Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £1,572,002, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1933, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Department of Health for Scotland; including Grants and other Expenses in connection with Housing, certain Grants to Local Authorities, &c., Grant in Aid of the Highlands and Islands Medical Service, Grants in Aid of Benefits and Expenses of Administration under the National Health Insurance Acts certain Expenses in connection with the Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Contributory Pensions Acts, and other Services."—[Note.—£1,120,000 has been voted on account.]
§ The UNDERSECRETARY of STATE for SCOTLAND (Mr. Skelton)
In presenting to the Committee the Estimates for the Scottish Department of Health, I think it will be useful if my first observations are on the subject of the actual figures themselves, a summary of which the Committee will find on page 77 of the Civil Estimates, Class 5. The Committee will see, and those who are interested in economy—and who to-day is not?—will observe from that summary how small is the area of an extra-statutory sort where economies can readily be achieved in the Estimates of this Department, for out of a gross total of just short of £3,000,000, housing grants amount to very nearly £2,000,000, that is to say, £1,929,000, and sums payable to the National Health Insurance Fund amount to over £600,000. Therefore, it will be seen that the area of economy is very restricted. One may say, of course, that Departments vary in this respect, that the main function of certain Departments is to carry out statutory duties which involve the distribution of cash the amount of which is beyond their control, whereas other Departments are 1110 given a larger scope for the use of the money which Parliament entrusts to them.
Despite the narrow range of economy which is possible, the Committee will see that the net decrease for this year is £35,000, and that decrease would have been considerably larger but for the fact that there is in the Estimates one considerable figure of increase, namely, grants towards housing expenditure amounting to £64,000. These grants are paid when the houses are completed, and they are grants, therefore, over which there is no control so far as this Estimate is concerned. What the Committee, has seen as to the figures will, I think, indicate what should be the main topic in my remarks this afternoon. It is clear on the figures themselves that the most important, from a financial and indeed from a social point of view, of all the duties of the Department of Health are those in connection with housing. The grants amount, as I say, to nearly £2,000,000 out of a total expenditure of just under £3,000,000, and I think it will be agreed that of all the social services of the day that of housing is the most important. Before I deal with the main topic of my remarks, there, are one or two other topics to which I should, like to address myself. They are only a selection of the great range of subjects which fall under the aegis of the Department of Health, but other subjects of importance may be raised and discussed, and I shall do my best at a later stage to reply to any questions that may be asked. I should like to say a word on that interesting and important subject, the general health of the community. It is a matter of real congratulation in a time of such great economic difficulties, when so many of our fellow-countrymen and women are out of work and suffering from the absence of solid wages, and are being supported in one form and another by lesser sums, that in general the health of Scotland during 1931 shows a definite though small improvement.
The infant mortality rate last year was 82 per 1,000 instead of 83. Maternal mortality, which, as all who concern themselves with hygiene questions know, gives considerable anxiety throughout the world, was reduced from 6.9 per 1,000 to 5.9—a very substantial and 1111 definite decrease. Those who follow the history of what used to be regarded as one of the greatest of our disease scourges, tuberculosis, will not be surprised to find that once again the death rate from that disease fell last year from 88 to 87 per 1,000. These are significant figures and justify one in the view that, despite the economic difficulties to which I have referred, we have erected in this country, by the joint efforts of all the parties in the State, a system of public health, superimposed upon an immense amount of private effort, which even in these difficult times is able to hold its own with the forces of disease and death. I will leave the questions connected with public assistance, but I do not want to pass to the other subject to which I shall devote most of my attention without pointing out that last autumn we had in the realm of public assistance a remarkable opportunity of testing the efficiency and the skill of our local and central administrators. The introduction of the transitional payment system and the application of the means test threw upon the public assistance committees of every local authority in Scotland the new, heavy and urgent duty of making the necessary assessments. I do not enter into this subject for any other purpose but to say that, however divergent may be our views as to the means test, we can all combine in congratulating the public assistance authorities of Scotland on the energy, courage and skill with which they tackled the job thus unexpectedly thrown upon them. I select for illustration the greatest of the public assistance authorities, and the one which has to deal with the maximum number of cases, namely, Glasgow. When I tell the Committee that in six weeks the public assistance committee and the officers concerned dealt with 53,000 cases over and above their ordinary work, the Committee will agree that we who have some connection with the Department of Health and local government in Scotland have the right to congratulate ourselves upon the energy and efficiency of the officials who administer that scheme.
I want to turn to the question of housing, which is a topic with which the great bulk of the Estimates which I am asking the Committee to pass is concerned. It is a topic about the necessity of which there is the maximum agree- 1112 ment in the public mind. It is a topic also from which, in days when economy has become a vital necessity, there spring some anxious questions. It is one of the riddles of the social services how best to carry on in these difficult times the work of housing so as to ensure that all that should be done is done and that nothing that should not be done is done, and that the possibly conflicting interests of housing and economy are reconciled. Let me state what has been done in the last few years. The figures show that the. local authorities have responded with great determination to the request which was made to them in the autumn that they should do all that they could for housing. The Committee will recollect that when the National Government took office, the only major recommendation of the May Report which was intentionally laid aside was that which concerned housing, the Government holding the view that the adoption of a forward housing policy was necessary for the country. As a consequence of that, my right hon. Friend addressed to the local authorities of Scotland a letter urging them to proceed with the work of housing.
There is a considerable increase of the houses under construction in 1932 as compared with the two previous years. In 1930 there were under construction 10,580; in 1931, 10,508; and in 1932, 15,977—an increase of over 5,000. The second set of figures is even more important because it exemplifies and illustrates the efforts that local authorities have made. It is put in the form of an Irish bull, but perhaps it is none the worse for that. It is "houses under construction and approved but not yet begun," and the figures are—1930, 14,865; 1931, 16,960; and 1932, 23,854. That is a considerable effort on the part of local authorities. It may also interest the Committee to know the repercussions of these figures upon employment in the building trade and though, for my own part, I think it is right to say that housing must be treated on its own merits and not as a method of solving the unemployed problem, yet if in the course of housing efforts it is possible to provide a considerable amount of extra employment, so much the better. In 1930 there were 6,300 persons employed; in 1931, 5,900; and in 1932, to 31st May, 10,030. It is a matter of real importance that in a trade where 1113 unemployment is heavy we have been able in Scotland to give employment to some 5,000 extra men.
So much for what has been done in the last three years. What of the future? What are the needs of Scotland? The Committee may recollect that under the 1930 Act local authorities were required to send in to the Department of Health a return showing their housing needs, and although not every authority has sent in its return there are only a few in default, and from the housing point of View they are not of very great importance. The figures of the 1930 returns are the most recent statement of current housing needs, though, of course, some of them have been met by the efforts to which I have just referred. Those returns show that just under 40,000 more houses are needed to house persons now in insanitary houses, 21,000 to abate overcrowding, and 13,000 to meet the normal growth of population; and there is an extra 4,000 which do not come in any of those categories
§ Mr. SKELTON
I shall leave it to my hon. and learned Friend to add it up in any interval in which he may find my speech too dull.
§ Mr. SKELTON
That is the need as was reckoned about the year 1930 by the local authorities, but I think it is only right to say here and now that since a great many of those returns were sent in a new and vital fact has been made known to us, namely, that the population of Scotland, as shown by the census of 1931, is not increasing, has, in fact, decreased by just under 40,000.
§ Mr. SKELTON
It is, indeed, a shame, but I do not think it is due to any question connected with housing but to questions connected with economics and industry.
§ Mr. SKELTON
I will leave that point to another speech. What we have to consider is whether we must say that 1114 the 13,000 additional houses which were said to be required against the normal growth of population is a figure to be now disregarded. I say no, and for this reason, that there has been very considerable increases in the great cities and some of the larger burghs. The increase in Aberdeen was 4.9 per cent.; in Edinburgh, 4.5; in Glasgow, 3.5; and in Dundee there was a very similar figure. In certain great cities and the bigger burghs there have been increases of at least 80,000, so that in those areas local authorities have to cater for an increased population. The Census has revealed another interesting and relevant fact, namely, that to-day there are nearly 100,000 more occupied houses than there were during the last Census. From that I wish to draw this deduction, which I think is irresistible, that if there is a somewhat declining population and an extra 100,000—or, precisely, 97,000— houses occupied, we must to some extent have reduced overcrowding in the 10 years, and, in fact, Census figures which I received only this morning, and which may still be provisional, do show that overcrowding is being diminished. In 1911, 22 years ago, the average number of persons per house in Scotland was 4.69.
§ Mr. SKELTON
No, per house. In 1921 that had been reduced to 4.61, and now it is 4.21; that is to say, there has been a reduction of.5 per cent. or half a person per house in Scotland. Though that may seem a small figure it marks, in fact, a very remarkable change, showing that there is now in every second house one person less than there was 20 years ago.
§ Mr. MACLEAN
That is a very essential point so far as Scotland is concerned, seeing that there are so many large families living in single rooms—families of from five to nine.
§ Mr. SKELTON
The figures will be available in time, but I have not got them with me at the moment. These more elaborate calculations take more time, and I think that we have been lucky in 1115 getting the figures I have given. I felt a figure so important as that, showing that in every second house in Scotland there is one person less than there was 20 years ago, must be given to the Committee at once, because it is a point of real importance to all who are interested in the question of over-crowding. [Interruption.] It is a considerable advance, and I hope that our finances and the general state of the nation will permit us to continue in that way in the next 20 years.
So much for the situation as revealed by the Census. What is the deduction that I make? I think it follows that we have to be extremely careful to analyse most anxiously, and scrutinise most carefully, all applications for the building of new houses—not in order to reject them, but to make certain that the district which is applying for them is a district where the population is increasing and not one where it is declining; unless, indeed, there be other factors, such as the age of the town and the un-inhabitability of the houses, which may make reconstruction essential even if there were a certain decline in population. The fact that population is declining in Scotland, the fact that there is a large increase in the number of houses, the fact that we live in times of great financial stringency, when it is the duty of all carefully to husband the national resources, make it essential, in my opinion, that every scheme put before the Department should be the subject of anxious consideration. That is the policy which I propose to adopt, and indeed have adopted. It is for similar reasons to those which I have given that a few months ago, when the burgh of Clyde-bank put forward a scheme for an extended policy of housing, we were forced regretfully, and I am sure rightly, to say that an extended scheme of house building could not be approved at the moment, although the number of houses in the burgh which were known to be insanitary should be replaced by proper houses.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
Is it not the case that the Clydebank Town Council unanimously petitioned, not only the Under-Secretary but the Secretary of State for Scotland, for 400 houses, and they met with a refusal after representa- 1116 tives of the Government had been going round the country advocating that we should go ahead with housing?
§ Mr. SKELTON
I thought, perhaps, the hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood) might say a word or two about it. He pressed me, not unduly, on the subject, and we had many conversations on the topic. I say again, that regretfully but rightly, we came to the decision which I announced. Suppose you had certain districts where the population is declining, there may yet be there a necessity for looking after the housing difficulty. That is particularly the case in the country districts, for though it is a sorrowful fact, as those who have looked into the Census figures have found, that in all the purely rural counties there has been a decline in population, yet none the less we must make sure that the working population which remains in the country districts is properly housed. I have always held that the way to meet the rural situation was by applying the Rural Housing Act, 1926, to secure the rehabilitation of the existing population, and I am happy to say that, so far as the eating of the pudding is the proof of its merit, that seems to be the correct method in Scotland.
It is most interesting and important to see the very wide use that has been made of the Act North of the Tweed. We have used it to reconstruct almost double the number of cottages which have been reconstructed in England. We have completed the reconstruction of 8,969 cottages in Scotland, while in England there has been completed only 4,779. I see a guilty blush on the face of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health. That shows that so far as Scotland is concerned the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the rural cottage is a right policy. We have in the last few months had very interesting confirmation of that and, if I am not wearying the Committee, I would like to point out what has happened. A few months ago we undertook a special investigation into the state of rural cottages in Berwickshire. We selected six rural parishes, some of them upland and some of them arable districts, and we found very interesting results. We found that out of 472 cottages, 189 had already been reconditioned mainly under the 1926 Act, but the vital thing that we found was that out 1117 of those 472 cottages only 20 were regarded as incapable of being improved. That is to say that so far as that one district is concerned—and I do not think it is untypical, certainly of the lowland districts—the value of the 1926 Act, which was confirmed by our predecessors by their extending it by the Act of 1931, is proved up to the hilt, because there are very few out of the total number of rural cottages with which you cannot deal by means of that Act. That is a most interesting and salient fact with regard to rural houses which ought to be kept in view when one says a word, as I must now say a word, on the subject of the 1931 Act.
The Rural Housing Act, 1931, as the Committee will recollect, was passed by the last Government and applications were made under it last year by the rural districts that double the grant for houses should be given to them. As the result of the necessity for economy it was found necessary by the Exchequer to reduce the number. In Scotland our quota was reduced from 1,444 to 500. I, myself, would have treated that fact with greater regret if it were not that I am satisfied that in the 1926 Act and the reconditioning of cottages you have the main instrument to deal with the problem of rural housing.
So much for the country districts. What about the houses in the other districts? The policy that we are adopting is to try as far as possible to concentrate upon slum clearance. That is so important that it must be put first in order of merit to overcome overcrowding and to sweep away slum areas. Sweeping away the slums seems to provide a maximum amount of social and hygienic advantage, and it is upon that that we are going to concentrate to the best of our ability. There is another matter connected with the building of houses that I must here mention, and upon which I am a little anxious—I will not go farther than that. The Committee will recollect that the 1930 Act was largely intended for slum clearance and for getting people into better houses. It applied to people who were very badly housed and especially high grants were given for that purpose. I am a little anxious, because in too many examples the people in the slums are not being put into the new houses, and I do not want somebody else to be put into the nice new local authority house 1118 and the so-called slum-dweller put into another house. If one were building a house one would like to ensure that the very nicest type of tenant one could get was going into it. I will not say that that is the right principle, but I think it is an established fact that many—I do not say all, though, hon. Members opposite might say all—of the people who look humble and homely characters when; you see them in a slum house, respond in. the most astonishing way when put into proper surroundings. I remember perfectly well many examples which came to my notice before I held my present office, and T have seen many examples since, of the high grants which the State gave under the 1930 Act. I believe that in a great many cases the maximum of stimulus may be given and the maximum of advantage may be gained if you put the slum dweller into a clean, new house, not into a rather grubby old house. There is a curious confirmation of that. In a certain great city there were two types of inspector, the blue lady and the green lady. It sounds rather like the rival parties in Byzantium where they had blue and green colours. I think it was the blue lady who was the ordinary inspector, who came and looked at you if you were just the ordinary type of occupant, but if you showed, any signs of being a particularly bad tenant you were then visited by the green lady; and it became a matter of universal opprobrium to be of such a type as to incur a visit from the green lady. That is merely a homely illustration of the fact that people, however bad their houses have been before, do respond to the influence of good ones. Therefore, I want to say to the local authorities of Scotland that, although I know quite well from my short experience that there are often cases when they cannot put a slum dweller into a new house, in operating the 1930 Act with its specially high grant, I do think it is of importance that so far as possible the slum dweller should get the advantage of the new house, because if he responds, besides a hygienic advantage you get a high social gain.
So much for the construction and supply of houses. One word now on the subject of their use. I, myself, do not think that in a time of almost extreme financial stringency—I have repeated this, I think, almost ad nauseam for some 1119 years—anything connected with housing is of more importance than that when we have, with the assistance of a subsidy, built houses, the right people should get into them. Curiously enough the right people are not very clearly defined in any of these housing Acts—they are described as "the working classes"—but every-body knows, and everybody has always known, what is the intention. The intention is that working class people who cannot afford to pay an economic rent in the circumstances of their district should be given houses the rent of which is about fine same as they have been paying. That implies that the people who should get the advantage of the subsidy should be people who are in needy circumstances. There is, I think, a widespread feeling in Scotland that in a certain number of cases the right people do not always get into the houses. I had no means when I came into the office which I now occupy of knowing whether that was true, but I myself thought, and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State thought, that that was a matter of such importance that we ought to see how matters stood. We, therefore, made use of a body called the Consultative Council on Local Health Administration and General Health Questions, to ask them the following questions: (1) What steps might we take in connection with the letting of houses under State-aided housing schemes to secure that in future they will be let only to tenants who by reason, of their economic condition would come within a strict interpretation of the term "Persons of the working classes," and (2) What economic standard might be adopted as the working rule for the above-mentioned purpose?
It may be asked why I did not inquire of the local authorities. I did not do that for this reason: I did not want to burden the local authorities with more forms, more statistics and more inquiries. They are already heavily burdened. We had this admirable body representative of the different types of local authorities in Scotland, who, I was satisfied, would be the very people to make a preliminary inquiry. Although that inquiry is still in its very early stages, I am sure that when it is completed its results will be of value; and, of course, we shall take steps to make public whatever the result of the inquiry may be.
§ Mr. SKELTON
Yes. They are Mr. Henry Alexander, Mr. A. W. Brady, Mr. David Brodie, Mr. George Cruikshank, Mr. James Cumming, Mr. John Fletcher, Miss M. C. Geddes, Mrs. Laura MacLean, Mr. W. M. Mowat, Mr. John Ogilvie, Mr. Betram Talbot, Mr. P. A. Thomson, Mr. William Watson, Mr. James Welsh and Sir W. E. Whyte. They will be recognised as people of authority. That is their first job; but they are making inquiries not only as to the future, but as to the past, and it is really about the past in this matter that I want to say a word. Of the total housing grants which we pay each year, amounting to £1,900,000, £971,000 is paid by the State in respect of Addison houses, and it is in respect of the Addison house that I think special inquiry should be made. I do not blame anyone; one knows the difficulties of getting houses in these days; but the fact is that on an average the State, that is to say, the Exchequer, pays a weekly subsidy of 14s. 8d. per week for 60 years for an Addison house, and it is therefore, in my judgment, imperative either that those who occupy Addison houses, if they can afford it, should pay proper rents for them, or, if they do not want to pay proper rents when they can afford to do so, they should go elsewhere, and leave the Addison house for the person who really needs a subsidy house. I say that it is important that that should be done. The general investigation, as I say, is the task of that Consultative Committee, but it so happens that I made a small inquiry on my own the other day with regard to the people who inhabit Addison houses. In many districts I know that there are no people in Addison houses except those who are strictly entitled to be in Addison houses; but I took a certain well-known scheme in a certain well-known city, a scheme consisting of 1,500 houses, every one of them drawing a State subsidy of, on the average, 14s. 8d. per week.
§ Mr. SKELTON
It is the fruit of a rate of four-fifths of a penny in the pound. I am dealing only with the State grant.
§ Mr. SKELTON
No, very much less. Out of the l,500 houses in respect of which the State is paying 14s. 8d. per week, and if my memory serves me rightly the local authority is paying another Is. 6d. or thereby, there were, at all events, 74 occupiers rich enough to build garages in addition. It used to be said in the happy days of the United States prosperity that almost every artisan in the United States had a Ford car, and perhaps that was so, even in the case of the scheme to which I refer. But our Scottish Valuation roll is a mine of information for those who care to look at it, and if you look at that roll you find this sort of thing, that among the 1,500 occupants of the houses there are stockbrokers, lawyers, architects, managers, travellers, civil servants, merchants and manufacturers. I do not say that they may not be needy persons, but I do say that when you get people who so describe themselves, and when there are 70 of them prepared to build garages on somebody else's ground, there well may be a certain number of the people in that particular group of houses who do not really, in a time of financial stress, deserve a subsidy from the State of 16s. 2d. per week, or rather to live in a house in respect of which such a subsidy is paid; it is not actually true to say that they get the subsidy. It is a subsidy towards the cost of the house.
§ Mr. SKELTON
I specially mention no names; but in these times of uncertain general elections, nobody would describe himself on the Valuation Roll as a Member of Parliament, it might so rapidly become inaccurate.
§ Mr. SKELTON
I said that the Scottish Valuation Rolls are a mine of information, but there are some dreadful secrets which they do not disclose. I do not want to make any accusations or any charges—there is no reason why I should —but I do say that when you get a large block of houses like these where the occupiers so describe themselves, and where they are able to build garages, it is 1122 worth while in this time of economy either, if possible, to make those who can afford it pay a somewhat larger rent, thus reducing the State annual liability almost immediately, or, if they do not care to do that, let them go elsewhere and let those who really deserve Addison houses because of their economic conditions get them. I pause there, because I must give an answer to a question which I, myself, put.
§ Mr. N. MACLEAN
What is the total rent paid per week for those houses which were investigated, according to the statement which the Under-Secretary has just made—those Addison houses which were being given a subsidy of 14s. 8d. per week?
§ Mr. SKELTON
It is not possible to balance these two figures against each other. I am subject to correction if I am wrong, but, as far as I recollect, the rents in this particular block of 1,500 houses vary from £27 to £44 per annum.
§ Mr. SKELTON
According to the size of the house, I am informed; not according to the capacity of the tenant to pay. I think, therefore, that the Committee will agree that we were right in making an investigation into this question of subsidy, and for this reason. I say again, that I make no charge and no complaint; if it has happened, there well may have been extenuating circumstances. But in these times, when we still need a large number of houses in Scotland, if we can get some of these Addison houses free, or if, on the other hand, we can get the State burden reduced by some of the rents being increased, then we shall improve the situation either way.
It may well be asked what will happen to the occupants if they leave their houses. Since the Addison house was built, an immense change has come over the prices of houses. Of the total houses now being built under subsidy, the average price for the actual building is only £308, and if you include the cost of the site, roads and so on, the total cost probably amounts to somewhere between £370 and 390. That is a very small sum; and there are provisions in the Housing Acts whereby local authorities can grant 90 per cent. of the price to be paid by private individuals building houses. It 1123 involves no expense to the local authority, because the interest charge covers the very small administration expenses which there are. I commend to those who are at present occupying Addison houses, but whose financial situation perhaps does not really altogether justify it, that they should consider whether this is not a time when it is their duty to build houses for themselves; and, from, the local authorities' point of view, whether it is not a time when a local authority ought, by the means which I have just mentioned, to assist those who desire to build houses.
§ Mr. McGOVERN
Would the hon. Gentleman contrast the present cost of the building of a house of a type similar to the Addison house? Is it not the case that the people who are being subsidised are the people who lent the money for the building of that costly type of house at that time?
§ Mr. McGOVERN
You cannot sell goods in a warehouse to-day at the 1920 prices. Take the case of the person who is inhabiting an Addison house, and take the cost of building a similar house to-day. Are the persons occupying Addison houses paying more than an economic rent for what would be the cost of building such houses to-day?
§ Mr. SKELTON
I think the answer would be that in many cases the rent of the Addison house is not economic, even on to-day's cost of building. I think that is so, but I would like to investigate the matter further.
§ Mr. McGOVERN
Cannot we be given the cost of an Addison house when it was built and the cost of building a similar house to-day?
§ Mr. SKELTON
I will see, and I hope to have the information in a very short time. Off-hand I should say that the house that cost £1,200 in Dr. Addison's time now costs about £800. But that is not the real point. The real point is that where you have this expensive type of house, if the tenant wants to stay there he ought to pay a bit more, or if there has to be a subsidised house it ought to be occupied by a person who really 1124 needs a subsidised house. Therefore I say that this is a matter for real inquiry, and that we have undertaken, as I have indicated.
The greatest problem of housing in Scotland, and the most mysterious problem is this: Why has private enterprise not functioned in Scotland since the War? Before the War the houses built by private enterprise were 15,000, often 10,000, 9,000 or 8,000 a year. Since the War we have never built by unassisted private enterprise more than 2,000, and last year we built only 1,800. In England the situation is totally different. Last year no fewer than 130,000 private enterprise houses were built in England.
§ Mr. SKELTON
I think I have been very kind in answering questions, but I do not wish to have that kind of intervention in my observations, because it prevents my getting on with what I want to say. I was not saying whether the houses were for sale or for tenancy. What I did say was that in England private enterprise is functioning and that in Scotland it is not, whereas before the War it did. I believe that there is no matter more important, in connection with housing in Scotland, than to restore private enterprise to its function. How to do it I do not know. No one has yet agreed as to the causes of its decline. I will not weary the Committee with the various explanations offered, further than to say that some think it is the rating system. But the rating system is the same now as it was before the War. [An HON. MEMBER: "The Rent Restrictions Act!"] Rent Restrictions Acts do not apply to new houses. Some people blame the subsidies, but on the other hand it is the case that when the English subsidy became less useful to private enterprise all that happened was that there were fewer houses built by subsidy and a higher number built unassisted. I do not think we can safely say that the subsidy is the cause.
The whole thing is a mystery. I have put the question to the Committee, and I have no answer to give; but I repeat that there is nothing more important, in connection with housing in Scotland, than that we should get private enterprise restored, so that in Scotland it can take a part equivalent to that which it plays 1125 in England. It may well be that building for sale has something to do with it. It was the case that before the War the speculative builder built for sale, not sale to the man who occupied a house, but sale to the man who wanted to put some small savings into a house as an investment. A variety of causes has reduced that, partly because there are other investments, like War Loan and Savings Certificates, which offer greater attractions. There is also the great uncertainty as to what rise there may be in rates in the next year. The investment of money in house property has, therefore, become a greater anxiety. That may be an explanation. If we can, we must find what the explanation is, and if it be possible we must restore private enterprise to its housing activities.
I have covered the ground that I wanted to cover and have concentrated on the question of housing. In conclusion I am delighted to say that, so far as we are concerned in Scotland, we are all agreed that the present is the time when the strictest economies must be undertaken. I am sure that all who have any ministerial responsibility must to the very best of their ability aid the Treasury in its efforts to reduce national expenditure. I think it is the case that in the easier and happier days of the past there was a kind of division of ministerial labour; the Treasury did its best to economise and every other Departmental Minister did his best to hold up the end of his own Department in expenditure. That might have been very proper in ordinary times, but I am sure that to-day, when reduction of expenditure is the first order of the day, it is the duty of every one with ministerial responsibility to assist in every way possible in the furtherance of economy. The task of a Minister connected with a Department is this: He has to form in his own mind an order of merit in expenditure, in order to effect the greatest economy possible. In speaking for the first time on behalf of a great Department in Scotland I can say that no effort will be wanting on our part to effect every economy that is possible, and so far as the Department of Health is concerned I have no hesitation in saying that first in the order of merit of expenditure comes the housing of the people.
§ Mr. N. MACLEAN
I think the Committee must congratulate the Undersecretary for Scotland on the painstaking way in which he has given the Committee his first report on the way in which the Department over which he exercises control has conducted itself since the present Government took office. The kindly way in which the hon. Gentleman has given way to those Members who desired to get a little clearer information and have questioned him, is also a matter which calls for our appreciation. On the whole I think we can say that the Under-Secretary has maintained the extraordinarily high position of excellence that is usually taken by Scottish officials when they give their reports, and that in general the hon. Gentleman has given an example to the officers of English Departments of the way in which the reports of their Departments should be given. The Under-Secretary devoted most of his speech to housing. I would first draw attention to the fact that when the Addison houses were built or contemplated this country had just emerged from the War. There had been practically four and a-half years of arrears of house building, not merely Governmental house building but private enterprise house building. Many houses had fallen into such a state of disrepair as to be practically untenantable, and it was necessary that new houses should be built in order to wipe out the stigma on the country of the very bad housing conditions then existing.
Members of this House and those outside must realise that with all the considerations of economy to-day—whether they are justified I am not now saying— the nation just after the War, as the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) said in one of his famous speeches, was pursuing a very high purpose. The men who had fought in the trenches were asking to what kind of country they were coming back, what sort of homes they were to return to, and the right hon. Gentleman endeavoured to get the House of Commons to build houses that would be suitable homes for the returned heroes. At that time the nation did not consider that the cost was unwarranted in housing men who had fought and were said to have saved the Empire. But 14 years after the Empire has been saved—I am not casting any reflection on the Under- 1127 Secretary, but am merely pointing out what seems to me to be the general attitude of mind of those who are out to demand economies—the sacrifices made by the men in those 4½ years of war are forgotten, and the subsidy that has been paid and is being paid for the erection and maintenance of the Addison houses is now being grudged. I agree that for the most part the returned heroes are not living in the Addison houses. But that is not the fault of the returned heroes. Those of them who are working are not earning sufficient wages to pay the higher rents that are charged for the Addison houses. I interjected to ask the figure of rent. What is an ex-service man to do who is drawing 15s. 5d. for himself and 8s. for his wife on the means test if he has a rent of £27 a, year, with, rates in addition? Consequently, it is true that the houses that ought to be occupied by people who really require them and deserve them have had to be let to people who are willing to pay because those who originally occupied them have had to vacate them and many of them to go back to the slum quarters from which they gladly came with their families.
We are told that the subsidy is 14s. 8d. per week per house. The hon. Gentleman has admitted that the same type of house built to-day would cost anything from £400 to £500 less than at the time the Addison houses were erected. That is a very large figure. These things have to be taken into consideration when we cast any slight on those who are inhabiting them to-day because they are able to pay the rent of the Addison house. Even those who have built garages have a right to build them if they are paying the rent, but those who can afford to build a garage ought not to inhabit a subsidised house. I do not know what their circumstances are. There, again, it might be necessary to inquire. But I agree that on the surface of things it looks as though anyone who can afford to build a garage in a corporation subsidy house ought at least to be able to pay a higher rent, and part of the subsidy ought to be taken off and applied to some other housing scheme in the same area.
But the point with me is that, if those houses to-day are to be looked upon as houses to be let at economic rents, you cannot apply the economic rents of 1919–20 1128 to them. The economic rent to-day for the same type of house that was built under the Addison scheme is the rent at which the type of house that is being built to-day can be let. I think the Government would be well advised to consider the cutting of their loss on the high subsidies that they paid at that time, when they desired to house so many people who were looked upon as being worthy of the highest sacrifice that the country could make in order to make them some little return for the sacrifices that they had undergone during the War.
§ Mr. SKELTON
The hon. Member will recollect that in the Addison Act there was no suggestion that the Addison houses were specially meant for ex-service men. I think the words of the Act were "working class houses."
§ Mr. MACLEAN
I hope I did not suggest that. I merely pointed out that, when we entered upon the building of the Addison houses, it arose out of the great speech made by the then Prime Minister, who talked about homes for heroes and said we should require to build homes that those returning heroes were to walk into. That was shortly before the Armistice. We made those sacrifices and we ought not to grumble at them now. I agree that there was no restriction placed upon them. It was not held out that they must be for ex-service men only nor for the munition workers. They were working class houses available for the population owing to the holding up of building generally during the 4½ years of the War.
§ Mr. SKELTON
In order to make it quite clear, as between the Addison housing scheme and the land settlement scheme there was this distinction, that the land settlement scheme was for ex-service men and the Addison houses were for the working classes.
§ Mr. MACLEAN
There, again, the hon. Gentleman is summarising it very briefly. There was another passage in the great speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs in which he wanted to put large numbers of the men returning from the front back on the land and give them suitable holdings and suitable housing accommodation in which to live and bring up their families, and suitable farm buildings in which to rear stock. It was all part of 1129 the wonderful scheme that the right hon. Gentleman had, which was practically endorsed by the then House of Commons but which in many instances is now being grudged by those who formerly supported him and who are now doing their best to get out of the bargain—not a written bargain but a gentleman's agreement—entered into between the Government of that day and the people who had been fighting in the War.
The hon. Gentleman considered that a great advance had been made because the housing that has been accomplished has reduced the number of people per house by one half or, as he put it, one per two houses. I asked him if he could state the average number per room, because a large number of single apartment houses and two apartment houses are inhabited by families who may be anything from four to eight or nine, or in some cases 10. I agree that the hon. Gentleman could not be expected on the spur of the moment to answer accurately in reply to a question across the Floor.
§ Mr. MACLEAN
I have the Census figures for Glasgow. There is one ward, represented partly by the hon. Member for Shettleston (Mr. McGovern) and the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton). The percentage of people living more than four to the room—not four to the house—is 19.4. In another ward the number is 13.1 to the room. That is represented by the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan). In one ward in my constituency the percentage living more than four to a room is 12.5. Prior to the War and for the first two years after the War at least a half of that constituency was unbuilt over. Since then there has been a very extended municipal house building scheme which has taken in almost the entire open area, which was then farm land. In spite of that large extension, which should bring down the percentage, there is in one ward a percentage of 12.5 living more than four in a room. While we may claim some little credit, we should not be proud of it to the extent of pluming ourselves that we have done something extraordinarily great in solving the housing problem of Glasgow and of Scotland generally, particularly in the industrial areas. In 1930 there were 10,000 odd houses being built; in 1931, 10,000 odd; and in 1932, 15,000. The 1130 number approved but not yet commenced was in 1930, 14,800; in 1931, 16,900; and in 1932, 23,800. Of houses under construction the total that I get for those three years is 37,069, and the total approved but not yet built for the three years is 55,679. Those figures show that there is a long leeway to make up. Allowing 13,000 houses for the 1932 programme, you are practically a year behind, and yet your housing problem is still as acute as is indicated by the figures of the Census. Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh are no whit better than the figures I have read out for Glasgow.
You cannot say that you cannot get labour. The Ministry of Labour Gazette this week states that in Scotland, out of 70,000 odd employed in the building industry, there are 14,427 unemployed. Surely it is worth while doing your best to put those 14,000 into employment and not have the Minister of Labour coming here with shame on his face to intimate that the number of unemployed has gone up once again this month as compared with the previous month? Give him an opportunity of coming here next month with a smile on his face to tell the House that owing to the action taken by the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, and the Secretary of State for Scotland, you have put so many new houses in the way of construction that you have taken 14,000 unemployed workers in the building industry and placed them in employment to help to carry out the programme which the hon. Member indicated to the House a few minutes ago. That would be something at least upon which he might hang his hat and some ambition to which to live up. I hope that by next month the Minister of Labour will be enabled to express the hope that the hon. Gentleman and the right hon. Gentleman have fulfilled that ambition and set the wheels of employment going in that industry to assist at least in reducing by a very considerable number the 14,000 who are unemployed.
An hon. Member wanted to know if any Members of Parliament are living in any of the subsidy houses. I can speak with authority, as I am the oldest Labour Member for Glasgow in this House, having been here for 14 years. To my knowledge there is not one Member of Parliament, Liberal, Tory or Labour inhabiting an Addison house in the city of Glasgow. [Interruption.] To the 1131 Englishman his home is his castle, and as far as the Scotsman is concerned, his home is not merely his castle, but everybody else's home is his castle, too, if he can get his hands upon it. At any rate, that is the ordinary acceptance of the idea of Scottish nationalism. I should like to assure the hon. Member, if he had anything at the back of his mind when he put his question to the Minister, that he can disabuse his mind entirely of any such idea.
§ Mr. MACLEAN
I am not taking it too seriously. The only thing of which I am afraid is that people outside may take it seriously, because questions of that kind get into the Press and the idea may be set afoot, probably wrongly, that a Member of the House of Commons— and probably more than one—is getting the advantage of the subsidies when he ought not to be permitted to do so. It is just as well that such an idea, even if it has been put in the way of a joke, should be knocked on the head right away so that the public outside will not be under any misapprehension, as far as the Members of Parliament for Glasgow are concerned, at any rate.
We are told that we are now to give private enterprise an opportunity of building houses similar to that which it had before the War. We have been informed that England is in an entirely different category from Scotland in the way in which private enterprise is erecting houses in England. Figures have been given showing that more than 100,000 houses have recently been erected in England by private enterprise. There always has been, not merely since the War, but for a considerable period prior to the War, a difference in house building in England as compared with Scotland. One has only to look at the newspapers, and particularly the London newspapers, to realise the number of houses which are being built here. I am convinced that the Government would not give any subsidy to those particular houses. In the main the houses which are being built in England by private enterprise are for sale and not to be let for rent. You see them advertised for sale on easy terms night after night in 1132 the newspapers, and you see advertisements concerning them on the public hoardings.
I do not think that you can compare the houses which are being built in many parts of England with the same types of houses being built in Scotland. The amount of rent charged in respect of the houses in the suburbs of London could not be paid by any individual living in Scotland who merely wished to rent a house either in the industrial areas of Scotland or the outlying districts. Such houses might be bought on easy terms by some individuals in Scotland, but the major portion of the inhabitants of Scotland could not afford to purchase such houses. Consequently it is a mistake to contrast English house building methods under private enterprise with Scottish house-building, or even private enterprise house building in Scotland, which is in a worse condition than private enterprise house building in England.
In the Estimates there is a figure with regard to midwives, training, and so on, and there is one point which strongly agitates the members of that profession, who must now be certificated. In many cases the midwife is called into a poor home, and probably after she has done all the work, the doctor receives his full fee, whereas she is often left without anything. I have known several cases in my constituency where the certified midwife has been unable to collect anything because of the poverty of the people she has attended. Something ought to be done to assure that those women should at least receive their fee in the same degree as the doctor. If there is only sufficient money to pay one fee, it should be shared in some proportion between the doctor and the midwife.
We are told that we must exercise the strictest economy, and that we are living in very difficult times. Many of us on this side of the Committee do not altogether agree with hon. Members on the opposite side of the Committee with regard to all the talk about economy. Those who come to London do not see any idea of economy prevailing in the minds of many of the people they meet. We have only to read the Press and look at the pictures in the papers. Last week we saw "Golden Ascot," "Glorious Ascot." In contrast to the treatment meted out throughout the country as far as economy is con- 1133 cerned, London and its environs seem to attract all the wealth, glory and glamour of the United Kingdom. At all events, it would seem so from what we are able to see, what any observer may see in going through London and keeping a general observation. There would seem to be no reason for all the talk about a national crisis, and so on. If economy has to be exercised by this nation, for heaven's sake do not let us commence at the bottom of the ladder, where economies mean the persecution of the individual. Economise at the top where people will not miss that which you take from them and which will not mean the taking away even of a moment's pleasure, but only the spending of something less upon luxury. To make cuts at the other end of the scale means taking something from people which would have been spent upon necessaries, and consequently fewer of the necessaries of life than they have had before. The nation does not require such strict economy, but at any rate, whether economies are necessary or not, there is one economy which ought not to be permitted, and that is to slow down housing to the extent of continuing to force people to live in the slums of our towns in Scotland. It is not economy to slow down housing and make those people continue such a life. It is high time that someone spoke out strongly against it.
I am glad that the hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary has not taken that line and is trying to speed up houses. I am glad that he has taken the view that economy in that direction would prove to be false economy. I hope that he will continue in that light, and if he does so we will do what we can to help him during the time he remains in office and continues his programme. We will bring forward proposals to assist him, and maybe criticise schemes which he may bring forward. We shall not criticise him with the idea of attacking him personally, but in order that the people whom we represent in Scotland may enjoy all the benefits which can possibly come from the Office of which he is at present the head.
§ 5.0 p.m.
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
I should like to offer my congratulations to my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland upon his first performance in his official capacity. As Scottish Mem- 1134 bers of Parliament we are all indebted to him for the care with which he answers our correspondence and the evident desire to meet us upon any point that we put before him. His speech today, as he himself said, was confined almost entirely to the one great subject of housing. There can be no greater subject, because it lies at the root of the health, welfare, happiness and contentment of the people of the country. It is always a pleasure to read the Report of the Scottish Department of Health. It is a very fine example of a State document. It is a full, comprehensive and well-written picture of the health and welfare of the people of Scotland as a whole. We Scottish Members are indebted to the Department for the care and the skill they have always shown since they started to write the Reports, in presenting an account of their stewardship to the British House of Commons. If I do not deal with the subject discussed both by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, and my hon. Friend the Member for Govan (Mr. N. Maclean), in regard to the larger question of urban houses, it is not because I am not interested in the subject, but because I represent the other side of the housing problem in Scotland—the rural side. Consequently, I propose to say a few words upon that particular aspect of the question. I feel sure that my colleagues from Scotland must have been pleased, not only to see what has been written in the Report, but to hear from the Undersecretary of State what has been happening with regard to rural housing. There can be, in a single house in a country district, as much slum as there can be in a big wynd or close in the City of Glasgow. The Act of 1926 has attempted, during the intervening years, to abolish slum conditions in individual houses in rural parts of Scotland, and I heard with great satisfaction that every single county in Scotland has placed before the Department of Health a scheme for the further improvement of conditions in its rural areas. The constituency which I represent was in the forefront to begin with, and I hope that it is still occupying its place.
Another question to which I should like to refer is that of housing for farm servants. The late Secretary of State for 1135 Scotland, Mr. Adamson, took a very great interest in this subject, and I notice that in the report there is some suggestion that investigations should take place in particular areas. I should be glad if, in the course of his reply, my hon. Friend would tell us anything more that he may have to say with regard to this question, because the housing of the farm servants of Scotland is a most important question from every point of view. We are anxious at the present time to prevent depopulation and to keep people on the land, and one of the first considerations in meeting a problem of so colossal and gigantic a nature is to see to it that the people whom you desire to keep on the land shall have fair, decent and respectable home conditions.
Let me deal with one other aspect which is of particular importance from the Highland point of view—the Highlands and Islands [Medical Service] Fund. I do not think that any fund has ever been established which has done more good than this particular fund, and I am sure it must have been a matter of very great regret to the Department of Health that, in their Estimate for this year, they have had to decrease the amount which has hitherto been allocated to this fund. Last year it was, I think, £70,000, and this year it is only £66,000. I do not know what the reason may be for that decrease. There may be a good justification for it, but I should have thought that one of the falsest economies would be an economy in a direction of that kind. However, I have no doubt that in the course of his reply my hon. Friend will explain to us what the reason for this decrease is at the present moment.
I am happy to say that I was one of those who took a fair part in the establishment of this particular service, and to-day anyone who goes to the Highlands of Scotland will see the great advantage that it has been, to every corner of the Highlands. The doctor in the old days was miserably paid. He was usually a very decent fellow, and a, highly skilled practitioner. He had to take enormously long journeys in all kinds of weather, and very often, at the end of it all, had not the desire to charge anything to the poor people whom he attended. In the old days, if ever there was a hero in the 1136 Highlands, it was the ordinary country practitioner, who fought blast and storm by sea and land in order to carry out his work, and who carried it out with great skill.
To-day we see a change, and the comfort of the general medical practitioner in the Highlands is now quite safe. There are many cases, however, in which it might well be improved. I refer particularly to the housing of the doctor in the Highlands. A great deal might be done in that direction, particularly when one remembers that the local doctor may very often have several accident eases on his hands, and that he has no surgery. His house was built in years gone by, with no thought of new industries, accidents, or anything of that kind, and, skilled as he is, he has not the opportunity from the physical point of view of dealing with, cases of that kind in a surgery as a medical practitioner should. I strongly suggest to the Department of Health that they should reconsider the whole of this question. It is no use leaving it to the local authorities. The local authorities, for one reason or another, never take a step in that direction, and in my judgment the Department of Health should be firm about this matter and should see to it that, where the doctor has to deal with cases of that kind, he should have the physical advantage of a surgery in order that he may be able to deal with them properly. In a house of that kind there is probably only one small bathroom, and very often not much of a bathroom at all. These cases have to be treated in the house, and it is very difficult, merely from the hygienic point of view to deal with matters of that kind. unless proper arrangements are made, not only in he interests of the household of the doctor, but of the patients whom he attends.
A new step in advance after the Act of 1931 has been the federation of the nursing associations. The nursing association was usually confined to a particular parish; each parish had its own nursing association—or had not—and the nurses were kept alive and paid by voluntary means. The case is quite different now. The Department and the county councils can federate all these nursing associations and guarantee a fair livelihood to the nurses, aided, as the public Department is, by the spontaneous good will of the people themselves. Not only is this federation of the nursing associa- 1137 tions a good tiling in itself, but it is also very valuable from the point of view that nurses can now be provided from a general pool, so that the ordinary nurse, who otherwise might never get a holiday, can always be provided with a substitute.
There is one other point that is well worth consideration. I notice from the report that the Department has dealt with it, but has not dealt with it sufficiently well. I refer to the question of the provision of telephones in doctors' and nurses' houses, and, indeed, in the local post office. Reference is made in the report to the case of the Island of Soay. Hitherto, when the services of a doctor have been required on that island, it has been necessary to dispatch a boat to Glenbrittle, about one-and-a-half hour's sail, and, on landing, to travel nine miles by road to Carbost. Now, however, there is a telephone at the post office at Glenbrittle, so that the time spent on the road journey will be saved. The Department have the power to make a certain grant from the funds at their disposal in cases of that kind, where the demand of the post office cannot be met locally. The Post Office demands,, as we know to our cost, a minimum number of subscribers in rural districts. The people in those districts are often very poor, and cannot afford to give any such guarantee, and the Post Office, being an economic appanage of the Treasury, will never come forward and look at the question from the point of view of the general welfare of the country. I see that my right hon. and gallant Friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury is in his place, and I have made that little comment in order to ginger him up, because he himself was at one time connected with the Scottish Department of Health.
I should like to conclude with an expression of gratitude to the Department for the way in which it has been carrying out its work, and a request that the points which I have brought forward today may be carefully looked into and attended to. If that is done, the result will be, in my judgment and in the judgment of all those who know the subject, greatly to improve a service which has done so much good for a well deserving people.
§ Mr. ORMISTON
In rising for the first time to address this honourable House, I know that my Scottish colleagues will 1138 give me that consideration which is usually granted in such cases, and I hope that the English Members present will do likewise. I join with my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Ross and Cromarty (Mr. Macpherson) in congratulating the Under-Secretary on the very able statement which he has made to us this afternoon. I come from a highly industrial constituency, and,, in the course of my professional business, I am brought a great deal into contact with housing affairs, so that I think I may venture to claim to speak with that practical experience which is sometimes of much more value than theory. When the first Addison housing scheme was brought forward, those of us who had taken an interest in housing in Scotland felt that Dr. Addison was on wrong lines in trying to introduce into Scotland a type of house which had been foreign to our Scottish people. Scotland is a much colder part of the country than is London, and it has been the habit of people in Scotland to get close together and live in tenement houses rather than in cottage dwellings. Dr. Addison and his advisers said," No, your Scottish system of housing has been all wrong, and we are determined to show you the right way to live "; and they introduced the system of cottage buildings,, and built houses which wore intended, as my hon. Friend the Member for Govan (Mr. Maclean) said, to be homes fit for heroes to live in.
Unfortunately, however, notwithstanding a State subsidy of 14s. 8d. per week, and a county subsidy of 1s. 6d. per week, the rents charged for those houses were beyond the capacity of those heroes, or even of the working classes for whom the houses were intended. Consequently, they had to be let to civil servants, men in professional positions, and others who could well have afforded to pay an economic rent; and the most glaring fault of the system seems to me to have been the fact that those who were still occupying the poorer type of house—what we call in Scotland the but-and-ben, or the room-and-kitchen house—have had to pay a subsidy of about 1d. in the £ per annum in local rates to enable better-off citizens to live in houses for which they were not paying an economic rent. To my mind, that was a disgrace and a scandal in the housing system of Scotland. My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary has 1139 said that he deplores the fact that private enterprise in Scotland has not kept pace with private enterprise in England, and he wonders why that should be the case. I venture to offer the following observations on that point.
In Scotland we have been accustomed to a system of land tenure whereby we pay an annual rent for our ground. Although we have been in the past accustomed to pay an annual rent for the house, the number of owner-occupied houses in Scotland, although the statistics are not available, must form a very small percentage of the owner-occupied houses in England. Why is that so? It is on account of the rating system in Scotland. In England the rating system is based on one rate only and is payable by the occupiers. In Scotland we have a system of rating which charges the rate not only upon the occupier but also upon the owner. The owner consequently if he builds houses to rent, has to get not only some return on the cost price of the house but has also to add to that some return on the amount of the rates he will have to pay and as those rates are a highly fluctuating quantity and have since the War increased by over 100 per cent. it has been found impracticable and impossible to build houses to let to annual tenants at a rent comparable with that which is charged for the State-subsidised houses. Again, the owner-occupier is assessed on a rental value equivalent to the rateable value of the State subsidised houses. Whereas the occupier of the State subsidised house has to pay only the occupier's rates, the owner-occupier has to pay owner's and occupier's rates at a valuation equivalent to the rent of a State-subsidised house. That is the reason why we have not the same number of owner-occupied houses in Scotland as exist in England.
My hon. Friend quoted the case of a house of £400, and said that in that case the local authority would grant a loan of 90 per cent. of the value. Ninety per cent. of £400 is £360, which at 5 per cent. interest represents £18. On the £40 balance which the owner pays, allowing 5 per cent. interest, there is a further charge of £2. Then there is a feu duty of £4 a year and the cost of insurance and upkeep, amounting approximately to £6. On the top of that he has to 1140 add the owner's rates which, at the current rate of 5s. in the £ on an assessment rent of £40, would be £10, making an anuual outgo to the owner-occupier on a £400 house, in his position as owner, of £40 a year. On the top of that he is assessed for occupier's rates at a rate which, on the average in Scotland, is 6s. 8d. in the £, so that he has nearly £13 a year of occupier's rates to pay, making a total outgo of £53 a year on a £400 house. When we contrast that with what happens in England we find that the English owner-occupier has nothing like the same amount of rates to pay.
I have always held the opinion that ft may be the duty of the State or the municipality to provide houses for the poorest of their population, not only from the health point of view, but also from the humanitarian point of view, because it is impossible for private owners to build houses of the class required by the very poor at rents within the compass of their power to pay. Therefore it is the duty of the State and the municipality to build houses for these poor people, but I protest against the municipality or the State building houses for people who can afford to pay economic rents, and letting them to those people at rents which are not economic rents. Just as there has been a means test in the application of unemployment relief, so there should be a means test for the occupying of State subsidised houses. No man whose income is beyond the limit of the National Health Insurance scheme should be allowed to occupy a State subsidised house. Those whose income is beyond that limit are well able to pay an economic rent for their house, and they should be bound to pay that economic rent. If the State and the municipality combined their energies to produce houses for the very poor, not only in the interests of health but in the interests of humanity, they would be performing a very useful service.
I would suggest that the Department of Health in Scotland, in considering the instructions that they issue to various local authorities with regard to the necessity for the building of houses, should take into consideration the position as to the existing building conditions. In my constituency at the last Census in 1931 there were 171 houses empty, and yet at 1141 that time there were 241 State-subsidised houses in the course of erection.
§ Mr. ORMISTON
Approximately of the room and kitchen type. The Department of Health in Scotland, who are influenced by the Ministry of Health in London, suggest that room and kitchen houses are no longer suitable for the working-class people of Scotland, but I suggest that in many cases, particularly in the case of old couples, a room and kitchen house is all that they want. It seems very unfair that the Ministry of Health should insist upon the town council of my constituency providing still more houses when there were 171 houses unoccupied at the time of the Census. The owners of those 171 houses, who are drawing no rent from them, have to pay a subsidy equivalent to one penny per annum on the annual rental value of those empty houses in order to provide houses to compete against their own houses that are unoccupied. Our system in Scotland is absolutely unfair. The idea that the owner of unlet property should have to contribute rates in order to provide more houses to compete with the empty houses that he owns is the very essence of injustice. I hope that the Undersecretary will look into this matter. Although I strongly support him in providing houses for the poorest people, I consider that it is the duty of the private citizen to look after himself.
§ Mr. McGOVERN
I congratulate my fellow countryman on the very fine speech that he has delivered, and I think every hon. Member will agree with me, no matter what his political opinions may be, that the hon. Member delivered his speech with the utmost confidence, that he has taken an interest in the matters upon which he has spoken, and that he has given real information to the Committee. We shall look forward to the hon. Member taking part on many occasions in the discussions that must inevitably take place regarding our problems. While I am not generally disposed to do so, I congratulate the combination of officials that we have at the Scottish Office. I regard the Secretary of State, the Under-Secretary and the Solicitor-General, apart from ordinary political work, as a very fine combination 1142 of Scotsmen in charge of an administrative Department. They have ability and knowledge, and I believe they have the proper humanitarian outlook, and I hope they will be able during their term of office to make administrative changes that will be for the welfare of the people of Scotland. We hope that the administration will be made as humane as possible.
To-day I want to become the practical politician. I would not ask the Front Bench to do anything if we were discussing legislation, because I understand that in legislation Ministers have their powers fixed by the Cabinet, and that no concessions are to be made. Therefore, it appears to me from time to time to be rather out of place to plead with Ministers for concessions which we know they cannot grant. To-day, however, we arc in a different realm. We are discussing the administration of the affairs, of Scotland. This is one of the very few occasions when we have an opportunity of making the operation of the law less harsh. I hope that although we are discussing here to-day Scottish affaire in England, the day will not be far distant when the men who are on the Front Bench will be sitting in Edinburgh and legislating there. I hope, however, that they will then be Members of the Opposition and not Members of the Government.
In regard to the report that has been presented I want to offer a few observations. The Under-Secretary dealt with the report in a very fine manner, and I would like him to take note of one or two suggestions that I wish to offer, not from the point of view of legislation in the political sense, but for the purpose of easing hardships that exist under the present law. Two years ago when I came to this House I suggested in my maiden speech that the then Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. W. Adamson) should call the attention of local authorities in Scotland to the necessity of levelling up the scales of relief paid by the Poor Law where persons were residing in a city or in an outside area, and that there should be some attempt to make a change in regard to the scales that were being paid to those individuals. I want to state certain facts, which may be known to some hon. Members and may not be known to others, regarding some of the hardships that certain people are undergoing. Take the scales paid by Glasgow and Old 1143 Monkland. You may have a person residing in Scotland suffering from a permanent disability and compelled to apply to the Poor Law. That person may have resided for a lengthy period in Glasgow but the chargeability is on an outside parish. We get two different scales paid to two persons living in the same street or in the same flat that are out of all proportion to the cost of living in the area.
In Glasgow we have a scale under the Poor Law whereby a married man receives 22s. 6d., rent allowance up to 7s. 6d., 4s. 6d. for the first child, 3s. 6d. for the second child and 2s. extra if the second child is under two years of age. The total paid to that family is 40s. per week, which I suggest is a fairly humane standard as the cost of living goes at the present time. On the other hand, we have an Old Monkland case where the allowance is 18s., no rent allowance, 2s. 6d. for the first child, 2s. for the second child or 22s. 6d. all told, compared with the 40s. paid in the Glasgow area. If we take the case of a widow we find that in Glasgow area she is paid 12s. 6d., for the first child 4s. 6d., for the second child 3s. 6d. and an extra 2s. if the second child is under two years of age, with a rent allowance of 7s. 6d. or up to that amount, making 30s. in all. Take a similar case from Old Monkland. A widow is paid 14s. and no rent allowance; for the first child 2s. 6d., and for the second child 2s. 6d., that is 19s., whilst the Glasgow case gets 30s. In the case of a married couple with two children the difference is 17s. 6d., and in the case of a widow with two children 11s. per week. These cases are not very numerous and, therefore, could be very easily dealt with. I understand that the Department cannot impose scales of relief on outside areas, but I suggest that they should convene a conference and have a heart to heart talk with the authorities, pointing out the hardship in those cases where people live in towns with a higher cost of living, and in that way get some of these differences removed. I have discussed this matter with the Glasgow public assistance officials and I think it is possible to wipe out the chargeability on outside parishes and give the scale of relief which is paid in the parish where the individual is residing. A promise 1144 was made two years ago by the then Secretary of State for Scotland that he would call a conference of that kind. The Under-Secretary of State made that promise, and I suppose he did so in good faith. I do not want to be harsh, but I say that knowing the late Secretary of State for Scotland I did not expect that promise would be carried out, and nothing has ever been done to my knowledge to rectify this wrong.
§ Mr. DUNCAN GRAHAM
May I draw the attention of the hon. Member to the fact that a conference of Lanarkshire authorities was held, and that there was only one authority in the county which objected, and that was the authority of the Old Monkland parish?
§ Mr. McGOVERN
I understand that a conference of that kind was held in Lanarkshire, but my claim is that the matter was not pursued as it should have been over the whole of Scotland. I am suggesting that we should wipe out these lines of demarcation. While I approve of the actions up to the present of the Secretary of State and Under-Secretary, I shall condemn them if I find there is any backsliding on their part. There is one part of the report which is worthy of special mention, and that is the boarding out of children. Nothing gives me greater satisfaction as an individual than to see the way this question is being handled by the Department of Health and local authorities. I find that there were 8,501 children chargeable to the Poor Law authorities on the 15th May, 1931, and of that number 6,418 were boarded out. There was at first a certain amount of antagonism to the boarding out of children. Before I came into closer contact with the system I was rather sceptical and a little antagonistic, but I find that these children, large numbers of whom come from bad homes or whose parents are deceased, are treated in the most humane and considerate manner. The nation as a whole has cause to congratulate the persons who were responsible for this innovation, which was fought tenaciously by a section of the public in Glasgow. It costs considerably more to board out these children than it does to give them out-door relief, but no one will grudge anything that is paid in connection with this work.
In regard to housing we come to a rather more complex and difficult subject. 1145 I have always believed that the housing of the working classes is a health problem and that instead of raising money by the ordinary method of floating a loan we should raise all the money that is necessary for the annual cost of houses by levying a tax, and use the money free of interest for the provision of working-class houses. This housing question strikes at the root of family life and is the basis of the happiness, comfort and well-being of great sections of the population. We are entitled to deal with it in a drastic manner. In Scotland there are over 100,000 one-apartment dwellings and over 400,000 two-apartment dwellings. We have 2,000,000 persons living in one-apartment or two-apartment dwellings at the present time. In Glasgow alone 6,000 families live in one-apartment dwellings, and most of them number from six to 12 persons. There are 12,000 families of four and five persons living in one-apartment houses. Let me give a case to illustrate the point. Last week I came across a man and woman who were looking for a better house. I discovered that the woman had had her leg amputated at the knee as the result of tuberculosis. There was a daughter 18 years old, recently discharged from the Robroyston Infirmary also suffering from tuberculosis. There was a boy who had been taken to Belvedere Hospital suffering from scarlet fever, and two young children of school age. The whole of that family of six persons were living in a one-apartment house, three stairs up. It was not only a question of wanting better accommodation; the room being three stairs up meant that the woman scarcely ever got out of the house.
I went to the Glasgow Corporation and found that the medical officer of health had drawn attention to the urgent need of this family being rehoused in a rehousing scheme, but the case had never been analysed, never looked at, and until I was able to bring pressure to bear there was no expectation of that family being rehoused. I consider that such a case is an absolute scandal of the first magnitude. Here we have two young children in a family of six living in a single-apartment house with their mother and sister suffering from tuberculosis, and we still go on discussing the pounds, shillings and pence of the problem, the monetary considerations of these housing schemes, and cases of that kind can be multiplied by 1146 the hundred in every industrial area. We took the daughter of 18 to Robroyston Hospital for five months and spent £2 15s. 6d. per week to maintain her, and we grudge supplying subsidised houses to a family like this.
I know that in regard to rehousing schemes we have the difficulties mentioned by the Undersecretary, but take two typical cases of persons who are going out of a slum area. The first is the case of a man who during a prosperous period desires to do something for his family, to raise their standard of life by taking them out of a sordid slum area, a man who says that he is prepared to spend a good proportion of his income in giving them a better opportunity in life. They move out to a house provided under a subsidised scheme, and he pays 15s. or 16s. per week in rent. He may not have a great wage; it may be £3 a week, but he is prepared to pay 15s. per week in rent and give better opportunities to his children. In the other case the man may be a drunkard, he may indulge in horse racing and live in a very vicious way. He lives in the slum and pays 3s. or 4s. a week in rent. He never attempts to raise the standard of life for his family. But along comes a closing order and the authorities say that he must move out into a better house. I could give instances of people who have moved out and are paying 7s. and 8s. per week in rent for houses provided by the State and the local authorities, and because you compel such a man to move there is a greater income coming into his house than there is into the house of the man who is paying 15s. per week in rent. That is what happens. Then comes along a period of depression and the man who is paying 7s. per week rent may be able to struggle along and make ends meet, but the man who is paying 15s. a week rent finds that he is unable to make ends meet and we recompense the good father by saying that he must go back to the slum. He may be a good father and his wife may be a good mother. He is not vicious, and he may have spent most of his income in providing for his family, but through no fault of his own he has to go back into the slum, to degradation and filth, whilst the man who has lived a vicious life is provided with a house by the State at a much lower rental and is able to maintain himself in decent conditions. 1147 There are remedies which could be applied to many of these cases.
The Under-Secretary spoke about people who were entitled to houses not getting them. Rightly or wrongly, we have had in Glasgow under the rehousing schemes a process which is something like this. A building is pulled down. An old couple who have been laving in that building are then entitled to be rehoused under what used to be termed a slum clearance scheme and is now termed a re-housing scheme. The old couple find that the rent which they are expected to pay for the new accommodation is, according to law, seven or eight shillings a week as against the three or four shillings which they had been paying previously. They find that they cannot afford the extra rent. They do not want the larger accommodation so they go to another person who has perhaps three or four children and is living in a single apartment house. They arrange with that person to take over the new accommodation provided under the rehousing scheme, while they go into the single apartment house. That is what goes on but is anybody going to suggest that in those cases the nation has not benefited by the transfer of the family of three or four children from the single apartment house to the new accommodation provided under the rehousing scheme, even though the old couple go into the single apartment house? I know of numerous cases in which I think the nation has benefited by that system.
We have also had in operation what is called the double exchange system. Supposing that there is, first, a single-apartment house, then a room and kitchen house and thirdly a two-room and kitchen house, under the re-housing scheme, with scullery and bathroom. A person from the room and kitchen house moves into the new two-room and kitchen house because that person has a large family. Then a person who has been in a single apartment house previously moves into the room and kitchen house, and finally a person from the slum goes into the single apartment house—a person who has no family. That is what is called double exchange. It took me a long time to learn how that system operated. At first, when I heard of people getting accommodation to which they were not entitled I was hot on the heels 1148 of the officials but I discovered, as I said before, on analysing most of these cases, that the nation was getting a distinct advantage from that method of rehousing the population.
In connection with slum clearance schemes the nation is performing a useful function and I would like to see an extension of those schemes in every area. At the same time I think it regrettable that at the present juncture we have not been able to add to the number of houses which are being provided. Unemployment is rife and building trade employés are drawing money from the Employment Exchanges. It may be that they are drawing from 22s. up to 30s. a week. Surely it would be a great advantage to the nation to employ those people on building houses. Why should we keep our building trade workers drawing unemployment benefit at a time when there is an urgent national need for rehousing so many of the people of Scotland? If the whole of that unemployment benefit were devoted to subsidising housing schemes the nation would get some advantage out of it, but to-day we are simply throwing the money into a pit and no results at all are forthcoming.
There was in 1927 a 10.6 percentage of unemployment in insured occupations in Scotland. That has gone up steadily and the percentage was 26.6 at the last available date and I expect at the present time it shows a further increase. In the building trade there were 15,840 persons unemployed at 22nd June, 1931, and 23,022 unemployed at 21st December, 1931, divided into the following categories: painters, 4,652; labourers, 4,102; carpenters, bricklayers, masons, slaters, plasterers and plumbers, 8,225; and others, 6,043. There has been an increase in six months of 7,182 unemployed building trade workers and it is a scandal that we should have an army of skilled men idle, when there is such a demand for houses. Formerly the cry was, even in connection with the provision of steel houses, that we could not run the houses up speedily enough because the labour was not available. To-day, the nation has resources available which could be tapped in order to provide houses but we are not getting on with the job in a statesmanlike manner. The only point in the Under-Secretary's statement which I did not like was his remark that we were 1149 making slight headway. That is not the way to tackle a job of this kind. We ought not to assume an air of self-satisfaction because we have reduced the death rate by 5 per cent. The Undersecretary ought on the contrary to say "I am shocked and ashamed that we have not been able to make greater headway, but I promise the House, on behalf of the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Government, that we will tackle this job in a manner befitting our office." You have the ability and you have the energy if you had the courage to bring about a great revival of house building in Scotland in order to raise the chances in life of the men, women and children of the nation and at the same time give the building workers an opportunity of exercising the trade in which they have been trained.
The provision of more and better houses would be a distinct advantage to the nation as a whole. The returns show that 79,699 houses are required, but there are 23 local bodies according to the report—there may be fewer now—who have not yet returned their housing needs. Speaking, not as a party representative, but as a man who sees and realises the urgent national necessity in this matter, I want to know what the Department and the Government intend to do to meet this situation. It is remarkable to me the amount of energy which we display and the amount of money which is always forthcoming when it is a question of the destruction of human life in any part of the world, but how slow we are to get on with the job when it is a question of saving human life and giving the children of the people decent surroundings. I want to know why these local authorities are not making their returns. I want to know where they are, and whether they are composed of party representatives whose aim and object is to avoid providing houses in case their own interests may be affected.
Reference has been made to the Addison houses. The Addison house cost, on the average, £900, but I think that we may take it, roughly, that to-day it would cost £500. In the case of an Addison house which was built at £900, taking that sum at 6 per cent., there is an annual charge of £54 to be met by the nation, by the individual and by the local authority. If 1150 that house were built to-day at £500, taking that sum at 5 per cent., it would be £25 per year as against £54. If the Addison house, such as those built a number of years ago, were built to-day, the rental that has been paid would be an economic rent paid by the individual, and there would be no necessity for slanging the people who are inhabiting those houses. We know that large numbers of people may inhabit such houses who were not actually entitled to them, but we must remember the urgent need for houses which existed at the time, and people might be excused for having minimised the amount of their income at that time if they were getting married in order to get a house. I sympathise with individuals in those circumstances.
I was in a house in King's Park visiting a friend a fortnight ago. That house was built under private enterprise, and it was almost a similar type of house to the house which I occupy in the Sandy Hills area of Glasgow. The private enterprise house was only £1 or £2 more than the amount which I was paying in that area. The difference was not very great because the new house was built at a much lower cost. We ought to cut our losses on these housing schemes and come down to the cold economic facts. We ought to revise our outlook on this question and change all our arrangements in connection with the building of houses. Housing is the only thing I know of which increases in value as the years pass. If you buy a motor car you cannot expect to sell it in two years time for what you paid for it, and if you buy a suit of clothes you cannot expect to sell it at the end of six months for the price which you paid. As a boy, I was in a pawnshop in the Shettleston area, and people used to roll up with suits of clothes on Monday morning. A man with a suit of clothes would ask the manager for £1, and would get £l. After six weeks use of the suit, it was reduced to 15s.; then to 10s., and after that if he came in with the suit the manager sent for the police because it was deteriorating in value all the time.
A house on the other hand goes up in value. The rent increases as time goes on and apparently every section of the population is expected to bear the burden except those who are in the holy of holies, those belonging to the house-factor and 1151 property-owning element. They are to maintain the standard to which they became accustomed in the years of the War and in the years of high prices while others bear the burden. I am not enamoured of the outlook taken by the Under-Secretary and some Members of this House who appear to believe that that old standard ought to be maintained in connection with the Addison scheme. I was a member of the Health Committee of the Glasgow Corporation when there was a discussion upon the building of a new hospital which was to cost something like. £500,000 or £750,000. When the necessity for this hospital was being investigated the case made by the medical officer and the officials was that a large number of people suffered from slight diseases and had to be treated but the housing accommodation in which they lived was such that they could not be treated properly there. A hospital was thus required for dealing with those cases. So, we were going to spend up to £750,000 on a hospital because we had not decent houses.
It appears to me to be an outrageous thing but that is what we are doing. We are dotting the landscape with hospitals and poor-houses, tuberculosis institutes and sanatoria of all kinds. We pour out the money after the people have taken the disease. Every medical man who is true to the best traditions of his worthy calling, will admit that if a person contracts tuberculosis in a serious form it is practically impossible to drive it out. We only take them into these institutions and give them a healthy environment and keep them there for a certain length of time. We only prolong the suffering and the agony. Then we dump them back into the slum and kill them by the reaction from the change of environment. We call that wise statesmanship. I know that this problem has its difficulties. I know that local authorities have the property outlook. That is the damnable thing about this question of housing. When an attempt is made to tackle it all the housing interests immediately rise against the provision of houses because it is interfering with their private concerns. They say, "If you provide new houses the old houses will be deserted. The people will flock to the new houses." Of course they will, just 1152 as every Member here would adopt a new fashion.
We find this also—and I am bound to say that the officials in Glasgow admit this—that there is a complete conspiracy, if I may use the word, between the health department and the housing department. You will find the sanitary officer and the medical officer of health saying, "Yes, there are thousands of houses in the Glasgow area that we should close, that we should condemn as being unfit for human habitation, but the housing department refuse to supply the housing accommodation for the displaced tenants, and we are compelled to hold off and to allow these houses to remain rather than to displace the tenants." I have said often, and I say to the Under-Secretary of State, that the medical officer of health ought to do his duty. He ought to condemn these houses and make the job of the hon. Gentleman's Department and the housing committee of the local authority to supply the houses required.
The housing committee of the Glasgow Corporation had at one time a member who was a master joiner, another who was a master plumber, a master painter, a master glazier, and a man who was interested in the supply of cement, all good Tories in the Glasgow area, and Baillie Fletcher, one of the leading lights on the committee, a slum property owner, a slum house factor. Every time we suggested the need for better housing there was a struggle between the two sections, even in the Tory party. There was an enlightened, intelligent section, very few in numbers, who said, "Yes, we must have better houses and go ahead in a progressive manner with the housing policy." There was another section, cold and cruel materialists, who said, "No, it is going to affect our jobs, our returns from profits; it is going to affect the interests of our friends, and therefore we do not want any houses to be provided."
That is a horrible thing, and if we could get the Department of Health in Scotland and the Ministry of Health in England as dictators on the question of the provision of houses, I would support them up to the hilt. If we could take the provision of houses out of party politics entirely, and make it the duty of the Department, in consultation with the medical authorities, to see that in every area the houses that ought to be 1153 condemned were condemned, and that they were compelled to provide adequate houses for the people requiring them, we could get on with the job in a sensible manner, instead of every section pulling, as they are bound to pull when their interests are affected.
The Minister said, in connection with transitional benefit, that when it was passed last year the authorities throughout Scotland applied energy and intelligence to the job. I agree with that statement. Apart from the question of the cuts and the changes, I agree that the officials of the local department in Scotland did apply energy—although it may have been misplaced from the point of view of my ideas—and intelligence and capacity to the job in a very wonderful manner. I do not know how far I should trespass in connection with these things, but I will only raise the matter in connection with the able-bodied scales on which the means test was based, because the means test did not first come into operation last year. It was in operation in connection with every able-bodied applicant, even when the Labour Government were in office, and no attempt was made to redress the grievances that we, in common with others, fought out in the local authority and the parish council in Glasgow. You had the application of the means test to every person who was cut off the Employment Exchange, and the whole of his family income was taken into consideration, the only difference being that the numbers were not so great then as they are now. Therefore, the means test, so far as I understand it, has been operating for a very long period, and I want to suggest one or two of the hardships that are very evident.
I desire, of course, the elimination of this most diabolical and ingenious scheme for punishing the poorest section of the people that has ever been devised to my knowledge, but in the meantime there should be many changes made so that the test would not bear so heavily upon people in receipt of able-bodied relief. I had a case last week of two brothers, and I give this as typical of a number of cases. According to the Glasgow scale—arid I presume that it will be the same in other areas—they are treated on the able-bodied scale of relief under the means test on the basis of man and wife, and they are paid 23s. One brother is an 1154 unemployed painter, and the other is an unemployed clerk, both of them brothers of a late Member of this House, who was a Member of the Liberal party. These two brothers are in lodgings; they are not living in a single apartment house. They have lived for years in a house where they have occupied separate bedrooms, and they have been given under this scheme, not 15s. 3d., but 11s. 6d., being treated as man and wife, and both are nearly 40 years of age. They are compelled just now to consider going to a model lodging house—two respectable decent individuals—and you have a good number in that city who are treated in the same way. I suggest that it is outrageous that two able-bodied men should be treated on the basis of man and wife and paid 11s. 6d. instead of the meagre allowance of 15s. 3d. that is being paid at the moment.
§ The CHAIRMAN (Sir Dennis Herbert)
I am afraid I did not hear the earlier part of the hon. Member's speech, but unless he can relate this to the question of rent, I do not quite see how it comes in.
§ Mr. McGOVERN
The same scale allowances are paid on the Poor Law side, of which the hon. Gentleman is in charge, and I suggest that the scale should be changed in connection with able-bodied relief, so that it might be an incentive to the authorities to change the scales in other areas. I suggest that in connection with able-bodied relief a change should be made where people are living out of town and are compelled to spend 3s. and 4s. a week on tram fares. That ought to be taken into considerations, and allowances should be made in that direction. If we cannot get complete abolition, at least modifications should be made in an administrative sense. The Under-Secretary of State has power to confer with the authorities in order to try to bring about these remedies. There is opportunity for the hon. Gentleman's making a great amount of headway in an administrative way, in so far as the affairs of Scotland are concerned. I cannot appeal to him in a legislative way, because he has not the power. I believe that he has the will and the desire and the humanitarian outlook even to legislate in a different direction, but I appeal to him to make the law lees harsh, and to try to bring 1155 about administrative changes. If, during his tenure of office, he can do something to ease the burden on the poor, he will merit their approval, and I am sure that they would admire his courage if he would tackle this question in the way that I have indicated.
§ Captain WILLIAM SHAW
Listening to the Under-Secretary of State, I was pleased, if somewhat surprised, to hear the emphasis which he put on the question of economy. I say "surprised," because if you examine the Estimates themselves, there is very little evidence to be found that the necessity for economy has been much borne in mind by those who framed them. I recognise that in this Vote a large number of things cannot be cut out, but the total amount of economy is something under 1½ per cent., and that, in a time of national financial crisis, does not seem to be any very great effort towards economy. I hope the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Under-Secretary of State will try a little harder in future, and perhaps they may be a little more successful. I also hope they will be successful in cutting down the personnel in this Department. I was surprised to see that it had increased, and I hope they will make a big effort to secure economy.
When I was a young man in Scotland, I was taught the old proverb that any fool could spend money, but that it took a wise man to save money. I am afraid that personally I have not made as much use of that proverb as I ought to have, but I pass it on to the Government Department, and I hope they will pass it on to the local authorities, so that those authorities may not be tempted and pressed to spend money. I hope the ratepayers may have the sympathy and support of the Government officials and the Government Department in this matter. I represent a county in Scotland, and there among the largest ratepayers we have people who have to let their shootings during the summer season. I can see that this season it will be very difficult indeed for these large ratepayers to let their shootings, and that will have a bad effect, not only upon them, but upon the shopkeepers in the districts affected, so I hope the Government will keep this in considera- 1156 tion and do everything they possibly can to reduce expenditure, both national and local.
Most of this Vote deals with housing, and I would like to see a very considerable cut made in the housing expenditure of this country. The last speaker said that houses were things that seemed to go up in value, but that has not been my experience. I have mentioned one old Scottish proverb, and I may mention another, which says that if you want to do a man a bad turn, you should leave him an old house, because it is always a source of expense and is a very poor, wasting asset. I should like to see expenditure on housing cut down, and I think the aim and object of the Government should be, as far as possible, to return to the system which obtained before the War when housing was provided by private enterprise. The Under-Secretary of State said that he could not understand why private enterprise was doing nothing to provide houses in Scotland now. It is largely due to the fact that we did not give to those who supplied houses a fair deal. It used to be said that housing was a good medium for investment, and there was the expression "as safe as houses," but we have had the Rent Restrictions Acts, which penalised house property owners very much, so that a man who had given his money to build houses got a smaller return than a man who put his money into War Loan or War Savings Certificates. If we are to get back to the position in which private enterprise will supply the necessary houses, we must win the confidence of the people who put their money in that form of investment. I hope that the Government will consider that, so that in Scotland we may get back to the previous position.
§ Mr. LEONARD
In listening to the observations of the Minister, I, like others, was pleased to notice that he was fully appreciative of the advantages that can be gained from a proper housing policy. While I appreciate the tendency displayed in his remarks, I cannot banish from my mind the fact that there has recently been in Scotland, as elsewhere, a very influential organisation of persons who have been shouting for economy, nationally and municipally. Because of the views held by these people, I want to say something on the subject matter of Vote. 10. As one who has been for a 1157 number of years connected with the health administration of Glasgow, I regret that there has been a decrease in the provision of sanatoria. Notwithstanding the fact that the figures have been steady, or are to a slight degree falling, the needs in this matter have never been coped with in the past, and I do not countenance with any great joy a diminution of money flowing in that direction. I hope that in future, when that matter comes within the purview of the right hon. Gentleman's Department, he will realise the tremendous danger of allowing this part of the health administration to get into such a position that we shall not be able to cope with this great scourge which affects large cities such as Glasgow.
It is pleasing to note that the Department admit that part of their activities is disappointing. It gives us courage to hope for better things when we see that in their report they admit that there is disappointment in the number of houses that are being erected I agree that we have to pay attention to the type of house. The statement has been made that we have to be sure that the right people get into the right houses. I agree with that. I would put it another way; we have to see that we have the right houses built to meet the requirements of the people. It is bad economy to have advice from a medical officer of health who receives £2,000 a year for giving us guidance on the kind of houses we should provide, and not pay attention to the space that is essential to have in the houses in such cities as Glasgow. I have heard expressions of surprise that private enterprise has not seen fit to indulge in this activity to a greater degree. The right hon. Gentleman has not seen fit to supply an answer to that, and I will endeavour to supply one.
Private enterprise has been well treated in the help received in municipal and State grants. I have a report of the Western Heritable Investment Company Limited which has built or is building a considerable number of houses in and around Glasgow, and I have details here covering three different schemes totalling 4,200 houses at a cost of £1,790,000. I note that the company has received subsidies totalling £921,628. In addition they have been financed with loans totalling £1,342,000. So that in all, this firm, which has built houses to the total value 1158 of £1,750,000, has received financial facilities of no less than £2,250,000. I suggest, therefore, that it is not because they have been hardly pressed by the people who desire to cope with the housing needs of the Scottish people that private enterprise is not continuing its activities.
A proposal has been put before us by the hon. Member for Shettleston (Mr. McGovern), to which some attention should be paid. It is that some effort must be made to escape from the imposition of dear money in the provision of houses. We have to find ways and means of getting cheaper money for the erection of houses. If it is feasible to discuss the cancellation of foreign debts, it is just as feasible and at least as desirable to consider ways and means of getting out of the position in which we are with regard to the bondholders, whether private individuals or collective bodies, who are, catering for housing needs. Details have been put before us with regard to the rates which are paid on houses, and it is suggested that the incidents of rating is one of the things which is causing difficulties with regard to houses in Scotland.
I will give details of a popular type of house in Glasgow. It is the four-apartment, semi-detached house, which is very popular and is the type in which the main body of people in Glasgow should live. The rent of £34 which is asked for that type of house is made up of a number of items. The fue duty is only 30s. a year, notwithstanding all the talk of the dearness of land. A sum of 7s. 6d. has to be paid for insurance and management; and £6 10s. for repairs and upkeep, including a payment for any empty houses there may be; and too many have been left empty too long even in Glasgow by the housing department. Rates are added, and the City Corporation do what all factories do, include rates in the rent, and the rates in this case amount to £10 4s. These items amount to £18 11s. 6d. per annum. To that is added no less than £15 1s. 11d. as interest upon the money used. It is that item which keeps people out of the houses. That is why I insist that there should be some method of escaping from dear money.
With regard to the relationship of the housing question to the children who go 1159 to school, I will give some figures which show the effects of housing in blood and bone. A number of years ago the British Medical Association came to Glasgow, and prior to their visit a special set of investigators not connected with Glasgow at all looked into the conditions of child life in predominantly working-class schools. They took three schools in Glasgow—Cowcaddens, Gorbals and Calton—and endeavoured to ascertain the effect of bad housing on the weight, height and education of the children. They presented a report to the British Medical Association giving these facts. The average height of boys who come from a one-apartment house was only 47.7 inches; from a two-apartment house, 49 inches; and from a three-apartment house, 50 inches. Taking weight, the average of boys living in a one-apartment house was 52.9 lbs. The addition of one room caused the average to rise to 56.6 lbs.; and of a third room to 59.6 lbs.
Let us look at the effect of the work that the teacher has to do on this raw material. Is he getting a chance? We find that boys who were living in a one-apartment house, who were able to obtain "excellent" in their examinations, were only 6.6 per cent. The figure jumped to no less than 16.6 by the addition of another room, and to 17.5 by the addition of a third room. With regard to the greater mass who never attained "excellent" but were merely "good" 26.6 out of every 100 one-apartment boys obtained "good" in their examinations; that jumped to 45.5 by the addition of one room, and to 49.1 by the addition of the second room. That is a clear indication of the possible effects of economy in that direction, and therefore I am not prepared to receive with satisfaction the position as it is at the present time.
I want to deal with the relation of houses to health. Census figures for 1931 have been quoted with regard to Scotland, and Glasgow and Edinburgh. The figures for England are not yet available, and therefore I must rely on those that have been based upon the previous census. The relative positions of England and Scotland will be substantially the same to-day. I find from the census previous to that of 1931 that 28.8 per cent. of Glasgow's population live in one-apartment houses. In Edinburgh the figure is 4.7. In Birmingham, 1160 about which this organisation of ratepayers say a great deal in regard to the cost of running a city, the figure is only 1 per cent., and in Liverpool, a city comparable to Glasgow, only 2.8 per cent. I have a complete series of figures covering the two, three, four and five-apartment houses, but I do not propose to weary the Committee with them, except to point out that whereas in Glasgow 28.1 per cent. live in single-apartment houses, 56 per cent. of Birmingham's population live in five-apartment houses and over. Liverpool has 52.3 per cent. of its population living in five-apartment houses. That compares very favourably with Glasgow's 28.1 per cent. in single-apartment houses, and 49.8 in two-apartment houses. The small house inevitably leads to increased health costs.
In 1930, the last year for which I can quote figures of this description, there were in Glasgow 44,605 cases of registered infectious disease. In Birmingham there were 27,673, a considerable reduction. But the main point I want to make is that out of 44,000 cases of infectious disease registered in Glasgow 15,147, that is 34 per cent., had to be removed to hospital, whereas out of the 27,000 in Birmingham only 4,000 were removed to hospital, being 17 per cent. That difference can be definitely laid at the door of the housing conditions in Glasgow. I cannot lend any support to a continuation of the tenemental, barrack system as it exists in Scotland, and if other people can be comfortable and warm in houses which are not tenement houses, so can the working class, and they would be much more healthy. Take the complaint of scarlet fever. In 1930, there were 4,639 cases in Glasgow, and 94 per cent. of them, on account of the conditions prevailing in the houses, had to be removed to hospital. Of erysipelas there were 645 cases and 51 per cent. had to be removed to hospital. In Birmingham I can find no record of their taking any scarlet fever cases into hospital at all, because of the facilities in the homes of the people, for the patients to be attended to; and with regard to erysipelas there were 25 eases, and 4 per cent. were all that were received in hospital.
My last illustration deals with a disease which was not always notifiable, pneumonia. In 1930 Glasgow had 6,765 cases of pneumonia and 3,426 were admitted to 1161 infectious diseases hospitals, that is, 51 per cent. In Birmingham, where there were 2,100 cases, none were removed to infectious diseases hospitals. These details show that in Glasgow illness is responsible for an expenditure of £60,000, definitely attributable to its housing conditions, which a city like Birmingham escapes. This being the state of affairs we are not going to submit to any clamour for economy from ratepayers' associations or anyone else. We desire to extend the housing facilities in Scotland, and I would like to repeat the request made by the Secretary of State for Scotland in 1930 when he demanded to know what steps had been taken to deal with the housing problem. There is this difference in the situation, that the present Government have full power to satisfy their own desires and are not restricted as other Governments have been, and I want to know what they are prepared to do to bring about some amelioration of the health of the people of Glasgow through the medium of better housing.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
I would like to join with the hon. Member for Shettleston (Mr. McGovern) in congratulating the hon. Member for Motherwell (Mr. Ormiston) on a very informing speech. The hon. Member showed that he knew what he was talking about, giving us a logical and practical review of the Scottish rating system which from my experience of it, I regard as a very unjust system of taxation. It originally started in Glasgow, or at any rate Glasgow was very largely responsible for it. The Town Council of those days wanted to camouflage their expenditure from the masses of the people, and thought it would be much pleasanter to put the rates into the rent, and then, if there were any increase of rates, the landlord would be blamed and not the town councillors. It is curious how unpopular the man becomes who provides another man with a roof to put over his head. It is an illustration of an old maxim that if you lend a friend money you will lose your money and also lose your friend. Even to lend a man money to put up a house for himself seems to make one strangely unpopular, and this unpopularity will extend even to the pulpit. I remember a great travelling Scottish Evangelist preaching once from the text of the importunate creditor, and he typified him in the landlord calling for the rent. He 1162 did not seem to realise that had it not been for the landlord taking his savings and spending them on plumbers, plasterers, bricklayers and others the tenant would not have had a house over his head at all.
Prior to the War practically all the houses were built by small people on money which had been borrowed or saved. They were not the best type of houses and very little imagination seems to have been shown in the architectural planning of them. We begin to realise nowadays in what they are lacking when we see all the labour saving devices introduced from the United States which go to lighten the burden of the house-keeper. Those things might have been introduced here before, but nobody seems to have thought of them. I often feel that if we had women architects we should have made greater progress. Further, those of us who have been foolish enough to buy houses realise how very much better it would have been to rent them. It is an illustration of the maxim that fools build houses and wise men live in them. The small property owner used to spend his money on putting up a tenement because he thought he had got something that could not run away. It was the universal investment of the small shopkeeper or anybody who had led a thrifty life, and perhaps had a daughter for whom he wished to provide. He had not calculated, however, on rents, strikes and propaganda against the payment of rent and eventually a Rent Restriction Act. I heard recently of an unemployed engineer, with a delicate sister and a boy and girl at school, who owned a substantial tenement. The Glasgow Corporation had got a decree against him for £183 for arrears of rates, although as a matter of fact that man had never received a penny of value from the property which his father had bought. The Rent Restriction Act has terrified the ordinary small investor from building houses and still terrifies him.
The hon. Member for Shettleston says that we ought to take the money for housebuilding free. I agree with him if he would also say that the plumbers should work for nothing in putting up the house, and that the labour of the plasterers and all the other people should also be taken free. It comes to the same thing. Time is money, and if we are taking one man's money and another 1163 man's time they are on exactly the same footing. If we conscripted labour for houses and took the money free, no doubt we could get cheap houses, but unfortunately we have to pay the labourer and pay him considerably higher rates than formerly, and I do not know whether we get as much work from him. Perhaps the hon. Member for Cathcart (Mr. Train) would confirm me on that point. All the things to which I have referred and the campaign for the taxation of land values caused an awful drawing in of capital. I remember when the late Alexander are used to go about Scotland speaking every night and sometimes two or three times a night, suffering very badly from a disease known ascacoethes loquendi. His speeches terrified the people who invested in houses and one man of large financial interests in loans on Glasgow property, at a very moderate rate of interest, about 3 per cent., told me that as a result of those speeches he had called upon all his bonds. That happened all over Scotland.
Whenever fear is excited, capital takes right. It flies to Switzerland, or France or somewhere else. That is what is happening now. We have bad trade, and we have had so much Socialistic propaganda and so many Socialist Governments. The Conservatives are just about as Socialist as the Socialists, although they do not talk so much about Socialism, and at any rate there are the officials, a Socialist bureaucracy, whom no politicians seem to be able to check. Neither here nor in the United States are we able to check the onward march of our bureaucracies. Like the hon. Member for St. Rollox (Mr. Leonard) I do not believe in people living in tenements—living like pigeons, only pigeons fly out of the window instead of going down the stairs. In New York people engaging rooms high up are asked sometimes if they are doing so in order that they may throw themselves out of the window. There is a good deal of that there.
The reason why working men favour tenements in the central districts of Glasgow is that they want to be near their work and to be able to get home for a mid-day meal. They cannot afford the expense of feeding in restaurants. If we are to get the ideal of the cottage home which Dr. Addison was a little too previous in introducing—and a little too 1164 expensive in addition—the proper way is by a dispersal of our industries. It is a shocking thing that the population of Scotland has gone down by 40,000, but the explanation is quite simple; it is due to the enormous increase in railway rates. Industries are flying to the south to be near the English Channel, so as to escape the enormous burden of railway rates. The real explanation of our overcrowded towns is the railway. People are gathered around the railhead. One of our only hopes for the future in the new era is that we shall be able to get our populations more or less dispersed over the countryside. That is the condition of things a German professor was telling me they hope to remedy in Germany where they are trying to "demobilise" the cities and to get the people in groups scattered all over the countryside, in order to combine them as industrial workers and for the carrying on of a rural existence, cultivating their gardens, growing most of their own produce and yet attending the works in the central area. The population of Germany, he said, are ready to follow that plan, and not only will it be of enormous importance for the industrialists and enable them to compete in all the markets of the world, but they felt if a war came the aeroplane and the bomb would not be quite so great a menace, because the people would be more scattered.
I agree with the right hon. and learned Member for Ross and Cromarty (Mr. Macpherson) that I would like a little more consideration to be given to the Highlanders. I remember putting that point as to telephones to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer in regard to both Isley and Mull. During the Great War the Grand Fleet had its base in the Highlands and spent money there. The Highland crofters benefited very greatly by it. I remember one who said whiskey was not dear for he got a bottle for three dozen eggs. At that time eggs were about 6s. a dozen. Those crofter people made a good deal of money at that time and not being in touch with the ordinary means of investment nor knowing any stockbrokers they did not have the same opportunities for losing it as other people. They either put it in banks, or deposited it or buried it somewhere. They are not so much in want of the comforts of civilisation, 1165 because in the fundamentals of life they are infinitely better off than the town artisan. They have such fresh fish as the English trawler has left them, they have their own gardens, and with their own potatoes and their own meal, and some of them weave and spin and wear their own cloth, and there is nothing finer than that. I think they live an infinitely more rational life than even the wealthy people in the cities. They have unlimited opportunities for study and contemplation and the acquisition of wisdom with not over-much mixing with their fellows, which tends to dissipate one's intelligence.
Now I want to say a word about the Highland medical service. There used to be practically none at all. I remember when I was a boy in a remote part of the Highlands there was a man who had broken his leg 25 years before and was still in bed. These things can happen. There was nobody to attend to him. The Highland medical service is—[Interruption]—I visited the man and I saw him.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
Because I was not a Member of Parliament then. It is very beneficial that the people should stay where they were born. They have to some extent solved their own housing problem, because many of them have built their own houses. In the Highlands they build houses with great success. The average Highland crofter is quite as capable of building his house as is the right hon. Member for Epping who, I think, has built quite a good one. There is no reason why provision should not be made for helping them with materials provided that they submit a satisfactory plan and build a satisfactory house. Now with regard to houses for farm workers, the Forestry Commission in Scotland give their workers small farms and a guarantee of so many days work in a year. The practice in Perthshire some 60 years ago used to be that the farmer seldom had farm servants. He was surrounded by smallholdings and the smallholders worked so many days in the year for the farmer who would lend his cattle and ploughs to the smallholders. The farmer was not bound down by a weekly wage all the time. The smallholder provided for his own sustenance very largely from his own holding. I suggest that the farmers 1166 should be encouraged by the Ministry of Health to build houses with holdings for their employés, so that they will be able to undertake a very large part of their sustenance from such holdings. It will be a great advantage to both farmers and employés.
I have another note on the question that was raised by the right hon. and learned Member for Ross and Cromarty, and which I raised once before. There is no harm in raising it again in a new House. It is the need for the provision of houses for the medical officers and surgeons in isolated places. It is not so easy to get people into the clerical service to-day. The circumstances in the teaching profession are so much improved that a man would rather be a teacher than a clergyman, and there is a great scarcity. I suggest that we get out of the difficulty as follows. The healing of the soul and the healing of the body are supplementary to each other in accordance with the old ideal of mens sana in corpore sano, and we should combine the medical officer and the clergymen as has been done with great success in Africa. There is no finer type of man than the medical missionary. Nowhere in the world would you get anything to equal the medical missionary, the man who combines the arts of hygienic skill and religious zeal.
Now a clergyman is generally provided with a very large house and a very small income. There are a number of comparatively large mansions that are very well adapted to be a doctors house, and often there is a spare room fit for a surgery. If you combined the clergyman's income, which is very small in the Highlands, especially now that the price of grain has fallen away so much, with the salary of the medical officer, you would very much improve his position. It would be more easy to get doctors, especially the medical women going to the islands, which are often too lonely for men. Women doctors seem to be able to live in much greater solitude than men doctors. You would make their lot very much easier, and you would have the benefit of the amount of voluntary work that they are anxious to do. The medical man could get through his course, and I should say follow it up with probably 12 months in a divinity hall, which would give him all he wants. He would be a great success in the combined profession, 1167 as he has been in other parts of the world, and the people will be very much more likely to go to church if they felt they were in the hands of a doctor, and they would want to see him in both aspects of his life. It would be a great bond and a great benefit and it would solve the problem of the buildings for doctors. It would also solve the financial problem. Possibly you would require legislation—I do not know—but that is for the Secretary of State for Scotland to consider. I make it as a suggestion to him.
§ Mr. R. W. SMITH
The Under-secretary of State for Scotland started his speech by referring to economy, and at the end he said that we should urge the Department to use every effort for economy. I want to press again the point with regard to economy. It was mentioned by the hon. and gallant Member for Forfar (Captain Shaw), who said that there was a saving on the Estimate this year. It is true that there is a net decrease, but, as a matter of fact, on the whole of the Services we are spending some £61,000 more this year than was spent last year. If one looks at the gross total, he will see that the figure is £2,950,740 for this year as against £2,888,335 for last year. What really. worries me is that if one takes the trouble to look at the Estimate that we are now considering, one finds that under the heading of Administration there is an increase in salaries, wages and allowances and part-time medical and dental staff of no less than £4,000 this year. I know it is very difficult for the Minister to cut down in his Department, so it is probably better that he should have the backing of certain hon. Members in order to show that we want to cut down the expenditure. It is rather extraordinary that the items for part-time medical and dental staff should be suddenly increased from £3,000 to £4,150. I would like very much to have an explanation as to why there has been this sudden rise in regard to the dental staff.
Then there is the figure for the Investigations concerning the causes of diseases, which is the only one which is cut down in subhead C1. It is rather a serious thing to cut down a service like that, especially when, for instance, you find that £4,000 is spent on the permanent staff.
1168 I notice that several new staff were required at headquarters. On page 75 it will be seen that grants towards housing expenses have increased this year to £64,030, and the administration staff is increased and will cost about £4,000 more. Surely it might be possible to administer that £64,000 without an increase of staff. The increase of £4,000, so far as I can make out, consists of payments of grants to local authorities.
One finds in the Estimates a grant towards housing expenses. I cannot see why it should be necessary to have an increased administrative headquarters staff for dealing with that money, costing something like £4,000 more than last year.
May I point out a rather extraordinary discrepancy in regard to maternal mortality. The Minister claims that maternal mortality last year was 6.9 and this year 5.9. As a matter of fact, last year's report of the Department of Health shows that last year it was 7.0 instead of 6.9 and it is now down to 5.9, so that he can claim more than he did claim. Everyone is thankful to see this improvement, but there is one rather disquieting feature with regard to the deaths of women from puerperal sepsis. On page 39 of this year's report it is stated there were 544 deaths of women from diseases of pregnancy while last year in the same period there were 661 deaths from the same cause. Of this number 221 were due to puerperal sepsis, which is a very infectious disease, or one-third of the total. This year, with 534 cases of maternal mortality, one would have expected the number of deaths from puerperal sepsis to have dropped to a certain extent. It should have dropped by one-third as compared with last year, which would have brought it down to a figure of 181, instead of 207.
The point I wish to emphasise is that we have not had the improvement in this respect which we ought to have had. Attention was drawn to the matter very strongly in last year's report of the Ministry of Health and there were various investigations made by the Department. I suggest that it would be a good plan to find out the causes of these deaths. There is no doubt that with improved hygiene they should be brought down, and that with proper care and 1169 cleanliness this infectious disease could be reduced. I suggest that the returns should be very carefully collected so as to show whether the deaths were in respect of cases in institutions, or cases attended by a doctor or by a midwife. In 1929, one-half of the cases were attended by doctors and nurses, one-third by mid-wives, and one-sixth were treated in institutions. Therefore, the figures must be in the Department, and it is only a question of finding out where the deaths occurred. I think it will be shown that this disease occurs in institutions rather than in houses, because it is a germ, and not likely therefore to be in the homes of the people, though it may spread through an institution. Steps should be taken to see that an improvement is effected. This year we have had more cases of puerperal sepsis than ever. We had 2,157 cases in 1931, whereas in 1930 we had only 2,000, this being an increase of 157. Here you have a perfectly well denned disease, and I think the Department should take steps to find out the cause of the disease, and see if anything can be done to stop it.
With regard to the statistics we have been given, I see over one table it says:A statement of the average weekly cost of the ordinary poor in poor houses in Scotland for the year ending 15th March, 1931.That seemed quite clear. I have made inquiries, however, and I am informed it is not quite so simple as that, and that most of the institutions which appear here are not comparable. The reason I draw attention to this is that there are 72 institutions, and the total cost per head varies from 4s. 8d. per week in one case to 49s. 10½d. in another case. That the cost should vary to such a large extent in our Poor Law institutions seemed rather strange, and I looked into it. I have now been informed that institutions are not quite comparable. I suggest that rather than give tables which are of no use to anybody, because the figures are not comparable, there should be given to us some statement showing in the one case the poor-houses, and in the other the highly equipped hospitals, so that we may find out the actual cost of the Poor Law institutions.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
I would like very much to be able to congratulate the Scottish Office on the services rendered to Scotland since this new dispensation 1170 took over the reins of government in Scotland. I can remember very well at the General Election what they were going to do, this wonderful combination unprecedented in our day and generation. Here you have a young Liberal made Secretary of State for Scotland and a young energetic Tory made his understudy. Coming with all that reputation and with all the good will of the Scottish Members of every side of the House, what is their record in our distressful country? Because Scotland is a distressful country to-day. The like of it is not seen in Britain. There sit the men who are responsible to this House for that state of affairs. They have the honour of being the chiefs of Scotland in this House, and here they are to-day to give an account of their stewardship. We are supposed to congratulate them. Congratulate them on what? A state of affairs with the like, of which we were never faced. Unemployment rampant in Scotland, worse than ever before. I asked for figures from the Minister of Labour.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I only want the hon. Member to bear in mind that his indictment of the Members of the Government responsible for Scotland must be kept within the limits of their responsibility.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
I do not wish to fall foul with you, Sir Dennis, hut, after hearing the hon. Member for Argyllshire (Mr. Macquisten) wandering all over the place, immediately I bring this matter up I am put down. Here are the figures. The unemployment on the register in Scotland is 27.2, while for the South Eastern Counties of England it is 14.7 and for London 13.1. I am supposed to sit here and congratulate those men. It is all right for the Secretary of State for Scotland to smile with that pleasant smile of his, and for his Undersecretary to shrug his shoulders, but here are the facts. Unemployment in Scotland is worse than in any other part of Britain, and I want to know what they have done about it, because they are responsible.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for SCOTLAND (Major Sir Archibald Sinclair)
I am very reluctant to interrupt the hon. Gentleman, but we are not responsible for what he is raising now. We are discussing health, and we are not responsible for the Minister of Labour.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
I agree with that statement, but I do not know whether the Secretary of State was in when his Under-Secretary made the statement that he was not in favour of building houses simply to find work for the unemployed.
§ Mr. SKELTON
I said that, in my judgment, building must be treated on its own merits, and if we were able to show that we had been able to reduce unemployment in the building trade by 5,000 men since we came into office, that was a happy by-product.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
They are responsible for the state of Scotland. If Scotland was in a flourishing condition, they would be coming here claiming the credit for it. When we come to health, motherhood in Scotland is just as dangerous to-day as it was 20 years ago, and the decrease in the death rate is infinitesimal. Think of the advances we have made; but as regards the preservation of working-class mothers there has been little or no alteration; the death rate in giving birth to children in working-class homes in Scotland is as bad to-day as it was even 40 years ago. The right hon. and learned Member for Ross and Cromarty (Mr. Macpherson), who is not now here, said that it was always a pleasure to read this report. It is certainly a very informative report, and I wish every member of the working class could get hold of it and digest it, because it is invaluable; but I would ask anyone who thinks it is a pleasure to read it to listen to this: The number of children under the age of one year who died in Scotland during 1931 was 7,545. That is a disgrace and an indictment. Most of these children died under awful conditions in the great working-class areas in Scotland, and the proof of that statement is this: Take the constituency of the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, the under-study to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the future Prime Minister of Britain. In his constituency of Kelvingrove the death rate among children in their first year was 185 per 1,000. Then take the constituency of the Minister of Agriculture. What is the death rate in his constituency of Pollok? It is 45. Why should there be that difference? Is it because the mothers who voted for the Minister of Agriculture in Pollok are any better than the mothers who voted for the Financial Secretary to the Treasury in Kelvin- 1172 grove? Certainly not. It is because of the bad housing conditions. I impeach both of these Ministers that they have made no outstanding attempt on the lines of what they said on the platform that this National Government was going to do. They said that the Labour Government was no use and did not know how to govern, and they asked the electors to send them back to deal with the abnormal conditions because they were the men with the outstanding faculties, which were only given to a few in Britain—that we were the many and they were the few selected by the Lord God to rule us and put us in our place. This is the place in which they have put us. They have made no impression whatever. The Under-Secretary talks as though something had been done by the men in the Office, but the Scottish Office is the most reactionary Office that we have to deal with. They have Cabinet officials at £3,000 a year, and this is what we have got from them in 20 years; and let it be remembered that in that time we have come through the Great War, when it was said:That man to man, the world o'er,Shall brothers be for a' that.It is stated in the report that there is one person less in every second house. The hon. Member for Govan (Mr. Maclean), in opening this Debate, mentioned that on an average there are four persons to every apartment in Scotland, and now the boast is made that there is one person less in every second house. That is a great deal to boast about.
The next question to which I want to draw attention is one that all Scotsmen who have any love of their native land ought to be asking: What is the reason for the decrease of 42,000 in the population of Scotland? The Government are responsible for that. [Interruption.] The time was when my race emigrated to every part of the globe. They went in their tens of thousands to Canada every year, not to mention the United States of America, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere. That is all stopped; they are not emigrating because every country is up against it just as we are; and yet although that emigration has stopped the population of Scotland is declining—it has decreased by 42,000.
There is another matter. I shall be glad if the Under-Secretary will let me 1173 know, when he is replying, what is the meaning of this statement of the school medical officer for Roxburgh, which I quote from page 51 of the report, where he discusses the state of nutrition in his area:It was found by questioning the children and others that bread and tea is in many cases the regular diet both in urban and rural areas and the old instinctive sense of the necessity of butter, milk and eggs is being gradually lost.Are we to be asked to believe that the Scottish folk have lost the sense of good food—that they no longer desire to have butter, milk and eggs, but prefer dry bread and tea? This statement requires some explanation. It is the truth, but not in the way in which it is put there. The fact is that my class, the working class in Scotland, in the rural districts as well as in the big industrial areas, cannot afford milk, butter or eggs, and they have to be content with weak tea and dry bread. If ever there was an indictment of this National Government and of the two Ministers who are representing it here to-day, it is there.
Turning to housing, what does one find? All the Tories in this House take a delight, whenever they get a chance, in lashing Dr. Addison, who, alongside my late colleague, John Wheatley, was the best Minister of Health that this country has yet produced. Dr. Addison did commit a crime in the eyes of big finance and big business in this country. His crime was that he said that the smallest house that should be built in Scotland was a three-apartment house, and he got that passed through the House of Commons. What a change has taken place! Would it pass through the House now? We have listened to a Scotsman—a well-off, well-fed and well-clad Scotsman—decrying it because of the expense, and saying that it must be curtailed and that the Scottish people like to live in a room-and-kitchen because it is nice and comfortable and cosy. That is not true. Scottish people like to live in roomy houses, but they have always been badly paid and could not afford to do so. From what has been said, it might be thought that it was the Socialists who were responsible for building the houses in my native land, but the Tories were responsible for that long before there were any Labour men in the country. It was they who built the houses. Now they tell us 1174 that there are 140 houses which are empty, and, therefore, we cannot go on with building new houses. There are 140 empty houses in a town with a population of between 25,000 and 30,000, and, therefore, the local authority is not to be given the power to build new houses. That was suggested here to-day, and by a very nice man, as a man. That is the Tory outlook, and it is put into operation by the Scottish Office.
My constituency of Clydebank is harder up against it at this moment than any other place in the country. We have more able-bodied men drawing unemployment benefit or receiving payments from the public assistance committee than any other place in the country, and it is costing the locality 10d. in the £. In addition to that, next week at least another 1,000 will have to go before the public assistance committee, because the last job we had in the place has been shut off—the Cunarder No. 534. With all this unemployment, the town council—not a Labour council, not supporters of mine politically—passed unanimously a resolution that 400 houses should be built. It came before the Scottish Office, and the Scottish Office turned it down. Why? Who is it that asks the Scottish Office not to grant the town council—the duly, democratically elected representatives of the people—their request? It is the individuals who have been responsible for the awful housing of the people in Scotland—the landlords and factors of Scotland. They are organised to keep Clyde-bank from getting new houses built, because again they say that there are 140 empty houses. I do not know how it is that the Scottish Office manages this figure of 140, because it is the same in Motherwell also. Clydebank has a population of 28,000, and they can only find 140 houses that were empty; and they make that the excuse for saying that 400 new houses shall not be proceeded with. If the Secretary of State for Scotland and other Members of the Government will some down there with me, I will show them a single apartment in Clydebank where a man, a woman and nine children are living, and two of them are tubercular cases. In face of that state of affairs, I appealed myself to the Secretary of State and the Under-Secretary, and got them to receive a deputation, including the Provost, the baillies, and so on, but they turned them down. That 1175 is the state of affairs in Scotland at the moment, and these are the men who are responsible for it. If they want to help Scotland, let them get ahead with the building of houses. When we set out to try to get the Scottish people to understand that they should have a higher standard of housing, we set out with a definite purpose. The houses that were built before the War were built by private enterprise, but not because the folk needed houses at all. It was only incidental that they required the houses. It was only incidental that we have inclement weather. They built them in order to make a profit, and they built the most shoddy, disgraceful houses that I have seen in my travels practically all over the world. No more disgraceful houses have been built for the working class than were built at the request of the landlords and factors of Scotland. We wish to change all that. The Government ought to go ahead with building houses, and leave the old houses to the landlord and factors. We will go out into the country. I differ from the hon. Member for Argyllshire when he said the worker desires to live at his job. That was true at one time, but it is not true now. He wants to get away from his job. He is like every other intelligent man. He wants to get out into the country. He wants to get as far away from his toil as he possibly can, and quite rightly, because to-day we are the heirs of all the ages.
If ever there was any proof that private enterprise has failed, that its day and generation have passed, housing has proved it. Why did they stop building houses? The reason was that they could not make a profit out of them. People required houses, so the Government had to step in and build them. Now they turn round and try the means test. Let them go ahead with their means test. I hope they will, because it can only have one end. It will be put on them. They will be tested, too, not only on the riches they possess, but on their ability, and the day is not far distant. The Secretary of State and the Under-Secretary need not run away with the idea that the Government are in for two or three years. They think they have a great majority behind them. Have they? He that lives longest will see most. Their great majority will 1176 disappear unless they do something. They are not going to sit there and think everything is all right, because everything is all wrong, and Scotland is a raging mass of seething discontent at the manner in which the Government are handling the country.
§ Mr. D. GRAHAM
I should like to ask the Under-Secretary whether any action has been taken by his Department to deal with the people at Hamilton who are being dispossessed of houses that they occupied till recently. I do not think there is sufficient accommodation available to house them. I should like the hon. Gentleman to say something with regard to that matter, and I hope he will endeavour to get these people put into some better accommodation than the poorhouse. The total area of Scotland is 19,069,000 acres. The area of the three counties of Lanark, Dumbarton and Renfrew, in which Glasgow is situated, is 872,000, that is 4.5 per cent. of the total area of Scotland. A half of the population of Scotland live in that area. This housing problem is not a Scottish problem so much as it is an industrial area problem. In the three counties that I have named there is a continual state of overcrowding, and the health of the people is, beyond question, seriously affected. These are the three counties that have made Scotland what it is. The people there ought to be the richest, but they are not. They are the poorest. There are 1,346,500 unemployed persons in Scotland. In these three counties there are 657,530—one-half the total unemployed in 4.5 of the area.
To talk of economy in the way it has been referred to to-day is simply to create a situation in the industrial areas, and particularly in the West, that can only result in worse evils than we are living in at present. I would commend to the attention of the Secretary of State and the Under-Secretary a loading article in the "Glasgow Herald" of Monday which takes the view that a wrong opinion has been given abroad regarding the character of the people of Glasgow and the West of Scotland. If William Wallace had had the unemployed forces that exist at present in Lanark alone, the coronation stone would not have been in Westminster Abbey and the probabilities are that you would have been ruled by Scottish sovereigns long before you were. The Under-Secretary said that 1177 an improvement had been made in the housing situation in the last three years. He compared the position in Scotland with that in England. If you go a few years further back, the comparison is all in favour of England and very much against Scotland. In a book published by Major Barnes, who was an able Member of this House, in 1918 he tells us that 109,047 houses were required, apart from the slum clearance question. In one of the parishes in my constituency four out of five of the population are living in one and two-apartment houses. There is no better, no more capable, no more honest, no more hard-working section of the community.
I congratulate the hon. Member for Motherwell (Mr. Ormiston) on his maiden speech. It was very well delivered and he deserves full credit, although I do not pretend to have any agreement with him. He is in favour of a change in the rating system. I hope the Department will steer clear of that matter; otherwise they will aggravate the difficulty rather than remove it. The hon. Member wants the rating system brought into conformity with conditions in England. That means an increase in rents. It does not matter whether you camouflage the position. The intention is that the tenant should pay a very much increased rent, and that cannot be done unless and until there is a very considerable improvement in working conditions. Scotland is the one country of the three that is losing her population. It is also the country that has sent the greatest number of emigrants from these Islands. I am afraid we are gradually getting into the position in which Ireland was 50 or 60 years ago with a declining population. Those who still remain find it impossible to get employment and do not live in anything like a comfortable way. It will have its reaction, and it will not prove to be for the benefit of this country alone, and certainly not for the benefit of the Empire.
My hon. Friend is anxious that there shall be rating reform. This is a so-called National Government. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Scotland is a Liberal. The Undersecretary of State for Scotland is a Tory. The Lord Privy Seal makes very great play of the fact that he represents a non-party Government. The people who are advocating a change in the rating system are all actively engaged in 1178 the Tory party, and all of them expect this Tory House of Commons to make the change during the continuance of the present Parliament. I sincerely hope that the Department will not agree to having anything to do with this particular stunt of those people. If I had plenty of time I could produce any amount of evidence to show that if there is any evil in the present situation, from the point of view of currency, industry or commerce, the fault does not lie at the door of the ordinary working class members of the community or of the Labour party.
My hon. Friend said that he was surprised at what he described as the mysterious failure of private enterprise. I do not think that there is any mystery in it at all. Private enterprise stopped building houses long before the War began. They had begun their war, and rents started to increase at the beginning of the present century, over 12 years before the War began. Rents increased because of higher wages. If decent wages were paid to the ordinary members of the working class, then private enterprise might very well renew their operations, but it should only be on condition that decent wages were paid. Rents are too high at the present time even for the accommodation which is provided. I wish to prove that statement by quoting the opinion of a gentleman who is not a. member of the Labour party but is, I think, a constituent of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health, the hon. Member for Leith (Mr. E. Brown), who, I am sorry to say, is not in his place. It is in the form of a report which appeared in the "Glasgow Herald" on 11th May, 1932, dealing with overcrowded houses in Edinburgh. It is a report by the sanitary inspector, one of the fellows belonging to the party who construct things. We do not do so on this side.
The chief sanitary inspector of Edinburgh, Mr. A. W. Ritchie, has prepared statistics as to the amount of overcrowding which he found in respect of 814 houses situated in various parts of Leith. The population of the houses is 7,966, giving an average per house of 4.33 persons. One-apartment houses number 138, two-apartment houses 1,386, three-apartment houses 284, and four-apartment houses 40, a total of 1,848. On a weekly basis the rents are as follows: 1179 One-apartment houses from 3s. 1d. to 5s., two-apartment houses from 3s. 4d. to 8s. 5d., three-apartment houses from 4s. to 1ds. 9d., and four-apartment houses from 7s. 3d. to 13s. 5d. In 9.74 per cent. of the houses there is overcrowding, practically 10 per cent., according to the cubic space standard. In 26.72 per cent. there is a want of proper sex separation, and in 17.69, in addition to there being more than two persons to a room, there is also a want of proper sex separation.
Hon. Gentlemen who represent different constituencies in this House would themselves feel pretty much as those people feel if they were living under exactly similar conditions. A number of Scottish proverbs have been quoted in the discussion to-day, and there is one which I should like to mention, and that is "That the proof of the pudding is in the eating." If hon. Members of this House were living under conditions similar to those under which the vast majority of the ordinary working-class population in Scotland are living to-day, there would be no talk about economy, but a much greater agitation on their part than there is on our part even, for a greater expenditure of money. It can easily be shown that the only really patriotic course that could be adopted by a Department such as the Scottish Heatlh Department would be to demand that there be power to compel local authorities to build houses in sufficient quantities to make it possible for a healthy life to be lived. It is not possible to live such a life at the present time.
I speak with some experience, as I have lived in a one-apartment house and know what it is, whereas the bulk of the hon. Members of this House do not know what it is. I have lived in a two-apartment house and I know the conditions, whereas the bulk of the hon. Members here do not. It is all very well to come here and talk about the need for economy. If I put it to them that the logic of their arguments meant the destruction of the health of any number of their fellow countrymen they would deny it. Prisons are largely filled by men and women who have been compelled to go there because of the rotten and unhealthy housing conditions which obtain in Scotland. There is no possibility of there being any improvement in the health of the ordinary 1180 members of the Scottish working class until there is a very material change in the housing conditions under which the people are compelled to live.
§ Mr. JAMES REID
No one would imagine from the tone of the speech which we have just heard that the last Estimates introduced by the Government supported by the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. D. Graham) were £60,000 short of the Estimates of which we are going to approve to-night. One would think that economy had fallen with peculiar force upon Scottish housing, judging from the speech we have just heard. It is very unfortunate, following upon the very helpful speeches of the hon. Member for Govan (Mr. N. Maclean) and those who followed him, that the Debate should be wound up by a general attack of that character. I do not intend to enter into general topics, but to raise one particular point which was mentioned by the Under-Secretary of State in his opening speech, and was taken up by the hon. Member for Shettleston (Mr. McGovern). It is as to what is to be done with the people who are turned out of slum clearance areas. I heard with some misgiving the opinion expressed by the Under-Secretary. It is not very often that I have a chance of agreeing with the hon. Member for Shettleston, but I did agree with some of his remarks on that topic. It is very injudicious, for various reasons, to make a general rule of putting your people from the slum areas into new houses, or even to do it in the majority of cases, because you are penalising the man who has bettered himself, who may be no better off financially than the man who is living in the slum but who has spent the larger proportion of his money. You are putting the man from the slum, who has been willing to put up with the worst conditions, into better conditions than the man who has tried to help himself and who has spent a larger sum in trying to safeguard the health of his family. That is one aspect.
The other aspect is that there are many slum dwellers who cannot afford, and many others who do not want, large accommodation, and it would be a great mistake to try to force anybody to go into a house which is larger and costs more than he can afford. Therefore, I think it is only in the minority of cases that one should put people direct from the slums into new houses. You are kill- 1181 ing two birds with one stone if you carry out the method of the "double exchange," because you are benefiting two, or may be, three separate people upon one expenditure of money. You are benefiting the man in the slum by putting him into what is at least a tolerable house, not beyond the size he requires and not beyond his means. You may be benefiting him more by doing that than by putting him into a new house. You are benefiting the man from the house which is merely tolerable if he wants to get into something better, and above all you are avoiding the great ill-feeling which I believe exists when a man who has tried to better himself and get into a tolerable house sees somebody put over his head who has not bothered about housing conditions in the past at all. I may have misunderstood the Under-Secretary of State. Perhaps I did. But if I understood him to say that in his view the desirable scheme was to put the majority of the people from the slum areas into new houses, then I thoroughly disagree with that view.
Another point arises upon this matter. If you put a man direct from the slums into a new house you have to reduce the rent of the new house to something very much smaller than the rent of the similar house which was put up under the 1923 or 1924 Act. You have the anomaly of two entirely different rates of rent for the same type of accommodation. If you are going to make a sort of means test of it and fix a man's rent, not by the quality of the accommodation but by the amount he can pay, I agree that there is a good deal to be said for it and in that case no one has a right to grumble. But if you fix his rent, not by the amount of his means but, as is done, I am afraid, at present, at the rent of the place from which he came, you may very well have a man who is not at all well off getting a house under the 1923, or 1924 Act and paying a very considerable rent for it, and a man who has got a reasonable amount of money but has not spent it on better accommodation getting a house with the same accommodation much more cheaply simply because he has not chosen to live as a decent citizen in the past. That, it seems to me, is bound to cause a good deal of ill-feeling, and I would beg the Government to bear this and all other factors in mind when they are deciding on their policy as to moving people out of slums. I do not wish to take up 1182 the time of the Committee with a general argument, and therefore I will content myself with putting that point.
§ 8.0 p.m.
Lieut.-Colonel C. G. MacANDREW
There is only one point which I should like to bring to the notice of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for State, and it is a point with regard to what is described in the report of the Department of Health for Scotland as summer holiday camps. In recent years this form of recreation, which is a most desirable thing when properly conducted, has grown very considerably in the West of Scotland, and what is happening now is that certain parts are let, I suppose by farmers and others, for the camps; and they are really run in a most insanitary and unhealthy way. I see that in the report it is pointed out that generally people stay in them only for a week or so. That is quite true, but although the people move, the camp remains, and new lots of people are continually coming. If the camps were taken in hand I think they could be made sanitary, and they would be a very satisfactory and excellent way of enabling people to have a holiday, but these camps, in the way in which they are being conducted at present, are a very dangerous menace indeed to health. I notice that under the Public Health (Scotland) Act. 1897, if the Department is of opinion that it is necessary, the owners of land who let their land for camps can be forced to make the necessary water and sanitary arrangements, and arrangements for destroying refuse, for the people who use the camp, and I think that those are the only possible lines upon which the thing can be organised, because it is obvious that people coming for a week and going away at the end of the week do not understand the dangers which they are running.
This is a point which, I think, should be brought to the attention of the local authorities by the Under-Secretary, because I foresee that otherwise epidemies will start, and they will lead to danger to the health of the people using the camps. I am sure that it could be done through the local authorities without any expense. I think this is a most desirable form of holiday for people, but I do think that it wants to be organised and run properly. One knows how extraordinary particular the medical autho- 1183 rities in Territorial camps are about how the sanitation is arranged; but these camps to which I have referred are, I think, a great danger, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will give the matter his attention.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I beg to move to reduce the Vote by £100.
I rise to make a very short contribution to the Debate, because I recognise that possibly during the last few days I have had more than my share of the time of the House in general. My reasons for wishing to move the reduction of the Vote by £100 I am not going to outline now, because they appeared in the course of the speech of the hon. Member for the Shettleston Division (Mr. McGovern), and in the speech of the hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood) and several other speakers. There are only one or two small points that I want to raise. One is a question which the hon. Member for Shettleston questioned the Under-Secretary upon, and, as to this point I am not quite clear, because I did not hear what the hon. Member for Shettleston said. I want to raise one or two very small points. One is upon a matter I have previously raised, the 7s. 6d. payable under the National Health Insurance Act. Is the Under-Secretary aware that under the National Health Insurance Act that 7s. 6d. should not be deducted from Poor Law relief? There are a number of authorities charging the 7s. 6d. That is not in accordance with the Act; the Act definitely excludes the 7s. 6d. I am not here to argue whether the Act is right or wrong; all that I say is that the Act should be carried out whether it is right or wrong, until this House care to put a different Act in its place. If you do not administer the Act you are in for trouble.
I ask the Under-Secretary whether he intends to take any steps to deal particularly with one body which is outstanding in this matter; I refer to the Greenock Public Assistance Committee, Time after time this practice of deducting the 7s. 6d. has been followed. It may be that the local people think it desirable. That I am not going to quarrel with; all I say is that the Act provides that the 7s. 6d. shall be untouched, and while that is the law nobody in Scotland ought to ignore it, I contend that the law 1184 should be applied to these Public Assistance Committees, because they have to depend upon other people honouring the law, and they cannot expect poor people to honour the law while they themselves constantly and flagrantly break it.
I turn from that to another point which I think deserves attention, relating to the City of Glasgow. I am not going to develop the question of providing new houses, other than to say that I do wish that, in the provision of new houses, more attention could be given to the furnishing of those houses. It seems to me that one of the great problems in our great city is that those poor people who want houses cannot properly furnish them. One great improvement that I see in every part of my native city is the great demand which there is now from comparatively poor people to get a better house. The Glasgow Corporation have built an estate out near Thornlie-bank; it is a very nice and desirable housing scheme, and it would almost break your hearts to see poor people making earnest demands for those houses. I see men, and women too, but particularly men, whom I knew in my own youthful days, who then spent considerable sums of money in drink, but who now spend it in getting for themselves and their families much more commodious and better dwellings. Anybody who mixes, as I do, with the people of the City of Glasgow, must be amazed at the great expense to which the people are prepared to go for houses. I know that in my boyhood days it was looked upon as madness to pay too much to the landlord. I was brought up with nine others, ten in a room. The first thing my folks did was to take a chance to get a better and more commodious house.
There are two or three things which are noticeable in the city. One is the care of the children. There is a marked improvement in that. I recently visited some Roman Catholic and Protestant schools. I remember that in the old days on St. Patrick's Day we fought the Catholics, and it was pathetic to see them fighting with their bare feet. I visited the same Roman Catholic school, and I saw a marked improvement there. The improvement was considerable, and was in every way a credit to them. The other improvement I see is in the welfare of the women. There is a wonderful improvement since my days. When trade 1185 was good in the city and men were earning decent wages the corporation were inundated with demands for decent houses. At first the demand was, comparatively speaking, not so great, because people did not know how the experiment would turn out. I know that criticism can be made against the housing estates, but I do think that their benefits outweigh the criticisms. Look at the contribution which they make in this direction, that they set up an ideal; and the great mass of people, having seen others succeed in the experiment, are now willing themselves to make the experiment which 10 or 12 years ago they would never had made.
The Under-Secretary for Scotland talked about people who ought not to have houses being successful in getting houses. I know you can say that this man or that man has got a house when he should not have got it. You can go right through the gamut, just as any man who is conconcerned with criminal justice may sometimes see a criminal who ought to get a long sentence get a short one, and one who ought to get a light sentence get a long one. Those things in human life can hardly be measured by a tape measure or a foot rule. What I do say is that though you may argue against it, it is in the main a contribution to the physical and mental health, and, above all, to the sobriety of the community, because the sobriety of Glasgow is tremendous, and sobriety is a great thing.
I want to make one last point, and it is regarding the closing of slums. Most of us who know Glasgow know that a great portion of it was built long years ago, even before my grandfather's time, and is now becoming old. Some folk are inclined to think that houses which are built of stone or brick, or any other commodity, do not get old. They have been in the habit of looking at them all their lives, and they think they will always go on. A great portion of the city of Glasgow is being condemned. It is getting tumble-down, and the corporation is ordering that the buildings, shall be hauled down because they are becoming dangerous. Dangerous dwellings are becoming prevalent all over the city. Under a slum clearance area order there is a duty definitely on the corporation to provide alternative accommodation. My view is that there is only a technical 1186 difference between a slum clearance area and a dangerous dwelling.
A slum clearance area is cleared because it is dangerous to the health and well-being of the community; it is simply that they have decided that that area is dangerous from the point of view of the future well-being of all concerned. I say there is really in effect no difference between that and a dwelling that might be dangerous because of its being likely to fall down at an early date; and I say that the corporation in every case of that kind ought to be compelled to provide alternative accommodation. I know that up to the present they have done it, but they may not always continue to do it, and at times they do it only with great reluctance. I would ask the Undersecretary for Scotland to use his powers in all cases to see that that is done, and if his powers are not sufficient, to seek further powers; because it is going to be a terrible thing if on the demolition of each dangerous dwelling we are to have decent people turned adrift to go on to the streets.
I want to say, in conclusion, that I move the reduction of this Vote because we are not sure that everything is yet being done that could be done, and we want at least to record our opinion against this economy mania which is spreading. I must confess that the economy mania leaves me cold and untouched. Most of my constituents have been economising all their lives; and I say that to practise the economy asked for by some Members of this House would be a disgrace to Scotland. I am sure the Under-Secretary for Scotland, who, I hope, wants to have his name engraved with some degree of fame on the scroll of history as having done something for Scotland, will not use his position in order to adopt an economy which I think would be wrong and in the worst interests of the people.
§ Mr. TRAIN
I did not intend to intervene, but one or two subjects have been raised on which I should like to say a few words. I congratulate the Undersecretary on the able way in which he presented his report. I also congratulate him on the strong stand he is taking for economy. The hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) wants the Under-Secretary's name to go down to history as that of a strong man, and he recommended 1187 him to do certain things. If he can effect economy at the Scottish Board of Health, his name will go down to history as that of a strong man. The Under-Secretary began by telling us that a sum of £2,000,000 per year is being given by the State for housing. Ten or 12 years ago nothing was given by the State for housing. Over and above that, the local authorities are rated for housing. The hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. D. Graham) asked what was to be done about housing and why we were not doing more housing? He is accusing the wrong people of not doing more. The present Government have done more within the past year than was done in the previous two years, and they have taken on many unemployed men in the building trade and put them on to building houses. That was in the report.
The reason why more houses are not being built is, to me, very simple. The fault rests with the local authorities. Each succeeding Government since 1919 has brought in Acts of Parliament giving the local authorities power to build houses and each succeeding Parliament has increased those powers. In 1919 we had the Addison scheme, of which the Under-Secretary spoke, under which the local authorities in England paid one penny in the pound and the State met the difference. In Scotland, because of the incidence in our taxation and rating, the amount is four-fifths of a penny, compared with one penny in England. We went on building the homes which, as the hon. Member for Govan (Mr. N. Maclean) reminded us, the Prime Minister of that day said were to be homes for heroes to live in. They were built at a cost of £1,200, £1,000, £900 for a house which to-day is being built for £280. The result of that, so far as Scotland is concerned, is that £1,000,000 per annum has to be paid for Addison scheme housing.
The Under-Secretary made a suggestion, and I was glad that he had the courage to make it, because I have raised it again and again in this House. Why should people live in Addison scheme houses, which cost so much money, when, as we were told, 70 out of 150 of those people had been able to build motor garages? They are able to build a motor garage and yet they ask other people to pay part of their rent, amounting in Glasgow to a rate of 4d. and to 1s. in 1188 many other parts of the country. One hon. Member, I think it was the hon. Member for St. Rollox (Mr. Leonard), said that these men have a right to build these garages if they want to do so. They may have a right to build a garage, but they have no right to do that and then to ask another man to pay part of their rent. People who can pay an economic rent ought not to ask others to pay a part of their rent, particularly when so many people cannot get one of the houses that are being built by the local authorities.
After the Addison Act we had the Chamberlain Act in 1923. Many houses were built under that Act. Let me remind hon. Members who ask so much about the Addison scheme that in 1921 committees were set up for Scotland and England to report on the effect of the Addison scheme, and both committees recommended that the Addison scheme was too expensive and should be stopped. I served on the Scottish committee. When our report was presented to the House, the Prime Minister said: "This is the report of hard-headed Scotsmen." The committee consisted of Tories, Liberals and Socialists, and we recommended the stoppage of the scheme because it was too expensive.
§ Mr. TRAIN
There were some objectors. I was one who objected to certain parts of the report. In a committee you can put in objections. Although there were some objections, generally speaking the report presented by the committee composed of Liberals, Tories and Socialists was pretty unanimous. The hon. Member can get the report from the Stationery Office, and read it. It will tell him something about the Addison scheme.
§ Mr. TRAIN
Under the Chamberlain scheme £6 per house was paid by the Government and £3 by the local autho- 1189 rity. The Chamberlain scheme also extended the Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Act, and encouraged people to own their own houses. The question has been raised to-day why private enterprise has failed and done nothing. In the Third Annual Report of the Department of Health for Scotland, page 151, statistics are given for the year 1923, the year of the Chamberlain Act. Those statistics are: Houses built, ordinary schemes, 4,024; slum clearance schemes, 14,382; private enterprise, 20,983. Therefore, nearly 5,000 more houses were built by private enterprise at that time, when they were encouraged under the Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Act and the Housing Act than were built by any local authority. That is what private enterprise did when it had anything like a fair chance, but private enterprise cannot compete with the subsidy of £13 10s. that is being given on subsidised houses—£9 taken from the State under the 1924 Act and £4 10s. provided by the rates. To expect private enterprise to do anything in those circumstances is asking the impossible.
The 1924 Act gives great powers. Any local authorities can put its scheme before the Board of Health. Why are they not doing that? Simply because they have not the money. Some of them are rated as high as 1s. in the pound. After the Chamberlain Act we had the Slum Clearance Act of 1925 and the Rural Housing Act of 1925, and in 1930 we had the Rural Housing Act and the Slum Clearance Act. Then we had the 1931 Rural Housing Act. Local authorities could take advantage of all these Acts. What is the use of hon. Members saying, "Why do you not get on with housing?" It is the local authorities who should get on with housing. The Secretary of State urges them to get on with their programmes, but they are jibbing because they have not the money to spend. Under these various Acts you get the same type of house let at rentals of £28, £32 and £22. We are turning the people into pens. A child who lives in a Wheatley or a Addison house says that she will not play with Tiny So-and-so because she lives in a slum clearance. The Undersecretary has now a fine opportunity to co-ordinate these various Housing Acts and turn his attention to the clearing of slums. Let those who can pay an economic rent pay it, or get out. Let them purchase their houses by the aid 1190 of local authorities and building societies agreeing to advance 90 per cent. of the cost over 40 years. This would leave these other houses free and save the building of houses of that class. The hon. Member for Govan (Mr. Maclean) says that these houses were built for the soldiers who cams back from the War.
§ Mr. MACLEAN
What I said was that the then Prime Minister in one of his speeches made that statement, and that afterwards the Addison houses were built. I did not say that they were built for the men who fought in the War or were homes for heroes.
§ Mr. TRAIN
I am sorry if I misunderstood the hon. Member. He certainly conveyed that impression when he quoted from the speech of the then Prime Minister. However, who got the houses? The people who could pay the rent got the houses. Local authorities looked for the most decent tenant who could pay the rent. There, again, private enterprise is supposed to carry on the building of houses when the best of the tenants are selected by the local authorities for their houses. I agree with the hon. Member for Motherwell (Mr. Ormiston) who made a most excellent maiden speech, with every word of which I agree. He referred to rating, and to the fact that a man who owns a house has to pay housing rates for other people to build modern houses while he himself has to live in a 30-year-old house and has not enough money to pay for repairs. It is unfair to ask private enterprise to continue under such conditions.
A great deal has been said about the question of rating. The hon. Member for Hamilton said that decontrol must mean the raising of rents, but he gave us no arguments in support of his view. All the arguments I have heard seem to prove that it will reduce rents; and if that is the case I am in favour of it. At the present time a private owner has to pay a housing rate on an unoccupied house in order to house people who are in a position to pay an economic rent. The hon. Member for Gorbals said something about houses which were being pulled down. I wish that all buildings 1191 were pulled down which are in a dangerous state. There are many houses, however, in large cities which are not in a dangerous state. They have fine stone walls and fine roofs, good joists; but they are not modern. They have no up-to-date appliances, no bathroom, no kitchenette. There are many people who want to live in the place where they have lived for so many years, and if they could get a modern house they would prefer to live in a flat in the town rather than in the country. They are not people of the working classes. They do not want a garden. All they want is an aspidistra in the window. They do not want to be bothered with a garden. There are lots of these houses which could be reconditioned at very little cost, and thus save the spreading out into the country and the making of roads and sewers. It would effect an economy, which is so necessary at the present time. I hope the Under-Secretary will pursue the policy he has put before us this afternoon.
§ Mr. SKELTON
My first word, in the short speech I propose to make in reply to the Debate, is one of thanks for the many kind references made to myself and the Secretary of State. It is encouraging, at the beginning of our connection with the government of Scotland, to find, among the many admirable and valuable criticisms which have been made, that time has been found by so many speakers for a kindly personal word for the Secretary of State and myself, which I can assure hon. Members we appreciate very highly. In my original speech I dealt with the question of housing and said that I should rely on hon. Members to raise other topics of interest during the Debate. I will try to deal with the questions which Have been raised.
The right hon. Member for Ross and Cromarty (Mr. Macpherson) raised an isolated question with regard to the economy in the Highlands and Islands grant. We all know the valuable work which is done by this grant, and hon. Members will be glad to know that the economy of £4,000 in the Estimate as regards £3,500 is the result of Savings last year, and that the economy effected by an actual cutting down in the operations of this valuable work has only been £500. I need make no observations on what the right hon. Gentleman said on the subject of rural telephones, except 1192 to say that I have that matter in mind, and that of the provision of adequate accommodation in the housing of medical officers and surgeons in the Highlands. In the absence of the right hon. Gentleman who courteously intimated to me that he would be unable to be present later, I need only say that we will take into careful consideration what he has said.
The hon. Member for Shettleston (Mr. McGovern) raised a question connected with public assistance. I was greatly interested in what he said with regard to people who suffer from being chargeable to a rural authority and live in the area of a more expensive urban authority. As a practical observation on that point I would observe that if the individual feels that he or she has got insufficient relief, application may be made to the Department. I know that that is not a very practicable course and for my own part I am interested in the suggestion of a conference of the authorities. I will follow up that matter and see how it stands at the moment and whether there is anything that can be done, for I quite appreciate the point made by the hon. Member. I do not think that he raised any other point of criticism, but in passing may I say that' I was especially gratified by his approval of the policy of boarding-out children. I have a hereditary interest in that policy. I personally believe in its efficacy and value, and I am glad to find approval for it from the other side of the Committee to-day. I know very well that on the surface there are features which might suggest to some hon. Members that it is an unsuitable policy, but I am sure that, when they go into the matter and get over any preliminary disapproval which may be felt, they will realise how valuable it is, so long as the selection of a suitable home is satisfactorily made.
Several points were raised by my hon. friend the Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan), and although he is not in his place at present, there is one point of general importance mentioned by him to which I may refer. That is the question of the non-deduction of the first 7s. 6d. of health insurance benefit from poor relief. I am aware of the practice of certain public assistance authorities in this respect. I have had to make careful inquiries as to the position and as to the 1193 rights and powers of the Department, in regard to this matter, and I find that those powers are very limited. This is one of many cases in which the relationship between the central department and the local authority is one in which the central department can exercise nothing more powerful than persuasion. I am sorry but that is the situation under the law and I do not see that I can do more than exercise such pressure as is possible in that way. I entirely agree with the hon. Member that when you have a law it ought to be administered, unless there is some very good reason for not administering it. I was interested, too, in the hon. Member's reference to the question of furnishing houses. I find that there are powers to give a certain amount of furniture in connection with the building of houses by municipalities, but, again, that, like so many other matters connected with housing, is a matter for the local authorities themselves.
I regret that the hon. Member for Hamilton. (Mr. D. Graham) is not in his place, because I wish to turn to a question of some local importance which was raised by him with regard to certain events that have been taking place in Hamilton. It has been found necessary to close a building—with a view to demolishing it—in which a certain number of people had "squatted." A difficulty has arisen as to how the various families affected are to be accommodated. Some have found accommodation for themselves. At present a certain number are accommodated in the poor-house, and four families, who have not yet found alternative accommodation, are still permitted to occupy the property which is to be demolished. The local authority are satisfied, and I think they are Tight, that before long those who are temporarily accommodated in the poor-house or who still occupy part of the building to be demolished, will find accommodation for themselves. I think it is a case in which a little patience must be exercised by ail concerned. I have to thank the local authority for the patience which they have shown. I may say to the hon. Member for Hamilton that I shall keep a careful watch on what is happening, but I cannot honestly say that I think there is any opportunity or excuse for my intervention at the moment. I think I have now dealt with most of the questions raised during the 1194 Debate which are not connected with the subject of housing. If there is any special question which has been put by any hon. Member and which I have overlooked, I shall carefully study the Debate and if I find that it is one to which a specific reply can and should be given, I will give it.
With regard to housing, I have to thank all the hon. Members who have spoken for the closeness and care with which they have addressed themselves to the subject. I think it will be found when we look over the Debate in the OFFICIAL REPORT that there has not been a single contribution on the subject of housing which has not been of interest and importance. I wish first to say to my hon. Friend the Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood) that he knows as well as I do that it was with reluctance and anxiety that the Clydebank decision was taken. After reviewing the matter for several months and turning my attention to it again and again, I cannot honestly say that I think the decision was anything but right, though I appreciate very much the anxiety which has been caused to the representative of the constituency. I may say, quite frankly, to the hon. Member, that I appreciate the many efforts which he has made to make me and my right hon. Friend take his view of the situation. One never likes to have to do what seems to be the unpleasant thing, and in this case it was much less pleasant when we knew that the representative of the constituency concerned felt so strongly on the subject, and had made such strenuous and sincere efforts to bring us to his way of thinking.
I have no objection to my hon. Friend the Member for Dumbarton Burghs telling us, as he has told us in no uncertain tones, that my right hon. Friend and I are little better than a pack of rogues. Far be it from me to object to any form of Parliamentary criticism. The only thing I would say to the hon. Gentleman is this. To take one example alone, he said that the population of Scotland had fallen by 40,000, but I would point out to him that it has fallen by that number over the last 10 years, and that the Secretary of State and I have only had direct responsibility for the last nine months. I do not believe that it is during those nine months alone that this lamentable fall in population has occurred. I listened with great care to 1195 what he said, but I think that on this point my right hon. Friend and I have a secure defence. I do not pursue the observations that have been made on what I said on the subject of Addison houses and on the subject of private enterprise. I do not regret that I brought these matters before the Committee, because on Tooth most interesting observations have been made.
§ Mr. SKELTON
I do not think myself that the observations of the medical officer which were quoted dealt with people who were suffering from severe unemployment. If it had been so, they would have been quite incapable of bearing the kind of inference which was placed upon them. I think they were meant to indicate a natural social change, not one forced upon a population by necessity. As a matter of fact, I had not altogether forgotten the point which the hon. Member raised, and I shall make further inquiries so as to see exactly what the medical officer had in mind, and I will communicate with my hon. Friend on the subject at a later date.
I do not propose to comment on all the housing comments that have been made, but one hon. Member quoted the figure of people living in one-room houses in Glasgow, and I think he said the figure was 28 per cent., but I find that in the new Census of 1931, 11 per cent. lived in one-room houses. I do not at all like the figure of 11 per cent., but it is definitely lower than the figure which the hon. Member gave.
§ Mr. SKELTON
I think I am right in saying that the figure which the hon. Member quoted was 28 per cent.
§ Mr. SKELTON
And for Glasgow? It is a matter of such importance and interest that even at this late hour of this discussion I would like to refer to it. Between 1921 and 1931 the proportion of people living in one-room houses in 1196 Glasgow has fallen from 28 per cent. to 11 per cent., and that is very striking, but I am not quite sure that the hon. Member's figure of 28 per cent. is right, because, reading from the Glasgow report, it appears that as compared with the number of the previous Census the number of people living in one-room houses has declined by 2.1 per cent., which, of course, would mean that it was about 13 per cent. and not 28 per cent. in 1921, and that the number living in two-room houses has declined by 7.1 per cent. "A notable decrease" is the comment of the Registrar or whoever it is who compiled this document, and I think it is of interest to see that. I entirely agree with the hon. Member for Hamilton, who pointed out that the real housing problem was in the industrial belt, and I thought his speech on that point was most valuable. It is of immense importance that in a city the housing conditions of which we know are in many cases most deplorable, there has been that decline, and though it is small in the case of one-room houses, it is very considerable in the case of those living in two-room houses.
§ Mr. MACLEAN
You still have, according to the Census, a very high percentage in the industrial areas of Glasgow.
§ Mr. SKELTON
I was going to say that these figures and the figures that I gave as to the average number of persons living in these houses are the kind of figures that ought to be before the Committee that is considering Scottish housing, but do not let the Committee think, when I referred to the diminution in the number of occupiers of houses being in every second house one less, that I was saying that in a mood of self-congratulation.
§ Mr. SKELTON
I was trying to make out, not that I and my right hon. Friend had accomplished very much, because we have been dealing with housing only for nine months, but that the combined action of every party in the State over a number of years has effected something, and that is a matter upon which the British Parliament has the right to congratulate itself. It is not a matter for one party only, but for every party, and I do not myself think that it diminishes the effort or makes people "weary in well doing" 1197 if they can see that over a period of years the efforts that they have already made have not been altogether fruitless. It was not in any spirit of complacency but in a spirit of something achieved that I referred to the figures to which I did refer, now supplemented and strengthened by the figures which I have just quoted.
On the whole subject, I feel that we have in this Parliament a body of Scottish Members whose view is not unlike that which I expressed earlier as being the general view of Scotland, namely, that we should press on with housing, but in a way which combines the maximum economy with the work which has to be done. That is one example of the practical spirit which animates the actions of this Parliament, and I am sure it is the only spirit in which the country as a whole can proceed with housing in these times in which we live. There may again be ampler resources, and there may again be greater opportunities for undertaking housing with a less meticulous examination and care than are necessary to-day, but if you wish to have constantly behind you a strong body of public opinion in Scotland in favour of a forward housing policy, you must show the people of Scotland that you are determined to combine the efficient operation of the housing policy with conduct of it, strictly economical.
One last word, and again it is in reference to a criticism of my hon. Friend the Member for Dumbarton Burghs, and other hon. Members, who said that we ought to be doing more to help the unemployed members of the building trade, and that we had done nothing. That in itself is not true. I pointed out that already on the 31st May, 1932, there were practically 5,000 more building operatives employed in Scotland than in the previous year, and on that date there had not yet been a single stone or brick laid in the houses which had been approved, to the number of 23,000 odd, where the comparable number for the previous year was only 16,000. As soon as these 23,000 houses which have been approved are put under construction as I have no doubt many of them already are, then, to the 5,000 extra men who are being employed in the building trade must be added a considerable extra number who will be employed in the construction of the largest number of houses approved at any one time for a number of years. There- 1198 fore, I think that is one of the matters in which the strong and powerful criticism of my hon. Friend the Member for Dumbarton Burghs will require a little modification from him when he reads, with, I hope, the same approval as I shall, his speech in the OFFICIAL REPORT to-morrow.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
I would like the hon. Gentleman to give an answer to this point. In the year that has just finished we built only 10,000 houses, but in 1927 we built 13,000. To-day we have 23,000 building workers in Scotland unemployed, which is the worst we have had for the last five years.
§ Mr. LEONARD
The figure given by the hon. Gentleman as to the percentage of Glasgow's population in one-apartment houses in the 1921 Census was correct. I misquoted the figure, which should have been 12.8.
§ Mr. SKELTON
I agree that the number of houses completed in 1927 was high, but with regard to the houses under construction and approved, which are the vital figures, they were at the end of last May, 5,000 more than they had been for the two previous years; that is to say, 15,000 in place of 10,000, and the larger number under construction was reflected in employment by the fact that there were 5,000 more operatives in work than there were on 31st May of the previous year. Now that the work is proceeding on the houses which at 31st May were approved but not begun, extra work will be given to members of the building trade arising from the fact that no less than 23,000 houses as compared with 16,000 at the same time last year have been approved and work on them is ready to start.
§ Mr. R. W. SMITH
I am sorry I was not present during the earlier part of the hon. Gentleman's speech, but I should like to know if he has said anything about the question, of maternal mortality?
§ Mr. SKELTON
I did not refer to that and one or two other questions, because I saw that a good many Members who asked me questions had retired for purposes of their own to another part of the building, and I had intended answering their questions by correspondence. With regard to the question raised by the hon. Member, I will look carefully into the question of puerperal sepsis. It 1199 is a matter of some satisfaction that with the general decline of maternal mortality there has been a decline in puerperal sepsis. The situation, I think, is not so serious as the hon. Member would have one suppose in view of the general decline in maternal mortality. I am not in a position to answer the hon. Gentleman with regard to the investigation as to whether the mortality takes place in insitutions or at home. With regard to the point about statistics, the figures which are classified under the head of "poor houses" include institutions which are of a very different character, but the
§ Original Question again proposed.1200
§ figures in their present form are by no means useless because they are of value in calculating chargeability to public assistance authorities. I think, however, that there is something in the point that the tables might be made more informative, and we have in the Department been able to make arrangements whereby in future years more information will be given.
§ Question put, "That a sum, not exceeding £1,571,902, be granted for the said Service."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 28; Noes, 133.1199
|Division No. 257.]||AYES.||[9.1 p.m.|
|Batey, Joseph||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Maxton, James|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Milner, Major James|
|Buchanan, George||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Price, Gabriel|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Hicks, Ernest George||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Jenkins, Sir William||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Daggar, George||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Leonard, William||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Duncan, Charles (Derby, Claycross)||Lunn, William|
|Edwards, Charles||McEntee, Valentine L.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Mr. Kirkwood and Mr. McGovern.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Rentoul, Sir Gervais S.|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Jamieson, Douglas||Renwick, Major Gustav A.|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Reynolds, Col. Sir James Philip|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan)||Rosbotham, S. T.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, putney)|
|Blindell, James||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard|
|Boulton, W. W.||Ker, J. Campbell||Scone, Lord|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Kerr, Hamilton W.||Selley, Harry R.|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Kimball, Lawrence||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Law, Sir Alfred||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)|
|Burghley, Lord||Leckie, J. A.||Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness)|
|Burnett, John George||Leech, Dr. J. W.||Skelton, Archibald Noel|
|Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Clarke, Frank||Levy, Thomas||Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-n-F.)|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Loder, Captain J. de Vere||Smith, R. W. (Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Cowan, D. M.||Mac Andrew, Lt.-Col C. G. (Partick)||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Craven-Ellis, William||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Stevenson, James|
|Crooke, J. Smedley||McKie, John Hamilton||Stones, James|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton||Storey, Samuel|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Macquisten, Frederick Alexander||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Dunglass, Lord||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Eady, George H.||Millar, Sir James Duncan||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Ford, Sir Patrick J.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Summereby, Charles H.|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Milne, Charles||Templeton, William P.|
|Gledhill, Gilbert||Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|Goff, Sir Park||Morgan, Robert H.||Train, John|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||Muirhead, Major A. J.||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)|
|Greene, William P. C.||Nail-Cain, Arthur Ronald N.||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Guy, J. C. Morrison||Normand, Wilfrid Guild||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Ormiston, Thomas||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|Harbord, Arthur||Pearson, William G.||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Hartland, George A.||Penny, Sir George||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Haslam, sir John (Bolton)||Pike, Cecil F.||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Potter, John||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Power, Sir John Cecil||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Holdsworth, Herbert||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Hope, Capt. Arthur O. J. (Aston)||Rankin, Robert||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)||Ray, Sir William||Sir Frederick Thomson and|
|Horsbrugh, Florence||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)||Commander Southby.|
|Howard, Tom Forrest||Remer, John R.|
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.