§ "The Daily Express learns that members of the headquarters staff of the Race-course Betting Control Board, acting under the personal supervision of one of the principal officers of the Board, are now engaged in the operation of the totalisator at one of London's largest greyhound tracks."
§ What does that mean Undertakings were given by the promoter of the Bill of 1928, by the then Home Secretary, 1200 by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in that Government, and by the representatives of the Government in another place that the Act of 1928 would be limited to horse racing.
I think the hon. and learned Gentleman is now going into the policy of the Board, for which the Home Secretary is not responsible.
I am not going into the policy of the Board except in so far as to show a reason for the moment why the Home Secretary should withdraw his nominee. If I can show that a breach of the undertakings given in the House is being committed and that officers of the Board are responsible for that state of affairs—
I think the hon. Gentleman would have to go rather further than that. I think he would have to show that the chairman, in point of fact, is dictating the policy of the Board, and I am not aware that that is the case. Otherwise, he has only the power of an ordinary member and the policy of the Board is not under the control of the Home Office.
I agree with your ruling, Sir, except if I may make this observation. The Board has 12 members, five of them are nominated by different Members of the Government. It is true that the only one I am dealing with to-day is the nominee of the right hon. Gentleman. Here is a Board which is committing a breach of faith with the House. I can only make an appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to withdraw his nominee. That may make it obligatory on him to appoint another. I cannot do what I should like, and that is to ask that the whole Statute should be wiped off the Statute Book—and there are abundant reasons for that—but I submit that I can ask him to withdraw his nominee, the chairman of the Board, who has connived at these breaches, and appoint someone who, even if he fails, will make an attempt to carry out the pledges and the undertakings that were given by the promoter of the Bill himself. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will withdraw his nominee and will prescribe a form of accounts which will reveal the true financial position of 1201 the Board. I also want to know if it is a fact that the banks, to whom £2,000,000 are owing, have appointed a receiver?
Whatever the banks may or may not have done is not a matter which is in any way the responsibility of the Home Secretary. How the money is raised has nothing to do with the Home Office.
I want to know whether the form of accounts this year will reveal the actual financial position of the Board. If the right hon. Gentleman can give me an assurance on those two points I am content for the moment to leave it there.
§ Lieut.-Colonel FREMANTLE
Considerable allusion has been made to the medical side of Home Office work, and I think that should not pass without some response. I should like to pay my own very great tribute of respect and thanks to the Home Secretary for his very enlightened, thorough and interesting speech in opening the Debate. One always feels that the medical side of the Home Secretary's estimates is almost of as great importance to the health of the nation as that of the Ministry of Health. It is true that the main side of the Home Office must be a ministry of morals, just as much as the Ministry of Health is a Ministry of Health. In the second place, it is a secondary Ministry of Health of very vital importance. The matters that really come under the control of this Department of the Home Office are proper for the care of the Home Office not only for treatment and cure, but also for prevention, but if, as seemed to be suggested by the hon. Gentleman who spoke from the Front Opposition Bench, the Home Secretary were to try to undertake an inquiry into the causes of these different industrial diseases which require prevention, a sectional inquiry of that sort would be of very little value and, indeed, it would be a gross case of overlapping.
Take the case of cancer on certain lines of industrial development. That must be taken in relation to the whole consideration of the prevention of cancer. That is a subject which is not rightly dealt with even in the Ministry of Health, because research is primarily in the hands of a body under the Privy Council and out of 1202 all the Government Departments, namely, the Medical Research Council, and it is rightly put there because, in order to get research which is really satisfactory, it should not be tendentious. If it is in the hands of any one Department, it is essentially tendentious. If the Home Secretary were to conduct an inquiry into the causes and prevention of cancer, his officials would be anxious to show that the Department was doing the best, and whatever proposals they made would be difficult to work, and in present circumstances it would not cost much. That is not the way to arrive at the scientific truth.
You ought to have it properly conducted by a body out of the reach of the Government Departments and therefore under the general auspices of the Medical Research Council under the Privy Council. But there is no question that the Government Departments should be very active in stimulating such research and contributing what special factors they can in the circumstances. Such activity may be very valuable now that there has been a suggestion that cancer is attributable to a certain form of gas produced in certain industries, and information should be sent to the right quarter. It is known to most people that the work of cancer research is conducted very largely by two particularly centralised bodies—the British Empire Cancer Campaign and the Imperial Cancer Research Board. The same applies to other industrial diseases.
It would be the greatest possible mistake if the Home Office were to set up a separate department to inquire into those things. They could inquire into those matters to a certain extent, but there should be co-ordination with other departments considering other sides of the question. That is where, again and again, we find that we have a gap in our Government organisations which requires to be filled. I cannot deal with that matter, as it would probably require legislation. We ought to have proper cooperation and co-ordination between the different Government Departments which have to deal with the health of the people. There has been an enormous amount of wasted energy both in administration and in inquiry of various kinds, and a great deal of overlapping. A great many bodies have their health departments, but they are not properly co-ordinated.
1203 I ask the Under-Secretary, in his reply, to state, in connection with health questions, to what extent his Department is in active touch with the Ministry of Health, the Board of Education, and other Departments which have to deal with corresponding problems? There is always a certain touch between one Department and another when a definite question arises, but to what extent is there active, thinking, organised touch between the different Departments dealing with similar problems but from different angles? That applies to every medical question but perhaps more especially to the psychological question which arises in the criminal section of the Estimates as dealt with by the Home Secretary. The matter was taken up by several hon. Members, and there is no doubt that we are recognising more and more that the prevention of crime depends a great deal upon psychological analysis, investigation and treatment. That relates to the criminal side.
The work of the Home Office, of the Board of Education, the Board of Control, and the Minister of Health all deal with the mental condition of the people, especially of the young. You cannot get any scheme to work in connection with crime as seen from the angle of the Home Office unless you bring into the whole question the schools and the management of the health conditions of the home and of the people at large as seen as a result of the responsibilities of the Board of Control, the Ministry of Health, and the Board of Education. I do not suppose it is possible to get any very close, active co-ordination between those Departments, and I should like to know—and perhaps the hon. Gentleman in his reply will be able to tell us—what mental medical system or advice he has in his Department dealing with those questions. Is there a medical adviser at the Home Office responsible for looking into the larger question which we have dealt with to-day in connection with the prevention of crime, especially among the young? Is there anybody who is co-ordinating all those experiences given to us in the fascinating but rather terrifying Blue Book of crime statistics? Is there anybody putting those things together and advising and helping to apply the conditions under Home Office regulations and authority?
1204 There was only one sentence in the speech of the Home Secretary to which I took any exception, and I believe that it was only a slip on his part, when he said, in referring to crime, that you have to consider above all the physical conditions that lay at the root of the causation of crime. I am sure that he meant to include, not only the physical conditions, but the mental conditions.
§ 3.0 p.m.
§ Lieut.-Colonel FREMANTLE
We medical men who consider this side of the subject do not consider that it is merely a physical question. We consider that the physical questions such as housing and actual physical illness have a great deal to do with the causation of crime. They are conditions of very great importance, and the health organisation in this country is very valuable in that connection. At the same time, medical men are more and more laying stress upon the mental side of health, and, in connection with crime, we recognise that it is much more important than the physical side. The physical side must not be neglected, but the mental side must come in. We have to take into account the increasing physical and mental dangers of the present time.
The rush and hurry, the stress and noise as a result of modern inventions, the acceleration of communications are largely responsible for a great deal of the mental illness and, indirectly, therefore, are tending towards mental crime. The attention which is now being paid to the mental side of health especially in regard to noise, hurry and anxiety is all to the good in connection with dealing with crime. I hope that the attention which is being paid to these matters in connection with the Mental Treatment Act and mental treatment generally will reflect itself sooner or later in the possibilities for preventing crime at a very early age or diminishing the modern conditions going in the same direction. I have made these general remarks because I feel that the medical profession, especially the mental side of it, has a great responsibility to bear in devising schemes for overcoming the increase of juvenile crime of which we have heard to-day and which it is of such great importance to try and prevent.
§ Lieut.-Colonel MOORE-BRABAZON
I very much wish you were not in the Chair, Captain Bourne, because you are indeed, much too active as a Chairman of the Committee, and we might expect, I think, on a Friday afternoon after lunch, a certain somnolence about the Chairman which we do not get in your case. We set up, as years go by, one body after another which seems to be quite incapable of being criticised in the House of Commons, and it is intolerable that a Chairman of a Committee shall lay down that the Department is not responsible for the policy of its nominee upon a big board like the Betting Control Board. My hon. Friend the Member for Cardigan (Mr. Hopkin Morris) raised the question of the Betting Control Board, which is of universal interest throughout the country, and we are ruled out by you on the technical ground that we cannot discuss the question because the Home Office is not responsible for policy. I submit that you are wrong. If the Home Office is going to appoint someone as chairman of that Board, they must take a certain amount of responsibility. You have ruled that we cannot discuss it. Apparently, this is another body which is going to throw away money, which is going to manage badly all sorts of things, and we are not to be allowed to say a word about it, although we set it up.
I have to drive along the narrow way of the three references to the Home Office, upon which I am afraid you are going to interrupt me. The first thing is the form of the accounts. My hon. Friend has spoken about those accounts. He made a most excellent case. We may not know everything about those accounts, but the ordinary man in the street knows one thing about them, and that is that the Betting Control Board is "bust." It is overdrawn to the extent of £1,500,000; it is broke. I would make a suggestion—I am still in order—seeing that my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has the power to nominate someone upon that Board. There is one thing that stands out prominently in regard to the totalisator throughout the country, and that is that the racing people make a failure of it while the dog racing people make a success of it. Therefore I would ask my right hon. Friend when he nominates his representative for next year, he will put 1206 on the Board someone who has experience in totalisators in regard to dog racing, with the possibility in the future of having some amalgamation which might pull the Betting Control Board out of the mire in which they are at the present time. We set up the Board to encourage horse racing. What has' it done. It has not contributed one bob, and it is now overdrawn by £1,500,000. I have got through that statement without being pulled up.
I will turn from that subject to another, and here again I feel that I am rather on difficult ground. I refer to traffic regulation. Traffic policy is directed by the Ministry of Transport, but the traffic executive is directed by the Metropolitan Police. We are not dealing with their Vote at the moment. I would ask the Home Secretary to consider the possibility of promoting economy and efficiency in the future by having a special corps of traffic directors. Unfortunately, the policeman's duties involve the direction of traffic. There is a popular belief throughout the world that the English policeman is one of the best traffic regulators in the world. Entire nonsense; he is one of the worst. At the present time the 'position is that traffic direction is recognised as a fatigue. Nobody wants to do it, because it is fatigue, and no advance lies along that line.
The hon. and gallant Member is now going into details of the Police Vote, which comes next.
§ Lieut.-Colonel MOORE-BRABAZON
If you had allowed me to develop my argument a little further you would have seen that I 'was not criticising the police so much as advancing a case for another form of police. If I had advanced that on the other Vote, you would have said: "This is not a question of police; it is a hypothetical body which you envisage."
No. I think the hon. and gallant Member would obviously be in order on the Police Vote in suggesting that a new branch of 1207 police might be established. That might imply an extension, but I do not think it would.
§ Lieut.-Colonel MOORE-BRABAZON
I will deal with that when we get to the other Vote. I will give way now.
§ Sir WILLIAM WAYLAND
I desire to join in the paean of praise to the right bon. Gentleman for his broad-minded and informative speech. I approach this question from the point of view of a visiting magistrate and I want to make just a few remarks about juvenile offenders. We have had that old proverb trotted out this afternoon; "Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do," but there is another proverb which should be written up in every juvenile court, and that is, "Spare the rod and spoil the child." In these days we do not believe in corporal punishment, but I think that if we gave the birch, lightly or otherwise, to each juvenile first offender we should certainly not have the high percentage of crime by these juveniles afterwards. The hon. and learned Member for South Norwood (Sir W. Greaves-Lord) is in favour of milder methods, but from my experience I am confident that a birching would not only save the young offender from a life of crime, but would save this country having to deplore an increase in criminal statistics. Anyone who has the duty of visiting a large prison containing as a rule about 1,000 prisoners naturally examines the mass of humanity in the gaol, and one is struck by the large percentage of young men between the ages of 18 and 30 who are in our prisons. The attitude generally adopted by these young men is one of resentment at their surroundings. Many criticisms have been levelled against our prison management.
§ Sir W. WAYLAND
If I am out of order as well, I would only say that my experience goes to show that prison management to-day is of the most humane kind. Everything is done for the benefit of prisoners and to make their life as happy as possible in the circumstances in which they find themselves. That is the attitude adopted by the warders and by prison governors and by every official 1208 in the prison. I want to draw the attention of the Home Secretary to our prison regulations—
§ Sir W. WAYLAND
I bow to your Ruling, perhaps I may have an opportunity on another occasion. Let me say this then, that the type of prisoner we have to-day in our gaols is a much better educated man than he was years ago. He is a type of man who has probably done very little work for the last 10 years. He may be described as the aftermath of the War, and if the Home Secretary would reconsider the regulations governing corporal punishment and the remission of marks and find time to pay a little attention to the recommendations of visiting justices, we should perhaps get a, better organisation than exists at the present moment. Certain things could be altered for the better. Although I cannot go into particulars owing to the Ruling of the Chair, I sincerely hope that this question of visiting justices and their powers will be dealt with by the Home Secretary when he has any time to spare.
§ Mr. DENVILLE
I was rather struck by the speech of an hon. Member who drew attention to publicity in connection with the entertainment industry in the provinces. I wish to join in confirming his remarks. One of the scandals of the entertainment industry is the remarkable number of questionable posters which are sent round by exhibitors and firms to various managers in certain towns, with instructions that those posters are to be exhibited on the walls. I ask the Home Secretary to try to strengthen the hands of those managers who object to this class of printing and who do their best to stop it. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to bring in some legislation by which the posters on our walls and in our windows, letterpress and pictorial, when it is of such a nature that it is not a credit to the town or the entertainment and a disgrace to the industry, shall be controlled. I have in mind the difficulties under which this is being worked now. There is a Bill Posters' Association, which deals with the question whether or not a poster shall be exhibited. But 1209 that is only in connection with the Association's awn bill posting stations. There are other stations, private stations, on which practically anything can be exhibited.
In many cases in the large towns the posters are shown to the Chief of Police, and he has to decide what shall or shall not be shown. The Chief Constable may have a champagne mind or a beer mind, and what might be a, clean poster in one town becomes a dirty poster in another; what might be quite innocent in one town becomes a dangerous poster in another. In many cases we have had to put slips over the posters, and from the curious point of view that has made them worse than before. I do know that this can be worked easily and I would like to see the hands of the Home Office strengthened so that a stop can be put to this abuse. There is another point I wish to mention. There are certain forms of Sunday entertainment over which the Home Secretary says, when he is questioned, that he has no power. There are dog racing and other forms of illegal entertainment. If these entertainments are illegal it is the duty of the Home Secretary either to stop them or to make them legal. There is another question I wish to put. At the present moment there is a tremendous amount of unemployment in the country. Does the Home Secretary know that a permit has been given for a. German circus to come holusbolus into this country? Our own circuses cannot get a living. There are three of them on three routes.
I understand that the question of granting permits to these people is a matter for the Ministry of Labour and not for the Home Office.
§ Mr. DENVILLE
With all due respect to your Ruling, Captain Bourne, I understand that aliens cannot come into this country without permission from the Home Office?
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Oliver Stanley)
The position is that they cannot come in for the purpose of taking employment without a permit which they have to obtain from the Ministry of Labour.
§ Mr. GROVES
But if the Ministry of Labour grant the permit the Home Office has the power to refuse to ratify it?
§ Mr. GROVES
On a point of Order. We know that the permit in this case has virtually been granted and that an appeal has been made to the Home Secretary to use his powers to see that no aliens are permitted to land to occupy themselves here as circus workers.
I should be very grateful if the Minister would make this matter clear. I always understood that the question which concerned employment was, administratively, under the Ministry of Labour, but that where there were other grounds, it was administratively under the Home Office. I should be glad to have this matter put straight because I have no desire to interfere with the rights of the Committee to discuss these questions.
§ Mr. GROVES
May I suggest that the practice of the permit only grew up after the War, and that the powers vested in the Secretary of State for the Home Department are such that he can restrict the landing of any aliens, notwithstanding the fact that the Ministry of Labour may come to the conclusion that this particular German circus will not interfere with the industrial rights of British circus workers.
§ Mr. STANLEY
The position is that any alien who wishes to enter the country in order to take employment must be in possession of a Ministry of Labour permit which he obtains from the Ministry of Labour and from that Department only. The possession of that permit, however, although it is essential if he is to take employment, does not preclude him from refusal by the Home Office on other grounds such as undesirability.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I have made investigation about a good many of these cases, and I know that we are never told the reasons why the Home Office will not allow aliens to come in. The reasons are always kept private. I do not know whether any Home Secretary on occasion has disagreed with his colleague as to the advisability, even on labour grounds, 1211 of allowing aliens in, but the final authority in the matter is the Home Secretary.
It would appear to me after the explanation of the Minister that this is a matter which could be raised, either on the Home Office Vote or on the Ministry of Labour Vote, but I suggest to the Committee that where it is a question of purely industrial grounds it would probably be raised more satisfactorily on the Ministry of Labour Vote. I will not rule it out of order, however, on the Home Office Vote.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I would only point out that the particular case referred to is one of urgency, and if it cannot be raised to-day then it will be too late to raise it.
I was only putting forward a suggestion. I was not ruling the hon. Member for Central Newcastle (Mr. Denville) out of order.
§ Mr. DENVILLE
My main object is to draw the Home Secretary's attention to what is happening. This may be considered a strange attitude on my part, because I have on several occasions advocated alien artists coming to this country, but that was done with the object of improving our own conditions. Those were key artists or star artists, and they were helping us. At the present time the circus business is not doing too well, and there is great unemployment in it. Yet here we are proposing to permit one of the largest circuses in Europe, with a large number of people, to come over here from the Continent and to take money out of this country which we can ill afford.
§ Mr. STANLEY
My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary must be gratified at the reception given to his speech introducing these Estimates. Indeed, I think that a speech of that character, in view of the state of public opinion upon the publication of these statistics, has a very useful purpose, quite apart from the pleasure which it gave those who listened to it. It is essential that we should show to the public that, while we do not for one moment feel any complacency about a situation which must disturb all of us, at the same time, with more careful analysis of the figures and on consideration of the conditions which prevail, 1212 neither is there any reason for panic or distress. The criticisms and the questions and suggestions which have followed on the speech of my right hon. Friend have been so mild and so constructive in their character that even such a provocative speaker as myself will find little opportunity for quarrelling with them.
The hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies) agreed, I believe, with my right hon. Friend in his analysis of the causes of this increase in crime, and agreed particularly with him when he chose the existing social conditions, particularly the increase of unemployment, as being perhaps the predominating cause. He, however, found something to criticise in the foreword to the criminal statistics on the ground that it seems to suggest that one of the causes for this increase was too great leniency, and he went on to prove, by figures that he gave, a proposition with which, I think, none of us will disagree, or even question, that the increased leniency which our penal laws show now as compared with the savage conditions of the year 1857, which he quoted, has resulted, not in an increase, but in a decrease of crime.
But there must always, of course, be a point where any proposition may cease to be true, and it is quite possible that, although greater leniency does not often lead to increase in crime, misused leniency may have qualified effects, and I was rather struck by the criticism of the hon. and learned Member for Norwood (Sir W. Greaves Lord), who, as we know, occupies a very responsible position, and who speaks on these subjects with a great deal of authority, when he raised the point, which has caused many of us considerable anxiety, whether the probation system, valuable as it is, fully as it has proved itself in the 25 years of its existence, is in all cases being wisely used, whether there is not a feeling growing up among a certain class of people that being put on probation really means being let off and is tantamount to an acquittal, and whether any good can possibly be expected from probation if that probation is repeated time after time in respect of various offences. Probation I believe to be of the greatest benefit, provided that the person who is put under probation is made to feel that it means something, that it is not merely a condonation of his offence, but is an attempt 1213 to help him not to repeat it; but I cannot see that probation of the kind that is repeated time after time, after different and varying offences, can really, lenient though it may be, be helpful as a deterrent to crime.
The hon. Member also raised the question of those whom he described as not being mentally deficient, but to whom certain at any rate mental characteristics might be ascribed. He almost went so far as to say that all criminals were in fact victims of disease. There is a passage, which the hon. Member will remember, in which it was recommended that everybody who committed a crime should be sent to hospital and that everybody who felt ill should be sent to prison. I do not know whether he agrees with the second part, but the hon. Member, who has co-operated so courteously and helpfully with me on the Children Bill in Committee upstairs, will remember that in that Bill we are attempting to do something which I believe will go a long way to meet this problem. We are, by the alterations that we are making in our reformatory and industrial schools, providing greater opportunities for classification than we had before, and I agree with the hon. Member that classification, not only in your schools, but in your Borstals and eventually in your prisons, is one of the most helpful ways of dealing with those who may not be quite normal in their outlook or in their minds. Although we have been unable to go quite as far as we would like, we have been taking steps which, we believe, will lead to a greater efficiency in remand homes, and greater opportunity, therefore, for that kind of mental and physical examination as to the necessity of which I agree. The bon. Gentleman has differed from my right hon. Friend in their respective estimates of the cinema. My right hon. Friend said that, in the opinion of the advisers in his Department, it could not be said to be proved in any way that the cinema was responsible for the increase in crime. To that, I think, the hon. Gentleman offered a certain amount of criticism, but I think we are apt to overlook, in our dislike of some of the bad taste we may see on the films, the enormous advantages which the very fact of the presence of a cheap, easily accessible form of entertainment of that kind means 1214 to the youth who may live in circumstances which are likely to lead or may lead to crime, and I believe that those advantages outweigh whatever disadvantages there are. I believe that the effect of the type of picture which is shown is rather exaggerated. Particularly when we are dealing with youth, I do think we are apt to become a little highbrow on the subject. Heaven forbid that my son, when at an age to visit a cinema, should be perfectly happy to go night after night to see the love story of a white ant or the love and courtship of the bol weevil, or some purely educational matter of that kind! It is only natural that the youth and young girl want to see something a little adventurous and romantic, and even the right hon. Member opposite, even if he did not see the films when he was a youth, no doubt used to go out in the garden and play highwaymen.
§ Mr. STANLEY
Boys always did it before cinemas came, and will always do it, and I do not think that it is entirely to be deprecated.
I will deal with one other point which the hon. Member raised, and which was also raised by another hon. Member for Leigh (Mr. Tinker), namely, the question of miners' nystagmus. He will realise that prevention of the disease is more important than anything else, and is a question for the Mines Department. But as regards the position which has arisen today as to this terrible disease, we agree with the hon. Member that that position is not one which can give us any satisfaction. He will realise, I think, that the chief difficulty now is the finding of employment for those who have been certified as suffering from nystagmus. It is a difficulty which must, of course, increase as the industrial depression in that industry deepens, and can only be diminished as industrial depression in that industry diminishes, too. We are giving further consideration to it, and further investigation is being pursued in regard to this disease.
The hon. and gallant Member for Chelmsford (Sir V. Henderson), in the course of his interesting speech, referred to the possibility of raising the age for Borstal, and he started a train of interesting and significant thoughts. He rightly stressed the possible value, even 1215 at older ages than are now taken by Borstal or the reformatory schools, of a different course of reformatory treatment while under sentence. To some extent, I think his point has been met by the kind of experiment carried on at Wakefield and Chelmsford, and no doubt further light will be thrown on it by the report of the Persistent Offenders Committee which we expect shortly. He will recognise the increasing difficulty of this kind of treatment as the higher ages are reached, for it is a fact that the treatment, whether at a school or Borstal, depends on detention for a sufficient period to enable the treatment to be effective. It is necessary, therefore, as I have tried to point out in the House before in the case of industrial schools, that when you are dealing with the period of detention, you should think, not of the gravity of the crime committed, so much as the opportunity for reformation that we are giving. That may be possible when you are dealing with a lad of 12 or 16 and can send him to a school, but it become enormously more difficult when you are dealing with a young man of 21 or even 25, as the hon. and gallant Member suggested, for he may be married and have a family, and the detention, quite apart from the reformative side, which to a boy is not a great hardship, becomes to him an intolerable hardship which it is difficult to justify.
The hon. and learned Member for Norwood (Sir W. Greaves-Lord) also asked a question with regard to the experience we had of Borstal results, and in particular made a point, which is a perfectly sound and important point, that these results are far less successful when the person sent to Borstal has been to prison before. The figures of those lads in Borstal who were experiencing their first institutional treatment show that 71 per cent, have become satisfactory. Of those who had been to prison before, only 55 per cent. were satisfactory; and of those who had been both to a reformatory and to prison before less than 49 per cent. made good. These figures bear out the point which the hon. and learned Member made that Borstal, to be effective, should be the first and not the last resort.
1216 The hon. Member for Leigh and the hon. Member for Glamorgan (Mr. D. Grenfell) asked certain questions with regard to silicosis, and complained that the arrangements which had been made for dealing with this disease were not entirely satisfactory. I -would, of course, remind them that the scheme for silicosis was drawn up in agreement with the employers and employed, and, as a matter of fact, amendments have been made in the scheme recently, particularly in regard to the percentage of silica which it was necessary to prove was present in the rock. That has largely removed the grievances to which the hon. Members referred. As the hon. Member for Glamorgan made clear in his interesting speech, apart from the question of silicosis, there is the question of anthracosis, which may result from contact with coal dust and nothing else. That very difficult problem is under the investigation of the Horne Office. The Medical Research Council have been asked to investigate it. I understand that while they were carrying out some preliminary investigations they meet with some difficulties, but the hon. Member can rest assured that we shall do everything we can to see that those difficulties are overcome and that the subject is investigated.
The hon. Member for Leigh also raised the extremely important and even more difficult question of the compulsory insurance of employers to enable them to meet claims under the Workmen's Compensation Act. It is a difficulty with which many people come into contact, and has been more prevalent in the mining industry than in any other. Everybody must feel dissatisfied with a system which, in case of a failure of a firm, leaves a man who has been permanently injured and is incapable for life without the compensation which this House in its wisdom decreed that ha ought to receive. But the hon. Member, who knows the importance of this problem, also knows its difficulties. If it can be cured it can only be cured by far-reaching changes. It is idle to pretend that any small Amendment, any little Bill, will put it right; it will require something much more far-reaching than that. All I can say at the moment i3 that my right hon. Friend, since he came to the Home Office, has given this particular matter his own peculiar personal attention.
1217 The hon. Member for East Leicester (Mr. Lyons) raised the question of appeals to Quarter Sessions. I can do no better than repeat here the statement which I was authorised by my right hon. Friend to make to the Committee dealing with the Children's Bill, that he intends, as soon as circumstances permit, to set up an inquiry into this very difficult matter of appeals to Quarter Sessions. We can all see the injustice which may occur when a poor man is asked to put up prohibitive recognisances before he can appeal, but we have to recognise the fact that the vast majority of cases dealt with by courts of summary jurisdiction are trivial in their character and in their effects. Unless we have some machinery for preventing purely frivolous appeals, we shall end by clogging the whole machinery of justice in the matter of appeals to quarter sessions, besides, possibly, putting a great burden on the public.
The hon. Member for Glamorgan made a distressing reference, so I thought—it seemed to be very disturbing to him—to the possibility of having a political census of prisoners. He appeared to feel as some old Roman Emperor might have felt when discussing the possibility of even the Praetorian Guards being no longer faithful—he felt that even the prison population was now Conservative. I have, however, this small crumb of comfort to offer him. Hon. Members who read the Dartmoor Report will remember that among the many popular and more easily recognisable songs which were sung some strange notes believed to be those of "The Red Flag" were heard.
The hon. Member also raised the subject, on which he has already been in communication with the Home Office, of the distressing case of British citizens who have migrated to America, have for reasons of their own taken up American citizenship, and 'now wish, as American citizens, to come back to this country. However much sympathy we may feel for individuals such as those to whom the hon. Member referred, it would not be fair to subject those in this country to the risk of losing their employment at a time when unemployment is rife. We have to recognise that every person of that type, if allowed to return to this country, would be taking work from somebody who is already in this country.
1218 However we may sympathise with people who were born British subjects in not being allowed to return to employment in their native laud, we do feel that with the limited amount of employment now available those who were not only born here but have stayed here have a better claim than those who have left this country and assumed other nationalities. I can assure the hon. Member that we regard all these cases as fairly and humanely as possible, but we must maintain the principle that it is impossible to allow those persons to return for the purpose of resuming employment in this country.
The hon. Member for Glamorgan referred to a rather worrying type of cancer which has occurred in his district. As the hon. Member knows, immediately on receipt of the information which he gave we started inquiries, and it is certainly unfortunately true that these inquiries have revealed an unexpected existence of cancer among persons employed at the works where the inquiries were made. Those inquiries have thrown no real light on the question as to how the disease was caused, nor have they established any connection between that disease and the occupation of those people. I think the hon. Member for Gower will admit that the firm in question are equally disturbed by these discoveries, and they have engaged the services of an eminent pathologist to carry out further investigations.
The hon. Member for Cardigan (Mr. Morris) referred to the Racecourse Betting Control Board. The reference to the subject was distinguished by an unusual phenomena, because the Member for Cardigan and the hon. and gallant Member for Wallasey (Lieut.-Col. Moore-Brabazon) combined in an attack upon this unfortunate Board. The hon. Member for Cardigan was deeply concerned that the Board, in running a totalisator, are doing an evil thing while the hon. and gallant Member for Wallasey complained, not that they were doing an evil thing, but that they were doing it very badly. The hon. Member for Cardigan described the Racecourse and Betting Control Board as one of the biggest ramps he had even seen, while the hon. and gallant Member for Wallasey asked asked why in the name of financial stability we should not let dog-racing go 1219 on to help the Racecourse and Betting Control Board. That Board, after that specific allegation, sent a responsible officer to the Greyhound Racing Association, and I think the hon. Member might have given that information to me. I cannot imagine how an hon. Member, with his sense of responsibility, could have used words like "ramp" and "breach of faith" unless he had made inquiries from the Board with regard to the actual circumstances.
Mr. H. MORRIS
I certainly did not use those words without deliberation. The speeches that have been made by the Chairman of the Racecourse Betting Control Board have been in flat defiance of the assurance—I do not say of the law —they have been in flat defiance of the undertaking given by the promoters of the Bill in this House. There can be no question about that.
§ Mr. STANLEY
The hon. Member cited this incident, which he quoted from the "Daily Express," as an example of a direct breach of faith, and I am asking him, as I think hon. Members would wish him to be asked, whether, when he makes that statement, he has confirmed its correctness from the proper sources of inquiry, or whether on this occasion he is doing what I should not think he does always, namely, accepting a statement in the "Daily Express" as being automatically correct.
I make the charge against the Chairman of a breach of faith. It is true that I cited this as one instance. I gave in my speech last year a number of other incidents which are completely authentic, and about which there can be no question.
§ Mr. STANLEY
I am glad to hear that the hon. Member claims no authenticity for the one example which he has quoted on this occasion.
§ Mr. STANLEY
At any rate, I gather that he attaches no more importance to it than he would to any other statement appearing in that particular newspaper. With regard to the question that he raised as to the form of the accounts, as he knows, the accounts for 1931 have not 1220 yet been published, but we hope that they soon will be, and I think he will find when those accounts are published, that the legitimate points which he raised last year have been met. I say "legitimate points", because I think that some of the things for which he asks are really unreasonable. It is quite unreasonable to expect a board to present its accounts in any different or more stringent form than, say, a great public undertaking like a gas company or a railway company; and, when the hon. Member asks who are the creditors, who made the advances, and what security was given, these are particularisations which no one would expect to see in the accounts of any company. No public company in the world would publish a statement of accounts showing that there had been advances of so much from the Westminster Bank, so much from the Midland Bank, and so on. I think, however, that the hon. Member will find that we have adopted some at least of his suggestions. The hon. Member for Central Newcastle (Mr. Denville) raised a question which intimately concerns the Ministry of Labour, and I will pass on to them the information that he gave.
I am afraid that so many speeches have been made, so many points have been touched upon, and so many questions have been asked, that I may well have overlooked some of those questions, but I think I have probably touched on all the more important points that have been raised, and I can give hon. Members an assurance that, as usual, the report of this debate will be carefully scrutinised, so that we shall be able not only to note, but actively to pursue, the points which have been made by hon. Members. In conclusion, I am sure I am expressing the sentiment of my right hon. Friend when I thank the Committee for the very constructive way in which they have discussed these Estimates, and for the cordiality of their reception of his introduction.
§ Mr. GROVES
I should like to ask the hon. Gentleman whether it is the usual procedure of the Home Office, even if the Ministry of Labour has discussed the details and decided to grant a permit for the entry into this country of aliens, and even if the Ministry of Labour has decided that such aliens do not propose to enter into British industry, merely to send on 1221 the information to the Ministry of Labour. We know that the Ministry of Labour proposes to grant a permit to this German circus in violation of the wishes of a large number of Members of the House. It will interfere and compete with British workers. To say that this information that we give will be handed on to the Ministry of Labour is not enough. I do not think that a Department of State should grant a permit for the landing in this country of over 100 foreigners without consultation with the Home Secretary. We Socialists believe in the protection of the rights of the British working-man. We do not feel that it is right that a German circus should be permitted to land here, and I beg the Home Secretary to reconsider the matter.
§ Motion made, and Question, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again," put, and agreed to, —[Captain Austin Hudson.]
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Monday next.
§ The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.