§ Mr. STANLEY BALDWIN
May I ask the Leader of the House whether he has any statement to make with regard to business?
I am afraid that the latter part of the right hon. Gentleman's question was not completely heard but I will give an outline of the business from the present time until Christmas, and I will give all the information which is available at the moment. We hope that the Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Contributory Pensions Bill will be passed into law by the end of November in order to ensure the completion of the administrative arrangements in time to admit the payment of a certain class of new pensions in January.
The Government also propose to proceed with the Unemployment Insurance Bill and legislation to implement the undertaking which was given by the President of the Board of Trade on the 23rd of July last with reference to the coal industry with a view to its passage into law before the Christmas Adjournment. It is also hoped to make progress with other Measures which were foreshadowed in the King's Speech, including the Factories Bill, a Bill to regulate the Hours of Industrial Employment, and a Bill to amend the Trade Disputes and Trade Unions Act of 1927. There will be a number of Bills of minor but I hope not of a controversial character.
In addition, certain Supplementary Estimates will be considered in Committee of Supply, and Parliament will be invited to pass the consequential Consolidated Fund Bill as well as the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill which is now before the House. That is before the Adjournment.
I can hardly be expected at this stage to make a final statement as to the date of our re-assembling after the Christmas Recess. Of course, that will depend upon the rate of progress which is made between now and Christmas. Perhaps I may venture to express the opinion that so far as can be foreseen at the present moment the date will probably be not later than the 28th of January.
I should like to take this opportunity of reminding the House of the business for the rest of this week and of making 21 a small alteration in the business announced for Friday, the 1st November. Of course, to-morrow will be a Private Members' day.
On Thursday, we shall take the Second Reading of the Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Contributory Pensions Bill.
On Friday, we shall proceed with the consideration in Committee of the Financial Resolution of the Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Contributory Pensions Bill, the Financial Resolution for an additional grant in respect of the Highlands and Islands Medical Services, and the Financial Resolution for the Coast Protection Bill.
The resolutions dealing with the Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Contributory Pensions Bill, the Highlands and Islands Medical Services, and the Coast Protection Bill will be on the Order Paper to-morrow morning. The White Paper dealing with the Highlands and Islands Medical Services Grant will, I hope, be available to-morrow. I add the usual proviso, that on any day, if time permits, other Orders will be taken, but it is not proposed to commence the Committee stage of the Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Contributory Pensions Bill this week. I hope to announce the business for next week as usual on Thursday.
§ Mr. BALDWIN
I can only say on that statement that it seems to be drawn up with an optimism that is very suited and proper to the early days of what I may call the childhood of the Government. I think it is only right to say that, following the admirable precedent set by my right hon. Friend during our term of office, we shall ask for certain days between now and Christmas to discuss various matters of policy of urgent importance, but at this moment I will only ask whether it is his intention to take the Committee stage of the Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Contributory Pensions Bill on the Floor of the House or upstairs?
§ Mr. HARRIS
May I ask when the Bill for providing for the raising of the school age will be introduced, because the local authorities are very anxious to know?
Of course, the Government have given a definite pledge 22 that that matter will be dealt with in time for the scheme to come into operation on the 1st April, 1931. I can assure the hon. Member that the Bill will be introduced in time for that. I do not see that any delay in introducing the Measure will in the least inconvenience the local authorities, because they know that they must be making preparations in order to give effect to the provisions of the Bill.
§ Lieut.-Colonel FREMANTLE
May I ask the Leader of the Opposition—[Laughter]—may I ask the Leader of the House whether the much promised Measure for slum clearance is included in what he called the minor Bills, and so is not considered of sufficient importance to be introduced before Christmas?
I certainly do not include the Slum Clearance Bill among the minor Measures to which I referred; I hope that when the Bill is introduced it will be recognised that it is a Bill of first-rate importance. I think the answer to the hon. and gallant Member's question has been given by the Prime Minister—[Laughter]—these slips are apparently contagious; it takes us a little time to get out of old habits. The answer to the hon. and gallant Member's question has been given by the Leader of the Opposition, namely, that the programme which we have outlined, and which we hope to get through with the assistance of the Opposition, so far as our proposals meet with their approval, is a rather ambitious programme; but I can assure the House that the Slum Clearance Bill will be taken as soon as ever Parliamentary time permits.
§ Lieut.-Colonel FREMANTLE
Then a Slum Clearance Measure is considered of less importance than a Measure for revoking or repealing or amending the Trade Disputes and Trade Unions Act.
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether there is any intention of introducing a Land Valuation Bill before Christmas?
§ Commander O. LOCKER-LAMPSON
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether we are going to have an early day for the discussion of the resumed relations with Russia, as promised by the Foreign Secretary?
I shall make a statement on that matter when I announce, on Thursday, the business for next week.
May I ask what are the intentions of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and of the Government with regard to the Local Government Amendment (Scotland) Bill which is on the Order Paper?