HC Deb 16 December 1929 vol 233 cc1011-29

Every employed person who has attained the age of fifteen but who has not attained the age of sixteen, and every employed person who has attained the age of sixteen but who has not attained the age of eighteen, and every employer of any such person shall be liable to pay contributions at the rates specified in the Fourth Schedule to this Act. —[Captain Crook shank.]

Brought up, and read the First time.


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

This Clause should be read in conjunction with the proposed Fourth Schedule on the Amendment Paper, and should also be read in connection with the existing First Schedule to the Bill. Its object is anticipatory, because it depends upon whether Clause 1 is or is not kept in the Bill. One hopes very much that Clause 1 will not be left in the Bill—we shall enter our protest against it when the time comes—but we cannot be certain, because in the Committee stage the Socialist party supported the Clause, the Conservative party opposed it, and the Liberal party went away, and we do not know in what direction the Liberal party will vote. When the Question, "That the Clause be added to the Bill," was put, the Liberals went away. [Interruption.] At any rate, they abstained from voting. The great objection most of us have to the early part of the Bill is the bringing of these children of 15 within the ambit of unemployment insurance at all. There has been no demand from any quarter for that to be done. The right hon. Lady is bringing them in in order to help finance the Fund which she herself, by her most recent Amendments, has bankrupted. We want to do what we can to mitigate the evil as far as the children are concerned. That is why we ask for this Clause, and eventually for the Schedule that goes with it. We on this side of the House are not prepared to go quite as far as some of the right hon. Lady's Friends, for example, the First Commissioner of Works, who, not so very long ago in this House, suggested that benefits should not be paid at all to young men between the ages of 18 and 25, because it was so demoralising for them. The First Commissioner of Works was most emphatic about that, and said he could not understand how any man or woman could face the wholesale demoralisation that was going on day by day among the young men of from 18 to 25 years of age. While I do not accept that as a statement of fact, that was the view of the right hon. Gentleman.


On a point of Order. What was the date of that speech?


When the hon. Gentleman has been here long enough, he will know, first of all, that that is not a point of Order, and, secondly, he will know that I, at any rate, have never made any statement in this House without being able to give the reference. I have here the OFFICIAL REPORT of 9th March, 1925, containing the speech of the First Commissioner of Works, in which were these words I have already give to the House: I cannot understand how any man or woman here can face the wholesale demoralisation that is going on day by day among the young men of from 18 to 25 years of age. I said that I do not agree with it as a reading of the situation. [Interruption.] I am not going to read the whole speech, hut that is the point that I was making. The right hon. Gentleman went on to say: Probably I shall he very much abused for saying what I am about to say, but for my part I would stop giving any young man between the ages which I have mentioned a farthing for doing nothing, right away, and, unless he cared to come and earn under decent conditions some money, either in the countryside or somewhere else, he could starve."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th March, 1925; col. 990, Vol. 181.] That is not a doctrine to which I subscribe at all, but we should try and limit the possible damage to those who are more liable to be injured because of their tender years. That is why we on this side of the House ask that this Clause should be read a Second time. We are strengthened in putting forward this view by the fact that it is the view recommended by the only authoritative body which has gone into this question and which the right hon. Lady has not yet thrown over; that is, the Malcolm Committee. She has thrown over the views of her Socialist predecessor, the Secretary of State for War. She has thrown over the views of the Blanesburgh Committee, whose Report she signed, and the views of the majority of the Morris Committee, which she appointed. Incidentally, if committees are appointed, and, after being asked to report in great haste and to give their views for the benefit of this House, are thrown over by the Government after a very few hours' debate, it will not be very easy in future to get ladies and gentlemen to serve on such committees. The right hon. Lady has also thrown over the Attorney-General in regard to a speech which he made 10 days ago; that perhaps was his own fault, for he had forgotten that he had so recently crossed the Floor of the House. Finally, she has thrown over her expert advisers; that is explicit in the White Paper which was published last week. The one committee, however, which she has not so far thrown over is the Malcolm Committee, and on page 68 of their Report, which was published in 1926, the right hon. Lady will find that they made the recommendation that there should be some sort of relationship between the rates of benefit which juveniles of these ages should get and average wages, and that there should also be some connection therewith and the rates of contribution. They said: The rates of benefit to be paid to juveniles of fourteen to fifteen should bear the same relation to the average wages earned by juveniles of these ages as the rates of benefit in force for the juveniles of sixteen to seventeen bear to the average wages which juveniles of those ages receive. With regard to contributions, they reported that in their opinion the rates of contribution in respect of juveniles from fourteen to eighteen should be so adjusted as to secure that the total amount received in contributions did not exceed the total amount which would be received from the contributions in respect of juveniles of sixteen to seventeen if juveniles of fourteen to fifteen were not insured. That is rather a complicated sentence, but the effect of it is that the Committee felt that there was some definite connection between, on the one hand, the contributions that were to be paid by the youngest persons in insurance, and, on the other hand, firstly the wages that they would receive when in employment, secondly, the benefits that they would receive when out of employment, and, thirdly, the risks of unemployment. These are the three points which must be correlated with the amount of their contributions. We on this side of the House have not the advantage of being able to draw upon the estimates of the Government Actuary, and we cannot be certain—and I give the right hon. Lady a present of this argument—that the figures put into the proposed Fourth Schedule are actuarially correct, but they represent the best estimate that we have been able to get from the information at our disposal. That Schedule suggests that in the case of boys under 16, the contribution should be 1½d., and for girls 1d., rising to 2½d. and 2d. respectively between the ages of 16 and 18. On the other side of the picture, we have the question of the wages, but that is not a matter for arrangement in this House. Then we have the question of unemployment in the juvenile categories, and there we are dealing with a non-existent question, as is shown by the information which the right hon. Lady's own Department gave to the Morris Committee. If the school age is raised to 15 in 1931, there will be a shortage of juveniles going into employment of 428,000, rising in the next three years to 762,000. At the end of that time, for something like 2,000,000 jobs available, only one and a third million juveniles will be available. Therefore, the risk of unemployment hardly comes in at all.

On the other hand, there is the question of benefits. In the Bill we have the benefits which are proposed by the Government for this particular class of juvenile, and they should be read in conjunction with this new Clause and the Fourth Schedule which we are proposing. They are found in the first Schedule of the Bill, and they provide for persons under 17, 6s. for boys and 5s. for girls, rising to 9s. and 7s. 6d. respectively between 17 and 18. There, again, one is met with inconsistency in some of those who sit on the Front Government Bench. The right hon. Lady will remember the great speech which the Secretary of State for War made when he spoke about the 30 pieces of silver, about Judas Iscariot, and about rather having a millstone hung round his neck than having any differentiation between those under 21 and those over 21. Yet in this Measure we are accentuating—quite properly I think—this difference; if you give benefits at all to these juveniles, they should receive smaller benefits at the age of 15–16 than at the age of 21 and over.

I ask the right hon. Lady to argue this question with us, and not just to pass it off lightly and with a smile, as she has often done in the course of these Debates. I ask her to argue the question why she should not adopt this recommendation by the Malcolm Committee, and to say whether she does not admit that there is a close connection between the contributions on the one side, and the benefits, the risk of unemployment, and the normal wages upon the other. We find that she is trying to make a profit out of these children. One cannot get away from the figures which are provided by the Government Actuary. On page 4 of his Report, he puts it explicitly that the fund resulting from the lowering of the age of coming into insurance will start by making a net gain of £500,000 a year. Then there will be a gradual decline, and a rise again to the same figure in 1935. That is for the boys and girls under 16. With regard to the age group 16–18, with which we deal in our new Schedule, the right hon. Lady supplied some figures in reply to a question on 12th December. From these figures, it appears that in the case of boys in the 16–17 age group, the contribution will be £1,300,000; the girls contribution will be £900,000; making a total contribution from that age group of £2,200,000. The cost of benefit for the same groups will be £300,000 for males and £200,000 for females, making a total of £500,000, leaving a, net profit once again to the fund, out of the youngest entrants into insurance, of just on £1,750,000 to be added to the £500,000 profit from the youngest group of all.

The right hon. Lady, by the new Clause which has been put into the Bill, has brought in a new class with regard to what used to be known as "genuinely seeking work" and something like half the amount of the extra burden is being recouped from these unfortunate children whom she is bringing in without anybody wishing them to be brought in. Who is going to profit out of the enormous funds collected from the children? If you go through the groups, you will find that the adult men are going to profit at the expense of the children. The foulest crime known to English jurisprudence is the crime, which occasionally emerges from the sub-strata of society, of making money out of boys and girls. I put it to the party opposite, to the Government, and to the right hon. Lady herself: Are they not acting on somewhat similar lines when they go out of their way to collect from the young children contributions out to all proportion to any benefit that those children may ever receive, merely to bolster up the bankrupt budget of their Unemployment Fund? One of these days the right hon. Lady will have to stand at the bar of public opinion for what she is doing in this Bill, and it will be out of the mouths of babes and sucklings that she will stand condemned, and with her the whole of the party behind her.


I beg to second the Motion.


The speech to which we have just listened is full of astonishing statements, and the hon. and gallant Gentleman will not expect me to spend very much time on them. He takes a very exaggerated view of the intention of the Bill, and that is obvious when one remembers that the age 16 group is precisely the same as it was in the old Act, and that the age groups on both sides have been merely adjusted in a manner which will make for smoother working. For the group 18, 19 and 20 to have the same rate of benefit, will be an administrative convenience. The 15 group has been brought into the same relation as the 16 group; they slide one into the other, and any differentiation between them would be ridiculous and unnecessary. The general principle of the fund since 1927 has been that you put into the fund according to your ability if you are an insured person, and you take out of it according to your need. The hon. and gallant Gentleman's own Government accepted that principle as the basis of the 1927 Act. There is no relation at present between the individual contributions and the benefit that may be drawn. The relation is based upon a collective responsibility. The hon. Member for one of the divisions of Nottingham said truly, and represented what I have said in previous Debates, that this Insurance Fund in the 1927 Act was based on the principle of fire insurance where the payment you get for the damage caused is irrespective of its relation to the amount actually paid in premium, subject, of course, to certain governing conditions. I think there is a general concensus of opinion in favour of the present basis of insurance, for which all parties in the House are jointly responsible. I must oppose the Clause.


The right hon. Lady has done scant justice to the excellent and well-informed speech of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Gainsborough (Captain Crookshank). He made one particular request. With every courtesy, he expressed the hope that the right hon. Lady would not dismiss the Clause, as she has dismissed so many other suggestions from this side of the House, with a few cursory sentences, but I regret to say that that is exactly the attitude she has adopted towards his eminently reasonable proposal. We have previously expressed our opinions on the subject of bringing children between 15 and 16 years of age into the unemployment insurance scheme. We contend that if they are to be brought in, at any rate we ought to make a. fair relation between the amount they pay and the benefits which they are likely to get out of the fund. The figures quoted by my hon. and gallant Friend have not been denied by the right hon. Lady or by a single hon. Member apposite, and if those figures are a true indication of the extent to which the fund will benefit by the contributions of these young people. I content that it is a scandal there should not be a more reasonable relationship between the contributions and the benefits.

I remember listening a few years ago to many attacks from hon. Members who then sat on these benches regarding details of the Miscellaneous Provisions (Economy) Act. They accused us of robbing the sick man, of robbing the soldier, of robbing the sailor, and so on, though we know perfectly well that not one of those individuals was deprived of a penny of his rightful benefit by that Act, which was passed by a Conservative Government. What would hon. Members opposite have said had we made a proposal of this nature? "Robbing the children" would have been the least violent expression they would have used regarding our action. If we take the contributions in respect of these children between 15 and 16 which are paid by themselves, their employers and the State, we find that they will furnish no less than £600,000 to the fund, and at the most only £100,000 is likely to be spent on training centres and in other directions in giving these insured children some reasonable benefit for their contributions. It is a very unfair thing indeed to take such contributions from these children, whose wages are extremely low, being in many cases purely nominal wages while they are learning their trade.

The hon. Lady has dismissed the sum of 3d. or 4d. per week as though it were nothing, and yet if we propose to diminish anything by a penny we get speech after speech from the benches opposite saying that we do not understand how hard conditions are, and how a penny here and a penny there may make all the difference between comfort and misery to an individual family. Here we have 3d. or 4d. per week taken from young girls and boys, but it is regarded as of no account; they must contribute, it is said; it is all a part of the general scheme. We accept the principle that you must take some contributions from them if they are to be brought into the scheme, but we say their contributions should bear some reasonable relation to the amount of benefit they will possibly receive. In Schedule 4 we have worked out to the best of our ability the amounts of the contributions they ought to be called upon to pay. As my hon. Friend said, we have not the machinery available to determine exactly the right amounts to be put into Schedule 4. My hon. Friend asked the right hon. Lady to tell him whether those figures were more or less right, but I do not gather from her speech that she has ever taken the trouble to pay any attention to those figures. The Clause was moved with great sincerity, and, from a purely political point of view, it will do us much more good if the Clause is not accepted than if it is passed. But I think the right hon. Lady might have shown us the courtesy of at least reading the Clause in conjunction with the Schedule and replying at greater length and making some endeavour to answer our questions.


I think the right hon. Lady has taken this Clause in the wrong spirit. We are really coming to her assistance. She may regard us with suspicion, as Greeks bringing gifts in our hands, but she is quite wrong in that suspicion. The right hon. Lady has fought the battle of this Bill somewhat singlehanded. We have seen her in great difficulties. Once when she was in really considerable difficulty the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Seaham (Mr. Ramsay MacDonald) was not present to come to her assistance, nor was the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It was the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bewdley (Mr. S. Baldwin) who got her out of the difficulty, it was his generous attitude which prevented the Bill from being utterly wrecked. Therefore, she should not regard the assistance which she gets from these benches with such hostility and suspicion. The case for this new Clause is exceedingly strong. It has been agreed in every inquiry which has been made into this matter, including the inquiry by the Morris Committee, and in the report of the actuary, that there will be more work for juveniles than juveniles for the work. Further, it has been established beyond the possibility of question that the Unemployment Fund will benefit by at least £300,000 a year, and probably £600,000 a year, out of these juveniles. One would have thought that would have been a very strong argument to induce the right hon. Lady to pay some attention to this Clause, but her heart is hardened against us. Even if it could be shown beyond any doubt that there would be no juvenile unemployment in the next 10 years, her heart would still be hardened, and she would still insist on juveniles paying the contributions proposed in the Bill.

I think the cat was let out of the bag by the right hon. Lady in a discussion on another part of the Bill. [An HON. MEMBER: "It was only a kitten!"] Let the hon. Member wait to hear what the kitten really was. She was discussing the case of domestic service and said she would welcome the inclusion of domestic servants in the scheme because they were good lives and there was practically no unemployment among them and therefore the Unemployment Fund would benefit enormously. I hope that every domestic servant and every juvenile will note the implication of that statement. The right hon. Lady knows that juveniles are among the best lives and that she can largely count upon juveniles keeping in employment and drawing no unemployment benefit. It will be a pity if the principle is to be established in peace as well as in war, that youth has to pay for the failures of middle age; but that is what is happening under this scheme. Youth is being exploited. The right hon. Lady talked in the language of insurance about good lives and bad lives, but an actuary calculates very nicely not only what is going to be paid in the case of a risk maturing, but also the chances of that risk maturing at all. It does not need a Government actuary to work out the figures in this case. Any hon. Member opposite with a knowledge of the rule-of-three could do it for her. If the Government actuary were asked to work out a premium for the life of the present Government, I do not know what he would say. [An HON. MEMBER: "It will be three years."] I think a very high premium would have to be paid.

The right hon. Lady has been deaf to our arguments. What we really need from her is a change of heart. We want her to recognise that it is unfair that young people should have to pay contributions which bear no proportion to what they will receive. We want her to recognise that there ought to be some element of mathematics in this matter, that she should take into consideration the simple principles of arithmetic and the ordinary principles of equity. If only she will do that, she will make her Measure infinitely more popular. If there is a principle behind her attitude, and she is not actuated merely by considerations of expediency, I suppose her principle is that this is a national scheme of insurance and that everybody must come into it, good lives or bad lives. If that be the principle, a great sense of pessimism appears to underlie it, because it assumes that the young people who are now paying their contributions will, when they grow up into adults, come to a period where unemployment will be their probable lot and that at that time another generation of young people will be paying to assist to insure them against the ills of unemployment. That assumes that the unemployment problem will remain as great in the future as it is to-day. That is a very pessimistic attitude. We on these benches think the time will come when the unemployment problem will pass away. We think that when some of these young people have grown up there will be a sound Conservative Government in power which will have permanently solved the unemployment problem by a wise Imperial. policy, and we merely ask that in the meantime those young people should be treated in a spirit of equity, and not despoiled in accordance with the principle of expediency which the right hon. Lady has so frankly and cynically avowed.

Commander WILLIAMS

All who have heard the very able speech of the hon. and gallant Member for Gainsborough (Captain Crookshank) will agree that it was one that had been well thought out, and he must have have given this new Clause very careful consideration. My hon. and gallant Friend and those acting with him have made a real effort to try and balance the amount of contributions with the amount that is likely to be raised from this class of person. The Minister of Labour made a very few observations in reply to this proposal, and she laid down the principle that, under this Bill, you should pay according to your ability, and benefit roughly according to your needs. That is the principle which she laid down. As far as I am personally concerned, I have no reason to quarrel with those words, but, after all, the Bill is not based on the principle that you should pay according to your ability, because the larger part of the contribution will be paid by the State, and the ability of the State to pay this money at the present time is very small indeed.

The bulk of the complaints in regard to the position which has been taken up by the right hon. Lady is that under this Bill you will cause the whole of your juvenile people to pay their contributions, and it is very unlikely that they will obtain any benefit at all. It is possible that some of them may benefit, but a large number of those who are best acquainted with the conditions of industry think that the number of juniors who will actually draw the benefit will be very small indeed. It does not seem to be realised that we are dealing, not with a voluntary system in which, people can come in and out just when they like, but with a system in which people are compulsorily insured. It is absolutely essential and necessary that the House of Commons in laying down the regulations under the Bill should be perfectly certain that there is no sense of unfairness or injustice in those regulations.

It is a very bad thing to start these young people under an insurance system if it can be shown in any way that you are taking too much out of them, and not giving them a fair return for their money. I do not say that the Minister of Labour is taking an unfair advantage of the children; that is not the basis of my argument. I have always believed in insurance as a general principle, but, when you make it compulsory, you should be clear that, although the better lives and the younger lives may have to carry the worse and the older lives you should pot place on any section an undue burden. If the people we are discussing had been brought into insurance under the last Government, or any other Government, hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite would have been the very, first to attack such a proposal; they would have raised the question up and down the country and in the House of Commons, and their speeches about unfairness and all that sort of thing would have been as violent as they would have been lacking in the fundamental elements of accuracy. It has been rather a curious thing throughout the Debates on this Measure that nearly the whole of the arguments and expressions of opinion on questions directly affecting the younger lives, and the attempts made to make this a better Bill, have invariably come from the Conservative party.

It is a discreditable thing that the Minister of Labour should reply to a well-considered amending Clause in two or three minutes, in the course of which she insinuated that our proposal was not sound and our statements were inaccurate. The right hon. Lady could pot prove one piece of inaccuracy in our speeches; in fact, she did not try to do so, but rode off by saying, "Oh, there is nothing in this." That has been the state of mind of most Members of the Government during this Session. They have failed to meet our arguments all that they have done has been to make some disconnected statement which has very little to do with the question and then they sit down and let their proposals; go through. Legislation of this kind and attempts by the Government to put pressure on the House of Commons have been tried before, and the result has always been the same in the end.


The hon. and gallant Member seems to be getting far away from the proposal before the House.

Commander WILLIAMS

I appeal to the right hon. Lady to tell us why she will not accept our proposals, or else ask one of her supporters to say exactly why the Government will not accept this reasonable, adequate, and advantageous Clause.


I think the Minister of Labour treated the House with great curtness, not to say discourtesy, in the reply which she made to this proposal. We brought this proposal forward in the Second Reading Debate, and the right hon. Lady then admitted that by the proposal which she brought forward in the Bill she was placing an unfair burden on the unemployed, and she admitted that she was overcharging the young people in order to overpay the old people. Afterwards, she defended the same proposal on the ground that it was one which would teach the young people thrift. The Minister of Labour attempted to give a further defence in her speech upon the Money Resolution, and she said that the Government were not doing as much as we claimed, and that it was unfair to say that all the money paid by the young people was being used to bolster up the funds of the older people. She also reminded us that they had to consider the contributions paid by the employer and the State as well as the contributions paid by the young people themselves. This is what the Minister of Labour said on this subject: The total sum that will come to the fund from the three-fold source is £600,000, and slightly less than £200,000 will be contributed by boys and girls directly; that is, by deductions from their wages. Against that is set the possible expenditure of benefit, which whenever possible is only paid on condition that it is accompanied by attendance at classes, and that amount is £100,000. There will also be deducted the cost of training, which we regard as a fundamental part of the scheme, and which we hope to continue to develop on even broader lines than at present. There is really therefore no case to be made in regard to this being any tax upon the child." —[OFFICIAL REPORT, 25th November, 1929; col. 1101, Vol. 232.] This means that the child puts its money into a money box and two other parties also put money into the same box, but the right hon. Lady has cut a trap door in the back of the box and extracts the contributions paid by the employer and the State, and then she says "That will teach the young people thrift." Could you imagine anything more likely to discourage a young man than burgling his money box, and then telling him that this had been done to teach him thrift. My view is that this provision will teach a young person not to leave twopence anywhere that the right hon. Lady can put her fingers upon it. The proposal which we are discussing was denounced by the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan), who said that it was the one part of the Bill for which he could not find any justification, and on this question he said that he found himself in opposition to his own party. When a proposal is introduced to bring young people into insurance I think it is only just to make sure that every step is taken to see that the proposal has the smallest possible amount of disadvantage.

The Minister of Labour should be better acquainted with the principles of insurance than to defend a proposal of this kind on the ground of insurance. The right hon. Lady knows that you have to pay a very small premium when you insure a good life. Time after time on this question we have been told by the hon. Member for West Nottingham (Mr. Hayday) and other Members sitting on the back benches opposite that this Bill is simply a relief scheme buttressed up by a poll tax. At one time, the right hon. Lady defends her position by arguing that she must protect the principle of insurance, and at another time she says that she has to surrender to the claims of humanity. She must say on which leg she is going to stand. Under the Bill, the premium charged is three times as much as that which ought to be demanded for the benefits offered, and to say that this is being done in order to teach young people thrift is one of the most fantastic defences that has ever been placed before the House.

I am sure the defence which has been put forward by the Minister of Labour is one which would not have appealed to herself when a child if her money had been taken away from her and given to somebody else on the ground that that was the best way to teach her thrift. On this question, we propose to proceed to a Division, because the proposal of the Government is one to which we take the strongest exception. The Government are embarking upon a dangerous and an unjust step, and, later on, we shall propose to leave out the Clause in the Bill which makes the proposal which we have been discussing. Whatever be the fate of that Amendment, this Clause, which proposes to bring the contributions into some relation with the risk, and thereby to follow out the real principles of insurance, which the right hon. Lady defends, is one which will meet with the approval of all of us in this quarter of the House, and I believe also of hon. Members below the Gangway. At any rate, we propose to go to a Division and test the opinion of the House on the matter.


Are we not going to have a reply from the Government on this extremely important matter? I know, of course, that the right hon. Lady uttered a few sentences a short while ago, but, in my submission, that was no reply whatever to the arguments which have been raised. My hon. and gallant Friend who moved this proposed new Clause in a very clear speech said quite definitely what were his objects and the objects of those on, this side who support him, and he said, quite rightly, that, since we on this side cannot command the services of the Government Actuary, we are not certain whether the figures in the Amendment to the Schedule will, in fact, exactly carry out the intentions and objects with which that, Amendment was put down. Therefore, I would ask the right hon. Lady, even if she cannot herself give the answer, to give it through the mouth of one of her colleagues sitting near her—do the figures in the proposed Amendment to the Schedule carry out the intention of the Mover of this proposed new Clause, and, if they do not, what is it that is inaccurate in my hon. and gallant Friend's

statement? I on the other hand, they do carry it out, what is the objection of the Government to incorporating those figures in the Bill?

Absolutely no reason has been given for the rejection of this Clause. It is another instance of the tyranny of Socialism and the Socialist party. They consider that it is their privilege and province to ride roughshod over any defenceless people in the country. We have seen an instance of the same principle in the way that they have ridden roughshod over the members of various trade unions. That, of course, is by the way; it is merely another instance of the sort of thing which they are doing in this Bill. Before they decide finally to rob the children of the countryside in the way that they are doing in this Bill, we have a right, surely, to ask them to give us a definite answer to a definite question, and to give us a definite reason why they see fit not to incorporate this Amendment in the Bill. I do not know, of course, how many supporters of the Government are parents of young children, but I do know that the vast majority of the parents of children in these age-groups throughout the country will feel that they have been unjustly treated in having to submit to the robbery of their children, possibly for years, though I do not think that the operation of this Measure is likely to last for very many years, even if it becomes law. The Socialist party, in refusing to accept this very sensible and moderate Amendment, will be piling up for themselves the wrath and opposition of every parent throughout the length and breadth of this land. I appeal most earnestly to the right hon. Lady to give us, either personally or through the mouth of one of her friends, a definite reply to these very definite questions.

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

The House divided: Ayes, 139; Noes, 241.

Division No. 100.] AYES. [5.7 p.m.
Albery, Irving James Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Brass, Captain Sir William
Allen, W. E. D. (Belfast, W.) Beaumont, M. W. Briscoe, Richard George
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Bellairs, Commander Carlyon Buckingham, Sir H.
Atholl, Duchess of Berry, Sir George Burton, Colonel H. W.
Atkinson, C. Bird, Ernest Roy Butler, R. A.
Baillie-Hamilton, Hon. Charles W. Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Cautley, Sir Henry S.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley (Bewdley) Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)
Balfour, George (Hampstcad) Boyce, H. L. Cazalet, Captain Victor A.
Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Ross, Major Ronald D.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J.A.(Birm., W.) Hurd, Percy A. Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Christie, J. A. Hurst, Sir Gerald B. Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Iveagh, Countess of Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart
Colfox, Major William Philip James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbort Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.
Colvillie, Major D. J. Kindersley, Major G. M. Savery, S. S.
Cranbourne, Viscount King, Commodore Rt. Hon. Henry D. Skelton, A N.
Crichton-Stuart, Lord C. Knox, Sir Alfred Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R. Smith, R. W.(Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Crookshank, Capt. H. C. Leigh, Sir John (Clapham) Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West) Leighton, Major B. E. P. Smithers, Waldron
Cunliffe-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Little, Dr. E. Graham Somerset, Thomas
Dairymple-White, Lt.-Col. Sir Godfrey Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. Godfrey Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Davies, Dr. Vernon Long, Major Eric Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Macquisten, F. A. Southby, Commander A. R. J.
Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.) Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham) Stanley, Maj. Hon. O. (W'morland)
Duckworth, G. A. V. Makins, Brigadier-General E. Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur
Dugdale, Capt. T. L. Margesson, Captain H. D. Stuart, J. C. (Moray and Nairn)
Eden, Captain Anthony Marjoribanks, E. C. Sueter, Rear-Admiral M. F.
Edmondson, Major A. J. Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham) Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)
Elliot, Major Walter E. Mitchell-Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W, Tinne, J. A.
Falle, Sir Bertram G. Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Ferguson, Sir John Moore, Sir Newton J. (Richmond) Turton, Robert Hugh
Ford, Sir P. J. Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester) Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon
Forestier-Walker, Sir L. Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur dive Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert
Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsl'ld) Wardlaw-Milne, J. S.
Ganzoni, Sir John Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert Warrender, Sir Victor
Gault, Lieut.-Cot. Andrew Hamilton O'Neill, Sir H. Wayland, Sir William A.
Gower, Sir Robert Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William Wells, Sydney R.
Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.) Peake, Capt. Osbert Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings) Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Gunston, Captain D. W. Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple) Winterton, Rt. Hen. Earl
Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H. Pilditch, Sir Philip Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) Power, Sir John Cecil Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford) Pownall, Sir Assheton Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton
Hartington, Marquess of Purbrick, R.
Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) Ramsbotham, H. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J. Remer, John R. Captain Sir George Bowyer and Sir George Penny.
Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G. Rentoul, Sir Gervais S.
Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K. Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Dalton, Hugh Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.)
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Davies, E. C. (Montgomery) Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)
Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher Day, Harry Herriotts, J.
Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Cralgie M. Devlin, Joseph Hirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworth)
Alpass, J. H. Dickson, T. Hoffman, P. C.
Ammon, Charles George Dudgeon, Major C. R. Hopkin, Daniel
Angell, Norman Dukes, C. Horrabin, J. F.
Arnott, John Duncan, Charles Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)
Aske, Sir Robert Ede, James Chuter Hunter, Dr. Joseph
Attlee, Clement Richard Edmunds, J. E. Isaacs, George
Ayles, Walter Edwards, E. (Morpeth) Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)
Baker, John (Wolverhampton, Bilston) Egan, W. H. John, William (Rhondda, West)
Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley) Eimley, Viscount Johnston, Thomas
Barnes, Alfred John Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.) Jones, Rt. Hon, Lelf (Camborne)
Bellamy, Albert Foot, Isaac Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.
Benn, Rt. Hon. Wedgwood Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton) Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A.
Bennett, Capt. E. N. (Cardiff, Central) Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, N 1 Kedward, R. M. (Kent, Ashford)
Bennett, William (Battersea, South) George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) Kelly, W. T.
Benson, G. Gill, T. H. Kennedy, Thomas
Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale) Gillett, George M. Kinley, J.
Birkett, W. Norman Glassey, A. E. Knight, Holford
Bondfield, Rt. Hon. Margaret Gosling, Harry Lambert, Rt. Hon. George (S. Molton)
Bowen, J. W. Gossling, A. G. Lathan, G.
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Gould, F. Law, A. (Rossendale)
Broad, Francis Alfred Granville, E. Lawrence, Susan
Brockway, A. Fenner Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Colne) Lawrie, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge)
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts. Mansfield) Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Lawson, John James
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.) Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)
Burgess, F. G. Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Leach, W.
Buxton, C. R. (Yorks. W. R. Elland) Groves, Thomas E. Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern)
Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel (Norfolk, N.) Grundy, Thomas W. Lees, J.
Caine, Derwent Hall Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Lewis, T. (Southampton)
Cameron, A. G. Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Lloyd, C. Ellis
Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S.W.) Hall, Capt. W. P. (Portsmouth, C.) Longden, F.
Charleton, H. C. Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn) Lovat-Fraser, J. A.
Chater, Daniel Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Zetland) Lowth, Thomas
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R. Hardie, George D. Lunn, William
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Harris, Percy A. Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)
Compton, Joseph Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)
Cove, William G. Haycock, A. W. McEntee, V. L.
Daggar, George Hayday, Arthur Mackinder, W.
Dallas, George Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley) MacLaren, Andrew
Macpherson, Rt. Hon James I. Potts, John S. Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
McShane, John James Price, M. P. Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)
Malone, C. L. Estrange (N'Hhampton) Pybus, Percy John Sorensen, R.
Mansfield, W. Ramsay, T. B. Wilson Spero, Dr. G. E.
March, S. Rathbone, Eleanor Stephen, Campbell
Markham, S. F. Raynes, W. R. Strachey, E. J. St. Loe
Marley, J. Richards, R. Strauss, G. R.
Matters, L. W. Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)
Maxton, James Riley, Ben (Dewsbury) Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S.W.)
Melville, Sir James Riley, F. F. (Stockton-on-Tees) Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)
Messer, Fred Ritson, J. Thurtle, Ernest
Middleton, G. Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O.(W. Bromwich) Tinker, John Joseph
Millar, J. D. Romeril, H. G. Townend, A. E.
Mills, J. E. Rosbotham, D. S. T. Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles
Montague, Frederick Rowson, Guy Turner, B.
Morgan, Dr. H. B. Salter, Dr. Alfred Vaughan, D. J.
Morley, Ralph Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen) Viant, S. P.
Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh) Samuel, H. W. (Swansea, West) Walker, J.
Morrison, Herbert (Hackney, South) Sanders, W. S. Wallace, H. W.
Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.) Sandham, E. wallhead, Richard C.
Mort, D. L. Sawyer, G. F. Walters, Rt. Hon. sir J. Tudor
Moses, J. J. H. Scrymgeour, E. Watkins, F. C.
Mosley, Lady C. (Stoke-on-Trent) Scurr, John Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Mosley, Sir Oswald (Smethwick) Sexton, James West, F. R.
Muggeridge, H. T. Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston) Westwood, Joseph
Murnin, Hugh Shepherd, Arthur Lewis Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)
Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter) Sherwood, G. H. Whiteley, William (Blaydon)
Noel Baker, P. J. Shield, George William Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)
Oldfield, J. R. Shiels, Dr. Drummond Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston) Shillaker, J. F. Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Palin, John Henry Shinwell, E. Wilson, J. (Oldham)
Palmer, E. T. Short, Alfred (Wednesbury) Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan) Simmons, C. J. Winterton, G. E.(Lelcester, Loughb'gh)
Perry, S. F. Smith, Alfred (Sunderland) Wise, E. F.
Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe) Wood, Major McKenzie (Banff)
Phillips, Dr. Marion Smith, Frank (Nuneaton) Wright, W. (Rutharglen)
Picton-Turbervill, Edith Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley) Young, R. S. (Islington, North)
Pole, Major D. G. Smith, Rennie (Penlstone)
Ponsonby, Arthur Smith, Tom (Pontefract) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr. Paling