire them to operate because, by increasing the burden either on the taxes or on the rates, they go far to prevent the trade recovery for which those skilled artisans may benefit.

I would like to say one word on the point which is raised in this Motion, and it is also very relevant to the speech of the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs. The Motion definitely asks that this should be referred to a Select Committee, which shall report at intervals, not exceeding one month, during the sitting of the House. Some hon. Members—certainly the hon. Members who moved and supported this Motion—were disposed to agree that that would be a happy and successful way of producing what we would all like to produce, a non-party political atmosphere in dealing with this matter. I would ask the House to consider whether that would or would not help that desired effect. A Select Committee of this House reflects the parties in this House. It is made up, of course, according to the numbers of the various parties in the House, and it is a sort of microcosm of the House itself. Would a scheme referred to such a Committee be likely to bring about the result which is expected? In the first place, it must be remembered that a Select Committee cannot under any circumstances make a minority report, and, therefore, the report goes forth to the House as the report of the whole Committee. But the Government in power, whether it be a Labour Government or a Conservative Government or a Liberal Government, must, of course, be responsible for finding the money for carrying out these schemes. Therefore, when you get back to the House, it is, and it must be, the Government of the day that has the responsibility for dealing with these schemes. After giving the matter the best consideration of which I am capable, I cannot think that this proposal; which is novel but which is none the less entitled to respect and consideration because it is new, would have the effect which the hon. Gentleman who moved the Motion expected.


What is your alternative?


I think the hon. Member is echoing the question which was put to me by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs. The right hon. Gentleman appears to have fm gotten that the Labour party, when in office, took, as I think, the very wise course of setting up a Committee known as the Balfour Committee with the widest terms of reference. The terms of reference were, broadly speaking, to inquire from every point of view into the causes of our present depression, and to suggest means by which that depression could be overcome. The length of time which it has taken the Committee to make its inquiry is some indication of the magnitude of the problem. To set up now another Committee, whether a Select Committee or any other kind of Committee, before we have the Report of the Balfour Committee, would seem to me to be an absolute waste of time. Unemployment, as everybody knows, is not a static thing. It varies in different industries at different times, but one thing is quite certain, and it is that no one remedy is sovereign for the evils from which we are suffering. It may be that, under certain conditions grants for relief work are justifiable, and

Division No. 36.] AYES. [11.0 p.m.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Hayday, Arthur Sexton, James
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Hayes, John Henry Shepherd, Arthur Lewis
Ammon, Charles George Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley) Shiels, Dr. Drummond
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston) Henderson, T. (Glasgow) Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Baker, Walter Hirst, G. H. Sitch, Charles H.
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertilltry) Hirst, W. (Bradford, South) Slesser, Sir Henry H.
Barnes, A. Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield) Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Barr, J. Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose) Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)
Batey, Joseph Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Smith, Rennie (Penistone)
Beckett, John (Gateshead) John, William (Rhondda, West) Snell, Harry
Bondfield, Margaret Johnston, Thomas (Dundee) Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Broad, F. A. Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles
Bromfield, William Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Stamford, T. W.
Bromley, J. Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd) Stephen, Campbell
Brown, James (Ayr and Butt) Kelly, W. T. Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Buchanan, G. Kennedy, T. Sullivan, J.
Cape, Thomas Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M. Sutton, J. E.
Charleton, H. C. Lansbury, George Taylor, R. A.
Clowes, S. Lawrence, Susan Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Darby)
Compton, Joseph Lawson, John James Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro, W.)
Connolly, M. Lee, F. Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Cove, W. G. Lindley, F. W. Tinker, John Joseph
Cowan, D, M, (Scottish Universities) Lowth, T. Townend, A. E.
Crawfurd, H. E. Lunn,-William Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.
Dalton, Hush MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R.(Aberavon) Viant, S. P.
Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale) Mackinder, W. Wallhead, Richard C.
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) MacLaren, Andrew Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen
Day, Colonel Harry Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan) Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Dennison, R. March, S. Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Duckworth, John Maxton, James Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Duncan, C. Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley) Wellock, Wilfred
Dunnico, H. Montague, Frederick Welsh, J. C.
Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington) Morris, R. H. Westwood, J.
England, Colonel A. Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.
Fenby, T, D. Mosley, Oswald Wiggins, William Martin
Gardner, J. P. Naylor, T. E. Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Gibbins, Joseph Oliver, George Harold Williams. C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)
Gillett, George M. Paling, W. Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan) Williams, T (York, Don Valley)
Greenall, T. Pethick-Lawrence, F, W. Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Potts, John S. Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Grenfell, D. H. (Glamorgan) Purcell, A. A. Windsor, Walter
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Womersley, W. J.
Groves, T. Rlley, Ben Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Grundy, T. W. Ritson, J.
Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Robinson, W. C.(Yorks, W.R.,Elland) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Hardie, George D. Rote, Frank H. Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr.
Harris, Percy A. Scrymgeour, E. Whiteley
Hartshorn, Rt. Hon, Vernon Scurr, John
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Alexander, E. E. (Leyton) Atholl, Duchess of
Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T. Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley
Alnsworth, Major Charles Applin, Colonel R. V. K. Balfour, George (Hampsteed)
Albery, Irving James Astor, Maj. Hn. John J.(Kent, Dover) Barnett, Major Sir Richard

we believe that under certain limited conditions they are justifiable, and the St. Davids Committee is still considering such cases. This much I can say: While one remedy or another and one method or another may do something—migration has been referred to and Imperial development has been referred to—I am certain Members in all parts of the House will agree that without something like peace in industry, all these remedies will be of no account.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

The House divided: Ayes, 142; Noels, 252.

Barnston, Major Sir Harry Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E. O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Gunston, Captain D. W. O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W. Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Oman, Sir Charles William C.
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake; Hall, Vice-Admiral Sir R. (Eastbourne) Penny, Frederick George
Bethel, A. Hanbury, C. Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)
Betterton, Henry B. Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Perkins, Colonel E. K.
Blades, Sir George Rowland Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent) Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Boothby, R. J. G. Harrison, G. J. C. Philipson, Mabel
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Hartington, Marquess of Pilcher, G.
Bowyer, Captain G. E. W. Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennlngton) Pownall, Sir Assheton
Braithwalte, Major A. N. Hawke, John Anthony Price, Major C. W. M.
Brass, Captain W. Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M. Radford, E. A.
Briggs, J. Harold Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxt'd, Henley) Ralne, W.
Briscoe, Richard George Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle) Ramsden, E.
Brittain, Sir Harry Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J. Rawson, Sir Cooper
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford) Reid, D. D. (County Down)
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. J. Herbert. S.(York, N.R., Scar. & Wh'by) Remer, J. R.
Broun-Lindsay, Major H. Hills, Major John Waller Rentoul, G. S.
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd., Hexham) Hilton, Cecil Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks, Newb'y) Hogg, Rt. Hon.Sir D.(St.Marylebone) Rice, Sir Frederick
Buckingham, Sir H. Holland, Sir Arthur Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James Holt, Captain H. P. Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)
Bullock, Captain M. Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar) Roberts, Sir Samuel (Heretord)
Burgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Alan Hopkins, J. W. W. Ropner, Major L.
Butler, Sir Geoffrey Home, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S. Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.
Butt, Sir Alfred Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Colonel C. K. Salmon, Major I.
Campbell, E. T. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney. N.) Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Carver, Major W. H. Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd,Whiteh'n) Sandeman, A. Stewart
Cautley, Sir Henry S. Hume, Sir G. H. Sanderson, Sir Frank
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.) Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer Sandon, Lord
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) Hunting field, Lord Savery, S. S.
Charteris, Brigadier-General J. Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H. Scott, Rt. Hon. Sir Leslie
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l) Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)
Churchman, Sir Arthur C. Jacob, A. E. Sheffield, Sir Berkeley
Clarry, Reginald George Jephcott, A. R. Shepperson, E. W.
Clayton, G. C. Kennedy, A. R. (Preston) Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)
Cobb, Sir Cyril Kidd, J. (Linlithgow) Skelton, A. N.
Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir G. K. Kindersley, Major Guy M. Slaney, Major P. Kenyon
Coltox, Major Win. Phillips Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine,C.)
Cope, Major William Knox, Sir Alfred Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Couper, J. B. Lamb, J. Q. Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Courtauld, Major J. S Leigh, Sir John (Clapham) Spender-Clay, Colonel H.
Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L. Lister, Cunliffe-. Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)
Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islingtn. N.) Little, Dr. E. Graham Stanley, Lord (Fylde)
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Looker, Herbert William Storry Deans. R.
Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick) Lougher, L. Stott, Lieut-Colonel W. H.
Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Galnsbro) Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere Streatfeild, Captain S. R
Curzon, Captain Viscount Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman Styles, Captain H. Walter
Davidson, J.(Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd) Lynn, Sir R. J. Sugden, Sr Wilfrid
Davidson, Major-General Sir John H. Mac Andrew, Major Charles Glen Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) McLean, Major A. Tasker, R Inigo.
Davies, Dr. Vernon Macmillan, Captain H. Thorn, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)
Dawson, Sir Philip Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Edmondson, Major A. J. McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell
Elliot, Major Walter E. Mac Robert, Alexander M. Tinne, J. A.
Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.) Maltland, Sir Arthur D. Steel Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Everard, W. Lindsay Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Fairfax, Captain J. G. Margesson, Captain D. Waddington, R.
Fanshawe, Commander G. D. Marriott, Sir J. A. R. Wallace, Captain D. E.
Fermoy, Lord Macon, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K. Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)
Fielden, E. B. Merriman, F. B. Watts, Dr T.
Finburgh, S. Meyer, Sir Frank Wells, S. R.
Forestier-Walker, Sir L. Milne, J. S. Werdlaw White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dairymple
Foster, Sir Harry S. Mitchell, S. (Lanarx Lanark) Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Fraser, Captain Ian Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden) Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Frece, Sir Walter da Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M. Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)
Ganzonl, Sir John Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr) Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Gates, Percy Moore, Sir Newton J. Winby, Colonel L. P.
Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Glimour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury) Wise, Sir Fredric
Glyn, Major R. G. C. Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive Withers, John James
Goff, Sir Park Murchison, Sir Kenneth Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)
Gower, Sir Robert Nail, Colonel Sir Joseph Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)
Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.) Nelson, Sir Frank Wood, Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)
Grant, Sir J A. Neville, R. J. Young, R. Hon. Hilton (Norwich)
Greene, W. P. Crawford Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)
Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Sir H.(W'th's'w,E) Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London) Nicholson, O. (Westminster) Mr. Cadogan and Mr. Geoffrey
Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert Peto.
Grotrian, H. Brent Nuttall, Ellis
Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. (Bristol, N.) Oakley, T.

Question proposed, "That those words be there added."

Mr. SCURR rose

It being after Eleven of the Clock, the Debate stood adjourned.

The remaining Orders were read and postponed.