§ 45. Mr. DAVID GRENFELL
asked the Prime Minister whether he will take steps to co-ordinate under Government auspices the various agencies which are taking part in relieving distress and hardship in the depressed industrial areas; and whether the Government will give a grant towards a fund for this purpose?
47. Mr. BECKETT
asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the urgent necessity for providing food, boots, and clothes for the children in the necessitous areas and the expressed desire of the Government to encourage voluntary effort, he will consider making an immediate offer to supplement every £1 given from voluntary sources with a £1 Treasury grant?
§ The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Baldwin)
The whole matter is under the close consideration of the Government and a, full statement will be made at an early date. I can, however, make the following statement this afternoon. Owing to the increasing number of agencies for the relief of distress in the coalfields, it has become necessary to set up some machinery for their co-ordination. At the same time the Lord Mayor has invited the Government to place at his disposal the staff and office accommodation necessary to deal with the additional work due to the recent expansion in the operations of his fund. The Government have gladly responded to this request and Mr. Noel CurtisBennett, C.V.O., has been appointed as 1697 Organising Secretary of the fund. In addition to his duties in connection with the Lord Mayor's Fund, Mr. Curtis-Bennett will also undertake the organisation of a general clearing house of information for the purpose of coordinating the numerous efforts which are now being made to relieve distress in the coalfields. In this work of coordination the Government feel sure that they can rely on the cordial co-operation of all the various relief agencies. Particulars of the new organisation will be announced shortly.
Can the Prime Minister answer the latter part of question 45? We all appreciate the benefits of co-ordination, but does the Government intend to make any contribution?
§ The PRIME MINISTER
On that particular point I have nothing to add for the present to what I have said in the first part of the answer.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that it is now, when the winter season is starting, that the need is most urgent? For some three weeks we have been told that consideration is being given to the subject. Can he give us any assurance that the Government will come to a decision in the near future?
§ Mr. TAYLOR
Can the Prime Minister say why the guardians cannot be given the means by the Government to deal with distress in these areas?
§ The PRIME MINISTER
That question does not arise out of the original question, and I should be much obliged if the hon. Member would put it to the appropriate Minister.
§ Mr. SHINWELL
What does the right hon. Gentleman mean by "early publication"? Does he mean some time after Christmas?
§ Mr. PALING
If we put down a question in a week's time, will the right hon. Gentleman be in a position to give an answer?