§ Question again proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."
§ Mr. McSHANE
After the dulcet notes of the hon. Member for Leith (Mr. E. Brown) I hesitate to interpolate my somewhat raucous voice. We were all delighted at the manner in which the hon. Member showed his paces to the mediocre Front Bench to which the hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) referred. The hon. Member for Leith complains that some of my hon. Friends here are raising the question of why an estimate of 3,000,000 has been taken as the basis of this Resolution. The action which they are taking here is the action which they took when they were on the other side of the House. Under the same Chancellor of the Exchequer and the same Treasury last year a relatively small number of unemployed, was taken as the basis of the Financial Resolution in order to reduce the amount that was to be given to the unemployed. For precisely a similar reason, in order to handicap the unemployed and in order 1413 to attempt to justify a reduction in the amount of benefit, the same Chancellor of the Exchequer and the same Treasury whom the hon. Member for Leith is supporting, are taking this figure.
I wish to ask the Minister in charge what is going to happen in circumstances like these: We were told to our anger on Friday about Four o'clock that a large number of men are going to be turned off the Exchanges on to the public assistance committees, and that the time from which the period of 26 weeks is to be reckoned, is to be retrospectively dated. When large numbers of men are turned over to the public assistance committees, does he expect the members of those committees to put in days of overtime dealing with the new cases of transitional benefit, in addition to the cases usually brought before them? Is it proposed to do this at the expense of the clerks of the Employment Exchanges? If those cases are turned off on the transitional benefit grounds to the public assistance committees, it will need far fewer people in the Employment Exchanges to deal with them. All that will be needed later on in respect of payments for them, because the sums will be computed for them, will be one or two who will be authorised to pay out the sums required.
It follows that this vast amount of administrative work is going to be taken off the expert shoulders of the men and women in the Exchanges, and thrown on the voluntary work, already severe enough, of the men and women who serve on the public assistance committees. If that is the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman, I warn him that there is a, very large number of those men and women on the public assistance committees who will not undertake that extra burden. It is not fair or right to expect that they should be shouldered with such an excessive burden. That is not at some time in the dim and distant future but within the next month or so, according to the retrospective legislation of the right hon. Gentleman.
I warn him that if he attempts to throw this work upon the shoulders of the already burdened councillors on the public assistance and other committees, he will be breaking down the local administrative machinery. It may be a cheap way 1414 of doing it, but on behalf of some to whom I have already spoken about this matter, I can tell him that they will he very chary of undertaking that burden. I want the right hon. Gentleman to assure us that there is some other way out of this than what he has suggested. I hope it does not, mean that we shall throw men and women out of the Employment Exchanges on to unemployment benefit themselves while this work is supposed to be done voluntarily by the already over-burdened public assistance committees.
There is another question that I want to ask. As we know the legislation that has been passed to-night and the events that have happened since last Friday alone have in themselves in advance effected a cut in unemployment benefit, and I want to ask whether in those circumstances he can say that the Government are not, proposing to impose the cut that was proposed in the Economy Bill or whether there is going to be any mitigation of the proposed 10 per cent. cut. I cannot see how this House can tolerate such a state of affairs as that, because of certain demands made from the branches of the military Services, from the teachers and from the police, they have been partly met—mainly, in the case of the teachers, on account of the splendid pressure they brought to bear on the Members of this. House, on which I congratulate them—and that the most wretched section of the community, economically speaking, who will feel more than any other the legislation that has been passed to-night and the circumstances that caused it., should not have their proposed cut mitigated. It would be a shame if this House had not the decency to demand that some mitigation of the proposed cut of 10 per cent. on the unemployment, benefit should be made.
§ Mr. EDE
In the closing minutes of his speech on Friday, the Minister of Labour made a revelation that came as a complete surprise to every Member of the House except those sitting on the Government Bench. Even now I am hopeful that we misunderstood what he said. I gathered that he told us that any person who had, during the current benefit year, received 26 weeks or more benefit, will from the moment the Order-in-Council becomes operative, have to go 1415 in front of a public assistance committee to be subjected to a means test; and that, if a person at the time the Order-in-Council becomes operative has had 20 weeks during that benefit year, at the expiry of a further six weeks he will be referred to the public assistance committee for a means test. If I misunderstood the hon. Gentleman, I shall be willing for him to get up and say so, but I have read carefully what he said, and I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that that is what he means. I can only imagine that right hon. Gentlemen and hon. Gentlemen opposite have forgotten all the speeches that they ever made about retrospective legislation. There you are applying this Measure retrospectively to the most wretched people in the country, and it is almost unbelievable that this Government, which has done so many unbelievable things, should have descended to this infamy. It is an infamy that decent, respectable people, who through no fault of their own, have been kept in unemployment because of the Gold Standard, are to undergo the appalling degradation of a means test before a public assistance committee. There you have people who have spent all their lives trying to avoid the Poor Law and all that it means to them, and they have been selected to be plunged into this position. I cannot think, in view of what has happened in this country during the past few weeks, that the Government can imagine that they will get away with a thing like that without being faced with the gravest possible disorder and unrest in the great industrial centres of the country. I say, frankly, that in a constituency like mine, with 14,000 unemployed, many of whom have been unemployed for six, seven and eight years continuously, you will not be able to get the public assistance committees to function. I appeal to the Government even at this late hour to reconsider their decision in this matter.
I would like to refer to the speech of the hon. Member for Leith (Mr. E. Brown) which we only partly heard. It was not his fault because of the interruptions, but if he had had some practice on Epsom Downs instead of in Baptist pulpits, he would have been able to shout them down. He spoke of people running away, but he forgot his own his- 1416 tory. He was caught by the blizzard running away from one party, not quite sure which way he was running. At any rate, we did retreat in good order. I sympathise with the hon. Member when he sits there and sees people in front of him in the place where he might have been. The parties opposite have enough discomforts without their being publicly advertised, as they are from time to time. The greatest of their discomforts will come when they try to enforce these cuts on the unemployed after the miserable surrenders they have made to everybody else.
§ The MINISTER of LABOUR (Sir Henry Betterton)
I think it will be for the convenience of the House if I reply at once to the point just put to me with regard to the 26 weeks. I do not propose to repeat the statement I made on Friday. I want to point out, however, that it is our fixed determination that borrowing shall stop, and that being so, it is quite clear from the reports of every body which has investigated the subject, that the fund must be protected. Both the Royal Commission and the May Committee recommended that it should be protected in the way we propose regarding the 26 weeks. If the hon. Gentleman had read the report of the Royal Commission he could not have said that the proposal came to him as a surprise. They said:Hence, given the present easy qualifying contribution condition, as to which we suggest no change, we think it would be reasonable to restrict the payment of insurance benefit to 26 weeks in a period of twelve months following the application.That is, the application at the beginning of the year.This period of benefit will cover the ordinary short-term unemployment which, even in these days, constitutes the great bulk of unemployment. About six-sevenths of those now in receipt of insurance benefit would be unaffected by this limit; the remainder would be transferred to transitional benefit and we later deal with their position.The hon. Member will see that it is clearly pointed out that the cases in his own constituency to which he refers, where men have been out of work two, three or four years, are not concerned in this point. It applies only to those men who will be transferred to transitional benefit in consequence of the application of the 26 weeks' rule. May I say 1417 one further thing which I think will relieve the hon. Member and his Friends of some of their doubts? At first there will, of course, be a great number of claims to be examined by the public assistance committees, and the first of those claims to be reported upon will be those of persons at present on transitional benefit. Then will come the examination of the claims of those persons referred to transitional benefit by reason of the application of this rule. As a matter of practice, it will be administratively impossible to deal in the crowded areas for certainly some weeks —it may be three, four or five, in some cases—with the class of persons to whom he referred in his speech, but, as I say, we shall insist on the recommendation referred to.
§ Mr. McSHANE
In the lists of able-bodied persons in receipt of poor relief are a number of persons who, in the past, have been thrown off insurance benefit through having exhausted their transitional benefit. Am I to understand that those who at present are getting a certain scale of relief as able-bodied persons are now to come under this needs test in the same way as those who at the moment are on transitional benefit but will be thrown off it by this legislation?
§ Sir H. BETTERTON
If they are able-bodied and they are getting relief now, of course they have been subjected to a need test.
§ Mr. McSHANE
So it means that it is not only those who arc now on transitional benefit but actually the men on poor relief—some of them men of 64, 63 or 60—who are to be subject to this means test?
§ Dr. ADDISON
I have listened very carefully to the explanation which has just been given by the Minister of Labour, and all I wish to say is that I am opposed to dealing with this question through the public assistance committees. I hope that we, on this side of the House, will content ourselves by recording our objection and voting against this proposal.
§ Mr. J. JONES
I have listened to the answer which has been given to the criticisms made from this side of the 1418 House, but I am more concerned about what is going to happen to the local authorities who will have to carry the burden which will be transferred to them under these proposals. The Chairman of the Finance Committee of the London County Council has estimated that the changes now proposed will cost in giving assistance to those who will be thrown off the unemployment register a sum equal to a rate of 6d. in the pound. In West Ham alone we shall be saddled with an extra rate of 2d. in the pound for the same purpose. I suppose this proposal is intended to save the pound sterling to those who have it, hut there are very few in my constituency who possess one pound. The means test is going to be applied to these poor people, and, if the local authorities do not do what they are told to do by the Minister of Health, they know what will be their fate—they will have a commissioner sent back again to administer the Poor Law. What will be the position of local authorities all over the country under these proposals? The effect will be that you will simply shift the burden off the State and place it on the local areas. The only effect of that policy will be to make the burden heavier and the problem worse. This is a very clever move or the part of right hon. Gentlemen opposite who have had no experience in dealing with these questions from a local point of view. These poor people come before the guardians and tell their story, and then the official investigator is sent round to ascertain their means. I am afraid that the Government will have to appoint a large number of investigators to discover the truth. Will the Government do anything to meet the expense of these investigators? It will be the same old story—the poor will have to suffer. The twistings and turnings of the Government is only part of the problem, and, after all this jugglery with policy and finance, the real problem will still remain to be solved.
We ask that this problem should be dealt with as a national problem. We have fought for the right to work or maintenance on a decent basis, and I come from the district where the fight was first started. Now we are told that we all agree—with a difference; that we do not think the workers ought to have a decent standard, but should be cut down to the 1419 lowest possible, to such a standard of maintenance that they will be glad to offer themselves for any kind of job at any kind of price, and their wages will be brought down side by side with the relief that we may be able to give them in times of industrial necessity. We protest, on behalf of the districts we represent, at their being called upon to bear this extra burden. We have tried as far as we could to discover what it is going to be, and we estimate that it will mean at least 2d. in the £ so far as the unemployed are concerned, and in other cases it will mean more. The cutting down of all our other public services is going to increase the number of people coming for public assistance. This is false economy; it is simply trying to make the people taller by cutting six or seven inches off their legs. We ask for a fair answer to a fair question: How is the economising going to be done? It can only be done by robbing those who cannot afford to be robbed, and adding to the banking accounts of those who have already more than they know what to do with.
§ Mr. SIMMONS
I hope that the Government are going to give an answer as to how this will affect the public assistance committees, for, to those who are connected with local government, this is a serious matter. On the public assistance committees there are many Labour representatives, who have to lose their wages for the time which their attendance at these committees involves. Even so, they do their work more regularly than some of the other representatives on those committees. I am afraid, however, that, while our Labour representatives will do as much as they can, a great deal more work will devolve on the middle classes, the "nice" people, the Nosey Parker type of people, the busybodies, and that a good deal of the investigation which will have to be undertaken under the means test will bring back reminiscences of the War—of the type of people who went round to the soldier's wife and refused her assistance unless she sold the piano, or because the family were living too richly, or something like that. If they went round to the ex-soldier's home to-day, they could not ask him to sell his War medals, because they are in the pawnshop already in many cases.
1420 This proposal will involve many difficulties for members of local authorities who are members two committees. I met this morning a member of our Birmingham City Council, who is a member of the Public Assistance Committee and also of the Estates Committee, which controls the city's house rents. The present situation has meant that many of our poorest people who have gone into municipal houses are getting into arrears with their rent, and here is a case in which a member of these two committees would find it very difficult to decide what was the proper action to take. Here is a man with wife and six children, the wife e shortly expecting another child. He is in receipt of 36s. a week from the Employment Exchange, but of that he has to pay 10s. 7d. rent. He is in arrears with his rent. The lady member of the Public Assistance Committee said she would do all she could for him, but the Estates Committee would have to ask for two or three shillings a week to clear off his arrears. Look at the position you are putting members of Public Assistance Committees in by devolving these things on them. You are subjecting men to the means test who have never known the Poor Law, who have an abhorrence of the Poor Law, men who find themselves thrown off from Austin Motors and Morris Motors. I appeal to the hearts of hon. Members opposite riot to inflict this intolerable stigma on the finest class of workmen in the world. Many of them fought in Flanders and in Gallipoli. In 1914 you promised them a land fit for heroes to live in. Now you are going to drive them to the public assistance committees, to pry into their private affairs, to impose your niggardly means test upon them. It will make them wonder what they fought for from 1914 to 1918. We fought to get rid of Prussianism. I appeal to hon. Members opposite not to hand these men over to the Prussianism of the Poor Law of this country.
§ Mr. McENTEE
I should like to ask the Minister to consider the form of inquiry in regard to those who seek the Poor Law at present. I should like to ask whether that same form is going to be applied to those who will be forced to go to the public assistance committees when they are no longer able to draw benefit. I have here the form that 1421 is issued by the county in which I live and in which my constituency is. I should like hon. Members to put themselves in the place of unemployed men who have been insured since the beginning and have never before had to draw benefit. In my opinion such a man should be entitled to expect from the State that after the 26 weeks had been drawn he would get some consideration in decency from the State. I wonder how hon. Members of the House would like to have questions such as this put to them. They have to give name and address, wife's name and address, children under 16 and over 16 living at home, other members of the household, if any, and whether those members of the household are legitimate or illegitimate. That is a question that is put to the men who seek relief from the public assistance committees in the county of Essex to-day.
Then they have to give particulars of unemployment benefit or national health insurance benefit that they have received during a period of five years past, sick-club benefit, Army, Navy or Air Force pension or pay, and the period payable. I would like particularly to say a word in regard to that. I have a very lively recollection that when these men came back from the War and got their pensions, they were told that that pension would be free and that it would not be interfered with in any way, either through the wages they received for their employment or in any relief they might get from the Employment Exchange. Apparently, they are now to be subjected to the same questions that are put to those who receive out-door relief. Presumably if they have a pension, their relief will be such that in effect they might as well not get a pension at all. They have to give particulars of widows' pension, old-age contributors' pension, workmen's compensation, compensation for accident or otherwise, allowances from charitable or religious institutions, allowances from relatives or friends or any members of the household, giving names and addresses, rent from subletting, interest or income from investments—I am sure that they will have a lot—school meals for children, any milk grants, other means of income specifying the same; whether any deposits at the Post Office and whether possessed of 1422 interest in house property, Savings Certificates, or stocks and shares, whether in the present or anticipated—I would ask the House to note that—any estate or legacy funds, whether in money owing to applicant from any source whatever; particulars, if any, of membership of a hospital, saving or similar association; and then they have to give particulars of all their children, the date of their own marriage, wife's maiden name, stating whether the marriage certificate has been inspected and the date of the inspection, and, in the case of deserted or separated wives, to give full and concise particulars. In case of child applicants, the man has to say whether orphan or deserted, the name and address of parents, to say whether the child is illegitimate and the date of and the amount payable under affiliation orders, etc., and ninny more particulars, in two columns to be filled in in ink.
Is it the desire of the House that these men, many of whom have been maimed in the interests of their country and were told that their pension would be given to them without any interference at any time in their lives, are now to be subjected to that test, and that if it is found that they have a pension, they are not to get the same relief that other men who have no pension will get? What will be the use of anyone being thrifty, in the future? What on earth will he the use of any working man investing, if he is to be penalised before a public assistance committee for being more thrifty and to be tainted with the taint that usually attaches in such cases and' has to he borne through the whole of life? Are those men to he treated as though they are outcasts and pariahs in the society in which they were born and live? I hope that the House will not sanction this. It is one of the most iniquitous things that it has ever been suggested should he placed in the Statute Bonk. I still have hope that some hon. Members will not forget the speeches they made during the period of the War and afterwards. I hope that they will still have some regard to the speeches they made during their election campaign, in which they told the unemployed that they would do everything within reason to see that they were properly maintained if the State was unable, as apparently is the case, to find them work in order to 1423 maintain themselves and their families. I ask the Minister a definite question. Is he going to permit that form of inquiry to be made of decent men and women who are in their present unhappy position through no fault of their own, but because of the absolute failure of the people who are responsible for what is called the capitalist system, and for our financial system? We have had an example here to-day and during the last two or three weeks of how the name of our country has simply been dragged through the mire and the mud all through Europe. Why? Not because the country itself is bankrupt or unable to provide the necessities of life for its citizens, but solely and only because a certain set of men have got control of the finances of the country and its industrial machinery and have used and abused these things in such a way that between 2,500,000 and 2,750,000 decent men and women are to be forced into conditions such as those I have mentioned. I hope that the House will not permit such a thing to be done.
§ Mr. C0CKS
As this is an economy Resolution, I wish to ask the Minister of Health, and the Minister of Labour, very seriously, whether they really think it is an economy to cut down the unemployment benefit of these people? After all, there are nearly 3,000,000 of them, and, as has been said to-night, many of them are the best people of the country, the backbone, sinews and nerves of the nation. It has been said by hon. Friends behind me that some of them fought—we all know that they did—on the terrible battlefields in the late War. Many of them have been suffering ever since, but, as a result of the unemployment benefit, they and their wives and children have been kept in fairly decent health. They have not suffered the worst deprivation caused by poverty and unemployment. I think that it is remarkable that although these people have been suffering from unemployment for such a long time—many of them for many weary years—not a shot has been fired, not a stone has been thrown, not a bread shop has been raided, and that, generally speaking, these people have been kept in health and decency. I am reminded of a story —I expect the Minister of Health re- 1424 members it—I read when I was a child. An Athenian ambassador went to Sparta. Sparta was a place which had no fortifications whatever. When the ambassador went there he said: "Why are you not fortified; and why have you not any wall?" And a Spartan woman brought forward her six tall sons and said: "These are the fortifications of the city; these are the defences of the community." I put it to the right hon. Member that the wealth of this country depends, not in the rapidly diminishing assets in the Bank of England, but in the health and happiness of our people. It is by the unemployment benefit that we have kept them in decency, health and strength. If you reduce it you will be diminishing and squandering the real wealth of the nation.
§ 12 m.
§ Sir PATRICK FORD
I should like to say a few words on what the last two hon. Members have said in regard to the ex-Service man and his pension. There seems to be anerroneous idea that because in hard times people are asked to give an account of their reserves before they receive further public benefit, that there is hardship. Every Income Tax payer knows that if he applies for any exemption he has to give practically the same details. He does not regard that as degrading. I would suggest that in regard to men who are drawing pensions for war service an exemption might be made, that other sources of income and other means provided for their support should be taken into account, but that the pension should be written off from the calculations and that they should get that on account of their service, without any deduction and without its interfering with their claim for public assistance.
§ Mr. W. J. BROWN
Are the Government serious in their intention of asking us to pass this Resolution to-night? This Money Resolution is in pursuance of the National Economy Bill. I would like to remind hon. Members of what the Prime Minister said in introducing the Bill. He said that however much one might dislike the economies proposed, the alternative was much worse; that unless economies were effected on a very wide scale, and unless taxation was increased on a very wide scale, it would be impossible to balance the Budget, and that 1425 an unbalanced Budget meant a flight from the pound. A dispute arose between the two sides of the House as to whether the present Opposition Front Bench was as much involved in the economy proposals as Ministers on the Government Front Bench, and a sharp distinction was made in regard to economies at the expense of the unemployed men and women. The Prime Minister and the Colonial Secretary made a strong point that if the pound went west, there would be not a clearly defined and known reduction of unemployment benefit, but an unknown drop in unemployment benefit because of the decline in the purchasing power of the pound. Assume that the Prime Minister's premises were correct. I thought that was a sound argument then: What is going to happen now is that the unemployed are to suffer a decline in purchasing power represented by the collapse of the Gold Standard, and, in addition, a 10 per cent. cut, which we were told they would only have to suffer in order to avoid a departure from the Gold Standard and the decline in the purchasing power that that would represent. In these circumstances, I urge the Government as strongly as I can to withdraw the Resolution, to take it back, indeed to take back the whole of the Economy Bill.
I do not think that I have ever seen the House of Commons in such an awkward position as it is to-night. We have had the Second Reading of the Economy Bill, we are now considering the Money Resolution, and shall be going into Committee on the Bill, but in the interval between the Second Reading and the Committee stage the whole basis of the situation upon which the Bill itself rests has been completely changed. Yet when the House is discussing the Money Resolution and is about to go into Committee on the Bill there is absolutely no statement of any kind from the Front Bench redefining their attitude in the light of the complete change that has taken place since the Second Reading of the Bill. For that reason I ask the Government to withdraw the Resolution.
There is one other consideration I want to advance. At an earlier stage in the Economy Bill it was suggested that the unemployed were being sacrificed at the 1426 bidding of international finance. That suggestion was repudiated in the strongest possible terms by the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, repudiated clearly and specifically. There was a Prime Minister who once said that it did not matter what they said provided that they all said the same thing. I go further and say that it does not matter what a Prime Minister says provided that on Monday he remembers what he said on Thursday. To-day we had a statement, from the Prime Minister that the reason why the unemployed cut cannot be abated as the teachers' cut and the naval cut are being abated is that the obligation to cut unemployment benefit is a condition of borrowing. If English means anything in this House—I am sometimes inclined to think that it does not—to-day's statement by the Prime Minister is only susceptible of one interpretation, and that is that the credits which were forthcoming a fortnight ago when the Government was formed—and this Government is even more expensive than the last, which consumed £50,000,000 of credits in a month whilst these fellows consume £80,000,000 in a fortnight—the only construction to place on the Prime Minister s statement is that a condition of the £80,000,000 credit raised in Paris and New York was not merely that the national Budget should balance, but that it should be specifically balanced by cuts in unemployment pay. If that is a legitimate construction—and I defy anybody to deny it—then I say that everything that has been said from these benches about foreign dictation, not merely that we should balance our Budget, but dictation as to the precise methods by which it should be done, is abundantly justified by what has been said by the Prime Minister to-day.
I do not always entirely share the view of the Opposition Front Bench, but there is no difference of opinion between us on this occasion. I believe that what we are proposing to do is a crime. Nothing could justify that crime a week ago when we were told that it was necessary to preserve the Gold Standard, but there is still less—if there can be less than nothing—to justify it when the Gold Standard has gone. I urge the Government not to go on with this Economy Bill 1427 as if we were in the same boat as a week ago. We are not. When the House reassembled I said that we were in danger of passing through a revolutionary period in Britain. That danger is twice as great now as it was a fortnight ago. I am certain that when the Government say to the unemployed man, "Not merely will we pay you fewer shillings per week, but those very shillings will buy less than they did a month ago," they are creating a situation full of the gravest revolutionary possibilities. For my own part I do not believe that you can prop up your present system. I do not believe that all the manipulations of the last few days are going to stop the pound skyrocketing. I believe that in all human probability within 12 months the whole system is going to crash. Some hon. Members opposite are beginning to believe that to-day. They have been very sceptical in the past, but they are beginning to believe it now. The Government can, as an individual act of policy, cut the wages of policemen and civil servants and sailors and others, and get away with it. They can, as an individual act of policy, cut the pay of unemployed men and women, and get away with it. But when they do those two things together they are making the gravest mistake, from their own point of view, that capitalism has yet made in this country. Lenin once said —[Interruption.] Hon. Members who interrupt would understand the working of their own system better if they read Lenin. Lenin said that you might know that the capitalist system was nearing its crash when it was driven to attack the petit bourgeois elements in society and line them up with the proletariat. The Government are doing that to-day for the first time in the history of the British capitalist system.
I believe that this change in the situation affords the Government a good way out of some of its own difficulties. The more intelligent elements opposite have been terrified for some time past about the angle of approach which the Government are assuming. The more intelligent elements opposite do not like wages attacks being made as the first item in the attempt of capitalism to re-stabilise itself. They would prefer to get what they want by tariffs or by revaluation of the pound. I have heard 1428 them in places where they speak frankly—
Better one flash of it within the Tavern caughtThan all within the Temple lost outright.They would give almost anything to see the Government able to attack the problem from another point of view. The Government are now able to attack the problem from that other point of view. The fact that the Gold Standard has gone and that there is to be a revaluation of the pound enables the Government to review the whole position in regard to the Economy Bill. I beg the Government, as one who has seen something of social disorder and is prepared to face social disorder but has no liking for it—I have too plain and clear an appreciation of what it means and would desire to avoid it, though I am not prepared to avoid it at all costs—I beg of the Government to reconsider their whole attitude on the Economy Bill and particularly on those aspects of it which concern the unemployed.
In this world opinion is a fact; psychology is a fact. To-morrow morning there will be an announcement that the Government with regard to the Navy and other sections of public employés have retreated from the position which they took up a fortnight ago and have themselves abated economies in certain directions, under pressure. Hon. Members opposite should ask themselves what will be the effect of that news on the unemployed. They will see it as the Civil Service will see it. I know something about the psychology of the Civil Service and there never was such a move in favour of direct action in Whitehall as there is to-day. There was joy in Whitehall when they heard of the rebellion in the Fleet. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] Oh, yes! And there may be joy in the Fleet shortly over a rebellion in Whitehall. I ask hon. Members opposite to consider the effect upon the unemployed who are right up against it, of reading in the Press to-morrow that, under pressure from the very element upon which you rely to support the fabric of your social system, you have retreated. 1429 They will derive the lesson, and they will be justified in deriving the lesson, that the only argument to which this Government will listen is force. Very well! All the force of this country is not on one side, [An HON. MEMBER: "It is not all on your side!"] I have said that it is not all on one side, and I warn you that, in the circumstances that are coming, you will not be able to rely on the Navy or the Army or the police to do the work which they have done in the past. In these circumstances I suggest to hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite that they would be well advised to withdraw this Resolution and not to ask us to divide upon it. Have three Cabinet meetings within the next clay or two not to discuss whether you are going to have a General Election or not but to discuss whether you are going to withdraw the Economy Bill or not. As one who does not love your system, who believes that it is ultimately doomed to destruction and who will be glad to see it go, my advice to you is: If you want to keep it going a little while longer you will avoid like the devil, the course of action embodied in the Economy Bill and this Resolution.
§ Mr. HAYCOCK
I do not know whether we can depend upon Whitehall or not. I do not know whether we can depend upon the soldiers, the sailors and the police or not. I do not know whether the capitalist system is going to crumble and collapse or not. I do not know whether we are going to have a revolution or not. But I do know that this Resolution and Bill represent a mean, shabby, cowardly proposal; that there is no reason for it at all and that we can afford the money. If it were wanted for other purposes we should soon find the money. If the dogs of war were let loose to-morrow we should find millions and millions in order to turn some other country into a grave-yard!. We would have kept the last War going, perhaps, until the last man and the last shilling. I do not know who the last man would have been or who would have owned the last shilling, but we were spending £8,500,000 a day, and if we had kept it going for one more year the bill for additional interest alone would have been. £150,000,000; in two years it would have been £300,000,000 but we would have found that money. We found £100,000,000 for the illegal war of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. 1430 Churchill) in Russia. We had millions to spend on bloody murder and wholesale slaughter then, and, if war broke out to-morrow we should find money for that purpose. Are we poor? If we are poor it is a monstrous contradiction to have any unemployed. We can only be poor because we are short of the products of labour. That is the only meaning of material poverty. If we are poor, everybody ought to be working, the duke as well as the dustman.
What will be the result of these proposals? I do not know whether the unemployed will be very angry or not. I do not know whether we shall have any more heads broken in Whitehall or not. I do not suppose that the unemployed will be very enthusiastic about it, but what will be the direct result? If it were not for what is called the "dole" —and if I were unemployed, I should be angry at the use of that word, which indicates your attitude towards the unemployed—most of the shopkeepers in Salford would be explaining to their creditors how they became "broke." The shopkeepers in Salford are living on the "dole," and just as you reduce it, you reduce purchasing power. If you reduce the income of the Super-tax payer it merely means smaller deposits—frozen, deposits—in the banks. If you increase the purchasing power of the unemployed, it immediately means further calls upon wealth. Here we are trembling on the brink of the abyss. We have balanced the Budget and obeyed the orders of the financial vultures of the world, of the international pawnbrokers, the Al Capones of Wall Street. If we are going to economise let us see what the result will be.
Supposing that we all start to economise. I want to know the dividing line between virtuous thrift and miserliness. Where does thrift end and miserliness begin? We are told that we are faced with irreparable disaster and that we must all economise, and so we all begin to economise. Members of Parliament without private incomes and teachers and others must all economise, so let us do it thoroughly and properly and save our country and postpone this revolution. We will not spend any money—that is real rigid economy. The first thing on which I spend money every day is the "Daily Herald," which is a 1431 necessity. We will all start doing without newspapers. We do not need the "Daily Mail," or she "Daily Express," or the "Times" or the "Standard." We can cut out papers. Then when tie go to breakfast, we will have no tea. We shall be better without it; any doctor will tell you that it contains tannin. We will have no sugar; it is bad for you, especially if there is any diabetes in the family. We will not buy any milk either. We will turn vegetarian and have no bacon or eggs. I know people who thrive 365 days in the year on porridge without milk but plenty of salt and lots of water with which to wash it down. So we will just have a porridge breakfast with no marmalade or jam. We will do that because we must save our country. If we do not, everything will drift to disaster. Then any doctor will tell you that Bass is bad for you and that Guinness does not help you, and that if you take Hennessy's you will see stars. We do not require beer, and we can do without tobacco. Let us take the gospel of Samuel Smiles for three weeks, and we will all be "broke" and unemployed, and we will all be shrieking for assistance from our poor relations. Then we have to rationalise; we have to improve our industrial machinery—
Mr. DEPUTY - SPEAKER (Captain Bourne)
The hon. Gentleman is getting a long way from the Resolution, which deals with economy.
§ Mr. HAYCOCK
I was trying to show what would happen if we carried that economy to its logical conclusion. The solemn advice of our Friends opposite is that the only way out is to rationalise industry, to produce more and more, and to consume less and less. If ever there were a policy fit for Bedlam, that is the policy. Mr. Bernard Shaw once said that he believed this planet was the lunatic asylum for the other planets, and, after having a good look at you opposite, I believe—[Interruption.] I do not believe that economy is the way out or that Samuel Smiles wrote the last word. The one thing that will save us is a generous policy. We can afford lots for the unemployed. We are not poor; we are rich, and we are growing potentially richer every day. I do not believe, however, that there is any solution under 1432 capitalism, but I do not want a revolution or see any of you hanging from lamp posts. It will break my heart to see the hon. Member for Leith (Mr. E. Brown) hanging from the end of a rope; I would far rather see him on the Front Bench. We are writing history rather rapidly. Either the bankers are going to rule or we are going to rule—either "bankocracy" or democracy. The common people are going to insist that the people who left us in this sorry mess have failed disastrously. If it is true that we are at the edge of the abyss, then the people who brought us there are as much to blame. [Interruption.]
§ Mr. HAYCOCK
They had no more to do with it than the man in the moon. The people who own the patent rights of this crisis arc the people who were so greedy that they borrowed money at 2½ per cent. and lent it at 8 per cent., and then when the bottom threatened to drop out they came screaming to the Government for assistance. They are the people who made the mistakes and are responsible for this disaster. If we are wise, we shall say to them, "Never again; you have abused your power." And we shall decide that in the future we shall control those indispensable ingredients for our national life. If there is anything in the history of the past few weeks, it is that the bankers cannot be trusted. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about the Trades Union Congress?"] Yes, the Trades Union Congress is responsible for the lives of millions of workers and is going to defend those workers and see that this rule of the bankers is ended and the rule of the people begun. Then there will be happier and better times for us all.
I am sure the House must be anxious now to come to a decision on the particular question before us—the Financial Resolution of the Bill. I would remind hon. Members that on the Bill itself, in the Committee stage, there will be ample opportunity to discuss many of the problems that have occupied most of the speeches to-night. It will be only courteous, however, that I should answer questions that have been 1433 put to me. In regard to the question raised by the hon. Member for Camlachie (Mr. Stephen), I think he will be entirely satisfied with the convincing and lucid answer given by the hon. Member for Leith (Mr. E. Brown).
I will certainly try and deal seriously with the point, although I confess that I did not understand, first of all, why the hon. Member attached so much importance to the figure of the estimate for the unemployment finance next year. Of course, in any estimate of the fund for next year you must take some figure on which to found your account. The hon. Member complains of the figure of 3,000,000 and thinks that that is too high. I hope it is too high; perhaps it is. But surely it is better in this case to be a little too high than a little too low, because if it is too low people will say that your finance is not showing a true balance of your account and that you are trying to deceive people. But when the hon. Member goes on to suggest that the result of taking too high a figure is that the unemployed will be unfairly treated, I think that he is losing sight of the fact that in the account that is presented there is a deficiency of over £22,000,000 that will fall on the Exchequer at the end of the year. If, therefore, this figure of 3,000,000 should turn out to be exaggerated, any savings that will accrue will go to the deficiency.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
My argument is that because of this deficiency, and of those millions, the Government get away with reductions of unemployment benefit. Members would not agree to that if it did not seem that there was to be such a tremendous deficiency. I say that the figure was exaggerated by the Ministry of Labour and the Treasury. Never before have they given a figure corresponding to the present figure. It has always been very much less, and I say that the present figure is given to make a good case for cuts and economies.
I should have thought that was a good reason for putting the figure up on this occasion. No one can say that 3,000,000 is exaggerated, having regard to the trend in unemploy- 1434 ment in the past few months. As to the question of additional work about to be put on the public assistance committees, I would point out that at the present time the work in respect of outdoor relief calling on the public assistance committees is not nearly so high as in the past. In the great majority of cases, I do not think that they will find any difficulty in dealing with the extra work thrown on them, but I will go on to say that we are perfectly well aware that the figures of unemployment are concentrated to a certain extent in particular areas, and we realise that in those particular areas there will be an exceptional amount of work. In those places they will undoubtedly have to take on extra tasks, and we have told them that if they make application to the Government they will be reimbursed the extra expenditure. In the meantime the people will not suffer, because they will have to go on at the full rate until the local committee has time to investigate their case.
§ Mr. McSHANE
With reference to the question of public assistance relief work having been at a higher pitch on a former occasion, in those days the duties were performed by the guardians. Now they are performed by the council and the councillors, who are already overburdened.
The councillors have sub-committees or guardians' committees and do not do it themselves. They are quite as well able to perform the work as the old boards of guardians were. A great many of the speeches of the hon. Members opposite were not arguments against the means test at all. My point is that that is a decision which was agreed to by the late Government and that statement is not denied.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
You said something was agreed. Would you explain exactly what you mean by a means test? There is a destitution test, a means test, and a needs test. Will you say exactly which it was that the late Government agreed to.
All I said was that the late Government agreed on a means test. As to how it was to be applied, they probably never had time to discuss. The right hon. Gentleman will agree that the principle of a means test was agreed.
If the principle was agreed, the arguments which have been addressed to the House do not apply to the means test at all. They apply just as much to the present guardians' committees or the former boards of guardians as they do to the new proposals before us. The case of the able-bodied men who are going to the guardians will not be changed by the new proposals. They will be subject to the same inquiries as they are now. The hon. Member for Walthamstow West (Mr. McEntee) read out a long catalogue which seemed to show that the body which he referred to went into their duties thoroughly. If he thought that there was ground for complaint, he should address a question to the Minister, because it is obvious that his criticism would apply to the ordinary work of the guardians as much as it would to the new proposals. With regard to the criticism of the hon. Member for West Wolverhampton (Mr. W. J. Brown) who said that the Resolution should be withdrawn, I said, when we went into Committee, that the actual effect of the Resolution is to deal with two points, one the increase in contributions and the other the cessation of borrowing. The question of benefit does not arise on this Resolution. Therefore, the questions which hon. Members desire to raise, would be better raised and dealt with on the Committee stage of the Economy Bill.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I only want to say one or two words on the last part of the speech. As I said on the last occasion, I am quite willing that all of us should take the responsibility for any conclusions arrived at by the Cabinet of which we were members until we resigned. It must, however, be only a hearsay story which the right hon. Gentleman has told us of what happened in the Cabinet, since he was not present at its deliberations. It is possible to make a statement, as the right hon. Gentleman has done to-night, which may be quite true, but told in such a way that it is absolutely untrue. There never was any agreement that the transitional people should go to the public assistance committees, and the right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly 1436 well—because the Home Secretary has made it clear in his speech—that on the first occasion when the delegates from the Cabinet met the right hon. Gentleman and the Liberals, the figures that were put before them were £20,000,000 down. Anyone who reads the speech of the Home Secretary can see that. It was this £20,000,000 that caused all the trouble, and it was because of the failure to satisfy the right hon. Gentleman and his friends about this £20,000,000 which was to be saved by putting the whole of the transitional people under the Poor Law that disagreement arose. The question arose as to what was to be done with what I call the transitional people. In the second set of figures put before them there was no question of any saving by the limitation of benefit to 26 weeks. The right hon. Gentleman knows that that figure was wiped out entirely.
The whole question of what was to be done with people who ran out of benefit, whether after six months or after two months was discussed, but never brought to a settlement and no document that I ever saw—I do not know what was shown to the right hon. Gentleman—contained any settlement direct or indirect as to what inquiry should take place with regard to these people. The only inquiry I ever heard of was similar to the inquiries being made under the Anomalies Bill. Under the Poor Law it is the family income which is taken into account. I challenge my colleagues in the so-called National Government on this point, and I declare there never was any discussion on the question of applying a family income test, which is the destitution test under the Poor Law, against the unemployed. The whole question resolves itself, so far as I ever heard any discussion of it, into one point. I do not think the right hon. Gentleman was told anything else of these cases, the one question was the man or woman's own means, whether the applicant possessed property of one kind or another and was getting his unemployment benefit, not statutory benefit but transitional benefit, when he was either in business, or had property, the income of which was sufficient to maintain him. I have got up to say that it is absolutely and entirely untrue that directly, or indirectly, there was any agreement within the Cabinet to put 1437 any of the unemployed under the Poor Law test or to send them directly, or indirectly, to the public assistance committees. I challenge the right hon. Gentleman to say that Members of the Cabinet in putting before him the views of the Cabinet at any time stated that we had agreed that these men should go to the public assistance committees and be subject to the destitution test to which public assistance committees put applicants for assistance.
§ Mr. BECKETT
I assure the House that I shall not go into the delicate family history which has again broken out between the two Front Benches. I have listened often to this kind of dispute since the House reassembled, and, even if the Government Front Bench was able to prove that every Member of the Opposition Front Bench agreed to this proposal, that would not make it palatable. Both Front Benches were in complete harmony on the unhappy Anomalies Bill and that did not make it a better Bill. If the Minister of Health could prove his case—I have long known the right hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) and have been accustomed to take his word in these matters—but, if the case was proved against him, it would not make this proposal one bit better. It is very tragic that we should be discussing this proposal to-night. We have spent all day listening to one of the greatest calamities —it may have been a completely avoidable calamity—and when the Bill was passed I went to look at the evening papers. The first headline I saw was: "Startling Increase in the Price of Commodities."
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The questions to which the hon. Member is referring are not before the House on this Resolution.
§ trying to show that there is alleged to be a startling rise in the price of commodities. This is not the right time to consider any kind of cut or re-adjustment in the allowances of the unemployed.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The Debate has been allowed to go a considerable distance, but these two questions do not arise.
§ Mr. BECKETT
I have no intention of contesting that Ruling, but, according to the Minister who has just sat down, the two parts of the Resolution are: To consider the fresh conditions under which a certain section of the unemployed are to be put, and, secondly, to provide means for that.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
Any alteration in the basis does not arise. The question is the money which is to be provided for administrative purposes.
§ Mr. BECKETT
The Debate has been going very wide. That may have been when you were not in the Chair. I have no desire to follow if you think that it is out of order. I will content myself with saying that it is a great pity that, having had to face the issues we have had to face in this House to-night, the Government should have chosen this time of night to bring forward a Resolution of this sort which is intended to provide means for a Bill which is directly aimed at the standard of living of the people. That standard of living is likely to fall lower than any Member of the House would wish it to do. It is a very great abuse of a Parliamentary majority that the Resolution should be brought forward at this time of the night after the discussion in which the day has been spent.
§ Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 196; Noes, 100.1441
|Division No. 486.]||AYES.||[12.57 a.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut. -Colonel||Bellairs, Commander Carlyon||Buchan, John|
|Ainsworth, Lieut.-Col. Charles||Betterton, Sir Henry B.||Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.|
|Albery, Irving James||Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Bullock, Captain Malcolm|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir William (Armagh)||Blinded, James||Burgin, Dr. E. L.|
|Artery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Boothby, R. J. G.||Butler, R. A.|
|Atkinson, C.||Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vanaslttart||Campbell, E. T.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley (Bewdley)||Boyce, Leslie||Carver, Major W. H.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Briscoe, Richard George||Castle Stewart, Earl of|
|Balfour, Captain H. H. (I.of Thanet)||Broadbent, Colonel J.||Cautley, Sir Henry S.|
|Balniel, Lord||Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Cayzer, Maj.Sir Herbt. R.(Prtsmth,S.)|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Brown, Brig.-Gen.H.C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Chadwick, Capt. Sir Robert Burton|
|Chamberlain, Bt. Hon. N.(Edgbatton)||Hammersley, S. S.||Ramsay, T. B. Wilson|
|Church, Major A. G.||Hanbury, C.||Ramsbotham, H.|
|Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George||Harbord, A.||Remer, John R.|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Hartington, Marquess of||Reynolds, Col. Sir James|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch't'sy)|
|Colville, Major D. J.||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Robinson, Sir T. (Lanes, Stretford)|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Rodd, Rt. Hon. sir James Rennell|
|Courtauld, Major J. S,||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Rosbotham, D. S. T.|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Hore-Bellsha, Leslie||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.)||Ruggies-Brise, Colonel E.|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord C.||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Hurd. Percy A.||Salmon, Major I.|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C.||Inskip, Sir Thomas||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)||Jones, Lleweilyn-, F.||Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart|
|Cunilge-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Sassoon. Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.|
|Dalrample-White, U.-Col. Sir Godfrey||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Savery, S. S.|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)||Kedward, R. M. (Kent, Ashford)||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Davies, E. C. (Montgomery)||Kindersley, Major G. M.||Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Knight, Holford||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George (S. Molton)||Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's U., Belfast)|
|Dixey, A. C.||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Skelton, A N.|
|Dixon, Captain Rt. Hon. Herbert||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hatlam)|
|Duckworth, G. A. V.||Lewis, Oswald (Colchester)||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Dugdale, Capt. T. L.||Llewellin, Major J. J.||Smithers, waldrop|
|Eden, Captain Anthony||Locker-Lampson, Com. O.(Handsw'th)||Somerset, Thomas|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Lovat-Fraser, J. A.||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Elliot, Major Walter E.||Lymington, Viscount||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Elmley, Viscount||Macdonald,-Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|England, Colonel A.||Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)||Stanley, Hon. O. (Westmorland)|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s-M.)||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Stuart. Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Margesson, Captain H. D.||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A.|
|Fielden, E. B.||Marjoribanks, Edward||Thomson, Mitchell-. Rt. Hon. Sir W.|
|Fison, F. G. Clavering||Mason, Colonel Glyn K.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Foot, Isaac||Meller, R. J.||Todd, Capt. A. J.|
|Ford, Sir P. J.||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Train J|
|Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Galbraith, J. F. W.||Morris, Rhys Hopkins||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester)|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Muirhead, A. J.||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesea)||Nail-Cain, A. R. N.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert|
|Gibson, C. G. (Pudsey & Otley)||Nathan, Major H. L.||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Glassey, A. E.||O'Connor, T. J.||Wells, Sydney R.|
|Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)||White, H. G.|
|Gower, Sir Robert||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)|
|Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Owen, Major G. (Carnarvon)||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Granville, E.||Penny, Sir George||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Gray, Milner||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Wood, Major McKenzle (Banff)|
|Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Perkins. W. R. D.||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton|
|Greene, W. P. Crawford||Peters, Dr. Sidney John|
|Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.)||Power, Sir John Cecil||Sir Frederick Thomson and Captain Sir George Bowyer.|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Zetland)||Pybus, Percy John|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Gill, T. H.||Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern)|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Gossling, A. G.||Lewis, T. (Southampton)|
|Alpass, J. H.||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Colne)||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)|
|Arnott, John||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||McEntee, V. L.|
|Barr, James||Groves, Thomas E||McShane, John James|
|Batey, Joseph||Grundy, Thomas W.||Marley, J.|
|Beckett, John (Camberwell, Peckham)||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Mathers, George|
|Bennett, William (Battersea, South||Hardie, David (Ruthergien)||Milner, Major J.|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hardie, G. D. (Springburn)||Morley, Ralph|
|Bowen, J. W.||Haycock, A. W.||Mosley, Sir Oswald (Smethwick)|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)||Murnin, Hugh|
|Bromfield, William||Herrlotts, J.||Naylor, T. E.|
|Brown, Rt. Hen. J. (South Ayrshire)||Hicks, Ernest George||Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)|
|Brown, W. J. (Wolverhampton, West)||Hirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworth)||Owen, H. F. (Hereford)|
|Cape, Thomas||Horrabin, J. F.||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S.W.)||Jenkins, Sir William||Potts, John S.|
|Charieton, H. C.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Price, M. P.|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour.||Kelly, W. T.||Richardson. R. (Houghton-la-Spring)|
|Compton, Joseph||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Romerll, H. G.|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Kinley, J.||Rowson, Guy|
|Daggar, George||Kirkwood, D.||Samuel, H. Walter (Swansea, West)|
|Dallas, George||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Sanders, W. S.|
|Ede, James Chuter||Lathan, G. (Sheffield, Park)||Sandham, E.|
|Morgan, Dr. Robert||Lawrle, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge)||Scurr, John|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Sherwood, G. H.||Tinker, John Joseph||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Shillaker, J. F.||Tout, W. J.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Simmons, C. J.||Townend, A. E.||Wise, E. F.|
|Sinkinson, George||Vaughan, David||Young, R. S. (Islington, North)|
|Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)||Young, Sir R. (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Smith, W. R. (Norwich)||Wellock, Wilfrad||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Stephen, Campbell||Walsh, James C. (Coatbridge)||Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr. Wilfrid Paling.|
|Strachey, E. J. St. Loe||Whiteley, Wilfrid (Blrm., Ladywood)|
|Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
§ The remaining Government Orders were read, and postponed.
§ Adjourned at Five Minutes after One o'Clock.