§ Again considered in Committee.
§ [Mr. ROBERT YOUNG the Chair.]
§ Question again proposed.
§ Mr. CHARLES BROWN
On a point of Order, Mr. Young, may I ask you if 1525 it is your intention to ask the hon. Member for Grimsby (Mr. Womersley) to withdraw a foul slander on the working class?
§ The CHAIRMAN
It is my duty to allow the hon. Member to express his opinions. Those opinions may be wrong, but I am not the judge of that matter.
§ Mr. SIMMONS
May I ask if it is your Ruling that it is not more wrong to insult a class than an individual?
§ The CHAIRMAN
No, my Ruling is governed by the Rules of the House and, whatever my own personal opinions may be, I am not at liberty to express them.
§ The CHAIRMAN
If there were any reason for me to call upon the hon. Member to withdraw, I would have asked him to do so. I hope that hon. Members will allow the hon. Gentleman to proceed as quite a large number of hon. Members wish to take part in the discussion, and I am anxious that everyone, as far as possible, should be allowed to do so.
§ Mr. WOMERSLEY
Nothing which I have said this afternoon is a reflection upon the working class of this country and I defy hon. Members to point to anything I have said which had that intention. When they read the OFFICIAL REPORT to-morrow, I am satisfied that they will come to me and apologise for the way in which they have acted. I was only reminding the Committee that, in certain districts, where the continuance of children at school from 14 to 15 years' of age is in operation, and where the parents have the opportunity of claiming exemption, they have done so in the vast majority of cases.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member, I presume, is referring to those people who had the opportunity of retaining the children longer at school because they were going to be assisted. The question merely of retaining the children at school does not arise on this Resolution.
§ Mr. WOMERSLEY
My argument was directed to proving that this system is not popular with the parents. On the question of the educational value of these grants, I may be allowed to quote from a speech made by the hon. Member for Southampton (Mr. Morley) during our debates in May of this year:When we were advocating this reform during the General Election, I found that the proposal for raising the school-leaving age, coupled with adequate maintenance grants, was one of the most popular proposals that we put before the electorate. we did not advocate that reform solely as an educational reform. Upon educational grounds there is, perhaps, no very strong case for maintenance grants, but we advocated maintenance grants not merely upon educational grounds, but as part of our general policy … as a way of transferring purchasing power from the wealthy to the poor."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 30th May, 1930; cols. 1691–1692, Vol. 239.]That is a fair and square statement and I have every respect for the hon. Member, who was prepared to say exactly what was in his mind and not to pretend that these grants were of any value educationally. During the same debates the hon. Member for Walsall (Mr. McShane) made this statement:Those who are on the right side of the line are to get the maintenance allowance and will be the new aristocracy and the people to be envied. … Wherever there is a mother who is not getting it and living in the midst of those who are, you can imagine what a source of anger, discontent, irritation that will be for every one of the 52 weeks of the year. When the mother knows it, the children will know it and it will he carried to the schools."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 29th May, 1930; col. 1609, Vol. 239.]I presume that the hon. Member speaks from his experience as a teacher. I understand he has occupied such a position. I am going to speak from my experience as a scholar. In the old school board days we had to pay 3d. per week, but certain children were exempt from payment because of the poverty of their parents. I quite agree with the hon. Member for Walsall that children, in that way, are placed in a very difficult position. I know that in those days those children were pointed at with scorn and I was always a strong advocate of wiping out the payment of 3d. per week for that very reason. But it is now proposed to set up a system on the same lines only the other way about. It is the children who will not be receiving, who will be regarded as something out 1527 of the ordinary. These allowances are to be granted on certain income limits, but we have had no information from the right hon. Gentleman as to how that principle is to be applied or what form of inquisition is to be used to ascertain the earnings of the parents.
For instance, there is the case of the small shopkeeper who is not a regular wage-earner. I take it that as long as shopkeepers can prove that their income is below a certain sum per week, their children will be allowed to receive these grants. How will the right hon. Gentleman deal with that class of person? A man in trade in a small way may be earning £3 5s. one week and perhaps nothing the next, or £5 one week and very little the next. Then I will take the case of certain types of labour. There are certain seasonal trades in which men work on piecework, where the earnings in the summer amount to far more than these limits, but where, in the winter, they are very small indeed. Those men have to save what they can during the time of prosperity so that they can meet the needs of their families during the times when work is difficult to get. How will the right hon. Gentleman deal with that case? All these things will have to be taken into consideration, and the local authorities which will have to ad minister this Measure will have to face them.
Speaking as one who has had considerable experience of a local education authority, and who has had to do with all kinds of matters connected with boots for children, feeding the children, and so on, I know the great difficulty there is about this inquisition into the means of the parents. Considering the difficulties you are going to set up in the way of an inquisition into the means of the parents, it would have been far better to have taken the bold course and said, "We shall give this maintenance grant all round," or not to have given it at all. To do it in this slipshod way is asking for trouble. I am quite satisfied that it will not be acceptable among Members on the right hon. Gentleman's own side and that it will be resented by parents in the country.
§ Mr. WOMERSLEY
I do look after the working class, and it is the working class in my constituency that sent me here. I hope the right hon. Gentleman realises the difficulties that will have to be faced in the administration of this grant. It may be argued that it is worth while because it will help considerably to reduce the payments out of the Unemployment Insurance Fund. That is an argument that might be used, but I do not think it can be used with any certainty, because even the right hon. Gentleman himself, speaking in our debates on this question in May, was unable to give anything like a certain calculation of what it would mean in the way of reduction of unemployment in the country and, therefore, reduction of unemployment insurance benefit; and the right hon. Gentleman who is now Secretary of State for the Dominions made a speech in which he quite clearly warned his hearers not to assume that this raising of the school age would mean more employment, because it did not follow that a man would he employed to do the work of a boy.
§ Mr. WOMERSLEY
I was endeavouring to show that this would not relieve national expenditure in that direction, as has been argued. It has been argued that the giving of this maintenance grant can be defended because it will reduce payments out of other public funds.
§ Mr. WOMERSLEY
I know that this debate is circumscribed by the terms of the Resolution, but in my opinion we shall not get value for the money expended, from an educational point of view, and I think I have proved that conclusively by the extracts which I have given from speeches made in our debates in May. It is not going to assist the country in any other direction in the way of relieving expenditure, but you will not allow me to refer to that again, though that is my opinion.
Further, I say that the nation cannot afford it now. Industry wants relief from heavy rates and taxes, not an increase of them, and if I thought that this was going to assist industry in any 1529 way I should say, even if it did mean putting a little extra burden on industry, that it was worth while, but I am satisfied, from my experience as a member of a juvenile unemployment committee and a local education authority, that you are not going in any way to relieve taxation, but are rather going to add to it without any chance of getting an advantage to industry. I am satisfied that it will do far more harm than good, and that you are not going to gain anything worth while. I am satisfied that these grants have only been given in order to press forward a Measure which otherwise would not have been acceptable to the public, and which, if put to the test, would result in the heavy defeat of Socialist candidates in places where they now have large majorities. It is the most unpopular Measure that has ever been brought forward to raise the school-leaving age, and you are trying to gild it with this 5s. a week allowance. I oppose the Resolution.
Mr. ERNEST WINTERTON
I do not suppose the Committee will ever hear from any speaker a speech more directly opposed to the thesis which the hon. Member for Grimsby (Mr. Womersley) put before us, for his speech from beginning to end was a justification of maintenance grants and not in any sense a criticism of the Government's proposals. In the figures which were so hotly challenged from this side the hon. Member set out to suggest that, because certain parents had not taken advantage of their opportunities to keep their children at school, that was a convincing proof that the raising of the school age was not desired by the people. But the economic circumstances of the parents are the chief factors why children are not kept at school, and, therefore, the hon. Member himself made a convincing point for the provisions of this Financial Resolution and in favour of maintenance allowances. I do not suppose there is a Member on any side who does not know, within his own experience and constituency, scores of cases of clever children who get scholarships and who do not take advantage of them because of the circumstance of their parents being unable to keep their children at school.
I was giving my own personal experience, and I suggest that if this Bill in any respect removes a disability of that kind from thousands and thousands of working-class children, the hon. Member, who has told us that he represents the working classes, is under a moral obligation to support it. I trust that we shall see his figure in our lobby, and he will get, I may promise him, a warm reception. I do not think it is necessarily a convincing objection that the maintenance grants under this Bill will not, in the first years at least—and I think we might be candid enough to admit it—give us the full educational value which we should like to see from their provision. I have never concealed my own view, any more than has the hon. Member for Southampton (Mr. Morley), who has been quoted, that this is in the nature of a grant which will have indirect and beneficial results to the community irrespective of the educational value which will accrue from keeping a child at school for 12 months longer; and if we are really to study the question, "Is it worth it?" that factor must certainly enter into the calculation.
Is it worth it to thrust these children into the labour market? I recollect the speech of the Noble Lord opposite, who was so much concerned about the employment market being disturbed. Is it worth it in order to keep the employment market for a time free from this influx of some 300,000 children? I suggest that this will be money well spent if, in this time of great difficulty in the nation's history, this money is provided by Act of Parliament. We hear a great deal about economy and waste in this House, but there is some so-called economy which is real waste. I heard the other day of a boy who came to his father and said, "Father, you will be pleased to hear that my schooling will not cost so much next term." The father said, "Why is that, Bobby?" "Well," he said, "it will not cost you so much in books." "Oh," said the father, "why not?" The boy replied, "I have done so badly that I am keeping in the same class for another 12 months."
That is the kind of economy, it seems to me, that hon. Members opposite have 1531 in mind when they desire to keep these children in the same class. We are anxious that the opportunities for education may be extended to them, and we hold that the saving which might have been effected in our national expenditure in other ways is not, when weighed in the balances, to be regarded as equal to the real gains of the community by an expenditure of this kind. This money, in my judgment, will be money which will be productive in many ways. There are those who think money might to fructify in the pockets of the people, but I believe there is certain expenditure which is far better made, so that the money does not remain in the pockets of the people. This class of expenditure is twice blessed. It will give the children of the nation the chance of a further 12 months of education, and it will relieve, to a very considerable extent, the stress of unemployment both in the teaching profession and in the relief of the general labour market. I therefore cordially support the Resolution.
§ 5.0 p.m.
§ Mr. O'CONNOR
I hope the Committee will reject this Resolution and that it will not be afraid, in rejecting it, to pursue a course that may be unpopular in certain parts of the country and that does not commend itself to the present desire to distribute the national wealth in doles, and largess, and bribes to the people to keep the law. We are staggering under a burden of taxation of almost incredible dimensions, and our will to recovery in an industrial crisis which is the greatest that this country has ever faced is crippled by the burden of taxation, a burden which has been increased by the right hon. Gentleman opposite since he has been in office. He has dissipated what resources he might have used for these purposes in extending doles under the transitional benefit method, and he has co-operated with the righthon. Lady who is in charge of the Ministry of Labour in doing damage to the national credit by borrowing further money in order to bolster up an already bankrupt Unemployment Insurance Fund—and all this at a time when above all others, if we are going to keep our place in the competitive race with the rest of the world, we have to replenish the traditional reservoirs of capital in this 1532 country. Hon. Gentlemen are draining them every day, and they have not even the courage of hand, it is raised out of indirect taxation, then all the noble and flowery their awn Socialism, and they have not the courage to set up capital reservoirs which will take the place of the ones which they are draining. They are destroying one thing and putting nothing in its place. Where is this money coming from? It can come from either direct or indirect taxation. If it comes from direct taxation, it is an added burden on industry just at the very moment when industry wants all the weight taken off its shoulders to enable it to recover. If it is to be raised by direct taxation also, it is definitely a piece of class legislation, because the money is being raised from people who will not derive one pennyworth of benefit from it. If, on the other phrases of the right hon. Gentleman when he introduced the Bill are fraud and humbug, because, using his own method of argument on the tariff issue, he is simply decreasing real wages and transferring the money from one pocket of the working-classes to another.
§ Mr. McSHANE
Is it in order for an hon. Gentleman to say that the right hon. Gentleman in introducing the Bill resorted to fraud?
§ Mr. O'CONNOR
May I say at once that, if my words were interpreted as in any way personal to the right hon. Gentleman, I withdraw. I would like the Committee to consider this vital question. Is this the best way of spending the national resources at this moment? What return are we going to get for this money? If Income Tax is taken off, the return on Government loans at the present time is about 34 per cent. That is about the net return on Conversion Loan. It is not unreasonable to say that the Government, in order to borrow at the present moment, must pay something slightly over a net cost of 3½ per cent. That means that this new money, if we take the figures that have been given this afternoon—although they are haphazard and uncertain, and do not allow for all the contingencies that might arise—is equivalent to providing 1533 for a Debt service of from £100,000,000 to £150,000,000. You can raise a Development Loan to-morrow for the development of the resources of this country for the same cost as that with which the right hon. Gentleman is going to burden the country in order to keep at school children who have shown that they are not able to benefit by secondary education for an extra year which they and the parents do not want. Whatever any of us may think of the proposals of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), at any rate, they offer some return for the money—
§ The CHAIRMAN
I think the hon. Gentleman was not in the House when I gave a Ruling that the discussion must not be widened in that way.
§ Mr. O'CONNOR
I bow to your Ruling, but I hope that I am in order in saying that, if the Government tomorrow were to secure by any method, the cancellation of War Debt to the extent of £100,000,000 or £150,000,000, the position would be exactly as you were if this extra charge were placed on the Exchequer, and if the estimate which has been given is accurate as to the cost which will be reached in five or six years. The Government are saddling the country with an annual payment which is more than equivalent to the destruction of from £100,000,060 to £150,000,000, or even £200,000,000 worth, of War Debt. I suggest that this money can ill be spared at the present moment, and that, if we are determining ways in which to spend money, we can find a great many much better ways in which to distribute the resources of the country. I would like to labour this point, because since the War with the mounting millions, and the staggering burdens of expenditure which successive Governments have placed upon the country, it does not appear to be realised that an extra £1,000,000 here and there can simply be placed upon the shoulders of the taxpayer without much comment one way or the other, but do hon. Gentlemen opposite realise that they are placing upon the national shoulders a burden to discharge which £100,000,000 worth of industrial plant and endeavour will have to work ceaselessly day and night, and that the cost of this Financial 1534 Resolution is equivalent to the return upon at least £100,000,000 worth of industrial capital?
I pass by as not very convincing the argument that there is intense eagerness on the part of the parents of the children between 14 and 15 to send them to school for the additional period. Common sense tells everybody that that is not so. I would like to know on whom the money is to be spent. Is it to be spent on the children of the unemployed? If this maintenance grant is to be distributed to them, then, as they are already drawing grants in respect of each child they will receive a double grant at the expense of the taxpayer. Is it to be distributed only to the children of those who are in employment? If it is, there appears to be one pertinent observation to be made. Deplorable as is the lot of those out of employment, the lot of those who are actually employed is considerably better than it has been for a great many years. By the fall in commodity prices, real wages have been very considerably raised, and if there ever were a period when an extra burden, in order to maintain their children for an extra year, could be placed upon them, this is the period. The truth, of course, is that this is only the sugar which is coating the pill.
Hon. Gentlemen on the other side know perfectly well that this is an unpopular Measure, even among the people in the classes which they are purporting to benefit. They do not want it, and they have to he bribed and lubricated by what is nothing more nor less than a dole in order to persuade them to obey the law. When I hear fanciful and fairy-like accounts of the enthusiasm for acquiring an extra year of education at the present time, it contrasts very unfavourably with the period in 1871, when compulsory education was introduced all round, and when no attempt was made to couple it with maintenance grants, although the wage earners were not in any way as well off as they are now.
We on this side of the House should be extremely interested to see what support we may expect from right hon. Gentlemen and hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway. We can at least hope, I think, from remarks that have been passed, that they will jostle shoulders with us in the Division Lobby. I was interested to ob- 1535 serve that in a manifesto upon their policy, it was definitely laid down, as lately as October, that no new outlay, however desirable, ought to be undertaken unless it is definitely productive In view of that manifesto, which was coupled with a demand for funds which have been only moderately responded to up to date, we can at least hope on these benches that they will not reject those pledges quite so soon, although some of us know that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs is in these matters rather like the tippler turned teetotaller, we fear that these pledges to economy are in fact only a red herring to introduce a further thirst for more expenditure. Whether that be so or not, or whether hon. Gentlemen are prepared to stake their convictions on this matter or not, the fact remains that to-day we have an opportunity of putting our principles to the test. Democracy has to take a stand some tinge against this pernicious method of distributing doles for which there is scant or little return. This is nothing more nor less than a dole, and we on this side of the House will make it a matter of principle; we will stand against it, and resist whatever attack that may be made upon us on the course which we feel it necessary to take.
§ Mr. ARNOTT
The hon. Member for Grimsby (Mr. Womersley) is much concerned as to how the income of families under this Bill shall be ascertained. He was worried about the inquisition that would be made into incomes. It is strange that that argument has been used from both sides of the House. It has been used by those who are opposed to all allowances, and by those who want family allowances under all circumstances. Both ignore the position of affairs to-day. I am surprised that this argument should be used by the hon. Member for Grimsby, who claims to have been a member of an education committee. I know a great many members of education committees who do not know the least thing about the Acts which they are supposed to administer. The details of the administration are carried out by officials, and a good many members do not know any more when they leave the committee after a number of years than they did when they went on. I must put the hon. Member for 1536 Grimsby in that category. What is taking place now? Children who attend elementary schools are eligible for free meals under certain conditions, and investigations have to be made as whether they are eligible. The cleverer children are also eligible to enter competitions for scholarships, and examinations have to be made as to whether the incomes of their parents are sufficient to allow the child to take the scholarship. Children have sometimes to be supplied with spectacles; the charge for these is based on the family income, and an examination of the income has to be made to decide whether spectacles should be supplied free or whether a charge should be made.
Then children who win scholarships and whose parents are eligible, so far as means are concerned, are often unable to take the scholarships, and in the more progressive municipalities—this is not universal, and I do not know whether it applies to Grimsby—investigations are again made as to whether the incomes are sufficiently low to warrant maintenance grants being paid on behalf of these children so that they can take advantage of the scholarships which they have won. Those investigations cover practically every case of children whose parents have incomes up to £500 a year. That sum is the limit in the municipality on whose education committee I sat some time in respect of advanced scolarships, while £450 is the limit for junior scholarships. In that municipality there was a still higher test. If a young man or woman succeeds in passing the necessary examination to enter a teachers' training college, and they can prove that they cannot afford the fee for the college, the fee is lent to them by the education authority on a promise of repayment. So all this argument about imposing new tests upon the recipients of maintenance grants is beside the mark. It may be a bad thing or a good thing, but the one thing certain is that it is not a new thing. If the President of the Board of Education has been criticised for anything, it is not for being an innovator, but because he is something in the nature of a Conservative.
As the hon. Lady representing the English Universities (Miss Rathbone) said the other day, I recognise a stone 1537 wall when I see it, and I believe this proposal is on the right lines. It has been argued that while it is perfectly proper to give maintenance grants to people who voluntarily accept a special kind of education for their children, it is wrong to do it when compulsion is applied. It seems to me the argument should be turned round. If we compel people to do a, thing which is beyond their means, there is a greater obligation upon us to make a contribution than in a case where it has been left to their own choice. I think it is an excellent thing to treat the normal child exactly as we treat the superior child. The award of scholarships is sometimes based on very narrow grounds. It does not follow that a child who wins a scholarship is superior to one who just fails. It is an amazing thing, but a child who has failed to win a scholarship and has afterwards been sent to a secondary school by its parents, at a great deal of sacrifice to themselves, sometimes does better in after years than those who have won scholarships. As every educationist claims, an examination is not a, complete test. It is a test up to a certain point, because a child who passes an examination must have some capacity, but it is quite wrong to assume that a child who fails to pass is devoid of capacity. If, when a child wins a scholarship at a secondary school, we say we are prepared to give a maintenance grant to that child from the age of 14 upwards, I want to know why a child who is compelled to attend school for another year should be deprived of a maintenance grant? Ethically, there is a much stronger case for children in the second category.
§ Mr. ARNOTT
No, I am not. From what happened when the age was previously advanced, I know the opposition that has to be surmounted and the difficulties that have to be overcome, and there is only one thing I would like to say about that, and that is that I think there was less opposition to the advance of the age to 14 than to the advance which preceded it, showing a greater acquiescence on the part of the majority of the people. But when we raise the school age we impose an additional obli- 1538 gation on parents, and we on these benches have reached the conclusion that something should be done to meet that obligation. The argument put forward by the hon. Member for Grimsby was based on the question "Is it worth while?" That raises the whole question of whether the education is worth the money that is to be expended, but, obviously, that has nothing to do directly with this question of grants, except that it might be held that the additional education might be well worth the expenditure on teachers and schools but that the 5s. a week grant is the last straw that breaks the camel's back. That point was not clearly indicated in his speech, but obviously it was involved in his argument. The hon. Member for Central Nottingham (Mr. O'Connor) had no doubt at all about it. He believed, as some old farmers in Yorkshire are credited with believing, that all expenditure on education is waste of money. He tells us that with the money we spend on education we could buy things, and that it would be ever so much better to do so; that we could knock £100,000,000 off the National Debt with the family allowance. Obviously, he thought that was a conclusive argument, but a great many of us do not believe it to be so.
Desirable as it would be to reduce the National Debt, or to spend either a capital sum of £100,000,000 or an annual sum of from £2,000,000 to £5,000,000 in reequipping our machinery, we believe that the human being is of more value than the machine as a productive agent, and from that standpoint an additional year at school is justified, no matter what the money involved may be. We prefer to put it to the test of something more valuable than even pounds, shillings and pence. We are asked to spend this money, as an hon. Member on this side said on Second Reading, to give children another year of childhood. I feel that this expenditure is warranted on that ground alone. I have only one more word to say, and that is on the subject of the proportion of the charge which will be an addition to national taxation. I understand that 60 per cent. of the money will come from the State and 40 per cent, from the local authorities, and we cannot modify these figures by this discussion; but I would remind some of my hon. Friends below the Gangway on 1539 this side, who believe, as I think with a great measure of justice, that this proposal adds to local authorities burdens such as they cannot afford, that there is a much better way of adjusting this matter. I do not know whether we could do it by this Money Resolution or under the Bill, but in the case of the whole education grant, although the proportion is fixed as between the State and the local authorities, the proportion paid to each education authority varies very considerably. I believe a solution could be found not in altering the proportion paid to the whole of the local authorities but in carrying to a greater pitch the differentiation made between wealthy communities and communities which are less well-to-do.
§ Mr. ARNOTT
I understand that, Sir. I do not wish to argue it at any length, but would only suggest to Members who may be inclined to vote against the Resolution because they say the 40 per cent. is too heavy a burden to place on their local authorities that there are other means of satisfying their desires. I hope, therefore, any qualms they may have had will be removed, and that we shall get this Bill, which will give children attending elementary schools, who are much more numerous than those attending secondary schools, the same measure of justice and educational opportunity.
§ Sir ROBERT HORNE
As I listened to the debate this afternoon a dilemma has been constantly before my mind. If this proposed extra year of education is the boon which it is claimed to be, why bribe parents to accept it? On the other hand, if we are doing a disservice to the parents which deserves compensation, there is, seemingly, no good ground for making it compulsory. But I do not propose to occupy time in developing that dilemma. I have risen to say that, however great a boon this may be, however desirable at ordinary times, at the present time it is something which the country, if it is prudent and wise, will not think of giving. There have been speeches in this House in recent times which must have impressed all hon. Mem- 1540 bers. Two speeches were made in the course of the summer by my right hon. Friend the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) in which he pointed out that we are piling up items of expenditure which, small though they may be individually, make a great aggregate when added together, and he said it was time, if the country were to look after its own interests, that we stopped that expenditure in this period of depression and conserved all our resources for the purpose of retrieving our position and regaining some of the prosperity we used to enjoy. Another speech was made from the same benches last week by the right hon. Member for North Cornwall (Sir D. Maclean), and I am sure no one who listened to it could fail to be impressed by the difficulties in which the country stands and the disaster which will come upon us if we go on piling expenditure upon expenditure.
I do not propose to retravel that ground to any extent to-day, and only wish to give a general impression of the view I hold on this matter. This new expenditure will amount to something like £9,000,000 a year. People say, "What is £9,000,000 a year in a total expenditure of £900,000,000?" It is perfectly true that the larger our total expenditure is the smaller any item becomes in proportion to the whole, but that is no justification for an expenditure which a few years ago would have been regarded as involving a momentous proposal to lay before the House. This £9,000,000 must be got somehow. It can only be obtained by means of taxation. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has made it clear that the revenue this year will be by no means equal to the expense which the country is incurring, and he said that in order to meet the outlay of the country he would have to take means which, in ordinary times, he, as a purist among financiers, would never think of adopting. This expenditure, accordingly, can only be met by fresh taxation; and there are other things which will require heavier taxation. Let us take the case of the Unemployment Fund. That will need £25,000,000 in the present year.
§ Mr. J. JONES
On a point of Order. When one of our colleagues was speaking earlier be was not allowed to go outside 1541 the terms of the Resolution before us, but now we are walking on to the unemployment policy.
§ The CHAIRMAN
We have not reached that stage. I have been paying close attention to the right hon. Gentleman's speech.
§ Sir R. HORNE
I am pointing out something which is directly relevant to the question before us. This expenditure has to be met by taxation, and we have to face other expenditure which will require extra taxation, and all that taxation must ultimately come back upon industry, which already is so depressed and so lacking in resources that it is suffering more than at any period which any of us can remember. This is a state of things which, in the circumstances, requires very grave and serious consideration. What is the effect of taxation upon the industries of this country? It is that you take away the very resources upon which industries depend for increasing their plant, their development and their new equipment. That is only the first result. The second result is the effect of all this upon the security of the country. No man engaged in business could possibly be unaware of the detrimental effect upon the enterprise of the people of this country of the last Budget of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which placed another 6d. on the Income Tax, although that was not the highest on record. The Income Tax has been much higher than that, but, at any rate, it represented a turning back in the financial policy of the country, and it showed that the country was being placed under greater burdens, instead of being relieved of the burdens which were pressing so very severely upon our industries. The consequence of that was that many people said, "We cannot afford any more of this kind of thing in this country."
The Chancellor of the Exchequer must know the effect of that kind of new taxation. It drives very large sums of British capital out of this country, and I predict that if the Chancellor, of the Exchequer adds more taxation in the next Budget, there will be a flight of British capital abroad which will surprise many people, and I am afraid it will do the country a detriment from which it will take a long time to recover. These things affect not only our own country. Anybody who 1542 reads foreign literature will find the greatest misapprehension expressed as to the road upon which we are travelling, and the condition of things at which we must inevitably arrive. You will find this clearly stated in the economic journals of the United States and France. I remember seeing a placard in France pointing out to the French people the downhill road upon which Britain was travelling, and the way in which her taxes were mounting. I ask hon. Members to keep within their recollection the fact that all these things hurt our credit, and in the end they very grievously affect employment in this country. We must press these things to their ultimate result, and we must give adequate consideration to what we are doing. What is being proposed in this Resolution is a retrograde step, and one which is calculated to do damage to our best interests.
§ Mr. C. BROWN
I understood from your Ruling, Mr. Young, that we could discuss only maintenance grants. I would like to ask if the right hon. Gentleman is in order in extending the scope of the discussion which can take place on this Resolution?
§ The CHAIRMAN
I have ruled that the only question we can discuss is maintenance grants which increase taxation, and hon. Members are in order in showing the effects of this increased taxation.
§ Sir R. HORNE
I have only a few more words to say before I sit down. I do not think anybody will say that in the past we have neglected to spend money on the education of our people. If you consider the proposals of this Resolution in conjunction with the expenditure upon our other social services, I think it will be admitted that we have not been backward. As a matter of fact, we are far ahead of any other country in the world. We spend on our social services a great deal more than our next competitor, and all this expenditure is a burden upon our competition with other countries. It is not as if we had got behind, and had to do something in difficult times to catch up with other countries. We are far ahead in regard to the expenditure which we lavish upon our social services, and my view is that you are putting those very services in jeo- 1543 pardy and you will find yourself in a position in which you will not be able to maintain them.
Many people were startled by the trouble which arose recently in Australia, but these things develop for a long time before they show themselves, and when the crisis arrives, the country has to take desperate remedies to get out of the difficulty. I warn my fellow Members with all the conviction of which I am capable that the condition in which this country is at the present time has a very false appearance. Many people say "Look at the amount of money which is being spent in London," but, believe me, all that as little expresses the condition of this country as the queues of people who stand outside cinema palaces in depressed districts. Both classes are spending money on something which is not absolutely necessary, and which is not justified by the present state of the country. Those concerned with the finances of the country tell us that a great deal has yet to be done before we reach anything like prosperity, and if we go on as we are doing ruin undoubtedly stares us in the face. People talk about the Napoleonic times and tell us how desperate they were, but our problems are more complicated than those of our forefathers and our troubles are very much greater. We have developed a vast population in a very narrow restricted island which we cannot support, and it is like a pyramid poised upon its apex with the result that when a counterblast of wind comes along our civilisation begins to rock about and we are never certain that we can get back again. If we once suffer disaster we shall never be able to reconstruct our civilisation as easily as young countries or as easily as we could at the beginning of the last century.
The remedies to be applied are not so easy as people imagine. To-day we are in a very artificial position, and it is the duty of every man who is giving advice to the people to take all these things into account. I beseech hon. Members when considering this matter not to consider this question from the point of view of whether it is an excellent thing but to consider whether this is the proper time to indulge in this expenditure. The education scheme which is suggested 1544 by the Government may be as good as you like, but I beseech hon. Members to consider the state of the country, and the effect of expenditure, which is only going to add to the depression from which we are suffering.
§ Mr. SHEPHERD
The argument which has just been used by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillhead (Sir H. Horne) seems to be that when you raise a tax you ruin a country, and whenever you lower wages you always bring prosperity. That is a peculiar theory when you come to work it out. I want to deal with the statement that the country cannot afford the extra cost which is contained in these educational proposals. The right hon. Gentleman referred several times to an expenditure of £5,000,000, but, according to the Financial Memorandum, £2,500,000 will be required for educating the additional age group and £3,750,000 for maintenance allowances for the first year, making a total of £6,250,000. I want to remind the right hon. Gentleman that there is another side to that question. You are going to enable 400,000 additional children to remain at school for an additional 12 months, and you are going to relieve the labour market by that number. It is generally agreed that 150,000 will find their way into industry as a result of this Measure, and there will not be fewer than 150,000 adult persons who are now unemployed who will find work as a result of the passing of this Measure, which means that there will be so many less drawing unemployment benefit. If the proposals affecting young children cost £1 per head—in some cases it is estimated that the cost will be more, and in some cases less, but I think £1 is a fair average—you are going to save £7,800,000 a year in unemployment benefit, while the cost of extra education facilities for maintenance will be £6,250,000, which will be a gain of £1,550,000.
Another point is that this expenditure will give more purchasing power to the people. I am whole-heartedly in favour of these proposals, which, I think, will show a credit balance. I wish the whole of this expenditure could have been put upon the national Exchequer. I would like to mention an example from my own constituency. If this Bill passes, as it will do, the extra cost which will 1545 be put on the rates of a small constituency like mine will amount to £900. At the present moment the cost of maintenance grants is £900, but, with the extra school leavers who will be at school, that will rise next year, when the total cost of maintenance grants in the borough will be £1,800, of which £720 will be required from the rates.
Do those maintenance grants include grants to children in secondary schools who will be going on to the universities?
§ Mr. SHEPHERD
Without additional information which I have not at the moment I could not say how the amount is divided up, but the cost of maintenance grants at the moment is £900. In the first year there will be an apparent economy, and the amount will fall from g900 to £720, but in 1934 or 1935 the amount to be found out of the rates will rise to £4,680. I should not object to that if I thought it necessary, but I feel that, as education is a national asset, and we are always saying that it is a national asset, the total cost should he borne by the national Exchequer. There is another point on which I want to ask a question, arising out of the Financial Memorandum. I refer to the penalties which are going to be imposed on parents if their children are absent from school. Those penalties work out at the rate of Is. per day during absence, but the Bill says that this 1s. a day will be stopped if the absence is not justified by sickness or any justifiable cause. I want to ask what are justifiable causes of absence from school.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member can raise that point if there is any Clause in the Bill in which it is dealt with.
§ Mr. SHEPHERD
I respectfully submit that it has very much to do with the Financial Memorandum; it is one of the effects which are going to be caused by its application.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The Financial Resolution deals with the supply of money; the curtailment of it does not arise at this stage.
§ Mr. SHEPHERD
I, of course, bow to your Ruling, but I am quite unaware of the reasons which will not allow me to refer to that matter.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member must accept my Ruling that we are dealing with the Financial Resolution and not with the Bill, and, therefore, we cannot enter into whether the amount in question shall be 1s. or 2s.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member must know that that is not a proper remark to make. He should accept the Ruling of the Chair. I am doing my best in the Chair, and have given my Ruling in relation to the matter which is before the Committee.
§ Mr. SHEPHERD
I did not intend in any sense to show disrespect to the Chair, but was merely expressing my surprise. I would beg hon. Members opposite to put aside their prejudices and consider what is our present condition. We have hundreds of thousands of children who are working and ought not to be working, and we have millions of workers who are idle and who ought to be working. The great thing that this Bill does is to keep the child at school, where it belongs, and to give the unemployed person a chance of getting a job. I only wish that the Minister of Health were going to deal with the old people as the Minister of Education is so splendidly dealing with our children.
§ Mr. OLIVER STANLEY
We are discussing this afternoon a Resolution which asks us to declare that it is expedient to authorise the expenditure of a certain sum of money. The limited particulars given of the money have aroused a certain amount of question as to the particular sum, but, whether the sum be £5,000,000 or whether it be £9,000,000, the same question of principle is raised. The hon. Member for Darlington (Mr. Shepherd) asked us in the circumstances to abandon our prejudices, and I think that we on this side are perfectly prepared to do that, but, at the same time, we are entitled to ask hon. Members opposite also to abandon theirs, and, if we are content to discuss without prejudice one side of the question—that is to say, the value of the expenditure that we are discussing—we ask them equally without prejudice to listen to the discussion of the other side of the equation, 1547 that is to say, the disadvantages of the taxation which is entailed. I know that a certain number of hon. Members opposite believe that all taxes are commendable and that any expenditure is good, but the majority in all quarters of the House believe that any question of this kind is a question of balance between the disadvantages which arise from the burdens of taxation and the advantages which arise from prudent and productive expenditure.
In examining that thesis to see whether the burden is greater or less than the advantage we expect to derive, it is, however, quite impossible to do as one hon. Member opposite suggested, namely, to separate the particular item which we are discussing from the whole range of our national finance, and to say, "Surely, for such a good purpose as this, you cannot refuse such a small sum." Requests of that kind are being made to us constantly, but these small sums grow to very large sums, and, therefore, the expediency of this particular proposal can only be determined in conjunction with the general financial situation of the country. It is, perhaps, one of the difficulties from which we suffer in the procedure of the House of Commons that we never relate our proposals for expenditure to the proposals for the taxation which is to meet it. For nine months in the year we are discussing proposals for expenditure, and it is not until after those nine months have elapsed that we turn to the question of how the expenditure is to be met; and so to-day, when we try to estimate what the situation is, we are in the difficulty that we are not entitled to call upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer to come here and review the financial situation as it stands.
It is, of course, possible to make certain calculations. It is possible, for instance, to take the yield of the revenue up to date and compare it with the yield at a similar date last year, and, from that comparison, to make some estimate of what the total returns of revenue are going to be up to the end of this financial year. Rough as that method is, I think that, if hon. Members apply it, they will find that we shall be faced at the end of this financial year with a fall in estimated revenue of at least £15,000,000. On the other side, 1548 if they apply exactly the same test to the expenditure which has so far been incurred, comparing it with the expenditure at a similar period last year and with the total last year, they will find that we are faced with an increase in the expenditure for the year of something like £20,000,000. [An HON. MEMBER: "We are going bankrupt!"] The hon. Member may think £35,000,000 a very small sum, but he will remember that last year we were faced with a deficit of £40,000,000, and that we imposed very heavy taxation last year to square the Budget, but that, despite that heavy taxation, we find ourselves again this year faced with another £35,000,000 of deficit, and with the necessity of further heavy taxation to square again a Budget which, next year also, we shall only find once more fails to balance.
§ Mr. KINLEY
Can the hon. Member give an estimate of how many years it will take for the country to go bankrupt?
§ Mr. STANLEY
My estimate would be considerably complicated by the relationship which exists between right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Bench and their supporters behind them, but, really, hon. Members have to bear in mind the fact that at the end of this year we shall be called upon to face a deficit of at least £35,000,000 in our annual Budget. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, speaking the other day, referred to methods which he might adopt if his conscience permitted. By that, those who heard him guessed that he intended to raid the Sinking Fund, which undoubtedly has benefited from the fall in the cost of money, and which at present looks like amounting to some £70,000,000. He need not really worry so much about his conscience as to what he will be permitted to do in public because in point of fact he has already been raiding the Sinking Fund in private. Although, of course, it would not be in order for me to enter into the details of such a transaction, it will be obvious to hon. Members opposite that the £30,000,000 which has been advanced on loan to the Unemployment Insurance Fund is in fact a raid on the Sinking Fund.
A sum of £35,000,000 has to be found, and it has to be found at a time when obviously the revenue of the country is faced with still further contraction. It is rather significant that up to now the 1549 yield from direct taxation has not begun to show the signs of diminution that are shown by the yield from indirect taxation. That is because the lag is greater. Because taxation is being paid on profits which were realised before the great industrial depression set in, we have the fact that next year the yield from direct taxation is going to follow the same course that has been followed in the first six months of this year by the yield from indirect taxation, and that we shall have to meet anything up to £50,000,000 in the next Budget.
How is it going to be met? Hon. Members opposite have a happy optimistic belief that this £50,000,000 will still be found with no inconvenience and considerable ease from the pockets of the rich. Is that in fact so? Hon. Members must recollect that they live under a capitalist system—[Interruption]—and they must remember, too, that they are governing under a capitalist system. Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Bench go down into the country and bleat about the difficulties and how impossible it is to carry on their job under capitalism, but, when they get into the House of Commons they stick with all the ferocity of a limpet to the task of that job; they do not ask to be relieved of it. As long as they accept the responsibility of governing under a capitalist system, they have to he bound by the limitations and difficulties that a capitalist system involves, and one of those limitations, which every right hon. Gentleman on the Front Bench with a sense of responsibility for the Government he is undertaking knows to exist, is the limitation of the possibilities of direct taxation. Hon. Members opposite must, in the capitalist world in which they are governing to the best of their ability, must get out of their heads the association of taxation with benefit, and the inevitable reaction—
§ Mr. C. BROWN
On a point of Order. May I ask if this is a debate on the merits of Socialism versus Capitalism, or a debate on maintenance grants?
§ Mr. STANLEY
I am sorry if I have not made it clear to the hon. Member, but I have been trying to show the danger which exists under the present system, and, in view of the enormous increase of taxation which is inevitable anyhow, the dangers that exist in still further adding to that burden. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillhead (Sir R. Horne) put before the Committee some of the dangers which arise when you try to exceed these limitations—the lack of confidence, the loss of incentive, and, finally, the flight of capital which follows when people believe that the sacrifices they are called upon to make are not to be made for the purpose of restoring the national good, but are merely to be dissipated in unproductive expenditure. So I urge on hon. Members opposite that, considering one side of the equation, the burden that this taxation would involve is a heavy burden and one that is laid on shoulders which to-day are ill prepared to bear it. The situation is one that demands that we should only sanction taxation to meet expenditure which is really demonstrably productive.
Let us consider for a moment the other side of the equation—the value of the expenditure that we are asked to incur. It is put before us by the President of the Board of Education in two alternatives. You can pay your money, he said, and take your choice. You can either regard this as a form of unemployment benefit and say that although we are asked to sanction, say, £9,000,000 for maintenance grants, in point of fact that sum is very much reduced by the amount that you save on unemployment benefit. The hon. Member who spoke last was even more optimistic. I think the estimate of the Board of Education is for a saving of £2,000,000. The hon. Member believes there will be a saving of £7,000,000 and that, in fact, in some mysterious way this is actually a profitable transaction. It is a little difficult for some of us to understand how 150,000 adults—perhaps the hon. Member was taking the adult benefit relief—are going 1551 to be put into employment by this means. We are discussing this question entirely on the financial side. The hon. Member put this forward as economy. He stressed the financial advantages that would accrue from the proposal, and it is on that basis that I want to discuss it. After all, the boys and girls who now go into employment at 15 are not offered employment simply because 15 is rather a nice age. There is some economic reason which makes the employer prefer a boy or girl of 15 to an older man or woman. [Interruption.] I am prepared to accept any reason that hon. Members give as long as they will agree with me that there is, in fact, an economic reason.
§ Mr. SHEPHERD
The children whom we propose to keep at school are a perpetual source of cheap labour.
§ Mr. STANLEY
I say that I will accept whatever explanation hon. Members opposite give, as long as they agree that the reason for their employment in one way or another is an economic one. [Interruption.] I did not catch the hon. Member's interruption, which, I am sure, was extremely relevant.
§ Mr. STANLEY
I assure the hon. Member that, in saying his interruption was relevant, I did not mean to do him an injustice.
§ Mr. STANLEY
Although it may be a social benefit to remove these young people from employment, do not let us disguise the fact that we are talking in terms of pounds, shillings and pence and that, by doing so, you are, in fact, putting a burden upon industry, and that whatever relief you get from the social point of view is got at the expense of industry. I am very doubtful whether, in view of the additional burden that is imposed upon the employment of the older 1552 people, industry will, in fact, employ 150,000 older people in their place, and whether, in fact, we shall not be met by a loss of amenities or a loss of production caused by the unemployment of the younger children.
§ Mr. SHEPHERD
It is surely infinitely more economic to pay money for educational purposes than for idleness, as at present.
§ Mr. STANLEY
That brings me to my second point, whether in what we are discussing to-day we are, in fact, paying money for educational purposes at all. When I read the Motion, I do not see anything about educational purposes. I do not see that any of the money whose authorisation we are discussing is going, for instance, to payment of teachers or to the erection of school buildings. It seems entirely to give an encouragement or, if you like, to make possible the enjoyment of educational advantages provided by other funds. It makes one consider whether it is, in fact, an economic way of spending money upon educational development when you find that not more than 30 per cent. of the total sum involved in the whole of the Bill is devoted to educational purposes directly, while the other 70 per cent. is devoted to inducing, or enabling, the children to enjoy those facilities. It makes one wonder whether the system which is proposed under the Bill, and which entails a clearly unproductive expenditure of this kind, is really the system that we require. What is the greatest educational difficulty with which we are faced? It is the gap between the time when the child's education ceases and the age at which the normal boy or girl or, if you like, man or woman begins to have a desire for education, and begins to want to enjoy the benefit that education gives him or her. You have to-day a great block of compulsory whole-time school attendance in the early years. You have then an almost complete gap. You have increasing facilities given for men and women to enjoy adult education at the other end of the scale. How far in a Measure of this kind are we really reducing that gap? It is true that we add one year to the great block of continuous whole-time education, but you still leave completely untouched the rest of that gap. Whether the child comes out at 14 or 15, there is 1553 still a complete gap in the education until 19 or 20, or whatever it may be, When he himself begins to feel the stirrings of a desire for adult education.
I suggest, not only that the money we are asked to vote is unnecessary, but I think the money, small as it is, which under the Bill is being spent on education, would have been better spent on an attempt to reduce that gap for a much large number of people than at present than, as it is, on increasing the block of continuous education and leaving the gap untouched. Hon. Members opposite have much more experience in educational matters than I have, but I ask the hon. Member for Darlington (Mr. Shepherd) whether he would not agree with me that, if he were in charge of an educational or a tutorial class, he would rather have, as, one of his students, a boy who had left school at the age of 14 and been through some continuation school or technical college, or had kept up continually intellectual exercises until the time he came to the hon. Member's class, than a boy who had been kept in whole-time education for another year, but from that time until he presented himself at the hon. Member's class had not kept in touch with educational matters at all. The hon. Member dissents but I believe that is a proposition that requires argument, and I have not yet heard it argued.
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
What I did was to express dissent at the idea that, because a boy had been at school 12 months longer, he lost all desire for improvement.
§ Mr. STANLEY
The hon. Member has misunderstood me. My point was that the money that is to be spent in keeping the boy one more year at school would have been better spent in giving him an opportunity of keeping in touch with education during the gap period. It would leave him at the real educational age of 20 or 21 a very much more fit subject for adult education than he will be as the result of the facilities provided in this Bill. I do not pose as an education expert, and I may be quite wrong, but it is a subject that is worth discussing and one which we have not heard discussed by the President of the Board of Education. I ask hon. Members to realise the gravity of the situation, to realise the heavy burden that taxation such as this is going to impose on the 1554 country and the great strain that is being put on the whole of our machinery, and to ask themselves whether, in fact, the expenditure which is to justify that taxation is expenditure economically, wisely and productively made.
If the speech we have just heard had come from the Front Bench opposite, or from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillhead (Sir R. Horne), it would have been deplorable enough, but I am perfectly shocked to hear such sentiments expressed by one who, we are told, belongs to the younger generation in the Conservative party and from whom, we are told, we might expect a more enlightened point of view. I should have thought he would have realised that one of the greatest godsends we could have in facing our future difficulties is that we should have a more highly educated and skilled population than any other part of the world, and that he would have considered that money spent towards that end would be money very well spent indeed. Instead of that, he talked about the additional burden to taxation. He talked as if it were merely a burden with no assets to balance the expenditure. He tells us that the Chancellor of the Exchequer will have £35,000,000 additional money to find. I am very surprised when I hear hon. Members opposite saying we should start economising on a thing like this. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon (Mr. Lloyd George) has just issued a most illuminating little pamphlet entitled "How to tackle Unemployment." I can assure him that we appreciate the word "tackle" on this side of the House. At the very beginning of it he shows a sensible and very practical way in which all the expenditure of this Bill might be met and many more social services developed. I should like to read one sentence. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs, who, as we all know, thinks well to shelter behind this Yellow Book, states:If the holders of National Debt were receiving to-day interest and sinking fund equivalent in real values to the prices ruling in 1917–1920, when the money was mostly lent, our National Debt charges would be reduced from £360,000,000 to £270,000,000.It is an admission that we could save £90,000,000 that our Chancellor of the Exchequer could calculate upon saving £90,000,000, not by putting a single penny 1555 of additional expenditure upon any industrialist who was taking the risks of industry but simply by retaining for the community this additional colossal sum which has been going to the rentier class, a class which is taking no risks, performing no manual labour and giving nothing at all to the community. Not a word of protest is being raised from any of the benches opposite at this great sum of money being allowed to flow into those pockets. They support this money going in such a direction, and they enable it to go in such a direction by economising on working-class wages of every kind and by sabotaging this very humble modest Measure which has now been brought in to help this country not only to face its industrial problems but to face its problems of government in a more efficient way than it has hitherto done.
My attitude towards this Bill is also one of criticism of the financial conditions, but it is criticism of exactly an opposite nature. I regret that the State is not shouldering 100 per cent, of the expense incurred. It is a rather shabby way of making progress by putting it on to the shoulders of the ratepayers. The ratepayers have suffered badly enough at the hands of hon. Members opposite by means of their Derating Act without the Labour party coining in to worsen their burdens. Education, as has already been said, is a national interest and a national asset, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer ought to be finding, not 60 per cent., but 100 per cent. of the cost incurred in carrying through this Measure. Consequently, I regret that there should be a means test. I wish that the means test could be abolished altogether, or, short of that, that it could at least be raised to the Income Tax paying level. We hear a lot about bribing people to keep children at school until 15. One wonders whether they consider it to be bribery when Income Taxpayers are given a rebate of £40 a year in regard to their children. Surely it is recognised in the case of the Income Taxpayer that where there are children there are additional burdens in the house and that they ought to be given special consideration. We wish this allowance had been extended to all families below the Income Tax paying level.
I have said in this House on a previous occasion that it is the tendency in all our legislation to do things for the people 1556 at the top and to do very little for the people at the very bottom, to ignore the very great needs of working-class families struggling along on £2, £3 or £4 a week. I regret that the limit should be so low and that the grant should be so low. I think that if we had asked for 10s. a week instead of 5s. we should not have been asking for too much. I fail completely to follow the argument of hon. Members opposite when they talk about grants to bribe the working-class to keep their children at school. I resent very deeply the statement which was made by the hon. Member for Grimsby (Mr. Womersley), when he said that the working-class parents do not want higher education or longer schooling periods for their children.
§ Mr. WOMERSLEY
I never made any such statement. If the working-class desire it, they can get it now.
I am very glad now that there will be no question of my misrepresenting what the hon. Gentleman has said. He said that the working-class, if they desire, can get it now. Is it a reasonable proposition to say that a child coming from the home of one of those 2,000,000 unemployed, supposing that it is little short of a genius—and local grants are not always given—can get education if it wants it? Can we say that of the average miner's home, the agricultural worker's home, the fisherman's home?
Can we say, if a fisherman has three, four, or half-a-dozen children, that if one of his children is only clever enough he is able to get education. I belong to a family where there were two children, and I know. I won everything in the way of money that ever came within touching distance, and I am sorry indeed for the very severe sacrifices which were imposed upon my home, even with the additional financial aids which I had—and I belong to Fifeshire, the most generous county in Scotland, which is not saying that it is too generous. If hon. Members are coming before this Committee seeking to hold back the hand of progress they might at least look for a more substantial or fairer argument than to slander us and insult us by saying of the working-class that as things are at 1557 present, if only they require education for their children, they can get it. They cannot do so. They cannot get it for the normal child. The cannot get it for an exceptionally gifted child unless there is a small family and a willingness to make sacrifices. I regret that this Bill still leaves that statement substantially true. I wish our grants were sufficiently generous to remove the great difficulty of trying to make a really educated democracy. I regret that the amounts are not greater. I regret that there is a means test.
Above all, I cannot understand the attitude of hon. Members below the Gangway. I understand that some of them are going to vote against the Bill. I am going to vote for the Bill because I do not want the Bill to be lost. I shall do so with a certain amount of reluctance because of the inadequacy of the allowances. Hon. Members below the Gangway give us much of their time and of their undoubted ability in speaking, and in writing brilliant little yellow books. At the very front of their book they point out to us that no less a sum than £90,000,000 has been added to the class which is giving nothing in return, and yet they do not come here to-day to arouse national indignation against such an injustice. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillhead cries out about the injustices to the industrialists, and I cry out against the injustices to the workers. Both of them are suffering from this parasitical growth on industry, and I hope that the more sincere Members of the Liberal party, even in the light of their own researches and on account of their own knowledge of what might be done, will not go into the Lobby to vote against a Bill whose only fault is that it does not go far enough in the right direction.
§ Sir JOHN SIMON
I voted for the Second Reading of this Bill, because when the Hadow Report was published some four years ago I studied it, as many Members of this House did, with close attention. I do not believe that there has ever been written a more interesting Blue Book on education, and I find myself in warm sympathy with its main recommendations. I should like to call the attention of the Committee to the fact that the matter which we are discussing to-day on this Financial Resolution forms 1558 no part of the recommendations of the Hadow Report. There were two main proposals of the report. Of course, one is not doing more now than merely mentioning them in passing. First of all, we should rearrange education in this country by causing a division above the age of 11 and then giving children a new start, a new aspect, and a new curriculum, and both the former and the present Minister of Education are to be congratulated because the Board of Education has tried to do something in that direction. The other recommendation is relevant to our present discussion, because it was a recommendation that there should be provision for additional educational facilities in which there should be an extension of the years of compulsion to the age of 15. I found myself then, and I find myself now, warmly in sympathy with the spirit behind that proposal.
But the thing which we are discussing here to-day, if the hon. Lady the Member for Northern Lanark (Miss Lee) will allow me to point it out, is a question of when and how, the manner and the time and the circumstances in which this House, the custodian for the people of this country of all financial questions, is prepared to authorise the expenditure of money. That is the question, not some abstract or general question. That is the immediate question. Allow me to point out that as we are asked to vote to-night we are in the presence of a Bill which, it is proposed, shall come into operation on the 1st April next year. The Hadow Report took a wholly different view. The Hadow Report pointed out that if you are going to extend compulsory education from the age of 14 to the age of 15 it is absolutely necessary to provide a very considerable period of time for the rearrangements to be made. I cannot imagine a greater unfairness to the clever child of from 14 to 15 than that you should compel attendance at school before you have really satisfactory arrangements about teachers fit to teach him, premises fit to accommodate him, and curricula suitable for him.
§ Mr. McSHANE
On a point of Order. I have been sitting here since four o'clock, and I have listened to the discussion on the question which has been raised in this Committee. We have been told from the Chair over and over again 1559 that this Resolution refers only to the question as to whether or not the money is being voted for maintenance grants. I submit to you, Mr. Dunnico, with great respect, and to the right hon. and learned Gentleman that to raise the question as to whether the date should be next year or the year after is beside the mark altogether.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Mr. Dunnico)
I understand that a somewhat definite Ruling on the lines indicated has been laid down. It would be obviously unfair to allow a, subsequent speaker to proceed along lines which have been denied to others. I must, however, so long as the discussion is confined to the children who are going to receive these maintenance grants, give some latitude for subsidiary arguments arising there-from.
§ Sir J. SIMON
I am obliged to the hon. Member for mentioning the point. I am an old Member of this House, and I would not claim for myself a latitude which has not been allowed to others. Without developing the argument or transgressing the Ruling, what I was saying has a bearing upon the Financial Resolution. The Committee is asked to vote authority for a very substantial sum of money to be paid under the heading of "Maintenance Grants" in connection with the Clauses of a Bill which, by its very terms, is to come into operation on the 1st April next year. Speaking for myself and many of my hon. Friends here, we should take, or we might take, a considerably different view of some of the aspects of this matter if it were not for the fact that it is presented now in its present form, and is attempting to carry this thing through in that way and according to that time table. I make that point before I come to discuss the time and the manner in which it is proposed to put this new burden upon the Exchequer.
Will the Committee allow me to call attention to the manner in which it is proposed that the money, thus voted, is to be distributed? I am not disputing that there may be cases in which provision for maintenance is appropriate. I have my own memories, if the hon. Member for North Lanark will forgive me for saying so, just as keen as hers as to the 1560 struggle that had to be gone through at the age of 14 to 15, and I am just as grateful for the sacrifices that my parents made, as she is—
§ Sir J. SIMON
That does not alter the fact that the Committee has to see what are the conditions, both as regards time and method, which the President of the Board of Education is proposing. He has come forward with a proposal different from the proposal previously made, a proposal in which, as he says, it is not possible to make any very close estimate. He is deliberately changing the conditions under which this maintenance may be provided, and he gives as his reason, to quote his own words, that he finds—There exists a dislike to close inquiry.As I have read somewhere, official inquiry into individual incomes is complicated and is an irritating procedure. To use an expression which is very often used, it is "inquisitorial." That is all very well but, after all, the Income Taxpayer takes the same view. When I look into the Schedules of this Bill, and I turn to the Schedule which deals with the way in which this money is to be distributed, Part II, Form of Claim, I find that the applicant whose child is at school between the age of 14 and 15 has to sign a statement of his income from all sources, and that after he does so, there will he no question asked. I seem to remember that "income from all sources" is a phrase in the Income Tax return, and that a great many questions are asked. I do not wish to draw a distinction between one set of people and another, but when it comes to a section of the community applying that public money may be paid to them no question is asked, and when it comes to the citizens of this country being called upon to contribute to the taxes, every sort of question is put to them.
§ Sir J. SIMON
My hon. Friend will see that I am not throwing the smallest reflection upon anyone when I say that I do not believe it is reasonable or right that you should make provision for a Vote authorising a sum of money which is to be distributed on that principle and 1561 for that specific purpose. You may have two workmen side by side living in the same row of houses. One of them owns his house, which he has bought by his own thrift, while the other is a mere tenant. They are both working in the same works, and both are paid the same wages. Is their income from all sources the same?
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
The right hon. and learned Member has put the point to me. We would meet that point when it arose. There are very few workers in the country where I come from who own their own houses.
§ Sir J. SIMON
I leave that matter to the general judgment of the Committee. I am not saying that the average citizen who makes this application is going to make a dishonest demand, but, as a matter of fact, all of us who have had to deal with cases connected with old age pensions and so forth know quite well that, in all honesty, the ordinary citizen, when asked to make a return of the amount of his income from all sources, very often misunderstands, and makes a mistake. Can it be right that we should adopt this method, because the President of the Board of Education finds that—There exists a dislike to close inquiryThe right hon. Gentleman, if he will excuse me for saying so, used in that connection, in the Second Reading debate, an argument which I was a little sorry to hear, because I thought it was quite unnecessary. He made some observation about class, your class, our class and so on. The people who profess most that they have no class about them are usually people who are thinking most about their own class. It is not my business to defend the school from which the President of the Board of Education comes, but it is among its records that it educated him and also the Leader of the Opposition. There are plenty of schools, public schools, in this country that make provision for boys who come from all kinds of homes, and I speak with some knowledge when I say that have never known the issue of class arise n such a school.
The issue here to-day is, first and Foremost, whether the method which is put forward to the Committee as the method by which this money is to be distributed, justifies our voting such a 1562 sum on such an occasion as this. My submission to the Committee is this, and it is a view which the President of the Board of Education would have taken some time back, that I am sorry it is necessary so to make inquiries, but before people receive public money, not in order to get their children educated, because they are going to be educated free, but in order to compensate them for the fact that their children are going to school—[Interruption.] Yes, every penny of the money we are asked to vote now is for that purpose.
§ Sir J. SIMON
This Vote is a Vote calculated at 5s., multiplied by so many people, and the "estimate," alleged to be some 75 per cent. of the cost involved, is for the purpose of compensating parents out of public funds because their children are going to be educated out of public funds. I shall be corrected by the President of the Board of Education if I am wrong on a matter of fact. What I say is, that if there be, as there may be, cases in which special provision has to be made—to some extent it is made now in connection with continuation schools, and secondary schools—it is manifestly a case in which there ought to be strict and careful inquiry. My hon. Friends opposite are quite consistent in taking a different view. I am not quarrelling with them, because they take that view. They are out and out Socialists. Their view is that these things properly belong to the State.
§ Sir J. SIMON
Certainly, I am only observing how logical you all are, but those of us who do not share that principle are bound to look with increasing concern at the way in which the application of that principle tends to work. It is all very well to say: "Work or maintenance," but it very easily slips into this, that everyone in this country is entitled to, demand as a right from public funds maintenance at full rates whenever he has not found any work 1563 to do. It is all very well to say that one person is just as good as another, and for many a political purpose that is quite true, but for my part I think it extremely important to keep alive the idea that a child at the age of 14 should feel that the thing which will bring help to its parents is a combination of ability and energy in the child as well as need in the home. I do not know how the President of the Board of Education thinks he is going to work all this out with the existing system of county council scholarships, and all the rest of it. I presume that you are not going to deprive that parent whose boy and girl has a scholarship of that which you are going to grant to the parent of the boy and girl who has not a scholarship. You are dealing with an extremely complicated piece of reorganisation, and I do not believe for one moment that you can bring it into effect on the 1st April next, or that your estimate of what it is going to cost is in the least trustworthy.
I pass from the question of method to the question of time. The hon. Member for Westmorland (Mr. O. Stanley) made that point just now. We have not to consider these things in the abstract. We have to consider them in relation to the actual situation of the country at this time. It appears to me—I may be wrong—that some at least of those who are, in principle, in favour of these maintenance grants, administered with this very loose hand, without inquiry, are not really facing the situation in which the whole community finds itself, themselves just as much as the rest of us. Here we have the revenue tumbling down, we have expenditure in various ways mounting up, and we have to face the reality of the emergency with which the Chancellor of the Exchequer will have to deal if he is going to be here when the next Budget is introduced. For my part, I find it impossible in one breath to preach economy and in the next breath to be indifferent to a grant of this sort. The whole situation would be different if the State were moving in a clear atmosphere with a favouring wind and no particular burden upon it, but that is not the situation at all.
The situation as I think it is to-day is that the State is labouring against heavy 1564 buffetings, the machine is burdened, and every additional burden you put upon it is only tending to bring it down. Therefore, for my part, especially if we do not hear from the President of the Board of Education that he is considering the postponement of the operation of this Bill, I find it quite impossible to go about saying that I believe in economy and then, when an issue of this sort turns up, to say that it is all right, and there is nothing whatever to be said against it. The real issue is a practical issue of manner and time. The manner appears to be a manner which has been adopted by the President, not because he originally thought it was the best way, but because he finds himself faced with a good deal of opposition and criticism in his own party. I regret it very much but inquiry there has got to be. In the second place, the time at which we are asked to adopt a proposal like this is wholly inopportune, and it would be far wiser to take a more deliberate course of action and be sure that when this change comes about we really shall be ready to make the best of it.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I never realised quite how strong class instincts could be in this Committee until I listened to the speech of the right hon. and learned Member, which I heard with perhaps greater regret than any speech to which I have listened. The right hon. and learned Member has earned for himself a great name as a great Liberal statesman; a name which is not confined to this country. He is known throughout the world; and yet with his great position and great powers he comes here and in the name of economy tells the world that this country cannot afford to keep its children of 14 years of age for another year at school while it can afford to keep 2,000,000 adults standing idle in the market. I seldom use quotations in this House, and I always speak on financial questions with great humility and hesitation, but I have two cuttings here from a newspaper of last week's date—the "Evening Standard." This is in reply to the right hon. and learned Member's case that the time is inopportune, that this country cannot afford to spend this additional amount, whatever it is; some trivial amount anyhow. This is from the "Evening Standard" of last Friday, and it is headed 1565 "£75,000,000 subscribed for South Africa." It says:The South Africa Loan has proved one of the biggest successes of recent issues £75,000,000 being subscribed for this £5,000,000 offer.… We understand that those who applied for £1,000 of the stock and under were entirely ruled out.People with only one thousand pounds were apparently beneath contempt. And we cannot afford £6,250,000 to educate our youngsters and take them off the streets, or perhaps to take their fathers off the street. There was another passage earlier in the week in the "Evening Standard" of 5th November. It is still last week, one week before the week we are living in, one week before the day when the right hon. and learned Member says that we cannot afford to educate our youngsters. This paragraph is headed "Where does Money come From?" and it says:Each time banking statements appear in the early part of the month, one is tempted to ask where are the new deposits coming from. Figures are not available for October for all the clearing banks. There is, however, every reason to expect a further growth in deposits.… Barclays, Lloyds and the Midland Banks have higher deposits in the weekly averages of October than in September. In the case of the Midland Bank the average weekly deposits in October this year at £385,246,000 constitute a record for that month.Presumably the Midland Bank had handled more money that week than ever before in their history. There is £385,000,000 in deposits, and the right hon. and learned Member with his world-wide reputation tells us that the time is inopportune for putting £6,250,000 into our own human material.
§ Sir BASIL PETO
Does not the hon. Member realise that he could not possibly have given a greater or more outstanding example of the absolute stagnation of trade? It he had quoted figures of ships laid up on the mud, it would be an exact comparison with these huge deposits.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I agree that that contradiction has troubled me very much, but still it is the fact and it is not ships on the mud that we are talking about now but the availability of money for the education of our youngsters. The fact that there are ships on the mud seems to indicate that there are ships to spare and the figures I have quoted from a 1566 responsible Conservative journal—[Interruption]—hon. Members do not imagine that the feud is going to last for ever—seems to indicate that there is a surplus of money in this country which cannot find a profitable use for it. It goes to South Africa or is on deposit.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I wish the hon. Member for North Dorset (Mr. Hanbury) were right in his estimate. I wish the capitalist class of this country were running their money to South Africa because they are afraid of the ideas for which I stand. If they are running away to South Africa to get profits rather than put it into the minds and bodies of the children whose parents produce the wealth it is an unpatriotic act, and an act which will not make for the future welfare of the country. So far as the capital wealth of this country is concerned, hon. Members opposite have nothing really to point to but the human material which has been the source of their wealth in the past, which is their source of wealth now and which will be their source of wealth in the future. This provision is very trivia]. May I be allowed to introduce a personal note? Since I have been in this House I have been approached by a right hon. Gentleman who tells me in a personal way, and in a kindly way, that funds are available for the education of the sons of some public man whose participation in public affairs has not made it possible for him to make the financial provision which would enable him to educate his sons properly, and the provision that is available for the education of one boy is somewhere in the neighbourhood of £500 a year. I do not know the cost of Eton or Harrow, but I think it is somewhere in the neighbourhood of £400 a year.
The right hon. and learned Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon) casts a sneer at the President of the Board of Education, presumably because he is an old Harrovian. There would be something reprehensible in a man who had the advantages of the best possible education available attempting to deny similar advantages to others, and no cheer lies in the mouth of the right hon. and learned Member because my right hon. Friend is endeavouring to get the best 1567 possible educational provisions in what he regards as the most generous way the Committee would sanction, for the sons of others. Surely, if the right hon. and learned Member regards £400 or £500 a year inadequate provision for the educational training of a boy of the upper classes of 14, 15 or 16 years of age, £13 per annum, which is what the President of the Board of Education is asking the Committee to pass, is not a great deal. It is all very well to say, as the strong hard man on the other side of the House has said, that there are educational opportunities available for the child of any parent who is really anxious to take advantage of them.
I have a close and wide experience the type of sacrifice that is made in Scotland, particularly to enable one son to get educational advantages. The right hon. Member for Hillhead (Sir R. Horne) knows it too. He knows the type of fellow that we have coming from humble homes into Glasgow University, having fought his way there. He has not only to have tremendous ability but a tremendous physique as well. He generally finishes without the physique; he finishes with the degree and with his qualifications but without the physique. Not only has he to work day and night to get that advantage, but the other members of the family are sent out at the earliest moment to the best wage-earning jobs in order that the boy, specially selected at 14 or 15, can go through a university and become a member of one of our learned professions. It is not good nationally; it is not good for the fellow who gets the advantages over the other members of the family; it is not good for the members of the family who are denied similar advantages.
There is nothing socialist about this. Socialism means something entirely different; Socialism means taking away everything that the wealthy have got in this country; Socialism means running the industries of the country under the ownership of the community. This has nothing to do with Socialism at all. This is a Bill to get a higher average standard of intelligence, physique and character over the whole of our population. Surely Conservative statesmanship 1568 stands for that. I always thought that Liberal statesmanship stood for that in a militant and progressive fashion. The only real argument that the right hon. and learned Gentleman had was that at this particular juncture we could not afford it. I conclude by repeating that we can amply afford to let the nation's resources run out of the country on foolish industrial enterprises.
§ Captain HAROLD BALFOUR
I listened with the greatest interest to the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton), but I could not follow his mathematics or his remarks about the financial aspect which he outlined of the State and the country wanting further money, which could be taken from the sources of wealth of which he spoke. I have listened to many of his speeches and have always listened with very great respect and in many ways with very great admiration. But to-day I found that my idol has feet of clay so far as his financial sagacity is concerned. I would employ the hon. Member as a commercial traveller if I could send him out to sell pound notes at 19s. 6d., and I am sure he would be completely successful. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in introducing his Budget and in notifying an increase of taxation, said that the burden, which he had to put on the community, would fall upon the shoulders best able to bear it. This burden which is going to be placed upon the community will he placed on shoulders which at present are least able to bear it, the shoulders of industry, because the people whom industry is benefiting depend so essentially on the fact that the industry itself is healthy and prosperous. It does not matter so much whether you have a Socialist, Liberal or Conservative Government, but it does matter that, unless you have healthy and prosperous industry, we cannot maintain the standard of life we have at present or improve it in the future.
One hon. Member opposite twitted us on this side with an old saying that every new impost was placed on the community and asked, was an impost the last straw that breaks the camel's back? If he studied the anatomy of the camel, he would find that the camel's back does not break, but that he just sinks slowly down. Industry is 1569 struggling at the present time from a heavy overhead charge. At the present moment, our national overhead charge is too high. If you want to benefit the employés in your business, you do not bankrupt it in order to build a works canteen. If business is bad, you analyse the situation, and you do one of two things: Either you extend your markets—I cannot touch on that now—or you cut down your overhead charges. You certainly do not increase them. When it comes to providing some amenity, you ask, what is the good of having this social amenity, if, by providing this amenity, which may be a necessity in the future, you are going to make your business bankrupt.
I am speaking of a country as a. business, and I feel very strongly—I know hon. Members opposite feel equally strongly in the opposite direction—that we have too long gone on the principle of trying to placate democracy by offering them something which we think will be pleasant. We are in the midst of a great national crisis, and it is time we asked great sacrifices from every section of the community. If we say that in the future, when the standard of living can be raised, it shall be raised, then we can deal with that question, whether we have a Socialist Government to distribute the national wealth or a Liberal Government. That does not matter for the moment. Now we have to take a commonsense point of view and hon. Members opposite must realise that we are to-day under a capitalist system even though they may not like it. The reason I am against this impost is that it is one for the protection of the standard of life of this country, which we are all proud of and want to raise, and that there is no corresponding protection for the markets in which the goods produced by our industry have to be disposed of.
Under the present Government, the country is going on a rake's progress. Whether it is to be continued or not depends on the hon. Members below the Gangway. We have one point of veiw and hon. Members opposite have another point of view, which I respect, but where do the hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway stand to-night? Where are our wandering allies to-night? One wonders what will happen when the Division bell rings to-night. If hon. Members below 1570 the Gangway support the point of view we have heard, then undoubtedly they are standing for the pledges which are given in their coloured books which they issue at regular intervals. We do not know, however, what the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) and his party are going to do. Hon. Members opposite are entrenched in their camp and we in ours, and there is a sort of No Man's Land between. The Liberals have been battling in that No Man's Land trying to make up their minds and to discover in which Lobby they will go to-night. In the battle between Socialists and ourselves there will be one side or the other victorious. I am convinced it is going to be ourselves, but, whichever side is going to be victorious, victory will undoubtedly be sweetened by the knowledge that it will be helped by reinforcements of hon. Members below the Gangway. Whichever side wins, they are bound to he upon the winning side. It is much better that the Liberal party should stand by their principles of economy, should stand by what they publish in their programme, and not go into the Lobby for the sake of political advantage. The country is at the present time in a state of distress and is tired of the present Government and has shown it in no uncertain way at the recent by-elections. The country is desirous of a change, and, if the Liberal party stands between us and the change, they are the most undemocratic party in the country. Whether the Socialists or ourselves are the victors in the conflict when it comes, the country will have no use for those who are flexible in their principles and political in their tactics and who do not consider the national advantage which we are desirous of serving at the present moment.
§ Mr. McSHANE
It will hardly be necessary to say much in reply to the speech of the right hon. and learned Gentleman below the Gangway after the way in which it has been dealt with by the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton). Either the right hon. and learned Gentleman is in favour of the better education of the working-class children or he is not. If he is in favour of their better education, then he must know, if he has any knowledge of the working-class, that it is impossible, particularly, as he emphasised, at this time, 1571 at this so-called crisis, for any of them to continue advanced education for their children in the difficult circumstances of to-day. I can only conclude that, since he does not give them the means with which to enable the working-class parents to send their children to school for another year he cannot be entirely sincere in his desire to give them education. With regard to the form, the right hon. and learned Gentleman said that, as the Income Tax paying class have to fill up a highly inquisitorial form, there could be no reason why working-class people also should not have to fill up such a form. I do not know what the right hon. and learned Gentleman really wants. I am one of those who would have liked to have seen maintenance allowances given to all. If this Government and this country and those who are supporting the education of our people say that it is in the interests of democracy, in the interests of the country, nationally, that these children should be educated, I believe then that the country ought not to ask working-class parents to pay for their education.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman spoke of the necessity of instituting more inquisitorial methods with regard to the allocation of this 5s. a week. I have here the questions which are to be asked, and I do not know what further inquisitorial form he would like to have. They have to fill in their name, the day, month and year when they were born, the address at which the child resides, the school at which it is in attendance, the name and address of the claimant, the occupation of the claimant, the weekly income from all sources, the name and address of the claimant's wife or husband. It does not ask how often they have been married or divorced. If that is not sufficiently inquisitorial for the right hon. and learned Gentleman, I can only conclude that he is not sincerely anxious for the further education of working-class children. My complaint against the Bill is for precisely the opposite reasons to those advanced by the right hon. and learned Gentleman. I wanted this Resolution to imply that when allowances were to be given to the children they should be given directly. It would be simpler in administration and cheaper than the inquisitorial forms to which I 1572 have referred. I feel certain that my complaint as to the way in which the maintenance grants are to be sanctioned will be echoed on all sides of the Committee. Clause 1 Sub-section (2) of the Bill states that a maintenance grant is to be paid if the person is qualified under Part I of the Second Schedule to receive such an allowance. When I turn to the Second Schedule I find that the grant will be paid if the income of the applicant from all sources does not exceed the prescribed limit. When I look to see what is the prescribed limit I am referred to some regulation which is not yet made by the Board of Education. So one pursues it from the Clause to the Schedule, from the Schedule to the prescribed limit, and from that to the regulation, and still we have not got the information.
§ Mr. McSHANE
I think that this is a very objectionable way of pushing forward the grant scheme. Some of us want to introduce an amendment to the scheme, but presumably because of this legislation by reference we are unable to do so. The main difficulty in awarding the maintenance allowance will be found to be this: The allowance has to be based, first of all, upon the weekly income of the applicant. To-day that income varies almost from week to week. There is no man who can say one week whether next week he will have his income or not. He may not have it for a month for a fortnight, or he may have it for three months. At any rate there is one outstanding feature of it, and that is that it constantly varies. How the scheme will deal with the case of a man who works short time or overtime, or who is ill, and how it will be possible to maintain the constant check which by implication is contained in the Bill, is entirely beyond me. That is one of my first objections. My second objection is based on the fact that I agree with hon. Friends that the State as a whole should have assumed the entire burden. This work is to be done in the interests of the State in the interests of democracy as a whole. It is done, too, as a means of combating unemployment. The charge should have been entirely a State charge, because they are entirely State reasons for which the Resolution is brought forward.
1573 On the Second Reading I was interested in the speech of the Noble Lord the Member for Hastings (Lord E. Percy), who moved the rejection of the Bill. He argued that the means test and the maintenance allowance of 5s. a week would probably reduce purchasing power on the whole. That is why some of us are anxious that the grant should be raised considerably—to 7s. 6d. or 10s. One hon. Member on the other side of the Committee said that this proposal was a retrograde step. The hon. Member for Bridgeton spoke of the difficulties that lads in Scotland had in trying to educate themselves, and of the serious after effects if they did ultimately get through. I can speak with personal experience of that. I shall never forgive a social system that put me through all the suffering and anguish and trouble that I had in order that I might become, as I wanted to become, an educated man.
Speaking also as at one time headmaster of a school I say that the lads and lasses who have reached 14 and are now going to get an extra year will be more delighted than anyone else in the country. In the modern school, changed altogether from that of the old days, there has grown up between teacher and child a love that endures for many years after the child leaves school. To us to whom the boys and girls came to bid goodbye before they left at 14, in order to enter industry, there was nothing more poignant than the knowledge that many of these boys were going into wretched conditions in factories, when they had a right as children to get some of the sweetness and colour of life. I am glad to know that these lads and lasses, who are as good as any in the land, are going to have an extra year added to the fairyland in which they have a right to roam. I hope that if there is any possibility of amending the Resolution we shall get an opportunity of doing so. I approve entirely of the principles of the Resolution. I think it will be a good thing for the child, for the home, and ultimately for the nation.
I have always fought, I cannot remember when I was not fighting, for education, but I think we have to make up our minds that more nonsense is talked shout education than about any subject in the world. Education is one of the most unpopular things 1574 before the country. We have only to look at the long line of our Ministers of Education. They all appear to be very weak. Take the right hon. Gentleman Mr. Fisher, who brought in the Fisher Bill. I asked him why he did not press it through. The reason was that he was always fighting against the Chancellor of the Exchequer and that he had not the great mass of opinion in the country behind him. Nor had he that of other Members of the Cabinet. Then take the Noble Lord the Minister of Education in the last Government. He had to fight with the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He went as far as he could, but he had never behind him the pressure of public opinion in the country. The present Minister of Education is probably the weakest of the lot. The Labour party got into office on the pledge to raise the school age and to give maintenance grants. Their first King's Speech contained no reference to it. There was always a terrible row going on in the party. The trade unionists wanted one thing, others wanted another. Why? Because education is really not popular. [Interruption.]
On any matter that affects the country as a whole I never speak from a party or a class point of view. I thank heaven that I have a better vision than to feel that God made people in classes or put them into parties for life. I am not now speaking from any party point of view, but from a practical point of view. The present Minister of Education knows perfectly well that he brought in a Bill which would have meant a religious war. He had to drop it. Then he brought in a Bill for maintenance grants, which I believe he is against in his heart. [Interruption.] Anyhow he brought it in. [Interruption.] We see how people have been educated when they cannot listen to a debate without constant interruption. As I said, the Minister brought in this maintenance grant scheme. He knows perfectly well that if he had been considering education he would have followed the Hadow Report. I think that the late Minister of Education ought to have said to the country that in 1933 or 1935 there would be a raising of the school-leaving age. That would have per- 1575 mitted time for the necessary reorganisation. Then the present Minister would have had an enormous chance, if he had come forward with a plan to say that when it was possible he would raise the school-leaving age.
In the meantime, if he had money to throw about, suppose he had come to us and had shown that a great deal of our elementary education was wasteful because 50 per cent. of the children attending the elementary schools suffered from physical defects of one kind or another; if he had had a plan to deal with such things, to deal with those from slum areas and overcrowded districts, of whom 80 per cent., when they get to school, are not in a fit physical state for education, and if he had said that he wanted to spend the money on open-air nursery schools and in complete reorganisation of the whole thing, leading up to the full adopton of the Hadow Report, I do not believe that any party would have dared to oppose him.
The right hon. Gentleman knows what a fight we have had to get this Bill at all. Hon. Members all know. Let us be honest for a change. Look at the cinemas. It might be said that they are more popular than the churches and chapels. But we know that the churches and chapels do far more good to the community than the cinemas. I do not think that I could vote against the raising of the school-leaving age if it was done in decency and order, but here it is done in indecency and disorder, and no one knows that better than the Minister. It has been a great mistake to view education from the point of view of employment. The Minister is making a wrong appeal. He should press the matter from the point of view of education. He should note what is being done by progressive local authorities. Plymouth is among them. In Plymouth we have had reorganisation for three years, so that every child can—
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The Noble Lady must bear in mind that at the moment we are discussing maintenance grants and not reorganisation.
I was going to say that we had done this without having all-round maintenance grants. In Plymouth every child who needs it can get 1576 the maintenance grants, not into the secondary schools but even up to the university.
I am talking about the secondary schools. Everybody knows that there are no maintenance grants in the elementary schools. Who is proposing that there should be?
No. However, I will leave the hon. Member and get on with the business. What I was saying was that we have raised the school age without all-round maintenance grants and that it is working extraordinarily well. Maintenance grants are given in cases of need, and in the past year, 62 children between the ages of 14 and 15 were given allowances of varying amounts. Need is not allowed to stand in the way of any child in Plymouth. This area concerns some 30,000 and a sum of £6,500 has been spent in a year on maintenance in taking children right to the universities. I maintain that if we can do that in Plymouth, it would have been more in the interests of real education for the Minister to have said that he was going to carry out, in time, the findings of the Hadow Report. Most of the local authorities are ready for it, and the Minister ought to encourage them to do what we are doing in Plymouth. Hon. Members opposite know, and we all know, that these maintenance grants are intended to make the Bill more popular. This proposal is really a bribe to the parents. I do not believe in that policy. I do not think it works. If the State makes up its mind that it is good for the State and for the children and for industry that the schools should be reorganised, and that the children should stay on longer at school, then, if the parents are getting the benefit of that 1577 additional education, I do not see why the State should pay them for keeping their children at school unless in cases of necessity.
§ Mr. McSHANE
Does the Noble Lady regard the allowances which are made in respect of children to people who pay Income Tax as being also in the nature of bribes?
No, I do not think so. Of course, it is their own money. I think if the Minister, as one really interested in education, had shown vision and courage he would have been able to render a great service to education throughout the country, but I am going to vote against these maintenance grants. I believe that if the Minister has the money to spend he could spend it in better ways. He could spend it on those children between two and five who would need it in order to fit them for the elementary schools. I do not believe that the State ought to bribe the parents for keeping their children at school and hon. Members opposite know that this proposal means nothing else. If it is not a bribe why put it into the Bill at all? Hon. Members opposite tell me that one of the most unpopular things which they have to face is this question of education and I know it myself. These very same people who now talk about education have been our opponents when we have been fighting for education. They have gone round the back streets and told the people, "Lady Astor wants to keep your children at school longer when they might go into industry." I have had to fight that kind of thing myself, but I do not mind fighting for an unpopular thing if I think it is right. I suppose we must forgive the different Ministers of Education, all of whom have seemed so weak, when we consider what they have had to face. I would beg of the Minister to consider, even if this proposal is turned down, that it is not too late for a party which has so many keen educationists in it to come down to the House of Commons with a big plan of real educational reorganisation.
I have heard all the financial reasons given from one side and the other. We can go too far and can spend too much, but this proposal involves a reckless expenditure on bribes which shocks even 1578 me—and I have fought, in and out, always for education. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to consider what has been done in areas like Plymouth. I ask him to go there and see what is being done. There is no hardship; the working people are not complaining, but, on the contrary, they are delighted because they know that if their children cannot get jobs it is far better that those children should be kept at school where if necessary they can be fed. Hon. Members opposite and the hon. Lady from Scotland talk in complete ignorance about this matter. Anybody would think to hear some of the speeches that have been made that the Government in this Bill were introducing a charter of freedom for the children. This Bill is nothing of the kind. The Government are simply "getting the wind up" because they find that they cannot keep some of the promises they have made, and they think that this proposal will appeal to the electorate. I do not believe that it will.
I believe that from the point of view of those really interested in education the Minister has been extraordinarily weak and very late in bringing in his Bill and he has accompanied it with a bribe which even the local authorities consider too big, because he admitted himself that he is giving larger grants than those suggested by the association. Why is he doing that? To placate hon. Members from the Clyde? He cannot do so because if the Government give them everything in the world they will not be pleased until they have reduced the whole of England to their level. I do not want to do that. I want to bring the whole up to a higher level and I think it can be done by education, carried out with thoughtfulness, always keeping in mind the facts of the case, and not being pushed, first by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and then by the Left Wing. It is a big disappointment to me that the Labour Government which I thought was going to show such vision should have gone back on the Hadow Report, should have waited so long to bring in a Bill and should then have brought it in with this bribe which looks very like losing them the Bill. Indeed I am beginning to think that the Government would not mind losing the Bill. I am becoming suspicious in that respect. But I am deeply sorry and disappointed and 1579 I shall vote with a perfectly clear conscience against these maintenance grants though I could never vote with a clear conscience against the raising of the school age in accordance with the Hadow Report.
§ Mr. DENMAN
This debate is following the normal trend of education debates in which opponents declare themselves enthusiastic in the cause of education but find the circumstances or the precise proposals are not to their mind. I did not expect to find the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon) in that band. On his own argument as regards time he might well have been prepared to accept this Resolution and to reserve his criticisms to a more appropriate occasion namely the Committee stage of the Bill. The question of the time when the Bill should begin is one with which this Resolution does not deal at all. This is simply a Resolution empowering us to proceed with the Committee stage of the Bill and to authorise the expenditure of money in connection with the administration of the Measure. The question of time only arises on the last words of the last Clause of the Bill and obviously an Amendment in Committee is the appropriate manner of altering it, if it must be altered. Personally I hope it will not be altered. As to the other points which have been raised what is there especially wrong in maintenance allowances which apply to all children who have been withdrawn from the possibility of earning a livelihood, and whose families would be called upon to make a financial sacrifice by reason of that withdrawal. As a matter of principle we already recognise that the State should make financial sacrifices for the good of education. The Noble Lady the Member for the Sutton Division of Plymouth (Viscountess Astor) talks of bribes. If she is right then clearly the present maintenance allowances are also bribes. They are inducements put before the parent to send his child to school.
§ Mr. DENMAN
The hon. Member suggests that there is a difference between voluntarily wending a child to school and compulsory attendance, but what is the particular merit of bribing a parent to 1580 do something voluntarily, and why is it offensive to grant allowances, in the other case, to enable a family to maintain its spending capacity?
I think that the hon. Member misunderstands me. I said that at Plymouth if the parents can make a case and show that they really do need the money then the allowance is granted.
§ Mr. DENMAN
I think a reference has been made already to the allowances given to Income Tax payers. In that case there is no inquiry as to whether the parent is necessitous or not before he can claim his Income Tax rebate. The principle which the State recognises is this: that it is a good thing to maintain the child at school after the age of 16, and, if the parent maintains the child at school after the age of 16, then the State says that it will forego the taxation which it would otherwise collect from him. If it is right for the State to allow such a parent money which it would otherwise collect from him in order that he may keep his child at school why is it wrong for the State to hand over 5s. a week in the case of the child of an engineer in order that that child may complete its education?
§ Lord E. PERCY
I would like to find out what is in the mind of hon. Members who talk in this way. If I understand the hon. Member's argument it is one which would apply equally to the payment of maintenance allowances in respect of a child from the date of birth. The Income Tax allowance which is only continued while the child is at school is given from the date of birth but can the hon. Member say why on his own principle you should give maintenance allowances to the parent of a child between 14 and 15 and not to the parent of a child of any other age, whether before 14 or after 15?
§ Mr. DENMAN
That is not the point now. I agree that in logic you can justify the payment of allowances for a child from the date of birth, especially when the child cannot be properly maintained without it, but we are here faced with the practical problem that the child is an income-producer at the age of 14. You withdraw him from the labour 1581 market and lessen the income of the family, and if you are to maintain that family's standard, you must, in common sense, give a maintenance allowance. The Noble Lord opposite will allow me perhaps to say that his speeches are so interesting and provocative that he caused me to rise at least 20 times in the course of the debates on the previous Education Bill, because there were certain comments that, it seemed to me, ought to be made upon the point of view which he put forward.
It is impossible, within the limits of Order on this Resolution, to discuss general education problems, but to-day we have had from the hon. Member for Westmorland (Mr. Stanley), who reflects the opinions of the Noble Lord, the allegation that we ought to proceed to fill the gap between the ages of 14 and 18 by means of part-time continued education. I really must recall to the Noble Lord that that was accomplished in the year 1918. I suppose I sat through every day and every hour of those debates, excepting the intervals for food, and we then laid down a system, at a supposed cost of £8,750,000 as the Bill was introduced, under which those continuation classes were available. The Conservative party, in power ever since the War, in full control of this House and the other, did not put that into force, and they now come to us and say that we ought to be doing it. The Noble Lord is too late. The Noble Lord's party did not take the opportunity for continuation classes which I wish had been taken in the year 1919, but, that having gone, we are compelled to proceed on this better way. We are compelled, by the recommendations of the Hadow Report and by the universal agreement of educational opinion, to proceed with this Measure.
I agree with those who argue that the real problem on this Financial Resolution is simply whether this money is adequately spent or not, whether it is a good way of spending the money, or whether, as the hon. Member for Westmorland said, on balance, taking the pros and cons, there is a national advantage. We, on this side, believe without a doubt that there is a national advantage. There are very solid financial arguments, of which we have had some already. I do not propose to discuss the number of adults who may be taken 1582 off the unemployed labour market. That figure is one that I am always shy of attempting to estimate. It is impossible to arrive at any figure that you can with confidence mention. It has the further disadvantage that you have no possible means subsequently of proving yourself right, and I detest an estimate that I cannot subsequently prove to have been right. But there is another set of figures, namely, those of juvenile unemployment. The Noble Lord, in his speech last May, which I have brought with me, because he made some extremely startling remarks, asserted:There has never been a time, either, in the history of this country when, taking the country as a whole, there was so little juvenile unemployment, when children leaving school found employment, and permanent employment, so quickly and easily."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 29th May, 1930; col. 1532, Vol. 239.]I wonder where he got his authority for that statement? I hastened to the "Board of Trade Gazette," and I find that in the years 1927 and 1928 the figures of unemployed juveniles, instead of being between 80,000 and 90,000, were about 50,000. I looked back to 1913, when the figures were not made on a comparable basis, and the juveniles on the register under 17 were then under 9,000. I agree that they are not comparable, but what evidence is there that unemployment was anything like as bad among juveniles in the old days as it is now?
§ Lord E. PERCY
There is no proof before the War, simply because there were no statistics, but I would refer the hon. Member to his Friend the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Kelly), who has had a long experience of juvenile unemployment, for evidence on that point. As to the later figures, it is true that when I spoke last May I ought to have said that the year, before when the late Government left office, there never had been so little juvenile unemployment. It is quite true that it began to go up last May, and, as I observed the other day, it is now about double what it was a year and a-half ago.
§ Mr. DENMAN
I thank the Noble Lord for that correction of his own figures, because it really is an important point. Our contention here is that there never is a better time in which to take children out of the labour market than when there 1583 is a high unemployment figure among both adults and juveniles, and we now have a juvenile unemployment that is the most serious menace over the whole field of unemployment. We now have over 110,000 juveniles unemployed. and the unemployment of juveniles is perhaps even more localised than that of adults. I have taken the trouble to take out some local figures, and they are really astonishing. In London the percentage of juvenile unemployment is 2.3; in Lancashire it is 18.5; in Cheshire it is 20.2; and in Durham it is 24.2 per cent.
§ Mr. DENMAN
Let us come to the effect of juvenile unemployment. You find in some of those areas, even within an area like Cheshire, that there are variations from 2.6 to 49.3 per cent., and there is even one unhappy case where the percentage is 100. Clearly, where you have these high percentages of unemployed children under the age of 18, the sensible thing is to keep them in school. You do not wart any proof of that. You remember no doubt what the Malcolm Report said about juvenile unemployment. Let me repeat it, because it should be on record in this debate. The Malcolm Report of 1926 said:In depressed districts, where the atmosphere is charged with disillusionment and discouragement, to allow boys and girls of from 14 to 18 to roam the streets should be unthinkable. That the unemployed boy of to-day is the unemployable man of tomorrow is a saying which we are satisfied is often only too true.… The disintegrating effect, moral and physical, of juvenile unemployment is incalculable.Try to put that into any figures you choose. You have 110,000 unemployed below the age of 18, and you take all the children under 15 off the labour market. Clearly you will remove an appreciable portion of those from this influence of unemployment, and if you are not content with the moral and intellectual good, the financial good is one that you ought to recognise as being a very appreciable set-off against any expenditure on maintenance grants.
There is a further point which has not been enough emphasised, and that is the effect of this Measure and the Resolution on which it is based on juvenile employ- 1584 ment itself, which is very different from juvenile unemployment. There was an interesting inquiry by the Ministry of Labour in 1925, I think it was, in which they took samples of the circumstances of boys and girls who registered at the Exchanges throughout the country, and examined about 6,000 cases to ascertain their industrial history. I am not going to worry the Committee with the results, except to quote what a distinguished economist, commenting upon that report, said. His comment was this:Not more than one in every six of the whole sample had even a mathematical chance of starting his or her industrial career in a job that offered prospects of training or permanence.Is that not a further example of the way in which you are allowing your children at the present time to start life under conditions in which they will inevitably, one way or another—they and their ultimate families—become a charge upon the country? I say that you are doing an exceedingly sound work in passing this Bill and taking these children off the labour market, if only on the ground of economy. I ask hon. Members opposite to realise the intensity of the feeling of this party on this subject. They have good educationists among them, of course, but let them realise—and I hope they will induce their friends in another place also to realise—that there is no subject upon which the best feeling of the Labour party is more unanimous. If they insist, on their side, on keeping the privileges and joys of education as a strict preserve of the wealthy, and denying us a very real attempt to extend those privileges to another year of child life, I say that they will cause more permanent resentment on the part of those who matter among their opponents than they realise.
§ 8.0 p.m.
§ Mr. MORRIS
I have no desire to take part in a debate which has been greatly concerned with determining whether one side or another is in favour of education or not, whether they are progressive or retrograde, but I am concerned with the consideration of this Financial Resolution, and I rise, first and foremost, to ask a question of the Minister with regard to the effect of the Resolution. The Resolution imposes a burden, according to the estimate in the White Paper, of £1,500,000 on the rates of the country, and that burden will not 1585 fall uniformly upon the different sections of the community, but will have one incidence in the urban areas and a totally different incidence in the rural areas. The danger to-day in rural areas is that those people who have been progressive supporters of education may be driven to the ranks of opponents because of the financial questions involved. These burdens fall totally differently in the rural areas as compared with the urban areas. In the urban areas the schools are large, the population is concentrated, and the attendance rune into hundreds; but in the rural areas the schools are scattered and the attendance is small. You scarcely find a school in a rural area with an attendance of more than 100; the great majority are below 50. The overhead charges in the individual rural schools are practically the same as in the urban areas. The rural school has to be staffed at the same rate and provided with appliances at the same rate. The result is that the net cost per child for education in the rural school is far higher than in the urban areas. This Financial Resolution and the Bill will impose a new burden not only by adding a year to the school life of the child, but by making necessary a reorganisation of the schools to meet the new requirements. We cannot add another year in the elementary schools as we know them to-day, and the reorganisation—
§ Mr. MORRIS
I do not want to trespass beyond the scope of the Resolution, but I submit that the Resolution, if it be passed, will be a material part of the Bill, and I want to ask the Minister, if I can within the rules of order, to give some assurance that a reorganisation of the present grant formula will be made in order to differentiate between the urban and rural positions. I ask that because this burden of £1,500,000 on the rates—
§ Mr. MORRIS
Yes, but I want a readjustment of the present formula. The grant as between rural and urban areas now is the same, and I want an assurance 1586 from the Minister that when this Resolution becomes operative, it will not become so by placing the additional £1,500,000 upon the rural ratepayers in the same proportion as the expenditure is now imposed on them under present conditions. The existing grants are paid to urban and rural areas on the same formula without any differentiation. The formula is made up of a number of different items. There is a sum in respect of 60 per cent. for teachers salaries, and others in respect of 20 per cent. for loan charges, 50 per cent. for school maintenance services, and 20 per cent. for other expenditure.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member is going outside the limits allowed on this Resolution. This argument would be quite applicable to the Bill. The question before the Committee has reference to maintenance grants, and while it would be in order to give reasons why the money asked for in this Resolution should not be voted, it is not in order to discuss general matters which form the substance of the Bill itself.
§ Mr. MORRIS
I am submitting that the additional £1,500,000 that will have to be provided from the rate under this Financial Resolution will probably be distributed as the law now stands under this grant formula. I ask the Minister to make some variation in the formula in order to take cognisance of the difference between urban and rural areas before the Resolution is confirmed. Unless some such cognisance of that differentiation is taken, the Minister will find himself confronted with the danger in the rural areas that those who have been champions of educational reform and progress will have to cry a halt. This Bill alone and the reorganisation under the Bill will involve, with the cheapest scheme possible, an additional rate of ls. 4d. in the £. This Resolution does nothing to meet that situation. The parents of those children who have to attend school will on the one side get a grant of 5s.—
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member is travelling far beyond what is allowed in this discussion. I will not prevent him making passing references to the difficulties named, but what he is discussing now is far more appropriate to the Bill itself.
§ Mr. MORRIS
I do not want to pursue that point any further, but I want seriously to call the attention of the Minister to the fact that this Financial Resolution as it stands will impose a very serious additional burden, and that some means should be devised to meet the situation in the rural areas before the Resolution is finally passed.
§ Mr. BARR
I would like to refer to some of the arguments against the maintenance allowances. The hon. Member for Grimsby (Mr. Womersley) argued that, because in the cases he quoted only a small percentage in special areas did not avail themselves of the opportunity of contracting out—and this is what caused a good deal of warm feeling—the working-class parents do not require a further year and do not desire the support of maintenance grants. The hon. Member altogether left out of account the economic situation of these parents which, for the time being, stills their ambition for higher education. I served for 11 years on the Glasgow School Board, and education administrators know that in many cases parents are not enthusiastic. There have been cases where the birth certificate was presented in order to show that the child was born in the forenoon, and therefore was not bound to attend in the afternoon of the day when it, reached 14 years of age. That is illustrative of the habit that has grown up with the continual economic pressure, but deep down in the hearts of working-class parents there is the desire so finely expressed by one of the English poets—William Wordsworth—to give their sonsa better bringing up than his had been or hers.Therefore, I am not impressed by the idea that parents do not want it. I go further. Even if there be no great enthusiasm, even though in some parts the Measure may be unpopular, I am proud to belong to a Government that is giving a lead in this matter. When compulsory education was introduced the majority of people did not want it, but they had enlightened Governments that led, and the people eventually followed. The second argument against the grant is the burden of taxation. What does it amount to? I take the maximum figures for 1935–6; they amount altogether, including the burden on the rates, to 1588 £8,000,000. The total of the last Budget was £789,000,000, so that this is the merest bagatelle. In that total £110,000,000 was for armaments. Of the total Budget, 14s. in the £ goes for the payment of past wars and for possible wars. The whole of the social services, strictly so-called—education, pensions, health, housing, and unemployment— come to only 3s. 2½d. in the £. The £8,000,000 which is being imposed by this Bill comes to only 2½d. in the £ on our full Budget. If it were necessary to raise the sum by cutting £8,000,000 off armaments, I would be glad to see it, and I believe that our country would be safe with that economy. My hon. Friend the Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) made a proper reference to the right hon. and learned Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon) as a great Liberal statesman. There have been other great Liberal statesmen, and I should like to recall to the Committee a contrast that was made by John Bright between the expenditure on war and the expenditure on education. He said this in 1854:But for the wars of the last 100 years, this country might have been a garden, every dwelling might have been of marble, and every person who treads its soil might have been sufficiently educated.When hon. Gentlemen speak so much about the burden of expenditure, I suggest that a little shifting on to the social services of other expenditure could easily be accomplished. I should like to refer to one thing which fell from the right hon. and learned Member for Spen Valley. He said that in those schools to which he made reference he had never discovered any class feeling or distinction whatever. What grieved me most during the eleven years that I was an educational administrator was the class feeling running right down through education, even in the elementary schools. It came up in the fixing of holidays; for some you gave six weeks, and to others two months. It came up in the matter of putting into operation the powers which we have in Scotland for the extension of age to 15, and in the opening up of evening classes, because there was a considerable element which did not believe that education was valuable for the people as a whole, but only for selected individuals. In that they are only the children of their fathers. Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen who are opposing this step are the lineal descendants of 1589 those who opposed education from the beginning. What did "Blackwood's Magazine" say in 1839:That education would make the working classes uneasy and restless, that ignorance is the true parent of contentment, and that the only education that could safely be given to the working classes was a religious education that would make them humble, patient and moral, and would relieve the hardship of their present lot by the prospect of a bright eternity.And as your fathers said, so do ye! A further argument is this, that the manner and the time are not suitable. It never was a suitable time, throughout the progress of education, with the exception of the lapse in 1918, when there was a different feeling abroad and people felt they must make some compensation for the War and its disasters. But, generally speaking, there have always been people who said, "This is not the time." I do not often quote Scripture here, hut there is a book called "Haggai," and it tells us the position of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley:This people say, the time is not yet come that the Lord's house should be built. Then came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet, saying"—This applies to right hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway, as well as to the right hon. Gentleman I am referring to—Is it time for you, oh ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste? Now, therefore"—and this is especially appropriate to the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley—thus saith the Lord of Hosts, Consider your ways.I approve of these maintenance allowances although, like many of those who have spoken from our side, I should have greatly preferred them without any conditions whatsoever; but I do not wish to go out-side the Resolution by making more than a passing reference. I value what has been done in enabling a clever boy here and there to go to the high school, the college or the secondary school. The hon. Lady the Member for Sutton Division (Viscountess Astor) said this was not levelling up, but it is just because it is levelling up that I support it. My hon. Friend the Member for Bridgeton spoke feelingly and properly about the ladder in Scotland by which the lad of parts can rise to position, 1590 power and eminence in this country, and he spoke of the struggle that those lads have.
In my closing remarks I will give one example of how one of the most brillliant Scotsmen financed himself. David Livingstone entered the mills at 10 years of age. On his spinning jenny he put Ruddiman's "Rudiments of the Latin Tongue," and got up his declensions as he was walking backwards and forwards. There were not so many foremen about at that time, and there was no rationalisation ! He went on to college at Glasgow as a very young man, and paid 2s. 6d. a week for his board and lodging there. Every summer, when the session of the college was over, he returned to work in the mill to make enough to carry him over the winter again. That is a handicap which should not be put on poor children. In place of the educational ladder, which is a good enough idea for the lad of parts, it is a nobler idea not to lavish time and money on the lad of parts, who can commonly fend for himself, but, instead, to take those who are poorly endowed physically, mentally and economically and to bring them into line with the others through special classes and, if need be, with maintenance grants. We ought to bring the mass in—not one boy here and there, but the mass. I have a nobler vision than that of the ladder. I see a broad stairway, and the children of the working classes, peers now with the children of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, walking abreast up that broad stairway—in this way at the present time, and in better ways yet to come—walking abreast to positions of power and eminence and service in this country!
§ Mr. CADOGAN
I do not propose to follow the hon. Member for Motherwell (Mr. Barr) except to say that I, in company, as I should imagine, with all hon. Members on this side of the House, utterly decline to have anything that our ancestors said brought up in evidence against us. The hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) repudiated his maternal grandfather on the Second Reading of this Bill. To-night I find myself in complete agreement with the right hon. and learned Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon). It is not the first occasion in the last two or three 1591 years in which I have been in agreement with him, but on the other occasions it had been on a subject which, I hope, may be classed as non-controversial between the three parties, and that the future constitution of India. It is not necessary for me to refer to his speech, except on one point. He seemed somewhat puzzled as to why there was any differentiation in the means test as between applicants under this Bill and the payer of Income Tax. I do not think he is likely to get a correct answer from the Government Front Bench, but I think I can give it. Income Tax payers are in a minority, and therefore have less consideration from the Government than the applicants under this Bill. The hon. Member for Darlington (Mr. Shepherd) and others who have spoken do themselves and us on this side of the House less than justice in not appreciating the gist of our contention in this matter. It is that the Government have no right to ask us to sanction this expenditure unless they are satisfied that it will not defeat the object for which it is incurred.
Many of us on this side are in favour of raising the school leaving age and, in other circumstances, might have been in favour of maintenance grants. But everyone who has given this matter serious consideration must be convinced that before we can go any further on these lines it should be an established axiom of government that there must be a definite relationship between expenditure on social services and the taxable capacity of the nation. That relationship must be determined by the extent to which taxation can be increased without its defeating the object with which it is imposed. Hon. Members opposite have expressed themselves as impatient of economy and do not want to foster our resources against better times, affecting to believe that the nation could bear an increased burden of extravagance. The hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) and those who think with him ask why we should economise at the expense of the children, and he asks: Why should we not conscript all the resources of this mighty nation in this great service of education. I do not quite know what that means. If, is only capable of bearing two interpretations. 1592 I believe it is that the hon. Member for Bridgeton wants to revolutionise the whole of our financial and social system. I do not know whether the hon. Member thinks that that is a useful thing to do at this particular moment, but, when the hon. Member puts that suggestion before the Committee, he should make sure that the rest of the world will reduce itself to the same condition of smouldering ruins.
When hon. Members opposite express their enthusiasm for education in such a way that they allow their tongues to run away with them, I would like to ask them to inform the Committee to what extent are the children of this country being starved of education. Does anybody believe that with our extensive system of scholarships we are starving education? What are the facts? What was the policy pursued by the Noble Lord the Member for Hastings (Lord E. Percy) during his term of office at the Board of Education. I do not know whether the Noble Lord will be classified as one of the old gang, but I would like to mention that under my right hon. Friend the number of free places in our secondary schools for which no tuition fees were charged was increased from 128,000 in 1924 to 164,000 in 1929. At the end of that year the free places in secondary schools were 40 per cent. of the whole number of pupils in the schools. In the 10 years during which the scheme of State scholarships has been in operation the number of pupils of 17 years of age and over in grant-aided schools has increased by 50 per cent. The reorganisation scheme of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hastings allowed for 2,100,000 senior places by 1933. In the face of these facts, it is nonsense to talk about starving the children of free education.
How can anyone say, from the point of view of making the best of our circumstances, that sufficient has not been achieved in education to warrant us hesitating in the present financial stringency before undertaking expenditure of the kind which is now proposed in this Bill? How often has it been said that education is not an end but a means. If our children are going to be deprived of the opportunity of making an early start in life by such proposals as those which we are now discussing, surely we 1593 are dealing with our social problems in the wrong direction. For 20 years I have been associated with an institution in the East End of London which has among other objects the assisting and giving advice to the sons of industrial workers to enable them to obtain situations in firms and offices. In the past applications used to come to us very freely, but now the position is entirely reversed, and that institution is cutting down its staff owing to the burden of taxation.
I have recently had under my notice a case—it is not a singular one, but it is typical—of a young man who started life in an elementary school. He had a brilliant school career and obtained one of the open scholarships, but now he is unable to find a situation suitable to his ability. For what purpose has all the money been spent on his education? I think the President of the Board of Education should give his attention to this side of the subject, but I am afraid my appeal will fall on deaf ears, because the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues, in spite of all the omens furnished by recent elections, still regard promises of vast expenditure on social services as their best asset at an election. What is the use of indulging in the very plausible argument that if you withdraw 500,000 from the labour market you will create that number of vacancies for the unemployed? Even if those vacancies are available, they will not be suitable for those men and women. The burden on the rates and taxes caused by this Measure will certainly counteract any contribution towards relieving unemployment which it may achieve. As to the extent of the expenditure involved in this Financial Resolution, the Memorandum accompanying the Bill admits that the cost of the maintenance allowances is not susceptible of close examination. I should think that the President of the Board of Education ought to thank his stars for that, because the country will not know the whole truth about this expenditure.
I entirely agree with the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon) that the President of the Board of Education has been so weak over the question of maintenance grants that he has substituted regulations prescribing income limits for a 1594 basis of need. I have always failed to understand the force of the argument that a scrutiny and verification of the means of the applicant makes an intolerable breach of the liberty of the subject. The right hon. and learned Member for Spen Valley has pointed out that the taxpayers have to submit to a very searching inquiry and, as hon. Members know, we have all to supply Somerset House with particulars which we should not give to anyone else. In this matter I fail to see where the indignity comes in. Provision is made for a searching inquiry in regard to applicants for pensions, and I am afraid that hon. Members opposite will have to get accustomed to a very much more searching inquiry into their private means.
My contention in regard to this Resolution is that we have no right to incur such a substantial increase in our education expenditure for the next two years. The Chancellor of the Exchequer may not be in office for the next two years, and then there will be some chance that the financial stringency will become less acute, but, if this Bill is passed, the expenditure in this direction will be utterly and entirely wasted. All the evidence brings out into clear relief that any reorganisation of our educational system which would be sufficient to justify us in raising the school-leaving age cannot be completed within the next two or three years. If that is so, as I believe it to be, it is obvious that the cost of maintenance and all the incidental expenses must be wasted during those two or three years.
I cannot resist the conclusion that the chief reason why the right hon. Gentleman has allowed his zeal to outrun his discretion is that he cherishes the very venial ambition to have his name associated with a great Measure of social reform, and that he has misgivings, the omens being what they are, that if he does not commence now, he will not again be afforded the opportunity of passing this Measure. He has pledged himself and his colleagues to this Measure, but I do not see why the nation should suffer for his indiscretion. He has called the Measure the charter of the average child. I can only say that it will be a very average child that does not detect the imposture in it. It is the average child who will suffer. The 1595 child who is above the average in scholastic attainments and abilities gets to the top in any set of circumstances, but we are now witnessing the tragedy of thousands of average children suffering from the improvidence and extravagance, I do not say of this Government only, but of successive Governments, and, in spite of all the evidence and warnings that our prime need is to foster all our resources, on the top of all these other extravagances we are asked to-night to subscribe to a Financial Resolution which is as improvident as it is unneeded.
§ Mr. J. JONES
I have listened to most of the speeches in this debate, and I must say, as an unskilled labourer who has never had much opportunity of education, that, if the arguments that have been advanced against this Resolution were the best that could be advanced, I should be very pleased that I was ignorant. What is the argument? It is that the nation is not in a position to afford the extension of school opportunities to these children, and that argument had been emphasised time after time by people who have wasted, according to their own arguments, seven or eight years of their lives at school; and they have not merely wasted their time, according to the arguments they have advanced, but they have "pinched" the educational facilities of this country away from the common people. Within 300 yards of this House there is a school, and a lot of Members of the House, past and present, have gone through it. What does it cost to educate a boy at Westminster School? They wear top hats; some of them used to wear tin hats in the War; and they ought to wear tin cans now. They are the people who say we must not spend money on providing opportunities of maintenance for working-class children, and yet every one of those who have been educated at the school across the road has cost the nation indirectly £200 a year. Endowments left for the education of the children of the poor have been robbed from the poor by the rich. All our great public schools—where do they start from? In better days, perhaps, from an educational standpoint, than these, men of good will died and left large sums of money, not to educate those who could afford to pay for their 1596 own education, but to educate the ordinary people who could not afford to get education in those days. Even the monasteries were "pinched," and yet these people talk about religion sometimes now—when they are sober.
When all this has been done, what are the maintenance allowances going to be? Five shillings a week. I am surprised at the timidity of the Government, not at their extravagance. They are proposing maintenance allowances of 5s. a week, and Members who have spoken to-night will go down into the smoking room and the dining room and spend 5s. in less than hour. Is it not nearly time that we faced up to the facts? Yesterday in this House a maintenance allowance was given to the Cunard Shipping Company, because by themselves they could not afford to keep their ships at sea. They have been run off the ocean by the Germans, and therefore we must give them a subsidy, which is a maintenance allowance for capitalists. In four years it is going to be £6,000,000 if the policy is carried into full effect; and I noticed when I read the debate this morning that all Members of all parties congratulated the Government upon their magnificent statesmanship. Maintenance for capitalists, but not for workers' children! Is it not time that this hypocrisy was finished?
We are supporting this Resolution, not because we are satisfied with the amount, not because we are satisfied with the conditions, but because we say it is nearly time the worker got a look-in. I am one of those who have never had much education, but, owing to a succession of fortunate circumstances, I have been able to give my own children a better chance than I had, and I thought it was any duty to do so if I was able. I still have a boy of 17 at school. All the assistance that we have received is what the local education authority gave us. I listened to the Noble Lady the Member for Sutton (Viscountess Astor) talking about what they had done in Plymouth, but West Ham can give Plymouth a start and a good hiding, and we are a poorer district than ever Plymouth was. We have sent boys from the docks, the sons of dockers—men who have never been sure of 24 hours' consecutive work in any week; and we have sent girls also, the daughters of men who worked in the docks as casual labourers, to higher 1597 grade and secondary schools, and even up to the universities—and a greater number than have been sent from Plymouth.
I am not boasting about that, but am only pointing out the lesson. If we can do that in one of the poorest districts in the East End of London, with the limited means at our disposal, what could we not do if all the children of the country had a decent chance—and this is only the beginning of the decent chance? You have had too much monopoly of education in the past. The argument is not so much an argument about the 5s. a week; the argument is, in the language of the gentlemen who opposed the first Education Bill, "Gentlemen, you are educating your future masters." Every step we take in the direction of improving educational facilities, every time we fight for bringing the bottom dog up to a better position, this argument is advanced. It is not really an argument about money, but an argument of class privilege and ascendancy. "We are going to be the governing class, and all the avenues are going to be closed so far as we are able to close them. We are just letting you pick up the educational crumbs that fall from the rich man's table." That is the whole argument. So far as we on these benches are concerned, although our own children may not benefit—they are too old to benefit— we are looking to the children who are growing up around us. Take my own district. Hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side of the House represent a different class from ours—
§ Mr. JONES
Absolutely. From a psychological point of view you live in a different world. You may get working men's votes because they are blind, but you do not get them because they know. You frighten them with their shibboleths. You tell them that they have only to vote for the boss and everything in the garden will be lovely. Then they go to the boss, and they find that they have got no garden to be lovely in. We are not satisfied with the provisions of the Bill; we think it does not go half as far as we would like it to go. It proposes this small expenditure of 5s. a week on maintenance allowances for children up to the age of 15. Hon. Mem- 1598 bers opposite cannot keep a dog on 5s. a week. You are asking my constituents in the Albert and Victoria and King George's Dock districts to keep on making sacrifices to keep their children at school for another year at 5s. a week. You will give more than 5s. a week to your sons at Eton, Harrow or Winchester for pocket money.
What do you think we are made of? Do you think that we are made of different clay from what you are? I have never had much education, but I have learned enough outside school to find you out. I have taken all my degrees in the university of poverty. Having gone through it, I know exactly how it feels. I know what children like I was are suffering now. I can go to my constituency and see them going to school hungry, but, thank God, they will not be long in school before they are fed by a Labour Council. I can see those children to-morrow in the feeding centres getting their morning meal before they start their education. We had to fight for 30 years before we could get it. I have studied the history of education in my small way. Every time anyone has come along to give a greater chance to the common people there has always been someone to say, "We cannot afford it," but, if someone moved a resolution to build more battleships or to increase the Army or the Air Force, they would troop into the Lobby singing "Rule Britannia," whatever it cost. I want the House to recognise our responsibility. We are here to represent the common people. You may for a time bull-doze some of them into voting for you. I am willing to meet any of the ornaments on that bench, more ornamental than useful or intelligent. If my parents had spent as much on my education as theirs have on them, I should be sorry for my parents. I am only asking the House to pass this Motion, small as it is from our standpoint, as a stepping-stone to higher things, to the opening up of the great highway of education where eventually, by means of an educated democracy, we will make England a fit land for democrats and human beings to live in.
§ Sir B. PETO
As far as I could follow the hon. Member who has just sat down, he dealt with two aspects only of this Financial Resolution. First of all underlying the whole speech was the assump- 1599 tion that the working classes, or their children, are going to get some substantial benefit by the particular method and the particular time when this Financial Resolution is going to provide the money for maintenance grants. Secondly, he dealt with the educational side of the question only and ignored the unemployment side. So far as the rural population is concerned, I do not believe they are going to get any advantage whatever from compulsory attendance at school, even if they get 5s. a week, from the age of 14 to 15. On the other side, we cannot regard this proposal for the expenditure of from £6,000,000 up to very nearly £9,000,000 in a few years time from an educational point of view only when the Measure was recommended by the Prime Minister on the first day of the Session as the principal Measure of the Government for dealing with unemployment. The Prime Minister said he should like the business between now and Christmas to be to as great an extent as possible in the nature of unemployment emergency Measures. Then he indicated that there would be two Measures taken, of which the first is this Education Bill.
Taking this dual view, of the employment of the people on the one side and the education on the other, both these questions must be viewed from two points of view again, from the industrial and from the agricultural point of view. With regard to the general question, I agree that any great addition to the huge expenditure of this country at present is bound to deter employment and not to increase it. The hon. Member for Motherwell (Mr. Barr) said a matter of £8,000,000 was a very small proportion of our total expenditure. It is 1 per cent. and, therefore, he argued that it was negligible. But it has already been shown that, the higher your expenditure, the less can you afford any addition at this moment.
It has been put forward from the other side that 5s. a week will be added to the budget of a working-class family and that there will he a consequent increase in the expenditure of working-class families who have children between 14 and 15 in attendance at school. That seems unanswerable until you consider that not all these children would be unemployed if they were not kept at 1600 school, that those who did find employment would be in receipt of 12s. a week at least and that, therefore, as far as that family is concerned, it is a loss to the family expenditure of 7s. a week. Further, where does this 5s, a week come from? It is not created out of nothing. It is not an addition to the total national expenditure of the country. It is taken every week from the direct taxpayer and handed over to these families. How can anyone maintain that that is an increase in the total spending power of the country? It is not at all. It is a sort of conjuring trick—rabbits out of a hat.
From the point of view of the rural community, this proposal directly tends to keep young people from seeking employment on the land, and from learning from their parents, if they are smallholders, all the necessary things that they will require to know in order to become competent small producers of agricultural produce themselves. I should like to call the attention of the Committee to the fact that during the last 10 years the diminution in the number of young people employed on the land has been 29 per cent., according to the Board of Agriculture returns, whereas the general falling off in agricultural employment has been under 15 per cent. It is practically double in respect of young people. I must bring this proposal of the Government into relation with the next proposal which we shall consider in a couple of days from now—the Agricultural Land Bill—two Measures for dealing with unemployment.. This Measure is to deal with unemployment by providing a maintenance grant for parents to enable them to keen their children off the labour market for an extra year. The other Measure proposes to establish a great number of new smallholdings mainly for the unemployed classes. Does the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Education maintain that he is going to give a better rural education to these children between 14 and 15 at the expense indicated in the Financial Resolution which we are discussing than the parents of those children would, in most cases, give at home?
I will give the Committee a concrete example. I have in my constituency a farmer and his wife farming a very small farm, about 50 acres. It is what is called 1601 a family farm, where all the work of the farm is done by the husband and the wife, with the assistance of one son. There is also a daughter of 14 years of age. The mother not only milks the cows, but she does the dairy work, bakes bread for the whole of the family and does everything else. The mother is not dependent so much upon the daughter coming to help her this year, but she would be able to instruct her in all the multifarious duties which belong to the wife of a small farmer or smallholder. The child has had, presumably, eight years of elementary education. What is the Minister going to give her for the next year—a ninth year of exactly the same education in the same school. If she passes the means test, he is going to give 5s. a week to the father as recompense for preventing the child from being educated in precisely what is necessary in order to carry out the Government's own proposal for the establishment of smallholders on the land in large numbers. If they are going to deal with unemployment and education, at least there should be some co-ordination between these two branches of their policy. They should not be taking away from these children the education which is necessary and which is provided at no cost to the State by the parents, and denying them the opportunity of taking up an occupation upon the land.
There is another aspect of this question. We are asked to pass this Resolution providing this large additional sum of money annually in order to pay these maintenance grants. We are asked to do so in order to achieve two objects. The fink is the better education of the children. I deny that, as far as the rural population is concerned, we shall get any better education as a result of this Measure which it is intended shall come into operation on let April next. The other object is to diminish unemployment. Unemployment is general. It relates to the industrial and to the agricultural population. Unemployment is increasing, and is going to increase enormously, in agriculture. I say that an the present state of affairs, when in some areas we have up to 50 per cent. of unemployment—I heard only yesterday of a town in Lancashire where the unemployment was 79 per cent.—to do 1602 anything to discourage children from going on to the land and following the same occupation as their parents, is to drive fresh competition into the towns to seek jobs which are so conspicuous by their absence to-day.
This Measure, as far as it relates to agriculture, will injure agriculture, discourage children from taking up the pursuit of agriculture, and, as far as industry is concerned, increase the competition for the jobs which are so painfully lacking for young people when they reach the age of 15. Nothing is to be gained from the national point of view, and I can see clearly that we are going to increase the unemployment of the country by adding a fresh handicap to our industries by rendering them, to the extent of this £8,000,000 a year additional burden, less able to compete with industries abroad. Therefore, as far as I am concerned, I shall vote against this proposal without the slightest hesitation, because I regard it as a Measure which will do nothing, because it is ill-conceived and has simply been brought forward because the Government have failed utterly to realise the position of the country.
§ Mr. BLINDELL
I hope that anything I may say in this discussion tonight will not be taken to mean that I am against any advance in the educational facilities of the young life of our nation. I certainly do not come within the category of the hon. Member for Silvertown (Mr. J. Jones) when he said that some hon. Members had wasted four, five or six years of their life at school, and that it was not to their advantage. Unfortunately, I had to leave school at a very early age, and for that reason I am most desirous that the children of to-day should receive an adequate educational training. There is something else that we must consider when we consider this Financial Resolution to-night, and that is the financial position of the country. The financial position of the country, I believe, is such that if this really is a luxury to be conferred upon the working-class children, this is not the right time for it to be put into operation. We shall never get back to a really prosperous state of affairs or find employment for our large body of unemployed men until we reduce the burden of taxation which is pressing upon the 1603 country to-day. When we remember that the burden of taxation is higher to-day than it has been for several years, that the tendency is for it to rise, and that local rates are continually mounting up, we ought to be very careful before we saddle the nation with extra expenditure of £8,000,000 a year.
§ Mr. BLINDELL
We cannot discuss that to-night, but we can discuss whether the country can afford another £8,000,000 taxation at this particular time. The aspect of the question with which I am particularly concerned is that of local rates. Under this Bill, local rates will rise tremendously. In many rural districts and industrial centres to-day there are large schemes of work which ought to be done by the local authorities that are not being done because they cannot stand the expense. Under this Financial Resolution at least £2,000,000 will have to be provided by the local authorities by way of local rates. The people who pay the rates to-day are very largely the people who are going to receive this particular benefit. It may be said that if they are going to receive the benefit, they will not object to paying rates, but where is the commonsense in taking from them with one hand and giving back with the other?
§ Mr. BLINDELL
You may call local rating robbery if you like, but I do not think that we ratepayers look upon local rating as robbing us. We regard ratepaying as a duty and we stand up to it. When we consider the raising of the school leaving age, we ought to consider not only whether it will be a good thing from the educational point of view, but whether this is the time to put it into operation. I am particularly concerned about the rural areas. If the Government are going to insist that this Bill must become operative on the 1st April, the children in the rural areas will not get benefit under the Bill. It is useless to say that they are ready in the rural areas to put this Act into operation on the 1st April. It will simply mean compelling these rural children to remain at school for one year longer. They will be 1604 kicking their heels for another year and all the time the local authority, already over-burdened with rates, will have to bear an extra burden in order to suit the wishes of certain Members of Parliament or of certain political thought in this country. That political thought may be right—I do not argue that it is wrong, because there may be a lot to be said for it—but I do say that it is a waste of money to insist upon its being put into operation on the 1st April next, unless the Government are perfectly sure that not only in London, where I believe there is a difficulty, but in the industrial centres and the rural centres they will be ready for the Act. So far as the rural population is concerned, the Government must be sure that the rural children will receive the benefit that the Government desire to confer upon them.
Many county councils are already holding back schemes on account of expense, and they are not ready for this increased expenditure. I was very anxious, so far as my own county council was concerned, to find out exactly what extra financial burden the proposals in this Bill would pass on to the ratepayers in my Division, and I find that if the Government insist on putting the Act into operation on the 1st April next, whatever the cost may be in my Division, there will be no benefit for those to whom the Act is supposed to apply. The children will not receive benefit, the parents and the ratepayers will not receive value for the money which they are called upon to spend. I am informed authoritatively that in my Division the cost to the local rating authority as a result of the passing of the Act will be an increased expenditure of £12,782, which means an addition to the local education rate of 1s. 3½d. in the pound. We positively cannot stand that at the moment, and certainly we cannot stand it unless we are definitely assured that we are going to get real value for the money. In my Division there will be an educational rate of 5s. in the pound levied upon the small urban authorities, very largely concerned with the ordinary working man who will be called upon to pay for this increased expenditure for educational purposes, because agricultural land does not pay any local rates. Seeing that the local rates are to be called upon to find £2,000,000, and may be very much more, 1605 to meet this new expenditure, and considering the educational facilities that exist, I think the President of the Board of Education ought seriously to consider postponing the operation of the Act for a period of years until we can better afford it.
If we had no means of increasing the facilities for education there would be a stronger case for forcing this Measure through at the present time, but the truth is that any county council that desires to do so can take advantage of the Act of 1918. It is surprising that very few of them have taken advantage of that Act, not because they are not as keen for educational facilities as any Member of this House, but because there is a distinct difference between the type of education desired for the agricultural worker's child and the child in the industrial centres. The education being distinctly different, the rural local authorities have hesitated before putting into operation what they could have done under the Act of 1918 and raising the school age to 15. Seeing that the facilities exist and could be put into operation if so desired, I suggest that the right hon. Gentleman should hold this matter up until the country can better afford it. He would then get almost unanimous opinion in this House in favour of the proposal. Certainly there would he a very large measure of support for raising the school age if the country could afford it. Certain hon. Members on these benches have pledged themselves to the raising of the school age, but I say that we cannot afford this particular Measure at the present time, and that in order to get the unanimous support of at least two parties in the House, and in order to allow the local authorities time to provide the facilities so that the children of the ratepayers might receive the benefit for which the ratepayers are paying, it would be a good thing to postpone the proposal for a few years.
There is one more thing I want to say. We are introducing a, system of maintenance and it has already been suggested during the debate that industrial centres ought to have a larger maintenance grant than agricultural areas. My contention is that the agricultural worker, if any maintenance grants are going to be made, is in need, absolutely, of as high a grant as any other worker 1606 in any part of the country. As far as the industrial centres are concerned and also the unemployed portion of the population an insured contributor with four children can receive by way of insurance benefit to which he is absolutely entitled £1 14s. per week, plus 5s. for each child. The agricultural worker, who is called upon to work six days in the week, and who has four children will get 30s. or 32s. per week or 34s. per week at the most, plus the 5s. for his children. [HON. MEMBERS: "Shame!"] I know it is a shame and if hon. Members opposite will work for better conditions for the agricultural worker I shall not oppose it. I see a positive danger in the introduction of a flat rate maintenance grant for all children irrespective of the financial position of their parents, and I hope the President of the Board of Education will give serious consideration to the question as to whether it is policy to press this matter forward at this moment and give the Committee an assurance that the Bill will not come into operation on the 1st of April next but shall be postponed to a later period. If he could give that undertaking much of my opposition is gone, and I should be pleased to support the proposals.
§ Mr. MATTERS
The hon. Member for Holland-with-Boston (Mr. Blindell) has told the Committee that this Money Resolution should not be accepted because the country cannot afford the expense. I would remind him that his distinguished leader the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) is the author of the statement that this country can afford what it wills strongly enough to get. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, Greenwood!"] At any rate, the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs endorsed that statement. The main grounds upon which the hon. Member opposed this Resolution is an echo of the grounds advanced by the right hon. and learned Member for Span Valley (Sir J. Simon), who, in a speech which I must say with all respect seemed rather mean spirited, pointed out that we were adding grievously to the burden of expenditure. I do not want to take up much time of the Committee this evening, but I say that if this does add to the burden of expenditure, there are ways in which the scales of revenue and expenditure can be easily edjusted. We are already paying 1607 annually a stun of about £160,000 to educational institutions in support of the officers' training corps.
The point has been made that these maintenance grants are to be given without a strict inquisitorial investigation as to means, and I would remind the Committee that there is no inquisitorial inquiry into the means of those who are benefiting, or said to be benefiting, by this expenditure of £160,000 towards the officers' training corps. That money, with the consent of hon. and right hon. Members opposite, is annually voted to these institutions, in which we are told that the annual average cost of educating a boy may range between £250 and £500. No inquiry at all is made as to means in this respect, and if it is good enough to add annually £160,000 to the national expenditure on that basis, not for aiding the attainment of education on the part of the scholars, but rather to inculcate in them a blood lust, we may very well press for this expenditure. If hon. Members opposite want economy, I hope the hon. Member for Holland-with-Boston will join with me and others next year when the Votes of Supply come up. There are plenty of sources for redressing the scales. If the balance of expenditure so frightens hon. Members opposite, they can join with us in redressing that balance, and they would find other Votes for the Army and Navy Forces out of which we can easily save more money than is being spent here.
§ Sir CHARLES OMAN
I suppose that a person who has been engaged in teaching from the age of 23 to the age of 70, and who is teaching hard still, may be allowed to have some views on education; and, indeed, he would be a very dull person if he had not some views on the matter after that period of teaching. I am going to make just one point which I think has not been sufficiently gone into during the debate. I am not going into generalities. I will not say that this is an attempt by a Government under notice to quit to leave such a bill to their successors as cannot be paid. I will not say that of all the times that could be chosen, a time of falling incomes, falling exports and rising taxes, hardly seems the most appropriate time to add £8,000,000 a year to the expendi-of the realm. Those are more general 1608 points. The point I am going to make is purely an intellectual one. Every sensible man knows that just as no two men are equal so also no two children are equal. It is impossible to legislate by classes just as it is impossible to legislate by class status. This is an attempt to legislate by the hard rule of age. Children of 14 years of age differ enormously from each other. Some of them are perfectly capable of higher education; some of them will ascend the ladder to which the hon. Member alluded, and some really are intellectually incapable of doing so. I cannot see any use in thrusting into upper classes children who are intellectually incapable of getting out of the lower classes.
Many children of 14 years of age are intellectually incapable of any further training. That is not confined to the primary schools. It may be news to some hon. Members opposite to know that in our public schools boys of all classes have to be sent away because they cannot get out of the junior division. There is the case of one of the most important persons in the realm who was sent away from a public school because he could not get out of the junior division at the age of 14. That is true of all classes of society. There are great numbers who after 14 years of age will get no further benefits from education. Therefore, what is the use of sending them up to be stuffed with information which they will not be able to assimilate and weary the hearts of their teachers. There ought always to be selection and classification. Bright children should have every possible opportunity placed before them. The ladder is for them, but, unfortunately, it is impossible for everyone to attain to the highest things. It is as impossible as that which the ideal and benevolent monarch in the play of Gilbert wished to do—promote everybody to the top of the tree. You cannot do that. However educated the Members of this House may be, even on the opposite side, they cannot all become Prime Ministers. It is a mistake to treat all children simply on the age basis. If this Bill gave further facilities for the brighter children, I should have a great deal less objection to it, but when it attempts to ram into all the children one more year's 1609 education, I think it is a hopeless and an unncessary expenditure of money. It is not all the children who will profit by it, and there should be differentiation in schools as everywhere else. This idea of ramming everybody with the same amount of education, as if education were a sort of panacea which could be absorbed by everybody, is really believed in by nobody except a certain number of very fanatical schoolmasters who would like to educate everybody all their lives, with continuation schools for grandparents. For that I should have all sympathy, but I should not believe in it. Therefore, in view of the enormous amount of money which will be wasted under the Bill, I must vote against it.
§ Mr. HAYCOCK
There are one or two points made by the last speaker with which I should like to deal. He is concerned about the bright scholars, and so am I. Most of us are bright about some things and stupid about others. If we were to take the trouble to find out what our interests were and what our aptitudes were, we should find that there were very few people who were not capable of taking more education. If a person is riot quite so bright, that is all the more reason why he should receive extra education. People who are very bright will be able to do without it, but people who are not so bright will need it. We know that there are children who are intellectually incapable. There are people intellectually incapable who often go to our ancient universities. I can understand that there are numbers of people who have had money wasted on their education. There are some people in this House who would have been almost better if they had left school at the age of five. I do not intend to mention names. I have no doubt that hon. Members opposite, if they bring into this world people who are pathologically and educationally unfit, will do their utmost to give them an education; they will not ask that their own hard-faced philosophy should be carried out, but they will give their own children an education.
I am convinced that most people could take advantage of more education if they took the trouble to find out what they were fitted for. Going into retrospect, I know that I hated Latin, French and other languages, but I always scraped through by the skin of my teeth. 1610 At the same time I did like science, physics and chemistry. The big thing is to find out what people are actually interested in. Then you find out there are not so many dull people as you think. I want education to develop these interests, and all that there is an personality—not to be able to make more money or guarantee an income. I want the really big things of life—and there are very big things—for the ordinary people. There is such a thing as a development of the intellect which makes it impossible for a. person to enjoy the wonderful heritage of the ages. When we think of it there is wonderful wealth for everyone if only we could take advantage of it, and so few can! If any Member of Parliament were to tell me that I was to be deprived of butter and live by bread alone, I should be frightened, but if he told me I was to be deprived of education and must say goodbye to the power of being able to commune with the great spirits of the present and the past, I should be more frightened. I want education, not that we may merely fill our stomachs and have greater capacity for earning incomes, but so that we may all be able to enjoy the bigger and higher things of life, and to be truly the inheritors of the great thoughts of the great men of all ages in the world. That is my answer to the advocacy that only people of a certain type should be educated.
Now I want to go into the suggestion that we are not able to afford it. The hon. Member for Holland with Boston (Mr. Blindell) tells us that it would cost them £12,000. I am not frightened at £12,000.
§ Mr. HAYCOCK
I have not got to pay it. Then it is said that we cannot afford it, and though we may like an extra amount of education, this is not the time. It never was the time. This is not the first occasion on which we have had that kind of argument. I would remind hon. Members opposite that last year they objected because we were not finding room in our overcrowded agenda for educational reform and advancement. Now that we have done what they were urging us to do, we might have hoped for a little more encouragement. It is said that this is not the time, and that 1611 we should wait a year or even a few years. There have been many debates on education in this House, and I do not suppose there has ever been a debate when it has not been a case of this year, next year, sometime, never. This kind of Bill has always received precisely the same kind of opposition as it is receiving to-day. Now we are told we cannot afford it, that it is an extra pleasure which we cannot afford. In the County of Lincolnshire, according to my hon. Friend opposite, it will cost £12,000. There are people in this country who spend as much as that each year on their motor cars and their race-horses and their trips to Monte Carlo, and even on the cost of one race-horse. Does the hon. Member mean to say that the county of Lincolnshire is going to jib at £12,000?
§ Mr. BLINDELL
It is going to jib at an extra 1s. 3d. rate when it is not going to get value for money.
§ Mr. HAYCOCK
And I say that the people who run the county of Lincolnshire have an excellent record in jibbing when there is any extra expenditure on education.
§ Mr. HAYCOCK
Our hon. Friend—I am not quarrelling with him—suggested that he would love to have the extra advantages, but that we have to out our coat according to our cloth and we cannot afford this expenditure. One hon. Member said that the total cost would be £8,000,000 a year. I am surprised that an hon. Member from a university who has had all the advantages of higher education has not a greater appreciation of mathematics, but I believe he comes from Oxford and not Cambridge. What is £8,000,000? The income of this country, even in these hard times, is over £4,000,000,000. The hon. Member for Holland (Mr. Blindell) agrees that this is a good Measure.
§ Mr. HAYCOCK
Then I gave the hon. Member credit for something that he did not deserve. I thought he was a better man than he is. I am merely saying that this country at the moment has an in- 1612 come of £4,000,000,000, and that quite easily we could have an income of £8,000,000,000. The whole of the argument opposite is that we cannot afford this Bill. What cannot we afford? Let us come down to brass tacks. All that this will mean will be that masters and teachers will have a call upon wealth and upon the products of labour. If we are poor then we should have no unemployment problem. If we are poor everyone should be working. We are told this is a wonderfully good Measure, but that £8,000,000 is much too much now. I believe that much too long this country has deprived the children of the poor of the opportunity of education.
We still celebrate the 11th November, years after the War. A country that can still spend £100,000,000 in providing equipment to blow brains out of people ought to be able to find £8,000,000 to develop brains in people. There is no shortage of wealth, The rich are growing richer because of the increase in the value of money. People who to-day receive £10,000 a year out of rent or interest as settled income are considerably more than twice as well off as they were in 1920. I am ashamed of those opposite who, in thinking of the education of their own children, would demand a square deal. If it were a question that we had really and truly to economise, and we all had to see our kids dragged out of school at 14, and if the better education of our children depended upon the passage of this Bill, not a solitary soul here to-night would vote against the Bill. How dare hon. Members demand for their children the right to enjoy higher education and the heritage of culture and intellectual wealth, and deny it to others? I know that in one sense hon. Members may be right. I can quite understand their not wanting a better education for the common people, for their lease of power depends upon the people's ignorance.
§ Mr. HAYCOCK
I am perfectly certain that I did not charge the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite with ignorance. I do not indulge in unnecessary charges. I do believe that this country can afford the Bill. I believe that by 1613 adding to the intellectual wealth of the country the Bill will be a good investment. I believe that the last thing this country can afford at the moment is ignorance. If we can find money for certain things we should be able to find money for other things. I remember when great promises were made. After the War there was to be a great brotherhood. We were to think in human terms and we were to give everyone a square deal. The bad old order was to be gone for ever. Recall the promises that were made to those who are now dead. Had we kept the War going for one more year and turned some more of Germany into a graveyard—at £8,500,000 per day—it would have cost over £150,000,000 in interest every year, but that money would have been found, even though it is nearly 20 times as much as this scheme will cost. And we would have kept the War going for one or two or three years more if necessary. I think we were going to keep it going to the last man and the last shilling, and I have often wondered who would have been the last man, and who would have owned the last shilling.
§ Mr. HAYCOCK
I may not be speaking to the point. I am merely pointing out how generous this nation can be when it is a question of wholesale massacre and of providing the sinews of war; how generous we can be when it is a question of blowing the brains out of other people, and how stingy we can be when it is a question of developing the brains in our own people.
§ Sir PATRICK FORD
Is the hon. Member in order in asking these irrelevant and hypothetical questions?
§ Mr. HAYCOCK
I would have finished some minutes ago were it not for interruptions, and I submit that I am in order in pointing out to hon. Members how they expend money like water for war and how they were prepared to keep the War going to the last man and, as I am reminded by an hon. Member beside me, to the last bad shilling. One 1614 more year of war would have cost 20 times as much in interest as this Bill will cost.
§ Mr. HAYCOCK
If I am repeating myself, I am not responsible for the repetition. For hon. Members opposite to suggest that we cannot afford this expenditure is to talk nonsense. I would ask hon. Members who talk in that way to tell me in what does our poverty consist at the moment? We are living in a world which is growing richer and richer and which is potentially enormously richer than it was. Our capitalistic troubles at the moment are due to the fact that we have too much of everything—too much cotton, wool, coal, iron, steel, wheat, rubber. Wherein is our poverty We are living in a scientific age and if we wanted to do so we could keep young people at school until the age of 15, 16, 17 or 18. It is simply not true to say that we cannot afford this expenditure to keep our children at school. We can afford to give our children this extra year at school which is so valuable. Any person who knows anything about education will agree that the years between 14 and 16 are those in which the child can get the greatest advantage out of education. That is the impressionable age. If we pass this Bill we shall have done something to make Britain a, happier place and I hope that those members of the Liberal party who have told the world how seriously they regard the cause of education, will be found in the right Lobby to-night.
§ Mr. CAMPBELL
I wish to bring the Committee back to the necessities of the case. We have had a very long speech from the hon. Member for West Salford (Mr. Haycock). I do not know if it interested everybody, but I do not think it was very much to the point as regards the subject before the Committee. I should like the Committee to address themselves to this question, as a meeting of shareholders would address themselves to any scheme submitted to them. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] Hon. Members opposite do not seem to realise that the taxpayers of this country are shareholders in the country and are very much interested in the expenditure of the 1615 country, and it is our duty here to see that, if money is expended, it is expended so that we get the best value for it. A meeting of shareholders would first ask, "How much money is required?" According to the Minister he is not quite sure of the amount, but shareholders would want that information very definitely. [An HON. MEMBER: "The directors would not tell them."] That is exactly the case with the President of the Board of Education. The second question would be, "Is the accommodation in the schools all right?" The Minister in answer to that question would have to agree that it was not. I suppose that in 90 per cent. of cases the accommodation will not be ready for years.
§ Sir C. TREVELYAN indicated dissent.
§ Mr. CAMPBELL
I happen to have been for a number of years chairman on the London County Council's Accommodation and Attendance Committee and it was my duty to find out something about the accommodation and attendance in the schools. Only yesterday I was speaking in Bromley, my constituency, about the question of accommodation and I was told there, that this Measure would be useless for several years. Then the shareholders would say, "You do not know how much money you want, and the accommodation is not complete, but how about the teachers?" There again there is not a sufficient number, even under the present organisation. Another thing to be asked would be about the organisation and the curriculum of the schools, and both of these, I suggest, are incomplete. Last, but not least, one would be asked, "When is the Bill to come in?" and when I told them the Bill was to come in on the 1st April, that would give the whole show away. I consider, that, from a business point of view, this Bill has no right whatever to go through to-night. It is ill-conceived, and what we call, in business terms, a half-baked scheme. It is put forward merely for political purposes, and it is absolutely certain—and I speak with a certain amount of knowledge of the question—that if this Resolution is passed and the Bill becomes law, it cannot possibly go through as it should go through by the 1st April, 1931. Unless this is delayed for three, four or five years, the whole thing will be chaos. 1616 In the schools which are at present in existence, the upper classes will be disorganised—
§ Mr. CAMPBELL
I happen to know a little bit about education and to be interested in the children themselves, and I can assure the Committee that the children for whom the Bill is intended will not profit by the great amount of money which is being voted. The last speaker said that there was plenty of money in the country at the present time and that we could well afford this or any other amount. I entirely disagree. The country is being held up, and the great amount of unemployment is due to the fact that there is over-taxation. We want to reduce taxation so that the money can go into the trade and commerce of the country, which will be the only way in which this terrible question of unemployment can be tackled. It is for that reason that I am strongly against this Money Resolution. I consider that it is not fair to the country to push through a Bill of this sort, which cannot benefit a soul if it is put into operation on the 1st April, 1931.
Duchess of ATHOLL
We have had a great variety of speeches on a subject which interests us all. I want, if I can in the short time at my disposal to-night, to try to put this question in some perspective. I want, first of all, to ask the Committee to look at it in its historical background, and in that connection I wish to emphasise what I do not think has been made clear before, namely, that the step which the Government are asking us to take is a step of a kind that no Government has before proposed. You may say that we have had the school age raised before. Yes, but you have never had it raised before without exemptions. If you look back on the history of the raising of the school age in this country, you will find that it has always been a dual process. There has been the raising of the age on the one hand, with power, on the other hand, given to local authorities to grant exemptions above a certain age, or on certain other conditions, such as so many attendances having been made in a year, and so on. So, by that gradual, dual process, pursued over many years, when the 1617 school age was raised the last time, in 1918, to 14, that age of 14 had become almost the universal school-leaving age throughout the country, and the age could be raised effectively to 14 without exemption being allowed below that age.
Then the further power was given to local authorities to raise the school age to 15 and to allow exemption above the age of 14. Twelve years have passed since that power was given, and, as we all know, only five out of our 317 local authorities in England and Wales have availed themselves of that power. If you ask haw many have exercised the power of exemption, you will find that the number of children leaving below the age of 15 is considerably greater than the number of children remaining up to that age. Therefore, the number of children who have been retained in school until the age of 15 in this country, after a 12 years' possibility of its becoming the general age, is a mere fraction of the total number of children in the schools; and the Government now come forward and ask us to make 15 the compulsory age all over the country, with no power of exemption whatsoever. [Horn. MEMBEERS "Hear, hear!"] I am quite aware that hon. Members opposite support the Government in that proposal, but I would ask them to realise that the Government are asking this country for the first time to take two steps at a time.
It is because two steps are being taken at once, I imagine, that the Government realise that they must also do something that has never been done before, and that is accompany the raising of the school age with almost universal maintenance allowances to the parents of the children affected. Again an unprecedented proposal is offered in these maintenance allowances. We have heard a certain amount to-day about scholarships for children in secondary schools. We have had brought before us the very regrettable case in which a parent's means did not enable him to send his child to a secondary school, even when a scholarship or a free place was won. We all regret cases of that kind, and nobody, I think, did more to reduce the number of likely cases of that kind than my right hon. Friend when he was President of the Board of Education; but do not let us confuse the case of the child who 1618 wins a scholarship in a secondary school, and who may or may not be able to take advantage of it, with the children covered by this Resolution.
This Financial Resolution, or this Bill if it passes, is not going to make it any easier for the gifted child who gets a scholarship to make use of it in a secondary school. It has nothing whatever to do with those children. It may be that in same parts of the country there are not enough secondary schools for all the children who are able to take advantage of what they have to offer, it may be that provision is not always available for children who are able to go to secondary schools, but do not let us mix that up with the question of the children who are under consideration in this Bill. They are not the children who are considered able to pass through the very difficult and complicated curriculum of the secondary school, and, if anything, the passage of this Resolution and this Bill, with the enormous expenditure which it will entail, is likely rather to restrict than increase free places in secondary schools.
I want to bring before the Committee the fact that maintenance allowances are being proposed for the first time independent of merit. There is nothing about merit in the proposals of the Bill which we are being asked to-night to finance. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education on Thursday last referred to a circular in regard to maintenance allowances which my right hon. Friend sent out just before he left the Board of Education. It is quite clear from the wording of that circular that the allowances were only to be given if children undertook to follow a suitable and progressive course of education. There was clearly retained the idea of merit, and the capacity to follow a suitable and definite course, which has been inherent in the granting of such maintenance allowances as have hitherto been granted in elementary schools. May I bring before the Committee on how very small a scale this granting of maintenance allowances in elementary schools has hitherto operated? The total amount spent on such allowances in the last financial year was no more than £57,000. The total number of awards made in the previous year was not more than 3,600. The Parliamentary Secretary the other day made a certain 1619 amount of play with the maintenance allowances in Carnarvonshire, where the age has been raised, and, when one follows up that hare, one finds that it is not a very big one after all, because, out of a total of 918 children concerned in Carnarvonshire, only 161 were drawing maintenance allowances, and the allowances that were being given were about half the average value of what is proposed in the Financial Resolution. So much for the historical background of the Government's proposal.
May I give the background of these proposals as regards foreign countries? A few foreign countries have raised the school age to 15. None of these countries has so low an age of entry as we have; therefore, these proposals give us a year longer of compulsory school attendance than any other European country. Again, in no country I believe is there so rigorous a law of school attendance as in this country. Here the child is supposed to attend on every day the school is open, which means 200 days in the year. Elsewhere a liberal system of exemptions will be found, and this means that school attendance presses very much less hardly on the home, particularly the home which is a small farm worked by a family, than is the case in this country. The Minister has been asked to give us information about maintenance allowances in elementary schools in foreign countries, and he has said that he was unable to give any information, from which I conclude that no such system obtains in any of the countries concerned. Therefore, when we look abroad to our foreign contemporaries, many of whom are our keen rivals in trade and industry, we find that it is proposed to give us a longer school life than they have without any power of exemption, and that none of them has initiated, as far as we know, a comparable system of maintenance allowances.
Now I come to the financial background against which this proposal for maintenance allowances must be judged. The school age has been raised before, but do we realise how much more costly it necessarily is to raise the school age to-day than on the last occasion on which the step forward was taken, namely, the year 1900, when the age was raised from 1620 13 to 14? To begin with, there are many more children in the schools to-day. That means many more children to be retained, and many more class-rooms and additional teachers. Then to-day we are endeavouring to keep dawn the large classes, and there has been a considerable raising of the standard in that respect since 30 years ago. That also means that it is a much costlier thing to raise the school age than in 1900. Thirty years ago there was a large mixture of uncertificated teachers in the teaching profession. Would the teachers to-day be satisfied if the raising of the school age meant flooding the profession with a lot of uncertificated teachers? Of course not. But that means that. it is a much costlier matter to raise the school age to-day in regard to staffing than it was 30 years ago. It is costlier for another reason, that we are not satisfied with the meagre salaries they received at that time. Therefore, it is a costlier matter to raise the school age than the last time the definite step forward was taken, because we are not satisfied to have this step carried out by a great increase in uncertificated teachers, and the problem of finding the necessary teachers and necessary training is a much more complicated one than on any previous occasion.
When we look at the Financial Memorandum of the Bill, we find what seems at first sight a comparatively modest figure of £2,500,000 as the cost of the proposed schools. To that has to be added the cost of maintenance allowances. The figures in the Financial Memorandum add up in the various years to an additional £7,000,000 or £9,000,000. The latter is the biggest figure we have heard given as the additional cost involved in these proposals. How many of us who have glibly quoted that figure, and discounted it as something quite insignificant, have remembered that the figures given by the Minister in the Financial Memorandum do not include the cost of reorganisation which is going on all over England and Wales—the reorganisation which is absolutely essential if the raising of the school age is to be of benefit to the vast majority of the children concerned? The Minister has been pressed to tell the House what he estimates the cost of that reorganisation to be, and he has said that it is impossible to give a figure. There- 1621 fore, it is impossible to give a complete or even an approximate idea of what is the cost involved in the great scheme of reorganisation, and the accompanying proposal for raising the school age, which is occupying the local authorities, and which so vitally concerns the education of the older children.
Having failed to extract from the Minister the cost of this reorganisation, I had to fall back on asking him what were the estimates of expenditure generally that the local authorities have presented to him for the years 1930–1933, and what additional expenditure, excluding maintenance allowances, these programmes provide for in those years. The reply given to me last week was that 218 authorities out of a total of 317 had sent in programmes showing estimated elementary expenditure of £5,250,000 over such expenditure for the current year; that is, an estimated increase of that amount which was to be reached by the year 1932–3. It has to be remembered that that is without maintenance allowances. That expenditure, of course, includes all the proposed expenditure of the local authorities on elementary education, and no doubt it includes additional nursery schools, of which we heard a day or so ago.
I was assured that this practically included the cost of raising the school age but, be it noted, that is an additional charge on elementary education alone, exclusive of the expenditure on maintenance allowances, for only a little over two-thirds of the authorities in England and Wales. To arrive at the additional cost of elementary education two years hence to all the authorities we must add about a quarter more, and that brings us to a figure of £6,500,000 more of possible expenditure on elementary education, exclusive of maintenance allowances. Of course, the Minister may say that local authorities are apt to inflate their estimates and put down figures larger than those they will reach, but I would ask him whether it is not the case that these programmes were sent in before he had dropped out the proposal for agreement with the voluntary schools? On the Second Reading of his Bill in the summer he was very frank as to the large additional expenditure that would be incurred if raising the school age were carried through without an agreement 1622 with the voluntary schools; and, therefore, it seems to me that the estimates of the local authorities may not be as excessive as, under other circumstances, they might possibly have been, because, so far as we know, the raising of the school age is to be carried out whether voluntary schools come in or not.
The expenditure on elementary education does not see the end of the additional expenditure involved. There is the expenditure on higher education. According to an answer given a day or two ago, we find that 96 out of 146 authorities for higher education, that is, four-sevenths of the total, estimate that their expenditure on higher elementary education two years hence will be £1,500,000 more than at present. If we add three-sevenths to that in order to bring in the remaining authorities, we get a total of £2,000,000. Again, according to another reply from the Minister, the average maintenance allowance in a secondary school to-day is only about half what he is proposing to give to elementary school children. I need hardly ask him whether he thinks he will be able to keep the children in secondary schools on a maintenance allowance which will be half that given to those in elementary schools. The expenditure on maintenance allowances in secondary schools is more than £500,000, and if that has to be doubled it means another £500,000 on to the additional £2,000,000. That means that we reach a total additional expenditure of £9,000,000 two years hence, excluding maintenance allowances. If we add maintenance allowances we get a total of £12,750,000 additional expenditure two years hence for England and Wales alone; and it must be remembered that there is another part of Great Britain, of which we have not heard to-day, which is vitally interested in this question, and that is the country to which I belong.
I extracted from the Secretary of State for Scotland last April a statement to the effect that he estimated the expenditure on raising the school age in Scotland at £1,500,000. I put a question the other day asking if he still adhered to that figure and he was unable to give me any reply, from which I presume that he regards that estimate of £1,500,000 as unreliable, and, no doubt, it is likely to be exceeded. The estimates in England have gone up since April, and no 1623 doubt they are going up in Scotland too, but even if we give him the benefit of the doubt and put the Scottish expenditure of £1,500,000, that will mean that two years hence we have the prospect of an estimated additional expenditure of no less than £14,250,000 over the estimated expenditure of the current year. By the year 1935 and 1936 that additional expenditure may have risen to £16,000,000. We know that the education authorities in Manchester and the West Riding have informed the President of the Board of Education that they cannot have their new schemes ready for a period of six years. We want to be quite clear about this expenditure, and we must realise that the figures in the Financial Memorandum form only a part of the picture. If we envisage the whole picture of educational expenditure, we must realise that a very much larger sum of money is involved in these proposals, not only to the ratepayer, but also to the taxpayer.
Several hon. Members, in the course of last week's debate, spoke about a national income of £4,000,000,000, and that figure was mentioned by the hon. Member for Salford (Mr. Haycock). We must not forget that the national income of £4,000,000,000 has to meet taxation amounting to some £700,000,000, and rate expenditure amounting to £179,000,000, and that means £875,000,000 or nearly one-fourth taken straight away. I need not remind the House or the Chancellor of the Exchequer that we are the highest taxed country in the world. Hon. Members opposite have laughed at the idea of taxation having any bearing on the question of education or upon the question of unemployment. No one has more clearly realised than the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in lucid intervals, the tremendous burden our taxation imposes on industry and the people employed by it. It has been asked what is £9,000,000 to a country which has a national income of £4,000,000,000? It may also be asked what is £16,000,000 spent on education in a country which has a national income so large as that I admit that wise expenditure on education is very useful, and it is one of the very best things on which you can spend money, but every nation has to cut its coat according to the cloth. [Interruption.] I am afraid there is far too much 1624 class consciousness shown in this matter. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] I am as anxious about the education of the working man's child as I am about any child I know.
I only want to say to hon. Gentlemen opposite that, although many of the better-to-do parents in this country are keenly anxious to give the best education possible to their children, and many make great sacrifices in order to do so, there are many to-day who are not able to give their children the education which them themselves received. Many men to-day, from various causes—it may be owing to taxation, or to their careers having been cut short in the defence forces through necessary reductions in those forces—find themselves in the most cruel difficulty in regard to the education of their children. If a man has been educated at a well-known school and is proud of his old school, if he has been to a university and is proud of his university, he wants to send his son there, or to send his daughter there if he can, and I know that there are many people, particularly among former officers of the defence forces, to whom it is a tremendous difficulty to give their children the same education that they themselves enjoyed. If the individual has to cut his coat according to his cloth, so must the nation. Neither individual nor nation can afford to disregard finance in this or any other matter.
The hon. Member for Motherwell (Mr. Barr) and others compared the expenditure on education with the expenditure on defence. That is a very favourite form of comparison with hon. Members opposite. If they will not accuse me of disrespect, I would almost say that that subject is like King Charles's head to them. But do they realise what our expenditure in this country on education is? An hon. Member on this side, who referred to it on Thursday, took only the Education Vote in this House, but that leaves all the rate expenditure out of account, and also leaves Scotland out of account. How many of us realise that in this financial year the expenditure on education of all kinds in England and Wales, including university grants, agricultural education, and all the different forms of education, is close upon £80,000,000?
Duchess of ATHOLL
I do not say that it is shocking; I give the figure because I have never heard it publicly mentioned before. A colleague of mine last week said that our education cost £45,000,000 and might in a year or two rise to £50,000,000, but it is costing to-day close on £80,000,000 in England and Wales, and it is costing over £13,000,000 in Scotland. That makes a total of £93,000,000, which is just a quarter of a million more than the total cost of the three defence forces, if you exclude £17,000,000 for the pensions which they carry on their Votes. The actual active defence of this country to-day, including the naval defence of the whole Empire, the defence of India, and our air defences is costing altogether a little less than the education of Great Britain. It is, therefore, clear that, if this Bill goes through, and the financial proposals of the Government are carried out, our Education Bill will be well over £100,000,000 by 1932–33. If my estimates are accurate, it will he in the neighbourhood of £105,000,000 or £106,000,000.
The President of the Board spoke of his Bill on Thursday as being a charter for the average child. If it is to be a charter for the average child, the average child will have to be taught with children of his own age, not mixed up with younger children, and he must have opportunities for practical instruction, which he too seldom has at present. I do not want to go into the question of the figures in regard to teachers; it would take too long; but I ventured in the summer severely to criticise the figures which the Minister had given on the Second Reading as to the sources from which he hoped to derive the 13,000 teachers that he said would be necessary in two or three years. I received little le or no reply to the criticisms that I made. The Minister said the other day that he was satisfied that his figures are correct, but, so far, he has only been able to produce figures regarding 1,800 additional teachers in raining. They are a substantial and solid foundation, but his other estimates still seem to me to he quite nebulous. Therefore I say that, unless you can give the average child the practical instruction he needs, and unless you can assure him a teacher for his own class, this Bill and this Resolution, instead of being a charter, may well prove a sentence of a year's imprisonment to him.
1626 I say, as one who is keenly interested in education, that it is a very great disservice to education to embark on any great programme of expenditure unless you are perfectly certain that you are going to get full value for your money. Even if you are certain that you are going to get very good value, education is so all round a service, and has so many needs, that, if you go too far and spend too much in one direction, you may well find it very difficult to get the money you need in other directions. I cannot help having very great fear as to the results that this expenditure may have, not only in regard to the popularity of education generally, but also in regard to the voting of money for other educational needs possibly more urgent than this proposal of the Government.
Coming to the maintenance allowances, the first thing to be said is that there is no finality about them. The Minister told the House in May that he had accepted the proposals made by the Committee of Local Education Authorities. They said inquiry into means was necessary. He now makes enquiry difficult if not impossible. They wished power to fix differential rates. He insists now on a flat rate. In the summer it was said that 5s. was to be the maximum. To-day it has become the standard. In the summer the Minister's proposals were to cover some 60 per cent. of the children in the schools. To-day, he believe they will cover some 75 per cent. All that shows how far he has moved in a few months along what is a very slippery slope. One cannot help feeling that it is a sort of proposal that opens up an endless vista of election pledges in the future, possibly of a very objectionable kind. Any proposals that involve payment to individuals are obviously open to grave abuse. The Trade Union Congress showed a very marked preference for the development of social services rathen than the system of payments to families.
On this side we view these proposals with grave anxiety, and I cannot help thinking that on other benches, too, many Members who are anxious to see the school age raised in such a way as to be a real educational advance, will feel very little sympathy with a proposal which has no finality and which offers a prospect of parties bidding against each other at future elections. There are others be- 1627 sides members of my own party who feel that character is the greatest asset in the nation, and that one of the greatest disasters that could happen would be any weakening of the sense of independence on which national character is based. We feel very strongly on the matter. We feel grave anxiety as to the possible effect of these proposals, and we shall go into the Lobby against them.
§ Sir C. TREVELYAN
There is one thing that the Noble Lady said during her speech the motive of saying which I did not quite understand. I did not know whether she meant that it was a reproach to us that when this Bill was passed we were going to be a nation with the longest period of education in the world or whether she was glad of it, but I am glad to know it. I do not want the House to go away with the assumption that we lead the world and that we are going to continue unconditionally to lead it because, as a matter of fact, our great commercial competitors, the Germans, are now going to raise their school age to 15 as well, so that it is about time we did it.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I must remind the Committee that there is a very short time left for the Minister to reply.
§ Sir C. TREVELYAN
The principal refrain of this debate has been that great expenditure has been thrust unexpectedly upon the nation. It is well that I should remind the Committee at once that this is no new proposal at all. The country has known for the last year and a-half that it was the policy of the Government, and that it was going to be passed, if possible.
§ Sir C. TREVELYAN
I say that it was known that the Government intended to do it. I must also remind the Committee that it was well before the country at the last General Election. This party never made any concealment about it. This party put the raising of the school age 1628 and maintenance allowances into its programme, and not only so, for it actually mentioned it twice in its election manifesto. But that is not all. I want again to remind the Committee of the position of the Liberal party. The Liberal party passed a Resolution at Yarmouth in October, 1928, just before the General Election which ran as follows:The elementary system should be reorganised by the provision for children of 11 and upwards of a greater variety of schools. The many difficulties attending the dual system of elementary schools must be overcome and the school-leaving age should, as soon as conditions permit, be raised to 15, with maintenance grants where necessary.I regret that we are not to have the advantage of the active support of the Liberal party, and I am, perhaps, justified in expecting something more than passive permission to go on. I should like to say a word or two about the speech delivered by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon). It was a speech of his usual supreme forensic skill, but it did not amount to more than one or two Committee points. He dealt with the declaration which is in the Bill regarding maintenance grants, and said that I have been very much impressed with the importance of not having an inquisitorial investigation. That is quite true. Then he went on to say that under the Bill there would he no inquiries, no questions would be asked, and that public money would go without inquiry. That is not how I see the process. There is to be a declaration signed by the citizen. How is that going to work? The right hon. Gentleman himself says that the average citizen will not make a dishonest return. There is, moreover, a stiff deterrent penalty. There is nothing to prevent a local education authority, if it likes, making inquiries, except that in 95 cases out of 100 it will be perfectly obvious whether the man is above or below the standard. Right hon. and hon. Members opposite may not approve of it, but that is one of the advantages of putting the standard high, because it brings in most of the workers. I reckon that it will bring in 75 per cent. of the workers. The agricultural labourers and almost all the miners will be in. The local education authority will not have any 1629 doubt in 95 cases out of 100 and will not need to inquire in 95 cases out of 100 because it would be useless. Therefore, the fact that it is fort going to be an inquisitorial inquiry is not proof that it is not going to be a correct one. In any case, I say to the right hon. Gentleman that whether my interpretation proves to be valid or not, it is in the main a Committee point.
The other point raised by the right hon. and learned Gentleman was that the time is wrong, that the date is too early. My belief is, and I have argued it to a certain extent already, that. I could make out a perfectly good case to the House that if we raise the school age at the date in the Bill we shall be sufficiently ready for it to give the children a far better time than if they are thrust out into industry. It is a thing which we can discuss in Committee and we can decide whether it is the right date or riot. I think I could thoroughly well justify it educationally, and I think that those who are so keen about doing something for unemployment ought also to be ready, unless they are absolutely convinced that it will be a disadvantage to the children, to support us in regard to the early date.
I do not believe that the Liberal party really is hostile to this Measure. I am not quite so certain about the party opposite. Although to-night they have been emphasising almost exclusively the question of finance, I have a certain amount of scepticism about this awful fear of bankruptcy, because they were just as much against this Bill when it was brought in last summer. They were not so impressed by the financial side of it then. They have roped in one convert, the hon. Member for the Scottish Universities (Mr. Buchan), and they have brought up in this debate their big financial guns, the right hon. and learned Member for Hillhead (Sir R. Horne), and the right hon. Member for Sevenoaks (Sir H. Young). The right hon. and learned Member for Hillhead said that however important education was it was imprudent to spend money at the present time; that we should hurt credit, trade and exports. Then came the word "ruin." I do not believe that the two sides of this House can be reconciled. [Interruption]. The thing that is in our minds is this, we are doing this ten years too late. For ten years no hon. Member 1630 would have dared to say that it was financially impossible. For the last ten years the children ought to have had this chance, and our people expected them to have this chance, and it is not good enough now to turn round and say that we cannot spend another £8,000,000, or whatever it is—[Interruption]—to do the thing which the nation is expecting us to do. The views of hon. Members and ourselves are different. They are different about education as well as about finance. The hon. Member for Grimsby (Mr. Womersley) who was rather interrupted by some of my hon. Friends, said that "your children can finish if they are clever enough." That is just it. It is not the clever children we are thinking of, it is the ordinary child. Already in many ways we do fairly well for the clever child, he gets some chance, and we are constantly giving maintenance grants, and rightly. No hon. Member opposite has complained about that. What we are doing to-day is to do the same thing for the average child; that is the big new thing we are doing by these proposals. We want children to get the advantages of education independent of merit; merit is to come up later.
It is said by the Opposition that we are giving doles and largesse. They say we could not do it without grants. What is the disgrace? The disgrace lies in the poverty of our people. [Interruption.] The disgrace lies in the fact that there are so many scores of thousands of families in our country where a few shillings for the child really matters. Therefore, we are not ashamed to say that the nation would be right in helping those families to keep their children at school and to be willing to do so. We have had a certain amount of discussion about those places where the school age has already been raised to 15, such as Plymouth and Carnarvon. There, although the age has been raised, there are exemptions given to thousands of children—something like one-half of the children. Who are those children? They are, on the whole, the poorer children who have to go to work. They do not less need education, and they ought to be in school just as much as those who do not need to work. We know from the experience that has already been gained from these four or five districts that if we grant exemptions, it will mean that half the poorer children will very likely go to work.
§ Sir C. TREVELYAN
Therefore, we say, in the interests of getting the great mass of children into school, that we are perfectly right as a nation in paying the maintenance grant. I believe that opinion on this side of the House is that if times are bad and unemployment is rife, that is all the more reason for keeping the children at school to give them a chance when the nation becomes prosperous. The one thing we can do in these times is to build up a generation which, when good times come, will be able fully to use the opportunities which are open to it.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
What is the fundamental difference between the sons of the well-to-do and the sons of the masses of the people? The children of the people have always been assets to the people; the children of the well-to-do have always been liabilities. I have always thought it a wonderful thing, when I have seen working men with large families and have seen the pride of the boy, as he grew up and knew the struggle that his parents had had in his earlier years, in bringing home some money. I think that that is a far higher aim than that of the son of the well-to-do, who lives on his father all his life. I do not want to lower the educational position of the working classes to that—shall I say?—of Harrow, or to that of those
§ who go on to the universities and in the vast majority of cases come out at 22 or 23 completely unemployable, except, as has been suggested, by a Labour Government. I have listened to-day to a great many members of the teaching profession, and all I can say is that I now understand why it is that the education of the masses of the people is a complete imposture—
Question put accordingly,
That, for the purposes of any Act of the present Session (hereinafter referred to as 'the said Act') to raise to fifteen years the age up to which parents are required to cause their children to receive efficient elementary instruction and to attend school, and to make provision for maintenance allowances in respect of children attending school up to that age who are over the age of fourteen years, it is expedient to authorise the payment out of moneys provided by Parliament of any sums by which the grants in aid of education payable by the Board of Education to local authorities, under section one hundred and eighteen of the Education Act, 1921 (as amended by any subsequent enactment), and the regulations made there-under are increased by reason of the provision under the said Act of maintenance allowances at the rate of five shillings a week.
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 271; Noes, 242.1635
|Division No. 6.]||AYES.||[11.1 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Bromley, J.||Dukes, C.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Brooke, W.||Duncan, Charles|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Brothers, M.||Ede, James Chuter|
|Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigie M.||Brown, C. W. E. (Notts. Mansfield)||Edge, Sir William|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro')||Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (South Ayrshire)||Edmunds, J. E.|
|Alpass, J. H.||Brown, W. J. (Wolverhampton, West)||Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)|
|Ammon, Charles George||Buchanan, G.||Egan, W. H.|
|Arnott, John||Burgess, F. G.||Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Unlver.)|
|Aske, Sir Robert||Burgin, Dr. E. L.||Forgan, Dr. Robert|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Buxton, C. R. (Yorks. W. R. Elland)||Freeman, Peter|
|Ayles, Walter||Caine, Derwent Hall-||Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)|
|Baker, John (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Cameron, A. G.||Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, N.)|
|Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley)||Cape, Thomas||Gibbins, Joseph|
|Barnes, Alfred John||Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S.W.)||Gibson, H. M. (Lancs, Mossley)|
|Barr, James||Charleton, H. C.||Gill, T. H.|
|Batey, Joseph||Chater, Daniel||Gillett, George M.|
|Bellamy, Albert||Church, Major A. G.||Gossling, A. G.|
|Benn, Rt. Hon. Wedgwood||Clarke, J. S.||Gould, F.|
|Bennett, Sir E. N. (Cardiff, Central)||Cluse, W. S.||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)|
|Bennett, William (Battersea, South)||Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)|
|Benson, G.||Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)|
|Bentham, Dr. Ethel||Compton, Joseph||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)|
|Birkett, W. Norman||Cove, William G.||Groves, Thomas E.|
|Bondfield, Rt. Hon. Margaret||Cowan, D. M.||Grundy, Thomas W.|
|Bowen, J. W.||Dagger, George||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Dalton, Hugh||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Broad, Francis Alfred||Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Hall, Capt. W. G. (Portsmouth, C.)|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Day, Harry||Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn)|
|Bromfield, William||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Harbord, A.|
|Hardie, George D.||Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)||Shield, George William|
|Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Mansfield, W.||Shillaker, J F.|
|Hastings, Dr. Somerville||March, S.||Shinwell, E.|
|Haycock, A. W.||Markham, S. F.||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Hayday, Arthur||Marley, J.||Simmons, C. J.|
|Hayes, John Henry||Marshall, Fred||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Mathers, George||Smith, Alfred (Sunderland)|
|Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.)||Matters, L. W.||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)||Maxton, James||Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)|
|Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)||Messer, Fred||Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley)|
|Herriotts, J.||Middleton, G.||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Hirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworth)||Mills, J. E.||Smith, Tom (Pontefract)|
|Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Milner, Major J.||Smith, W. R. (Norwich)|
|Hoffman, P. C.||Montague, Frederick||Snell, Harry|
|Hollins, A.||Morgan, Dr. H. B.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Hopkin, Daniel||Morley, Ralph||Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)|
|Horrabin, J. F.||Morrison, Herbert (Hackney, South)||Sorensen, R.|
|Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)||Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.)||Stamford, Thomas W.|
|Isaacs, George||Mort, D. L.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Moses, J. J. H.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|John, William (Rhondda, West)||Mosley, Lady C. (Stoke-on-Trent)||Strachey, E. J. St. Loe|
|Johnston, Thomas||Mosley, Sir Oswald (Smethwick)||Strauss, G. R.|
|Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Muff, G.||Sullivan, J.|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Murnin, Hugh||Sutton, J. E.|
|Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Naylor, T. E.||Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)|
|Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S.W.)|
|Jowitt, Sir W. A. (Preston)||Noel Baker, P. J.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Kelly, W. T.||Noel-Buxton, Baroness (Norfolk, N.)||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Kennedy, Thomas||Oldfield, J. R.||Tillett, Ben|
|Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Palin, John Henry||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Kirkwood, D.||Paling, Wilfrid||Toole, Joseph|
|Lang, Gordon||Palmer, E. T.||Tout, W. J.|
|Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Townend, A. E.|
|Lathan, G.||Perry, S. F.||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles|
|Law, Albert (Bolton)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Vaughan, D. J.|
|Law, A. (Rossendale)||Phillips, Dr. Marion||Viant, S. P.|
|Lawrence, Susan||Picton-Turbervill, Edith||Walkden, A. G.|
|Lawrie, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge)||Pole, Major D. G.||Wallace, H. W.|
|Lawson, John James||Potts, John S.||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)||Price, M. P.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Leach, W.||Quibell, D. J. K.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Lee, Frank (Derby, N.E.)||Rathbone, Eleanor||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern)||Raynes, W. R.||Welsh, James (Parsley)|
|Lees, J.||Richards, R.||Welsh, James C. (Coatbridge)|
|Lewis, T. (Southampton)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||West, F. R.|
|Lindley, Fred W.||Riley, Ben (Dewsbury)||Westwood, Joseph|
|Lloyd, C. Ellis||Riley, F. F. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)|
|Logan, David Gilbert||Ritson, J.||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Longbottom, A. W.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Longden, F.||Romeril, H. G.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Lovat-Fraser, J. A.||Rosbotham, D. S. T.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Lowth, Thomas||Rowson, Guy||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Lunn, William||Salter, Dr. Alfred||Wilson, J. (Oldham)|
|Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Samuel, H. Walter (Swansea, West)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Mac Donald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)||Sanders, W. S.||Winterton, G. E. (Leicester, Loughb'gh)|
|MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Sandham, E.||Wise, E. F.|
|McElwee, A.||Sawyer, G. F.||Wright, W. (Rutherglen)|
|McEntee, V. L.||Scrymgeour, E.||Young, R. S. (Islington, North)|
|McKinlay, A.||Scurr John|
|MacLaren, Andrew||Sexton, James||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)||Mr. William Whiteley and Mr.|
|MacNeill-Weir, L.||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis||Thurtle.|
|McShane, John James||Sherwood, G. H.|
|Ainsworth, Lieut.-Col. Charles||Berry, Sir George||Burton, Colonel H. W.|
|Albery, Irving James||Betterton, Sir Henry B.||Butler, R. A.|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l., W.)||Bevan, S. J. (Holborn)||Butt, Sir Alfred|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir William (Armagh)||Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward|
|Allen, W. E. D. (Belfast, W.)||Bird, Ernest Roy||Campbell, E. T.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Boothby, R. J. G.||Carver, Major W. H.|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J.(Kent, Dover)||Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Castle Stewart, Earl of|
|Astor, Viscountess||Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Cautley, Sir Henry S.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W.||Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)|
|Atkinson, C.||Boyce, H. L.||Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)|
|Baillie-Hamilton, Hon. Charles W.||Bracken, B.||Cazalet, Captain Victor A.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley (Bewdley)||Brass, Captain Sir William||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Briscoe, Richard George||Chadwick, Capt. Sir Robert Burton|
|Balfour, Captain H. H. (I. of Thanet)||Brown, Col. D. C. (N?th?l?d., Hexham)||Chamberlain Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.)|
|Balniel, Lord||Brown, Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks,Newb?y)||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Buchan, John||Chapman, Sir S.|
|Beaumont, M. W.||Buckingham, Sir H.||Christle, J. A.|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon||Bullock, Captain Malcolm||Cobb, Sir Cyril|
|Cockerill, Brig,-General Sir George||Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.||Remer, John R.|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Rentoul, Sir Gervals S.|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Reynolds, Col. Sir James|
|Colville, Major D. J.||Hurd, Percy A.||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch't'sy)|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Hutchison, Maj.-Gen. Sir R.||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Iveagh, Countess of||Ross, Major Ronald D.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord C.||Kindersley, Major G. M.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C.||Kinley, J.||Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Knox, Sir Alfred||Salmon, Major I.|
|Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)||Lamb. Sir J. Q.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Cunliffe-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George (S. Molton)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart|
|Dairymple-White, Lt.-Col. Sir Godfrey||Law, Sir Alfred (Derby, High Peak)||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)||Savery, S. S.|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Lewis, Oswald (Colchester)||Simms, Major-General J.|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Little, Dr. E. Graham||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Llewellin, Major J. J.||Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's U., Belfast)|
|Dixey, A. C.||Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. Godfrey||Skelton, A. N.|
|Duckworth, G. A. V.||Locker-Lampson, Com. O.(Handsw'th)||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Dugdale, Capt. T. L.||Lockwood, Captain J. H.||Smith, R. W.(Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Eden, Captain Anthony||Long, Major Hon. Eric||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Lymington, Viscount||Smithers, Waldron|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||McConnell, Sir Joseph||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Macdonald, Sir M. (Inverness)||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Ferguson, Sir John||Macquisten, F. A.||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Fermoy, Lord||Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Fielden, E. B.||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Stanley, Maj. Hon. O. (W'morland)|
|Ford, Sir P. J.||Margesson, Captain H. D.||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Marjoribanks, Edward||Stewart, W. J. (Belfast South)|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Mason, Colonel Glyn K.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Galbraith, J. F. W.||Meller, R. J.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral M. F.|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Millar, J. D.||Tinne, J. A.|
|Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Gibson, C. G. (Pudsey & Otley)||Mitchell-Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W.||Todd, Capt. A. J.|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Mond, Hon. Henry||Train, J.|
|Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Moore, Sir Newton J. (Richmond)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Gower, Sir Robert||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Grace, John||Morden, Col. W. Grant||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester)||Wallace, Capt. D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert|
|Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Muirhead, A. J.||Wardlaw-Milne, J. S.|
|Greene, W. P. Crawford||Nelson, Sir Frank||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Gritten, W. G. Howard||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G.(Ptrsf'ld)||Wells, Sydney R.|
|Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||O'Connor, T. J.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut,-Colonel George|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||O'Neill, Sir H.||Withers, Sir John James|
|Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Hammersley, S. S.||Peake, Captain Osbert||Womersley, W. J.|
|Hanbury, C.||Penny, Sir George||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Hartington, Marquess of||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Pilditch, Sir Philip|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Pownall, Sir Assheton||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Herbert, Sir Dennis (Hertford)||Preston, Sir Walter Rueben||Commander Sir B. Eyres Monsell|
|Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Ramsbotham, H.||and Sir Frederick Thomson.|
|Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Rawson, Sir Cooper|
Question, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution," put, and agreed to.
§ Resolution to be reported upon Thursday.