HC Deb 12 December 1929 vol 233 cc723-838

(1) If on a claim for benefit it is proved by an officer of the Ministry of Labour that the claimant, after a situation in any employment which is suitable in his case has been notified to him by an Employment Exchange or other recognised agency, or by or Oh behalf of an employer as vacant or about to become vacant, has without good cause refused or failed to apply for such situation, or refused to accept such situation when offered to him, or if it is proved by an officer of the Ministry of Labour that a claimant has without good cause refused or failed to carry out any written directions given to him by an officer of an Employment Exchange with a view to assisting him to find suitable employment (being directions which were reasonable having regard both to the circumstances of the claimant and to the means of obtaining that employment usually adopted in the district in which the claimant resides) he shall be disqualified for receiving benefit for a period of six weeks or for such shorter period and from such date as may be determined by the court of referees or the umpire, as the case may be.

(2) For the purposes of this Section employment shall not be deemed to be suitable employment in relation to any claimant if it is either—

  1. (a) employment in a situation vacant in consequence of a stoppage of work due to a trade dispute; or
  2. (b) employment in his usual occupation in the district where he was last ordinarily 724 employed at a rate of wage lower or on conditions less favourable than those which he might reasonably have expected to, obtain, having regard to those which he habitually obtained in his usual occupation in that district or would have obtained had he continued to be so employed; or
  3. (c) employment in his usual occupation in any other district at a rate of wage lower, or on conditions less favourable, than those generally observed in that district, by agreement between associations of employers and of employés, or, failing any such agreement, than those generally recognised in that district by good employers.—[The Attorney-General.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

The ATTORNEY - GENERAL (Sir William Jowitt)

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

In moving the Second Reading of the Clause which stands in the name of the Minister of Labour, I wish to say that she has thought it would he more convenient to the House if I endeavoured at the outset to explain exactly what this new Clause does, in order that she may reserve herself for a later stage of the Debate, when she will be able to reply to the criticisms of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. The House well aware of the situation which arose on Thursday last. Since then the Government have had time to reconsider this question, and we have had co-operation and assistance from members in all quarters of the House. On Thursday last the hon. and gallant Member for Kelvingrove (Major Elliot) suggested that we should attempt to obtain the collective sense of the House on this question, and I think it will be found that this new Clause represents what I believe to be the collective sense and the views of the Members of the House of Commons as expressed on Thursday last.


Surely it is not suggested that consultations took place with those on this side of the House, because we were not consulted.


I did not suggest that, but perhaps the hon. and gallant Member will allow me to develop my argument. I think it will be generally agreed that on Thursday last, on all sides of the House, there was really no difference in principle on this subject. I believe that from all sides of the House the view was expressed that the benefits granted under this Bill should go to relieve only those unemployed who do the best they can to get work. The scheme should be undoubtedly one to help those who help themselves.


May I ask the hon. and learned Gentleman to repeat what he said? As I took it down, he suggested that the relief should go to any man who could show that he was doing the best he could to obtain work.


Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will allow me to develop my argument. If we could have some divine guidance, some heavenly wisdom which would enable us to separate the sheep from the goats, and separate the loafer from the great mass of the unemployed, I think every Member of the House would agree that we should disqualify those who are not endeavouring to help themselves, and that they should he marked with some outward and visible sign showing that they could not be included in the scheme. Seeing that we have not got that heavenly wisdom, the real difficulty is to know what is the best test to devise for this purpose. How are you going to separate these two classes amongst the unemployed? What test will you adopt to separate those who are work-shy, leaving the benefits to those who are really trying to get work, and at the same time depriving of benefit those who are not trying to get work. That is the whole problem. Anyone who can invent a foolproof formula which will achieve that object will have done much to establish a sound administration of this scheme in the interests of all sections of the unemployed.

It seems to me that it is extremely difficult to devise a form of words which cannot be used wrongly by the administration. We have been trying to find a form of words which will provide a perfectly satisfactory test. In the last Debate we had instances from all sides of the House that the simple test which is in existence to-day has broken down. I remember the speech of the hon. Member for Grimsby (Mr. Womersley), who gave chapter and verse for everything he said. He gave us a clear illustration in the case of a married man who had been subjected to every possible test in order to get work, and in the end had been deprived of benefit on the ground that he was not genuinely seeking work. It very often happens that the work-shy, and those not genuinely seeking work, are plausible gentlemen with rather glib tongues who manage to escape through the meshes and are not deprived of benefit, whereas the honest worker is very often the fellow who fails to get through those meshes. In the result we are faced with a situation in which the administration carried on with the best intentions and based upon the not genuinely seeking work Clause must continue in the future to lead to very great injustice, as it has done in the past.

It was an exceedingly difficult task to provide a satisfactory formula, but it was quite clear on Thursday last that the House was not satisfied with the formula which we had devised. I do not make the smallest apology for having had the wisdom, the good sense, and the courage to give effect to my second thoughts. If we are not to be influenced by what is said in the course of the Debate, then debate becomes a mere formality. If you invite the collective wisdom of the House to concentrate on this difficult problem, then you can find a satisfactory solution only by taking advantage of the collective wisdom of the House and the co-operation of all sections in the country. As soon as we found what was the collective wisdom of the House, we did not hesitate to act upon it. We thought that the test we devised in the first instance was a satisfactory one, but the House desired to have something better. Since then I have done my best to think out this problem, and I came to certain conclusions which I have tried to embody in the new Clause which we are now discussing. I gave a promise that I would take an opportunity of consulting with hon. Members who had taken part in the Debate.


Who had taken a prominent part in the Debate.


The right hon. Member for Tamworth (Sir A. Steel-Maitland) did not take any part in the Debate.


No, the argument of the Prime Minister was that the most prominent part had been taken by the Leader of the Opposition.


I know that the Leader of the Opposition made a suggestion in order to get us out of our difficulties, but that has nothing to do with the point I am discussing. I consulted my hon. Friends behind me and hon. Members below the Gangway, and they gave me the benefit of their advice, although the responsibility for this Clause is not their responsibility but mine. At the same time, I should like to take this opportunity of acknowledging the kindly help which they gave me, and we did the best we could to solve a very difficult problem. I do not propose to deal with the very important question of finance, which I think will be better left for the Minister to deal with in the light of the questions which may be raised, but I thought that at this stage it might be convenient if I were to discuss the Clause and explain what I understand it to mean, so that in the course of the Debate hon. Members opposite will know at least what we are intending to do, and I think I have succeeded in arriving at a form of words which will carry out our intention.

The House will observe that the proposed new Clause falls into two parts, Sub-section (1) and Sub-section (2). With regard to Sub-section (2), I think I need merely say that it is taken from Sub-section (5) of the old Clause 4, and that, although it was contained in the old Clause 4, and is again repeated here, it is in fact actually borrowed from the existing law. It is, therefore, merely repeating what is already the law of this country. We thought it convenient to repeat it here, because there has been so much amendment of one Act by another Act that it is very difficult, without a prolonged survey, to see exactly where we stand. I desire to make it clear that it involves no alteration in the existing law, but is a mere statement of what the existing law is.

With regard to Sub-section (1), hon. Members opposite will observe that, in line 6, there occur the words "or if." The Sub-section, therefore, falls quite naturally into two parts, the first part going down to these words, and the second part starting from the words "or if." I will, if I may, say something about the first part of Sub-section (1). The broad principle of this Sub-section is to state in appropriate language what is sometimes known as the Hayday formula—the principle of the offer of a job. The word "offer" is hardly an appropriate word, in that the job is not offered by the Employment Exchange, but is notified by the Employment Exchange. Consequently, we have used a phrase which expresses that, and we have also included in the persons who may notify: an Employment Exchange or other recognised agency, or by or on behalf of an employer. The words, however, with regard to which there appears to be some misapprehension, are the words in the second line: suitable in his case. It appears from a leading article in the "Times" to-day that the effect of the Bill has been in a certain sense misunderstood, and I therefore desire to make it quite plain that a job may be suitable notwithstanding the fact that it is outside the usual occupation of the claimant. It may also be suitable even although the employment is outside the district in which the claimant lives. If hon. Members will turn to page 16 of the Bill, they will find it stated in the last words on that page that Section 5 of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1927, is amended, and the Amendment, as shown in the Last three lines of the right-hand column, consists in the insertion of the words: and to the disqualifications for the receipt of benefit respectively. Hon. Members will, I think, be willing to take it from me that although there is a somewhat complicated chain of reasoning, there is no doubt that the effect of so amending the Act of 1927 is to make Section 5 of that Act applicable to the proposed new Clause which we are now discussing, with regard to the point that employment may be suitable employment even though it is not employment in the usual occupation of the claimant.


I hesitate to interrupt the hon. and learned Gentleman, but at the same time this is the Report stage, and he cannot be asked to speak again. I should like, therefore, to ask him now whether that satisfies the question of a different district as well, or is he going to deal with that question?


At the moment I am dealing with occupation, my reason being that obviously in certain quarters this morning there was a misapprehension as to the effect of the Bill. Now I come to the question of the district. The right hon. Gentleman will observe that in paragraph (c) of Subsection (2) of the proposed new Clause it is expressly provided that: For the purposes of this Section employment shall not be deemed to be suitable employment in relation to any claimant if it is either— (c) employment in his usual occupation in any other district at a rate of wage lower, or on conditions less favourable"— and so on. Therefore, it is plain that, even although the employment is in another district, yet, if the rate of wages is not lower, or the conditions are not less favourable, the fact that it is in another district does not prevent it from being suitable employment within the meaning of the Clause.

There is one other observation that I desire to make on this first part of the Clause. I have made it clear that it may be a different occupation, and that it may be in a different district, but difficult questions often arise as to whether employment is in fact suitable; and a later Amendment on the paper provides that that question shall in future be decided by a court of referees, and that an insurance official shall not have the power off his own bat to suspend the benefit of a man or woman because he or she has refused suitable employment. That question must be determined by a court of referees, and, if I may say so, I think there are very few matters which can give rise to nicer and more difficult questions than the question whether or not an occupation is for any particular person suitable or not. Therefore we feel that the machinery of the court of referees ought to apply to that question as well. So far, I think it is plain that, although we have textually amended our previous Sub-section (1) of the old Clause 4, it really amounts to little more than a difference in words.

The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel) was good enough to suggest a form of words, and it will be observed that I have in substance accepted the form of words which he suggested, in order to carry out the intention which was common to everyone in regard to Sub-section (1), namely, to give effect to the Hayday formula. Then we had to consider whether or not we should stop there. We were pressed in Committee not to go further, and not to make any other ground of disqualification than the offer of a job. For my part, I thought then, and I think now, that it would not have done to stop there, and I will give, the House one reason why. Take the case of a shipyard repairer, whose chance of getting a job very often depends upon his going to a particular stand in a particular place at the docks at a particular time, when people wanting men come along and take from that stand so many men. It is obvious that in work of that sort there never could be a notification of a job in the ordinary sense, and indeed, if a man were minded to take the simple pre caution of never going near the stand or never entering the docks, he never could get work. Therefore, had we stopped where I have just stopped, he could say, "You cannot deprive me of benefit, because you never notified me of a vacancy," and he never could have been notified of a vacancy, because his chance of a vacancy depends upon his going to a particular place. For that reason it seemed to me obvious that we must go further.

There is also a second reason. I was very anxious that the Clause should not stop at the point at which we seemed to indicate that our view was that the man need do nothing to help himself. We ought not, if we can possibly help it, to let the mere difficulty of finding a suitable formula prevent our indicating the exact contrary, namely, that we assume that the man is going to help himself to the best of his ability. Consequently it became necessary, if we were to go on, to see what further precautions we should take. This will be obvious to anybody who has studied the last Debate and was able to gauge the opinion of the House. Why did the test of "not genuinely seeking work" break down? What was wrong with the test? It was that it was a subjective test. It was a question which perhaps a metaphysician, or a psycho-analyst, or some gentleman of that sort, might, given unlimited time, have been able to determine, but it was quite impossible to determine the subjective state of a man's mind in the rough-and-tumble, if they will forgive my saying so, of the proceedings of a court of referees, where the work has to be got through at a great rate.

The hon. and gallant Member for Kelvingrove criticised with his usual severity, though with his usual good humour, the test which we proposed in Clause 4. He said, "Your test is a test of diligence, and diligence is a difficult thing to prove. You have not anything sufficiently precise in diligence." Brooding over the words of the hon. and gallant Member, I came to the conclusion that at least I had got to devise some test, if test there was going to be, which was plain, simple and objective, and with regard to which there could be no dispute at all as to whether a man had or had not come up to the test. Anybody who rightly interpreted the temper of the House would realise that there was, from almost all quarters of the House, unanimity on one point, and that was with regard to the onus of proof. I think the House, was determined that the onus of proof in regard to these matters should rest upon the Employment Exchange and not upon the man. We were criticised because in our Subsection (1) we endeavoured to devise a scheme which put the onus of proof in the first instance, upon the Employment Exchange, and then, when certain things were proved, upon the man.

It was pointed out, and I mast confess with some force, that, whereas the things which the Employment Exchange had to prove might be comparatively simple, and the onus upon them might develop into a mere formality in the course of administration, the onus upon the man was a very serious thing indeed. Consequently, it was obvious that, whatever extension of the Hayday formula we adopted, we must bear in mind two cardinal points—firstly, that there must be an objective and not a subjective test, and, secondly, that the onus of proof must be upon the Employment Exchange and not upon the claimant. With regard to the placing of the onus of proof upon the Employment Exchange and not upon the worker, it will be manifest to anyone who reads our Clause that that is carried out. With regard to the first point, as to a definite, clear and simple objective test, we have provided in the proposed new Clause for directions—reasonable directions—being given, and we have provided that they shall be in writing. There at any rate is something which will put this matter beyond dispute. There will be a written record of the directions given to the man, and, assuming the directions to be given, the test will be, did he or did he not carry out those directions? If he carries out the directions, if he does what he is told to do, no man is going to be disqualified because of the mere subjective state of his mind. He has done what he was told to do; he has gone round to these places and asked for work and so on; and, if he has done that, he is not going to be disqualified.

I would submit to the House two considerations. With regard to finance I do not, as I have already said, want to trespass upon the ground which may appropriately be dealt with by the Minister herself, but I would like to make this observation. It is all very well to say that this is going to cost a lot of money. In a sense it costs my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer a lot of money, but it must be remembered that to a very large extent the money which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has to pay is money which otherwise would have been paid, either in meal or in malt, by guardians of the poor; and, as far as the national economy is concerned, it is very largely a taking of money out of one pocket and putting it into another. Secondly, I think inevitably the tendency of the new Clause must be to encourage the work of the Employment Exchanges in that direction in which they most need encouragement and in which we sincerely hope for the most fruitful and useful results, namely, the work-finding side of their activities. After all, although, of course, there must be precautions to prevent people who are not entitled to it taking advantage of the scheme, everyone will agree that the officials of the various Employment Exchanges up and down the country are much better employed in finding other people employment than in putting them off benefit. I hope this Clause, if the House accepts it, will give the Employment Exchanges a push in the right direction. I earnestly hope they will be able to devote more of their activities to employment-finding and less to the other side.

I ought to say one or two words about the phrase in brackets, "usually adopted in the district in which the claimant resides," because I see that is the subject of one or two Amendments. That qualification, of course, applies to the second half of the Clause. I want to make it quite plain that, with regard to these schemes of transference which come under the first part of the Clause, they remain quite unaffected for the reasons I have given. The Exchange officials have a right to notify a man of suitable work, and it may be suitable work, as I said before, even though it is not in his district and in his own occupation, but it is obvious, having regard to the phrase in brackets, that an official of an Employment Exchange cannot send a man outside a reasonable limit of his own district to look for work—to take a situation, yes, but to tramp about and look for work outside his own district, no. That is the effect of the Clause. It is obvious that, within certain limits, there may be instructions to go outside any defined area. To give an illustration of what I mean, you may have men who work at the London Docks and live at Edmonton. The custom of the dockers who live at Edmonton, no doubt, is to go in some way to the docks. If you are dealing with an Edmonton claimant, the officials would be perfectly entitled to tell him to go to the docks to look for work, because that is the course that is usually adopted in the district—the other Edmonton dockers do the same thing—but you will not have the right to send a man who lives at Land's End to look for work at John o'Groats, nor to send a man who lives at John o'Groats to look for work at Land's End. The Clause gives us a satisfactory chance of carrying out our administration in the way we all want to carry it out.

The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth (Sir A. Steel-Maitland) said he need not tell the House—he need not tell anyone who knows him—that it was his earnest desire to administer the Bill fairly. Of course it was. It is not the intention of anyone that a single honest man should be deprived of benefit and, not only that, but be dubbed a work-shy man, which is worse still. But, unfortunately, the scheme has broken down. We have devised here a short, concise, simple test. There can be no doubt whether a man has or has not carried it out. I earnestly commend the Clause to the House, and I believe the House will find that it will carry out that which is the common intention of all Members in whatever part they sit, namely, that an honest man who is trying without success to get work shall no longer be deprived of benefit.


We have now come down to what is almost the concluding stage of an extraordinary story. I hope the House will pardon me if I trace it a little further back, because the origin of the story has something to do with the position in which we find ourselves to-day. As far back as the days of the last Government, complaints were made from this bench by the right hon. Gentleman who is now the Home Secretary of what he termed administrative persecution. He certainly gave the impression then, and the impression was given by other hon. Members opposite during the election campaign, that the action of our Government administratively was so to twist this Clause 4 that people were thrown out of benefit because of it, in defiance of their rights. That was the impression given to the whole country. It was the impression upon which a great many seats were won or lost, and the right hon. Lady certainly came back here pledged to remove that administrative persecution. The first thing she had to admit when she came back was that there was no administrative persecution at all, and that the injustices, the injuries and the disadvantages that were suffered resulted not from administration but from the law, and the excuse she gave in the early days of this Parliament to Members of her own party who pressed her immediately to implement the pledges she had given before the election, was that she could not do it without changing the law. It did not lie within her administrative capacity. Therefore she was faced with this problem from the first moment that she took office. She was seized of it in the beginning of June. It was not a thing that burst on her suddenly. She was under an obligation to the country and to Members behind her to find a legislative solution of the problem.

During the period that elapsed from June to November she had ample opportunities of consultation and conference with Members opposite. If reports in the papers are true, she, in fact, faced them on more than one occasion. The whole subject was debated at the Labour Party Conference. She had the assistance of an expert committee which she herself set up to consider the point, and, finally, she had the assistance of those most expert in the administration of the fund, the members of her own staff in her own Ministry. As the result of those four months' deliberations, she produced a Bill which contained a Clause which she certainly gave us the impression on the Second Reading—and we were entitled to believe it—that she meant, and was in fact going to remedy the injustice of which complaint had been made before. We, on this side, take her sincerity for granted. We take it for granted that when she said, "The Clause I am proposing fulfils my pledge and does away with those grievances of which I complained before the Election, and which I said if I was returned I would do away with," she believed that the Clause had that result, and that she believed it not casually, hut after a long and careful survey of the whole scene and having in front of her, as she must have had, the figures which will be affected by the Clause as it appears in the original Bill and the figures as they are affected by this new Clause—the Hayday principle, which was the principle which she had urged upon her, and which she must have had in her mind. What is the result? A Clause which has taken five months' consideration, after consultation with all the interests concerned, is scrapped in the course of a few hours' Debate, and, in place of it, we have a totally different Clause with a totally different principle, the result of not four months but four days. The Attorney-General would have us believe it is the result of what he called the combined wisdom of the House. The combined wisdom of the House is a euphemism for the pressure of the back benches, and the sniping of a few able Members on the Liberal benches under the ad hoc leadership of the hon. Member for Leith (Mr. E. Brown).

I am astounded at the attitude of the Liberal party on this Clause and on the Bill as a whole. Hon. Members opposite I understand. They have been perfectly candid. They have urged again and again that the question of finance does not and should not be allowed to enter into the matter at all. That I understand to be their contention. It is not the contention of hon. Members below the Gangway, because the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) made a speech which was admitted on all sides to be the feature of the Second Reading Debate. He made an impassioned and much-quoted appeal for the more careful supervision of our national finances, for economy and for the need of surveying the increase of our national income rather than the increase of our national expenditure. Of course, if he did not mean it to refer to this Bill, why did he choose that opportunity of making it? Why should he talk on this Bill about the need for economy unless he regarded it as expenditure which, if it must so far be admitted, must be restricted to what appeared there? They were brave, courageous words compared with the words of most of his followers. Amendments have appeared on the Paper in the name of Members of that party which, if carried, would have had the result of adding something like £10,000,000 to the burden under the Bill. In addition to that, hon. Members on many occasions have gone into the Lobby with hon. Members opposite to vote for Amendments which would have added another £8,000,000 to £10,000,000 to the burden. We are entitled to assume that Members would not put down Amendments and would not go into the Lobby in favour of other people's Amendments unless they really wanted them carried. There is no question of putting the Government into a difficulty, or voting with Members op- posite in a hopeless fight for an Amendment which could not possibly be carried. That would be insincere. Hon. Members below the Gangway are sincere, and we must take it that they meant to add to the expenditure under the Bill another £20,000,000.


In view of the accusation of insincerity—




In view of his criticism, will the hon. Gentleman explain why it was that on Thursday last we insisted that there should be a statutory expression of the obligation upon the workman to find work himself?

6.0 p.m.


That has nothing to do with the case I have made, that they were moving Amendments and that they were going into the Lobby in support of an expenditure of another £20,000,000 a year. [Interruption.]

Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. Dunnico)

It will, perhaps, facilitate the Debate if the hon. Member will address the Chair.


An hon. Member below the Gangway asked where I got my authority, and I may say that I obtained it from the records of this House.


Where does the hon. Gentleman get his extra £20,000,000?


If the hon. Member would study the Amendments which have appeared in the course of this Bill in the name of hon. Members below the Gangway, and also the Divisions in which they have taken part, and will add up the amounts involved, he will find that they come to between £16,000,000 and £20,000,000 a year. Hon. Members below the Gangway are, admit, more than any other party, in favour of the Council of State—all for the State and none for the party. We cannot accuse them of any desire to make party capital or party advantage out of this Bill. All the same, one must admit that they are, in fact, going to have the best of both worlds in that the eloquent speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs will provide some splendid quotations when they address their chambers of commerce or open their local bazaars, and the humanity and courage of individual hon. Members will in the more industrial gatherings provide excellent material. Like the pope referred to in Gibbons' "Decline and Fall," hon. Members below the Gangway opposite may, perhaps, be acquitted of the graver charge of political insincerity but they must stand convicted of political instability.

We are brought up against the position which has been outlined in the extremely able speech of the learned Attorney-General. His eloquent tongue has served him once more, as it has in the past, verbally to reconcile the irreconcilable. That speech, which might have been a very excellent speech, with which one might have agreed if it had been a speech introducing this Clause for the first time on the Committee stage of the Bill, rather failed in its purpose when it left out all the intermediate stage. It is no use pretending that this new Clause is a kind of drafting Amendment, and more or less expresses in rather abler and more generous terms what the Minister meant when she put down the Clause in the original Bill. It is no use saying that, when the intention of the right hon. Lady and the learned Attorney-General was to exclude from benefit 90,000 people who are under this Clause now to be included. The learned Attorney-General did not attempt to deal with that position. I think we are entitled to ask the right hon. Lady, when she comes to address this House, how she proposes to get herself out of the dilemma in which we on this side see her to be. She must justify herself either to her followers or to the fund. She has to explain how it came about, if she put down a Clause in the Bill which purported to carry out the election pledges of hon. Members opposite, and meant it to remove grievances, which all of us outside party affiliations believe to be existing under the old system, that at the same time that she put that down, assuring hon. Members opposite that she had fulfilled their purpose, she knew that 90,000 people who ought to be included were in fact going to be excluded from benefit. If she had really thought that, and that under her Clause, 90,000 deserving cases were not going to get benefit, would she not have been guilty of a gross betrayal of hon. Members opposite and of the electorate who voted for them because of the pledges they had given?

If that is not so, there is the other side of the dilemma. If she really believed that the Clause as put down covered everybody who ought to come in, that under its operations no one who was genuinely seeking work would be excluded, how, then, is she going to justify to the others, to the contributories, to the insured people, to the employers, to the taxpayers, the addition of 90,000 people who, according to her own statement and according to her own judgment, were not really intended to be included in the fund? The right hon. Lady has a heavy burden laid upon her if she is going to explain which of these two is the correct version of what is at stake. Surely, never has a Minister come before this House of Commons with a proposal in a Bill supported by a White Paper prepared in her own Ministry, and meant, I suppose, to bolster up her own case, which has contained such damning criticism of the whole of her proposal. [Interruption.] When we find that a Government Department issues a White Paper trying to estimate the cost in the future, it shows that a great deal will depend on the extent to which claimants under the proposals of the Government will continue to search for work on their own initiative. A great deal of the future operations of this fund will depend on the extent to which they are willing to co-operate with the Exchanges in respect of finding work. We have reached a position when we can say that the action of the Government, as taken by their own authority, will have the one result only of discouraging the search for work among the unemployed.

I want to deal with the Clause as it stands, because there are certain things in it which I fail to understand. I should like to know what is actually meant by the notification of vacancies. It seems to me—and I hope to be corrected if I am wrong—that under that definition it would be in order for, say, a steel works to say to the Employment Exchange: "We are opening up some more plant next Wednesday, and shall be able to take on 100 men," and for the Exchange to be able to notify all the unemployed steel-workers within the area—perhaps 200 or 300 of them—that there would be vacancies for 100 men on Wednesday, and therefore they would be forced to apply for those vacancies. It is rather doubtful from what the learned Attorney-General said whether that was in fact the case, because he pointed out that they would have no power—I think he quoted the case of a shipwright—to insist that they should go every day and present themselves at the places where, every day, vacancies were occurring. He left the impression on my mind that this particular definition of the Clause did not operate unless the Employment Exchange was able definitely to say to the man: "There is a vacancy for you; not for you in competition with others, but for you yourself." If it is the case that they can only notify a vacancy which they are certain that a particular man can get it will render the whole of these provisions practically nugatory.

With regard to the obligation to carry out the directions given by the officer of the Employment Exchange, I agree that, as far as that goes, it strengthens the Clause. It has practically put back the Clause to what it was before, because administratively the insurance officer might be empowered to impose on the man exactly the same conditions in the search for work which are now held to be the test of whether he is genuinely seeking work or not. But the trouble under the Clause as it stands is that it will be quite incapable of proof. The practice very largely to-day is that when a man goes to some particular employer and applies for a job which is refused him, he gets a chit from the employer to say he has been there, and it is proof to the insurance officer that he has been seeking work. Under this Clause there will be no such obligation upon him. He cannot be expected to bring back a chit from the employer, because the directions can only be applied to seeking work. Once employment has been refused him the directions do not apply. No onus is put upon him, therefore, of bringing back any proof. What possible chance has the insurance officer of proving, if he suspects the man did not go as directed to the steel-works for a job where 100 men are required, that the man did not go there when, in fact, he did not go there, unless something is done to put the onus on the man to bring back a written statement. It is clear that as far as that is concerned the Clause will never be of any effect, because the matter will be utterly incapable of proof. Are we really going to get down to the situation, which is borne out by the White Paper, that there is no test left for seeking work at all? The White Paper will show that after this new Clause comes into effect, all those disqualifications of not genuinely seeking work will remain operative only in about 5,000 cases, while there will be the danger of bringing in for benefit applicants who, under the present system, have not considered it worth while making an application but who under the new Act will believe that it will be worth while having a shot at.

I am not going to deal with the financial provisions, although I may say that the right hon. Lady's attitude has been rather extraordinary. I think that the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) asked for £50,000, so that the provisions of this Bill might be brought on during the depth of the winter instead of being left over. The right hon. Lady's heart bled for him, but she was unable to make any financial concessions at all, as she had already overstepped the limit. Another hon. Member made an impassioned appeal for an increase of benefits to children. The right hon. Lady's heart bled again, but she was still unable to overstep the limit she had already exceeded. Yet, in the course of a six hours' Debate, in response to arguments which were presented, I agree, most eloquently, but which she must have heard hundreds of times before the right hon. Lady over-stepped the limit to the extent of £4,000,000, a large proportion of which, do not let us forget, falls not on the Exchequer and the taxpayer, but on the insured worker and the employer. [An HON. MEMBER: "And they will not grumble."]

Hon. Gentlemen opposite, I know, were sincere in their request that there should be no question of a genuine man being penalised because of the regulation. Well, they have obtained that. They were equally sincere, I believe, in determining that no one who was not genuinely seeking work should be allowed to take advantage of money contributed by people who were in just as poor and indigent circumstances. If they will read this Clause and consider it calmly, apart from any question of their victory over their Front Bench, I wonder whether they would think that they have got that. They stand for work or maintenance. By that they mean maintenance only if work is not available. I believe that hon. Members opposite who were the first to cheer that doctrine will, before long, realise that in getting what they wanted, what they genuinely needed and what they were entitled to demand, have got something far more than that—something which will upset the whole of our unemployment insurance system—something that will make impossible the good efforts of those of us who have had to argue with people from abroad whose one impression of this country is that this is a country living on the dole, that men can choose whether they want to work or not, and that if they do not want to work they can live on what is called the dole. We have been arguing against that view and have explained that it is not a dole, but rests upon an insurance principle, and that the people only get what they have a right to. Hon. Members opposite have made it impossible in the future to justify what we have always been able to justify up to now. They have made it impossible for us to contradict hereafter, as we have contradicted, the statement that the dole system has crept into this country.


I am sure that the House has listened with great interest to the speech of the hon. Member. I can only hope that he will not long remain an ad hoc leader of his party, but that he will become a real leader, with his debating power and his eloquent assistance. I was very much amused with his gentle handling of the party with which I am connected. He had to be gentle, because it so happens that in this Parliament the occupation of the journalist who in the last Parliament went into the Division records of our party for political capital and for spicy paragraphs, has gone. The hon. Member will be the first to admit from his search of the records that only one or two Members of our party have gone in the Lobby to vote for the financial increases to which he has referred. He talked about insincerity. He did not accuse us of insincerity, but he talked about insincerity. He might have remembered the fact from his study of the Division lists that there are hon. Members sitting on these benches whom, electorally, it would have paid a great deal better in their necessitous areas to have voted with the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) and his friends when, in what they wanted for the wives and children, they were demanding the scale that had been advocated in the Labour party's manifesto. We resisted that, and I hope that the hon. Member, when he is subjecting us to his kindly criticism, will remember that to our credit, as well as the fact that one or two hon. Members did act to our discredit. [HON. MEMBERS: "Name!"]

The hon. Member is the last Member of this House to use a Biblical reference in this respect. He referred to the tribe of Reuben. While the tribe of Reuben were unstable as water, they were found amongst the 12 tribes in the happy land. The hon. Member must know that in his party there are 180 members who belong to the tribe of Dan, and if the hon. Member when he resumes his Scriptural quotations will go to the Book of Numbers he will find that in the day of battle the question was asked, "Why doth Dan remain in the ships?" They were absent from the battle, just as his friends have been absent from the Division Lobby. If we are Reuben, his friends are Dan, and I leave it at that.


While the hon. Member is referring to the Book of Numbers, will he remember that the tribe of Reuben did not cross the Jordan?


I used the exact phrase. If the Noble Lord will pursue his Biblical studies a little further and go to the Book of Revelation he will find that whereas the tribe of Dan is not found amongst the 12 tribes in the Book of Revelation, the tribe of Reuben is found there. That was an impromptu reply. I will now proceed to say what I had prepared to say, and it may perhaps not be so lively as that which I have just said. I welcome this Clause for certain very clear reasons. My late Friend the Member for West Middlesbrough, Mr. Trevelyan Thomson, when he sat on these benches made—and every industrial Member of the Liberal party during the last four Parliaments has made—one plea, that the nation should seriously consider the state of the unemployed men in the distressed black spots of this country. Three times we have put forward that plea on three major Unemployment Insurance Bills—in 1920, 1924 and 1927. Three times our plea has been denied by this House, and by different Ministers. Our plea was that Parliament should not put a form of words into an Act of Parliament which it could not define in respect of varying causes and varying conditions of unemployment in various parts of the country.

What did Parliament decide to do? In each case Parliament decided that while there were three British words "genuinely seeking work," to be found in an English dictionary, and in common use, it was impossible to define them in an Act of Parliament. I am not using my own phrase, I am using the phrase of the right hon. Member for Tamworth (Sir A. Steel-Maitland), when he moved the Second Reading of the 1927 Bill, which we are now reviewing. I agree with him. Then what right has Parliament to expect the unemployed man to live up to the implications of such a test and, equally, what right has Parliament to ask the 1,089 insurance officers throughout the Kingdom to interpret in the terms of Leith, Middlesbrough, London, South Wales, Lanarkshire and the cotton and textile districts, all of them differing in the outworking of the industry, a form of words which could not if based on a subjective basis be made fair and equal as between the State and between one insured man and another? Three times the House has failed. It has failed because it tried to do the impossible. Every time the administration has been tightened up, not through the intervention of the Minister, but by case-made law and by umpire-made law, it has become more and more evident to those of us who sit for industrial areas where there is great necessity, and who meet these men face to face, that the man was more and more put on his defence the moment he came to claim benefit. That is the root of the trouble.

The right hon. Lady need never have come down with this re-drafted Clause if she had accepted the implications of the Amendments to the original Clause from all quarters of the House. I welcome the Clause for the reason that, for the first time since 1921, we have got a definite objective test, and I am pre- pared to stand by the administration of that test on the whole of the insurance Fund and the whole insurance system. If the worst of the pessimistic views of the hon. Member for Westmorland (Mr. Stanley) and his friends are realised, then the House will have to do what it ought to have done many months ago; it will have to face the position of 300,000 or 400,000 honest British working men and women who are now out of work, for whom no fund has been found, and they will have to take the burden off the distressed areas and face it in the interests of the nation as a whole.


I always enter into a dispute on Scriptural matters with very great hesitation, but if my recollections are accurate, and if the gentlemen to whom reference has been made, Reuben and Dan, belonged to a body of work-people who left their work in Egypt because the work was too heavy, and went out searching for a land flowing with milk and honey, I do not think of them as genuinely seeking full-time employment. With respect to Clause 4, I am quite sure that the Clause as redrafted is not quite so gloomy as one would gather from the speech of the hon. Member for Westmorland (Mr. Stanley), nor am I satisfied that it is quite so beautiful and glorious as is indicated by the hon. Member for Leith (Mr. Brown).


I hope the hon. Member will not take that interpretation of what I said. The ground upon which I welcome the Clause is that, without going into the question of merit, it does provide an objective test. It is on that ground alone that I welcome it.


It seems to me, on the surface, that an objective test is a tremendous advance on the position which existed before, but it will require considerable experience of the operation of it in administration before we can say whether it will meet the desires and needs of the unemployed person. In 1924 I got an assurance from the Minister that the "not genuinely seeking work" Clause would not be used except to catch the man, who, we all admit, was a loafer. It was the intention that that Clause should be so operated, but we know from the experience of five years that it has been used to cause very grave suffering to a large proportion of the population. I hope, therefore, that the new Clause will bear out in practice the most optimistic hopes that anyone may possibly have of it. The hon. Member for Westmorland is very anxious in regard to the fund, and so is the hon. and gallant Member for Kelvingrove (Major Elliot), that we should regard ourselves as trustees of it; and that we should handle it with that prudence and forethought that the honest trustee shows in his work. May I remind them that when their party became the responsible Government of this country and became the responsible trustees for the fund, from the year 1925 to the early part of 1929 they so administered the fund that it went from being about £7,000,000 in debt into being £40,000,000 in debt.


£35,000,000 to £37,000,000.


Surely hon. and right hon. Gentleman who administered a trust in that way are not in a position to lecture hon. Members on this side on the matter of trusteeship. On two occasions during that period they introduced Bills which were supposed to clear up the matter and put it on a sound footing, and the right hon. Member for Tamworth (Sir A. Steel-Maitland) asserted that they were going to do so. I can remember him coming forward—this is why I am very dubious about White Papers issuing from this Department, including the one we had to-day—and claiming, on the basis of the 1927 Act, that the Fund would be solvent by now. When hon. Members opposite talk of not getting reasonable opportunities for discussion they will remember that the 1925 Bill was taken upstairs in Committee, rushed through at all hours of the day and night before the holiday period, and that the 1927 Bill was taken on the Floor of the House under the guillotine.


The hon. Member will surely recollect, when he talks about rushing through the Bill, that the Closure Motion on his own friends was filially moved by the present Secretary of State for War.


The right hon. Gentleman knows that that was merely a passing incident in the proceedings. He talks about the Closure. May I remind him that on the 1927 Bill, when the hon. Member for Camlachie (Mr. Stephen) was claiming that the actuarial basis of the Bill was not sound, and that instead of reviewing it three years hence it should be reviewed at the end of one year, that the Government allowed one speech only on the Amendment and the Closure was moved in the middle of the speech of the hon. Member for Camlachie? I made a protest at the time beyond what is usual in Parliamentary procedure, and the right hon. Gentleman expelled me for a period of three weeks from the proceedings of the House. That is their idea of free discussion; that is their conception and observance of the liberty of discussion for an Opposition. I hope there will be no humbug talked about that.

Let hon. Members opposite realise that the proposition that is here involved is not Parliamentary procedure or the handling of a fund, but whether a large proportion of our fellow-citizens are going to be treated as fellow-citizens. Hon. Members opposite will persist in regarding the unemployed men as being of a lower moral standard to themselves; they cannot get 17s. a week unless you put a detective on their track and trace them from workshop to workshop. The men whom they want to treat in this way are exactly of the same type as anybody else. Hon. Members on these benches have been unemployed at one time or another, they know what unemployment means, and we resent the suggestion that 1,250,000 of our people cannot be trusted with the miserable amount of money that is provided under this Bill. I urge the House not to spend one minute more on this proposal. For the first time we are laying down rules and regulations which treat the unemployed men as men, and I urge that we should accept the Clause and proceed to the further points in the Bill.


I rise to say only a few words upon the Clause and to express my admiration of the faith of the hon. Member for Leith (Mr. E. Brown). According to him, he does not care what the merits or value of the Clause may be, but, as it contains a definite statement, he is prepared to support it whether its effects are good or bad. There is no other way of putting it. The duty of those who discuss a Clause of this kind is not merely to see whether the test laid down is a definite test, but whether it is a good one, and whether it is going to have a really beneficial influence in the circumstances and for the purpose for which it is used. I believe that under the administration of the not genuinely seeking work test a considerable number of people who were anxious to get employment, and tried hard to get employment, were deprived of their benefit by decisions which I de not think were justified; but I am also quite clear in my view, which has been supported time after time in conversations with people who have had very serious experiences of going before various courts of referees, that the conditions under which the genuinely seeking work test was administered did very often allow the glib-tongued man to get benefit to which he was not entitled.

Now we are faced with an attempt to deal with that situation, and I find little here which is going to prevent the man who does not want work from getting benefit. It is true that there are some lines laid down. It is laid down that he shall not have refused a situation; also that he should follow certain written instructions. But one would have thought that it was elementary in any administration of an Act of this kind that a man who could not come within the tests laid down in this Clause would certainly not be entitled to benefit. The criticism which destroys this Clause is that it leaves the man entirely in this position, that not the smallest obligation is put upon him to do other than obey the instructions of the officer of the Employment Exchange or accept a job which is definitely offered to him. Under this Clause there is no obligation on the man to show any personal initiative of any kind—[Interruption.] Surely no one calls it an exhibition of personal initiative for a man to obey written instructions which come from somebody else? I should have thought that it was very important indeed that some obligation of personal initiative should be put on the man.

Thousands and thousands of working men in this country are not content merely to obey written instructions given to them. They are showing personal initiative every day, going through great privations and making efforts, very serious efforts, sometimes very exhaustive in character, to try to find work, and I cannot think it is right that the man who does not make an effort to find work, who is content merely to obey written instructions which are laid down, should be placed upon the same basis as the man who is making a serious attempt to get work. In these circumstances I submit that the Clause really fails to deal with what is, after all, a difficult situation, and unless something is put in which does suggest and encourage personal initiative on the part of the unemployed man, it will fail lamentably in achieving the purpose for which it has been suggested.

The SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Mr. T. Shaw)

The speech of the hon. and learned Member for Norwood (Sir W. Greaves-Lord) has proved quite conclusively the contention of the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) who complained about unemployed men being looked upon as something different from the rest of the community. The hon. and learned Member complains about the initiative being taken from the unemployed man. In his own profession I think he is barred from exercising any initiative. He must wait until somebody comes to him with work and puts it into his hands.


The right hon. Gentleman must at least point this out, if he is going to suggest that, that while members of my profession are debarred from going out and seeking work we do not ask the community to support us when we cannot get it.


I am more interested in this Clause than in scoring debating points, or I think I could prove that that statement could be examined. What, after all, are the facts? The hon. and learned Member admits that four plain, definite and straightforward English words, which one would think could not be misinterpreted—"not genuinely seeking work"—have been used to deprive perfectly genuine and willing workers of benefit. If it be possible to deprive perfectly genuine working men, looking for work, of benefits, with a definite clear-cut condition like that then the only safe thing to do is to give the man the benefit of the doubt. At the moment the onus of proof is absolutely thrown upon him. There he is, often imperfectly educated, often very shy, with a very limited know- ledge of English, and he has to prove his case to people who are better educated and, if what the hon. and learned Member says is true, to people who are not sympathetic as well.


I said nothing about personal sympathy. What I said was that the administration of the not genuinely seeking work test did give a real advantage to the glib tongued man and undoubtedly on occasions the other man was kept out.


I am not going to quibble, but a great deal more than that was said. The position now is uneven. On the one side you have education, power, and the staff of a huge Government Department; and on the other side the workman. The picture is out of perspective. If the words "not genuinely seeking work" could be consistently and properly applied, I myself might regard the Clause as being unnecessary; but during these discussions the hon. Member for Grimsby (Mr. Womersley) has produced a handful of bill headings from different firms showing that one of his own constituents had been to firm after firm, had literally forced his way into the offices, and had received documents from all these firms to prove that he had been genuinely seeking work, and still was turned down on the ground that he was not genuinely seeking work.

These words have been so interpreted that I am inevitably led to the conclusion that the only way to deal with a man and to give him a real chance is to give him the benefit of the doubt. The insurance officer will not be long without information if there is what is colloquially termed "a wrong un" about. If the insurance officer has reason to suspect that efforts to get work are not being made, he has the power to see that efforts are made. The Clause is generous, I agree, and it ought to be generous; it says that the man must be given the benefit of the doubt. The experience of the last four and a-half or five years has gone to prove that unless the man gets the benefit of the doubt he will not get justice. There is not a Member of this House who, with those four words "not genuinely seeking work" before him, would take away the benefit from a man who could prove that he had been seeking work. Then look at the ridiculousness of the position.

Let me give an instance of what occurs. Take the case of a Lancashire manufacturing town. Everyone who has lived in such a town will know that what I am saying is correct. Every mill in a depressed state of trade has its waiting list. As a rule, or in 99 per cent. of the cases, workers are taken on in turn. If a man is not there he misses his turn. If he walks from firm to firm he never will get work. I appeal to the House to give us the Clause. It may be giving a man the benefit of the doubt, but if it does that it is time he had it. There never will be any satisfactory conclusion to this matter until vacancies are notify-able by employers to Employment Exchanges. The Employment Exchanges grew up in an atmosphere of distrust. The good employer never needed to ask them for a workman, for there was always a workman available and there was never a decent working man who needed to go to an Exchange, because he could get a job without it. We had the extraordinary position, then, of the best employers and workmen both looking upon the Employment Exchange as something inferior that ought to be shunned. That is the difficulty that we have had to fight our way through. But those days are past. I believe that this Clause will finally bring to a head what many of us have been thinking for some years past—the question as to whether vacancies should not always be notify-able so that it can he known with definiteness and accuracy whether jobs are vacant or not.


I will not fellow the right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken further than to say that, as I understand the matter, the trade unions very strongly object in many cases to all vacancies being compulsorily notified to the Employment Exchanges. That is one of the difficulties in the way. The learned Attorney-General spoke of this new Clause as being the result of a council of state in a sense, and as representing the collective wisdom of the House. I never heard such a misrepresentation of that phrase "collective wisdom" in my life. The hon. and learned Gentleman knew perfectly well that, although we on this side are not far short of 300 in number and are nearly half the House, not a single individual of us was consulted on this question. If our counsel had been taken we should not now be discussing this particular Clause.

With regard to the trade unions, the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) takes the line always that every man out of work is "genuinely seeking work." I would like to call attention to the conditions laid down by a number of the trade unions on this subject. The Minister of Labour the other day said that she had three pages of rules that had been drawn up by various trade unions on this question of seeking employment, and she added that every one of those rules was more severe than the Clause which the House turned down last week. If that be true with regard to the Clause formerly in the Bill, how much more severe must the trade union regulations be than the Clause now before us! There are two or three of these trade union rules that are not without interest. Here is the rule of the South Wales Miners' Federation, which is apparently more suspicious of its members than the hon. Member for Bridgeton is of Glasgow people. This is the rule: Every member in receipt of payment of benefit due to a stoppage of work shall make every endeavour possible to obtain employment, and in all cases in which the executive council or district meeting, as the case may be, is satisfied that a bona fide endeavour is not being made by a member to obtain work, it shall have full power to withhold payment of benefit. Apparently there must be cases where bona fide efforts are not made to obtain work. Next is the rule of the National Union of Railwaymen: In the event of a member in receipt of weekly payments failing to seek for employment or refusing to accept employment offered to him without reasonable cause, the branch to which he belongs shall immediately, on proof thereof, suspend him from the benefit of this fund, and report the same to the executive committee. Then there is the rule of the Amalgamated Society of Wood Workers: Members in receipt of unemployment benefit must look for work and shall not engage in any occupation for profit or award during working hours. They must attend each branch meeting or send a satisfactory apology. I suggest that the collective wisdom of the trade union Members opposite might be taken to mean that the words we are discussing were not satisfactory in their own trade unions.


Is not the implication of all those rules to put the onus of proof on the particular branch committee?


The man has to seek work; that is clear. But now under this Clause the man has not to seek work unless told to do so by an officer of the insurance department, and the position is entirely different. Those three rules that I have quoted are far more severe than the original Clause 4 which was withdrawn. I appeal to trade union Members opposite, who have a big responsibility with regard to their own fund, and who have found, it may be by bitter experience, that rules such as those quoted are necessary, to remember their dual capacity, first of all as trustees of this Insurance Fund, and, secondly, as trustees for the taxpayer. In both our capacities as Members we are asked to take £2,000,000 from a fund which honestly cannot afford it; that we all know. We are also asked to take £2,000,000 from the taxpayer, and he, I believe, cannot honestly afford it either.


Does the hon. Member not see that what the man loses the taxpayers gain? It is necessary to keep these men somehow; they cannot be allowed to starve on the street.


But we are discussing an Unemployment Insurance Bill. If we are going to abandon the whole principle of insurance, no doubt the hon. Lady is right, but if we are to try to keep this as an Unemployment Insurance scheme the question of insurance should not be allowed to go by the board.


The hon. Member was arguing about the effect on the tax-payer.


It is admitted that at the present time rather less than one-fifth of the vacancies are notified to the Employment Exchanges. The Actuary's Report in the White Paper circulated this morning shows that one-quarter, or possibly one-third, may be notified to the exchanges. But even then, on the showing of the Minister of Labour, three-quarters or so of the vacancies will never be known by the insurance officials. How possibly can insurance officials who have this task of notifying vacancies to individuals do so when it is admitted that three-quarters, or it may be four-fifths, of the vacancies are never known by them. You are putting an absolutely impossible task upon the insurance officials in giving them this duty to do.

There is one further point. The Minister of Labour, in reply to a question of mine recently asking her how many of these who had been disqualified as not genuinely seeking work would be brought in under the Bill, said that she could not give any figure, but that she intended to remove all the cases of hardship that had occurred in the past in this connection. She said that on the original Clause 4. If that was the case with the old Clause 4, how can she now bring in a new Clause which on her own showing will allow 80,000 or 90,000 more to benefit, when the previous Clause 4 was to ensure that no case of hardship was left unmet? As I see it, this is really where we join issue with the more extreme of hon. Gentlemen opposite. We believe that individual effort is best for the country as a whole. Many hon. Members opposite think that the State should interfere and manage all our affairs. My disappointment in this matter, however, is with the Members of the Liberal party. I had always understood that in regard to the broad issue of State interference they would not find themselves in the same Lobby as the Socialists, but the blame to-day for the passing of this Clause will not lie so much with hon. Gentlemen on the Government side of the House as with those who belong to the Liberal party. I believe that in course of time they will bitterly regret the course that they propose to take this evening.

7.0 p.m.


I intervene because of the important stage that the discussion has reached. We have had a recapitulation of many of the arguments that were applied to the original Clause 4. Among those arguments was that of the last speaker—that trade unions have much tighter regulations, and that if only the trade union regulations could be made to apply by Act of Parliament everything would be quite all right. The House may well remember that most of these out-of-work donation funds in trade unions are voluntary in character and are open to such members as can subscribe to them. It has also to be remembered that there is no State grant towards those funds and no tax on industry or employers. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] I am pleased to see the narrow, mercenary, appreciation to which hon. Members opposite can give utterance. They say, in effect, this: "If we had our way, we would place the National Unemployment Insurance Scheme on the same basis and with the same restrictions as the trade unions' voluntary contributions and make the whole of its income come from the resources and the wages of the employed persons only, without State or employers' assistance." [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] Certainly, you must. I am pleased to learn that this is the very restricted point of view which Members of the Opposition take in this matter. It shows the pretence of their desire to help those who are unemployed in consequence of the unnatural social order that is perpetuated by the Opposition.

I want to say one word about personal initiative. One would imagine that, as a result of the present Clause, there would be developed a lack of personal effort and initiative in seeking work, judging from what hon. Members opposite have said. In this connection, may I call attention to a paragraph which appeared in the "Manchester Evening Chronicle" on 10th December? It was headed "600 apply for six jobs." Do you want greater personal initiative than that? The paragraph described how the police controlled the crowd and how men clung to the banisters. A crowd of between 500 and 600 men gathered outside the premises of an electrical supply company in Cannon Street, Manchester, in reply to an advertisement which had appeared in the "Evening Chronicle" the day before for a half-a-dozen men. There you had six hundred men showing personal initiative at the very moment when the subject matter of this Clause was appearing in that newspaper. Yet, we are told that this will destroy the personal initiative of the men and that they will wait until they get their written instructions. It has always been a libel on British character to say that you can destroy that eternal search for work that goes on among all. It should not he said until you can prove that there are among them a number who will prefer benefit to making any effort. The paragraph to which I have referred describes how in the crush to get work the banisters were broken down and the police had to be called in. Hon. Members have no right to taunt the unemployed that this is going to give them an opportunity of idling when it is known that the Exchanges can only supply seventeen out of every hundred applicants for work.

My right hon. Friend said that you should compel all vacancies to be notified. You know what that would mean. You would not have many vacancies to fill as you have filled by personal initiative. Many of the men by personal efforts under these restrictions create a job. Do you think the trade unions, with all the restrictive influences which do not permit them to administer State funds to their members, are going to break off personal contact with their members to enable an Exchange, perhaps, to offer the work to non-unionists and so deny the right to trade unions to continue their connection with the negotiation and arrangement of the problem? Do you think employers will come in until the Exchanges themselves and their machinery have had a soul breathed into them? You must have a better and a more live department for this vacancy-filling agency, developed to the highest possible degree that human energy can conceive, in order that they may be able to trust the Exchanges more than they do now for the filling of vacancies.

Viscountess ASTOR

May I ask a question?


No. I have tried all through the Debate never to put a question to anybody. I think when hon. Members are fortunate enough to be called upon to speak they can work out in their own minds what it is they want to say and say it in their own way. Our present Exchanges and machinery want a human soul breathed into their activities. They have developed into a machine without a soul, and the rule of thumb has been adopted. Turning to the White Paper, I would not place the slightest dependence upon it. Let us examine what it says. My right hon. Friend, in 1927, produced a White Paper from the Department. He said that it was estimated that there would be 30,000 applicants who could not fulfil the 30-stamps qualification by April, 1928. There was an elaborate set of figures arriving at that computation. Now, in 1929, we get the same Department putting the figure at 120,000 of those who could not fulfil the 30-stamps qualification by April, 1930. That is the value of your White Papers. [HON. MEMBERS: "Under a Socialist Government!"] Never mind what Government. The White Papers are produced by the same machine. That machine grinds on. They gave that wrong estimate in 1927 in spite of all the brains which those men have. When they have actual figures and can base their estimates on facts and actual experience, they can be pretty accurate, but, when called upon to conjecture and to estimate, they cannot, as a machine, estimate the human factors that are involved in an Unemployment Insurance Bill or scheme such as this is. That is where they go wrong. They may sometimes try to please the Department they are serving and may not be over-careful in the way that they arrive at their figures.

The White Paper gives us an estimate and endeavours to prove that if you pass Clause 4, or the present Clause under discussion, it will mean an increased charge of over £4,000,000. Can any hon. Member show me anything in the Clause that modifies the conditions for new applicants for benefit coming on the fund? Under the Clause the tendency will be that persons who have established their claim will be retained longer before they are slung off than they were under the old conditions, but it does not mean the lightening of conditions under which claims are made. Therefore, as it does not provide for new entrants, how can it be said that it is going to cost so much more and that 80,000 or 90,000 people are likely to come in? They say: The possibility should however not be overlooked that the new provision may have the effect of bringing certain other persons into benefit, for example, married women who have done little or no work since marriage and seasonal workers during the off season. How can it? There are many married women who have the qualification but who did not make an application because of the harsh conditions for disqualification, and who may now make the claim which they already have if they care to make it. They may make it now, and, having got on the fund, it will be more difficult to turn them off. No married woman can get on the fund under this Clause if she could not get on the fund before the Clause was introduced. Her claim was as sound—unless she came under the transitional period—before the Clause as it is now. This new Clause does not give her any increased facilities for entry, but it gives her increased facilities for retaining the benefit. In another part the Memorandum says: The new Clause contains a provision to the effect that claimants for benefit are liable to disqualification if it is shown that without good cause they refuse or fail to carry out reasonable written directions given by an Employment Exchange with a view to assisting them to find suitable employment. Then in regard to Clause 7 they say: It is manifestly difficult to make any definite forecast of the financial effect of these changes. They go on to say that there are on the average 200,000 unemployment books of persons who on some ground or other were ineligible for benefit and by a series of deductions they say you might get from 80,000 to 90,000 of these coming on. Let me put it to the House as clearly as I can. It means that there is a two-months' file numbering 80,000. Out of the 200,000 mentioned in this estimate, there is a large number who are, no doubt, in uninsurable occupations. There are some persons signing on at the Exchanges from uninsurable industries and trades, and there are some among those numbers who cannot claim benefit under any circumstances and in regard to whom the Department up to now has not been able to give us a proper explanation. Eighty thousand are in the two months file and that number is brought into this calculation. True, there may be among that 80,000 some who by reason of illness have ceased to sign at the Exchange, and who are, perhaps, drawing sickness benefit. There may be some who have found employment in uninsurable occupations, and their cards have been put in the two months' file. I asked once how many cards there were in the file representing unemployed persons who had died, and I was told that no figure could be obtained. They do not know. All that they know is that suddenly an unemployed person ceases to sign, and his book goes to the two months' file. In that number are others who have for various reasons been disqualified, and find that it is no good signing.

Therefore, I would say to the Chancellor of the Exchequer: "Do not be afraid of that estimate of £2,000,000, for it is covered under another Clause of the Bill, and provided for in the £8,500,000, the carry over for the transitional period." If anybody asked me, I would estimate—and it can only be a conjecture, as the estimate in this White Paper is—that 30,000 persons have been disqualified for not genuinely seeking work, and have received benefit under the transitional period. When they have been disqualified under that heading, within a week or two they are further disqualified for not having a reasonable period of employment in an insured occupation during the last two years; they are disqualified for not genuinely seeking work under the transitional period, and they must never apply for benefit during the run of that transitional period. This Bill provides for the review of such cases in the extension of the transitional period, and the 40,000 people whom I think the Department have in mind, are perhaps the same 30,000 or 40,000 people whom I have in mind as people who can again re-establish their right to unemployment benefit, and who having got on the Fund, will be retained, because it will not be possible to disqualify them, unless there is some proof on the part of the Exchange that they really have refused to carry out written instructions or accepted the offer of employment.

I welcome the Clause, and feel that it is right that the onus should be on the Exchange. The onus of proof must be there all the time. Let us be clear that, whether the onus of proof is on the Exchange or not, you will never destroy the initiative, which I am proud to feel is in the hearts and minds of every man and woman in this country, to seek for work ceaselessly, because they would prefer work and wages to queue-standing, and visiting some of these establishments for the receipt of benefit. The whole thing is degrading to the men and women who come within the cruel ambit of the machine of the Employment Exchange.


One is a little surprised to hear the hon. Member for West Nottingham (Mr. Hayday) attack the Employment Exchanges in the way that he has done, more especially since he was on the Morris Committee. Those connected with Employment Exchanges in this country know that it is difficult to find a body of men who do their work so satisfactorily under difficult circumstances.


My reference was not to individuals, but to the machine.


I think it very unfair that a general attack should be made on the officials of a Department who are not here to defend themselves. The Minister realises that this Clause of the Bill will give a great opportunity for patronage. If it becomes law, and the spirit of the Clause is to be carried out, it will necessitate some thousands of officials being put on to ascertain if vacancies occur so that they can be notified. Otherwise, the Exchanges will never be able to keep in touch with vacancies, because it will not be the job of the out-of-works to seek employment. Do not let us disguise the fact that, while the great majority of the workers are ever ready to take on work, there is still a percentage who are work-shy. It is a strong thing to hear, as we did from the Minister of War, that it is good enough when the trades unions are dealing with their own money to put in special regulations, but when we are dealing with State money we do not want to take so much care. That is the effect of his speech, and it strikes me that it would have been a great opportunity for the Minister to have combined in his regulations regulations similar to those of the trade unions when dealing with unemployment. It is beside the question for Members to say that it is degrading to put in any protection. The trades unions do not think that is is degrading, nor does anybody else in the country, and it is unfortunate if we are to go from one extreme to the other.

There are, no doubt, many cases of men genuinely seeking work who have been refused benefit by the rules being too literally and too strictly followed, and surely it would have been possible to have given elasticity to the courts of referees to deal with cases much more on their merits than to have opened the door, as is done by this new Clause. It is going to cost an addition of £4,000,000, but Members of the Government party say that it does not matter how much it will cost, for we have to find all the money that is necessary. I believe the day to be unfortunately nearer than many people think when, if we continue the policy of simply trying to find money rather than work for the unemployed, it will be the beginning of a serious crisis in this country. We devote far too much time in the House to seeing how we can give money away rather than how we can find work. [HON. MEMBERS: "De-rating!"] I am not permitted to discuss de-rating, but, if ever there were a constructive scheme brought before the country, it was that of de-rating. [Interruption.] It is so easy to jeer and to interrupt. We want, not so much criticism, as a constructive policy of how to find the unemployed real work, instead of giving them doles for nothing.

I hope that the House will give serious consideration before they pass this Clause in its present form. It strikes me that, if you put a notice up in the exchange to say that there are vacancies in such and such a place, that would comply literally with the words of the Clause. On the other hand, I believe that you are going to have far more trouble with the system in this Clause than exists under the present system. The Clause is very undefined. The learned Attorney-General gave us an interesting discourse on the question of the distance to which you will be permitted to send a person for employment. If there were work, say, in Kensington, and a man lived at Dagenham, would it be reasonable to ask him to go from Dagenham to Kensington?


They travel every day.


Of course they do, but there is nothing here defined as to what would be a reasonable distance. It would be better if the Clause were clarified. It is not clear what was in the minds of the Government, because the Clause has been so rushed, and there are many points that might be discussed, but time does not permit. Yet we are asked to agree to an expenditure of £4,000,000 without the prospect of a halfpenny worth of good to those to whom we really want to do good.


The hon. Member for Harrow (Major Salmon) must have misunderstood the hon. Member for West Nottingham (Mr. Hayday) when he said that he had made a general attack upon the Employment Exchanges. There was no attack upon the exchanges; on the contrary, the hon. Member pointed out that the exchanges and trade unions were working together. I have listened care-fully to the speeches of certain hon. Mem- bers, and particularly one by the hon. Member for Westmorland (Mr. O. Stanley), who said that this Clause would tend to discourage the search for work. How can one expect a person to find work in a district where there probably is a large body of persons who are practically a surplus industrial population? I represent a constituency where one-sixth of the total industrial population has been unemployed for the last six years owing to the closing down of mines, blast furnaces and industry generally. Where there is such a surplus industrial population, how can you expect men to search for work when everybody knows that no work can be found? I welcome the Clause because it leaves no shadow of doubt as to how the Employment Exchanges shall deal with cases of this kind.

I do not wish to say anything against the administration of the "genuinely seeking work" condition, but it is asking far too much from the Employment Exchange officials to ask them to search out cases of the kind suggested. There may be a few shirkers, but hon. Members opposite by their speeches suggest that it is a large percentage. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] One would assume that it is large from the comments which they make in their speeches. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] If the percentage of shirkers is so small, why do they always put the magnifying glass upon it? I think in this Clause we have now got the sense of all the progressive Members of this House. I am glad to say that hon. Members below the Gangway opposite seem in the main now to take the same view as we do. I only wish that the same could he said of hon. Members opposite above the Gangway, and then indeed it might be said that we had that Council of State to which the Prime Minister referred at the opening of the Session. But we must wait for the co-operation of all three parties to attain that. I welcome this Clause because it is part of the pledge which we gave to make the unemployment burden increasingly a national charge, and to take it off the local rates. We are frequently accused of having made promises at the Election which we have not carried out. Here we have at least one instalment.

Hon. Members complain that according to the White Paper £4,000,000 is going to be spent in consequence of the amended Clause. I am not going into any arguments as to whether the figures are right or not, but I say that it is going to be a national burden, a burden on the taxpayer. We must support these unfortunates in our industrial system, and if the money is not spent out of the taxes, the obvious result will be a further burden on the rates. There is a point in Sub-section (2) of the amended Clause to which I wish to call attention, not by way of criticism, but in order to set a statement from the right hon. Lady when she replies. Sub-section (2), paragraph (c) gives protection to a man who is transferred from one district to another, and it provides that lie shall receive a rate of pay in that district not lower than the average for the district. So far so good, but I wish to point out that in my constituency there are many cases—and I have had frequent complaints on the matter—that men are transferred to other districts far away to work at unskilled work, such as navvy work, road work and the like, and although the rate of pay is the normal rate for that district, they are unable to earn a decent living in consequence of the increased charges involved by rail journeys and lodgings. Further, owing to broken time, bad weather and so forth, they may not be able to work more than two or three days a week.

I have a letter from one man who had been sent right across England, who had only been able to earn 5s. a day on four days of the week. He returned home and was disqualified from benefit for six weeks. I am afraid that there may be some loophole by which such persons may still be deprived of benefit. Under this Clause, the rate of wage may be all that could be desired, but, owing to the conditions of work and the increased burden involved in the man being away from home, he may be unable to earn a decent standard of living. There are two ways in which this matter might be dealt with. Some sort of guarantee of a minimum might be applied in cases of road work assisted by Government schemes, and if that could not be done, and I know there are difficulties, there should be some guarantee that persons, unable to continue working under these conditions, should not be deprived of benefit if they return home. I do not raise these points in any spirit of criticism but in the hope that the right hon. Lady may be able to clear them up when she replies. I welcome the Clause as amended, and what I have said has been said with the object of making this Clause not only watertight, but truly seaworthy.


Before going into this Clause in detail, may I reply to the accusation made by the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) and the hon. Member for West Nottingham (Mr. Hayday)? It seems to be part of the usual procedure of hon. Members opposite to say that we on this side of the House insult the unemployed. They can point to no phrases of any sort which justify such a statement on their part, but I have not the least doubt that what they say here merely represents what they are prepared to say in the country without a single proof of any kind. [HON. MEMBER: "Actions speak louder than words!"] What I would say at once, and I think any Member on this side of the House would agree with it, is that we regard the unemployed, and hon. Members opposite also regard the unemployed, as a set of men much like any other set of men. There are some particularly good ones among them. The general bulk of them are of the ordinary kind, and there are some weaker vessels and a few bad ones. That is the average sample of all mankind, and we look on the unemployed, and I have no doubt hon. Members opposite also look upon them, just as we do on everybody else.

Taking that as the ordinary plain sensible view we come to the present question and to the reason why we need a Clause introducing conditions at all. It is proper that such a Clause should be introduced. I agree with the Attorney-General that the deserving man ought not to be disqualified and on the other hand, to use the right hon. and learned Member's own phrase, that the work-shy ought not to get benefit. If we take the ordinary view of the unemployed, that they are a sample of ordinary mankind, we must agree that there are some, though not a large proportion, who, properly, ought to be disqualified. The last speaker followed the usual line of attacking Members on this side of the House and said that we turned the magnifying glass on the few who might be work-shy. Obviously we do, and obviously that is what any system ought to do. I ask the House to consider the plain facts of the situation. At the present moment, under the system which has been so criticised, 93 or 94 out of every 100 get their benefit with hardly any question at all and it is only in about 7 per cent. of the total cases that any question arises at all.

I am trying to recall the House to a sense of proportion. In every walk of life a certain number of individuals are, as I have said, weaker vessels than the others and it is with regard to those, and only with regard to those, and not with regard to the 93 per cent. that any question arises. It is in that connection that the whole question of "genuinely seeking work" arises. It is not even with regard to the whole of the remaining 6 per cent. or 7 per cent., but only with regard to about half of them. When we come to them, I am the first to say that after long experience I myself was becoming dissatisfied with the ordinary operation of the "genuinely seeking work" condition, particularly in depressed areas. In the ordinary town with a good turnover of jobs and a diversity of occupations, I doubt if much trouble would exist, but in the really depressed area where there is a large percentage out of work and comparatively few firms working, where men have to be asked to trudge round the district calling on particular firms though there was no real chance of work—that is where the "genuinely seeking work" procedure really breaks down.

As I have explained to the House I had myself already come to the conclusion that we would have to do something to make it betterand I ask the House again to realise that it only affects a tiny percentage, something like 2 or 3 per cent., of the whole of the claimants for benefit. Therefore, the amount of injustice—I am not excusing it in the individual cases where it took place—is about one-third of one per cent. I have not yet heard a single speech from the opposite side that attempts to justify the actual Clause that we are asked to pass to form the whole basis of this system, and to pass for the first time on the Report stage, where, once passed, it can never be reconsidered afterwards. I will deal with the Attorney-General's speech, but with regard to very other speech that has been made, the speakers have contented themselves with pointing out that in a quite small percentage of eases admitted injustice has happened from the existing genuinely seeking work Clause. On that we are all on common ground, but it was up to them to point out, as I hope it will be pointed out by the Minister of Labour, why she is bringing forward this particular Clause and why she has substituted it for the Clause originally in the Bill.

These two things are amongst the things that I am asking her to do. I take the test laid down, not even a week ago, but laid down by the Attorney-General in his speech this afternoon, and I want to have some explanation from that side to show how, under this new Clause, deserving men will get benefit and the small proportion, but at any rate the admitted proportion, of work-shy, to use the Attorney-General's own phrase, will not get benefit. I wish to show some reason why I think this is an extraordinarily hastily drafted and unworkable Clause. That is the reason why, before this Report stage began, I was, in the general interests of administration, anxious that we should have time to go into it and, if need be, time to bring it up again in a better form after consideration.

Take now the question of the notification of vacancies. First of all there is to be notification of a vacancy either by an Exchange or another recognised agency, or by or on behalf of an employer. Haw many vacancies can the Exchanges notify to-day? The most favourable figure is about one-sixth. I see there is a hope expressed that it may rise to a quarter or even a third. I have every practical reason to know that even the figure of one-sixth is probably too favourable, and I will say why. At the Ministry of Labour stress was laid, and very rightly laid, in every Exchange on trying to extend placings through the Exchange. The result has been, I have not the least doubt that where an Exchange manager has come to hear of a vacancy being filled, even though not filled through the Exchange, he puts it down on his list as one for which the Exchange gets credit. I am not a person who brings attacks against administration, but I have known definite cases of that in my own knowledge, and, therefore, I say that 16 to 17 per cent. is on the high side, not on the low side.

How on earth are we going to test, in all the enormous numbers of fillings of jobs that there are, whether a person—I am talking about the small percentage of work-shy at the bottom, who everybody admits exist and who everybody admits ought not to get benefit. How is the Exchange going to test, out of all the enormous number of placings that are made, if only one-sixth are made by the Exchanges? I would ask the House to mark that if it was an average of one in six, it would not be so bad, but it is not an average, it is much less than one in six in some districts and more than one in six in others, and it is much less than one in six in some occupations and more in others. How, under those circumstances, can that work so far as the Exchange is concerned?

Take the question of notification by the employer. Does this House honestly think that employers are really going to notify the Exchanges of every offer of a job or every vacancy that a man might have got with them but which he has not filled? Everybody, like the hon. Member for Nottingham, who has had practical knowledge of the working of the Exchanges knows that to-day the forms in which employers say that a man has left them without just cause do not get sent freely to the Exchange. The ordinary employer does not like to play the detective on workmen, and, therefore, voluntary notification by them cannot possibly be relied upon. I ask hon. Members to think for themselves, from the point of view of good administration, What is an employer really going to do? He is not going to get the reputation amongst the workmen who work there that he is always going to send a note to the Exchange about every vacancy and every person who might have applied for it and who has not done so. He will not risk his own good relations with his men in order to do that.

From that point of view, therefore, that test breaks down hopelessly, unless you make notification compulsory, and I venture to say to this House that you cannot make notification really compulsory and effective until in the end you make it compulsory for the Exchanges to fill the vacancies. What a situation we come to, just to try and make this Clause work! There is not a trade unionist nor a master in a great many of the ordinary trades who would think for a moment that it would be tolerable that the present arrangements that are made between trade unions and employers for filling skilled vacancies with skilled men should be scrapped under a compulsory filling of vacancies by the Exchange. I was, as a Minister, for getting the Exchange to develop its placing work, but we all recognise, as the Minister now recognises, that you do it by persuading employers to do it, and you do it, except for some very highly specialised industries, probably more in unskilled than in skilled trades. If the Government were to try and make it compulsory that Exchanges should fill all skilled jobs in skilled trades which are now filled by arrangements between the unions and the masters, it is the trade unions even more than the employers, but both of them, who would cry out at such a change and who would have none of it. At the same time, that is the only way by which the first part of this plan can really in the end be made to work.

Let me take the second part. Written instructions are to be given by the Ministry, and if it is proved by an officer of the Ministry of Labour that a claimant has without good cause refused or failed to carry out any written directions given to him. What are going to be those written instructions? Take a big firm of steelworks at Sheffield or at Newcastle, where there is h great deal of unemployment and some jobs are going. Is the Minister going to give written instructions to a man saying "They will be taking on men on such and such a day; they have blown a new blast furnace, or something of that kind; go and have to try"? Is he going to say, "Go and have a try"? to others, or would it be only in a specific case? I ask Members to think how it will pan out in practice. Again, how is it going to be proved? I have tried to get the Attorney-General's own object, to see that the good man gets it but that the work-shy does not. How will he prove in that case who is the good man and who is the work-shy? Hon. Members opposite were restive because I interrupted the Attorney-General. I wanted to be quite sure of what he said, and these are the actual words that I took down, which the Attorney-General used as his justification for this part of the Clause: Benefits should go to any man who can show he is doing the best he can to obtain work. But this part of the Clause is entirely incompatible with that. The Attorney- General wants it to go to the man who is showing that he is doing the best he can. In the trade union benefit regulations which an hon. Friend of mine read out that is what they all wanted too. They were there sitting, in a rough and ready way, as a committee knowing their men, having reasons for knowing what vacancies were going, not wanting their funds to be unduly depleted, but wanting their men to show that they were trying to get a job. The Attorney-General says that benefit should go to any man who can show he is doing the best he can to obtain work, but there is absolutely nothing of that in this Clause. The officer of the Ministry has to give written instructions, but one cannot tell how those instructions would work, whether for those generally looking for a vacancy, or for a specific case, and there is absolutely no guarantee than any man should be asked to show that he was doing the best he could to obtain work—none.

Judging by the Attorney-General's test, what is going to be the result? The result, so far as those people who know best can calculate, is shown in the White Paper, which was not in our hands until it was too late for us to consider it or to put down Amendments based upon it. It is all very well for the hon. Member for West Nottingham to say he does not care about the White Paper. I want to ask the Minister of Labour if she does not trust the White Paper. What is important is to know what the Minister of Labour trusts. Does she trust the White Paper or does she not? At least it is the most authoritative expression of what may be likely to happen, and I ask the House to realise just these cases. I do not want to labour it all, but the whole of it goes to make exactly the same kind of contentions that I have been making. Let them take paragraphs 8 and 9 of the White Paper, which have already been quoted: The possibility should, however, not be overlooked that the new provision may have the effect of bringing certain other persons into benefit, for example, married women who have done little or no work since marriage and seasonal workers during the 'off-season.' 9. These two classes of cases will serve as illustrations of what in the aggregate may amount to a considerable group of new claimants, consisting of persons who, so to speak, are not really in the market as competitors for employment, but may bold themselves out as such if they are thereby enabled to qualify for benefit. 8.0 p.m.

I put it to any trade unionist here that, if he were asked to give his opinion of that, if it affected the question of his own trade union funds used for benefit, he would not want to have people getting on the funds who were as little qualified as that; and I ask the Minister of Labour to say whether she really stands by that or whether she does not. If she does, it is the most amazing condemnation of her own Clause, and if she does not, we are entitled to ask her what will be the effect. Earlier this afternoon I was pressing to have the chance to examine the Clause. If she takes this judgment of the White Paper on the Clause, it stands condemned root and branch. If she does not take it, why does she bring forward this Clause until she can tell us the effect, when the case which can be made against it is so overwhelmingly strong? That is the first point I ask her.

In the second place I want her to tell us simply and clearly what is the real difference between this Clause and the Clause she withdrew a week ago. If she has really changed her mind I would pay great respect to that, because she has had a great deal of experience. I do not pay so much respect to the Attorney-General's change of mind. It has become a habit. In both cases the onus of proof has been laid on the exchange, and therefore the former objection about its being a subjective test and the rest of it—there was a good deal of misunderstanding even about that—goes by the board. The only change, if any, is, I gather, that any real initiative is as a matter of fact taken off the man, as I have endeavoured to explain. Lastly, I want her to tell us in detail how it, will work. We have an official statement brought forward on the authority of the Minister herself which—hardly a man in this House or out of it would deny it—completely condemns the Clause.

It is for these reasons that I ask the House to condemn the Clause—that we have not as yet had a single real explanation, of the difference between this Clause and the previous one; that there is a difference, I believe, as shown by the White Paper, the Minister has not convinced us about it; and that it is now common property, at least it has been stated in the Press, that the attempt to get Sub-sections (2) and (3) of the old Clause withdrawn was not a real attack upon the Government but one which the Members who made it were prepared to withdraw. [An HON. MEMBER "Where did you get that from?"] It is quite clear from the statement made by the Minister and the Attorney-General that they did not want to have them withdrawn; and, therefore, we are now to have fastened upon this country a change in administration which is due to nothing else than a collapse before a sham attack. Finally I want to condemn this Clause because it takes away all initiative such as the trade unions themselves say is right. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Let me be quite clear again. I say straight away that 93, 94 or 95 per cent or more of those who are unemployed are eager and anxious to get work. [HON. MEMBERS: "Then why all this labouring?"] Because, by the Attorney-General's own statement, the object is that the genuine shall get benefit but not the work-shy. What we want to see is how the right hon. Lady actually carries out that test; because nothing which has been said in the Debate to-day gives us any shadow of justification for supposing that the Clause will do it.


After the speech from the right hon. Gentleman who was Minister of Labour in the last Government it is worth while to go back to the first speech which was made from his side of the House on the Second Reading of the Bill, the speech of the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Kelvingrove (Major Elliot). From the start he clearly made a deliberate onslaught on what he called "the diligence test," which was the basis of the Government's Bill as originally drafted. We had it laid down from the first, because I presume he spoke with authority, that hon. Members above the Gangway were going to object to the application of the diligence test. The right hon. Member for Tamworth (Sir A. Steel-Maitland) has said with commendable frankness that he objected to the old system of the psychological test, that he got tired of it, saw its flaws. When we have two authoritative speakers condemning, first, the existing psychological test, and then the diligence test which it was proposed to substitute for it, one is compelled to ask what in Heaven's name they really do want? It you get away from the present basis and from the one the Government proposed to substitute for it, what is there left but some kind of objective test such as is laid down in the new Clause? It is not a very worthy attitude to take up, to be ready to condemn the diligence test as long as it is the official policy of the Government and then, when the Government have sought for something better in deference to the collective wisdom of the House, to take up another attitude; because, so far as I can gather from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, he is trying to get back to something which would be indistinguishable from the diligence test. Whether a thing is right or wrong seems to be a question of whether the Government are supporting it or not. We ought not to judge important matters like this, which will affect the lives of so many hundreds of thousands of people, in that narrow spirit.

I would not for a minute say that the test laid down here is perfect. It is not perfect, for the simple reason that it passes the wit of man to provide a form of words which is going to be equally well applicable to all parts of the country and to all kinds of trades. This particular form of words, which is far the best that we have yet seen, is very well applicable, in my view, to my own people. It may be said that is why I am supporting it. Why not? I owe a duty to my constituency before anything else. But I quite realise that the position may be different if one goes to some country districts. I say frankly that some of my hon. Friends in my own party do not take the same view as I do and I quite understand why. When we are considering entirely different conditions we shall not find this Clause apply so well to all of them. If one takes London, where the variety of jobs offered is very much greater, and where, the actual volume of unemployment is not so large, this Clause will not fit the case there so well as it does in the distressed areas. In some way one has to make a choice of evils. We cannot please every- one; we cannot make a geographical discrimination and say we will apply one test in one place and another in another, because we should never be able to draw the border-line. If one has to choose, as conscientiously as one can, a formula which one knows is not going to he equally satisfactory everywhere, is it not right and just and reasonable to consider first the areas where unemployment is worst? I believe that is what is being done—to have the test which can be applied best in those areas where the task of the Employment Exchanges is greatest, to try to cure the evil where the evil is greatest.

The great evil is not the risk of letting through the work-shy. I am not accusing members of the Conservative party of any callousness towards the genuine unemployed, but in their speeches they tend to emphasise the one thing rather than the other, showing that at the moment it is hulking larger in their minds than anything else. The thing that bulks largest in my mind all the time is the fact that we are dealing with a set of circumstances in which we find many more men applying for jobs than there are jobs to be done. Until the Lord Privy Seal or somebody else can put that right someone is going to be unemployed, a large number of people are going to be unemployed, and those people are prima facie entitled to benefit. There is no reason why they should not get it.

I welcome the new words which have been brought forward, though in the full knowledge that, after experience has tested them it may be found that some alteration will again have to be made. We have not reached finality; I do not see how anybody can reach finality except by the process of elimination, I myself have some doubts about this procedure of written directions. I admit it is something which I myself have suggested from time to time, but it might in some circumstances be used as an instrument of persecution. A badly organised Employment Exchange, performing its duties perfunctorily, might use this system to make people tramp up and down and do unnecessary things, but nothing one can devise is going to be fool-proof, and we have to do our best to see how we can make the words as little oppressive as possible. The words have this advantage, I think, that if any mal- administration were to occur in any particular Exchange it, could be checked. It would be possible to discover what instructions were being given at that Exchange, and the Minister would find out what was going on and would be able to stop any abuse. At the present moment the method is so vague that there are no means of checking whether what we have called administrative persecution is actually going on or not.

I agree entirely with the hon. Member opposite who disclaimed any intention of attacking the officials of the Employment Exchanges. I, too, would disclaim it and with the greatest emphasis with regard to the Employment Exchanges I know, but at the same time I should be blind if I had not seen and I should be dishonest if I did not say that there is a great deal of discontent between the unemployed on the one hand and the Employment Exchange officials on the other. To my mind that is not due to the fault alone of one or the other; it is due to the wrong atmosphere and the false situation which is created when an unemployed man who has for so long been worried by the bitter problem of poverty comes face to face with his accuser, with the man who is going to ask, "What were doing last week?" It is not the fault of the Employment Exchanges, but there is an atmosphere, in which the man himself may be said to be in fault in that he goes to the exchange very ready to take offence, and to take offence under circumstances which would make any one of us feel exactly the same as he does.

What is being done by this new Clause—and I think this is its greatest benefit—is that it is taking the Employment Exchanges off the old barren task of trying to find out what work was available last week and the week before with a view to showing that the man had not been looking for it, and then disqualify him. Instead of that, Employment Exchanges ought to go on with their original task of finding out what work there is now. I do not in the least mind if the right hon. Gentleman the late Minister of Labour is right in saying there are only a certain number of jobs which are known and could be notified. I do not mind if he is right in saying that compulsory notification all round is impossible. What I do say is that we are taking a step in the right direction in turning the Employment Exchanges toward their proper and original function. That is one of the greatest benefits of this Clause. We know that in the old days we had no such thing as a not-genuinely-seeking work Clause at all. The key to the situation lay in other hands than those of the Minister of Labour, and it depended upon the efforts of those who were looking for work. The only solution is finding constructive work for these men. When that is done, the whole problem will disappear like smoke. I am aware that we have to deal with the situation as we find it to-day, and I appeal to the Government not to worry about having changed their minds on this question. I think that the Government have now given us a form of words which will be a great advance on anything that we have had before.


I rise to say a few words on the subject of the so-called shirker, who, in my opinion, is largely a mythical figure. I want to consider the question whether this Clause really does disqualify certain people who may be characterised by the word "shirker." The only objection which has been raised to this Clause by hon. Members opposite is that it does not deal with the shirker. I want to know what happens if the shirker is disqualified. One or two things must happen. Either the shirker applies for maintenance to the guardians or he finds work. I will consider for a moment those two alternatives. If the shirker applies to the guardians all that happens is that the maintenance of the man is transferred from national to local funds. Surely, we are not going to be told by the great de-rating party that that is an advantage. As a matter of fact, it is really a great disadvantage to everybody to put a charge of that kind on the rates, which is admittedly the worst form of taxation.

Now I come to the other alternative. Suppose that the shirker finds work, does that do anything to help to solve the unemployment problem? As a matter of fact, we have done nothing of the sort, because, when the so-called shirker gets a job, he is disqualified from receiving benefit, and all that has happened is that some man who has been genuinely seeking work does not get work. What has happened is that your shirker, or work-shy person, has been forced into a job at good wages. In this way, the shirker finds employment, and the honest workman is compelled to spend a miserable existence upon unemployment benefit. Once you have established the principle of maintenance, it will be no use transferring one man from one place to another, because there can be no net increase in employment. This category known as the shirker is a false category. We are all potential shirkers and potentional work-seeking men. It depends upon the system and our physical and mental efficiency.

I welcome this Clause because it will give the Employment Exchanges the opportunity of telling in the way that they have never been able to tell before when a man becomes, not what I would call a shirker, but when he has sunk physically and mentally into a state in which he is not fit for employment. Under this Clause, it will be the duty of the officials of the Employment Exchanges to send out written instructions to the unemployed to go to certain places, and apply for a certa4in kind of employment. If they send out those instructions repeatedly, and a man goes to a job and is repeatedly refused, it may be that that man has some physical and mental defect and finds himself sinking into a condition in which he is becoming unemployable. It will then he the duty of the Ministry of Labour not to strike that man off the list, but to investigate his case in order to see whether some system of training or rehabilitation of that man mentally and physically can be applied, in his case. We ought to read this Clause in connection with the other Clauses in the Bill which extend and expand that system of rehabilitation. I believe this Clause will lead us forward to a more orderly system of work-finding.

We find in the White Paper that has been issued by the Ministry of Labour the admission that under this Clause there would be a great rise in the number of vacancies notified by the employers. I take it that will be so, because it will be more necessary for the employers to find their labour at the Employment Exchanges, and they will go there more naturally. That will he an enormous gain, and it will provide an organised intelligence system of work instead of the disorganised system which we have at the present time. It will put an end to that ceaseless tramping of workmen from colliery to colliery, and we shall replace that state of things by a system in which there is a centre accessible by telephone from which there will be communication with the employers. It will be a system under which each man's qualifications are known, and that will constitute a far more intelligent system of work-finding. I do not know how rapidly we can go on with the expansion of that system. The Secretary of State for War has spoken about compulsory notification. There is a difference of opinion in all quarters of the House as to whether that s immediately practicable or not. I am sure it is not practicable unless it is done in close co-operation with our trade unions—unless they are brought into that system of notification. But, however we are to work, we must replace the disordered, wasteful, uncivilised method of work-finding by an organised method, and I believe that this Clause represents a very long step in that direction. That is why we on these benches welcome it so strongly.


As I find myself in the unenviable position of not altogether being able to support my party on this Clause, I should like to say a few words of explanation. The constituency of West Belfast, which I represent, has one of the highest averages of unemployment in the United Kingdom. A large number of workers are employed in the linen industry, many sections of which are in a state of virtual collapse, the reasons for which are beyond the control of either workers or employers, but rest upon the fiscal and financial system of this country. The streets of West Belfast are crowded with people who are not only out of work, but have not the slightest chance of getting work unless they emigrate or go over to Clydeside, where there is already a big unemployed population. The tendency to emigration is, in my opinion, far too much developed over there.

Among these unemployed people there is a large number who come to me from time to time with papers marked "Not genuinely seeking work." I am in the fortunate position over there of also being a local employer of labour. I employ a substantial amount of casual labour. Very often I take on men for two or three weeks at a time. I have sent large numbers of men to the manager in Belfast. Whenever a man comes to me with his papers marked "Not genuinely seeking work," I give him that test. I cannot count the number of cases, but I think it is well over 30 now, and in every case the man has reported next morning at the offices. In 17 cases, to be exact, we have been able to give these men temporary work ranging from a week to five or six weeks, and in three cases we found the men so goad that we kept them on permanently, while one man, I am glad to say, was sent to a better job in Glasgow, and is a thoroughly satisfactory man. That is a personal experience, but I feel that it indicates that there is a large number of men who get turned down as not genuinely seeking work when they are only too anxious to work. Probably that condition becomes very strongly developed in a constituency like West Belfast, where there is literally no alternative work for men who are thrown out of employment in the linen industry. I feel that the whole tendency of legislation in this country—for which the party opposite is equally responsible with other parties—has been to legislate against the majority in order to catch the minority. We have an example of that on a very large scale in the United States of America, where the whole population has been made to go "dry" in order to stop a few people from getting drunk.

Viscountess ASTOR



I do not think it is fair to run the risk of doing injustice to men who are conscientiously seeking work by discrediting them and increasing their despair. They are in a rotten position to begin with, and it is only, metaphorically speaking, giving them a kick—it is an insult in a way—to tell them that they are not genuinely seeking work. You insult a large collection of men who are anxious to work in order to penalise the minority who are deliberate shirkers—and there are deliberate shirkers in every class. I feel that, not only in this Bill but in all legislation, we can with advantage adopt the principle of trusting the majority rather than legislating to penalise the minority.


I should like to take this opportunity of dealing with some of the points that have been raised in the Debate, because, frankly, I am rather hopeful that we might manage to get on with our business. Without any desire to closure discussion, I intervene now because there are certain points which I feel must be dealt with by myself, notably the points raised by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth (Sir A. Steel-Maitland), whom I am sorry not to see in his place just now.


He will be back in a few moments.


Then I will not deal with them at the moment, but will go on to one or two other criticisms. The hon. Member for Westmorland (Mr. O. Stanley) wanted a definite statement from me with regard to what he called the dangers of the White Paper. It is obvious that, if you are asking for a statistical basis for such questions as arise under the Clause which we are now discussing, it is quite impossible to obtain it. The Actuary has been perfectly clear, the White Paper itself is perfectly clear, in pointing out to the House where guess-work must be resorted to, because there are no data, where the figures are supposititious figures, based upon the best that is possible in the matter of relative considerations that may or may not eventuate.

For example, I have deliberately chosen to make the form of this White Paper such that it raises every possible point that may be raised with regard to possible dangers to the finances of the fund. We point out to the House that it is manifestly difficult to make any definite forecast of the financial effect of these changes, and obviously, if I had come to this House with a cut-and-dried set of figures showing that the results of this Clause would be so many persons on the register, that they would be on benefit for so many weeks, and that that would mean a total sum of so much, the House would have had a perfect right to turn round and tell me that I was cooking the figures. As a matter of fact, I resent very strongly the statement made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth—and when he comes in I will repeat this—in which he made the imputation that the figures in relation to the number of vacancies filled were cooked figures. I will come back to that point presently. I have tried to the best of my ability to take, shall I say, the blackest side of this subject, and to point out that, in spite of that, notwithstanding all that we have put in with regard to the uncertainty of the position, it leaves me with a balancing point, at most, of 1,160,000. My first estimate gave a balancing point of 1,200,000. This Paper shows that, with the increases involved in the changes, I am left with a balancing point of 1,160,000 on the yearly average number of persons on the register, as compared with 1,000,000 which was the position of the fund when I came into office.

The White Paper takes no account of what I may call the credit side of the account. I was very glad indeed when hon. Members who have taken part in the Debate emphasised the obligation which is now placed upon the Exchange in a stronger manner than ever before—the obligation of work-finding, the obligation of developing that side of the subject. The hon. and gallant Member for Harrow (Major Salmon) was under the mistaken impression that the changes in administration would involve an increase in the administrative staff. On the contrary, the simplification of the administration involved by the new procedure will release a large number of persons who can be turned on to the work-finding side of the machinery. I want to say straight away that, while it is perfectly true that the change which has taken place in the Clause is a change which does wipe out the second part of Clause 4 which was in my original Bill, and to that extent widens the improvement made by the Clause, nevertheless I can say myself, and I am certain that I can say for the whole of my officers, that we are going whole-heartedly to accept the decision of the House and put our backs into developing the work-finding side of the Exchange machinery.

I believe that, strengthened as we are by the Debates which have taken place in this House, and strengthened as we shall be, I hope, by every Member of Parliament in an industrial constituency putting his whole weight behind our endeavours to build up a committee of employers and workpeople in each district, we shall be enabled to tackle the bad end of the problem, and decide at what point a man should be required to go into training to fit himself to get back into industry, at what point he shall be required to seek work in another district, and so on. I hope for the co-operation, not only of the organised workers and employers, but also of Members who represent industrial constituencies, in that work. In addition to that, there is the point raised by the hon. Member for Whitehaven (Mr. Price), who asked me to define the meaning of paragraph (c). That is part of the definition of the kind of employment which a claimant is not expected to take, and it is put in for the protection of the claimant. It has worked very well. In the various Acts of Parliament it has remained practically unchanged, except in those matters of drafting which are necessitated by the changes in those Acts, and I do not think we could really improve upon it. The grievance he referred to is one that belongs to the category of trade union action.

The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth began his speech with the suggestion that the figures were not regarded by him as altogether reliable. He is the last person in the world who should have made a reference of that kind, because he must know that there is not a shadow of foundation for the suggestion that the figures of work-placing done by the Exchanges take credit for anything that they themselves have not done. That is a perfectly unjustifiable statement.


I do not know if the right hon. Lady heard me. I spoke of only one or two instances. I was not dealing with a large part of the figures, but only with the total of 17 per cent. or thereabouts which it was claimed was the full statement of what they were doing. That was all.


I am very happy to be able to inform the right hon. Gentleman that, so far from it being a full statement, it is an under-statement. Since the change of Government, we have been turning our attention to the question and we have a marked increase in work-placing. As far as the last returns show, we are getting nearer to 23 per cent. rather than 17 per cent. I hope that upward rise will be maintained by the efforts to which I have referred, and that we shall be able to make very rapid progress in that direction. The right hon. Gentleman also asked if I trusted the White Paper, and he said it was a judgment. The White Paper is not a judgment. It puts before the House the possibilities of certain deductions that are made as to possible things that may happen under the Bill. No one knows better than the right hon. Gentleman that a statement of this kind cannot statistically be based upon what is generally known as an actuarial foundation. There are no data for an actuarial estimate of that kind. The Government actuary has stated quite definitely that he is satisfied that all the ground has been explored that it is possible to explore in arriving at these figures. Further than that it is not possible to ask us to go, because further information does not, in fact, exist.


I am the last to say that anyone could calculate the exact effect of the Clause, produced as it is, but the most probable result is that given in the White Paper, and that is the most that the actuary claims for it. All I asked the Minister was whether she will agree that that is the most likely result as far as it is possible to interpret the future.


I do not say that this is necessarily the most likely result, but it is a probable result. There are other factors which have no place in the White Paper, such as work-finding, improvement in trade and a hundred and one other factors which will probably come in and may vitiate these figures, and we shall find that even my calculations are at fault. But, assuming that the figures are worse than the White Paper shows, is that any reason for not going forward l The position of these unfortunate people is such that we must go forward. I do not for a minute believe the country is down and out. I do not accept that pessimistic view. I believe that, if we organise and cooperate together, the country is going to have a better economic future than it has ever had. But let us assume that all the pessimists are right, we still have to look at these transitional people, and I may have to come back at the end of 12 months and make some suggestions as to where the money is to come from. It has to come from somewhere. In this White Paper we suggest that for this 12 months it is coming direct from the Treasury in so far as the transitional people are concerned. If this method proves to be a good workable scheme, we can come back for powers to extend it. If we can find a better scheme in the 12 months, a better allocation of the burden on this, that or the other fund, always bearing in mind the importance of national responsibility in the matter, I shall most gladly come back to the House and ask their consent. Meantime I ask that we may have this new Clause.


I want to make one or two personal observations. My name has been mentioned twice during the Debate because of a speech I made on Thursday last, and I wish to repeat some of the statements I made on that occasion. The first is that the old conditions set out by the present Minister of War in the 1924 Act regarding genuinely seeking work were not by any means satisfactory to the men who were genuinely seeking work, and certainly not to the employers of labour who had to deal with the men when they came round to carry out the conditions that he himself laid down that "genuinely" meant continuously seeking work, therefore compelling these men to go round from workshop to workshop getting signatures to papers from foremen or proprietors of businesses to prove that they were continuously seeking work. I think there is general agreement on all sides of the House that the conditions laid down by the 1924 Act have not worked well, either for the men seeking work or for the employer of labour. If we made a canvass of employers of labour throughout the country, we should find that all of them would say that they wish to be rid of these Regulations, because of the nuisance of having men come along when there is no chance of giving them jobs and having to sign papers on their behalf.

When I spoke on the last occasion, I produced hill-heads, which I still have in my pocket, in proof of that statement. I said during the course of that speech that I was not certain in my mind that the Clause as then drafted and presented to the House was going to be the right one to do away with the condition, which I considered was a bad one, under the old system of genuinely seeking work. I said I was not going to condemn it until I had heard what the Attorney-General had to say, because he was the legal mind responsible for the drafting of the Clause, and would be able to explain it to us. I listened very carefully to the speech of the Attorney-General later, and he convinced me that the original Clause he had drafted did take away the difficulty created in the Bill introduced by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Preston (Mr. Shaw) in 1924. Therefore, he was meeting my objection. But pressure was brought to bear upon him from other parts of the House, and he finally withdrew that Clause, and he has redrafted and presented to the House the Clause we are now discussing. I have looked through this Clause very carefully and if it is going to carry out the conditions in regard to whether a man is really wanting work or not, in the way I think it is, it might be possible for us to accept it as a reasonable compromise between the various opinions in the House. I want to be quite sure about the matter. The right hon. Lady the Minister of Labour spoke before I had an opportunity of putting certain matters before her.

In my constituency we have a goodly number of casual workmen on the docks, and I am very much concerned about this class of worker, because it is in regard to this class of worker that we have had a good deal of difficulty in regard to the question of genuinely seeking work. I want to know if the intimation which is to be given from the Employment Exchange to that type of worker is to be an intimation of the kind I have in mind. There are certain times fixed in the morning when men are set to work on particular ships unloading, and so on. The present system is that the men go down to the Exchange on the docks. I am glad to say that the Employment Exchange people have shown that they really have some consideration for the workmen. The man who fails to secure a job goes to an office at the setting-on place and signs on to the effect that he has not received a job. He is supposed to go down later in the day, if there are other ships to be unloaded, and apply again. I want to know if under this Clause, as now drafted, the notification to the man that ships are going to be at the docks at a certain time, and the fact that he fails to apply, even if only 20 men are wanted and 200 men turn up, will be a disqualification from receiving benefit. If it is, it is going to set up a reasonable test as to whether a man is genuinely seeking work or not. If a man is willing to turn up at five o'clock in the morning and come back at ten o'clock, and probably come back again at noon, I say he is genuinely seeking work. If that is going to be the system of notification, I think we can say that, as far as casual labour at the docks is concerned, a reasonable test is provided in this Clause.

I must confess, however, that on reading the White Paper, I was a little disturbed in my mind and somewhat startled, if, as is stated here, certain things are going to happen if the Clause comes into effect. If I had tried, or if any other hon. Member had tried to make out a case against any class, or if it had been a question of officials being re-instated to put up a case against the representations made by trade unions last week, the Attorney-General could not have had a more complete case against this Clause than is contained in the White Paper. I regard the matter in this light. We are told that it is really only to be a test for 12 months. I am absolutely satisfied that the only way you can deal with the problem of the man who is out of work for a long period is by a system of co-ordination between the new Public Assistance Committees and the Employment Exchanges. The majority of these Public Assistance Committees will be in a position, owing to the fact that they are to be directly under the local authority, to give work to men on two or three days a week in the same way as test work is given at the present time, but it will be better work than the ordinary test work which is given to-day. In my constituency, for instance, we have a slab-making plant, and the men who have been on Poor Law relief for a considerable time and are regarded as being able to do some work, are requested to do work on that particular job. That is a test as to whether they really want work or not. If a man says he will not do it, surely it can be taken as a test that he is not genuinely seeking work.


Is the hon. Gentleman quite definitely in favour of the re-establishment of test work?


I am glad I have had that interruption, because it gives me an opportunity of dealing with a point to which I wanted to refer. I am not in favour of a certain type of test work which is useless. There is nothing which destroys the moral of men more than telling them to dig a hole and then to him it up again. If they are doing a job which is a proper job and receiving a proper scale of wages, it is proper test work. [Interruption]. Hon. Members opposite misunderstand what I am trying to point out. We put the men on to useful work, making something which we can use in the locality for paving the streets. Although this can be termed test work, it is not the same kind of test work which exists in many other parts of the country. I am trying to point out that if you insist upon the offer of a job—I want hon. Members opposite to bear this in mind very closely—as the test as to whether a man is genuinely seeking work or not, you are opening a very wide door towards the establishment of test work all over the country. You cannot have it otherwise. We know at the moment that it is not possible to offer a job to every man who is on the Employment Exchange register unless it is something in the nature of a test job as to whether he is genuinely seeking work or not. The right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works, to whom I have listened on many occasions when speaking on the problem of the unemployed man, has frequently spoken common sense to this House. One of the soundest pieces of common sense tie has uttered is that you should insist upon men, the young men in particular, doing some useful work for the money they receive. I put it to the House that if you lay down that principle as a condition, you are bound to have test work come in somewhere or other.


Not test work in the sense that it is understood in the Poor Law, surely?


Surely the right hon. Gentleman does not think that I am advocating that sort of thing to-night. I am pointing out what I think is a good point, namely, that if you are going to say that the test shall be the offer of a job, you are opening the door wide for test work to be put into operation. We have heard a good deal about the shirkers. I said last week that I did not wish to defend the shirkers. There are some shirkers and there is no denying the fact. We have been told by the right hon. Gentleman the late Minister of Health, that, in his opinion, 95 per cent. of the men are genuinely seeking work. I am satisfied of this, that although over 95 per cent, of the men ought not to be penalised because of conditions laid down by this House, and not knowing exactly how the conditions in the Measure of 1924 are going to work out in practice, we must see to it that that 95 per cent. who are genuinely seeking work are not thrust upon the Poor Law.

Whether this Clause will work out as satisfactory as hon. Members opposite hope, is a matter of conjecture. I should have been satisfied with the original Clause if the Attorney-General had stood to his guns, after making his explanation fast week. We should then have been in a position to go to the country and to say: "We have taken away a very objectionable section of the 1924 Act. We want to try this new Clause, which has been drafted by a Labour Government, with the fixed idea of taking away the objectionable part of the old condition. Let it have a fair run for 12 months, and if it does not work satisfactorily, the House of Commons can amend it." Who is to say that this new Clause will work satisfactorily, and who is to say how it will be interpreted by the officials? While we must protect the man who is genuinely seeking work, to make it easy for others to slip through the mesh, is a mistake. I should have welcomed and would have voted for the Clause as originally drafted, after the explanation of the Attorney-General, but, I am not satisfied that the new Clause will meet the position which I want to meet, and I doubt whether I can vote for it.


The assumption has been that the recasting of this Clause will completely change the circumstances relating to workmen obtaining employment. That has been the general trend of the discussion. Hon. Members have talked about the work-shy. If any hon. Member were asked to give evidence as to that condition in his own constituency, he would immediately back down from his statement. A man has to be an habitual worker before he becomes entitled to come within the fund. He must have proved his genuineness as a workman before he can become insured under the Act. The remodelling of this Clause is due to the failure to find a real test of whether a man is or is not genuinely desirous of obtaining employment, and Parliament has proceeded by the method of trial and error. We do not say that this Clause is absolutely perfect, any more than any other Act of Parliament covered every possible contingency that might ever arise. We have had five years' experience of an Act of Parliament which people thought was a test of not genuinely seeking work. If anyone is to be held responsible for the difficulties which have arisen in the working of that Act it is the Members on the opposite side of the House, because they created a psychology under which the unemployed workman was suspect. A statement has been made in this Debate that the recasting of this Clause may bring 90,000 new people on to the Fund. I am not arguing as to the accuracy of that statement, but the implication is that there are 90,000 people precluded from benefit who have a right to receive those benefits. That is the common sense deduction, and no hon. Member has the right to presume that there are 90,000 work-shys in this country.

9.0 p.m.

I do not believe that the recasting of this Clause will in any way interfere with the ordinary practice whereby employers of labour recruit their labour supply. It is nothing more or less than a new test as to the entitlement for benefit on behalf of those men who have cause to make a claim upon a Fund to which they are contributors. Much has been said as to whether test work should be suggested. Obviously, at any time almost any exchange in the country has a sufficient number of jobs to offer the man who may be suspect. The difficulty arises not from any lack of inclination on the part of the man to accept a job, but because of the fact that for years the man, genuinely desirous of work has not been able to find employment. No matter what effort they may have made or what effort may have been made on their behalf by the Exchange, there is a residue of men who never come within the ambit of selection so far as employment of labour is concerned. Hon Members may call them work-shy if they like, but I am not prepared to permit that title to be applied to men who have been unemployed for years, through no fault of their own, and who may be offered a form of employment which they are physically unfit to carry out. I am not prepared to stand for any form of regulation which dubs that man as work-shy.

I would rather suggest, as in this Clause, the development of a form of machinery which will give to that man the opportunity of having his sincerity to find suitable work tested by men within his own locality, men who know and understand both the employers and the labour representatives, who understand the man's capacity, who know the jobs in the locality that may be offered to him. Not until a test of that kind has been offered and a Committee of that time has pronounced the man undesirable, would it be permissible for any hon. Member to dub any section of the community as work-shy, to make an effort to prevent the modification of an Act which has been a failure and to prevent any effort being made to alter that Act in the interests of the recipients of unemployment benefit.


I want to make one or two points perfectly clear. I congratulate the Minister of Labour and the Attorney-General on producing this Clause in place of the one which raised so much discussion on the Committee stage. The first thing I want to make quite clear is that this House in accepting it is not for a moment taking away the moral obligation which rests on every man who is out of work to do everything he can to get work. I have heard one or two hon. Members suggest that this Clause relieves him from that moral obligation. If I thought that was so I would not support it for a moment. The old provision which was so unsatisfactory, the genuinely seeking work provision, did not disqualify a man because he was not genuinely seeking work but because he was unable to persuade a committee that he was not genuinely seeking work, and, allowing all sincerity to that committee, the real point was that many a man was debarred by a lack of ability to put his case, not because he had not genuinely sought work. Our objection to the old provision was that although the workshys are exceedingly few in number, every Employment Exchange committee and every manager know that there were a few people who tried to prey on the fund, but they were the exception not the rule. They were not caught. That is the real point. They knew the ropes and got through. Under this proposal we ought to be able very effectively to add to that elimination.

Let me say one word on the financial side of the proposal. I realise how important that is, and I want to put to hon. Members who have stressed the matter that the argument on the financial side, if you are going to push it to its logical conclusion, would be to change the rate of benefit and not exclude individuals who are entitled to benefit. On the financial side we have to accept the position that if men are out of work and qualified for benefit they should not be excluded by a test. To my mind the great hope of this Measure is that it does not tie any fixed condition to any area, and Employments Exchange officials should be able to build up a system suitable to each area, whatever the conditions may be, a system by which out of work men can try to obtain work and by so doing fulfil the only test which can reasonably be applied for receiving benefit under the conditions of this Bill. I congratulate the Minister and the Attorney-General on having devised certainly the most satisfactory form of words I have seen to deal with this very difficult and complicated problem.


This is the first time I have, dared to intervene in a debate on the -Unemployment Insurance Bill. I have refrained from doing so because I represent an agricultural constituency, and agriculture is not within the province of the Bill. Therefore I thought it right to leave the Debate to those who represent industrial areas, and who know the circumstances of those areas far better than I do. But a worm will turn. [Interruption.] In this case the poor down-trodden agricultural worm has turned, and I rise in my place to protest in the most emphatic manlier against this Clause of the Bill. During the last two or three weeks we have passed Measures in this House adding £20,000,000, £30,000,000, £40,000,000, or more, a year to the national burden, and it is when I realise that one-tenth of this sum if spent on our great agricultural industry would save it from destruction that the agricultural worm turns and revolts against the expenditure. We are now passing a. Clause which will cost something like £4,000,000 or £5,000,000 a year—far more than is necessary to help the agricultural industry. For what purpose? It is for the purpose of giving the ability to many unproductive workers of the country to live in idleness on the fruits of the work of their fellows.

Where is this policy going to lead? Who is going to pay the bill? We had an excellent speech on the Financial Resolution from the right hon. and gallant Member for Sevenoaks (Sir H. Young), who proved that this was a tax on productive industry which the producers and workers of the country would have to pay. We all know the unfortunate position of productive industry in this country. How can British industries in the future compete with those countries who have put their social services on a saner method than our own? Where is this leading to? We are taxing the efficient to pay for the non-efficient. We are placing a tax upon efficiency and penalising the efficient, for the good of the ineffective. We are removing from our people a stimulus which would make the men of the country do their best. It will be a bad thing for this country when men cease to have a stimulus to do their best. There are many more workers than non-workers in this country, and I think that the workers of the country will revolt against the proposals of this Bill. I appeal to the Government to give the same consideration to the workers, who are an asset to the country, as they are to the non-workers, who are a liability; and will consider the position of those workers who are taxed in order to pay for the maintenance of these great social services.


I do not propose to delay the House, because I am an anxious as anyone to get on with the business of the Bill. I understand that reference has been made by the hon. Member for Grimsby (Mr. Womersley) to the position of the casual labourer, and as to how the new Clause will affect him. I hasten to reassure the hon. Member that if anything the position of the casual labourer will be improved by the alteration. On the whole, and except in a few cases owing to interpretation rathen than the spirit of the old Clause, his position is not materially affected, because from the inception of unemployment insurance the casual labourer was never considered to come within its provisions. In the old days insurance was confined to two or three scheduled trades. Later it was extended, and the casual labourer was brought in. But it never fitted him owing to the fact that its provisions were originally based on permanent employment. Consequently, by agreement with the employers and the Minister of Labour, we found it necessary to create special machinery to deal with the casual labourer. But even then in some cases, though the casual applied twice a day for a job, sometimes even more, and reported the fact to the Dock Employment Exchange, he was nevertheless disqualified because he did not secure employment within a given period as not genuinely seeking work, and in some cases was ordered to go to places away from his ordinary employment where it was known there was already a surplus. The interpretation of "genuinely seeking work" did not affect them. During 1924 this was not the case, but by the tightening up of restrictions and new regulations of 1926 he was in some measure at least subject to the new regulations for the reasons I have stated. This Clause does away entirely with that complaint. Let me say frankly that, on the whole, there is not a great deal to complain of, and that the casual labourer at the docks gets a fairly good look in as far as benefits go. Therefore, I reassure the hon. Member for Grimsby that there is not the slightest danger, but on the contrary a decided advantage to the casual labourer under this Clause, which, if anything, will enhance his position rather than otherwise.


Those who listened to the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) must have felt, as I did, that he of all speakers had clarified the situation. Those who listened to the learned Attorney-General when he was giving out the smooth sentences and paragraphs that we all like to hear must have realised that what was going on was merely camouflage. We know perfectly well that when this Clause was first brought forward there was a vital difference of opinion between the two sections of the party opposite, and that this Clause is not a mere Amendment, not an ordinary substitution, but is a complete volte face on the part of the Government because of the pressure exercised from below the Gangway opposite. I confess that I have a great deal of sympathy with the point of view of those who must feel like proud fathers when they hear the recantations of their adopted children on the Front Bench opposite.

As has been emphasised more than once, there are two diametrically different points of view regarding this problem. There is one on which we are all agreed—the question of genuinely seeking work. We admit that the intention is that the person genuinely seeking work should get the benefit of the Act. We also agree that those who are genuinely not seeking work should be ruled out. It has been proved by experience, and it is admitted, that there are certain cases in which those genuinely seeking work have for one reason or another been ruled out. In the anxiety that they should be kept in, it seems to many of us that not only are we going to include those who are genuinely seeking work but are going a long way potentially to include those who are genuinely not seeking work, however few they may be.

It is a very menacing situation for this House. But that does not touch the question that those hon. Members opposite who have managed to get their own way have begun entirely to alter this Bill, which is, after all, an Unemployment Insurance Bill. We can quite understand that there are many who have pinned their colours to the mast under the slogan of "Work or Maintenance." But "Work or Maintenance" has nothing in common with Unemployment Insurance Acts. Our difficulty is that the advocates of "Work or Maintenance" have so had their way that we have now got to the position that the Government in this Bill have, without admitting it, made it the first instalment of "Work or Maintenance."


Why not?


Because they are two entirely different things.


Would the hon. and gallant Gentleman say what was done with the German prisoners when they were detained in this country? Are working men to be worse off than German prisoners?


If it were in order I could discuss German prisoners or Timbuctoo smallholders, but that would not be germane to the subject before the House. "Work or Maintenance" and Unemployment Insurance are two entirely different things. In the last two days the "Times" has had two extraordinarily interesting articles giving, not opinions, but facts on the unemployment problem. They point out, as has been known very well, that there is d certain hard core, confined very largely to what we call the black squad, whose prospects of getting employment, whether in their own occupation or in any other, are bad. That by itself constitutes a problem with which possibly this House will be called upon to deal. But what I want to point out is that if we are going to try to combine that problem with the question of Unemployment Insurance, then we are going to fall between two stools. That is why I think it is a menace to the workers of the country that there should have been this successful internecine warfare between one section and another of the party opposite. They are purportrating and endeavour to mix oil and water, which will not mix.

I am unable sometimes to understand the mentality of hon. Members opposite when they deal with this question of benefit. We have heard denunciations of the whole principle of Poor Law, for example. The Poor Law was instituted for giving assistance to what one might call the down-and-outs. It was charity on the part of the ratepayer. We have large institutions which are maintained by the charity of the individual. Hon. Members opposite seem to think that if you take this question of charity—a real dale is charity—and simply say that the taxpayer shall find it instead of the ratepayer, you are not sapping the manhood of the receiver, you are not making him a recipient of charitable relief, but you are making him a self-respecting member of the community which calls upon the State to subsidise him. I am not going into the merits of that. What I am pointing out to hon. Members opposite is that the two things, whether you get an unearned or non-contributory dole from the Poor Law or from the generosity of an individual or from the State, it is the same thing, whereas an unemployment insurance scheme is absolutely different.

The hon. Member for West Nottingham (Mr. Hayday) said that, after all, this unemployment insurance represented not merely the contributions of the worker, but was subsidised by the taxpayer as the State, and by the employer. That is perfectly true, and what is the reason for it? If you have an insurance scheme which is sound, the benefits that you draw are contingent on the contributions that the scheme brings in. If the unemployment insurance scheme benefits were dependent solely on the contributions which the workers in industry can make to it, it is obvious the benefits would be very small. Therefore, because the State, as a whole, was interested in the welfare of its citizens and because the employers as a whole were interested in the welfare of their workers, and the worker himself was interested in his own welfare, those three have contributed to this scheme which was intended to be actuarially sound. As soon as you begin to have what is admittedly not an insurance scheme at all, camouflage it how you like, but a dole or super-dole, then you are getting into really deep water.

It seems to me that in this particular case, if the Government had only taken a real stand and said, "If we reform Clause 4 in the way that we have been compelled to do by our supporters, we are going to destroy the whole basis of the Insurance Bill; allow us to carry this through as we had intended, even if it is only a first instalment prior to bringing in some future Measure whereby, by a definitely charitable organisation, we may assist those"—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] It is no good hon. Members opposite just laughing. There are occasions when we have to help the lame dog over the stile. One feels that responsibility, but if we are trying to approach it on a basis of insurance, it is no good mixing it up with the question of charity whether from the State or anybody else. That is obvious, and it is common-sense.


Does not the hon. and gallant Member recognise that in this scheme the worker does pay by far the larger proportion. He pays directly, and as a consumer he pays indirectly, because the employer places his portion on to the price of the article. He not only pays directly, but he pays indirectly as a consumer and again as a taxpayer through his tobacco and his beer.

Viscountess ASTOR

Hear, hear!


I know full well that the hon. Member is not only a nonsmoker but a teetotaller, and therefore his argument carries no weight. If I were to follow the lines he has indicated, I might point out that, if you are going to put burdens on industry, which gives employment, the greater the burden the more you will make it difficult for industry to give employment, and so you are tackling it from the wrong end. Instead of providing employment, you are, in other words, concentrating on maintenance.


No, you were talking about charity.


I am not going to give way again. I never enter into discussions with non-smokers. We owe a debt of gratitude to the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton), because he has swept aside this camouflage and has stood for full maintenance always if you cannot provide work. He is quite right from his standpoint when he says, "Will 10s. per week keep a widow, and will 17s. a week keep a man in the prime of life?" No one has ever suggested that it would. Sometimes, hon. Members opposite try to suggest that we on this side, because we try to take a longer view of a very complex problem than they do, are not moved by the same feelings for our fellow-creatures as they are. We cannot help them making cheap capital out of that on the platform, but here in the House of Commons it will not do. I have a great deal of sympathy with the point of view of the hon. Member for Bridgeton when trying to approach the problem represented by the black core which cuts right across the whole system, and which the Front Bench are trying to camouflage under pressure from their supporters below the Gangway. That is why we are going to be landed in an impasse which, instead of solving the problem of the unemployed man who is temporarily out of work, is merely going to accentuate it and is tackling a wholly different problem on an entirely unsatisfactory basis.




rose in his place, and claimed to more, "That the Question be now put."

Question put, "That the Question be now put."

The House divided: Ayes, 284; Noes, 164.

Division No. 92.] AYES. [9.36 p.m.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Gibbins, Joseph MacLaren, Andrew
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Gill, T. H. Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)
Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher Glassey, A. E. MacNeil-Weir, L.
Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigle M. Gosling, Harry McShane, John James
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro') Gossling, A. G. Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)
Alpass, J. H. Gould, F. Mander, Geoffrey le M.
Ammon, Charles George Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Mansfield, W.
Angell, Norman Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.) Marcus, M.
Arnott, John Gray, Milner Markham, S. F.
Aske, Sir Robert Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Colne) Marley, J.
Attlee, Clement Richard Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Mathers, George
Ayles, Walter Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.) Matters, L. W.
Baker, John (Wolverhampton, Bilston) Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Maxton, James
Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley) Groves, Thomas E. Melville, Sir James
Barnes, Alfred John Grundy, Thomas W. Milddleton, G.
Barr, James Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton) Millar, J. D.
Batey, Joseph Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Mills, J. E.
Beckett, John (Camberwell, Peckham) Hall, Capt. W. P. (Portsmouth, C.) Milner, J.
Bellamy, Albert Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn) Montague, Frederick
Benn, Rt. Hon. Wedgwood Harbord, A. Morgan, Dr. H. B.
Bennett, Captain E. N. (Cardiff, Central) Hardie, George D. Morley, Ralph
Bennett, William (Battersea, South) Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon Morrison, Herbert (Hackney, South)
Benson, G. Hastings, Dr. Somerville Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.)
Bentham, Dr. Ethel Haycock, A. W. Mort, D. L.
Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale) Hayday, Arthur Moses, J. J. H.
Blindell, James Hayes, John Henry Mosley, Lady C. (Stoke-on-Trent)
Bondfield, Rt. Hon. Margaret Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield) Mosley, Sir Oswald (Smethwick)
Bowen, J. W. Herriotts, J. Muff, G.
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Hirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworth) Muggeridge, H. T.
Broad, Francis Alfred Hirst, W. (Bradford, South) Murnin, Hugh
Brockway, A. Fenner Hoffman, P. C. Naylor, T. E.
Bromfield, William Hollins, A. Noel Baker, P. J.
Brooke, W. Hopkin, Daniel Oldfield, J. R.
Brothers, M. Horrabin, J. F. Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield) Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Hunter, Dr. Joseph Owen, Major G. (Carnarvon)
Brown, W. J. (Wolverhampton, West) Hutchison, Maj.-Gen. Sir R. Owen, H. F. (Hereford)
Buchanan, G. Isaacs, George Palin, John Henry
Burgess, F. G. Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Palmer, E. T.
Burgin, Dr. E. L. John, William (Rhondda, West) Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)
Buxton, C. R. (Yorks, W. R. Elland) Jones, F. Llewellyn- (Flint) Perry, S. F.
Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel (Norfolk, N.) Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Peters, Dr. Sidney John
Caine, Derwent Hall. Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.
Cameron, A. G. Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd) Phillips, Dr. Marion
Cape, Thomas Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W. Picton-Turbervill, Edith
Carter, W. (St. Pancrae, S.W.) Kelly, W. T. Pole, Major D. G.
Charleton, H. C. Kennedy, Thomas Ponsonby, Arthur
Chater, Daniel Kinley, J. Potts, John S.
Church, Major A. G. Kirkwood, D. Price, M. P.
Clarke, J. S. Knight, Holford Pybus, Percy John
Cluse, W. S. Lang, Gordon Quibell, D. J. K.
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R. Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Ramsay, T. B. Wilson
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Lathan, G. Raynes, W. R.
Compton, Joseph Law, Albert (Bolton) Richards, R.
Cove, William G. Law, A. (Rosendale) Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)
Daggar, George Lawrence, Susan Riley, Ben (Dewsbury)
Dallas, George La[...]e, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge) Riley, F. F. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Dalton, Hugh Lawson, John James Ritson, J.
Davies, E. C. (Montgomery) Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle) Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Leach, W. Romeril, H. G.
Denman, Hon. R. D. Lee, Frank (Derby, N.E.) Rosbotham, D. S. T.
Dickson, T. Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern) Rowson, Guy
Dudgeon, Major C. R. Lees, J. Salter, Dr. Alfred
Dukes, C. Lewis, T. (Southampton) Samuel, H. W. (Swansea, West)
Duncan, Charles Lindley, Fred W. Sanders, W. S.
Ede, James Chuter Lloyd, C. Ellis Sandham, E.
Edge, Sir William Longbottom, A. W. Sawyer, G. F.
Edmunds, J. E. Longden, F. Scott, James
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) Lovat-Fraser, J. A. Scrymgeour, E.
Edwards, E. (Morpeth) Lowth, Thomas Scurr, John
Egan, W. H. Lunn, William Sexton, James
Elmley, Viscount Macdonald, Gordon (Ince) Shepherd, Arthur Lewis
Forgan, Dr. Robert MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham) Sherwood, G. H.
Freeman, Peter McElwee, A. Shield, George William
Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton) McEntee, V. L. Shiels, Dr. Drummond
Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, N.) Mackinder, W. Shillaker, J. F.
George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) McKinlay, A. Shinwell, E.
Short, Alfred (Wednesbury) Sullivan, J. Wellock, Wilfred
Simmons, C. J. Sutton, J. E. Welsh, James (Paisley)
Simon, E. D. (Manch'ter, Withington) Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S.W.) Welsh, James C. (Coatbridge)
Sinkinson, George Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby) West, F. R.
Smith, Alfred (Sunderland) Tillett, Ben Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.
Smith, Frank (Nuneaton) Tinker, John Joseph Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)
Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley) Toole, Joseph Whiteley, William (Blaydon)
Smith, Rennie (Penistone) Tout, W. J. Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Smith, Tom (Pontefract) Townend, A. E. Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Snowden, Thomas (Accrington) Turner, B. Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Sorensen, R. Vaughan, D. J. Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Spero, Dr. G. E. Viant, S. P. Winterton, G. E. (Leicester, Loughb'gh)
Stamford, Thomas W. Walker, J. Wright, W. (Rutherglen)
Stephen, Campbell Wallhead, Richard C. Young, R. S. (Islington, North)
Stewart, J. (St. Rollox) Watkins, F. C.
Strachey, E. J. St. Loe Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline). TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Strauss, G. R. Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda) Mr. B. Smith and Mr. Paling.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Fielden, E. B. Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester)
Ainsworth, Lieut.-Col. Charles Fison, F. G. Clavering Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive
Albery, Irving James Foot, Isaac Muirhead, A. J.
Allen, W. E. D. (Belfast, W.) Galbraith, J. F. W. Nicholson, O. (Westminster)
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Ganzonl, Sir John Oman, Sir Charles William C.
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover) Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton O'Neill, Sir H.
Astor, Viscountess Gibson, C. G. (Pudsey & Otley) Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William
Atholl, Duchess of Glyn, Major R. G. C. Peake, Capt. Osbert
Baillie-Hamilton, Hon. Charles W. Gower, Sir Robert Penny, Sir George
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Grace, John Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)
Balfour, Captain H. H. (I. of Thanet) Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.) Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Balniel, Lord Grattan-Doyle, Sir N. Power, Sir John Cecil
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter Pownall, Sir Assheton
Beaumont, M. W. Greene, W. P. Crawford Purbrick, R.
Bevan, S. J. (Holborn) Gunston, Captain D. W. Ramsbotham, H.
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H. Reid, David D. (County Down)
Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Remer, John R.
Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W. Hartington, Marquess of Rentoul, Sir Gervais S.
Bracken, B. Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)
Brass, Captain Sir William Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley) Ross, Major Ronald D.
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd., Hexham) Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y) Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J. Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Buckingham, Sir H. Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G. Salmon, Major I.
Burton, Colonel H. W. Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar) Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Butler, R. A. Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K. Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Carver, Major W. H. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City) Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer Savery, S. S.
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, s.) Hurd, Percy A. Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome
Christie, J. A. Hurst, Sir Gerald B. Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George Iveagh, Countess of Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Cohen, Major J. Brunel James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Colfox, Major William Philip Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton) Smithers, Waldron
Colman, N. C. D. Kedward, R. M. (Kent, Ashford) Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Colville, Major D. J. Kindersley, Major G. M. Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)
Conway, Sir W. Martin King, Commodore Rt. Hon. Henry D. Southby, Commander A. R. J.
Courtauld, Major J. S. Knox, Sir Alfred Spender-Clay, Colonel H.
Cowan, D. M. Lamb, Sir J. Q. Stanley, Maj. Hon. O. (W'morland)
Cranbourne, Viscount Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R. Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur
Crichton-Stuart, Lord C. Leighton, Major B. E. P. Stuart, J. C. (Moray and Nairn)
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Lewis, Oswald (Colchester) Sueter, Rear-Admiral M. F.
Crookshank, Capt, H. C. Llewellin, Major J. J. Tinne, J. A.
Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West) Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. Godfrey Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Cunliffe-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Long, Major Eric Turton, Robert Hugh
Dalkeith, Earl of Lymington, Viscount Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I. Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert
Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.) MacRobert, Rt. Hon. Alexander M. Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Dawson, Sir Philip Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham) Wells, Sydney R.
Dixey, A. C. Makins, Brigadier-General E. Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Duckworth, G. A. V. Margesson, Captain H. D. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Dugdale, Capt. T. L. Mason, Colonel Glyn K. Womersley, W. J.
Edmondson, Major A. J. Meller, R. J. Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Elliot, Major Walter E. Mitchell-Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton
Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s. M.) Mond, Hon. Henry
Everard, W. Lindsay Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Ferguson, Sir John Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr) Captain Wallace and Sir Victor
Fermoy, Lord Morrison, Hugh (Wilts, Salisbury) Warrender.

Question put, accordingly, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

The House divided: Ayes, 290; Noes, 159.

Division No. 93.] AYES. [9.42 p.m.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigle M. Alpass, J. H.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V.(Hillsbro') Ammon, Charles George
Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher Allen, W. E. D. (Belfast, W.) Angell, Norman
Arnott, John Grundy, Thomas W. Montague, Frederick
Aske, Sir Robert Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton) Morgan, Dr. H. B.
Attlee, Clement Richard Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Morley, Ralph
Ayles, Walter Hall, Capt. W. P. (Portsmouth, C.) Morrison, Herbert (Hackney, South)
Baker, John (Wolverhampton, Bilston) Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn) Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.)
Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley) Harbison, T. J. Mort, D. L.
Barnes, Alfred John Harbord, A. Moses, J. J. H.
Barr, James Hardie, George D. Mosley, Lady C. (Stoke-on-Trent)
Batey, Joseph Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon Mosley, Sir Oswald (Smethwick)
Beckett, John (Camberwell, Peckham) Hastings, Dr. Somerville Muff, G.
Bellamy, Albert Haycock, A. W. Muggeridge, H. T.
Benn, Rt. Hon. Wedgwood Hayday, Arthur Murnin, Hugh
Bennett, Captain E. N. (Cardiff, Central) Hayes, John Henry Naylor, T. E.
Bennett, William (Battersea, South) Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow) Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)
Benson, G. Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield) Noel Baker, P. J.
Bentham, Dr. Ethel Herriotts, J. Oldfield, J. R.
Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale) Hirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworth) Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)
Blindell, James Hirst, W. (Bradford, South) Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)
Bondfield, Rt. Hon. Margaret Hoffman, P. C. Owen, Major G. (Carnarvon)
Bowen, J. W. Hollins, A. Palin, John Henry
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Hopkin, Daniel Palmer, E. T.
Broad, Francis Alfred Horrabin, J. F. Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)
Brockway, A. Fenner Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield) Perry, S. F.
Bromfield, William Hunter, Dr. Joseph Peters, Dr. Sidney John
Brooke, W. Hutchison, Maj.-Gen. Sir R. Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.
Brothers, M. Isaacs, George Phillips, Dr. Marion
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Picton-Turbervill, Edith
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) John, William (Rhondda, West) Pole, Major D. G.
Brown, W. J. (Wolverhampton, West) Jones, F. Llewellyn- (Flint) Ponsonby, Arthur
Buchanan, G. Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Potts, John S.
Burgess, F. G. Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Price, M. P.
Burgin, Dr. E. L. Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd) Pybus, Percy John
Buxton, C. R. (Yorks, W. R. Elland) Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W. Quibell, D. J. K.
Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel (Norfolk, N.) Kedward, R. M. (Kent, Ashford) Ramsay, T. B. Wilson
Calne, Derwent Hall- Kelly, W. T. Raynes, W. R.
Cameron, A. G. Kennedy, Thomas Richards, R.
Cape, Thomas Kinley, J. Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)
Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S.W.) Kirkwood, D. Riley, Ben (Dewsbury)
Charleton, H. C. Knight, Holford Riley, F. F. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Chater, Daniel Lang, Gordon Ritson, J.
Church, Major A. G. Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)
Clarke, J. S. Lathan, G. Romeril, H. G.
Cluse, W. S. Law, Albert (Bolton) Rosbotham, D. S. T.
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R. Law, A. (Rosendale) Rowson, Guy
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Lawrence, Susan Salter, Dr. Alfred
Compton, Joseph Lawrie, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge) Samuel, H. W. (Swansea, West)
Cove, William G. Lawson, John James Sanders, W. S.
Cowan, D. M. Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle) Sandham, E.
Daggar, George Leach, W. Sawyer, G. F.
Dallas, George Lee, Frank (Derby, N.E.) Scott, James
Dalton, Hugh Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern) Scrymgeour, E.
Davies, E. C. (Montgomery) Lees, J. Scurr, John
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Lewis, T. (Southampton) Sexton, James
Denman, Hon. R. D. Lindley, Fred W. Shepherd, Arthur Lewis
Devlin, Joseph Lloyd, C. Ellis Sherwood, G. H.
Dickson, T. Longbottom, A. W. Shield, George William
Dudgeon, Major C. R. Longden, F Shiels, Dr. Drummond
Dukes, C. Lovat-Fraser, J. A. Shillaker, J. F.
Duncan, Charles Lowth, Thomas Shinwell, E.
Ede, James Chuter Lunn, William Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Edge, Sir William Macdonald, Gordon (Ince) Simmons, C. J.
Edmunds, J. E. MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham) Simon, E. D. (Manch'ter, Withington)
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) McElwee, A. Sinkinson, George
Edwards, E. (Morpeth) McEntee, V. L. Smith, Alfred (Sunderland)
Egan, W. H. Mackinder, W. Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)
Elmley, Viscount McKinlay, A. Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)
Forgan, Dr. Robert MacLaren, Andrew Smith, Rennle (Penistone)
Freeman, Peter Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan) Smith, Tom (Pontefract)
Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton) MacNeill-Weir, L. Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, N.) Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I. Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)
George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) McShane, John James Sorensen, R.
Gibbins, Joseph Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton) Spero, Dr. G. E.
Gill, T. H. Mander, Geoffrey le M. Stamford, Thomas W.
Glassey, A. E. Mansfield, W. Stephen, Campbell
Gosling, Harry Marcus, M. Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Gossling, A. G. Markham, S. F. Strachey, E. J. St. Loe
Gould, F. Marley, J. Strauss, G. R.
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Mathers, George Sullivan, J.
Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.) Matters, L. W. Sutton, J. E.
Gray, Milner Maxton, James Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S.W.)
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Colne) Melville, Sir James Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Middleton, G. Tillett, Ben
Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.) Millar, J. D. Tinker, John Joseph
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Mills, J. E. Toole, Joseph
Groves, Thomas E. Milner, J. Tout, W. J.
Townend, A. E. Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda) Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Wellock, Wilfred Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Turner, B. Welsh, James (Paisley) Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Vaughan, D. J. Welsh, James C. (Coatbridge) Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Viant, S. P. West, F. R. Winterton, G. E. (Leicester, Loughb'gh)
Walker, J. Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J. Wright, W. (Rutherglen)
Wallhead, Richard C. Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood) Young, R. S. (Islington, North)
Watkins, F. C. Whiteley, William (Blaydon)
Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline). Wilkinson, Ellen C. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Mr. B. Smith and Mr. Paling.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Fison, F. G. Clavering Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive
Ainsworth, Lieut.-Col. Charles Foot, Isaac Muirhead, A. J.
Albery, Irving James Galbraith, J. F. W. Nicholson, O. (Westminster)
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Ganzoni, Sir John Oman, Sir Charles William C.
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover) Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton O'Neill, Sir H.
Astor, Viscountess Gibson, C. G. (Pudsey & Otley) Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William
Atholl, Duchess of Glyn, Major R. G. C. Peake, Capt. Osbert
Baillie-Hamilton, Hon. Charles W. Gower, Sir Robert Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)
Balfour, Captain H. H. (I. of Thanet) Grace, John Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Balniel, Lord Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.) Power, Sir John Cecil
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter Pownall, Sir Assheton
Beaumont, M. W. Greene, W. P. Crawford Purbrick, R.
Bevan, S. J. (Holborn) Gunston, Captain D. W. Ramsbotham, H.
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H. Reid, David D. (County Down)
Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Remer, John R.
Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W. Hartington, Marquess of Rentoul, Sir Gervais S.
Bracken, B. Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)
Brass, Captain Sir William Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley) Ross, Major Ronald D.
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham) Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y) Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J. Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Buckingham, Sir H. Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G. Salmon, Major I.
Burton, Colonel H. W. Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar) Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Butler, R. A. Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K. Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Carver, Major W. H. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City) Hunter-Weston, Lt. Gen. Sir Aylmer Savery, S. S.
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.) Hurd, Percy A. Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome
Christie, J. A. Hurst, Sir Gerald B. Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George Iveagh, Countess of Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Cohen, Major J. Brunel James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Colfox, Major William Philip Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton) Smithers, Waldron
Colman, N. C. D. Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Camborne) Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Colville, Major D. J. Kindersley, Major G. M. Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)
Conway, Sir W. Martin King, Commodore Rt. Horn Henry D. Southby, Commander A. R. J.
Courtauld, Major J. S. Knox, Sir Alfred Spender-Clay, Colonel H.
Cranbourne, Viscount Lamb, Sir J. Q. Stanley, Maj. Hon. O. (W'morland)
Crichton-Stuart, Lord C. Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R. Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Leighton, Major B. E. P. Stuart, J. C. (Moray and Nairn)
Crookshank, Capt. H. C. Lewis, Oswald (Colchester) Sueter, Rear-Admiral M. F.
Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West) Llewellin, Major J. J. Tinne, J. A.
Cunliffe-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. Godfrey Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Dalkeith, Earl of Long, Major Eric Turton, Robert Hugh
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Lymington, Viscount Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon
Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.) MacRobert, Rt. Hon. Alexander M. Wallace, Capt. D. E. (Hornsey)
Dawson, Sir Philip Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham) Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert
Dixey, A. C. Makins, Brigadier-General E. Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Duckworth, G. A. V. Margesson, Captain H. D. Wells, Sydney R.
Dugdale, Capt. T. L. Mason, Colonel Glyn K. Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Edmondson, Major A. J. Meller, R. J. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Elliot, Major Walter E. Mitchell-Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Womersley, W. J.
Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.M.) Mond, Hon. Henry Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Everard, W. Lindsay Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B. Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton
Ferguson, Sir John Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)
Fermoy, Lord Morrison, Hugh (Wilts, Salisbury) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Fielden, E. B. Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester) Sir George Penny and Sir Victor
Captain BOURNE

I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed new Clause, in line 1, after the word "benefit," to insert the words— by an insured person who has attained the age of eighteen. This Clause has been described as the genuinely waiting for work Clause, and whatever may be our views about adults I think it will be admitted on all sides of the House that if there is one class of the population rather than another whom we do not wish to encourage to draw and spend money they have not earned it is these young people, many of whom are being brought into unemployment insurance for the first time under this Bill. I also wish to have an explanation from the right hon. Lady as to how she reconciles the proposed new Clause with Clause 11 which was inserted in the Bill during the Committee stage. Clause 11 provides that persons under 18 shall attend training centres, and it also provides that the insurance officer shall give to these unemployed juveniles instructions in writing to attend, and if they do not obey those instructions they shall be disqualified from benefit. It seems to me that there is a difficulty in reconciling those words with the words of the new Clause. If it is proved by an officer of the Ministry of Labour that a claimant has without good cause refused or failed to carry out any written directions given to him by an officer of an Employment Exchange with a view to assisting him to find suitable employment. I think it is difficult to argue that instructions to attend a training centre are the same as instructions given with a view to finding suitable employment, and I feel strongly that if we are to make the provision of training for unemployed juveniles as proposed under this unemployment insurance scheme, a success, we should at least give separate treatment to those juveniles who attend training centres, because nothing is worse for them than loafing about on money which they have not earned. That is exactly the point which was put by the right hon. Lady when she herself moved the new Clause which is now in the Bill to provide that training should be given wherever possible. But I am very doubtful as to how this Clause, as far as juveniles are concerned, can be reconciled with Clause 11. My main anxiety is to see that nothing is put into this Clause which will make the conditions in Clause 11 inoperative.

Commander WILLIAMS

I beg to second the Amendment.

I would like to point out that as the training centres develop, as we all hope they will, these juveniles will have a great advantage over those who have gone forward into insurance, and I think this Amendment may be helpful as an encouragement to the training centres in their operations.


I cannot for the life of me see that there is the slightest inconsistency between the proposal laid down in Clauses 1 and 11 of the Bill and the Clause to which we have just assented. The intention, obviously, is that those who are in receipt of benefit, those who are under what we call the juvenile Clauses of the Bill, will naturally come under this Clause governing the operation of the Exchange. In any case, the training centre may very properly be and probably will be, the quickest doorway through which they can get into permanent employment, and I am sure that the hon. and gallant Member for Oxford (Captain Bourne) will not press the Amendment.


The right hon. Lady has waived this Amendment aside much too easily. If she will read the new Clause and Clause 11, she will find that they are quite inconsistent. May I remind the right hon. Lady what Clause 11 does. It says that in a case where the insured person is under 18, it shall be the duty of the Minister, if there is an approved course of instruction … to cause notice in writing in the prescribed form to be given to him … and if he fails without good cause to attend the course, he will be disqualified from the receipt of benefit. That is a perfectly fair statement. If the young person is out of work, the Minister's representative gives him notice in writing that there is a course of instruction which he should and could attend, and that, if he does not, he will receive no benefit. That may be the governing condition, and it is indeed what the House as a whole desires to be done with the young person, but in the new Clause to which we have just given a Second Reading, is an entirely different set of circumstances. In the case of a claimant under that Clause, it has to be proved by an officer of the Ministry of Labour that an offer of a job is open to him, and in certain circumstances given in writing, and so forth. It has nothing to do with courses of instruction at all. All that my hon. Friends are anxious to see is that the course of instruction shall be the governing condition, and I think that is what the hon. Lady wishes. It is quite simple to insert words to keep young persons out of the operation of the new Clause. We can safely do this for young persons on the ground that there is very little juvenile unemployment, and, judging from the reports which have been published in connection with this Bill, there is likely to be less. Further, the transitional provisions, which ease the operation of the 30 contributions, does not apply to these persons. Therefore, we get a second corroboration of the fact that there will be very little unemployment in the category with which we are dealing. We want to thin down that small amount of unemployment to those for whom it shall be a condition that they shall be given a course of instruction. It seems perfectly clear that the only way to make the Clause absolutely watertight from the point of view of such claims is to insert this Amendment.

10.0 p.m.


I am sorry that the right hon. Lady so quickly gave the stereotyped answer to this Amendment, because there is a distinct danger here that we are liable to miss what we all want to do. We have had an interesting Debate on the Second Reading of the Clause, and we have been gratified to feel that all quarters of the House have been unanimous on this question of being able to provide technical or similar training for the young people. The right hon. Lady said, in her very brief reply, that one of the things to which she looked for ward was that the instruction centres would be an immediate gateway to employment, but there is a case that they may become a gateway to unemployment, and we want to avoid that danger. What is in her mind is that there may be certain cases in which there is not at present provision for one of these technical schools or juvenile training centres, and that therefore the juveniles may fall between two stools. If that be the case, it will be an infinitesimal number, be cause the statisticians show us that the number of juveniles likely to be affected by the Clause will be gradually smaller in future. Therefore, those who will not be able to go to the juvenile training centres, which we have every confidence that the right hon. Lady and her extremely silent colleague, the President of the Board of Education, are likely to provide in increasing numbers, will be very small in number. I urge the right hon. Lady to consider whether it is right to say that these two parts are not mutually antipathetic, and to consider whether there is not a good deal more truth than poetry in the suggestion of this Amendment. If she merely negatives it, we shall find that in our endeavours to be success ful in dealing with juvenile unemploy- ment, and guiding it into the channel of juvenile instruction and training for future non-juvenile employment, we have rather discounted what we hoped would be a successful scheme.

Lieut.-Colonel HENEAGE

I should like to appeal to the right hon. Lady's better nature, because this is a very simple matter, and it is what she really wishes. She has explained that there is nothing incompatible between Clauses 1 and 11, and this new Clause. This Amendment makes it perfectly straightforward, and if it is not put in, what is the situation? We are faced with the idea that she does not mean to go on with the educational facilities given in Clause That would be a most unfortunate attitude for her to take up. Does she really mean that Clause 11 will be a dead letter, and that the children are to go straight on to the "dole"? If this Clause remains with its present wording, there is nothing to prevent a child up to the age of 18 going on to the "dole" and not getting any training at all. Therefore, I suggest that in her own interest and in the interest of the party and of the Liberal party, she should accept the very simple words which will make the meaning perfectly clear. She and her Leader asked that we should become a Council of State, and we are actually assisting her in that function in moving this Amendment. It will save the time of the House if she accepts it.


Are we not to have a reply from the Government? I know the Minister of Labour has exhausted her right to speak, but surely the Parliamentary Secretary can reply to this very reasonable and moderate Amendment. If it is a question of the training centres not being sufficiently organised or in sufficient numbers, it would be a great convenience to have the presence of the Minister of Education, though I suppose it is almost too much to expect him to condescend to attend, and if he cannot be prevailed upon to attend to this particular side of his job, surely some other representative of the Government Front Bench might consult him to discover what the position is. Surely, too, we have a right to expect that pressure shall be exerted on the Government by the leader of the Labour party who sits for Bridge ton (Mr. Maxton). He is never tired of telling us of his sympathy with all sorts of unfortunate people, and there can be no section of the community more worthy of his sympathy or more deserving of his regard than unemployed boys and girls. Therefore, I should have expected him to join us on this occasion. He has very rarely agreed with us in the past, but even he might be prevailed upon to see the worth of this particular Amendment. I appeal from the Government Front Bench to the leaders of the Government on the back benches to assist us to press forward this cause which we have so much at heart.


It can be scarcely necessary for us to spend much time over this matter, especially as we have so much other business to get through. The effect of this Amendment would be to reestablish for young people under 18 the test as to their "not genuinely seeking work." It is true that the test of attending a training school is to be applied to those for whom training is available, and though, as the hon. Member for Montgomeryshire (Mr. Davies) pointed out, there may be one or two youths or girls for whom training is not available, the fact remains that the result of accepting this Amendment would be that while the vast majority of the House have agreed that the "not genuinely seeking work" test must be abolished, it would be left in operation for those under 18. Therefore, we refuse this Amendment as being very unfair to those boys and girls.


I think the explanation we have heard cannot satisfy the House. It is seldom I take part in Debates, hut I must intervene when I see the state of affairs at which we have arrived as the result of withdrawing the original Clause and presenting the new one. The proposal that young people should be eligible for unemployment benefit without any necessity to undergo training has raised a storm of indignation throughout the country for which it is very difficult to find a comparison. If the hon. Lady realised the feeling in the country she would have been careful in drafting the Clause to exclude the possibility of what has occurred. I think the explanation given by the Parliamentary Secretary was a very poor one.


Although I am not in favour of the Amendment I think the Parliamentary Secretary has unwittingly misled the House, because in the Third Schedule of this Bill the words "genuinely seeking work" are repealed. They will not remain in existence when this Bill is passed. Though the Amendment would not prevent young people from seeking employment of their own accord, it is not the fact that they would be subject to the requirement as to "genuinely seeking work," because that will be repealed.


I would like to add a word in favour of this Amendment. I do not think the explanation of the Parliamentary Secretary was at all adequate. He said the objection to the Amendment was that it perpetuated in the case of young persons under 18 the expression "genuinely seeking work." Personally, I wish to maintain that phrase in connection with those young people. The Bill will create in their minds the impression that they are the dependants of the State. There will be very little unemployment amongst them, and I think it is an excellent thing that the onus of finding work should be placed upon them and not on the insurance officer. The feeling of independence which this Bill will tend to destroy ought to be fostered as much as possible amongst young people.

Amendment negatived.


I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed new Clause, in line 1, to leave out from the word "benefit," to the word "he," in line 12, and to insert instead thereof the words: the claimant fails to prove that he is making every reasonable effort to obtain employment suited to his capacities and is willing to accept such employment. It may have dawned on the House that these are the very words which were inserted by the Minister of Labour in the last Labour Government. They are in the Unemployment Insurance Act (No. 2) of 1924, Section 1 (3, d). We on this side of the House set some little store on this Amendment, because if we are to scrap One scheme we ought to be certain that what we set up in its place will be a better one, and we have considerable doubts about the proposal before us. I cannot help thinking that the Liberal party ought to support this Amendment, because they always go for simplicity. The simple form of words used by the hon. Member for West Nottingham (Mr. Hayday) in Thursday's Debate were applauded by the Liberal party because of their simplicity. What could be simpler than these words? Extraordinary efforts have been made to find some suitable form of words to deal with the question of "not genuinely seeking work." It may be said that in moving this Amendment we have gone round in a complete circle, and that the words I have just read out are to a great extent the same as the old words not genuinely seeking work."

We are told that these words are incapable of being carried out, but I refuse to believe that, and I hope to show later what I mean. For instance, in law, it is no use saying that you cannot understand the state of a man's mind, because you will find in law such words as "intent" "fraudulently" and "negligently," each of which involves an inquiry into the state of a man's mind. Let hon. Members just follow this circle for a moment. First of all, take the phrase "not genuinely seeking work." When hon. Members opposite were in opposition they declared that the phrase "not genuinely seeking work" led to all kinds of administrative persecution. We also heard statements from the present Secretary of State for War, who was Minister of Labour in the last Labour Government, to the effect that the trouble about those words was that they were capable of being twisted. That does not necessarily prove that the insertion of these words is wrong, but that the administration was wrong, and consequently it is the administration that we must go for, and not attempt by inserting new words to alter the whole thing. After coming to the conclusion that the phrase "not genuinely seeking work" was not right, the Blanesburgh Committee was appointed, and it is interesting to note that when they issued their Report that Committee agreed that the words" not genuinely seeking work "should remain as they were. On page 47 of the Blanesburgh Report, the Committee state: We suggest that among the statutory conditions for the receipt of benefit. a fuller definition of the phrase genuinely seeking work should be made. A little further on the Report says: This definition would be in keeping with the policy at present followed by the Umpire, of which, if we may say so, we entirely agree. Those words were agreed to and signed by the present Minister of Labour. When the present Government conic into office, they appointed what is known as the Morris Committee which made some definite recommendations, and they put forward three conditions to be substituted for the old form of words. In the first place, they laid down the condition that a man knew that work was available; secondly, that he ought to have known; and, thirdly, that suitable work in his ordinary occupation was there, and he did not take it. The Government tried to carry out the recommendations of the Morris Committee, and they put them into the original Clause 4 of this Bill, but they were routed last Thursday and those words were taken out. This proves that it is utterly impossible to find any form of words to cover each specific case. Therefore, we must have a very general formula and concentrate on the administration.

I remember that last Thursday, when the original Clause 4 came up for discussion, many hon. Members on this side of the House argued that it was impossible to work, and, therefore, wanted to put in a time limit of 15 months. It turned out that three hours was quite long enough for that particular Clause to last, and I should not be surprised if the Clause which we are discussing will prove to be quite as unworkable. You must put down something which indicates that a man shall be entitled to benefit if he cannot get work, in spite of making every effort to do so, and that, I think, is covered better by the original form of words in the Act of 1924 than by the present Bill. The rest is purely administration. It was shown earlier in the Debate how impossible some of the Clauses are. The finest literature against the present suggestion of the Government is their own White Paper. The paragraph which was quoted by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth (Sir A. Steel-Maitland) as regards married men in itself damns the whole proposal. Paragraph 9 speaks of a considerable group of new claimants consisting of persons who, so to speak, are not really in the market as competitors for employment, but may hold themselves out as such if they are thereby enabled to qualify for benefit. That proves already that the Clause on the Paper is completely impossible as regards administration. There is another reason why we wish to go back to something wider, and at the same time to alter the administration. Under the present system the idea is that the Employment Exchanges, or someone else, will have definitely to offer the man a job, and it seems to me that the following will happen. Obviously, you cannot offer to an employer who wants labour simply one man, and say that he must take him; you must offer the employer a number of men for that one job, and he takes the one whom he thinks most suitable. As everyone knows, there is a number of people who may be described as the residue of the labour market, who for some reason or other, although they may want work, will never be able to get it; and it seems to me that under this present Clause these men, who probably are inefficient—nothing more than that—will be able to draw benefit for the rest of their lives. I fail to see anything in the Clause which will prevent that, and I cannot believe that that is the idea of an Insurance Bill. As I have said again and again when I have spoken on this Bill, you cannot fit a relief scheme into an Insurance Bill.

One more point is that the onus must, in my opinion, still be placed on the man. It is utterly impossible otherwise for the Employment Exchange to deal with the man. I do not want again to quote from the Report, but it shows how few vacancies are filled at the present time from the Employment Exchanges. The right hon. Lady herself said that she hoped that the placing side would be very much developed, and I quite agree. She said that she hoped that Members in all quarters of the House would assist her in seeing as far as possible that this was done, and I can assure her that, while we on this side are trying to amend this Clause, and not to defeat it, if it ultimately becomes law we shall certainly try our best to see that it does not break down by our throwing -sand into the machine. We shall try to make it work as well as it can, but we do not believe that it can possibly work in the circumstances. The White Paper states that 20 per cent. only of the vacancies which arise in insurable employment are filled through the Employment Exchanges, and, again, that for any immediate date it can scarcely be assumed that more than one-third, or even perhaps one-quarter, of the vacancies would be so notified. In other words, it seems to be utterly impossible for the Exchanges as they are at the present moment to work a Clause of this kind, which says that, unless a definite job is placed before a man, chiefly by means of the Exchange, the man himself need not necessarily go and look for work, but can draw his benefit.

There is yet another reason why something much wider and simpler should be substituted. It seems to us extraordinary that the old Sub-section (3) has completely disappeared. The Attorney-General said that the words of the new Clause covered that—that a man who was offered a job in some other work than his own would be required to take it. But, if it was necessary to lay that down in the original Clause 4 in a separate Sub-section, it should still be necessary, and, if that be not so, it seems an additional reason why something wider should be included. For instance, there is at the present moment a number of people who are gradually getting unemployed through civilisation differing, and through differences in fashion. For instance, there cannot be very much employment at present in piano factories, because the number of pianos turned out is, I understand, very much smaller than used to be the case, and harness makers are gradually going out of work. All this must be covered in some way so that a man shall go into some other industry at once if there is no employment going in his own industry. Let me quote the words of the Attorney-General. Are we to legislate on the lines that these people should think that they need do nothing themselves; that they should wait at home, sit down, smoke their pipes and wait until an offer comes to them? On the other hand, are we by our legislation to give effect to the principle that just as God helps those who help themselves, so we want to encourage in every way we can the spirit amongst these unhappy people that they must help themselves and not rely solely on what others can do for them? "—OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th December, 1929; col. 2687, Vol. 232.] I believe those words of the Attorney-General will become just as famous as those of the Minister of War about rabbits. I believe that the Clause is unworkable and that the onus should be placed on the man, and finally I believe simplicity is absolutely essential and that the matter should be dealt with by some such words as these, by altering the administration of the Act and not the the wording, and for that reason I move the Amendment.

Captain BOURNE

I beg to second the Amendment.

I was very interested in listening in the earlier stage of the Debate to the hon. Member for West Nottingham (Mr. Hayday), who seemed to imply that, whereas under a trade union insurance scheme it was perfectly legitimate to impose the onus of proof upon the claimant, under a scheme in which the State pays a part of the contribution the entire onus of proof should be upon the State. I do not believe that is possible. What is more, the hon. Member urged that we should be generous. I want to point out at whose expense we are being generous. First of all, let us disabuse ourselves of the idea that we are being generous at the expense of the State. We are not. The people at whose expense we are being generous are the ordinary contributors to the scheme, the men—there are plenty of them in England—who are employed normally for most of the year, but, possibly owing to seasonal conditions, possibly to a temporary accident in the works at which they are employed, are for a few weeks without a job, the 14,000,000 people who are mostly in employment and only very occasionally in unemployment. The vast majority of the claims are for very short periods and the vast majority of the people are in employment most of the time. They are contributors to the fund, and it is at the expense of them and their employers that we are attempting to be generous. For that reason alone, I believe that the Clause is totally unworkable, and I, therefore, support the Amendment.


This Debate has lasted for something like five hours, and, of course, we can go on for another five hours, but I do not intend to follow the hon. Gentleman in respect to the general purposes of the Debate. It is clear that what the Amendment seeks to do is once more to place the onus of proof upon the claimant. Whatever else there may be a difference of opinion about, I do not think that there can be any difference of opinion in respect to the simple fact that this is an Amendment to alter a very decisive Clause. There is not a Member in this House who has had experience of the working of the Unemployment Insurance Acts during the last two years who does not realise that the onus of proof upon the claimant is so great that he is expected to discover work in places where everybody knows there is no work. This onus of proof has been condemned by Members of every party. If I wished to continue this Debate, I could remind hon. Members of the experiences of placing the onus of proof upon the men. I do not intend to go into this matter at any length, and I therefore only wish to say that the Government certainly cannot accept this Amendment in view of the nature of the Debate and the attitude taken up on this Clause.


I think that the hon. Gentleman has been very cavalier in his treatment of the serious Amendment which has been proposed by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Oxford (Captain Bourne), when he said—it is about the only thing he did say—that he was surprised that anybody thought that it was a good thing to put the onus on the claimant. I am simply amazed that he should be a Parliamentary Secretary of that type and be surprised at anybody holding that view. My hon. and gallant Friend explained the actual words in this Amendment, and the words we seek to insert, are taken from the Act of 1924.


Is it Numbers or Revelation?


I note that when these very words were under discussion, the hon. Gentleman the Member for Camlachie (Mr. Stephen) moved their deletion. He was supported in that action by the usual number of friends who surround him. On that occasion, their onslaught upon the Front Bench was not so successful as that of last week. The present Secretary of State for War, in resisting that Amendment and in asking that these words should be kept in, said: It is proposed to delete a paragraph which provides that a man under certain circumstances, having received benefit for a considerable time in proportion to his contributions, must show that he is making every reasonable effort to obtain employment suitable to his capacity, and that he is willing to accept such employment. Surely there is nothing wrong in that re- quirement …. I think that is a perfectly reasonable condition to make. Where is there a society of any kind whatever where the onus of proof does not lie upon the man making the application? I know before a trade unionist gets his benefit he has to prove that he is entitled. I am not willing that the benefits of the Fund should be given to a man whether he is entitled to them or not. That was the then Minister of Labour. What is more, he was so successful in the exposition and explanation of the arguments in defence of the Clause that the hon. Gentleman the Member for Camlachie asked leave to withdraw the Amendment, and that was done.


But the hon. and gallant Member did not point out that the previous Minister of Labour intimated that he would see that the administration was made very generous in dealing with those cases, and now we have had the experience that even generous administration has not been sufficient to allow people to get the benefit which they should get, and we are simply profiting from our experience.


I have not the time, and the House would not wish me, to read through the speech of the Secretary of State for War to find out whether he said that, but my eye has caught this statement: Neither am I prepared to accept the accusation so often made that local Committees use their functions for the purpose of depriving people of their benefit who are genuinely entitled to it."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th July, 1924; cols. 2324–2325, Vol. 175.] The Parliamentary Secretary said that he was surprised that anybody should take the view that the onus should be on the claimant. I have read the view of the Secretary of State for War, which was made at the time when he was Minister of Labour. That view has been thrown over. We have the same line of argument taken by the present Minister of Labour. As she knows perfectly well, she has often had to refresh her memory in regard to the Blanesburgh Report, that was one of the fundamental principles which she and her colleagues on that Committee adopted, The line they took was that the scheme was not an out-of-work donation scheme, that you had to keep the insurance principle in it, and that it was necessary in order to do that that the claimant should have placed upon him the onus of proving that he was trying to get work. That has been thrown over. My hon. and gallant Friend has quoted the Attorney-General. He has been thrown over too. Before he was thrown over we had the throwing over of the Secretary of State for War, and we have had the Minister of Labour throwing herself over in the Blanesburgh Report. Then we have the extraordinary spectacle that she asked a specially appointed Committee to investigate this very problem, and they reported. The Morris Committee, on page 20 of their Report, paragraph 41, definitely stated the same principle that we are trying to maintain. This is the Committee which the Minister of Labour herself asked to investigate the problem. They said: It is generally conceded that in a scheme of insurance against unemployment, benefit should only be paid to those people covered by the scheme who desire to obtain employment, and that it is right to include some requirement that those who are unemployed shall make reasonable effort to obtain employment. The Report further states: The claimant should be required to prove that he has made reasonable efforts by the usual means to obtain such suitable work as may be available. That is the same principle. The Minister of Labour cannot allow the Parliamentary Secretary to say that he is surprised that anybody should hold that view, because that view is expressed by the Committee which she appointed and it is their considered opinion.


It is not a unanimous Report.


Then we have the Attorney-General, who has been thrown over. My hon. and gallant Friend quoted a phrase from his speech, but I think there was a stronger phrase which was used by the Attorney-General last week, which indicated agreement with the Committee on this principle, the holding of which opinion gives surprise to the Parliamentary Secretary. I think that every Member of the Committee will agree that it is a sound principle to lay down that you must expect from all these men an endeavour to help themselves, and an endeavour to do what they can to remedy their own situation, and not merely rely upon what can be done for them"— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th December, 1929; col. 2687, Vol. 232.]


Hear, hear!


Then we are still agreed about that. But the point is that we have put words into the new Clause which do not make that an essential condition. These are four different authorities which have been deliberately thrown overboard by the right hon. Lady. We are asking that certain words shall be inserted and that certain words shall be taken out. I object to the phrase "or other recognised agency." It is far too vague and may cover a great many things which I am not sure that it is meant to cover. Then we have the expression" without good cause refused," which I fear will lead to considerable difficulty. We do not explain what kind of "cause" we have in mind. Then object to the words "written directions." I see the point of having written directions, but when I was in the Army one of the most tiresome things we had to contend with when we wanted to get things done in a hurry was that we had to have written directions; and I do not want to enlarge the sphere of "written directions" at all. I would sweep away all these words and insert the perfectly simple words of the previous Act. The difficulty the right hon. Lady will find in administering this new Clause is its enormous length. What we want is something as clear as you can get, in words which you can explain to any man or woman; but if you get someone claiming benefit and you have to read out something from an Act of Parliament which covers 22 lines it is only going to befog the unfortunate claimant. When the Conservative party moved their reasoned Amendment on the Second Reading of this Bill one of the objections they took was that it is calculated to produce administrative confusion by the vague and unsatisfactory nature of its tests as to whether an applicant for benefit is seeking employment."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st November, 1929; 753. Vol. 232.] If that was true of the earlier proposal in regard to an applicant seeking employment it is still more true in the case of an Employment Exchange offering him a job. If we had had any idea that a Clause like this would be proposed I am sure we should have put in our reasoned Amendment words far stronger than we did.

May I ask the right hon. Lady to tell us what objection she finds to the words of the proposed Amendment to the Clause. I really should like her to apply her mind to the problem. We are trying to get the best form of words we can devise for a very difficult position with regard to those who claim unemployment benefit, and it is no good saying that because this puts the onus on the claimant and the first proposal did not that therefore it is automatically wrong. I should like the right hon. Lady to tell us what objection she has to these form of words. They are not very dissimilar to the form of words which relate to a certain number of trade unions; and she has only to refer to the speech the right hon. Member for Lewisham (Sir A. Pownall) in which he quoted Rule 21 (b) of the South Wales Miners' Federation, which distinctly speaks of the executive council having to be satisfied that a bona fide endeavour was being made to obtain work. The trade unions may prefer the Latin. I prefer the plain English of the Amendment, but in actual practice they mean practically the same thing. I hope the right hon. Lady will, therefore, look upon this suggestion rather more favourably than the Parliamentary Secretary did.

If you put the onus back upon the claimant you are only continuing what has been the essential principle of unemployment insurance since 1911. Apart from the difficulties of administration which have proved themselves in the last few years, there has been no argument from anyone to show why that long-established principle should here and now be upset. I put this as a final consideration: In the White Paper which the Minister has mothered to-day—if I may use that expression—there is a phrase to the effect that the possibility should not be overlooked that the new Clause will have the effect of bringing into benefit certain other persons who cannot be foreseen at the moment. It mentions, for example, married women who have done little or no work since marriage, and seasonal workers during the off season. [Interruption.] I am merely quoting words for which the Minister herself is responsible.

Incidentally, I would like to say how much some of us deplore the attitude of some hon. Members opposite with regard to this White Paper. They have gone out of their way to attack what we know that certain officials of the Ministry have had to spend day and night in preparing in a great hurry for the use of hon. Members. It is most unfair for hon. Members opposite to attack those who cannot answer back. It is the Minister who is responsible for this White Paper. In it, it is stated that under the new Clause there will be brought in a great number of people who, a week ago, she would never have thought were likely to be brought in. That is a rough summary of the statement. It is also stated that the extra charge on the Exchequer next year as a result of this loosening of the words and of altering the onus of proof, will be something like £2,000,000. I am certain that if our alternative words had been accepted there would be no possibility of that.

Hon. Members opposite forget all the time that this is an Insurance Bill. In order to keep it within the confines of insurance we must see that there is no wasteful expenditure. My final reasons for asking the House to accept the Amendment are that the cost is £2,000,000

more than the Minister expected it would be last week, that in the year 1930–31 the Exchequer will have to find something like £26,500,000 for Unemployment Insurance; and that if the Minister looks back, as a matter of interest, to some of the national expenditure that used to be thought colossal before the War, she will find that this is a sum far in excess of the whole of the National Debt charges in the last year before the War, that it is almost the same as the cost of the Army before the War, and that it is half as much again as what the Exchequer had to pay for education in 1913–14. I suggest that the Minister might well ponder over these figures in the quiet moments which will succeed the passage of this Bill.




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, 285; Noes, 159.

Division No. 94.] AYES. [10.50 p.m.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Cameron, A. G. Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.)
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Cape, Thomas Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)
Addison, Rt. Hon. Or. Christopher Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S.W.) Groves, Thomas E.
Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigle M. Charleton, H. C. Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro') Chater, Daniel Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)
Alpass, J. H. Clarke, J. S. Hall, Capt. W. P. (Portsmouth, C.)
Ammon, Charles George Cluse, W. S. Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn)
Angell, Norman Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R. Harbord, A.
Arnott, John Compton, Joseph Hardle, George D.
Aske, Sir Robert Cove, William G. Harris, Percy A.
Attlee, Clement Richard Daggar, George Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon
Ayles, Walter Dallas, George Hastings, Dr. Somerville
Baker, John (Wolverhampton, Bilston) Dalton, Hugh Haycock, A. W.
Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley) Davies, E. C. (Montgomery) Hayday, Arthur
Barnes, Alfred John Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Hayes, John Henry
Barr, James Denman, Hon. R. D. Henderson, Arthur, junr. (Cardiff, S.)
Batey, Joseph Dudgeon, Major C. R. Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)
Beckett, John (Camberwell, Peckham) Dukes, C. Herriotts, J.
Bellamy, Albert Duncan, Charles Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)
Benn, Rt. Hon. Wedgwood Ede, James Chuter Hoffman, P. C.
Bennett, Captain E. N. (Cardiff, Central) Edmunds, J. E. Hollins, A.
Bennett, William (Battersea, South) Edwards, E. (Morpeth) Hopkin, Daniel
Benson, G. Egan, W. H. Hore-Bellsha, Leslie
Bentham, Dr. Ethel Elmiey, Viscount Horrabin, J. F.
Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale) Foot, Isaac Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)
Blinded, James Forgan, Dr. Robert Hunter, Dr. Joseph
Bondfield, Rt. Hon. Margaret Freeman, Peter Hutchison, Maj.-Gen. Sir R.
Bowen, J. W. Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton) Isaacs, George
Broad, Francis Alfred Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, N.) Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)
Brockway, A. Fenner George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) John, William (Rhondda, West)
Bromfield, William Gibbins, Joseph Jones, F. Llewellyn- (Flint)
Brooke, W. Gill, T. H. Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)
Brothers, M. Glassey, A. E. Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Camborne)
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Gosling, Harry Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Gossling, A. G. Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)
Brown, W. J. (Wolverhampton, West) Gould, F. Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.
Buchanan, G. Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A.
Burgess, F. G. Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.) Kedward, R. M. (Kent, Ashford)
Burgin, Dr. E. L. Granville, E. Kelly, W. T.
Buxton, C. R. (Yorks. W. R. Elland) Gray, Milner Kennedy, Thomas
Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel (Norfolk, N.) Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Colne) Kinley, J.
Caine, Derwent Hall. Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Kirkword, D.
Knight, Holford Muggeridge, H. T. Sinkinson, George
Lang, Gordon Murnin, Hugh Sitch, Charles H.
Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Naylor, T. E. Smith, Alfred (Sunderland)
Lathan, G. Noel Baker, P. J. Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Law, Albert (Bolton) Oldfield, J. R. Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)
Law, A. (Rosendale) Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston) Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)
Lawrence, Susan Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley) Smith, Rennie (Penistone)
Lawrie, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge) Owen, Major G. (Carnarvon) Smith, Tom (Pontefract)
Lawson, John James Owen, H. F. (Hereford) Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Lawther, W. (Barnard Cattle) Palin, John Henry Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)
Leach, W. Paling, Wilfrid Sorensen, R.
Lee, Frank (Derby, N. E.) Palmer, E. T. Spero, Dr. G. E.
Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern) Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan) Stamford, Thomas W.
Lees, J. Perry, S. F. Stephen, Campbell
Lewis, T. (Southampton) Peters, Dr. Sidney John Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Lindley, Fred W. Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Strachey, E. J. St. Loe
Lloyd, C. Ellis Phillips, Dr. Marion Strauss, G. R.
Longbottom, A. W. Picton-Turbervill, Edith Sullivan, J.
Longden, F. Pole, Major D. G. Sutton, J. E.
Lovat-Fraser, J. A. Ponsonby, Arthur Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S. W.)
Lowth, Thomas Potts, John S. Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)
Lunn, William Price, M. P. Tillett, Ben
MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham) Pybus, Percy John Tinker, John Joseph
McElwee, A. Qulbell, D. J. K. Toole, Joseph
McEntee, V. L. Ramsay, T. B. Wilson Tout, W. J.
Mackinder, W. Rathbone, Eleanor Townend, A. E.
McKinlay, A. Raynes, W. R. Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles
Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan) Richards, R. Turner, B.
MacNeill-Weir, L. Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Vaughan, D. J.
McShane, John James Riley, Ben (Dewsbury) Viant, S. P.
Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton) Riley, F. F. (Stockton-on-Tees) Walker, J.
Mander, Geoffrey le M. Ritson, J. Wallhead, Richard C.
Mansfield, W. Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich) Watkins, F. C.
Marcus, M. Romeril, H. G. Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Markham, S. F. Rosbotham, D. S. T, Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Marley, J. Rowson, Guy Weilock, Wilfred
Mathers, George Salter, Dr. Alfred Welsh, James (Paisley)
Matters, L. w. Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen) Welsh, James C. (Coatbridge)
Maxton, James Samuel, H. W. (Swansea, West) West, F. R.
Melville, Sir James Sanders, W. S. Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.
Messer, Fred Sandham, E. Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)
Middleton, G. Sawyer, G. F. Whiteley, William (Blaydon)
Millar, J. D. Scott, James Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Mills, J. E. Scrymgeour, E. Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Milner, J. Scurr, John Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
Morgan, Dr. H. B. Sexton, James Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Morley, Ralph Shepherd, Arthur Lewis Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Morrison, Herbert (Hackney, South) Sherwood, G. K. Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.) Shield, George William Winterton, G. E. (Leicester, Loughb'gh)
Mort, D. L. Shiels, Dr. Drummond Wood, Major McKenzie (Banff)
Moses, J. J. H. Shiliaker, J. F. Wright, W. (Rutherglen)
Mosley, Lady C. (Stoke-on-Trent) Shinwell, E.
Mosley, Sir Oswald (Smethwick) Short, Alfred (Wednesbury) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Muff, G. Simmons, C. J. Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr. T.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City) Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)
Alnsworth, Lieut.-Col. Charles Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth. S.) Everard, W. Lindsay
Albery, Irving James Cazalet, Captain Victor A. Ferguson, Sir John
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.) Fermoy, Lord
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover) Christie, J. A. Fielden, E. B.
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Fison, F. G. Clavering
Balfour, Captain H. H. (I. of Thanet) Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.
Balniel, Lord Colfox. Major William Philip Ganzoni, Sir John
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Colman, N. C. D. Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton
Beaumont, M. W. Colville, Major D. J. Gibson, C. G. (Pudsey & Otley)
Bevan, S. J. (Holborn) Conway, Sir W. Martin Glyn, Major R. G. C.
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Courtauld, Major J. S. Gower, Sir Robert
Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart Cranbourne, Viscount Grace, John
Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W. Crichton-Stuart, Lord C. Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)
Bracken, B. Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Greene, W. P. Crawford
Braithwaite, Major A. N. Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro) Gunston, Captain D. W.
Brass, Captain Sir William Croom-Johnson, R. P. Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham) Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West) Hammersley, S. S.
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y) Cunliffe-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry
Buckingham, Sir H. Dalkeith, Earl of Hartington, Marquess of
Burton, Colonel H. W. Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)
Butler, R. A. Dawson, Sir Philip Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxl'd, Henley)
Butt, Sir Alfred Duckworth, G. A. V. Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.
Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward Dugdale, Capt. T. L. Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.
Carver, Major W. H. Edmondson, Major A. J. Herbert, S. (York, N. R., Scar.& Wh'by)
Castle Stewart, Earl of Elliot, Major Walter E. Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.
Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Muirhead, A. J. Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer Nicholson, O. (Westminster) Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Iveagh, Countess of Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld) Smith-Carington, Neville W.
James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert Oman, Sir Charles William C. Smithers, Waldron
Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton) O'Neill, Sir H. Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Kindersley, Major G. M. Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)
King, Commodore Rt. Hon. Henry D. Peaks, Captain Osbert Southby, Commander A. R. J.
Knox, Sir Alfred Penny, Sir George Spender-Clay, Colonel H.
Lamb, Sir J. Q. Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings) Stanley, Maj. Hon. O. (W'morland)
Lane Fox, Rt. Hon. George R. Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple) Stuart, J. C. (Moray and Nairn)
Leighton, Major B. E. P. Power, Sir John Cecil Sueter, Rear-Admiral M. F.
Llewellin, Major J. J. Pownall, Sir Assheton Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur
Long, Major Eric Purbrick, R. Tinne, J. A.
Lymington, Viscount Ramsbotham, H. Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
MacRobert, Rt. Hon. Alexander M. Remer, John R. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham) Rentoul, Sir Gervals S. Turton, Robert Hugh
Makins, Brigadier-General E. Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall) Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon
Marjoribanks, E. C. Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert
Mason, Colonel Glyn K. Ross, Major Ronald D. Warrender, Sir Victor
Meller, R. J. Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A. Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Mitchell-Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Wells, Sydney R.
Mond, Hon. Henry Salmon, Major I. Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B. Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham) Windsor-Ciive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Moore, Sir Newton J. (Richmond) Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney) Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr) Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart Womersley, W. J.
Morrison, Hugh (Wilts, Salisbury) Savery, S. S.
Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester) Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive Skelton, A. N. Marquess of Titchfield and Captain

Question put accordingly, "That the words proposed to be left out to the word 'with,' in line 8, stand part of the Clause."

The House divided: Ayes, 288; Noes, 157.

Division No. 95.] AYES. [11.1 p.m.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Chater, Daniel Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn)
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Clarke, J. S. Harbord, A.
Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher Cluse, W. S. Hardle, George D.
Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigie M. Cocks, Frederick Seymour Harris, Percy A.
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro') Compton, Joseph Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon
Alpass, J. H. Cove, William G. Hastings, Dr. Somerville
Ammon, Charles George Daggar, George Haycock, A. W.
Angell, Norman Dallas, George Hayday, Arthur
Arnott, John Dalton, Hugh Hayes, John Henry
Aske, Sir Robert Davies, E. C. (Montgomery) Henderson, Arthur, junr. (Cardiff, S.)
Attlee, Clement Richard Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)
Ayles, Walter Denman, Hon. R. D. Herriotts, J.
Baker, John (Wolverhampton, Bilston) Dudgeon, Major C. R. Hirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworth)
Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley) Dukes, C. Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)
Barnes, Alfred John Duncan, Charles Hoffman, P. C.
Barr, James Ede, James Chuter Hollins, A.
Batey, Joseph Edmunds, J. E. Hopkin, Daniel
Beckett, John (Camberwell, Peckham) Edwards, E. (Morpeth) Hore-Belisha, Leslie.
Bellamy, Albert Egan, W. H. Horrabin, J. F.
Benn, Rt. Hon. Wedgwood Elmley, Viscount Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)
Bennett, Captain E. N. (Cardiff, Central) Foot, Isaac Hunter, Dr. Joseph
Bennett, William (Battersea, South) Forqan, Dr. Robert Hutchison, Maj.-Gen. Sir R.
Benson, G. Freeman, Peter Isaacs, George
Bentham, Dr. Ethel Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton) Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)
Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale) Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, N.) John, William (Rhondda, West)
Blindell, James George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) Jones, F. Llewellyn- (Flint)
Bondfield, Rt. Hon. Margaret George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesea) Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)
Bowen, J. W. Gibbins, Joseph Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Camborne)
Broad, Francis Alfred Gill, T. H. Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)
Brockway, A. Fenner Glassey, A. E. Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)
Bromfield, William Gosling, Harry Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.
Brooke, W. Gossling, A. G. Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A.
Brothers, M. Gould, F. Kedward, R. M. (Kent, Ashford)
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Kelly, W. T.
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.) Kennedy, Thomas
Brown, W. J. (Wolverhampton, West) Granville, E. Kinley, J.
Buchanan, G. Gray, Milner Kirkwood, D.
Burgess, F. G. Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Colne) Knight, Holford
Burgin, Dr. E. L. Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Lang, Gordon
Buxton, C. R. (Yorks, W. R. Elland) Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.) Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George
Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel (Norfolk, N.) Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Lathan, G.
Caine, Derwent Hall- Groves, Thomas E. Law, Albert (Bolton)
Cameron, A. G. Grundy, Thomas W. Law, A. (Rosendale)
Cape, Thomas Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton) Lawrence, Susan
Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S. W.) Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Lawrie, Hugh Hartley (Sta'ybridge)
Charleton, H. C. Hall, Capt. W. P. (Portsmouth, C.) Lawson, John James
Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle) Oldfield, J. R. Smith, Alfred (Sunderland)
Leach, W. Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston) Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Lee, Frank (Derby, N.E.) Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley) Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)
Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern) Owen, Major G. (Carnarvon) Smith, Rennie (Penistone)
Lees, J. Palin, John Henry Smith, Tom (Pontefract)
Lewis, T. (Southampton) Paling, Wilfrid Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Lindley, Fred W. Palmer, E. T. Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)
Lloyd, C. Ellis Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan) Sorensen, R.
Longbottom, A. W. Perry, S. F. Spero, Dr. G. E.
Longden, F. Peters, Dr. Sidney John Stamford, Thomas W.
Lovat-Fraser, J. A. Pethick- Lawrence, F. W. Stephen, Campbell
Lowth, Thomas Phillips, Dr. Marion Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Lunn, William Picton-Turbervill, Edith Strachey, E. J. St. Loe
MacDonald, Rt. Hon, J. R. (Seaham) Ponsonby, Arthur Strauss, G. R.
McElwee, A. Potts, John S. Sullivan, J.
McEntee, V. L. Price, M. P. Sutton, J. E.
Mackinder, W. Pybus, Percy John Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S.W.)
McKinlay, A. Quibell, D. J. K. Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)
Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan) Ramsay, T. B. Wilson Tinker, John Joseph
MacNeill-weir, L. Rathbone, Eleanor Toole, Joseph
McShane, John James Raynes, W. R. Tout, W. J.
Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton) Richards, R. Townend, A. E.
Mander, Geoffrey le M. Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles
Mansfield, W. Riley, Ben (Dewsbury) Turner, B.
Marcus, M. Riley, F. F. (Stockton-on-Tees) Vaughan, D. J.
Markham, S. F. Ritson, J. Viant, S. P.
Marley, J. Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich) Walker, J.
Mathers, George Romeril, H. G. Wellhead, Richard C.
Matters, L. w. Rosbotham, D. S. T. Watkins, F. C.
Maxton, James Rowson, Guy Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline).
Melville, Sir James Salter, Dr. Alfred Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Messer, Fred Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen) Wellock, Wilfred
Middleton, G. Samuel, H. W. (Swansea, West) Welsh, James (Paisley)
Millar, J. D. Sanders, W. s. Welsh, James C. (Coatbridge)
Mills, J. E. Sandham, E. West, F. R.
Milner, J. Sawyer, G. F. Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.
Morgan, Dr. H. B. Scott, James Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)
Morley, Ralph Scrymgeour, E. Whiteley, William (Blaydon)
Morrison, Herbert (Hackney, South) Scurr, John Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.) Sexton, James Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Mort, D. L. Shepherd, Arthur Lewis Williams Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)
Moses, J. J. H. Sherwood, G. H. Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Mosley, Lady C. (Stoke-on-Trant) Shield, George William Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attereliffe)
Mosley, Sir Oswald (Smethwick) Shiels, Dr. Drummond Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Muff, G. Shillaker, J. F. Winterton, G. E. (Leicester, Loughb'gh)
Muggeridge, H. T. Shinwell, E. Wood, Major McKenzie (Banff)
Murnin, Hugh Short, Alfred (Wednesbury) Wright, W. (Rutherglen)
Nathan, Major H. L. Simmons, C. J. Young, R. S. (Islington, North)
Naylor, T. E. Sinclair, Sir A. (Caithness)
Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter) Sinkinson, George TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Noel Baker, P. J. Sitch, Charles H. Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr. T.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.) Gibson, C. G. (Pudsey & Otley)
Alnsworth, Lieut.-Col. Charles Christie, J. A. Glyn, Major R. G. C.
Albery, Irving James Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Gower, Sir Robert
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George Grace, John
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover) Colfox, Major William Philip Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)
Astor, Viscountess Colman, N. C. D. Greene, W. P. Crawford
Atholl, Duchess of Conway, Sir W. Martin Gunston, Captain D. W.
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Courtauld, Major J. S. Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.
Balfour, Captain H. H. (I. of Thanet) Cranbourne, Viscount Hammersley, S. S.
Balniel, Lord Crichton-Stuart, Lord C. Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Hartington, Marquess of
Beaumont, M. W. Crookshank, Capt. H. C. Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)
Bevan, S. J. (Holborn) Croom-Johnson, R. P. Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West) Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.
Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart Cunliffe-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.
Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W. Dalkeith, Earl of Herbert, S. (York, N. R., Scar. & Wh'by)
Bracken, B. Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.
Braithwaite, Major A. N. Dawson, Sir Philip Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)
Brass, Captain Sir William Duckworth, G. A. V. Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham) Dugdale, Capt. T. L. Iveagh, Countess of
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y) Edmondson, Major A. J. James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert
Buckingham, Sir H. Elliot, Major Walter E. Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)
Burton, Colonel H. W. Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.) Kindersley, Major G. M.
Butler, R. A. Everard, W. Lindsay King, Commodore Rt. Hon. Henry D.
Butt, Sir Alfred Ferguson, Sir John Knox, Sir Alfred
Carver, Major W. H. Fielden, E. B. Lamb, Sir J. Q.
Castle Stewart, Earl of Fison, F. G. Clavering Lane Fox, Rt. Hon. George R.
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City) Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Leighton, Major B. E. P.
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.) Ganzoni, Sir John Liewellin, Major J. J.
Cazalet, Captain Victor A. Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton Long, Major Eric
Lymington, Viscount Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings) Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)
MacRobert, Rt. Hon. Alexander M. Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple) Southby, Commander A. R. J.
Maitland, A. {Kent, Faversham) Power, Sir John Cecil Spender-Clay, Colonel H.
Makins, Brigadier-General E. Pownall, Sir Assheton Stanley, Maj. Hon. O. (W'morland)
Margesson, Captain H. D. Ramsbotham, H. Steel-Maitland, Ht. Hon. Sir Arthur
Marjoribanks, E. C. Remer, John R. Stuart, J. C. (Moray and Nairn)
Mason, Colonel Glyn K. Rentoul, Sir Gervais S. Sueter, Rear-Admiral M. F.
Meller, R. J. Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall) Tinne, J. A.
Mitchell-Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Mond, Hon. Henry Ross, Major Ronald D. Turton, Robert Hugh
Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B. Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A. Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon
Moore, Sir Newton J. (Richmond) Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert
Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr) Salmon, Major I. Warrender, Sir Victor
Morrison, Hugh (Wilts, Salisbury) Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham) Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester) Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney) Wells, Sydney R.
Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Muirhead, A. J. Savery, S. S. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Nicholson, O. (Westminster) Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld) Skelton, A. N. Womersley, W. J.
Oman, Sir Charles William C. Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
O'Neill, Sir H. Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William Smith-Carington, Neville W. Captain Margesson and Captain
Peaks, Capt. Osbert Smithers, Waldron Wallace.
Penny, Sir George Somerville, A, A. (Windsor)

I do not propose to select either of the next two Amendments. With regard to the Amendment standing in the name of the right hon. Member for Tamworth (Sir A. Steel-Maitland)—in the proposed new Clause, in line 8, after the word "exchange" to insert the words "as to training at a Government training institute or other approved training institution"—I am not very clear about it, and I should like him to explain it.


I think on reading this Amendment that possibly two words such as "or otherwise" have been omitted from the end. The object of this Amendment, the wording of which could be altered, if need be, to suit the Minister of Labour, is this: The offer of training at a Government training institution or other approved training centre should be taken for the purposes of this section as an offer of work. That ought to commend itself to the Minister and every Member of the House. In all great industrial centres we have found that there are many men, often youngish men, who have been out of work for a year or more. Many of them have been ex-service men who had entered the Army at the earliest possible age and were not able to get an industrial training, and have suffered a period of continuous unemployment. The late Government established and the present Government are extending Government training centres in a number of places. In these training centres we have never endeavoured to train people in a particular skilled trade, but we have endeavoured to give them some manual dexterity, to give them the feel- ing of their hands again, and also to get them accustomed to the kind of routine hours that there are in a factory. When they have left the training centres every effort has been made, both under the late Government and the present Government, to find them places, and there has been great success in this direction.

Track has been kept of every man who has left a training centre after going through the full course, and at any given moment from 87 to 90 per cent. of the people who have been in those training centres have been found to be in employment. The amount of unemployment among them is, on the average, less than in the population as a whole, although they were men who before they went into the training centres had all been unemployed for quite a long period. It is clear that the best thing that could possibly happen to men like that who want work is to go to one of these centres. Experience has shown that though a man has been out of work for a long time beforehand that in nine cases out of 10 he is always in employment afterwards. If there is justification for making training obligatory as a test of benefit for young persons, who will get work any way, it surely should be a test for these men. It is the best possible thing that could happen to them.


The right hon. Gentleman might move his Amendment.


I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed new Clause, in line 8, after the word "exchange," to insert the words as to training at a Government training institution or other approved training institution or otherwise.


I rather think that the right hon. Gentleman is mistaken as to the actual effect of the Amendment. Its effect would be to limit the written directions to be given by the Exchanges.


I said that the words "or otherwise" were to be inserted in the Amendment.


I sympathise with the point of view expressed in the Amendment, but I would just like to say what I am doing in this matter. The Insurance Act of 1920 provided that the Minister may make regulations. The Minister has made regulations with regard to young persons, and I am considering what regulations can be made to deal with the precise question to which the right hon. Gentleman has referred, and those regulations will have to be placed on the Table of the House, but I cannot do this until I have had some considerable consultation with the localities concerned.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Captain HUDSON

I beg to move as an Amendment to the proposed new Clause, in line 12, to leave out the word "a", and insert instead thereof the word "such".

The Clause will then read: for receiving benefit for such period of six weeks, or for such shorter period and for such date as may be determined by the Court of Referees or the Umpire, as the case may be. I propose to move another consequential Amendment to leave out the words "of six weeks or for such shorter period." I fail to see why the words "six weeks" should be in the Clause. I noticed that in the original Clause 4 six weeks was put into Sub-section (3). I do not know if there is any particular reason for choosing six weeks, but I do not see why the Court should not have complete freedom as to the amount of time for disqualification.

Captain BOURNE

I beg to second the Amendment.


As the hon. and gallant Member has pointed out, the effect of this Amendment would be that the time of disallowance, instead of being limited to six weeks, would be left in the hands of the Court of Referees or the Umpire. Those who are familiar with the administration of the Act will know that six weeks has been the maximum period of disallowance for many years, and it has not been found advisable to leave the discretion to this extent in the hands of Courts of Referees or of the Umpire. Later on we may have something to say on the period of disallowance, but the Government cannot accept this Amendment, having regard to the long practice in this matter, and to the fact that the present practice has been usually satisfactory.

Amendment negatived.


I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed new Clause, in line 12, to leave out the word "six," and to insert instead thereof the word "three."

It is true that a period of six weeks has been practically the universal practice ever since the Act came into operation. It is also the practice in the case of disallowance for misconduct. But there is a difference between misconduct and the question of not genuinely seeking work. In misconduct cases it has always been a recognised practice, but in many cases the courts of referees have reduced the disallowance from six weeks to a shorter period. In "not genuinely seeking work" cases, however, I am credibly informed that only very rarely, until recently the umpire decided that it was reasonable to do so, was there any less disallowance than six weeks. In cases of misconduct, the courts of referees took into consideration the fact that a man might leave his work hastily, having lost his temper, and might have some good reason for doing so, and therefore they reduced the period of disqualification, but, if it be once agreed that a person is not genuinely seeking work, it is very hard to say how far he was not genuinely seeking work, and if there is any doubt the benefit ought always to be allowed right away.

This is a terrible penalty to impose. A man with a wife and three children, under the old Act, would lose £9. That was a tremendous fine for an offence of this kind, though a period of six weeks might not at the first glance appear so serious. As the Parliamentary Secretary knows, before the man could get benefit again at the end of three weeks, his case would almost certainly have to go before the insurance officer again, and possibly before the court of referees. All that we are asking is, not that a man should be granted benefit at the end of three weeks, but that there shall only be a three weeks' disqualification and then the review period, with possibly an appearance again before the court of referees. We only ask that the review shall take place after a shorter period than six weeks. It is a very mild Amendment, and it will not cost as much as it would have cost had the new Clause not been introduced. It will cost, comparatively speaking, little or nothing. In every case where there is a six weeks' disqualification the insurance officer has to go through the case again, and it has to be reviewed. In view of the new conditions, I ask the Minister to consider a lesser period than six weeks.


It seems to me, in view of the larger interpretation of "not genuinely seeking work," that there is not so much danger from that point of view now. I understand my hon. Friend's chief complaint is that some referees or umpires make a practice—


I gave evidence before the Morris Committee, and it was almost universally accepted that in very few cases, if any, had there been a less penalty in the case of not genuinely seeking work than six weeks.


It is scarcely necessary to point out that the six weeks is a maximum, and that the courts of referees have power to make it less than that period, It would not be the desire of the Ministry that the courts should act under the impression that six weeks is the rigid law, and that there is therefore no power to reduce the penalty if they desire. I do not know if that meets my hon. Friend's point, but the Government certainly cannot accept a lower period than six weeks, particularly in view of the altered position.


Would my hon. Friend consider circularising Courts of Referees calling their attention to the new words in the Act and that they can give a lesser sentence than six weeks?


Will the hon. Member explain what he means by the altered position? Are we to understand that in view of the altered position the penalty should be less than six weeks or possibly more?


I am sure the House would regret if any Court of Referees were to act under the impression that they were compelled to give a six weeks disallowance and nothing less. My right hon. Friend will agree to make it clear to Courts of Referees what the legal position is.

Amendment negatived.

Captain BOURNE

I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed new Clause, in line 14, at the end, to insert the words: (2) Paragraph (ii) of sub section (2) of section five of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1927, shall have effect as though after the words the insured contributor,' were inserted the words or employment in another district.' I will read to the House how paragraph (ii) of Sub-section (2) of Section 5 of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1927, would read if it were amended in accordance with my Amendment: After a lapse of such an interval from the date on which an insured contributor becomes unemployed as, in the circumstances of the case, is reasonable, employment shall not be deemed to be unsuitable by reason only that it is employment of a kind other than employment in the usual occupation of the insured contributor, or employment in another district, if it is employment at a rate of wage not lower, and on conditions not less favourable, than those generally observed by agreement between associations of employers and of employees, or failing any such agreement, than those generally recognised by good employers. In the original Clause 4, which has been withdrawn, there was a Sub-section (3) which followed the wording of the Sub-section I have just read. It was withdrawn with a view to re-casting, but under the new Clause which has been brought up I have had great difficulty in ascertaining whether or not it will be possible to give written directions to a claimant to look for work in a district other than his own. We hear a great deal about the industrial situation in the North of England, and that there is a greater probability of people finding work in the South and West than in the North. Some districts have been described as being places where it is absolutely impossible to get work. I am sure it is not the wish of the right hon. Lady to do anything to hinder the movement of labour, but I am rather uncertain as to how the new Clause affects the position. I have put down this Amendment, but if the right hon. Lady can satisfy me as to the position under the Clause I shall not press it.

Major GLYN

I beg to second the Amendment.


I think, perhaps, again the Mover and Seconder of the Amendment have not quite realised the implication of the words. As I read them, it would mean that in all probability no employer could offer a job in another district to anybody until a considerable period of unemployment had taken place, that would not be what the Mover of the Amendment would desire. Section 5, Sub-section (2), paragraph (ii) of the Act of 1927 provides, shortly that after the lapse of a reasonable interval of unemployment the claimant may, as a condition of continuing to receive benefit, be required to accept employment outside his usual occupation, if it is at a fair wage and on a fair condition. The question of the suitability of the employment in another district in the claimant's usual occupation is dealt with in the existing proviso to Section 7 of the Act of 1920. As far as the suitability of employment in another district outside the claimant's usual occupation is concerned, it is already covered by Section 5, Sub-section (2), paragraph (ii) of the Act of 1927 referred to in the Amendment. I think the situation is very well safeguarded and that the Amendment is entirely unnecessary.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. Robert Young)

The next Amendment selected by Mr. Speaker is the second Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for South-East Southwark (Mr. Naylor).


Do I understand you to say that my first Amendment—in the proposed new Clause, line 18, at the end, to insert the words "(b) employment in a situation prohibited by his trade union; or"—has been passed over?




May I ask why that Amendment is out of order?


I did not say the Amendment was out of order. I said that it was not selected, but that the next one was selected.


I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed new Clause, in line 24, after the word "district"; to insert the words: at such a distance as would compel him to live away from home, or I can only say that I am sorry my first Amendment has not been selected. I regard it as of far greater importance than the Amendment that has been selected, and which I now move.

It is unfair that a man should not be permitted to refuse employment when that employment is going to take him away from his home town and necessitate his living away from home, even though the wages are regarded as fair in the locality to which he is expected to remove. I am not suggesting that every man should refuse to accept employment in these circumstances, but when a family man feels obliged, by the circumstances of his position, to refuse an engagement of this kind, it is unfair to deprive him of benefit. It is not right to expect him to go away from home and go to the expense of maintaining two establishments, when in all probability if he was allowed to remain he would secure employment in his home town.


I beg to second the Amendment.


The Amendment would strike a serious blow at the general mobility of labour. When anyone is requested to go away from home his domestic circumstances are taken into consideration, and also the facts as to the conditions of housing and other matters of that description. Speaking as one who knows something of the waterlogged areas, it is not held to be a ground for disallowance of benefit if the circumstances are not such as would make it easy in the domestic sense to accept that employment in another district. The Government cannot accept this limiting Amendment; not only would it interfere with the mobility of labour, but I am sure that my hon. Friend who moved the Amendment would regret to see it in operation.


I should like to have some guarantee that by regulations one practice which is now in operation will be stopped. I can speak from a personal knowledge. Men have been instructed to go from the Clyde to Belfast, where there is a difference in the rate of wages of 1s. 6d. per week in favour of the Clyde. Thirty craftsmen are wanted. The information is sent to all Employment Exchanges, with the result that instead of getting 30 men from one locality only you get 30 men from various Employment Exchanges. If a Clydesman says that he is willing to go, and he goes, he finds that a job is not available for him. Possibly 100 have said that they will not go; it will not pay them to go. In that case they are automatically suspended from benefit because they have refused the offer of suitable employment. It is all very well to make an appeal on domestic grounds. I have had the penalty of waiting six weeks with six dependants. I should like an assurance from the right hon. Lady that she will at least take the trouble to circularise the Employment Exchanges on this point or alter the method of filling vacancies. There is no use in having 500 men interviewed when there is only employment available for 30. The position at the moment is absolutely absurd, and I ask the Minister of Labour to consider this aspect of the problem.


I can assure the hon. Member that it is my policy, when the circumstances are taken into account in relation to a family, that wherever a man has refused to seek employment away from his home, and it is quite obvious that he is sincere, that under no circumstances should he be allowed to take a job away from his own home. I understand the point of the hon. Member and I can assure him as to the practice which is being adopted.


On the assurance given by the right hon. Lady, in which I have every confidence, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause added to the Bill.