§ The CHAIRMAN
The first Amendment on the Paper—in page 4, line 4, to leave out the words "of the" and to insert instead thereof the words "and fourth"—I take it is put down to introduce a later Amendment—in page 4, line 10, at the end, to insert the words(iv) That his inability to obtain suitable employment is not shown to be due to a failure to seek such suitable employment in accordance with every reasonable requirement of an insurance officer.The discussion will be on that Amendment.
Captain ARTHUR EVANS
On a point of Order. Do we understand your Ruling to mean that the general discussion will take place on this Amendment or when you put from the Chair the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill"
§ The CHAIRMAN
No, I do not propose to do that. It can only be done by general assent, and, unless some suggestion to that effect should be made to me, I only propose to allow the discussion to take place on the Amendments as they arise.
§ Mr. GIBBINS
I beg to move, in page 4, line 4, to leave out the words "of the," and to insert instead thereof the words "and fourth."
The Amendment which would follow upon this is, in page 4, line 10, at the end, to insert the wordsthat his inability to obtain suitable employment is not shown to be due to a failure to seek such suitable employment in accordance with any reasonable requirement of an insurance officer.Paragraph IV of Section 7 (1) of the principal Act reads:that he has not exhausted his right to unemployment benefit under this Act.68 The Clause in the present Bill says:that not less than thirty contributions have been paid in respect of him as an insured contributor in respect of the two years immediately preceding the date on which application for benefit is made.It must be clear that the qualifying test is going to be a very severe one for thousands and tens of thousands of workers to-day, not because the number itself has any particular value, but it has been drawn in such a manner that the very trades and industries for which insurance benefit was originally contemplated and brought in are trades and industries upon which the effect of this 30 stamp qualification will fall the hardest. Another point about it is this. This is a recurring qualification. If 30 stamps from entrance into insurance were the qualification of the second condition, then some of the hardness of the qualification would be swept away. But the very fact that every time a man claims benefit he must show 30 stamps, and after every three months he must again show 30 stamps for the preceding two years renders the operation of this standard, in our opinion, invidious, unfair and unjust, and I want to show one or two reasons why those words are true. Take the trades of this country that, quite apart from unusual fluctuations in trade, have always had what has been a normal cycle of unemployment.
Take my own trade, with which I have been connected for over 20 years. The shipbuilding trades, long before the War, had usually a run of four or five years, sometimes a little longer, of fairly good trade, and then they had their usual depression. If we could deal with the normal times—and that is one of the reasons why I think a 30-stamp test is an unduly heavy one—the men who work for four or five years and are then faced with this depression, will then qualify for three months. Then they will be called again before the Insurance Committee, and have to show 30 insurance stamps in the preceding two years. If a man has been at work for six, five or three years, whatever the case may be, after the first three months, his 30-stamp qualification is gone. He cannot show the requisite number because of that three months' idleness, or, say, three months with the exception of a few weeks. The other man who may be able just to get his 30 stamps 69 for two years is constantly and continually qualifying. We have nothing to say about the other poor chap—
§ The CHAIRMAN
I want to point out to the hon. Member that this Amendment does not deal with the number of stamps at all. This Amendment would strike out the wordsthat he has not exhausted his right to unemployment benefit under this Act.and insert the hon. Member's own words.
§ Mr. GIBBINS
I am not dealing with the number of stamps. All that I am dealing with is the recurring quality of the test, and it is not a 30-stamp qualification I am arguing against. All that I am arguing against is that this qualification will have to be renewed every quarter. I take it, therefore, that I am in order.
§ Mr. GIBBINS
It comes to this, that in the ease of the shipbuilding trades, with which I was dealing, you have got no test as to whether a man is a man who has been working for five, six or seven years, so that that man merely gets in for two years by the skin of his teeth. In the large districts—Liverpool, for instance—you may have a good deal of repairing work, and men staying in one shop for a long period of time, and then losing their work. The very fact of their constant work makes their opportunity of getting jobs in slack time worse even than for the man who floats about from shop to shop, merely because the permanent man has been kept in one shop. It is bad enough in the normal cycles of trade, but what about the trade during the last five, six or seven years? You hear of an industry with a large number of unemployed. Shipbuilding is considerably above the 9 or 10 per cent, even to-day, and not many months ago it was as high as 20 per cent, or 22 per cent, unemployed. What about the long period of four or five years? The very moment the first flow of unemployment comes, a decent, bona fide workman is deprived of benefit, not because he has not got 30 stamps, but because he has to produce those 30 stamps after every period of unemployment benefit. I say it is not fair, equitable and just to the men compelled to contribute during the many years they have worked.
70 Then take the trades and industries which are in a transitional period, whose very nature is changing. Despite all that the Minister has said in his White Paper about the mining industry, it is said by competent authorities that thousands of miners may never get the opportunity to resume work again in the mining industry. The mining industry is not the only industry passing through a transitional period. Other industries are doing so. Even the industry to which I have referred—shipbuilding—in addition to the normal cycles of unemployment, through the introduction of machinery and speeding-up processes, is undergoing a very drastic change in its methods, with the result that men are becoming permanently displaced. What applies to the shipbuilding industry applies equally, or more so, to the mining industry, because men are going to be entirely removed from this industry, and what prospect is there even if a man has 200, 300 or 500 stamps to his credit in the Fund, if he is only going to draw benefit for his 30 stamps for the previous two years? Take another type of trade, which affects thousands of workers in this country—
§ Mr. LUKE THOMPSON
On a point of Order. The fourth paragraph in Section 7 (1) of the principal Act is:that he has not exhausted his right to unemployment benefit under this Act.That statutory condition was amended in the 1924 Act, by substituting the words:that he is genuinely seeking work, but unable to obtain suitable employment.I want to ask your Ruling, Mr. Hope, whether we are considering the words of the principal Act or the amending Act, and, if we are on the amending Act, are the hon. Member's remarks relevant to that Act?
§ Mr. STEPHEN
On the point of Order. Surely we are dealing with the fourth statutory condition of the 1920 Act as amended by the 1924 Act. The effect of amending the 1924 condition is to make the amending form the new form of the condition, and I am sure everyone will agree that the hon. Member for the West Toxteth Division of Liverpool (Mr. Gibbins) is keeping very sedulously to the question of the replacement of that provision by the new provision he proposes.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Clause 14 says:'The principal Act' means the Unemployment Insurance Act.I take it the effect of Subjection (1) of Clause 5 is to amend the principal Act. If some other Amendment is put in which is inconsistent with some later Statute, a consequential repeal would be necessary. In answer to the question put to me, as I have said before, the words proposed in the Amendment mean that the present law shall be amended so as to get these words in. The effect of that would be to substitute those words for what appears in some form in the principal Act. If there are some other words in some later Act, they will have to be repealed in the Schedule.
§ .Mr. DIXEY
Would it not be possible, if we are to refer back to various words, to have a general discussion on this Clause?
§ The MINISTER of LABOUR (Sir Arthur Steel-Maitland)
It is really for the convenience of the Committee that I interpose for a moment. I should be the last not to wish to hear the views of the hon. Member. May I ask for your Ruling, Mr. Hope, on this point? The fourth condition under Section 7 of the principal Act saysthat he has not exhausted his right to unemployment benefit under this Act.But Section 3 of the Act of 1924 substituted certain words in that Section for others which it left out. It left out the wordsthat he has not exhausted his right to unemployment benefit under this Act,and substituted in their place the wordsthat he is genuinely seeking work, but unable to obtain suitable employment.All I would ask your ruling on, following up the point raised by my hon. Friend, is whether, in these circumstances, the fourth condition under the principal Act does not read as though the substituted words moved in the Act of 1924 were there inserted, meaning, consequently, that the man is genuinely seeking work but unable to obtain suitable employment; and whether, in these 72 circumstances, the present Amendment is not upon the single point whether we should retain the words "genuinely seeking work" or, instead, put in the words of the Supplementary Amendment to be moved by the same hon. Member at a later stage of the Clause.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I do not think I can quite accept that version, because otherwise the words referred to would readas amended by such and such an Act.What I have to look at here is rather the words which are left in than those which are to be left out. I have looked at the principal Act, and I find there certain words:has not exhausted his right to unemployment benefit under this Act.The purpose of this Amendment is that those words shall be taken out and other words substituted. If those words are substituted and there is inconsistency with something that is done later than 1920, the later provision will have to come out, but I cannot construe the words of the principal Act as meaning "the Act of 1920 as amended."
§ Miss WILKINSON
In view of the fact that the question raised by the hon. Member and the question raised by this Amendment cause so many cross references to different Acts, would it not be better if the Minister of Labour were to lay before us a brief abstract of those parts of the Act which it is proposed to amend? It is not possible to obtain those Acts in the Vote Office, and there is only one copy of them in the Library, and I do not think it is treating the Committee fairly for us not to have the Acts before us and no means of obtaining them.
§ The CHAIRMAN
That is not a point of Order, but is a matter of the convenience of the Committee. No doubt it would have been of great convenience not only to the Committee, but even more so to the Chairman, if a consolidating Bill had been passed last year.
§ Mr. GIBBINS
I will try again. I was referring to a trade in which are employed a number of men who in two years will be very lucky indeed if they get 7½months-' work—the casual workers at the docks. The recurring effect of this test is going to hurt very severely men 73 of this type, the casual men. It means that thousands of men who are getting benefit to-day will be pushed out of benefit, and the only alternative for them will be the Poor Law. Take the case of the Liverpool docks, or any other docks. We are always overstocked with men there. At the busiest times there are always thousands unemployed, and many of them are lucky if they get 3 or 3½ months' work during the 12 months. If they miss getting work for a few weeks or a month in that period they are shoved out of benefit because they cannot qualify. I want hon. Members to notice that it means the two years from the last date from which they draw benefit, and taking into account the date of their claim, that means another three months put on to the two years. As a result of this test, crowds of casual workers will be doomed to get no unemployment pay at all. As for the number being 30,000, I think it will be somewhere nearer 300,000 if this recurring quality test operates as the Bill suggests it will.
I think the second Amendment will be in order in the view of hon. Members opposite. It reads:That his inability to obtain suitable employment is not shown to be due to a failure to seek such suitable employment in accordance with any reasonable requirements of an insurance officer.I appreciate the difficulty of the Minister of Labour in finding a suitable definition of what is meant by "genuinely seeking work," but the fact that he or his officials cannot find that definition does not give them any right to impose upon men who are seeking work conditions which are almost criminal in their effect. Why, detectives do not put the same pressure on suspects as is done occasionally by officials who are trying to find out whether men are genuinely seeking work. In Liverpool they have been known to call at the door in the morning to see whether a man has really gone out to look for work. That is as bad, if not worse, than the visits paid by relieving officers before they give relief.
If "genuinely seeking work" is to be the test, the onus of proving that must be on the Employment Exchanges and not on the men. With the information they have got, with the data in their possession, and with, very often, as in the case of Liverpool, similar data collected by the guardians, it would be just 74 as easy for them to do it and it would certainly prevent a great deal of irritation and annoyance. I know that some men have been so annoyed by the conditions and regulations imposed that they have stayed away. It may be the desire of the Exchanges that they should do so, but it is unfair to men who are genuinely unemployed. Girls are asked to submit lists of people whom they have seen in their efforts to find work, and even when they do submit lists of 20 or 30 shops at which they have called during the day their applications are turned down, on the ground that they are not genuinely seeking work. I have sat on a rota committee and have heard men asked, "Where have you been?" The men have said, "I have walked from one end of Liverpool docks to the other"— that is, a distance of over seven miles. "Where is your evidence?" they have then been asked. To ask a dock labourer who has walked from one end of Liverpool docks to the other what evidence he cam produce that he has been seeking work! There are men in this House who know that it is impossible for men to bring that evidence; perhaps this does not apply so much to regular dock hands, but it is so in the case of casual workers on the docks who go about from north to south. They cannot get evidence to prove that they have been to an employer. They cannot say to him, "I want a note to say that I have been looking for work." The employers would have to engage more staff, especially the large shipbuilding firms.
I attended one case before the court of referees in which a man had been refused benefit. The seamen's strike was on at the time, and they said he had refused employment. I went before the court of referees and proved that the man had a defective arm, but then they turned him down because he was not genuinely seeking work. The man was asked what he had done to seek work. He gave the names of four or five ships which he had visited, he had walked all over the docks, but he was turned down on the ground that he was not genuinely seeking work. There are thousands of cases of men who are being turned down in this way. Except in a very few instances, it is perfectly impossible for men to prove that they are genuinely seeking work. The Exchanges set up standards which have no sense of justice 75 about them. Even to-day they are making it a rule that for certain benefits you must work so many days, no matter how they are spread over. Girls are asked to take all sorts of jobs, to go here and to go there, and there is no justification for the onus of proof being placed on the workman or the workwoman, because the conditions they are asked to fulfil are practically impossible conditions. The later Amendment I am submitting inserts the word "reasonable" and speaks of:Any reasonable requirement of an insurance officer.I think both these Amendments ought to be accepted, and I will finish up with these observations. This recurring quality is going to throw men who have 'been permanently out of work, or by the accident of a week or a month have lost their work, from obtaining unemployment benefit. The difficulty of having to prove that they have been genuinely seeking work may prevent them from finding work. They have to spend so much of their time in trying to prove that they have been looking for work, that they have less time to seek for jobs in other districts. These Amendments ought to be accepted, in fairness and in justice to the unemployed men, who have paid for the benefit and have done so much for this country in the past.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of LABOUR (Mr. Betterton)
The hon. Member who has moved this Amendment has quite clearly and fairly, if I may say so, put two entirely separate points. The first point raised the general question as to the fairness or otherwise of the conditions in the Bill requiring 30 contributions. That question is raised specifically and definitely by the next Amendment on the Paper, and, if the hon. Member will permit me, I will deal with the second point, of equal importance, which he raised, and my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour will deal with the question of contributions when he comes to the next Amendment.
I have not raised the question of the 30 stamps, but of the recurring quality of the test. That is the difference. If the 30 stamps gave a statutory benefit for all time and not for two years it would be different.
§ Mr. BETTERTON
I do not want to discuss with the hon. Member the precise distinction between 30 stamps and their recurring quality. I think that would be better raised as a separate point on the next Amendment.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I think I ought to say that would arise not on the next Amendment but on the fourth Amendment.
§ Mr. BETTERTON
I am much obliged for that correction—on the fourth Amendment. The question of men "genuinely seeking work" which has been raised by the hon. Member is one of real substance and importance, because it is a point which is fundamental in the distinction between what he and his friends stand for, namely, a non-contributory scheme, and what we stand for, which is, of course, a contributory scheme. If I understood the hon. Member correctly I would say, trying to paraphrase his argument, that what he seeks to do is to eliminate the conditions as to men seeking work and to throw on the Department, namely, the Ministry of Labour, the responsibility of indicating to claimants the direction in which they are to seek employment. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman is prepared to go further and say that the claimant has sufficiently discharged his duty if he confines himself to the direction given by the Exchange. If that be a fair statement of the hon. Member's point, the first thing I would like to point out is that it involves that all vacancies must be filled by the Exchange, and that would impose an equal obligation on the employers and the workmen. In the contributory system that is a condition which we cannot accept. Every insurance scheme must contain within itself certain safeguards. The statement presented by the hon. Member for West Nottingham (Mr. Hayday) made this point perfectly clear when he argued that he would urge an entire negation of the condition "making reasonable efforts to find employment," and he further stated that he regarded it as the duty of the Exchanges to find work for unemployed persons. The hon. Member for West Nottingham further contended that the onus of finding a job should not be placed on the worker. That would be quite inconsistent with any contributory scheme of insurance. Unless you place on the 77 unemployed person the obligation of genuinely seeking work, it would be unfair to the other contributors to the scheme.
The scheme is compulsory, but it is also contributory, and what I am saying applies to any contributory scheme. The hon. Member for Nelson and, Colne (Mr. Greenwood) explained' exactly before the Blanesburgh Committee what he meant in answer to a question, because, on page 186, question 1860, he said:We do not accept the view about insurance. Therefore this must stand against the obiter dicta of Mr. MacDonald. It is perfectly true that as a movement we have not stood for insurance; we have stood for some system of maintenance.That is the difference, and the fundamental difference, between hon. Gentlemen opposite and ourselves. If the Committee and the House desire a non-contributory scheme, then the House should say so, but this Bill is frankly based upon a contributory principle, and, therefore, we must insert the words "genuinely seeking work" or something very much like them. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Preston (Mr. T. Shaw), when he introduced the Bill of 1924, based it on the contributory system. He said that this was necessary to reinforce the words used in previous Acts, and the right hon. Gentleman made it a condition that these men should be "genuinely seeking work." The right hon. Gentleman knew quite well in 1924 that he was presenting a Bill on a contributory basis, and quite rightly and properly he made it a condition under a system based on a contributory system the applicant should be "genuinely seeking work." Either this scheme is contributory or it is not. If it is to be non-contributory, as hon. Gentlemen opposite wish, then these words are not necessary, but in a contributory system a condition of this kind is fundamental to the Bill itself.
§ Mr. T. SHAW
For once the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour has been surprisingly irrelevant. As a rule, the hon. Gentleman's speeches keep strictly to the point, but I am afraid that this Amendment has nothing whatever to do with the contributory
78 or non-contributory principle. Perhaps I may be allowed to give the hon. Member one or two pieces of information with regard to what happened in 1924, which may guide him in the discussion. There were many differences between what was proposed in 1924 and the Bill we are considering. The Government of 1924 had a two to one majority against them, and the Minister in charge of the Bill, in 1924, told the House quite candidly that the Bill of 1924 did not represent what he thought was right, but it represented all he thought he could get the House to adopt. When the Parliamentary Secretary discusses the 1924 Bill, I would like him to be as fair in his criticisms as he is generally, and I would like him always to keep in mind the words used on the First Reading, which asserted that the Bill did not represent our ideas but represented all that we could get from the House of Commons in 1924.
Our point is, that a genuinely unemployed man ought not to be hampered by a condition, whether in the Bill of 1924 or any other Measure, which has been so interpreted as to refuse benefits to genuinely unemployed men. Cases have been reported over and over again in which a man has produced written evidence from a foreman to whom he has applied for work, and even then committees have decided that those men have not been genuinely seeking work. We have plenty of evidence to show that this condition has been interpreted in that way, and I think it is the duty of this committee so to arrange matters that genuinely unemployed working men shall not be refused benefits simply at the whim of a committee which will not accept the evidence of a foreman that a man has been seeking work. After all, it is the right of an unemployed man to have benefits unless somebody can prove that he has not tried to get work.
The Amendment which we are discussing, taken in connection with a further Amendment on the Paper, means that the man must observe any reasonable requirement of the insurance officer, and, if he does not observe that condition, he will not get the benefit. Why continue a Regulation which apparently has been either misunderstood or abused? Why go on with a Regulation which puts a man in the position of having his benefit re-
79 fused after producing the signed statement from a foreman that he has been to him within a couple of days seeking work?
Captain A. EVANS
Did the committee give any reasonable explanation as to why they disallowed benefit in such cases?
§ Mr. SHAW
It is a statutory condition, and I am pointing out that it has been so applied, either through misunderstanding or through misapplication, as to refuse benefits to genuinely unemployed men who have produced evidence that they have been seeking work. I have been told that in certain parts of the Clyde area, where unemployment has been very extensive, foremen have repeatedly refused to sign these documents because similar documents previously signed by them have been ignored by the committees. If this state of things exists, surely the Minister of Labour himself, if he objects to the wording, ought to produce words which will not deprive an unemployed man, genuinely seeking work, of his benefit. I suggest that the Parliamentary Secretary, when speaking of the relative conditions of contributory and non-contributory schemes, was dealing with something with which this Amendment has no concern whatever. We ought to have an answer either from the Parliamentary Secretary or the Minister of Labour stating quite clearly what the Government intend to do to guarantee that a genuinely unemployed man shall receive the benefit to which he is entitled.
§ Mr. HAYDAY
There are two distinct points covered by this Amendment, and they should be clearly understood. There are four or five statutory conditions with which an applicant for unemployment benefit is bound to comply. One is that he is able to work and unable to find employment. I think that should be a sufficient statutory condition, because the man would be available for any employment that might come along. A man may have been walking many miles in order to find work and all his efforts may have been in vain, and yet an unsympathetic committee very often will turn down his claim. The hon. and gallant Member for South Cardiff (Captain A. Evans) has asked if the 80 committee gave any explanations in regard to these decisions. I do not know whether the hon. and gallant Member represents an industrial constituency or not, but, if he does, he must know of numerous cases of this kind which have been turned down under that statutory condition. Very often, the only information a man can get under such conditions is a little yellow slip which tells him that his benefit has been refused under Subsection so-and-so of the Act. That is the only explanation that these men can get. They do not know how the discussion has gone on the committee, and they are not informed of any of the circumstances against which they might have guarded themselves. The more genuine a man is in the search he has made for employment, the less likely is he to pass the examination of the committee. So far as the Amendment is concerned, it has just one clear point. It says that whatever the first statutory condition may be it shall be followed by the other condition which is suggested in a subsequent Amendment providing:that his inability to obtain suitable employment is not shown to he due to a failure to seek such suitable employment in accordance with any reasonable requirement of an insurance officer.That would take the place of the fourth statutory condition in the original Act, and carry with it the amending statutory provision of the Act of 1924. The two are inextricably merged together. You must clear the fourth statutory condition of the principal Act, as amended by the No. 2 Act of 1924. It may not be made very clear, but that is the intention. If that Amendment were carried, some means of readjustment to bring it into harmony with the other provisions could well be found, ready for the Report stage of this Bill.
Surely, if an unemployed person has fulfilled the first statutory condition, whether the scheme be contributory or non-contributory, provided that his unemployment is genuine—that is to say, that he has not voluntarily surrendered his employment, that he has not committed any breach of regulations at his work, and that he is available for work —that ought to satisfy the machinery of an insurance scheme in order that he may be admitted to benefit. We hear a great deal of the value and virtues of insurance schemes in general, and the Minis- 81 ter has likened this to fire insurance; but surely, when you demonstrate that the house is burnt, the insurance is met—[Interruption]—if, after inquiry, it is found that the person himself did not set fire to his house, or cause it to be set on fire. We say the same with regard to the insured workman. If the insured workman says he is out of work, you may make inquiries, as you do, as to the reasons why he is out of work; and, if he has not contributed to his unemployment by wilful disobedience or by voluntarily giving up his employment, he has a right to be admitted to the benefits of insurance if he has fulfilled the first statutory condition.
If he is ill, and applies for benefit under the Health Insurance scheme, he supplies a certificate, and, if the committee are satisfied that his injury is not self-inflicted, he is admitted to benefit under the Health Insurance scheme. What other conditions have you a right to expect? He is the victim of an epidemic, whether of sickness or of unemployment; he has not voluntarily thrown up his employment, and is ready and willing to go on. The chief officer at the Exchange may tell him that he is wanted the next day for an interview, and, on being interviewed by a representative of the Exchange, he may be told that he must go before the committee three days hence with particulars of the steps he has taken in searching for work. If he takes with him to that interview a list of 20 or 30 places he has visited, he may be told, when that is placed before the committee: "This is worthless. Who are these people to whom you have been applying for work? They are firms following a trade or business with which you have never had any association. We cast doubt on the genuineness of your search for work; we believe you have only gone to these places in order to get a note saying you have called there, so that you might bring it here." If a man has to take a list showing the names of so many employers whom he has asked for employment, and if, on taking a list of 10 or 20 places, he is turned down, he may think that if he visited 30 he might pass through, although the further people whom he visits might not in any circumstances have had room for a man following the occupation that he has been regularly following.
82 There is, perhaps, one of the worst kind of tragedies behind the misapplication of this statutory condition as to genuinely seeking employment. I represent, in my own area of trade union activity, a number of blast-furnacemen, as well as a number of ironstone quarry-men. As the Parliamentary Secretary knows, there have been occasions when upwards of 300 men in my area have been disqualified under this very statutory condition. They have been working at quarries, but the quarries have been closed down entirely, and the nearest place to them has been, perhaps, eight miles away—a town like Grantham, where already there were large numbers of unemployed, not in the quarrying industry but in the engineering and agricultural implement-making industry. Quarrymen were asked why they had not tramped from their village, surrounded by quarries, into the towns to prove that they were genuinely seeking work. Would it not be common sense in such a case for the Employment Exchange official to say, "I should require to know what are the chances in your occupation, seeing that quarrying is the only occupation in the district apart from farming, and you had better go and see your employer, and bring a note from him as to the state of the industry and whether he is likely to open up again "—this is where large bodies of men are out; or the official might say that he would himself communicate with the employer. The employer might say that all the men were available for work, that he would want them as soon as the furnaces got going and there was a call for iron and limestone, and that he did not want to lose his men by their being distributed about the towns. Surely, that should be sufficient to satisfy the most meticulously careful official who wants to reject men.
It is the same with furnacemen. When a furnace is closed, what is the use of furnacemen seeking employment as shop assistants, or other forms of employment right outside their usual occupation, when perhaps within a fortnight or three weeks, or perhaps a month, the furnace will be relit? Surely, in that case, the iron-producing company might be required by the Employment Exchange to say whether these men were genuinely unemployed, whether their unemployment was due to the closing down of the works, how long they expected the 83 works to be closed down, and whether they would be able to re-absorb these men as soon as work started again. Surely, that should satisfy the statutory requirements. I can give an example of the kind of cases that have occurred. One man tramped north to Manchester, and east to Grimsby; he tramped west, and he tramped south, I think as far as Bedford. He had to appear before a committee, because they had doubts as to whether he was genuinely seeking employment, and, simply because that "fed-up" man said, "In what direction do you want me to go, Sir—north, east, south or west?" he was accused of impertinence. That man was "fed up" with constantly having to appear before committees to satisfy them that he was genuinely seeking work, so he tramped about and gathered information as to the places to which he had been, but he was turned down as not genuinely seeking employment. He came to me with that yellow slip, and, when I looked at it and saw why he was disqualified, I asked him, "Have you been up to anything at all that has put the backs of the people at the Employment Exchange up against you?" He said, "I have not; I do not know of anything I have done to deserve it, except that I have been on for between a year and nine months and two years." His crime was that he had been unemployed too long, and there was no other subterfuge, no other statutory condition that they could bring into play except this one, so they said he had not been genuinely seeking employment.
I urge upon this Committee that in all these circumstances the first Amendment clears the way, and says that, whatever the statutory conditions are, they shall not carry with them a disqualification from benefit because of the other statutory condition as to genuinely seeking employment, which we want replaced by wiping out the fourth statutory condition under the principal Act, and also the amendment of that statutory condition in the No. 2 Act of 1924. That statutory condition has been mishandled and harshly applied to men who have been genuinely wanting employment, hut who, no matter how much they sought employment, were not able in any circumstances to satisfy the authorities that they came within the statutory condition. I believe
84 that, if I were an employer employing only one or two men, and if I felt that a really decent man was likely to be turned down because of that statutory condition, I should be tempted to say that, if I had had a vacancy for him, I would have given him employment, and to give him my name to take to the Employment Exchange as that of an employer upon whom he had called to ask for employment.
This statutory condition appears to many of us to have as its only justification a misrepresentation of the actual number unemployed. If the Minister replies, I would like him to give us some information, if he can, although I know the notice is short, with regard to the 100,000 who are on the two-months file. That is a bugbear to me. I want to know why they are there, and how many who have found their way on to the present two-months file are men who have been turned down because it has been assumed that they have not fufilled the statutory condition of genuinely seeking employment. If we could get the number who have been turned down in those circumstances, and if the Ministry would then make a thorough investigation into the characters of these men, the type of men that they are, and the conditions under which they were disqualified, I feel sure the Ministry would have no hesitation in agreeing with us that it is time that that was discontinued as a statutory condition, and that the reasonable requirements of the Employment Exchange should be sufficient to take its place.
§ Mr. HERBERT WILLIAMS
I think that all of us have had experience of people who are aggrieved with regard to the way in which the words "genuinely seeking work" may be interpreted, but that does not seem to me to be any reason why this Amendment should be passed. I am certain that the hon. Member for West Nottingham (Mr. Hayday) does not propose that a person who is not genuinely seeking work should obtain benefit. Surely, no one desires that, and the whole burden of the criticism to which we have just listened did not seem to have any bearing upon the appropriateness or otherwise of the words "genuinely seeking work," but seemed rather to be an attack upon the 85 committees for the way in which they have interpreted these words in certain cases.
§ 5.0 p.m.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
It may be suggested that it is the insurance officer. If hon. Members contend that an unfair interpretation has been put on these statutory words, the obvious thing to do would seem to be, instead of proposing to leave out words which are quite clearly necessary, to attempt a statutory definition of what "genuinely seeking work" means, so that the difficulty may be overcome. The last speaker gave a case of an individual who, according to his information, tried hard to get a job, and it is suggested that he was turned down under this heading because no other appropriate heading was available. Clearly, if there was a desire merely to turn the man down there was no need to use this particular heading because one of the qualifications is "not a reasonable period of insurable work," and that might have been the disqualification without any need of stretching the law, as the hon. Member suggests they were trying to do, in order to disqualify the man. I do not see the purpose of the Amendment.
§ Mr. HAYDAY
It would never do to turn down the whole of the cases under the one heading. They have a sufficiently wide range and they work the law of averages to my mind. As a matter of fact, I suppose if I were to inquire, this man may previously have been turned down under some such heading.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
The hon. Member says the probable reason why the man was turned down was that he had been for a year and nine months on benefit. "Not a reasonable period of insurable employment during the preceding two years" is one of the grounds under the Act of 1924 for refusing benefit. As a matter of fact, the bulk of the disqualifications come under that heading and not under the heading of "not genuinely seeking work." In October there were 14,460 under the one heading and only 9,983 under the other. Therefore, I cannot think the hon. Member was right in his rather unkind suggestion that the Exchange was trying by subterfuge to 86 deprive a man of benefit who was entitled to it, and it seems to me the whole attack is directed against in some cases the officials and in others the committee. These committees consist in part of representatives of the insured persons, who are in a great many cases members of trade unions, and the persons who are in part responsible for these decisions to which hon. Members object are members of some of the very unions to which they themselves belong. [Interruption.] I am sorry it should now be suggested that on these committees members of trade unions are not serving. I always thought they did. I thought they were given the opportunity to serve, but apparently they do not avail themselves of the opportunity.
§ Mr. CRAWFURD
After listening very carefully to the speech and the interruptions to which we have just listened I fail to see what purpose the hon. Member thought he was serving by intervening in the Debate. It seems to me he did nothing whatever to clarify the issue and a great deal to obscure it. He asked hon. Members above the Gangway whether they really want benefit paid to those who are not genuinely seeking work. As far as I have been able to follow the Debate, that is not the point at issue at all.
§ Mr. CRAWFURD
I assure the hon. Member that is not the point of the Amendment. The Parliamentary Secretary replied to one point and I gather the right hon. Gentleman will reply to another. I think the Committee is entitled to a little more enlightenment as to the Government's attitude on the real point raised by the Amendment. The Parliamentary Secretary replied that the statutory condition of genuinely seeking employment was a necessary part of a contributory scheme, and he quoted a member of the late Ministry in support of his view. We will waive for the moment the question of a contributory or a non-contributory scheme. Hon. Members above the Gangway do not believe in a contributory scheme. As I understand the purpose of the Amendment they are arguing on the basis of a contributory scheme. What is the real point? This man, who was unemployed, 87 had a statutory right to benefit provided he could satisfy people that he was genuinely seeking work. The hon. Member for Reading (Mr. H. Williams) says to hon. Members above the Gangway, "Would it not be better, instead of moving this Amendment, to try to define what is meant by ' genuinely seeking work'?" Is there anyone here who could give a satisfactory definition of genuinely seeking work? If the hon. Member employed his leisure perhaps he could produce a definition, or a set of conditions, which would establish "genuinely seeking work." Frankly I could not, and because it is so difficult, is it not at least an arguable case that where a man is unemployed and really has a statutory right to benefit, if he is genuinely seeking work the onus of proof should be upon those who are withholding benefits from him? I have just had put into my hand a definition. It is the decision of an Umpire:In considering whether a person is genuinely seeking work the most important fact to be ascertained is the state of the applicant's mind.
§ Mr. CRAWFURD
It goes on:If a person genuinely wants work, that is really prefers working for wages to living on benefit, it is probable that she is genuinely seeking it, but if a person prefers benefit to wages, or is content, to be without work so long as she receive benefit, it may be presumed that she is not genuinely seeking work. Action is guided by desire, and whilst few people genuinely seek what they do not desire, most people genuinely seek what they really desire.Do hon. Members want any more read? Surely the extract which I have been constrained to read in full—[HON. MEMBERS: "Not in full!"]—-to the end of the paragraph, if it does anything at all, proves my contention that this is an exceedingly difficult thing to define. I am sure hon. Members opposite, who regard this matter with a good deal of levity—[HON. MEMBERS "No!"]—have the same experience that we on this side have. I have had a large number of letters from people who are out of work, 88 who are entitled to statutory benefit and who have been refused benefit because they are said not to be genuinely seeking work. I send these letters along to the Ministry. They make inquiries and I get a reply based solely and entirely upon a statement made by the very people who made the original decision. Surely that does not satisfy hon. Members opposite. It is difficult when, as in many industries, almost for a certainty a man cannot find a renewal of employment in the industry to which he has been accustomed, to make a man, who may not be particularly well educated, prove that he is doing a thing which I defy any Member in the House accurately to define.
I am not saying the reply of the Parliamentary Secretary was so much unsatisfactory as incomplete. As I understand, this discussion has hinged upon the point as to whether the onus of proof should be laid upon the person who is applying for benefit, and is entitled to it, or upon those people who say he is not entitled to it. The hon. Member for West Nottingham (Mr. Hayday) quoted the case of insurance, but surely there are plenty of other instances where one has statutory rights, and if those rights are to be withheld the onus is laid upon the people who withhold them and not upon the person who is entitled to the right. I think the discussion has raised a point of very great importance and I hope we shall have a very full statement from the Minister. As these years of unemployment have gone on in the coal industry, in parts of the iron and steel industry, in parts of shipping and in parts of the engineering industry, I think the case has gradually become strengthened for some action which will help people to get work—some systematic attempt to help them to get new work where they cannot expect to be employed again at the old work, and therefore this debate raises a very important point. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will give us clearly the mind of the Government on that one point, which seems to me to be the principal one raised, as to whether the onus is always to be left on the individual from whom the benefit has been withheld.
I think many of my colleagues will be of the unanimous opinion that this is the most iniquitous part of the Bill, judging particularly from the experience we have had of the 89 present administration giving instructions to local Exchanges and of the manner in which they reply. Over a week ago, I wrote to the Minister about a very serious charge against the local Exchange at Workington. Here I expect to get the support of the hon. Member for Cockermouth (Mr. Dixey). Numbers of men are refused benefit on the ground that they are not genuinely seeking employment. In that part of the country there are only two main types of employment, the iron and steel works and the collieries. Both have suffered from trade depression, and there are approximately 100,000 unemployed. Our members in that part of the country make an application for employment benefit and are refused on the ground that they are not genuinely seeking employment. They are actually asked, "Have you been to see after or applied for jobs at other firms, and have you seen other foremen? If so, where is your certificate?" Our members tell us that they have complained to the Ministry that foremen are tired of giving notes to workpeople who are unemployed. It is criminal to ask these men in that particular part of the country, and under the conditions which obtain there, to go about looking for work. They will tell you that they are told to look for work at the coal mines, but in the coalfield conditions are at least as bad as they are in the steel-works. It is hopeless to expect these men to get employment, and folly to refuse them benefit unless they have been round to every works in the district and have received notes from foremen, who, by the way, refuse to give them notes.
If the evidence that the men are genuinely seeking work is a note from the foremen or managers of the various works, there is an obligation on the part of the House of Commons to make it legally compulsory on the part of foremen or managers of works to give unemployed workmen a note or a certificate to say quite definitely that they have been to them in search of employment. There is no obligation on the part of the employers to comply with the requirements of the men, and it is, I submit, most grossly unfair. It is no use to say to steel-workers in that part of the country, or any other part of the country, that they should seek employment elsewhere, that they should leave districts where it is desirable that they should remain in 90 the hope, as is anticipated all round, that these trades will revive. If this were insisted on, the best skill necessary for these particular branches of industry would have been found to have gone elsewhere. I hope that, as a result of the Debate this afternoon, and the many instances brought to the notice of the Minister, he will accept the Amendment, which, after all, is reasonable and fair, whereas the other system tested by experience has not been fair, and has imposed serious hardship on many thousands of workpeople in this country.
§ Mr. L. THOMPSON
I want to say two or three words, because I am intensely interested in the issue of this Amendment, particularly because it has been my privilege on more than one occasion to appear before rota committees on behalf of insured persons, and also on two or three occasions to appear personally before the Court of Referees on behalf of those who have had claims in dispute. It seems to me, that in this discussion we are placing undue emphasis on "genuinely seeking work," for this reason. Under the Act of 1920 there was no such statutory condition as "genuinely seeking work." When the Act of 1924 was introduced and there was an extension from standard benefit to extended benefit, it was necessary to define extended benefit under statutory conditions. These statutory conditions were laid down in the Act of 1924, which amended the Act of 1920, and wiped out I, II and III of the statutory conditions. It was deliberately inserted in paragraph III, that "he is genuinely seeking work" was a statutory condition of standard benefit. There is also another series of statutory conditions regulating extended benefit in the 1924 Act. The conditions are set out in Section 1, Sub-section 3 (a), (b), (c). It is there laid down "that he is making every reasonable effort." The exact position is that a man who is turned down for not genuinely seeking work has an appeal to the Court of referees.
§ Mr. HAYDAY
I think the hon. Gentleman will find that there is no appeal where the applicant is in receipt of the benefit under the Minister's discretion.
§ Mr. THOMPSON
There is a reference to the insurance officers. A man has a right to appeal to a Court of Referees, that is 91 if he is on standard benefit. This statutory condition applies to standard benefit. The statutory condition is, that he is genuinely seeking work. The second statutory condition "not reasonably looking for work" is for the guidance of the rota committees, who adjudicate upon the question as to a man's extended benefit only. Is that right?
§ Mr. THOMPSON
It is recognised that you must have some test, and the Debate so far has confused the two issues. "Genuinely looking for work" is confused with "reasonably looking for work." This is distinctly another Section regulating extended benefit—[An HON. MEMBER: "No one else has mentioned the second condition. You are mixing it up."] I am not mixing it up. You are going to wipe that out altogether under this Bill. You get all the statutory conditions amended except two, which regulate these benefits, that is, that there should be 30 statutory contributions and a reasonable condition, "genuinely looking for work." If you were to ask me whether I would have a test of the old or present condition of things, or a new statutory condition, I would unhesitatingly say the new condition as designed by the Bill. My whole point is that you must have some second statutory condition besides the first. If, as I understand, my right hon. Friend in his introductory speech said we could find words to substitute for the words "genuinely seeking work," or if we could get a correct definition of that, I think the Committee would agree, but to say that it should be entirely disregarded would, I think, be unsafe in the interests of everyone.
§ Mr. THOMPSON
That is an attempt, but it is not on the lines of this Amendment we are discussing the question.
§ Mr. ERNEST BROWN
May I point out to the hon. Member that there is another Amendment on the Paper in conjunction with this Amendment?
§ Mr. THOMPSON
I say it is an attempt, but it does not, in my opinion, set off the correct position. I rose simply 92 to make my position regarding the Measure quite clear, and also to point out that if some further definition of "genuinely seeking work" could be appended, it might meet the case.
§ Mr. ARTHUR GREENWOOD
The hon. Member who has just sat down seems to be clear in his own mind, but his point does not seem to be clear to us. The issue before the Committee is not the question whether there should be a test or no test. That is not the issue at all. Unfortunately the reason the Debate has taken this turn is because the Parliamentary Secretary himself confused the point of our case. My hon. Friend and myself, in evidence which has so often been quoted against us, have never said that anybody who likes should come and receive unemployment benefit. That is not the point. The test which we think would be a fair test is the test of a genuine offer of work. On that point, the Umpire's own rendering was read, much to the amusement of the Committee. The present definition, as interpreted by the Umpire, shows how utterly impossible it is to get a satisfactory definition. It is no use the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. H. Williams) jumping up and asking for a definition. He is asking for the impossible, and every Member on the opposite side of the Committee knows that it is impossible, because it is perfectly true, as the Umpire says, that it depends upon the state of mind of the applicant. If that be so, this psychological test is one which the Ministry is unable to apply satisfactorily.
What does it mean? It means, in point of fact, that this is a test which operates against the insured person. It loads the dice against the insured person. It does not give a square deal to the insured person. The Parliamentary Secretary raised the question as between the contributory and non-contributory scheme. In a contributory scheme, he said, you must have a safeguard. You must have a safeguard under any scheme, and the safeguard which we have submitted is one which we say is perfectly reasonable. If there is widespread or substantial unemployment, it is perfectly obvious that there is not sufficient work to go round. If only that elementary fact could be understood by hon. Members opposite, it would clear our minds in debate very considerably. There is during a period of unemployment 93 a surplus of labour. You may have the whole of your surplus quite genuinely seeking work, and they cannot get work except at the expense of persons who are employed.
§ Mr. H. WILLIAMS
Does the hon. Member suggest that unemployment is a static condition of the same people?
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
I know as much about the subject as the hon. Member. I think I have said in this House that the unemployed are a changing army. I realise that. That is not the point. The point is that if you have a surplus—and the hon. Member's point really proves my case—you can only get rid of it by creating another surplus. That is the elementary position. The hon. Member can come to no other conclusion. If that be so, and you put upon people the onus of genuinely seeking work, the only final test as to whether they have been genuinely seeking work is for them to have obtained it. Our attitude is entirely different. We say that the people who are genuinely out of work ought to receive benefit, and that the onus of proof in such cases ought to rest upon the Ministry, who have it in their power to deprive them of benefit. There is only one real test, and that is to offer a man suitable employment. That is the real test. We would agree that if a man refused to accept suitable employment he ought no longer to be eligible for benefit. That is a fair test, because it is bringing the man face to face with work, and that is the one test that can be successfully applied. What is the position to-day The Minister of Labour knows perfectly well that a large number of unemployed men to-day can go genuinely seeking work from morning till night and they will not get it. That has been admitted in the Blanesburgh Report, if I may quote evidence from that Report by a very able and very experienced official of the Ministry of Labour, Mr. Price, who, dealing with the investigation of nearly 200,000 cases, said:It is interesting to see how that is divided between the various claimants according to their degree of unemployment, if I may put it so. Nearly 10,000 were casual workers; over 150,000 were what may be called 'employerless,' that is, definitely out of a situation with no prospect of going to any particular employer in the near or distant future, and nearly 29,000 were sus- 94 pended or 'stood off' from an employer to whom they would go back perhaps within quite a short time.Here we have 150,000 cases of employerless men who cannot in the near or distant future be expected to get work. Does not that mean that when these men are going round to look for jobs that are not there, they are being sent on a fool's errand? Is it fair that the time of the workers should be taken up in trailing round the country seeking for jobs which the Minister knows do not exist and which he knows are not going to exist for some time? It seems to me not human to impose this condition of "genuinely seeking work" in a condition of affairs in which the Ministry itself knows that however anxious these people may be to get work, they cannot get it; and yet these people are turned down because somebody thinks that the state of mind of the applicant is such that he is not genuinely seeking work.
This test which works out unfairly against the unemployed worker is a test which cannot be applied even by the greatest psychological experts, let alone by civil servants who, whatever their qualifications may be, are not psychological experts. We seek to substitute for this indefinable test a test which is the perfectly definite one of saying to a man: "If you do not go to look for a suitable job which has been given to you by the insurance officer, then you shall be disqualified." That is a perfectly fair test, and unless hon. Members opposite are anxious to use the test as a penal method and unless their motive is to reduce the number of people who are getting benefit, they ought to be prepared to consider an alternative test which is really based on the situation as it is to-day. The logic of the situation to-day is that people cannot get work, and there ought to be no dodges to deprive them of benefit because of the situation which exists.
§ Mr. DIXEY
I should like to say, first and foremost, that with me and my friends the question of test is purely and simply one of principle. We are in accord with hon. Members opposite in desiring that every genuine unemployed man who really wishes to obtain work—I quite agree that the large proportion of the unemployed do wish to get jobs—should be protected, and that there should be no obstacle or difficulty put in the way 95 of that particular individual obtaining proper unemployment benefit; but we do say that if the Government give way on the) question of "genuinely seeking work" it will at once shift the onus of responsibility of proof from the unemployed worker to the State. That, to my mind, is a very big step to take. It is true, as was argued by the hon. Member for West Walthamstow (Mr. Crawfurd) that in the case of an ordinary insurance scheme between a private individual and insurance company, if a claim happens to be made the onus is upon the insurance company to disprove the application made by the claimant, but, if I may say so with respect, it is entirely different where you get a third party intervening, such as the State. The Ministers of the Crown who are the trustees of the people in connection with the Insurance Fund have a liability not only to the two other parties concerned, but they are primary liable to the taxpayers, for the State contribution, and it is only fair that the third party, in the Government's name, should be adequately and properly protected by every precaution being taken by the State to ensure that the contributions have been properly earned.
I make my point without any feeling of hostility to hon. Members opposite, because we feel equally strongly with them on this subject. Some of us have had to work for our livings in the past just as hard as many hon. Members opposite, and we know as much about unemployment and hard work, possibly, as some hon. Members opposite. I do ask that the Government should not be led away by the statement that there are hard cases. We agree that there are hard cases of people who have been very badly treated by the committees; but there are numbers of people who, despite what hon. Members opposite say, have taken every possible advantage of the unemployment scheme.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
Will the hon. Member give us his authority for that statement, because if he looks at the minutes of evidence he will find that the assistant to the Chief Officer of the Ministry states that that is not the case?
§ Mr. DIXEY
I have stated that of the rank and file the great bulk of the unemployed take no advantage whatever, but 96 I say that, taking the number of hard cases, such as have been quoted by the right hon. Member for Preston (Mr. T. Shaw), the late Minister of Labour, there is something to be said on the other side that certain people have taken advantage. [HON. MEMBERS: "Where are the cases?"] Those hon. Members who interrupt me know it.
§ Miss WILKINSON
On a point of Order. Is the hon. Member aware that a most careful investigation was undertaken—
§ The CHAIRMAN
If the hon. Member for Penrith and Cockermouth (Mr. Dixey) is willing to give way, the hon. Member can intervene, but it is not a point of Order.
§ Miss WILKINSON
I am sorry that I said it was a point of Order. Is the hon. Member aware that the Minister of Labour undertook a most careful investigation into a large number of allegations that people who had received benefit were not entitled to it and that the inquiry came to the conclusion that the numbers of such claims which were fraudulent were absolutely infinitesimal?
§ Mr. DIXEY
I said that the great mass of unemployed in this country are perfectly genuine people and that their claims are genuine, but I say that of the small minority whose hard cases have been turned down by the committee, there are a certain number of cases of people who have tried to take advantage of the committees. That is proved by the prosecutions which have taken place.
§ Several HON. MEMBERS rose—
§ Mr. DIXEY
As far as we are concerned, we ask the Government to stand by the original statutory declaration, because it is very difficult to define what is "genuinely seeking work." It can only be defined by consideration of the individual facts in every case. A dangerous Amendment like this which shifts entirely the onus of proof from the worker to the Government would be a great breach of our responsible duty as a House of Commons to protect and safeguard the money of the taxpayers.
§ Mr. OLIVER
Had the hon. Member for Penrith and Cockermouth (Mr. Dixey) been familiar with the position of the unemployed he would not have made the statements he has. I cannot see the relevance of his observations to the Amendment. In the first place, it is not the unemployed man who is making the accusation. It is the Employment Exchange official who says: "I charge you with not genuinely seeking work." Upon whom should the onus be put of justifying that utterance? Surely the onus must be upon the man who is alleging and not on the person who is not alleging it. I cannot see the consistency or logic of the hon. Member. This test is one of the most contentious things governing the administration of benefit. Men have tramped in search of work whose past record in regard to being genuinely employed is beyond question; men who have had years of steady employment and for the first time they find themselves out of work, because they have fallen on extremely evil times. The length of time during which they have been drawing benefits has been of such duration that it is suggested by the Department they are not genuinely seeking work, despite the fact that probably for five, 10 or 15 years previously there has been no evidence that these particular men have ever been out of employment. When such an interpretation of "genuinely seeking work" is taken by the Department, the time has come when some alteration ought to be made.
In many districts the same rule in regard to genuinely seeking work has been applied to people of totally different trades. The same rule has been applied to the casual labourer as to the skilled craftsman in woodwork or ironwork, and the same rule has been applied to miners, when it is well known that for miles around there is not the slightest prospect of a man ever getting employment in that particular industry. In many instances men have had their benefit refused although they have been able to produce certificates or notes from employers saying that they had been at their works asking for employment. There is one section who cannot bring that kind of evidence and that is the engineering trade, of which I can speak from firsthand experience. When a man goes round to the engineering shops he is not
98 permitted to interview the foreman or the manager. The only thing he is permitted to do is to approach the timekeeper, even if he can get inside the gate. He is almost inevitably confronted with the familiar notice, "No hands wanted." That notice is no evidence to place before a Committee to prove that a particular man has been genuinely seeking work. I hope that the Minister will see whether he cannot find more reliable means of determining this very ambiguous and difficult phrase "genuinely seeking work" than his officers have done in the past. In the Blanesburgh Committee's Report the umpire has endeavoured to give some principles which should guide one as to how this condition might be interpreted. He says:In considering then whether an applicant's personal efforts to find work are such as to show that she is genuinely seeking work, four questions must be considered.I hope the Minister of Labour will discuss this matter and see whether something cannot be done on these lines. In the first place the umpire asks this question:What employment is suitable for the applicant?I wish the officials in the past had asked this question before turning down many hundreds of cases. The second question is:What chance has the applicant of obtaining employment by her own efforts in any of the kinds of employment which are regarded as suitable for her?His next question is:What are the usual means of finding employment of the kind for which the applicant is suitable and which she has some chance of getting?All these are very relevant questions and, instead of the old procedure by which the insurance officer, or the committee, or the chairman of the Court of Referees determining the question more or less by his own personal bias, there ought to be specific rules and regulations laid down, and once these rules are laid down, then, if it can be shown that the applicant has not carried out the requests of the Employment Exchange officials, they will have a good ease for refusing benefit. The only thing they have to do now is to say that the man is not genuinely seeking work and the onus of proof is on the victim himself. The whole thing is topsy-turvy. If the 99 Employment Exchange alleges that a man is not genuinely seeking work, then in common justice the department ought to be made to prove it.
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
Several reasons have been brought forward against inserting this condition of "genuinely seeking work" as a statutory condition to be fulfilled, in addition to what I may call the automatic test of 30 contributions. Perhaps it may help the Committee if I take these reasons in the order in which they were put forward. First of all the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Greenwood) said that the offer of a job was the only test. I go with him so far as to say that the offer of a job is the best test, and for that reason we are endeavouring more and more to develop what I call the placing work of the Employment Exchanges. It was the work for which the Exchanges were set up. Year by year the use of the Employment Exchanges for placing men is growing, but unless we force employers and employed to use the Exchanges for the whole of that placing then it is not possible to make the offer of a job completely effective. Unless we get 100 per cent, placing through the Employment Exchanges—and it is not possible to do that—you cannot get the offer of a job made completely effective. It is perfectly impracticable to put the onus of finding employment on the Employment Exchanges and say that that shall be the only test; and that unless the Exchange finds a man a job no other test should be applied. It is an impossible task to put on the Employment Exchanges unless all offers of employment throughout the whole country are made through them.
These other tests have been in operation for a number of years and have worked well in practice. Let me say this further. The right hon. Member for Preston (Mr. T. Shaw)—I do not want to charge him with responsibility for everything he did when he was in a minority in this House—never proposed to do away with these other tests, genuinely seeking work, or, making reasonable effort. He was satisfied not only to have one set of four tests for standard benefit, but to set up a parallel set of four different tests side by side for extended benefit. Whether he was in 100 a minority or not, he cannot evade responsibility for setting up a parallel set of four tests when he realised that tests of this kind had to be applied, and ought to be applied. Let me also remind the hon. Member for Ilkeston (Mr. Oliver) that "genuinely seeking work" was first made a test for benefit by the right hon. Member for Preston. He created this test of "genuinely seeking work."
Quite true; and that strengthens my case considerably. It had been in operation before, and the right hon. Member for Preston had not the excuse of saying that it was a new and untried test. I am obliged to the hon. Member for Camlachie (Mr. Stephen) for having strengthened my argument. The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne said that in this particular test of "genuinely seeking work" the dice were loaded against the applicant. I am glad that the hon. Member is not in his place at the moment, because if the dice are loaded they have not been loaded by me, but by the right hon. Gentleman who sits on the Front Bench opposite. The next argument against it is that no definition of the phrase is practicable. I submit that that is no argument at all. There are a number of perfectly plain ordinary common-sense English words, of which people know the meaning, which are not susceptible of definition. The word "reasonable" is an ordinary term in law, but it is no more susceptible of definition than the phrase "genuinely seeking work." It is a phrase which the ordinary man of intelligence will understand, and its meaning will differ according to the different conditions of each case.
The hon. Member for West Walthamstow (Mr. Crawfurd) referred to the umpire's decision. He read the first paragraph, but he will see that later on, in that very same case, the umpire showed that he could appreciate exactly the meaning of "genuinely seeking work." The hon. Member for Ilkeston has quoted the principles set forth by the umpire, and again they only reinforce my argument. Take the considerations which the umpire mentioned:
"What employment is suitable for the applicant? 101What chance has the applicant of obtaining employment by her own efforts in any of the kinds of employment which are regarded as suitable for her?This was the case of a woman applicant.What are the usual means of finding employment of the kinds for which the applicant is suitable, and which she has some chance of getting?Has the applicant, with reasonable promptitude and diligence, availed herself of the usual and most effective means of obtaining employment?This shows that the test of "genuinely seeking work" can be fairly and justly applied.
The hon. Member is again strengthening my case. It shows that he and I are on common ground in saying that this is a perfectly proper consideration and that the phrase "genuinely seeking work" is a perfectly proper and suitable test.
This is a standard benefit test, and it will continue to be a test under the new scheme. Under the new scheme, if there are any doubts as to its being properly applied, an appeal will lie to the same umpire whose explanations of it have been adduced by the hon. Member for Ilkeston. It is perfectly obvious that all these objections to the phrase vanish.
Then we have the last objection put forward by the right hon. Member for Preston. He objected to the whims of the Committee in applying the condition. The hon. Member for West Nottingham (Mr. Hayday) talked about unsympathetic committees in applying this particular test. Let me make this quite clear. This particular test was never applied by any committee, and, therefore, when the right hon. Gentleman objects to the whims of a committee in applying it, he is talking about a test which never came before any committee at all. It is a standard benefit test applied by insurance officers, the court of referees and the umpire, but never by any committee. Once again I get support from the right hon. Gentleman for the Bill, as well as from other hon. Members opposite. What he really objects to are not the whims of the com- 102 mittee, but interference with the committees. I pay my tribute to the work which the committees have done, and if he objects to their whims, he must remember that in the future no case will be determined by the committee under the new system, because it goes to the insurance officer, the court of referees and the umpire. It does not come before the rota committee, and there is no chance of their coming to an unreasonable interpretation of this condition. For that reason I think the right hon. Gentleman should support the Bill. I regret that I cannot accept the Amendment. The Debate shows that there is no real valid objection whatsoever to the phrase, and as such I recommend it to the Committee.
§ 6.0 p.m.
§ Mr. T. SHAW
I have not the slightest desire to escape any responsibility which rests on my shoulders. It is true that, when I introduced a new principle into insurance for the first time— the principle that so long as a genuinely unemployed person was unemployed, benefit should be paid—I adopted what I thought were certain safeguards. I never dreamed that plain language could be applied as that language has been applied. I thought that as long as a man could produce proof that he had been seeking employment, he would get benefit. I find that I was mistaken, and that over and over again when men have proved that they were seeking work, they have been turned down on the ground that they were not seeking employment. Does the Minister assume that if I were standing where he is, I should not make an effort to put the man who is seeking work in possession of benefit? If the wording I suggested in my Bill had been misused, as I say it has been misused, I should have been the first to try to revise it, and if the Minister had argued his case with fairness, instead of throwing the responsibility on someone else, he would have tried to prove that genuinely unemployed men were not refused benefit because of these words. Then I could have understood his case. It is not sufficient to say, "Because someone else has committed a crime I am perfectly permitted to do it also." Why does he blame me for a crime when he also has committed it?
I am sure the right hon. Gentleman does not wish 103 to misrepresent me. I said it was a perfectly proper condition and suitable for perfectly proper administration. I did not blame him for committing a crime. I said that he showed me the way to set up a suitable condition.
§ Mr. SHAW
That excuse is rather worse than the other, because the responsibility for this Bill is the Minister's and he cannot get out of that responsibility by saying that someone else did the same thing. If we acted on those lines we should still be walking about painted with woad. It is only because we have had the initiative to change that we are now dressed in a civilised way and speak a more civilised language and generally behave differently. I can understand the Conservatism of the Minister now—"As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen." The right hon. Gentleman has completely expressed his faith, if he will pardon me for saying so. Whatever I did or anyone else does, the point is that under these words men are being refused benefit for not attempting to find work, although they can produce written evidence in many cases that they have sought work. That being so, the responsibility is on the Minister for altering the present state of affairs. No statement as to what happened in 1924 or 1925 or 1920, or even in 1915, has anything to do with the fact that these men have a genuine grievance in being refused benefit for not seeking work when they can produce written evidence of the fact that they have sought work. Those who are responsible in one particular industry have deliberately refused to sign documents showing that men have sought work, on the ground that the documents were of no use to the officials of the Exchanges.
That is the condition of affairs. The responsibility of dealing with the matter rests with the Minister. If I was the criminal who invented the words, then well and good, and I accept full responsibility. But it is the Minister's responsibility to see that in this Bill he gives fair play to the insured person. Under these words fair play has not been given. It is the responsibility of the Minister to arrange his own Bill so that genuinely unemployed men seeking work shall not be refused benefit. There is on the Paper another Amendment which contains 104 these words, "His inability to obtain suitable employment is not shown to be due to a failure to seek such suitable employment in accordance with any reasonable requirement of an insurance officer." What could be fairer? Under that Amendment a man must do anything that the insurance officer asks him in reason to do, or his benefits are refused.
Captain A. EVANS
The right hon. Gentleman has appealed to the Minister to give fair play to the insured man. There is a point which has not been dealt with so far, and it is this, that my right hon. Friend has not only a duty to the insured contributor who is out of work, but also a very grave duty to the insured contributor who is in employment. The main remarks of the right hon. Gentleman opposite and his friends are criticisms directed against the rota committees. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no!"] A number of wild accusations have been made. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no!"] Whether it be against the rota committees or the Court of Referees or the decision of the impartial Umpire, the result is the same. If hon. Members bring a lot of wild accusations against an impartial body they must show a motive for a prejudiced view. I submit that, although accusations have been made against the Court of Referees because of what hon. Members consider to be unfair decisions, they have not shown cause for any motive which the Court of Referees would have in favour of an unfair decision.
§ Mr. OLIVER
Will the hon. and gallant Gentleman show cause why he should state that we have made wild accusations here this afternoon?
§ Mr. STEPHEN
Will the hon. and gallant Member look at page 95, paragraph 3, of the Blanesburgh Report? It says:There seems to be a tendency in some Courts of Referees to assume that the only way to get work is to tramp round and make personal applications day by day, whether or not there is any prospect of getting work by so doing; and to set this up as the sole test of the genuineness of a search for work.That shows that the Umpire, the impartial authority to whom the hon. and gallant Gentleman is appealing, condemns Courts of Referees for the action they have taken; and people have been suffering in consequence.
I am very glad that the hon. Gentleman freely acknowledges that the Umpire has been thoroughly impartial in his observations.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
I did not admit any such thing, but I said the hon. and gallant Member's argument was that the Umpire was impartial.
Then it only shows that the Umpire is not afraid, when he thinks it necessary, to make a decision unfavourable to the Court of Referees as against always making it favourable to the Referees. That, however, is not the point I was about to make. I do not want to go over the whole of the ground already covered. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour has a very grave responsibility to the insured workman, and if he does not make the insured worker realise that he is doing his best to protect his interests as well as the interests of the unemployed worker, I do not think he is administering the Act fairly. No one has ever suggested that the unemployed people who are seeking work are not genuinely doing so. We admit freely that the majority of the unemployed to-day are anxious to obtain work. But it is our duty to realise that in 1925 over 1,800 people were convicted of frauds under the Act.
Whether the hon. Member thinks the figures given in the Blanesburgh Report are foolish or not does not affect the argument.
That is a matter of opinion, and it is opinions that we are endeavouring to debate this afternoon; we have to decide what are and what are not foolish arguments. The whole question comes down to this: whether a man is to be considered by the authorities to be genuinely seeking work or not. I think that we should have more faith in the Court of Referees and in the Em- 106 ployment Exchange officials. They have no motive for saying that a man is not genuinely seeking work if he is doing so. If hon. Gentlemen opposite had had any glaring case where this was so, they could have written to the Minister, who would have investigated the cases, and, knowing the right hon. Gentleman as we do in this House, we know very well that if there were any glaring case of mal-administration by any of his officials, he would have been the first person to correct it.
§ Mr. OLIVER
Has the hon. and gallant Gentleman never had any case in his own constituency, upon which he has written to the Minister?
I have often had occasion to write to my right hon. Friend about cases under these Acts, but I have found, when. I have had complaints, that the complainant had given me only one side of the case, and that I had to wait for a reply from my right hon. Friend in order to know the whole facts of the case. We must treat the insured worker fairly. If the administration is lax and people who are not genuinely seeking employment are given benefit under the Act, the Minister is not entitled, as the Bill now stands, to investigate the financial standing of the benefit fund for a period of five years.
Exactly; you did not want to give my right hon. Friend the option at any time between one year and three years, if he felt it necessary. We must have due regard to the fact that the officials at the Employment Exchanges have a genuine knowledge of local trade conditions, and in many cases a knowledge of the personal habits of the man who goes to the Exchange and says that he is genuinely seeking employment. It does not require a very high degree of intelligence on the part of a Government official to determine whether a man is genuinely seeking employment or not. I assure hon. Gentlemen that I have had men calling on me in a transport business down on the Thames asking for jobs who were not genuinely seeking employment. You will find one objection raised and another objection raised, and often and often I have had men come to me and ask to be given notice in order to go on the dole and draw unemployment pay.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
On a point of Order. The hon. and gallant Member is making a definite charge that he is acquainted with people who have asked him to enter into a criminal conspiracy. I ask you, Mr. Deputy-Chairman, if it is in order for the hon. and gallant Member to say that he has been asked to enter into a criminal conspiracy with others, and that he himself has not taken any steps to deal with the matter.
The suggestion has been made, and I assure hon. Gentlemen that I would not dream of saying it if it were not true. The hon. Member opposite knows that such people do exist. There are 1,800 of them.
§ Mr. HARDIE
On a point of Order. Is it in order for an hon. Member in the course of a speech in this Committee to make a statement reflecting upon any other part of the community which is not here to defend itself; and would it be in order for me to challenge the hon. and gallant Member to produce the man or to give the name and address outside the House of Commons?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Captain FitzRoy)
There is really no point of Order. I understand the hon. and gallant Member for South Cardiff (Captain Evans) is trying to give instances which he has been asked to give.
The hon. Members who ask these questions know that what I say is said most sincerely. It is obvious from the Blanesburgh Report that these cases have taken place in the past. It is only our duty to protect the insured contributor from any fraud which is perpetrated by people who are not genuinely seeking work.
§ Miss BONDFIELD
I cannot allow the concluding remark of the hon. and gallant Member about the Blanesburgh Report to pass without protest, and in reply I would submit to the Committee the paragraph in the Report which deals with this point:The Ministry is constantly on the watch for fraud, nor does it hesitate to prosecute where prosecution is called for. In 1925 fraud was suspected in 11,413 cases, prosecutions followed in 1,964, convictions were obtained in 1,844, and in 468 instances terms of imprisonment were imposed. If 108 there was no prosecution it was either because the good faith of the claimant had been, on further inquiry, clearly vindicated or because it had been found that there was insufficient evidence to justify proceedings. These figures are, we think, almost negligible when contrasted with the total number of claims to benefit which run into millions. That all cases of fraud are discovered cannot, of course, be affirmed, but certainly the Ministry leaves no stone unturned to bring every case to light.I merely point out to the Committee the statment that the number of such cases is almost negligible compared with the millions of claims to benefit.
§ Mr. E. BROWN
I wish to pursue the point raised by the hon. and gallant Member for South Cardiff (Captain A. Evans) with regard to men seeking employment. The hon. and gallant Member seems to think that there are two distinct sets of men who attend the Employment Exchanges, namely, those who are in employment and those who are out of it. The fact is that the numbers change from week to week, and month to month. In my own constituency where we have nearly 5,000 unemployed, you would probably find that out of, say 4,500, not 500 belong to the class of the unemployable or those who have been out of work, over a long period. The other 4,000 are men competing with each other for a limited number of jobs. One finds in the Exchange 600 or 700 less in one week than in another. That is because an order has come in for a big repairing job or a new keel has been laid down. These men compete one with the other for the available employment and one man is lucky when another is not. There is no question involved here of the Minister defending the rights of the employed man. We are seeking to find a way of making this vague term, which in the past has worked very harshly, especially in areas like my own where unemployment has been long-continued, work more fairly in future as between one man and another. The case for reviewing the matter in this Bill is very strong. When the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Preston (Mr. T. Shaw) brought in his Bill there were two classes of benefit, namely, standard and extended benefit. If and when this Bill becomes an Act of Parliament there will be only one class. A man will have the test of the 30 contributions and this other test about genuinely seeking work and it will be very wrong if we allow the man who has got his 30 stamps a paper right 109 to benefit, and then, by a loose phrase not fully debated, deprive him of the benefit which he is taught to believe he will get under the terms of this Measure. There is no suggestion of a complaint against the bona fides of the insurance officials. Every hon. Member knows that they have a very difficult and complicated task and that they discharge it to the best of their ability—in the great majority of cases most admirably. But the conditions vary and the very ruling which has been so often quoted from the umpire supports the case for some reconsideration of this phrase. The umpire points out how the conditions vary as between one district and another. He says:The usual means (of finding employment) vary according to local custom and the usages in various trades. In same trades personal calls on the employers may be useful, in others they would be mere waste of time. Some kinds of employment are obtained by answering advertisements, others through trade unions or other organisations, and others again through personal influence with foremen or fellow workers, and some by applying at the vacancies counter of Exchanges. No general rule can be laid down.Then the Umpire goes on to point out that some Courts of Referees are quite wrong in ordering people to tramp round from one works to another when there are no jobs to be found in that particular neighbourhood, and then he adds:
A worker should not ordinarily be expected to travel out of her (or his) own district on a speculative search for work. One purpose for which the Exchanges were set up was to enable workers in one district to get into touch with employers in other districts and so obviate the necessity of men tramping the country in search of work. A person genuinely seeking work would, however, keep his eyes open for advertisements and his ears open for information of vacancies in districts other than his own.I put it to the Minister that there are Members of this Committee who are not concerned in this matter as to the fight between the three parties on party lines. We are concerned solely with the facts brought to our notice day after day, and week after week, by men who are as honest as any Member of this Committee. We are concerned because there are thousands in the areas which we represent who find when they go to the Exchanges that, for some reason or another, they have been deprived of what they think they ought to have. We are deter- 110 mined that this Bill shall not go through, as far as we can prevent it, until every ambiguous phrase in it has been analysed, and, the Mover of this Amendment has done a great service to the employed persons and to the Committee in raising the discussion. We are concerned with the interests of the industries concerned and of these men themselves. As this rule has worked hardship in hundreds of towns and villages throughout the country, I think we require a new definition which will put the onus on the insurance officer, thus showing there is no bias against the Civil Service in this proposal.
§ Mr. W. BAKER
It is a matter of great surprise to me that there should be such difference between the points of view of Government supporters and Members on these benches. The hon. and gallant Member for South Cardiff (Captain Evans) appeared to take great delight in endeavouring to cast aspersions upon unemployed persons.
§ Mr. BAKER
I can only assume that his attitude is that represented in Appendix II to the Report of the Unemployment Insurance Committee. That Appendix consists of extracts from a memorandum from the Charity, Organisation Society, together with extracts from a letter written by the Reverend J. C. Pringle, secretary of that body. An extract from the letter reads as follows:I have the honour to submit herewith a memorandum from this society on the subject before your Committee. I may say frankly that when this material was read to our people on Monday afternoon last they were much disappointed at the general character of almost all of it. They had hoped that many more examples would be forthcoming illustrating the criticism passed upon the present working of unemployment insurance by almost everybody who discusses the subject. This shows the value of bringing these criticisms to the test of demanding examples, and more than one of our secretaries said that they quite expected to find from our case-papers numerous examples of abuses, but when they came to look they found very few.I hope that that testimony from such a source will be accepted by everyone as to the basis of the demand which we are making, namely, that unemployed men and women, together with ourselves, are entitled to something like fair treatment. 111 I do not know what is the experience of the average Member of the Committee hut, speaking for myself, I have made a tremendous number of representations to the Ministry of Labour on this and similar points. I am not able to say how many letters I have written to the Minister, but the Minister can tell us if he likes the number of letters received by him from hon. Members concerning persons who have been unfairly treated in this respect. If my experience is like the average experience of hon. Members, the number of cases ventilated in this way must be enormous. The hon. Member for Penrith and Cockermouth (Mr. Dixey) spoke feelingly as to the necessity of safeguarding the interests of the State. No doubt the hon. Member is speaking on behalf of those persons whom he represents. Those whom I represent here are bearing a burden which means starvation, and the State is much better able to bear the liability of error than any person subscribing to the Unemployment Insurance Fund.
In the course of this discussion the references have all been to "he" and "him," and to "this man" or "that man," but in my view the case as it affects young women, particularly young married women, requires to be emphasised. I propose to refer to five cases which have been placed in my hands to-day without giving the names of the persons concerned. The whole of the information can be handed to the Minister, if he wishes, in order that it may be thoroughly investigated.
The first case refers to a married woman, 19 years of age, registered at the Eastville Exchange. She has contributed for three years, during which she has drawn no benefit. On 3rd June, 1927, she found it necessary to sign at the Exchange, and she has reported and signed regularly, but benefit has been refused. The second one is that of a married woman, 28 years of age, registered at the Bristol Exchange. She is a tobacco worker, has contributed from 1920 to June, 1927, and has never applied for benefit during that period; she signed on at the Exchange on 11th July, has signed regularly since that date, and has received no benefit. The third case is that of a married woman, 23 years of age, again registered at the 112 Bristol Exchange. She has been a contributor for six and a-half years, and during that time has submitted no claim for benefit until June last, since when she has signed regularly, and again no pay has been received. The fourth ease is of a married woman, 27 years of age, who signed at the Exchange in June last, after having been a contributor from 1920, and although she has continued to sign for three months, benefit has been refused. The final case is that of a married woman, 37 years of age, registered at the Eastville Exchange. She paid contributions for almost seven years, during which she received six weeks' pay. She signed at the Eastville Exchange for three months from 13th June last, and she received three weeks' benefit, after which further payments have been refused.
I say that those illustrations alone go to show that large numbers of respectable persons in cities such as Bristol, which are faced with serious unemployment, are being penalised by the definition as it stands. The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Greenwood) said that so long as you have large numbers of unemployed persons for whom vacancies cannot be found, it is altogether unsatisfactory for you to call upon unemployed men or women with a request that they shall tramp the streets in the endeavour to prove that they are unable to find work, and that they are genuinely seeking it. If you know that in any particular city there are 10,000 unemployed men and women, you must know also that it is an absolute farce to send them tramping round from employer to employer until vacancies have been announced. I do not suppose for a moment that any appeal from this side is going to have any effect on the Minister of Labour. If there is one man in this House for whom I have a contempt it is the right hon. Gentleman, because I believe that the Minister of Labour is sinning against the light. The Minister of Labour in certain circles is held to have a reputation both for sympathy and knowledge which not all his colleagues can claim, and that a man with such a reputation should stand in this House of Commons to beat down the poorest of the working people is a standing disgrace to his professions.
§ Mr. WHEATLEY
I listened to the Minister's statement to-day with some ex- 113 pectation that the sympathy and knowledge with which he is credited would have enabled him to give some guidance to the people who are most interested here. He spent some time explaining the difficulty of finding a proper definition of such words as "reasonable" and "genuine," but may I remind him that we are not here trying to find a word that will be understood by lawyers or by the Chairman of Committees? We are here trying to find a word that will be understood by the average working man upon whom the onus of finding employment is placed, and the least we can expect from the Government is an explanation to that working man of what satisfies their requirements. The Minister told us that the best test from the Exchange side was the offer of a job, and I think we can all agree with that, but what we want to know is what is the best test that will satisfy them with regard to the unemployed man's side. It has been said over and over again in this discussion that men have produced evidence that they have sought employment, but that that has not satisfied, and surely we are entitled to know what will satisfy. Complaints have been made about the futility and indeed the stupidity of compelling people to go round and round the country seeking work which you quite well know does not exist. The mere fact that you have people genuinely seeking work who cannot find it—and that is not denied—is in itself sufficient evidence that, if the shirkers referred to by the hon. and gallant Member for South Cardiff (Captain A. Evans) did exist, and did genuinely seek work, they would be no more successful than the people who are genuinely seeking it now. If there is not work there for all the people who are unemployed, then if all the people sought it, just the same number would fail to find it as fail to find it now.
I think the Amendment is a very reasonable one, and that it brings the Employment Exchanges back to their original function. They were established to indicate to the workers who were unemployed where they could find employment. During the War, they were diverted from their original and main purpose to war purposes, just as many other institutions and people were diverted from their ordinary purposes during the War-time period. We had the Liberal party diverted to Toryism during 114 the War for national purposes, but when the War was over, we restored them to their proper places on the Liberal benches. We even have Tories who sat on the Liberal benches during the War, who, now the War is over, and we have been restored to normal conditions, have taken their natural place on the Tory benches, just like the hon. and gallant Member for South Cardiff. As we have restored the factories that were engaged in the manufacture of munitions to their peace-time functions, why should we hesitate for a moment to restore the Employment Exchange to its peace-time function, its business of indicating to the unemployed man where employment can be found? I want, if I can, to impress upon the Minister that this is a very serious thing for the unemployed man. There is not a Member who sits on this side of the House who has not had constituents of his imploring him to use his influence to find employment for them. I can recall one case where I sent a man to four different employers of my acquaintance in the hope that the applicant whom I was assisting would find a suitable occupation. In every one of the four cases he failed, and after that experience he was turned down at the Employment Exchange as not genuinely seeking employment.
That is a very hard state of affairs. A man's bread and butter is at stake. You have a man who is in a broken, nervous state, a man who is in a hopeless condition and who feels that the whole world is against him, and it is that man who comes to this House, and says to you: "For God's sake, tell me what will satisfy you in order that I may get the means of life for myself and my dependants." There is no use in quibbling over the difficulty of finding a word. The Minister quite rightly said that one can understand the meaning of a word or a phrase without being able to give an exact definition. Give a word or a phrase then that the average unemployed man will understand, the man who has had no university education, and who does not know the fine shades of difference in the meaning of the words in your vocabulary. Give him a lead in order that he, genuinely seeking employment, will know how to satisfy you of the genuineness of his intentions. The Government have given him no lead to-day, and they have not helped the 115 committee. This Bill will not help the committee, and it will not help the unemployed, and I venture to say that it is not intended to help the man who is genuinely seeking employment, but that it is part and parcel of the whole scheme of humbugging the working classes of this country into an acceptance of the view that something is being done for them in this House.
§ Mr. BATEY
I was surprised to hear the Minister of Labour make the statement that he did make in his last speech, when he was referring to the speech that had been delivered from the front Opposition bench in regard to the ways of the local Employment Exchanges. I hope he will listen, as I am charging him with making a very serious mistake. The Minister said the local Employment Ex changes did not stop men's benefit when there was reason for thinking that they were not genuinely seeking work. I was surprised at that statement, because only to-night I have received a letter from the Minister on a case—
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
The hon. Member will, I hope, forgive me correcting him, but what I said was this, that there was no rota committee before whom the condition "genuinely seeking work" ever came. That was what I said in reply to the right hon. Gentleman opposite. The phrase "genuinely seeking work" is a statutory condition. It is decided by the insurance officer, the court of referees, and the umpire. It is never applied by a rota committee. The rota committees have got other conditions which they apply, but not that of genuinely seeking work.
§ Mr. BATEY
That does not make the matter any clearer, and I am bound to read one or two letters. I will first read the man's case, because it is in direct contradiction to what the Minister has said. The man says in his letter:I made an application for unemployment benefit on 21st September at Spennymoor Exchange, being certified fit to resume my work after two years' illness in a sanatorium. Ultimately, I appeared before the committee, who disallowed my case as not making reasonable efforts to obtain work, although I had tried several places and had a letter from my employers, the United Omnibus Company, stating they had not a vacancy at the time, but would restart me as soon as the first vacancy occurred. I was also told this would 116 probably not be in the district, but at a place where they are putting several new omnibuses on the road, and I told them I would be quite willing to go.Then the man says:I had not been given an opportunity to state my case. I am sure there must be some misunderstanding, as I have paid two and a-half years' contributions, and this is my first application for benefit.I want to read the reply I have got tonight from the Ministry of Labour:The question whether Mr. Medd could qualify for extended benefit—There is a mistake there, because it was not extended benefit because the man says it was the first time he had applied. It rather shows a carelessness on the part of the Department.
Perhaps the hon. Member would consider this. The test of not making a reasonable effort applies to extended benefit only, and not to statutory benefit. So it looks as if the Department are right and that perhaps the hon. Gentleman has made a mistake himself.
The hon. Member does not understand. There is one set of conditions which are applicable to extended benefit only and which are considered by rota committees. There are other sets of conditions under the Act of the right hon. Gentleman opposite which are applicable to both standard and extended benefit and are applied by the insurance officer, the Court of Referees and the Umpire. That is the dual system under the Act of 1924.
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
I do not agree necessarily that it was turned down when it ought not to have been, but I have no doubt from what the hon. Member says that it was rightly considered by the rota committee under the system of committees which is being done away with by this Bill.
§ Mr. BATEY
Anyway this is a case in which, in my opinion, the man ought to receive his benefit, where the man is being badly treated and where this phrase "genuinely seeking work" is being interpreted against him. I am going to continue reading this letter:The question whether Mr. Medd could qualify for extended benefit was considered by the local employment committee in the usual way on 3rd October. It appeared, however, that since making his claim on 21st September, Mr. Medd had restricted his efforts to obtain work by applying to only two garages and that he was unduly relying upon reinstatement by his former employers although there was no definite prospect of an early engagement. The committee consider that Mr. Medd should have extended his search for work to include the local quarries and the building works and engineering shops in the district. They were of the opinion, therefore, that he could not be regarded as satisfying the statutory condition which requires a claimant for extended benefit to show that he is making every reasonable effort to obtain suitable employment, and they therefore recommended that his claim should be disallowed.Under this Amendment the responsibility would be laid upon the insurance officer of pointing out to the man before his benefit is stopped where he should go. In the case I have quoted the committee pointed out after they had stopped the man's benefit where he should have gone. Under this Amendment the insurance officer or the committee would tell the man before his benefit is stopped that he should go to such and such a place, and if he refused, then, and only then, his benefit would be stopped. These words "genuinely seeking work" very much affect the class of people that I represent. In the County of Durham since this Government came into office we have had added to the unemployed no less than 36,000 men. Therefore, this Government have a great responsibility as far as these men are concerned. What is the use of saying to these men, "We are going to stop your benefit because you are not genuinely seeking work," when it is impossible and, indeed, useless for them to attempt to seek work anywhere else except in their own local collieries? There are no shipyards or engineering works to which they can go to seek work. When the collieries are closed, it is impossible for them to go anywhere else, and yet every one of these men are liable to have their benefit 118 stopped because the insurance officer or committee says they are not genuinely seeking work.
§ Mr. CHARLETON
I desire to support the Amendment, because I think the time has come when we should reconsider the definition of "genuinely seeking work." Had I known it was going to be interpreted in the way it has been, I should not have supported it when the Bill of 1924 came before the House. It would have been more satisfactory if it had been left to the local officials; but what I suspect is that the local officials have been so badgered by orders from the Minister of Labour, that they have been forced to do things they otherwise would not have done.
§ Mr. CHARLETON
If the right hon. Gentleman can assure the Committee that he has issued no orders or suggestions on these matters since my right hon. Friend left office, I will accept it. Does he do so?
§ Mr. CHARLETON
Then, of course, I proceed from that point. I say this is being worked unfairly in this way. I believe that unemployed persons are being tricked. An unemployed person is called before the insurance officer and he is asked if he is genuinely seeking work. He says he is. Then he is asked what he was doing on a date perhaps two or three weeks before. That is grossly unfair, because a man who walks about with no employment finds that one day very much resembles another, and to ask him to test his memory to say what he was doing three weeks before is unfair. On the other hand, unemployed persons have, on my advice, got a little book and put down the names of the firms at which they have called, and then, when they presented this to the insurance officer, they were told: "Anyone could make out a book like that; that is no good as evidence." So what are they to do? The reply may be: "Get a certificate from the foreman." What is happening in Leeds? At the works there one finds large placards, "No hands wanted," and in one case I saw a large painted notice up warning men that if 119 they wanted to apply for employment they must apply by letter. How can the unemployed workman apply by letter?
I have another complaint about the way this is used. In Leeds we have a large engineering industry, and in these firms there are some highly skilled men. I have been down to some of the biggest firms to see how their work is situated, and what employment they are offering; and most of them are only using 15 per cent, of their plant. Their highly-skilled men are being stopped their extended benefit because they are told they are not genuinely seeking work, but it is no use a skilled engineer in Leeds going anywhere in Yorkshire or Lancashire for a job because the works there are in the same position as the Leeds works. They are all slack, and they all take back their own men when there are jobs for them. So what is the use of men going round? The same applies to the mines in my district.
Take another point. I had a case come to my notice a few weeks ago of a man in a skilled job who was a sort of key-man, who has his unemployment pay stopped. Suppose this key-man did get work a long way afield in another industry, what would happen to Leeds and the engineering industry? If they got the turn of trade that the Prime Minister and right hon. Gentlemen opposite refer to at times, it would mean that all our skilled men would be gone. I would remind the right hon. Gentleman that he has a responsibility in this matter. The present race of engineers, with their low wages and short time, are not producing the next race of skilled men, and from where are they to come? If the present skilled men are being driven out in this way to seek industry elsewhere, or even in foreign countries, what is going to happen to our trade when this revival takes place? The men will not be here. This phrase "genuinely seeking work" was introduced in 1924 by my right hon. Friend in order to break down the opposition to the extended benefit proposals. I suggest that to-day, as this insurance is now a right, there is no need for it. It was introduced because of the extended benefit, which was supposed under normal conditions to extend over many years, and I suggest that as extended benefit 120 is going to be wiped away, and having regard to the way the phrase is being used, the Committee might see their way clear to delete it from the Bill altogether.
§ 7.0 p.m.
§ Mr. J. BAKER
I am going to vote for this Amendment. I believe the Bill as it stands takes the wrong view-point. I am sorry to see the Minister and his Under-Secretary defending these words as though they believed in them. That shows their lack of sympathy for men who are out of work. I want to show the difficulty these men have in getting fair-play. We have not had intelligent administration of these words since this Government came into office. I put before the Minister a case of a man who had taken a foolscap sheet round with him with the heading that the sheet was presented by the bearer who was seeking work in the hope that the firm would signify either by the firm's stamp or signature that the man had called looking for work. One man got 42 signatures or rubber stamps attached to his sheet. That sheet was presented to the Unemployment Committee, and the man's claim was turned down on the plea that he was not genuinely seeking work. I asked the Minister why, and he said that this was not necessarily evidence that the man was seeking work. So I said: "What on earth is it then? What was he seeking for? It was work he was looking for, whether he wanted it or not."
The Minister said that all sorts of local circumstances ought to be taken into account, and that the best people to judge those circumstances were the people on the committee who lived there, and not only knew the circumstances but probably knew the man. I submit that that is not a reasonable interpretation of "genuinely seeking work." We have been told by an hon. Member that there were all sorts of reasons why a man should be deprived of or should not have benefit. That is the spirit of the whole administration of the Unemployment Insurance Acts now, and I say that it is wrong. An hon. Member told us we must have regard to the welfare of the State, but I say that you can have no regard to the welfare of the State while you are starving the citizens. If the employers of this country were really interested in the 121 welfare of the State, they would want these men maintained so that they might retain their full working efficiency ready for a job when it comes along.
We have had many cases brought to our attention under these Acts. In one case a man lost his pay because he was not genuinely seeking work, and the nearest steel works working was 40 miles away. We took that case to the umpire, who decided that the people who gave that decision were not acting reasonably, and the man got his pay. We have had cases of workmen being sent to jobs that did not exist, jobs that were offered in the hope that the man would refuse to go. That is not reasonable administration, but brutal administration, low, mean cunning that ought to be beneath the dignity of a Department of the State. When I first came to the House, I was deceived by the pleasant exterior of the Minister of Labour and sent him a number of cases. The stereotyped reply was that these cases had been carefully considered by the local committee and the Minister could not interfere. I got so much of that that I stopped sending cases to him. We want the men to have a sporting chance of getting their rights. We were told to-night that one could not have an insurance scheme under those terms, but one can have an insurance scheme under any terms one likes to arrange. One might as well argue that these men had no right to maintenance because the capitalists of the country had failed to provide work for them.
Another piece of administration against which I wish to protest is a case that has occurred at Workington. I have had a letter from one of the branch secretaries in which he states that people from the Employment Exchange are going round to the men's houses asking if they are in. If they do not happen to be at home when he calls they are brought before the committee and charged with not being available for work. As long as we retain these words and "genuinely" is not going to be reasonably interpreted, then that is the sort of thing that is going on and it ought to be stopped. As to the other matter, that of work or maintenance, that is the only logical view a Christian State can take. The only reasonable test is to say, "Here is a job; it is in your own line, will you take it?" The man 122 that refuses then has done something which would destroy any sympathy I have for him, but until you have applied that test you have no right to deprive these men of benefit. In our own industry we have had 25 per cent, unemployed between now and 1924. I saw it stated in the Midland Press at one time that 45 works had closed down. Some of those will never work again because they had been sold to people who buy them up to sell as scrap. If that statement be true, it shows how absolutely out of touch both the officers of the Ministry and the local Employment Exchanges can be with local circumstances when they expect men to find work when works have been closed down and when there is no opportunity for them to work. I support the Amendment.
§ Mr. A. V. ALEXANDER
I am very anxious that the Government should give more careful consideration to this Amendment than they have yet been able to give and for this reason. For the last three years I have had under review in my own constituency hundreds of the cases which we have had in mind in moving this Amendment. I get dozens of cases brought to me that are turned down by the Court of Referees as being cases not genuinely seeking employment, and they are turned down because the men are apparently unable to handle their own cases successfully before a Court of Referees and in a large number of cases, where we have been able afterwards to supply them with an advocate—not a lawyer but a friend—to go with them to the Court of Referees and to handle the case, we have been able to secure the reversal of the decision. That shows that the present statutory requirements act unfairly against the man or woman who has not been well educated, and is not able to state the case as well as might be desired before a Court of that character. From that point of view, the Ministry ought to reconsider this Amendment. They ought not to make it a matter of great difficulty for the genuinely unemployed persons to secure the benefits for which they are contributing in common with their employers and the State.
I am particularly concerned about what has been happening in the last few years with regard to girls who have been making application for benefit. We are 123 moving this first Amendment in conjunction with the one on page 2114 which reads:that his inability to obtain suitable employment is not shown to be due to a failure to seek such suitable employment in accordance with any reasonable requirement of an insurance officer.I would ask the House particularly to note the words "reasonable requirement," because I have any number of cases which have been brought to my notice where the insurance officers are already taking what steps they think fit to test the genuineness or not of the application of the particular person and, in the case of a number of girls who have come to me, it seems to me that already the insurance officers are going much too far in that direction. Has the Parliamentary Secretary had it brought to his notice that in the summer season there are a large number of girls seeking employment in the City of Sheffield and that they are offered simultaneously either domestic work or waitress's work in a seaside place like Skegness? I have had any number of these cases brought to me, and it has been demonstrated to me that the vacancies which have been offered either were not in existence or that a large number of those who accepted have never been sent to get the vacancies, proving quite clearly that the offer has not been put by the insurance officers as a fair offer of employment, but as a trap to get these girls not to take the job—either because it is not in their own particular line of employment, or because, owing to home circumstances, it is not reasonable for them to take it—in order that they may be able to say to the Court of Referees, "This person is not genuinely seeking work," although there is complete evidence that the question is put on the basis of jobs that do not actually exist. In 1926 it happened again and again in Sheffield. In 1927 the same thing happened, but they changed the watering place. The jobs were not at Skegness but at Blackpool. The same thing happened. A large number of girls refused, either because they had no previous experience of domestic work or of waiting in restaurants, but a large number accepted and out of those who notified acceptance a large number of them were never sent for.
§ Mr. HANNON
Do I understand the hon. Member as saying that the officials of the Ministry of Labour deliberately lay a trap?
§ Mr. ALEXANDER
All I have got to say is that I am speaking now, not upon hearsay evidence at all. I said at the outset that I have special practical knowledge of the hundreds of cases that we take up. I have a secretary in Sheffield who does all the local political work, and to him all these cases are referred. He accompanies again and again the applicants to the Court of Appeal and reports to me the cases which are turned down and the cases which are rejected. He has the whole range of cases which have been dealt with.
§ Captain FANSHAWE
Has the hon. Gentleman brought any specific case of neglect of duty in this way on the part of an insurance officer before the Ministry?
§ Mr. ALEXANDER
I am repeating what has been given to me as the result of our actual experience in Sheffield, and we get hundreds of them. I have taken a large number of cases up with the Ministry of Labour from time to time. I make no complaint of the way they are handled, except that naturally they are inclined to try to find why the decision of the local branch has been right rather than why it has been wrong. That is the official attitude. I am making no complaint. It is the natural result.
§ Mr. HANNON
Has the hon. Gentleman ever before presented a statement of the kind he is now making to the Ministry of Labour?
§ Mr. ALEXANDER
I am not at all sure that I have made a complaint of this particular kind of thing myself, but it has been mentioned before. I have a note here from my own secretary in Sheffield with regard to such cases having occurred: Skegness 1926, Blackpool 1927. If that sort of thing is possible under the existing legislation, there is at least a case for further consideration and inquiry by the Ministry before we turn down the suggestion made in this Amend- 125 ment and in the Amendment which is contingent upon it. I never defend a case which is not genuine, and I say quite frankly that here and there people have come to me for assistance who are not deserving of assistance, but the great majority of the cases are those of people who have a real and just grievance against the operation of the law as it affects them, and I am satisfied that a case has been made out for a revision of the Statute and for putting the onus of proof not always upon the backs of the insured men and women, who very often are not equipped to make out their case before a Court of Referees.
§ Mr. BETTERTON
rose in his place and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put," but the Chairman withheld his assent and declined then to put that Question.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
There is one point of considerable importance which the Minister overlooked in his reply. I think it was on the Second Reading that he indicated that he was prepared to consider definitions of the phrase "genuinely seeking employment," in order that definite words might be put into the Bill. To-day he appears to have forgotten all about that, and to have discovered that everybody knows the meaning of the word "genuinely," although the very fact that we have had this Debate shows that there are many different opinions as to what it means. I want to read to the Committee what the Blanesburgh Report says on page 47:In response, we suggest that among the statutory conditions for the receipt of benefit a fuller definition of the phrase 'genuinely seeking work' should be made, that being the condition on which the fate of many an applicant will rightly depend. It is only fair that contributors should understand the most important at any rate of the considerations which will govern their benefit claims.Surely, it is only fair to ask the Minister to deal again with that paragraph of the Report. The Report definitely recommended that an effort should be made to make clear to applicants for benefit the conditions which they would be required to fulfil, and yet there has been no disposition on the part of the Minister or the Parliamentary Secretary to deal with this very strong statement by the Blanesburgh Committee. This is, perhaps, the most important paragraph in the whole 126 Report so far as applicants for benefits are concerned, and yet the Government are content to go gaily on without any attempt to accede to the request, even though the Blanesburgh Committee say that, in their opinion, the fate of many people will depend upon a fuller definition of those words.
Then I would like the Committee to note what the Umpire had to say on the matter. It states in the Appendix that the Umpire has reported:In considering whether a person is genuinely seeking work the most important fact to be ascertained is the state of the applicant's mind.The Umpire, a man who has presumably had training in dealing with these cases, begins with a certain amount of metaphysics when dealing with the interpretation of the phrase "genuinely seeking employment"—a certain psychological discussion as to the state of mind of the applicant. The task is so very difficult that, before he goes any further with it, he lays a foundation of metaphysics upon which to develop his thesis about "genuinely seeking employment." As a Scotsman, I certainly appreciate the value of metaphysics, but the Members of the Committee will agree, I think, that it is asking too much of unemployed people to expect that they should be able to get to the bottom of these metaphysical or psychological considerations when trying to take in all that is embodied in this ruling given by the Umpire.
The one argument of the Minister of Labour is that these are among the words which we canot define, although everybody knows what they mean. He says that in the Courts of Justice so much turns upon the interpretation of the word "reasonable," that we would find it difficult to define what is "reasonable." Every day the Courts are full of disputes as to the meaning of this word "reasonable." They are not cases in which any individual is seeking to gain an unfair advantage over another, but cases in which there has been a conflict of opinion as to the interpretation of what is "reasonable." It is at the root of a large percentage of the cases which come before the civil Courts, and it is all fudge and nonsense for the Minister to say that, while we cannot define "reasonable," we know what it is. We look upon the attitude of the Minister on this subject as most unreasonable. I do not 127 believe there is on hon. Member on the benches opposite who does not believe that the Minister is unreasonable in his treatment of this Amendment, and in his absolute determination to retain these words "genuinely seeking employment." The Blanesburgh Committee have pointed out the resentment caused amongst insured persons; the Minister himself admitted, in a previous discussion, that he was willing to consider the inclusion of some definition, showing that he acknowledged that injustices had been perpetrated by the retention of this phrase; and, finally, the Umpire, when he gets away from his metaphysics, lays it down that courts of referees have been acting very foolishly. Yet, in the face of this accumulation of evidence, we are still going to do nothing which will help these poor people to understand where they are in this matter.
Only a few words have been said in defence of the attitude taken up by the Minister. I know that there are Members in all parts of the House who are in agreement with us about the necessity of making the position clearer than it is at present. I do not say there is willingness on the part of all parties to accept the words of our Amendment, but it is perfectly well known that amongst all parties there is a desire for something more definite than this phrase, something which the people can understand. The interventions in debate in support of the Minister did not strike me as being very fortunate. The Member for South Cardiff (Captain A. Evans), the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. H. Williams) and the hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. L. Thompson) who took part in the Debate, said, "We are quite anxious that genuine people should get benefits, but this Committee must understand that there is a very small percentage indeed of people who are not genuine." Though admitting that the percentage is small, they are prepared, for the sake of that small percentage, to penalise all the rest. I confess that I do not know their constituencies very well. I do not know whether the unemployed in South Cardiff, in Reading and in Sunderland are worse than the unemployed elsewhere, as would seem to be the case by the position taken up by the hon. Members for those divisions. 128 They evidently feel that the unemployed in their divisions are worse than in other districts, and that unless somebody is looking after them very carefully they will be making away with all the unemployment insurance funds in the country. I refuse to believe it. I believe the unemployed are just the same as they are in my own division, that is to say, decent people who, unfortunately, have to bear the brunt of the terrible evil with which the country is afflicted. In view of the overwhelming opinion in the Committee that something ought to be done, I do ask the Parliamentary Secretary to agree to look into this matter further, in order that we may try to do something along the lines of what the Blanesburgh Committee had in mind when they commented on the difficulty of the law in its present state. We should try to do something in this matter, because it is the fate of people in very hard circumstances that is going to be determined. When the genuinely seeking work condition was made statutory in 1924 by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Preston (Mr. T. Shaw) I moved an Amendment to make the only test that of providing a job. I proposed that Amendment, and there was a discussion in the House upon it. After discussion, we withdrew that Amendment when we got an assurance from the Minister in charge that he was going to see that the interpretation of the Clause was as generous as possible.
To-day, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Preston has told us that he is conscious of the fact that, in spite of all his efforts, there has been some injustice. He has informed us that, in spite of all his endeavours, he recognises now that the words adopted in 1924 were not suitable. The Minister of Labour now says that these admissions on the part of my right hon. Friend has strengthened the case made out by the Government, but I do not agree with that argument. An ex-Minister of the Crown has told us frankly that upon that occasion he was wrong. I only wish that more ex-Ministers would confess when they are wrong, and Ministers ought to do the same. Task the Parliamentary Secretary to meet us in regard to this intolerable grievance which has been felt so long by the unemployed. If hon. Members talk on the platform in their constituencies about un- 129 employment benefit and use the phrase "not genuinely seeking employment," they will find that every member of the audience understands what they mean, and they will soon realise the amount of resentment there is on the subject, and how this condition affects the interests of the workers.
I think it is the unanimous desire of the Committee that an attempt should be made to deal with this matter and give these workpeople a better opportunity of proving their case. The working classes know very little about the various Sections contained in Acts of Parliament, and, when they go before a Court of Referees, they are treated as if they are skilled and experienced debaters. We want to give these people the benefits for which they have paid, and they can only get those benefits if we make it more clear what is meant by "genuinely seeking employment." If a person creates an impression in the minds of those responsible for the administration of the insurance schemes in their districts that he is not genuinely seeking work, they can test him by sending him to certain
§ places to apply for work. From what I know of the working classes, my view is that, if there were a job vacant to-morrow at 30s. per week anywhere, you would find hundreds of men trying to get that job. You would also find out if you inquired what they are doing at the present time, and whether they are receiving unemployment benefit. I am sure most of them will tell you that they have been rejected, and are not receiving unemployment benefit, because it has been decided that they are not genuinely seeking employment. I protest against the fierce injustice imposed upon these people by the provisions of the Unemployment Insurance Acts, and I hope that the Minister of Labour will agree to reconsider the whole matter with a view of making the provision about genuinely seeking work more clear.
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 256; Noes, 129.133
|Division No. 392.]||AYES.||[7.37 p.m.|
|Albery, Irving James||Carver, Major W. H.||England, Colonel A.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Cassels, J. D.||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Evans, Captain A. (Cardiff, South)|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Everard, w. Lindsay|
|Apsley, Lord||Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth. S)||Fairfax, Captain J. G.|
|Astor, Maj, Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Falle, Sir Bertram G.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Fanshawe, Captain G. D.|
|Atkinson, C.||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Fermoy, Lord|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Chapman, Sir S||Fielden, E. B.|
|Balnlel, Lord||Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Ford, Sir p. J.|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Christie, J. A.||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Fraser, Captain Ian|
|Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)||Clarry, Reginald George||Frece, Sir Walter de|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Clayton, G. C.||Fremantle, Lt.-Col. Francis E.|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Cobb. Sir Cyril||Galbraith, J. F. W.|
|Bennett, A. J.||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Ganzoni, Sir John|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Colman, N. C. D.||Gates, Percy|
|Berry, Sir George||Conway. Sir W. Martin||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Cope, Major William||Gower, Sir Robert|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Couper, J. B.||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.|
|Bird. E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter|
|Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.)||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Gunston, Captain D. W.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Hacking, Captain Douglas H|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Crookshank. Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)|
|Bowyer. Captain G. E. W.||Cunliffe, Sir Herbert||Hall, Admiral Sir R. (Eastbourne)|
|Brassey Sir Leonard||Curzon, Captain Viscount||Hammersley, S. S.|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Dalkeith, Earl of||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Davidson, J.(Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)||Harland, A.|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||Harrison, G. J. C.|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Davies, Dr. Vernon||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)|
|Brown-Lindsay, Major H.||Dawson, Sir Philip||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)|
|Brown, Col. D.C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Dixey, A. C.||Henderson, Lt.-Col. Sir V. L. (Bootle)|
|Buckingham. Sir H.||Drewe, C.||Henn, Sir Sydney H.|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Eden, Captain Anthony||Hennessy. Major Sir G. R. J.|
|Burman, J. B.||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)||Hilton, Cecil|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Elliot, Major Walter E.||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.|
|Campbell, E. T.||Ellis, R. G.||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D.(St. Marylebone)|
|Hohier, Sir Gerald Fitzroy||Meyer, Sir Frank||Smithers, Waldron|
|Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Holt, Captain H. P.||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Hopkins, J. W. W.||Moore, Sir Newton J.||Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.|
|Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities)||Moreing, Captain A. H.||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.||Murchison, Sir Kenneth||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.)||Nail, Colonel Sir Joseph||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.|
|Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)||Nelson, Sir Frank||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Hume, Sir G. H||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Styles, Captain H. Walter|
|Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Hunter-Weston. Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Tasker, R. Inigo.|
|Huntingfield. Lord||Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert||Templeton, W. P.|
|Hurst, Gerald B.||Oakley, T.||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|lliffe, Sir Edward M.||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-|
|Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William||Tinne, J. A.|
|Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Penny, Frederick George||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Perring, Sir William George||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough|
|Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. p.|
|Kind. J. (Linlithgow)||Pilcher, G.||Waddington,|
|Kindersley, Major Guy M.||Pilditch, Sir Philip||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|King, Commodore Henry Douglas||Power, Sir John Cecil||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Knox, Sir Alfred||Pownall, Sir Assheton||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Lamb, J. Q.||Preston, William||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Price, Major C. W. M.||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Radford, E. A.||Wells, S. R.|
|Long, Major Eric||Rawson, Sir Cooper||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Lucas-Tooth. Sir Hugh Vere||Remnant, Sir James||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Lumley, L. R.||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||Winby, Colonel L. P.|
|MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Ruggles- Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Rve, F. G.||Withers, John James|
|Macintyre, Ian||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Womersley, W. J.|
|McLean, Major A.||Sandeman, N. Stewart||Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)|
|Macmillan, Captain H.||Sanderson, Sir Frank||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich W.)|
|MacRobert, Alexander M.||Savery, S. S.||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mel. (Renfrew. W.)||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Malone, Major P. B.||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.||Skelton, A. N.||Mr. F. C. Thomson and Captain|
|Meller, R. J.||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine. C.)||Margesson.|
|Merriman, F. B.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Gibbins, Joseph||Lowth, T.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Gillett, George M.||Lun, William|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Gosling, Harry||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R.(Aberavon)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Mackinder, W.|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Greenall, T.||March, S.|
|Baker, Walter||Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Montague, Frederick|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Morris, R. H.|
|Barnes, A.||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)|
|Batey, Joseph||Groves, T.||Naylor, T. E.|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Grundy, T. W.||Oliver, George Harold|
|Bowerman, Rt Hon. Charles W.||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Paling, W.|
|Broad, F. A.||Hall. G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Bromfield, William||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney ft Shetland)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Bromley, J.||Hardie, George D.||Potts, John S.|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Harney, E. A.||Ritson, J.|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel||Harris, Percy A.||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)|
|Cape, Thomas||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Rose, Frank H.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Hayday, Arthur||Saklatvala, Shapurji|
|Clowes, S.||Haves, John Henry||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Cluse, W. S.||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Compton, Joseph||Hirst, G. H.||Scurr, John|
|Connolly, M.||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Sexton, James|
|Cove, W. G.||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||John. William (Rnondda. West)||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Crawfurd, H. E.||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Dalton, Hugh||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Kelly, W. T.||Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley)|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Kennedy, T.||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Dennison, R.||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Snell, Harry|
|Duncan, C.||Kirkwood, D.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Lansbury, George||Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Lawrence, Susan||Stamford, T. W.|
|Fenby, T. D.||Lawson, John James||Stephen, Campbell|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Lee, F.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Sullivan, Joseph||Viant, S. P.||Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)|
|Sutton, J. E.||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro. W.)||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermilne)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)||Windsor, Walter|
|Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)||Wellock, Wilfred||Wright, W|
|Tinker, John Joseph||Welsh, J. C.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Townend, A. E.||Westwood, J.|
|Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Varley, Frank B.||Wilkinson, Ellen C.||Mr. Whiteley and Mr. B. Smith.|
§ Question put accordingly, "That the words 'of the' stand part of the Clause."134
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 252; Noes, 131.135
|Division No. 393.]||AYES.||[7.46 p.m.|
|Albery, Irving James||Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Davies, Dr. Vernon||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Dawson, Sir Philip||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)|
|Apsley, Lord||Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Dixey, A. C.||Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Drewe, C.||Kindersley, Major Guy M.|
|Atkinson, C.||Eden, Captain Anthony||King, Commodore Henry Douglas|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Knox, Sir Alfred|
|Balniel, Lord||Elliot, Major Walter E.||Lamb, J. Q.|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Ellis R. G.||Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)|
|Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)||Evans, Captain A. (Cardiff, South)||Long, Major Eric|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Everard, W. Lindsay||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Herman|
|Bennett, A. J.||Falle, sir Bertram G.||Lumley, L. R.|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Fanshawe, Captain G. D.||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen|
|Berry, Sir George||Fermoy, Lord||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Fielden, E. B.||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Ford, Sir P. J.||Maclntyre, Ian|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||McLean, Major A.|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Fraser, Captain Ian||Macmillan, Captain H.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Frece, Sir Walter de||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||MacRobert, Alexander M.|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Galbraith, J. F. W.||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Ganzoni, Sir John||Malone, Major P. B.|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Gates, Percy||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Mason, Lieut.-Colonel Glyn K.|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Goff, Sir Park||Meller, R. J.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Gower, Sir Robert||Merriman, F B.|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. J.||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Meyer, Sir Frank|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd., Hexham)||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Moore, Sir Newton J.|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Moreing, Captain A. H.|
|Burman, J. B.||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Hall, Admiral Sir R. (Eastbourne)||Murchison, Sir Kenneth|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Hammersley, S. S.||Nail, Colonel Sir Joseph|
|Campbell, E. T.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Nelson, Sir Frank|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Harland, A.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Cassels, J. D.||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Harrison. G. J. C.||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth. S)||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Oakley, T.|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Henderson, Lt.-Col. Sir V. L. (Bootle)||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Penny, Frederick George|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Perring, Sir William George|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Christie, J. A.||Hilton, Cecil||Peto. G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Pilcher, G.|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Hogg. Rt. Hon. Sir D.(St. Marylebone)||Pilditch, Sir Philip|
|Clayton, G. C.||Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy||Power, Sir John Cecil|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Holt, Captain H. P.||Preston, William|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Price, Major C. W. M.|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Radford, E. A.|
|Cope, Major William||Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities)||Rawson, Sir Cooper|
|Couper, J. B.||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Remnant, Sir James|
|Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. H. (Hackney, N.)||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Hume, Sir G. H.||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Cunliffe, Sir Herbert||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Rye, F. G.|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Huntingfield, Lord||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Hurst, Gerald B.||Sandeman, N. Stewart|
|Davidson, J.(Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)||lliffe, Sir Edward M.||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||Wells, S. R.|
|Savery, S. S.||Styles, Captain H. Walter||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W.)||Sugden, Sir Wilfred||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Shepperson, E. W.||Tasker, R. Inigo.||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)||Templeton, W. P.||Winby, Colonel L. P.|
|Skelton, A. N.||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Smith, R. W.(Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)||Tinne, J. A.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of||Withers, John James|
|Smithers, Waldron||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement||Womersley, W. J.|
|Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)||Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough||Wood. B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)|
|Spender-Clay, Colonel H.||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. p.||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)|
|Sprot, Sir Alexander||Waddington, R.||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)|
|Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.||Ward. Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Steel, Major Samuel Strang||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Streatfeild, Captain S. R.||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Stuart, Crischton-, Lord C.||Watts, Dr. T.||Mr. F. C. Thomson and Captain Margesson.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Groves, T.||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Grundy, T. W.||Scurr, John|
|Alexander. A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hall, F.(York, W. R., Normanton)||Sexton, James|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hall, G. H.(Merthyr Tydvil)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Baker J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Baker, Walter||Hardie, Georqe D.||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Harney, E. A.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Barnes, A.||Harris, Percy A.||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Batey, Joseph||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Hayday, Arthur||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Hayes, John Henry||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)|
|Broad, F. A.||Hirst, G. H.||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Bromfield, William||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Snell, Harry|
|Bromley, J.||Hudson. J. H. (Huddersfield)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Stamford, T. W.|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Stephen, Campbell|
|Cape. Thomas||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Sullivan, J.|
|Clowes. S.||Kelly, W. T.||Sutton. J. E.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Kennedy, T.||Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro. W.)|
|Compton, Joseph||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Connolly, M.||Kirkwood, D.||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Cove. W. G.||Lansbury, George||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Lawrence, Susan||Townend, A. E.|
|Crawfurd, H. E.||Lawson, John James||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lee, F.||Varley. Frank B.|
|Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)||Lowth, T.||Viant. S. P.|
|Davies. Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Lunn, William||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Day, Colonel Harry||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J.R.(Aberavon)||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Dennison, R.||Mackinder, W.||Watts-Morgan. Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Duncan, C.||March. S.||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||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.|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Naylor, T. E.||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Fenby. T. D.||Oliver, George Harold||Williams. C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)|
|Garro-Jones. Captain G. M.||Paling, W.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Gillett, George M.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Windsor. Walter|
|Gosling, Harry||Potts, John S.||Wright, W.|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Ritson, J.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Greenall, T.||Robinson,||W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)|
|Greenwood. A. (Nelson and Colne)||Rose, Frank H.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Saklatvala, Shapurji||Mr. T. Henderson and Mr. Whiteley.|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The next Amendment that I select is that standing in the name of the hon. Member for West Willesden (Mr. Viant)—in page 4, line 6, to leave out the word "thirty," and to insert instead thereof the word "twenty." This and the two following Amendments—that in the name of the hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. L. Thompson) and other hon. Members, to leave out the word "thirty," and to in- 136 sert instead thereof the word "twenty-four," and that in the name of the hon. Member for North Battersea (Mr. Saklatvala), to leave out the word "thirty," and to insert instead thereof the word "five"—deal with the same subject, and it will save time if they are discussed together. It will be open to hon. Members who prefer a figure other than "twenty" to express their views in the course of the discussion.
§ Mr. E. BROWN
Do I understand that my Amendment, to leave out the words "not less than thirty" and to insert instead the word "fifteen," is out of order?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
It is not exactly out of order, but, as it appears on the Order Paper, it would do exactly what the hon. Member does not wish done. Therefore, I have selected in preference the Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for West Willesden.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
That is what I said. Hon. Members who may have a preference for a different figure will be able to discuss that on the Amendment of the hon. Member for West Willesden.
§ Mr. VIANT
I beg to move, in page 4, line 6, to leave out the word "thirty" and to insert instead thereof the word "twenty."
As the result of the passing of the previous Clauses, the qualifying conditions have now become statutory and rigid, and those of us who have appended our names to this Amendment feel that 30 contributions are far too many to demand. Some, if not all, of the Members of the Committee have had experiences in regard to unemployment and the difficulties of obtaining employment, and we feel that this demand is far too stringent. A White Paper has been issued, Command Paper No. 2987, which, no doubt, most Members of the Committee have seen. In it an attempt is made to show the number of persons likely to be affected by insistence upon 30 contributions having been paid in order that the applicant may be eligible for unemployment benefit. I do not know what the opinion of other Members may be on this matter, but, having read the White Paper, I feel that it is not in any sense of the word a reliable guide.
There were signing at the Exchanges a total number of 827,905 persons on the live register. From these a selection has been made of a certain number of men and women as a "sample," and a close examination has been made to ascertain how many of these would be ineligible 138 under the conditions of the Bill. The point I want to make with regard to the White Paper is that this is not a fair sample. I submit that, in legislating at the moment, the House of Commons should be prepared to take into consideration the thousands of men and women who are still unemployed but who have been struck off the registers of the Employment Exchanges because they had exhausted their right to benefit. These people, under these conditions, will be unable to qualify in any way, and it would have been far fairer had they been taken into consideration in addition to those referred to in the White Paper. I think it must be generally admitted by Members of this Committee that those unemployed persons who have been struck off the Exchange registers are in no way responsible for their unemployment, that they are the victims of the conditions of To-day; and, even if no Members of the Committee had had any experience in regard to unemployment themselves, I suggest that it would not be too much to ask them at this moment to allow their imagination even to be strained for the purpose of taking into consideration the position of the men and women who have been unemployed for such a long period of time. This Bill ought to be so devised as to meet the exceptional circumstances in which 30 contributions, as the medium whereby the unemployed man or woman shall qualify for benefit, is far too' large a number to insist upon.
I notice that even some hon. Members opposite realise that the incidence of 30 contributions is far too much. By this Amendment we are endeavouring to meet the position in what we consider a reasonable spirit. We have taken into consideration also the effect it is likely to have upon those who are repeatedly subjected to casual employment. Those who are subjected to casual employment will find it altogether an impossibility to qualify under these conditions, and if we were going to have a fair example of the effect of this Bill and the exaction of the 30 contributions we might have had samples taken from those industries which are most subjected to casual employment. Then we should have had a reasonable statement of the effects of the Clause. But it does not help us in that way. We are, undoubtedly, imposing a great hardship on the unemployed. The inevitable 139 result will be that those who are unable to qualify will be compelled to seek Poor Law relief. You will find that those who are most subject to casual employment are those living in the poorer localities, and the inevitable result is going to be that the Bill will still further aggravate and intensify the difficulties of boards of guardians in the poorer localities. I hope the Minister will meet us in the spirit in which I have moved the Amendment and will accept it and show that he is prepared to meet us in some way on the harsh and hard Clauses of the Bill.
§ Mr. L. THOMPSON
I rise to move to leave out the word "thirty," and to insert instead thereof the word "twenty-four."
§ Mr. LAWSON
On a point of Order. The Deputy-Chairman has just ruled, I understand, that the Amendment before the Committee is that of the hon. Member for North Willesden (Mr. Viant). Is it in order to move this Amendment?
§ Mr. E. BROWN
Is it not a misunderstanding We understood that the hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. L. Thompson) was going to speak on the Amendment of the hon. Member for North Willesden (Mr. Viant) from his point of view of 24 contributions and I from mine of 15.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The Amendment is to leave out the word "thirty" and to insert instead thereof the word "twenty." If we leave out "thirty," the Committee may put in any other figure they like. There are three Amendments to insert other figures, but under the Amendment of the hon. Member for North Willesden (Mr. Viant) the question to be put is "That the word 'thirty' stand part of the Clause." Hon. Members can suggest any other figure they like. If "thirty" is left out, then will come the question what is to be put in. But the question for the moment is whether "thirty" stand part of the Clause or not.
§ Mr. T. SHAW
May I ask, on this very interesting point, whether we could be allowed to vote on all the Amendments that are put down. I know the Ruling is that the number may be discussed on this one Amendment, but it may be that some Members may be in favour of 15 and not in favour of 20, some may be in favour of 140 20 who are not in favour of 24, and some in favour of 24 who are not in favour of any of the others. May I ask for your Ruling on the proposition that while we discuss the principle of this Amendment we ought to have the privilege of voting on all the Amendments so that we may find the greatest common denominator of acceptance.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Under the Rules of the House, I have to put the Question "That the word 'thirty' stand part of the Clause." If the Committee decide that "thirty" shall stand part, that will prevent any other figure being inserted. If, on the other hand, "thirty" be left out, I shall then put the consequential Amendment in the name of the hon. Member that "twenty" be there inserted. If "twenty" be rejected any other figure will be open, but if "thirty" stands it will not.
§ Mr. SEXTON
In view of the fact that the Amendment moved states definitely "twenty," if the Amendment of the hon. Member below the Gangway is moved, is that not an Amendment to our Amendment? That being definitely laid down, ought it not to be disposed of first before we take the other?
§ The CHAIRMAN
That is just what I have ruled. It must be disposed of first. The first step is to get rid of the word "thirty." if the Committee so desires. If it is got rid of, "twenty" will be put. If "twenty" is then rejected, I shall call on the hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. L. Thompson) to move "twenty-four." If that be rejected, some other figure may be moved, but the question for the moment is whether "thirty" shall or shall not be the figure.
§ Mr. LAWSON
The reason I raised the matter is that the Amendment of the hon. Member for North Willesden (Mr. Viant) has been called and the hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. L. Thompson) rose to move another Amendment.
§ The CHAIRMAN
No, I called on the hon. Member to speak on this Amendment. He cannot move another unless and until "thirty" is got rid of.
§ Mr. THOMPSON
Perhaps I inadvertently said I moved my Amendment. I should have said that I wished to speak on the general subject.
§ The CHAIRMAN
As regards the question whether "thirty" contributions would rule out a certain number of people from benefit, yes; but not as regards other provisions of this Clause. That would have to wait. The Amendment is to leave out the word "thirty" in order to insert the word "twenty." Hon. Members may argue "thirty," "twenty," "forty-five," "fifteen" or "five" if they wish, but no other Amendment can be taken from anyone unless and until the word "thirty" is got rid of.
§ Mr. THOMPSON
I wish to continue what I began to say with a serious desire to add something in the way of contribution to this Debate, in no real antagonism to it but as far as possible in order to elucidate the facts so far as I can present them. I am satisfied that we have had sufficient patchwork regarding the facts embodied in the Unemployment Insurance Acts, and it is about time we tried to get some recognisable or complete design. It is with the view of trying to effect this object that I am submitting reasons why I think "twenty-four" should be substituted for "thirty." The basis of the White Paper is that on a total live register of 974,757 there were selected one per cent., or 9,740. Out of that number, there were 8,896 claims authorised, or, in, other words, 952 persons turned down, a percentage of 10. Out of those claims, there has been a review as to how the 30 contributions test would apply, and we are told in the White Paper that a total number of 1,099 would have failed under the 30 contributions test. Had that been applied at the time the Bill became operative, it would have indicated that 100,000 persons would have been turned down on the total register. But in so far as the Bill is to operate in a period of two to three years the Government have thought certain corrections necessary. First, they have applied the correction of the 65 and over, which will become operative at the beginning of the year by reason of the Widows' and Orphans' and Old Age Pensions Act. I do not dispute that. It has a relation of about 12 per cent.
The next item I wish to criticise is that in the coal mining areas claimants 142 would not have failed but for abnormal conditions, and there has been a deduction of 194, the assumption being that of the 351 claimants, had there been a normal state of employment in the coal mining areas commensurate with the other industries, there would have been a deduction of 194. I do not for a moment see that 194 is a fair basis. I think a considerable correction should be made on that. Anyhow, that brings the number down to 761, or, including women, to 823. There is a further deduction that the Government make of 10 per cent., and it is based on this principle, that between the present basis of 9.3 per cent, and 8 per cent, which may operate in two years' time, or 10 per cent., there should be the further reduction which is obtained in this White Paper. Then there comes another 25 per cent, due to the fact that the basis on which these figures were taken was for a period from 1st April back to 1925, in which there was disturbance, and that there was the necessary correction over the period from 1927 forward to 1928 and 1929. This makes a further reduction of 171. I have to offer—again based on the fact that I have closely scrutinised the position—some objection to that. I think, on the whole, and it is my view that, instead of the net total being 556, it should be substantially higher. Be that as it may, the Committee are asked to accept, assuming it is 1 per cent, of the total, that 56,000 would be disqualified over the whole live register of 947,000.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Member. Is it his contention that they would be disqualified because of this 30 contributions figure?
§ Mr. THOMPSON
Yes, it is entirely due to the 30 contributions. There is set out in the White Paper in strict relation to, and in conjunction with, this 30 contributions the fact that there would be a number of people to set to the credit of the account. Members of the Committee know that there are certain people who may be disqualified under the discretionary powers of the Minister, and they are indicated here as short-time workers, married and single persons with other means of support. The total there set out is 4,600. There is another reduction of 10 per cent, which brings that figure down to about 4,000 in a period of one week. That means 18,400 in a 143 month. When I refer to the "Labour Gazette" for the present month, the persons returned under these special conditions—I want to be careful here—number 10,500 instead of 18,400. I admit that there may be a slight discrepancy owing to the fact that the number of insured persons who are returned as short-time workers may vary from week to week necessitating some adjustment to be made in the actual total figure. But the difference between 18,400, as laid down in the White Paper, and 10,500, as returned in the "Labour Gazette," is a very serious discrepancy.
Having made these variations and allowances, which I have tried to do in my own way, I cannot see how the ultimate figure of 26,000 is an adequate figure. On my basis, it should be considerably less, and the net effect of it would be that instead of 30,000 being the total number that would be disallowed, the number would be considerably higher. [An HON. MEMBER: "How much higher?"] It is very difficult to say how much higher, because the means of computing that are not available, at least not to me. I would like to point out that whether it is 26,000 or less it does not, in my opinion, necessarily affect the argument that I am going to put forward. It is this, that the total number, according to the Minister, is 56,000 persons who have been disallowed extended benefit and who will be forced to seek poor relief. The 26,000 who are set against that as a contrast are people who, under the Minister's discretionary powers, are disallowed because their means from one source or another are such as not to enable them to participate in Poor Law relief. So that from the point of view of a distressed area, the total of 26,000, or any other total, does not necessarily affect the first figure of 56,000. I think that is a valid argument for my Amendment, which is supported by several of my hon. Friends. Unfortunately, I have to travel further. In a speech on the Second Reading Debate, I mentioned that I had been for some considerable time a member of the local employment committee in my constituency, and that as such I had taken a very real and definite interest in this matter. I have been thus able to obtain the information available to members of such a committee, in wanting to know 144 how this 30-contributions test will affect such areas as my own, and, also, how it will affect a larger area of industries that are adversely affected by unemployment. I will take the second position first. I have very carefully selected from the "Labour Gazette" 22 industries covering 4,170,000 insured persons. I have actually worked out the figures myself, and I have come to this conclusion, that in these 22 industries there is represented an average of 15 per cent, of unemployment, covering 4,000,000 people. Having said that, I want to bring you to the test. In my own constituency, which has a percentage of unemployment of 19.3, out of 285 cases—I will be quite accurate; they are cases which came up for benefit not six months ago, but on the 14th of November, giving a clear year after the industrial dispute and enabling an insured person to get from 50 to 52 contributions—for benefit, 56 per cent, of the men would have been turned down on a 30-contributions test. That, possibly, is not quite fair in view of the White Paper, so I have endeavoured to obtain further tests covering the Sunderland Employment Exchange. We have four Exchanges in our area—Sunderland, Pallion, Southwick, and Houghton-le-Spring. The Sunderland Exchange represents a total number of 31,271 persons registered, with 6,064 unemployed, and 3,100 on benefit. To my amazement the 3,100 on benefit, both standard and extended benefit, reveal the fact that if the 30-contributions test were made, at least 22.5 per cent, of the applicants would have been disallowed.
That is a very serious position from my standpoint. Had I to argue simply from the Sunderland Exchange figures taken in respect of the 3,100 in benefit, possibly the calculation would have been inadequate. I have extended my investigations over the wider number of 4,170,000 already mentioned, and I would like to put before the Committee, and I hope before the Minister, some calculations of value. I will give figures based upon the 31,271 from Sunderland and the 4,170,000 spread over the 22 industries. I find the unemployment in Sunderland represents 6,064, and the 4,170,000 the unemployment' total is 649,583, which figure is taken from the Official Gazette, and checked by percentage. In the former case, the percentage is 19.3, and in the latter 15 per 145 cent. The benefit given in Sunderland was in respect of 3,100 cases, while the benefit in respect of the wider area, computed not on the same basis as Sunderland with its 3,100 cases of benefit out of 6,064 unemployed, but allowing for the difference of the figures between the 19.3 per cent, and the 15 per cent, unemployment benefit granted in respect of the 649,583 unemployed, and showing 331,287 benefit cases. I think I have placed that on a very low estimate. If it had been placed on 10 per cent., the figure would have been brought up to over 400,000.
I wish to be scrupulously fair. I have stated that the 3,100 in Sunderland represented 22.5 of those who were receiving benefit, or 699 in that Exchange. On the four Exchanges it would mean 1,400, but on the wider range of 4,000,000 odd it means no fewer than 60,293 would be disallowed with test of 30 contributions. I have put these figures forward, because I am anxious that they should be checked, and I am anxious that we should arrive at the truth.
§ Mr. THOMPSON
For the information of the Minister, may I make myself perfectly plain? I said that the 3,100 on benefit in Sunderland represented 22.5 per cent., which give a figure of 699 or practically 700, and that on the 331,287 in receipt of unemployment benefit among the 4,000,000 odd connected with the 22 industries the figure is 18.2 per cent., because I have allowed 4 per cent, off as being the difference between 19.3 and 15 per cent., and that the figures of those who would be disallowed benefit are 60,293. That is the position at the present moment or, rather, two weeks ago, and it seems quite clear, if my calculations are right, that if we have to make deductions in respect of industries representing the 4,000,000, or one-third of the insured population of this country, there 146 must be a proportion in the remaining 8,000,000 who would be disallowed benefit. It would be unfair to place the proportion of disallowed among the 8,000,000 on the same basis as the 4,000,000. I have tried to make a perfectly fair and legitimate calculation. The relation in the first place was 1.5 of the whole of the insured people, but it is not fair to take that figure or even to make it ¾ per cent., so I will make the figure ½ per cent., and, taking the figure at ½ per cent, of the 8,000,000, we get 40,000. Therefore, we must add to the 60,000 who would be disallowed among the 4,000,000 another 40,000, which amounts in round figures to 100,000 insured persons who I believe under the 30 contributions basis would be disallowed benefit.
I am prepared, if it can be pointed out to me, to admit the inaccuracy of my calculations, but even if the figures approximate to anything like those I have quoted it is a most serious thing that we should deliberately give these people mo alternative except the Poor Law. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] I do not want any applause. I am terribly serious over this matter, and I wish to make as clear a job of it as possible. As far as 30 is concerned, it is a high figure, and there are no real available figures in respect of 24 or 20, unless we take some other tests. I should like to put another point before the Committee in giving reasons why I arrive at the figure of 24. I know that 30 is an error. In passing, I would say that this Bill in many directions applies less onerous conditions than the present enactment. I should like to point out something which has not been raised so far regarding this Clause and the Amendment, affecting the 30 contributions. Clause 5 (1) says:That not less than 30 contributions have been paid.As the Minister knows, under the present statutory condition, that means 30 over any period, or eight contributions in two years, which is a waiver which has not been fully recognised in our Debate. Under the eight contributions, the general position is that a man has to have eight contributions in conjunction with a reasonable period of work and if he gets eight stamps for eight weeks he may be turned down because that is not a reasonable period of work. In the rota committees generally, the decision is that to qualify for eight contributions a person should 147 have eight weeks' work. Under this Clause which says 30 contributions, it means 30 stamps in 30 weeks or 30 stamps in 30 particular days. If he gets a stamp for a half-day or for one day per week, under this Clause he qualifies, which is a great advance. To my dismay, I see there is an Amendment by hon. Members opposite qualifying that. I hope it will be possible to give further consideration to these 30 contributions. I have been impelled through sheer force of duty to take this position and reveal it as I see it and as I know it, with one intention only, namely, that this Bill may be made as perfect as possible. I hope the Minister, when he replies, will at least give some indication that he will meet us on the 24 contributions which I suggest.
§ Mr. SHAW
I think every Member of the Committee will realise the seriousness of the contribution which has just been made to our Debate, and as this is one of the most important Clauses in the Bill I hope all who take part in the discussion will treat the matter with the same gravity and seriousness, although we shall not be able to do so with the same ability as the hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. L. Thompson). I say that all the more gladly because I so rarely agree with the hon. Member. Our first object ought to be to try to realise what the effect of this provision will be. When we consult authorities we find ourselves at once in a mass of contradictory estimates. Take the Actuary's opinion. He says that according to the figures supplied for 1924–1925 he estimates that 20 per cent, of the claims will be disallowed under the 30 contributions rule. Twenty per cent, is more than 200,000, and we have to consider very seriously what we are doing. Hon. Members will find it on Page 90 of the Blanesburgh Re port. Let me read an extract from it:In regard to the qualifying number of contributions I regret that I have been unable to find any statistics which would enable the relief to be derived from this provision to be authoritatively measured. From certain data supplied by the Ministry of Labour I draw the somewhat general conclusion that the proportion of the total unemployment prevailing in 1924–25 which would have been disqualified from benefit by such a rule would have been about 20 per cent. But the conditions of that time were abnormal, and it is certain that a reduction of the rate of unemployment 148 from 10 to 12 per cent., as then obtaining to 6 per cent., as assumed in these estimates.The assumption of 6 per cent, as the rate of unemployment is monstrous in the circumstances. It is an assumption on which no serious provision in a Bill should be based. According to the latest figures I have had from the Ministry unemployment is not declining. The last figures I got showed an increase, and to assume that there is going to be this phenomenal drop in the rate of unemployment, and base a serious Bill upon it, is a great mistake. If we consult the White Paper prepared by the Ministry of Labour and take the grounds for the 30 contributions rule we find the extraordinary deduction—on page 3 of the White Paper—that coal mining unemployment is likely to be more favouarble to the coal miners than it is now. It seems to me, as time goes on, that the 30 contributions rule will be more deadly than ever to the coal miners. What is taking place in that industry? It is one of the industries where definite pits and areas have been completely stopped, and they are just the type of workers who will not be unemployed for a month or two months and be able to get work again, but who are likely to be unemployed in huge blocks over long stretches of time.
Every probability points to the fact that instead of the coal miner being better off from the point of view of the 30 contributions rule his position will get even worse. I regret to say that so far as the outlook is concerned these coal mining areas, if they are stopped, are not likely to improve, and that more and more coal miners are likely to be in the unfortunate position of not having 30 stamps on their cards when this Bill comes into operation. I cannot accept the estimate of what will take place. Again we get the extraordinary assumption that unemployment is going to diminish by a great percentage; that we are likely to have at least 25 per cent, less unemployed when this Bill comes into operation than we have to-day. I regret to have to repeat things which have been said before, but it is almost, and I say it without offence, ludicrous to assume that we have any ground at all for stating that in two years' time we shall be able to absorb all the new workers who come into industry every year and in addition be able to absorb 149 200,000 to 250,000 of the present unemployed. There are no grounds at all for such an assumption. If unemployment were diminishing, if things were looking better, I could understand it. Unemployment is not diminishing. On the contrary, the latest figures show that there are 1,120,000 on the register; I am speaking from memory. There are no signs at all that this phenomenal decrease, upon which the 30 contributions have been based, will take place.
Then we have to consider the most favourable thing that the Minister has put before the Committee. He says in his White Paper that, assuming that he gets this almost incomprehensible diminution in unemployment, 56,000 people will still be struck off benefit. What are these people to do if the Minister imposes his 30 contributions rule? The result is inevitable. Who are the people who are to be struck out of benefit? The people who have had so little employment that they have not had 30 weeks' wages. They may have had 30 weeks of part employment, but the most favourable assumption is that in 104 weeks they have drawn wages to some extent in 30 or 30-odd weeks. Those are the people who will be put out of benefit, and I do not need to argue that they are precisely the people who ought not to go out of benefit. They are precisely the people who, in the slang phrase, are down and out, and it is inevitable that this type of people must go to the guardians. The probability is that if we take a wide survey of the 1,000,000 unemployed, there may be 800,000 or 900,000 who would be able to stand a week or two upon what they can get from their friends or in other ways, and not have to go to the guardians. It may be the case that when people are struck off the register, only a limited percentage of them go to the guardians in the first two weeks, but they are just the people who will eventually go to the guardians. We have no figures to lay down definitely, but our common sense tells us that the people who will be struck off benefit by the application of this Clause are precisely the people who are already down and out, and who will have no alternative but to go to the guardians or something worse.
We are entitled to have a plain statement from the Minister as to whether he really intends to carry this Clause and make these people run this risk. I can- 150 not accept as any serious contribution to the Debate the Minister's assumption that, because 26,000 people who are not now getting benefits but are unemployed will get benefit, it in any way helps the 56,000 who, he says, will be struck off. Let me give a homely illustration. If Jack Smith and Bert Robinson living next door to each other, down on their uppers and not knowing what the next week will bring, are refused benefit, what good is it to them to tell them that John Thompson, a young man in the next street, who has been out of work but has been kept by his parents, is to get benefit? How will that help the two poor devils who are down and out? It is the most extraordinary defence we have ever heard. It is in effect this: "You are down and out, but take good hope for the morrow, because, though you may be refused benefit to live on, someone else in the next street who was previously refused benefit, will get it." It is a very poor argument indeed for this Clause.
The Clause means a very black prospect for hundreds of thousands of our people. Assumptions are very good when no one runs a risk if the assumptions are not realised, but in this case the danger is that if the assumption is not realised, not 56,000 but from 200,000 to 250,000 people will be refused benefits just at that time of their lives when benefits to them are absolutely essential. That is the probability based on the present conditions and the present movement on the unemployment market. According to the Actuary's own estimate of the conditions in 1924–1925—they are just as bad to-day—20 per cent, will be refused. Call that 200,000 people. I think the total will be nearer 250,000, with the present development in coal mining and in the heavy trades. But, whatever it is, assuming it to be on the most favourable basis, which is the Minister's basis, can the Committee look with equanimity on a condition of affairs in which 56,000 people will be left to do what they can? Surely the Government has realised what the 30 contributions provision will mean to the districts that have suffered most? If every part of the country had suffered equally, one could understand these mathematically straight lines being drawn, and one could have some sym- 151 pathy if the burden were to be spread equally over the country. But that is not the case.
What is going to happen is that those who have suffered most are to have the biggest burden put on them; those who have been in despair for so long are to have added responsibility, while those who have escaped, through good fortune and not through good management, will be allowed to go on without bearing a tithe of the responsibility. It is bad statesmanship, and is so utterly un-British that I cannot understand it. I could understand the Minister if he said: "I insist on this as a principle, because I want to lay down a definite principle for a system of insurance; but I take powers to deal in a special way with special needs and special localities, so that no locality shall be crushed down further than it ought to go." But we have nothing of that; we have just a plain Bill which inevitably will mean that the so-called distressed areas will become more distressed. I live in a residential area. Is there any reason why I should not bear my real share of the burden of unemployment? This Bill, instead of spreading the responsibility for unemployment, instead of making it more a national charge, as it ought to have done, is making it more and more a local charge. It is really grinding the faces of the poor. It ought not to be done.
I hope that even at this late hour the Minister will be able to say that, whatever there is in the Bill, before it becomes an Act he will take such steps as will prevent the occurrence of the things we fear. His own supporter on the opposite side has painted a picture in what, I think, are too rosy colours. I am painting a picture and I hope I am not painting it in too dark colours, because it can be no credit to the heart of any man if he wants to make party capital out of a difficult problem like this. It is too grave a problem merely to be the shuttlecock of party politics. Those of us who know what those areas have gone through; those of us who are intimately acquainted with the lives of the people who for years have lived on the threshold of anxiety; those of us who feel that the Government are making a 152 profound mistake and that this Bill, if passed into an Act, will bring about a condition of affairs regrettable in the extreme—we hope that, even at this late hour, the Minister will satisfy what I think are the legitimate demands of many Members of this Committee and arrange this Clause in such a way that it will not have those effects which we fear if it is carried in its present form.
§ Mr. LUMLEY
I wish to support my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland (Mr. L. Thompson) in what he has said. The statutory condition with which these Amendments deal, forms, it appears to me, the most important part of the Bill and, therefore, they deserve the most careful consideration from this side of the Committee. If this condition is drawn too loosely the result will be that the Insurance Fund will be burdened with a number of people who ought never to have become a charge upon it, and that burden may cause such a strain as to break down the whole fabric of the scheme. I think it is equally true that, if this condition is drawn too tightly, then many persons who, in the words of the Blanesburgh Report are in the insured field, will be thrown off the Insurance Fund and thrown on to another fund which ought not to be burdened with them any more than the Insurance Fund ought to be burdened with the other class of people which I have just mentioned. Some hon. Members opposite might like to see a state of affairs in which any one who became unemployed would draw benefit from the Insurance Fund without condition. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] At any rate, on this side of the Committee it is our concern to see that all those and only those who are in the insured field should be carried by the Fund.
That, I understand, was the object put forward by the Blanesburgh Report. That is, I believe, the object of the Bill, but some of us on this side who have put our names to the Amendment, beg leave to state that in our opinion there are grave fears that the first statutory condition, if it remains at 30 contributions will have the effect of throwing off the Insurance Fund a large number of people whom we believe to be in the insured field. I appreciate the fact that if you take a survey over the whole of the country and over every industry, the proportion of those who might be ruled out by this 153 condition may not appear unduly large, but our contention is that whatever burden there is—whether it be only the smaller burden which the Minister in the White Paper suggests, or the much larger burden which some of us fear—the whole of that burden, or at any rate a great part of it, will be thrown on to certain distressed areas in which are to be found certain depressed industries. In those industries where the percentage of unemployment is not very large I believe unemployment can be described as of the "in and out" kind, and, it may be, that in those industries there will not be great difficulty in fulfilling this condition as to the 30 contributions. But it is in those other industries, some of which have been mentioned, that we fear the effect of the Clause. In particular I have in mind shipbuilding, while the coal mining industry has already been mentioned. I may be asked, "Which persons in those industries do you think are in the insured field and will be ruled out by this condition?" I produce two arguments which seem to bear on that point. First, I have in mind those people who are able and willing to work but who, because of the depressed state of those particular industries, have found it in the past difficult to obtain employment. We hope it will not be so in the future, but there is no assured prospect that they will find any great amount of work. They are the people who, when a new ship is laid down in the shipyard, or when a coal mine is re-opened, will find work at once. They are not the people sometimes referred to as "unemployables." I do not think this Fund ought to touch that class as they are not an insurable proposition. The people to whom I refer are the people who in the words of the Blanesburgh Report are in the insured field.
There is another argument which I would put to the Minister and in which I ought to have his sympathy. Even if only 30,000 people are ruled out by this condition the great majority will be persons who will be thrown off extended benefit. Why have they been receiving extended benefit? Because of the discretion exercised by the Minister. I am not criticising the manner in which the right hon. Gentleman has exercised that discretion. I believe he has exercised it well, but here we have persons who, in 154 the exercise of his discretion, have been granted extended benefit and on his own admission a great many of them will be thrown out of benefit by this condition. The right hon. Gentleman will not impute to us any desire to embarrass him or to obstruct the passage of the Bill but we honestly fear that this statutory condition, unless amended, will throw out of the Insurance Fund many people who ought to be carried by the Fund, and we feel it all the more because it will have its greatest effect in those areas which are least able to bear it.
I beg of the Minister to consider the matter very carefully. I am afraid the White Paper which he issued did not allay our fears. We based our fears originally upon such investigations as my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland was able to undertake in his area and those fears were not allayed by the White Paper. The figures of that White Paper are based on sample cases taken in the proportion of one case in one hundred. It seems to me a sample taken from such a restricted field produces no satisfactory result and I am certain it cannot indicate the result which will be felt in these depressed areas. I ask my right hon. Friend if it be not possible to allay our fears. It seems to me the only possible means of doing so is to make an exhaustive survey in one or two of these depressed areas where shipbuilding and coal mining are carried on. I ask him if he will have an exhaustive survey made of all the applicants for benefit in such an area, and publish the results for our information before the Report stage of the Bill has been reached. If he would be able to do that—and I cannot see what the objection would be, because if our case is bad, it would show up that it was bad, and if, on the other hand, our case was good, that would be shown equally well—my right hon. Friend would either be able to meet our case, or we would have to take what action we thought best on the Report stage. I beg him to consider that point.
§ Mr. E. BROWN
It must be unique in the history of this Committee to have the four parties in this House agreeing to a single thing. The hon. Member for North Battersea (Mr. Saklatvala), of the Communist party, does not desire 30 contributions, the hon. Members below the Gangway opposite do not desire 30 contri- 155 butions, my hon. Friend the Member for West Willesden (Mr. Viant), of the Labour party, does not want 30 contributions, and my hon. Friends and I, belonging to the Liberal party, do not want them either. We are all agreed that 30 contributions are too much. I do not wish to cover the ground that has been so splendidly covered by the hon. Member for. Sunderland (Mr. L. Thompson), but I would suggest that there is another consideration that ought to be taken into account, and that is that the condition of benefit is one in six, and since 30 contributions are 3½ and 15 contributions 7, I got as near as I could, and thus my Amendment stands at 15.
I want to ask the Committee to consider who the people are who will be affected by this rule of 30 contributions in two years. They will be one of three classes—those now drawing standard benefit when unemployed, who are just on the verge of coming off; those now drawing extended benefit, who will not draw it under the new rule; and those who have not been able to qualify for either standard or extended benefit. They will be people who will have had a bad unemployment experience, who will be genuine men, who will not be in as good a position to make ends meet as a man who has been well employed, who will probably have run out of their trade union benefit, who will have come to the end of their savings, who will have sold or pawned such furniture or other possessions as they can get rid of, and yet whose needs remain the same. If they are in the 56,000 described in the White Paper, they will go off the insurance field and on to the Poor Law. That is a point of very great urgency from the point of view of the distressed areas. The Departmental view of the Ministry of Labour and that of the Ministry of Health or the Scottish Board of Health, dealing with the Poor Law, are diametrically opposed. It may be that the Poor Law authorities stress the thing too gloomily, but those of us who represent these areas are quite sure, as is the hon. Member for Sunderland, that the Ministry of Labour stress the thing much too lightly.
Our difficulty is about the analysis. I tried during the week-end to get a picture 156 of Birmingham, because the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Labour holds a Birmingham seat. Birmingham has at the moment an average of 7 per cent., and I tried to get an idea as to what the percentage was in Saltley, but I could not get the figures, because they are only grouped in trades, not in districts. The returns are not dissected locally, but in London, and, therefore, I could not get information of that kind, but I want to press again the point that I put on Second Reading and to back up the hon. Member for East Hull (Mr. Lumley) in his appeal for an examination of these areas. It can quite easily be done. The books are all at Kew, and if selections were taken from these areas and examination made of three books covering a period of two years, we could get exact figures instead of figures based on what I can only call a flimsy analysis. If we require such things as physique, or physical defects, or the average age on leaving school, or the age of commencing work, we can get a very good average over the whole field from an analysis of claims in 1 per cent, of the cases, but when other factors come in, such as the great mal-distribution between one area and another and the extraordinary lack of positive information as to the probable trend of unemployment, an analysis of 1 per cent, of the claims is not adequate. I am fortified in that view by quotations from the evidence. Sir James Curtis, in Question 120, asked Mr. Price:You have no figures which would show the numbers of cases that are in receipt of extended benefit and Poor Law relief at the same time?Those are just the cases that come under this rule, and the answer was:I know that in a 1 per cent, analysis of sample cases taken in November, 1924, samples chosen carefully so as to give a good picture of the whole, the number of people receiving benefit and Poor Law relief concurrently was 4.7 per cent, of the sample.Immediately a Member of the Committee, a very distinguished shipowner in Liverpool, Mr. Laurence Holt, countered that with this statement:I have had the figures taken out for the area covered by Liverpool and Bootle. In October there were 44,763 unemployed adult males drawing benefit registered at the Exchange, and the number of contributors to the fund reported by the West Derby Union, which covers both areas, as 157 receiving relief for the same period is 8,084 —that is, 18 per cent. That includes men only.Mr. Holt went on to say:It wants a very much closer scrutiny of the whole subject, but I had those figures taken out with a view particularly to this mention in your Report of 4.7 per cent.I suggest that the Minister ought to meet the Committee on this point. If he does not see his way to go as low as the hon. Member for North Battersea would have him go, namely, down to five contributions, or as low as I want him to go, namely, down to 15, at least 20, the figure of the hon. Member for West Willesden, is a reasonable compromise to meet the practical fears of those who represent these districts. I suggest to the Minister that it is unwise to place too much reliance on his figures, which are admittedly based on a test sample case. They are supposed to be selected as being representative, but it must be impossible to make representative figures over the whole field, seeing that nearly half the unemployment register are in two distinct blocks of the country, namely, the coal-mining areas and the areas mainly concerned with the export trade, that these claims are small in number, that they are taken over a limited period of time, and that they are quite opposed to the sober calculations made by the Actuary.
I suggest that we have to take into account four facts that have emerged during the discussion in the past fortnight—the figures produced by the Minister about Poor Law, the 13.5 per cent, that he gave us, the net 30,000 that we have in the White Paper, and the 200,000 given us by the actuary; and I suggest that if the Committee follow the line of the hon. Member for Sunderland and draw the conclusion that the figure is likely to be nearer 100,000 than 56,000, the Committee will not be erring on the optimistic side, and that this is a very powerful argument for a limitation of the number of contributions in two years. I would like also to point out to the Minister that the question of extended benefit is a very difficult one, because when men fail to draw their extended benefit they go straight on to the boards of guardians in English areas and on to the parish councils in Scottish areas. There was very interesting evidence given about this also.
§ Mr. BROWN
No. I am seeking to reinforce the point about the 30 contributions, because the point at issue is that, owing to this test, men will not be able to qualify for the standard benefit, and therefore they will have no other option but to go on to the Poor Law. I suggest it is quite germane. It is the same argument in another connection. From whatever point of view we touch this Bill, we are bound to come back to necessitous areas. The men are there. More than that, the industries themselves are burdened, for, not merely have they to pay a heavy insurance rate for their insurance stamps, but an additional burden of rates because men are driven off statutory benefit. I think it is particularly germane to the argument that, if you rely merely on this one test of 30 contributions, and if our fears and not the optimistic estimates of the White Paper are realised, then this Committee will have done a serious injustice to every industrialist and every administrator of the Poor Law and to every ratepayer in those areas because the test is too stringent for these men to meet. In my judgment, 15 would be a fair figure, and, if the Minister stands by his White Paper and tells us he thinks only 30,000 will come off, I say that again is an argument in favour of lowering the test, because, if it be true that the numbers affected are so small, there can be little harm in lowering the number of stamps from 30 to 15.
§ Mr. R. HUDSON
I have been endeavouring during the week-end, like the hon. Member for Leith (Mr. E. Brown), to see whether there is any explanation of the figures given in the White Paper that would account for what seems to me and to my hon. Friend an evident miscalculation. I think the explanation must be that the percentages have been worked out without adequate weighting, and that this 30 contributions rule will have an effect that is not apparent from the White Paper. If the unemployment in a certain industry be 25 per cent, and in another 3 per cent., the average is not half 25 plus 3. Let us assume for the purpose of argument that the forecast is right, and that the average 159 rate of unemployment for the whole of the industry of the country will in fact be as stated in the White Paper, it will still, in my submission, remain true that you cannot apply that percentage to the conditions that would exist in the individual depressed areas.
You have in the mining areas such as I represent definite blocks of population, and they are not affected in the main by the decrease in the average rate of unemployment. It is much more likely, unfortunately, that the average rate in these small blocks of population will, in ill-placed areas like my own, continue to increase rather than decrease. If that prediction comes true, although the general rate taken over the whole country may have decreased, in these particular areas you will have a much greater proportion of the total unemployed. Out of an imaginary 50,000, there will very likely be 10,000 or 12,000 who will fail to satisfy the 30 contributions rule. I hope the Minister will be able to dispel our fears. No one would be happier than I and my hon. Friends, and I hope also hon. Members opposite. But it does seem to me that where you have a large body of persons such as the miners, amounting to one-eleventh of the whole insured population, you cannot say that they will only contribute one-eleventh of the 56,000 persons who according to the White Paper will be thrown off benefit as the result of the 30 contributions rule. Taking the country as a whole, and admitting for the sake of argument that the other ten-elevenths will provide 50,000 out of the 56,000, I am very much afraid that the remaining one-eleventh of insured population will contribute not 6,000 but nearer 50,000 from the one industry alone.
I would like to emphasise the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for East Hull (Mr. Lumley) that these men very largely are not in the unemployable class. I can quote instances from my own constituency of mines that opened for a short time and closed down again. They are the border-line cases. These men sometimes get a month or two months' work in a year, and then the mine may again close down for a more or less indefinite period. Out of a battery of three blast furnaces, two may run for a year, a third may then be blown in and again after a certain time be damped 160 down. The men thus temporarily employed are surely in the insured field. It cannot be said that these men will never tie employed again, because it is idle to say that the mine will never open again. There may be certain areas where, as tar as we know, none of the mines will open again as they are all abandoned; in respect of the men concerned even five contributions would be too much. These are extreme cases, but there are still, in my submission many areas where unemployment is rife, where men only get a very small amount of work in the year. The fact that they are on extended benefit proves that in the opinion of the Minister himself they are not only employable but genuinely seeking work. These are the people whom we fear—and we hope that the Minister will dispel our fears—will be turned off benefit under this rigid rule applying to the whole country. It will rule out entirely these people in distressed areas where you have small blocks of population dependent on one industry and where that industry has suffered severely from unemployment. I venture to hope that I have not been out of order and that the Minister will be able to dispel these quite legitimate fears which we entertain on this matter.
§ Mr. SEXTON
It is only by accident that I intervene in this Debate. I will be as brief as possible, because I want to call the Minister's attention to the fact that I have an Amendment down to Clause 9, which, if accepted by him will clear away all my difficulties in respect of the men for whom I am pleading. It is to the question of casually-employed labour that I wish to call attention. I am not going to speak on the question of the general application of unemployed insurance because that has been so ably dealt with by hon. Members on this side of the Committee. I want to reserve myself entirely for the case of the bottom dog or, as I call him, the industrial Lazarus, the man to whom it was never intended that any such legislation should extend. This legislation was originally passed on the assumption of constant employment or employment under a single employer and was never intended to embrace men employed by three or more employers. It is for those men that I want to appeal. I hope the Parliamentary Secretary, in the absence of his colleague, will pay close attention to what I have to say.
161 I understand that under the existing Act there are two periods, the statutory period of 26 weeks or 156 days and the extended benefit period. I quite agree, and I have admitted before, that owing to the peculiar nature of the employment of casual dock labour these men benefit more advantageously under the unemployment insurance than the ordinary man. I am quite willing to admit that, in the bulk, we get, perhaps, a little more than the ordinary workman does owing to the nature of our employment, but, if this Bill comes into operation, all the advantages, with a lot of disadvantages added, will fall to our lot. Let me put it this way to show how it affects us. I have in my hands evidence—not my own evidence, but evidence compiled by the Minister's own Department. Reference has been made to the Liverpool shippers, who happened to be the joint authors of this scheme, known as the Mersey Docks Clearing House, which we established in 1912.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I cannot help thinking that the hon. Member is now making his case for his Amendment to Clause 9, which, I may tell him, is in order, though I had had some doubts as to whether it required a new Clause. I cannot help thinking that he had better make his case then.
§ Mr. SEXTON
I am much obliged. That will help me considerably, and perhaps ease the burden of oratory on the Committee. I want to quote a few figures to show how these 20 or 30 weeks will affect some of the men I have mentioned. These figures are taken from the Clearing House, and they show that from 10th October until 14th November tallies bad been issued by the Minister of Labour to the extent of 20,400, the number of men paid being 14,251, and on the average over these few months 64 per cent, of the men holding Ministry of Labour tallies only were employed, leaving a percentage of unemployed of 36 in the Mersey district alone. The conditions in the Mersey district are similar to those in every seaport in the country. You may apply it to London, Bristol, Glasgow, and elswhere, for the same thing applies. The bulk of these men were drawing either statutory benefit or extended benefit, and they will go on drawing that until this Bill becomes an Act. I understand that the provisions 162 of the Bill lay it down that, at the beginning of the operation of the Act, a man has to show 30 stamps within a period of the last two years—not two years to come. How is it possible for a man in this position—in the ports of this country, where 36 per cent, of the men are unemployed and on extended benefits —to qualify? If this is to be taken as any criterion the 36 per cent, of men who are now enjoying these benefits in the shipping industry will be totally disqualified under the provisions of the Act.
As a, matter of fact, I do not think the Minister himself foresees the mischief that this is going to create. If the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues will carefully consider the matter and give me some assurance—because, after all, the only way out of the difficulty is to remove this element which was never intended and which has caused confusion from the beginning of the Act up to now—as to the possibility of this Amendment being considered, it will save the Committee from any further infliction from me on the question of casual labour.
§ Mr. HARMSWORTH
When the Government have followed the Blanesburgh Report, hon. Members have immediately attacked it, and, whenever they have failed to follow that Report, hon. Members have attacked them in just the same way, but they put this one proviso: Why on earth do not the Government follow the Blanesburgh Report? I have followed this Debate pretty closely ever since the Bill entered the Committee stage, and I have heard a great many speeches from the benches opposite, and there is no question that, whether the Government had brought in the Bill following the Blanesburgh Report or had brought in the Bill on their own, it would have received exactly the same number of attacks from hon. Members opposite. The matter we are discussing now is the crux of the whole Bill. The Minister has based his Bill on actuarial calculations. That may be right or wrong, but if any Amendment be carried reducing the rate of contributions it will unquestionably wreck the whole of the actuarial calculations of the Bill.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I ought to point out that it is not the rate of contributions we are discussing now, but the number of contributions.
§ Mr. HARMSWORTH
I apologise, I meant the number of contributions. If we reduce the number of contributions, the whole of the actuarial calculations on which the Bill has been built up must be destroyed. We have had speeches from the Opposition and speeches from hon. Members on this side criticising the Minister and the Bill. They seem to differ to some extent as to what type of men they are—56,000, I think, is the number— who will be put outside the scope of the Bill under this Clause. My hon. Friend the Member for East Hull (Mr. Lumley) and the Member for Whitehaven (Mr. R. Hudson) have suggested that they will be men who are genuinely unemployed and who, though they have been working in the last two years, will be prevented from getting benefit. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Preston (Mr. T. Shaw) and those behind him have taken an entirely different line. They say, "No, the 56,000 men who are going to be put out of benefit under this Clause will be those who are down and outs, those who are unemployable."
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Member, but my right hon. Friend never said any such thing. It is putting words into his mouth which he never used.
§ Mr. HARMSWORTH
The words he used were "down and outs," and I took those words to mean that he was referring to men who have been unemployed for so long that they have reached the category of being almost described as unemployable. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] If that remark is offensive to hon. Members opposite I will leave it at "down and outs," as to which there can be no question of what he said. If these people whom my right hon. Friend described as "down and outs" are in this insurance scheme, it seems to me we are including a number of people who never should have been and should not now be included in any national scheme of unemployment insurance.
§ Mr. HARMSWORTH
It may be they ought to be included in some scheme to do with relief under the Poor Law; but that is a totally different problem. It may be that at the moment we badly need 164 a Bill to be brought forward by the Minister of Health for the reform of the Poor Law, and it is possible that this point should be dealt with under that Bill. If we are to have an unemployment insurance scheme in the real sense of the word, we ought to avoid including in that scheme people who very probably during the coming years—[Interruption]—unless, of course, the country enters upon a great trade revival, in which case it will not much matter what speeches are made in this House. If that is not to be the case, I do think that those people who are described as "down and outs" ought not to be included in an unemployment insurance scheme but ought to be dealt with in another Bill. [Interruption.]
§ Mr. HARMSWORTH
A great deal has been said about the distressed areas, and arguments have been advanced that men will be put upon the rates. The White Paper shows that up to date that has not been the case. The White Paper produced by the Ministry of Labour proves that at the present moment the number of people in receipt of Poor Law relief is being reduced. [HON. MEMBERS: No!"] That may not be the case in future, because I entirely agree that it is impossible to prophesy what will happen in regard to unemployment in the next six months, or even in the next three months; but the argument of the right hon. Member for Preston that because it is impossible to prophesy as to the future the Minister of Labour ought not to have brought forward any Bill of this kind means, surely, that in the present circumstances he thinks it is impossible for us to deal with the situation at all. The Minister has brought in his Bill believing that unemployment will probably remain much as it is to-day, perhaps with a slight improvement; and if he had the belief that during the next 12 months unemployment would go back to the figure of 1,500,000, surely no Bill could have been brought forward which had any actuarial calculations behind it at all.
I think the most important subject the Minister has to consider is the position of the distressed areas, and I agree with those of my hon. Friends who say that those areas will be badly hit. They are hit in the present scheme because the 165 employers, who have to pay a substantial proportion of the unemployment insurance contributions, are directly affected by the levy which is made upon them under the scheme, and if the men have to go on the rates we complete the vicious circle, because the industries there will have a heavier burden of rates, and unfortunately it is in the distressed areas that rates are already highest. I do not, however, see that that is any argument against the right hon. Gentleman's Bill. We need an entirely different scheme to deal with that problem. I would urge on the Minister that he should stick to the proposals in his Bill and not, as I have seen other Ministers of Labour do before him, agree to Amendments which will obviously upset all possibilities of the scheme working out properly. I suggest the scheme should be given a chance, and I hope he will accept no Amendment upon this Clause, even though at some future time it may be found necessary for this Clause to be altered or for another Insurance Bill to be brought forward. I do not believe that this will be the last Unemployment Insurance Bill, but unless this Bill is left on some practical basis I do not see what chance any unemployment insurance scheme can nave in this country.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
The speech to which we have just listened is proof that no permanent Bill ought to have been introduced at this time. I think that is a fair conclusion to draw from the speech of the hon. Member. It is, of course, very easy for him, in the secure fastnesses of the Isle of Thanet, to deal with great levity with the question of distressed areas. He has little experience of them, or he would not treat this subject in that rather superficial manner.
§ Mr. HARMSWORTH
Does my hon. Friend suggest that we should deal with this subject from the point of view of how many votes we are going to get at the next election?
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
What I am trying to show is that the hon. Gentleman, among the amenities of the Isle of Thanet, 166 has learned nothing whatever about distressed areas, and is therefore not in a position to speak about them.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
At least, he dealt with the problem superficially. As I understood his proposal, it was this, that the people in the distressed areas can go to the Poor Law. That is really what he says. I would prefer to put against the strictures we have had to-night the speeches of the hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. L. Thompson), the hon. Member for East Hull (Mr. Lumley), and the hon. Member for Whitehaven (Mr. B. Hudson). All these speakers were a little perturbed about the provision under discussion that requires 30 stamps during the previous two years as a qualification under the Bill. They are perturbed because of the effect of the operation of the Bill, on the admission of the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Labour, as to the number of disqualified people who to-day are qualified to receive benefits. This Measure is really an Unemployed Persons Disqualification Bill, and it is not an insurance Bill at all. The net effect of this Bill will be to add to the number of people who are already disqualified from receiving benefit.
The Minister of Labour has admitted that in his White Paper in which he shows that the net figure will be 30,000 additional persons who will be disqualified. As my right hon. Friend pointed out, that figure was arrived at by making an estimate of 56,000 in regard to those who would be struck off and 26,000 who would be put on by the operation of this Bill. The effect of this Bill, on the right hon. Gentleman's own admission, is that 56,000 additional to the people disqualified to-day would be disqualified under this Bill. Therefore, on the estimate of the Minister of Labour probably 150,000 persons will suffer in consequence of the passing of this Measure. There is nobody in this House who has paid attention to the White Paper who believes that that figure is accurate. If it be true that a 1 per cent, gives the right result, what falsifies this White Paper is that the Minister of Labour, on those figures, has made three assumptions; and 167 if one of them is wrong then the whole case falls to the ground. The first assumption is the most extraordinary that was ever made in any White Paper issued by any Government Department. It is that iii the past two years, if it had not been for the coal stoppage last year, unemployment in the coal mines would have been no higher than unemployment in the rest of the industries of this country.
The right hon. Gentleman only needs to look at his own return to show that that assumption is utterly fantastic, and, if that falls to the ground, then we do not need to consider the other two assumptions, because the case put forward by the right hon. Gentleman has been destroyed. As a matter of fact, we are faced with perhaps the 20 per cent. disqualification suggested by the Government Actuary, and it may be something over the 30,000 suggested by the Minister of Labour. The truth is that when this Bill begins to operate a considerable number of persons and their dependants will be deprived of benefit. That is the first conclusion upon which we are all agreed. These persons will have dependants, and the number of people who are going to be adversely affected by the Bill is much larger than the 30,000 suggested by the Minister of Labour. As was pointed out by the hon. Member for White haven, you cannot take an average figure. The position to-day is that if you go to certain towns you may find an unemployment figure of 1 per cent., but if you go to districts in South Wales you may find the unemployment figure over 70 per cent. In the coal-mining, shipbuilding, or the iron and steel industries you will find in all those districts a rate of unemployment which is substantially higher than the average. It may well be that in a year or two the national figure for unemployment will remain steady, or it may be slightly reduced owing to the fact that those industries are developing in the South of England where unemployment is very low. Those industries may be so prosperous as to mask the fact that unemployment in those districts which are troubling us so much to-day is really higher at the present time.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
It is no good repeating that argument about safeguarding because you cannot safeguard the coal mining and shipping industries.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
You may reduce the national average for unemployment to the figures given by the Minister of Labour, and you may still be faced with the fact that in some of the basic industries unemployment is higher than the national average. As a matter of fact you are faced to-day with a certain state of things in some of our important staple industries in which unemployment is very much above the average, and where there is very little immediate prospect of the percentage decreasing. Therefore we have what is really a new problem, and we can see it month by month in the return of the Ministry of Labour. In the most recent returns you will find a group of industries where the unemployment percentage varies from 19 in the coal mining industry to 25 per cent, or more in the case of the tinplate industry. There you have a very important group of industries where unemployment is more than double the average of the country. At the other end of the scale you have the printing and paper industry, and the electrical and motoring industry, in which there is a percentage of unemployment less than the national unemployment figure.
What I wish to impress upon the Committee is that all these figures about the percentage in 1920 are really beside the point, and, unless it can be shown that the metal, shipbuilding, coal mining and similar depressed industries are going to improve, clearly this Bill is not going to work, and the assumptions of the Minister of Labour are going to be falsified. We are now dealing with an entirely new problem, and it is one with which this Measure which has been designed to deal with a permanent situation cannot possibly deal. Evidence was given before the Blanesburgh Committee stressing this particular point, and it was submitted by an officer of the Ministry of Labour who gave a number of trades, showing that at the time the evidence was given three times as many people were receiving extended benefit as were receiving standard benefit. Evidence was submitted which went to show that in certain parts of the country, judging by the reports of 169 the Ministry's official on the spot, the situation was such that workers would not be employed unless new industries were established, and in other cases that people were very unlikely to be reemployed in their existing trades; and showing that a number of perfectly genuinely unemployed workers were building up an adverse balance of stamps against themselves which there was no reasonable prospect of their ever being able to reduce. It is not merely that the Minister of Labour's own representatives pointed to the existence of these stagnant pools of labour.
The point was strongly emphasised before the Blanesburgh Committee in the evidence which was submitted by the National Confederation of Employers' Organisations. They were perturbed about the fact, which has been emphasised in this Committee to-day, and their view, as submitted in their Memorandum, was that this problem of unemployment insurance could not be dealt with by itself, that, because of the industrial situation, it could only be dealt with in relation to the reorganisation of the whole system of public assistance; and when a question was put to the official representative of the employers asking whether, if there were, say, half a million workers out of employment who were not eligible for standard benefit, they were to be left to make the best of things, the reply of the representative of the employers was that they would not expect people who were ineligible for unemployment insurance to fend for themselves Even they realised that there was a situation which, if it were not dealt with by the Unemployment Insurance Bill, ought not to be left without any kind of solution at all. They went on to say—and T refer to this because in this discussion it is a very important point:We see the utmost difficulty in either considering or formulating constructive views on that problem without first-hand knowledge as to what are the proposals of the Minister of Health.That is the point to which we come. The right hon. Gentleman is proposing, on his own admission, to throw off the Unemployment Insurance Fund 30,000 people and their dependants, and we, in common with the National Confederation of Employers' Organisations, would like to know what the Minister of Health pro- 170 poses to do about it. Is this matter going to be left as it is at the present time—
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Gentleman is getting a good deal away from the Amendment. What he is now saying would be more appropriate to a general Debate.
§ 10.0 p.m.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
Our difficulty on the Second Reading was that the right hon. Gentleman gave us no figures to indicate how many people were going to be disqualified. We have only learned that since the Committee stage began, and, although I attempted to raise the question earlier, I was told to wait until Clause 5 was under discussion. I do not want to press the point unduly, but it is a very serious situation. The right hon. Gentleman throws people out of benefit on the one hand, and we have not any idea that the Minister of Health means to change his policy on the other; and his policy, as we have understood it latterly, judging by the available information, is to get rid of people from the Poor Law. This means that the unemployed are going to be left, as the result of this Bill, with no kind of public assistance at all, notwithstanding the very strongly expressed opinion of the representative organisation of employers in this country that the unemployed ought not to be left to fend for themselves. What will certainly happen, as a result of this disqualification of a very considerable number of people., will be an increase of vagrancy. It will increase the numbers of people who are already tramping about the country in search of work. The last report published by the Ministry of Health showed that a considerable number of unions in the West Riding of Yorkshire were having to enlarge their accommodation for casuals and vagrants who were travelling about the country, and the effect of the right hon. Gentleman's Bill is going to be to increase the strain upon the boards of guardians to provide for vagrants. In addition, of course, it will increase the strain upon the resources of board's of guardians to provide for that very large number of people in the aggregate who are being deprived of unemployment benefit. What does that mean? It means that in those industrial areas on which the real prosperity of this country depends the burden 171 of the rates is going to be substantially increased. What is the situation to-day? In the distressed districts, to which reference has been made by hon. Members, the debt of the boards of guardians at present amounts to £10,000,000. The great proportion of that burden is a direct burden on industry. If you take Easington, a mining area with a debt—
§ The CHAIRMAN
I do not think it is possible to go into the question of depressed areas on this Amendment. The hon. Gentleman was perfectly in order in disputing the figures showing that so many thousands or hundreds of thousands were being thrown on the rates by these proposals, but to go into the question of individual rating areas and the burden upon them would be going altogether too far.
§ Miss LAWRENCE
Is it not in order to show that the throwing of so many persons out of unemployment insurance will increase unemployment itself? Where else can we deal with that point?
§ The CHAIRMAN
That is quite in order, but the hon. Gentleman was proceeding to state the present rates in particular areas—the Poor Rate and so on. It seems to me that the whole question of the incidence of rates throughout local government might arise if that were pursued.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
The point was made on the Second Reading that the effect of this Bill will be to destroy, or at least to hamper, the possibilities of industry by throwing new burdens upon local authorities. That point has been made, I think, from all quarters of the House, and my submission is that the effect of the Bill will be to increase very substantially the already heavy burdens upon those depressed areas, and, therefore, to limit the possibilities of further employment. I am glad that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health is here, and I wish the Minister were here as well. We are in this position to-day, that by the act of the Minister an admitted 56,000 persons are going to be deprived of benefit in addition to the number of persons at present disqualified. Those persons are passing out of the ken of the House of Commons. So long as they are in receipt of unemployment benefit or may 172 become eligible for unemployment benefit, they are living under conditions determined by the House of Commons. But once you deprive by law 56,000 persons of the right to unemployment benefit, you are casting them into outer darkness; you are putting them into a position where the House of Commons has no authority, where the Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary can intervene or not as they like; and to-day the whole tendency of the policy is to diminish the rates of out-relief, to restrict the numbers of people who are receiving out-relief, and the House of Commons is not in an effective position to challenge that situation. I submit that the effect of this 30-stamps qualification will be to increase the number of unemployed for whom no provision is made under the Acts, far beyond the estimate of the right hon. Gentleman; that, as a consequence of what will follow, those people will be driven to the boards of guardians, the already enormous burdens on our industrial areas will increase, the prospects of trade revival will be further removed, and these 56,000 persons—or more, as I believe—and their dependants will be left to the tender mercies of boards of guardians, who are only too anxious in most cases to economise when they are asked to do so by the Minister of Health.
That is a situation which I think is intolerable. If this Bill were to cast off one more person than those who are today not receiving benefit I should vote against it on every occasion. After these seven years of trade depression, with no prospect before us of improvement, as the right hon. Gentleman himself admitted, to introduce a Measure which by this provision disqualifies more people than most of us represent as constituents is utterly indefensible. The view that has been expressed by Members of all parties that a qualification of 30 contributions in two years is excessive and ought to be reduced is one that the Minister might notice. We have had reasoned speeches from hon. Members opposite on the effect of the 30-contributions qualification. when We have had it put in the vast majority of the speeches that have been made, and I should hope the right hon. Gentleman will pause before he insists on carrying this 30-contributions qualification when 173 he knows that it means the disqualification of a large number of people and driving them upon the mercies of the boards of guardians.
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
The hon. Gentleman has drawn a very lurid picture of the future. I was cautious on the Second Beading, and I said, not that there was no prospect of improvement, but that I thought things were improving, and I still think so. The way the hon. Gentleman wishes to ward off this lurid prospect is by taking this attitude, which is a very easy one to assume. You must bring in your Insurance Bill before you bring in a Poor Law Bill. If we had brought in a Poor Law Bill, I have not the least doubt the same hon. Gentleman would have said, "You must not bring in your Poor Law Bill before you bring in your Insurance Bill."
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
Therefore, the hon. Gentleman is one of those happy Conservatives who would sooner do nothing, to use the description recently given by an hon. Member for Lancashire. What is the fact with regard to the 30 contributions? It is practically admitted on all sides of the Committee that an automatic test of some kind is wanted in an insurance scheme. That, I think, has been admitted by Members of many different shades of opinion, and the question arises what the number of contributions ought to be. What ought to be the object of this test? I think the answer is really quite simple. It is that, in the first place, it should cover the great mass of normal unemployment. There will always be exceptional features under any system. There can be no general law under which quite exceptional cases do not occur. I would go further and say that if you frame your legislation to meet exceptional cases it will not be good legislation because exceptional cases must make bad law.
The condition in regard to contributions should be wide enough to cover the great mass of unemployment. On the other hand, it should prevent the unemployment insurance scheme becoming a dole or pension fund. I do not wish for a moment to shelter myself behind the Blanesburgh Report. I agree with their recommendation, but when you 174 have had a body of people of all shades of opinion, all people of ability, engaged in investigating this subject for so many months, then, if they produce what they consider a proper test, it is worthy of very careful consideration, especially in view of the fact that, despite the difference in their opinions, they have produced a unanimous recommendation. Their conclusion with regard to it is this:After very careful consideration we have agreed upon the conclusion set out above. Some automatic test of recent contributions is necessary to ensure that the benefits are limited to contributions or, in other words, to persons in the insured field. We believe the arrangement we propose will enable benefit to be paid to all who can fairly be said to be genuinely unemployed.They go on again to point out the character that I think ought to apply to the test that is imposed, namely, that on the one hand it should not be too harsh or severe, and, on the other hand, that it ought not to be too lax. They point out, in successive paragraphs, 75 and 76, that on the one hand after investigation they do not consider it too severe, and on the other that they do not consider it too lax. Their conclusion is that 30 contributions is the right number. I also have another advocate for the 30 contributions test, and again, it is my predecessor. When I referred to him as being the author of "genuinely seeking work" as a condition for standard benefit, he said that he had changed his mind since then. I am not certain whether he has changed his mind about this. If he is always changing his mind on the most important matters, we cannot attach quite so much weight to his criticism. I will give the right hon. Gentleman's words in Committee on his Bill:Obviously, the first thing which I have to do is to see that the people who are paid are genuine workers for fair wages in an insured trade normally. There must be a certain amount of work done in order to prove that. … Thirty contributions shall be the condition on which benefits shall be drawn normally. That is my guarantee, that the person drawing the benefit is a genuine, unemployed person, who has proved, in a certain period, by a certain amount of work, that he is the genuine person whom I assume him to be and whom I desire him to be for the drawing of benefit."—[OFFICIAL REPORT (Standing Committee D), 19th June, 1924; col. 1827.]I am willing further to give my own reasons, but I appeal to this Committee to pay some attention also to the mature judgment of the Blanesburgh Committee.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
Will the right hon. Gentleman say where the Government's date for these 30 contributions is stated?
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
Certainly, I am just going to deal with that question for a moment, and also with the right hon. Gentleman's opinion with regard to the date as well. It is also very illuminating. But I would appeal to the Committee to realise that, in the first place, it was the mature opinion of the Blanesburgh Committee, and in the second place it was apparently the responsible opinion of the late Minister of Labour when he was in a position of less freedom but of greater responsibility. I come to the question of why April, 1929, why a date, and what date? I think I caught one phrase of the hon. Member who has just spoken that it was beside the point to calculate what the position would be in April, 1929. I am not sure whether he really meant that it was beside the point. At any rate, I think it is most material, because that is the date on which we propose that the 30 contributions rule shall begin to operate. With regard to the points raised by the right hon. Gentleman my predecessor, he accused us of a mass of contradictory statements, and statements that could not be supported, with regard to what we thought to be the state of affairs. He characterised—if I took him, down rightly—as ridiculous the idea that unemployment could at any time in the future come back to the cycle of 6 per cent.
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
I withdraw at once, if the right hon. Gentleman did not do that. I am glad to think that I have found a supporter of the possibility of a 6 per cent, cycle, and I ask the Committee to note it. But as regards our belief, which is my own belief, that the figure may quite well be 8 per cent, during the year that begins in April, 1929, and then a reduction of unemployment to that figure is quite possible, likely, and probable, I will gladly give the hon. Member my reasons. To start with, from the time that we really began to recover from the immediate though not the lasting effects of the coal strike up till now—[HON. MEMBERS: "Lock-out!"]. I seem to have made the 176 same mistake as one or two hon. Members opposite have made, but I will correct it and call it "coal dispute." From April onwards up till now the rate of unemployment has barely been 9¼. The position is, as a matter of fact, and I say this advisedly, steadily improving. The right hon. Gentleman said to me: "Is it not true that the figures have risen to 1,120,000?" Of course, it is true, as if the right hon. Gentleman himself did not know, or, if he did not know, ought to have known, there has always been a seasonal rise of some kind from summer, which is the best time of the year, up to about the end of November, before the Christmas trade begins. He knows it. It has been so regularly. The only difference between this year and other years—the year for which he was responsible—is that the rise of unemployment in this year has been 100,000 less than it was in 1924. As I have said, and as the right hon. Member knows perfectly well, there is a regular seasonal variation in employment, and consequently no one can lay stress on there being a rise in the autumn.
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
About 100,000 more than at the present time. The present month is not finished, but I can give the right hon. Gentleman the exact figures for October, later. He then told us that as regards the coal mines the unemployment is actually becoming worse rather than better.
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
I do not wish to argue with the right hon. Gentleman, who now shakes his head; but if he will read his own speech in the OFFICIAL REPORT to-morrow, he will see.
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
I do not wish to stress this point in regard to 177 coal mining, but if you compare the present 18 months with the peak of unemployment in the coal industry reached in July and the number of men who were completely out of employment during the period from May to very nearly the end of last year it is, I think, hardly credible that the position will be very substantially better.
I would point out that April, 1929, is the period at which, from all the signs, we shall be getting over the last abnormalities which were due to the troubles of the War. Towards that period in 1929 we shall, I trust, be getting clear. That is the reason why in this Bill 19th April is proposed as the date on which the 30 contributions condition should begin to run. I do not share the apprehensions of the hon. Members who have spoken on this side of the House or the other side as to the effect being so great even in the hard pressed constituencies as they imagine. If, as I pointed out the other day, our expectations are not realised, it will be perfectly possible to deal with the situation before that time arrives in 1929. I have available now the figures for which the right hon. Member asked with regard to the unemployment figures. The latest figures for the week are: 1927, 14th November, 1,125,000; 1924, 10th November, 1,218,000. In other words, at the present time the figure is 93,000 less—
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
It is 93,000 less than it was in 1924. Let me return to the point with which I was dealing. I quite purposely and deliberately asked for this interval before the beginning of the 30 contribution test in order that if there should be any upset in our expectations there should be time to reconsider and to modify our proposals in the light of what may take place between now and then. I frankly say that I do not expect it, but at the same time the possibility is there.
§ Mr. L. THOMPSON
Would the right hon. Gentleman be prepared to introduce fresh legislation or accept some amendment to his discretionary powers?
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
I certainly would not accept any amendment or any discretionary powers. I have said 178 quite clearly that it is left within the power of the Government to deal with the situation again before the condition comes into force. The Government of the day has that power; but it does not always use it in the same way. Let me point out the comparison once again, as hon. Members opposite cheer that statement so enthusiastically. My right hon. Friend opposite took quite a different line. He set up the 30 contributions rule, as I have explained before, but instead of it beginning in 18 months he took power to waive it until October of the following year. The right hon. Gentleman made a definite declaration. He said that he would refuse to allow it to be reconsidered within three years. In other words, he was not prepared to have it reconsidered at the end of this period of waiver; he was going to have it brought into force in full without any possibility of reconsideration. Let me give his exact words:I am prepared to accept the idea that at the end of three years the whole thing shall come under review, but to begin to do this next year when the circumstances might not have changed, or to begin even the year after, might be too soon. After a period of three years, however, we shall have had some experience of the operation of these proposals."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, (Standing Committee D), 5th June, 1924; col. 1767.]Do not let anyone run away with the idea that the right hon. Gentleman was himself expecting that at the end of that period of waiver unemployment would have sunk considerably. On the contrary, he gave it as his estimate that in June, 1926, while this 30 contributions rule was to have been in operation—let me put it this way, that he based his Bill on a register of 1,100,000 unemployed, and throughout the currency of that period he estimated that there would be a million people on the register. Let me read his own words:I estimate that at the end of the deficiency period in June, 1926;, there will be a million people on the register.I ask the Committee to note that I leave a possibility of the position being reconsidered. The right hon. Gentleman opposite instituted the same test of 30 contributions as being the test that a person was a genuine worker, but he would not allow anything to come in the way of a complete operation of that test, and at the same time he looked 179 forward to a live register of unemployed of between 1,100,000 and 1,000,000 people. The right hon. Gentleman, quite deliberately, set up a condition which would operate more strictly than the one I am now proposing. Let me deal, lastly, with the criticisms which have been passed by the right hon. Gentleman and the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Greenwood) on the figures that have been included in the White Paper. The right hon. Gentleman talked about the contradictory statements in the figures given by the Minister and those given by the actuary. We came to our figure, of 56,000 before deducting the set-off. I ask the right hon. Gentleman, does he think that that conflicts with the actuary's statement or not?
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
Let us take the actuary's statement. Perhaps the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne will give me his attention, and I may get also his help, for he said that my figures were not worthy of a kindergarten. To that he now says, "Hear, hear!" On the opposite side of the House they state that the results of the White Paper and of the actuary's calculations are wholly at variance. Let me take the actuary's calculation. On a 6 per cent, of unemployed the actuary calculated that the number of people who would be cut off by this test would be 7 per cent.
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
In the actuary's report on page 90 of the Blanesburgh Committee Report. Let me ask the Committee to follow the sum for a moment. Our estimate came to 56,000. Let us take the actuary's estimate. As a kindergarten boy I ask the right hon. Member for Preston (Mr. T. Shaw) to help me. With 6 per cent, of unemployment what would be the total that the right hon. Gentleman would regard as unemployed? Can he give me a figure?
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
A few minutes ago the light hon. Gentleman did not demur from the possibility of our coming back to the 6 per cent, of unemployment. I am now asking him what the figure will come to when he takes the actuary's estimate. What is the total that 6 per cent, of unemployment will come to?
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
Those are brave words, but the right hon. Gentleman has said that my estimate of what would be the effect of 8 per cent, of unemployment does not in the least compare with the actuary's estimate of what would happen with 6 per cent. When I ask him to help me out and to see whether it is compatible or not, I can get nothing from him.
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
In other words, either the right hon. Gentleman has mot understood or will not try to understand the actuary's estimate. Broadly speaking, the sum is simple, and even a kindergarten boy can understand it. I will try to work it out. Six per cent, of unemployment means a figure of about 700,000 people "out." The actuary calculates that 7 per cent, of those, or 49,000, would be affected by the 30 contributions rule. You have to deduct from those the people already disqualified who would not have satisfied the 30 contributions rule. As we are looking for the additional number of people cut off, those already disqualified who would have been disqualified under the rule have to be deducted, and that brings the figure down from 49,000 to 40,000. Therefore you get a result on the actuary's calculation of 40,000 at 6 per cent, of unemployment. On quite different data we have come to a figure of 56,000 at 8 per cent, of unemployment, and I ask any person who has passed the fourth form standard to say whether 40,000 at 6 per cent, of unemployment and 56,000 at 8 per cent, of unemployment are not compatible figures?
§ Mr. GRIFFITHS
What about the figures which were given by the hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. L. Thompson)? Answer them!
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
I have already answered them fully. I have answered them by showing the improvement which has taken place, and by the fact that the Actuary's calculation and ours are not at variance but supplement each other. From the opinion of the people who have inquired into the matter most closely, from the action of the right hon. Gentleman himself when he was in a responsible position, from the calculations that we submit and the way in which they agree with the Actuary's calculation on different data—from every point of view I think the case is absolutely and fully substantiated. In the opinion of the Blanesburgh Committee some automatic test is wanted. It must be an automatic test that will cover the great mass of unemployed in a normal time and will not allow the scheme to degenerate into a dole or a pension fund; and it must be a test which is neither too severe nor too lax. Judging by all those standards, the 30 contributions rule is the one which we have adopted and the one to which I hope the Committee will adhere.
§ Mr. SHAW
I do not want to trespass on the patience of the Committee in order to make another speech, but it is necessary to call attention to one or two things which the right hon. Gentleman has said. If I may say so with respect to him there is a difference between the man who realises he has made a mistake after he has made it, and the man who makes a mistake when he sees that he is doing exactly as his predecessor did and is making the same mistake with his eyes wide open. It is true that in my Bill in 1924 I laid down certain new principles. It is also true that I conferred benefits which the right hon. Gentleman will now take away. I took the precaution of making certain that, if my estimates did not work out, I could prevent people being taken off benefit. The right hon. Gentleman has not done so, and that is the difference between us. My Bill gave me power to take action to keep people in benefit. The right hon. Gentleman has not taken that precaution. With regard to his figures I decline to enter into any calculation about what would be the case if there were a certain percentage of unemployment. The fact is that there are 1,125,000 unemployed. The right hon. Gentleman has said that that figure is 93,000 less than the figure of 1924.
182 He has succeeded, therefore, in reducing unemployment, according to his own statement, by 31,000 a year. Is he going to reduce it by 200,000 in two years? These are his figures, and he knows perfectly well that these figures are not comparable. He knows that at that time, in 1924, people were being paid benefit to whom he refuses to pay benefit, and if he remembers the Prime Minister's figures, I think the Prime Minister made the number 80,000, but the right hon. Gentleman himself admits 26,000, apart altogether from the 30 contributions, because, he said, we shall not bring 56,000 off benefit if these things turn out, but we shall put on 26,000 to whom we refuse benefit at present. Taking his own estimate, which I do not believe is correct, he proves that the has gained 67,000 in three years, or 22,000 a year, and he blandly comes and asks me to make a calculation for him on the basis that in some miraculous way he will gain 200,000 in less than two years. I cannot do it.
§ Mr. H. WILLIAMS
I was rather surprised to hear the right hon. Member for Preston (Mr. T. Shaw) make the statement which he did about the comparability of the figures, because, as he once held the office of Minister of Labour, he ought to be acquainted with the basis on which the figures are calculated. The figures referred to are not those of persons in receipt of benefit, and, therefore, any question as to whether the rules of benefit are altered makes no difference to those figures. Those figures are the live register figures, and they are not affected by any question as to whether people happen or do not happen to be in receipt of benefit. The late Minister of Labour, if he acquainted himself with the method by which the Department which he controlled compiled the figures, would know that what I am stating is true. If he does not know it to be true, I can only accuse him of neglect while he controlled the Department. Any insured person who is in receipt of poor relief still continues registering at the Employment Exchange, and the Ministry of Health now prepare quarterly a statement showing how many of those people there are. We know now that the people in receipt of poor relief do in fact register, and the fact that they are not in receipt of benefit from the Insurance Fund but obtain benefit from poor relief in no way affects the comparability of the 183 figures. The right hon. Gentleman opposite perhaps does not trouble to read these documents.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
I do not know when the statement of the Prime Minister was made, nor do I know to what the 80,000 referred, but I am certain that the Prime Minister shares with the Minister of Labour the responsibility for this document, which I trust the right hon. Gentleman opposite has read, entitled "A Memorandum on Certain Points comparing Statistics of Unemployment and Poor Relief." If he had read it, he would not have made the speech he has just made. This document was issued from the Vote Office a few days ago. Further, if he had read the "Ministry of Labour Gazette," he would have seen that the live register figures include a great number of people not in receipt of benefit. It is as well that this mistake should be cleared up, for it has been made often enough. [An HON. MEMBER: "You are not clearing it up!"] There are some minds upon which it is perfectly impossible to make any impression whatsoever. However much the facts may be presented to them, there are people upon whom the truth has no impression whatever. I am in favour of, and believe in, the 30-contributions rule, for the reasons, among others, stated by the Minister of Labour. This is, after all, a contributory scheme, and in any system of insurance there must be some relationship between premiums and benefit. If you are in favour of a non-contributory system, cut down the contributions until they are zero, but if we are to have a contributory system, there must be some test whether people are in an insured field or not. To suggest that 15 weeks out of 52 is not a reasonble test is absurd.
Let us remember that this test did not stand alone. Two other rules and disqualifications have been wiped out. The 26 weeks' rule has been swept away. Under this Bill, it might be possible for a man to draw statutory benefit for 74 weeks in succession; this is not the case under the 184 existing rule. It is also the case of the existing law that benefit must not exceed the ratio of one week in six. That is swept away. I think hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite ought to state the full case. It is not merely the case that this particular disqualification is being inserted. It is being made the sole test for disqualification. It is assumed that if people are thrown off benefit they at once go to the Poor Law. That is not the case. See what does happen. An inquiry has been made by the Minister of Labour into the conditions in this respect at Birmingham, Dudley, Dundee, Gateshead, Greenock, Hackney, Liverpool, Portsmouth, West Ham and Swansea. These statistics were furnished last week in reply to a question which I asked. That inquiry covered districts in most of which unemployment has been very bad. What happens to people who are disqualified from benefit? The figures are significant. Out of those who were disqualified, 32.1 per cent, have removed their unemployment books and obtained employment in an insured trade within 14 days of losing benefit. That is rather significant. Nearly one-third of the people got a job in a fortnight.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
If they had done, that is part of my case, because the whole of the speeches on the other side are based on the assumption that immediately benefit is withdrawn men starve or go on to the Poor Law. As a matter of fact, they do what I should do; they do their very best to get a job. Some of those who are disqualified were for one reason or another already in receipt of Poor Law benefit, namely, about 15 per cent. The additional number who sought to obtain Poor Law benefit in 14 days was 13 per cent. There has been the grossest exaggeration on both sides of the Committee as to the effect that this rule will produce. The Bill will give a permanent scheme, an honourable scheme, so that those who benefit will feel that they are entitled to benefit. We are not introducing a general pauperisation scheme.
§ Mr. HARNEY
The hon. Member for Reading (Mr. H. Williams) has said that there must be some relation between con- 185 tribution and benefit. There, I think, is the kernel of the whole of this question. We are considering an insurance scheme, and, because it is national, it is not less insurance in principle. It is well known that a company which is forming an insurance system arranges its contributions so that benefits shall be in accordance with the risks undertaken. That is the ordinary insurance system. I have heard to-day a great number of speeches which rather left the impression on my mind that people thought this national system of insurance against unemployment was in some way different from any other insurance system. In my submission it really is not. In the ordinary fire insurance, for instance, you do not count the number of premiums paid. You reckon the amount of loss suffered, and one premium may carry as big damage as fifty premiums. My suggestion is that the national insurance scheme should be based on exactly the like principles—and so, in fact, it is by those who study its fundamentals. Why are there 30 contributions or any number of contributions? Not because there is any difference in this system from any other, but because it is necessary to ascertain whether the risk is taking place upon which the benefit is payable. What is the risk on which benefit is payable? The risk is that the person will become unemployed. It is an insurance against unemployment, and unemployment involves, of course, that the person is one capable of employment—that is thrown out of employment not by choice but compulsorily, and that the damage he suffers by unemployment is not due to his willingly stopping out longer than he needs.
Therefore, the principle is exactly the same, but from the very inception of this scheme it has been recognised that we must have some fair test as to whether a person is genuinely and really unemployed in the sense that he was compulsorily thrown out and compulsorily stopped out, and it was thought that a very fair way to take that was to see how many stamps he could show for the previous two years. If, it was said, a man could only show 20 or 15 stamps for the previous two years, then he must be a loafer. If he were a really hard-working, energetic fellow looking for work, he would easily be able to show 30 stamps. That was the idea. Now, the 186 objection I, for one, have to this Bill is this. The Committee who inquired into all the facts recognised as clearly as I hope I have stated that the purpose of the insurance system was that every honest workman genuinely unemployed should have recourse to it, and not to the Poor Law. That is the purpose they set out to achieve, and for which they have framed this Bill. Why did they hit upon 30? If I were satisfied they selected 30 as being the number appropriate to the circumstances of the time I should say there was a great deal to be said for it. I will tell you in their own words why they choose 30. The Report says:We sought the assistance of the Government Actuary in order to obtain his views as to the average percentage of unemployment over a trade cycle. Those calculations indicate that the average rate of unemployment over all insured trades would be little more than 4½ per cent, over a trade cycle. Ha considers for reasons which he gives in his Report that the rate is perhaps too-low, and he says he is inclined to think that in adjusting the finance of the scheme a rate of 6 per cent, should be assumed for a trade cycle, and we have adopted this figure in framing our proposal.Everyone present knows what is meant by a trade cycle. [Laughter.] Is that applause at the truthfulness of my statement or is it a jeer at its foolishness? A trade cycle, according to the Report of these learned gentlemen, is that fluctuation in trade which comes about, it may be from over-production, it may be from seasonal lack of occupation, it may be from derangement of the foreign market, which has to be recognised as a periodic occurrence, and the margin of rise and fall in the trade cycles is not so very great. The Report says the margin of rise and fall in normal trade cycles is about 4½ per cent., but to be on the right side it is put at 6 per cent. If at the lowest point the unemployment is only 6 per cent. then the 30 contributions method will meet all genuine cases of unemployment.
I would only put this point to men of the world who are interested. I am only an unfortunate barrister, who has nothing to do with business, but I must be addressing scores of men who have a lot to do with business and employ a lot of men, and if I am talking nonsense they will know it. I ask them, do you think in this year, or in the last four or five years, we have been suffering from un- 187 employment due to a trade cycle? If you do, then there is a good deal to be said for the 30 contributions, but, if you do not, then there is nothing at all to be said for them. What is unemployment to-day? It is not a general industrial depression, but it is an immense falling off in trade. In my constituency in the shipbuilding, coal mining, iron and steel and the engineering industries, in all these big basic industries, it is not 6 per cent., but very much more. In other industries, the trade is not at all bad. You are dealing now, not with a state of unemployment that answers what the Committee had in mind, namely, that normal rise and fall where the lowest was 6 per cent, and the highest 11 per cent., but with a depression in the big staple industries of this country which is due to post-War mischief of one kind and another, and it is no better to-day than it was four or five years ago when we initiated this emergency method of extended benefit. In the aggregate, the percentages are about the same.
I want the Committee to appreciate that the same hon. Member who said that within 12 months' after this Act comes into operation, that is in April, 1929, we shall be back to normal conditions, that is the trade cycle conditions, also said that we should fix the 30 contributions. We say that the amount contributed by the man, the master, and the State ought to be reduced, and there ought to be equality of contribution, because if one is wrong the other two must be wrong. If they are wrong in saying that the state of things in 1929 will justify 30 contributions, they are also wrong in saying that the state of things in 1929 will justify reduced contributions and equality of contributions.
What are the Government doing in this Bill? In this Bill they are saying to the Committee, "When you say that normality will be brought about in April, 1929, for the purpose of making us contribute equally with employers and employés, and for the purpose of reducing the contributions, we reject your basis. When your basis calls upon us, through our Chancellor of the Exchequer, to contribute more, we reject it. But when your basis—exactly the same basis—calls upon us to refuse benefits to any men who 188 have not paid 30 contributions in two years, we accept your basis." They cannot have it both ways; what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. The Minister, when he spoke on the Second Reading, was very particular to say, when he was dealing with the question whether they should accept the recommendation of the Committee with respect to equality of contributions and reduction of contributions, "Ah, well, you know, when 1929 comes we shall then see whether a state of normality has been brought about. It has not come yet, and, therefore, as guardians of the public purse, we must reject the view of the Committee with reference to fixing the contributions." But when the amount of contributions that the men have to pay in order to derive their benefit is concerned, the basis, which is made identically the same by the Committee, is accepted as true.
I want to know what is the virtue, when we are dealing with the question of contributions, of 30, 15, 10 or one contribution. On an insurance basis there is none. The man who insures in this national unemployment system is under exactly the same logical principles as the man who insures in a fire insurance company. He says, "I may have to pay once, I may have to pay 30 times, but I am taking the risk of one or 30, provided that you take the risk of paying me after the first contribution or after the 30th contribution." In its corporate effect it works out all right for the company, and it is precisely the same here. [Interruption.] If anyone wishes to contradict me, I hope he will get up after I have sat down. The Committee themselves say this:A good scheme, it is agreed, should provide benefits for all insured persons who are genuinely unemployed. But how is it to be decided that a particular person is 'genuine'? … Can any test. … compare with the claimant's record of employment? … Some automatic test of contributions is necessary to ensure that the benefits are limited to contributors, or, in other words, to persons in the insured field.If hon. Members will take the trouble to look at the Report, they will see that what was in the mind of the Committee was this: National insurance against unemployment is the same as any other kind of insurance, and the only reason for fixing 30 contributions, or any 189 number of contributions, is not that they are necessary for the purpose of winning the benefit, but that the benefit should only go to those who answer to the description of being genuinely unemployed, and the test of their being genuinely employed is whether they have shown in the past that they are ready and willing to work. I can understand that. In the early Act I believe it was only 11 or 12. Why 30? Why 40? Why 20? Why any given number? It is to be made out by the circumstances of the times. If we were right back to normal times, it would be a very fair thing to say, "What I have to find out, Mr. Applicant, is whether you are a genuinely unemployed man. If you are, you are entitled to your contractual benefit. How am I to find out whether you are a genuinely employed man? I must employ some rule of thumb method. Where have you been last? How long have you been in your last employment? Are you a regular worker?" In normal times it is quite a reasonable thing to say, "If you are unable to say that within the last two years you have had 30 weeks of honest work, you are a loafer." It is a reasonable thing to say in normal times, but the Committee say, "We do not regard it as a reasonable test to-day. We know it is an unreasonable test to-day. We know that to apply the 30 contributions rule at a time when hundreds of poor devils are walking about the streets "—[An HON. MEMBER: "They never said devils, surely!"] The hon. Member is a fellow Irishman. There is not the slightest doubt that whatever may be said about men out of work looking for the dole, the reality, the substance of the thing, is that these men would give anything in the world for work. To apply at a time like this, as the test of whether men are genuinely unemployed, whether they have 30 stamps is wholly false to the present situation.
I hope the Minister will try to satisfy us on this. Does he say that when this Committee said 30 stamps was such a test that it would leave no one out of unemployment benefit who was a genuine seeker for work they based that on the conditions of to-day? He does not. He cannot say it. They go out of their way to say, "We base our 30 contributions rule as a test, not upon the conditions of to-day, but upon the conditions that we hope will exist a year 190 or a year and a half hence." What justification is there for that? If we were passing through one of the ordinary trade cycles, we might say we can look to the past. We have had trade cycles of eight or 10 years and we have got through six or seven, and next year we shall have passed over. But we are not dealing with a trade cycle at all. We are dealing with cases of workers in some of our staple industries which may never be worked out. This country gathered together a population of 45,000,000 when it had an immense foreign trade. The population were, so to speak, piled up on this island, which cannot support a third of them out of its own resources. They are entirely dependent for their living upon the foreign trade. Up to the War that foreign trade was sufficient to absorb them all. We know that now it is not so. We know now, for instance, in my constituency, that there are thousands of miners, in South Wales as well, in Yorkshire as well, who will never and who cannot be absorbed. What is the use of this nonsense of applying your scientific rule of 30 contributions—a set of conditions that has no relation whatever to the circumstances out of which those conditions have arisen.
I am sorry that I have detained the Committee for so long. I would beg of the Minister, who, really, can have no desire to subject himself and his Government to the extraordinary belying of the prophesy of 30,000 unemployed, to reconsider the position. Thirty thousand! Nearly 300,000!! In my constituency, there are 60 or 70 of these now drawing benefit who could never get it on a 30 contributions basis. They are to be thrown out. Where are they to go? On to the rates. Is there a member of the Committee, especially a business man, who would not a thousand times sooner pay more in Income Tax than the same amount of rates? I do not want to repeat what has been said so often, but surely it is obvious to anyone that if you put 5s. on the rates you put 5s. on the cost of the article or the distribution of it. It lessens the market, lowers imports and brings about unemployment. If you put the same 5s. on taxation it would be spread over the country, and would perhaps mean 3d. or 4d. on the individual. This is not worth arguing.
191 I ask the Minister once more, whether it is not worth his while, before he finally carries this Bill through and it becomes an Act of Parliament, really to consider whether he ought not to take such steps as are advisable to bring about what the Committee desire, namely, that every unemployed man, not every unemployable man, but every man who is capable of work, who is ready for work, who did not stop out of work by choice—that is the unemployed man— should find his relief in benefit and should not be driven to the ignominy of the Poor Law. That is what was intended, and when the 30 contributions were fixed they were fixed because they
§ thought it would bring about that result. The Minister has already told us that, to the extent of 30,000, it will not bring about that result. Cannot the right hon. Gentleman so alter the contributions as to bring about the result that was really aimed at by those who framed the Report?
§ Several HON. MEMBERS rose—
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 251; Noes, 128.193
|Division No. 394.]||AYES.||[11.22 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Couper, J. B.||Harrison, G. J. C.|
|Albery, Irving James||Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Henderson, Lt.-Col. Sir V. L. (Bootle)|
|Apsley, Lord||Crookshank, Cpt.H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Cunliffe, Sir Herbert||Henn. Sir Sydney H.|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Curzon, Captain Viscount||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)|
|Bainiel, Lord||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Hilton, Cecil|
|Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Davies, Dr. Vernon||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D.(St. Marylebone)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Dawson, Sir Philip||Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Dixey, A. C.||Holt, Captain H. P.|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Drewe, C.||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)|
|Bennett, A. J.||Eden, Captain Anthony||Hopkins, J. W. W.|
|Berry, Sir George||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.)|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Ellis, R. G.||Hudson, R. S. (Cumberland, Whiteh'n)|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks. W. R., Skipton)||England, Colonel A.||Hume, Sir G. H.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Huntingfield, Lord|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Evans, Captain A. (Cardiff, South)||Hurst, Gerald B.|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Everard, W. Lindsay||Iliffe, Sir Edward M.|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Fanshawe, Captain G. D.||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Fermoy, Lord||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Fielden, E. B.||Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Ford, Sir P. J.||Kindersley, Major G. M.|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||King, Commodore Henry Douglas|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Forrest, W.||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Fraser, Captain Ian||Knox, Sir Alfred|
|Buchan, John||Frece, Sir Walter de||Lamb, J. Q.|
|Burman, J. B.||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Galbraith. J. F. W.||Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon, Sir Philip|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Ganzoni, Sir John||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)|
|Campbell, E. T.||Gates, Percy||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (Handsw'th)|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Loder, J. de V.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Goff, Sir Park||Long, Major Eric|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth. S.)||Gower. Sir Robert||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N.(Ladywood)||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Grant, Sir J. A.||Lumley. L. R.|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen|
|Christie, J. A.||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (W'th's'w, E)||Macdonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Grotrian, H. Brent||MacIntyre, Ian|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||McLean, Major A.|
|Clayton, G. C.||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Macmillan Captain H.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hall, Admiral Sir R. (Eastbourne)||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||MacRobert, Alexander M.|
|Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George||Hammersley, S. S.||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Hanbury, C.||Malone, Major P. B.|
|Conway, Sir W. Metin||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Margesson, Captain D.|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Harland, A.||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.|
|Cope, Major William||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.|
|Meller, R. J.||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Merriman, F. B.||Robinson, Sir T. (Lanes., Stretford)||Templeton, W. P.|
|Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Russell, Alexander West-(Tynemouth)||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-|
|Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Rye, F. G.||Tinne, J. A.|
|Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Salmon, Major I.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Moore, Sir Newton J.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Vaughan-Morgan. Col. K. P.|
|Moreing, Captain A. H.||Sandeman, N. Stewart||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)||Sanders. Sir Robert A.||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L.(Kingston-on-Hull),|
|Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Sanderson, Sir Frank||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Murchison, Sir Kenneth||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Nail, Colonel Sir Joseph||Savery, S. S.||Watson. Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle),|
|Nelson, Sir Frank||Scott, Rt. Hon. Sir Leslie||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Neville, Sir Reginald J.||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)||Wells, S. R.|
|Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Shepperson, E. W.||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Oakley, T.||Skelton, A. N.||Wilson. Sir Charles H. (Leeds, Central)|
|O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William||Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Penny, Frederick George||Smithers, Waldron||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Perring, Sir William George||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.||Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)|
|Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Sprot, Sir Alexander||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Pilcher, G.||Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)|
|Preston, William||Steel, Major Samuel Strang||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Price, Major C. W. M.||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T|
|Radford, E A.||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.|
|Rawson, Sir Cooper||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES —|
|Remnant, Sir James||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||Mr. F. C. Thomson and Major the|
|Rhys. Hon. C. A. U.||Styles, Captain H. Walter||Marquess of Titchfield.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Harney, E. A.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff. Cannock)||Harris, Percy A.||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hayday, Arthur||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Baker, Walter||Hayes, John Henry||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Barnes, A.||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Batey, Joseph||Hirst, G. H.||Snell, Harry|
|Bondfield, Margaret||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||John. William (Rhondda, West)||Stamford, T. W.|
|Broad, F. A.||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Stephen, Campbell|
|Bromfield, William||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Bromley, J.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Strauss, E. A|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Kelly, W. T.||Sullivan, Joseph|
|Cape, Thomas||Kennedy, T.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Kirkwood. D.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Clowes, S.||Lanesbury, George||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Lawrence, Susan||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Compton, Joseph||Lawson, John James||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Cove W. G.||Lee, F.||Townend, A. E.|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Lindley, F. W.||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon C. P.|
|Crawfurd. H. E.||Lunn. William||Varley, Frank B.|
|Dalton, Hugh||Mac Donald, Rt. Hon. J. R.(Aberevon)||Viant S. P|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Mackinder, W.||Walsh, Rt. Hon Stephen|
|Day, Colonel Harry||MacLaren, Andrew||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Dennison, R.||Montague, Frederick||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Duncan, C.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Dunnico, H.||Murnin, H.||Welsh, J C.|
|Edge, Sir William||Naylor, T. E.||Westwood, J.|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Oliver, George Harold||Wheatley. Rt. Hon. J.|
|Fenby, T. D.||Palin, John Henry||Whiteley, W.|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Paling, W.||Wiggins, William Martin|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Pethick. Lawrence, F. W.||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Gillett, George M.||Potts, John S.||Williams, C P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Riley. Ben||Williams, T. (York Don Valley)|
|Greenall. T.||Ritson, J.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)||Windsor, Walter|
|Grenfell, D, R. (Glamorgan)||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Eliand)||Wright, W.|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Rose, Frank H.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Groves, T.||Saklatvala, Shapurji|
|Grundy. T. W.||Salter, Dr. Alfred||TELLERS FOR THE NOES —|
|Hall, F. (York, Y(. R., Normanton)||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Scurr, John||Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr. Charles Edwards.|
|Hardie, George D.||Sexton, James|
§ Question put accordingly, "That the thirty' stand part of the Clause."194
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 235; word Noes, 139.197
|Division No. 395.]||AYES.||[11.31 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Ford, Sir P. J.||Moore, Sir Newton J.|
|Albery, Irving James||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Moreing, Captain A. H.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Fraser, Captain Ian||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Frece, Sir Walter de||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Murchison, Sir Kenneth|
|Apsley, Lord||Galbraith, J. F. W.||Nail, Colonel Sir Joseph|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Ganzoni, Sir John||Nelson, Sir Frank|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J.(Kent, Dover)||Gates, Percy||Neville, Sir Reginald J.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)|
|Balniel, Lord||Goff, Sir Park||Oakley, T.|
|Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Gower, Sir Robert||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Grant, Sir J. A.||Penny, Frederick George|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Perring, sir William George|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Bennett, A. J.||Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Sir H.(W'th's'w, E)||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Berry, Sir George||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Pitcher, G.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Preston, William|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Hall, Admiral Sir R. (Eastbourne)||Price, Major C. W. M.|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Rawson, Sir Cooper|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Hammersley, S. S.||Remnant, Sir James|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T Vansittart||Hanbury, C.||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Brassey. Sir Leonard||Harland, A.||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Harrison, G. J. C.||Rye, F, G.|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Salmon, Major I.|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Henderson, Lt.-Col. Sir v. L. (Bootle)||Sandeman, N. Stewart|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.||Sanders, Sir Robert A.|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd., Hexham)||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Savery, S. S.|
|Buchan, John||Hilton. Cecil||Scott, Rt. Hon. Sir Leslie|
|Burman, J. B.||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D.(St.Marylebone)||Shaw R G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Campbell, E. T.||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Holt, Captain H. P.||Skelton, A. N.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth. S.)||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Cazalet. Captain Victor A.||Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.||Smithers, Waldron|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Hume, Sir G. H.||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Huntingfield, Lord||Sprot Sir Alexander|
|Christie, J. A.||Hurst, Gerald B.||Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Ilife, Sir Edward M.||Steel Major Samuel Strang|
|Churchman. Sir Arthur C.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Clarry, Reginald George||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.|
|Clayton, G. C.||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Kindersley, Major Guy M.||Styles, Captain H. Walter|
|Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George||King, Commodore Henry Douglas||Templeton, W. P.|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Knox, Sir Alfred||Tinne, J. A.|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Lamb, J. Q.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Cope, Major William||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Lister, Cunliffe, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Locker-Lampson, Com. O.(Handsw'th)||Warner Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Long, Major Eric||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Cunliffe, Sir Herbert||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||watts, Dr. T.|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Wells, S. R.|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Williams, Com. C. (Devon. Torquay)|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Macintyre, I.||Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)|
|Dean, Arthur Wellesley||McLean, Major A.||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Dixey, A. C||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Orewe, C.||MacRobert, Alexander M.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Eden, Captain Anthony||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. steel-||Womersley, W. J.|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Malone, Major P. B.||Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)|
|Ellis, R. G.||Margesson, Captain D.||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)|
|Evans, Captain A. (Cardiff, South)||Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Meller, R. J.||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Merriman, F. B.|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES —|
|Fanshawe, Captain G. D.||Mitchell. Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Mr. F. C. Thomson and Major the|
|Fermoy, Lord||Monsell Eyres, Com Rt. Hon. B. M.||Marques of Titchfield.|
|Fleiden, E. B.||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Hardie, George D.||Scurr, John|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Harney, E. A.||Sexton, James|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield. Hillsbro')||Harris, Percy A.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Baker, Walter||Hayday, Arthur '||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hayes, John Henry||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Barnes, A.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Batey, Joseph||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Bondfield, Margaret||Hirst, G. H.||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Snell, Harry|
|Broad, F. A.||Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Bromfield, William||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Stamford, T. W.|
|Bromley, J.||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Stephen, Campbell|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Cape, Thomas||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Strauss, E. A.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Kelly, W. T.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Clowes, S.||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Sullivan, Joseph|
|Cluse, W. S.||Kennedy, T.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Compton, Joseph||Kirkwood, D.||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Connolly, M.||Lansbury, George||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Couper, J. B.||Lawrence, Susan||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Cove, W. G.||Lawson, John James||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Lee, F.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Crawfurd, H. E.||Lindley, F. W.||Townend, A. E.|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lumley, L. R.||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Lunn, William||Varley, Frank B.|
|Day, Colonel Harry||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)||Viant, S. P.|
|Dennison, R||Mackinder, W.||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Duncan, C.||MacLaren, Andrew||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Dunnico, H.||MacMillan, Captain H.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Edge, Sir William||Montague, Frederick||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Welsh, J. C.|
|England, Colonel A.||Murnin, H.||Westwood, J.|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Naylor, T. E.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Fenby, T. D.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Whiteley, W.|
|Forrest, W.||Oliver, George Harold||Wiggins, William Martin|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Palin, John Henry||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Paling, W.||Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)|
|Gillett, George M.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Potts, John S.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Greenall, T.||Riley, Ben||Windsor, Walter|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Ritson, J.||Wright, W.|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O.(W. Bromwich)||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Robinson, W.C. (Yorks, W.R., Elland)|
|Groves. T.||Rose, Frank H.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES —|
|Grundy, T. W.||Saklatvala, Shapurji||Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr. Charles Edwards.|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Scrymgeour, E.|
§ Mr. T. SHAW
Can the Minister give the Committee any idea as to how long he intends to go on? At what hour of the morning may we expect to rise?
§ Mr. T. HENDERSON
I beg to move, in page 4, line 7, after the word "contributions" to insert the words "each contribution representing a full week's employment or part thereof."
This Amendment is intended to protect a particular class of insured persons, namely, casual dock workers, and it is inspired by fear. I understand the Minister retains under this Bill the power given in the principal Act to issue Regulations. We have heard of many rather sad cases in regard to the treatment of persons under the Unemployment Insurance Act, but I should like to say 198 that, while that may be so, it is as nothing compared with the treatment of insured persons by the referee, and we have the fear that if that fellow is maintained by the Minister, the particular class of insured persons to whom I refer becomes the easiest class against whom to issue detrimental Regulations.
May I point out just how the Regulations affect the casual dock worker today? A casual dock worker may be summoned before the local employment committee, who find that his minus balance is so-and-so, and they say to him, "Benefit, so far as you are concerned, will be disallowed, but if after a period you have obtained eight contributions and you come back to the Exchange, you might have your claim reconsidered." In dozens of cases within my own knowledge the men have gone back to the Exchange and have told the Exchange officials that they have 199 obtained eight contributions, and the officials have replied, "It is quite true that you have received eight stamps, but sight contributions under the Regulations mean eight weeks' work or 48 days' work." Now, on the other hand, we have a system that is in force among the casual dock workers where a man who works three days in a week or more is not entitled to any consideration under the Unemployment Insurance Act for the remainder of the days, the idle days, during that week, and when we take into consideration the arguments that have been used here to-day, the statements made by the right hon. Gentleman himself regarding the 30,000 insured persons who will be wiped off benefit, on the one hand, and the 6 per cent, of insured persons being the financial basis of this scheme, on the other hand, we claim that we are entirely justified in believing that the right hon. Gentleman will be forced to retrench in benefits paid, and that this particular class, above all others, is the class that the right hon. Gentleman will find it easiest to cut out.
What are the facts? There is no class of insured persons in this country who are called upon to record their unemployment in the same way as the casual workers are called upon to do it. They have to sign twice every day. Any other insured person can sign twice or three times a week, but the casual worker has to sign twice every day. Therefore, it would be quite easy, in our opinion, for the Minister to issue a regulation, because lie still has that power, and, by some particular action, so to limit the powers and the rights of the casual worker that he would lose even the benefits he now possesses and never be able to qualify for the 30 contributions. Our idea is to give to the casual worker the full benefit of the contribution he pays, because the casual worker, working one day a week, pays just as much to the insurance scheme is the man who works six. If this be lone, it will do no harm to the Clause, and we ask the Government to accept the Amendment and to have it inserted.
§ Mr. BETTERTON
I think I can allay the apprehension of the hon. Gentleman who has moved this Amendment. He moved it apparently because he is afraid lest a contribution paid in a week in which only a day's work is done would 200 not count for a contribution towards benefit. That is secured already by the Act of 1920 in the first paragraph of the Fourth Schedule. In order to refresh his memory, I will read a word or two of it, and I think it will satisfy him:A weekly contribution shall be payable for each calendar week during the whole or any part of which an employed person has been employed by an employer: Provided that where one weekly contribution has been paid in respect of an employed person in any one week, no further contribution shall be payable in respect of him in the same week, and that, where no remuneration has been received and no service rendered by an employed person during any such week, the employer shall not be liable to pay any contribution either on his own behalf or on behalf of the employed person in respect of that week.The position under this Bill remains exactly as it was left under the Act, and a workman is not prejudiced in any way at all. I would point out that if the hon. Member's words were inserted, they might have exactly the opposite result from that which he seeks to attain, because if you have a restrictive definition given in one Section of an Act, it might be held to apply to another Section; therefore, the result might be the opposite from what he desires. If he accepts from me that the fears which he anticipates cannot be realised—I am glad he raised the point in order that I might be in a position to set his fears at rest—I think he will be well advised not to press his Amendment.
§ Mr. WESTW00D
I am afraid that the Parliamentary Secretary has not allayed the fears of some of us in connection with this particular part of the Act of 1920. If we could have a definite assurance that under this Bill we are now discussing no Regulations will be issued on the same lines as are issued under the Act of 1920, then it might allay some of the suspicions that we have as to the hardship that will be created. Is it a fact that under the Act of 1920 Regulations are issued by the Ministry of Labour which make it compulsory for a casual worker not merely to have eight stamps on his card, but to prove that he has had eight weeks' work? I think we are entitled to have a definite assurance that where the casual worker has paid thirty contributions out of a more limited wage than even the steady worker, he will not be called upon to get another 30 or 60 contributions so as to have 30 full weeks' work. If we can have 201 that assurance I, for one, will not be desirous of continuing this particular discussion. We only want an absolute assurance that so far as the casual labourer is concerned, if 30 contributions have been deducted from his wages—and he may only have had 30 days or even only 30 half-day's work in the 30 weeks—and he has thus paid a contribution towards the Insurance Fund similar to that paid by individuals who have had 30 weeks' work and he has the 30 stamps, then he shall be entitled to statutory benefit on exactly the same lines as the man who has had 30 weeks' work.
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
The answer is "yes." The hon. Member can have that assurance. If the man has one day's work a week and has a stamp on his card for that one day's work—providing it is a bond fide day's work—it counts for the week.
§ Mr. E. BROWN
We are all obliged to the hon. Member who raised this point, and I am glad to hear the Minister's statement. In my own constituency, the dockers' representatives are quite clearly of the Minister's opinion that it would be so, and that is one of the reasons why I have never been able quite to accept the figure of 250,000 as the number of those who will not qualify, because there is no doubt that some now will qualify under the rule who would not be able to qualify otherwise.
§ Mr. SEXTON
That is all right, but is there not another snag in this? When a man's extended benefit is done and he is asked to produce eight stamps, representing eight weeks' work, has he not to have six stamps for one week's unemployment benefit?
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
The hon. Member is referring to the old system of standard benefit which will no longer continue under this Bill. Under the old system of standard benefit, he had to have six weeks of contribution for a week of benefit; that is to say, the one-in-six rule. That rule completely disappears, so that particular snag disappears with it.
§ Mr. CONNOLLY
We are all very glad to have that assurance from the Minister, but I would like to have that principle which has now been enunciated applied to the existing Insurance Act, 202 because not only has the six weeks' work rule been applied to casual workers, but it has also been applied in another sense to men who are entitled to a re-hearing. Under the eight stamps provision, a man is entitled to a re-hearing. I was very must surprised on a visit to one of my Exchanges to find that the application of one of my constituents for a re-hearing had been turned down, though he had the necessary eight stamps for the eight weeks that he had been working, but had only had four days' work each week. The manager of the Exchange brought out the Regulations under the 1920 Act, which mean that if a man, who would be entitled to a rehearing after having been disqualified for not genuinely looking for work, has eight stamps but has not eight weeks of six days' work, then he cannot get a rehearing.
The Act is expiring, and it will be done with in a few weeks' time, but there are thousands of men who will be entitled under the principle which has just been enunciated by the Minister, but who will not be so entitled unless some special instructions are issued to the Exchanges. We are all glad that this question has now been cleared up, because had it not been there would not be a piece-worker in the shipyards of the country who would be qualified for that particular benefit owing to there not being a rehearing. I would like the Minister to apply to the dying Act the same principle that is now being applied to this Bill.
§ Mr. POTTS
I think it will be in order for me to elicit from the Minister an explanation of a point which has arisen in my own Division. There we have a coal mine in which four people go to work, and this is what sometimes happens. Under the existing arrangements their lamps are examined at the cabin when they arrive. Then they go below, and are told that the place is in normal working condition. Accordingly, they proceed to the coal face—it takes half an hour to get there—only to find, however, that a mistake has been made, and that the place is not in order. There is nothing for them to do but to come back to the shaft and to go home. Had they been told in the first instance that the place was not in order and 203 had they then gone home, they would have been entitled to receive unemployment pay in respect of three days; but because they go to the bottom and are allowed to go into the workings—it is not their own fault, it is the fault of the officials—then, even though they have only walked in and walked out and have not received a penny, the Exchange officials hold that that day counts and that there has only been two days' unemployment. Is that how the law really stands under the existing Act? If that is the law, then I think something is wrong.
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
I am afraid that I could not follow in detail the case which the hon. Member was presenting. It would have been better to submit it as a Parliamentary question; then I could have investigated the position. I could not see the connection with the point which is under discussion. I am asked, If a person gets a stamp to his credit for a day's work or more than a day's work, does it count for a week's work? The answer is "Yes." As regards the particular instance put by the hon. Member, if he will communicate with me I will go into the matter, but I could not answer offhand.
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
I am afraid the powers taken under the Bill do not vary the position. What I have explained is going to continue to be the law in this Bill is the law at the present moment.
§ Mr. CONNOLLY
Does the right hon. Gentleman agree with the interpretation which has been placed on Regulation 8142 with regard to rehearings after disqualification for not genuinely seeking work—that a man must have eight stamps on his card and that each stamp must represent six days' work
§ 12 m.
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
I cannot give an answer offhand as to whether or 204 not some administrative action is strictly in accordance with the existing law. I have told the hon. Member what is the existing law, as well as what will be the law under this Bill, and if there are any proceedings which he does not think are in accordance with the law I will look into them if he will bring them to my notice.
§ Mr. HENDERSON
I want to be assured on one thing. The method of dealing with the casual dock worker has always been a difficult one. I see that under Clause 9 of this Bill it is intended to discuss the whole question of the casual dock worker. I only want to be reassured on this point, that the Minister will not allow the position he has laid down as to the contributions of casual dock workers to be infringed by any other arrangements.
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
I have no intention of doing so. As far as I read the Amendment which has been put down by various hon. Members opposite I do not think it affects the question of contributions. I am speaking without my book for the moment, but so far as I can see it does not affect the question of contributions, but is only concerned with the way in which the sum received for benefit may be distributed.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
I beg to move, in page 4, line 7 after the word "have," to insert the words "at any time."
After much discussion the Committee have decided, for good or ill, that the number of contributions is to be 30. The Bill provides that these 30 stamps must have been secured in the preceding two years, and the purpose of this Amendment is to say that the 30 stamps which qualify for benefit may have been obtained "at any time." If the Minister were to accept this Amendment it would put many of the contributors in a much stronger position than they are in now. I want to deal with the numbers of those who may be affected. When the Minister had given us his kindergarten lesson on the other Amendment he seemed a little impatient with me because I asked him for the page of the Blanesburgh Report from which he was quoting, in 205 order that I might test the force of his argument. I do not know why he should have been so impatient. At least, if the Minister was not impatient with me, he was not just as courteous as I have sometimes heard him be. There was very much of a gibe in the way in which he said, "Oh, the Blanesburgh Report," in a sort of superior tone, and then gave me the wrong number of the page as a reference. I have discovered the right page, and have found that he was referring to paragraph 8 on page 90, where he pointed out this statement of the actuary:As the result of experimental calculations directed to the point, I conclude that, in estimates relative to a normal trade cycle, 7 per cent, of the total unemployment should be assumed to be excluded from benefit under this provision.That is taking the basis of 700,000 people unemployed, and he said that that gives us 49,000, so that the actuary's calculations agree with those in the White Paper presented by the Minister. I myself was sufficiently curious to read the whole paragraph, and I find that that paragraph states:In regard to the qualifying number of contributions, I regret that I have been unable to find any statistics which would enable the relief to be derived from this provision to be authoritatively measured. Prom certain data supplied by the Ministry of Labour I draw the somewhat general conclusion that the proportion of the total unemployment prevailing in 1924–25 which would have been disqualified from benefit by such a rule would have been about 20 per cent."—not 7 per cent, but 20 per cent.—
§ The CHAIRMAN
That is based on the requirement of 30 contributions in two years, but this Amendment says that the contributions shall be effective at any time, and not merely during the previous two years. That is the only point of the Amendment.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
Yes, Sir, the point of my Amendment is that, if the payment of the 30 contributions be not limited to the two years, then there will be a great number of people who will not be excluded from benefit. According to the Minister's calculations, the net number that would be excluded from benefit is 30,000, that is to say, 56,000 people at present, on the basis of 30 contributions within the two years, 206 against whom may be set off an additional 26,000 who will be able to qualify for benefit. I want, if possible, to make those figures smaller still. I am not at all convinced of the actuarial soundness of the calculations of the Minister and the figures he gives, but certainly, if the Amendment I propose be carried, the result will be that many who would otherwise be excluded will be entitled to benefit.
I was pointing out that, according to the Actuary's statement, in 1923–24 the percentage disqualified by the 30-contributions rule as it at present stands would have amounted to 20 per cent., but the Actuary points out that:The conditions at that time were abnormal, and it is certain that a reduction of the rate of unemployment from 10 to 12 per cent, as then obtaining, to 6 per cent, as assumed in these estimates, would be brought about, in the main, by a large diminution in the number of the protracted cases in respect of which the proposed rule would set up a limit to benefit.These protracted cases have to be very carefully considered by this Committee. We have had several different schemes. We had that of 1919, and then that of 1920, with all that has been superimposed on the 1920 scheme; but the limitation as to contributions in the Act of 1920 was simply to 12 contributions, with the other conditions. Then there was brought into being in the Act of 1924 the rule as to the 30 contributions in two years, but it has never been possible to apply that. The circumstances have never really permitted that condition to operate—it would have meant so much hardship; we have always had to have the let-off whereby people would be able to obtain benefit. There are in this scheme of insurance nearly 12,000,000 people, and those 12,000,000 people have come into a compulsory scheme of insurance. They have not been asked; if they go to work as manual workers at a wage under £250 a year, they have to come in, and contracts have been made with these people. People have been paying into this insurance fund year after year, and I can quite easily conceive of an individual in the future coming into a position in which he would not be able to show the 30 stamps in the preceding two years, although his insurance record might be far better than that of many others who 207 were able to show the 30 stamps within the preceding two years.
I contend that it is not fair to these contributors within the unemployment insurance scheme to pay no regard whatsoever to their past record in the years preceding the two years. Those years should be taken into account also. If it be true that the requirement of 30 contributions within two years is simply one of the tests as to whether the individual concerned is in the insurance field, I think that if those 30 stamps are spread over a longer period, and if the man or woman is available for, capable of and willing to undertake work, you have in those circumstances all that is necessary. Consequently I hope that the Minister of Labour, in view of the apprehension that exists, will see his way to accept this Amendment. It is a very important thing for many of these people who have had a good record of employment in the past, and who have contributed so much to the unemployment insurance scheme, and I hope that the Minister will show himself prepared to meet us in some respects in this attempt to put unemployment insurance on a permanent basis. The recollection of the attempt, in the Act of 1924, at imposing the qualification of 30 contributions in the previous two years, is something for him to go upon, and, in view of the fact that it has been impossible to carry that through, and that the best test, after all, is that of availability for, capability of, and willingness to undertake work, I hope the Minister will accept this Amendment.
§ Mr. BETTERTON
As the hon. Member who moved this Amendment has pointed out, quite truly, we have already had a long, detailed and comprehensive discussion upon the proposal as to 30 contributions. What he now proposes is to leave out the words:in respect of the two years immediately preceding the date on which the application for benefit is made,and to insert instead the words "at any time."
If the Amendment were accepted, it would mean, of course, that 30 contributions that had been paid at any time would be sufficient to satisfy the rule. I really think that the Committee, if they consider it for a moment, will realise how impossible it is to accept such a proposal. 208 It is possible for persons to have been in the insurance scheme since 1912, just 15 years, and if this proposal be accepted any person who has paid, on the average, two contributions a year for 15 years will have satisfied the condition and be entitled to benefit. It really is a travesty of any system of contributory insurance to say that such a man—and there are persons who have either that amount of contribution or very little more—is still for any purpose at all within the insurance field for the purpose of such a scheme. To make such a contention, I submit, is quite impossible.
I would also remind the Committee that in the transitional Clause, to which we have not yet come, and which I am precluded from discussing at this stage, we have made very considerable mitigation of the hardship of which the hon. Member complains. I hope, in view of the prolonged discussion that we have had on the 30 contributions, I have said enough to satisfy the Committee that the Amendment is not necessary.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
Surely the hon. Gentleman is not taking the simple exceptional case that there might be men with two stamps as the only basis on which he is working?
§ Mr. BETTERTON
No, but I am saying that the Amendment of the hon. Member would cover such a case, and that the words he proposes are really quite impossible and inconsistent with any such scheme of insurance. The hon. Gentleman, having proposed certain words, must be taken to have anticipated what the result might be, and that is a result that we cannot accept.
§ Mr. GRIFFITHS
The Parliamentary Secretary has just said that we have had a very long discussion on the 30 contributions arid that the matter has been exhausted. I can assure him that from this side of the Committee we could have brought facts forward to prove conclusively that the matter had not been exhausted. We could show that in regard to this Amendment the question has not really been as fully discussed as we should like it to be. The Mover of this Amendment dealt with the question from the standpoint of those people who have been out of employment for a large number of years. I am going to deal with the question from the stand-point of those people 209 who have only recently become unemployed. I would like the Minister to discuss with the officials of his Department the position so far as the miners, the tinplate trade and the steel trade in South Wales and in some other parts of the country are concerned. In South Wales we have two big combines, the Richard Thomas and Company combine and the Messrs. Baldwin and Company combine who practically monopolise the tinplate materials in South Wales. They also have a very large interest insofar as steel works are concerned. It is unnecessary for me to point out to the Minister because his officials will tell him, that to-day in South Wales we are going through the biggest depression in the tinplate trade and the steel trade that we have ever had in the history of those trades. Some of the tinplate mills and some of the furnaces in the steel works and the bar mills in the steel works are kept going, but the com bines, I am not blaming them—
§ The CHAIRMAN
I am waiting for the hon. Member to come to the point as to whether the 30 contributions should be spread over two years or spread over any time.
§ Mr. GRIFFITHS
I am coming to that point. The combines are closing down the most inefficient works, with the result that many men are being thrown out of work. The Minister, in view of these facts, will understand why I was annoyed when the gag shut me out earlier. The men in the tinplate works which are being closed down, because it pleases the combines, are very seriously affected. They have been regularly employed for the last 20 years and have paid their unemployment insurance for those years, and now they are thrown out of employment, and to qualify so far as 30 stamps are concerned is impossible. At the end of June—these are correct figures; they are not kindergarten figures—we had in the pig-iron trade 12 per cent, of unemployed. In the heavy iron and steel trade the percentage was 16 and in the tinplate trade 25, and in the tube-making trade 12.3. Statistics given to my executive last week show that in the pig-iron trade the unemployment percentage had risen to 15.5; in the heavy iron and steel trade 17.7, in the tinplate trade 32; and in the tube trade 11.7 per cent. In Port Talbot, Briton Ferry, Cardiff, Dowlais, Cwmbrae, Blaenavon, and Ebbw Vale, there are de- 210 partments closed down which will never be started again. The reason is that the steel production of the country is equivalent to what it was in 1913.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member cannot develop that argument. The point is whether, as unemployment has gone on for two years, it is possible to produce 30 stamps in that time. The exact amount of the production of steel cannot affect the matter.
§ Mr. GRIFFITHS
I think I can show that it will. The same amount of steel is now produced as in 1913 with 40,000 fewer men employed, and therefore, there is no hope of these men getting 30 stamps in the next two years. Some of them have been in regular employment for 20 and 25 years, but they are going to find it very difficult to get 30 stamps during the next two years. These combines have their own collieries, which produce the coal used in the steel and tinplate trades. They are the largest consumers of home-produced coal, and if the steel and tin-plate trades close down, the coal mines close down also. If the right hon. Gentleman is unable to accept the Amendment, I hope he will consider the matter again between now and Report stage and will find it possible to give us a favourable reply.
§ Mr. BATEY
I regard this as the most important Amendment that has been before the Committee so far. I come from a distressed area. I have never known the mining industry in such a bad condition as it is to-day; and this Clause is a most vicious one, so far as the miners are concerned. I voted for the 20 stamps as the lesser of two evils, not because I believe in the 20 stamps. If an insured man has at any time obtained 30 stamps he should be entitled to benefit until he can get work. We have thousands of miners who have not been able to get a day's work for the last two or three years, and if this Clause is carried it means that they will be swept off the unemployment fund on to the board of guardians. The Minister, in his reply, did not treat this Amendment as it deserved to be treated, because he simply repeated the fact that where men had been insured for 15 years they might have been able to obtain two stamps a year for the 15 years. He seemed to forget the fact that during the last three 211 or four years we have had this exceptional unemployment located in districts. We want him to realise the position of a mining county such as Durham in which is my constituency. I am quoting from an official statement issued by the Labour Department for the month of October. It tells me that in the county of Durham for the month of October out of 420 persons insured we had no less than 21.1 per cent, unemployed. The Minister of Health will find in the county of Durham a serious state of affairs. In the Bishop Auckland Employment Exchange we have 49.1 unemployed, in the Coote Employment Exchange in my Division we have 23.6 men unemployed, in Durham City Employment Exchange we have 27.2 unemployed, and in Spennymoor Employment Exchange we have 18.1 per cent, unemployed. These are serious figures, and they ought to make the Parliamentary Secretary treat this question with far more seriousness than he has shown.
Large numbers of these men unemployed in the county of Durham are being pushed on to the board of guardians. They are being pushed off the Unemployment Fund on to the guardians. One of the clerks of the boards of guardians issued a statement for the last week of July which showed that in that period the number of unemployed relieved by the guardians in the county of Durham was 17,416, representing 58,014 persons. We would be safe in saying that the number relieved by the guardians in Durham to-day is over 20,000 unemployed persons. To carry this Clause in the Bill means that you are going to increase this number by very many thousands. The Minister to-night, when dealing with the other Amendment, tried to make the point that the number of persons who would be pushed off the fund would not be large if this Bill became law. In Durham, the number will be extremely large, and we are going to have placed on the boards of guardians a huge number of men. I want to submit to the Parliamentary Secretary that the board of guardians is not the place for unemployed labour. If a man has been insured and he is willing to work, that man's place is on the Unemployment Fund until he can get work and not on the board of guardians. It is the Government's part to see to him.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member is getting a long way from the question whether contributions should have been paid "at any time."
§ Miss LAWRENCE
It seems to me that this Amendment is far closer to the point than the Amendment which we have had with regard to the 30 contributions. The 30 contributions, or other contributions, are not so much the question as the period during which these contributions have been accumulated. Another hon. Member pointed out that we are faced with new problems. Perhaps I can summarise what I mean in five or six words from a very important leading article in the "Times" printed last Wednesday. After pointing out that industry was settling down on a new basis, that the North was becoming unemployed, and the South becoming more and more employed every day. After pointing out that the heavy industries were coming South, the "Times" put the central problem in these words:Moreover, although there has been a large transfer of workpeople from one industry to another, there remains a very considerable stagnant population without employment and without hope of employment. The stagnant pools of labour are a problem urgently demanding attention.The persons who have been properly insured during a lifetime and have fallen into unemployment in recent times are precisely the persons of whom these stagnant pools consist. There is no more difficult or intricate problem of unemployment than this new problem now presented, and the Minister of Labour has not attempted to deal with the problem of the men who have been in work all their working life and who have fallen suddenly and irremediably into hopeless unemployment. He has no solution at all. He just drops them out of the pool. That is bad administration. The Minister of Health is not equipped to deal with questions of employment—not in the least—and it has a bad effect on mobility of labour. These people, for whom no occupation can be found and who have had no appreciable occupation for two years, are the people whom we ought to 213 encourage to move into other occupations. If you put them on the Poor Law, you hamper the mobility of labour. The man on the Poor Law is a settled man. It is very dangerous for him to break away from his district and look for work anywhere else. The Minister of Health is entirely unequipped for dealing with a man of that kind. His policy is to make it very difficult for the man to leave his village and encourage him to start afresh.
§ Miss LAWRENCE
My point is that what the "Times" calls "stagnant pools of unemployment" have the people who are thrown by the Minister of Labour into another Department. Surely I am right in pointing out that the other Department is not equipped to receive them or to deal with such a state of things. Surely that is allowable. They are then tied to their village. Some of them break away. The Report of the Ministry of Health speaks of the people who "start along the road in an aimless search for work." Those people, because of the Poor Law, meet our wise Minister of Health, and he says that they have two days in the workhouse for every day that they look for work.
§ The CHAIRMAN
To bring in an attack on the administration of the Minister of Health under cover of this Amendment is beyond any conceivable point of Order.
On a point of Order. When we are discussing a Clause that decides whether this tax shall be payable for two years, or a period of years, surely it is essential that we should discuss what effect it will have on the men who come under the administration, because if they do not come under the two years, then they cannot get their relief or move in search of work. If the Amendment be carried, then they can go out.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I think the hon. Member was in order up to the point of saying that if they went on the Poor Law their mobility would cease. I think that was in order. But then the hon. Member proceeded to criticise the 214 administration of the Minister of Health in some tests, and so on, which do not come in this Bill but must come under the Estimates when they arise.
§ Miss LAWRENCE
I will try to keep in order We are making a choice between two Departments—the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Health. I think I shall be in order in saying that the Ministry of Health is altogether unequipped to deal with questions of unemployment, that the Minister's officers have not the necessary technique, and that the Minister who ought to deal with the matter is the Minister at whose disposal are the Employment Exchanges and the expert administration. When I inquired pressingly of the Minister of Health whether certain destitute people in a certain district who had been struck off the register were still without work, the Minister of Health himself, in this House, said that he had no power to find out.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member is going back to the sins, or otherwise, of the Minister of Health. The proper time and place for that is when she can take something off his salary. She cannot take anything off his salary now. It is quite impossible.
§ Miss LAWRENCE
I do not want to criticise the Minister of Health, and there is nothing to take off his salary. What I want to point out is that he is not equipped with the machinery to deal with unemployment. It is the duty of the Minister of Labour to get the unemployed to work and to see that the "stagnant pools" of labour are dredged. I am not attacking the Minister of Health at all when I point out that Parliament has not equipped his Department with the necessary machinery for dealing with unemployment, and I was calling, as a witness to that, the Minister of Health himself, who, when inquiries were made, pointed out to the House, very justly, that he had no means for dealing with unemployment.
§ The CHAIRMAN
If this argument were allowed, it might be said that the younger unemployed could not go into the Navy because the First Lord of the Admiralty had cut down the number of cruisers. You might get into almost any Department.
§ Miss LAWRENCE
I have tried to keep to the constitutional point that it is a grave danger to the country that there should be persons left high and dry out of employment for two or three year, and that we might just as well go to the First Lord of the Admiralty or to the Foreign Secretary, or to any other Department, as to the Minister of Health, who has not the equipment. I have made that point, and now I want to know if it is germane to the question. Has Parliament a right to ask what is going to happen to these people? Have I a right to point out that we are washing our hands of these people and turning them over to a Department that is not equipped to deal with them?
§ The CHAIRMAN
That might perhaps come up on the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," but not on an Amendment as to the period within which 30 contributions should be paid.
§ Miss LAWRENCE
The whole thing hangs on the period. If it were not the case that we have permanent unemployment in some of the heavy industries, we should not be bothering about this matter at all. Unemployment for a short period means something different from permanent unemployment for a great number of people in the heavy industries. It is precisely the period—the fact that steel-melters, tin-platers, coalminers, heavy engineers, and elderly people in many occupations have been out of work for more than two years—that makes the whole problem. Therefore, on the period the whole question hinges. The period is the very kernel of the Debate. Has not the Committee some sense of duty towards these men? We have it in the Blanesburgh Report that the men most concerned are, in the first place, the elderly men. The Blanesburgh Report shows that there are a great number of elderly men who have been out of work, and that they present a definite problem in themselves. They say that in many cases these men have excellent life records of insurable work in which, unfortunately for them, a period of depression coincides with their old age. Speaking of the same people, the Blanesburgh Report says:Moreover, it seems clear that, in the absence of any extraordinary trade activity, 216 most of them stand only a remote chance of employment at any time.Those men, and there are others, are the highly-skilled and specialised men in the heavy industries, and are a very difficult class to deal with. Having spent the best part of their lives in the heavy and skilled industries—in insurable work—it is very difficult for them to find opportunities in the lighter trades. These are the people whom we are to throw on to the scrap heap and on to the Minister of Health, whose conduct with regard to the poor you will, no doubt, not allow me to criticise. I ask the Committee to have a little pity. These men are people whose employment has passed away from them, sometimes, as has 'been pointed out by other hon. Members, by reason of progress in machinery. I ask the Committee just to consider the misfortune it is to a man who has worked hard all his life, who has accumulated a sort of vital capital of skill, and who, through no fault of his own—it may be partly through the difficulties in our export trade, in some trades through improvement in machinery —finds his painfully acquired skill a drug in the market. The professions hardly know what it is. There is only one profession that really does. Anybody who was in the Navy knows with what feelings they contemplated the case of the axed officers. They know how difficult it was for young officers who were cut off from the Service, though they were adaptable men, to find other occupations It was bad enough for the young naval officer, but it is a hundred times worse for the more unadaptable man—the hewer, the smelter, one of those people who had fitted themselves for specialised work in industry. For these men with a long record in industry we have nothing better to do than to throw them out on to the Poor Law; throw them on to the scrap heap, as if they were not worthy of our consideration. If there are changes in our industry—if, perhaps, because our industry has improved in some directions—it is a wicked thing for the country to throw the whole burden of hardship upon the persons who did the work. They have some claim upon us. They have exactly the same claim as men injured in the War. We have no right to make martyrs.
We ought to make this change as easy as possible. We ought to do all manner of things which are in the Report. A 217 humane way to provide for these people is the condition which the employers recommended; provisions which are in the Report. The Blanesburgh Report is based very largely on the evidence given by the organised employers' federation, and not once or twice but over and over again the employers pointed out that if these people were cut off unemployment insurance other proper arrangements should be made for them. They know their business. They know better than other people what will happen to these old workers if they are cut off unemployment insurance, and in giving their evidence, in giving rather severe evidence, in recommending rather severe terms, the employers themselves are more merciful than are members of this Committee. The employers themselves, not once or twice but over and over again, stated that everything they said depended upon proper arrangements being made for these people, but when we come to this Committee there is no word of any help for them. There is no word of restricting admission into the depressed trades so as to keep the work for these men. There is no word of training the younger men, no word of making labour more mobile. The only thing to do is to wash our hands of them, turn them over to the Poor Law, make no inquiries as to what sort of relief they will get; no word as to whether boards of guardians will give any relief at all. There are some who will give no relief, and some pitifully low relief. Stourbridge gives 19s. 6d. for a man, a wife, and three children. Parliament has packed these people out of sight and left them to starve quietly. You can urge men too far. We are sometimes accused of talking sob stuff. But these men will not sit down and cry. They are courageous men; proud men. I hope they will cherish more manly emotions, emotions of anger, perhaps emotion of revenge. I hope that they will do it. This is not the way to treat working men; men who are not idlers, not wasters, but men who have made our wealth, and men who have served their life in industry.
§ 1.0 a.m.
§ Mr. DUNCAN
The Amendment does not seem a very substantial one. The illustration was given that a man might work two weeks in a year for 15 years running and he would qualify for benefit under this Amendment. The illustration is quite correct. At the same time, I 218 want to point out how unreasonable the position of the Bill will be without this Amendment. What I complain about, and why I think the Amendment is a reasonable one is this. A man may have paid from the very beginning of this Act right up to the two particular years that are to be taken. He may never have missed a single contribution, and he may never have drawn any benefit. But, if in the two particular years set forth in this Bill he fails to pay 30 contributions, then, no matter how good a contributor he has been, how regular in employment, the provision he has endeavoured to make is not there when the time comes. I say that is taking money under false pretences. It is not insurance against unemployment, because, although a man may have been a regular contributor, when the time comes, during those two particular years he has not paid his contributions, there is no benefit for him. I have had more experience than any Minister who has ever administered the Unemployment Act in administering unemployment benefit, and I say that no trade union would ever attempt for a moment to treat one of its members like that. A trade union would at least say, "This man has been paying for so many years; he has done his duty, and now, when through unfortunate circumstances he has met with a spell of unemployment, the least we can do is to take into consideration not two given years alone but the whole period of time during which he has contributed. It seems to me an extraordinarily unfortunate thing to fix two particular years and to ignore completely all the rest of the years that a man has contributed.
Let me indicate another way in which I think it will act with very great unfairness, especially to the older men following industry to-day. Anybody who knows anything about industry knows that when a man's age is creeping up, when he gets between 50 and 60, especially during slack times, he is always the man who is going to be out of work, irrespective of his skill and ability. In many cases, one can see men getting into years shaving off their moustaches in order to disguise their age. Some men even dye their moustaches. It is always the last two years that will count in the case of these older men, and they will be treated 219 with grave injustice. It seems to me, whether this Amendment be accepted or not, that there is an important matter for consideration by anybody who wishes to make the Act work with a certain amount of justice and sanity. There is no sanity in the present arrangement; there is no fairness. It is taking money under false pretences, and making unemployment a crime. It is not insurance because at the moment a man wants benefit, there is a trick in this Clause to deprive him of it.
§ Mr. SHAW
I scarcely think the Parliamentary Secretary was just to the Committee. Let him look at the matter for a moment from our side. Our view is that no genuine unemployed person should be refused benefit. He will then see that we cannot agree with the definition which he has given. What we propose would be quite easy to administer but, if this Amendment be not accepted, there will inevitably be under the Bill, when it becomes an Act, a number-56,000 people the Minister says—who will be refused benefit. If this Amendment were accepted that number would be considerably diminished. It is not a fail picture to say that the person who pays two weeks a year for 15 years will be provided with benefit.
The Parliamentary Secretary knows that there are a host of safeguards in the Bill, and that the person not seeking work does not get benefit. It is running away from the question to put the extraordinary assumption that if a person pays for two weeks each year for 15 years he will get benefit. You have these guarantees against the robbing of the Fund and the unemployed man should have his guarantee of benefit if he is genuinely seeking work and willing to accept reasonable employment. If the Minister had shown he was willing, on other Amendments, to accept a modification we might have been willing to accept a less modification than this which we now propose. But we are up before a blank wall—a Bill that means that genuine, unemployed people will be refused benefit. If you get a trade which goes through extremely bad times for two years, you can deprive nearly the whole of the people in it of their benefit. If the year before they make their appli- 220 cation they have 30 stamps which cover the first quarter, and they make their application in the second year, they have nine months against them. It is quite possible for a genuine, unemployed person not to get any stamps within two years. If it were the case that when a person was unemployed the same provision existed, as in the Health Insurance Act, that a week's unemployment counted as a week's contribution, and not against the unemployed, there would be something to say for the Minister. Then a case of misfortune would not mean a case of double misfortune to the person insured. He would, during the weeks he was genuinely unemployed, have no weeks counted against him. If this Amendment be not accepted, we are before a blank wall, and this Amendment, however foolish it may seem to the Parliamentary Secretary, would at least make it certain that genuine, unemployed persons will be able to get benefit. The Minister has any amount of guarantees—he has a hundred and one ways of refusing benefit under the Bill. It is not a fair picture to paint to the Committee that we are to give a man benefit because he has paid twice a year for 15 years. There may be cases of that kind, but they are extremely unlikely.
§ Mr. SCURR
I agree with my hon. Friends who have spoken in regard to the importance of this Amendment. I very much regret the light-hearted way in which the Parliamentary Secretary dealt with this matter. He gave us a very fictitious account of a man for 15 years paying only two sums a year, and he seemed to try and convey an impression to the Committee that these were people who were trying to get under this Bill. It rather looks like trying to get contributions from men who would get no benefit at all. If a man has 12 weeks' work in the first year and 12 weeks' work in the second year—24 stamps—he is not entitled to get benefit. If he, in the third year, has again 12 weeks, although he has 36 stamps for the period of three years, and not for two years, he will get no benefit at all. It would be absolutely dishonest to the man who would be called upon to pay. I also want to support what has been said by the hon. Member for East Ham, North (Miss Lawrence). I feel that every person who listened to her speech must have recognised that she was placing before the Committee some- 221 thing that has been overlooked up to the present time.
As to an old man genuinely seeking work, I know of an instance in the constituency next to my own where a man has been in the employ of a firm since the age of 15. It has now, for various reasons, closed down, and at the age of 62 he is thrown on the Unemployment Fund. He has been all the time with this firm. He has got into their habits and methods, and he is absolutely useless on the labour market at the present time. We have the position of the Government who say, "We must have 30 stamps or you will not draw this miserable benefit." This is not insurance. We might consent to such a period if the Government were accompanying it with some practical legislation to deal with the real problem of these people— if they were concerning themselves with providing work or some means of securing the mobility of labour, for with the growth of machinery in industry it will be necessary to face this problem of mobility of labour in the future. All they are concerned with is "tranquility," and things of that kind. As long as men and women starve in the country, it does not
§ matter. They are all right. Most of them represent the class which does not matter. Most of that class are unemployed all the way through, but they do not have to go to the Employment Exchange to draw their unemployment dole. On the contrary—
§ Mr. SCURR
I think, when we are dealing with a question of the unemployed who are to be really done out of what is their due, it is a duty to call attention to the other section of the unemployed who do get a considerable benefit out of society as it exists at the present time. So far as the Government are concerned, they are only concerned in supporting the rich and powerful, and not in any sense with benefiting the poor.
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 179; Noes, 84.
|Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Ruggies- Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.||Templeton, W. P.|
|Moore, Sir Newton J.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, S.)|
|Moreing. Captain A. H.||Salmon, Major I.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Sandeman, N. Stewart||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Murchison, Sir Kenneth||Sanders, Sir Robert A.||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Nail, Colonel Sir Joseph||Sanderson, Sir Frank||Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Nelson, Sir Frank||Savery, S. S.||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Neville, Sir Reginald J.||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mel. (Renfrew, W)||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Oakley, T.||Shepperson, E. W.||Wells, S. R.|
|O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Skelton, A N.||Williams, Com. C. (Devon. Torquay)|
|Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine.'C.)||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Penny. Frederick George||Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)|
|Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Smithers. Waldron||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Peto, G. (Somerset. Frome)||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Preston, William||Sprot, Sir Alexander||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Price, Major C. W N||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G.(Westm'eland)||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Radford, E. A.||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Rawson, Sir Cooper||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Remnant, Sir James||Stuart. Crichton-, Lord C||Major Sir George- Hennessy and Major Cope.|
|Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||Styles, Captain H. Walter|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O.(W. Bromwich)|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Grundy, T. W.||Saklatvala, Shapurji|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Scurr, John|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hardie, George D.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Barnes, A.||Harney, E. A.||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Batey, Joseph||Harris, Percy A.||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Hartshorn. Rt. Hon. Vernon||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Broad, A. F.||Hayday, Arthur||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Bromfield, William||Hayes, John Henry||Stephen, Campbell|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||Sullivan, J.|
|Cape, Thomas||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Sutton, J. E.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Hirst, G. H.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Clowes, S.||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Compton, Joseph||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Townend, A. E.|
|Cove, W. G.||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Varley, Frank B.|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Kelly, W. T.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Crawfurd, H. E.||Kennedy, T.||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Dalton, Hugh||Kirkwood, D.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Lawrence, Susan||Westwood, J.|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Lawson, John James||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Duncan, C.||Lindley, F. W.||Whiteley, W.|
|Dunnico, H.||Lunn, William||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Edge, Sir William||Mackinder, W.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||MacLaren, Andrew||Windsor, Walter|
|Fenby, T. D.||Murnin, H.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Naylor, T. E.|
|Gillett, George M.||Oliver, George Harold||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Paling, W.||Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr. Frederick Hall.|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Potts, John S.|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)|
§ Question put accordingly, "That those words be there inserted."
|Division No. 397.]||AYES.||[1.21 a.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Duncan, C.||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Dunnico, H.||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Edge, Sir William||Hirst, G. H.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)|
|Barnes, A.||Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)||John, William (Rhondda, West)|
|Batey, Joseph||Fenby, T. D.||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Gibbins, Joseph||Kelly, W. T.|
|Broad, F. A.||Gillett, George M.||Kennedy, T.|
|Bromfield, William||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Kirkwood, D.|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Lawrence, Susan|
|Cape, Thomas||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Lawson, John James|
|Charleton, H. C.||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Lindley, F. W.|
|Clowes, S.||Grundy, T. W.||Lunn, William|
|Compton, Joseph||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Mackinder, W.|
|Cove, W. G.||Hardie, George D.||MacLaren, Andrew|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Harney, E. A.||Murnin, H.|
|Crawfurd, H. E.||Harris, Percy A.||Naylor, T. E.|
|Dalton, Hugh||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Oliver, George Harold|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Hayday, Arthur||Paling, W.|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Hayes, John Henry||Potts, John S.|
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 85; Noes, 176.
|Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O.(W. Bromwich)||Sutton, J. E.||Whiteley, W.|
|Saklatvala, Shapurji||Thurtle, Ernest||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Scurr, John||Tinker, John Joseph||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)||Townend, A. E.||Windsor, Walter|
|Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||Varley, Frank B.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton;|
|Sitch, Charles H.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)||Wellock, Wilfred||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Smith, Rennie (Penistone)||Welsh, J. C.||Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr. Frederick Hall.|
|Stephen, Campbell||Westwood, J.|
|Sullivan, J.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Albery, Irving James||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Nelson, Sir Frank|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cenf'l)||Galbraith, J. F. W.||Neville, Sir Reginald J.|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K||Ganzoni, Sir John||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)|
|Apsley, Lord||Goff, sir Park||Oakley, T.|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Gower, Sir Robert||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William|
|Balniel, Lord||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Penny, Frederick George|
|Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Hanbury, C.||Preston, William|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Price, Major C. W. M.|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Harland, A.||Radford, E. A.|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Rawson, Sir Cooper|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Harrison, G. J. C.||Remnant, Sir James|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Ruggles- Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Hilton, Cecil||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Rye, F. G.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Salmon, Major I.|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Holt, Captain H. P.||Sandeman, N. Stewart|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd., Hexham)||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Sanders, sir Robert A.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Buchan, John||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Savery, S. S.|
|Burman, J. B.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.)||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W. R., Sowerby)|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd.Whiteh'n)||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mel.(Renfrew, W.)|
|Campbell, E. T.||Iliffe, Sir Edward M.||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Skelton, A. N.|
|Cayzer. Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Smith, R. W.(Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Smithers, Waldron|
|Christie, J. A.||Kldd, J. (Linlithgow)||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Clayton, G. C.||King, Commodore Henry Douglas||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Knox, Sir Alfred||Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Lamb, J. Q.||steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Loder, J. de V.||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.|
|Couper, J. B.||Long, Major Eric||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Looker, Herbert William||Styles, Captain H. Walter|
|Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere||Templeton, W. P.|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Lumley. L. R.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Davidson. J. (Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)||MacIntyre, Ian||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||McLean, Major A.||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil||Macmillan, Captain H.||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Mac Robert, Alexander M.||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Dixey, A. C.||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-||Wells, S. R.|
|Drewe, C.||Margesson, Captain D.||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Eden, Captain Anthony||Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Ellis, R. G.||Merriman, F. B.||Wilson, sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Monsell, Eyres Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Wood, E. (Chester, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Fanshawe, Captain G. D.||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Fermoy, Lord||Moore, Sir Newton J.||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Fleiden, E. B.||Moreing, Captain A. H.|
|Ford, Sir P. J.||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Murchison, Sir Kenneth||Major Sir George Hennessy and Major Cope.|
|Frece, Sir Walter de||Nail, Colonel Sir Joseph|
§ Mr. T. SHAW
I beg to move, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."
I do so on the grounds that we are dealing with very important legislation 226 in a Bill that is of extreme difficulty to understand and full of intricate details. It is quite unfair to ask the Committee to discuss this Bill at this hour of the morning.
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
If that be the wish of the Committee, I am ready to fall in with the general wish, because tomorrow we shall be dealing with the same subject, though in a rather different aspect.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again this day.