Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £13,700,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1932, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Ministry of Labour and Subordinate Departments, including sums payable by the Exchequer to the Unemployment Fund, Grants to Associations, Local Authorities and others under the Unemployment Insurance, Labour Exchanges and other Acts; Expenses of the Industrial Court; Contribution towards the Expenses of the International Labour Organisation (League of Nations); Expenses of Training and Transference of Workpeople and their Families within Great Britain and Oversea (including expenditure additional to that authorised under section 2 (1) of the Labour Exchanges Act, 1909); and sundry services, including services arising out of the War.
§ The MINISTER of LABOUR (Sir Henry Betterton)
This Supplementary Estimate, as will be seen from the printed Paper which hon. Members have had, asks for the sum of £13,700,000 to cover the remainder of the financial year, and in considering it we must have regard to what would have been 276 necessary if the Bill which has just received its Third Reading had not been taken. Without the economies provided for in that Bill a further sum of something like £30,000,000 would have been required. If the precedent of former years had been followed, that sum of £30,000,000 would have been provided by borrowing. As hon. Members will recall from some figures I gave the other day, the policy of borrowing, had it been pursued, would have meant that at the end of the financial year the debt of the Unemployment Fund would have been £145,000,000. At this moment the debt is about £102,000,000. The authorisation at present is £115,000,000, and we estimate that this £115,000,000 will run out at some time towards the end of November. As is well known, the policy we have adopted is to stop borrowing and to provide that in future all charges shall be met out of current revenue.
The general case for the various items to which I shall refer has been fully debated on various stages of the Bill during the last few days, but I will just give some explanation of the figures themselves, and, should there be anything further which hon. Members wish to know, any questions they have to ask will be dealt with by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary. The first item is a sum of £1,700,000 required for contributions to the Unemployed Fund for insurance benefit. That is the amount required to be provided by the State in consequence of the raising of the State contributions from 7½d. to 10d.; the extra sum of £1,700,000 is required to make up 277 the difference between 7½d. and 10d. up to the end of the financial year. The next items are for grants to the Unemployment Fund for transitional payments, and the cost of administration, amounting to £3,000,000. When these Estimates were originally framed by my predecessor about a year ago, the estimate of the amount required was put at £30,000,000, but hon. Members will see that this extra sum is required in consequence of changes made by the Unemployment Insurance (No. 2 and No. 3) Acts. The No. 2 Act was passed by the late Government in order to extend the transitional period for a further term of six months, and the effect of that was to add something like £5,000,000 to the transitional payments for this year. Therefore, we get the original Estimate of £30,000,000 plus £5,000,000 in consequence of the extension of transitional benefit up to April, 1932. The No. 3 Act was the Anomalies Act which produces a reduction, but in the current year it is not expected that the reduction or saving, so far as transitional benefit is concerned, will amount to a substantial sum, and it will probably be in the neighbourhood of £500,000.
On the other hand, as has already been explained, the proposal, as indicated in the White Paper, to limit insurance benefit to 26 weeks will add to the number of persons drawing transitional payment. The proposals in regard to a reduction of benefit, in so far as they apply to transitional payments, and the application of a needs test, will, in the current financial year, result in a saving to the fund of about £4,000,000. The effect of these additions, that is the extension of the transitional period and the 26 weeks rule, taken in conjunction with the reductions, that is the cut in benefit and needs test, will result in a net increase of £3,000,0000 to the £30,000,000 which has already been voted, and that is the £3,000,000 which this Estimate provides.
The deficiency grant of £9,000,000 is the sum required to balance the Insurance Fund without any further borrowing after the £115,000,000 to which the House has already given its sanction is exhausted, and it is estimated that this £115,000,000 will be exhausted somewhere about the end of November. As will be seen from the White Paper the estimated deficiency 278 for a full year is £22,200,000, and £9,000,000 is the sum which will be necessary to carry on to the end of the financial year. I do not think I need say any more in regard to the figures. In making this Estimate we have taken all the factors into consideration, and we have provided for £9,000,000 to carry on to the end of March. These are the reasons why this Supplementary Estimate is necessary.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
Does this Estimate mean that we still have to provide further money from the State, or does it mean that the fund will be self-supporting at the end of 26 weeks?
§ Sir H. BETTERTON
The £9,000,000 will be necessary to carry us on to the end of the financial year.
§ Mr. LAWSON
I beg to move to reduce the Vote by £100.
The Minister of Labour, in his usual courteous manner, has given us a clear outline of the financial position as set forth in this Estimate. This Supplementary Estimate is intended to give financial effect to the cold-blooded and vicious policy behind the Economy Bill. The Minister of Labour has admitted that, had it not been for the introduction of the Economy Bill, it would not have been necessary to have voted more money. What we are being asked to do to-night is to give financial effect to a Bill that we have fought from day to day in this House. What is the effect of this Supplementary Estimate? It increases the workers' contributions, it limits the period for standard benefit to 26 weeks, and it reduces the benefits by 10 per cent.
The hon. Member must remember that we are not now discussing the Economy Bill. Some of the matters which are now being raised by the hon. Member seem to be matters which have already been dealt with in the Bill which we have just passed.
§ Mr. LAWSON
This Supplementary Estimate gives effect to the policy of the Bill itself, and by actually taking away large sums of money from the fund devoted to the unemployed it reduces one-third of the whole of the unemployed from the status of the unemployed to pauperism. That is the policy behind the 279 Economy Bill. The increased contributions cost the workers £6,000,000, the decreased benefit means a loss to the workers of £12,800,000, the change in regard to transitional benefit will deprive them of another £10,000,000 and that means a reduction of £28,000,000 altogether. I should like to ask the Minister of Labour a question about the changes proposed in regard to transitional benefit. On that item, we are told there is to be a saving of £10,000,000, and I should like to know upon what basis that calculation is made? Is it merely made upon the reduced benefits which it is assumed will result when these people have been before the public assistance committees? I would also like to know if it is a fact that the Ministry of Health have issued regulations to the public assistance committees giving them guidance as to how they are to deal with these people. I want to know if hon. Members are going to have an opportunity of seeing those regulations. I am asking these questions, because I have seen statements in the Press to the effect that regulations have been issued to the public assistance committees, and I think hon. Members have a right to see those regulations.
§ 8.0 p.m.
§ Mr. LAWSON
I thank the Minister of Labour for that statement, but, as it was stated in the Press that regulations had been issued, I thought it necessary to raise the point in the Debate. I should like to know how the estimate that a saving of £10,000,000 will be made in regard to transitional benefit has been arrived at. What has it been based upon? Has it been based upon the probability that a less number are likely to get transitional benefit as a result of the change which has been made in regard to public assistance committees? I think we ought to have this information, and I can assure the Minister of Labour and the Committee that the public assistance committees—at least those which I have met personally—are very much disturbed about the new duties which are being placed upon them in dealing with transitional benefit. I want to know if any negotiations have taken place with the public assistance committees. I want the Committee to note exactly what it is 280 that the Government are doing in regard to those committees. In the year 1930–31, the number of people dealt with by the public assistance committees was 758,624. Those were people who received out-relief and had to be questioned by the public assistance committees. Now the Government, without any consultation, are giving the public assistance committees 900,000 more people to deal with, so that they will have to deal with more than double the number that they had last year. I wonder whether the Government realise the nature and amount of the work that has to be done, and whether they have taken steps to negotiate with some representative body on behalf of these authorities, or whether they intend to do so. It is interesting to compare the numbers of people with whom the public asistance authorities had to deal in 1929–30 and last year with the number that they will have to deal with next year. The net effect of the policy of the late Government was, in spite of growing unemployment, to reduce the number of people dealt with by the public assistance committees both in institutions and by out-relief, and the report of the Ministry of Health says that there is little doubt that the provisions of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1930, were responsible for that reduction. The policy of the late Government was to make it possible to deal directly through the Employment Exchanges with the able-bodied unemployed, but that policy is to be directly and immediately reversed by the present Government, so as to throw 900,000 men back upon the Poor Law.
Who are the people who are being dealt with in this way? Listening to the Debates in this House during the last few weeks, I have wondered whether most hon. Members on the benches opposite, if they had to express themselves individually, would do such a thing as is now proposed by the Government, which they are supporting. I have heard the word "sponger" used, but I am glad to say that there are very few Members who would use language of that kind. It is the manner of all renegades to outdo those among whom they move, but I am glad to say I have never heard language like that directly from the benches opposite. I do not think that any man who knows anything about the problem would dare to use such language. Who are 281 these people? They are some of the best citizens of this country. They are as good as any of us; they are as intelligent men as we are; and, if certain hon. Members had been present on the benches opposite, I should have liked to say to them that there was a time when they themselves knew these men in another capacity, and when they would have given the boots from their feet for those men, as the men would have given their lives for them. I was here shortly after the War, and I know the spirit that prevailed then. It is true that there was the hard-faced profiteer, but I very often heard comments from ex-officers and ex-soldiers who served with them—men who submitted to a common standard of suffering and who saw each other face to face—and there was nothing that they would not have done for each other. Today, these same men come to us—middleaged, good workmen, intelligent men, who love their homes and who love their country. They cannot get work. They rendered great service to this country in the hour of strife. But now we are told that, because they cannot get work, and because they are reduced to this position after years of poverty, they have to become paupers. By these proposals we are making paupers of hundreds of thousands of men who marched and fought for their country—
I think I must ask the hon. Member to remember what I said before. He must not go back to what is really a Debate on the principle of the Bill which has been passed.
§ Mr. LAWSON
I do not wish to carry the Debate too far, but the point I was making was that this Supplementary Estimate gives financial effect to the policy of the Bill, that it definitely deals with the transitional payments and reduces the possible period of benefit to 26 weeks, and, finally, casts great masses of people upon the Poor Law.
The hon. Member is not correct. It is not this Estimate which does that. That is done by means of the Bill which has already been passed. As the result of that Bill, the payments have to be calculated differently, there being reductions in some cases and increases in others; and it is to give effect to these altered payments that the Estimate is introduced.
The hon. Member is quite right; but when those Orders-in-Council are promulgated it will be time to discuss them. We have already passed the Act which gives certain powers, and, therefore, we cannot discuss that; and, equally, we certainly cannot discuss the Orders-in-Council, which as the hon. Member says, we have not seen.
§ Mr. EDE
With great respect, may I ask to be allowed to finish my point? I want to submit to you, Sir, that what is said on this Supplementary Estimate, on which the money is voted, may very well determine the policy of His Majesty's Government in framing those Orders-in-Council, and that all that we have given so far is power to make an Order-in-Council covering unemployment insurance. It is true that we have an assurance from the Prime Minister that the Order-in-Council will not exceed in severity what is in the White Paper, but I submit that at the moment no policy at all has been given legislative sanction.
My view upon that point is that those speeches which might have influenced the Government are speeches which either were or could have been made on the Bill. I do not want to confine hon. Members too strictly, but, quite clearly, if I were to allow the hon. Gentleman or any other speaker to get at any length into a discussion on matters which we have already discussed on the Bill, we might be led into a Debate as long as those which we had before.
§ Mr. LAWSON
I must accept your Ruling, and I do not mind as long as you allow the Debate, at any rate, some breadth. I am aware of the difficulty of discussing Estimates, but I always thought that when we were discussing Estimates proper—and a Supplementary Estimate is in the same position—we could debate the whole policy of the Department in regard to the matter in question. There is another question that I should like to ask with regard to transitional payments. How often are these cases which are to go to the public assistance authorities to be reviewed? I have 283 seen a statement by one well-known public assistance committee to the effect that they will have to be reviewed fortnightly, and I should like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary if that is the case. That is a very important question in connection with the work of the public assistance committees. There has been a general view that these cases would be considered by the public assistance committee, and that then the matter would have been dealt with once and for all, but if they have to be dealt with at regular intervals, and regular domiciliary visits have to be paid, that will mean permanently placing upon the public assistance committees an amount of work which it will be almost impossible for them to carry out.
We are told by the Minister that there is no appeal from the decision of the public assistance committee, and that is another instance of the lowered status of the unemployed man. I should like to ask this question: If there is no appeal on the part of the unemployed man from the decision of the public assistance committee, is it possible for the insurance officer to appeal against the decision of the committee? It is important that we should know whether the public assistance committee is the final authority in deciding whether unemployed people in the transitional period shall get benefit or not. One of the points made by the Minister, when he was dealing with the fund proper, was that half the people who paid insurance contributions had never had any unemployment benefit.
§ Mr. LAWSON
It is round about one-half. The hon. Gentleman left the impression upon my mind, at any rate, and that was the inference drawn by other Members sitting behind me, that, because they had had no unemployment benefit, they had a right to be protected. But, as the Committee knows, and as those who have had anything to do with this problem know, the people who pay unemployment insurance contributions, whether they have had benefit or not, never complain about the unemployed man, for the simple reason that they themselves may be unemployed very 284 soon. The only people I have ever heard complain have been the employers, and they have complained because they have said that the effect of unemployment benefit at such a rate interferes with the possibility of reducing wages. So it amounts to this, that the Chancellor has balanced his Budget, and, in doing so, has certainly unbalanced the budget of millions of people. He was cheered as though he was a very eminent, concrete expression of courage and genius, because he had balanced the Budget, but there are millions of housewives who, with a greater genius than his and with equal courage, in the days to come will have to face even a greater problem than he has had to face.
This Supplementary Estimate, while it appears to be so innocent and appears to make a contribution to the unemployed, is actually taking round about £30,000,000 from them, not from comforts, not from luxuries, but from actual necessities. I marvel at the state of mind of the people of the country. I cannot believe that this kind of policy represents their wishes. I know there are people from whom it is expected that the Government will get votes if there is an election, and I know that they are ashamed of this kind of policy. It is often said that we are expecting votes from the unemployed. If the Government appeal to the country soon or late, I do not believe the country has sunk so low, but that, when the appeal is made, people of all classes will protest at the ballot box. While this is a policy that has been put forward by the Conservative party from time to time, long before this crisis arose, they have made no qualifications upon that point. It was made quite clear that, given the opportunity, there was going to be a reduction of the obligations of the State to the unemployed. But, as one of my hon. Friends said yesterday, that is really the policy of the employers, the policy of strict and rigid economy, the policy of the hard faced industrialists, which did infinite harm to the people of the country in past years. So, while the Government undoubtedly will get their majority, while it may appear on the surface that this is making a contribution to the fund, and is actually putting money at the disposal of the unemployed, in fact it is reducing the standard of the unem- 285 ployed and reducing their status, and, when a vote is taken, we will go into the Lobby against it.
§ Mr. EDE
I am sure bringing in such an Estimate as this can be a pleasure to no man, and the fact that there are none but official supporters of the Government, that is either a. Minister or a Parliamentary Private Secretary, present on the other side shows that there it; no very violent enthusiasm among Government supporters for this Estimate. [Interruption.] There are three Liberals and one nondescript. I want to deal with this Estimate from the point of view of two very different local authorities. Included here we have grants to local authorities and others under the various Acts. I represent one of the most distressed areas in England. It is generally a very tight race between Sunderland, Gateshead, and South Shields as to which shall be the most distressed area, and there is very often little more than a pocket handkerchief required, when the figures go up, to cover the three. There are 5,300 people in that area, according to the figures given me last week, who will have to go before the public assistance committees as soon as the order-in-council is made, and I want to know, on behalf of the local authorities, what the Ministry is going to do towards meeting the expenses and the personnel who will be required to conduct the necessary inquiries. Is it expected that the public assistance committee is to interview every one of these people?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of LABOUR (Mr. Milner Gray) indicated dissent.
§ Mr. EDE
Are they, then, to be judged on written statements which are to be made on the forms that we understand are to be supplied to them at the Employment Exchange? Many of these people have had little or no experience in filling up forms and may find it very difficult, with the best will in the world, to give truthful answers. Frequently, in their endeavours to give truthful answers, they state so much more than the truth that it acts to their detriment. There is not a Member of the House who has met people of that class who have had to fill up War pensions forms and similar things who does not know that frequently they have so misstated 286 their case as to do themselves an injury and, when a more skilled person, without being a lawyer, has put the case properly for them, a very different decision has been given by the Department. Are the local authorities merely to judge on these statements? Are there to be no representations made when the case is turned down? In the case of a personal interview—presumably there will be some personal interviews where there are questions of doubt—will the same right be accorded to the person as is accorded before a court of referees of taking their trade union representative or other friend with them so that their case may be properly stated, and correct answers given?
I have served as a member of a board of guardians 10 years ago and anyone who has so served knows the hopelessness of some of these people in the state of mind they are in when they come before the committee and the hopelessness of ever getting from them, unless very careful personal inquiries are so made, what their true position and their true needs are. When the calculations are made by the local authorities, have they to take into account such things as income from workmen's compensation, War savings, or the income value of a capital sum that may have been paid to those people in the form of workmen's compensation? This is the kind of questions agitating the minds of nearly 1,000,000 people in this country—probably far more than 1,000,000. You have 900,000 now, and with the policy of despair which the Government are following, is it likely that that number will decrease? Is it not likely that long before the winter is over it will rise to a very great number, indeed? That is the position in the industrial districts. The public assistance committees are facing the task with a feeling of despair, and they will require great and well-considered assurances with regard to the expenses before they will be willing to embark upon the kind of policy which they will have to embark upon if they are to deal with anything like such numbers.
I now come to the area in which I am a member of the public assistance committee—the county of Surrey. It is the county with the least amount of unemployment of any county in England. The 287 public assistance committee have been informed that they will have to deal with 25,000 people. Quite frankly, when the chairman of the public assistance committee and the Chief Public Assistance Officer gave me the information yesterday morning, I could not believe them. I thought that they had put at least one nought on the end if not two noughts, but they assured me that they had arrived at the figure by an investigation conducted at each Employment Exchange within the county. After all, in the county areas the matters of administration will not be dealt with by the public assistance committee but by the guardians committees. There is this great difference between the public assistance committees and the area guardians committees in a county area, in that the travelling expenses of members of the public assistance committees may be paid, but the Act of 1929 was expressly drafted so as to exclude the payment of the travelling expenses of members of the area guardians committees. The consequence is that if these people have to meet, as they will have to meet, in Surrey to go through those forms day after day and week after week for the next month or so, if they are to get through the number of applications which will come in, you are going to bring about, unless you make some provision for them, the complete breakdown of the guardians committee system. I wish to know whether the Ministry have taken that matter into consideration in their negotitaions with the County Councils Association or whoever they have seen with regard to the position?
There is another thing I should like to know. Are we to he assured that these people, when they are turned down by the guardians committee, or by the public assistance committee in the boroughs, are to have any right of appeal at all? How is the matter to be dealt with? I assure the Minister and his Parliamentary Secretary that the resentment with regard to this particular phase of their policy is deeper and more widespread than anything that has happened in this country since the labourers revolt of 1830. There is a feeling of deep and hitter resentment, and unless the situation is very carefully handled 288 it will lead to the most regrettable scenes during the next few weeks. I am bound to ask the Minister in dealing with this matter, now that he has got his Bill, to realise that the worst Acts of Parliament occasionally can be made a little better by sympathetic, wise and discriminating administration. If any other kind of administration than that is tried the right hon. Gentleman will find himself assailed by difficulties from men who hitherto have held their heads high and have regarded themselves as never likely to be in conflict with law and order. But you are now touching feelings so deep and instincts so strong that the wisest and sanest of men may quite easily be swept off their feet with indignation.
The House has decreed that these Orders-in-Council are to be made, but this House will have no voice with regard to how they are to be framed. The right hon. Gentleman and the Parliamentary Secretary, who may still call himself a Liberal, if the word has any meaning in politics, will be faced during the next few weeks with the task of dealing with this matter in the country, and I ask them in the interests of good order and of getting at least some goodwill from among those helpless and hopeless sections of the community that their administration shall be such as will temper in some way the harshness that this House has decided to inflict upon these people.
§ Mr. DAVID HARDIE
As the representative of a Division in the largest industrial county in Scotland, I can say that the public assistance committee there are certainly of the opinion that. there will be a great deal of extra work thrown upon them. When this proposition first came before the House of Commons and it was made apparent that the work would fall upon the public assistance committee, the Clerk of the Lanark County Council sent a telegram to all representatives in the country asking them to make representations to the Secretary of State for Scotland to ascertain how they would fare through having this extra burden placed upon them. We met the Secretary of State for Scotland, and he assured us that the matter would be considered and that where it was thought to be necessary the extra ex- 289 pense would be met up to a point. But there was no definite assurance as to the sum to be paid.
I should like to know whether in this Supplementary Estimate provision is being made of an ample character to cover the cost incurred in this way. Lanark is a large county, and there is a, central committee which sits in Glasgow and reviews the decisions of district councils throughout the area of the county. That entails travelling expenses. Meetings are held during the day, and very heavy cost will be added to the work of the public assistance committee. Naturally they are anxious to know how they stand in this matter. Can the responsible Minister say whether they have been in communication with any county councils or public assistance committees in order to asertain what the demands are to be under the new Act, and if so what basis is to be taken as a guide? There is great alarm in my county as to the work that will be involved, because as an industrial county it has been badly hit by unemployment, and there is sure to be a tremendous amount of work waiting for the public assistance committee to carry out. I should be glad to have an answer to my question.
It is mentioned by the responsible Minister that part of the sum is to meet the extra 2½d. paid by the State. I could have wished that this sum had been trebled in order to save the workman's increased payments. The workman's contribution or his insurance premium has increased by 42½ per cent., and in these days he is faced with an increased cost-of-living and possibly a reduction in wages, and it is most unfair that he should be burdened in the way proposed. In addition, when he becomes unemployed he will be subjected to a 10 per cent. cut in respect of the benefit he would hitherto have drawn, and I regret that it should be so. Can the Minister say whether any instruction has been given for economy to be practised inside Employment Exchanges with a view to the cutting down of staff? Several complaints have been made to me in my, area where men who until recently for many months have been signing on on Wednesdays and Fridays have been subjected to a change and have to sign on on Tuesdays and Thursdays. When the change takes place in the 290 ordinary way, and they are paid on the Friday, they get their money up to the Wednesday, but when they change over and sign on the Thursday, they are paid only to the Tuesday. In that particular week the men lose 5s. to 6s. Once the men get a job they are told they will be paid this day as lying time and that they will not lose any money ultimately, but it means that for the time being they are robbed of from 5s. to 6s., and it means that they sink further into debt. If economy is to be practised, and it is for the convenience of the Exchanges that the men should sign on. Tuesdays and Thursdays instead of Wednesdays and Fridays, I hope the Minister will see that they receive their unbroken week's benefit.
I am assured by the men that they feel this matter very much. The money lies to their credit so to speak, but they are deprived of it and consequently have 5s. or 6s. less for that week. I should like the Minister to pay attention to the matter, because it is a real grievance. The men who have come to me and complained have been of good type and good character. They are trying to keep clear of debt, but they say that if this thing goes on they are left in a position in which they are compelled to go into debt. I should like the Minister, as far as possible, to see that no man suffers in any attempt to economise at the Exchanges. There is a strong feeling growing up. A demonstration was held in my borough on the matter when 500 or 600 men protested because of the loss that they suffered. I hope the matter will be favourably considered by the Minister.
§ Mr. BATEY
I intend to oppose the Estimate on all its three heads. I oppose the increase of the Treasury contribution. I criticise the estimate of £3,000,000 as being part of the cost of administration, and I criticise the abolition of borrowing. In regard to the increased contribution, I cannot understand why the Department or the Government should take this easy way of dealing with the fund. There is no statesmanship in it. The Department does not seem to have thought out some different way. Any schoolboy could have said, "We will increase the Treasury contribution from 7½d. to 10d., the workman's contributions from 7d. to 10d., and the employer's contribution from 8d. to 10d." That is 291 a simple way, but it is not the way in which we have a right to expect that the officials in charge of the Department would act. In speaking on this matter on a former occasion, I suggested that instead of increasing the contributions from the workmen, the employer and the State, the Government should lift the limit of income which restricts the class of people who are to pay into the fund.
It is quite obvious that the Minister could not do that without legislation. The hon. Member cannot discuss on this matter anything involving legislation.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
On a point of Order. Is it not possible for an hon. Member, in passing, to make a suggestion that it would be better to raise the income limit in order to avoid this increase of contribution, provided that he does not argue it?
I am afraid that I have noticed to my cost and -sorrow that it is very easy for an hon. Member to make an allusion of that kind before the Chairman can make up his mind to get on his feet, but it is not in order, and certainly it is not in order to pursue it.
§ Mr. BATEY
My point is, that the Minister could bring more money into the fund in a different way. If I cannot refer to the alteration of the income limit, may I say that there are many people who could be brought into the fund. The school caretaker cannot pay to the fund. The club steward, the huntsman and the kennelman, the keeper, the attendant of a museum, the store keeper at a hospital, the greyhound trainer and gatekeeper, cannot pay to the fund.
I was waiting for the hon. Member to suggest some particular case where the Minister could bring in these individuals without legislation.
I have not heard the hon. Member mention one class that is shut out by the Act as it stands that can be brought in without legislation.
§ Mr. BATEY
It does not need legislation to bring in these particular classes. 292 They are shut out not because of legislation but because of administration, and I suggest that the administration should be widened in order to bring in more revenue to the fund. Let me complete the list, for the benefit of the Minister. The caretaker of a county council office, the school cleaner, the attendant at public baths, the attendant at pit-head baths, the attendant at the public libraries cannot pay to the fund. It would be far better to bring in these people to the fund, without legislation, in order that they might contribute, rather than to increase the contributions. What is the Minister going to say to the Economy Committee in regard to the increased Treasury contribution, in view of the fact that the Committee said:In our view a large reduction in the present Exchequer charge, as well as the practical elimination of borrowing for this service, are essential.Their view was that a large reduction was necessary, and the Minister is asking for an increased amount. The £3,000,000 in the Estimate includes the cost of administration. It will include the increased cost of administration for transitional benefit through the public assistance committees. I imagine that the Treasury will have to pay the Poor Law authorities for the use of their machine for the purpose of transitional benefit procedure. How much of this £3,000,000 is to be paid to local authorities for the use of the local machinery to review the cases which will have to come before the public assistance committees. Are you going to pay so much per case or a lump sum down? The number of 900,000 men and women, who are going to be forced to go before the public assistance committee, will be equal to the number now being dealt with by them—
§ Mr. BATEY
The number will not stop at 900,000. It will increase, and in a short time there will be something like 1,000,000 cases which will have to be dealt with by public assistance committees. It will mean an increase in the number of relieving officers. I do not know how much of the cost of Poor Law machinery is taken up by payments to relieving officers, but I can imagine that it would swallow a good deal of the £2,000,000, 293 so that the £3,000,000 which the Government are bringing forward is not going to go very far in paying for the extra cost which will have to be borne by local authorities. But it is not merely a question of these 900,000 men and women who will have to go before the public assistance committee in order that the amount they are to receive might be assessed, but there is also the point as to whether there is to be a continua] examination of these cases by the public assistance committee. Are these men and women to go again and again? How often are the unemployed to go before the public assistance committee?
I object to the abolition of borrowing. There are very few industries at the present time that could continue to employ men unless they borrowed money; most of them are carried on on credit. Why should the Government say that it is wrong and immoral to borrow, that it must be abolished, and that we must make a payment to the fund to stop borrowing? I prefer borrowing. Although the Unemployment Insurance Fund must have paid £10,000,000 in interest since it first started, I prefer borrowing rather than adopt the principle proposed by the Government. This is just the thin end of the wedge. The Government are going to pay £9,000,000 to standard benefit men and abolish borrowing. They may pay £9,000,000 at the present moment, but in the next Budget, probably, whoever is Chancellor of the Exchequer, the amount will be cut down, and the people who will suffer are the unemployed. It is wise to remind the Minister that in regard to the question of borrowing the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the late Conservative Government said that he was not afraid of the principle of borrowing and argued that it was quite proper for a fund like the Unemployment Insurance Fund to borrow to a large extent.
If we have to decide between borrowing and putting men out of the Unemployment Fund, and then forcing them on to the public assistance committee, I am in favour of the principle of borrowing. But there was no need for either of these proposals. There was no need for the Government to borrow another £30,000,000, making a total of £145,000,000. There was no need for that or for the present proposal of the Government. They should have accepted 294 the suggestion of the Trade Union Congress of a special levy. Trade unionists know all about special levies. We have spent our lives in raising special levies, and it would have been possible to have started with men earning £4 a week and £3 a week and have said to them, "We want you to pay a special levy for the benefit of the Unemployment Insurance Fund," and we could have increased that levy according to their ability to pay.
The hon. Member surely does not suggest that the Government could do that without legislation.
§ Mr. BATEY
It is a suggestion I make to the Minister of Labour, which I want him to keep in mind, as a much easier way than the proposal of the Government. I know that it is a very narrow Debate and that it is extremely difficult to argue the question without getting out of order. When the unemployed men go before the public assistance subcommittee, or, as one of my colleagues said, the guardians committee, they are not going before the full public assistance committee of the county. When the sub-committee decides a case and assesses the amount that the unemployed shall receive, is that decision to be final, is it to be put into effect straight away, or will the unemployed have to wait until the sub-committee reports to the public assistance committee and the public assistance committee reports to the county council?
I want to utter my protest against the whole of this business. The Government are simply asking for trouble on this question. To-night the House is extremely quiet, as if Members were not taking much interest in the question. But the unemployed will not be so quiet or so indifferent. I believe we will not only see a revolt of the unemployed, but a revolt of the whole of the working classes of the country, because there is nothing so obnoxious to them as the fact that at some time or other they will have to appear before a public assistance committee. The Government would be wise to get to the country as soon as possible, because the longer they put off doing so the greater will be the storm when they do.
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
There are one or two questions I wish to ask. If a man has received his 26 weeks benefit and comes under the transitional benefit period, who takes particulars of the family income from him? Is it the duty of the man to go to a clerk at the Exchange, or to go to the public assistance committee? Who examines the man as to his family income? Is the man to give his details to Exchange officials, who in turn hand them over to the assistance committee for investigation, or is he to visit the assistance committee to give the details, or does the assistance committee send someone to the Exchange to get the information? It is important to know. If the assistance committee is to do it, it means that the man must go to a new department to make a claim. On the other hand, if the Exchange has to do it, it will mean that extra accommodation must be provided at most of the Exchanges, as well as extra staff. It cannot be expected that an Exchange which is dealing with 101 problems and is already overcrowded can undertake this new work. I hope that the particulars will be taken by the Exchange officials at least in the first instance, and that then they can be handed over. The Anomalies Act is referred to in this Estimate. According to the Minister's statement there is an estimated saving of about half a million. I would like to know whether the advisory committee on the Anomalies Act has yet met?
§ Sir H. BETTERTON
According to the Act it has to be laid on the Table. It will be available when it is put into force. I cannot say when, but I should say within a week.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
The difficulty is that one does not know when the House is going to rise. The Minister is responsible for the working of the Act and it comes under this Vote for the cost of administration. Will he give us any chance of reviewing the work before he operates the regulations. I know that if the House has already risen he can 296 operate them, and that all that the House can then do is to wait until it meets again and review the work that has been already done. Then as to the estimated saving of £500,000. On what does the Minister base his estimate? Has he estimated any saving from the married women, the seasonal workers, the intermittent workers. What is the anticipated saving on seasonal workers?
My hon. Friend the Member for Spennymoor (Mr. Batey) was called to order when he was on the point of making certain suggestions as to how the fund should be increased. I am going to make one or two suggestions which I hope will be in order, but I am giving you notice, Sir Dennis, to watch me carefully, as you may have to call me to order. The hon. Member for Spennymoor suggested that certain classes of workers might be brought into the fund. I doubt if the Minister has power administratively to bring in those workers, but there are other workers in regard to whom I think he has power. A large number of municipal employés and others are granted exemption by the Minister. Those employés have superannuation schemes and part of the arrangement is that the Minister in concurrence with the local authority, can grant exemption to them. But he has also the power to withdraw that exemption and I submit that the withdrawal of that exemption ought to be considered. These people have not great wages, but they are secure to some extent. I say "to some extent" because unemployment is hitting them now; but I suggest, as an alternative, that if the Minister withdrew the exemption in their case, it would mean some increase of contribution.
There is a second matter in regard to which I think the Minister would have power to act without legislation. I know that he needs to be empowered by an Act of Parliament to increase the contributions of employers and workmen and, as far as I can gather, we are increasing the total contribution of the three parties, to about £55,000,000. That means, in effect, that the State now contributes a little over £18,000,000, the employers £18,000,000 and the workmen £18,000,000. I submit that the State ought to contribute more than one-third. The State ought to make a contribution equal to the total of the employers' and work- 297 men's contributions. There is nothing to hinder the State making such a contribution, and if that were done then instead of a State contribution of £18,000,000, you would have a State contribution of about £37,000,000.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I understood that the Minister had power, without legislalation, to increase the State contribution. However, I leave it at that, and I turn to the general issues raised by this Estimate. May I say to my hon. Friends on this side, again referring to the saving under the Anomalies Measure, that they created an unfortunate precedent and did an unfortunate piece of work by passing that Measure. A saving of £500,000 has been announced in connection with that Measure and nobody is going to deny that two-thirds of that saving will come from poor people who can ill afford it. I say to the Minister that whatever regulations are going to be made operative in that connection, ought to be the subject of careful scrutiny by the House of Commons, because I am convinced that within the Anomalies Measure and within the powers taken by the Minister there are powers which can be harshly used.
There is also the larger issue referred to by the hon. Member for Chester-le-Street (Mr. Lawson). He rightly said that this Estimate was intended to polish off the work to be accomplished by the Economy Bill. This Estimate is for the purpose of lowering the standard of those who are on unemployment benefit. When the hon. Member for Spennymoor was speaking, I thought he was about to conic to the point which he has raised on more than one occasion, as to administrative costs, particularly in connection with transitional benefit. Why does the Minister not make a saving on the remuneration of the chairmen of courts of referees? They receive two and a-half guineas for a two hours' sitting. Is there any defence for that?
§ Sir H. BETTERTON
The fee payable to a chairman of a court of referees is to be reduced forthwith by 10 per cent.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
It is somewhere about £2 5s. for two hours' work or 22s. 6d. an hour. [HON. MEMBERS: "Three hours!"] When the Act started, it was three hours, but few courts now last for more than two and a-half hours. The unemployed now know the Act; the chairmen know it, all the parties concerned know it, and the procedure is simplicity itself compared with what it was previously. But make it three hours if you likes and it represents about 15s. an hour. It would not be so bad if one felt that we were getting value for the money. I never feel annoyed so much about the payment of a guinea or two guineas or £100 in this way—though sometimes it goes against the grain—if we are getting a return for it. The return is more important than the payment; but in this case we feel we are not getting a return, and I suggest that is a direction in which this Estimate could be cut down considerably if the Minister cares to turn his attention to it.
I also wish to ask the Minister what proportion of this £3,000,000 is being granted for running the business of the public assistance committees. Is any portion of this sum being granted for that purpose, and if so, what control will the Minister exercise over the expenditure of that money? Will he have any control over those who investigate, and if so, what kind of control? Will he have any control over the people who will adjudicate, and if so, what kind of control? If you are handing over a portion of that money for local people to investigate, you ought to retain in your own hands some power of control over those who carry out the investigations. The hon. Member for Spennymoor struck what I thought was a human and sincere note towards the end of his speech when he said that this House was quiet and that you would think the subject under discussion was of little concern, but that outside people would resent this Estimate.
This Estimate represents to me the deepest feeling that I have known outside in all my public life. I have never heard anything like it, and I say this frankly to the House of Commons and to the Labour movement here: Never mind the other side, but when this Act 299 works, as work it likely will, outside in the country it will not be the ordinary political force that we have to meet; it will not be the arguments of the Liberals and the Tories against us. Outside tonight there grows a force—and I say it sincerely and earnestly—that no man here and no woman can yet see the end of. To-morrow there will be presented a petition from thousands of poor people protesting against this Estimate, protesting against the whole philosophy underlying it. It is a work that can hardly be described in ordinary human language, and as to the issues of it, I cannot see who will successfully emerge. It may be that the Government, with the power of Army, Navy and police, will smash the poor people. It may be that those folk will be, as they have always been more or less in the past, sacrificed on the altar, but at the end of it what have you gained? What has been your net gain?
You are sending people out to investigate into the affairs of the poor folk. It is petty and mean. Take, for instance, what is going to happen. A man's circumstances may alter. He has £200. Just imagine what is going to be done under this Estimate. You told men when they were working to save their money, not to waste it, but to put it into War Loan, and a man may have £200 of War stock saved, on your advice. He could have wasted it, he could have spent it on drink, or gambling, or on any foolish enterprise, but he saved it, and at the end of six months he has this £200, and the. Poor Law authorities in Scotland, under the law, say, "We cannot relieve until that sum goes down to £25." You punish that man because he has done what you told him to do. If he had spent it, it would not have been there for you to take.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
No, but he would have been on the Poor Law. Let me put it to the hon. Member. Here is a decent man who does what you advise him. You say that he will be punished in no way for doing it, and at the end of 26 weeks he has £200.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
The point I want to make it this, that if the man wasted it, if he refused to save it—
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
My point is very sound. Under the pensions administration a Tory Minister in 1919, to his credit, laid it down that any sum saved should not be allocated as if it was a penalty on decency and thrift, and that has been the policy of successive Governments ever since. Carry out that policy. The man's £200 diminishes, and I want to ask the Minister whom he is to inform as to the alteration of his income. Has he to inform the Poor Law people or the clerk of the Employment Exchange? Whom has he to inform if his son starts work after he has been unemployed? In other words, who is to be his medium of communication?
Beside your investigation, you are going to have a new piece of wrong-doing, partly through ignorance and neglect, and partly you will have imprisonment and persecution arising from it. Men may not disclose their full income or their alterations in income, and there is an investigation consequent upon it. The whole business is repugnant to me. It is an entirely wrong thing, and I would have hoped that the Minister might yet have withdrawn this Estimate. The Government have given concessions to teachers and the Navy, and it seems to me that this movement of ours will be driven from peaceful lines, because the only thing that gets noticed and that gets concessions is the use of force outside, and that seems to be the only hope of getting justice.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I will not follow the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) except that I would like to congratulate him on having brought forward some important points. It made me even more distressed to hear that unemployed men in England were worse off than in Scotland, because under the destitution test in some of the areas of Britain a man has to part with his last bit of furniture and his last farthing before he can get relief. I do not object 301 to the Scot being better off than the English so much as I object to the whole policy, and hon. and right hon. Members opposite will rue it before they are much older. I wish to protest against the lack of information given by the right hon. Gentleman in his opening remarks. We cannot part with this Estimate of £13,700,000 without some further explanation. We are not stopping borrowing. The debt, we are told, is £102,000,000— an awful sum. Why, Sir Dennis, you and I were in the Coalition Government, and I at least used to protest against the spending of £120,000,000 wasted in Russian intervention by the present right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) the then Minister of War who carried on a private war of his own which was pure waste of money. This is the accumulation of some years. It started with the borrowing of £34,000,000 in the late Conservative Government. The Home Secretary tries to make our flesh creep by saying that unless the present Government had taken steps to balance the fund by this Supplementary Estimate, the debt of the Unemployment Fund would have risen to £120,000,000. Why, that is just about the amount spent on armaments in the last years of the last Government. We are going on borrowing.
That is a point I want to drive home, because we intend to go on up to £114,000,000. Another £13,000,000 is going to be borrowed. Before the Minister asks this House for these heavy sums of money, I should like to ask whether he has any policy? Is there any policy at all for reducing the number of unemployed? We on this side do not like this system of having to pay out money to men for doing nothing, and our policy is to find them work. I have always understood that that was the policy of the, Conservative party by a certain method, which I will not discuss now, and that it has always been the policy of the Liberal party, by another method. They were going to conquer unemployment. I hope we shall hear from the right hon. Gentleman that we are to have the Liberal policy of conquering unemployment dished up and brought up to date, if not with a yellow cover, seeing that we have now gone off the Gold Standard.
I think we have got off the subject under discussion. The hon. and gallant Member knows the rules 302 so well that he will recognise that legislation would be required to carry out what he is dealing with.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I will not pursue that except to say that Ministers do not practice in office what they preached in Opposition. I want to ask how this sum is arrived at as regards the number of unemployed? We have heard figures of the number of men out of work mentioned by the Home Secretary and the Minister of Health, amounting to 3,000,000. The present Government expect to force up unemployment, by the various Measures we have been discussing in the last three weeks, to over 3,000,000. What is the estimate of the Minister of Labour? We have not been told that, and we ought to know. To what does he expect the figure to rise in the coming winter? He ought to tell us, because otherwise it is not fair to ask the House of Commons in this time of financial stringency to vote another £13,700,000, without telling us how many unemployed they expect to add to the present register, and without going into details of any proposals for reducing the number of unemployed by finding work or restoring trade. Are they all dumb since they took office in the National Government? Are we to hear nothing at all of constructive proposals?
I am watching the taxpayers' money. I am the economist on this occasion, and the watchdog of the Treasury. The Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, who are the ordinary watchdogs of the Treasury, are apparently in their kennels and will not come out. What are we getting in return for this large sum of money? Are we getting a policy, or is this another blank cheque, or a doctor's mandate? If so, I should like to see what the doctor's credentials are, because I am very much in doubt whether he is not rather a quack. I do not think it is fair to ask Parliament to vote this large sum of money to add to the national indebtedness. We were told it had to be stopped when the present Government were formed. They were formed to stop borrowing, and yet we are going to borrow another £13,000,000 because they cannot find work for these men owing to their lack of policy. They have given us no notion of their policy, and it is treat- 303 ing the Committee with the same contempt that the present Government have shown they intend to treat Parliament.
Then, why is it that this is the one Vote on which we are not to borrow any more? We have this further £13,000,000 and the right hon. Gentleman is to borrow up to £115,000,000. He is very glad of the money, and he is going to spend it in paying men to be idle—the very policy which he condemns himself. We have to put the country through a political crisis to stop borrowing for the Unemployment Fund, that is to say, to stop borrowing to pay men for whom we cannot find work because the Government have no policy. Why is this the only fund for which we are not to borrow? There are some things for which you can always borrow. If we were to be involved in war to-morrow we could borrow £100,000,000 for warfare. You can borrow unlimited millions to kill men, but you are not to borrow for the purpose of saving life and keeping men fit for when trade revives.
We have been told again And again that our lenders in America would not provide the money unless we stopped borrowing for the Unemployment Fund and cut down the benefit and wrecked the scheme. I want to inform the Minister of Labour, if he does not know it already, as he ought to, that the American people themselves have a wholesome admiration for our whole system of social insurance. America is not represented by the gunmen of the Bowery and Wall Street, or by the gangsters of big business in Chicago or the strike-breaking monopolists of the Trusts or the racketeers of Pittsburg. That is not America. The real America which is watching what we are doing at this moment and hoping we shall not wreck this whole scheme, as I am afraid we are doing, consists of God-fearing, honest people, very largely of Anglo-Saxon descent, and they object to being told they have insisted that we should stop borrowing for this fund.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I might also have defended our gallant French allies, who, I believe, did not 304 insist on this either, but I will not do that now. If the right hon. Gentleman has a conscience he must remember the speeches he has made from the Front Opposition Bench. I cannot imitate his eloquence or his irrelevance, but I have a right to say he has no business to ask us to vote this huge sum of money to be added to the country's indebtedness without our knowing whether the Government have any policy on which their two wings can agree to provide work for men at present idle.
§ Mr. R. A. TAYLOR
I must support my hon. Friend in his opening remarks when he protested very strongly against the failure of the Minister to give us any real information when he introduced this Vote to the House. During the last two or three weeks we have put a number of very important questions to the Minister affecting the position of these men who will have to submit to a Poor Law test before they can obtain transitional benefit. We were informed a fortnight ago that the Poor Law test was generally to be applied to applicants for transitional benefit. We are entitled to know, before we vote a sum of £13,000,000, exactly what that means in practice so far as these applicants are concerned. Does it mean that a person is not to receive unemployment insurance benefit after he has exhausted his 26 weeks until he is absolutely destitute. That is an important question to which we are entitled to have an answer.
We are also entitled to have an answer to this question: Is it the intention of the Government to issue regulations and instructions to provide some uniformity of administration? It has been constantly pointed out in the House that there are wide variations of practice between one Poor Law authority and another. One authority will interpret its duty to an applicant for relief in a reasonable way. It will not ask him to sell his piano or to sell his house, in which he may have invested £50 or £100, which has been built up by years of savings. It will not ask him to do these things or to make himself absolutely destitute. If he has £40 or £50 in a cooperative society, or in the Savings Bank, it will not penalise him. Are any steps to be taken to secure some minimum measure of decent treatment throughout the country? It will be very 305 unfair if there are differences. Take the case of a man who lives in a small industrial village in the midst of an agricultural population, where the guardians committee of the county council is composed of a type that very often lacks sympathy with the position of the industrial worker or any understanding of his real difficulties. We know that the smaller the community in which a man lives, especially if he is an isolated individual, the more terrible it is to his feelings to have to submit to some of the treatment that is meted out, I am sorry to say, under the Poor Law. Therefore, I would like to have some guarantee that something is to be done to secure some measure of uniformity.
A week ago I asked the hon. Gentleman whether any instructions or regulations had been issued for the guidance of public assistance committees in dealing with claimants for transitional benefit. The reply he gave me was that no instructions or regulations had been issued, but that regulations were under consideration and would be issued in due course and laid before the House. In view of that answer, I would like the Minister to tell us what he meant in the earlier portion of his remarks to-day, when he told my hon. Friend that no instructions or regulations had been issued for the guidance of public assistance committees, either by his Department or the Ministry of Health. Perhaps he could tell us whether the regulations have been drawn up.
§ Sir H. BETTERTON indicated dissent.
§ Mr. TAYLOR
Perhaps the hon. Gentleman could tell us, then, when they will be drawn up. We ought to have had some indication of what these regulations contained before this Vote was passed. Could' he tell us definitely, in view of his statement to-night, whether in fact any regulations are to be issued at all.
§ Sir H. BETTERTON
These regulations are now under discussion with the Ministry of Health. I cannot say when the discussions will be finished, but as soon as they are complete the regulations will be made, I cannot be more definite than that.
§ Mr. LAWSON
Are the public assistance committees being consulted before these regulations are issued?
§ Sir H. BETTERTON
The Ministry of Health is being consulted. Whether the public assistance committees are, I am not quite sure.
§ Mr. TAYLOR
Will the House have an opportunity of discussing the regulations before they are put into effect? It is putting the House in an unfair position to ask it to pass a Supplementary Estimate of £13,000,000 without having the most vital information upon the matter before them. We are entitled to some information as to the basis of the regulations which will be issued to public assistance committees. What is to be the position of the Government if a public assistance committee refuses to carry out its function? It may be that the regulations are of such a nature that some committees will not feel inclined to carry out the duties that it is proposed to put upon them. What will the Government do in an eventuality of that kind?
We are entitled to have some indication as to the exact way in which the test of destitution is to be applied in practice. Will an applicant have to fill in a form at the Employment Exchange and then have his application automatically referred to the public assistance committee for assessment, or will he be placed in the position, as one is entitled to infer from the answer given to my question a fortnight ago, of having to fill up the ordinary form as an applicant for Poor Law relief. If so, we are entitled to ask that the Government should again insist upon some uniformity.
During the Debate last week one hon. Member produced a form such as has to be filled up by applicants in a certain Poor Law area in the county of Essex, and read a number of the interrogations on that form. When I heard that form, and visualised industrial workers with a long record of insurable employment, people who belong to the churches and chapels in my own community, people who are buying their houses and trying to make the best of things, being subjected to an inquisition of that kind, I could not believe that an hon. Member such as the Parliamentary Secretary and 307 others of the Liberal party would assent to such things being done. When I took the trouble to get a similar form which is being used at the present time by the public assistance committee in my own constituency, I found there was a very great difference indeed between the character of the two documents. Therefore, I hope we shall have some definite information as to how this test of destitution is to be applied, whether there is to be uniformity, and whether we may have some guarantee that the House of Commons will have an opportunity of discussing the regulations before they become effective.
§ Mr. McSHANE
We have heard considerable criticism of the fact that the Unemployment Fund has got into debt to the extent of £102,000,000. Surely many of us are forgetting to put things in their proper perspective. The Unemployment Fund has been in existence for 19 or 20 years; it has taken that time for it to get into debt to the extent of £102,000,000; but in the last three years only we have given away almost £100,000,000, certainly £90,000,000, under the de-rating proposals, under which great breweries, that did not require the money at all, which were making fabulous profits, have got in three years altogether a total of £90,000,000. In the one case it is only poor men and women who are getting the money, in the other case it is the people who matter who are getting it, and that is one of the reasons why, although it has taken 19 years for this debt to grow, there is such a clamour against it.
I would like to join in what the hon. Member for Lincoln (Mr. R. A. Taylor) has said about the regulations. We are being asked to give power to the Minister at a moment when we are actually blindfold so far as knowing anything of what is going to happen. Who is going to issue the regulations? Not even the Minister himself seems to know what those regulations are, and certainly no Member of this Committee has the haziest notion about it. If this House were to rise this week—[Interruption.] If a dissolution were to take place very soon I venture to say that the present Government is not the one which will be in power after the election. If a Labour Government comes in there is the possi- 308 bility, and the hope, that we shall revoke all this; but, if not, then the whole of these Regulations will actually be enforced without a single word of criticism from any Member of this House. That is a monstrous position. I want to ask the Minister, who admits that he has not had any consultations with public assistance committees, the bodies who have to administer this colossal piece of work—
§ Sir H. BETTERTON
I said that I myself had had no personal consultation with representatives of the public assistance committees, but I believe they are in consultation with the Ministry of Health. But the Parliamentary Secretary will deal with this point.
§ Mr. McSHANE
I am amazed at that statement, because I am in the closest touch with one of the large public assistance authorities in the country, and on Sunday, certainly, they knew nothing whatever of these consultations. It is not enough that on a matter of this importance the Ministry of Health should be consulting a few selected officials.
§ Sir H. BETTERTON
I thought the hon. Member asked me whether I personally had been in consultation with them. Both the Ministry of Health and the officials of the Ministry of Labour are in consultation with them now.
§ Mr. McSHANE
The Minister of Health and the officials of the Ministry of Labour may be in consultation with a few selected persons representative of the Association of Public Assistance Committees, but on this matter they do not speak for the great body of industrial public assistance committees, who know nothing whatever about these consultations. To throw such a colossal piece of work on to the shoulders of voluntary workers without consultation with them is perfectly monstrous. I wish to ask the Minister of Labour if he has thought of this in connection with the regulations? Are men who have been on transitional benefit, and who are to be put through this mean test, to be subjected to Poor Law practice? Is the strict letter of the law with regard to test work to be applied, namely, that a man shall work, it may be 30 hours per week, if he is getting only 2s. 6d. a week? Does it mean, in fact, that the whole Poor Law system—in respect of these 309 regulations—is to be applied to the men and women who are to be sent to the Poor Law?
Further, I wish to know what attitude is to be taken up under these regulations towards single men or single women who are on transitional benefit? Notwithstanding that the Minister of Health a year last January sent out a circular warning public assistance committees—warning them—that single men and single women qua single men and single women ought not to debarred from public assistance, in fact that is being done by a number of authorities. [Interruption.] I could give the name of one authority where it is actually done. Single men, because they are single, are not to get public assistance at all. I want to know whether, in these regulations, it will be specifically laid down beyond a doubt that single men who are on transitional benefit and whose cases will be dealt with by public assistance committees will get some help; that their cases will be adjudicated upon as if they were actually married men and women in relation to an actual claim for help.
When I envisage the spirit of the Economy Bill being interpreted by rural public assistance committees I can only say that, though the Bill is bad and bitter, it will in its actual administration be ten thousand times worse and ten thousand times more bitter. That is why I regret so profoundly that we have not these regulations before us, because after all they will govern the whole fortunes of the men and women who appear before those public assistance committees. The effect of the Economy Bill will be that a large number of men and women will lose their employment. That has been admitted even by Mr. Garvin, of the "Sunday Observer." I know cases of men who for eight or 10 years have been attempting to purchase their own houses. I know of a case where a man has been paying for some time 20s. 6d. per week, part as rent and part as an instalment payment for the purchase of his house. This man is in receipt of transitional benefit, and, under the new proposals, he will have to appear before a public assistance committee. The money those men have paid as instalments will have to be taken into account by the public assistance committees, because they are governed by the Poor 310 Law, and must take everything into account which the applicants possess; in fact, they will be acting illegally if they do not take everything into account. If a man owns his own house he cannot come to the public assistance committee for help unless he realises his property. If these men possess War Loan they must realise their investment. The public assistance committees will have to take into consideration the amount received by an applicant who has two families living in his house to help him to carry on his instalment payments. There is no other way out of these difficulties under the new proposals which have been adopted, because any person who comes before a public assistance committee must have everything he possesses taken into account.
The more I examine the potentialities of these proposals the more I am shocked. We must not overlook the mass of extra work which will be thrown upon public assistance committees by these proposals. In my own town 3,000 men will have to be dealt with by the public assistance committees, the members of which are men and women doing voluntary work. They cannot do all this extra work, and some of them have already stated that they will not attempt it. The relieving officers will be employed as expert investigators, and they are sympathetic men in the main, or, at any rate, that is so in the town which I represent. A totally new class of investigators will be necessary. The Minister of Labour may say that some of those who are now employed as clerks at the Employment Exchanges will be available for this work, but they are not fit for the particular class of inquiries to be made under the Poor Law. I can imagine what will happen. I wish hon. Members opposite, who are supporting these proposals, could have the experience of having such an investigator coming into their homes; I would like to see those investigators putting questions to the wives of hon. Members, going through their homes, and taking stock of everything. I am sure that there is not an hon. Member opposite, who has any decency at all in him, who would not be inclined to throw the investigator out of the house in such circumstances. I remember when the Prince of Wales' 311 Fund was being administered for the wives of the soldiers left behind after the War broke out. So iniquitous were the inquisitions in regard to the soldiers' wives that the people threw over the administration, subscribed to their own fund, and run the administration in their own way. The proposals which we are discussing will create a new class of investigator, and I am amazed that any hon. Member opposite who calls himself an English gentleman can support such proposals.
In the 16th century masses of men and women were turned out into the roads. An attempt was made first of all to cure unemployment by hanging, and that did not succeed. They branded the unemployed on their foreheads; they lopped off their ears. That was the way in which they dealt with the poor in the 16th century. I believe that similar methods would be adopted to-day if they would be tolerated. What is now proposed is a refined way of doing the same thing, and treating men who fought in the War as a class definitely below the status of the unemployed. Those men will not have even the status of the men at the Employment Exchanges. I shall do what I can to arouse in the minds of my people the iniquity of these proposals, and I have nothing but contempt for them and for those who support them.
§ Mr. GRAY
I think the Committee is to be congratulated, on the whole, on the nature of the Debate that has taken place on this Supplementary Estimate. Not only has there been an attempt to arrive at a certain amount of definite information, which the Committee naturally desires to have, but more than one valuable suggestion has been made. I do not propose to enter into the controversies which have taken place during the passage of the Bill with which this Estimate has to do; I think I shall be better serving the desire of the Committee if I take up the time at my disposal in trying to reply as clearly and explicitly as possible to a number of points and requests for information that have been made.
With regard to the remarks of the hon. Member for Walsall (Mr. McShane), I should like to point out at once that there is not the slightest intention what- 312 ever of applying any of those conditions associated with the Poor Law which relate to test work or similar things of that kind. [Interruption.] I make that perfectly explicit statement. [Interruption.] Nothing in the nature of either test work, payment in kind, or anything of that sort is contemplated in connection with the provisions of the Bill. May I remind the Committee and hon. Members opposite, without raising any controversial point, that they themselves as a party, if not entirely committed, were prepared to give very full and careful consideration to the question of some means test? [Interruption.] I am not going into any controversial matter as regards disputes between the last Government and the present one, and I would ask the Committee to have a little patience. The point is this: When you are paying transitional benefit, or payments which, as is admitted by everyone, are not based on contributions that warrant those payments on any insurance basis, are you going to make those payments for any continued length of time without any—[HON. MEMBERS: "Yes!"]—let us be quite clear—without any consideration whatever as to whether a man who is receiving them is possessed of ample funds, or is even paying Income Tax? After all, it has to be remembered that a person receiving transitional benefit is not necessarily a person who has nothing else to live upon. He has to satisfy certain conditions, and, if the Committee will allow me to remind them of it, a question was asked in the House just recently with regard to a case which was reported in the Press in connection with some separation order, where the man concerned was in possession of, I think, something like £3,000, and was drawing unemployment benefit.
If a person is drawing standard benefit to which he has contributed, and to which he is entitled under a proper insurance scheme, you have no right to ask what he has got; but I do suggest to the Committee, and I should have thought that it was common ground in the House, that, when you are making a payment which is really a payment out of public money—because it must be remembered that the whole of the money for these transitional payments now, by the Act of the Labour Administration, no longer falls on the insurance fund, but falls on the public Exchequer; it is not 313 money contributed by the employer or the employed, but is purely public money voted directly out of the public Exchequer—I should have thought that there was a measure of common agreement in the House that, when you are paying away money like that, you are entitled at least to see that the man or woman who is going to receive it is really in need of it.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
Does the hon. Gentleman know the Act? May I put this point to him? The moment a man goes on to transitional benefit he has to satisfy an additional test—the test as to whether he is normally in insurable employment. On that test the court of referees is entitled to know, not only his income, but his wife's income, not for the purpose of satisfying a Poor Law test, but in order to find out whether he is normally in insurable employment. If he has, say, £3,000, he must disclose it, and, if the court of referees thinks that the fact that he has £3,000 is keeping him from looking for work, that is to say, from being normally in insurable employment, they are entitled to refuse him benefit.
§ Mr. GRAY
I am exceedingly obliged to the hon. Member for his very interesting statement. It may deal with a certain type of case, but I think he will agree that the umpire's decision cannot rest upon whether a man has means or not. The umpire's decision rests upon whether he is a man who was normally following an insurable occupation, and, after all, that does raise the case of a large group of persons, with whom I should have thought hon. Members would be familiar, who are not absolutely in need of relief. That, however, is not the point in dispute. We are not dealing here with cases of emotion, or of the desire to benefit a group of workers, and I do feel that we are entitled to ask the Committee to take what seems to me to be a broader view than that. The view we are taking is that you cannot allow people who do not need this money to draw it when they are not drawing it as a result of contributions paid. In that case it really is a form of public assistance. Let us accept that term, because it is the fact.
We have two forms of public assistance in this country. There is the one which is administered, through the local 314 authorities, to those people, irrespective of who they are, where they come from, what their income may be, or what their experience may be, who have fallen on bad times and who have no other reserves. At least our civilisation has reached the stage of saying that they shall not starve, and they can appeal to the local public, assistance committee. Then there is a large class of our fellowcitizens—and I am bound to raise this point when I am pressed—who, I claim, are just as decent as any working people in this country. I am not going to admit that the agricultural labourer is less decent than the industrial worker. Let us get this clear because it is fundamental. These people have no payment under transitional benefit at all and what has been borne in upon me as I have listened to the Debate is that, if the public assistance committees are as cruel in their administration and as unfeeling in the way in which they give public assistance as the hon. Member for Walsall (Mr. McShane) and others have painted them, the time has come when the more organised workers should be put upon them.
§ Mr. GRAY
Yes. I would put the unemployed Lord Chancellor on if he applies for transitional benefit. The point is that you must either allow the claim that you are going to have very special treatment for the industrial worker which you do not give to other poor people or you must be prepared to admit a means test of some kind. May I leave that controversy aside and try to answer explicitly the points that have been raised? The public assistance committees, acting as agents for the Ministry of Labour, will be asked to assess the need of every person who claims transitional benefit on the same basis as they would assess the need, in cash only, of an able-bodied worker who came to them in. any other way. We are not trying to keep anything from the Committee and we are giving a perfectly clear and plain answer.
§ Mr. R. A. TAYLOR
In the case of a public assistance committee which, as a matter of practice, does not give any relief to the able-bodied unemployed, will they be compelled to give relief now under your regulations?
§ Mr. GRAY
They will be compelled to assess the amounts. I at least assume that public officials, whatever their personal predilections are, attempt to administer the law fairly and in reason. I think I shall take the Minister with me here. If we found] that any public assistance committee were not fulfilling their duty we should find some method of dealing with them.
§ Mr. LAWSON
The hon. Gentleman has said public assistance committees will inquire as to the position of the applicant and will take a decision on his income in cash and cash only. Is that the instruction that is to be sent out?
§ Mr. GRAY
We will ask the public assistance committee to assess to us the amount of cash that the applicant requires. Their business is to supply us with information as to the amount of cash that is required, and it is to be based on the amount of cash which, if they were paying the cash, they themselves would give. The regulations that we are issuing are not regulations for the public assistance committee to assess on. They will be regulations setting up the necessary machinery to operate between the Ministry of Labour and the public assistance committees for carrying out the work that we are entrusting to them.
§ Mr. R. A. TAYLOR
This is a very important point. If the regulations are not to provide any safeguards to ensure that people needing benefit get it, what is the object of the regulations? You do not need regulations merely to settle the terms on which the public assistance committee is going to discharge its functions.
§ Mr. GRAY
I do not think the hon. Member need have interrupted me for that purpose. I thought I had made it perfectly clear that, so far as the assessment of need is concerned, we are throwing that responsibility upon the public assistance committee, and we have this difficulty, which I will put quite frankly to the Committee. The hon. Gentleman who interrupted me just now pointed out that in his area the public assistance committees are quite generous in their method of dealing with applicants. Other committees, we hear, are quite different. You have varying conditions in the vary- 316 ing localities. A public assistance committee in an area where rents are low may probably make assessments on a lower basis than a public assistance committee in an area where rents are very high. We are not attempting as a Ministry to enter into all these questions. I rather hope that in the light of the experience we shall gain we may get more or less valuable information, and it may be that we shall get more uniformity as regards this particular work.
I have dealt with the question of the destitution test. That which was pointed out by the hon. Member is not, in fact, a fair description of the method adopted by the public assistance committees. The hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) raised one or two interesting points with regard to the question of dealing with forms. That matter is under consideration, and we shall take all the facts into that consideration. At the moment, the probable scheme we have in mind is that the original form will be filled up in the Exchange and passed over to the public assistance committee to deal with. We have a very difficult task in regard to this work. We have to feel our way and find out the most effective method. As regards the associations with which we have been in consultation, they have been the recognised associations—the County Councils' Association and the Municipal Corporations' Association. They are the bodies which are in the habit of consulting Government Departments in relation to general matters of procedure of local authorities.
I cannot deal with all the interesting suggestions, but I hope that hon. Members will not think that I am being in any way disrespectful. That would require legislation. The decisions are not to be subject to the approval of the Minister, but are to be in accordance with the provisions of the Act. The question of expense has been raised with regard to local authorities. Some local authorities, we understand, may not even ask us to pay any extra expense. That circumstance will probably arise in places where there is very little unemployment and few cases have to be dealt with. The procedure is that they will apply to us to reimburse them for expenses they incur in regard to the administration of this part of the Act, and in respect of 317 approved expenditure they will be reimbursed. I do not think that hon. Members will expect me to say more than that, but we undertake to reimburse any local authority for any additional expense which they incur, subject to the prescribed procedure.
§ Mr. GRAY
If they have to appoint an additional official, that no doubt would come into the cost. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the period of review. We have not at the moment laid down any particular conditions with regard to that matter. The practice of a good many authorities is to review fortnightly. In our judgment, that may he rather a short period in which to review but if an authority was in a position to do it and cared to do it, we should have no objection. I cannot conceive that any public assistance committee which had a large number of cases to deal with could review cases so swiftly as that.
§ Mr. LAWSON
I raise this question because I see in the Press a statement that the London Public Assistance Committee have already laid down rules where they have to inquire once a fortnight into these particular cases.
§ Mr. LAWSON
No. The procedure, I understand from the Press is, the procedure to be applied in these particular cases.
§ Mr. GRAY
We have not laid down any regulations, and we are not laying down regulations, that will cover such a short period as that. I think I have covered the bulk of the points as regards the information that was required, except the question as to the basis on which the estimates have been arrived at. I am afraid that I cannot give any more additional assistance to the committee, because they will realise that the data on which we have to work is exceedingly small. The estimated number on which the calculations have been made has been on an estimated number of 3,000,000 unemployed. That figure is in the White 318 Paper, and that has been the basis of our calculations. The Committee will realise that in calculating this Estimate we had to arrive as nearly as we could at what might be regarded as a rough guess as to what will be the result of these proposals. It is impossible for the Department to say to what extent there will be reductions. It may be that a large number of people will say: "Under these provisions we know that we shall not qualify," and consequently they will not apply. I cannot say. Until we have had some experience, and some statistical evidence on which to work and we know how far reductions may be made in the scale of benefit, we cannot speak with certainty, but we have framed an estimate as closely as we could, a rough working estimate, as to how far we think these proposals will affect the expenditure that will terminate with the next financial year. I am sorry that I have not been able to give hon. Members fuller and more explicit information, but I think they will agree that I have given them all the information that I could, and I ask the Committee now to give us the Vote.
§ Mr. SIMMONS
I desire to ask whether ex-Service men's pensions, disability pensions, will be taken into account by the public assistance committees in assessing need, whether the qualification for disablement ex-Service men's pensions will still hold good, and whether disabled ex-Service men, apart from ordinary ex-Service men, will have only the 26 weeks.
§ It being Half-past Ten of the Clock, the CHAIRMAN proceeded, pursuant to the Order of the House of 22nd September, to put forthwith the Question necessary to dispose of the Motion already proposed from the Chair.320
§ Question put, "That a sum, not exceeding £13,699,900, be granted for the said Service."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 211; Noes, 268.323
|Division No. 501.]||AYES.||[10.30 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)||Phillips, Dr. Marion|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)||Pole, Major D. G.|
|Alpass, J. H.||Herriotts, J.||Potts, John S.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Hirst, G. H. (York, W. R., Wentworth)||Quibell, D. J. K.|
|Arnott, John||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Raynes, W. R.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hoffman, P. C.||Richards, R.|
|Ayles, Walter||Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Baker, John (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Isaacs, George||Riley, Ben (Dewsbury)|
|Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley)||Jenkins, Sir William||Riley, F. F. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Barr, James||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Ritson, J.|
|Batey, Joseph||Johnston, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Romeril, H. G.|
|Bennett, William (Battersea, South)||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Rowson, Guy|
|Bowen, J. W.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Samuel, H. Walter (Swansea, West)|
|Broad, Francis Alfred||Kelly, W. T.||Sanders, W. S.|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Sawyer, G. F.|
|Bromley, J.||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Brooke, W.||Kinley, J.||Scurr, John|
|Brothers, M.||Kirkwood, D.||Sexton, Sir James|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts, Mansfield)||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (South Ayrshire)||Lathan, G. (Sheffield, Park)||Sherwood, G. H.|
|Brown, W. J. (Wolverhampton, West)||Law, Albert (Bolton)||Shield, George William|
|Buchanan, G.||Law, A. (Rosendale)||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Burgess, F. G.||Lawrence, Susan||Shinwell, E.|
|Buxton, C. R. (Yorks, W. R. Elland)||Lawrie, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Cameron, A. G.||Lawson, John James||Simmons, C. J.|
|Cape, Thomas||Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)||Sinkinson, George|
|Carter, W. (St. Paneras, S. W.)||Leach, W.||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Lee, Frank (Derby, N. E.)||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Chater, Daniel||Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern)||Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)|
|Clarke, J. S.||Leonard, W.||Smith, Tom (Pontefract)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Lewis, T. (Southampton)||Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Logan. David Gilbert||Stamford, Thomas W.|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Longbottom, A. W.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Compton, Joseph||Longden, F.||Strachey, E. J. St. Loe|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Lunn, William||Strauss, G. R.|
|Daggar, George||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Sullivan, J.|
|Dallas, George||McElwee, A.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Dalton, Hugh||McEntee, V. L.||Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)|
|Davies, D. L. (Pontypridd)||McKinlay, A.||Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S.W.)|
|Day, Harry||MacLaren, Andrew||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Dukes, C.||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Tillett, Ben|
|Dunnico, H.||MacNeill-Weir, L.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Ede, James Chuter||McShane, John James||Tout, W. J.|
|Edmunds, J. E.||Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)||Townend, A. E.|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwelity)||Manning, E. L.||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles|
|Edwards, E. (Morpeth)||Mansfield, W.||Turner, Sir Ben|
|Egan, W. H.||Marcus, M.||Vaughan, David|
|Forgan, Dr. Robert||Marley, J.||Walker, J.|
|Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)||Marshall, Fred||Wallace, H. W.|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Mathers, George||Watkins, F. C.|
|Gibson, H. M. (Lanes. Mossley)||Maxton, James||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Gill, T. H.||Messer, Fred||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Gossling, A. G.||Middleton, G.||Welsh. James (Paisley)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Mills, J. E.||Welsh, James C. (Coatbridge)|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Milner, Major J.||Westwood, Joseph|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Coine)||Morgan, Dr. H. B.||Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)|
|Granted, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Morley, Ralph||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Groves, Thomas E.||Mort, D. L.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Grundy, Thomas W.||Muff, G.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Muggeridge, H. T.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvll)||Murnin, Hugh||Wilson, J. (Oldham)|
|Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Naylor, T. E.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Harbord, A.||Noel-Buxton, Baroness (Norfolk, N.)||Wise, E. F.|
|Hardie, David (Rutherglen)||Oldfield, J. R.||Young, R. S. (Islington, North)|
|Hardle, G. D. (Springburn)||Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)||Young, Sir R. (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Haycock, A. W.||Owen, H. F. (Hereford)|
|Hayes, John Henry||Palin, John Henry||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||Palmer, E. T.||Mr. William Whiteley and Mr.|
|Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Paling.|
|Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Elliot, Major Walter E.||Marjoribanks, Edward|
|Ainsworth, Lieut.-Col. Charles||Elmley, Viscount||Markham, S. F.|
|Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigle M.||Erskine, Lord (Somerset,Weston s-M.)||Mason, Colonel Glyn K.|
|Albery, Irving James||Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd|
|Alexander, Sir Win. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Everard, W. Lindsay||Millar, J. D.|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l., W.)||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Milne, Wardlaw-, J. S.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Ferguson, Sir John||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Fielden, E. B.||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Fison, F. G. Clavering||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Foot, Isaac||Morris, Rhys Hopkins|
|Atkinson, C.||Ford, Sir P. J.||Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley (Bewdley)||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Muirhead, A. J.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Nall-Cain, A. R. N.|
|Balniel, Lord||Galbraith, J. F. W.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Gauit, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Beaumont, M. W.||George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon||George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesea)||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld)|
|Bennett, Sir E. N. (Cardiff, Central)||Gillett, George M.||O'Connor, T. J.|
|Betterton, Sir Henry B.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)|
|Bevan, S. J. (Holborn)||Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Gower, Sir Robert||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William|
|Birkett, W. Norman||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Owen, Major G. (Carnarvon)|
|Blindell, James||Granville, E.||Penny, Sir George|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Gray, Milner||Perkins, W. R. D.|
|Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W.||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Peters, Dr. Sidney John|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N.||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Peto, Sir Basil E- (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Power, Sir John Cecil|
|Broadbent, Colonel J.||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Preston, Sir Walter Rueben|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd., Hexham)||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.)||Pybus, Percy John|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Ramsay, T. B. Wilson|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Ramsbotham, H.|
|Buchan, John||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Rawson, Sir Cooper|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Zetland)||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Bullock, Captain Malcolm||Hammersley, S. S.||Remer, John R.|
|Burgin, Dr. E. L.||Hanbury, C.||Rentoul, Sir Gervals S.|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Reynolds, Col. Sir James|
|Butler, R. A.||Harris, Percy A.||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Hartington, Marquess of||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Caine, Hall-, Derwent||Harvey, Major S, E. (Devon, Totnes)||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)|
|Campbell, E. T.||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Robinson, Sir T. (Lanes, Stratford)|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell|
|Castle Stewart, Earl of||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Rosbotham, D. S. T.|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Hore-Bellsha, Leslie||Rothschild, J. de|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)||Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E.|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Chadwick, Capt. Sir Robert Burton||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., w.)||Hurd, Percy A.||Russell Richard John (Eddisbury)|
|Christie, J. A.||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Salmon, Major I.|
|Clydesdale, Marquess of||Hutchison, Maj.-Gen. Sir R.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Inskip, Sir Thomas||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunei||Jones, Llewellyn-, F.||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Savery, S. S.|
|Colville, Major D. J.||Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Camborne)||Scott, James|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A. (Preston)||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Kedward, R. M. (Kent, Ashford)||Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Kindersley, Major G. M.||Simon, E. D. (Manch[...]ter, Withington)|
|Cowan, D. M.||Knight, Holford||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (Calthness)|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Knox, Sir Alfred||Skelton, A. N.|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord C.||Lamb, Sir J. O.||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C.||Latham, H. P. (Scarboro' & Whitby)||Smlthere, Waldron|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Law, Sir Alfred (Derby, High Peak)||Somerset, Thomas|
|Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Cunliffe-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Lewis, Oswald (Colchester)||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Llewellin, Major J. J.||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Dalrymple-White, Lt.-Col. Sir Godfrey||Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. Godfrey||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (Handswith)||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Lockwood, Captain J. H.||Stanley, Hon. O. (Westmorland)|
|Davies, E. C. (Montgomery)||Long, Major Hon. Erie||Stewart, W. J. (Belfast, South)|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Lovat-Fraser, J. A.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Lymington, Viscount||Sueter, Rear-Admiral M. F.|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||McConnell. Sir Joseph||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A.|
|Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Dixon, Captain Rt. Hon. Herbert||Macdonald, Sir M. (Inverness)||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|Duckworth, G. A. V.||Maclean, Sir Donald (Cornwall, N.)||Thompson, Luke|
|Dudgeon, Major C. R.||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Thomson, Sir F.|
|Dug dale, Capt. T. L.||Macquisten, F. A.||Thomson, Mitchell-, Rt. Hon. Sir W.|
|Eden, Captain Anthony||Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Edge, Sir William||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Todd, Capt. A. J.|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Margesson, Captain H. D.||Train, J.|
|Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement||White, H. G.||Wood, Major Mckenzie (Banff)|
|Turton, Robert Hugh||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)||Wright, Brig.-Gen. W. D. (Tavist'k)|
|Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon||Wilton, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton|
|Wallace, Capt. D. E. (Hernsey)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert||Withers, Sir John James||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Waterhouse, Captain Charles||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount||Sir Victor Warrender and Mr.|
|Wayland, Sir William A.||Womersley, W. J.||Glassey.|
|Wells, Sydney R.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ The CHAIRMAN then proceeded successively to put forthwith, the Questions necessary to dispose of the business el Supply to be concluded at Half-past Ten of the Clock at this day's Sitting.