§ Question again proposed, "That '£10,250' stand part of the Resolution."
§ Mr. WHEATLEY
The point with which I was dealing when we temporarily suspended business was the question of rationalisation. I was pointing out that while rationalisation, like thrift, had its virtues, it did not follow that its virtues were beneficial to the problem of unemployment. I pointed out that the right hon. Gentleman when he cheers the fact that we have in this country, according to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, small savings to the amount of £1,500,000,000 must also hear in mind the fact that there are 1,000,000 people out of employment, and that if the £1,500,000,000 were spent it would result in work for that one million people being produced for six years, from the demand that it would create. That figure has been worked out, and it means that 1,000,000 people would get six years work by the expenditure of £1,500,000,000. I give that as an illustration, but it has nothing to do with the question. The very same difficulty has to be faced in regard to rationalisation. Industrial rationalisation in itself is excellent, but there is nothing new about it. Rationalisation has been going on since Adam left the Garden of Eden in order to increase production. Every improvement in workshop organisation, every improvement in machinery, that has taken place has been a process of rationalisation. Every schoolboy now is familiar with the names of the great rationalists of this country, the men who 1813 gave us steam, electricity and machinery, which has made wealth production so much easier than it was a century ago.
May I bring the right hon. Gentleman down to the question of rationalisation as regards the industry with which he is most familiar? Let me bring him back to his engine—to the railways. There is no branch of our industries which has been more rationalised, and more rapidly rationalised, than our railway system. I read an article recently in which we were promised mechanical signalmen, mechanical ticket clerks, mechanical cleaners, mechanical office clerks and mechanical stokers, and this very week an experiment is being tried of a mechanical device by which a train going over a railway track lifts the track and relays it in the process. We ought to regard such things as incredulous, but in these days you cannot smile at any discovery, so rapid is the process of rationalisation. The ideal day will be the day on which we shall not have to bother about employment at all, when we shall be able, by pressing a button, to get all the goods that we require on our table. A considerable section of the community can do that to-day. When that day arrives, the principal industry will no doubt be the button industry.
Let us look at the effects of rationalisation. I am going to submit to the House that rationalisation is at the root of our troubles, and when the right hon. Gentleman says: "Lord send us more rationalisation," he is really saying: "Lord send us more unemployment." The right hon. Gentleman, apparently, does not understand the position. Let me tell him what is happening on the railways. During the last twelve months for which we have statistics, ending March, the number of railway workers was reduced, by these mechanical methods mainly, from 677,000 to 642,000, that is, by 35,000 persons. That is far one year only; but when you go back a little further you see the same process at work. Since 1921, when the process of rationalisation really began at its present speed, the number of railway workers has been reduced by 93,870. The right hon. Gentleman is going to the railways with public money for the purpose of providing employment for people who cannot get jobs, and I am justified in asking him very seriously this morning to give us the number of additional men to be employed by the railway 1814 companies as a result of this Government assistance. I asked him sometime ago whether he could tell me how many persons were employed now by the railway companies as compared with the month of May this year, and he told me that he had not got the information. I think it is very important information. I cannot imagine any business man spending millions of money without asking for such information, and I hope we shall get it to-day.
When you pass from railways to steelworks you get exactly the same thing. I asked the Minister of Labour to supply me with figures showing the number of men employed per thousand tons of output in the steel industry now as compared with 1913. The Ministry had not the figures for 1913, but they gave me the figures for 1927 and 1928. They prove how regular is the process of rationalisation, for you find that while 17 men were required in 1927 only 16.3 were required in 1928. There is a constant reduction in the quantity of manual labour required for the same amount of work. That is rationalisation. You find mechanical shops meeting you at almost every corner of the street. You can find a mechanical grocer who is prepared to give you almost any article sold in a grocer's shop. You can find mechanical tobacconists and mechanical coal merchants. About 400 men were paid off this week, not because there has been a reduction in the demand for the particular goods, but because they can do without these 400 men owing to the mechanical methods now employed. Therefore, I want to know, and we are entitled to know, when we are spending public money, that we are not merely handing over these sums to the railway companies in order to enable them to take men from one job and give them another merely for the purpose of getting hold of public funds. We are the trustees of public money, and we should see that it is not used in transferring labour within an industry but to provide employment for those who are now out of employment.
I come now to local authority schemes which are in the main merely an overdraft on labour requirements for four or five years hence. No nation can continue to live on overdrafts. I was chairman of the unemployment committee in the 1815 city of Glasgow when this problem seriously confronted us twelve months after the conclusion of the war. It was a composite committee to deal with the problem of unemployment. We brought up schemes, as the right hon. Gentleman has, amounting to many millions of pounds. Some of them are now being completed; many of them have not been started. What is the use of staging these schemes year after year and making poor people believe that there is industrial safety in this country when there is no such safety? It has to be remembered that local authorities are also rationalising. I am told, on the authority of a prominent official of the Glasgow Corporation, that they have a scheme of lamplighting which will enable them to dispense with a considerable percentage of the lamplighters. They have not put it into operation out of consideration for the poor men, and they are suspending it until they can see a way of dealing with the displaced labour. The same thing applies to cleansing. While local authorities are introducing new cleansing methods, they are not introducing new methods to find employment for the people who are displaced.
I am entitled to ask again how many additional men are being employed by the local authorities who are helped by the Lord Privy Seal? A month ago, on 19th November, I put a question to the right hon. Gentleman. I asked him:If he is now in a position to state to the House the number of persons employed last week and in May of this year by each of the local authorities participating in the £11,000,000 of expenditure approved by the Unemployment Grants Committee; and will he give these figures for the local authorities of Birmingham, Newport, the Mersey, Durham and Bristol respectively.I mentioned these, because the right hon. Gentleman, in his opening speech on this subject to the House, put before us the schemes that were to be operated by these particular local authorities. The right hon. Gentleman said on 19th November:I regret that this information is not at present available."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 19th November, 1929; col. 263, Vol. 232.]Is it available this morning? Is the House to have the information to-day or are we merely to be told that such and 1816 such a local authority has had a scheme approved that will cost £1,000,000 and will employ 4,000 men for 12 months, and therefore all is well with the best of all local authorities? That is not good enough. How many people were employed by the local authority of Birmingham in May and how many were employed by them last week? Let us get down to the facts. We are not going to be put off in the way the right hon. Gentleman puts us off at Question time.
May I, in conclusion, say that in my opinion this nation is confronted with a situation which requires a wider, wore comprehensive and bolder policy than seems yet to have entered the mind of the Government? This is not an attempt at a solution; this is something that is going to pass away in the night. This question involves the whole industrial future of this country. Unless you are going to solve the problem of unemployment, it is going to eat into the very system on which the nation depends. It is going to eat into the production of wealth and into the production of those goods of which up to now we have had more or less a monopoly.
I could quote here pages showing the effect that rationalisations have, but I do not want to weary the House in that way. I would, however, ask the serious attention of the House to this point., that during the 19th century, one of the principal outlets for goods produced in this country was in the development of the country itself, in putting down its railways, in making its lines, in the building of its factories and mills. That was one of the two main outlets for goods in the 19th century. I do not think anyone can deny that, and I want the House to realise how serious it is when we find that outlet is closed. This country, as no other part of the earth, has been industrially developed to its maximum. We do not want any more new railways or new mills. You may deal with dangerous corners here and with narrow bridges there, but, speaking generally, this country requires none of the industrial development that provided such an outlet for goods in the 19th century. There may be an outlet for electrification; that will increase production, but it. does not provide the same amount of employment per £1,000 of expenditure.
1817 1.0 p.m.
This outlet has closed at the very time when your output, particularly your potential output, has increased. Just at the time when you can produce twice as much as prior to the War, you are faced with a situation that gives you only half the outlet you had in pre-War times. Not only that, but you have the competition of the world to deal with in your goods. I want the House to give serious consideration to the question that disturbs the minds of us who sit on these benches and are regarded as the extremists, the impossibilists, the people who have no constructive minds, but who claim to have constructive minds, and to be the one group in the House that sees clearly through the present situation. You laugh at us, but we believe that. I want you to realise that one-half of the outlet for goods at home is closed up just at the time when the potential output is doubled. I want you to see whether the system of distributing the wealth of the country, which suited the position of the 19th century, suits the position of the 20th century. I submit that it does not for a moment; I submit that it is obsolete. Just as obsolete as the stage coach are the principles on which wealth is distributed in this country.
I want you to face the facts. You may say that other countries prosper under this competitive system of capitalism, and you may ask us to look at America and other countries. Yes, but the other countries have not reached our stage of development. We were the first capitalist country; we have developed capitalism to its maturity first; we are an island where capitalism has come to its old age first. They will develop, and they will reach old age. Are we going to lie down and let our country decay, waiting far the development of our countries that have not yet reached old age Or are we to put our minds to the problem that concerns us and create a new order of society, deal with this problem and give Britain a new lease of life in the leadership of the world?
On these benches, particularly on the bench from which speak, we feel that you want to take a much more comprehensive and much more serious view of the whole situation. There is no use in baiting the right hon. Gentleman. If the removal of the Lord Privy Seal from 1818 office was going to save Britain, I do not think Britain would be very hard to save. We want something more than that. We can put him out and we can put another in and put him out, but, if the old systems and old methods are to prevail, then it is only a matter of our likes and dislikes as to who is to receive the spoils of office. You want to settle down to a big scheme of national organisation in its biggest sense. You have got to think of Britain in terms of our large industrial concerns. Just think of the meaning of the argument used in the coal Debate during the last two or three days. You have had people pointing out that the railway companies and the coal industries are rationalised in certain respects, that if the railway companies do this in order to make profits for their shareholders, then it injures the shareholders in the steel trade and injures the industrial nation as a whole. We frequently hear that the bankers are enemies of all. We hear, too, that the coal trade, in particular, is an enemy of the steel trade, the cotton trade and all those other trades in which cheap coal is essential. Why should you have at a moment of crisis a condition of things when your great industries are competitors, when they engage in a cut-throat competition which may bring the whole lot down? Why should you not have a national policy that will bring all your industries together and make them mutually helpful instead of mutually destructive?
Then, when you turn to foreign trade, what do you find? You find indiscriminate imports, indiscriminate exports, every man selling what he can make a profit out of, whether it is going to benefit the nation or not. You have indiscriminate imports of goods that may have no national value whatever except to the particular individual. What a benefit it would be if we could have something like national organisation of our imports and our exports! I would remind right hon. and hon. Gentlemen of the Liberal party, when they talk about the value of free imports, and others when they talk about the value of safeguarding duties on imports, the exports from this country are governed by imports. That is a truism that we learned from Liberal teachers of the past century. Imports and exports in a rough way balance one another, and you do not 1819 have more of the one than of the other. When you send out goods to a foreign country you bring in goods from a foreign country, and vice versa.
I lay down this proposition, and I hope the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) will pay some attention to it. You cannot continue to import goods to this country at a rate more rapid than that at which you can sell them in this country. The market for goods in this country determines the quantity of goods that will be imported into this country. If the quantity of imports governs the quantity of exports, the governing factor of the situation is the purchasing power of the people at home. That leads me to the observation that the greatest menace to this country to-day is poverty. It affects the tailor, the butcher, the baker and everyone else. In order to improve your home market you must set your mind to the problem of how you are to get more purchasing power for the people at home in order that they may demand more goods, and that in turn will mean that more people will be employed. I ask right hon. Gentlemen of all parties to put their minds to that problem. We sometimes hear about Protection. I wish to Heaven we had something to protect! Who would not protect 'what was worth protecting if it was to be real protection? Of course, if we are to organise as a nation, we have to take all these things into account. Safeguarding and Free Trade as remedies have to go with the conditions of the nineteenth century. You want national organisation to-day, and when you have organised the nation you will find it to your benefit to protect that nation.
I am sorry to have intruded so much on the time of the House, but this is a question in which I am deeply interested. To me it transcends all party differences. All the debating of people across the Floor of the House carries us no further. I have to face the condition of the people whom I represent. I know that the House does not like sob stuff. But I have to face these people. If not the immediate members of my own family, nephews and nieces of my own are living under these conditions and are being flung out of employment. Unemployment to them means something different from what it is to us. It is not merely a matter of being 1820 deprived of wages. It means being deprived of home; the very foundation of life is removed. When I was at home a week ago my brother told me of a mutual friend who had died during the previous week. I asked, "What happened to him?" He said: "He was out of a job for two years and I think he did not want to live. That is why he died." That is the condition of things in an increasing degree, that we are faced with on the human side.
Then there is the national side. Capital is rusting and rotting and wasting, and you are losing it. In my own division one of the greatest capitalists of the west of Scotland has had to write off 3¼ millions in the past twelve months. He was a millionaire a year ago and to-day is in comparative poverty. It is not merely the workers and the capitalists who are concerned, but the moral of the nation is going down. Here we are asked to consider as a remedy some schemes for widening roads and repairing obsolete bridges and removing dangerous corners and asking railway companies to electrify a line. It is petty and puerile and futile. I appeal to the House to take a bigger view of the question, and to try to save the nation while there is still time.
§ Sir JOHN FERGUSON
I rise with considerable diffidence to address the House for the first time, but I do so relying with confidence on the great consideration which is always extended to a new Member by both sides of the House. It is my intention to take up but little time, and before I pass to what I rose to say I should like, as a business man, to congratulate the right hon. Member for Shettleston (Mr. Wheatley) on the most damning Free Trade speech that I have ever heard. I have been a member of the Unemployment Grants Committee since its inception nine years ago. I was appointed by my right hon. Friend the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George). His having appointed me to so many chairmanships of Government Department Committees probably to some extent accounts for my presence here to-day. I should like to explain to the House something of our work. Before doing so let me state that, having served under five Governments, I am deeply conscious of the strenuous endeavour made by every one of those Governments to find some alleviation of 1821 the terrible distress which is devastating the country. I must say, in justice, that no one has striven more strenuously to effect this than the Lord Privy Seal. But I cannot close my eyes to the fact that the canker of unemployment is eating into the very life of our nation. That deterioration will continue unless we find some way out.
The hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) the other day used an expression in which I entirely concur. He said that you could not judge a man's or woman's action from the moral or unmoral point of view unless he or she was possessed of a certain standard of physical fitness for life have watched the deterioration due to the non-possession of the conditions to which the hon. Member referred. I am not going to enter on any contentious subject by referring to 4 election promises. No good purpose would be served by doing so. But we must face the fact that the present Government was chosen because it said that it could cure unemployment. To enable unemployment to be cured surely the first consideration of a. Government should be to increase national income. I am strongly of opinion that doles, if I may call them so, do not achieve this end, but ultimately have an entirely opposite effect and serve to handicap trade. It must be remembered also that a very large percentage of the amount expended in doles will be found if we follow the run of trade, to act really as a stimulant to the dumping of foreign goods into this country.
I can see quite clearly now that politics are dominated by economic considerations and, speaking as one intimately associated with finance, I may say that the financial and economic position of the country fills me with feelings of great alarm. A sum of £1,000,000 a week is being distributed in unemployment benefit and the position daily becomes worse. The unemployment scourge is too widespread and of too infectious a nature to yield to any treatment already tried. In the 61 months up to 19th December our Committee have approved of 630 schemes representing £14,000,000, in which 308 local authorities were concerned, and we have still under consideration schemes approaching 1,000 in number which will cost not far short of £20,000,000. In that time we have only 1822 rejected as unsuitable the very small proportion of under £1,000,000 worth of schemes.
§ Sir J. FERGUSON
The Unemployment Grants Committee. We have schemes in our great cities, to which passing references have been made already, amounting to about £9,000,000. They are in view, but have not yet been formally accepted. I venture to say, however, that I do not think there is anything to object to in those schemes. There is another £1,000,000 worth of schemes in connection with harbour commissioners work which I hope our terms will make sufficiently attractive. May I make a simple explanatory point in connection with those schemes. We reject all those which justify the old description of relief work. We do not believe in digging a hole and filling it up again. We encourage schemes of development of water and is supplies, electricity undertakings, important dock facilities, sewerage and drainage extensions, and, thereafter, schemes for the improvement of local amenities such as public parks. But that is not enough. The lasting cure—the only cure in my opinion—is better export trade. The question is "How can we effect it?" and perhaps I may state to the House what is in my mind as a business man. During the currency of the Safeguarding and McKenna Duties and the Silk Duty 50 factories have been built in this country, 20 of them by foreigners.
I have studied the principles of internal and external trade closely. Hon. Members may know that I have occupied the highest position which our British banks have to offer. I have also occupied the lowest position and I know how, in a very stormy passage, I have tried to study the principles governing our trade more especially our trade with the Dominions. I have always put that question before any other. An opportunity will doubtless arise to discuss in this House those questions which are of such vital importance to the country, but I would like to make one reference regarding a matter on which I first raised my voice in this House. It is the fact that big contracts are going from our Dominions to Continental countries. I give only one case which happened in 1823 this year. Our people in this country lost a contract worth just upon £1,000,000 sterling. The British tender was £1,077,000 and the Continental tender was £898,000, leaving a balance of £179,000 in favour of the Continental offer. In that business our working people lost something like £180,000. Over 3,000 men would have been employed on that contract and that does not take account of the men in ancillary and auxiliary trades. With the values represented by all British labour and materials outside the contract the total is brought up to £780,000 and, after close and careful calculation. I estimate the cost to the Government in unemployment benefit is £180,000.
If that sum had been used in the adjustment of the price it would have made a reduction of at least 17 per cent. in the British offer and in my opinion it would have been a small price to pay for the happiness and contentment which would have been given to a large number of working people by giving them the opportunity of earning money at real work. A state of affairs such as that in view of the menacing excess of our imports over our exports, is causing a feeling of great uneasiness throughout the City and particularly throughout the country. We are committing ourselves to the expenditure of money which we have not got and which we may have considerable difficulty in raising. I have spoken to many business men and industrialists from the Dominions and I find that they are very anxious to associate themselves with us in furthering migration between the old country and the Dominions. But one point which they all make is this: "You are very anxious to send your people to us, but the people in our country who do not know the old country as well as we do, say that unemployment there is increasing day by day, and there is a feeling that you wish to put some of this difficulty on to us."
I make a suggestion for the consideration of the right hon. Gentleman which has been in my mind for a long time. Why should we in this country publish the numbers of our unemployed? It might be a bold and a difficult step to take, to do otherwise, but it would have an influence I know an the Dominion mind, which ought to be relieved at the earliest possible moment. I have listened 1824 to very interesting speeches from both sides on this question and it seems to me that money has entered too largely into the consideration of the subject. It is not so much the money of the nation that is at stake. Having seen the people for myself I think it is the soul of the nation which is at stake, and I beg to assure the Lord Privy Seal, and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster that, as long as I am permitted to remain a member of the Unemployment Grants Committee, I shall do everything in ray power to relieve the terrible strain and distress which has fallen on so many of our working class families more especially on the shoulders of the mothers who are the first to feel the burden of a depleted income.
§ Mr. RICHARD RUSSELL
It would seem almost presumption on my part, seeing that this is only the second occasion on which I have addressed this House, to congratulate the hon. Member for Twickenham (Sir J. Ferguson), who has just sat down, upon his excellent speech, but I think it is of the greatest possible value to this House when men of experience come here and give us of the wisdom which they have built up during long years. If I could for a minute or two try to follow his example and, out of what little experience I have had, give this House some indication of ways in which I think this problem needs to be faced, I should think I had done something for which I might receive the pardon of the House for getting up at this time. I desire to say one or two words about this very momentous subject, which has been described by Members in all parts of the House as having such human aspects, and which is so vital in our national life, but which seems to have defied the attempts of Government after Government to deal with it, and which, as the years roll on, seems almost to become static in our national existence.
The first question that I want to put to the House is this: How far has this House itself been a contributory factor in the maintenance of unemployment in our midst'? I can the more easily put that question, being a comparatively new Member of the House. It is very easy to come along afterwards and criticise those who have gone before, when you have not been here and when you cannot be held responsible for the 1825 actions that they have taken. But I think much may be said from the standpoint that this House has from time to time taken action which is in all probability somewhat responsible for the the maintenance of such a high state of unemployment in this country. I know that as we go back over the past years, this House can be relieved of responsibility for the great slump which took place in 1920, following the frenzy of speculation and speculative effort which prevailed in this country in 1919 and thereabouts. There are some movements which it is impossible, it would seem, for anyone or for any body either to control or to direct, and that period of slump which came as one of the consequences of frenzied speculation could not be laid for a moment at the door of this House.
But the question that I want to ask is this: When industry has been, so to speak, pulled off its feet, have we done all we possibly could to allow it to get on its feet again? If a laden pack horse should fall in its tracks, the first thing that would happen would be that you would loosen its burden and leave it free to get up itself. One of the things that I think is most true, so far as this House is concerned, is that, industry having fallen in its tracks, we from time to time have put upon it burden after burden, which have maintained it in the position in which it is and prevented it from getting up. I do not wish to be misunderstood. I know that there might he some listening to me who would think that what I have said would indicate that I am opposed to much of the work in the way of social reform which has been done by this House. I am not, but I want to say that increased taxation and rating is one of the most potent factors to-day in preventing industry in getting on to its feet again.
I have spent the best years of my life in the control and direction of municipal finance, and I can for that reason give a few simple illustrations of what I mean which I think will be of more value to this House than a great deal of theory. Seven years ago there was an order amounting to £7,000,000 being estimated for In this country, and it so happened that a firm 1826 located in the district in which I at that time held responsibility was one of the firms competing for the order. They prepared their estimate, and they cut it down, as they told me, to the bone. One day I got a message, saying, "Can you give us any indication of the condition and state of rating in the next three or four years?" I had been spending some years in control and in the study of this great problem, and because of that fact I was able to say to the managing director of that firm, "I can see my way next year to a substantial reduction in rates, and I can undertake that the rates next year will be reduced by half-a-crown." He thanked me for what I had said, and immediately made a calculation and cut something out of the £7,000,000 estimate which had been prepared. When the contract was let that firm got it.
Two days after it was publicly announced that the contract had been sent to our district, two other firms in other districts wrote to me and asked this pertinent. question, "Can you tell us what is the incidence of rating upon the successful firm?" They saw at once, and their query indicated clearly, that it was the difference in rating, the taking off of some of the overload of rating which had brought that £7,000,000 contract into our district; and £7,000,000 contracts mean a substantial thing in wages over a number of years. Some 12 months elapsed, and a colonial company were in this country seeking to place orders. Once again I was asked the question, "Can you tell us what the future portends with regard to rates? We are going to cut down in order to get this work." I was able to assure them that there was going to be a further reduction of half-a-crown. "You must be careful what you are doing," said the managing director, "because upon your word will depend whether or not we are going to lose on this order." A couple of hours later he telephoned to me and said, "I have taken three of those orders, for somewhere in the nature of £100,000 each, and I hope you will deliver the goods." We did deliver the goods, and the orders came, but that is not the whole story.
Last week or the week, before I happened to be travelling north, and the managing director of this same firm got 1827 in with me. I said: "Are you getting plenty of orders?" He replied: "I have just come from Paris, and this is the position that I found there. The order, for which our estimate is the lowest British estimate, was given out in Paris yesterday. I was there trying to do all I could to get the order for our firm. Sitting almost on the step was a German firm. The next estimate to ours was 20 per cent above, but the German estimate was 14 per cent. below, and although this was a transaction in Paris, the order went to Germany." There is little indication of what we need to do if we are to allow industry to get upon its feet. What must be done? Shall we stop social progress? Certainly not. We must stop waste, and much of our social progress is merely stopping waste, human and financial. Rightly considered, the task before this House is to move slowly but steadily forward with those reforms which can get rid of social injustice and depravity, and at the same time to bring in an era of economy; they are not antagonistic, but complementary. It has always been true that economy and efficiency run cheek by jowl. The danger is that we have neither the one nor the other.
I am not here to bring rash charges against local government, for no one holds it in higher appreciation than I do, but I want to say that we have completely lost the incentive and impulse towards economy in our public affairs, and this loss is the direct cause of much of our high cost of administration for it affects all administration, both local and central. We are dealing with the most tragic subject with which we can deal, and every bit of experience and all the wisdom that we can get needs to be brought to bear upon it. Therefore, speaking with a full sense of responsibility, I want to say that after a long experience in municipal affairs, I am convinced that there is no local authority in this country, where assessments are right, where administration is closely guarded, and where policies are wise, which cannot carry on efficiently on a rate not higher than 10s. 6d. tin the pound. I know that to a large number of people that would sound like a rash statement, but I am prepared to stand by it, and show how it could be done. It is 1828 the result of long experience and practice.
Can we realise what such a condition of affairs would mean in the restoration of industry if we could bring it about? It would do more to restore industry in this country and to make our yards boom than any other action we could take. The question is how are we to approach such a subject? We have in association with this House what is called our Local Legislation Committee. Year after year they carry on doing efficient work. Why is it not possible for this House to appoint a local administrative committee, to see how the work is carried on locally throughout the country, and by sympathetic co-operation, try to get that local administration at the lowest possible expenditure and at the highest state of efficiency. [HON. MEMBER: "Ask the lawyers!"] There is no need to ask the lawyers, because we know what they would reply.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
I would like to tell the House, but I am only using illustrations; it might reflect very adversely on the hon. Member for West Birkenhead (Mr. Egan) if I were to tell it. I might ask him what his rates were at the period of which I am speaking and what they are now. We have been told from the back benches on the other side that we have to change our whole economic system. What would happen if we did? There would be a determined rationalisation. Surely if we ask industry everywhere to rationalise itself, and make itself efficient in every part, it is time that we had the same spirit in all our administrative departments. One of the first things which would happen if our present administrative system went down would be a system of drastic rationalisation on a very wide scale, and it would take place by those who are advocating economic change. Would it not be better for us to do it now 7—We have to justify the conditions in which we find ourselves. There is no need of change of economic system, but in our present system we can, if we will only unite the nation, carry through all that we want and go on with the work which we need to do. This, however, will take time, 1829 and, while the grass is growing, the horse might be starving.
It is for that reason that we on this side of the House have proposed the remedial measures. They are not proposed as a final settlement of the great problems of industry; they are proposed as a means to bear us across a difficult place to a better condition of things. There is much work to be done. People need houses, slums need clearing away, light is needed in dark places, and water in dirty places. There is a plethera of work to be done, which can be of a remunerative character, and which need not for a moment bear any heavy burdens upon the Exchequer. It can be done quite apart from the national finances, but when you come to carry these things out, you must carry them out for a simple purpose. Our purpose must be not to make millionaires or aristocratic workmen, but to build houses. Much of the burden that we bear to-day is due to the fact that the way in which the work was carried out was wasteful in the extreme. We are to-day carrying a heavy burden because of the inefficient carrying out of work of that description. But this work has to be done. I say to the House that this question is far too big for any one small group of men to tackle, for any one party to face. We should sink our party differences on this question and everyone should bring his quota towards the solution of the problem. Every side of this House can contribute something, and if we could get together and pull together until we solve it then we should be saving our national life and bringing happiness to a multitude of homes.
§ Mr. VAUGHAN
I rise with some apprehension, because although I have been sitting on these benches since the General Election, I have had only one other opportunity, and that for 10 minutes, of addressing the House. Little did I think that I should come to Parliament to "keep my mouth with a bridle while the wicked were before me," a thing I have never done before in all my long experience; and now I am told that I must put a bridle on my mouth again at five minutes past two. The House recognise what a strain that puts upon a man of the nationality of the leader of the Liberal party and the Lord Privy Seal. I would like to say that in my opinion the Conservative party 1830 have no right at all to dare to criticise the efforts of the Labour Government, whether these have failed or have succeeded. Time after time I have accompanied deputations from the local authority on which I have the honour to serve on visits to this House and to Whitehall to interview Government officials and Ministers, and nothing we could do would get employment for a single man. In our sorely stricken county of Monmouthshire we have 20,000 unemployed, a figure which can be multiplied by four if we reckon in their immediate dependants, with £200,000 of arrears of rates always dogging our footsteps; but nothing we could do would move the reactionary and inactive Government which sat on these Benches for four years. Every now and again we would get new regulations and circulars and we would say, "Here at last is some hope," only to find that it was a brick wall—well, if it had been a brick wall, we would have pulled it down or got over it, but every time we found we were up against a reinforced concrete wall which we could neither get through nor climb over, and in my opinion it is amazing effrontery for any Conservative Member to dare to offer a word in criticism of the gallant efforts of the Lord Privy Seal.Appeal was all in vain:They held their place of power.And when the people would complain,They but despised them more.Are the Liberal party any better? They have had opportunities galore. They have had power. The right hon. Gentleman the leader of the Liberal party has been as near to being all mighty as any politician or statesman during the last century. Years ago, when the right hon. Gentleman was at the dawn of his power, and passed through Wales, my fellow countrymen crowded a wayside station to greet him. An English commercial traveller, who must have been a Tory, put his head out of the train window and asked, "What is all the fuss about?" "Lloyd George! Lloyd George!" said a countryman. "Well, he is not God Almighty," said the traveller. "No," said the countryman, "but give him time." He had time and he had opportunity, and the nation was in his hands. How people thrilled at his "homes for heroes"!
§ Mr. VAUGHAN
Pardon me; my time is very limited. How the nation thrilled at his appeals after the war; and it would have responded if the right hon. Gentleman, with all his wizardry, had meant more than words, words, words. I have here a book published by the Liberal party at the last election. I do not know what colour it is. I call it salmon colour. It is not the yellow book. I should call it a pup of the yellow book. It is one of the many-hued books that the Liberal party have published. There are only two colours they have avoided. One was red, our colour, and the other, of course, was black, but the electors wrote the black book for them on May 30th. I have had great use for this book. I have admired it and made many speeches from it and praised it. I did not see why I should not, for my sixpence, get some of the Lloyd George millions, because I know it cost far more than sixpence to produce. And there was another reason. My Liberal opponent was, apart from his politics, a very decent fellow, and was also a local preacher, as I am, and I did not want the poor man to lose his deposit, and so I frequently cracked up the Liberal yellow and salmon coloured books, to his heart's content.
I have no time to read extracts because my time is so limited. I can only refer to the pledge which was broadcast through the nation, "We will reduce unemployment to its normal proportions in a single year without costing the ratepayers or taxpayers a single penny." Will you allow me to demonstrate the nonsense, the absolute mendacity, of that claim? I speak as a practical man, a man who has been engaged in road building all his life, a man who has served on local authorities and therefore, naturally enough, made road making and road maintenance his chief occupation in public life. Here is a plan, if my hon. Friends will help me to display it. It is simply a ground plan of a suggested road round Newport.
§ Mr. VAUGHAN
That does not matter. It is shown simply to explain what a last throw of the gambler it was for the right hon. Gentleman the leader of the Liberal party to say that he could reduce unemployment by road making in a single year.
§ Mr. VAUGHAN
I feel I have some contribution to make to the debate, and I trust the hon. Gentleman will regard a nervous Welshman with the consideration he deserves. This plan took two years to make. According to the Liberal proposals we might be living in a mighty plain in Britain, uninhabited, so that you have only to take gangs of men with picks and shovels and barrows and you can solve the unemployment problem in a single year. The right hon. Gentleman forgets that we have to survey every foot of the ground, that there are hills and valleys, and that canals, railways, bridges and roads invest the country. I am not saying that it would be necessary in a time of pressure for two years to be occupied, but I certainly say that the work of preparing a plan such as this could not be done in less than one year at the least.
I want to throw a bouquet at the Lord Privy Seal. It is not many bouquets that he gets from the benches opposite, or even from the Labour benches. Sometimes I wonder what need there is for a Conservative or a Liberal party, since the Labour party supply the Opposition as well as the Government. We know what happened under the disastrous Government that preceded the Labour Government. We laid before the late Government a year ago a schedule of works requiring to be done in my district. Those works were waiting, crying and screaming to be done. We had in our district 20,000 unemployed men, 99 per cent. of whom were ready to take up work. In spite of all these facts, nothing was done. When the present Minister of Transport came into office we came up again; saw the same officials, the same room and walls and furniture, but there had been a revolution of the mind. We made the same appeal, and I am pleased to say that we went away with £250,000 in our pockets. We were given permission to carry out £250,000 worth of work, and thanked God for that. I appreciate the mighty change which has come over the Ministry of Transport, and I thank our front Bench, on behalf of the county of Monmouthshire, for that change of outlook.
1833 2.0 p.m.
I want to point oat some of the difficulties in regard to putting that work into operation. I have myself had a very hard experience in these matters as a public works contractor, and I never expected that the Lord Privy Seal would be able to reduce the unemployment figures this winter. Contractors always make their forecasts well in advance of commencing the work. I wish to tell the right hon. Gentleman that I view the coming spring with great anxiety. Those who have had hard practical experience in road-making look forward to March every year to prepare their plans, buy the plant and engage their foremen, and when we see the first signs of spring upon us we give the word "Go" and then we expect the work to be done quickly. In my own county we have nearly 60 schemes on foot, and each one of them has to go to the Ministry of Transport and also the Ministry of Health to have the terms of the loan settled. After that those plans will have to go before the Unemployment Grants Committee, and they will also have to receive the consent of the Treasury. Very often some of the cases involve further negotiations with the local authorities and on the top of all this we have to fight the battle with the landowners, who seem to put every difficulty in our way. All this process has to be gone through when ever we try to prepare schemes of work for the unemployed. Plans, specifications, quantities, and contracts have to be prepared. What a complex civilisation we live under! I would like to ask the Lord Privy Seal if there is any means by which all these multifarious activities can be dealt with by one authority. Is it possible to have someone to go through the whole of those schemes? Perhaps there is some departmental jealousy that prevents one department operating as quickly as it ought to operate. Some hon. Members talk about war methods, but we are tired of war and its methods. On the front page of the Liberal hook to which I have already referred there is a picture which was broadcast through my constituency, and under it were the words: "We mobilised for war; let us mobilise for prosperity." During the last election the miners in my county were so disgusted with that picture that 1834 they cut off the right hon. Gentleman's trousers. When I told my wife about the mutilation of this picture she said that the miners had shown great sagacity. We cannot have war methods in times of peace but the Government should concentrate, organise, inspire, and drive.
I would like to make three or four suggestions. Why cannot the Minister of Transport delegate some of his powers? I can speak only of the department which controls Monmouthshire, where the chief engineer advises us what to do. What happens? The plans are sent to him and he recommends this and that to be done, and then the whole of the plans are sent up to London. After a short interval, but more often after a long interval, those schemes are sent back to the county offices, alterations are suggested, gullies may be ordered to be put in, and then the plans are once more sent back to London. I ask the Lord Privy Seal if he will consider whether, subject, of course, to financial limitations and safeguards, the power that is already in the hands of the capable, expert, experienced representatives of the Ministry of Transport about the country cannot be delegated so as to cut out all these delays.
Then there are unwilling authorities. Let us try and look at this matter whole, and not blame the Ministry of Transport or the Government for all these senseless delays. I know of one county authority that came up to Whitehall and said: "We are prepared to make this trunk road on condition that you do not give any authority a bigger grant than you offer us." I know other authorities who say, "This is a, Labour Government, and the Labour Government must solve the unemployment problem; and if we hang on and hold out we shall be able to get 100 per cent. shortly, and need not call upon our rates at all." I confess to having been in that category myself. I came up, with others, and pressed and argued for half-an-hour or more for a 100 per cent, grant. We got 75 per cent., and on the way home in the train I wrote an article which was published in our South Wales Press the following day, proving that it paid our county to do the job at 75 per cent. I was so amazed at my seeming insincerity that I wrote to the official concerned at the Ministry of Transport, expressing the hope that 1835 he would not think that I was too great a hyprocrite.
In all these cases in which authorities are difficult to move, and will not operate even the powers that have been given to them, I suggest that in the case of trunk roads the Ministry could very well set a time limit. If it is work that is wanted, if it is work that will provide employment let the Ministry do the job instead. Let them form their own organisation; they have it in embryo now; and, if necessary, let them recoup themselves to the extent of 10, 15 or 20 per cent., as the case may be, out of the proportion that they would ordinarily be giving in grants during the following years. I think that that would make the unwilling local authorities sit up and take notice as perhaps nothing else would.
My next point is with regard to the delays in entering upon land. I dare not give even half a moment to the subject which lies as near to my heart as to the heart of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood), who is sitting near me, and upon which he is so great an expert; but the delays as well as the expense are heart-breaking. I as knowledge that with some landowners that is not the case, because again I want to be absolutely fair. We have one in Monmouthshire who is opposed to me in politics, but who, as a landowner, is absolutely just and generous, and in his case there is no difficulty at all in getting any land that we require for new roads or widenings—in fact, we have had it free of charge. I pause here to say that even the Noble Lord, Viscount Tredegar, need not wait till he gets to Heaven for his reward, because every time he gives us a bit of land he gets a return 10, 50 or 100-fold from the land lying alongside. But never mind that. In other cases the district valuers go and bargain and try to arrange fair terms, and then, when at last that is done, there are all the formalities that hold us back. One landowner actually wrote to us to say that he would not have a road through his land, and we had to expose him in public, because public opinion was the only thing that he feared, before he gave way. In another case a certain landowner actually refused access to our surveyors even for the purpose of surveying 1836 the land, and a note had to be written—it is on this plan which I have here—that the survey is approximate because admission to survey was refused by the owner.
We want compulsory powers; we want the power to send a notice to these people that after, say, 28 days we shall enter their land. We want to be able to say that the Ministry of Transport and the Government have authorised us to do so, and we shall march in with spades and picks and shovels, and shall pay them compensation—because no one wants to steal their land—exactly on the rateable value of the field through which the road is cut. There need be no delays, no difficulties, no law eases, no arbitration. A Noble Lord who is a member of our county council suggested 12 months ago that I should go and interview certain landowners who were charging too much for their land, and thereby crippling the scheme and causing the ratepayers and taxpayers to pay huge prices, up to £1,500 an acre, for what was not worth more than—
§ Mr. VAUGHAN
I apologise if I have gone rather too wide, but my time is limited, and I was perhaps trying to proceed too rapidly. We have proved that on our schemes 70 per cent. goes in actual labour. We pay 50 per cent. on the job, and we are able to account for another 22 per cent., making a total of 72 per cent. in direct and indirect labour. If a road is required, there is nothing to equal a road for finding employment. I am not a blind enthusiast for roads; I would not create a road simply to create employment; I would not bring down Snowdon with its sunsets, and so lose the perorations of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) to South Wales and take it back again simply to provide employment. That, of course, would be nonsense, and would be wasteful expenditure of public money. Nevertheless, when a road is required, as hundreds of them are, when, to use the words so often used by the Lord Privy Seal, they are roads of public utility, when they will promote public and national efficiency, then there 1837 is nothing to equal a road for providing a large proportion of employment.
I have just two points more—[Interruption]. I may explain that this is only the second time that I have addressed the House in all the months that I have been here. I want to appeal to the Lord Privy Seal to consider the question of high-speed, concrete trunk roads—motor roads if you like. I know we are continually told that there is no such expression as "national road" in the vocabulary of our Departments, but I would point out that the principle is already recognised. The Ministry will give 60 and 75 per cent. for classified roads, but they will give a higher grant for trunk roads, and I would plead with the Minister of Transport and the Lord Privy Seal to enlarge their outlook with regard to these necessary speedways in Great Britain, which will provide quick and economical transport, not in competition with the railways, but in collaboration with them; built a few miles from the railways, so that they can serve the railways; built outside the large towns, so that other towns and villages—not ribbon development—can spring up, bringing life and health and prosperity, increasing the value of the land that the Chancellor of the Exchequer can take, and increasing the rateable value that will bring prosperity to our local authorities.
Again, there is the Severn Barrage, which lies alongside my constituency. Is it not possible for that Report, which has now been considered for five years by the leading authorities in the land, to be speeded up at a time like this, so that the country can examine it, and, if the country approves, the scheme can go on. That is a scheme for employment which will cost about £25,000,000, nearly all of which will go in labour direct and indirect. I will conclude by expressing the hope that in these few and hurried moments I have been able to contribute some suggestions of a practical nature, and that the Lord Privy Seal will look into them, so that, if we cannot wish our people, and especially the poor and distressed unemployed people, a Merry Christmas, we can at any rate wish them a happier New Year.
§ Mr. STANLEY BALDWIN
I was very much interested, as the whole House was, in the description which the hon. Member 1838 for the Forest of Dean (Mr. Vaughan) gave of himself as a nervous Welshman. I suspected the Welshman, but I suspected no more. I only !hope I may live to hear the hon. Member speak in this House when he is no longer afflicted by nerves. I will leave on one side the observations that he made at the beginning of his speech, because it is very tempting, to one who has not sat long in this House, to make such observations. He could not refrain from an attack upon us and upon hon. Members who sit below the Gangway, and he challenged our right to criticise his right hon. Friend. In spite of that, I am afraid I must say a few words in criticism; but, before I begin them, I would like to remind the House of what the hon. Member for the Forest of Dean said about the great change that he had noticed since his party came into power—the change between his visit to the Department when he came away with nothing in his pocket, and his recent visit, when he was richly rewarded.
There is a great change and a change which is not observable by the hon. Member, who was not in the House 12 months ago. It is the most remarkable change of all. A year ago, just before 'Christmas, we were debating unemployment. These benches were seething with excitement. Now there is no one in the House. The Minister of Labour was interrupted at every sentence and could hardly get anything out, and we were called murderers. That was on the score of unemployment. To-day the Labour party—I am glad to see it, and I rejoice with them—are in a state of hilarity. There is no other word for it. But the hilarity, of course, has nothing to do with unemployment. The hilarity is the hilarity of a patient who was told yesterday afternoon that he would be in his death throes by the evening, and now the sun has risen and he is still alive. The hilarity is understandable and excusable, and I sympathise with it and rejoice in it.
This is a Vote for the salary and other things of the Lord Privy Seal and the other two of the Three Musketeers who are going forth to battle for the Labour party. I hope, by the way, the Lord Privy Seal will tell us what assistance he is getting from his two colleagues, of whom we have not heard much, and whether they are good men to go tiger- 1839 hunting with and will stick to him until the inevitable fall, although they will slip off his back before the end. I am sorry to say I have felt it my duty to move a reduction. I have made it as small as possible—£10—and having had much experience in trying to deal with unemployment, if the House should carry that Vote, poor as I am to-day, I would gladly refund the £10 to the right hon. Gentleman. Had I been able under the rules of the House to move an increase in his salary, I should have preferred that course. The position of the right hon. Gentleman, when I see him sitting there and listening to the criticisms of his own party, reminds me very much of the poor fellow in a log cabin in the Western State who was playing the piano when a notice was put up: "Do not shoot the pianist, he is doing his best." I sympathise very much with that, and I should feel like that except that there has really been an invitation to shoot, because this performer was advertised all through the General Election, or his party were, as the finest orchestra on this subject that had ever existed. He was made out to be the equal of a Paderewski. Now there is no orchestra. He is merely vamping the airs that we played for four years. I am not going to give many quotations—it is rather wearisome work—but to justify what I have said I would take two from one of the stern, unbending Members of the Labour party, whose accuracy may generally be depended upon, and that is the Chancellor of the Exchequer. A year ago, when he was in opposition, he said:It is not for us to put forward proposals. We have innumerable proposals, but we are not discussing that question at the present moment. We are now discussing the failure of the Government.He also said, just before the General Election—this appeared in the "Huddersfield Examiner"—I can promise you"—A promise from the Chancellor of the Exchequer is worth something—that a Labour Government would start at once with determination,We can all do that.and what is more, a knowledge of the nature of the remedies that have to he applied, and in 12 months' time I am confident that we could make a great impression on the magnitude of the problem.1840 I am very happy to see such faith. Six months have gone by. The results are not yet apparent. I will give only one more short extract, from the Prime Minister himself, at Newcastle-on-Tyne, on 5th February of this year:The Labour Government's first and fundamental task, a task which must lie at the bottom of all its efforts, is to stimulate industry.I agree with that, and we have to examine to-day what the steps are that have been taken to stimulate industry.
I do not want to examine the White Paper in any detail, because the hon. Member for West Middlesbrough (Mr. Griffith) in a long, very careful and able speech, went into the figures, which I think are of great importance. I rather want to make some general observations. The only remark I would make about figures is that I have given the best attention I can to the White Paper. It is not easy to understand, and not being a mathematician, I agree with the hon. Member that men-years, or men-months, is very difficult to convert into anything that cam be understood. If I understand those phrases aright, having considered these figures to the best of my ability, and on the assumption that all the rest of the money that has been voted by Parliament is expended and utilised in the same manner or at the same rate as the money that is at present being expended and utilised, it seems to me that the total production of all these schemes will be to find work for from 70,000 to 75,000 men if it is spread over five years, which is not an ungenerous allowance, rather more if the time is less in proportion, that is to say, work for roughly one-third of the increase in the total unemployment since the present Government came into office. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Shettleston (Mr. Wheatley) in a very interesting speech, of which I heard the greater part, asked perfectly innocently and rightly for information. I do not think he will get it. I say quite seriously I have a profound sympathy with the Lord Privy Seal and his colleagues in this matter, because they are engaged on a perfectly hopeless task. It is a hopeless task for this reason, that difficult as it was in all conscience when 'they came in, it has been made more difficult every day by the action of their own Government.
1841 I will explain what I mean. The Lord Privy Seal himself—I admit it was four years ago, but he is not a man who changes his mind every six months—said:It is time industry was cased somewhat of the terrific burden of imposts it has borne during the past 10 years, and I think this easing would do more than any other temporary Measure to stimulate trade and encourage business, and incidentally to provide employment for those at present idle.The Prime Minister only last year said,The Government says productive industry wants help. I admit it does.May I remind the House in this connection of the line taken by the American Government, a Government which, in the management of its own affairs, is generally a pretty realist Government? What did the President of the United States say only the other day in speaking of the financial position in America?We cannot fail to recognise the obligations of the Government in the support of public welfare, but we must coincidently bear in mind the burden of taxes and strive to find relief through some tax reduction. Every dollar so returned fertilises the soil of prosperity.That is absolutely true. I do not know whether many hon. Members—they were too busy perhaps, and I dare say they had many things to do—read any of the speeches I made during the General Election. I may observe frankly that those speeches quite failed to convince the people to whom they were addressed, but it does not follow that the speeches were not right. One thing upon which I laid stress all the time, without going into details was, that it was, and must be a very lengthy period before you could hope to see employment in this country increasing considerably. I said that I believed,—and this is why I am always called an optimist by those who have so small a vocabulary, that there is no intermediate stage between optimism and pessimism,—and I may remark incidentally that I think this view is held by the best known among the great industrialists, by whom I do not mean the financiers, that by the spring of this year we would be getting into smoother waters and that unemployment was coming down rapidly.
The thing that scared me all through—and that I put before many large audiences in Lancashire—was not the loss of the election—I did not care twopence 1842 about my personal position—was that there should come in any Government who at that time would take steps which, by throwing more burdens on an overburdened industry, would lessen that confidence which had been growing, over the last two years, and throw back industry when it was just beginning to move. I believed, and I believe still, what many friends of mine in industry believed—that if you could have, no matter what Government was in power, a situation in which the industries themselves would very largely be left alone for another couple of years they might have made good. The process of rationalisation was beginning. It was being thrashed out in cotton, and in iron and steel. It has got to come in wool, and it was beginning, and I admit it has been very slow, in coal. All these things have to come and they have to be done. I am afraid that some of the recent legislation, and the legislation to come, will give exactly that check to industry which I have dreaded the whole time.
Take the new burdens on industry. Take the burdens which we know in our hearts are in sight. I think they are something like £20,000,000 for next year. The exact amount does not matter very much, because the principle is the same. The new burdens to come are all burdens through taxation. I do not mind where you lay the taxation, these burdens come down heavily on the industries of this country. What causes so much uncertainty is that at the time of the election pledges and promises were given which we all know hon. Members opposite must recognise go far beyond—I am not blaming anybody for them at the moment but reminding the House of the facts—what in any circumstances they would be able to carry out, but the people at large in the country, and especially those connected with industry, do not know how far it is impossible for the Government to carry them out. But they see in the first year that these fresh burdens are coming on; they do not know what future burdens will be. That saps confidence and stands in the way of all forward engagements in trade and cripples the enterprise of all people who would like to put in new plant and to extend their works. The same is true in a more minute degree of safeguarding and preference, and I will say no more about that at the moment.
1843 But it is extraordinarily true about coal. Whether these changes which are going to be made are right or wrong, whether these changes will come about as the Government devise, or whether the Bill will be enormously altered in the House, whatever the result of that Bill, uncertainty is created in that industry which, after all, is the foundation of every other industry in the country. Not only that; the one fact that emerges—again I say, rightly or wrongly—is that coal is going to cost more. That we cannot help. It may be quite right, as the Prime Minister said—and I listened with great interest to his speech last night—that coal may be produced at uneconomic prices and that when that happens prices must be raised. Of course, as everybody in this House knows, every argument he used about coal, whether you agree with it or not, is equally applicable to wheat. What are the results of high prices of coal? They must militate against our successful competition in the world. That is obvious. They have militated—and I apologise for not being able to give all the details, as I do not want to take up too much time; you can take it as my opinion, or belief if you like. If you take iron and steel, you will agree that they depend on coal more than any trade in the country. I am quite convinced in my own mind that with the most modern plant and with coal at the price that has been obtainable lately, British steel can be made to compete with any country in the world. The increase in the price of coal which must come from legislation will postpone that day, and will postpone the day when you will see new works put up for competitive purposes in the world until such time as may be seen once more stability in the price of coal—and by stability I mean a market stability, and not a stability dependent upon legislation or on rings. I think it is going to give a definite set-back to that great trade, and a set-back, as the House may understand, to which I do not look forward with pleasure.
I would like to say a word or two here on one or two fundamental problems which lie underneath this unemployment problem. There has not been, as far as I know, any scientific investigation of a thorough kind as to the causes of the kind of unemployment we have had in the 1844 last eight or nine years. We all know, and do not let us ever forget, that the War upset all our export trade and gave our competitors time to get into markets which had hitherto been our own special preserves. Do not let us forget—and it is almost more important—that the War was the greatest upset to labour there has ever been, because not only had labour to get back, and to get back under its old rules and conditions as far as organised labour was concerned, but the whole machinery for negotiating wages had been very much broken up and the whole relation of wages, owing to the work in the munition factories which had grown up during the whole period of the industrial revolution—the relation of wages as between the skilled and the unskilled men had all been completely and fundamentally upset. So that the whole scheme of remuneration for labour had to be fought over again at a time when industry itself was disorganised and was attempting to get itself together to recapture its foreign trade, which is the one trade on which we all have to live.
That was bad enough, in all conscience, but we had also as the legacy of the War and the difficult times afterwards, the worst period as between the employers and the men that there had ever been. The trade of the country had no chance, because of the industrial stress that took place almost every year in the first years after the War. When we look back upon that time, the miracle is not that we have got the unemployment which exists to-day, but that we ever came through at all. It is a most extraordinary tribute to the vitality of our country and the virility of our people. That is why I have devoted so much of my time and energy in trying to improve the relations between the two parties, because I felt that until some move was made in that direction, any chance of progress was damned from the start.
We have often been told, and it is true, that we are in the process of industrial revolution. I would rather call it evolution. It is revolution in this, that there will have to be great changes, and it is evolution in this, that unless it is evolution, those changes will destroy us. All that is true, but I want the House to remember, and it ought to give us all to think, that we are going forward into absolutely uncharted water.
1845 We are the one country in the world which is at the same time more industrialised than any other country, which has a lopsided development and a failing agriculture, fed from abroad, dependent upon our export trade yet leading the world by perhaps half a generation, it may be a generation, in the advanced democracy which has been raised since 1918. We are going into uncharted seas and we are blazing the trail—if that is not mixing the metaphors too much—for all the nations that are looking on; the nations that will have to tread our path in years to come, and who, if we are not very careful, will profit by our mistakes. That is an enormous responsibility.
When we think about our country going through uncharted waters and trying to move forward and to evolve a better and more efficient industrial system, let us remember that there can be no analogy between this country and new and un developed countries. I say that with no desire to make a party point, but because I want hon. Members opposite to think of it. I say it because of this fact, that while a new country or an undeveloped country can make the most grievous mistakes and recover from them, we cannot do it. We have no undeveloped resources compared with those countries of which I am speaking, but we have inherited good will and inherited experience, and these are both worth a great deal and stand to us for the undeveloped resources which the newer countries and the undeveloped countries have. Once these go, we have nothing to fall back upon. Once we commit any great blunder, any revolutionary blunder that might knock-out our cotton trade, for example, for six or 12 months, the cotton trade could never get on to its feet again, because the cotton trade is itself an example of survival. It is not really a natural industry in this country, when we consider that other countries now can have such an industry. If we once fall out of the race in any industry, we are done. You may take almost any country you like for the purpose of comparison. Take Australia. Australia is able to make experiments. She can have ups and downs, but she will come out right in the end, because she has space. She is not developed yet. Take Russia. Russia can afford the wildest experiments; I am 1846 speaking economically, because she has hardly begun to be developed. A one-hundredth part of Russian experiments in this country or a tenth part of Australia's experiments in this country, and we might be damned beyond all chance of repair. That is why, whatever we may say or however we may fight amongst ourselves, we have to watch the situation with the greatest care. The machinery is so delicate, the room for manoeuvring is so small and the room for recovery is infinitesimal.
There is one other difficulty that cuts right down into the situation, and that is the political difficulty. You cannot keep politics out of life and industry; it would be a bad and unwholesome thing if you could, but politics do add to our difficulties and they do add to our dangers. I rejoiced last night when the Prime Minister laid great stress on the hope of better feelings in the coal trade, and referred with regret to the feelings that have existed for so many years between the two sides in the coal trade. I agreed with every word of that. It is not possible to make any progress until we remove that feeling. I will tell the House what I mean. Perhaps I have had, and I believe that I have had, a longer experience now of these particular troubles than anyone in this House, except it be the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs, who is to follow me in this Debate. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman was not so much occupied with these problems as I was, because he had so many other things arising out of the War to deal with, soon after the War was over. Practically all my time during the last Government, when I daresay some people would have liked me to be making speeches up and down the country, was occupied in pondering over these problems, in seeing people and in trying to do what I could, in conjunction with my right hon. Friend IN h o was then Minister of Labour, and others, to try to bring about industrial rationalisation, and to see what could be done in regard to employment and in the way of helping industry in this country. But the difficulty that I was up against was that I could not get into touch with organized labour, because of politics. I wanted those concerned with organised labour to come and talk to me intimately and 1847 privately, but they could not do it because I was the Leader of the Tory party.
What is the harm of that state of things? The harm is this: I have, and certainly I ought to have, a pretty good knowledge of British industry, mainly, of course, from one point of view, from the experience gained in trying to get markets and finance, a knowledge which hon. Members opposite say that they have not got. I hope the time will come, and I have often stressed this point on the platform, when by all engaged in industry coming together, which is our only hope of salvation, the two parties may learn of each other, and we may get men on the trade union side who have that intimate knowledge of managerial problems, selling problems and balance sheet problems that the owners have. We shall be lopsided until we come to that time. The difficulty of my position was that I could not get them together. Take the position of the present Government. They can get all the consultations and the advice they want on that side. They have the Trade Union Congress people, and the knowledge of their side and the influence of organised labour, but they have hardly anybody on that side who really has the kind of knowledge which I am attempting to describe—[Interruption.] It is quite true. That is why it is so essential to bring the two parties together, in order that we may benefit thereby. I hope that the day may come when we all may be able to get together on these subjects, without thinking who is going to get political advantage out of it.
I am merely pointing to this as one of the difficulties of the industrial situation. While it is perfectly true that the Prime Minister is able to consult friends of mine—I am glad he is able to do so— about what can be done in the present situation, yet any advice they may give is rendered of no effect by the type of legislation I have described, which is placing fresh burdens on industry and destroying confidence at a time when industry can stand no more burdens, and wants confidence more than anything else. I have spoken too long already, and although there are several other things I wanted to say I must sit down now. Let me say just one thing in con- 1848 clusion. It bears out what I have said about the hopelessness of the task which the Lord Privy Seal and his colleagues have undertaken. I desire more than anything else to see them successful. The dice are loaded against them, and I do not see anything that is going to help them. I did for a moment have a gleam of hope when the First Commissioner of Works on first coming into office said:At long last England has arisen and the day is here, the day when the people of Britain come into their own.That day is now six months old. There are over 200,000 more men on the unemployment list now than when the present Government entered into office. The cost of living, which fell 12 points during our term of office, is now seven points up since the present Government came into power. Real wages, according to the figures published by the Labour party, which rose 12 points during our term of office, have now fallen since June by five points, and food prices have risen by 12 points. Although we shall pass this Vote, and the Lord Privy Seal deserves his salary, it is perfectly true that he, at any rate, has not yet found any solution to a problem that has baffled Government after Government.
Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
After taking up so much time yesterday, I feel that I must apologise to the House for intervening in the Debate to-day, but as I pressed the Government to give a day for the discussion of this problem, I feel that I ought not to fail to take advantage of the opportunity which is offered. I do not do so because I think it is in the slightest degree necessary, especially after the brilliant exposition of the Liberal point of view by the hon. and learned Member for West Middlesbrough (Mr. Griffith), supported by the contribution made by the hon. Member for Eddisbury (Mr. R. Russell), and from the point of view of an examination of the White Paper, as far as I am concerned, I feel that I could leave it to the speech of the right hon. Member for Shettleston (Mr. Wheatley) who gave us an extraordinary searching and penetrating examination of the whole problem. It is particularly essential, however, before we separate for the Christmas holiday that we should get from the Government a survey of the 1849 present position of unemployment. What is their opinion as to how the matter stands? What is their view of what they have accomplished? What is their view of what they can accomplish before the winter is over? I should like to hear from the Government what we were in the habit of hearing from the late Minister of Labour and the late President of the Board of Trade on these occasions, some idea of what their advisers tell them as to trade prospects. That is very vital.
The right hon. Gentleman the late Prime Minister, in the course of an extraordinarily interesting speech, proclaimed himself not quite an optimist, although when he said that the conditions would have been restored in two years' time had it not been for certain interferences to which he referred, I thought he was a little optimistic. I do not believe in the prognostication of a dark cloudy atmosphere, nor do I believe in a blue sky without a cloud. My own view is that the firmament is rather mottled. There is a good deal of blue sky, but there is a good deal of cloud still in the firmament. I do not think, however, that there is any cause for despair. Unemployment is, in the main, attributable to the fact that our export trade has not recovered. It is now 80 per cent. what it was before the War, whereas it should be 115 to 320 per cent., having regard to population. That is bad, and it is bound to have an effect upon employment in this country. But when I look at the condition of the export trade in other countries I do not think we have much cause for actual despair. There has been a gradual improvement. In 1920 we had only recovered about 50 per cent, of our export trade. By 1922 it was over 60 per cent., and since then the recovery has been slow but it has been steady, and there will be a recovery this year of 2 or 3 per cent. It is all in the right direction. It is too early yet, when you get these small percentages, to predict that we shall be out of our difficulties in two years' time unless we take exceptional measures in order to deal with the situation.
I agree with the Leader of the Opposition that, having regard to the conditions, it is remarkable that we have recovered. The conditions with regard to munition 1850 workers obtained also in France, Germany, and every other country. We did not have to deal with anything that was exceptional in that matter. But we have to deal with the fact that on the whole wages are higher in this country than in any other competitive country in Europe. I heard the right hon. Gentleman himself last year give striking figures from the League of Nations in this respect showing how much higher wages were in this country than in any competitive industrial country in Europe, and it is very remarkable that, in spite of the fact that our wages are higher than in any other rival country in Europe, the growth of our export trade will compare with that of any other European country, with the possible exception of France. When you come to France you have exceptional conditions. The whole of the industrial districts of France have been rationalised and reconstructed owing to the devastation of the War. They have been fitted up with the latest machinery. You have also the addition to France of two highly industrialised areas where the equipment is of the latest, and valuable and rich raw material at hand. For that reason France undoubtedly is in a better position than we are.
Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
Yes, of course; I do not want to quarrel with my right hon. Friend in that respect. At any rate, we have to meet a very heavy burden and we are facing it so that, from that point of view, I do not think there is any ground for despair, but I cannot see that leap forward which would enable us, whatever Government was in power, to recover the position of our export trade in two years. I cannot see it. I would like to hear from the right hon. Gentleman, who has at his command sources of information to which an unofficial person cannot resort, what his opinion is in regard to the trade prospects in that respect. Then there is another matter which has been referred to at considerable length by the right hon. Member for Shettleston, the question of rationalisation. It was glanced at by the late Prime Minister. That in itself, as the right hon. Gentleman pointed out, is a contributory cause to immediate unemployment. The 1851 right hon. Gentleman must be constantly hearing of cases of this kind in every part of the country where men have to be dismissed because new labour-saving appliances are being introduced.
There is another point of view. In the post-War days of 1815 you had the industrial movement, the movement for the introduction of machinery, the industrialisation of England. You have another very remarkable movement now and that is the move of industry from the industrial North to the agricultural South. You are really creating a new industrial nation south of the Trent. That has very largely to do with new industries but also with the old ones. There are many causes into which I need not go, why they are moving, but that is not the point. All the industries there are equipped with the latest machinery. You have got the process of rationalisation going on, and there is no doubt that, if our exports show increases by these small percentages that you have got now or even larger percentages, it is clear that you would hardly be able to keep up with the counter-process due to the rationalisation of industry and the dismissal of men. That is the problem which any Government has got to face, and it is a very serious one. I am not going to analyse the White Paper, as that has been done very carefully and effectively by hon. Members behind me and by the right hon. Gentleman, but there is one thing to which I would like to call the right hon. Gentleman's attention. I would also once more emphasise the importance of his telling us quite frankly for how many men he is providing work, in this year to begin with. It is really rather—I will not say misleading, but it has the effect of misleading, to say that you have got 250,000 man-years for a period of five years. That is not the slightest use. There are two things upon which the right hon. Gentleman ought to inform the House. First of all, how much work will be provided under his scheme this year? That is the first thing. The second is, for how many more men will he provide work by Government grants and assistance than was provided work for by his predecessors in Office? Otherwise, you do not know whether any real progress has been made in the problem.
1852 3.0 p.m.
I will show the right hon. Gentleman what I mean. I will take, if he likes, the Road Board. The right hon. Gentleman claims in his White Paper that he is providing work and that he has got schemes there which in the aggregate come to £36,000,000. Of the £36,000,000, something like £16,000,000, or a little more has already been approved. I will take the whole of the £36,000,000, not merely those he has already approved but those he has got under review. He proposes to find work for 100,000 men for a period of five years. Is that an improvement upon his predecessors? Not the slightest. If he will look at the figures for 1928, he will find that they have provided also at the rate of £36,000,000 for five years. I am afraid I shall have to quote from memory—the right hon. Gentleman will correct me if I am wrong. My recollection is that, first of all, you have a great allocation of money for maintenance and improvement. The improvement includes bridges and widening roads. I take the special grants which they voted in 1928 to deal with road improvement and unemployment, and I find that they had £4,200,000 voted for unemployment under the Road Fund and the special grant of £3,100,000 in addition for the purpose of making bridges, widening roads and all the kinds of road improvements which are very useful for the purpose of providing work for the unemployed. That means very nearly £7,500,000 per annum, which was specially set apart for exactly the same purposes as the White Paper. If you multiply that by five, that is exactly the figure which the right hon. Gentleman has got here. He has not approved the whole of that £36,000,000. He has approved only about £26,000,000, but I will assume that he is going to approve the whole of the rest, and his righteousness does not exceed that of the Unionist Government in that respect.
I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman not merely what he is providing but what he is providing which is new, which is additional. They also provided £36,000,000. Well, they could have reckoned it up and said, "That is 160,000 man-years." He has got 100,000 man-years. It is no use looking at it in that form. If you have got 1,200,000 men out of work in five years, that is 6,000,000 1853 man-years. What is the use of saying, "Well, I am providing for 100,000 man-years in a five-year programme"? I think we are entitled to know from the right hon. Gentleman what work he is providing for the winter of this year. In the second place, what is he providing which is additional to what his predecessors provided as well? The White Paper is a very clever paper, and I congratulate the draftsman of it. It is a very subtle document; it will baffle anybody, even those who have been actually on this task a very long time, to quite make out what he has provided there.
Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
That is right. That is why I knew. I thought I detected a very cunning hand. [An HON. MEMBER: "A master-hand."] Yes, a master-hand. I ask every Member of the House to take the trouble to read that Paper from beginning to end, for it is worth studying. If ever they want to conceal any facts this is the way to do it. It is quite impossible to take out of this Paper what it is really that is to be done this year. When I come to the local authorities I really cannot make out what has happened. The last time the Lord Privy Seal spoke on the subject he said that there would be an expenditure, I think, of £11,000,000 under the Lord St. Davids Committee and other Committees, and that out of that sum £5,000,000 would be for the Manchester water works. I want to know whether the Manchester water works are still in. Is that the case? Are they in the £11,000,000 I would point out that the Manchester Water Works Bill is not yet through the House of Commons.
As far as I can see, the only new development referred to in the White Paper is the money which is given to the railways. The road expenditure is entirely what was done before. The first new development is the payment of interest in respect of money spent by railway companies. The grant, the guarantee, is nothing new; that was done before under the Trade Facilities Act. The only absolutely new idea for which the right hon. Gentleman is responsible is the giving of money, free of interest for 15 years, to railway companies. I find that under that heading there will be 1854 about £7,000,000. I should like to know what the schemes are, when they are to begin, how much work is to be provided this year, and I would press him to give the information, which is not clear in the White Paper, as to the conditions under which he is giving this free grant for 15 years to the railway companies. Are there any guarantees with regard to fares, with regard to rates, with regard to accommodation, or the services which are to be rendered in return? I ask the right hon. Gentleman for that information, and I am very sorry to see that there has been no room for it in the White Paper.
It is quite clear from the White Paper that, as far as this year is concerned, or as far as I can see, there is no work for more then 50,000 men within a year of the time when the right hon. Gentleman took office. I doubt whether there is work for 50,000 men in addition to the work which had been provided under the scheme of his predecessors in office. Certainly there is not work for more than 50,000 men. Yet there are 200,000 added to the unemployed list. We have been at it for six months, and no real progress has been made, as far as I can see, in grappling with the problem. I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether it is not desirable for him and for the Government to reconsider the whole position, to take another survey of it during the coming three weeks and to see whether they cannot make a real fresh start. I am confident that more can be done than has been done. The right hon. Gentleman, with the views which he holds, did not carry it any further. He has really got stuck in a shell-hole, and he does not seem to be able to extricate himself from it. He has just made up his mind to proceed on lines which I do not think will lead him to a solution of the problem, and I earnestly appeal to the Government to take advantage of the Recess to reconsider the position and make a fresh start.
No one in any part of the House need apologise for the necessity and the importance of discussing this problem. I believe, quite sincerely, that Members of all parties would desire and welcome the opportunity of being able to say: "We have succeeded in making an important contribution towards its solution," but I do not take the view that 1855 there is anybody who is not genuinely anxious to see a solution. Listening to the Debate, I am bound to ask myself what is the reason for the change of mentality of individuals on this subject. Giving them credit for all sincerity, what is the reason for statesmen in this House proclaiming publicly a policy, though, when they had the opportunity of giving effect to it, they not only did not give effect to it, but warned the country against it? If we give them credit for sincerity we are entitled to ask, what are the changed circumstances which enable a responsible politician like the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) to make utterances to-day, inside and outside the House, although he knows perfectly well that when he was a responsible Minister lie said in regard to them: "I will not only not give effect to them, but I believe they would be disastrous." That is a pretty serious statement to make, and I deal with it right away.
What is the gravamen of the charge which the Mover of the Motion has brought against me? What was the charge made by the right hon. Gentleman upon the last occasion? He said, "You are too timid, you are too cowardly, you are hesitating. Why do you not spend more money on housing, on roads, on electricity and so forth?" That is the gravamen of his charge against me. I have been looking up his record, not his record when he was in a position of no responsibility, but his record when he was responsible, with an unprecedented majority. The same question that he puts to me to-day was put to him, and he replied:I come to the last point made by my right hon. Friend and others, that all these proposals we put forward are only in the nature of palliatives. You cannot turn the 550,000 men who are out of work on to making and repairing roads, or even to building houses, and I fully realise that after we have exhausted every project which we can reasonably ask the House of Commons to sanction there will be a very appalling margin, which may very well he a growing one."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st December, 1920; cols. 1669–70; Vol. 136.]That was in 1920,before the municipalities had incurred the debt that they have incurred to-day, before the municipalities were so impoverished as they are to-day, before the municipalities had the burden which they have to-day. 1856You cannot turn the 550,000 men who are out of work on to making and repairing roads, or even to building houses.But the right hon. Gentleman improved upon that in 1921. Again the problem of unemployment was being debated, and he said:This is a country which depends more upon exports than any other country in the world. It depends more upon international trade than any country in the whole world, and if international trade fails, I do not care what you do in this House, by legislation, or by administration outside, or by expenditure of public money, you will have nothing but starvation and ruin."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 17th February, 1921; col. 412, Vol. 138.]Apply that to his remarks to-day. Apply that to the poster: "I can cure unemployment," and under the poster put the following words spoken again in 1921, in October:Whatever the Government may do, it cannot bridge the great chasm of unemployment."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 19th October, 1921; col. 92, Vol. 147.]If he could not do it then, what becomes of all this abuse that I have been subjected to during the past few months? It seems an interesting day of quotations. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition quoted something, but he forgot some of his own statements. Let us see what his views are. In the 1924 election the right hon. gentleman issued this manifesto:The Unionist party has a positive remedy for unemployment. Constant work at good wages will he secured for all who desire and seek it.
That is taken from the election address in 1924 of the right hon. Member for Bewdley (Mr. S. Baldwin) —[Interruption.] The right hon. Gentleman gave extracts from speeches of my right hon. and hon. Friends, and it is no good to object if I apply the same method. The Debate has revealed another interesting fact—that it is the anxiety of everybody, not only to sympathise with, but to make no personal attack upon, the Lord Privy Seal. After listening to the speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for Shettleston (Mr. Wheatley), I felt that there was no need for him to have said that he had no personal feeling. Indeed, when he had finished speaking, I felt sure that he was 1857 not bothered about a Motion for a reduction, but that he felt it ought to have been an increase. We have heard very interesting economics propounded by him, and cheered in various parts of the House. He is anxious to know certain things, and he put a series of questions to me. He is anxious to know what happened at the lunches which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister gave to the great economists. To use his own phrase, he wanted to know whether I could give any bulletin from them. I have not had time to confirm it, but I understand that there is a bulletin issued from these economists that if certain Members in the House would only run politics as they run their business, how much better the country would be.
My right hon. Friend accused me of being too partial to what he called rationalisation. He told the House that on the railways and in many other industries, this process of rationalisation had gone on, and that it had been so disastrous in effect that it was the real cause of unemployment. [An HON. MEMBER: "He voted for it last time!"] I am dealing with my right hon. Friend now, and he can defend himself, believe me. He asked what is my policy to deal with rationalisation. Boiled down, what does that mean? It means, and no one knows better than the right hon. Gentleman, that if he or anyone 100 years ago had stood in this House or in the country, and said that modern and up-to-date machinery and new methods must not be applied, what would have been the position of the country to-day?
§ Mr. WHEATLEY
Can the right hon. Gentleman quote one sentence of my speech in which I declared against the introduction of improved machinery or improved organization?
Then it is no good attacking rationalisation. He cannot have it both ways. If rationalisation means anything, it means improved up-to-date machinery of all kinds. As my right hon. Friend told me privately, I understood him to mean that, and I was going to ask him, why, if he was so opposed to it, he got a new machine a few days ago. I am trying to show that it is no good merely applying a policy to yourself unless you are prepared to admit that others are equally entitled to apply 1858 it. Now I come to another question that was asked me. It is, What its the net result of the White Paper and the other schemes? No one knows better than the right hon. Gentleman that the White Paper cannot give a full indication of all the work. The right hon. Gentleman himself asked for a specific Paper on the two Development Acts, and the White Paper merely deals with that position and nothing else.
I want to tell the House of the unemployment problem as I see it. I am not going to juggle with statistics, because I frankly admit, much as I think a mistake is made, much as I believe harm is done by always advertising the unemployed figures, that I have no right to expect the other side to do differently, so far as figures are concerned, than was done when they were in office. But I am entitled to draw the attention of the House to the fact and I am sure the ex-Minister of Labour will agree—that you cannot draw any fair analogy between June and December. Anyone who knows the seasonal nature of some of our industries knows perfectly well that it would be absurd to do that. Equally, I want to say that while there have been a number of factors during the past few months which have contributed very largely to the increase, the same considerations—such as bad weather—ought to be taken into account when considering the administration of the late Government. The Liberal pamphlet says:For eight years more than a million British workers, able and eager to work, have been denied the opportunity.That is a travesty of the facts, and would cause, and does cause, a false impression abroad. You could say with equal truth that at one period or another during this year 4,000,000 unemployed have been registered. It is absurd to put forward an argument which cannot be justified and can only do harm.
When I approached the problem I immediately made up my mind that if work could be provided it Was the duty of the Government to provide it. I said that at the onset, and I say it now, but it was subject to two conditions. The first condition was that I was not going to be a party to merely adding to the dead-weight capital of the country—which is the very point which the right hon. Gentleman made, and which the Leader 1859 of the Opposition quoted from one of my speeches. I subscribe to that view to-day. I have never disguised and I do not disguise to-day that there are large numbers of industries in this country—I will enumerate them in a moment—whose difficulty in competing in world markets is such that, if you add to that burden, then instead of helping the unemployed you do incalculable harm and add to the difficulties of the problem. I have never disguised that from myself, and I have never pretended that I was going on any other policy. Concurrently with that I have also laid down the condition that where it is possible to accelerate work or to provide employment that will add to the efficiency of the country, then it is our duty to do it. I ask the House to judge fairly the merits of the scheme. I have been asked when the work is going to commence and how many men will be employed. Hon. Members need only to look at the Parliamentary papers, and they will find there some 80 odd Bills waiting to pass the House of Commons, and 40 odd of them require powers that Parliament must give before the work can be proceeded with. May I point out that when I asked the House a fortnight ago to give me power to speed up this work by five weeks, two hon. Members sitting on the Opposition Benches got up and said that I was asking for a revolutionary change? —[Interruption.]
It is perfectly true that the Bill to which I am referring went through, but am pointing out that the very Bills with which I am dealing have to receive Parliamentary sanction in order to expedite the carrying out of the work which is involved in them by six weeks, and even with all the expedition we can invoke not one of those schemes ran be operated before April or May of next year. That is my answer to the question put to me as to when the work will commence, and how many men will be employed. Does anyone contend that anything more can be done than what I have stated? Does any hon. Member on the benches opposite dare to suggest that we can supersede private legislation Will anyone dare to say that this Government, no matter what else they have done, should come here and say: "We will take over statutory powers which are now enjoyed by the municipalities of this country"? What 1860 chance would any Government have of carrying a Measure of that description? If I am compelled to wait until April or May next before these schemes can be put into operation, how can I answer the question that has been put to me, "When are they going to start work?"
The same principle applies to other schemes, and I will give two illustrations. The hon. Member who moved this Amendment mentioned the Tilbury tunnel. That is work which I have tried to speed up, and we have done all we can to get on with the work. Unfortunately, before that job can be started, the House of Commons must pass the necessary legislation. Will anyone who knows the conditions of Hull, with it level crossings and the consequent holding up of traffic, say that that scheme is not a necessary scheme? A £1,000,000 scheme is put forward to wipe away for all time these miserable level crossings in that great city, which handicap trade and traffic and everything else. But it is no use asking me how many men will be employed. I have first to find out when this House will pass the necessary Bill to enable the Hull Corporation to proceed with that work. The right hon. Gentleman asks, what is the difference between our policy and the policy of the late Government? [Interruption.] I will deal in a moment—
The question has been repeatedly put in the Debate as to what is the difference between our policy and that of the late Government, and I am now going to answer it. The Unemployment Grants Committee is the Committee that deals exclusively with municipalities—with all schemes submitted by municipal or public utility bodies outside railways. In the last two years, under the late Government, only £6,000,000 was approved. We did not. get the power until four months ago to deal with our development schemes, and in the six months during which we have been in office £13,500,000 has been sanctioned by that one Committee alone, for 630 different schemes, and at the present moment there are 923 further schemes, of a total value of £18,000,000, before the 1861 Committee—[HON. MEMBERS: "How many men are employed?"]—and, if any proof be needed of the difference, it can be furnished by the hon. Member for Harwich (Mr. Pybus) and the hon. Member for Twickenham (Sir J. Ferguson), who will not, I think, consider me unfair if I quote their own statements that during the last six months they have been called upon to work harder than they have ever worked in the past two years. Yet we are told that we are doing nothing for the difficulties of unemployment.
As far as the railway schemes are concerned, the right hon. Gentleman asked a number of questions, but he knows perfectly well that I do not sanction those schemes. The Act itself makes that perfectly clear, and I made it perfectly clear at the outset that the Act specifically lays down that I was not going to put any Minister of any Government who may continue that Measure in the position of being accused of favouring one body as against another. No scheme is submitted to me; every scheme is submitted to a body of expert business men, as well as trade union leaders and financiers, including the Treasury; and, so far as I am concerned, I accept their judgment, whether they turn down the scheme or whether they support it.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Shettleston gave some figures as showing the reduced number of railway employés. I am not going into his remarks about the railway position, or I could say much about it; but, if he examined the returns of the volume of traffic in 1921, he ought to have realised that 1921 was the year in which 106 railway companies became four. There was all the reorganisation which followed that, and, if my right hon. Friend looks at the traffic carried during that period, he will see that that, and not rationalisation, is the explanation.
Unfortunately I had to explain it to the men who felt it, and I had to explain it in the drop of about £7,000,000 receipts in the railway returns. Unfortunately, I had to explain it to the victims and not in this House. But I would advise the right hon. Gentleman 1862 not to be too sure and dogmatic about the railway situation, because he will get into the same bog that he did in his examination of the coal figures. He first asked me, "Are you aware that the Great Western Railway ordered so many sleepers from Canada a few weeks ago, and how does that square with your idea of steel sleepers?" I do not apologise for having persuaded the railway companies to experiment with steel sleepers. The steel trade, and the representatives of labour in the steel trade, do not need any apology, because they are the ones who have got the order. The right hon. Gentleman could have made inquiries and found that you cannot have steel sleepers in electrified areas and, if he had followed it up, he would have found that the steel sleepers from Canada were substituting Norway sleepers, and surely it was not a bad thing, when I asked Canada to help us in our trade, to give them a chance in exchange. The right hon. Gentleman went a little further. He had been examining the figures and he wanted to know how it was that the coal trade had expanded in France, Spain and Italy, and had not expanded in Canada.
The right hon. Gentleman said France and other countries. If lie had made inquiries about the Canadian situation he would have heard that there was such a thing as the St. Lawrence River, and they cannot very well deal with that in December. That is the explanation. Having shown the House the difference between this Government and the late Government in the matter of the Unemployment Grants Committee, I now want to turn to another side. The right hon. Gentleman, I think, was quite fair in saying he did not expect much development from the Colonial Bill. I frankly admit that I do not expect very much from the Colonial Bill until next year. In regard to the point raised by the right hon. Gentleman about roads, the £9,500,000 programme on trunk roads to which I referred is in addition to the road programme of the late Government.
I want to draw attention to another important development. When the Electricity Bill was going through the House a 1863 few years ago, considerable hope was expressed as to the value of that Measure. I want to say personally that I not only think it will be justified, but that it will prove a blessing to the trade and commerce of the country. I have been examining the question as to how far we can speed up in that connection, the idea being to make current from the grid available to all areas in the country. I have succeeded within the last two days, in consultation with the Minister of Transport, in arranging in regard to the North-East Coast area that an application is to be made to the Unemployment Grants Committee. I hope that this will result in expediting £1,000,000 worth of work on transmission which will carry with it a further expenditure of £7,500,000 in order to deal with the standardisation of frequency in the whole of the North-East area. The whole of the information which I have tends to show that there is nothing so valuable as cheap current, and the opportunity that it will give for manufacturers and industry in that particular quarter.
There is one other point I desire to make, because I am trying to show to the House that I have no right to be judged on the mere White Paper. I have indicated, in addition to the White Paper, the railway schemes, the Colonial schemes, the St. Davids schemes, and the electrification schemes. I now come to the question of docks and harbours. There, again, the study of the unemployment problem convinced me that if we want to develop our export trade more facilities and more efficient plant are required at many of our docks and harbours. I therefore invited the different dock authorities to meet me. Time will not permit my going into every detail, but I will tell the House that dock schemes have been approved in, or have been submitted from, such places as Dundee, Milford, Liverpool (nearly £2,000,000), Newcastle-on-Tyne, Leith, Shoreham, Tees, Inverness, Aberdeen. They are either schemes which have definitely been approved, or schemes which are at the moment before the Committee for consideration. I therefore submit that in considering the difficulties of our situation some regard must be had to the 1864 fact that the Government cannot force an authority who have not the powers, and that delay is inevitable.
Important as, I admit, providing temporary work may be, I would be deceiving the House if I did not frankly say, in the words of the right hon. Gentleman, that in the end it is only an expedient. I frankly tell the House that I do not believe any Government can solve the unemployment problem by merely temporary schemes, of whatever kind they are, and I certainly do not intend to try. What I do believe is, that in addition to all the speeding-up that I have enumerated this afternoon, we shall have to concentrate on our export trade. That being so, I examined the figures and found out what effort had been made by the late Government towards that end. I found that, following what was called the Geddes axe, they wiped out at one fell stroke Trade Commissioners in 22 different countries. In order to save £1,000 here, or £2,000 there, they sacrificed trade amounting to millions a year. Is that the way to encourage the export trade?
§ Sir ARTHUR STEEL-MAITLAND
Can the right hon. Gentleman say where there were 20 Trade Commissioners in existence?
We need not boggle about words. I used the words "Trade Commissioners," but some were called diplomatic secretaries and other such names. I repeat, that 20 people engaged exclusively, whatever their name may have been, for the purpose of developing trade and commerce were wiped out by the late Government in order to save a few thousand pounds. We propose to restore them. We are at this moment engaged in revising the whole of that Department, because we believe that it is far better to spend money in that way in order to develop the export trade.
The right hon. Gentleman asked if I could indicate what was the information at our disposal with regard to general 1865 trade, prospects. To be quite frank, there is conflicting evidence. Recent events in the City and in America cannot be minimised. Their effect is very serious. It is creating a spirit of uncertainty.
Surely, you are not going to hold the Government responsible for recent events in the City and America. On the other hand, I frankly admit that there are bright prospects in certain industries if unification and rationalisation, in spite of what has been said, can take place. I will give one illustration. The motor industry offers more hope for employment than any industry in this country—[HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] Because there are, roughly, 5,500,000 cars manufactured each year, because last year America manufactured 4,500,000 cars, because last year 17 companies in this country manufactured only 211,000 cars, and because our Dominions and Colonies, exclusive of Canada, took 200,000 cars, 87 per cent. of which were taken from America. Brains, skill and knowledge are here, and we have a right to assume that the skill and knowledge at our disposal in this industry ought to be used to develop and encourage our export trade. That is only one illustration of many others which could be given.
My hon. and gallant Friend ought to agree that if we can capture any substantial portion of the export figures which I have enumerated, that in itself offers the best avenue for employment. What I have said of that industry is true of many others. In the steel industry trade changes are taking place, and the steel industry at this moment is passing through a difficult period. The cotton industry is in the same position. I am applying myself, in consultation with those interested in these trades, to see how far we can stimulate industry. Therefore I say to the House that I will do all I can by the expenditure of public money to provide employment, provided always that it will 1866 not be dead capital but will add to the efficiency and, general prospects of the country. I do not subscribe to the view that mere talking about or spending millions of money will solve the unemployment problem. The right hon. Gentleman opposite put on the break; I am putting on the accelerator. He did not do enough, but it would be equally a mistake foolishly to assume that it can be solved by spending money. I do not intend to adopt either policy, and I hope I have said enough to warrant the £10 being given.
Lieut.-Colonel Sir FREDERICK HALL
How does the right hon. Gentleman think he is going to help employment in the motor industry by taking off the McKenna Duties?
§ Sir BURTON CHADWICK
There is one important matter I should like to raise. The right hon. Gentleman when he came back from Canada told us that the result of his visit would be the export of a further 500,000 or 600,000 tons of British coal to Canada, and that the greatest proof of the success of his visit was that shipowners in this country were ordering immediately 35,000 tons of new ships to carry that coal. Can he say whether a single ton of that new tonnage has been ordered yet?
I said that I had the authority of the firm I mentioned to say that they were ordering five ships. That was the figure I gave, and I gave it on their authority. I go beyond that now and say that I saw the representative of the firm recently and the prospects for the coal trade for next year—not this year, because harbours are closed—are favourable.
§ Question put: "That £10,250' stand part of the Resolution."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 222; Noes, 146.1787
|Division No. 112.]||AYES.||[11.19 a.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Brown, C. W. E. (Notts, Mansfield)||Daggar, George|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro')||Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Dallas, George|
|Alpass, J. H.||Buchanan, G.||Dickson, T.|
|Angell, Norman||Buxton, C. R. (Yorks. W. R. Elland)||Dudgeon, Major C. R.|
|Arnott, John||Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel (Norfolk, N.)||Dukes, C.|
|Beckett, John (Camberwell, Peckham)||Calne, Derwent Hall-||Ede, James Chuter|
|Bennett, William (Battersea, South)||Cape, Thomas||Edmunds, J. E.|
|Benson, G.||Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S.W.)||Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Clarke, J. S.||Edwards, E. (Morpeth)|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Egan, W. H.|
|Brooke, W.||Compton, Joseph||Elmley, Viscount|
|Brothers, M.||Cove, William G.||Forgan, Dr. Robert|
|Freeman, Peter||Lindley, Fred W.||Sandham, E.|
|Gardner,. B. W. (West Ham, Upton)||Lloyd, C. Ellis||Sawyer, G. F.|
|George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd (Car'vn)||Longbottom, A. W.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesea)||Lovat-Fraser, J. A.||Shield, George William|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Shillaker, J. F.|
|Glassey, A. E.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)||Shinwell, E.|
|Gossling, A. G.||McElwee, A.||Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)|
|Gray, Milner||McKinlay, A.||Smith, Ronnie (Penistone)|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Colne)||McShane, John James||Smith, Tom (Pontefract)|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.)||Mander, Geoffrey le M.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Hall, Capt. W. P. (Portsmouth, C.)||Mansfield, W.||Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)|
|Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn)||March, S.||Stamford, Thomas W.|
|Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Zetland)||Maxton, James||Stephen, Campbell|
|Hardie, George D.||Messer, Fred||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Hayday, Arthur||Morley, Ralph||Strachey, E. J. St. Loe|
|Hayes, John Henry||Morrison, Herbert (Hackney, South)||Strauss, G. R.|
|Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)||Mort, D. L.||Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)|
|Herriotts, J.||Moses, J. J. H.||Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S.W.)|
|Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Mosley, Sir Oswald (Smethwick)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Hoffman, P. C.||Naylor, T. E.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)||Owen, Major G. (Carnarvon)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Hunter, Dr. Joseph||Palin, John Henry||Toole, Joseph|
|Hutchison, Maj.-Gen. Sir R.||Perry, S. F.||Tout, W. J.|
|Isaacs, George||Pethick- Lawrence, F. W.||Turner, B.|
|Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Picton-Turbervill, Edith||Vaughan, D. J.|
|Jowett, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A.||Pole, Major D. G.||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Kelly, W. T.||Pybus, Percy John||Welsh, James (Paisley)|
|Kennedy, Thomas||Quibell, D. J. K.||West, F. R.|
|Kinley, J.||Rathbone, Eleanor||Westwood, Joseph|
|Knight, Holford||Raynes, W. R.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Richards, R.||Whiteley, William (Blaydon)|
|Law, Albert (Bolton)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Law, A. (Rossendale)||Riley, Ben (Dewsbury)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Lawrence, Susan||Romeril, H. G.||Wise, E. F.|
|Lawrie, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge)||Rosbotham, D. S. T.||Wood, Major McKenzie (Banff)|
|Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)||Rowson, Guy||Wright, W. (Rutherglen)|
|Leach, W.||Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)|
|Lee, Frank (Derby, N.E.)||Salter, Dr. Alfred||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Lees, J.||Sanders, W. S.||Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr. Paling.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l., W.)||Ferguson, Sir John||Penny, Sir George|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Fermoy, Lord||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley (Bewdley)||Fielden, E. B.||Ramsbotham, H.|
|Beaumont, M. W.||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell|
|Berry, Sir George||Ganzoni, Sir John||Ross, Major Ronald D.|
|Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart|
|Bracken, B.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Savery, S. S.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks Newb'y)||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome|
|Bullock, Captain Malcolm||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Butler, R. A.||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd,Henley)||Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's U., Belfst)|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur p.||Skelton, A. N.|
|Castle Stewart, Earl of||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Smithers, Waldron|
|Cayzer, Maj.Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth.S.)||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Somerset, Thomas|
|Chamberlain,Rt.Hn.Sir J.A.(Birm.,W.)||Hudson,Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Hurd, Percy A.||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Stewart, W. J. (Belfast South)|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C.||King, Commodore Rt. Hon. Henry D.||Steel-Maitland. Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Law, Sir Alfred (Derby, High Peak)||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)||Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. Godfrey||Thomson, Sir F.|
|Cunliffe-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Long, Major Eric||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Macquisten, F. A.||Wallace, Capt. D. B. (Hornsey)|
|Dairymple-White, Lt.-Col. Sir Godfrey||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Wardlaw-Milne, J. S.|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Margesson, Captain H. D.||Wells, Sydney R.|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Marjoribanks, E. C.||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Mitchell-Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Dugdale, Capt. T. L.||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.|
|Eden, Captain Anthony||Moore, Sir Newton J. (Richmond)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Elliot, Major Walter E.||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Captain Sir George Bowyer and|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.M.)||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Marquess of Titchfield.|
|Division No. 113.]||AYES.||[3.59 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)||Quibell, D. J. K.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Herrlotts, J.||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Addison, Bt. Hon. Or. Christopher||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Raynes, W. a.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro')||Hoffman, P. C.||Richards, R.|
|Alpass, J. H.||Hopkin, Daniel||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Amnion, Charles George||Horrabin, J. F.||Riley, Ben (Dewsbury)|
|Angell, Norman||Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)||Riley, F. F. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Arnott, John||Isaacs, George||Ritson, J.|
|Ayles, Walter||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)|
|Baker, John (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Jones, J J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Romeril, H. G.|
|Barnes, Alfred John||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Rosbotham, D. S. T.|
|Bellamy, Albert||Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Rowson, Guy|
|Bennett, Capt. E. N. (Cardiff, Central)||Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A.||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Bennett, William (Battersea, South)||Kelly, W. T.||Samuel, H. W. (Swansea, West)|
|Benson, G.||Kennedy, Thomas||Sanders, W. S.|
|Bentham, Dr. Ethel||Knight, Holford||Sandham, E.|
|Bevan, Ancurin (Ebbw Vale)||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Sawyer, G. F.|
|Bondfield, Rt. Hon. Margaret||Lathan, G.||Sexton, James|
|Bowen, J. W.||Law, Albert (Bolton)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Law, A. (Rossendale)||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Broad, Francis Alfred||Lawrence, Susan||Shield, George William|
|Brockway, A. Fanner||Lawrie, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge)||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Bromley, J.||Lawson, John James||Shillaker, J. F.|
|Brooke, W.||Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)||Shinwell, E.|
|Brothers, M.||Leach, W.||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts. Mansfield)||Lee, Frank (Derby, N. E.)||Simmons, C. J.|
|Brown, W. J. (Wolverhampton, West)||tees, J.||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Burgess, F. G.||Lewis, T. (Southampton)||Smith, Alfred (Sunderland)|
|Buxton, C. R. (Yorks, W. R. Eiland)||Lindley, Fred W.||Smith, Ben (Bermondscy, Rotherhithe)|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel (Norfolk, N.)||Lloyd, C. Ellis||Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)|
|Caine, Derwent Hall-||Longbottom, A. W.||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)|
|Cameron, A. G.||Longden, F.||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Cape, Thomas||Lovat-Fraser, J. A.||Smith, Tom (Pontefract)|
|Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S. W.)||Lowth, Thomas||Smith, w. R. (Norwich)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Logan, David Gilbert||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Church, Major A. G.||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)|
|Clarke, J. S.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)||Sorensen, R.|
|Cluse, W. S.||MacDonald. Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Spero, Dr. G. E.|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||McElwee, A.||Stamford, Thomas W.|
|Compton, Joseph||McEntee, V. L.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Cove, William G.||McKinlay, A.||Strachey, E. J. St. Loe|
|Daggar, George||MacLaren, Andrew||Strauss, G. R.|
|Dallas, George||McShane, John James||Sutton, J. E.|
|Dalton, Hugh||Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)||Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Mansfield, W.||Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S. W.)|
|Day, Harry||March, S.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Markham, S. F.||Tillett, Ben|
|Dickson, T.||Marley, J.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Dukes, C.||Matters, L. W.||Tout, W. J.|
|Duncan, Charles||Melville, Sir James||Townend, A. E.|
|Ede, James Chuter||Messer, Fred||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles|
|Edmunds, J. E.||Middleton, G.||Turner, B.|
|Edwards, E. (Morpeth)||Milner, J.||Vaughan, D. J.|
|Egan, W. H.||Morgan, Dr. H. B.||Viant, S. P.|
|Freeman, Peter||Morley, Ralph||Wallace, H. W.|
|Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)||Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.)||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, N.)||Mort, D. L.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Mosley, Sir Oswald (Smethwick)||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Gibson, H. M. (Lanes, Mossley)||Muggeridge, H. T.||Welsh, James (Paisley)|
|Gillett, George M.||Naylor, T. E.||Westwood, Joseph|
|Gosling, Harry||Noel Baker, P. J.||Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)|
|Gossling, A. G.||Oldfield, J. R.||Whiteley, William (Blaydon)|
|Gould, F.||Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Palin, John Henry||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Paling, Wilfrid||Williams Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Groves, Thomas E.||Palmer, E. T.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Perry, S. F.||Wilson, G. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Hall, Capt. W. P. (Portsmouth, C.)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Wilson, J. (Oldham)|
|Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn)||Phillips. Dr. Marlon||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Picton-Turbervill, Edith||Winterton, G. E.(Leicester, Loughb'gh)|
|Hastings, Dr. Somerville||Pole, Major D. G.||Wright, W. (Rutherglen)|
|Haycock, A. W.||Ponsonby, Arthur||Young, R. S. (Islington, North)|
|Hayes, John Henry||Potts, John S.|
|Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.)||Price, M. P.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)||Pybus, Percy John||Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr. Charles|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut-Colonel||Atkinson, C.||Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.|
|Allan, W. E. D. (Belfast, W.)||Baillie-Hamilton, Hon. Charles W.||Beaumont, M. W.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley (Bawdley)||Bellairs, Commander Carlyon|
|Astor, Mai. Hon. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Berry, Sir George|
|Bevan, S. J. (Holborn)||Ganzoni, Sir John||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Glyn, Major R. G. C.||O'Neill, Sir H.|
|Bird, Ernest Roy||Gower, Sir Robert||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||G rattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Peake, Capt. Osbert|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Penny, Sir George|
|Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Boyce, H. L.||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Pilditch, Sir Philip|
|Bracken, B.||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Rawson, Sir Cooper|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Hammersley, S. S.||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Hanbury, C.||Remer, John R.|
|Bullock, Captain Malcolm||Hartington, Marquess of||Rentouf, Sir Gervals S.|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Henderson, Capt. R. R.(Oxf'd, Henley)||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell|
|Butler, R. A.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Ross, Major Ronald D,|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.|
|Castle Stewart, Earl of||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Salmon, Major I.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Hunt, Percy A.||Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A.(Birm., W.)||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Savery, S. S.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Iveagh, Countess of||Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunei||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Kindersley, Major G. M.||Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's U., Belfst)|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||King, Commodore Rt. Hon. Henry D.||Skelton, A. N.|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Law, Sir Alfred (Derby, High Peak)||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C.||Leiughton, Major B. E. P.||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Croom-Johnson, R, P.||Lewis, Oswald (Colchester)||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)||Llewellin, Major J. J.||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Cunliffe-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. Godfrey||Stewart, W. J. (Belfast South)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)||Stuart, J. C. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Dairymple-White, Lt.-Col. Sir Godfrey||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral M. F.|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)||Margesson, Captain H. D.||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Marjoribanks, E. C.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Meller, R. J.||Todd, Capt. A. J.|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Dugdale, Capt. T. L.||Mitchell-Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W.||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Mond, Hon. Henry||Wardlaw-Milne, J. S.|
|Elliot, Major Walter E.||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir a.||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.M.)||Moore, Sir Newton J. (Richmond)||Wells, Sydney R.|
|Fade, Sir Bertram G.||Moore, Lieut-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr).||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Ferguson, Sir John||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Fermoy, Lord||Muirhead, A. J.|
|Fielden, E. B.||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Ford, Sir P. J.||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Sir Frederick Thomson and Captain|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld)||Wallace.|
|Gaibraith, J. F. W.||Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert|
§ Resolution agreed to.
§ The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.1870
§ Whereupon Mr. SPEAKER adjourned the House, without Question put, pursuant to Standing Order No. 3.
§ Adjourned at Nine Minutes after Four o'Clock until Monday next, 23rd December.