HC Deb 26 February 1929 vol 225 cc1768-9

asked the Prime Minister whether the attention of the Government has been called to the recently issued Report on investigations in the coalfields of South Wales and Monmouthshire by the chief inspector of the Ministry of Health; and what further steps it is proposed to take to counteract the destructive effects of idleness in the distressed areas?


The measures which the Government are taking in order to deal with the position in the distressed areas have been stated in the House on several occasions. The most recent occasion was the Debate on the Supplementary Estimates of the Ministry of Labour on the 11th February, to which I would refer my Noble Friend.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the chief inspector said that it would be nothing short of a miracle if the present policy of transference which has been adopted by the Government should prove an effective remedy for the conditions in South Wales? May I ask, most respectfully, whether the Government will consider the raising of a loan for the purpose of national development, in order that the destructive effects of idleness may be mitigated for these unemployed people?


I quite sympathise with the point of view which my Noble Friend puts forward, but he will understand that Question Time is not the moment when these extremely grave and national issues can be debated.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say how it is that the destructive effects of idleness are discovered only among the poor?


Has the attention of the Government been called to the steps that have been taken by the Society of Friends in South Wales in enabling people to acquire and work garden allotments? Will that work have the favourable consideration of the Government, especially having regard to its good effects upon the physical and moral welfare of the people? Has the attention of the Government been called to the great success of the experiments in that direction which have been undertaken in the County of Nottingham by the Board of Agriculture?


Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether it is a fact that, in spite of the many well-organised opportunities for migration to the Dominions which have been offered to these men, they have persistently refused to go? [Interruption.]