§ Considered in Committee, under Standing Order No. 69.
§ [Captain BOURNE in the Chair.]
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That, for the purposes of any Act of the present Session to amend the Unemployment Insurance Acts, 1920 to 1933, and to make further provision for the training and assistance of persons who are capable of, and available for, work but have no work or only part-time or intermittent work, and for purposes connected with the matters aforesaid (hereinafter referred to as the said Act)—
§ A. it is expedient, in connection with the provisions of the said Act amending the Unemployment Insurance Acts, to provide (from and after the date on which the provisions of section five of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1921, empowering the Treasury to make advances to the Unemployment Fund, and paragraph (4) of article eight of the Unemployment Insurance (National Economy) (No. 2) Order, 1931, are repealed)—
- (1) for the payment out of the Consolidated (Fund—
- (a) to the National Debt Commissioners of such sums, by way of temporary advances to the Unemployment Fund (to be repaid with interest to the Exchequer within six months), as may be necessary to make good any insufficiency of the fund to pay any instalment required by Part I. of the said Act to be paid towards the discharge of the liability charged on that fund by section five of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1921, in respect of advances made thereunder with interest thereon and the liability incurred by the Treasury to the National Debt Commissions in respect of the provision of money for the purpose of the said advances;
- (b) to the Unemployment Fund of such sums by way of temporary advances (to be repaid to the Exchequer with interest before the end of the financial year) as may be required from time to time for the purpose of making any payments properly falling to be made out of the Unemployment Fund other than any such instalment as aforesaid and the repayment of such temporary advances as are mentioned in the last foregoing sub-paragraph;
- (2) for the payment out of moneys provided by Parliament—
- (a) of such sums by way of advances to the Unemployment Fund (to be re-
812 paid to the Exchequer with interest not later than the end of the second financial year next following) as appear to the Treasury to be required to enable that fund to discharge any liabilities (including the due repayment of any such temporary advances as are mentioned in the foregoing paragraph (1)), which, in the opinion of the Minister of Labour, after consultation with the Treasury, that fund is or will shortly become insufficient to discharge;
- (b) of any increase attributable to the passing of Part I. of the said Act in the sum payable out of moneys provided by Parliament by virtue of subsection (3) of section five of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1920, as amended by section one of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1929, or by virtue of sections forty or forty-one of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1920, or of section three of the Unemployment Insurance (No. 3) Act, 1931;
- (c) of any sum by which any education grants under any other Act are increased by reason of the additional powers and duties conferred and imposed by Part I of the said Act on education authorities;
- (d) of any increase attributable to the passing of the said Act in the amounts which are by virtue of paragraphs (1) and (2) of article eight of the Unemployment Insurance (National Economy) (No. 2) Order, 1931, to be paid into the Unemployment Fund; and
§ B. it is expedient, in connection with the provisions of the said Act amending the Unemployment Insurance Acts, to provide for the payment out of moneys provided by Parliament of any expenses incurred by the Minister of Labour in carrying Part I of the said Act into effect; and
§ C. it is expedient, in connection with the provisions of the said Act relating to Unemployment Assistance, to provide—
- (1) for the payment out of the Consolidated Fund to the several members of any Unemployment Assistance Board constituted by the said Act of such salaries as may be determined by the Treasury at the time of their appointment respectively, so, however, that the aggregate amount of the salaries of the members of the Board shall not exceed the sum of twelve thousand pounds per annum; and
- (2) for the payment out of moneys provided by Parliament—
- (a) of the salaries and allowances of the officers and servants of the said Board and the remuneration, salaries and allowances of the members, officers, and servants of any appeal tribunals constituted under Part II of the said Act;
- (b) of such contributions to the said Board as the Minister of Labour, after consultation with the said Board and with the consent of the Treasury, may determine to be sufficient together with annual local authority contributions to
813 enable the Board to pay to such persons as—
- (i) are between the ages of sixteen and sixty-five years; and
- (ii) are either persons whose normal occupation is employment in respect of which contributions are payable under the Widows', Orphans', and Old Age Contributory Pensions Acts, 1925 to 1932, or persons, who, not having normally been engaged in any remunerative occupation since attaining the age of sixteen years, might reasonably have expected that their normal occupation would have been such employment as aforesaid but for the industrial circumstances of the districts in which they reside; and
- (iii) are capable of and available for work, allowances based on their needs and those of their households, regard being had to the resources of all members of the household other than such resources as may be excepted by the said Act;
- (c) of such contributions to the said Board as the Minister of Labour, after consultation with the Board, may with the consent of the Treasury determine to be necessary to enable the Board to provide or arrange for the provision of training, instruction or occupation for such persons as aforesaid, to make payments to such persons while undergoing training, to make adjustments with public assistance authorities in respect of relief granted to persons who are or might have been entitled to such allowances as aforesaid and to defray any administrative and incidental expenses incurred in carrying Part II of the said Act into effect, and any expenses incurred in giving effect to reciprocal arrangements made thereunder in relation to Northern Ireland;
- (d) of any superannuation allowances, lump sums and gratuities payable under the Superannuation Acts, 1834 to 1919, by virtue of the provisions of the said Act;
- (e) of the expenses of any Government department attributable to the carrying of Part II. of the Act into effect.
§ In this Resolution the expression "annual local authority contributions" means, in relation to each of the three years ending on the thirty-first day of March, nineteen hundred and thirty-seven, contributions to be made to the said Board annually by the councils of counties, county boroughs, and large burghs, computed as follows: the contribution of each council shall (subject to any adjustments necessitated by changes in boundaries and, in the first year, to an abatement in respect of the fact that the said Act will not be fully in operation for the whole of the year) be three-fifths of the sum of the two following amounts, that is to say,—
- (i) the estimated expenditure (excluding the cost of administration) incurred by the council in the year ending on the thirty-first day of March or, in
814 the case of Scotland, the fifteenth day of May, nineteen hundred and thirty-three, on the provision of relief (not being relief in respect of medical needs) to persons to whom Part II. of the said Act would have applied if it had then been in operation, upon the assumption that no persons would in that year have been deemed not to be such persons by reason of special reports made in their case under the provisions of Part II. of the said Act; and
- (ii) the difference between the estimated cost of administration incurred by the council in the said year in connection with the provision of relief and the estimated cost of administration which would have been so incurred if Part II. of the said Act had then been in operation;
- (i) of the withholding of allowances in cases of special difficulty owing to the breach of conditions on which the allowances were granted; and
- (ii) of persons becoming ineligible for allowances by reason of special reports made in their case under the provisions of Part II. of the said Act,
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
May I move at this stage, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again"?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
That would be out of order. The hon. Member is entitled to ask whether he can move the Motion, and it is left to my discretion whether I accept it or not. I have already informed him that I cannot accept it.
§ Mr. MAXTON
There is more to be said on it than that. I do not want to cause any trouble in the House, but if ever there was an occasion when the Motion to report Progress was in order it is now. I know perfectly well that under the Standing Orders you, Captain Bourne, have a perfect right to refuse a Motion to report Progress if you believe it is being moved on purely frivolous grounds, but that certainly does not apply to the present circumstances. To start discussing one of the most important items of Government business under the present conditions is preposterous, and I think we are entitled to have from the Government some statement of their intentions. I ask you to reconsider the matter.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I cannot accept the Motion to report Progress at this moment. If the hon. Member moves it shortly after we have started business, I will consider accepting it.
§ 8.41 a.m.
§ Mr. T. WILLIAMS
May I ask whether any statement can be made regarding the Motion on the Order Paper? We have had a long discussion and are entitled to a statement from the Government as to what they intend to do regarding the Money Resolution and the Amendments on the Paper. Might I formally move to Report Progress, so that the Government could reply to that question?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
We can have one speech, and then I shall consider accepting a Motion to Report Progress.
§ 8.42 a.m.
§ Mr. A. BEVAN
I think it would be proper to have a statement from the Treasury Bench. I am within the recollection of the Committee when I point out that on the last occasion on which we discussed the Money Resolution no reply was made to the Debate from the Front Bench. We did have a reply from the Financial Secretary to the Treasury on an Amendment, but not on the general discussion when the Financial Resolution was aban- 816 doned, at the request of the Government, because they desired to re-commit the Resolution with the Amendment making provision for the new arrangements with the local authorities. I should have thought it would have been courteous to the Committee if we had had a statement from the Government in reply to certain questions put in the course of that Debate. The Government have not thought fit to take that course, and it will be necessary for me to recapitulate some of the arguments used when this matter was last discussed in order that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Minister of Labour and the Financial Secretary to the Treasury may have an opportunity of putting the Committee right or giving the assurance which we think necessary on this point.
The Debate terminated on Monday in a fashion, I think, somewhat unfavourable to the Government. I think there was universal anxiety concerning the reply of the Secretary to the Treasury to the Amendment. It was proposed that the charge of the Unemployment Assistance Board should be put on Supply instead of on the Consolidated Fund. The hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) and myself asked whether it would be possible if the Unemployment Assistance Board remained chargeable to the Consolidated Fund for any hon. Member to put on the Order Paper a question relating to one of his constituents, such as how he had been treated by a member of the Board. The Financial Secretary to the Treasury, I suppose, found himself in a difficulty. If he had admitted that such a question could not be put down, he would have been revealing clearly that this Financial Resolution takes away the administration of this Fund entirely from the supervision of the House and deprives a Member of Parliament of his legitimate rights to represent his constituents in this Assembly. We put this issue very seriously to the Government, Is it their intention that the administration of this Board, and the conduct of the officials appointed by the Board, shall be entirely outside the day-to-day supervision of this House?
We had it from the Minister of Labour, in his opening speech, that he wished to divest himself entirely of the obligation to answer questions about individual cases. We would like to point out that the essence of the needs test is its individual application, and if the individual 817 is not to be able to obtain protection through the advocacy or assistance of his Member of Parliament he will be deprived, under the provisions of the Bill, of a protection afforded him for three centuries under the Poor Law and be really disenfranchised. The essence of democracy is not merely the right to elect Parliament once every five years. If it is reduced to such meagre proportions it ceases to have any real meaning. The essence of democracy is the added right of the citizen to have access to the seat of power, in order to make known his grievances, and have his grievances ventilated and even to have them articulated on the steps of the Throne itself. That is the very essence of democracy. If that is taken away, the content drops out and it is merely an empty form.
All this Bill does is to carry this country one step further on the most sinister road—the road we have travelled in the last four or five years. We have set up several milestones on that road? There was the Trade Disputes Act of 1926, there was the resuscitation of what everybody thought was a dead Act at the time of the imprisonment of Tom Mann, and there is, all over the country, the suppression by the police of the right of demonstration—in Glamorganshire and other parts of the country. And now there is, in this present Bill, a declaration of intention on the part of the Government substantially to remove protection from hundreds of thousands of our fellow countrymen. I have spoken privately to many hon. Members in all parts of this House, and they are by no means happy about this provision. There are some men in this House who still feel that the sanctity of Parliamentary institutions must be defended against attacks, whether they be from the Right or Left. I have always held that there was no danger to Parliamentary institutions from the Left, but that the danger was always from the Eight.
We have been engaged in the last 24 hours in removing democracy from one of our Dominions because it came into conflict with the bondholders. We are now removing democracy from the British House of Commons, because it would give the Minister of Labour sleepless nights. I seriously ask the Government to have regard to this matter. If this Resolu- 818 tion goes through in its present form, a man will have no means at all of making his grievances known, except by the expedient of throwing a stone through a shop window. I suggest to the Government that it would be better for them, for the preservation of peace in this Realm, and for the vitality of Parliamentary institutions, that they should restore in this Bill the right of an aggrieved person to use his Member of Parliament to present his grievances on the floor of the House of Commons. The point was made by the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) in a passionate and eloquent plea for the right to defend himself before the local tribunal. If hon. Members will recall the provisions of this Bill they will realise that an unemployed person can appeal to the local tribunal only with the consent of the chairman. In other words, he is not able to appeal at all. If only a judge can say whether you can go to a court you have no real access. If a man canot appeal to his local tribunal he can only appeal to his local Member of Parliament. The man will have no assistance at all. He will have no learned counsel, nor will he be able to make an appeal in a judicial manner, but will be entirely at the mercy of an official sitting in private on regulations which are bound to be soulless and with no application to individual cases.
The embarrassment of the Government would have been removed of course if they had agreed to abolish the means test. I hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer or the Minister of Labour will furnish us with a more adequate reply than that of the Financial Secretary to the Treasury on the last occasion. It is nonsense to argue that the members of this Unemployment Assistance Board will be on the same footing as His Majesty's judges. They will be making and administering the law. The essence of the matter is the application of the regulations to individual cases. These men will not, in fact, be asked to adjudicate, they will be administering and legislating. Surely, it is not sound constitutional practice for these men to be granted the immunity from criticism enjoyed by His Majesty's judges. There will be great clamour all over the country for attention to be paid to these cases, and a number of individual cases will not be made public until they become 819 a positive menace. Only when there is an accumulation of cases will aggrieved persons seek others out and direct the attention of the State to their grievances.
I have found in discussing unemployment insurance in this House that somehow or other hon. Members on the Government side of the House do not see it with the same urgency as we do on this side. I have come to the conclusion that it is not because they are less sympathetically inclined, but because their contact with the unemployed is somewhat more remote than ours. They look on the unemployed as a social category. We who live among them know what they are. Unemployment in Great Britain is unequally distributed over the country. It is to a large extent aggregated in South Wales, Lancashire, the North-East Coast, and East Scotland. Because of that, it is very difficult for hon. Members to see this problem in the same way as we do who live with it. It is that aspect of the matter which has probably prevented the Chancellor of the Exchequer from approaching the problem of relief to distressed areas in as sympathetic a way as we expected. On the last occasion when he spoke he was quite angered at the way he had been treated. I understand that we have to be very nice to him. It is not the justice of the case that wins concessions from him, but the docility and humility with which we put our claims forward. He said that not only did he resent hon. Members attacking him in the House, but that he also wanted to reward those Members who had been so nice to him.
If I approach this subject with a somewhat slow curve, I may say that I am anxious not to say anything which might offend the Chancellor of the Exchequer and prevent the distressed areas from having any additional assistance. The local authorities have not had very much time in which to consider the effect of the Chancellor's last concession, and I would like to point out that the House has laboured under considerable difficulty in discussing this Financial Resolution, as it has been changed from time to time. I do not understand why this last minute decision was necessary. The Government have had two years to make up their 820 mind, it has been promised in two King's speeches, and now that they bring it before the House they have to alter the Bill twice.
What is the value of the Chancellor's concession to distressed areas? By the way, despite the strictures the Chancellor of the Exchequer passed on me, when, without his customary courtesy, he refused to give way in the course of an unwarranted attack on me, I am pleased to think that he has adopted one of the suggestions I put forward. He has accepted the suggestion of leaving to the distressed areas two-fifths of the net cost. I would like to ask the Chancellor to put forward a few arguments to support his contention that the local authorities ought still to have some interest in the maintenance of their able-bodied poor. What does he mean by it. What reason is there for local authorities to contribute to the maintenance of the able-bodied poor? Under this Bill the local authorities will not have the slightest control over the spending of the money. Will the Chancellor be good enough to inform us why he laid it down as a principle that it is a good thing for the local authorities still to have some share in the maintenance of the able-bodied poor? I fail to see how he makes out his case.
The local authorities in Great Britain, particularly those in distressed areas, are quite helpless to take any steps to relieve distress in their own districts. They have not the power to come to the help of the able-bodied poor. I submit that it is agreed that the State has a national responsibility towards the unemployed, and it is a proper and reasonable application of that principle to have the whole cost of maintaining the able-bodied poor borne by the State. I do not see why the Chancellor of the Exchequer should be so parsimonious. He is making £1,000,000 out of this Bill, according to the Minister of Labour. I should like to put this point to the Committee. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour pointed out that a very considerable majority of the unemployed at this moment are receiving insurance and not transitional payments, and he looked to that state of affairs being maintained. That may be true, but I will put this to him—that whilst it is true of the country as a whole it is not true of the second category he mentioned in his speech, 821 those unemployed persons who are idle as a consequence of the obsolescence of the industry in which they were engaged. I think hon. Members in all parts of the House will agree that in the mining industry, the cotton industry and the shipbuilding industry they cannot hope to look forward to the complete employment of their old staffs again. Is it not also true that while the insurance principle may assist the bulk of the men unemployed those who will be chargeable to the Unemployment Assistance Board will be congregated together in the areas where those three industries are carried on? This Bill will, therefore, take away revenue from those areas where revenues are constantly falling as a consequence of the obsolescence of industry.
§ Mr. GODFREY NICHOLSON
I do not think that follows. It does not follow that this Bill will take away revenue from those distressed areas.
§ Mr. BEVAN
I think the hon. Member will agree with me that the men who are on transitional payments at the moment belong largely to the industries to which I have referred. I think he will agree that the men who belong to these industries have to be segregated in certain localities, and that, (man for man, the man in insurance benefit gets more than the man on transitional payments. Therefore, it follows that the Chancellor is already saving £6,000,000 under this Financial Resolution by that very principle. How does he save this money? He saves it by the extension of the insurance period. It costs the Insurance Fund roughly that amount to carry the transferred persons. This £6,000,000 which the Chancellor saves is the amount of money that he now has to pay to those persons who, under the provisions of the Bill, will be transferred to the Insurance Fund.
§ Mr. G. NICHOLSON indicated dissent.
§ Mr. A. BEVAN
The hon. Gentleman shakes his head, but is it not incontrovertible that the transitional payment man, on the average, get less than the insurance man? Otherwise, what did you want the means test for? When hon. Members shake their heads it simply reveals that either they are intellectually unscrupulous or that they have not followed the provisions of the Bill. That 822 is the situation. The point that I am striving to make is that, by the provisions of this Financial Resolution, money is gathered up from different parts of the country, from the contributions from the employed, the employers and the State. That money is collected from all over the country, and it is redistributed into areas already comparatively prosperous as compared with other areas.
§ Mr. NICHOLSON
I think the hon. Member has missed the point of my interruption. As I understand him, he says the provisions of the Bill would lay an extra burden on the distressed areas. I am hoping that he may be able to show that he has some reason for that charge.
§ Mr. A. BEVAN
I am coming to that in a moment. In view of the fact that this carries on the means test, it means that those areas which are most helpless and most distressed are going to receive, in respect of their unemployment, smaller revenues from the community than other more prosperous areas.
§ Mr. NICHOLSON
Is the hon. Gentleman saying that the local authorities will suffer, or the people generally?
§ Mr. BEVAN
It has to be remembered that a larger number of these people are congregated in the distressed areas, and they suffer most. Coming to the second point, on which the hon. Gentleman is entitled to a reply, how do the provisions of the Bill make the situation worse? They make it worse because of the fact that we see in Glamorganshire, in Monmouthshire, and until recently in Durham—and it is no doubt true of many parts of the country—that the local authorities and public assistance committees have set themselves up as a buffer for the Minister of Labour. What it does is to universalize the commissioners. If you consider the money saved in Durham by the commissioners in comparison with the public assistance committee, you will see that the Chancellor of the Exchequer will make money 823 under the Bill, as against his present position, taking the country as a whole. We have kept up a continual warfare with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labour in the last two years in defence of the standards of assessment against their importunities. It goes without saying that the local authorities, because they are getting money from the State in the assessment of transitional payments, have assessed the claims of the family more generously. It is probably true that there are hard-faced representatives in some districts who treat the poor so harshly that they may even find the Chancellor of the Exchequer a good change.
§ Mr. NICHOLSON
I do not think the hon. Member is entitled to make that charge. If he studies the Bill and the present regulations he will find that the Bill gives far more latitude to the commissioners than the present regulations do to those public assistance authorities which are endeavouring to carry out the law, as they are bound to do.
§ Mr. NICHOLSON
The Bill shows that the future authorities will have more latitude. Anyone can see from that that there is a difference from the present regulations.
§ Mr. BEVAN
The Bill is simply clouded over. There are one or two instances where, for example, they have to make some allowance for working members of the family, but that has to be done now. Even the Poor Law has to do that. I admit that in theory the Poor Law never ought to do it, but in practice it always does. If the hon. Member shakes his head, he really does not know much about the Poor Law. The argument I have advanced is that these unemployment assistance officers will be "safety first" men. I do not know of any official who has been reprimanded by the Minister of Labour for being too nig- 824 gardly, but I have known a board of guardians to be reproved for giving too much. The officials who will be appointed under this Bill know that perfectly well. They will all be "safety first" men, and the lowest standard in the country will be the vortex into which all standards will be plunged. That is the ordinary experience of administration, and I am entitled to say so on two grounds—first, the national tendency of administration, and, secondly, the fact that the local authorities' provision will mean that the unemployed poor will be much worse off under the provisions of the Bill than they are at present.
The next point is to pick up the speech made by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) and ask the Chancellor to reply to it. My hon. and learned Friend made a most interesting reflection when he said that it seemed to him, from the provisions of this Bill, that the Chancellor was deliberately divesting himself of the opportunity, if he wished to take it, of restoring the cuts in his next Budget. That is a most serious charge, so serious, as a matter of fact, that my hon. Friend the Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby) rose in his seat and, in a short but pithy statement, said that that was so grave, that it was such an important position, if true, that some assurance should be given to the House immediately, either that the Chancellor of the Exchequer does not so divest himself or that he proposes to incorporate some instrument that leaves it open to him to restore the cuts to the unemployed.
§ Mr. BOOTHBY
I did not say that it was a grave position. I said that it was such a grave charge that it deserved full refutation by the Government.
§ Mr. BEVAN
Quite so. It was not a pre-judgment of the issue by the hon. Gentleman. No reply has been made. Indeed, the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave the impression, in the course of his speech, that not only was he divesting himself of power to restore cuts to the unemployed, but that he was collecting money from the unemployed in this Bill to give to other people. He said in his speech that if he used the money in this way it might postpone the date at which he would be able to restore the cuts to 825 others, so we are to understand that the right hon. Gentleman is collecting money from the unemployed in order to give it to someone else. That is a monstrous position. If anybody is entitled to have a restoration of the cuts first, it is the unemployed, and for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to tell us that he is not going to restore the cuts now because it will make him so poor that he will not be able to restore the other cuts, leads us to assume at once—and unless we get a reassurance from him we shall have to keep on assuming—that he intends either wholly or partially to restore the cuts to everybody but the unemployed man; and that is a monstrous thing. This country, I believe, would never continue to support a Government guilty of such hideous treachery as that. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will reassure Members on all sides that that is not in his mind, and I hope he will answer the point made by my hon. and learned Friend and assure us that he will be in a position, despite the provisions of this Bill, to restore the cuts of the unemployed, if he feels himself in a position to do so, when he makes his Budget statement.
I believe that the last statement made by the Chancellor was not so satisfactory to the local authorities as he imagines, and I would like to put it to him once again that in the provisions of this Bill it seems to me he has lost an opportunity of putting himself right with his own people. No one would have taken serious exception to his having put the £115,000,000 of the insurance fund debt on to the National Debt. Nobody would have quarrelled much with him. There may be some financial pedants in some parts of the House who would point out to him that in doing that he was violating all the balance-sheet principles of Gladstone, but he has set Gladstone aside on so many other occasions that he might easily have done it on this occasion. Again, I suggest that it was rather foolish to—
§ Mr. BEVAN
I know that he would not like to do that, but I would point out that high finance is not necessarily arithmetical. Some Chancellors of the Exchequer seem to imagine that if their arithmetic is sound, their finance cannot 826 be wrong, but I suggest that it would have been better finance for the right hon. Gentleman to have added this debt to the National Debt and distributed the money to the poor, who would start spending it straight away and not save it up. We would thus have set the looms of Lancashire at work on shirts for the miners of South Wales, which would have been a great deal better. This country will ultimately have to come to the position that if it has any money to disperse, it must give it to the spenders and not to the savers. It is no use preserving your bondholders and your comparatively comfortable people. They simply add to the stock of £1,800,000,000 of idle money accumulated in the banks of Great Britain.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
May I ask where the £1,800,000,000 happens to be—if the hon. Member has looked at the other side of the balance sheet?
§ Mr. BEVAN
I know that the £1,800,000,000 is the expression of increasing liquidity, but I cannot go into that matter now. I am not permitted to do so. because I should be out of order. I do not want to have a discussion about high finance at this time of the morning, though I should not be afraid to have it, because I have listened to many speeches by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and I have discerned no great financial acumen in them. But my point is that if you have got money at all to disperse, it is good finance to give it to those who will spend it, who will make it go round, who will increase the consumption of consumable goods; and this country will have to come to the position that its real wealth and its real soundness consist in the purchasing power of the poorest part 827 of the population and not in that of the richest part of the population. I therefore suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that not only has he lost a good opportunity of making himself rather more popular than he is at the moment with the local authorities and of setting aside the pedantry which has been responsible in the last few years for the decline of this country's trade, but also at the same time of giving some encouragement to the poor people in the distressed districts of Great Britain who are too helpless to look after themselves and who expect from a powerful National Government some other policy than the perpetuation of their miseries and the maintenance of the bondholders' claims.
§ 9.30 a.m.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I beg to move, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."
I can quite understand the feeling of many hon. Members of this House that often this Motion is associated with some form of delay, but that is not my object now. I think the time has arrived when we ought to have some statement from the Government of what is going to happen. We have arrived at a very serious situation. We are discussing a Financial Resolution of the most important kind. I do not know of anything more important that we could discuss, and we are discussing it in the small hours of the morning. I think it is very bad business to undertake this work now. The Patronage Secretary may say to me that we could have taken it earlier if the discussion on another Measure had been shortened, but there is a simple reply to that. Even if the discussion of the other Measure had been cut down by eight hours, that would have meant that this Resolution would have been discussed at 12 at night, and I put it to the Committee that a Resolution dealing with unemployment insurance, affecting no fewer than 3,000,000 people—and, with their wives and families, no fewer than 6,000,000 or 7,000,000 of the population of this country—should not be taken as a second-rate Measure. It would never have been tolerated by the Conservative party when they were in opposition.
I have had the privilege of sitting in this House and watching many Governments at work, and I say that 828 the charge is not that any other Bill took up a considerable length of time, but that such an important Resolution as this should have been the first Order of the day and that no other Bill ought to have taken precedence of it. Even with the best will in the world, the other Bill could not have been disposed of before 12 o'clock at night, and any discussion must have come at the most awkward hour of the night. Again, it may be said that we have discussed unemployment insurance already on another occasion, but I have never accepted that argument. I wanted to speak on this Resolution, and all that I discussed was an Amendment moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A Bevan) on a minor issue.
I would appeal to the Scottish Members not to be unmindful of Scottish interests in this connection. I do not claim this as a sort of super-Scotsman but, for good or ill, I have inherited a tradition that Scottish affairs are treated differently from those of other parts of the country. I am not arguing that the system is good or bad, but merely stating the fact that Scottish Poor Law circumstances have always been a separate compartment from those of any other part of the country, and this issue affects the working of the Scottish Poor Law. I am making no complaint about the Scottish officials. For good or ill, they do their business at Edinburgh at the week-end, so that I make no complaint of their not being here. My charge is not against them. They must transact their business. My charge is that the Government arrange this business when they know the Scottish officers must be absent. Every Scottish Member here knows that the Scottish officers go to Edinburgh at the week-end.
§ Mr. G. NICHOLSON
The hon. Member knows as well as I do that the Scottish officers waited as long as they could before leaving.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I hope I shall never be guilty of any unfair reflection on a colleague. The Scottish officers sat there till half-past twelve, and they left at five-past one this morning. They could remain no longer, because they had important business.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
Let me repeat that, even with the best will in the world, this Resolution could not have come on until 12 o'clock, which was eight hours before it did come on, and so the Scottish officials could not have been present. Questions affecting the Poor Law in Scotland are raised in this Resolution. In Scotland we have had an age-long practice that every poor person has the right to appeal to the sheriff if he is refused relief. The sheriff is a publicly constituted judge. It was his duty to hear a man's appeal, and if he thought the man was deserving, he could compel the Poor Law authorities to grant him relief. That has been an age-long practice in Scotland. This Resolution affects that practice and interferes with that right. It may be good or bad, but when we are discussing it on the Financial Resolution—because on the Bill we should not be able to make any alteration—it ought to have been made possible for our Scottish officials to be present. I am not in the least joking about this matter. I put this with all the seriousness at my command and I think I know the Scottish Poor Law and unemployment. We are going to discuss these most important matters without a Scottish officer having the opportunity to be present, and that is why I make this Motion to report progress. Again let me emphasise that I make no criticism against any one of the Scottish Departments. I have always found them ready, willing, and anxious to be present in Parliament, but to-day the force of circumstances compels them to be away, and we are here discussing a Measure that affects them in the most vital fashion. If there were no other reason than that, it would be sufficient to urge that the Patronage Secretary should postpone this discussion.
The present House of Commons is constituted in a way that few Houses have been constituted in the past. The Government have an overwhelming majority. The Opposition, even all the elements combined, is small. In the conduct of Parliamentary business, particularly on Unemployment Insurance, an Opposition is as vital to this House as supporters of the Government. I think I can claim that I have consistently in this House, together with other Members in Opposition, stated points of view that the Government had not understood 830 before. It might have been possible, if we had been numbering hundreds, to have had a day for this discussion. But when you have only a few Members, it is not treating the Opposition with respect, fairness, or sportsmanship to take a Measure of this kind at this hour. I have been out of this Chamber only 45 minutes, or an hour at the most, since 3 o'clock yesterday. I have had a telegram from my native city—the second city in Britain, a city with well over a million of population, four times that of Newfoundland—expressing their complete dissatisfaction with this financial Resolution. It is signed by the Provost of the town, a Conservative. I say that to discuss that Measure at this time is not conducive to the best interests of the people. I see the Prime Minister. He has not sat through the night. I do not complain of that. He has other duties that possibly demanded freshness of mind and clarity of judgment. But I do say that it might have been well for him to have come here this morning, when we were discussing such a deep human problem, and asked the Government at least to reconsider the matter. I have seen the Minister of Labour reflected on once or twice. I know he will deny it, because of his super loyalty to his colleagues. When they were globetrotting in various parts of the world he was the one Minister left at home, because he was to decent and dignified to take part in the mad scramble. To-day, if he had been an aggressive Minister, this Order would have been first. It is not treating your Minister of Labour fairly.
Imagine the spectacle that we see of a Minister of Labour sitting the whole night through, not knowing at what hour this Bill would come on, playing second fiddle to the Dominions Secretary. Here is Newfoundland, with 200,000 of a population, the first Order on the Paper. The second business is Unemployment Insurance, for the whole of Scotland, and a Cabinet Minister and his Under-Secretary sit the night through, while another Cabinet Minister tinkers with time after he has wasted time, because if there was a delay it was not here. Every acknowledged Parliamentarian in the House almost felt like coming down and turning him out in order that we could get on with business. We had another Minister occupying his time waiting. I remember 831 the right hon. Member for Hillhead (Sir Robert Home) declining the Ministry of Labour because it was not important enough. I say that it is almost the most important office of the Crown. None is more honourable, and I say that to put the position in that way is a grave reflection. I appeal to Members of this House to support the postponement of discussion on the Financial Resolution on Unemployment Insurance at this time, with a Minister ill-equipped for the discussion, with a Chancellor of the Exchequer—just imagine the arrangement, compelling even the Chancellor of the Exchequer to sit the night through—
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
It may be, but look at the reflection—the Dominions Secretary in bed, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer up all night. If it were not for the tragic issues lying behind it, it would be a joke. It may be that there will be a slight delay in connection with this Financial Resolution, but I cannot see that there is any great strength in that objection. What issue is there which is in greater need of discussion than this issue? A day longer will not matter very much. We are to give a day to the consideration of greyhound racing. Surely we could devote one of those days which are available for other subjects, to this important question. I hope the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury will appreciate the reasons I am giving and that the Debate on the main Resolution will not be closured. A number of us want to raise serious issues on it, and I would ask him to accept the Motion to Report Progress, in the interests of all concerned and, above all, in his own interests, having regard to the future conduct of Parliamentary business.
§ Mr. T. WILLIAMS
May I ask the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury whether he has any statement to make as to the Government's intentions?
§ 9.51 a.m.
§ Captain MARGESSON
The few remarks which I propose to address to the Committee must necessarily be to the same effect as those which I made last night at ten minutes past eleven o'clock and again this morning at half-past five o'clock. Now, at ten minutes to ten o'clock I repeat that the Government are 832 going to carry out the programme to which they set their hands at a quarter to four yesterday afternoon. There are hon. Friends of mine behind me who have sat here all through the night waiting for a chance to make their observations on this subject and we have no intention now of abandoning the task to which we have applied ourselves.
The hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) spoke about this Resolution having been put down as second Order. Let me remind him that the original Resolution was put down as the first Order on Monday, and that the whole of that day was given to the discussion of the Resolution in Committee. When the programme of business for Monday was announced and the Government intimated that they were giving one day to the Financial Resolution in Committee, no complaint was made either from the hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway or the hon. Gentlemen opposite me, through the usual channels. One day for the discussion of the Resolution in Committee was apparently regarded as satisfactory. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Then the Government made a concession which was welcomed in every quarter of the House, but owing to the procedure under which we work it was not possible there and then to amend the Financial Resolution so as to embody that concession. The Government were, therefore, forced to withdraw the original Financial Resolution and to submit the Resolution which now appears on the Paper. Thus, the whole of this Resolution has already been discussed with the exception of the alteration to which I have referred. The only addition to the original Resolution is that which embodies the concession made by the Government. If it is complained that this Resolution is being taken at five minutes to ten in the morning, after an all-night sitting, I say frankly that had the Opposition desired to have it taken at a more reasonable hour, the matter lay in their own hands.
§ 9.53 a.m.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I am surprised that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury should take that attitude. I can understand why he required to get the Newfoundland Bill through the stage which has just been completed, but he has come to us with an intimation that a 833 time-table is to be applied to the further stages of the Unemployment Bill. That means force. The Government are suspending the ordinary Parliamentary procedure in order to force that Measure through in the minimum of time. But, not content with the guillotine which is to be set up next week, the right hon. and gallant Gentleman now says "I am going to force through this Financial Resolution." I suggest to him that this will create in the minds of the unemployed and of the working class generally a conception that the Government in their treatment of the unemployed are prepared to be quite ruthless and to deny, for the discussion of this subject, the ordinary facilities which would be granted for the discussion of any other subject.
The Parliamentary Secretary has done his best to throw the responsibility on the Opposition. We cannot take it. It is childish for the leaders of a Government supported by 500 members to complain about the Opposition of a handful being so strong that they have to use brutal methods. It is puerile to argue in that way. [An HON. MEMBER: "You have kept us all night."] I have kept you all night! Just imagine—this great strong giant of a politician, against those 500 Members with their millions of votes and he compels them to bow to a mere handful. It seems childish in the extreme. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury knows that there is nobody who has not co-operated with him in the course of this Parliament.
§ Mr. MAXTON
He has been treated with courtesy, fair play and consideration. Never have I known a Parliament in which Government business has been carried through at the rate and in the time desired by the Parliamentary Secretary, to such an extent as in this Parliament. Now when we come to a Measure, which, as he knows, enlists the interests and sympathy of hon. Members on this side as no other question does, he says: "You may show consideration and courtesy to me in the things about which I am concerned, but in the things about which you are concerned, I will use the strong hand". That is what he is saying to the Opposition to-day. I 834 cannot imagine anyone who could have been more genial and helpful than the Chief Whip of the Opposition in his arrangements with the Parliamentary Secretary.
The Leader of the Opposition takes a definite pride in not delaying business, but he would have insisted, had he been here, that the facilities that the Opposition require should not be hampered in any way, and that the subject should only be discussed under conditions which would make proper, thorough and adequate discussion possible, and these considerations do not exist this morning. It is a long time now since I have found that I am in conflict with the order of this House, but the attitude taken up by the Government to-day touches me in a way that makes me feel that respect for the order and decencies of the House is not responded to, and that turmoil, disturbance, obstruction, Parliamentary rudeness and a refusal to co-operate in any way would be treated with greater respect than the methods which have been consistently adopted by all sections of the Opposition. I make my protest, and I say definitely that in the future my attitude towards proposals about business will be entirely different, because we regard ourselves as entitled to the utmost consideration of this Measure. We believe that the subject is entitled to the utmost consideration.
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury, who has the whole of the next Session in front of him to put through this Measure, is going to impose by force a time-table. I do not know how many days he is going to put into it. It must be anything from 10 to 30. If he had 30 in his mind, it would be in his favour to reduce it to 29. If he had 20 in his mind, it would be in his favour to reduce it to 19, and the Opposition could not prevent him. There is nothing in this move this morning except the desire to teach the Opposition the lesson that in this Parliament, whatever we do, we must not oppose, or else the mailed fist will be brought down on top of us and we shall be made to suffer in our bodies for any signs of opposition to His Majesty's Government. It is shocking and disgraceful. I will consult with my hon. Friends on the future stages of the Bill as to how best we can oppose it, and, if our attitude to the whole proceedings of 835 the House is changed, the Parliamentary Secretary can know where the responsibility rests.
§ 10.3 a.m.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
The Parliamentary Secretary puts all the blame on the Opposition for the length of this sitting. He was warned quite clearly. When I asked at Question Time what the business was, it was obvious that it would be very difficult to bring it on at a reasonable time. Extremely larger principles were raised, both financial and constitutional, and the replies that were given on various Amendments did not tend to shorten the proceedings. One can never foretell accurately how a Debate will go, but it became obvious very soon yesterday that, if this discussion were to come on at all yesterday, it would come on at a very untimely period in the small hours. The Parliamentary Secretary has always taken the line that this amended financial Resolution was not very important. We never took that view at all.
§ Captain MARGESSON
I never said it was of no importance. One day was allotted to it, and I had no complaint that that was insufficient. The next Resolution is partly the same except for the addition of the concession.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
When a concession of that kind is made it changes the whole course of the Debate. What happened was that it had to be postponed. The Government had to move, "That the Chairman do now leave the Chair." That created an entirely different position. The Government put down two first-class Measures for one day and the Opposition was within its rights in protesting.
The Opposition is very small in numbers but its duty is clear. It is to see that all matters that come before the House are fully discussed at times when Members can be here, and when they are fresh. The business of the House is done by a comparatively small proportion, and with an extraordinary small attendance of, Members on the other side. That does not mean that it can be conveniently put down just because the Parliamentary Secretary has five relays of Members. That is not the right way of running the business of the House. We have never 836 taken up the line of mere obstruction for obstruction's sake. We have not objected to any reasonable arrangement, because this House has to do its work, and, when we have a majority we shall expect that the House will do it; but we shall say that the minority shall have its rights as well as its duties. By far the best thing on this occasion would be to accept this Motion and have a proper discussion of the matter one day next week.
§ 10.8 a.m.
§ Mr. LECKIE
I do not sympathise with hon. Members who have spoken with such indignation. I have listened to the Debates all yesterday afternoon and through the night, and they knew as well as we did what was in store. Had they had any real desire to get this Money Resolution they would have cut a great deal of their talk out, and we could have reached the Resolution at a reasonable hour. I have risen in order to say a word with regard to the Money Resolution itself.
§ The CHAIRMAN (Sir Dennis Herbert)
I am not sure whether the hon. Member exactly understands the position at the moment. It is that the question before the Committee is that I report Progress and ask leave to sit again. Up to the present point his remarks have been in Order on that Motion, but he will understand that he cannot discuss the Resolution.
§ 10.9 a.m.
§ Mr. COCKS
I do not want to indulge in any personal discourtesy to the Parliamentary Secretary, for whom I have a great personal admiration. He does his work extremely well. But we have had several discussions on motions to report Progress, and the; decision in each case has been given by the Parliamentary Secretary and not by the Leader of the House. There is a leader of the House somewhere. I have never been quite sure in my mind whether he is the Prime Minister or the Lord President of the Council—I think the latter, because he is more often here. I think it is not quite treating the Committee with courtesy with which it should be treated that the Leader of the House should be continually absent in the course of a prolonged debate. When the Leader of the Opposition or the party below the Gangway asks for a concession in this way, 837 very often the Leader of the House gives way. Here, apparently, orders have been given. The Parliamentary Secretary, with all his good qualities, is not a Member of the Cabinet, and is not the Leader of the House. He says, I will not give way a single jot or tittle on what I said many hours ago. I think it is due to the Committee that the Leader of the House should be sent for. He will probably give the same decision as the Parliamentary Secretary has given, but I think the Lord President or the Prime Minister, or whoever is the Leader of the House, should come and give a decision, instead of allowing it to be given by the Parliamentary Secretary.
§ 10.12 a.m.
§ Wing-Commander JAMES
The hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) complained about the time that has been occupied. I notice that he and the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan)—on the last Measure, about which they announced that they did not care a brass farthing—spoke 17 times for two hours and 54 minutes.
§ Mr. MAXTON rose—
§ The CHAIRMAN
If the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) is especially attacked or referred to, I should, of course, give him an opportunity at the earliest possible moment.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I will not allow the hon. and Gallant Gentleman to make a complete misrepresentation of my attitude towards the last Measure. I did not make any suggestion that I did not care a brass farthing about it. I was deeply concerned about it. I said, about one incidental thing, that I did not care a brass farthing, but on the Newfoundland Bill I was keenly concerned, and I said so.
§ Wing-Commander JAMES
The hon. Member said that about the British Empire he did not care a brass farthing. Then he and the hon. Member for Gorbals spoke 17 times for two hours and 54 minutes.
§ 10.16 a.m.
§ Mr. MAXTON
The hon. and gallant Gentleman misunderstands my complaint. It is that important Government business 838 is being placed before us when we are not in a condition to discuss it adequately, when only a quarter of the Government supporters are present, and when there is a whole Session available during which the Government have the ordering of the time. They are doing this now, not for the sake of getting good legislation, but in order to wreak their spite on me. That is a fine spirit for the Government of the country—to get their own back. Can anyone understand a more shocking motive—to punish two or three men? We are considering important Governmental business, but the hon. and gallant Gentleman sees nothing in it but a way of getting his own back on me. It is disgraceful and contemptible. He says I and my hon. Friend the Member for Gorbals occupied two hours and 54 minutes. I imagined that it was a whole lot more. There will be other Measures before the House when we shall occupy a great deal more time. I will use every minute I can on the Unemployment Insurance Bill. Surely the Government have some regard for the House of Commons and for their legislation, and want it discussed under decent conditions. There is nothing clever or strong about this.
§ Mr. H. WILLIAMS
On a point of Order. Is an hon. Member entitled to address the House twice on the same question, except for the purpose of giving a personal explanation?
§ 10.17 a.m.
§ Mr. A. BEVAN
I gather now, from what the hon. and gallant Gentleman has said, that Conservative Members only come here in sufficient numbers to defeat the Opposition, and not for the purpose of discussing the business that we are assembled to discuss in this House. Throughout the Debate on the Financial Resolution, Conservative Members have largely been absent except when their own stars have been talking, and then they packed the House. The Parliamentary Secretary has completely misrepresented the position. Everyone who has attended to business knows very well that the discussion on Monday did not receive proper attention from the Front Bench. We left the general discussion without any reply from the Front 839 Bench, and we went to the Amendment, because it was understood that the Resolution was going to be re-committed. The reason why the Resolution could not be properly concluded that night was that the Chancellor of the Exchequer wanted himself to amend it. It is absolutely unreasonable that the Opposition should have to sacrifice its proper opportunities for discussion to meet the convenience of the Government. It is the Government that had to withdraw the Resolution and not the Opposition. The Resolution has been before the House on two days when no one knew what its final form was going to be, because all the time the Chancellor was conducting negotiations with outside people. In order to discuss Parliamentary business properly, the final form of the Resolution ought to have been on the Order Paper from the beginning. The Resolution has been withdrawn and reprinted and now there is complaint because we want to discuss an important Measure of that kind at some time earlier than midnight.
The right hon. Gentleman has been pointing out that the Committee stage of the Bill was important enough to have occupied the Committee up to midnight. The Dominions Secretary himself said: "I suppose I can have the Bill by midnight." At that time there was no acrimony in the Chamber. It was a piece of ordinary legislation, and the Minister in charge expected to be on it up to midnight. From midnight on was not a proper time to take the Financial Resolution of an important Measure like this, because, once the Financial Resolution leaves this Chamber, we are gravely curtailed on the Bill itself. This is an extraordinary Bill. It is one of the most important pieces of legislation in the last half-century, and this Resolution gravely limits the opportunities for discussion on the Bill itself.
The Parliamentary Secretary must pay some attention to what we are saying in this regard. Since the beginning of this Parliament the right hon. and gallant Gentleman has had an El Dorado compared with what we had in the last Parliament, or what previous Tory Governments have had. Here is a Parliament with one of the smallest oppositions in history, and one of the largest majorities. It came into power 840 in circumstances of the greatest possible acrimony and bitterness. Nevertheless, for two years we have been able to transact business in a businesslike way without any all-night sitting, although there have been countless occasions when we could have kept the House up all-night if we had desired to do so. Like a bolt from the blue the Parliamentary Secretary informed us that it is intended to put the Guillotine on the Unemployment Insurance Bill. That is a monstrous proposition. Other Governments have at least allowed Bills to proceed a certain way in Committee, to find out how things were going on, but here is the Parliamentary Secretary, after two years of harmonious co-operation in the organisation of the House's time-table, springing the Guillotine on the Opposition for the most important Measure that we shall have to discuss. It is monstrous.
§ Mr. BEVAN
One of the causes of the feeling that has sprung up is the fact that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman intends to put the guillotine on, and we say that that is a violation of good manners. It will leave a bad taste in the mouths of people outside the House that it has been found necessary to take advantage of 30 people at half-past 10 in the morning to discuss the business of millions of our fellow-citizens, and the conclusion will be that the Conservative majority is so frivolous that it cannot be trusted with the well-being of the people.
§ 10.25 a.m.
§ Mr. McKEAG
I am one of those who have sat throughout the night with the object of making some contribution to the Debate on this Financial Resolution. I was in the House at half-past nine yesterday morning, I have not set my feet outside the precincts since half-past two yesterday, afternoon, and I have not had a meal since eight o'clock last night. I had hoped to travel over-night to the North. It is now clear that the whole of my time has been wasted, and that I shall be prevented from discussing important business in the North of England as I had intended. I have sat here with 841 the object of making some humble contribution to the debate, and, whatever may be the merits or demerits of the complaint made by hon. Members opposite, the only result of these interminable discussions has been to prevent me from taking part in the debate on the Financial Resolution.
|Division No. 52.]||AYES.||[10.26 a.m.|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Fraser, Captain Ian||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Fremantle, Sir Francis||Penny, Sir George|
|Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M.||Ganzoni, Sir John||Petherick, M.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilston)|
|Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J.||Goff, Sir Park||Pickering, Ernest H.|
|Balniel, Lord||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada|
|Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar||Graves, Marjorie||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Bateman, A. L.||Grenfell, E. C. (City of London)||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Grimston, R. V.||Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)|
|Batterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Robinson, John Roland|
|Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Boothby, Robert John Graham||Hors-Belisha, Leslie||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Borodale, Viscount.||Horsbrugh, Florence||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Bossom, A. C.||Howard, Tom Forrest||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd)||Scone, Lord|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.||Selley, Harry R.|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly)||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Latham, Sir Herbert Paul||Smithers, Waldron|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Leckie, J. A.||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Chapman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Leech, Dr. J. W.||Storey, Samuel|
|Christie, James Archibald||Lewis, Oswald||Stourton, Hon. John J.|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Cooke, Douglas||Liewellin, Major John J.||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-|
|Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||MacDonald, Rt. Hn. J. R. (Seaham)||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Cross, R. H.||McKeag, William||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||McKie, John Hamilton||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Macmillan. Maurice Harold||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Dickie, John P.||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Donner, P. W.||Mayhew, Lieut.Colonel John||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S|
|Duckworth, George A. V.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||Whyte, Jardine Bell|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Eastwood, John Francis||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Elmley, Viscount||Moreing, Adrian C.||Womersley, Walter James|
|Essenhigh, Reginald Clare||Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.)|
|Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Fleming, Edward Lascelles||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Sir Frederick Thomson and Commander Southby.|
|Fox, Sir Gifford||Nunn, William|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Edwards, Charles||Maxton, James|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Banfield. John William||Grundy, Thomas W.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Batey, Joseph||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Harris, Sir Percy||Williams, Thomas (York. Don Valley)|
|Buchanan, George||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Wilmot, John|
|Cape, Thomas||Logan, David Gilbert|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||McEntee, Valentine L.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Dagger, George||McGovern, John||Mr. Groves and Mr. John.|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Mainwaring, William Henry|
§ Question put accordingly, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."
|Division No. 53.]||AYES||[10.35 a.m.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Batey, Joseph||Cape, Thomas|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Cocks, Frederick Seymour|
|Banfield, John William||Buchanan, George||Daggar, George|
§ Captain MARGESSON rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 138; Noes, 26.
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 28; Noes, 135.
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||John, William||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Edwards, Charles||Lojan, David Gilbert||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||McEntee, Valentine L.||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Grundy, Thomas W.||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Wilmot, John|
|Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Mainwaring, William Henry|
|Harris, Sir Percy||Maxton, Jamet||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Mr. McGovern and Mr. Groves.|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Fraser, Captain Ian||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Fremantle, Sir Francis||Petherick, M.|
|Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M.||Ganzoni, Sir John||Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilston)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Pickering, Ernest H.|
|Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J.||Goff, Sir Park||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Balniel, Lord||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar||Graves, Marjorie||Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham-|
|Bateman, A. L.||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Grimston, R. V.||Robinson, John Roland|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsmih, C.)||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Roes, Ronald D.|
|Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Ron Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Borodale, Viscount.||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Bostom, A. C.||Horsbrugh, Florence||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Howard, Tom Forrest||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Scone, Lord|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)||Selley, Harry R.|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd)||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly)||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Smithers, Waldron|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Latham, Sir Herbert Paul||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.)||Leckie, J. A.||Storey, Samuel|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Leech, Dr. J. W.||Stourton, Hon. John J.|
|Chapman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Lewis, Oswald||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Christie, James Archibald||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Liewellin, Major John J.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Cooke, Douglas||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Cross, R. H.||McKeag, William||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Cruddas, Lieut-Colonel Bernard||McKie, John Hamilton||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Macmillan, Maurice Harold||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Dickie, John P.||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Donner, P. W.||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Duckworth, George A. V.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||Whyte, Jardine Bell|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Eastwood, John Francis||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Elmley, Viscount||Moreing, Adrian C.||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Essenhigh, Reginald Clare||Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.)||Womersley, Walter James|
|Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.|
|Fleming, Edward Lascelles||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Fox, Sir Gifford||Nunn, William||Sir George Penny and Commander Southby.|
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ 10.43 a.m.
It is about an hour and a quarter since the last speech on the main question was made by the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan).
§ The CHAIRMAN
I am not sure that I have made the hon. and gallant Member understand that I am calling him to speak on the Resolution without accepting his Amendment.
I understand that: I do not propose to repeat or recapitalate the hon. Member's tremendous wanderings over whole field of unemploy- 844 ment, but I should like to echo one thing he said. It is rather a pity that none of the Ministers have taken up the threads of the Debate of last Monday by answering one or two of the questions which were then left in the day to what I considered was a very important point in regard to the Resolution. I am not going to wander over the field of unemployment, because we shall have other opportunities of doing that, but I want to deal with one specific point, and that is the financial powers that will be given away by this House if we pass this Resolution. The Resolution states that certain moneys can be paid out of the Consolidated Fund. Out of moneys provided by Parliament sums 845 can be paid to meet any increase attributable to the passing of Part I. The Committee in order to keep the Insurance Fund solvent, is to be given certain powers over benefits, contributions and a number of other details which are to be found in the schedule.
Under the Act of 1930 we have this curious result that, automatically, the Exchequer pays one-half of the aggregate contributions of the employer and the employed. Therefore, if the Statutory Committee were to recommend an increase in the contributions in order to render the Fund solvent, automatically there would be an increase in the charge on the Exchequer, owing to the meaning which is now laid on the Act of 1929. It is provided that the Statutory Committee can make their recommendations in the form of Draft Orders, which may be approved or not by the Minister. Those orders then have to be passed by both Houses of Parliament, without Amendment. This is really the position, that the Statutory Committee might think that it is necessary to increase the contribution and it could present to the Minister a Draft Order to this House, instead of the usual financial procedure which hitherto would have been the case, and in a Bill founded on the Money Resolution we should find ourselves approving a considerably increased charge on the Exchequer, after having had only one opportunity of debate and no opportunity of Amendment.
That is a very serious blemish on this Financial Resolution. No doubt it is intended to be the case, although these changes are hidden away in a mass of very technical language. That could not have been done by accident; it must have been done deliberately. Therefore, the Government wish to deprive the House of its powers and are going in the face of recent criticism, for example, the criticism of the Committee which dealt with Ministerial powers. The Parliamentary Secretary thinks that there is ample precedent for this procedure in the principal Act, because the Act of 1920 did not allow that the Minister could, by Order, extend the field of unemployment insurance to certain occupations which were then excepted. The Act certainly says that, but the Minister has never done it. Successive Ministers of all parties may have thought that that was an extension which it was not right 846 to adopt in that manner. It also remains the fact that if Ministers were naughty boys in 1920 there is no reason why they should be the same in 1933. It is no excuse for anyone to say that because something wrong was done years ago that that is a precedent for doing something which many of us in this House consider is the wrong way of tackling the problem.
It would be beneficial to the House to know exactly what has prompted Ministers to ask, under this Resolution for such a very great amount of power and such a great divergence from the ordinary financial procedure of this House. If we in this House do not look after the methods by which Governments can obtain powers of taxation, even if they are obtained through the back door, the time will come when other Governments of other parties may use the same back door. It is most deplorable that a Government at this time of the day—I do not mean at this time of the morning but at this period of the day—should introduce into a Financial Resolution such a novel procedure. The whole Committee will await with interest the explanation which some Minister may have to give on this point.
§ 10.50 a.m.
§ The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Chamberlain)
I should like at once to make some reply to the point which my hon. and gallant Friend has raised upon the Motion, a point which is contained in the Amendment which he had put down but which, I understand, will not now be moved. My hon. and gallant Friend is always a very vigilant guardian of the privileges of the House, and I think he has done good service in bringing up for discussion a point of this kind, as to which I hope that I shall be able to make a perfectly good defence. It is a matter very properly to be discussed in a Bill of this sort. I am sure that my hon. and gallant Friend does not wish to suggest that this provision is being introduced by the back door. He does not intend to suggest that it is deliberately concealed in the Financial Resolution. The procedure was quite deliberate, as he rightly anticipated, and in order to carry it out we had to adopt the draftsman's method of putting it into the Financial Resolution.
My hon. and gallant Friend asks why it is that we come before the Committee 847 and request that special powers may be delegated to the Minister. The first answer to that is that here we are following the recommendation of the Royal Commission, on page 165 of their Report, in which they say:In our view the Minister should have power, subject to the approval of Parliament, to make such changes as are necessary, without having to introduce a Bill to amend the Acts.In other words the Commission believed that changes in the Insurance Acts were required so frequently in order to meet changing conditions that greater elasticity ought to be provided than the ordinary course of introducing a new Bill every time we wanted to make a change which in many cases might be only of a minor character. The recommendations of the Royal Commission in regard to the Statutory Committee and the extension of functions which the Royal Commission thought ought to be given to that body are set forth in the Report as follows:Such a body should be charged with the statutory duty ofVarious other things are also specified. It will be seen, therefore, that we are acting strictly in accordance with the Royal Commission in the procedure we have adopted. If this was an, entirely new procedure and there was no precedent for it, then I think the House might be more anxious about it, but, as my hon. and gallant Friend has indicated, there is precedent in the main Act itself, in the Act of 1920. Not only under that Act has the Minister power in Section 4 to introduce whole new industries into insurance, with a corresponding contribution from the Exchequer, but there are other Sections, namely, Sections 15 and 16, under which the Minister has power to increase the rates of contribution of employers and employed. Any increase in the rates of contribution of employers or employed automatically affects the contribution from the Exchequer which, under the Acts, has to be one-half of the combined contribution of employers and employed. There we have an exact analogy of the procedure which we are adopting here. The Exchequer contribution can, of 848 course, only be increased pari passu with the contributions of the employer and the employed. An alteration cannot be made in the procedure which is envisaged in the Financial Resolution without the approval of the House, and the ordinary Financial Resolution is only abrogated if an Order is made upon the recommendation of the Commission.
- (a) Presenting an annual report to the Minister and to Parliament; and
- (b) Making recommendations to the Minister and Parliament with regard to changes in the rates of contributions."
Hon. Members may think that we are going too far and that it may be desirable to move an Amendment in Committee, but I would point out the very strong view that was held by the Royal Commission, that the method of governing these changes in the Insurance Acts by the ordinary procedure was too cumbersome, too slow, too rigid for practical effect, and they very strongly held the view that it was necessary to find a more flexible method. In face of the precedent which already existed in the main Act, I have no doubt they recommended the procedure which we have adopted. With that explanation I hope that, even if I have not convinced my hon. and gallant Friend, I have shown him that there is good reason for the course that we have taken.
§ 10.57 a.m.
§ Mr. J. P. MORRIS
I apologise to the Committee for my intervention in the debate at this juncture, but I have been sitting here since 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon, and I know perfectly well that other hon. Members who have also been here for so long a time are desirous of speaking on the Resolution. I will not detain the House for more than a few minutes, but I want to explain the reason for my intervention. My reason is this, that I intend to go into the Lobby against the Government on this Financial Resolution, and I want to give the reasons why I am doing so. In my opinion, and in the opinion of many hon. Members, the Government have failed to implement the pledge given by the Minister of Health on the 12th April last, to the effect that the Government would take over the additional responsibility for the able-bodied unemployed. In order to prove to the Committee that the pledge was given, I will read from the speech of the Minister on that date. He used these words:One of the bases of this redistribution of responsibility between local authorities and the central Government will be that the central Government shall accept 849 responsibility, both administrative and financial, for assisting all the able-bodied unemployed who need assistance. The acceptance of this responsibility by the central Government will necessitate the readjustment of the present block grant paid to the local authorities by the State."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th April, 1933; col. 2607, Vol. 276.]My interpretation of the word 're-adjustment" is this, that the Government would take over the full financial responsibility for the able-bodied unemployed and that that portion of the block grant due to the unemployed weighting factor would be refunded by the State. Now I know that that is not the case.
Instead of the Government supplying the whole of the money for the able-bodied poor the local authorities will only receive, previous to last Monday night, an amount of £2,600,000. I will examine what the £2,600,000 really amounts to when "we come down to brass tacks." In the first place, £600,000 of that amount is allocated to Scotland, leaving £2,000,000. From that amount two sums are to be deducted, namely, £150,000 for certain administrative expenses and £250,000 representing the cost to local authorities of juvenile trade centres. That brings the new figure down to £1,600,000. There is not to be a recurrence of the temporary grant given to distressed areas this year, so that on a comparable basis the local authorities this year receive £1,600,000 as against £450,000 last-year, and therefore, the net relief to local authorities amounts to no more than £1,150,000. This supposed generosity is not sufficient for me, and it is treatment which I did not expect, particularly when I know that my city of Salford, with the partial relief granted by the Government, will still have to pay £30,000 more than it paid in 1930.
I have another complaint against the Government in regard to the Bill. Some little time ago I propounded on the floor of this House a system for the equalisation of the rate poundage for assistance throughout the country, similar to that which obtains in London county boroughs. I was informed by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health that that policy was not acceptable to the Government, because it cut across a cardinal principle of local government, it divorced the area of chargeability from the area of responsibility. But what do we find in this Bill? We find that the Government have gone round the whole 850 circle, and that as regards the present cost of the able-bodied poor, the local authorities have 60 per cent. of the amount to find while they have no say at all as to how the money is to be spent. I wonder whether the Government really think that, because they have not taken over the whole of the responsibility for the able-bodied poor, they are not going to lose support in the better off areas. If that is their intention or view there is one thing which I can certainly tell them: by their failure to take over the whole responsibility of the able-bodied poor they will lose a great deal more support in the industrial areas. I regard the Unemployment Bill as an admirable Bill with the exception of the financial part, but as I have been sent to this House to watch and to safeguard the interests of the ratepayers of Salford, I find myself reluctantly compelled to go into the Lobby against the Government on the Financial Resolution.
§ 11.5 a.m.
§ Mr. TINKER
I should like to associate myself with the hon. Member for North Salford (Mr. J. Morris). He belongs to the opposite Party as a rule, but on this occasion he feels so strongly that he will go into the Lobby against the Government. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in explaining the additional grant, stated that the reason why he did not go the whole of the way was because he did not think that the local authorities had a right to dissociate themselves entirely from the relief of the able-bodied unemployed. He could not go the whole way because of that. He gives away the principle yet is afraid to give the whole of the money for the purpose. The Unemployment Assistance Board defined in the Fifth Schedule of the Unemployment Bill, which states that the money shall be paid out of the Consolidated Fund, which means that it is entirely outside the purview of Parliament. It will mean that the Unemployment Assistance Board, whatever they do, will not be subject to the will of Parliament. When we discussed this matter on the last occasion the Financial Secretary tried to clear up the point. He stated in his speech that they would not be able to deal with them, but he went on to say:The object which the Government have in view is to impress upon the nation that 851 the board is not a servant of the Ministry of Labour, but enjoys an absolutely independent status."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 11th December, 1933; col. 162, Vol. 284.]Judging from that, it means that they will not be subject to any criticism at all in respect of whatever work they may do in dealing with Part II of the Act. The men and women under Part II are just the same as other unemployed people, but they are to be cut away and made subject to an independent body about whose actions we cannot say anything. He went on to say that that is a distinction which they will enjoy in common with many other boards, and he mentioned the Charity Commission, the Civil Service Commission and a host of others, as occupying the position of not being subject to criticism, as they ought to be, by Members of Parliament. We are giving assistance from the State for the able-bodied unemployed who do not come under statutory benefits, yet we shall not be able to criticise anybody's work. Previously the local authorities have had charge of them, and if they have not dealt with them in a proper way we have been able to make complaint. On many occasions we have been able to get redress. Now we are altering the whole tenor of the position, and putting these men and women, because they have not been able to get stamps through lack of employment, under other people. We are driving from our control a large body of men and women who have a right to expect that any grievances which they may have shall be dealt with by Parliament, but that will not be the case under the Bill.
Another point to which I wish to refer is one relating to the amount of money we shall be paying under Part I of the Bill. The Financial Resolution tells us that if the sum falls short, the Fund will be lent money for the time being until it recovers itself. We shall have to pay back, according to the latest figures, £112,000.000. This is to be amortised, and the debt, including interest at a general rate of 3½ per cent., will be spread over a period of 40 years. This gives the figure of £220,000,000 which we shall have to pay back. Surely we should have expected, after all the talk last night about looking after Newfoundland and giving sums of money for that purpose, that we 852 should have helped our people at home out of their difficulties. They are to be saddled with this Fund, from which it will take them 40 years to extricate themselves. I have a list of the distressed areas. The amount of money which they have had this year is £440,000, to which will be added about £300,000, or an increase of 68 per cent. Do I take it from the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the distressed areas will receive the grant in the same ratio as before—assuming that I am right in my figures of £300,000 and £440,000? It is rather a subtle point, and I should like the Chancellor of the Exchequer to say whether the money is to be given in exactly the same ratio as they received the £440,000.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
The hon. Member has not quite understood the arrangements. The provisional grant comes to an end at the end of the financial year. The concession which I announced was a concession upon the amount of contribution which the local authority will be asked to pay when the present system comes to an end altogether and the new Unemployment Assistance Board has to function. So that the two operations are not simultaneous; the one follows the other.
§ Mr. TINKER
I referred to the £440,000. The grant of money announced on Monday last is £300,000 in place of the £440,000. Is that the point?
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
The amount of £440,000 of which the hon. Member speaks was the sum provisionally assigned to the distressed areas in England and Wales in advance of the new scheme, but that was a provisional grant. When the present arrangements come to an end, they will be succeeded by a permanent or semi-permanent scheme, which lasts for a period of years, in which local authorities are relieved of 40 per cent. of the cost to them of the services transferred. In addition to that, I made this special concession to distressed areas. It is the one embodied in the last few words in the Financial Resolution.
§ Mr. TINKER
I am very glad that the right hon. Gentleman has tried to explain the position to me. I have a list here stating the places which have received the money, and I will give one or two 853 instances. Barnsley receives £3,861, St. Helens £4,375, and Sheffield £58,533. That is out of the grant of £440,000. They are to get 68 per cent. now, and if the amount is wiped out, will they get the same proportion as is represented by the £440,000?
§ 11.13 a.m.
§ Mr. McKEAG
The major part of this discussion has centered on the distressed areas, and at the outset I should like to make my position clear by expressing profound dissatisfaction at the failure of the Government to accept the whole of the financial burden for the maintenance of the able-bodied unemployed. It seems to be idle to talk about accepting financial responsibility if you are not going to accept the financial burden. Much has been said about the breach of faith of the Government in this matter, and my hon. Friend the Member for North Salford (Mr. J. Morris) also referred to it a few minutes ago. I admit at once that the Government have been able to extricate themselves very dexterously and very skilfully from the charge which has been preferred against them in this connection. I do not think, however, that that sufficiently disposes of the matter. I do not think the Government are entitled to don the white raiment of unsullied purity, or to adopt an air of injured innocence.
Whatever may have been the intentions of the Government, camouflaged by the skilful wording of the Resolution, there is not a shadow of doubt but that the great majority of hon. Members who were interested in this matter and took part in the discussions, believed that the Government at long last were accepting the financial burden of maintaining the able-bodied unemployed, and that the able-bodied unemployed were to be a national charge instead of a local charge.
854 What is more, the Government deliberately—I use the expression advisedly and with a sense of responsibility—permitted hon. Members to cherish that feeling. Take my own case. I took part in the Debate in this House on 6th July last, and I do not think I can do better, as an illustration of my point, than to quote the last two sentences of the speech which I delivered then. After having given details of the terrible financial situation in which my constituency was placed I said this:The position existing in Durham County today is no mere mushroom growth of the last year or two; indeed the depression there has extended over many years, and it would be sheer hypocrisy of me to stand here and suggest for a moment that I am satisfied. The only crumb of comfort that I can obtain is from the assurance that in this Session this Bill will be introduced whereby the whole of the burden of the able-bodied unemployed will be taken by the State and not cast on the local authorities."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 6th July, 1933; col. 597, Vol. 280.]
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
Is that quoted for the purpose of influencing the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) to vote against the Government?
§ Mr. McKEAG
I am hoping that on this matter the hon. Member for Bridgeton will go into the Lobby with me against the Government on this Financial Resolution. I trust that that is not the expression of a merely pious hope. That quotation from my speech was a very clear statement of what I believed the Government intended to do. In consequence of that feeling I went into the Government Lobby and voted for the Government against the Labour Motion of Censure. When I made that statement the Government spokesmen on the Front Bench heard what I said. It must have been known to them that I was wrong in the belief that I had in my mind, and I submit that when the Government spokesmen heard my statement and knew that that erroneous impression was in my mind, they should immediately have corrected it. Much has been said about the Government's breach of faith. All that I am trying to do is to give chapter and verse and to show the reason why that wrong impression prevailed among hon. Members who have supported the plea of the distressed areas. At the very least, although the spokesmen of the Government did not choose to correct me, the wrong impression 855 should have been cleared up by the Minister who wound up the Debate for the Government, and he should have stated that hon. Members were labouring under a wrong impression. Hon. Members should not have been permitted to walk into the Lobby supporting the Government on that occasion and at the same time living in a fool's paradise. There are many hon. Members from the distressed areas who had the same impression as myself. It is perfectly clear, and I say it deliberately, that the Government permitted hon. Members to carry that wrong impression in their minds. There is in the law a Latin maxim, uberrima fides —there should be a full disclosure of all sides. That maxim might very properly have been more closely observed by Government spokesmen in this connection.
Much has been said about the concession which was made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Debate the other night. Let me show in a few words how it affects the county of Durham and how negligible it really is. In 1931 the cost of public assistance in Durham County was £920,667. In 1932 the cost had risen to £1,304,428, an increase of no less than £384,239. Under this Scheme Durham County is to receive in the first place £110,000, and it is to receive further assistance under the concession made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer amounting to £33,000, making a total of £143,000. The position, therefore, is that after taking into account the total assistance given under the Bill and the additional concession, Durham County will be £241,239 worse off than it was in 1931. The concession made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer the other night will amount to a rate of 2¾ d. in a total rate of approximately 17s. I describe that as a mere bagatelle. Can it be wondered at that I find it impossible to welcome these proposals with shouts of joy or with hallelujahs? Only the other day the President of the Board of Trade, on a visit to Tyneside, said that the northeast was the most hard-pressed area that he knew. I only wish that some of the right hon. Gentleman's knowledge of the north-east and its difficulties might percolate through to other Members of the Government. If that were possible the problems of the north-east might not be viewed by them under what I can only 856 describe as the myopic influence of their south-country complex, and probably the distressed areas might receive that additional consideration without which it will be difficult for them to survive.
§ 11.23 a.m.
§ Mr. MCGOVERN
I wish to express my dissatisfaction with the financial arrangements contained in this Resolution. I hope that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has noted that of the four speeches already delivered not one has been in approval of the Resolution, and that two have been made by Government supporters, who have taken their courage in their hands and declared their willingness to vote against the Government, believing that these financial provisions are niggardly and inadequate. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has been taking great credit to himself for bringing a measure of relief to the distressed areas—relief which those areas do not agree with him that they are getting. It is rather a strange commentary that during the whole of last night we sat here making provision for financial assistance to Newfoundland. We did not single out any one area in Newfoundland or any special section of the people there to be immune from relief. Yet in this Resolution we are asking that the distressed areas in this country shall bear a large share of the burden of providing for the able-bodied unemployed in those areas.
I want to express our antagonism to these provisions in this way. So far as we in Glasgow are concerned, we want it to be noted that while there has been a measure of satisfaction in certain parts of the country that employment has been found for more people during the last few months, in Glasgow, and in Scotland generally, the figures of unemployment have been steadily on the increase. Glasgow becomes a more distressed area as time goes on, and the burdens which are being imposed upon shoulders that are quite unable to bear additional burdens are certainly not to the credit of the Government. We find that areas which could bear a larger portion of the burden of unemployment are being relieved to a considerable extent, that areas which are bearing the lowest Poor Law and able-bodied assistance rates are more able to bear the burden than distressed areas, upon which those burdens are being im- 857 posed. It means the curtailing of essential social services, and in Glasgow we have been asked as its Parliamentary representatives to enter our protest in this House against these provisions. The Glasgow Corporation have practically unanimously agreed that the provisions made for that area and other distressed areas are not in keeping with the necessities and the needs of Glasgow people as a whole, and they sent from their meeting yesterday telegrams to every Member of the area independent of party, in which they say,Unemployment Bill. With reference to telegram of 11th instant"—That was a previous telegram before the announcement which the Chancellor of the Exchequer made on Monday:Chancellor's concession to distressed areas. Public Assistance Committee consider relief afforded totally inadequate, and urge further endeavours be made to have the whole financial burden taken over by the Government. Town Clerk of Glasgow.Glasgow has asked, as I have said, that all the Parliamentary representatives should go into the Lobby against the Government in an attempt to force them to realise their responsibility to the area. So far as my colleagues and I are concerned, we need no stimulation from the Glasgow Corporation or from any supporters of the National Government in Glasgow to go into the Lobby against the Government because of the inadequate provisions of this Bill. Therefore, it is to be hoped that those Members who are giving service to the National Government will take heed of the overwhelming demand of the public bodies in Glasgow, of the press, of public representatives and the general public who are incensed against the provisions of the Bill. I propose to give a small excerpt from an article by Sir Henry Keith in the "Glasgow Herald" of yesterday. Sir Henry Keith is a Conservative from the Lanarkshire area, but he is in the unique position that he is an intelligent Conservative, and he has taken a very prominent part in local government work in Scotland. He has always attempted to apply the logical mind to local government. He has been imbued with a certain business and humane instincts, and expresses them fearlessly from time to time, no matter whether he has been a supporter of the Government or not. When he sees them doing the wrong thing, he attempts to correct them, and to show where they err 858 by being not over-lavish in their concessions to the public. He says:
§ "The opposition of the Scottish public assistance authorities to the Unemployment Bill centres almost exclusively round the financial provisions. In his address to the House of Commons on December 4 the Chancellor of the Exchequer spent some time explaining the proposals of the Bill in this connection, devoting attention to the argument that the Government had not merely fulfilled the pledge given by Sir Hilton Young on April 12, but had gone beyond his promise. It is therefore desirable to examine that promise in relation to the proposals of the Bill. Sir Hilton Young said—"The central Government shall accept responsibility, both administrative and financial, for assisting all able-bodied unemployed who need assistance. The acceptance of this responsibility by the central Government will necessitate a readjustment of the present block grant paid to the local authorities by the State, since they will be relieved of a liability to which they have hitherto been subject. At the same time we shall take the occasion of these financial readjustments to make some allowance on a. regular basis for the special necessities of what are commonly described in this connection as the distressed areas." Sir Hilton Young modified this promise by indicating that the Government would accept an amendment put forward by the Member for Sunderland (Mr. Thompson). Mr. Thompson's amendment was:—"The House resolves that responsibility for assistance to all able-bodied unemployed not over 65 years of age should be accepted by the Government, with such readjustment in financial relations between Exchequer and local authorities as is reasonable, having special regard to the necessities of distressed areas."
§ These are clear and definite promies, and committed the Government to accept responsibility for the relief of all the able-bodied unemployed of 65 and under, with such readjustment in the financial relations of the Exchequer and local authorities as is reasonable, having regard specially to the necessities of distressed area6. It is not clear that in the Bill any special arrangement has been made on behalf of distressed areas, although Section 44 (2) (i) at first glance appears to make some such arrangement; but as drafted that section reads more like a practical joke than an effort to relieve the distressed areas, in so far as it makes the condition of relief depend upon the authority receiving a grant for the current' year of an amount which is quite outside the experience of any local authority in Scotland; and it would be a surprise to find that there are any authorities in England who are more fortunate. The clause could be so expressed as to give relief to distressed areas, and that may be tried in Committee, if competent. The Chancellor, however, has just promised (December 11) that £300,000 shall be made available. Meanwhile we have to inquire, first, what are the financial relations exist- 859 ing at the present time between the Exchequer and local authorities, and, second, what is the connotation and just interpretation of the phrase, "as is reasonbale." So far as I can ascertain, there is no specific grant by the Exchequer for unemployment other than the £60,000 granted to distressed areas in Scotland for one year (the current year), and an equivalent to England and Wales.
§ "The general Exchequer contribution" paid out of moneys provided by Parliament is determined under the provisions of Section 53 (3) (c) of the Local Government (Scotland) Act, 1929. We are in the second "fixed grant period" of that contribution. It was revised on the basis of "the rate and grant-borne expenditure" in the "penultimate year" of the first "fixed grant period"—that is, the expenditure in the financial year, 1931-32.
§ The cost of able-bodied relief in Glasgow in the year 1931-32 was £650,074, less than in the year after by about £270,000, and loss than in the current year by about £575,000, and neither of the two latter sums qualified for the derating grant. Both sums were a charge exclusively on the ratepayers.
§ In fixing the general Exchequer contribution to Scotland for the four years beginning 16th May, 1933, the figue of £650,000 for 1931-32, and similar increased figures for other distressed areas, would swell the rate and grant-borne expenditure of Scotland for that year, and to that extent only increase the block grant for the second fixed grant period; but the formula grant, in respect of unemployment, to Glasgow and other distressed areas (under Part III, Article (2), of the 1929 Act) was based on the average number of the unemployed insured persons for the three years preceding 16th May, 1933, so that it was increased to them, not at the expense of the Treasury, but out of the Scottish block grant as a whole, for the Treasury's obligations were determined by the figures for 1931-32 (the "penultimate year"). As a matter of fact, the Treasury has escaped from contributing for the whole of the second fixed grant period (four years) a derating grant on the increased cost of able-bodied relief in 1932-33, the last year of the first fixed grant period, amounting to £545,000, and has escaped a still larger contribution in respect of the following year.
§ It will be seen, therefore, that a reasonable adjustment of the financial relations would imply a giving as well as a taking by the Treasury. But that is not the proposal of the Bill. By Section 44 it is proposed to enact that 60 per cent. of the cost of able-bodied relief as that cost was ascertained in 1932-33, together with 60 per cent. of a defined proportion of administrative costs, shall be borne by the local authorities. The exaction, as shown above, is to be made on a figure about £540,000 above the figure at which the general Exchequer contribution to Scotland is calculated for the second fixed grant period, due to the rapid increase of the cost of able-bodied relief in the year succeeding the penultimate year.860
§ "The burden to be borne by Glasgow appears to work out as follows:—The city expenditure on able-bodied unemployed relief for 1932-33 was £920,474. Of this figure Glasgow will probably bear 100 per cent. of one-fifth—namely £184,095, together with 60 per cent. of the balance—namely, £441,828—a total charge of £625,923, which is the contribution to be paid by Glasgow for two and a half years.
§ "Glasgow will also bear the whole increased cost, if any, above that of 1932-33 of able-bodied relief of all to whom the Bill does not apply in these years. This burden, however, will be reduced by the amount of the general Exchequer contribution which the city is to retain till the next fixed grant period. It would, however be erroneous to assume as between the Treasury and Glasgow that that is more than Glasgow's proportion of £100,000 (the amount of new money provided for the second fixed grant period). Apart from this, Glasgow is entitled to practically all the grants due in respect of derating and the percentage grants cancelled in 1929. Glasgow's share of the block grant for the next fixed grant period will depend to some extent on the rate and grant-borne expenditure of Scotland as a whole.
§ "The Chancellor of the Exchequer has made much polemical capital out of the assertion that the ratepayers are' only asked to pay 5 per cent., while the State is paying 95 per cent. of able-bodied unemployed relief, Sir Godfrey Collins gave 6.8 per cent. and 93.2 per cent. as the proportions for Scotland. The Chancellor ignores the repeated demand of all local authorities that the whole cost of able-bodied relief should be borne by the State, and he ignores the promise which the Government made through Sir Hilton Young that it would do so.
§ "It is not financial adjustment to charge 60 per cent. of any year's expenditure to the ratepayers. It is a financial evasion of a duty devolving on the State. The cost of the proposed relief to local authorities is officially given at £2,600,000. The cost of able-bodied relief in the latest completed year is estimated, for Scotland, at something round about £1.600 000. Allowing 20 per cent. of this for "rejects" to be borne by the ratepayers. 40 per cent. of the balance is £512,000. If this represents Scotland's share of relief, and England and Wales only need the balance, there is cither an error in the figures or Scotland's burden is relatively greater than that of England and Wales. The new educational burden is stated at £750,000. of which probably £75,000 is applicable to Scotland. Perhaps it is worth while quoting Section 78 of the 1929 Act:
§ Mr. MCGOVERN
May be, I am reading it too quickly.'It is hereby declared that it is the intention of this Act that, in the event of material additional expenditure being imposed on any class of local authorities by reason of the institution of a new public 861 health or other service after the commencement of this Act, provision should be made for increased contributions out of moneys provided by Parliament.' The new service to be imposed on areas with an excessive number of unemployed seems, under that section, to demand contributions beyond those proposed in the Bill.Probably hon. Members would like me to read it again. That puts the case from the Conservative point of view more eloquently than it has ever been put in this House. That is the opinion of one of the leading Conservatives of Scotland of the financial provisions of this Bill, and it is contributed to the leading Conservative paper in Scotland, which has been roundly condemning these inadequate financial provisions for distressed areas in Scotland and in the country generally.
Our objection to the financial provisions of the Bill is, on the more class issue, that Glasgow and the other distressed areas are not distressed areas through any fault of their own. The people are not unemployed because they want to be. During the days of prosperity those areas grew up as successful industrial areas, and contributed to the general wealth of the country and of the world. As the miners say, all wealth comes from the point of the pick, and they were entitled to expect, if the wealth which they created was taken from them by a ruling class living in suburban areas and in aristocratic areas, that when evil days came and unemployment was rife those who had contributed to the wealth of the country would receive greater consideration than they are getting under the provisions of this Bill. We say that even from an ordinary Conservative point of view the Government are failing in their duty to the people who have placed them in office. The people in the depressed industrial areas were entitled to expect that the general reserves of the nation would be applied to help those areas in their extremity, that the Government would come to their aid as they have gone to the aid of the bondholders in Austria and in Newfoundland. At least they ought to have said to the lowest section, economically, in this country that they should not be penalised by contrast with those who are outside this country and have never contributed to the wealth or well-being of the nation.
We claim that the Government should regard unemployment as a national problem, and that as the Government 862 have failed to provide employment the cost of able-bodied and Poor Law relief, for the sustenance of those who are out of work, ought to be cast upon the shoulders of all those in the country who are best able to bear the burden. The Government are not entitled to go to a depressed area and say to the people there "You are in poverty, you are living in slums, you are unemployed through world capitalist depression, and because we cannot provide for you we are going to see that the other citizens in your area, who are paid low wages, who are working long hours and who are rated up to the hilt, shall bear a large portion of the burden of the unemployment and poverty in the area." The Government are stultifying the efforts of the local authorities to deal with the depression and the economic effects of the present order of society, because, with the burden which this imposes upon them and the inability of their citizens to meet the increasing rates they are being compelled to tighten up the social services.
In Lanarkshire, the area which Sir Henry Keith represents, the financial stringency is so great that they have adopted methods which no civilised authority ought to be compelled to adopt. Whereas previously they have given boots and clothing to the children of necessitous parents in the distressed areas they say they are now compelled, by the growing unemployment, by the growing taxation and by the refusal of the Government to shoulder its responsibilities, to apply not only a means test but a medical test to the children before granting boots and clothing. Children are being queued up and subjected to examination, their feet are being examined, and they are being sounded. They do not say to the child, "Let me examine your boots and your clothes to see if they can keep out the cold, the rain and the snow." They say, "Let us sound you, and if you are bodily in a decent state of health, it does not matter whether your boots are drawing water or your clothes are an inadequate protection against the wind, the cold, and the storm. You are going to be refused boots and clothes."
The smug and wealthy areas of this country are to be protected at the expense of the children of the poor in these distressed areas. It is a shameful thing for a Government to come here with 863 financial provisions of this description' and say that they are facing up to their responsibilities in a civilised way. They are shirking their responsibilities. Even allowing for their belief that the Bill is essential, I say that there are untapped resources in this country that are competent to shoulder their share of responsibility for the distress in these areas, and in so far as the Government keep on piling on to the 15s. 3d. man, and the 23s. 3d. married man and wife, and the 2s. a week child, burden after burden, economy after economy, test after test, in order to free those in high places and allow them to live a life of luxury, ease, and comfort at the expense of a section of the poor, it is outrageous.
I am here, after having sat all night in this House, and I am not complaining. I am prepared to sit all night again if the rules permit and if it will forward the proposition that there should be adequate and humane treatment of the poor. We consider the bondholders, the capitalists, we run to their aid, we prop up their financial institutions, we run to pay them their dividends, their rent, and their interest, but when it comes to the human frames of individuals who are being thrust into the gutter, and poverty, and despair, we fail to accept the responsibility of what ought to be a national and not a local charge. I have been told that the proper Parliamentary approach is to go to the Minister, cap in hand, and to plead on behalf of these people in the slums and the children who are being done to death by inadequate nourishment and food, and I say that there is no opportunity in this House to make a humane approach. Bills are brought in and they are driven through as they were driven through during the night, and I am bound to tell the working classes of this country that, so far as the minds of the National Government are concerned, they are drunk with power and they are using that power mercilessly on the common people. The ruling class have crimes to answer for that humanity will make them pay for when the time comes. Their excesses on the common people will probably be paid for in excesses that we do not desire in another way. Do not imagine, because you are seated on these benches and making inadequate financial arrangements, that you in this House are having power for all time. If you sub- 864 mitted these provisions to the country and to the average elector, they would sweep you from power and put in men who were actuated by more humane motives towards the unemployed. My final word to you is this: Your time may come, as the time of previous Governments has come, and people who are drunk with power to-day will be reduced to a position of servitude when the time comes for the electors to declare their voice and give their mandate. You will then be oppressed, and in the distressed areas you will have the poverty-stricken mass of humanity, outraged, degraded, and tortured under your brutal, tyrannical control, rising in revolt and sweeping you out of power to make way for men with more humane and decent instincts.
§ 12 noon.
§ Mr. MICHAEL BEAUMONT
I beg to move, in line 136, at the end, to insert "one-third of."
After the violent oration to which we have just listened, I am afraid that my humble and, I hope, matter of fact attempt to deal with the actual problem before us may fall rather flat, but, unlike the hon. Member for Shettleston (Mr. McGovern), I cannot rise to heights of eloquence and exaggeration after such a night as we have spent. I make no apology for intruding this Amendment on the notice of the Committee. Its object is to reduce by two-thirds the extra grant that was conceded by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the distressed areas.
§ Mr. BEAUMONT
I make no apology for seeking to reduce it, because we have learnt by the action of the Chancellor of the Exchequer that it was wrong of us to keep silent when the Bill was first introduced. There were those of us who felt that it was a good Bill, which erred, if anything, by being too generous to the local authorities, but as it got rid of the control of the local authorities, we were prepared to accept it. We thought the best service we could render to the Government was to keep silent, and, therefore, we did not intervene. What was our pain and surprise to find that, while we 865 supported the Government with our silence, they gave away £300,000 more to these distressed areas?
Those of us who feel strongly on this subject are convinced that the original provisions of the Bill were quite generous enough. We are not moved by a vindictive spirit. We do not want to recall too much to-day the fact that what are now distressed areas were at one "time prosperous areas, and that what are now prosperous areas were at one time distressed areas, and that when, at that time, we came to them and asked for help—it was at the beginning of the century and before the war—we were told that we must stew in our own juice. We do not want to take that attitude. We are prepared to accept a national responsibility for a national problem, but only in so far as it is a national problem. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his original proposal, offered 95 per cent. of the payment to the unemployed, and I maintain that 5 per cent. is not too much to ask from the local authorities, who are by no means guiltless in this matter, as I propose to endeavour to prove.
We have been told by the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) that everyone who is interested in local authorities will be glad of this concession. I am extremely interested in local authorities. I am interested, to quote an old-fashioned phrase about another legislative assembly, in ending or mending them, and I am by no means gratified by this action. I know something about these local authorities in the distressed areas, and I would ask my hon. Friends below the Gangway opposite to note that I am not talking about Scotland, because I do not know anything about the action of the local authorities there, but I do know something about the action of the local authorities in the distressed areas in England.
§ Mr. BEAUMONT
Durham, the West Riding of Yorkshire, Lancashire, and the North Eastern and Northern areas of England. I do know that these authorities—
§ Mr. BEAUMONT
I wished to show every courtesy to the hon. Gentleman by giving way to him, but I thought he would produce an interruption more worthy than that. I do know something about the distressed areas and local government there. I know that the people are not wealthy, and one reason is the gross extravagance of the local authorities [HON. MEMBERS: "Rot!"] I assert without fear of contradiction that those local authorities which are now being given £300,000 of other people's money are the most extravagant and wasteful administrative bodies which this country has ever seen. Leaving out altogether the question of the administration of the unemployed or of the Poor Law, take every comparable figure you like and it will be found that in expenditure on education, on highways, and in that most wasteful, ruinous and unemployment-making expenditure, namely, expenditure on public works, these local authorities are extravagant. The high rates and unemployment in their areas are due primarily to their extravagance. I would say to my Socialist friends opposite that this is not a question of party politics. The most wasteful of these authorities are, and will be for a long time to come, bodies with Conservative majorities. It is not a question of party politics but of the mentality of those areas, and I complain most bitterly that this money should be given to areas which are, I maintain, directly responsible to the extent of at least 5 per cent for the extra distress which has come upon them owing to the gross extravagance in which they have indulged in the past 15 years.
§ Mr. BEAUMONT
I have listened very courteously to the speeches of hon. Members opposite, although I disagree with them as strongly as hon. Members disagree with me. I hope very much that the hon. Member will extend to me the courtesy that I have tried to extend to his friends.
§ Mr. MAINWARING
I challenge the hon. Member to mention an area that will prove one sentence of what he is saying.
§ Mr. BEAUMONT
I do not propose at this hour to bore the Committee with a lot of figures. I only wish to say that I and others associated with me in this matter believe, and have always believed, that we shall not get unemployment cured or a material improvement in trade, that we shall not improve the conditions of the people—for whom I agree hon. Members opposite speak sincerely, though I believe wrongly—until we get a reduction in the burdens of rating and taxation. Such a reduction is perfectly impossible if we are to subsidise extravagance. We are prepared to pay a certain amount for the comfort of getting rid of the control of local authorities, but I suggest that this proposal is going too far. It has been based very largely on the arguments of the Association of Municipal Corporations. I would remind hon. Members what the Association suggested, not in their last memorandum, but in an earlier memorandum dated 19th January, 1933, in which they said:We consider that the only classes of persons whose assistance is properly and rightly a local charge are unemployed persons over 65 years of age, and persons who cannot be regarded as effective industrial workers on account of physical or mental incapacity.They pointed out a recommendation of the Royal Commission which said, in effect, that there were some 437,000 people receiving unemployment benefit who were not, strictly speaking, able-bodied unemployed, and who, therefore, should be on the local authority. This Bill not only takes over under the scheme the whole of the able-bodied unemployed, but it keeps on the 437,000 who as the Association suggested in their own Memorandum, should be a local charge. I regret that the hon. Member for Durham (Mr. McKeag) is not in his place, although he has given me an explanation of his absence. He complained in his speech of being misled by a statement of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health on 6th July. This is what the Parliamentary Secretary said:The hon. Member for Consett (Mr. Dukie) asked whether the Minister stuck to the principle which he enunciated on 12th April that the State recognised national responsibility, financial and administrative, subject to block grant re-adjustment. What 868 my right hon. Friend has said, he has said, and what he has said, he means."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 6th July, 1933; Cols. 621-2, Vol. 280.]That is carried out exactly by the proposals of the Government, and I suggest that the Government have fulfilled every one of their pledges. In so far as they have erred, they have erred on the side of generosity by this extra grant. It is an unjust imposition on areas which have their own problems and have tried to deal with them soundly and economically.
§ 12.13 p.m.
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
We have heard an amazing speech from the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Beaumont), and I want to show him, in spite of the fact that he claims to know something about distressed areas, that his speech has disclosed a great deal of ignorance of the position. I will bring him to my own Parliamentary division to prove to him that he knows very little about distressed areas. He has declared that the distress in those areas is accounted for in a great measure by the extravagance of local authorities.
§ Mr. BEAUMONT
The hon. Member quotes me correctly, but I would like to point out that I also said they were responsible, by their extravagance, for 5 per cent. of the distress.
§ Mr. DAVIES
The hon. Member declared that the local authorities were not blameless in their present position. Let me ask him if he will be good enough to follow case I have in mind, which will show him that be does not in fact know what is happening in his own country. There is a small urban district council called Aspull in my division. In that district the coalmines have been closed for three years, the textile mills are closed, the iron works are closed, and not a single wheel has turned in that urban area for the last three years. Practically everybody is unemployed except those who can get employment outside, and I want to assure the hon. Member that the work of the local authority has not the remotest connection with what has happened to the industrial undertakings there.
Let me give the hon. Gentleman another instance. There is another township, Hindley, with 26,000 inhabitants. There were 17 coal shafts working there ten years ago. There are only six to-day.
869 In spite of the fact that there is a Labour majority on the local authority the rates have declined under their control. The hon. Gentleman is not correct in blaming the local authorities for the economic situation as these instances show. Take Lancashire as a whole. Lancashire is gradually becoming a derelict area. When the hon. Member blames the local authorities for the economic condition in Lancashire surely he is wrong. The economic conditions in Lancashire are known to everybody. Some people blame Japanese competition for them, but the central factor in causing the conditions which prevail in Lancashire to-day is that nearly all the countries to which we used to export textile goods prior to the War are now manufacturing their own textiles. The millowners in Lancashire are in great measure being relieved of rates to-day, but if they were relieved of every penny of rates, and if they paid no wages at all to their employé s, I cannot conceive that, even under those conditions, they could effectually compete in the Eastern markets with people who are producing the same commodities on the spot.
§ Mr. M. BEAUMONT
I do not doubt a word of what the hon. Gentleman says but my view is that the action of the local authorities has exacerbated the trouble instead of soothing, it.
§ Mr. DAVIES
Let me take the hon. Gentleman a little further to see if I cannot convince him. The hon. Gentleman is definitely an enemy of the local authorities.
§ Mr. DAVIES
When we were dealing with the question of greyhound racing tracks and the right of the local authorities to control them the hon. Gentleman opposed the local authorities then and I think that indicates his attitude. But I take him a stage further in the argument. What is the position in Manchester and Salford and particularly in Salford? When a man has made sufficient money in business in Manchester or Salford he proceeds at once to build a house in Blackpool, or St. Anne's-on-Sea, or Lytham, or Alderley Edge, or Wilmslow. The people who have made money there clear out of the industrial centres They use these industrial townships merely for business purposes only, and the trains between these centres and such 870 places as Southport, Blackpool and Lytham are filled each night and morning with gentlemen who make their money in Manchester and Salford and similar districts but who do not condescend to live in the places where their money is being made. That is one of the problems. Will the hon. Gentleman opposite go still further with his argument and tell us now what he would like the local authorities to do in order to reduce expenditure. Would he cut down expenditure on education? I suppose he would, except, of course, on the education of the rich.
§ Mr. BEAUMONT
I do not accept the hon. Member's implication but I certainly would cut down expenditure on education.
§ Mr. BEAUMONT indicated dissent.
§ Mr. DAVIES
I am afraid the hon. Member represents a Parliamentary division in which none of these distressing problems arise but I want the Committee to understand that those of us who live in industrial areas must have regard for the welfare of the people whom we represent. Parliament has not faced the issue created in these industrial areas since the coming of the motor car and the increase in. transport facilities. People are going out into the country to live and leaving the manufacturing districts derelict and allowing them to look after themselves. Any Government which takes office, whatever its political colour, will be compelled some day to face that problem of the allocation of the burden as between the people who can afford to live in the country or at the seaside, and those who are compelled to remain in industrial centres. That is a more important factor in the situation than those which have been indicated by the hon. Gentleman. Finally, I would impress one thing upon him and 871 it is that if he believes honestly in what he has told us this morning his place is not in the Conservative party at all. He ought to join the Fascist brigade at once.
§ 12.20 p.m.
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
It is only reasonable that all points of view should be expressed in this debate and my hon. Friend the Member for Aylesbury (Mr. M. Beaumont) has expressed his point of view with great earnestness and conviction. I think the only complaint that can be made regarding him—and he admitted it himself—is that he did not express his point of view at an earlier stage. What was the situation? My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer introduced a proposal to relieve local authorities of a percentage of their burden. He was pressed to concede more. He was pressed on all hands, not only in this House but by deputations and in correspondence.
In the course of the last Debate on the Financial Resolution he was described as the "Iron Chancellor" who was unresponsive to all appeals and incapable of making any concession. But, despite the taunts flung at my right hon. Friend, he did make a concession to the distressed areas representing a saving to them of £300,000 and that concession was welcomed on all hands because, as I said, from every quarter he had been pressed to make it. My hon. Friend the Member for Aylesbury now comes along, somewhat tardily as he himself agrees, and asks us to reduce the value of the concession to £100,000. We cannot play fast and loose with the distressed areas. My right hon. Friend having made the concession and having formally announced it and the concession having been accepted, the hon. Member for Aylesbury can hardly expect him at this stage to withdraw it. But although he can hardly expect that one must acknowledge the service which he has rendered. Up to the moment when he spoke the concession had been received by some hon. Members and notably by the hon. Member for Durham (Mr. McKeag) somewhat churlishly. My hon. Friend the Member for Aylesbury having exhibited the opposite side of the case and expressed the view that these distressed areas are not deserving of such a concession, perhaps those who have been inclined to criticise my 872 right hon. Friend in this matter will now rally to his support. Therefore I would like to express my indebtedness to my hon. Friend for having Moved this Amendment but I am sure he does not expect the Committee to accept it at this late stage.
§ 12.25 p.m.
§ Mr. STOREY
I think the Committee will agree that it has listened to one of the most amazing of the amazing performances that we have learned to expect from the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. M. Beaumont). When the Chancellor of the Exchequer made his concession to the distressed areas we all welcomed it, though I for one thought that the way in which he contrived to grant it showed a canniness which was more becoming to the Border than to Birmingham; but those who have drawn up this Amendment have contrived to work into it a pettiness which is both calculated and uncomprehending. The Chancellor of the Exchequer offered the distressed areas 60 per cent. of generosity, but the framers of this Amendment are offering them 80 per cent. of meanness and 20 per cent. of pity. I contend that those who criticise should themselves be above criticism. The hon. Member for Aylesbury represents an area where unemployment is 4.2 per cent. of the insured population. In my constituency we have 43.1 per cent. of unemployment. I think we ought to be able to expect from the representatives of areas such as Aylesbury sympathy, help and example. When, however, I look at the figures of the expenditure of Aylesbury and of Sunderland, I find that Sunderland, this extravagant distressed area, spends £2 18s. 2d. per head of its population, while when I look at Aylesbury I find that this scrupulously economical local authority spends no less than £3 17s. 6d. per head of its population.
§ Mr. M. BEAUMONT
May I ask if the figures which the hon. Member is giving are borough council figures? If so, they are not comparable at all, for the one authority is a county borough and the other a non-county borough.
§ Mr. STOREY
I think that when we have figures like these we may well ask those critics to practise what they preach. The distressed areas only ask for justice. They have uncomplainingly joined in helping the agricultural areas, and they are entitled to ask the agricultural areas to join in giving help to the most distressed areas. The concession which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has given to the distressed areas goes a very small way to smooth out some of the anomalies in what is otherwise a fair and equitable settlement of the problem over the whole country, and I ask the Committee with no uncertain voice to refuse to have anything to do with the pettifogging, cheeseparing of the hon. Member for Aylesbury.
§ 12.29 p.m.
§ Mr. HERBERT WILLIAMS
I listened with interest to the speech of the hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. Storey). He tells us that it cost £2 a head to govern Sunderland, and £3 15s. to govern Aylesbury. With all respect, I am rather doubtful as to the accuracy of both those figures, because the general average over the whole of Great Britain is rather more than £6 per head, and I cannot believe that the hon. Member for Sunderland has included in his total all the expenditure in either area. If he has, those two districts show divergencies from the general average which are so striking that they call for some special examination.
I am one of those who frankly support the point of view of the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. M. Beaumont), and for this reason, that I am concerned, not with dealing with the symptoms of the industrial disease, but with the attempt to cure it. I am perfectly satisfied, as I always have been, that one of the outstanding reasons for the vast unemployment which now prevails in this country is the overwhelming burden of national and local taxation. The total of that burden to-day, 'as far as we can estimate it, is in the neighbourhood of 25 per cent. of the aggregate income of the nation; the nett amount taken in rates and taxes is to-day some 25 per cent. of our national income. The pre-war level was roughly 10 per cent. That burden is now 2½ times as great as the pre-War burden in relation to our resources. The hon. Member for Sunderland grumbles, and rightly grumbles, because of the vast, the 874 tragic unemployment in his constituency, but we are not going to solve that unemployment by casting further burdens on the taxpayer; we are going to solve that unemployment by reducing the burdens on the taxpayer, so that there may be a far freer circulation of money than prevails at this moment.
The hon. Member for Shettleston (Mr. McGovern) was eloquent, but his eloquence had little relation to the subject. No one would have dreamed, from the way in which he condemned the Front Bench and the House generally, that this country at the present moment, under the provisions of the Unemployment Bill, was contemplating an aggregate Exchequer charge for relief of those who are unemployed amounting to £75,000,000 per annum in round figures—a charge for which there is no parallel in any other country in the world; and I think there ought to be a fuller realisation of the situation. In pre-war days one-quarter of the expenditure of the local authorities was borne out of Parliamentary grants; to-day nearly one-half is borne out of Parliamentary grants. The total raised in rates has more than doubled, and the Parliamentary grants are to-day 5½ times as great as they were in pre-War days. Until we make a cut in the Parliamentary grants we are not going to force on the local authorities that economical and competent management which we ought to see.
It is absurd to say that there is not gross waste in the local administration of this country. Everyone is conscious of it, but people have not the political courage to oppose it. What is wanted is political courage to stand up against pressure. I am not going to hesitate to stand up against pressure in any circumstances whatever, and I think we have to come to the stage of facing the problem of how we are going to restore employment to our people. The hon. Member for North Salford (Mr. J. Morris) said that he was going to vote against the Government because he has not got enough. He represents the Borough of Salford, which has 88,630 insured workpeople. Not very far away is the Borough of Oldham, with only 10 fewer insured workpeople. They are, therefore, comparable areas. In Salford unemployment is substantially less proportionally 875 than in Oldham and yet I find that Salford is paying Poor Law relief to a substantially higher proportion of people than is the case in Oldham. Might it not be worth while for the hon. Member for Salford to go to his borough Council and submit to them that they should examine their own circumstances, and inquire why a town so near to them as Oldham—[HON. MEMBERS: "Why not inquire in Oldham?"]—Oldham shows a more favourable position than Salford. It would almost seem that the ideal condition for a person in this country is to be in receipt of Poor Law relief. That is a manifest absurdity which we want to exorcise from our minds as quickly as possible.
§ Mr. J. MORRIS
May I say that the City Council in Salfor3 have consistently, over the last four years, reduced their rate charges? That belies at once the hon. Member's charge that Salford is in any way extravagant.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
I am pointing out that in Salford the proportion of the population in receipt of Poor Law relief is 25 per cent. higher than in Oldham, though unemployment in Salford is less than in Oldham.
§ Mr. CROSSLEY
There is a perfectly good reason for that, and it is not a fair point for the hon. Member to make. The real reason is simply that Oldham is a cotton town, and in the cotton industry the family is quite definitely the unit. Therefore, where there are, say, two people working in the family, far fewer families would have to go to the Poor Law for assistance.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
Precisely. In other words, there is a greater sense of personal responsibility in Oldham than in Salford. I have a very considerable measure of affection for the City of Liverpool, because I spent a good deal of my early life there. Liverpool and Manchester are cities very much alike. They have very much the same proportion of insured persons, but Liverpool is very much harder hit than Manchester, and its unemployment figures are nearly double those of Manchester. There is, however, a very small difference between the proportions of the population being relieved in Manchester and in Liverpool, and if the scale of relief in Liver- 876 pool is reasonable, that in Manchester is extravagant. I am not going blindly to accept the view of those hon. Members who come here begging that other parts of the country shall relieve their needs, until we have found out whether or not there is extravagance in their areas. Liverpool is one of the places asking for assistance. I see the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. Logah) in his place. He represents, and with truth, that his is a distressed area, in which a very large number of people are out of work. Many of those who are in work in the city of Liverpool are less well remunerated than the employés of the City Council. This distressed area is proposing to restore, on 1st January, the cuts in pay made as a consequence of the national crisis. The constituency which I represent has not so far restored the cuts. The responsibility is not mine, but is the responsibility of the borough council. The proposal now is that the people of Croydon as a consequence of the crisis, are still asking their municipal employé s to submit to a cut, should have so much of their money taken away from them to be handed to the people of Liverpool at a time when Liverpool, while proclaiming itself a distressed area, is acting as if it had all the money in the world.
I ask hon. Members to face their responsibilities in this matter to a much greater extent than they have done in the past. The hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan), right at the beginning of the Debate, entirely misconceived the scheme. I am sorry that he is not in his place at the moment. I have never heard him use more words to say less than he did in the three-quarters of an hour during which he addressed the Committee. He explained the transfer of responsibility from Part, II of the Bill to Part I, that is, the transfer from the Unemployment Assistance Fund to the Unemployment Insurance Fund, under which £8,350,000 will be paid, in place of the £6,250,000 which would be paid if the law were left untouched, and tried to persuade us that the payment of £2,100,000 more in benefit would be prejudicial. When a Measure is supported by a contention of that character—which the hon. Member tried to reinforce from the banking world, until he got so involved that he had to abandon his pursuit 877 of that line of discussion—it indicates the complete bankruptcy in argument of those who have assailed the Bill in general terms. The terms in the Bill are more generous by far than any advocate of the distressed areas ever contemplated six months ago.
§ Sir ADRIAN BAILLIE
I can only say that, so far as my own local authority is concerned, and all local authorities in that distressed area, what the hon. Member has just said is entirely untrue.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
What I said was that the terms are far better than any of them contemplated they would get.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
I have had some little experience of what is in people's minds when they make demands. Forty per cent. of the cost of the relief of the able-bodied unemployed is to be obtainable from the National Exchequer, which is to be saddled with responsibility for those who, for various reasons in the past, have never come for assistance, even though they may have been qualified, and that immense responsibility has been taken over at a time when the Parliamentary grants to local authorities are at a level never contemplated in the past. It is perfectly manifest that those are terms of the utmost generosity. They are terms of such generosity as to imperil, in some small degree, that vital reduction of taxation without which we shall never restore employment to our people. In every Debate in which I take place in this Parliament, I am going to urge the need for the reduction of taxation, because I believe that that is the only thing that will help a return to employment for our fellow-countrymen.
§ 12.41 p.m.
§ Mr. LOGAN
In the first place, I would like to say to the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. M. Beaumont) that if, in the heat of the moment, I caused him any offence, I am sorry. What was tickling my fancy when the hon. Member was speaking was a comparison of the ducks of Aylesbury with the pigs' cheek and cabbage of the Scotland Division of Liverpool. I was just wondering, when the hon. Member mentioned his knowledge of the northern areas of the country how much he really knew of the position.
878 He made a comment regarding Liverpool. I am aware that he knows something of Liverpool, but, so far as the conditions of the people of Liverpool are concerned, I think that he is just as much a stranger to them as many other hon. Members. I know of no place in the country which is worse off than Liverpool to-day. In 1922, Liverpool was paying £100,000 in relief to the able-bodied unemployed, and of that money £10,000 was being paid by Bootle. Today, the City of Liverpool alone pays £650,000 for able-bodied relief, and that sum covers 41,556 people. The number of unemployed is 14,370, and that figure represents families. These are unemployed and not destitute cases. The hon. Member for Aylesbury spoke of authorities being extravagant; let me bring to his notice something which will explain why I was excited at his comments and enable him to understand the real position.
I do not think Zola could more graphically illustrate the position than a mere recital of a case which came to my notice four weeks ago in Liverpool. A woman was burying her child, a little girl of six years. She received £6 funeral money. The expenses of the funeral, for the coffin and so on, were £3 15s. She paid 7s. 2d. to get a pair of boots out of pawn, 8s. 6d. for a dress for herself, 15s. for food for the friends and relatives—who only get a feed at a funeral—4s. 11d. to buy a little coat to cover the rags of another child so that she could go to her sister's burial, 1s. 11½d. for a little nightdress to put on the corpse and 6½ d. for a little ribbon to put round its neck. The total sum expended was £5 14s. 7d., and 5s. 5d. was left out of the £6. The relieving officer, in the extravagant city of Liverpool which is alleged to be giving the rates away, stopped £l out of the 30s. relief to the woman because she had had that money to pay the expenses of the burial of her little child. I had to go to that Assistance Committee to get that £l refunded. I tell the hon. Member for Aylesbury that it is a slight on the City of Liverpool and upon these people to say that there is extravagance, when such narrowness of view is shown even in regard to the question of burial of the dead in the City of Liverpool.
Another case which came before my notice in Liverpool in regard to expendi- 879 ture made me feel ashamed. I was sitting on a relief committee and a gentleman appeared before me. I never felt more humiliated than I did on that occasion. I asked him when he last worked, and he replied that he last worked three years ago. When I asked him what he had been doing during the last three years he said: "In consequence of unemployment almost everything we had in the home has gone. I am driven to destitution." He then took a book from his pocket and handed it to me. It contained master's certificates, showing that he had been sailing in one of the Atlantic liners out of the Part of Liverpool. I never felt more humiliated than I did then, in realising that I sat at one side of the counter while a man who had sailed the seas of the world, even in the time of the War, had to stand on the other side asking for help, and the only sum that we could allow him was 15s. unemployment pay for an able-bodied man.
The scale of relief in the City for a woman and child is 18s. a week, out of which rent has to be paid. I ask the hon. Member for Aylesbury to withdraw his words in regard to the extravagance of the guardians in Liverpool. I bring this indictment against the National Government, that when we wanted a little extra relief at Christmas, something that we have had in Liverpool for 20 years, a little extra coal, a little extra food, the Minister approved the decision of an auditor in the City of Liverpool that a surcharge to the amount of £250 every member of the guardians who voted the money would take place. I am sorry to say that, because of the letter received from the Minister of Health, this great dynamic National party, which when talking on the poverty question say how ably they have helped the City of Liverpool, which for over 20 years has given extra relief at Christmas time, will be able to give no extra relief. Then I come to the House of Commons, and I hear charges of extravagance being made against the City.
I had not intended to speak, but when I found such ignorance being displayed in regard to a great City like Liverpool, a seaport second to none in the world, on which the British Empire has rested for much of its greatness, I could not refrain from speaking. There are 14,000 members of the British mercantile marine walking the streets of that City. There are 40.000 880 seamen and firemen out of work, and there are 2,000 British mercantile marine officers walking the streets of the country, while at the same time one finds Chinese, Lascars, Arabs and others employed on British ships, and one finds Members of this House, who dare to get up and speak about poverty, discharging from their ships white men and taking on Chinese crews. Hon. Members talk about the British Union Jack. Let them talk about British seamen and give them a chance. Let hon. Members not forget the men who in the day of national crisis saved the British mercantile marine and this country, and many lost their lives in doing so.
This House must face the position that not only in Liverpool but in every great industrial area that is depressed, we contend that the liability in regard to this question of the unemployed is a national matter and ought to be made a national charge. The day of preferential treatment is a thing of the past. We contend that until 100 per cent. of the whole cost of able-bodied relief is taken over by the Government, there is no chance of any of the depressed areas being satisfied. I shall go into the Lobby to vote against the Government and there is not one Member from the City of Liverpool—and there are ten Tory Members representing that City—but must voice the opinion that I am voicing and must see that, so far as the City of Liverpool is concerned, it is a national disgrace that a National Government is not facing up to the humane treatment of this human problem.
§ 12.50 p.m.
The speeches that we have listened to from the hon. Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. Williams) and the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. M. Beaumont) show quite clearly that they know nothing whatever about unemployment. The hon. Member for South Croydon would have us believe that local rates are the cause of unemployment.
§ Mr. H. WILLIAMS
I said national and local taxation, and I pointed out that the national grants to local authorities were now five and a half times what they were in pre-war days.
At the present time we are talking of a national grant in aid of the local authorities. On the 881 North East Coast there are 69 per cent. of the workers in the shipbuilding industry out of work. Although the mines are working fairly well, there are still 31 per cent. of men out of work. Of the seafarers there are 34 per cent. out of work. If we had no local rates we should have not one more man in employment. How can those hon. Members know anything about unemployment, when they have never seen it?
§ Mr. M. BEAUMONT
With great respect, I would remind the hon. and gallant Member that through my relatives I have spent much time in the County of Durham and know a good deal about it.
After what the hon. Member has just said, I am more surprised at the attitude that he has adopted. If he had had the opportunity of walking about in the County of Durham he would know of the awful distress that there has been there for the past eight years. Durham County and Glasgow have more unemployment combined than the City of London, with its teeming population. In Croydon for every 100,000 of the population they have only 270 receiving public assistance, while in Glasgow they have 1,100 and in Sheffield 1,200. The hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. Storey) compared the unemployment in Aylesbury with the unemployment in Sunderland. I will give another comparison. In Croydon the unemployment is 6.6 per cent. and in South Shields 42 per cent., and yet South Shields, somehow, by more careful administration, is not for this purpose considered a distressed area. But we in South Shields do not grudge having to pay something in a small degree to this grant of £300,000 which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has given to the distressed areas.
There is another feature in connection with this matter which has not been brought before the House, and that is the incidence of juvenile unemployment. Under the Bill it is expected that there will be a new charge upon the local authorities of £280,000 a year. That charge is going to be on the distressed areas. Juvenile unemployment is not a problem in the South. In London there are only two per cent. of juveniles un- 882 employed and in Croydon only three per cent., but in Durham County it is 26 per cent.
In one of those villages, Bishop Auckland, there are 51, and it rises to the terrible figure of 98 in Jarrow, a town the size of Aylesbury, which has no unemployment among juveniles at all. This expenditure on the provision of training centres for juveniles will fall on these very distressed areas which the Chancellor is assisting in a small degree by this grant of £300,000. It is difficult to compare the rates of various authorities, but there is one expenditure of local authorities that we can compare to see whether these extravagant areas of the North compare at all with the economically run areas of the South. In Durham county, which is always held out as being a typical county of extravagance—I am not here to defend them; I think they spend far more than they need—the expenditure on education per child is £11 9s., the exact average of the whole country. In this carefully run city of Croydon it is £13 12s.
§ Mr. H. WILLIAMS
Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that there is a scale of salaries known as the Burnham scale, and that in Croydon it is entirely different from Durham.
I am glad of the interruption, because I was coming to that. In Willesden, West Ham, Acton, and many other areas round London it is as high as £17 per head. Are the distressed areas contributing to that? The very great fall which the hon. Member has referred to is occasioned because in London, although the teachers have had a generous allowance for 13 years to pay for the extra expense of living in London, their automatic increments go on for four years longer, at a cost to the country far exceeding this £300,000 that is being given to the distressed areas. We in the North Eastern area thank the Government for this Bill. We believe it is a good Bill. It will be much better both for those who are entitled to draw their benefit and for those who, unfortunately, have to apply for assistance. It makes it possible for those who have to get assistance to get more than they can get now under transitional payments. I should have been very glad if the Chancellor had seen his way to take the whole burden, but he had his reasons; 883 they were good reasons to him and we must accept his decision. We gratefully accept this grant, and I hope, after the speeches which have been made, hon. Members opposite will withdraw their Amendment.
|Division No. 54.]||AYES.||[12.59 a.m.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. p. G.||Fremantle, Sir Francis||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)|
|Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Ganzoni, Sir John||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Newton, Sir Douglas George C.|
|Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M.||Glyn, Major Ralph G. C.||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Goff, Sir Park||Nunn, William|
|Balniel, Lord||Granville, Edgar||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh|
|Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar||Graves, Marjorie||Percy, Lord Eustace|
|Bateman, A. L.||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Petherick, M.|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Grimston, R. V.||Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilst'n)|
|Beaumont, Hon. H.E.B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.||Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada|
|Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B.||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Borodale, Viscount.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Pybus, Percy John|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Hammersley, Samuel S.||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Briant, Frank||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Hartland, George A.||Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham-|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Remer, John R.|
|Browne, Captain A. C.||Hornby, Frank||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Burghley, Lord||Horsbrugh, Florence||Ross Taylor, Walter Woodbridge)|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly)||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd)||Scone, Lord|
|Carver, Major William H.||James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H.||Selley, Harry R.|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Janner, Barnett||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.)||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.|
|Chapman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Kerr, Lieut.-Cot. Charles (Montrose)||Smithers, Waldron|
|Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Knight, Holford||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Christie, James Archibald||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Clarke, Frank||Latham, Sir Herbert Paul||Spens, William Patrick|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Leech, Dr. J. W.||Storey, Samuel|
|Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir Godfrey||Lewis, Oswald||Stourton. Hon. John J.|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Lindsay, Kenneth Martin (Kilm'rnock)||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Liewellin, Major John J.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Cooke, Douglas||Lloyd, Geoffrey||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Craven-Ellis, William||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Crooke, J. Smedley||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Darby)|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Lyons, Abraham Montagu||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Cross, R. H.||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|Crossley, A. C.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Train, John|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||McKie, John Hamilton||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton||Wardlaw-Milne. Sir John S.|
|Dickie, John P.||McLean, Major Sir Alan||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|Donner, P. W.||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-|
|Doran, Edward||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Duckworth, George A. V.||Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)||Whyte, Jardine Bell|
|Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)||Williams. Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Duncan. James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Williams Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Eastwood, John Francis||Meller, Sir Richard James||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Eden, Robert Anthony||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Winterton. Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Elmley, Viscount||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Essenhigh, Reginald Clare||Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||Womersley, Walter James|
|Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B, Eyres||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)|
|Fleming, Edward Lascelles||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)|
|Fox, Sir Gifford||Moreing, Adrian C.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Morgan, Robert H.||Sir Frederick Thomson and Sir George Penny.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Buchanan, George||Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)|
|Batey, Joseph||Cape, Thomas||Edwards, Charles|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Daggar, George||George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)|
§ Captain MARGESSON rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 183; Noes, 30.
|Grenfell, David Reel (Glamorgan)||Logan, David Gilbert||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Grundy, Thomas W.||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||McEntee, Valentine L.||Williams, Dr. John H. (Lianelly)|
|Hamilton, Sir R. W. (Orkney & Ztl'nd)||Mainwaring, William Henry||Wilmot, John|
|John, William||Mander, Geoffrey le M.|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Maxton, James||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Lawton, John James||Thorne, William James||Mr. Groves and Mr. McGovern.|
§ Question, "That the words' one-third of 'be there inserted," put accordingly, arid negatived.
§ Captain MARGESSON rose in his place, and claimed, "That the Main Question be now put."
§ Mr. BUCHANAN rose—
§ The CHAIRMAN
After the Closure of the last Amendment, the right hon. and gallant Gentleman has the right to move the Main Question.
|Division No. 55.]||AYES.||11.10 p.m.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Elmley, Viscount||Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton|
|Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Essenhigh, Reginald Clare||McLean, Major Sir Alan|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Maitland, Adam|
|Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M.||Falle Sir Bertram G.||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Fleming, Edward Lascelles||Marsden, Commander Arthur|
|Balniel, Lord||Fox, Sir Gifford||Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)|
|Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar||Fraser, Captain Ian||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John|
|Bateman, A. L.||Fremantle, Sir Francis||Meller, Sir Richard James|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Ganzoni, Sir John||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, C.)|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt Hon. Sir John||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)|
|Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B.||Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)|
|Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Glyn, Major Ralph G. C.||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale|
|Borodale, Viscount||Goff, Sir Park||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Granville, Edgar||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Graves, Marjorie||Moreing, Adrian C.|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Morgan, Robert H.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Grimston, R. V.||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.|
|Browne, Captain A. C.||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Newton, Sir Douglas George C.|
|Burghley, Lord||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Nunn, William|
|Butler, Richard Austen||Hammersley, Samuel S.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Percy, Lord Eustace|
|Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly)||Hartland, George A.||Petherick, M.|
|Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)||Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilston)|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Chamberlain, Rt.Hn.Sir J.A. (Birm.,W.)||Hornby, Frank||Pybus, Percy John|
|Chapman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Horsbrugh, Florence||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Christie, James Archibald||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Clarke, Frank||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham-|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir Godfrey||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Hutchison, William D. (Essex, Romf'd)||Remer, John R.|
|Conant, R. J. E.||James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Cooke, Douglas||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Knight, Holford||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Craven-Ellis, William||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Crooke, J. Smedley||Latham, Sir Herbert Paul||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Leckie, J. A.||Scone, Lord|
|Cross, R. H.||Leech, Dr. J. W.||Selley, Harry R.|
|Crossley, A. C.||Lewis, Oswald||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Lindsay, Kenneth Martin (Kilm'rnock)||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-||Smithers, Waldron|
|Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)||Llewellin, Major John J.||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||Lloyd, Geoffrey||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Dickie, John P.||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Spens, William Patrick|
|Donner, P. W.||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.||Storey, Samuel|
|Doran, Edward||Lyons, Abraham Montagu||Stourton, Hon. John J.|
|Duckworth, George A. V.||Mac Andrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||MacDonald, Rt. Hn. J. R. (Seaham)||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Eastwood, John Francis||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Eden, Robert Anthony||McKie, John Hamilton||Tate, Mavis Constance|
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I did not know that he intended to move it. I certainly gave him notice that I intended to raise a point concerning Scotland, but if he goes ahead with it, I suppose it is all right. I showed him decent courtesy, and I expected that he would extend the same to me.
§ Main Question put accordingly.
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 184; Noes, 35.
|Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-||Womersley, Walter James|
|Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles||Weymouth, Viscount||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)|
|Thorp, Linton Theodore||Whyte, Jardine Bell|
|Titchfield, Major the Marquess of||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Touche, Gordon Cosmo||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)||Sir George Penny and Major George Davies.|
|Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Granted, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Grundy, Thomas W.||Maxton, James|
|Batey, Joseph||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.)|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hamilton, Sir R. W. (Orkney & Zetl'nd)||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Briant, Frank||Janner, Barnett||Thorne, William James|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||John, William||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Buchanan, George||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Williams, Dr. John H. (Lianelly)|
|Cape, Thomas||Lawson, John James||Wilmot, John|
|Daggar, George||Logan, David Gilbert||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||McEntee, Valentine L.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Edwards, Charles||Mainwaring, William Henry||Mr. Groves and Mr. McGovern.|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Mander, Geoffrey le M.|
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That the Chairman do report the Resolution to the House."
|Division No. 56.]||AYES.||[1.18 p.m.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Duckworth, George A. V.||Litter, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-|
|Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Llewellin, Major John J.|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Lloyd, Geoffrey|
|Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M.||Eastwood, John Francis||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Eden, Robert Anthony||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.|
|Balniel, Lord||Elmley, Viscount||Lyons, Abraham Montagu|
|Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar||Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)|
|Bateman, A. L.||Essenhigh, Reginald Clara||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)|
|Beaumont, Hn. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)|
|Bonn, Sir Arthur Shirley||Fleming, Edward Lascelles||McKie, John Hamilton|
|Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B.||Fox, Sir Gifford||Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton|
|Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Fraser, Captain Ian||McLean, Major Sir Alan|
|Borodale, Viscount||Fremantle, Sir Francis||Maitland, Adam|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Ganzoni, Sir John||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Marsden, Commander Arthur|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Glyn, Major Ralph G. C.||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Goff, Sir Park||Meller, Sir Richard James|
|Browne, Captain A. C.||Granville, Edgar||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)|
|Burghley, Lord||Graves, Marjorie||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Grenfell, E. C. (City of London)||Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd ft Chisw'k)|
|Butler, Richard Austen||Grimston, R. V.||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)|
|Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly)||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Moreing, Adrian C.|
|Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Morgan, Robert H.|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Hammersley, Samuel S.||Morrison, William Shephard|
|Chapman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.|
|Christie, James Archibald||Hartland. George A.||Newton, Sir Douglas George C.|
|Clarke, Frank||Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Nunn, William|
|Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir Godfrey||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Hornby, Frank||Percy, Lord Eustace|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Horsbrugh, Florence||Petherick, M.|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B||Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilst'n)|
|Cooke, Douglas||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada|
|Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Craven-Ellis, William||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Pybus, Percy John|
|Crooke, J. Smedley||Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd)||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||James, Wing Com. A. W. H.||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Cross, R. H.||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham-|
|Crossley, A. C.||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Knight, Holford||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Renter, John R.|
|Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)||Latham, Sir Herbert Paul||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||Leckie, J. A.||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Dickie, John P.||Leech, Dr. J. W.||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Donner, P. W.||Lewis, Oswald||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Doran, Edward||Lindsay, Noel Ker||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 186; Noes, 33.
|Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Scone, Lord||Sutcliffe, Harold||Whyte, Jardine Bell|
|Selley, Harry R.||Tata, Mavis Constance||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Smithers, Waldron||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Somerville, Annesley A (Windsor)||Thorp, Linton Theodore||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of||Withers, Sir John James|
|Spens. William Patrick||Touche, Gordon Cosmo||Womersley, Walter James|
|Storey, Samuel||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'oaks)|
|Stourton, Hon. John J.||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Strause, Edward A.||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Stuart, Lord C. Crlchton-||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-||Sir George Penny and Major Ceorge Davies.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Maxton, James|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hamilton, Sir R. W. (Orkney & Zetl'nd)||Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.)|
|Briant, Frank||Janner, Barnett||Thome, William James|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||John, William||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Buchanan, George||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Cape, Thomas||Lawson, John James||Williams, Dr. John H. (Lianelly)|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Logan, David Gilbert||Wilmot, John|
|Daggar, George||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||McEntee, Valentine L.||Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Mainwaring, William Henry|
|Edwards, Charles||Mander, Geoffrey le M||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Mason, David M. (Edinburgh. E.)||Mr. Groves and Mr. McGovern.|
§ Resolution to be reported upon Monday next.