That it is expedient,—
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."
§ Mr. KINLEY
Before we pass this Resolution the House ought to bear in mind that we are asked to agree that the financial assistance of the State shall be given to one of the largest and wealthiest shipping companies in the country, one that has over a long period 1638 enjoyed prosperity and has put aside profits which in the aggregate amount to many millions. By no stretch of imagination can it be described as a company that is in difficulties. In common with other companies it has received from this House over a period of years a large measure of assistance in the shape of subventions and de-rating, and it has also had assistance from local authorities in the matter of rating. Yet at the same time that it is making this appeal this company, which has had so much public assistance, and has distributed so many millions in dividends, is discharging as many of its old workers of 65 years of age as it possibly can get rid of. In my own area this company is discharging old workers after 20, 25 or 30 years' service without a pension and without the slightest reward for the services they have rendered, and at the same time I am asked, as the representative of that area in this House, to vote that the Government shall assist the company in these new schemes.
I quite understand that at this stage of the proceedings one cannot oppose the proposal, but I cannot allow the opportunity to pass without urging on the Government the absolute and imperative duty, no matter what company may come to it, of asking, first of all, "How do you treat your workers?" After all, the company would never have become what it is had it not been for the devoted service of those servants who today are being turned adrift on to the funds of local authorities. We have to provide for them out of the public funds while we are at the same time bolstering up the company. I hope, therefore, that in future the Government will not give the slightest assistance to any company until they have a guarantee that their workers, so far as they may be unemployed, shall be adequately provided for and when their working days are over, the company, out of its huge profits, shall make provision for them.
§ Bill ordered to be brought in upon the said Resolution by Mr. William Graham, the Attorney-General, Mr. Pethick-Lawrence, and Mr. W. R. Smith.