HC Deb 07 February 1929 vol 224 cc1933-4
48. Mr. LAWSON

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to the conditions of overcrowding and poverty prevailing in the mining areas of Durham and Northumberland; whether he is aware that similar conditions prevail in many other great industrial centres; and whether, in the face of these conditions, he is now prepared to respond to the appeal made to him by the Opposition some time ago that a non-party committee of this House be appointed to consider and prepare schemes of national work and social service, such as land drainage, slum clearance, road making, and other works which have been proposed, in order to give useful employment to those who are now unemployed?

The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Baldwin)

The measures which are being taken to relieve distress and aid employment are well known, and I need not recapitulate them. I do not think that a useful purpose would be served by the appointment of a committee such as the hon. Member suggests. The large-scale measures which I understand he contemplates would involve great State borrowings, which, in the opinion of His Majesty's Government, would in the end do much more harm than good. In our view, the objects which we all desire can best be attained by perseverance in our policy which aims, by relief of trade from the burden of rates and in other ways, at the absorption of the. unemployed into productive industry and their transference from areas of distress.


Is the Prime Minister aware that this state of things has been going on now for some 10 years; that unemployment is actually increasing; and that those concerned do not care a fig how it is done as long as it is done; and is his only answer to a proposition of this kind to say that things are as bad as they are?


The hon. Member is not entitled to make a speech at Question Time.


I am entitled to an answer.


Is the Prime Minister aware that, in spite of all that is being done by himself and by the local authorities, there are a quarter of a million more out of work to-day than there were at this time last year?


The general strike!


Does the right hon. Gentleman think that the raising of the Bank rate will assist that restoration of trade of which he speaks?

Forward to