§ Mr. BARNES
I beg to move,That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty praying that the Orders, dated 18th June, 1928, entitled (1) the Bedwellty Union (Default) Orders (Continuation) Order (No. 2), 1928; (2) the Chester-le-Street Union (Default) Orders (Continuation) Order (No. 2), 1928; and (3) the West Han Union (Default) Orders (Continuation) Order (No. 2), 1928, be annulled.This matter has been before the House now on a good many occasions. We have had to debate each area separately, and this is the first opportunity we have had of seeking to present an Address covering the three areas affected, and thus; of discussing the full policy of the Minister as applied to these three districts. We are now moving towards a period when, I take it, we can assume that there will be, as a result of the 2391 Government's policy, a change in the structure of local government in this country; and I venture to submit that this Motion provides the Minister or his Parliamentary Secretary with an excellent opportunity for stating his policy towards these three areas. I mention that, because I think no one can review the Debates that have taken place in the past on the application of the Guardians Default Act to these three areas without realising that the Minister has usually ridden off by taking full advantage of what I can only describe as the public prejudice surrounding these areas, which the Press have largely created; and I feel that even this House—because I have been present on all the occasions when we have debated West Ham, Bedwellty, and Chester-le-Street—has never yet discussed the conditions and the circumstances of these localities really with a view to getting at the facts. We agree that they represent three of the worst areas in this country. The poor, of course, have very few friends, and find it very difficult to get friends. The circumstances of these localities have produced a situation which, I frankly admit, is unprecedented, and, instead of facing up to the situation, the Government have enlarged individual cases, and have tended to obscure the real circumstances surrounding the problem.
With all respect to the Parliamentary Secretary, I regret that the Minister should not put in an appearance when this question is being discussed. So far, the Parliamentary Secretary has been largely responsible for giving the Government's reply to past Prayers, and his case has consisted in the main of taking individual quotations from particular guardians and holding these quotations up to ridicule. He has selected special cases of abuse; and I ask hon. Members where there is any administrative system that has not produced cases of abuse? Our Debate in the early part of this evening has been on a system of which, on the whole, we are very proud in this country, but, nevertheless, weaknesses develop, and I do not feel that West Ham, Bedwellty and Chester-le-Street have ever had a fair consideration in this House when the Minister of the Crown has depended upon cases of abuse rather 2392 than on the primary facts of the situation. When we deal with the main factors in administration the Minister's case again has largely depended upon merely a comparison of the total cost of one administration against another, without in any way considering the human results that have been effected by these figures. Nor has he dealt with the constitutional issues involved. I hope that to-night the Parliamentary Secretary will not confine himself to exploiting the prejudice of the House on this subject. I trust that he will not build his case on individual cases of abuse, but that he will address himself to real circumstances underlying the economies that the appointed guardians have obtained. I do not challenge the fact that there has been a large reduction in the cost of the areas, but I would ask the House to consider the price at which these reductions have been obtained, and the constitutional issues involved by the abolition of certain organs of local government in this country.
I propose to refresh the memory of the House of the circumstances which led up to the development of this policy. Prior to the passing of the Boards of Guardians (Default) Act, the Minister came into violent conflict with the West Ham Board of Guardians. I mention that board, because it was on the action of the board that he eventually passed his Act. When the Act was before the House, in July, 1926, the Minister stated that it was purely a temporary Measure. Two years have passed in regard to that union, and the Order which is now before the House extends the period of power to the appointed guardians for another period of six months. It is a strange and significant fact that the Minister has admitted in his White Paper on the proposals for the reorganisation of local government that West Ham does not fit in with the general scheme. Therefore, we have reached this position, for two years in that particular area, and for a lesser period in Bedwellty and Chester-le-Street, this policy has been adopted, and the Minister is no more in a position to communicate to the House a permanent solution of these very grave necessitous areas than he was when he introduced the Bill as a temporary Measure. Is that intervening period nothing has been done by the Government to solve the very grave economic problem in areas like West Ham and 2393 Bedwellty. Instead of devising a policy to meet the difficulties of those areas, all that has been done under this new administration with appointed guardians has been to devise a policy of starving and terrorising by scientific administration thousands of people who are living in difficult circumstances.
I used those words fairly deliberately. Why do I do that? Those who are not actually responsible for any administrative machinery are not able to put their case in statistical form. None of those who represent the areas concerned has access to the information which would enable us to demonstrate the truth of the general statements made. I recognise that for every individual case of hardship we could quote the Minister could quote some other instance countering it, and I do not think one gets very far by quoting one case against another where thousands of people are involved. But in this House we are all more or less connected with public work, and we can form an intelligent and, I believe, a reasonably correct view, from our own observations, of the working of an administrative system. According to the flow of people to us, the similarity of cases, and the facts submitted, it is not difficult to detect whether the administrative system is producing certain results, and I am certain that every Member who represents one of these areas, if he has approached the problem with understanding, must be convinced that over a period of two years there has been a steady and continuous and, if I may describe it as such, a brutal operation of the administrative policy of withdrawing and depressing relief in many deserving cases.
I have made that broad statement recognising, as I have said, my inability to support it with statistical evidence on account of not having access to the information. I shall have to content myself with taking the figures of the guardians themselves, submitting the broad, unchallengeable facts of their report to the House, and asking hon. Members to draw their own conclusions. I think everyone will admit that those who, are challenging this policy are at a great disadvantage in that respect. Taking the last report issued by the guardians, we get in the table on page 4 the direct results of their policy in 2394 figures. They mention that for the week ended 24th April, 1926, just before they took office——
§ Sir CHARLES OMAN
On a point of Order. Is it permissible for hon. Members to read newspapers during a speech?
§ Mr. J. JONES
I am not reading a newspaper. I am reading a report of the appointed guardians for West Ham published in the local press.
§ Mr. JONES
I want to know if it is wrong for me to read a verbatim report of the board of guardians at present existing, because I have not had a chance of getting any other evidence 2 If I am wrong, I think I can memorise what I want to say, if I get a chance to say it. I apologise if I have broken any rule.
§ Mr. BARNES
On page 4 of the guardians' report referring to West Ham, which was recently published, the guardians quote these figures, which give a broad comparison of the result of their work with the situation when they took office. The total number of cases for the week ending 24th April, 1926, was 27,853. The number of persons involved in these cases was 66,116. The total weekly cost of relief or that period was £28,055. On the 26th May, 1928, after two years of the administration of the board of guardians, the number of cases was reduced from 27,853 to 9,433—a reduction of 18,420 cases. The number of persons involved was reduced from 66,116 to 21,313—a reduction of 44,803 persons involved. The total weekly cost was reduced from £28,055 to £5,769. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] I thought those figures would draw a cheer from the hon. Members opposite. [An HON. MEMBER: "Starvation!"] I do not propose to deal with the interruptions, and I shall merely state the facts. Analysing the figures further, the number of cases remaining 2395 amount to one-third of the original number. The number of persons involved has been reduced by one-third, and the actual weekly cost has been reduced by one-third of the actual amount disbursed by the late board of guardians.
I want to ask the Minister a direct question. The reduction is 18,420 persons, and the assumption behind that is that those 18,000 persons were getting relief to which they were not entitled, or, in other words, they were malingerers. I think we are entitled to ask the Minister of Health to prove that they were malingerers. It is not our liability to do that, and we have not the facts. The appointed guardians are handling the machine, because the right hon. Gentleman has taken away the constitutional rights of the people of the locality, and therefore the only people who can give the facts are the appointed guardians. Therefore, the responsibility of proving that those 18,420 persons are malingerers rests upon hon. Members who support the Government and not upon those who are challenging the policy of the Government. I challenge any hon. Member opposite to prove that such a large percentage as that have been deliberately abusing the system of outdoor relief in this country. The fact that the weekly cost of relief has been reduced from £28,055 to £5,769 a week suggests that in the two years that have passed since the appointment of the new guardians 18,000 malingerers have been eliminated, but nobody believes for a moment that that total represents the percentage of malingerers among the working classes. If the Government are trying to convey to this House that those figures represent an improvement in West Ham, I want to ask the Minister why he has quoted this statement in the White Paper that deals with the reorganisation of local government. On page 23, dealing with a certain situation in different county boroughs and with the effect of the scheme, the Minister says:It is found that in eight places, excluding West Ham.…Why should the Minister exclude West Ham, of all the county borough areas in this country? Does not that in itself suggest that West Ham is in a category 2396 of its own? We are dealing with an immediate position, and, if West Ham is in a special category of its own, and if this new scheme of rating cannot possibly cover it, what reason have hon. Members to draw from the Report of the guardians the inference that the position has improved in the West Ham Union area to the extent suggested by these figures? Later on the Paper states:The case of the West Ham Union is quite exceptional.We recognise that it is exceptional; we state that it is exceptional; and, because it is exceptional, these figures demon-strata beyond doubt to any reasonable person that these economies have been derived from a brutal policy, and do not in any way suggest that they come from any increased prosperity in the locality. In the Report of the guardians—and I should like to quote this paragraph, although I am sorry to trouble the House by doing so, because this matter is so important that I think I shall not be occupying time unnecessarily—they say:The guardians consider that the strict administration of out-relief to the able-bodied unemployed has supplied the financial inducement to seek work, and is the direct cause of the reduction in the numbers from 15,700 in April, 1926, to 2,806 at the date of this Report. There are still many of these 2,806 who require urging to obtain work.In two years, the figures have been reduced from 15,700 to 2,806, a reduction of 12,894 able-bodied persons, and the guardians consider that of these 2,806 persons a number only require urging to obtain work. What is there in the general situation in regard to unemployment in this country that really conveys the impression to Members of this House that in the West Ham Union area persons only have to be urged to obtain work and work is waiting there for them? Can the Minister of Labour justify that position? Do his facts with regard to the West Ham Union area justify that position? Does the general situation throughout the country suggest that there has been that improvement in the industrial situation? Again, is there any Member of this House who believes that if the general situation of the country is worsened—and it is worsened, for in the last five weeks there has been an increase of 116,000 in the number of persons 2397 registered for unemployment, while since March there has been an increase of 200,000, and there are still 1,250,000 persons registered as unemployed—is there any Member of this House who considers that, if that be the general situation of the country, West Ham alone has escaped it? West Ham has not escaped it, because hon. Members well know that, if there is any unemployment, it will centre in an area like that much more strongly than elsewhere, and those of us who represent this area consider that it is an insult to our intelligence, and an insult to the intelligence of the House, that we should receive a Report stating that these persons have only to be urged to obtain work and that is the end of it. Those of us who have to meet numbers of persons who call at our houses daily know that that is not the case. I live in my Division and am very familiar with all the circumstances. When those of us who represent the Division have people coming daily to our homes in a distracted state, not knowing in what direction to turn, and making all kinds of appeals to us, which we cannot possibly carry out, to get them employment, what on earth is the use of the guardians making to us a statement of this description? I would ask hon. Members, although we may differ from them, at least to have the fairness to appreciate the facts I have stated.
In order not to avoid any of the issues involved in this Report—and I am confining my case very largely to the Report itself—I wish to refer now, in dealing with the question of unemployment, to the statement of the guardians on page 5 of the Report. In two paragraphs they mention this point. The figures are given in Table II of the Appendix, in which they answer, as they think, the challenge made in this House that persons who are coming off relief are not obtaining employment. From September, 1927, to 28th April, 1928, they carried out two three-monthly tests, and discovered that out of 1,157 cases ceasing to apply for relief, 896 were accounted for as obtaining work. Comparing that with the table on page 1, in which the return of cases is dealt with, I find that 2,920 cases were removed from the register. I ask again what has become of the 2,032 cases the guardians have not accounted for? 2398 When you are dealing with thousands of cases there is a certain percentage always coming off relief into employment, but if unemployment is increasing or is stationary, there must be other persons passing out of employment. Why is it that every person who obtains employment is accounted for and yet we have in these statistics no indication of persons who are losing employment in other directions and becoming destitute? The guardians are saving, roughly, £1,000,000 a year. We are paying back 1s. 10d. in principal and interest in respect of past borrowings. Under this new reorganisation scheme, under which the Government are providing relief for the workshops, though they cannot find any relief for the workers who work in them, we are only getting 9d. in West Han and 9.7d. in East Ham, compared with the 1s. 10d. we have to repay as the result of that debt.
I should like to state the constitutional position. Under this Boards of Guardians (Default) Act, it is rather an ironical position that, during this period when we are extending the franchise to those who previously did not exercise it, we have abolished the franchise in these areas. It is all very well for hon. Members who disagree with the policy of these guardians. I do not suppose a board of guardians of that kind are more free from abuse than Conservative administrations. We have plenty of instances where Conservative administration is honeycombed with abuse and looking after their friends, but they do it perhaps in a little more scientific manner than we have learnt so far. Nevertheless, in these areas the vote has been abolished on the ground that the policy adopted by the elected authorities is wrong. I say, quite definitely, that the policy of the Labour party should be different from the policy of the Conservatives, otherwise there is no reason in our striving to obtain Labour representation in these areas. By their action, the Government have deprived these areas of the advantages that flow normally from Labour administration, which is based upon different ideals and theories in regard to the standards of life. It is wrong, and we must challenge it, to negative advantages of that kind by the action of a Government who obtained their power on entirely different grounds from those which have produced the 2399 existing situations in West Ham, Bedwellty and Chester-le-Street. This House has built up its position on the principle that there should be no taxation without representation; that taxation and representation should go together. If the present Government had said to West Ham, Bedwellty, Chester-le-Street and other poor areas, "You are not able to carry your local burden. The circumstances are quite beyond your control. We will take over the entire charge of every able-bodied unemployed person who is out of work through no fault of his own. We will make it a national charge and relieve the locality entirely from the burden," then they would be justified in laying down the scales and determining the rates of the relief to be distributed. But they have not done that; they have withdrawn the constitutional rights from the people of the localities affected, and at the same time they have placed financial obligations upon them. Instead of relieving the areas of their financial obligations they have imposed financial obligations upon them while they have denied to them the right of representation. We desire to enter our emphatic protest. We think that this administrative policy is particularly brutal. Hon. Members opposite may laugh, but we are dealing with human material, men, women and children, and we see the results of the Government's policy in the daily life of our districts.
What are the facts in relation to the appointed guardians and the people in regard to whom they are administering the Poor Law system? On the one hand you have the well-trained individual, the expert, the professional type of man, with a large salary, comfortably placed so far as the economic-position is concerned. I want hon. Members to realise what the professionally-equipped mind represents behind the administrative machine. On the other hand, in places like the West Ham Union area you have a population largely composed of casual workers who have not had the opportunity to equip themselves mentally or physically. You have the £20–a-week person taking it out of the person who, when he is in work, earns £2 or £2 10s. a week. That is a despicable system to be supported by Parliament, and in our prayer we ask Parliament to end that policy.
§ 12 m.
§ Mr. BARKER
I beg to second the Motion. I regret that a matter of this importance should be brought on at this late hour of the night, but the Government are entirely responsible for that; not the Opposition. When the question was before the House in February last the Parliamentary Secretary gave as the reason for superseding the Bedwellty Guardians their unwise and foolish policy. It is not the guardians who are the culprits in this case, but the Government. In the OFFICIAL REPORT of 28th February this year is a statement of the loans made to the Bedwellty Guardians. The first loan was made on 10th July, 1922, and amounted to £60,000, and the thirty-first loan was made on 9th March, 1927. They totalled £1,099,000. Twenty-three of these loans were sanctioned by the present Minister of Health, and they amount to £819,000. On each occasion that a loan was granted the scale of relief was revised by the Government. If the Bedwellty Guardians were administering their great trust unwisely and foolishly, why did the Government continue to sanction these loans? The case does not bear investigation for a moment. The Government were quite aware of the situation in Bedwellty; they knew that it was the unparalleled state of depression and unemployment in that area which was entirely responsible for its condition. The Minister of Health has published two reports from the appointed guardians. I propose briefly to deal with them. The first report was issued on 31st September last year, and stated that:For the purpose of meeting immediate requirements and paying some of the debts previously incurred the appointed guardians borrowed from the Ministry of Health the sum of £75,000, which increased the loan debt to £1,071,425. It is to be regretted that up to the date of this report it has not been possible to liquidate a portion of the debt or pay the interest thereon; but the financial position of the union is improving.That is the statement made by the newly appointed guardians after they had been in office for about nine months. They admitted that they could not reduce the amount of the loan; that they could not pay the interest and that they themselves had had to increase the loan debt by £75,000. This very fact in itself is the strongest vindication of the old board of 2401 guardians, and it is the best testimonial to the efficiency of their work. We had yesterday another report from these Commissioners which says that it has not been possible to pay off any of the loan debt of £1,071,000. That is the second admission in the second report that they have not been able to reduce the debt due to the Minister of Health during the half year under review. They add:But since the 31st March last we have paid the sum of £15,000 to the Minister of Health on account of the arrears of interest due.They have already had £75,000 and paid £15,000 in reduction of the interest, and so they are still £60,000 in arrears compared with what they were when they took over the control of the area. The whole thing is preposterous in the extreme. The idea that these men were necessary to save the area is pure humbug. The arrears of rates collected are £4,000 more than they were a half year before, and with this comes the threat that, unless these rates are paid, there will be a heavier rate levied. They cannot collect the rates they are levying today, and they are a scandal to this country. The rates in this area are simply outrageous. They are 300 per cent. higher than they were before the War, and the assessment has been raised by 40 per cent. There are thousands of working men in these areas who have to pay 15s., 17s. or 18s. a week rent and rates out of their scanty earnings. I have stated in this House over and over again the financial position of this area. The guardians themselves owe over £1,000,000. It takes over £1,000 a week to pay the interest on this vast sum of money. The waterworks supplying this vast area are over £1,000,000 in debt. There is another £1,000 a week. Every local authority in the area is submerged in debt. In Abertillery the debt is £200,000. In Blaina it is £100,000. The area has been deliberately stranded by the policy of the Ministry in putting the burden of unemployment upon the unemployed themselves and trampling upon the helpless. I make no apology for standing up here to-night at this late hour to defend the people of this area. I would rather be in bed myself, but I will not shrink this duty at whatever cost. I say it is absolutely wicked to treat the people 2402 of this country as they are treated in these necessitous areas. I am not going to rely upon my own statement only, but will use the little time at my disposal in placing upon the records of the House some of the statements by people that live in the area. The "South Wales Argus" of 6th July, 1928, says:
"The number of sub-normal children, whose condition is due to impoverished family circumstances, has doubled since the investigation conducted in July last by Dr. Eyres and Dr. Rocqu Jones."
I have another statement here from Dr. Rocqu Jones, who is the county medical officer, a man well known in South Wales and very highly respected. His report states:Out of a total of 3,245 children examined 423, or 13 per cent., are sub-normal.…In addition, a large number of the children bore indications of definite mal-nutrition.We have another report by Dr. Marie Scott, who is assistant medical officer of the Monmouthshire County Council. In her report, which is published in the "South Wales Argus" on 6th July last, she says:At present there is much poverty in the county of Monmouth and the standard of living is low.I shall show why it is low. Dr. Scott says.The percentage of still-births is high—456.Then we hive another statement made by Dr. Rocqu Jones, who says:Of the sub-normal children, in 253, or 7 per cent., the condition was directly due to poor family circumstances, due to the present abnormal industrial conditions.We have the evidence of independent medical men testifying to the condition of this area. The area is reeking with disease. There are thousands of smallpox cases, and it is estimated that the County of Monmouth has spent £100,000 during this period of depression in combating this terrible disease. This used to be one of the healthiest counties in the whole kingdom, but the prevalence of disease synchronises with the terrible conditions under which people are living. We have cither testimony. Here is a resolution passed by the Blaina Council of Evangelical Free Churches:That this council desires to express in the strongest possible terms its entire disapproval of the totally inadequate sum of 2403 relief given during the past few weeks to very necessitous cases in this district, and urges with all earnestness that 6teps should be taken immediately to modify the dire distress of these persons, upon humanitarian grounds.That is signed by Mr. R. L. Davis, the hon. Secretary of the Evangelical Churches Association. I have here a paper signed by a number of clergymen. I think that a copy has been sent to the Minister. The signatories include two Anglo-Catholic clergymen, a Roman Catholic priest, two Presbyterian ministers, a Wesleyan minister, a Baptist minister and quite a number of clergymen, who are absolutely horrified by the condition of things existing in Abertillery to-night. They say in this report:
We view with grave concern and increasing anxiety the conditions prevailing in this area. We would respectfully point out that three of the pits in the locality which give employment to about 2,500 men have been idle almost continuously for the past three years. Of these men, a large majority have exhausted their savings. The number of men receiving unemployment benefit at present is about 3,500. A very large proportion of these, as well as the aged, the sick and widows, who are dependent upon Poor Law relief, are living on the fringe of dire poverty, and we are convinced that nothing short of Government intervention can adequately meet the situation.That is not from the Labour party. That is not from the Communist party. This is not from any biased party at all, but it is the testimony of the clergymen living in those areas. They go on to give illustrations of the low standard of life prevailing in the areas. Here is the case of a widow and six children whose rent amounts to 15s. The total income of the family is 36s. a week, and the weekly sum available for food, clothing, fuel and light for the whole family is 21s., or only 3s. per head. Other cases that they give are: parents and two children, and the amount per head is only 3s. 3d.; parents and one child, and the amount per head is 38. 5½d.; husband and wife and the amount per head is 4s.—these are weekly payments—and here is the case of an old age pensioner and his wife, each of whom has to live on 2s. 6d. per week. These are the cases and the figures given by these clergymen. In this document, which has been submitted to the Government, they make certain suggestions 2404 with reference to relieving the situation, and it is only fair that I should give the House the benefit of their suggestions. They say that they want to secure the extension of the Old Age Pension Act in order to include the wife of the old age pensioner at the time that the pension is payable to him, if he is the first to attain the age of 65, the provision of schemes of relief work, to establish subsidiary industries, and the provision of work of afforestation, as the hillsides which were well wooded before the War are now bare. These are some of the suggestions which these clergymen have made in order to try and meet the situation.
I have a few personal cases here, and I must ask the indulgence of the House while I recite them. They show conclusively how the Commissioner Guardians have been able to reduce the cost of outdoor relief. The cost of an indoor patient in the Bedwellty institution is £1 0s. 3½d per week. What do the Guardians allow for persons who are outside? I have here the case of Lewis James. His unemployment benefit was stopped in 1926, and all that he now has is Poor Law relief amounting to one guinea. He has no other relief. There are six in family and they live in apartments, for which they pay 4s. 10d. per week. These cases are eloquent testimony to the tyranny that is being exercised by these Commissioner Guardians, and they show how these Guardians are cutting down their expenditure by starving the people. Here is another ease—the case of Richard Jones. His total income is 26s. per week, on which he has to keep a family of six. His youngest child is 12 years of age, and the rent of his house is 7s. 2d. per week. In another case the man gets 25s. a week—all in kind. There are seven persons to be maintained and there is no unemployment benefit and no monetary relief. The rent is 10s. 9d. per week and the man is under an order to pay the current rent and one shilling a week off arrears. He cannot comply and expects eviction. That is the condition of things for which the Minister of Health is responsible.
This area is full of unemployed. There is no possibility of getting employment. 2405 The Ministry have put heartless and brutal men on to administer relief—because no human being with any heart would ask women and children to live on the wretched pittance I have just described. What are the Ministry going to do with the situation? At the eleventh hour of their Parliamentary life, are the Government going to do anything to lift the burden off the poor people in these areas I We ask them earnestly to come to the relief of the areas concerned and to make block grants which will wipe out these loans. Every penny that these people can get is absorbed in paying-interest on money borrowed, under the sanction of the Ministry, for the purpose of maintaining the unemployed—a liability which ought to have been borne by national funds. The way in which this Government have handled the problem of the poor, is this most distressing period of our history will be an everlasting disgrace to them. There never was a finer body of men and women in this country than the people of the western valleys of Monmouthshire before this calamity came upon them. Nearly half the people owned their own houses and they had hundreds of pounds in the co-operative concerns. To-day they are beggared and penniless. Doubtless we shall presently hear from the Parliamentary Secretary an analysis of the statement issued by the guardians. The only consolation the Minister can find in that report is that they have reduced the relief to starving people. I think I have given the House enough evidence to show how they have economised. They have economised at the expense of the life of the people.
§ Mr. LAWSON
It is a great pity indeed that the speech to which we have just listened could not have been heard by a fuller House, with a larger attendance in the Press Gallery. We expect no sympathy from the Minister. In fact I have, long ago, given up expecting even a serious answer from the Minister. It is a pity that the story told by my hon. Friends could not have been heard by a full House in the daytime, so that it would have been reported in the Press. My hon. Friends have this advantage over me, that at least they have their Reports in their hands. This is the fourth time that the Ministry has continued the appointment of these guardians in Chester-le-Street, and on no occasion have 2406 I been able to get a Report in order to consider what has been the result of the administration of the guardians in the Chester-le-Street union. Why is it that those guardians do not issue their Report in time for this Debate? Is it deliberately kept back? Is it a calculated thing, or is it because they are more inefficient than the other guardians? The right hon. Gentleman probably has the Report in type before him.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of HEALTH (Sir Kingsley Wood) indicated dissent.
§ Mr. LAWSON
Well, I have reason to believe that he had it in type before him on the last occasion, and on one occasion I put a question to the Speaker on this matter. I think it is high time that the Minister brought pressure to bear on these people to do their duty sufficiently well to give us a Report, in order that we might know at least what we are voting for when we are asked to consider their term of office. In the best interests of the House of Commons I think we ought to have this Report. Hon. Members do not know what they are missing. I have here the last Report, and it is a very considerable contribution to the comic literature of this country. Let me read some of the selected items for the benefit of the House, to show the spirit in which these people deal with the poor inhabitants of the Chester-le-Street Union. They say:For some years there have been large advances in social legislation, and the necessary corollary of the increasing extent to which the State, directly or through the local authorities, provides for the needs of the individual has been a weakening in the bond of responsibility which has united the British household"—That sounds; like Mr. Bounderby or Alderman So-and-so—and particularly in the sense of responsibility by parents for their children's welfare and well-doing. In the last few years the administration of the local authorities has in many cases been such as to destroy family life and the responsibilities of parents, and even to create by its results an impression that this was the object deliberately sought by the administration.So they go on in that strain. One could make selections and go on to the 2407 fifthly and the sixthly on the lines of the old Scottish preachers, but there was a good deal more sense in what those preachers said than in what is said by these gentlemen who are acting here. My hon. Friends have told a serious story. In Chester-le-Street the guardians have a maximum scale of 12s. for a woman and 2s. for each child, and they give nothing whatever to able-bodied men. A man came to see me some weeks ago, and on this occasion I wrote to the Ministry. I do not as a rule do that, because I think my hon. Friends will agree with me that we have been compelled to act as it were surreptitiously to get such relief for people as we could. We dare not write to the Minister about them now; we dare hardly mention eases publicly, because immediately the little that they have is taken away. A man of 65 came to me. He had not been working for a long time and could not get relief. He asked to be put in an institution, and they would not allow him to go there. He came to me in desperation and said that it was either the river or the workhouse. I had to ask the Minister to take steps to put the man in the workhouse. They then said that he had been offered the workhouse three months before, but the man had asked repeatedly for it and had been refused. The appointed guardians not only reduced the scale to 12s., but they say that a considerable increase has occurred in the number of male inmates of Poor Law institutions; that the accommodation has been severely taxed, and that the accommodation of the cottage homes is insufficient, so that arrangements had to be made with another institution. They have forced people back to the workhouse, and now, when they apply to be sent there, some of them are not allowed to go. Not only is 12s. the amount of relief, but the guardians visit the people's homes, they make investigations in districts; they have a sort of inquisition before they will give even 12s. Do hon. Members understand what that means?
I have had to bring here on several occasions the case of a child who died. There was a conflict whether the child 2408 died as the result of malnutrition. The doctor who dealt with the child had no doubt as to what was the cause of the death. But this cannot be denied. Along with others, I visited the mother, and one had only to see her to realise that she was denying herself of food for the child. With 12s. for herself and 2s. for each of four children, she had £1 a week. But the husband was there. He had served four years in active service at the front. He had no unemployment benefit and no relief. He had to get some food to keep him alive, and the mother had been robbing herself so much that she was actually in need of food. Indeed, the rector of Chester-le-Street sent her to a convalescent home because she was suffering so much from malnutrition. Who are, the people getting the 12s. a week? They are not questionable people, they are some of the best citizens of this country. The guardians themselves have never even made a charge against them. They say that this scale is a kind of rough-and-ready scale, and that it not kept to rigidly.
That is their statement in their last report. I challenge the Minister to make an investigation. I make the statement that 12s. is the regular amount that is paid; that they pay no more except in rare cases, and that sometimes they pay less. We could give many instances of the kind which my hon. Friend the Member for Abertillery (Mr. Barker) has quoted. The 12s., of course, is for the woman alone. Out of that they have to pay rent and to buy food, clothes and boots. As a matter of fact, there is no rent paid, there are no boots bought and no clothes are bought; they have to get those things as they can.
§ Mr. LAWSON
It is not given in money, it is given in kind. I saw the value that was got in that particular family, and I have seen it in others. It is astounding how much food they get for the pound, they are so economical. Of the people who administer relief on 2409 this scale two of them have £500 a year; yet they have never had a single day's experience in public life. There is not a single person in the North of England who would have selected these, at least two of these, people for the work, or would have thought of them for the job. In the institution the old men used to get two ounces of tobacco a week These economists have reduced it to an ounce. They used to get a little bacon in the morning. They have taken away the bacon. Is not the Ministry proud of its representatives? Bumble is a back number. Of course, I know that the chairman of these guardians is an ex-clerk of some experience, and is the person who dug up the Vagrancy Act of the last century in order to punish certain men. I am sorry we are limited for time in this matter.
§ Mr. LAWSON
We want the Minister to speak. We have a Prayer here tonight; but we are not praying, we are not pleading. We do not expect anything here to-night. The Government, without making the slightest attempt to cover it up, have put three Conservatives in charge of a Labour area. They have done the same in various other areas. We are not surprised, but it is a pity for this great country that that should be the spirit in which things are done. It will justify our people in showing the same spirit when we get power. [An. HON. MEMBER "You never will!"] The Chester-le-Street people have repeatedly asked for further information, and the only time when the guardians issued a report was when they published one in a great hurry through the medium of the Conservative Press. The Govern-thought this course would stampede the Labour movement throughout the country, but subsequent elections at Chester-le-Street have shown that people of all classes are opposed to the policy of the Government, and now you can scarcely find a candidate who dare stand up in support of the Government policy. We are not pleading, or praying, but we do not expect the Minister to reply in his usual light-hearted manner. I do not suppose that the Parliamentary Secretary or hon. Members opposite care twopence about the poor people, but we shall get 2410 our chance in spite of the lies which have bean told, and the British public in the course of time will have an opportunity of judging, not upon the stories which have been told, but upon what they know is happening in those areas to the shame of the Government in charge.
§ Sir K. WOOD
The matter which we have to determine to-night is whether in the case of the Bedwellty, Chester-le-Street, and the West Ham Poor Law unions the Orders which my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health has made continuing in office the appointed guardians shall be annulled or not. Those Orders have been made under an Act of Parliament which was the subject of considerable discussion in this House, and it is only in three cases that my right hon. Friend has had to put into operation the provisions of that Act. I do not propose to-night to recall in any detail the circumstances of those three particular cases, which, in the judgment of the Minister of Health and this House, warranted those Orders being made. I think, however, it should be said that, with the exception of those three cases, so far as I am aware, there has been no ground whatever for interference with other boards of guardians up and down the country, and I am glad to think that, although boards of guardians are administered by all sorts and conditions of people belonging to various political parties, no action of this kind has been necessary in any other part of the cousntry. Therefore, we are now dealing with three cases only, and it is to those cases that I propose to address myself. I think every hon. Member who has listened to the speeches of hon. Members opposite, and particularly to the speech of the hon. Member for Chester-le-Street (Mr. Lawson), must have been impressed, and must feel a very large amount of sympathy——
§ Sir K. WOOD
Undoubtedly, the conditions which have prevailed in Bedwellty and Chester-le-Street have been very bad for some considerable time, and those districts have been very hardly hit by unemployment. The condition of those districts was undoubtedly very much aggravated by the coal stoppage 2411 and the general strike, and, so far as the administration of Poor Law-relief in those areas is concerned, it requires a proper measure of sympathy. At the same time the difficulties in both of those areas were considerably added to by the foolish policy of the late guardians. While I have heard with, I hope, respect, the statement that the hon. Member for Abertillery (Mr. Barker) read, which represented the views of a number of clergymen in the district of Bedwellty, I notice that among the many requests that they made, certainly no request was made for the return of the old guardians to office. As far as Chester-le-Street is concerned, the hon. Member for Chester-le-Street (Mr. Lawson) has asked about a report. There is, of course, no obligation on the guardians in these particular areas to issue a report.
§ Sir K. WOOD
They are in the same legal position exactly as other guardians in the country. They have issued two reports. I have no other report in my possession, but if my right hon. Friend does receive one it shall certainly be made available to this House in exactly the same way as other reports have been made available. The last report, and other information which I have been able to gain, shows that, following the appointment of these boards of guardians, considerable reduction in expenditure has taken place, and certainly, so far as the Department is concerned, there have been very few cases of complaint indeed. There are the two cases which the hon. Member for Chester-le-Street has mentioned to-night and has put before the House many times before. The case of the child was replied to many months ago, and in the other case, of a man who said he could not get admission to the workhouse, a complete reply was made a long time ago. In the second case, about the workhouse, an offer was made to the man—[HON. MEMBERS: "To go into the workhouse?"]—but he declined to accept it. Both these cases are very old ones and I notice that the hon. Member for Chester-le-Street has not put any further ones before the House.
§ Sir K. WOOD
As to Bedwellty the guardians stated that they hoped to reduce the sum owing to the Minister or, at any rate, to pay interest thereon. That sum was a very considerable one and amounted to over £1,000,000, very largely borrowed, in circumstances that I will not go into tonight, by the old guardians. Since then a sum of some £15,000 has been repaid by way of arrears of interest and the guardians will be able to meet current interest. Very few cases of complaint have since that time reached my Department. Therefore, so far as both those two matters are concerned, that is the position under the appointed guardians. I will state later what is the policy and intention of the Ministry of Health in regard to the three cases. I would like more particularly to deal with the case of West Ham which is not in the same position as the other two cases.
The hon. Member for East Ham South (Mr. Barnes) who opened this Debate referred to certain paragraphs in the report of the West Ham Board of Guardians, which is certainly a very noteworthy report.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
Do you notice, Mr. Speaker, that the right hon. Gentleman is not answering the question about 12s. a week for a woman and 2s. a week for a child? [Interruption.]
§ Mr. SPEAKER
Hon. Members expressed a great wish to hear the right hon. Gentleman, and now that he is speaking they should listen to what he has to say.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
He will not tell us what we want to know about the 12s. a week for a woman and 2s. a week for a child.
§ Sir K. WOOD
A most notable part of this Report has not been referred to to-night. The hon. Member who opened the Debate referred to the figures of out-relief.
§ Sir K. WOOD
From 28th May, 1927, to 26th May, 1928, a very considerable reduction in the cost of relief in cash and kind took place. To my mind, the newly appointed guardians are not to be condemned on that account. I remember the last occasion when we debated the question of West Ham the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) said that if Sir Alfred Woodgate showed that 10 per cent. of the men put off relief obtained regular work he would admit that the guardians had done a good piece of work. Page 5 of this Report shows a very remarkable statement of what has been achieved in this particular connection, because it will be seen from the number of these cases that have been taken by the board of guardians for a period from 30th September, 1927, to 28th January, 1928, that of 615 cases ceasing to apply for relief, 441, namely 71.7 per cent. have obtained work, and in order that there should be no doubt about it and no questions such as were put on the last occasion, of this number who obtained work, the names and addresses of employers in 315 cases, namely, 71.4 per cent., have been noted. Then, for the second period, from 4th January, 1928, to 28th April, 1928, of 542 ceasing to apply for relief 455, or 83.94 per cent., have obtained work, and of this number who obtained work the names and addresses of the employers in 349 cases, namely, 76.7 per cent., have been noted.
§ Mr. A. GREENWOOD
Will the right hon. Gentleman answer this question? The hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) talked about 10 per cent. getting regular work. Will the right hon. Gentleman make a statement in this House that these people have got regular work? Are they not casual workers?
§ Sir K. WOOD
I have no hesitation about answering that question at all. Directly the hon. Member is given figures he asserts that they are wrong.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
The right hon. Gentleman quoted a statement by the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley, by 2414 which I understand he said that if the guardians could provide 10 per cent. of these people with regular work they would have done something very satisfactory. Will the right hon. Gentleman (Sir K. Wood) assure the House that these people have obtained good regular work and are not casual workers little better than if they had no work at all?
§ Sir K. WOOD
That people who have casual work in this country are no better off than those who have no work is a new aspect. [Interruption.] I want to reply to the question if I can. Obviously, I cannot say without notice what is exactly the term or period which they work, but, if the hen. Gentleman desires it, I can inquire. A statement of that kind certainly does not detract from the remarkable work of redemption which has been accomplished. When one realises what has really been done by the guardians in this connection, I say that many of the statements made by hon. Gentlemen are very unwarrantable. I do want, finally, to say that, so far as West Ham is concerned, undoubtedly destitution has been diminished.
§ Sir K. WOOD
The effect has been that in many cases men have been restored to the rank of self-supporting citizens. In the other two cases, both of them in coal-mining areas where difficulties are very great, economies which were secured immediately after the appointment of the new guardians have been maintained and the spread of pauperism has been checked. Before I sit down, I should like to say that it is the belief of my right hon. Friend that no advantage can be gained and a great loss can be sustained in the three localities concerned if these Orders are revoked. The gentlemen who are carrying out their business in connection with these three unions deserve that their action should be encouraged by this House, and I ask the House to reject this Prayer and continue these guardians in office for a further period.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
If the right hon. Gentleman thinks that he has assisted his case by his speech, I want to assure him that he has intensified the opposition. What is the case before us? The first part of this case was that the Govern- 2415 ment took credit for the fact that they have suppressed only three boards of guardians and that the Ministry of Health has found no need for interfering with the responsibilities of other guardians. But, as a matter of fact, the suppression of these three boards of guardians was a bludgeon with which the right hon. Gentleman smote the other boards of guardians, with the result that in the whole of the South Wales area to-day the relief scale is fixed by the standard in Bedwellty. Boards of guardians who are nominally free are paying rates of relief which are even worse than those obtaining in Chester-le-Street. That is the weapon with which the Minister of Health armed himself. It is a weapon used to terrorise boards of guardians into restricting their expenditure at whatever cost to the destitute population.
The right hon. Gentleman quoted some words used by the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley. What did he say? He said that if the guardians found 10 per cent. of the out-relief cases regular work they would have justified their existence. We have no proof that the appointed guardians have found a single man work, regular or casual. None of the cases quoted in the report were cases of men whose jobs had been found for them by the board of guardians. I am prepared to say, and I ask the Minister to disprove, that the kind of work that 98 per cent. of them have got is casual work which may be a day and a half per week or less. When I am told it is a strange revelation that I should regard that as worse than out-relief, which I do—a thousand times worse—I reply that it is really monstrous to drive people off the Poor Law and expect them to live on the wages earned by casual jobs that may amount to no more than a day and a half per week.
I now wish to deal with the general case. The right hon. Gentleman asks for the continuance of the three boards of guardians for a further period. I am going to say that the members of these three boards of guardians are utterly unfit to carry out the responsibilities and duties that guardians have to perform. None of these guardians are guardians of the poor. Their primary duty is to be guardians of the better-to-do ratepayers of the area. In the recently-issued report 2416 of the Bedwellty Guardians, the note struck in the first paragraph is a note about financial economy:Since the date of our last Report, we have continued to exercise strict supervision over the expenditure in all departments with a view to economy.…I am not surprised that there is an hon. Member over there who is shocked. It is shocking. The boards of guardians are boards of guardians of the poor. Their statutory duties are to the poor, not to an economical and economising Minister of Health. Their primary responsibility is to the poor in their areas. Is there an hon. Member who can challenge that^ You will find in the reports of these appointed boards of guardians nothing which shows that they have any regard for their primary statutory duties. They have been put in office—dug out of their obscurity at the Tory clubs——[Interruption.] I am prepared to await denial of that. Dug out of their obscurity at the Tory clubs and put into a position of authority, not for the purpose of succouring the poor, but entirely for the purpose of cutting down expense, regardless of consequences. The report from Bedwellty makes it clear that the board's primary concern is with economy, and it goes on to show how it has been able to economise by reducing in-maintenance charges—the provision of clothing, necessaries, and so on, of inmates of indoor institutions—from 10s. per week to 8s. 7d. per week per head in 18 months. If you reduce the in-maintenance charges in institutions—.…provisions, clothing, necessaries, warming, cleansing, lighting, outfits, burials, drugs, and surgical appliancesdown to 8s. 7d. per week from 10s., you are doing it at the expense of the comfort of the inmates. I find that this precious board of guardians, in its mad pursuit of economy, has succeeded in reducing similar charges in children's homes from 10s. 6¼d. to 9s. 7½d. That reduction per child per week has been made at the expense of these children. I do not believe that it is possible to reduce the figure of 10s. 6¼d. over all these items of expenditure by 11d. per week without in some way injuring the interests of the children in 2417 these homes. If hon. Members opposite would run an institution at that price, and live in it themselves, they would have a right to come to this House and talk. The difficulty we have on this side of the House is that of understanding the mentality of hon. Members opposite. They can understand the mentality of the boards of guardians, I cannot. It is impossible to reduce the in-maintenance charge per child in children's homes from 10s. 6¼d. per week to 9s. 7½d. without doing it at the expense of the inmates of these homes. I think that is an obvious fact. If hon. Members opposite can maintain in their own small institutions young people at that cost per head, they are extraordinarily fortunate, but there is nobody on that side of the House who does it or dreams of doing it.
The West Ham Board of Guardians is governed by the same kind of spirit. Its primary consideration is not the problem of real destitution so much as reducing the debt which has been accumulated during the period when previous boards of guardians were in office. You can see what is the real view behind this Report. It is the view which is behind the Report of Chester-le-Street—that there is something morally wrong with the poor—that if a man is poor he must be a rotter. That is the implication. It is the view of 1834 that the poor are poor because of their vioiousness—that poverty is sent to punish unworthy citizens. That is the view which describes the West Ham Report. It states the number of people who have got work, but there is not a word about the people who have not got work. Take the figures given by the Parliamentary Secretary to-night—on page 5—"615 cases ceased to apply for relief; 441 had obtained work." One hundred and seventy-four cases had gone somewhere. They have not applied for relief.
§ 1.0 a.m.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
The probable cause was that the policy of the board of guardians was such as to deter them from applying. They probably applied before and were refused. But with all the guardians' investigations and resources they could only show that about 70 per cent. of those people who applied for 2418 relief had sot work. What about the other 30 per cent.? Not a word about them. What is the implication, the fair inference one can draw from that, other than that the 70 per cent. were people who were shirkers, that as a result of this policy of deterrence they have been driven into the streets and have found work? if they had some shred of human sympathy, they would say something about the 30 per cent. they have lost—that they are glad to lose, because it means a certain amount of less expenditure. On the very same page, there is a return made by the relieving officers on the 7th April of this year:This return gave a total of 2,903 men and 438 women, and of these 2,209 men and 202 women were reported to be undoubtedly fit to work. Their officers further reported that of those unemployed on out-relief fit to work 370 men and 36 women were, in their opinion, not genuinely seeking work. Test work will be provided for these men.Of the 2,903 men, it says that 370 were not genuinely seeking work. That leaves 1,839 men who by implication were. That is the real situation in West Ham. The great majority of these 80 per cent. are men who were seeking work. With all their investigation, they are not prepared to claim that more than 20 per cent. were not genuinely seeking work. What are they doing for that 80 per cent. of people who are desirous of obtaining work? They are doing their best to drive them and their families to desperation. Of course you can get rid of them through boards of guardians. The Minister's discretion, which was invented in the Unemployment Insurance Act, is a splendid way of reducing unemployment figures. If you use discretion and deprive people of benefit, generally speaking you have no more trouble; they do not come to the Exchange again. The policy that is being adopted of refusing people out-relief, wherever it can be done, and offering people the workhouse to the destruction of family life, is a policy that will naturally be reflected in the figures. You will, of course, have a reduction in the number of cases applying for outdoor relief, but that does not prove that destitution is any less. It proves nothing except that the boards of guardians have been successful in depriving people of even a little public assistance. 2419 We are told that they have got work. I wish hon. Members opposite would try to understand the elements of this question. I put it once before. To-day, 1,250,000 people are unemployed. The supply of labour to-day is bigger than the demand, and there is bound to be unemployment. You may, by a miracle, take a million people out of the Poor Law and put them into work to-morrow, but, given the present state of supply and demand, you will have put out another million. These are the elements of the case, and to assume that merely shifting workers about in West Ham is increasing trade is fantastic, and hon. Members on the other side of the House know that it is absurd to suppose it. These men having been driven to scramble for casual work for their existence at the expense of other people, have got it. It means that in some adjoining union, or perhaps the same union area, casual workers who were looking for work would have got it had there not been the supply from. West Ham Guardians, and to assume that you can deal with the problem in this way is, of course, not merely wrong; it is ridiculous. This method of dealing with a serious problem is one which is unworthy of any great political party. Why, the Bedwellty Board of Guardians admitted very early in their report the tremendous financial difficulties with which they were faced. These financial difficulties were not made by the Bedwellty Board of Guardians. Those financial difficulties, as this report shows, were made in the adjoining areas, and the situation was created by the economical conditions which prevailed. The same is true in Chester-le-Street. Everyone who knows the county of Durham to-day knows that Durham is half dead economically, and, whatever you may do by Poor Law administration, you are not going to take another man down the pit. In West Ham, you have a problem which has not altered much since Charles Booth's great investigation into London life and London poor.
Those are three centres which happen to be particularly good illustrations of the economic problems of our time. Admit if you like, I will admit, that West Ham Board of Guardians in the old days, and the Chester-le-Street 2420 Board of Guardians, and the Bedwellty Board of Guardians, were guilty of indiscretions. Let us admit, if you like, that they made mistakes. Let us admit that there were people getting money, who under strict administration ought not to have got it. Let us assume that, if you like. Is that any stronger reason for suppressing these boards of guardians, than it would be if my right hon. Friends on this side were over there, and were suppressing boards of guardians when there were hard cases on the other side. For every case that you bring me from these three areas of extravagance, I will bring you cases of niggardliness on the part of Tory boards of guardians. We can easily parallel every case you bring from West Ham and any other board of guardians, but I say I would rather err on the side of generosity than adopt the policy that is adopted by certain boards of guardians. This method is the worst possible method. The Tory Government, which has expressed regard for the forms of democracy, faced by a problem which has always been complicated, took what it thought was the easy line, and took powers to themselves to destroy the well-established power of local boards of guardians. I do not believe that any amount of maladministration can be so bad as to justify the Government in depriving citizens of their rights of self-government. That is what has been done. I am not denying that there were not difficulties, but what I am saying is that there is a bigger problem that lies behind all this, which this suppression of boards of guardians does not touch, which the continuance of these appointed boards of guardians in the three areas for the next ten years will not touch—this problem of economic disorganisation. To suppress labour boards of guardians does not do it, but one thing I think it may do is to bring a little nearer the day when other men will try newer and better methods.
§ Sir K. WOOD rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 114; Noes, 46.2421
|Division No. 278].||AYES.||[1.9 a.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Gower, Sir Robert||Raine, Sir Walter|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Grotrian, H. Brent||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)|
|Applin, Colonel Ft. V. K.||Hacking, Douglas H.||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.|
|Balniel, Lord||Hall, Capt. W. D. A. (Brecon A. Rad.)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.)||Harland, A.||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Blundell, F. N.||Harrison, G. J. C.||Sandeman, N. Stewart|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Crott||Hartington, Marquess of||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Bowater, Col, Sir T. Vansittart||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Savery, S. S.|
|Brass, Captain W.||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W. R., Sowerby)|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Buchan, John||Halt, Captain H. P.||Smithers, Waldron|
|Burman, J. B.||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Christle, J. A.||Kindersley, Major Guy M.||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Knox, Sir Alfred||Templeton, W. P.|
|Colfox, Major William Phillips||Looker, Herbert William||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Luce, Major-Gen, Sir Richard Herman||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell.|
|Cope, Major Sir William||Lumley, L. R.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Mac Andrew, Major Charles Glen||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||MacIntyre, Ian||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbre)||Macmillan, Captain H.||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Curzon, Captain viscount||MacRobert, Alexander M.||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir John H.||Manningham-Buller, Sir Hervyn||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Margesson, Captain D.||Watts, Sir Thomas|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Mason, Colonel Glyn K.||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Wells, S. R.|
|Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Fermoy, Lord||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut,-Col. J. T. C.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Fielden, E. S.||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Finburgh, S.||Nail, Colonel Sir Joseph||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Wragg, Herbert|
|Fremantle, Lt.-Col. Francis E.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Galbraith, J. F. W.||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Ganzonl, Sir John||Radford, E. A.||Mr. Penny and Captain Wallace.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Hirst, G. H.||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Barr, J.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Batey, Joseph||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Watson, w. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Buchanan, G.||Kelly, W. T.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. O. (Rhondda)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Kirkwood, D.||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Crawfurd, H. E.||Lawrence, Susan||Welsh, J. C.|
|Duncan, C.||Lawson, John James||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Gillett, George M.||Lunn, William||Whiteley, W.|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Montague, Frederick||Windsor, Walter|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Ponsonby, Arthur||Wright, W.|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Potts, John S.|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Scurr, John||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Groves, T.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Prestor)||Mr. A. Barnes and Mr. Charles Edwards.|
|Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Stephen, Campbell|
§ Question put accordingly.
§ The House proceeded to a Division.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN)
(seated and covered): On a point of Order. You are putting together three Questions which ought to be taken separately. In other words, I want to submit to you that it is the right of any Member, if he wishes, to choose to vote in favour of one of these Orders and to vote against another. I ask you to allow any Member to exercise the option to vote for or against each of the three. I ask you if it is not your privilege to put these three Ques- 2422 tions separately in order that the House may vote on each.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
That is not the case. I am only putting the Motion that was moved by the Mover and Seconder.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
May I submit this to you? When the right hon. Gentleman was replying, he deliberately selected West Ham as a different case from the other two, and in his speech he stated that West Ham was clearly a different type of case. Therefore, if an 2423 hon. Member wishes, surely he ought to be allowed to exercise his option in each of the three cases. Therefore, I ask you if it is not the case that a Member has the right to claim the right to vote for each individual case.
§ The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.
§ It being after half-past Eleven of the Clock upon Wednesday evening, Mr.2424
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I am afraid that is not the case on this occasion, because, as I say, I am only putting the Question that was moved and seconded, and I cannot put the Questions separately.
§ The House divided: Ayes, 46; Noes, 113.2423
|Division No. 279.]||AYES.||[1.19 a.m.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Stephen, Campbell|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hirst, G. H.||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Barnes, A.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Barr, J.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Treveiyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Batey, Joseph||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Buchanan, G.||Kelly, W. T.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Kirkwood, D.||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Crawfurd, H. E.||Lawrence, Susan||Welsh, J. C.|
|Duncan, C.||Lawson, John James||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Gillett, George M.||Lunn, William||Windsor, Walter|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Montague, Frederick||Wright, W.|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Ponsonby, Arthur|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Potts, John S.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Scurr, John||Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr. Whiteley.|
|Groves, T.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.|
|Agg-Gardner, Bt. Hon. Sir James T.||Grotrian, H. Brent.||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Hacking, Douglas H.||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Hall, Capt. W. D. A. (Brecon A. Rad.)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Balniel, Lord||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Harland, A.||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, w.)||Harrison, G. J. C.||Sandeman, N. Stewart|
|Blundell, F. N.||Hartington, Marquess of||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Savery, S. S.|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W. R., Sowerby)|
|Brass, Captain W.||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Holt, Captain H. P.||Smithers, Waldron|
|Buchan, John||Hope, Capt. A. D. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Bunnan, J. B.||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.|
|Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Kindersley, Major Guy M.||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Christle, J. A.||Knox, Sir Alfred||Templeton, W. P.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Looker, Herbert William||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Colfox, Major William Phillips||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Kantian||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Lumley, L. R.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Cope, Major Sir William||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||MacIntyre, Ian||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Macmillan, Captain H.||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Mac Robert, Alexander M.||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Margesson, Captain D.||Watts, Sir Thomas|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Mason, Colonel Glyn K.||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Wells, S. R.|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Fermoy, Lord||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Fielden, E. B.||Nail, Colonel Sir Joseph||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Finburgh, S.||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Wragg, Herbert|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Galbraith, J. F. W.||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Ganzonl, Sir John||Radford, E. A.||Mr. Penny and Captain Wallace.|
|Gower, Sir Robert||Raine, Sir Walter|
§ SPEAKER adjourned the House without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.
§ Adjourned at Twenty-six Minutes after One o'Clock.