§ Mr. KELLY
I beg to move, in page 68, line 10, after the word "efficiency," to insert the words "or adequacy."
I hope the right hon. Gentleman will accept this Amendment. Under this Clause the Minister has power to reduce the grant payable in respect of any year by such amount as he thinks just if he is satisfied that the council have failed to achieve or maintain a reasonable standard of efficiency in the discharge of their functions relating to public health. We are asking that in addition to a standard of efficiency there should also be a standard of adequacy. It is possible to have an efficient standard when you are dealing with a small number of people but at the same time it may not be an adequate standard for the discharge of functions relating to public health. It is difficult to put into an Act of Parliament words which will cover everything, but I think it is essential that the words "or adequacy" should go in.
§ The MINISTER of HEALTH (Mr. Chamberlain)
The insertion of these words will not, I think, really add anything to the effectiveness of the Clause as it stands. It is rather difficult to say what would be a reasonable standard of adequacy. A thing must be adequate or inadequate, and, secondly, although the hon. Member has in mind something which is adequate for a small number of people but not efficient, the word "efficient" must be taken in relation to the people and adequate for the area under consideration. I propose, however, to accept the next Amendment, to
§ insert the word "progress," which I think really covers the particular point the hon. Member has in mind.
§ Mr. PALIN
At the risk of being miserable once more I must say that I cannot accept the optimistic observations of the right hon. Gentleman. As a matter of fact, there are a large number of efficient child welfare centres, they are almost models, but they are totally inadequate for the needs of the particular district. The Minister of Health is not prepared to accept any suggestion on the part of the Opposition in order to make this Bill workable. If he was sincere in the speeches he made last week as to his desire to see local authorities stimulated to set on foot these desirable institutions surely he will accept a proposal which will indicate a minimum standard of adequacy for the needs of the district. It is not an impossible or an unreasonable condition. The officers of his Department could, I have no doubt, specify with perfect reasonableness a standard which would be accepted by everybody; possibly a standard on a population basis having regard to the particular character of the area. I should not like to set down a standard for the whole of the country, nor should I ask the right hon. Gentleman to do so, because the needs of various districts are bound to differ owing to different circumstances. With all his sauvity the right hon. Gentleman in his advocacy of this Bill is leaving a bad impression. He will not accept any suggestion from anyone under any circumstances whatever, although they may honestly desire to improve it. The right hon. Gentleman, great man as he is, does not know everything. All the wisdom of all local authorities is not in one small cranium, and for that reason I trust he will cheer up and will realise that somebody else does know something about this subject as well as himself.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 95; Noes, 176.789
|Division No. 134.]||AYES.||[3.49 p.m.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Briant, Frank||Compton, Joseph|
|Ammon, Charles George||Broad, F. A.||Connolly, M.|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)|
|Barr, J.||Cape, Thomas||Dennison, R.|
|Bellamy, A.||Charleton, H. C.||Duncan, C.|
|Bondfield, Margaret||Cluse, W. S.||Dunnico, H.|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Lawrence, Susan||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Gardner, J. P.||Lee, F.||Sullivan, J.|
|Gillett, George M.||Lowth, T.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Lunn, William||Taylor, R. A.|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Mackinder, W.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley||Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Grundy, T. W.||March, S.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Hall, F. (York., W.R., Normanton)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Murnin, H.||Tomlinson, R. P.|
|Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Naylor, T. E.||Viant, S. P.|
|Hardie, George D||Oliver, George Harold||Watts-Morgan, Lt. Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Harris, Percy A.||Palin, John Henry||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Hirst, G. H.||Ponsonby, Arthur||Westwood, J.|
|Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Potts, John S.||Wiggins, William Martin|
|Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Purcell, A. A.||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|John, William (Rhondda, West)||Ritson, J.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Runciman, Hilda (Cornwall, St. Ives)||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Saklatvala, Shapurji||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Scrymgeour, E.||Windsor, Walter|
|Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Shiels, Dr. Drummond||Wright, W.|
|Kelly, W. T.||Shinwell, E.|
|Kennedy, T.||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)||Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr.|
|Kirkwood, D.||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)||Paling.|
|Lansbury, George||Stamford, T. W.|
|Ainsworth, Lieut.-Col. Charles||Dixon, Captain Rt. Hon. Herbert||Lougher, Lewis|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Drewe, C.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Luce, Maj.-Gen, Sir Richard Harman|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Elliot, Major Walter E.||Lumley, L. R.|
|Applin Colonel R. V. K.||Ellis, R. G.||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen|
|Apsley, Lord||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Fairfax, Captain J. G.||McLean, Major A.|
|Astbury, Lieut-Commander F. W.||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Macquisten, F. A.|
|Astor, Viscountess||Fielden, E. B.||MacRobert, Alexander M.|
|Atkinson, C.||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Malone, Major P. B.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Frece, Sir Walter de||Margesson, Captain D.|
|Balniel, Lord||Fremantle, Lieut. Colonel Francis E.||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.|
|Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)||Gadie, Lieut.-Col, Anthony||Meyer, Sir Frank|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon||Ganzoni, Sir John||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Gates, Percy||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.|
|Berry, Sir George||Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Moore, Sir Newton J.|
|Bethel, A.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Glyn, Major. R. G. C.||Murchison, Sir Kenneth|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Nuttall, Ellis|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Oakley, T.|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Ormsby-Gore, Rt Hon. William|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Penny, Frederick George|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Brockiebank, C. E. R.||Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Hamilton, Sir George||Power, Sir John Cecil|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Hanbury, C.||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Bullock Captain M.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Preston, Sir Walter (Cheltenham)|
|Burman, J. B.||Haslam, Henry C.||Price, Major C. W. M.|
|Campbell, E. T.||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Raine, Sir Walter|
|Cayzer Sir C. (Chester, City)||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Ramsden, E.|
|Cayzer, Maj.Sir Herbt.R.(Prtsmth.C)||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Rawson, Sir Cooper|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Reid, Capt. Cunningham(Warrington)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Hills, Major John Waller||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.|
|Chamberlain, Rt.Hn.Sir J.A.(Birm.,W.)||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Chilcott, Sir Warden||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Salmon, Major I.|
|Christie, J. A.||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Sandeman, N. Stewart|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities)||Sandon, Lord|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.||Savery, S. S.|
|Clayton, G. C.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney,N.)||Scott, Rt. Hon. Sir Leslie|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Cockerill, Brig-General Sir George||Hurd, Percy A.||Skelton, A. N.|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Hurst, Gerald B.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Iveagh, Countess of||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Cope, Major Sir William||Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro)||King, Commodore Henry Douglas||Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||Lamb, J. Q.||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Lister, Cunliffe, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. Godfrey||Tasker, R. Inigo.|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Long, Major Eric||Thorn, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Looker, Herbert William||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-||Watts, Sir Thomas||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Tinne, J. A.||Wayland, Sir William A.||Womersley, W. J.|
|Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement||Wells, S. R.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.||White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dalrymple-||Worthington-Evane, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Wallace, Captain D. E.||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)||Mr. F. C. Thomson and Captain|
Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and agreed to.
§ Sir LESLIE SCOTT
I beg to move, in page 68, line 10, after the word "efficiency," to insert the words "and progress."
This Clause is one of the fundamental Clauses of the Bill, and this House ought to strengthen it in any way it can consistently with the general scheme of the Bill. The main principles underlying the Bill are, that in local matters local government authorities should be given the widest possible discretion, and that the Minister of Health as the central authority should be given really effective powers of control. If we add to this Clause the words "and progress" we help the Minister very much in seeing that a reasonable standard of progress, as well as static efficiency, is always maintained.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of HEALTH (Sir Kingsley Wood)
My right hon. Friend will be happy to accept this Amendment.
§ Mr. MARDY JONES
Would the Minister have accepted the previous Amendment if it had been moved from the Conservative Benches?
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
I beg to move, in page 68, line 12, after the word "health," to insert the words:services (including services relating to maternity and child welfare, lunacy and mental deficiency and the welfare of the blind).This Amendment arises from the fact that some doubts have been expressed as to whether the words of the Clause, "relating to public health," include the subjects which are specified in the Amendment. I should say that health services such as tuberculosis and venereal disease are included under the term of public health. There is no doubt about that. They come under the Public Health (Tuberculosis) Act, and other matters are dealt with under the Public Health Act. But there was a question as to whether these other services— maternity and child welfare, lunacy, 790 mental deficiency and the welfare of the blind—are covered by the word "health." In order to make the matter quite clear, I propose the Amendment.
§ Mr. T. WILLIAMS
I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman, as I have handed in a manuscript Amendment, whether tuberculosis is included in the meaning of the words "public health," or whether the insertion of that word would have any effect at all. If not, I need not move my Amendment.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
So that the right hon. Gentleman has the power, as the Bill stands, to exercise any pressure that he wishes to put on a local authority which is not progressive or efficient with regard to tuberculosis?
§ Mr. ERNEST BROWN
I welcome the right hon. Gentleman's Amendment, of course, but, surely, the words "public health" in this Clause raise a very large principle, because they give the Minister power to withhold any part of the total general Exchequer contribution in respect of these health services which are not up to standard. That is a very important principle of public policy. The Minister, as I understand, makes no grant under his scheme for public water supply or drainage; yet would it not be possible under the term "public health" to withhold from local authorities parts of grants given for other services on the ground that these particular health services are not up to standard? I do not know whether I am right in reading the words in that way. Of course, everyone would welcome an extension of these public services and a higher standard in them, but if my reading of the term "public health" is accurate, then a very vital principle on which the grant is to be withheld is raised, because the Minister is to have a say in withholding grants given for other purposes, namely, to make up for loss of rates on the one 791 hand, and discontinued grants on the other, and to reduce them because any one of the general public health services is not what is called efficient. Surely he ought to face the fact that his system of grants is not a fair system to the local authority. He has no right to say to the local authority, "You shall maintain the standard," unless he is prepared to make a contribution towards the betterment. I would ask him whether my reading of the words "public health" is correct and that the right hon. Gentleman will have the new power, which is not given to any other public Department, to withhold a grant, not because the service for which it is granted is not adequate or efficient, but on the ground that some other service not included in the grant is not adequate or efficient under the terms of this Clause. If my reading is correct it seems an extraordinarily dangerous extension of bureaucratic power, which must be resisted.
§ Sir WALTER GREAVES-LORD
I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, in line 2, after the first word "welfare," to insert the words "venereal disease."
Last evening the right hon. Gentleman indicated a certain line in regard to venereal disease which, while it did not accept the proposition I put before him of compulsion, it did indicate that he was prepared to take some steps to see that local authorities did not lose sight of the important duty of providing for a national propaganda in connection with this work. As I understood him, he based that suggestion upon the fact that under the Bill the grant which is now made to the British Social Hygiene Council, being one of the discontinued grants, would fall into the pool, and that, therefore, that sum of money would form the basis of representations on his part to the local authority, that, inasmuch as the sum, which is at present earmarked for national propaganda, was being put into the pool and distributed amongst local authorities, it was a ground for suggesting to them that they should definitely give a portion, at any rate, of their grant to some society which was carrying on national propaganda. That is very well as put forward, but there is one consideration which I want to bring before the Minister to which, I hope, he will 792 give thorough attention. As he knows, within the last two or three years he has altered the system upon which grants were made. Until a few years ago we gave a grant approximating to £10,000 for national propaganda, but that amount he reduced last year to £6,500, on the hypothesis that local authorities would make up the difference by subscriptions to the central body, the body to which this grant was given, in order that national propaganda might properly be carried out. The right hon. Gentleman knows the result of that, but what I want to know is whether, when he is discussing with the lcoal authorities the question as to national propaganda, the amount which he will take into account is the amount of his reduced grant, or the amount which he himself considered was necessary for national propaganda, namely, a sum approximating to £10,000? As I think he will admit, the local authorities were not prepared to give these subscriptions at that time, because they said that inasmuch as the Government are providing—
§ The CHAIRMAN
I must confess that I do not quite see how that argument fits in with this Amendment. The effect of the Amendment is to withdraw grants generally, I take it, if the services are not properly conducted. But the hon. and learned Member is now talking about grants to this national council. It seems to me an entirely different matter as to whether the local authority has properly maintained its services.
Sir W. GREAVESLORD
With all submission, what I am asking is whether, first of all, venereal disease is to be included, and then I am asking, although I may be going a long way about it, how the Minister is going to discuss with the local authorities the adequacy of what they are doing, or, rather how they are going to be judged as to the reasonable standard of efficiency in the discharge of their duties with regard to venereal disease. Therefore, I want to know whether the standard is to be the reduced standard which is based upon the present grant, or the proper standard which would be based, not upon the immediate grant, but upon that grant which the Minister himself acknowledged was the adequate amount to be spent upon the services? It is for that reason that I am putting this pro- 793 position to him. If it is to be based upon the reduced grant, my submission is that it would not be sufficient. On the other hand, if he is going to take into consideration that the grant last year was reduced under an optimistic idea that the local authorities would do certain things which they did not, that, of course, may be a totally different position. I want also to ask him whether some consideration will be given to the fact that the matters which have to be dealt with in connection with propaganda, in order to make the venereal disease service efficient, should be known in such reasonable time as to make it possible to pan out that campaign over a period for which this assistance will be given. I put these matters forward, because they certainly do amount to a very serious consideration when one is coming to a conclusion as to whether the suggestion that the Minister made yesterday was, in fact, an adequate way of carrying out what is conceived by everybody to be an exceedingly important matter. If one could be assured upon these matters, one might be able to take a different view with regard to them, but I do put that matter before the Minister as one deserving of his consideration, and as one upon which we should like to have something in the way of assurance.
§ The CHAIRMAN
There is some doubt whether I can put this Amendment to the proposed Amendment because it seems to me to be unnecessary. Surely the venereal disease service must be a public health service, and therefore it seems to me that the Amendment to the proposed Amendment is superfluous.
§ Sir W. GREAVES-LORD
One would have though that prima facie the other matters which the Minister has included in his Amendment might also be said to be public health services, and there is this very real danger of selection, that if you select some things and leave out others, it discourages, or rather forbids, a particular service being recognised. It may be that the Minister may be able to satisfy us that it is a public health service, recognised in such a way that it is not affected and not endangered by the Amendment he has proposed. If he would satisfy us upon that point, I should certainly be quite willing on consideration of that, to see whether it 794 was right to withdraw the Amendment which I have proposed, but, until I am satisfied, I do suggest that one service may be seriously endangered by the selection which the right hon. Gentleman has made in his own Amendment.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
On the point of Order. In speaking just now, I stated specifically that venereal disease was a case which could be deal with under the Public Health Act. Venereal disease comes under the regulations made under the Public Health Act, and, therefore, there cannot be any possible doubt that it is covered by the words "public health services." Therefore, it appears to me that my hon. and learned Friend's Amendment, as you, Mr. Hope, said, is unnecessary. With regard to the other point which my hon. and learned Friend has submitted, it really goes back to the Question we were discussing last night. I suggest that it would be more appropriate on the Question, "That the Clause stand part."
§ Miss LAWRENCE
I perfectly under stand that the treatment of tuberculosis is a public health service. What I am not so clear about is whether the dissemination of information and general propaganda can be properly called a public health service.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I really think, in view of what the Minister has said, that regulations on this matter will be made under the Public Health Act, that obviously it is covered.
§ Sir L. SCOTT
May I address myself to the main Amendment? The object of the Minister's Amendment obviously is to make sure that the phrase "public health" shall not be interpreted in a narrow and restricted sense. His object is to enlarge it, so as to include certain services which are to be brought within the purview of the Clause but which a narrow interpretation might possibly exclude. I call the Minister's attention to-the Amendment standing later on the Paper in my name which has the same object and which, speaking frankly as a lawyer, seems to me to provide a safer form of words than that chosen by the Minister. My Amendment proposes to insert the following:For the purpose of paragraph (i) of this section the expression 'functions relating to public health' shall be given a 795 wide interpretation so as to include all duties and powers now or hereafter imposed upon or entrusted to the council in connection with the subjects of tuberculosis, mental deficiency, maternity and child welfare, welfare of the blind, the medical inspection and treatment of school children, venereal diseases, and any other subjects whatsoever concerning the physical or mental health of the community.Those words would make it quite certain that any subject dealt with under current legislation by a local authority, in connection with any of the health services of the community, whether relating to physical or mental health, would come within the general purview of the supervisory powers given to the Minister in the Clause. The importance of getting a wide definition of this Clause lies in this point. The Clause does not define what the local authority ought to do, or what in its option, it can do in these matters; but it says that whatever a local authority, at any time, shall be called upon to do by Parliament, or enabled to do by Parliament, on these matters the Minister shall have the supervisory powers of Clause 86. That is what we want. We want to make sure that Clause 86 shall be elastic, always being capable of application, whatever circumstances may arise in the future, in connection with the general health services of the community, as far as they are carried on by local authorities. That is why we want to get the definition of the Clause made as wide as possible. There are no dangers in doing so. It does not, of itself, enlarge the powers of the local authority. It merely enables the Minister to be certain of being able to deal under his powers with whatever a local authority may do in this respect from time to time. I do not propose to press the matter if the Minister thinks his wording is sufficient but I earnestly ask him to consider, between now and the Report stage, with his legal advisers, which of the two forms of language is the better; or he might, possibly, take some suggestions out of my Amendment and slightly amplify his own.
§ Mr. ARTHUR GREENWOOD
I think some of the difficulty felt by members of the Committee arises out of the use of the words "functions relating to public health." The speech of the right hon. and learned Member for the Exchange 796 Division of Liverpool (Sir L. Scott) arises largely out of a misconception, which, in turn, arises out of these words. The words which the right hon. and learned Member suggests are so wide that they go outside the terms of the Bill. In Clause 86 we are dealing only with the power to reduce grants payable under this part of the Bill. Those are grants in respect of certain health services and certain road services. The right hon. and learned Gentleman proposes by the later Amendment mentioned to include in that services which appear on the Vote for the Board of Education such as that relating to the medical inspection of school children.
§ Sir L. SCOTT
I do not want to bring anything into the purview of the Bill which is not in it already and is not provided for now; and my Amendment would not have that effect.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
The right hon. and learned Member will pardon me, but his Amendment refers directly and definitely to the medical inspection and treatment of school children, which has nothing whatever to do with this part of the Bill and for which, as far as grants are concerned, the Minister is not directly responsible, because, as I have said, it appears on the Vote for the Board of Education. I do not think there is any difference of opinion in the Committee about the desirability of having this Clause properly drafted, but I submit that the words "functions relating to public health" are a little vague. The term "public health" is to be clarified by the inclusion of particular services concerning which there is some doubt as to whether they should or should not be termed "public health services." Would it not be possible for the Minister to refer specially—it might need subsequent alteration—to"functions exercised by local authorities under the Public Health Acts," including such and such services?
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
I quite realise that but I suggest, in order to remove whatever dubiety exists, that the introduction at a later stage of a direct reference to the Public Health Acts would overcome the difficulty.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
While I feel that there has been dubiety, I do not think there ought to be any now. I think it ought to be clear now what is covered by these words as they stand, with the addition of the further words which it is proposed to insert. I shall be pleased to give a little further consideration to the suggestion made by the hon. Member, to see if it would render even more clearly the intention of the Clause. My impression at the moment is that we have now got it so clear that there cannot be any doubt about it. The hon. Member for Leith (Mr. E. Brown) seemed to be under a misapprehension of a different kind. He spoke of the block grant as being given for particular services, but that is not so. It is not earmarked for particular services. It is a new source of revenue given to the local authority, and, in consideration of that new source of revenue, which is believed to be adequate to enable the local authority to provide proper health services, this power is given to the Minister.
§ Mr. E. BROWN
Perhaps I framed my remarks badly, but, while I may have used words to that effect, I did not use them in that connotation. That point did not arise in my mind at all. The great distinction between the giants which we are providing these new powers to reduce and the grants presently adminstered is that the grants now administered are for distinct specific services, while this is a block grant covering many different services to make up for loss of rates. But that is not the point which I had in mind. The point which I am dubious about is the interpretation of the words "public health." Does it mean all health services of every kind, whether the Minister gives a contribution inside or outside this grant, or not at all?
§ Mr. BROWN
While I am quite in sympathy with the right hon. Gentleman in his desire to improve sanitary services, it seems to me that the powers which he takes to do so are singularly unlike any powers given to any other Department. There are powers given to the Home Office under the Police Acts, and to the Board of Education under certain regulations, but in those cases certain things are 798 detailed. The present proposal is unprecedented in local legislation. It gives the right to cut down grants to a local authority, of a general character, in respect of particular services to which the Ministry itself does not make any contribution. It will not help local authorities which may be carrying out maternity and venereal disease services, to have the total Exchequer contribution cut down because some other services, such as sewerage or water supply, are not up to standard. In regard to this power to reduce grants the Minister has to take two things into consideration-first, the standards maintained in other areas whose financial resources and other relevant circumstances are substantially similar, and, second, that the health of the inhabitants of the area or some of them has been or is likely to be in danger. Take two local authorities similar in characteristics and needing financial resources. One, at the moment, has a much higher standard than the other, but the second one, while having the lower standard, is yet judged by the Minister to have an adequate and efficient standard.
If we apply the new system of grants, the progressive authority may lower its present standard and yet maintain a standard above that which is judged by the Minister to be adequate. There is no safeguard here for the progressive authority. On the other hand, I cannot see that it is any remedy for a lack of progress in regard to water supplies or other health services, outside those which are now on the percentage basis, to give the Minister arbitrary power to reduce the whole Exchequer contribution. This power to reduce grants would include not only the money for grants, but the money in respect of loss of rates. Surely that is an extraordinary power to give to the central authority as against the local authority. I do not want to stand in the way of the Minister getting powers, but I think this phrasing is dangerous in its application to local authorities. Any Minister in the future might have power under this Clause to cut down any part of this general Exchequer contribution.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
On a point of Order. Is it in order to discuss this point on this Amendment? Whether the Amendment were carried or not, it would make no difference in relation to the point which the hon. Member is arguing. 799 I suggest that it is a point which would be suitable and appropriate in a general discussion on the Clause, but which cannot be raised on this Amendment. If we are to have a general discussion now, we ought to enter upon it with our eyes open.
§ Mr. BROWN
As far as I am concerned, it is a matter of indifference, but I thought I would save time. It seemed to me that we were discussing the question of the definition of the words "public health," and that was the appropriate time to raise the question of whether my reading was correct or not.
§ The CHAIRMAN
We were discussing the question of what was included in "public health services," and, while I cannot say that the hon. Member is out of order, at the same time we do not want to discuss the point twice over. Perhaps it would be better if the Minister were to defer his reply on this matter if he wishes to make one, and the hon. Member for Leith (Mr. E. Brown) could again raise it on the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill." I understand that no one objects to the addition of the particular words proposed in the Amendment. It is the interpretation of the words before that which is in question.
§ Mr. BROWN
I have no intention of making the same point again, and the Minister knows that such is not my usual practice, but I thought this was the appropriate point at which to elucidate the question of whether my reading is the right one or not. While I think the intention of the Minister is the intention of the Committee, and while the right hon. Gentleman's aim is laudable, yet I doubt if it can be achieved under powers of this particular kind.
§ Mr. RENNIE SMITH
I wish to point out a further difficulty to the Minister. He has made it quite clear that he includes in the health services which are to be taken under his care under Clause 86, in addition to lunacy and the welfare of the blind and maternity and child welfare services, other services such as venereal disease services, and tuberculosis services. I want to ask how the words "a reasonable standard of efficiency" will apply. I want to know whether anywhere in the Bill the Minister proposes 800 to insert a definition or whether in practice this standard is to be exclusively the private judgment of the Minister for the time being. Suppose that in practice—
§ The CHAIRMAN
I think I can anticipate the hon. and gallant Member's point of Order. The point which was being raised refers, I think, to the words "if he is satisfied," and it should come, therefore, on the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill." The question refers to the powers of discretion of the Minister, and those words are passed.
§ Sir W. GREAVES-LORD
Is the Minister satisfied that all these matters would not come under a general definition of public health services, because, if they would, I suggest that there is a real danger in singling them out and including them in this way?
§ Lieut.-Colonel FREMANTLE
It seems to me, from my experience of public health work, that there is a possibility of their not coming under public health services, because really to a large extent they come under the heading of "welfare," which is a good deal wider than health.
§ Sir JOHN MARRIOTT
The point that I wish to put is the one put, substantially by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Norwood (Sir W. Greaves-Lord). I am still a little unhappy as to the effect of enumeration, and I wonder whether it would not be better to stop at the word "services," excluding the words that follow in the Amendment. I am still doubtful whether, by mean? of the enumeration of these particular services, you might not be excluding other services.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
I think it is a question of the Acts under which the various services are carried on. Certain services are carried on under the Public Health Acts, and others are carried on under special Acts, such as the Maternity and Child Welfare Act. The question raised was whether it would not be possible to discriminate between the services carried on under a special Act and those carried on under a Public Health Act, and that is why these words have 801 been put in and why I do not think their insertion would have the sort of implication which sometimes is made when we begin to specify particular instances of a large number of things which are included in a general service. I have already promised the hon. Member opposite that I will look into his suggestion, and perhaps that will finally cover the point.
§ Sir L. SCOTT
I beg to move in page 68, to leave out from the word "health" in line 12, to the word "or" in line 18.
I do not expect the Minister will be in a position to accept the Amendment in this form, but I have designedly put it down in this form in order to raise the question of principle involved. Those six lines that I propose to omit in effect put upon the exercise of the Minister's discretion, as granted by the first four lines of the paragraph, two specific conditions, no doubt in order to satisfy anxieties on the part of local authorities, and I understand and sympathise with the motive which led the Minister to put those words in the Clause; but before we let them go as they stand, I think the Committee ought to consider exactly what their scope is by way of limiting the Minister's discretion. The paragraph, after the addition of the words "and progress" in line 10, creates a standard by reference both to efficiency and progress, and, therefore, the word "standards" in line 13 must be standards relating both to efficiency and to progress; and with that in mind let us read the first part of these limitations:regard being had to the standards of efficiency and progress maintained in other areas whose financial resources and other relevant circumstances are substantially similar.You have ex hypothesi some other area the local authority of which is wholly backward and wholly inefficient. Unfortunately, that is a possibility that one must face, and as those words stand the authority whose scheme was being considered by the Minister could say, "Authority 'A' does not do any of these things, and the Act says you must have regard to what is done by authorities in a similar position to ourselves. You have no right to ask us to do these 802 various things, to carry out these newfangled notions of yours about child welfare, and maternity, and mental defectives, and everything else. We do not think they are necessary. We do not like all this business. "The danger we have to foresee is of these words being used to prevent the Minister acting in cases where he thinks he ought to act, and the same is applicable, from a different angle, in regard to the next condition, in line 15. The Minister must be satisfied, first, that the council have failed to achieve a reasonable standard of efficiency and progress, and, secondly:that the health of the inhabitants of the area —is likely to be thereby endangered.The Minister has an Amendment down to add, after the word "health," in line 16, the words "or welfare," so I assume that those words are in. "Endangered" is not a very good word to apply to welfare, and no doubt the Minister on the Report stage will substitute some word that is more appropriate such as "prejudiced." If welfare is defined, as it will be on the definition Clause, Clause 112, if the Minister accepts an Amendment of mine, as including mental welfare, probably that condition is unobjectionable with those additions to it, so that it should read:and that the physical or mental health or welfare of the inhabitants of the area —is likely to be therebyprejudiced. I do not think—
§ Sir L. SCOTT
I am referring to an Amendment on the Paper which may be accepted, an Amendment to Clause 112, when we come to it, defining health as including mental as well as physical health, and I am assuming that that will be put in and that we ought to judge the wording of this paragraph on the assumption that that subsequent Amendment is made. Whether it is done or not already is immaterial, but as a matter of fact it is down in my name, and on those alterations which I conceive may be made in lines 15 to 18 when we deal with them, and hereafter when we deal with Clause 112, I see no objection to that second condition; but the first condition still seems to me open to serious comment, and for that reason I have on 803 the Paper, as an alternative to the omission of these words, another Amendment, at the top of page 368 of the Order Paper—in line 15, after the word "similar," to insert the words:provided that in the opinion of the Minister they are not unduly backward.I do not mind which of the two is done, and I leave it to the Minister to consider between now and the Report stage. I submit very earnestly that the Minister ought to make quite sure that he is not, so to speak, handicapped, that his hands are not tied, by a reference to what other authorities are doing, even although they may be thoroughly backward.
§ Sir K. WOOD
I propose to address myself to the Amendment which is now before the Committee, which is to leave out the two conditions set out in this paragraph, or rather the subjects to which the Minister shall have regard. The two matters are, first, the one called the standard, and, secondly, that the health of the inhabitants of the area is likely to be endangered. If this Amendment were carried, it would remove both those matters from the operation of the Clause and would leave the Minister practically untied. The hon. Member for Leith (Mr. E. Brown) has referred already to the drastic nature of the Clause. It is true that it gives considerable power to the Minister, though, of course, any action that he takes is subject to examination in Parliament, but if you remove both these matters from the Clause, I think in very deed the criticisms of the hon. Member for Leith would have much more weight even than they have now, and it would leave the operation of the Clause practically at the discretion of the Minister of Health for the time being.
There are different kinds of Ministers of Health. I can conceive of a very different Minister of Health from the present one, and he might have a very different idea as to how he should put this Clause into operation. That, indeed, would be a very difficult matter from the point of view of Parliament, but it would make it still more difficult and uncertain from the point of view of the local authorities. After all, they have to be considered in this matter, and if it is simply to be left as my right hon. Friend 804 has suggested by this Amendment, no local authority would know where they stood in the matter. From that point of view, these considerable powers should not be left in the hands of the Minister of Health without any guidance at all. I must resist the Amendment on these grounds, and we can later discuss whether the two matters to which the right hon. Gentleman referred are sufficient. They are no doubt appropriate to another Amendment on the Paper. The Committee will recognise that there must be some guidance in this matter, and some such conditions as are laid down in the Clause.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
The Committee will agree that in giving the Minister such enormous powers as are here proposed, there should be some guidance in the manner in which he should exercise them. If there is to be any guidance, I think that the second principle suggested is probably the better one, namely, that if he takes action he should do it where the health of the people is likely to be endangered. The other condition, that regard should be hadto the standards maintained in other areas whose financial resources and other relevant circumstances are substantially similar,is one to which reasonable objection might be taken. If it means that the rich towns are to be compared with rich towns, and poor towns with poor towns, the Minister is setting up a standard which is entirely irrelevant. It may well be that a group of poor towns has a very low standard of efficiency, and that equally poor towns, because of other circumstances, can well attain a much higher standard of efficiency, because efficiency is not entirely a matter of expenditure of money. We might quite well be in a position to impose a high standard of efficiency upon a local authority which we could not impose if we are merely to have regard to the other towns which are in similar financial circumstances.
What will happen under this Clause? Take a town which does not live up to the standard of other similar towns, whatever they may be—and, after all, we are leaving the Minister to determine that for himself; the Clause simply suggests similar financial resources, but the Minister will determine the standard for himself. Note what happens. A council 805 that is not maintaining the standard of the average town in similar circumstances is to have its grant reduced, and it thereby becomes less able to fulfil even that minimum standard. When another town comes along, the Minister measures it against other similar towns, including the town whose efficiency is already impaired by its grant being reduced, and the standard of that second town goes down. In the case of a third town, its public health services are compared by reference to the standard of the other towns in that particular group, including the two towns whose services have already been impaired by the action of the Government, and this kind of method, if it is effectively administered, will not lead to progressive improvement in the public services. It may well lead to their progressive deterioration.
It may be in many towns that, although the general financial circumstances of the towns as a whole are the same, some authorities are for various reasons in a position to expend more on their health services than other towns with much the same sort of resources, and we are to tie their hands and say that it will be good enough for those towns if they maintain the standard which has been reached by other towns which are as well off or as poorly off. Finally, I would like to ask what "other relevant circumstances" are. I can understand financial resources, but what are "other relevant circumstances. What are the other tests which the right hon. Gentleman proposes to apply when he is going to compare the exercise of health service by one authority with those or other authorities?
§ Mr. E. BROWN
This matter is important from two points of view: first, what is the standard from the point of view of the local authorities; and, second, what is the standard from the point of view of the Minister? They are very important, because what the Minister reckons the standard in one town may not suit the circumstances in another. The hon. Lady the Member for the Sutton Division of Plymouth (Viscountess Astor) smiles, but it is important from the point of view of the kind of services in which she is very interested. What is bound to happen with a fixed sum of money is that competition will be set up as 806 between successive Ministers and between idealists on local authorities as to which particular kind of public service to be served by the grant shall have priority of treatment. That is one of the greatest dangers of this method of grant as compared with the percentage grant.
I cannot agree with the Amendment, because there must be some relevant data, but, when we set up standards of this kind, the local authorities ought to have some standard set up in the Bill as to what is meant by "other relevant circumstances" besides finance; otherwise, the competition which I foresee must be inevitable. People who care for tubercular services will press for an undue share, and those who want maternity services will press for an undue share also. One Minister of Health will take one point of view, and another will take another point of view as to what is an adequate service in the sum total of the public health services. The wording of the conditions in the Clause are very vague, but I cannot vote for the Amendment because I think the Clause gives the Minister extraordinary powers which are unprecedented in the history of local government.
§ Mr. GERALD HURST
I support the view put forward that this Amendment in its present form is unreasonable and cannot sustain criticism for a moment. The effect of the Amendment would be to deprive the State of the only checks to the extraordinary and unprecedented power given to bureaucracy by this Clause. As an hon. Member has said, the Clause gives the Minister of Health complete dominion in these matters. It is unfortunate that the Clause makes no provision for any appeal from his arbitrary discretion. The only appeal is to Parliament, and that is not a direct appeal at all, for all that happens is that a Report is laid before Parliament, There is no room for any appeal to the Courts, and the effect of the Clause is that, if a Minister takes a fanatical view of the obligations of a local authority, he has the power not only to cut down the grant-to the local authority by a moderate extent, but he can deprive it of the whole block grant without any appeal to a Court of Law. It is therefore most desirable that the standard set up should not be an absolute standard in the discretion of the Minister, but should be a relative standard. Therefore, any 807 reasonable safeguard provided in the Clause ought to be cherished and preserved.
The Committee has been asked what other relevant circumstances there may be besides financial resources. I can suggest one or two. If there be no effective demand for certain types of social services, that will be a relevant circumstance which the local authority ought to be able to set up against any claim by the Minister that it is not discharging its services properly. If the services have not been previously carried on by local authorities and are in a new and experimental stage, that would be a circumstance which the local authority ought to be entitled to rely upon. There is no need to speculate what these circumstances are. It is common justice that local authorities against whom this tremendous sanction is being enforced ought to be able to set up any relevant defence which it thinks should be set up, and there is no need to postulate what all those conceivable defences should be. These two provisions, which the Amendment would delete, are safeguards against the abuse of the enormous powers granted to the Minister. We do not want to see the Minister so enthroned and entrenched that his discretion cannot be challenged in any way at all. The Amendment goes to the roots of the only possible ways in which a local authority can defend itself. All methods of defence ought to be open to a local authority, and it should be for the Minister then to decide whether these defences are ill or well founded.
§ Sir L. SCOTT
In view of the discussion that has taken place, I would like to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment if the Minister can assure the Committee that he will think over this question between now and the Report stage—
§ The CHAIRMAN
The right hon. and learned Member cannot conditionally withdraw his Amendment. If he wishes to withdraw the Amendment, I must ask the leave of the Committee at once. Does he wish to withdraw?
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.808
§ Amendment made:
§ In page 68, line 16, after the word "health," to insert the words "or welfare."—[Mr. Chamberlain.]
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
I beg to move, in page 68, line 19, to leave out paragraph (ii).
Paragraph (a) of this Clause sets out two conditions, and I am moving to leave out the second. Under the first part and under Paragraph (b) it will be the duty of the Minister to reduce the grant payable by him in respect of public health services and road services if he can show that any public health services or road services which comes within this part of the Bill, whether they are assisted out of State funds or not, are not being conducted on what he regards as a proper standard of efficiency. That gives him an enormous new power over certain non-grant earning services, a power which no Minister ever had before. Paragraph (ii) is the converse of that. The Minister may reduce the grant payable to a local authority if he is satisfiedthat the expenditure of the council has been excessive and unreasonable, regard being had to the financial resources and other relevant circumstances of the area.This is more far-reaching than the first paragraph, which is confined to the discharge of public health functions. This paragraph deals with any expenditure of the council, so far as I understand it. It is true that he may only reduce the grant payable under this part of the Bill, but he can reduce it in respect of expenditure on any item undertaken by any local authority. This is a very serious state of affairs. The first paragraph increases the powers of the Minister very considerably, but the second paragraph increases them much further. Suppose a local authority is developing its expenditure on education, which has really nothing whatever to do with the Minister; or its expenditure on highways, or on some non-grant earning service. The right hon. Gentleman is able to come along and say: "I think that you have spent too much 809 on that; it is true I am not giving any grant in respect of this service, or it may be that such grant as is being paid is being paid through some other State Department," and he is going to put himself in the position where he can reduce the grant for special health services as a sort of protest against what he regards as excessive expenditure on the part of the local authority. It will enable him, to take the case of the £4 minimum wage, presumably to reduce his grant in respect of the health services because a local authority spent too much on the wages of its employés. That clearly would be part of the expenditure of the council which the Minister no doubt would think excessive.
That is not my only ground of complaint against this part of the Clause. I think it is bad enough that the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Health is going to make himself a judge of the whole expenditure of the local authorities. But the matter is even more important than that. This seems to be an unreasonable interference with the rights of local government bodies. They have been accustomed to the right hon. Gentleman acting in this direction. I have in mind two previous Measures which have reached the Statute Book, for which the right hon. Gentleman was responsible, which limited and restricted the freedom of local authorities. It seems to me that, in taking over the functions of the district auditor, which is what this Clause appears to do, he is again interfering in an unreasonable way with the legitimate freedom of local government bodies. I believe that local authorities, subject to the maintenance of proper standards of administration, should have the maximum amount of freedom allowed to them. I am glad that the Minister is going to do something to tone up and improve health services; but I do not think he is called upon to make himself a kind of censor over all municipal expenditure.
If this control is to be exercised in respect to expenditure for which no grant is given by the State, it seems to be outside his province to interfere with the discretion of local authorities. If it be that their expenditure is illegal, or that it has arisen out of corrupt practices, or bribery or something that is immoral, he would be entitled to take very strong 810 action; but where it is a matter arising out of deliberate policy on the part of the local authority, it is not for the Minister to question it as being excessive and unreasonable. We have already been reminded this afternoon that Ministers come and go, and that one may take one view of his duties and another Minister another view. Certainly Ministers would take widely different views as to whether the expenditure of. a council had been reasonable or not. Some Minister would regard as justifiable expenditure which another Minister would not regard in that way. Then there is a difficulty in defining what is reasonable or excessive, and it is not a kind of power that ought to be given to the Minister. We are in many ways putting the screw on the local authorities, insisting upon higher standards, and putting them under greater control. Within limits I do not complain of that, but I do complain that the Minister takes upon himself the power of judging the wisdom of the expenditure of local authorities as a whole.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
I thought some other hon. Member of the Committee would wish to develop his views about this particular paragraph of this Clause, especially as a large number of hon. Members have put their names down to the Amendment. As they all seem a little retiring, however, on this occasion, I will step into the breach and justify the insertion of the Clause I do not deny for one moment that the power given to the Minister here is a substantial one, nor that it is a novel one, but the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Greenwood) has, I think, a little exaggerated the scope of it. I would call attention to the words which are used. The expenditure must have been excessive and unreasonable having regard to the financial resources of the area. The hon. Member, while he criticised the giving of this power to the Minister, did not tell us whether in his view the Minister should have no power to interfere if a local authority were using the money which is given to it by the State in an extravagant way.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
I think it is clear that, where this block grant is given in respect to certain services, the Minister is entitled to exercise this control. My point is that he is to exercise these powers outside the services which come within the terms of this Bill.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
If the hon. Member had put down an Amendment which conveyed that, we might have discussed that particular point. But I demur to the idea that the block grant is given solely for the purposes of public health services, because the local authority is given the block grant partly in view of the discontinued grants, not all of which are for public health, and partly in view of the rates which the local authorities can use for any purpose. If a local authority chooses to use part of the block grant, not for health services but for education, there is nothing in the scheme of the Government to prevent their doing so, providing they do not let down the health services to a point which the Minister considers is too low. The amount and proportion of the local authority's income not from its own ratepayers but from the State, is going to be very large indeed; it is going to be over 50 per cent. in some cases. Can the Committee face the idea of a local authority using this money, paid by the taxpayers and not by the ratepayers, in such a way as to waste that money, to lower its credit, and to help to bring the whole administration of that area nearly to beggary? It is quite unthinkable that that would be allowed, and you must have some power to say that their expenditure is excessive and unreasonable. I shall not occupy my present office for ever; but I am not thinking of myself. I do not want the Minister to be unduly influential, or to hold a dominating power over local government. But in the last resort Parliament and the Minister must bear the responsibility for good government anywhere in the country, whether it be local government or not, and therefore you cannot divest the Minister of his responsibility in this matter. The words I have put down here are words which, after a great deal of consideration, seem to me to be best adapted for the purpose I have in mind. I did not close my mind to Amendments, and if there had been any Amendments to these words which would have had the effect of modifying them or altering them, I certainly would have given them careful consideration, but if the only alternative be to take them out altogether, then I think that would leave us in such a position as the Committee would not feel justified in sanctioning.
§ Mr. E. BROWN
I think the Committee will agree that the statement of the right hon. Gentleman has justified those of us who waited for him to speak. I had put down on my notes this question: "Is there any precedent for enabling a Minister or a central department to withhold grant from a local authority merely because the local authority's own expenditure appears to the official at the centre to be excessive and unreasonable?" That is the issue. I raised it on the previous Sub-section in a much more difficult place; now I am on much easier ground. The fact is that the block grant here meets its Waterloo. The Minister is up against defeat. He is Napoleon, and he has met his Waterloo.
§ Mr. BROWN
He has chosen to say that he would introduce an entirely new principle of giving grants over some 20 per cent. of the total field of local and national grant expenditure. Having done that, he now realises that the old system had these two advantages, that it was simple, and that the money paid under it went to the precise services for which it was allocated. He has produced his new system, and he is up against this problem, that under the consolidated grant he cannot control local authorities in the spending of that grant. The: local authorities can choose how they will allocate the money and need not allocate it to the particular health services which have been receiving it, under the present system. In this dilemma he now proposes to exercise control not only over money provided for those services, but over the whole field of the expenditure of local authorities. If it appears to him or to his successors that, having regard to the rates per head, I suppose, too much money is being spent on any service, he can reduce to any amount the sum which is due to that local authority under the block grant, or, as it appears to me under the first pare of the Clause, he can even wipe out the whole grant, though I agree there would have to be a very strong case to justify the Minister going that far. But the point which seems to me to be unprecedented is that the Minister, under cover of his new block grant, now seeks to interfere with local authorities in the expenditure of money which is entirely their own, which is 813 raised by the ratepayers and controlled by the elected representatives of the ratepayers. If any particular Minister takes objection to the services on which it is spent he can say: "I will cut down the proportion, or I will take away altogether, your general Exchequer contribution." That seems to me to be so novel a procedure that I have doubted whether he could do it, and that is why I wrote down the question as to whether there was any precedent for it. I do not believe there is.
This question raises the whole issue of the system of grants. At the moment the State's subvention is safeguarded in two directions. First, it is limited in amount, so as to leave a large measure of responsibility with the local authority, and, secondly, there is a limitation in administration so that the central Exchequer should retain some measure of control. I would not blame the Minister if he were seeking to maintain control over his own services, to make sure that money was not being wasted upon his own services, but he is now seeking to get power—
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
The hon. Member must not speak about the Minister's own services as if the Minister were merely Minister for the health services. He is the Minister for local government.
§ Mr. BROWN
When I am speaking of his own services I am speaking only of the services towards which the State pays the subvention, In the case of the majority of public health services the State pays 50 per cent. The point is that the Minister is now taking power to interfere with services to which the State gives no grant. Under the wording of this Clause it appears to me that if a Minister thinks a particular authority has, in the exercise of its own judgment as to what is best for the needs of its area, spent too much money then, whether he is providing any part of that money or not, he has the extraordinary power of being able to limit the general Exchequer contribution to that authority. That is so far-reaching a power that the Committee ought not to consent to it without the most severe criticism and the closest investigation.
I cannot think that the Minister, when he thought of making these block grants on an arbitrary system, according to a 814 formula, foresaw that the local authorities could take the moneys which hitherto have been given for certain specific services and apply them to services for which they were not originally given. That is the nemesis of his system. Although the old system of percentage grants had its difficulties, it had these three advantages. First, the moneys provided did go to the services to which they were allocated. Secondly, the system was much more simple than this one; and in financial matters I say that it is not enough that justice should be done, but the people must understand that justice is being done. Thirdly, the percentage grant system only gave the Minister power over the services towards which the Treasury made a contribution. This is a very dangerous Sub-section; indeed, I think the whole Clause is dangerous. When the Minister asks us on the Opposition side what alternative we have, he knows quite well that we should prefer the alternative of the percentage grant. He knows, also, that he is in this dilemma, that in order to make sure that the moneys provided do go to the appropriate health services he must take some extraordinary power of this kind over the whole field. As I said before, the next fight this nation and this House will have to undertake will be a fight to control the bureaucracy, both in its growth in size and its growth in power, which menace democratic government in this country.
§ Captain MACMILLAN
Although the hon. Member for Leith (Mr. E. Brown) has made an eloquent speech, I cannot say that he has convinced me of the gross iniquity of this particular Sub-section. If he thought the Minister met his Waterloo in this Clause, I am afraid the hon. Member's highest ambition was to play the part of Louis XVIII, because his speech was an eloquent defence of the ancien regime; everything under the present system is as good as it can be, all changes are for the worse and we are committed to radical and revolutionary changes of which we ought to be ashamed. Having studied this Clause with very great care from many points of view, I have come to the conclusion that the Minister has had to do two things. He has to use it for the purpose of keeping up a sufficiently high standard of public services on the part of local authorities and seeing that they do not fall below 815 a certain level; and if power is given to the Minister to insist upon the maintenance of certain standards, it is only a reasonable corollary that he should have power to object to gross and unreasonable extravagance. We cannot have it both ways. Either we must trust local government altogether, or else those of us who are interested in the question of public health and have been asking that the Minister should be able to exercise power over local authorities in that matter must also agree, logically, that he ought to have power to curb extravagance. I think that on the whole we prefer the great advantage which has been gained by strengthening this Clause so as to give the Minister the power to see that local authorities maintain these services; and we on this side of the Committee are accordingly prepared to accept the corollary, the natural and logical corollary, that he should have power to prevent any unreasonable or excessive expenditure.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
Neither the right hon. Gentleman nor the hon. and gallant Member for Stockton-on-Tees (Captain MacMillan) really meets our point in this matter. Already the Committee have unanimously safeguarded these services. The Minister has all the power which he can require in order to keep local administration up to the mark in the matter of public health and the services mentioned in the preceding part of the Clause. This last part has nothing at all to do with the efficiency of the work in which most of us are interested. The Sub-section which we are now discussing does not refer to that at all. The Minister is here introducing new powers, which he has not attempted to justify from the point of view of keeping local councils up to the standard of efficiency. He and the hon. and gallant Member have talked of gross extravagance, but there is a great difference of opinion as to what is extravagance in local administration. It seems only the other day that people were objecting to money being expended by local authorities on baths and washhouses, on public libraries, and other amenities of life for the people in poor districts. In my view, the major objection to this Sub-section is that the right hon. Gentleman takes power to decide what a local authority shall do with what is practically their own money. Owing to 816 the ridiculous manner in which the Government have dealt with finance in the Bill, they have muddled up with the block grant money which by no stretch of imagination can be called State money.
It may be that it is for the convenience of the State to reduce the rateable value of an area and to relieve certain people in that area of the burden of having to pay rates, but the House has acknowledged that in that case it is also the duty of the State to make up that loss of revenue to the area. We would have preferred that this money should have been kept out of the pool altogether, but as it) is now in the pool and is part of the block grant, we object to the Minister having the power to decide that a town council, say, is grossly extravagant because it has spent that part of the block grant which represents the money paid to it to make up for the loss of rates in extending social services which Ministers like those now sitting opposite may hold to be grossly extravagant services. We deny altogether the right of any Minister—for my part I deny altogether the right of the present Ministers—to have this power added to their already tremendous powers. At the present moment they have enormous powers over local authorities in regard to local expenditure. If a local authority grossly abuses its powers it can be taken to the Courts by the auditor. The power of the district auditor is greater and more far-reaching to-day owing to the legislation of the Minister of Health than it has been at any previous time in the history of local government. The auditor has now power to settle questions of policy, whereas previously he only had the power to deal with questions affecting the right expenditure of money under certain Acts of Parliament.
Owing to the very wide powers which have been given to the district auditor, he can now determine questions of policy. The auditor has enormous powers under the Boards of Guardians (Default) Act, but even without those. powers the Minister of Health has all the power he needs, through the district auditor, to deal with extravagance, and he has also power to deal with anything in the nature of corruption. What is going to happen now is what has happened during the whole period of the administration of the Minister of Health. All those who 817 disagree with the right hon. Gentleman as to his methods of administration, or as to how public money shall be spent, are considered by the right hon. Gentleman to be people unworthy of being local government administrators. It is always a question of policy when these matters are decided. The Minister of Health is asking in this Clause that he shall be given an additional power to take away grants. Already the right hon. Gentleman has tremendous powers over the local authorities because he can withhold his sanction of loans. Nearly all the distress in the country would have been very much alleviated if the Minister of Health had not treated local authorities in the very harsh manner that he has treated them, especially outside London, by withholding his sanction to certain expenditure by way of loan.
It all comes down to a question of the judgment of the Minister of Health against the judgment of local councillors and others. Neither the right hon. Gentleman nor anyone else in that position can possibly be divested of his own particular outlook. They bring into their judgment what they consider is their particular point of view, and principles which they think ought to govern national and local affairs. I say that they have no right to do that over the heads of the ratepayers who elect councils to do certain work and who provide the money. It is not good enough for the Minister of Health to try to evade this issue by saying that he must safeguard the money provided by Parliament. I think we all agree that the money actually provided by Parliament for public services should be safeguarded, and it is safeguarded in the earlier part of this Clause. What we are now objecting to is the claim of the Minister of Health to say to local authorities how they shall spend their own money. The electors who elect the members of town councils are the same people who elect members of Parliament, and it is only right that we should consider that they exercise as right a judgment in electing a council as they do when they elect members of the House of Commons.
It is because we believe that local authorities should have the right to spend their own money without interference from the right hon. Gentleman that we 818 ask the Committee to reject this paragraph of the Clause. The Parliamentary Secretary told us that we ought to take certain action because be was not always sure who would be sitting on the Government Benches, but I would remind the Parliamentary Secretary that we cannot legislate for the future. I look upon the Minister of Health and the Parliamentary Secretary as two of the most reactionary persons that have ever occupied those positions. Ever since the Minister of Health has been in the office which he now holds he has never lost an opportunity of doing his best to thwart the work of local authorities whose political opinion he does not agree with. The Minister of Health is very courageous and bold when dealing with some weak local authority, and he has devoted nearly the whole of his time while in office to an endeavour to crush the growing power of Labour majorities up and down the country. It is quite certain that if this paragraph of the Clause is carried, and if the Minister of Health or anyone like him occupies the position of Minister of Health in years to come, this paragraph would confer a power by which the Minister could cripple and hinder Socialists and Labour men who might desire to extend social services in directions to which the present Minister of Health objects, and he would be able to prevent them from carrying out their policy. For these reasons, I hope the Committee will reject the paragraph.
§ Mr. ATKINSON
In the particular case which we are now discussing I do not see any alternative to that which is put forward in the Clause. It is claimed that this paragraph is an interference with reasonable expenditure, and also an interference with the rights of local authorities. I do not concede the right of a local authority to indulge in excessive and unreasonable expenditure. I do not agree that this Clause interferes with the legitimate freedom of local authorities, and I am quite convinced that there must be in this Bill some power to interfere with local authorities if their expenditure is excessive and unreasonable. The hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) has suggested that this control of local expenditure ought to be left to the auditor, but that would be merely conferring autocratic powers on the auditor.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
Is the hon. and learned Member not aware that these powers are already vested in the auditor?
§ Mr. ATKINSON
They are not the powers conferred under this paragraph, because those powers have not yet come into existence. If you give these powers to the auditor you are merely transferring autocratic powers from one person to another. Of course, the auditor has only the facts of his own district before him, while the Minister has an opportunity of taking a much broader view. The Minister of Health has a bird's eye view of the expenditure of the whole country, and he is much better able to compare the expenditure of one district with another. In these circumstances, I should have thought that the Minister of Health would be in a much better position to arrive at a just decision than the auditor.
Another objection which has been raised is that we are giving the Minister power to interfere with expenditure towards which no grant is to be made. As I understand this Bill there is no service of any kind to which the Crown does not contribute. Once we get the derating of industry, that is something which will affect the whole system of local government, and it is really a grant in aid of all the services of the local authority. I want to raise a point with regard to increased expenditure, and I wish to ask whether it will affect in any way the proportion to which districts may be entitled in subsequent years when the appropriation comes to be considered. I understand that the actual expenditure may affect the amount allotted to the district in subsequent appropriations. If that be so, then excessive expenditure in a district would be entitled to more than it would otherwise have been entitled to if it had been more economical.
§ Mr. GILLETT
The arguments which have been adduced by hon. Members opposite in regard to the money which is to be granted seem to have overlooked one important fact, and it is that the Government are proposing to take away £24,000,000 over which the local bodies have had entire control in the past. The Government claim that they have the right to have a voice in regard to the way that money is to be expended, and consequently in this Clause they are giving such power to the present Minister 820 of Health and those who may follow in that office in the matter of the control of local expenditure. I am not sure that, as the years go by, hon. Members will not regret this Clause even more than hon. Members on this side. They accept the fact that powers are being given to the Minister, forgetful that Ministers change. Ministers may sit on that bench whose views are the exact opposite of those of its present occupants, and who may begin to interfere in local government in a way which hon. Members opposite may dislike excessively. To take an extreme case, it would be interesting to see a Socialist Minister who thought that the entertainments and banquets of the Corporation of the City of London were excessive, and informed them, as it would be quite possible for him to do under this Clause, that he proposed to limit the grant that the City of London would get under some Clause of this Measure. It is quite evident that such a thing is not what the right hon. Gentleman is intending or thinking of in this Clause. What he is thinking of, of course, is the question of the expenditure of Poplar.
The real question before the Committee is this, that we ought to allow the local body to govern itself, and to make up our minds whether we are satisfied to let it govern itself, even if in many respects it is going to govern itself, as we think, badly. Some of us may think that, in the case of what I may call Conservative local bodies who have inefficient health services, it would be better to have some dictator to sting them up, while hon. Members opposite think it would be well to have some dictator to stop Labour activities. The one section thinks that there should be a Mussolini, while the other wants a Lenin; but I am not sure that it would not be far wiser for this Committee to leave both of these foreign ideas out of their minds, and stick to the old English idea of leaving the local bodies to govern themselves. If I may take another illustration, the danger to local government is this. We all recognise that there are sure to be expansions of local government, and if those expansions take place, it is quite likely that to the official world they will seem at first to be foolish.
I would ask the Committee to throw their minds back, as many can, including the Parliamentary Secretary, to those 821 early days of the London County Council when Lord Rosebery and those who worked with him initiated a number of new things. One of the things that they initiated was what is now a recognised principle of all local bodies, namely, the payment of trade union rates of wages; but in those days this was looked upon as quite a revolutionary proceeding, and was objected to in many quarters. The large expenditure which was incurred in London on what we to-day regard as improvements would in those days have been considered to be excessive. If a reactionary Minister at the Ministry of Health or, as it was then, the Local Government Board, had had these powers, he would have been able, to a large extent, to stop that work, which Members on all sides to-day recognise as beneficial, and which the Conservative majority of the London County Council are continuing. That seems to me to be the danger of Clauses of this kind. If there are to be developments, mistakes are sure to be made. No people are perfect, and those who undertake developments will make mistakes, but I believe it would be far wiser if this Committee left to the local bodies the powers they have had in the past, without thinking that, simply because a certain amount of money is granted to them, they must be put under control.
If these grants were percentage grants, there would be a good deal to be said for the Clause, but they are fixed on other grounds, and, broadly speaking, are not percentage grants. The advantage to the local authority of economising still remains, because extravagance on their part simply means that they are going to spend their ratepayers' money, and not the money represented by these grants. If, on the other hand, they economise, the result will be that their rates will not be increased. The way in which the grant is made to the local authority is not dependent upon its expenditure, but upon population and a number of other factors. Supposing that the authority is extravagant, the extra money will have to be raised in the ordinary way from the ratepayers; its grant is not increased because of its extravagance. If, on the other hand, it is economical, the grant remains the same, but there is economy in the rates. Under the Government's scheme, the extravagance is thrown upon the ratepayers, and we must look to the 822 ratepayers to exercise the powers that they have at the elections. If they are not satisfied, and consider that their authority is extravagant, they can settle the question by using the power that is in their hands when an election comes. It will be far wiser for this Committee to leave the local government of this country on the old lines, and allow the local bodies to go on as they have in the past.
§ Mr. AUSTIN HOPKINSON
There seem to be two misconceptions in the minds of those hon. Members who have spoken from the Opposition benches. One is their very unusual and curious idea of what is meant by the word "control." I have listened to the Debate on this Amendment, and all the Opposition Members seem to have agreed that some degree of control is reasonable and desirable, but their conception of control is that it consists in being able to admit more and more speed to the engine. The idea that control also involves applying the brake seems to be anathema to them—
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I am not sure that the hon. Member has been here all the time, but we have already carried paragraph (i), which does put on the brake if the council are. not doing their duty.
§ Mr. HOPKINSON
The objections raised by the hon, Member and by others of his colleagues seem to indicate that their idea is that control really only means being able to open the throttle valve; the idea that control also embraces control by the brake seems to be anathema to Members of the Opposition. The other curious misconception is this. Anyone who has had no experience of local government in this country would think, after listening to the speeches of the Opposition that the local authorities are in a perpetual state of guerilla warfare with the Ministry of Health. I have taken an active part in the work of local government for a number of years, and during that period I have come into contact with Ministers of Health of all parties, including the Labour Minister of Health; and I think I am right in saying that never yet have we had to complain of any interference of any kind whatsoever. Whenever I have come into contact with the Department at any point of local administration. 823 the point has always been raised from our end, and in nine cases out of 10 it has been a request for the help, experience and guidance of the Ministry on some point in regard to which the local authority was in a difficulty.
The hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) has, I believe, been connected with a local authority which has thought fit to conduct a continual warfare with the Ministry of Health, and it seems to be the opinion of many of his colleagues also that that is a normal state of affairs. It is, however, a most unusual state of affairs as between the Ministry of Health and the local authorities. [Interruption.] My experience is that the Minister of Health and the Department have always adopted the attitude that, if a local authority can administer the finances of its district on sound lines, they are not going to interfere with the freedom of action in any respect. If there is to be any control at all, it must be real control, including control of the brake as well as of the throttle, and those members of the Committee who have not had personal experience of local government must not go away with the idea that guerilla warfare is the normal state of affairs between the local authorities and the Ministry of Health.
§ Mr. KINGSLEY GRIFFITH
I have a distinct recollection that, when we first started the proceedings on this Bill, ages ago, when the world was young, a definite pronouncement was made, either by the Minister of Health or by the Parliamentary Secretary, that one of the great advantages of the block grant system was that it was going to increase the autonomy of the local authorities. The present system involved, it was said, officials examining all the details of the expenditure, whereas under the block grant the money would be given and the local authorities could spend it exactly as they pleased. What freedom! How glorious! How splendid! Now we come, in this Clause, to the powder in the jam. It is just as though a father had told his son that at last he might have some money of his own to spend, and had then added that, if he spent it in any way wrongly, all the money could be taken away. That is what is now being said in this Clause.
824 The real fact of the matter is that, by the change from the percentage grant to the block grant system, the Minister has lost the control that he legitimately had and could legitimately exercise, and, because he has lost it, he is trying to get it back again by a side-wind. The power that he is now getting, however, is far more capricious and difficult to regulate for the individual Minister who is in control. The Minister is put in a position in which the only control that can be given to him is an absolutely unchecked and autocratic control. Because the system has been changed, he is made a Napoleon or a Mussolini. It must be remembered that there is not only the possibility that different Ministers with different ideas will administer these provisions, but also that there are different principles on which they may be administered. You may criticise expenditure from the point of view of the need of the locality, or from the point of view of the resources of the locality, and, starting on the one basis or on the other, you may arrive at totally different conclusions from exactly the same set of facts.
It may be said of a given item of expenditure either that it is too little for the needs of the locality or that it is too much for the resources of the locality. It is easier to speak of it is if one were considering the question of some private person. One might say, of a man who had bought himself two pairs of boots, that for his needs he really should have four pairs, or it might be said, from the point of view of his resources, that he could not even afford to have one pair. The course that will be taken depends entirely upon the angle of mind from which one Minister or another approaches the problem. Therefore, it is not for hon. Members opposite or for the Minister to say that the burden lies upon Members on these benches to devise a system of control. The Minister had control before he altered the system. He has control now through the auditor by the power of surcharge, which, although admittedly not the same, is yet sufficient for all reasonable purposes. The impasse in which he has put himself is solely the result of the change to the block grant system, and he himself and those who follow him will be the first to regret it in the days that are to come.
§ Sir K. WOOD
I am grateful to the hon. Member for Mossley (Mr. A. Hopkinson) for reminding the Committee that the normal relationship of the Ministry of Health to the local authorities of this country is that of co-operation and partnership, and I think it may be said, speaking of local government generally, that our system, which we are now bringing up to date to meet modern conditions, is in many respects the best in the world; while, so far as local administrators are concerned, certainly, taking the great majority of them, they do their work excellently. It is not to deal with the great majority of local authorities that this Clause is suggested; it is to deal with the exceptional cases. The associations of local authorities have at no time, as far as I am aware, made any representations to us against this Clause. One knows the facts and situations with which the House has been confronted from time to time during the last few years and one is bound, as a proper precaution, to have regard to the experiences of local government in isolated cases in three or four parts of the country. The criticism of this Clause has been, to me, unexpected. The hon. Gentleman has taken exception to the fact that these powers are given to the Minister of Health in order that we may be able to maintain a reasonable standard of efficiency and progress, and we are now also dealing with what is really a corollary of it, to deal with those cases where a council has been excessive and unreasonable as far as its expenditure is concerned. The whole burden of the criticism in this House, and of the representations that we have been receiving at the Ministry of Health during the last few-months, was not to do away with the first part of this Clause but to strengthen it, and the whole of the Amendments which have been suggested to-day have been directed to strengthening rather than deleting it. In strengthening the Clause we are meeting the desires and wishes of the great majority of Members and, as far as I am aware, no objection has been expressed by the associations of local authorities. No one to-day has challenged the first part of the Clause, but only the second part, which gives the Minister power to reduce the grant payable where 826the expeaditure of the council has been excessive and unreasonable, regard being had to the financial resources and other relevant circumstances of the area.Anyone would think from what has been said that everything has been normal in the course of the administration of local authorities in the last three or four years. The attention of the House has from time to time been occupied in considering the cases of a few local authorities who have certainly acted unreasonably and in an improper way. One of the Acts that we are repealing is the Hoards of Guardians (Default) Act, which was passed with the assent of the great majority of the House and I believe in accordance with the overwhelming opinion of the country. It was passed to deal with cases which could be gone into under the jurisdiction of the second part of this Clause. I am amazed that the hon. Member for Leith (Mr. E. Brown) challenges this matter, because I remember very well, at the time when the Boards of Guardians (Default) Bill was going through the House, Sir Herbert Samuel, speaking with all the authority that he possesses in relation to the Liberal party, said he thoroughly approved of the action that had been taken, and his only criticism was that the Government had not applied it to more places than they had hitherto done. Yet we hove the hon. Member for Leith, as we should expect from him, criticising a power which is certainly much less in many respects than my right hon. Friend possesses under the Boards of Guardians (Default) Act. (We are repealing it because we say this is an effective power which we hope will be sufficient. When we brought in that exceptional legislation it was with the hope, which has been fulfilled, that the very fact that the power was in the hands of the Minister, entrusted to him by the. House, would be sufficient to prevent, further maladministration.
§ Sir K. WOOD
When you are transferring the powers of the guardians to the local authorities, the question arises whether that power ought not to continue generally. My point is that the power in this Clause is much less drastic that was contained in the Boards 827 of Guardians (Default) Act. My own belief is that the very fact that there is this power in the Bill will prevent that type of conduct concerning which the majority of the House thought it necessary to take exceptional measures. It simply means that the Boards of Guardians (Default) Act will go, except in specified exceptional cases, and, without this provision, if there was this type of person taking part in administration in the larger authorities they would he unchecked. There is a certain measure of power under the audit but it is not sufficient. People could snap their fingers and avoid the consequences of their action. It is in order to have some similar power to that of the Boards of Guardians (Default) Act that this Clause is suggested. That Act undoubtedly has the support of the country and of the great body of men and women who want to see good local government, and who believe there must be an exceptional power of this kind to deal with exceptional oases, of which we have already had experience in this Parliament.
§ Miss LAWRENCE
I wish to approach this question from the point of view of the constitution and of administration. The Parliamentary Secretary never can deal with a big question of principle on broad lines. When we are dealing with a matter affecting the ancient rights of local authorities, the position of the guardians, and the position of the Department relative to Parliament and the local authorities, all he can give us is some little chatter about two or three local authorities. I will endeavour to treat the question seriously. To begin with, the Minister of Health pointed out that the need for this was that some local authorities, through the operation of derating, would be left with only 50 per cent. of their revenue. He rather stressed that case too much. There are very few authorities who are so much de-rated, and they are small rural authorities who will have very little more power than parish councils. This sum of £24,000,000 is a very large sum in itself, but it is only about one-seventh of the total rates that are raised. It is not of itself sufficient to do away with the natural incentive to economy. We are proposing something which is little short 828 of a revolution in the relations of local and national government. Local government is much older than national government. Towns made levies for local purposes before we had a Parliament at all. Therefore, we are dealing with a very ancient and sacred right of localities. That has been limited in several ways. In the first place, Parliament has laid duties on authorities which are obligatory and can be enforced by punishment in the courts. In the second place, where Parliament gives money, Parliament has the right to demand conditions, and, if they are not fulfilled, to reduce or take away the money. Thirdly, there is the sum that the local authorities themselves raise, and that has never been limited except by the powers of the courts.
That is where the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman surprised me. He said: What does it matter whether the auditor does it or the Minister?" The auditor cannot do anything whatever unless the courts agree with his-decision, and it is a little surprising to me that a gentleman who belongs to the learned profession of the law should for a moment confuse the position of the Minister with that of the courts. There is all the difference in the world. I am sure that the hon. and learned Member would not wish to maintain that there was no difference between the auditor doing it, and going to the courts and proving his case, and between the Minister doing the same thing, at his own will, and controlled by nobody. Things may be done, and properly done, by the courts of law which are utterly objectionable if they are done" by the Minister, in camera. The courts have the right to inflict penalties, and very formidable penalties, on local councillors who spend unwisely or extravagantly. My objection is that it is now proposed to give to the Minister, improperly, as I think, a power which has never been given to any Minister, a power which is altogether foreign to the head of a Government Department.
My second point is the question of administration. The Minister may cut down the grant which is given in substitution for rating value, for any expenditure which the local authority may incur out of its own money which he considers excessive. It will not be the Minister who will deal with the matter 829 in the first instance, but the officials of the Minister. Let us see how the powers of the bureaucracy are widened by this proposal of the Government. Take the question of the amount of lighting which is proper for a local authority. This House is situated in a district which allows itself a great deal of civic amenity in the way of lighting. Westminster is magnificently lighted. Is it too much or too little? Is it too much compared with the needs of the case? It is certainly a great deal more than many other local authorities have. The people of Westminster have said: "Here we are in the middle of the Empire, and in the middle of London. We will have our streets handsome to look at." Thereupon, they spend money, and the people are pleased.
The other day, I went to Blackpool and I contemplated the manner in which Blackpool lights its streets. Blackpool in the evening in the season is one blaze of lights. The municipal tramways are clustered with coloured electric lights, transparencies and inscriptions, and they pass up and down the front in brilliant array. More than that, the local authority has fancy cars, in which nobody travels—gondolas, ships with sails of electrie lights, perambulating up and down the front, in charge of a conductor in a handsome uniform. I am told that the hon. Member who represents Blackpool in Parliament (Sir W. de Frece) has the uttermost hold on the affections of his constituency by the fact that he goes, at carnival time, on visits to the Riviera and various French towns and brings back to the municipality new and striking ideas. Who are the people who vote the money for this sort of thing, and why do they do it? The shopkeepers of Blackpool gladly vote the money, on the ground that it brings custom to the town. They say, and they have proved it to themselves that all this splendour of lights and decoration—the Town Hall is aglow with coloured lights, from top to bottom, every night—increases the prosperity and the sales of their town so much that it is an investment worth doing. Who can tell whether it is an idle expense or whether it is good business, but the citizens of Blackpool? They say that it is worth doing. Under this Clause, a patient, industrious official, studying lighting statistics in Whitehall, might say that Blackpool spends 10 or 100 830 times as much in proportion to its population on this service as it ought to do. In that case, the Ministry can put the people of Blackpool under the obligation of coming to Whitehall to prove to them—really, they could not prove it to them— or to tell them that, in their view, this is the very best investment and is responsible for bringing the crowds which flock to the town.
Has anyone ever considered why it is that particular municipal services have progressed? It is not the business of a Government Department to institute new experiments in social work. Their duty is merely to keep up the backward authorities to an agreed level of reforms. They may not say: "It is desirable that this, that or the other experiment should be tried in new work, and we wish you to do it." As a matter of historic fact, nearly every improvement which we have now in local life, has been originally, the creation of some locality with expansive ideas, and has nearly always been disliked by the Government Department Let us go back to the eighties for instances. The School Board of London had very advanced ideas at that time in regard to education. It is a most curious thing to look back to see the expense which the School Board incurred, against the wishes of the Board of Education. For several years in the eighties a quarrel went on between the London School Board and the Board of Education on the question whether an elementary school should be built with school halls or not. I am afraid that had the views of the Board of Education prevailed there would not be any elementary schools in London with school halls. In the same way, instruction in housewifery and in domestic economy had to be pushed through by the London school authority in those days, in the teeth of opposition from the Board of Education.
There are certain progressive movements which the Ministry of Health do not resist, but which they have no means of initiating. The infant welfare movement came through the initiative of two towns, Huddersfield and Bradford, which chose to spend the money of the ratepayers in an attempt to save the lives of infants. So successful were they in their efforts that the work was taken up and finally became a grant-earning service. No Minister ever suggested to any town that 831 they should institute an experimental service. Experiments which are so useful and so helpful in their nature are things which are often disliked by the central authority, and they are things which no central authority may initiate. I come back again to the extraordinary expansion of bureaucracy and to the extension of the power of the Minister, sitting in camera, at Whitehall. Those are bad things. If the ratepayers spend their money wildly and extravagantly there is, first of all, the remedy of the people of the district, who can turn out the wild councillors, and there is also the access to the Courts, who can bankrupt a man by charging the persons responsible with "the full amount of the improper expenditure, who can turn a man out of public life for five years, who can distrain upon him and inflict enormous injury upon him. I think the punishment which the Courts can inflict in this way are too severe. The Court of the Realm is the place to go to with regard to the moot point of how far the electors have the right to spend their own money.
The expansion of bureaucracy is a very great evil. To carry out the proposals of the Government will mean investigation, officials, and a great expansion of bureaucratic machinery, all of which are bad things as proposed to be carried out in accordance with this Clause. I am not saying anything blameworthy in regard to any individual Minister or any person now occupying or likely to occupy the position of Minister of Health; but I think that Parliament might very well spend some time in considering the relation of the Minister, in camera, to the ordinary subject and ratepayer. This is, confessedly, a stop-gap Measure to fill up what appears to be a hole in the Bill. It is defended by the Parliamentary Secretary in nothing more than chatter about Chester-le-Street and Bedwellty. For these reasons, I think that this is a thoroughly bad Clause and repugnant to the right principles of democracy.
§ Mr. PETHICK-LAWRENCE
My hon. Friend the Member for East Ham North (Miss Lawrence) has brought splendid logic to bear upon some of the points which have been raised by the Parliamentary Secretary and the hon. and learned Member for Altrincham (Mr. Atkinson). I want to deal more particu- 832 larly with a point made by the Parliamentary Secretary and one of his supporters, the hon. Member for Stockton (Captain Macmillan). Both the Parliamentary Secretary and the hon. and gallant Member for Stockton said that paragraph ii of this Clause was a necessary corollary to paragraph i. They said: "If we have the power in the Ministry of Health to compel additional expenditure, we ought, as a corollary, to have the power to prevent the local authorities from spending too much." I think that is an entirely false view of the circumstances, and I will illustrate it by an analogy presently. First, however, I note that the whole of the money from the national Exchequer is given to cover certain services and that, in consequence, we have a right to say: "If you do not carry out these services, we shall withdraw some of the grant." Members opposite contend that it is a corollary to suggest that if the local authority does certain things in excess, out of its own money, the Minister should have the right to withdraw the money given from the national Exchequer. I cannot see that that follows as a corollary in any way, and when I have given an illustration, I think the point will be clear to hon. Members.
Let me take the case of a man who makes a housekeeping allowance to his wife, who has also a private income of her own. It is perfectly open to the man to say to his wife: "I give you this housekeeping allowance in order that you may keep the house in good condition. If you do not look after the house, if the service of the house is not rendered, if the food is not there to be eaten, I shall withdraw part of the housekeeping allowance, because you will not be spending the money on the requirements for which I gave you the money." But it does not follow, as a corollary, that if the husband gives to the wife a certain amount of money to spend on the requirements of the house, and if those requirements are fulfilled, he has a right to say to her: "Because I think you have spent your own money extravagantly upon your dress, I am going to withdraw some of the money which I gave to you for housekeeping."
§ Mr. PETHICK-LAWRENCE
In spite of what the Attorney-General says, I submit that my analogy is correct. If the wife has money of her own, and she spends it, the position is precisely similar to the spending of money which the local authority raises from their own rates, while on the other hand the money which the Government gives in the form of grant is precisely similar to the money which the husband gives for the purpose of housekeeping. It is not in the least the case that the Minister has any right to control the extravagance, if it be extravagance, of the local authority out of their own money, provided that the requirements for the services for which the Exchequer grants are given, are fulfilled. If he has the power given in the first part of this Sub-clause he does not need the power given in the second part. Without the power given in the first part of the Sub-clause money granted for certain purposes might be squandered on other purposes, but the fact that he has power to insist that all the things for which the grant is made shall be fulfilled renders it unnecessary for him to have the power proposed in the second part.
Let me make it perfectly clear to the right hon. Gentleman that this is not a party issue at all. There will be a Minister of Health who will take an entirely different view as to what is extravagance, and, as the hon. Member for East Ham North has said, it is not a question of what the Courts may describe as extravagant or unreasonable: it is what the particular Minister of Health considers is unreasonable. Take the question of the payments made by local authorities for services rendered. Certain hon. Members opposite take the view that payment for the services of labourers ought to be at the minimum standard paid to labourers, and if an authority pays a wage in excess of that amount they regard it as extravagant and unreasonable. In a case of that kind the Minister, under this Clause, could say that such a payment was; extravagant and withdraw part of the grant. But there are other people who take other views about what is extravagant. There are some who take the view that it is extravagant to pay highly-placed officials large salaries; that a certain maximum sum is the total amount which should be 834 given to a chief clerk or any other official. I am not expressing any opinion on the point. Suppose you had a Minister of Health who took the view that £1,000 a year was the maximum salary any town council should pay to any one of its officers, he has only to say that he is satisfied that the money is being spent extravagantly and demand that the local authority shall not pay more than £1,000 a year to any one of its servants. If they refused to toe the line the Minister could say, "Very well, I shall stop your grant." I want hon. Members opposite to take this point of view into consideration.
This is not a purely imaginary case. Those who know what is taking place in some local authorities will recognise that it is a perfectly possible situation, and I suggest that it is an entirely false proposition to lay down in this House that a Minister has any right to interfere with what a local authority shall do with its own money. What he has a right to say is that if a grant is given for certain purposes he has a right to see that those services are efficiently managed and brought up to the requisite standard, if necessary. As to what a local authority shall do with its own money, that is a matter for the local authority itself and the ratepayers of the area; and, if necessary, for the Courts of the land; but to suggest that the Minister should have an over-riding power to decide what they shall do with their own money is a preposterous proposal.
§ Mr. T. WILLIAMS
I also want to refer to the statement of the right hon. Gentleman that paragraph (b) is a necessary corollary of paragraph (a.)While the Minister, apparently, has no right, or has a full right as the case may be, to intimate to boards of guardians what relief they shall provide for the unfortunate applicants who come to them, we have found by experience in the past that while boards of guardians may pay as small a sum as they deem necessary, very frequently totally inadequate, the right hon. Gentleman has lost no opportunity of intimating that he welcomes their refusal in certain cases to give any relief at all. Those who sit on these benches cannot forget the Report of the Ministry of Health last year, in which the Minister of Health welcomes the know- 835 ledge that 124 boards of guardians refused to give able-bodied unemployed persons any relief at all. That is the real opinion of the Minister of Health, and, whether he likes the description or not, it is fair to say that the right hon. Gentleman is one of those few people who still think that democracy is a failure in this or any other country. Need I recall the recent legislation introduced by the present Minister of Health, and all for exactly the same purpose. The Guardians Default Act was to over-ride the locally elected representatives. The Audit Act was another instalment to intimidate popularly elected representatives. In this present Bill the elected guardians are dispossessed and replaced by co-opted members. There has been a regular flow of legislation designed for the same purpose, to prevent popularly elected representatives doing their duty to the people.
Why has it become necessary in recent years to introduce legislation to enable the central department to over-ride the local authority? If elected representatives spend more money on health and other services than the electors consider necessary, they have their remedy at the next election, and no inspection by a central department can give the same control over expenditure as the knowledge that year by year the elected representative has to face the electors. This is not only a reflection on the political opponents of the right hon. Gentleman, but it is also an expression of his knowledge that in many areas, where wages have been extremely low and housing conditions bad, labour representatives, who have sought and secured seats have been anxious to expend the ratepayers' money, part of which is their own, for the purpose of improving these services in their own areas. It is because of the recent additions to local authorities of a large number of the political opponents of the right hon. Gentleman, who know the meaning of bad housing and inadequate health services, that larger sums of money have been spent than hitherto. There is a reference in the Clause to the financial resources of the local authority. May I ask what that means? Does it mean that in depressed industrial areas, where the majority of the population are working people, 836 that their health and social services are to be limited because of the industrial depression which exists? If so, it seems to me to be an intolerable situation. The last thing any local authority should be compelled to do, or should be intimidated into doing, is to resort to a policy of economy if it is realised to be unwise economy. What yesterday was believed to be a spendthrift policy is recognised to-day as the wisest finance. There is no reason or fairness in the present Government boasting about having extended the franchise when at the same time they are seeking to take away from the people to whom votes have been given a large portion of the value of the vote, in the case of town councillors, guardians or any other local authority. This is a most undesirable Clause, and every hon. Member on this side of the House will not hesitate to go into the Lobby against it.
§ Mr. E. BROWN
I should like to make one remark in answer to what the Parliamentary Secretary has said. I think he ought to be the Member for Orkney and Shetland, East Aberdeen, or Yarmouth, because he is an expert in the use of the red herring. He argued that this Clause is necessary because of the extravagance of certain authorities. He knows that that has nothing to do with it at all. In Clause 17 he has already persuaded the Committee to give the Minister powers which will mean that the only guardians who will continue in existence after next year will be those defaulting boards of guardians on which he built his whole case. The Parliamentary Secretary knows perfectly well that the quotation he used from a speech by Sir Herbert Samuel has no relevancy whatever to the case. Our case, and it has been established by the Debate to-day, is that under this Clause the Minister is taking an unprecedented power, which the Parliamentary Secretary suggests ought only to be applied in the case of certain so-called extravagant bodies, which is going to be applied in the case of all local authorities mentioned in the Clause. This is a most dangerous extension of bureaucratic control. It applies not only to grants made by the Treasury but to money levied by local authorities from the rates. It is a most dangerous power, and as far as I am concerned I shall continue to oppose such an extension of bureaucratic control. While I have every 837 respect for the expert I object to be governed by the expert, when I have no control over the expert.
§ Sir FRANK MEYER
Hon. Members on this side are delighted to see this new enthusiasm for the independence of local authorities on the part of hon. Members opposite, especially when we recollect yesterday that arguments were poured upon us by hon. Members opposite urging that the Minister should be given power to compel local authorities to subscribe to a certain institution whether they desired to do so or not.
§ Sir F. MEYER
Yes, I know that certain hon. Members on this side of the House, misguided as I think, urged the same point but only a few went into the Lobby in support of the proposal.
§ Sir F. MEYER
No, I am not asleep, nor have I been asleep. I have paid as much attention to these Debates as hon. Members opposite. A few Members on this side may have raised the question referred to, but when it came to the Division Lobby all the Members opposite voted in favour of compelling local authorities to contribute to a certain society, even if those authorities preferred to have their own form of propaganda and to pay for it in their own way. Now that there is to be a check on the extravagance of local authorities, Members opposite rise in great indignation on behalf of the independence of local authorities. We should really like to know where they stand. Do they stand for the complete independence of local authorities or for bureaucratic control?
§ Mr. RENNIE SMITH
The last speaker will realise that there are two ways in which the central authority can be related to the local authorities. When we were arguing yesterday, under the inspiration and encouragement of Members opposite, that in certain circumstances the Minister should take compulsory powers, we urged that those powers should be exercised on backward areas in respect of services which have been proved to be of great value to the nation. What we are saying now is that 838 the Minister is being authorised to exercise very large and arbitrary powers to checkmate the activities of local authorities. The main consolation of the Committee is that the Minister himself has apparently, a particularly bad conscience with regard to the paragraph. I do not know what has happened since he made his speech, but we are all hoping that he will give us presently the fruits of his further meditations.
The right hon. Gentleman asked the Committee for helpful suggestions. Since then he has heard a number of speeches which have been to the point and all helpful. He is regarding the local authorities rather as naughty children. He has had such a complicated and difficult experience with about three local authorities, in the last few years, that he is inclined to legislate in respect of chose three abnormalities rather than in relation to the general experience of local authorities throughout the country. No one would object to this particular Clause if it were an attempt to lay down certain central powers for encouraging spending on the part of local authorities. The kind of services now under discussion are services on which there is rather a cheeseparing policy in local expenditure. If the Minister is not prepared to accept any form of words which would seriously curtail the very wide powers that he is claiming, and if he cannot suggest any alternative form of words now, will he at least say that he will reconsider this particular paragraph before the Report stage?
§ Mr. KELLY
I wish to support the Amendment. Earlier in the day I moved an Amendment to insert the word "adequacy" in the Clause, and the Minister objected because of the difficulty of setting up a standard by which "adequacy" would be known. What standard is to be set up in order that the Minister may justify what he considers to be "excessive and unreasonable"? If it is difficult to interpret "adequacy" it is much more difficult to interpret "excessive and unreasonable." The curious thing about this paragraph is that it is designed to penalise a locality. It does not say whether the needs of a locality or what is done by a locality warrants a particular expenditure. It says that regard 839 should be had to certain things and to the financial resources of the district. Does that mean that, if it can be proved that a particular district is poor because of something having gone wrong with its industry, the Minister will be able to say "You are extravagant and unreasonable if you attempt to have services such as those that are operating in another district"?
The Clause says that the Minister must take into account "other relevant circumstances." What is meant by that phrase? I call to mind a case which happened some years ago. Some people complained very bitterly because the local authority had spent a few pounds on certain hospital arrangements in order that people might be cured more quickly than had previously been possible. These people thought the expenditure was extravagant. Do the words of this Clause mean that, if we have a Minister with a mind of that kind, he can come down upon the local authority and say "I shall stop the grant which would be payable to you"? What is "excessive and unreasonable" expenditure? I understand that, apart from this Measure, the Minister has powers up to 1935 with regard to certain local authorities. Why is he now taking other powers to deal with those who are not framing their conduct to square with his particular opinions? What is intended by "relevant circumstances"? I have tried hard to picture what may be intended by the words. Do they mean that a particular district cannot have the same attention paid to its lighting or its cleansing or its open spaces, as another district? We know the difficulties that we have had in securing open spaces for the young. Some people have looked upon us as very extravagant and unreasonable in our demands, when we have asked for more and more open spaces for the children. Suppose that some local authority decides on better sanitary arrangements. Do these words mean that the relevant circumstances of that district may be such as not to warrant the expenditure? For the sake of good local government as well as for the sake of the Minister of Health I hope that this particular paragraph will not be pressed.
§ Mr. SCURR
When the right hon. Gentleman replied earlier, he rather suggested that if the Amendment had been in different terms, he might have given it consideration. That indicated to me that the Minister had some doubt upon this Clause. I agree in regarding this as one of the most dangerous Clauses of the Bill. It is undoubtedly aimed at the poor authorities which, by reason of their limited financial resources, have greater obligations thrown upon them, for it is in those districts in which the financial resources are limited by reason of low rateable value that the poorest section of the community lives. In such districts there is a demand for services under the public health enactments greater than in the districts where wealthier people live.
When I look at the Clause I find that when the Minister is anxious to come into contact with a council which is not performing an efficient public service, he is very careful to define the ground of his interference. He says in paragraph (a, i) ifthe council have failed to achieve or maintain a reasonable standard,7.0.p.m.
then, where he is merely going to deal with the power of compelling a council to carry out its duties, he will immediately take into consideration a number of circumstances, such as financial resources and other relevant matters, which are substantially similar; but here in paragraph (a, ii) all we are told is thatthe expenditure has been excessive and unreasonable, regard being bad to financial resources and other relevant circumstances of the area.There you have at once a difference in the wording. There might not have been such considerable objection to the Clause if we had had there that it would be according to relevant considerations which were substantially similar. It is perfectly wrong to compare areas like West Ham, Merthyr Tydvil, Bedwellty, or Poplar with areas like Westminster or other wealthier areas. I do not suggest it, but, if the council of the City of Westminster were not carrying out their duties properly, and the Minister, under the powers which are given to him, wished to take into consideration similar places before taking any action, it would not be possible to get another place precisely similar to Westminster, which is 841 one of our wealthiest areas. When he comes down to Poplar or West Ham or Bedwellty or Merthyr Tydvil he is going to say: "Are we to compare places of similar financial abilities? On the Contrary, I, the Minister of Health, am going to decide that the expenditure is excessive." It is therefore going to be purely his personal opinion as to the expenditure being unreasonable and as to what are the financial resources and other relevant considerations.
I echo the request put forward by the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Kelly). We should like a definition of what these relevant circumstances are and what are questions of financial resources. The Minister, in his reply, indicated Very clearly that, if a body is spending its
§ money so that its credit goes down, then that is a question which he has to take into consideration in regard to financial resources. In other words, right through practically every Clause of the Bill, when it is a question of looking after the interests of the very poorest members of the community, the Minister takes care to have powers which will enable him to interfere. I agree with all that has been said in the Debate and that this is one of the most dangerous Clauses in the Bill.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 227; Noes, 118.843
|Division No. 135.]||AYES.||[7.4 p.m.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Cope, Major Sir William||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.)||Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman||Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Crooke, J. Smedley (Derltend)||Hudson,Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)|
|Apsley, Lord||Crookshank,Cpt. H. (Lindsey,Gainsbro)||Hume, Sir G. H.|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Dalkeith, Earl of||Hurd, Percy A.|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander P. W.||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)||Hurst, Gerald B.|
|Astor, Maj. Mr. John J.(Kent, Dover]||Davies, Dr. Vernon||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.|
|Atkinson, C.||Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Iveagh, Countess of|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Dawson, Sir Philip||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)|
|Balniel, Lord||Dixon, Captain Rt. Hon. Herbert||Kindersley, Major Guy M.|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Drewe, C.||King, Commodore Henry Douglas|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement|
|Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)||Elliot, Major Walter E.||Knox, Sir Alfred|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon||Ellis, R. G.||Lamb, J. Q.|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s-M.)||Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon, Sir Philip|
|Bennett, A. J.||Everard, W. Lindsay||Little, Dr. E. Graham|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)|
|Berry, Sir George||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Loder, J. de V.|
|Bethel, A.||Fermoy, Lord||Looker, Herbert William|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Fielden, E. B.||Lougher, Lewis|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Frece, Sir Walter de||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman|
|Brass, Captain W.||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Lumley, L. R.|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Gadie, Lieut.-Col. Anthony||Lynn, Sir R. J.|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Ganzoni, Sir John||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Gates, Percy||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)|
|Brockiebank, C. E. R.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Glyn, Major R. G. C.||McLean, Major A.|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Gower, Sir Robert||Macmillan, Captain H.|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||MacRobert, Alexander M.|
|Burman, J. B.||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Malone, Major P. B.|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.|
|Campbell, E. T.||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Meyer, Sir Frank|
|Cayzer, Maj.Sir Herbt, R. (Prtsmth.S.)||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Hacking, Douglas H.||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J.A.(Birm.,W.)||Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Hammersley, S. S.||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.|
|Chlicott, Sir Warden||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)|
|Christie, I. A.||Hartington, Marquess of||Moore, Sir Newton J.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Haslam, Henry C.||Moreing, Captain A. H.|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)|
|Clayton, G. C.||Heneage, Lieut-Colonel Arthur P.||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Neville, Sir Reginald J.|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Nuttall, Ellis|
|Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George||Hills, Major John Waller||Oakley, T.|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Penny, Frederick George|
|Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Perring, Sir William George||Sinclair, Col. T.(Queen's Univ., Belfast)||Waddington, R.|
|Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Skelton, A. N.||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Pownall, Sir Assheton||Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Price, Major C. W. M.||Southby, Commander A. R. J.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Raine, sir Walter||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Ran sden, E.||Sprot, Sir Alexander||Watts, Sir Thomas|
|Rawson, Sir Cooper||Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Reid, Capt. Cunningham (Warrington)||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)||Wells, S. R.|
|Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||Steel, Major Samuel Strang||White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dalrymple-|
|Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||Storry-Deans, R.||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.||Wilson, Sir Murrough (Yorks, Richm'd)|
|Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Rye, F. G.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid||Withers, John James|
|Sandeman, N. Stewart||Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Sandon, Lord||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Savery, S. S.||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell.|
|Scott, Rt. Hon. Sir Leslie||Tinne, J. A.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew,W)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement||Captain Margesson and Captain|
|Sheffield, Sir Berkeley||Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough||Bowyer.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Hardie, George D.||Runciman, Hilda (Cornwall, St. Ives)|
|Ammon, Charles George||Harris, Percy A.||Saklatvala, Shapurji|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Hayday, Arthur||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Baker, Walter||Hirst, G. H.||Scurr, John|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Sexton, James|
|Barnes, A.||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Barr, J.||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Shinwell, E|
|Bellamy, A.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Bondfield, Margaret||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Briant, Frank||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Broad, F. A.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Stamford, T. W.|
|Bromley, J.||Kelly, W. T.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Kennedy, T.||Strauss, E. A.|
|Cape, Thomas||Kirkwood, D.||Sullivan, J.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Lansbury, George||Sutton, J. E.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Lawrence, Susan||Taylor, R. A.|
|Connolly, M||Lee, F.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Cove, W. G.||Lindley, F. W.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Lowth, T.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Crawfurd, H. E.||Lunn, William||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Dennison, R.||Mackinder, W.||Tomlinson, R. P.|
|Duncan, C,||MacLaren, Andrew||Townend, A. E.|
|Dunnico, H.||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Viant, S. P.|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)||Watts-Morgan, Lt. Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|England, Colonel A.||March, S.||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Forrest, W.||Merrison, H. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Gardner, J. P.||Mosley, Sir Oswald||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Murnin, H,||Westwood, J.|
|Gillett, George M.||Naylor, T. E.||Wiggins, William Martin|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Oliver, George Harold||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Greenall, T.||Palin, John Henry||Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley||Potts, John S.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Groves, T.||Purcell, A. A.||Windsor, Walter|
|Grundy, T. W.||Rees, Sir Beddoe||Wright, W.|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Ritson, J||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O.(W.Bromwich)|
|Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mr. T. Henderson and Mr. Paling.|
§ Mr. LUMLEY
I beg to move, in page 68, line 26, at the end, to insert the words:(2) It shall be the duty of the Minister to cause inquiry to be made from time to time by his officers concerning the standard of efficiency maintained by local authorities in the discharge of their functions relating to public health and concerning the cost of maintaining such services.(3) Where it is represented to the Minister by any three justices of the peace acting 844 within a county or county borough or any 12 or more local government electors in a county or county borough that the council of their county or county borough have failed to achieve or maintain a reasonable standard of efficiency in the discharge of their functions relating to public health, the Minister shall, if he is of opinion that a prima facie case for an inquiry is disclosed, appoint one or more competent persons to hold an inquiry and if, upon any inquiry being held, it is proved to the satisfaction of these persons that the council have failed to achieve or maintain a reason- 845 able standard of efficiency in any of those services, they shall report to him accordingly, and he may, after taking their report into consideration, reduce the grant payable in respect of any year as provided for in Sub-section (1) of this Section.This Amendment attempts to introduce some new features into the Clause. I do not expect that the Minister will accept it in its present form, but I move it principally for the purpose of asking him to reconsider, at any rate, the principle which it contains. It expresses a view which is held by quite a number of people outside this House and which has not hitherto been expressed in the Debate on this Clause. We passed Clause 68 last week, and, by so doing, we changed the system by which the health services are assisted by the Exchequer from the percentage grant system to the block grant system. During that Debate fears were freely expressed as to the possible effect of that change on the maternity and child welfare services in particular. For my part, I am glad that those services were included in that change, for I believe it to be true, as the Minister said during the Debate, that by making that change you will provide local authorities not only with sums which will enable them to carry on those services as they are at present carried on, but also with larger sums and an opportunity to apply those larger sums for the development and extension of those services. By Clause 68 the money is provided and placed at the disposal of the local authorities, and what we have to see by this Clause 86 is whether we can make sure that the local authorities will set aside sums adequate to maintain those services in an efficient and progressive manner.
Let us make quite sure what kind of local authority the Minister would be dealing with, if the penal powers which he is taking under this Clause were exercised. The Minister has, from time to time, in these Debates paid a tribute to the local authorities and their work. I can quite understand that he would deprecate the insertion in this Clause of anything which might cast suspicion on the ability or desire of local authorities to maintain these services. But it is not the local authorities who are interested in and keen to develop these services whom we need consider in connection with this Clause. They will not come into contact with its provisions. The kind 846 of local authority which we have to consider in this connection is the kind which is not. interested in these services and is unwilling to develop them It is not easy to be precise as to whether the power which the Minister takes in this Clause will be effective. All we can do is to see what past experience can tell us about it and try to forecast the situation which is likely to arise. There is, I believe, some past experience which can guide us. I think there are still in operation some Regulations made in August, 1918, which give the Minister power to reduce or withhold grants for certain services in connection with mothers and young children. I do not know what has been the effect of that power. I would ask the right hon. Gentleman if, in the 10 years during which that power has been held by the Minister of Health, it has been found effective for dealing with inefficient or insufficient services.
Then I turn to the kind of situation which may arise in the future under this Clause. Here, it is particularly difficult to be sure of one's ground, but I am struck by this point. The Minister will always be reluctant to make use of this power, and the local authority which is backward in regard to these services will know that he is reluctant to do so. As soon as they realise that, then the value of the power which he holds in reserve will be considerably lessened. The more they realise that he is reluctant to use it, the less are they likely to pay attention to him. That attitude may be strengthened by a further consideration which, on the other hand, will also weaken the attitude of the Minister. They may propose a policy, such as reduction of rates, which they know will be popular locally, and a number of contingencies may arise which will inevitably have the effect of making any Minister slow to use this power. Therefore we have to see if it is not possible to strengthen the hands of the Minister. In the Amendment there are two features. In the first part the Minister is required to make inquiries from time to time through his own officers. It may be said that this proposal is unnecessary because of Clause 108; but Clause 108 only gives permissive power for the Minister to make inquiries about anything which is in the Bill. Under this 847 Amendment the Minister must make inquiries about these particular health services.
The chief point to which I would ask the attention of the Minister is contained in the second part of the Amendment. It may be that the procedure which I have outlined here is cumbrous and is open to serious criticism but it is the principle underlying it to which I ask the Minister to give further consideration. It is intended to strengthen his hands and to reinforce his position by bringing in some outside independent tribunal. If the Minister were in a difficult position with a local authority on a matter of this kind, and if he could come to the House of Commons backed by the influence of an independent tribunal, his position would be tremendously strengthened. What has been said already upon this Clause confirms me in that view. An independent Commission of that kind would also have a restraining effect on what has been described as a possibility, namely, a wild and fanatical Minister. Therefore, I ask the right hon. Gentleman to give his consideration to the reinforcement of the position of the Minister under this Clause by bringing in some outside influence such as I have proposed.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
I am bound to say that I do not think that this Amendment, as drafted, would achieve the purpose described by my hon. Friend in moving it. The first part of the Amendment directs the Minister from time to time to make inquiries. As I think will be appreciated, that is unnecessary, because the Minister cannot really carry out his duties under this Clause unless he makes such inquiries, and the "inquiries" dealt with in Clause 108 are not inquiries of the sort which I have in mind. Those are inquiries of the kind called local inquiries, but the Ministry, of course, always has its inspectors about the different parts of the country. Those inspectors from time to time make reports to me on things which come under their observation, and, as a result of those reports, I am kept fairly in touch with what is going on in local government throughout the country. As regards the second part of the Amendment, I would point out that, although my hon. Friend the Mover does not, I am sure, mean to 848 provide that this procedure must be gone through before the Minister can exercise any of his powers under this Clause, yet that would be the effect of the Amendment. It would mean that the Minister would not be able to act, unless he bad representations made to him by three justices of the peace, or by 12 or more electors. I think that would be to limit unduly the powers of the Minister.
Again, the Amendment would mean that the Minister would have to order an inquiry, and the inquiry is to be held by independent persons who are described here as "competent." There might be different opinions as to competency, and different views from those of the Minister might prevail as to the way in which this Clause should be operated. I think the fact that this rather cumbrous and elaborate procedure would have to be carried through before the powers could be operated would produce on the minds of local authorities exactly that effect which my hon. Friend desires to avoid. The great virtue of this Clause is not in its actual operation, but in the reserve power which it gives. When the Minister talks to a local authority about the state of their public health services, they will know that he has in reserve this power of reducing grants if they are not disposed to bring those services up to what is regarded as a reasonable standard.
My hon. Friend has asked me, if I cannot accept the Amendment, to consider some other form which will have the effect he desires without encountering any of the disadvantages of the Amendment on the Paper. I am quite ready to consider the possibility of introducing other words with a view to giving the opportunity to outside persons to make representations to the Minister if they choose. But such words would have to make it quite clear that the Minister's power of taking action is not dependent upon receiving such representation, and that he has the power of taking action upon the reports of his own inspectors in the area affected. Such words would, at any rate, do what my hon. Friend desires, namely, give to persons who have some right to be regarded as worthy of consideration the right to make representations and to put their views before the Minister, who would take such views into account. I may say that already anybody can make representations without a Section in an Act of 849 Parliament being necessary. They frequently do so, and the Minister can and does take into account representations which are made to him. If it is thought desirable that there should be something of a more formal character on this matter, I am prepared to consider words which would meet my hon. Friend's point without incurring the disadvantages which I see in the Amendment as it appears on the Paper.
§ Mr. J. JONES
As this Bill proceeds we begin to discover its meaning. In the beginning it was difficult to understand its object, but that object is now gradually displaying itself. The object is to pay lip-service to those institutions which we have established after long years of historic struggle in local administration, while, at the same time, putting the local authorities in irons. What is this Amendment? It proposes that this right should be given to three justices of the peace. Who in the name of Heaven are they? Who appoints them? What are they, and where do they come from? I come from one of the biggest industrial constituencies in the country, and our bench of magistrates is packed by a crowd of nonentities. But they have to sit in judgment on our local authority which is elected by the people who have to pay. The hon. Member opposite suggests that this proposal is in order to make sure that there will
§ be proper control. Is not the Minister himself bad enough? But instead of one Mussolini we are to have three at a time. The whole principle of this Bill is a direct attack on the rights and liberties of the elected representatives of the people. Who is to decide whether we in West Ham are extravagant or not? Who pays the bill? You have disqualified our board of guardians on the theory that they were paying out too much relief, that they were extravagant. We might have given away a little bit more than we ought to have done, but what have you been doing? You—
§ It being Half-past Seven of the Clock, the CHAIRMAN proceeded, pursuant to the Order of the House of 12th December, 1928, to put forthwith the Question on the Amendment already proposed from the Chair.
§ Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and negatived.
§ The CHAIRMAN then proceeded successively to put forthwith the Questions on any Amendments moved by the Government of which notice had been given and the Questions necessary to dispose of the business to be concluded at half-past Seven of the Clock at this day's Sitting.
§ Question put, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 231; Noes, 124.853
|Division No. 136.]||AYES.||[7.30 p.m.|
|Ainsworth, Lieut.-Col. Charles||Brittain, Sir Harry||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Davies, Dr. Vernon|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman||Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd, Hexham)||Dawson, Sir Philip|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Bullock, Captain M.||Dixon, Captain Rt. Hon. Herbert|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Burman, J. B.||Drewe, C.|
|Apsley, Lord||Burton, Colonel H. W.||Edmondson, Major A. J.|
|Ashley, Lt.-Cot. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Campbell, E. T.||Elliot, Major Walter E.|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Carver, Major W. H.||Ellis, R. G.|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)|
|Astor, Viscountess||Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth. S.)||Everard, W. Lindsay|
|Atkinson, C.||Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Fairfax, Captain J.G.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Falle, Sir Bertram G.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J.A (Birm., W.)||Fermoy, Lord|
|Balniel, Lord||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Fielden, E. B.|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Chilcott, Sir Warden||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Christie, J. A.||Frece, Sir Walter de|
|Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)||Clarry, Reginald George||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon||Clayton, G. C.||Gadie, Lieut.-Col. Anthony|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George||Ganzoni, Sir John|
|Bennett, A. J.||Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Gates, Percy|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish.||Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton|
|Berry, Sir George||Colman, N. C. D.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Bethel, A.||Conway. Sir W. Martin||Glyn, Major R. G. C.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Cope, Major Sir William||Gower, Sir Robert|
|Bevan, S. J.||Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington,N )||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, M.)|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Greene, W. P. Crawford|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Crookshank, Col. C de W. (Berwick)||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Crookshank Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Dalkeith, Earl of||Gunston, Captain D. W.|
|Hacking, Douglas H.||McLean, Major A.||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Macmillan, Captain H.||Sinclair, Col. T.(Queen's Univ., Belfast)|
|Hammersley, S. S.||MacRobert, Alexander M.||Skelton, A. N.|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Malone, Major P. B.||Smith, R.W.(Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Hartington, Marquess of||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Haslam, Henry C.||Meyer, Sir Frank.||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Headland, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.|
|Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Moore, Sir Newton J.||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.|
|Hopkins, J. W. W.||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Moreing, Captain A. H.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)||Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.||Neville, Sir Reginald J.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.)||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell|
|Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)||Nuttall, Ellis||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Hume, Sir G. H.||Oakley, T.||Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough|
|Hurd, Percy A.||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Hurst, Gerald B.||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Waddington, R.|
|Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Iveagh, Countess of||Penny, Frederick George||Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kigston-on-Hull)|
|Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Perring, Sir William George||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Kindersley, Major G. M.||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Watts, Sir Thomas|
|King, Commodore Henry Douglas||Pownall, Sir Assheton||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Preston, William||Wells, S. R.|
|Knox, Sir Alfred||Raine, Sir Walter||White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dalrymple-|
|Lamb, J. Q.||Ramsden, E.||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Lister, Cunliffe, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Rawson, Sir Cooper||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Little, Dr. E. Graham||Reid, Capt. Cunningham (Warrington)||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||Wilson, Sir Murrough (Yorks, Richm'd)|
|Loder, J. de V.||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||Winby, Colonel L. P.|
|Looker, Herbert William||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Lougher, Lewis||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.||Withers, John James|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vers||Rye, F. G.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Herman||Sandeman, N. Stewart||Womersley, W. J.|
|Lumley, L. R||Sandon, Lord||Wood, Rt. Hon Sir Kingsley|
|Lynn, Sir R. J.||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Savery, S. S.||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Scott, Rt. Hon. Sir Leslie|
|Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley||Major Sir George Hennessy and|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Lowth, T.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Greenall, T.||Lunn, William|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Mackinder, W.|
|Baker, Walter||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Griffith, F. Kingsley||Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)|
|Barnes, A.||Groves, T.||March, S.|
|Barr, J.||Grundy, T. W.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)|
|Batey, Joseph||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Mosley, Sir Oswald|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Murnin, H.|
|Bellamy, A.||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Naylor, T. E.|
|Bondfield, Margaret||Hardie, George D.||Oliver, George Harold|
|Briant, Frank||Harris, Percy A.||Palin, John Henry|
|Broad, F. A.||Hayday, Arthur||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Bromley, J.||Hirst, G. H.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Potts, John S.|
|Buchanan, G.||Hore-Beilsha, Leslie||Purcell, A. A.|
|Cape, Thomas||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Rees, Sir Beddos|
|Charleton, H. C.||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Ritson, J.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O.(W. Bromwich)|
|Connolly, M.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks. W. R., Elland)|
|Cove, W. G.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Runciman, Hilda (Cornwall,St.Ives)|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Jones, J. J. (Westham, Silvertown)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Crawfurd, H. E.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Saklatvala, Shapurji|
|Dennison, R.||Kelly, W. T.||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Duncan, C.||Kennedy, T.||Scurr, John|
|Dunnico, H.||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Sexton, James|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Kirkwood, D.||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|England, Colonel A.||Lansbury, George||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Forrest, W.||Lawrence, Susan||Shinwell, E.|
|Gardner, J. P.||Lee, F.||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Gillett, George M.||Lindley, F. W.||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Longbottom, A. W.||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Stamford, T. W.||Tomlinson, R. P.||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Stephen, Campbell||Townend, A. E.||Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)|
|Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)||Viant, S. P.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Sullivan, J.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Sutton, J. E.||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Taylor, R. A.||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah||Windsor, Walter|
|Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)||Wellock, Wilfred||Wright, W.|
|Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)||Welsh, J. C.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Thurtle, Ernest||Westwood, J.|
|Tinker, John Joseph||Wiggins, William Martin||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mr. T. Henderson and Mr. Paling.|
Question put, and agreed to.