§ The CHAIRMAN
The first five Amendments on the Paper are out of order or out of place. The two Amendments which follow them are both in order. They apparently raise the same point. I propose to call both of them. They should be discussed together, but it may be necessary to have two Divisions.
§ Mr. R. HUDSON
May I respectfully suggest that for the convenience of the House the custom adopted on previous Bills be followed here, and that the Amendments be numbered?
§ The CHAIRMAN
That matter was considered by Mr. Speaker previously, but he decided not to make a general order. It is hardly a matter for me to deal with.
§ Mr. A. GREENWOOD
I beg to move, in page 1, line 13, after the word "borough," to insert the wordsor the council of a borough or urban district with a population of not less than twenty thousand.The object of this Amendment is to transfer the functions of the Poor Law authorities to other kinds of local authorities besides the counties and county boroughs. We regard with apprehension the transfer of Poor Law functions to many of the county councils in England and Wales. Our view is that Poor Law functions are of two kinds—those which are properly exercisable by local authorities, and those which are national in their character. It is not possible for me now to deal with the latter, but assuming that it would be possible for us on subsequent Amendments, to transfer from the bodies which take over Poor Law functions the responsibility for the unemployed, we then believe that the Poor Law functions that remain might well be exercised by bodies within the county areas, and not merely by the county councils themselves. I 2358 think that hon. Members will agree with me when I say that, owing to many serious and real difficulties, the county councils are the least representative of our local governing bodies. They are remote from the great masses of the people. The responsibilities of membership of county councils are very considerable. The expense of travelling is also an item of great importance, and it is undoubtedly true that people who might well serve on a local authority nearer home, find it utterly impossible to become members of county councils. The result is that in the county areas the big majority of the members are drawn from a very narrow section of society, and that the representation of bodies of working people is almost negligible, except perhaps in three or four of the county councils of England and Wales.
It seems to us that in the exercise of Poor Law functions it is important that real authority should rest with bodies on which people drawn from the classes that are most likely to need assistance can serve. The county councils, I believe, are the worst possible bodies to act as Poor Law authorities. I do not complain of the county boroughs, because they fulfil the test which I lay down, namely, that the county borough councils at least are bodies which consist of members who are familiar with the limited area which they administer. Of the counties that cannot be said. Poor Law service, 'particularly home assistance, is intimate and personal, and there is therefore a good deal to be said for bodies of the type of the borough councils and the urban district councils. In the great county of Lancashire there is a number of non-county boroughs and urban districts, which, I think the Minister of Health won't' admit, are wc11 administered, and which might well exercise the Poor Law powers which this Bill proposes to transfer to the counties.
I believe that the administration of the Poor Law would be more effective in every way, and, I would add, more sympathetic to the real needs of the poor, if it were in the hands of the non-county boroughs and the large urban, districts, rather than in the hands of a very distant county authority at Preston. In my own constituency there are two municipal boroughs, both non-county and both of them well administered. They 2359 are bodies which are eminently fitted to carry out the proposed transfer of functions. If the Minister should reply that there would be difficulties with regard to institutional treatment of the poor, I would say that there are provisions in his own Bill to deal with that side of the case. I am not suggesting that all urban district councils should carry out all Poor Law functions. Certain kinds of institutional treatment could he more efficiently administered by a combination of authorities. For that the Minister makes provision in the Bill.
There is some question as to where exactly we should draw the line. I am no supporter of the municipal boroughs with a population of 2,000, but it is possible to take a figure which would include within it all the authorities that are large enough to carry out the Poor Law service. It is a question whether it should be a population of 20,000 or of 50,000. My own view is that 50,000 puts the line of demarcation rather too high and rules out from the exercise of Poor Law duties many local authorities that could well and effectively carry them out. We have taken the figure of 20,000 because the Minister himself has given us a precedent. In Clause 29 rights are given to certain urban district councils to maintain county roads:Where an urban district has a population exceeding 20,000 according to the last census for the time being, the urban district council may claim to exercise the functions of maintenance and repair of any county road within their district.4.0 p.m.
That line of demarcation of 20,000 seems to us to be a very suitable mark to determine which authorities should he Poor Law bodies and which should not. That is why in the Amendment we have confined the exercise of Poor Law functions to the councils of county boroughs and the councils of boroughs or urban districts with a population of not less than 20,000. I believe that many Members on the opposite side of the Committee will feel that the impersonal character of the county council for services of this kind makes them unfit for the exercise of Poor Law duties, and that they will sympathise with the view contained in this Amendment. Many of these smaller authorities do really represent the best in our local government life, and it is a blow 2360 in the face, an implied insult, that in the transfer of powers they should have been overlooked and placed in a position of subordination to the county councils. I believe, without arguing this Amendment at length, that we shall meet with a good deal of support in all quarters of the Committee, and I hope that the Minister will break away from the theory of his Department with regard to counties and county boroughs, and will realise that in this enormous transfer of powers that is being made, it would be to the public advantage to hand over these very important powers to the smaller administrative authorities which do not happen to be either counties or county boroughs.
§ Mr. HARNEY
I understand, Mr. Hope, that you are taking this Amendment and the Amendment in my name together. The only real difference between the two Amendments is that mine makes the unit 50,000 instead of 20,000, and also applies to rural areas as well as urban areas and non-county boroughs. I would like to call attention, first, to the fact that this 50,000 unit has been recommended by the Maclean Committee. I do not think it would be necessary to move this Amendment had the Bill in effect really broken up the Poor Law, had it really transferred or given us an opportunity of transferring, the able-bodied poor from the Poor Law to the national purse. In those circumstances it would have been quite unnecessary to put forward Amendments of this kind, for this reason. If the Poor Law had gone, if the able-bodied unemployed had gone, and if the provisions in Clause 4, mentioning a number of Acts of Parliament that now are applicable to the giving of medical and other assistance to non-paupers, were made applicable to giving assistance to paupers, there would have been such a small amount left that it would not have been really worth while keeping in existence anybody to carry out the functions now carried out by the boards of guardians. Since, however, you have left with the Poor Law this large number of able-bodied unemployed—I believe that the full number with their dependants is very nearly 500,000—and since you have given the localities a large number of persons that must somehow be provided for, it seems to be 2361 absurd to place a town with a population of over 50,000 in any worse position as regards the administration of the able-bodied poor than a county borough.
If the Committee look 'at the population of some of the towns, the figures will be found to be very striking. Take the non-county boroughs—Luton, 57,000; Cambridge, 59,000; Chesterfield, 61,000; Stockton-on-Tees, 64,000; Leyton, 128,000; Ealing, 89,000.Now take urban districts — in Essex, Walthamstow,129,000; in Lancashire, Stretford, 52,000; in Middlesex, Tottenham,149,000;Willesden, 165,000; and in Wales, Rhondda, 162,000. In the rural districts you have, in Durham, the county where my own constituency is, Auckland, 61,000; and Easington, 75,000. These non-county and rural area towns are larger than many of the county boroughs. Where is the justification for saying we are going to leave the able-bodied poor to the district if it happens to answer the description of a county borough, but that we will not leave it, to the district, though it is much larger, though it contains, in essence, all the elements that justify leaving the able-bodied poor to the district at all, because does not 'answer the technical description of a county borough? That is wholly unreasonable.
These boundaries of county boroughs and counties have not been established at all with a view to the purposes for which a Bill like this is framed. Whatever may be said against the unions, they were, at all events, framed with a view to giving relief to the poor. What was considered by those who fixed the unit was manageable areas, manageable populations, convenience of getting to the market centres, and so on, but the boundaries of the county councils were fixed for purposes wholly foreign to the purpose under consideration. If you are to take as the units, areas that were fixed, not with regard to the purpose in view at all, some with immense populations, some with small populations, some with great areas, some with small areas, some with diverse and some with homogeneous industries—if you are to fix it in that way, because of some heavenly virtues in these ancient boundaries, then the areas of non-county boroughs, and urban and rural districts with a population of 50,000 should be put on exactly the same footing, and not forced to throw 2362 in their lot with an immense administrative county where there would be great difficulties arising.
§ Mr. PALIN
I rise to support the Amendment, because I believe the success or non-success of the Measure, as far as it relates to the Poor Law, will depend very largely on the bodies that are to be created to administer it. If it is necessary to put some trust in the borough councils and the urban district councils for the oversight of roads, how much more important is it to entrust those bodies with the oversight of human beings. We are discussing now what people shall have the confidence of the community to act as guardians of the poor. I cannot imagine a more sacred or a more important duty to be placed upon any citizen than that of a guardian of the poor—not a guardian of the national funds or of the local rates, but a person who will undertake the duty, not from the point of view of the amount of money or other relief tat can be given to a person, but who will take an interest in the poor, to see how their lot can be alleviated; not merely to administer a scale laid down by the Minister of so many shillings a day, or so many loaves of bread, or how many hundredweight of stone shall be broken in order to qualify for relief, but to take a real, human interest in the people who, unfortunately, have to appeal to others for their sustenance in the time of distress. If you are going to remove the poor people too far from those who have to minister to their necessities, the duty will become automatic, cast-iron, soulless, no element of Christian charity will be attached to it, and the evil reputation which has attached to the Poor Law up to now will be nothing to the evil reputation which must attach to such a body as is now going to he created.
As a matter of fact, if we are really in earnest, we want to create some body which will endeavour not only to relieve the necessities but to prevent that destitution which compels people to come under the care of the guardians, and I know one one better fitted than these borough councils who have the confidence of the people. As far as the county boroughs are concerned, I have very great confidence that all will go well. There will be practically no co-option in county boroughs. But, as far as the 2363 counties are concerned, the care of the poor is going to devolve upon people who have no responsibility to anybody. That is the main evil about the Clause. We know the difficulty now with regard to county councils like the West Riding of Yorkshire, at any rate. The area is too big. There are a few people who live within convenient distances of the county town, and. do all the donkey work. Then the backwoodsmen come down from the moors to the monthly meeting and simply turn down everything. We are taking the responsibility from the borough councils who live amongst the people, are responsible to the people, know their lives and can assist them, and who, eventually, may be able to show us the way to a Measure much superior to this one, which will really create guardians of the poor who will really guard them and assist them, and enable us to bring, as I say, an element of Christian charity which ought to animate these bodies. I am afraid that this Clause will not merely stereotype the existing Poor Law, but make it worse than it is to-day.
§ The MINISTER of HEALTH (Mr. Chamberlain)
I think the Committee will realise that these two Amendments, which, as the hon. and learned Member for South Shields (Mr. Harney) has pointed out, differ in degree rather than in kind, are very serious. In fact they are so serious that, if either of them were carried, it would to a large extent destroy one of the principles upon which this part of the Bill is founded. I was a little surprised to hear the view expressed by the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Greenwood) that county councils were the worst possible bodies for the administration of Poor Law services because that was one of the recommendations in the Minority Report of the Royal Commission, on which the party opposite were represented by an hon. Member who now ornaments the Front Bench opposite. [HON. MEMBERS: "How long ago?"] The hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) does not change his opinions quite so rapidly as hon. Members would appear to suppose, and I have no reason to believe that at the present day he is at all disposed to throw overboard the opinion which he expressed at that time. The arguments 2364 which have been used seem to ignore two things—first, the provisions of Clause 6, and, secondly, the financial implications of the proposed change. if I may address myself first to the financial side of the question, I would point out that it is because, at present, we find that areas with comparatively small financial resources are placed in great difficulties by reason of the fact that the charges for Poor Law are apt to fluctuate so violently, that we have decided that the area of charge must be widened.
The whole difficulty with both these Amendments is that they go exactly in the contrary direction and try to stereotype, at any rate to a considerable extent, the very difficulty which we are endeavouring to overcome. Of course, as between 20,000 population and 50,000 population, there is a considerable difference. The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne sought to justify the introduction of the limit of 20,000 by reference to Clause 29. If is quite true that in Clause 29 a distinction is made between urban districts with populations of 20,000 and those with less and in that, of course, we are following out the recommendations of the Royal Commission. But the hon. Member did not draw attention to the fact that the financial responsibility under Clause 29 remains with the county council. That makes all the difference because the hon. Member is not here proposing to leave the financial responsibility with the county council and simply to have the work of administration given to districts with populations of 20,000. He is placing those comparatively small authorities in exactly the same position as the county council or the county borough council. He is giving them financial responsibility and, of course, liability. That makes all the difference in the world. When I come to the question of the larger number the Report of the Maclean Committee which the hon. Member quoted is quite clear as to its recommendations, I think have the relevant passage here:We recommend the abolition of the boards of guardians and of the Poor Law unions and the merging of all the functions of the Poor Law authorities in those of the county councils and the county borough councils, subject to the necessary modifications set out in our scheme for London and other administrative counties.2365 Therefore, the recommendation of the Maclean Committee was that the functions which are here to be transferred, should be transferred, not to these smaller districts but to the county councils and the county boroughs. I am quite aware of another recommendation of the Maclean Committee that urban districts or non-county boroughs, with populations of 50,000, should be converted into county boroughs, hut two things have happened since then to which I call the attention of the Committee. In the first place, this question has been re-examined by another Royal Commission, sitting much later, and they have recommended that the figure should be raised from 50,000 to 75,000. That is the first point. The second point, which is even more pointedly directed to the proposal before us, is that we have to consider the situation now in the light of the de-rating proposals. What is the effect upon local authorities of the de-rating proposals? It is, of course, to narrow the field which is open ho them for the raising of rates and, therefore, a charge or liability which formerly would have been spread over the whole of the existing field of rateable value must be concentrated upon a reduced rateable value after the de-rating proposals have taken effect. That is a very important point. It emphasises and magnifies the difficulties which already exist and that alone is sufficient to make it quite impossible for us to accept an Amendment which would throw upon these bodies, with their reduced rateable valuation, the liabilities for Poor Law administration.
On that ground alone, I say that the Committee ought not to accept this Amendment in the light of the whole of the considerations which have led us to adopt the proposals of the Bill. But then, is it a fact that the county councils, acting as they will under the provisions of the Bill, are the remote bodies to which the hon. Member for West Newcastle (Mr. Palin) alluded? Is it a fact that they will lay down the whole system of administration, that they will carry it out entirely themselves, and keep it in their own hands? That view ignores entirely the provisions of Clause 6. We do not contemplate that the county council should themselves, at their own place of meeting, carry on all the business of the administration of the Poor Law services. Of course that would be 2366 quite impossible and unreasonable. We have made ample provision for seeing that there is decentralisation, and, indeed, it is quite possible that under the provisions of Clause 6 county councils may select some of these areas with larger populations as units of local administration and as areas in which will be set up the local guardians committees.
Then they will be, if not in precisely the same position, in very nearly the same position as those bodies under Clause 29 to which reference has been made. That is to say, they will be carrying out the actual work of the administration but, of course, they will be subject to the financial policy and control of the county council and that I think is very desirable. It means not that we have to refer every little detail to a body sitting in some place which nobody can get at, but it means that we can have the advantage of the local knowledge and the personal touch to which hon. Members opposite rightly attach considerable importance. I think, therefore, that in the provisions which are set forth in the Bill we are preserving the essential features, as regards the spread of the charge and the financial responsibility over the larger area, and, at the same time, we are making adequate provision for the maintenance of that local knowledge and local experience and local sympathy which is what we all desire.
§ Miss LAWRENCE
I forecast the answer which the Minister would give on Clause 1 when I read through the first part of the table of contents of this Bill. It is perfectly obvious that this whole matter depends on Part VI of the Bill, and my very first criticism was that it world be impossible to debate rationally the first Clause until the House had disposed of the complicated provisions of Pan; VI. Now it is perfectly true that the provisions of Part VI make it impossible for these districts to hold up their heads or even, as I think, to perform their ordinary duties and the fault is not in de-rating. It is not de-rating which will make these places so poor, it is the altogether artificial formula of distribution which Parliament has not yet discussed. It is clear that the difficulty of the minor authorities is the difficulty of distribution. It is also true that the Minister's plan of redistribution would so sap the resources of some dis- 2367 tricts that they could not carry on. Take the case of Rugby where the rates will be raised by 1s. 2d. in the £, or Bacup 1s. 6d., or Colne 1s. 0¼d., or Berwick-on-Tweed 2s. 8d., or Seaham Harbour 2s. 9d. The Minister has created a class of new poor and is proceeding to deal with that matter by eliminating them. That is the whole force of his argument. If Parliament passes, not the de-rating Clauses but the Clauses which follow, local authorities, urban councils, district councils and non-county boroughs will have their finances dealt with in such a fashion that they will hardly be able to administer their functions.
We have in Clause 1 the ignoring of the larger boroughs and urban districts which was no part of the Maclean Report. We had the Poor Law Report of 1909; we had the whole country talking about it for nine years; we then had the Maclean Report to review the situation and to arrive at something which was considered more or less an agreement and a compromise. The Maclean Report speaks of boroughs and urban districts of over 50,000 population as suitable Poor Law units and so they are. Who can say that towns mentioned by the hon. and learned Member for South Shields (Mr. Harney) are not reasonable units for this function—towns like Cambridge or Rugby and urban districtslike Barking or those great urban aggregations in the East of London? But they are to be melted into the county under this Bill. Why? The reason is that it is on Part VI—and this is a superfluity of naughtiness on the part of the Minister…it is on Part VI that everything depends, after which all the provisions are consequential. That is the position. If we do as the larger towns are asking us to do, we shall have to alter the formula for distribution and I do not know that that is a disadvantage but rather an advantage. We arc obliged, however, to ignore all considerations of the proper functions of given areas, to sacrifice all considerations of obtaining homogeneous units of local government in order to cut and chop the local authorities so as to fit in with the scheme devised in Part VI of the Bill. Having pointed that out, I must not seek to amend Part VI of the Bill now. I may not put down amendments to Part VI and discuss them before Part I, otherwise I 2368 should be going outside even the indulgence of the Chairman. Therefore, I can only point out this matter, and having done so leave it to the Committee.
§ Mr. ERNEST BROWN
I found the reply of the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Health singularly unconvincing. The Maclean Report recommends that in the case of administrative counties other than London, boroughs and urban districts having a population exceeding 50,000 should be in the same position of autonomy as if they were county boroughs. That is what we propose in our Amendment, and the Minister evades the issue. It shows up incidentally what we consider to be the vice of his proposals. There is no necessary connection between the county as an area of administration and the financial proposals of the Bill. With regard to de-rating, if the Minister will accept Amendments on the Paper to cut out the arrangements about the loss of rates from the Bill, and restore to each rating authority what it loses, the whole of his argument is blown away. We are not here to discuss the financial proposals, and the Minister cannot evade the merits or demerits of the Amendments on this Clause by referring to his own artificial finance, which we shall discuss 10 days hence. Let him address his mind to the actual facts. It is not the fact that the proposal in this Clause in every case widens the area of charge. There are quite a number of areas which will be smaller and not larger after these proposals.
Indeed, if the Minister had taken the Committee into his confidence and given the facts, the Committee would have known facts like these: Here is Canterbury, which is a county borough with a population of 24,450, and it will be an autonomous unit for Poor Law purposes. I see the hon. and gallant Member for Chippenham (Captain Cazalet) in his place. Here is Swindon, which, is very near the borders of his constituency. Swindon is a non-county borough with a population of 54,920. By what process of reasoning can it be justified that Canterbury, an ancient city and therefore a county borough, with a population of only 24,450, is a suitable unit to administer the whole of these functions and bear the financial burdens imposed on it by de-rating or the charges coming from these functions, and Swin- 2369 don, with 54,920 people, is not? Oxford is a county borough with 57,000 population, and it can exercise these functions and have its own elected Poor Law Committee inside its own borders, but Cambridge, a non-county borough with a population of 59,260, cannot. By what process of reasoning does the Minister expect us to decide this issue on the merits of the proposal? Is or is not the county borough the right unit of administration? I submit that that is the issue that we have to decide, and not the vice or the virtue as it may be of the Minister's financial proposals. I believe the Maclean Report was right. It recommended that every non-county borough and urban district with over 50,000 should have autonomy. We go a little further and bring in rural districts, because it may be news to some hon. Members that there are five rural districts with more than 50,000 population and one with more than 100,000, and we bring them in because we believe that we ought to consider the merits of the unit if the administration is to be sound.
What are the facts? As the Amendment is now drafted, the Amendment of the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Greenwood), we find that there are 96 non-county boroughs, 83 urban districts, and 87 rural districts with over 20,000 population; there are 12 non-county boroughs, six urban districts, and five rural districts with a population between 50,000 and 100,000; and there are one non-county borough and four urban districts with over 100,000. I suggest that the Minister, in making the county the unit—it may be convenient for the purposes of drafting the Bill—has got the wrong unit for his own purposes, and I suggest that he should take this Amendment following the recommendation of the Maclean Report. If you make up to each rating authority what it loses by way of de-rating, it will be in the same financial position that it is in now to meet the obligations cast upon it in the future. I wish the hon. Member for Ilford (Sir G. Hamilton) were here, because Ilford with a population of 85,191, will have a great deal to say in answer to the refusal of the Minister to treat it as an autonomous body for the administration of the Poor Law.
2370 It is our desire, in the administration of this Measure, to see that the maximum number of popularly elected authorities are responsible for the administration of the Poor Law, and surely it is not asking too much to ask that if the Minister cannot take the first and wider Amendment, he should adopt the recommendation of the Maclean Report in this case, because I know that at other stages of the Bill he will constantly be throwing at our heads other recommendations of the Maclean Report. We have ventured to get in our blow first, and if he refuses to meet our blow, chosen from the Maclean Report, I hope he will not expect us to take the words of that Report with the weight that the Parliamentary Secretary suggested, in recent speeches, that he expects us to give to it. I can see no logical reason, apart from the artificial finance of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for not accepting the proposal that 50,000 and more, whether county borough, non-county borough, urban district, or rural district, should be the financially effective unit for the administration of these functions.
§ Lieut.-Colonel FREMANTLE
May h take the case from a point of view that has not occurred to the hon. Member for Leith (Mr. E. Brown)? He sees the only objection to his Amendment as being financial, but I should like to put forward the point of view—it is only one of several, 'but it is an important one—of the public health side of the question. It is from that side that this matter has been largely discussed in previous years, it is from that point of view that the Royal Commission on the Poor Law, amongst others, very strongly went for the county area as the unit of administration, and it is from that point of view that the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Greenwood) has advocated the larger area again and again. It is not necessary to give a series of detailed reasons for it, but if hon. Members will only consider what the proposals for breaking up the Poor Law, as they are called, really entail, if those who are in favour of that course will remember that the idea was to deal, not simply with the Poor Law as such, but with the causes of poverty, one of the chief of which is the question of health—
§ Lieut.-Colonel FREMANTLE
The question of the Poor Law includes questions of health. One of the objects of the reform of the Poor Law as in this Bill is to deal with the causes of poverty, and that is extended in Clause 4. The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne, in opening the discussion, admitted the principle in suggesting that the government of institutions should be left in the hands of the county authority. The Committee realises quite clearly that it is not merely institutional treatment that is concerned, but that you have to deal with the question of health on broad lines. The question arises not only in an institution, but before people go in, and after they come out. Then, again, there are a large number of questions of maternity which cannot be dealt with easily—
§ Lieut.-Colonel FREMANTLE
I will not go into further details, but I will only say that if you adopted the proposals in either of these two Amendments that are put forward, you would be eliminating very largely from the main purposes of the Bill the essential factors in several of the conditions that must be treated over a large area.
§ Mr. E. BROWN
How can the hon. and gallant Member justify that statement, in view of the fact that Rutland, a county with 18,000 population, gets the powers, and Cambridge, a non-county borough with 59,000, does not?
§ Lieut.-Colonel FREMANTLE
I admit that there are great anomalies, but Clause 39 gives power constantly, and immediately to a certain extent, to rectify those anomalies. We are not dealing with those Clauses now, however, and we have to deal on the whole with the average of authorities. As the Chairman has said that I cannot discuss the matter in detail, I will only add that from every point of view on the health side, and from many other points of view, so long as you keep the arrangement by which you can also use local experience wherever possible, as you do in this Bill, it is necessary to have the larger co-ordinating factor under the county authority. I shall object very strongly to either of these Amendments.
§ Mr. R. RICHARDSON
I would plead that the discussion of this Clause might be adjourned until we have considered the financial provisions. I fear that we are going on wrong lines here, and I want to make this such a Bill that the people of this country can accept it. I was a member of a county council for 25 years, and I was a member of a board of guardians for 22 years, and I found in my own experience that either of those bodies was enough for one man. The county council, in my humble judgment, cannot do the work that the guardians have done, in the semi-rural parts of such counties as my own. Take an urban area such as has been mentioned, with a population six times that of the county of Rutland, and the whole of its population is to be handed over to the county council. There cannot be any justice in that, and, as has been pointed out by other speakers, further anomalies will arise, because we are changing from one position to another. The Poor Law ought to be in the hands of a properly elected body. I fear co-option. I have had something to do with co-option in connection with education, and I have found that on every occasion it does not work well. My experience has been that where people were there because they were county councillors, they had no power, and it worked out that we transacted what we had to do after they had left; and the same thing will occur in regard to the Poor Law. Self-respecting people will refuse to be co-opted, because they will have such little power on the Committee as compared with the local people.I think you are bound to get things far worse by this Bill than they are at the present time. The duties of county councils are sufficiently growing without these new duties being imposed upon them. Let us have the Poor Law guardians, and we will see to it that the people do not suffer.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of HEALTH (Sir Kingsley Wood)
I am surprised at the observations which have been made by the hon. Member for Houghton-le-Spring (Mr. R. Richardson) and by the hon. Member for Nelson and Coble (Mr. Greenwood). They are now, apparently, taking up the attitude that the functions and duties of the Poor Law guardians should 2373 not be transferred to the county councils and the county borough councils. The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne said that he viewed with the greatest possible apprehension the fact that the functions of the Poor Law guardians were to be transferred to these larger authorities, and he has been going up and down the country saying that it will be a retrograde step to make the transfer because the larger authorities are manned by Tory majorities. I wonder how long that has been the policy of the Labour party. Comparatively a short time ago the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Seaham (Mr. Webb), who speaks with as much authority as anybody in this House on this matter, moved a Resolution which, as I understand it, had the support of the Labour party and of most Members of the House.
§ Sir K. WOOD
It is a very long Resolution. I would remind hon. Gentlemen opposite that I am endeavouring to deal with the objections that have been made by the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne to the transfer of the functions of the guardians to the larger authorities, and I want to remind the Committee that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Seaham in this Resolution—and the right hon. Gentleman can quote after me the other portions—[HON. MEMBERS: "Read the whole of it!"] The most salient point of the Resolution is that these functions should be transferred to the county, borough and district councils, so that if ever a party were committed up to the hilt to the transfer of the functions of the Poor Law guardians to the larger authorities, it is the Labour party.
§ Mr. WEBB
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he suggests that this Resolution had anything to do with the transfer of the Poor Law? If he will read it through, he will see that the Poor Law disappears. The right hon. Gentleman really surpasses all the laws of decency, for in that Resolution not a word is said about the transfer of the Poor Law.
§ Sir K. WOOD
The right hon. Gentleman is endeavouring to do what, I notice, the Labour party as a whole are en- 2374 deavouring to do; they are now trying to say that because we give the option in this Bill— [Interruption]—that because in the Bill it is permissive upon the larger local authorities to say whether or not they shall adopt themselves as Poor Law authorities—
§ Sir K. WOOD
Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will allow me—[Intterruption]—I am sorry to create such disorder in fie party opposite. What they are now saying is that because that is not completely done, they are not committed to tile abolition of the guardians, and on that account, therefore, they must be excused from supporting their previous recommendation. I read on a previous occasion the Resolution passed by the last Labour Conference on this matter at the instance of the hon. Lady the Member for East Ham, North (Miss. Lawrence), who said that that was the very first step that should be taken, namely, that the Poor Law guardians should be abolished as the first step to other matters.
§ Miss LAWRENCE
The right hon. Gentleman must quote correctly. What we said was, first take out the able-bodied and then the aged; then take out the widows and orphans and the sick; and then abolish the boards of guardians, and the Poor Law would go.
§ Sir' K. WOOD
Unfortunately, that is not what the Resolution says. I quoted the Resolution on the last occasion, and I can a remember it. We can discuss it on the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill." It was distinctly said that the abolition of the boards of guardians was a preliminary step; therefore, there can be no question that the Labour party is as much committed as any other party to the transfer to larger authorities. We come to the suggestion that other authorities should be included. It is urged, first, that authorities with 20,000 population should be one of the entities; and then that entities of 50,000 should be included. To adopt the first suggestion would mean increasing the number' of Poor Law areas contemplated in this Bill from 144 to 306. If the other Amendment were carried, it would mean increasing the number of authorities from 144 to 193. Anyone would say 2375 that that is a definitely retrograde step. I can say, from my own knowledge, that the view of a great number of Poor Law guardians, while they naturally object to the abolition of their office, is that it is the right thing to widen the areas.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD BENN
Is there any protection for the Committee, in view of the fact that we are working under a Guillotine of the sharpest kind, against all the limited time being exhausted by superfluous and misleading speeches from the Front Bench?
§ The CHAIRMAN
When I am apprised that the hypothesis put forward by the bon. Member is true, I will deal with the situation.
§ The CHAIRMAN
If the right hon. Gentleman were speaking irrelevantly or was guilty of vain repetition, I should stop him.
When the Time-Table Motion was introduced, we were told that it was in order that the Opposition might concentrate attention on criticism, and when there is to be a discussion on the particular question of the able-bodied poor, which the Minister does not wish to discuss, he is wasting time.
§ Sir K. WOOD
I will endeavour to meet the wishes of hon. Gentlemen opposite, but I do want to refute some of the extraordinary misstatements that have been made, and to say that anyone who has given consideration to this matter, both in connection with the area of charge in the Poor Law, and the area of charge in highway administration, must come to the conclusion that the real hope of the heavily burdened areas is for the area of charge to be greatly extended. Unless that were done, you could not bring that effective and just relief which ought to be brought to some of these areas. Surely hon. Gentlemen opposite will not say that it is not a proper thing to have regard to the de-rating proposals in connection 2376 with this Bill. As I understand it, they have come to the conclusion now that agricultural relief should be given in the way indicated by the Government. If that is to be done, they must have regard to it in the general proposals of the Bill, and, therefore, it is not an unfair thing for my right hon. Friend to say that they must also be taken into account in dealing with this matter. Finally, in connection with the figure of 50,000 population, you must take into consideration the recommendations that have been made by the Royal Commission that the figure of future county boroughs must be raised to 75,000. This would not be a fit and proper Amendment to be incorporated in this Bill, for it would upset the main part of the Measure.
§ Sir DOUGLAS NEWTON rose—
§ 5.0 p.m.
§ Sir D. NEWTON
I am somewhat surprised at hon. Gentlemen on the other side, in view of the fact that it is in accordance with the general courtesy of of the House to allow Members whose constituencies have been referred to, to make some observations; and I wish to say one or two words regarding the references which have been made to Cambridge. I have given careful consideration to the Amendment now before the Committee, from the point of view both of the effect upon my constituency and of the effect on the country as a whole. I realise that this question must be viewed from the large point of view, and from the point of view of its effect on the structure of local government as a whole. When it is looked at from that point of view, I feel unable to support the Amendment. There is universal consent that something has to be done, but we have had nothing of a constructive nature from the other side, and, in the absence of a better scheme, I am going to support this scheme. It is significant that as far as non-county boroughs and the municipal corporations are concerned —[HON. MEMBERS: "Divide!"]—the Amendments before the House do not meet with their active support. Their official associations have expressed no view upon the matter. With regard to meeting the hardship imposed upon some of the larger authorities, I would venture to make a suggestion to the Minister, which I hope will receive careful con 2377 sideration and attention. I suggest that where a borough at the last census had a population of 50,000 or over, and where its local government boundaries and the boundaries of the Poor Law union are coterminous, and where such non-county borough council elects to take the administration of the Poor Law into its own hands, in such a case it should be permitted to do so. That, I think, would
§ meet certain cases of hardship. But the real remedy lies in seeing that adequate representation is given to the smaller authorities on the spending authorities. If adequate representation is given it will go a long way to meet the opposition to be found in certain certain quarters.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 131; Noes, 218.2379
|Division No. 60.]||AYES.||[5.3 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (File, West)||Harney, E. A.||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Harris, Percy A.||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hayday, Arthur||Sexton, James|
|Ammon, Charles George||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Baker, Walter||Hirst, G. H.||Shiels, Dr. Drummond.|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Shinwell, E.|
|Batey, Joseph||Hore-Bellsha, Leslie||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Bellamy, A.||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Smillie, Robert|
|Benn, Wedgwood||John, William (Rhondda, Wast)||Snell, Harry|
|Bondfield, Margaret||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvartown)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Briant, Frank||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Stamford, T. W.|
|Bromfield, William||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Stephen, Campbell|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Keity, W. T.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Kennedy, T.||Strauss, E. A.|
|Buchanan, G.||Kirkwood, D.||Sullivan, J.|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel||Lansbury, George||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Cape, Thomas||Lawrence, Susan||Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Lawson, John James||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Lee, F.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Connolly, M,||Livingstone, A. M.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Cove, W. G.||Longbottom, A. W.||Tomlinson, R. P.|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lowth, T.||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles|
|Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)||Lunn, William||Viant, S. P.|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Mackindar, W.||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Day, Harry||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Dennison, R.||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Dunnico, H.||March, S.||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)||Maxton, James||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Joslah|
|Fenby, T. D.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Forrest, W.||Mosley, Sir Oswald||Westwood, J.|
|Gardner, J. P.||Murnin, H.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Oliver, George Harold||Whiteley. W.|
|Gillett, George M.||Palin, John Henry||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Win. (Edin., Cent.)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Atterdiffe)|
|Greenall, T,||Ponsonby, Arthur||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Potts, John S.||Windsor, Walter|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Richardson, R. (Houghton. le-Spring)||Wright, W.|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Rilay, Ben||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Grundy, T. W.||Ritson, J.|
|Hall, G. H. (Msrthyr Tydvil)||Roberta, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney A Shetland)||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. H., Elland)||Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr. Paling|
|Hardie, George D.||Runciman, Hilda (Cornwall. St. Ives)|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Burman, J. B.|
|Albery, Irving James||Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Campbell, E. T.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Boothby, R. J. G.||Carver, Major W. H.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M.S.||Bowater, Col. Sir T, Vansittart||Cautley, Sir Henry S.|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Brass, Captain W.||Cazalet, Captain Victor A.|
|Astor, Viscountess||Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Briggs, J. Harold||Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Briscoe, Richard George||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Brittain, Sir Harry||Charteris, Brigadier-General J.|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Christie, J. A.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T, P, H.||Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. 1.||Clarry, Reginald George|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Clayton, G. C.|
|Berry, Sir George||Buchan, John||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.|
|Bethel, A.||Buckingham, Sir H.||Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Bullock, Captain M.||Cohen, Major J. Brunel|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Hopkins, J. w. W.||Power, Sir John Cecil|
|Cope, Major Sir William||Home, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.||Raine, Sir Walter|
|Couper, J. B.||Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.||Ramsden, E.|
|Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Isilngton, N.)||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Rawson, Sir Cooper|
|Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Hudson, R.S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)||Reid, Capt. Cunningham (Warrington)|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Hume, Sir G. H.||Remer, J. R.|
|Crooke, J. Smedley (Derltend)||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Hurd, Percy A.||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Chti'y)|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Galnsbro)||Iliffe, Sir Edward M.||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||Iveagh, Countess of||Ropner, Major L.|
|Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemoath)|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Salmon, Major I.|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Sandeman, N. Stewart|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||King, Commodore Henry Douglas||Sanders, Sir Robert A.|
|Elliot, Major Walter E.||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Sandon, Lord|
|Ellis, R. G.||Knox, Sir Alfred||Savery, S. S.|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s-M)||Lamb, J. Q.||Scott, Rt. Hon. Sir Leslie|
|Evans, Captain A. (Cardiff, South)||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. Godfrey||Skelton. A. N.|
|Falie, Sir Bertram G.||Long, Major Eric||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Fanshawe, Captain G. D.||Looker, Herbert William||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Fielden, E. B.||Lougher, Lewis||Smithers, Waldron|
|Forestler-Walker, Sir L.||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Foster, Sir Harry S.||Lumley, L. R.||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Lynn, Sir R, J.||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Gates, Percy.||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.|
|Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Thorn, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Maclntyre, Ian||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Goff, Sir Park||Macmillan, Captain H.||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-|
|Gower, Sir Robert||Macqulsten, F. A.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Grace, John||MacRobert Alexander M.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Grant, Sir J. A.||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-||Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn||Waddington, R.|
|Grotrian, H. Brent||Margesson, Captain D||Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Meller, R. J.||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Hamilton, Sir George||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Watts, Sir Thomas|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Moore, Sir Newton J.||Wells, S. R.|
|Harland, A.||Moreing, Captain A. H.||White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dalrymple|
|Hartington, Marquess of||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Nelson, Sir Frank||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnet)||Neville, Sir Reginald J.||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Haslam, Henry C.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Henderson, Capt. R.R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Henderson, Lieut.-Colonel Vivian||Nuttall, Ellis||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh||Woodcock, Colonel H. C,|
|Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Penny, Frederick George||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Herbert, S. (York, N. R., Scar. & Wh'by)||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Wright, Brig.-General W. D.|
|Hilton, Cecil||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy||Perring, Sir William George||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Mr. F. C. Thomson and Sir Victor Warrender.|
|Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Pllditch, Sir Philip|
§ Mr. HARNEY
I beg to move, in page 1, line 13, after the word "borough," to insert the words:or in boroughs (other than county boroughs) and in urban and rural districts, where in the case of such boroughs and urban and rural districts the population is 2380 certified by the Registrar-General to be fifty thousand or over, the council of the borough or urban or rural district.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 133; Noes, 223.2383
|Division No. 61.]||AYES.||[5.13 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Bondfield, Margaret||Cove, W. G.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Stall, Cannock)||Briant, Frank||Dalton, Hugh|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbio')||Broad, F. A.||Davies, Ellis (Denbigh. Denbigh)|
|Ammon, Charles George||Bromfield, William||Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Day, Harry|
|Baker, Walter||Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Dennison, R.|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Buchanan, G.||Dunnlco, H.|
|Batey, Joseph||Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel||Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Cape, Thomas||Edwards, J. Hugh (Aecrington)|
|Bellamy, A.||Charleton, H. C.||Forrest, W.|
|Benn, Wedgwood||Connolly, M.||Gardner, J. P,|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Lowth, T.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Gillett, George M.||Lunn, William||Stamford. T. W.|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Mackinder, W.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Greenall, T.||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Strauss, E. A.|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||March, S.||Sullivan, J.|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Maxton, James||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Grundy, T. w.||Mosley, Sir Oswald||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Murnin, H.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Oliver, George Harold||Tomlinson, R. P.|
|Hardle, George D.||Palin, John Henry||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles|
|Harney, E. A.||Paling, W.||Viant, S. P.|
|Harris, Percy A.||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Hayday, Arthur||Pethick-Lawrence. F. W.||Warne, G. H.|
|Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Ponsonby, Arthur||Watson, w. M. (Dunlermilne)|
|Henderson, T (Glasgow)||Potts, John S.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Hirst, G. H.||Richardson, R. (Houghtor-le-Spring)||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Riley, Ben||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Joslsh|
|Here-Bellsha, Leslie||Ritson, J.||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O.(W.Bromwich)||Westwood, J.|
|John, William (Rhondda, West)||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks. W. R., Elland)||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Jones, J. J. (West Ham. Silvertown||Runciman, Hilda (Cornwall, St. Ives)||Whiteley, W.|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Saklatvala, Shapurji||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Salter, Dr. Alfred||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Kelly, W. T.||Scrymgeour, E.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Atterclitle)|
|Kennedy, T.||Sexton, James||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph Ml.||Shaw, Rt. Hon, Thomas (Preston)||Windsor, Walter|
|Kirkwood, D.||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis||Wright, W.|
|Lansbury, George||Shiels, Dr. Drummond.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Lawrence, Susan||Shinwell, E.|
|Lawson, John James||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Lee, F.||Sitch, Charles H.||Sir Robert Hutchison and Mr.|
|Livingstone, A. M.||Smillie, Robert||Fenby.|
|Longbottom, A. W.||Snell, Harry|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut-Colonel||Cooper, A. Duff||Harland. A.|
|Albery, Irving James||Cope, Major Sir William||Hartington, Marquess of|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Couper, J. S.||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold CMS.||Courtauld, Major J. S.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnet)|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.)||Haslam, Henry C.|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.|
|Astor, Viscountess||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Crooke, J. Smedley (Derltend)||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. Sir Vivian|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Curzon, Captain Viscount||Herbert, s. (York, N. R., Scar. & wh'by)|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)||Hilton, Cecil|
|Berry, Sir George||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy|
|Bethel, A.||Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||Holbrook. Sir Arthur Richard|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Davies, Dr. Vernon||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Davison, sir W. H. (Kensington, SO||Hopkins, J. W. W.|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Home, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Elliot, Major Walter E.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney. N.)|
|Brass, Captain W.||Ellis, R. G.||Hudson, R. S. (Cumberland, Whiteh'n)|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Erskine, Lord (Sonterset, Weston-s. M.)||Hume, Sir G. H.|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Evans, Captain A. (Cardiff, South)||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Everard. W. Lindsay||Hurd, Percy A.|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Iliffe, Sir Edward M.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Fanshawe, Captain G. D.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Fielden, E. B.||Iveagh, Countess of|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Finburgh, S.||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)|
|Buchan, John||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Foster, Sir Harry S.||Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Foxcrott, Captain C. T.||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)|
|Burman, J. B.||Fraser, Captain Ian||King, Commodore Henry Douglas|
|Campbell, E. T.||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Gates, Percy||Knox, Sir Alfred|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Gauit, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Lamb, J. Q.|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth. S.)||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)|
|Cazalet. Captain Victor A.||Goff, Sir Park||Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. Godfrey|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Gower, Sir Robert||Long, Major Eric|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Grace, John||Looker, Herbin William|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Grant, Sir J. A.||Lougher, Lewis|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Herman|
|Christie, J. A.||Grotrian, H. Brent||Lumley, L. R.|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Lynn, Sir Robert J.|
|Clayton, G. C.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)|
|Cockerill, Brig.-Generat Sir George||Hamilton, Sir George||Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunei||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Maclntvre. Ian|
|Macmillan, Captain H.||Ralne, Sir Walter||Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Macquisten, F. A.||Ramsden, E.||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|MacRobert, Alexander M.||Rawson, Sir Cooper||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Reid, Capt. Cunningham (Warrington)||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-|
|Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn||Remer, J. R.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Margesson, Captain D.||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Meller, B. J.||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough|
|Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell||Waddington, R.|
|Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Ropner, Major L.||Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T, C. R. (Ayr)||Salmon, Major I.||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Moore, Sir Newton J.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Watts, Sir Thomas|
|Moreing, Captain A. H.||Sandeman, N. Stewart||Wells, S. R.|
|Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)||Sanders, Sir Robert A.||White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dalrymple|
|Nelson, Sir Frank||Sandon, Lord||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Neville, Sir Reginald J.||Savery, S. S.||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Scott, Rt. Hon. Sir Leslie||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W.)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Shepperson, E. W.||Winterton. Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Nuttall, Ellis||Skelton, A. N.||Womersley, W. J.|
|O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Penny, Frederick George||Smith, R.W. (Aberd'n A Kinc'dine.C)||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Smithers, Waldron||Wright, Brig.-General W. D.|
|Perring, Sir William George||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Steel, Major Samuel Strang||Captain Wallace and Sir Victor|
|Pllditch, Sir Philip||Streatfeild, Captain S. R. Warrender.|
|Power, Sir John Cecil||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
§ Mr. WEBB
I beg to move, in page 2, line 5, at the end, to add the words:Provided that in the transfer of the functions of a Poor Law authority to the council of a county or county borough, it shall be a condition that the function with respect to relief of persons on account of unemployment shall he transferred to the distress committee of such council within the meaning of the Unemployed Workmen Act, 1905.The object of this Amendment is to prevent county and county borough councils, to whom we are transferring these powers, flora dealing with the able-bodied poor, that is, the unemployed, under the Poor Law. Personally, I take the view that the able-bodied poor ought to be dealt with by the Ministry of Labour. Whatever the present Government or the next Government do, I feel certain that the tendency is towards making the Government responsible for dealing with unemployment. As a matter of fact, the able-bodied poor have been to a large extent taken outside the Poor Law already. A large number of the unemployed are at the present time provided for, not out of the poor rates, but out of the Unemployment Insurance Fund—something like a million or more—and my Amendment does not refer to them. A further large number are being provided for by the Minister of Labour in his various training establishments, a number which is increasing every week, and my Amendment does not apply to them. In all probability the Minister of Labour will gradually add more and more 2384 to his training establishments. But, apart from these two sections, there will always be some poor left whose care cannot be transferred to national Government; though I believe that in the space of the next 19 years, and probably less, we shall find the national Government undertaking the relief of all able-bodied men and women.
This Amendment deals with those who 'are being relieved under the Poor Law at the present time, a work which is to be transferred to the county and county borough councils. Already the county councils have at their disposal another means than the Poor Law. They can deal with the able-bodied poor under the Unemployed Workmen Act, 1905. That was a very useful Act when it was used. In recent years it has been allowed to fall into abeyance, and what we are asking is that now that these county and county borough councils are to have dumped upon them the work of dealing with the able-bodied unemployed they should not be deprived of one of the existing powers for dealing with that class. The guardians of the poor, whose powers will be handed over to the county and county borough councils, can do a great deal for the able-bodied poor, but there are some things which the guardians cannot do, and which the county and county borough councils can do under this Unemployed Workmen Act. But the Minister of Labour, apparently, does not intend that these councils should have the powers, 2385 because in a later Clause it is proposed that the Unemployed Workmen Act should be repealed. It would be a pity if they were deprived of these powers, which they will certainly wish to exercise when they have to deal with the able-bodied poor.
The Unemployed Workmen Act, which was passed by a Conservative Government, was acclaimed at the time as marking a great step forward in dealing with the unemployed, and it was so, because that Act was of considerable use in dealing with the spell of unemployment prevailing at that time. It was made use of very largely in London, and to some extent in some of the other large centres of population, during that spell of unemployment. Afterwards there came booming trade and the War, and the problem of the able-bodied poor faded right out of sight, and therefore the Act has been used only to a very slight extent, and now it is proposed by the Minister that it should be repealed.
If I may express my own opinion, I should say that my study of the operations of the Poor Law has led me to one very definite conclusion, amongst others, and that is that it is quite improper to associate under the same system of relief the impotent poor, that is to say, the sick, the aged and children, with the able-bodied poor. It vitiates the whole procedure both as regard the one section and the other. Whatever be the local authority charged with these duties, it prevents it from being a good authority for dealing with the impotent poor and at the same time a good authority for dealing with the able-bodied and the unemployed; and therefore, accepting the framework of the Bill, as we must, it is a pity to compel the county and county borough councils to deal with these two separate sections of the poor together. The Parliamentary Secretary seemed to give the Committee the impression that it was intended to enable the new authorities to separate and break up the Poor Law and to deal with these sections of the people separately and by separate committees. I think he went much too far. The Bill does not do that; but when we come to Clause 4 we shall see how much sincerity there is in the Government on the question of whether they want to take the section to which I have referred out of the Poor Law altogether.
2386 Clause 4 contains no power whatsoever to take this particular class, the able-bodied poor, out of the Poor Law and to deal with them in any other way than that in which the guardians have been dealing with them. It is conceivable, out of the six or seven separate sections which the guardians are dealing with, that under Clause 4, five or six of the sections might to some extent—here and there and in some places but not in others—be dealt with under the specific powers appropriate to deal with all those separate classes. But the class of the able-bodied unemployed is shut up within the limits of the Poor Law and there are no powers under Clause 4 or any other Clause to take them out of the Poor Law. When we see that the Unemployed Workmen Act is to be repealed, we see that it is the intention that county and county borough councils shall not deal with the unemployed in any other way than as paupers under the Poor Law. They are to be forbidden to deal with the unemployed able-bodied in any other way except that of the guardians. The Unemployed Workmen Act was based on the conception that there are amongst those in distress some who are capable of different treatment than that which the Poor Law provided, and the county councils and county borough councils had power to provide more suitable treatment.
The power given under the Unemployed Workmen Act may be thus summarised. First of all, the local authority is authorised to obtain information from other districts as to the conditions of labour and the opportunities for work there. That is a very necessary power, and we see that procedure being followed in the present methods of dealing with distress in the distressed areas. As a matter of fact, so necessary is it that various boards of guardians are actually taking those steps though it is against the law, and any expense which they incur in connection with it is liable to surcharge; but they are doing it, and they have not been checked by the Minister or his inspectors or district auditors. I could name the districts which are devoting a good deal of attention to finding out what is going on in places outside their own area, and I would tell the right hon. Gentleman that I came across one authority which, when they had found a job for one of their able-bodied 2387 paupers in a district a long way off and could not pay his railway fare, gave him his outdoor relief for two weeks in advance to enable him to get to that job. That was strictly illegal, and, of course, I am not going to give the names. It shows, however, that even boards of guardians have to go outside their ordinary powers in order to relieve cases with which they have no power to deal under the Poor Law.
Under this Bill that is not going to be allowed, and you cannot imagine the councils of great county boroughs committing such a breach of the law as the guardians have been doing. The Unemployed Workmen Act, 1905, gives them power to do that, and the same Act empowers them to obtain information as to labour conditions in other districts. They may also pay removal expenses to another area. Surely that is the one thing which is necessary to-day in those cases. I agree that this hardship may be to some extent mitigated by the efforts of the Industrial Transference Board, but even when a job has been secured under this Bill the county boroughs and the county councils will have no power to pay the removal expenses of the person they wish to send to fake up a job in another district. Assuming that this Bill passes in its present form, I challenge the Minister of Health to point out where the county borough councils will have any power to pay removal expenses from one distressed district to another.
There is another power of special importance at the present time in regard to emigration. I am quite aware that many boards of guardians have allowed their power of assisting emigration to lapse, and the number who have been assisted in this way last year is very small. Under the Unemployed Workmen Act it was a regular system in the London of 20 years ago to emigrate whole families. Again, under the Unemployed Workmen Act the authorities may provide temporary work with the object of putting the men in a position to obtain regular work. The boards of guardians cannot do that, and it would be against the law for a county borough council to do it under this Measure. Under the Unemployed Workmen Act an authority has the power to provide temporary 2388 work in order to set a man on his feet again, but those powers are denied under this Bill. I cannot believe, in view of the fact that the Unemployed Workmen Act of 1905 was passed by a Conservative Government and designed to help the unemployed, that the Government now wish to repeal that Act and do not intend to replace it by other Clauses in this Bill. Under this Bill the county borough councils and the county councils have to confine themselves within the limits of the two main powers possessed by boards of guardians in dealing with the able-bodied poor. One is that they can offer them the workhouse knowing all the time that the workhouse is a very unfit place for an able-bodied man.
The workhouse is a demoralising place, and the last Poor Law Commission reported that the workhouse system was causing the ruin of hundreds of able-bodied men who were aggregated in the workhouse by order of the President of the Local Government Board under the Poor Law. Of course, the Minister of Health cannot contemplate all the able-bodied men coming into the workhouse, and what he appears to be relying upon is that the threat of the workhouse test will drive the workmen off. If the workers came into the workhouse it would be a terrible thing, and if they were to come into the workhouse in very large numbers there would be a great deal more demoralisation. Therefore you cannot ask the county boroughs to rely on the workhouse in order to accommodate the unemployed.
The other course is offering outdoor relief. I am not going to say a word in favour of that course, because any unconditional outdoor relief is a demoralising method of dealing with the able-bodied. Neither the method of dealing with the able-bodied by offering them the workhouse nor that of outdoor relief can be defended at the present time with any degree of candour or justice. The Minister of Health does not propose to give able-bodied men outdoor relief, in fact he is more in favour through his inspectors of refusing them outdoor relief. What I want to know is whether the right hon. Gentleman thinks it is right to shut these new bodies down to nothing but those two bad alternatives in dealing with the able-bodied unemployed when they might have the experimental 2389 powers under the Unemployed Workmen Act to which I have referred to assist them in dealing with this problem. Under that Act the county borough councils have power to start farm colonies for able-bodied men and that course would have an enormously better effect than offering these men the workhouse or outdoor relief. Under this Bill the establishment of farm colonies in this way is to be stopped. The county borough of Leeds and the county borough of Newcastle, which up to now have not had to deal with this problem, will not be allowed to adopt the experimental methods to which I have alluded. I submit that under the Bill as it stands the county borough councils or the county councils cannot use any other methods or expedients for dealing with the able-bodied unemployed than the guardians are empowered to use at the present time. Those new bodies will have their powers confined absolutely to the present Poor Law powers, and the powers which the boards of guardians enjoy at the present time under the Unemployed Workmen Act of 1905 will be taken away from them.
The reason why this Amendment is in order is that at the present time the guardians have power to spend the rates to the extent of id. rate for these special purposes, and they can raise additional sums for this purpose to the extent of ½d. rate with the consent of the Minister of Health. Under this Bill that power is going to be taken away. At the present moment the able-bodied unemployed can be dealt with in a way under which you get rid of the stigma of pauperism, but now the Minister of Health wishes them to be dealt with in such a way that the stigma of pauperism will remain. There is one other very useful provision in the Unemployed Workmen Act of 1905. One of the greatest difficulties which we have to face at the present time is the state of things in West Ham, and the real root of that difficulty is that West 'Ham is not in London. Under the Unemployed Workmen Act of 1905 a central body was set up for London and there is power to extend London to any adjacent or nearby district. Therefore, we could allow the central body dealing with London which was set up under the Unemployed Workmen Act of 1905 to deal with the unemployed problem in West Ham under that power.
2390 I do not think it is wise when you are transferring these new and important duties to county boroughs and county councils to deprive them of powers to deal with these various problems which they now enjoy, because they are powers which in practice have proved very useful. Anyone who examines the work which was done by the central body dealing with the unemployed in London in 1905–10 will see at once that it was a very efficient and extremely useful body. I do not see why the London County Council should not have all these powers which have been exercised by the other bodies to which I have referred. It seems absurd to take away the powers which all the local authorities possess at the present time, and shut them down to the discredited methods of the Poor Law such as the workhouse and outdoor relief.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
The Committee always listens with great interest and a great amount of respect to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Seaham (Mr. Webb) when he speaks upon a subject to which we know he has given a great amount of attention. I myself have followed with special interest his views in regard to the working of the Unemployed Workmen Act of 1905. He has represented that we are going to impose upon county councils and county borough councils new and, as he describes them, very terrible duties. I agree with him, at any rate, in so far as he indicated his view that, if a body which has these terrible duties imposed upon it had no alternative but either to continue outdoor relief for an indefinite period or to invite applicants to enter into a workhouse or institution of that character, that, indeed, would be a very unfortunate circumstance; but it seems to me that the right hon. Gentleman did not make, at any rate in what he said, sufficient allowance for the fact that we are now transferring these duties from the boards of guardians, who have no power to provide work, to bodies like the county councils and the county borough councils, which, in fact., have very large powers in their hands. I should have thought that the right hon. Gentleman would have recognised that, when you put into the hands of a body which is doing work all the time the responsibility for looking after the able-bodied unemployed, you are putting those duties into 2391 that quarter where what all of us agree is the best possible remedy for the problem is most likely to be found.
The right hon. Gentleman told us that the Act of 1905, which was passed, as he said, by a Conservative Government, was in its day an extremely useful Act; and he asked us to consider its working up to the year 1910. I agree that it was in its day a very useful Act, and the reason why it has fallen into disuse, the reason why it has been allowed to lapse, as the right hon. Gentleman says, by the local authorities to whom these powers were entrusted at that time, is that other Measures have been introduced since then which have provided other methods of dealing with the problem. The right hon. Gentleman himself mentioned the principal one, namely, the Unemployment Insurance Act, passed in 1911. Therefore, it is 18 years now since the Act of 1905 was of practically any use to anyone, and that, I think, perhaps accounts for the fact that, although the right hon. Gentleman claims to protest on behalf of county councils and county borough councils, he has no authority to protest on their behalf, and I have received no communication from any one of them asking that we should preserve those powers, in spite of the fact that they are having these terrible duties placed on their shoulders.
If we examine the various provisions which the right hon. Gentleman enumerated as coming within the Act of 1905, we shall see why that is. The first provision is that local authorities under the Act are authorised to obtain information as to conditions in other areas. I do not think there is anything to prevent local authorities from getting information about what is going on in other places than those over which they have jurisdiction, but I certainly should deprecate instructing them to duplicate work which is now being carried on by the Employment Exchanges. The right hon. Gentleman appeared to view with considerable complacency the alleged action of a board of guardians which had taken some rather back-door methods of getting rid of some of its liabilities. I am sure, however, that he would not really suggest that it would be desirable to multiply instances of that kind, and, since we have established Employment Exchanges, 2392 whose duty it is to find out where work is available and to pass on that information to people who are in want of work, surely it is unnecessary to ask local authorities to carry on exactly the same work. We should not only be wasting time, but should be wasting staffs and money, and should probably not do the job as well as it could be done by one body having responsibility for it. I do not think, therefore, that that is a power which we should desire specially to continue.
Then the right hon. Gentleman says that they may pay the expenses of transference. But are they going to pay the expenses of transference, even if they are given the opportunity? I should very much doubt whether these powers would be exercised, even if they were given to them to-day, by authorities which are bearing such heavy burdens, and which are not in a position to pay the expenses of transference, which are very heavy, especially in the case of people with large families, who are the greatest drain on the localities; and, although these powers exist under the Unemployed Workmen Act of 1905, I am quite sure that no county council or county borough council would ask that such powers should be preserved. Then as to the power in regard to the promotion of emigration, as the right hon. Gentleman is aware, county boroughs and county councils have powers already to promote emigration. But I am sure he realises, or, if he does not, I may tell him, that it is not merely sufficient to have powers to promote emigration. We all know that the difficulties of emigration are not entirely in this country; they lie very largely outside the power of anyone in this country; and, although all the powers in the world might be given to the local authorities to promote emigration, they would not be able to get more people to emigrate than other countries are willing to accept. Therefore, I do not think that there is very much in that point. We are doing everything that can be done to-day to promote emigration, and I am certain that nothing could be added to the value of our present efforts by any such powers.
Then, under the Act of 1905, the local authorities had power to find temporary work pending permanent work. Of course, local authorities can do that now. They have plenty of work always going 2393 on, and, as I have said, they have on their shoulders the responsibility for looking after people who are unemployed; and that power would offer no further inducement to them to arrange their work in such a way as to relieve themselves of that particular burden. As for starting farm colonies, I do not think that our experience at Hollesley Bay has been such as to tempt any local authorities to imitate it. Only to-day I gave an answer to an hon. Member who asked me how many people had found employment after having resided at Hollesley Bay, and, speaking from memory, I think that, out of 1,700 people who have been through the colony, less than 200 have found employment. [Interruption.] I do not think it really matters very much how long it was; I will say since the War, if the hon. Member likes. You cannot start farm colonies with the idea that you are going to keep people there for ever. The idea of farm colonies is to fit men for some special purpose, and to find work for them as a result of the skill and experience which has been imparted to them in the farm colony. The experience under the Unemployed Workmen Act indicates that the object in view can be very much better attained in other ways.
The records of the training centres of the Ministry of Labour show most remarkable results. Over 90 per cent. of the people trained in those centres have found work. Really, the right hon. Gentleman is a little behind the times. He has gone back to 1905, three and twenty years ago, and has left out of account or forgotten the fact that circumstances have changed since then, that these new methods have been employed, and that we are now doing, by means of the Ministry of Labour and the Employment Exchanges, the work originally intended to be done by the Unemployed Workmen Act. Of course, there is also the work which is now done through the Unemployment Grants Committee, where local authorities are given assistance from national resources to start works for the employment of the able-bodied unemployed. Under the Unemployed Workmen Act it was contemplated that the funds would be raised from voluntary sources, and not that money would come from national sources—
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
Contributions from the national resources have now become a recognised part of the machinery for dealing with this problem, and I do not think it would be found that the present arrangements would be improved upon, under which we get a very large amount of work put in hand by local authorities with contributions from national resources. These arrangements, although, of course, they cannot deal with a problem of the size of that with which we have to deal to-day, and which has been continued for so many years in succession, have nevetheless very largely mitigated its acuteness. When you consider ail that we have done to-day in two directions—first through the Ministry of Labour and then through the public works put in hand by local authorities, with the assistance of the Exchequer—I think it is perfectly clear that the Unemployed Workmen Act, good as it was in its day, and suitable as it was to the conditions existing at the time when it was passed, has become a dead letter, and now, obviously, there can be no reason for continuing it.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
The right hon. Gentleman seems to have altogether missed the point of the arguments that we have tried to put before the Committee. If there is anything logical in what he has just said, it is that these men ought to go to the Ministry of Labour, and that they should be dealt with as part of the problem of unemployment throughout the country. We have fallen back on this proposition because you, Mr. Hope, have ruled that our Amendment to deal with the problem in a national manner is out of order. The right hon. Gentleman has been at some pains to try to prove that the local authorities have power to-day to put in hand work, and that, as this business will be handed over to the county boroughs and the county councils, therefore, work will be provided. No one knows better than the right hon. Gentleman that the London County Council, the metropolitan borough councils, and the county borough councils are at their wits' end to-day to provide work for the unemployed. Each and every one of them would be perfectly willing to do so, but they are not able under the provi- 2395 sions that prevail, and more particularly because of the action of the committee which is under the right hon. Gentleman's control—the Grants Committee, which refuses to give money to carry out the works that local authorities could provide. The right, hon. Gentleman knows that that is so, and, therefore, there is nothing at all in that part of his argument which says that local authorities today have power to put people to work.
The Unemployed Workmen Act only became a dead letter when the Government, after the War, spent huge sums of money in providing work, and encouraged boards of guardians to give outdoor relief. Whatever evils have resulted from giving mass outdoor relief, no body is more responsible for them than the Ministry of Health. The Ministry, in 1920 and onwards, persuaded boards of guardians to take that sort of line, and the reason why Hollesley Bay during the last few years Las failed to provide the right sort of treatment for many of the men who went there since the War is entirely due to the action of the Ministry. They cannot get away from their responsibility for degrading that place to the level of a mixed workhouse. Before the War, when the place was run by the Central (Unemployed) Body under the Unemployed Workmen Act—I cannot give the figures to-night, but they are on record—not merely were large numbers of families emigrated, but a fair number of families also were found work on the land in this country. I was for some years the chairman of the committee that managed that colony, and I know that a very large number of men were provided with work in parts of the country other than London.
For the right hon. Gentleman to say the whole of the effort that was made previous to the War at Hollesley Bay has been wasted proves that he is speaking without knowing what he is talking about. When you come to the question of emigration, the right hon. Gentleman and his officers know perfectly well that they have only to go to the Canadian and Australian Commissioner and mention boards of guardians or the Poor Law, and the cases are immediately turned down, because there is a stigma about the Poor Law which compels people to think that 2396 the men dealt with under the Poor Law are less worthy than any others. When we dealt with the same sort of man at Hollesley Bay, the right hon. Gentleman, if he had had his brief properly prepared, could have proved conclusively that the emigration authorities, after they had been trained for a certain period, were quite willing to take such men and their families. But tney will not look at men who are trained, as they have been trained since the War, as paupers. When he says they will not be taken by the Colonies, I should like to ask him why it is that the Ministry of Labour is going to take over Hollesley Bay and use it as a training centre for sending men abroad.
The right hon. Gentleman for once has not had his brief properly prepared or he would know that there is not a single establishment that the Minister of Labour is running to-day that is not organised on lines laid down by this, the first organised Hollesley Bay Labour colony. It was set up, not to train men for agriculture or any particular trade, but to develop them for what they showed an aptitude for, and it was very successful, and every scrap of good that the Minister of Labour is doing in training centres owes its inception to the work of the people who formed the idea of Hollesley Bay. The right hon. Gentleman who drafted the Minority Report pointed out that you had no right to leave the unemployed on the dole or on outdoor relief. The proper thing to do was to see to it that they had some kind of training. Therefore, when we ask the Government to preserve these powers for us we only do it because you will not permit this body of men to go to the Ministry of Labour and be trained at the same colonies or settlements that the ordinary unemployed are being sent to. This question of the unemployed is to me the one question in this Bill. All the talk about money and machinery is as nothing compared with the well-being of the tens of thousands of men who are going still to be dealt with under the bestial conditions connected with the old Poor Law. That old Poor Law says that when a man is unemployed and when there is no longer insurable employment for him, when he has grown too old, not in age but so far as his physique is concerned—men of 45 and 50 and women of 40 and 45—that 2397 he is no longer wanted in the labour market. The only place for him is the workhouse or outdoor relief, but in any case he is to live on the border line of Starvation.
I do not believe the bulk of the House can understand the mental, moral, and physical hurt that is being done to tens of thousands of men and women by this fearful policy of the Poor Law. A hundred years ago you might have imposed it on the people and it would not hurt them so much as it does to-day because they were not educated. They could not read. I know a case of a man who fought in the War, who has a disability pension of £1 a week and has a young child to bring up. He is certified as fit for light work. Because of that, the right hon. Gentleman's inspectors and auditors say he must be treated, not as a man suffering from a disability, but as an able-bodied man, and he has been offered either the workhouse or a mere half-a-crown on the top of his pension. That is all because the Poor Law is founded on the doctrine that the poor are bad in the lump and that there is something wrong in the man which has prevented him from being able to provide for himself. There is no one here who, when ho is calm and quiet, can ever believe that that is true. You know it is not true.
We ask to be allowed to use the powers we have under the Unemployed Workmen's Act and to deal with them, not in the way they are being dealt with, as semi-criminals, but as simple human beings. I speak to the Committee as one who has spent years of his life serving the Central Unemployment Body, working day in and day out at this problem, trying our level best to use the powers we had to improve and develop individual men and women. Small as it was, and small as it would be if you granted this, it does to some extent mitigate the evil they have to face and gives some of them at least hope. In this Bill we are not going to break up the Poor Law, but to transfer it and re-create its administration under another form. That is the difference between the right hon. Gentleman and ourselves. We believe in smashing once and for all the spirit of the old Poor Law, getting rid of the principle that you have to deter people from getting the public assistance they need.
2398 That brings me to the question of the casuals. Anyone who has stood outside a casual ward, who has ever been in a casual ward or has ever talked to casuals, is bound to admit that the bulk of them are more sinned against than sinning They are not people who have taken to the road from choice. Many young men are on the road because they will not be a burden to their parents or friends. We could deal with them in a decent and wholesome manner if you only gave us the chance. If our Amendment had been in order and we would have put them under the Ministry of Labour, we could, I am sure, have dealt with them in a humane manner. We could, even under the Unemployed Workmen Act, definitely say that all persons who are able-bodied should be dealt with, not in casual wards and not in the spirit of treating them worse than criminals, but treating them as human beings. The treatment of unemployed men and women, from the casual to the skilled worker, is at the foundation of all this expenditure on public health and all the services which people in the House and outside continually call in question and wonder where it is going to end. You have to put up clinics for the children in working-class areas because their bread winner is unable to provide the means to keep them in health and comfort. The genesis of poverty and destitution lies mainly in unemployment, low wages, casual labour and all that sort of thing. We say, take hold of the unemployed problem and deal with it in a. rational manner and not in the spirit of those who say, "Wait till the person is destitute; wait and judge whether the little child can live a little longer; wait and see whether the want of boots is such that it is breaking down its health." We say, "Do not let the child get into that position at all, see that its parents have a chance of providing the necessaries of life for it all the time."
Our challenge to the Poor Law is not, as the right hon. Gentleman said, something that happened 20 years ago. What makes me bitter about the business is that the right hon. Gentleman is perpetuating in this Bill the barbarous policy that is starving tens of thousands of women and children in the coalfields. You are asking us to continue a policy which has broken down. The Prime Minister said the other day the Poor 2399 Law had not broken down. The evidence that it has broken down is the fact that you had to cry out for public charity to do what the nation ought to have done months ago. We have asked again and again and again, not that you should give outdoor relief, not that you should give charity, but that you should organise employment for these men. I do not see the difference between demoralising people by private charity and demoralising them by outdoor relief. Hon. Members opposite may see some difference, but I do not. The reason we want this business dealt with in a different manner is not because of something that happened 20 years ago, but of what is happening to-day.
The Poor Law is administered in a brutal, inhuman manner by the right hon. Gentleman, and for every child that dies this winter, for every woman who is starved, for every woman who is confined and has not the means of being properly dealt with, the responsibility lies on the right hon. Gentleman and his Department, who are asking us to perpetuate the power that is exercised by his auditors and inspectors, well-fed and well-paid men, who go round the country and say "Cut this down." They came to the union which I represent. I am one of its members. I sat in the board room and heard the chief inspector say: "You must cut it down. You must bring your numbers down." It was not a question as to whether it was necessary, but simply a question of bringing down the numbers, so that the inspectors could write their reports and say: "Pauperism has reduced." When you say that pauperism has reduced, just remember that human misery has increased, the human misery of little children trudging out this weather with no boots, badly clad, as you were told, little children, in regard to whom you send down your inspectors to inquire whether bad weather, want of food and clothing had injured their constitution. How many of us would tolerate our children being kept without food until they were medically examined, I should like to know? This business is one for which there is no solution but ours. You may patch up this thing, you will throw out this Amendment, you will keep the able-bodied where they ark, and you will not have settled 2400 the problem. It will cost you money. It will cost you a good deal in physical and mental deterioration of the people on whom you and I depend for our daily bread.
Do not make any mistake. You cannot have a nation living as masses of our people are living under conditions of penury, destitution and want, you cannot allow that to continue, and at the same time preserve yourselves as a big, fine nation. Nations go down as much from economic ruin as they do from violence and bloodshed. This Bill does nothing but perpetuate a system which has been weighed in the balance and found wanting a thousand times. Hon. Members want to know why I vote against this Bill. The right hon. Gentleman wanted to know why I signed the Minority Report drafted by my right hon. Friend the Member for Seaham (Mr. Webb), and why I, who want to break up the Poor Law, and to get rid of the guardians, vote against this Bill. It is because this Bill and this particular Clause is going to perpetuate all the horrors of the Poor Law. Instead of abolishing boards of guardians, instead of abolishing the spirit of Bumble, it is going to perpetuate that system. I hope the people will realise that this Bill is bad, and it is because it is bad that it has my unhesitating opposition.
§ Mr. HARNEY
I agree that the part of Hamlet in this drama which we are now enacting has been left out, because unquestionably the real centre of the Debate is: What should he done with the able-bodied unemployed? The Chairman of the Committee, very properly I am bound to say, said that we cannot discuss Amendments that would involve a further charge on the Exchequer. Therefore, it has not been possible for us to argue the case of transferring the cost of the able-bodied unemployed to the national purse. This Amendment does give an opportunity to us of expressing some views upon the minor points as to whether the able-bodied unemployed should be retained under the Poor Law. The most extraordinary and outstanding feature of the whole of these proposals is that they are put forward in order to put an end to what is now a very hateful memory, both from its origin and from the feeling which it has engendered in the people, the old Poor Law. That 2401 is the justification put forward, and the able-bodied poor who, above all, ought not to be tinged with the stigma of pauperism are the one persons who are left without the slightest change in the Poor Law. That is a very remarkable thing.
The hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury), in his eloquent and sincere speech, dwelt a good deal upon the brand of pauperism. We do not require to be deep students of history to realise that the original idea many centuries ago was that it was a bit of a crime to be poor. The initiation of Poor Law legislation was as much aimed at punishing those who were regarded as vagabonds as it was at relieving distress. Accordingly, our Poor Law institutions were made abhorrent to any man of self-respect, and they have continued so almost up to the present time. That is the position. Now you leave this slur upon the able-bodied. I want the Committee to realise, and I am sure they will try to do so, how it is that men of the class of whom we are speaking have to go to the doors of the guardians of the Poor Law. Let us look at it. Take my area of the Tyneside. It may have been a good or a bad policy to have given the Silesian coal mines to Poland, but it was a policy that threw able, willing and honest fellows out of work in that coalfield at the time. It may have been a good or a bad policy to cut down naval armaments, hut it was a national policy that threw thousands of poor fellows, excellent men, rivetters, platers, and all sorts of workers in the shipyards out of employment. It may have been a good or a bad policy during the War to hurry crowds of people into industrial areas all over England and then to leave them after the War was over to stew in the juice of the ratepayers. These are the men upon whom you are leaving the stigma of pauperism. Is there any need for it?
Let me draw the attention of the Parliamentary Secretary to some figures which I have had prepared for-me. He will be able to see whether they are right or wrong. At the present time, there are about 1,300,000 people receiving poor relief—institutional, domiciliary and other relief. Of that number, there are 450,000 representing the class of unemployed of whom I am speaking, and their 2402 families. Of course, the majority of this number comprises their families. [An HON. MEMBER: "There are 100,000 men!"] Yes, and in all about 450,000. Deduct that number from the 1,300,000, and you have 855,000 left. You have then a great number of other persons suffering from infirmities, mental or physical. They are treated as paupers. If you take away 520,000 on this account, there are 330,000 persons left over. I have only received these figures from somebody.
§ Mr. HARNEY
I am only apologising in case my figures are not quite accurate. Of the 330,000 to which we are now down, about 230,000 are pauper children.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Captain Bourne)
I think that the hon. and learned Member for South Shields (Mr. Harney) is getting a little away from the Amendment. This is an Amendment to transfer the responsibility for the unemployed to the Unemployed Workmen Act, 1905, and I rather think that the point which he is raising now will come more properly on the Motion that the Clause stand part than on this specific Amendment.
§ Mr. HARNEY
I am not endeavouring to deal with the point. I agree that we have been ruled out there by the Orders of the House. The way in which I make this relevant is as follows. Whether for the moment the peg on which to hang this is the Unemployed Workmen Act, 1905, or not, I am entitled to say that the Amendment is to take something away from the Poor Law. If you take something away from the Poor Law I am showing what is left there, and I am analysing what is left. I have now reached the point that if you make the children come under your council institutions, the same as non-pauper children; you have absolutely nothing left—only 100,000, or something like that number which is not worth bothering about: Therefore, the removal Of the able-bodied poor from the Poor Law would not only take the stigma from them, not only relieve the rates but it would solve the whole of the difficulties with which this complex Bill is concerned. Therefore, I follow up the proposal: contained in this Amendment by 2403 urging that—use your 1905 Act or anything you can find, since you are not allowed to use the real thing, the nation —if you lift off the Poor Law those able-bodied people the ground will be cleared.
There is one thing more I would say to my right hon. Friend, for whom I have great respect. You have now your Unemployment Insurance, which was intended to be a tap to drain the morass of destitution just as your Health Insurance was another tap to drain a bit more. The Unemployment Insurance has drawn off so much—it was all on the Poor Law before—that there are only left these 100,000 and their dependants. In order to do that you had to make a splendid institution insolvent. National insurance is insolvent to-day. If it were a private body it would be in the hands of the Official Receiver. A sum of about £30,000,000 had to be given by the Exchequer to keep it going, and £10,000,000 more has been authorised. The bankruptcy is due to keeping the unemployed on the Poor Law. Lift them off the Poor Law and see what happens. You could bring Unemployment Insurance back to its truly scientific lines; the benefits derived from insurance would be the benefits actuarially won by the contributions paid.
National insurance in these abnormal times could not possibly cope with the number of persons out of work; you would have a swollen number of unemployed, but you would get a healthy national insurance. At the present moment you keep it going by loans from the Exchequer, not by grants, and these loans have to be repaid by additions to the contributions of employers and employed. It is these additions which are crippling industry to-day. Remove your unemployed, bring back your national insurance to its true scientific basis, cancel this absurd loan of £30,000,000, wipe out the additional contributions put on industry by reason of the loan, and you would solve many of your difficulties. You would save another institution which is becoming bankrupt—the Poor Law. £6,000,000 is owing; and why? Because you keep up the absurd position of saying that these men must be maintained under the Poor Law, and in order to keep up that position you have bankrupted your 2404 insurance scheme, bankrupted boards of guardians, and you leave these unfortunate men and women with a stigma upon them which was never intended to rest upon persons who are honourable and out of work not because they are lazy and incompetent but because of a national policy in which they have had no say.
The whole scope of this Bill is to alter the basis of local government. Why is that necessary? Why is it thought advisable to make your county boroughs and your county councils? It is solely because of these able-bodied poor, and them alone. Take them away, and for what do you want to change your ancient boundaries? Are you, for the small remnant that would be left, going to set up all this elaborate machinery in order that a few poor scattered people may be dealt with under a bureaucracy instead of under their neighbours' kindly hands? All this is made necessary by this one fatal defect of leaving the unemployed on the Poor Law. Take them away and you may leave your boards of guardians alone, you may leave your county boroughs alone, you can stop all this complexity, all these readjustments and all the compensation to some 30,000 officials; and we could all adjourn sooner and spend a much happier Christmas time.
§ Miss WILKINSON
If I may return to the Amendment before the Committee after the somewhat discursive speech of the hon. and learned Member for South Shields (Mr. Harney), I should like to say a word or two in regard to the Unemployed Workmen Act of 1905. I am aware that it is not possible to deal with the wider question of the national aspect of unemployment, but I want to suggest that the Minister of Health was not quite correct when, in replying to the right hon. Member for Seaham (Mr. Webb), he declared that the powers under the Unemployed Workmen Act, 1905, were out of date and were not applicable to modern conditions. I suggest that it is not the powers which are out of date; it is not even that they are not applicable to modern conditions. The whole difficulty has arisen because the Minister of Health has not encouraged local authorities to use the powers they possess. 2405 Instead of that he has relied upon the payment of out-door or indoor relief. It can be argued that it is cheaper in the long run to pay some kind of subsistence allowance rather than pay for the cost of materials and the setting up of works and factories. If you pay a subsistence allowance all your money goes in the payment of food. That is an arguable proposition if you are dealing with a purely temporary period, and I have no doubt that the Minister of Health, when arguing in this way, was assuming that he was dealing with a purely temporary dislocation, as we all hoped he was. The right hon. Gentleman argued that it was cheaper to keep people until the time when works restarted and they got back to work again rather than spend a large amount in apparatus and materials and training.
While that was the argument in 1924 a situation has now arisen to which the 1905 Act is peculiarly applicable, and that is, the large numbers of areas where abnormal unemployment is a meaningless phrase. It is excessive unemployment that is, alas, becoming normal, and the problem we have to face is this excessive unemployment which is localised, and which is waterlogging certain areas. I suggest, that it is to the men in these areas the powers given under the Unemployed Workmen Act, 1905, are peculiarly applicable. Take an illustration from the iron and steel area of Middlesbrough, the constituency which I represent. A large number of munition workers who went there during the War have settled down and married there. You also have a large number of people who would ordinarily be employed if the conditions were such as existed previous to the War. Owing to the new processes which have been introduced into the steel industry, leading to the elimination of surplus labour, reducing in some cases by two thirds the number of men that are needed, large numbers of men will never be employed again. How are they to be dealt with? The Minister of Health says that we are to go on as we are and trust to something turning up.
At the present time these men are being dealt with in four different ways. There is the unemployment benefit. A large number, of these cases, because unemployment has continued so long, will not come under the new Insurance Act; they 2406 will not be able to claim benefit because of the 30 stamps condition. Then there is out-relief. Single men are denied out-relief and are told that they must tramp the roads. Large numbers of men are sent to the horrors of the casual wards. Many of them are young men, the sort of men for whom the Act of 1905 is very suitable. Then you have the last method, by which able-bodied men are taken from their wives and families into the workhouse leaving the wives and families outside. These are the ways in which the Government are dealing with the problem. I suggest that they will not make any progress by transferring, as they are by this Bill, the present procedure to larger areas and cutting out any question of training which is provided under the 1905 Act. The Minister of Health may be right that this Act is more or less out of date but if the Amendment were adopted these powers would not lapse altogether, and local authorities would be encouraged to use them to the very fullest extent.
The 1905 Act allows boards of guardians to put men to work temporarily in order to train them for permanent work, and it applies to women as well. I think the Minister should encourage a full use of these powers by local authorities. If instead of this stone wall attitude on the part of the Minister we had an intelligent survey of these areas, we could find out if it is possible, by providing temporary work and training, to drain these areas of the worst form of unemployment. The situation is getting terrible in some districts. There are men of 19 and 20 years of age who left school at the beginning of the slump and have never had a regular job of any kind. Somebody has to train them. Normally they would have gone through the ordinary discipline work in the factories, steel mills and blast furnaces, and even if they were thrown out at the end of their apprenticeship they would have had some training. Unless the powers under the 1905 Act are continued, or other powers given, it is impossible to deal with the problem. If the right hon. Gentleman cannot accept the Amendment perhaps he will tell us whether it is possible under any other Clause in the Bill to deal with this question. Unless somebody is going to train these men they are simply going to be left unemployed.
2407 I do a good deal of visiting in my constituency and I speak to large numbers of the mothers there. The one thing that they are agitating for over and over again is summed up in the question, "Cannot you do something for the training of our boys?" I know that the Parliamentary Secretary will reply that there are already the juvenile training centres, but they are entirely different things, run under the Unemployment Insurance Act. They do not deal with the point that is stressed in the 1905 Act, and that is to put people to work temporarily in order to train them for employment. We cannot leave these boys under the assumption that even a few of them—they are extraordinarily few—will go to the juvenile training centres. Some of them are too old to qualify under the Unemployment Insurance Act, but they would come under the Unemployed Workmen Act. I ask the Minister to put some brains behind this scheme instead of simply saying that he cannot do anything. If I am asked: "What new industry are you going to train them for?" I reply that we might do something that Germany has done. In Germany they have a survey of national resources and they use their unemployed definitely for the creation of national assets. It may be possible in this country, by having a national survey, to see whether it is not possible to use these men under the 1905 Act for the creation of a national asset.
Then there is the training of women. I know that there is already a certain amount, but a very small amount, being done under domestic training schemes for the training of women. It is not desirable in any way to interfere with that, but I do suggest that there may be a whole field of training which does not come under the Unemployment Insurance Act. I ask the Minister to take his mind back to 1911 and the difficulties then. We had to face the same trouble at the beginning of the War. We had to deal with a large amount of unemployment among women. There were set up in various parts of the country what were known as women's workrooms. Women were taken in and they made clothes which, when finished, were not sold, but were used either for the women's own families or for distribution by police or boards of guardians or other parties con- 2408 cerned. We have brought to the notice of the Prime Minister a position which is largely analogous to that of those days. There is acute distress, not only in the mining areas, but, in the steel areas, and we have the Minister of Education admitting, for example, that the clothing position in those areas is terrible. Would it not be possible to transfer these powers and train women in the distressed areas in the making of clothes even for their own families? That would be definite training, and the clothes when made might be distributed by the Minister of Education in the devastated areas. The need of the areas is such that they could consume all the clothing that the workrooms could produce.
If it should be said that that would interfere with the normal processes of trade, I would reply that in the distressed areas there is no effective demand, for the people cannot buy the clothing. The position, therefore, is that, unless the clothes are given away they are not put on the children. You have this appalling need coupled with a complete lack of effective demand, and you have the powers under the Act of 1905 which says that the guardians may set people to work temporarily for their permanent good. To have these women working in these workrooms and making clothes, the clothes to be given to the distressed areas, would be doing a double job. I have women coming to me continually and saying, "There is no possibility of a job." These women of 45 have spent their days in industry. Domestic service is not an outlet at all, because they are quite unaccustomed to the work and mistresses will not train women of 45. Moreover, many of them are not fit for heavy domestic work.
By adopting the suggestion I have made the Government would deal with the problem in two ways: They would produce clothes which are desperately needed, and they would give the women regular work and the possibility of a regular meal; and the women's capacity would be improved, for they would be able to make their own clothes and the clothes of their families and altogether prove to be more valuable people than they are when dragging themselves about from pillar to post as at present. While it is true that the powers under the 1905. Act are rusty, is it necessary that we 2409 should go back to the position that it is cheaper to give some relief and leave it at that? To adopt such an attitude means hopeless and helpless misery going on year after year. It is the awful length of time that the distress has lasted that is cutting into people's hearts and making them despair. We are creating a whole generation of younger people who have never known the discipline of training. For all these reasons I urge the Minister to reconsider his opposition to the Amendment. I ask him to say that he will accept the Amendment and transfer these powers to the county councils and larger authorities concerned—to transfer them with his blessing, and urge that the powers shall be used whenever it is possible to use them.
§ Sir K. WOOD
I am sure that many of the aspirations and desires expressed by many hon. Members in this Debate are shared by all of us. With regard to the hon. and learned Member for South Shields (Mr. Harney) and his suggested removal of the able-bodied unemployed from the Poor Law to the State, I am precluded from replying by the Rules of Order. The real reason why it is not desirable or necessary that the functions of the 1905 Act should be transferred to the larger authorities is that those functions have long ago disappeared in the administration of unemployment, and training and other machinery and other bodies have for all practical purposes long ago taken their place. With the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) I was a member of the Central Unemployed Body for London as a representative of the London County Council, and I found that the original functions under the 1905 Act had to a large extent been taken over by other people. For the, last 20 years no one has attempted to make effective use of the Act. Since the Act was passed we have had a different conception altogether of the functions of the State and of the authorities in this matter. The hon. Member for East Middlesbrough (Miss Wilkinson) made an appeal about the training of women. She knows as well as anyone that the appropriate Department to approach in connection with such training is not the Ministry of Health but the Ministry of Labour.
2410 7.0 p.m.
The proper Department for the modern administration of that particular function of the State is the Ministry of Labour, and it is not carried out under the Unemployed Workmen Act. 1905. Since that Act was placed on the Statute Book, we have had a great system of unemployment insurance in this country. No one would think from the observations which have been made that we had any system of unemployment insurance. That has very largely taken away the functions contemplated under this Act, and, as every Government have found, has displaced the necessity of putting many parts of this Act into operation. It is said that, if you do not go on with this Act which has not been in operation for 20 years, the only remedy is that people have either to go into a Poor Law institution or to go on outdoor relief. Surely hon. Members who make that statement must have forgotten the system of grants which has been so long in operation.
§ Sir K. WOOD
The system of grants has been in operation under Lord St. Davids' Committee and can be renewed again if necessary under the jurisdiction of counties or county boroughs. So far as the functions to be transferred are concerned, there is no necessity to transfer those under this Act, because powers of that kind are already in the hands of counties and county boroughs. I am very sorry that I am exciting the hon. Members opposite, but I really must be permitted to make my observations. I have not interrupted any of the right hon. Gentlemen and I ask to be allowed to make my statement. They should really be more patient with a much younger Member. So far as those functions are concerned under this Act there is really no need to put them into operation and, when you come to examine one by one the particular functions under this Act, you will find, as every Government in turn has found, that this Act has really ceased to be a practical Measure either in connection with training or the administration of relief. It is not from any wickedness on the part of the Government that they are doing this. The reason we are not continuing this Measure is because it has ceased to be 2411 a useful Measure in local administration and has been displaced by better and more up-to-date machinery for dealing with the question of unemployment.
§ Mr. ELLIS DAVIES
I am sorry that the right hon. Gentleman has not been more sympathetic, if not to the actual words of the Amendment, at least to the idea that underlies it. I want to put one practical point with regard to the Act of 1905. That Act was intended to facilitate the finding of work by the county councils. Under this scheme, I am sorry to find that the able-bodied unemployed have still to remain under the control of what would probably be called the public assistance committee. Quite apart from the objection on the part of the Government, which I quite understand, to transfer the whole problem of the maintenance of the able-bodied unemployed from the local rates to the Exchequer, this raises a new principle as to whether the amelioration of the conditions of the able-bodied unemployed should not really be taken from the public assistance committee and vested in the county councils.
I would urge this point upon the Minister of Health. Whatever else we may or may not do, we are bound to make provision for unemployment during the next few months. That can only be done by large schemes for drainage or afforestation. I can conceive nobody in whom the power of administering those schemes can be vested except the county council. It would be a great pity if the county council has not information as to the actual number of able-bodied men in their district. I do not suppose for a moment that the Minister will accept the Amendment in its present form but I suggest that he should consider the desirability of vesting the assistance of the able-bodied in the county councils rather than in the public assistance committee.
§ Mr. T. GRIFFITHS
I see the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health has gone. I wanted to point out to him, when he stated that the Unemployed Workmen Act had not been put 2412 into operation, that for a considerable number of years there has been no necessity to do so. I am connected with the steel industry and our percentage of unemployment is higher to-day than in the mining industry. In the steel, tinplate and sheet industry we had up to 1919 a period of very great prosperity. The percentage of unemployment was from 3 to 5 per cent., because we had a custom in that industry that, if one out of six mills or furnaces in a works was closed down, that the men on the other five mills or furnaces shared the work with the men who worked upon the mill or furnace which had been closed down. In my society we had an unemployment benefit which was only paid to men when the works were closed down altogether. They used to receive from 10s. to 12s. a week according to years of membership. In 1919, the society had funds of £500,000 for the purpose of paying out these benefits, but, in the slump which took place in the latter part of 1920, we paid out that £500,000 in out of work benefit in less than four months, though it had taken us 40 years to accumulate all that money. Practically all our people were idle.
The reason why we are asking that these powers should be transferred to the county councils is because in our industry to-day it is not only a mill or a furnace which is closed down, but the works are closed down altogether and the men cannot even share the work as they used to. We have to-day, according to the figures submitted at our last executive meeting, an average of 20 per cent. unemployed in the steel and iron trade. At the present time, because our young men are being deprived of assistance by the boards of guardians as a result of the instructions issued by the Ministry of Health, we are taking the hat round our own members in order to grant some gift to these poor fellows during the Christmas holidays.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I think the hon. Member is getting a little far from the Amendment. He is talking upon the Question "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ Mr. GRIFFITHS
No, I was pointing out that we want work found for these men, and unless that work can be found 2413 and if this Government will not make it a national question, then we want it to he done by the county councils. When the Parliamentary Secretary asks us not to interrupt when he was speaking, I ask that the Parliamentary Secretary should give us facts and then we would not want to interrupt. He says this Act is not needed. We know the facts, we know that it was not needed at one time but it is needed to-day. Until work is found for the unemployed, we shall continue to agitate until after this Government is cleared out at the next election.
§ Mr. KINGSLEY GRIFFITH
I am sorry the right hon. Member has cleared out before the wrath of the right hon. Member for Seaham (Mr. Webb) and the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury). He cannot complain of their interrupting him when he advanced such extraordinary arguments as he did just now. The position he put was that subsequent legislation since the Unemployed Workmen Act, 1905, had been so perfect and was so all-embracing that the need for any other kind of legislation had disappeared. He says that solemnly, with the unemployment situation as it is to-day. It is an incredible way of approaching the problem. The unemployment insurance system is a thing of which we on these benches may be proud, but it was not addressed to a situation such as we have to-day. It served the needs of the time, but no one would say that it was adequate for a situation such as this. To appeal to the Lord St. Davids Committee, a body which had practically ceased to function, and which had to have artificial respiration given
§ to it by speeches from that box recently, is to make an absolute travesty of the whole situation.
§ Whatever may be the disadvantage of the Unemployed Workmen Act—and nobody on these benches has pretended that it is an ideal way of dealing with the subject—the position which I think we all take on this side is that any method of dealing with able-bodied unemployed is better than the present bankrupt and antiquated system of the Poor Law. Better anything than that. If it be true that the Unemployment Insurance Act does not cover the ground and that the Lord St. Davids Committee, largely because their opportunities have been restricted, have not covered the ground, then we must, if need be, fall back on legislation which we all desire to improve and extend, and on which we could give suggestions if it were in order to do so. We should fall back even on that rather than that these men should be driven once again to what my hon. and learned Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Harney) the other day called "the door of dishonour." We should fall back on that rather than see these men who arc unemployed through no fault of their own being driven to fake relief in the one form which they feel to be degrading. Until work is provided by some better method we ask the Government to continue the use even of this antiquated expedient, rather than continue what is the most iniquitous method of all, of giving relief.
§ Question put, "That those words be there added."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 135; Noes, 236.2417
|Division No. 62]||AYES.||[7.20 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Cluse, W. S.||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Connolly, M.||Griffith, F. Kingsley|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Cove, W. G.||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)|
|Ammon, Charles George||Dalton, Hugh||Grundy, T. W.|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Blliton)||Davies, David (Montgomery)||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvll)|
|Baker, Walter||Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)||Hardle, George D.|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Harney, E. A.|
|Batey, Joseph||Day, Harry||Harris, Percy A.|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Dennison, R.||Hayday, Arthur|
|Bellamy, A.||Dunnico, H.||Henderson, Rt Hon. A. (Burnley)|
|Benn, Wedgwood||Edge, Sir William||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Hirst, G. H.|
|Briant, Frank||Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Unlver.)||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)|
|Broad, F. A.||Fenby, T. D.||Hollins, A.|
|Bromfield, William||Gardner, J. P.||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Gibbins, Joseph||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Gillett, George M.||John, William (Rhondda, West)|
|Buchanan, G.||Graham, Rt. Hon. Win. (Edin., Cent.)||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)|
|Cape, Thomas||Greenall, T.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Greenwood, A. (Nelson aid Coins)||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)|
|Kelly, W. T.||Ponsonby, Arthur||Strauss, E. A.|
|Kennedy, T.||Potts, John S.||Sullivan, Joseph|
|Kirkwood, D.||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Lansbury, George||Riley Ben||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Lawrence, Susan||Ritson, J.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Lawson, John Jamas||Robinson, W.C. (Yorks, W.R., Elland)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Lee, F.||Runciman, Hilda (Cornwall, St. Ives)||Tomlinson, R. P.|
|Livingstone, A. M.||Saklatvaia, Shapurji||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles|
|Longbottom, A. W.||Salter, Dr. Alfred||Viant, S. P.|
|Lowth, T.||Scrymgeour, E.||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Lunn, William||Scurr, John||Watson, W. M. (Duntermilne)|
|Mackinder, w.||Sexton, James||Watts-Morgan. Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|MacLaren, Andrew||Shaw, Rt. Hon Thomas (Preston)||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis||Wellock, Wilfred|
|MacNeill-Weir, L.||Shiels, Dr. Drummond.||Westwood, J.|
|Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Shinwell, E.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|March, S.||Sitch, Charles H.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Maxton, James||Slesser, Sir Henry H,||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Morrison. R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Smillie, Robert||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Murnin, H.||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)||Windsor, Walter|
|Naylor, T. E.||Snell, Harry||Wright, W.|
|Oliver, George Harold||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Palin, John Henry||Stamford, T. W.|
|Paling, W.||Stephen, Campbell||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Pethick-Lawrence, P. W.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)||Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr. Whiteley.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainshro)||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.|
|Albery, Irving James||Cunllffe, Sir Herbert||Hohler, Sir Gerald Fltzroy|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Curzon, Captain Viscount||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)||Hopkins, J. W. W.|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||Home, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)|
|Astor, Viscountess||Davies, Dr. Vernon||Hudson, R. S. (Cumberland, Whiteh'n)|
|Atkinson, C.||Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Hume, Sir G. H.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Dawson, Sir Philip||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen, Sir Aylmer|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Dean, Arthur Welleslty||Hura, Percy A.|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Illffe, Sir Edward M.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Elliot, Major Walter E.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Ellis, R. G.||Iveagh, Countess of|
|Berry, Sir George||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)|
|Bethel, A.||Evans, Captain A. (Cardiff, South)||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Everard, W. Lindsay||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Sklpton)||Fielden, E. B.||King, Commodore Henry Douglas|
|Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.)||Finburgh, S.||Klnloch-Cooke, Sir Clement|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E, W.||Forestler-Walker, Sir L.||Knox, Sir Alfred|
|Brass, Captain W.||Foster, Sir Henry S,||Lamb, J. Q.|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Fraser, Captain Ian||Locker-Lampson. Com. O. (Handsw'th)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Fremantle, Lieut. Colonel Francis E.||Long, Major Eric|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Ganzonl, Sir John||Looker, Herbert William|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Lougher, Lewis|
|Buchan, John||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Lumley, L. R.|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Goff Sir Park||Lynn, Sir R. J.|
|Burman, J. B.||Gower, Sir Robert||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen|
|Campbell, E. T.||Grace, John||MacIntyre, Ian|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Grant, Sir J. A.||Macmillan, Captain H.|
|Cassels, J. D.||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Macquisten, F. A.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||MacRobert, Alexander M.|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Makins, Brigadier-General E.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)||Grotrian, H. Brent||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Mason, Colonel Glyn K,|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Hacking, Douglas H.||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd|
|Christie, J. A.||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Hamilton, Sir George||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)|
|Clayton, G. C.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Hartington, Marquess of||Moore, Sir Newton J.|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunei||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Moreing, Captain A. H.|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)|
|Cope, Major Sir William||Haslam, Henry C.||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive|
|Couper, J. B.||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Nail, Colonel Sir Joseph|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Nelson, Sir Frank|
|Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.)||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. Sir Vivian||Neville, Sir Reginald J.|
|Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Crooke, J. Smedley (Derltend)||Herbert, S.(York, N.R., Scar, & Wh'by)||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Hilton, Cecil||Nuttall, Ellis|
|O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Sandeman, N. Stewart||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-|
|O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh||Sanders, Sir Robert A.||Tinne, J. A.|
|Penny, Frederick George||Sanderson, Sir Frank||Tltchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Sandon, Lord||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough|
|Perring, sir William George||Savery, S. S.||Waddington, R.|
|Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Scott, Rt Hon. Sir Leslie||Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Peto, G. (Somerset, Frame)||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A.D. Mel. (Renfrew, W.)||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Pilcher, G.||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Pliditch, Sir Philip||Skelton, A. N.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Power, Sir John Cecil||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)||Watson, Rt. Hon. w. (Carlisle)|
|Pownall, Sir Assheton||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dlns, C.)||Watts, Sir Thomas|
|Radford, E. A.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Wells, S. R|
|Raine, Sir Walter||Smithers, Waldron||White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dalrymple-|
|Ramsden, E.||Southby, Commander A. R. J.||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Reid, Capt. Cunningham (Warrington)||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Reid, D. D. (County Down)||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Remer, J. R.||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||Steel, Major Samuel Strang||Withers, John James|
|Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||Storry-Deans, R.||Womersley, W, J.|
|Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Ropner, Major L.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid||Wright, Brig.-General W. D.|
|Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Templeton, W. p.|
|Salmon, Major I.||Thorn, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)||Captain Margesson and Captain Wallace.|
|Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ Mr. T. GRIFFITHS
Before the Committee proceed to a Division on this question, I wish to read a letter in regard to the effect of these proposals in certain districts in Wales. I wish to have this placed on record and I hope the Minister will give it his attention. This is a letter from the Clerk to the Urban District Council of Panteg which states—that at a meeting of the Council resolutions were passed unanimously by members of all political persuasions opposing the equalisation of Poor Law expenditure over the county of Monmouth and particularly the payment in respect of the Bedwelity Union's debt unless adequate provision is made by new grants to meet any increase of rates incurred. The letter continues:I may say that the responsible financial officers of the district councils in the county have been in conference with the county accountant, and data are available for the construction of the new and more correct 'picture' of the actual result of the financial scheme. The county accountant hopes to be in a position to issue a summary for the county before the close of the present week. Meanwhile, I may say that in the Panteg urban district in which Command Paper 3134 indicated a gain of 1s. 1¾d. in the £, the county accountant and myself estimate a loss equivalent to 3s. 1d. in the £ on the de-rated values in the one rating sub-district, and 3s. 6d. in the other, and
in the adjoining Pontypool rural district the gain of 1s. 9d. appears now to be a loss of 11d. These enormous errors are presumably due to the 1926–27 figures (the year of stoppage, rates not representing expenditure and assessments based on pre-stoppage output) taken by the Government, being abnormal. The following is a short summary of the position.
Panteg Urban, On the general district rate side there is a gain in one sub-district of 3d. and a loss in the other of 2d.
The present county rate will, after taking into account the county council's share of the new grants, remain the same as at Present on the de-rated values.
Compared with 2s. 4d., the net Poor Law expenditure in the Pontypool Union for the current year, the equalisation over the county will involve on the de-rated values—Poor Law, 4s.; Bedwellty debt for 15 years, 1s.; transferred highway expenditure, 8d.— a totf.1 of 5s. 811.
§ It will be seen that these boards of guardians are going to suffer considerably as a result of this new scheme—
§ It being half-past Seven of the Clock, the Chairman proceeded, pursuant to the Order of the House of 12th, December, to put forthwith the Question necessary to dispose of the Business to be concluded at half-past Seven of the Clock at this day's Sitting.
§ Question put, "That the part of the Bill."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 237; Noes, 144.2421
|Division No. 63.]||AYES.||[7.30 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)|
|Albery, Irving James||Applin Colonel R. V. K.||Astor, Viscountess|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Atkinson, C.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Grotrian, H. Brent||Pilcher, G.|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Pilditch, Sir Philip|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Power, Sir John Cecil|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Hacking, Douglas H.||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Berry, Sir George||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Radford, E. A.|
|Bethel, A.||Hamilton, Sir George||Raine, Sir Walter|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Ramsden, E|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Hartington, Marquess of||Reid, Capt. Cunningham (Warrington)|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Reid, D. D. (County Down)|
|Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.)||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Remer, J. R.|
|Bowyer, Capt, G. E. W.||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.|
|Brass, Captain W.||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. Sir Vivian||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Herbert, S. (York, N. R., Scar. & Wh'by)||Ropner, Major L.|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Hilton, Cecil||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Salmon, Major I.|
|Buchan, John||Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Sandeman, N. Stewart|
|Burman, J. B,||Home, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.||Sanders, Sir Robert A.|
|Campbell, E. T.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Hudson, R.S. (Cumberland, Whiteh'n)||Sandon, Lord|
|Cassels, J. D.||Hume, Sir G. H.||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustavo D|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Savory, S. S.|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Hurd, Percy A.||Scott, Rt. Hon. Sir Leslie|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)||Illffe, Sir Edward M.||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Iveagh, Countess of||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Skelton, A. N.|
|Christie, J. A.||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Smith, R. W.(Aberd'n & Kinc'dlne, C.)|
|Clayton, G. C.||Kennedy. A. R. (Preston).||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||King, Commodore Henry Douglas||Smlthers, Waldron|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunei||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Knox, Sir Alfred||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Cope, Major Sir William||Lamb, J. Q.||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Couper, J. B.||Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'sland)|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (Handtw'th)||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.)||Long, Major Eric||Storry-Deans, R.|
|Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Looker, Herbert William||Streatfelld, Captain S. R.|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Lougher, Lewis||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.|
|Crooke, J. Smedley (Derltend)||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Herman||Sugden, Sir Wilfred|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Lumley, L. R.||Templeton, W. P.|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Llndsey, Galnsbro)||Lynn, Sir R. J.||Thorn, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Cunliffe, Sir Herbert||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Maclntyre, Ian||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Macmillan, Captain H.||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-|
|Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||Macquisten, F. A.||Tinne, J. A.|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||MacRobert, Alexander M.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington. S.)||Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough|
|Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Malone, Major P. B.||Waddington, R.|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Elliot, Major Walter E.||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Ellis, R. G.||Mason, Colonel Glyn K.||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Evans, Captain A. (Cardiff, South)||Milne. J. S. Wardlaw||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Moore, Sir Newton J.|
|Flelden, E. B.||Moreing, Captain A. H.||Watts, Sir Thomas|
|Finburgh, S.||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)||Wells, S. R.|
|Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dairymple|
|Foster, Sir Harry S.||Nail, Colonel Sir Joseph||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||Nelson, Sir Frank||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Neville, Sir Reginald J.||Wilson. R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Withers, John James|
|Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Nuttall, Ellis||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Glyn, Major R. G. C.||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Goff, Sir Park||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh||Wright, Brig.-General W. D.|
|Gower, Sir Robert||Penny, Frederick George|
|Grace, John||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Grant, Sir J. A.||Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Major Sir George Hennessy and Captain Margesson.|
|Greene. W. p. Crawford||Perring, Sir William George|
|Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (File, West)||Ammon, Charles George||Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bllston)||Batey, Joseph|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Baker, Walter||Beckett, John (Gateshead)|
|Bellamy, A.||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Saklatvala, Shapurji|
|Benn, Wedgwood||Hollins, A.||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Bowerman. Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Hore-Beilsha, Leslie||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Briant, Frank||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Scurr, John|
|Broad, F. A.||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Sexton, James|
|Bromfield, William||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Buchanan, G.||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Shinwell, E.|
|Cape, Thomas||Kelly, W. T.||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Kennedy, T.||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Connolly, M.||Kirkwood, D||Smillie, Robert|
|Cove, W. G.||Lansbury, George||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Crawfurd, H. E,||Lawrence, Susan||Snell, Harry|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lawson, John James||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Davies, David (Montgomery)||Lee, F.||Stamford, T. W.|
|Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)||Livingstone, A. M.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Longbottom, A. W.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Day, Harry||Lowth, T.||Strauss, E. A.|
|Dennison, R.||Lunn, William||Sullivan, J.|
|Dunnico, H.||Mackinder, W.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Edge, Sir William||MacLaren, Andrew||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||MacNeill-Welr, L.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Fenby, T. D.||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Tomlinson, R. P.|
|Forrest, W.||Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles|
|Gardner, J. P.||March, S.||Viant, S. P.|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Maxton, James||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Gillett, George M.||Mosley, Sir Oswald||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edln., Cent.)||Murnin, H.||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Greenall, T.||Naylor, T. E.||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Joslah|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Oliver, George Harold||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Palln, John Henry||Westwood, J.|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley||Paling, W.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Grundy, T. W.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvll)||Ponsonby, Arthur||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercllfte)|
|Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Potts, John S||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Hardie, George D.||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Soring)||Windsor, Walter|
|Harney, E. A.||Riley, Ben||Wright, W.|
|Harris, Percy A.||Ritson, J.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Nswton)|
|Hayday, Arthur||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W.R., Elland)|
|Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Runciman, Hilda (Cornwall, St. Ives)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hirst, G. H.||Runclman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Mr. T. Henderson and Mr. Whiteley.|