HC Deb 19 December 1933 vol 284 cc1117-9

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will give the House full details of the physical training classes for unemployed in Cardiff?


As the reply is rather long, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT. I should like to take this opportunity of denying the mischievous statements published in certain organs of the Press that a refusal or disinclination to join such a course has some effect on a claim to benefit or transitional payments. These statements are absolutely without foundation.


Has the right hon. Gentleman been in communication with any of the officials of Cardiff since he gave me an answer on Thursday last, and does he now assert again that the men who refused to come under this training scheme were not refused benefit?


Yes, Sir; this morning I received information from my representatives at Cardiff, and they tell me that such assertions are absolutely without foundation.


I would like to ask the right hon. Gentleman if it is not the case that, even supposing they refused to go to the training centres, they are not cut off at the Employment Exchange?


That question arises on another point. The question on the Paper deals with physical training centres.


Will the Minister say which papers were responsible for the misrepresentation?


The hon. Member had better put that question on the Paper.

Following is the reply:

The Physical Training Centre which is to be opened at Cardiff on 1st January, 1934, will be the latest of a number of such centres which the Department has been conducting since June, 1932, in selected areas of heavy unemployment where little or no physical training facilities exist, with a view to counteracting some of the ill effects on the young men of prolonged and enforced leisure. The centres have been generally welcomed and the increased provision of such facilities by voluntary agencies is perhaps to be attributed to some extent to this success.

Wherever possible, Ministry of Labour Physical Training Classes have been held in properly equipped gymnasia belonging to institutions such as the Y.M.C.A., Boys' Clubs, University Settlements, etc., but where, as in this case, such facilities have not been available, resort has been had to dance halls, territorial drill halls, school rooms, etc.

The Cardiff Centre, like previous centres, will be open to any wholly un- employed young man between 18-30 years of age. There will be no compulsion to attend and no penalty will be imposed on any man who drops out during the course. A suitable kit consisting of vest, shorts and gymnasium shoes will be issued free of charge to each man, who, if his attendance throughout has been satisfactory, will be allowed to retain the vest and shorts at the conclusion of the course. The men will be required to sign a declaration of physical fitness to undertake the course, and in doubtful cases arrangements will be made by the Department for the men to be medically examined before being accepted.

The course will last for 12 weeks, and by providing each day for one-hour classes for 30 men and arranging for attendance on alternate days, it will be possible to provide training for 240 men. The syllabus will consist of progressive physical training exercises, including Swedish drill, talks on matters relating to physical training, hygiene, etc., and appropriate games where practicable.

The instructor will be Mr. Albert Brooks an ex-Service man who has acted for the Department in this capacity at similar centres, at Pontypridd, Merthyr, and Tonypandy.