HC Deb 08 November 1933 vol 281 cc185-254

3.34 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 4, to leave out lines 5 to 9.

In moving the deletion of Section 2 of the Employment of Women, Young Persons and Children Act, 1920, from the Schedule of this Bill, I want to say that this is not the first occasion that we have tried to delete this provision from the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill. We have objected to the continuance of these provisions for many years, and our opposition is even stronger to-day than it has ever been, as I shall endeavour to show. In spite of the fact that we have raised this issue for several years past, it is worth pointing out once again what they mean in practice, and I will explain to the Committee once again what we are trying to do in moving the deletion of this Section from the Schedule. Our first objection is that when this provision was inserted in the 1920 Act, the Government of the day not only made a definite promise to the country that the provision would come to an end in 1925, but they actually inserted that promise in the Act of Parliament itself. In spite of that promise, this provision has continued for 13 years. I do not like Parliament making promises that it does not carry out. I do not like Governments doing it either. In any case, when a promise is put into an Act of Parliament it has a very much sounder basis than one given. by mere word of mouth by a representative of a Government.

The provision to which we are objecting to-day is commonly called the two-shift system. It provides that an employer, on an appeal to the Home Office, and after satisfying certain conditions, can secure an Order for employing his work-people, contrary to the provisions of the factory laws of this country, for eight hours a day at any hour between 6 o'clock in the morning and 10 o'clock at night. Someone may say at once, "Well, there is not very much wrong in that," but hon. Members must understand that the provisions apply to young persons from 16 years of age upwards. As I shall try to prove, we contend that these provisions are harsh, unnatural and unnecessary especially in respect of young persons of 16 years of age and over. But before doing so, I want to show the Committee how these Orders have grown in number as the years have gone by. In 1921 there were 146 Orders issued; in 1922, 95; in 1923, 88; in 1924, 97; 1925, 86; 1926, 69; and when we come to 1927 the figures run up to 104; in 1928, 117; 1929, 113; 1930, 129; and in 1931, 227 such Orders were issued. When we come to 1932 the Home Office issued 293 Orders, and up to 31st October of this year the number had already reached 267. The number of Orders, however, do not indicate the number of workpeople affected because one Order alone might easily affect a thousand workpeople; and we have no information either to show the ages of the workpeople affected by these Orders.

I want first to ask the right hon. Gentleman representing the Home Office how many of these Orders have fallen into disuse. That information would be very important. I am not sure whether the Home Office keeps a record of the number of Orders which fall into disuse. It would be very helpful if we could have the information, because, if we added all the number of Orders together, they would run into a very formidable figure, but I Cannot believe that they are all in force at present. In 1929, according to the information obtained then, there were 148 Orders in continuous use and about 10,000 workpeople affected. It is a monstrous state of affairs that this country is rapidly getting into the position where two shifts a day, are operative just as if we were in, the middle of a period of trade prosperity. We have over 2,000,000 people unemployed on the one hand, And the employers turn round and say: "We cannot cope with the orders that are coming in; we must speed up our factories and work two shifts a day. "We make a strong complaint against the suggestion that the position of industry in this country warrants the claim that the employers are making, that factories must be kept on at full speed for 24 hours a day in order to cope with the immense number of orders that are coming in from home and abroad. Some of the first request's for these Home Office Orders were made on the plea that the demands which were coming in from abroad for British products had to be satisfied forthwith. Therefore, the Home Office were asked to issue Orders so that employers could cope with those urgent orders from abroad. I do not think that that argument holds good any longer, because the complaint is now made that hardly any orders are coming from abroad at all.

I should like to advance another argument against the continuation of the issuing of these Orders by the Home Office. What does it mean in relation to family life? The final test of every piece of legislation is how it affects the human being. Let me try to picture the position. When I was a collier I had to work occasionally at nights, and I did not like it. I preferred to work during the day, although I worked in darkness even during the day. Let me put the case which think can arise in a family consisting of a man, his wife and two children—a son and a daughter. The boy works under the two-shift system, starting at, say six o'clock in the morning. He must get up, I suppose, at 5 o'clock, and his mother has to prepare breakfast for him at 5.30. The husband goes to work at seven o'clock and another breakfast has to be prepared for 6.30. The daughter goes to work in a shop or an office and still another breakfast has to be prepared at eight o'clock. At mid-day the son comes from work at two o'clock or 2.30, at the end of the two-shift system and a meal has to be prepared for him. The husband and daughter come in at other hours and meals have to be prepared for them. The household, therefore, becomes in fact a small cook shop. We object to that sort of thing happening in our family affairs. [Laughter] Hon. Members may laugh. They employ servants to do the work, but in this case the housewife has to do it all. I do not think it is fair, in view of all the new inventions that have come along enabling almost everything to be done by machinery, that a, system should be adopted whereby the housewife is adversely affected in her household duties in the way I have described.

We have another objection to this system. Perhaps I ought to interpose a special word here, because I have been called to account for suggesting that this provision affects children. Someone was good enough in some official document to say that I had stated that children were employed on the two-shift system in this country. This provision of course affects young persons of 16 years of age and upwards. I regard a boy or a girl of 16 years of age however in the present industrial conditions of this country as nothing but children. The rich people take good care that they do not call their boys and girls anything but children until they are 18 years of age, and some even up to 21 years of age. Some of them are children at that age, and a number are old women at any age. I stated 12 months ago that the Home Office were allowing employers to exploit the workpeople by granting these Orders. I have no hesitation in saying that every move that an employer makes to get away from the ordinary practice of starting work at seven or eight o'clock in the morning and finishing at five o'clock in the afternoon is an unnatural exploitation of the faculties of the work-people. The employer may of course argue that he is doing it for the sake of economy.

I object very strongly to the extension of this system also because it has crept, at last, into the great textile industry of Lancashire, where this sort of thing was totally unknown up to a few years ago. I think the first Order for that purpose was granted during the lifetime of the present Government. I am glad to think that their lifetime is not going to be extended very much further. Let me put another point against these Orders. They are a relic of the great War. They were granted in order that we could turn out munitions night and day. without stopping. From the point of view of those who believe in war it is all right to turn out as much munition as you can, but we object to legal provisions that were intended to apply to nothing but armament factories being carried into the peaceful avocations of the people and continued for so long. If this Government has its way we may have double shifts in armament factories later on.

Will the Under-Secretary tell the Committee to what type of employer and industry these Orders have been granted Do they apply to gramophone record making, to textiles and so on? We would like to know what are the industries covered by the Orders. Are they factories that produce for home consumption or for the export trade? I think that is a fair question.

The argument has been put forward by the supporters of the system that they have increased employment by the adoption of the two-shift system. Will the Under-Secretary tell us where there is any foundation for the argument that you increase employment by adopting the two-shift system? It is like saying that you increase the water in the sea because the tide comes in twice a day. I do not think that the number employed in industry has been increased by one person by the adoption of the two-shift system. Everyone connected with local authority and educational work in this country will agree with me when I say that young persons employed under a two-shift system, which means that those employed on the afternoon shift return home in some cases after ten o'clock in the evening, are debarred altogether from the social amenities of their neighbourhood and also from attending any educational classes of any kind. That is most unfair to these young people.

There is one further question, and a most pertinent question, which I must put to the Under-Secretary. How many of these Orders have been granted to gentlemen who have come from Germany, Belgium, Hungary, Sweden and Norway to establish factories in this country? I do not know how many of these factories there are. According to statements made by Ministers as to the rate at which they were being put up before the summer recess, one would imagine that every factory in this country would ultimately be run by foreigners. The attitude of mind of the Government was that they were growing by thousands, by leaps and bounds; that many foreigners with capital with coming here to show the English people how to produce commodities. That, I thought, was an insult to our own people; but it is the Tory mentality. Will the hon. and gallant Gentlemen tell us how many of these Orders have been granted to factories established by foreign capital and run by foreigners? We should then know where these phantom factories are situated. The Government have been quiet on this matter for some time; we have not heard very much about it in any of the propaganda speeches which have been delivered during the last two months and, therefore, I think we should get to know something about it now.

I know that as in answer to my criticism we shall have the stock argument—I can almost see it on the lips of the hon. and gallant Gentleman already—that in 1924 the Labour Government granted Orders and that in 1929 the Labour Government granted similar Orders. Surely that argument cannot prevail now. The hon. and gallant Gentleman knows, when he uses that argument, that it is grossly unfair to judge the activities of any Government of any political colour which is in a minority in connection with our factory laws. When we get comparative figures about 1932 or 1933 someone always asks what are the figures for 1931, as if we did not know that the whole thing was prepared beforehand. I ask the Under-Secretary to tell us whether the Government have seriously considered the necessity of continuing the practice of granting these Orders under what is called the two-shift system?

There is also the argument, which no doubt the hon. and gallant Gentleman will use, that the working people themselves vote on this matter, that there is a ballot before a decision is reached and that a majority of the working people are always in favour of this provision. I ask any hon. Member who knows anything about industry whether it is not the case that when an employer employing say 500 workers makes a suggestion, as is often the case, that the factory cannot continue much longer unless the two-shift system is brought into operation, such a suggestion in itself makes it almost impossible for the workers to vote against the introduction of the two-shift system. There is a suggestion there that they might lose their jobs unless it is adopted, and that is sufficient to bias the issue in the minds of the workers. I say that such a ballot of the working people, although carried out quite fairly, does not give a true indication of their desire. In any case, if any employer or Government Department were to ask working people whether they prefer to work from seven or eight o'clock in the morning until five in the afternoon, or start at six and stop at two, their decision would be overwhelmingly in favour of the ordinary day shift as the better alternative.

3.56 p.m.


I desire to support the arguments of the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. R. Davies) from my own experience as a secretary of a trade union and also as one who has endeavoured to do something for the cause of technical education in industry. Let me draw the attention of the Committee to the point that is involved. Because of the operations of these Orders, because you are allowing the working of two shifts, ordinary Factory Act legislation, which forbids young persons under the age of 18 years of age to work except between certain hours, is altered and young persons can be employed until ten o'clock in the evening. When these regulations were made there was a great deal of hesitation in the minds of those interested in factory legislation as to whether it was really wise to depart from the ordinary factory legislation. Arguments, however, were brought forward at the time, the most convincing being that the employers said they were in the middle of a boom period—this was in 1920—and had a considerable amount of orders on hand. They asked that the regulation should be made, temporarily, to enable them to cope with the orders they had. When the matter was debated in this House assurances were given that these Orders were of a purely temporary character and would disappear in the course of time. Instead of that they have been kept on ever since.

I make this appeal to the Committee. I consider the two years between the ages of 16 and 18 very vital years indeed in the life of a young person. The trend of modern industry is to take children into industry at the age of 14, use them up to 18 and 19 years of age, to exploit them to the utmost, and then throw them on to the street. A good many young persons of 21 years of age are already too old for the jobs that they have recently filled. In addition, you have an army of at least 100,000 young persons between 16 and 21 years of age who are unable to get any employment at all.

The effect of this system is particularly hard and cruel so far as any educational facilities for young persons are concerned. I have been asked by county councils, by borough councils, by people interested in education, to do all that I possibly can to use my influence, as far as it goes, to impress upon young people the necessity of technical education in their own industry. This debars them from any chance at all. I hope hon. Members will visualise what happens to young persons employed on this second shift, which runs from 2 o'clock in the afternoon until 10 o'clock in the evening. That means that the young person is condemned to an existence which, in effect, is all bed and work. They get home late from work and lie abed late in the morning, and, after looking round, it is almost noon, and they must get ready for the factory. I put it that a system of this kind is altogether wrong in these modern days. Further, if British industry is absolutely unable to flourish without exploiting young persons between 16 and 18 years of age to this extent, then British industry must indeed be in a very bad and a very sorry way.

The exploitation of child labour has always been one of those subjects which have appealed to all men and women of good will. Apart from any political bias all sorts and conditions of men and women have realised that it is for the good of the community that young persons between these ages should be looked after and not be allowed to be exploited, that their entry into industry, instead of being made harsh and wearisome, should be made as pleasant as possible, that they should be encouraged to educate themselves as far as possible, and be encouraged to take a real, live interest in the work they perform. I suggest that the real argument against this provision is that it takes away that incentive to industry, that it chokes and drives off the young person from taking any interest in industry at all. It simply brings the young person down, more or less, to the level of a slave, without the possibility of enlightenment, without the possibility of developing, as he or she should at that stage, all the best that is in them. Consequently, I hope and trust that the time may have come when the Minister may see his way to drop this Regulation.

It may be argued that the Labour Government of 1924 or 1929 agreed to this. That is no argument at all in this House to-day. I am not here to defend the action of the Labour Government of 1924 or 1929. I am dealing with the thing as I find it now, and I say, out of my own experience, I am convinced that this Regulation inflicts a very cruel wrong upon young persons. If it be true, as the hon. Member suggested, that employers are now coming along in the textile factories asking for this Regulation to be put into force for their benefit, then I think the condition in Lancashire will soon be as bad as it was 40 or 50 years ago, and even worse than it was under the half-time system. No industry in the long run has really benefited by the exploitation of the labour of young persons of this tender age. I say that it is bad business for the industry, bad business for the nation and very bad, and even tragical, business for the young persons concerned. I hope that the Minister may afford us some hope that the promises made when this Regulation was introduced in 1920 are at least to be redeemed, and that we are to take from the Statute Book what, I consider, is cruel and harsh treatment of young persons.

4.8 p.m.


I would like to add my plea to the right hon. Member opposite for this provision to be taken out of the Schedule. I remember coming here in 1922 for the first time and making an appeal then with others for the removal of this Act from the Schedule. I remember, further, being associated in 1924 with the party, to which I still belong, when they formed a minority Government, and I would say this to the Minister. He may make the reply which my hon. Friend thought might be made, that the Labour Government at that time, not in this House perhaps, but in another place, were tackled as to what their action was going to be in regard to the Act we are now considering, and we got a reply at that time, which I remember very well, from the right hon. Gentleman who is now the Prime Minister, and at that time was Prime Minister in the Labour Government. The reply was to the effect that it would be impossible for the Labour party as a party to pass a Bill through this House unless they could secure practically the unanimous support of the Liberal party in the House at that time, and we were informed that certain representations had been made in the usual way, and that although a large measure of support could be secured from certain Members of the Liberal party, there was not a sufficient measure of support to enable us to carry it. That was really the reason given to us then, and I think a similar reason was given in 1929. It must not be taken that, because the Labour Government did not remove this Act from the Schedule, there was any feeling in the Labour party at that time different from the feeling at the present time.

I think, however, this ought to be viewed from quite a different aspect. After all, it was admitted by everybody who was responsible for the Factory Acts that when they were carried it was because they were necessary for the protection of young people of the ages that we are now considering. When the attempt was made to modify those Factory Acts so as to allow young persons to work from six in the morning until 10 at night, very serious opposition was raised by Members of all sections of the House of Commons, and it was only agreed to by this House on the strict understanding that it was temporary, and that it was only necessary because of the special circumstances which existed at that time. All those who voted for it, no doubt, in 1920—I was not here myself —did so in good faith, and in the belief that as soon as the special circumstances then existing had passed away, the Act would be taken out of the Schedule, and we would come back to the old conditions imposed by the Factory Acts. Year after year this matter has been brought up since, and we are always met with some excuse, but never with a reason which any intelligent person could accept, and, frankly, I do not think that anybody on the Government side to-day could say that there is any reason for a continuance of this Act from the point of view of industry. From the public health point of view, either it is right or it is wrong that these young persons should work under the conditions they are working under to-day. If it is right that they should, why not repeal those parts of the Factory Acts which refer to the conditions of the employment of these young persons? If the Factory Acts are justified, as, I believe, most Members will admit, why should we pass this Act year after year?

Reference has been made by my hon. Friend to the lack of opportunity for young persons to get technical education. I am interested in technical education, too, but I am more interested in general cultural development, and I want every opportunity given to these young people to take advantage of the facilities provided, which some of us in this House never got when we were their age. I cannot help feeling that it is a bit mean to take advantage of these young people, and not allow them to have the opportunity to use these facilities. From the educational standpoint, I do not suppose there is an educationist in the country of any political party who would not agree that the continuance of this Act is detrimental to the interests of the young people. From the public health standpoint, I do not believe there is any one in any political party in this House who would disagree that it is also detrimental to the general health of the young people.

Therefore, I ask myself, what can be the reason that induces the Government year after year to press for the inclusion of this legislation in the Schedule? The only reason that I can give to myself is that pressure is being brought on them from outside somewhere. Whence can that pressure come? I suggest it can only come from that section of the community in the industry that is anxious to exploit young persons, and to evade all the provisions of the Factory Acts. I suggest to the Government that they ought not to allow pressure from a source like that to influence them in their judgment in a matter of such importance to young people. After all, there are among employers, just as there are among all other people, good employers and bad employers, and I suggest that it is only the bad employer, the employer who has no regard for the health of these young employes who would wish to maintain this Act against the better judgment of everybody qualified to judge as to the effect upon the education and health of the young people. I hope, therefore, that the Government, with their very large majority, will resist that pressure, which, no doubt, has been brought to bear upon them, and will accede to the request which has been made by my hon. Friend.

4.14 p.m.


Our attitude has been challenged by my hon. Friend opposite. Of course, there is no question of what, our attitude to this particular provision is. I think that Parliament has never altered its opinion as to the undesirability of a two-shift system for young persons. In fact, if it were not so, it would become part of the permanent legislation of the country. Every year, unfortunately, these expiring laws contain this provision to continue what is, after all, emergency legislation. I sometimes think that expiring law provisions would be a very good thing to do away with, because they do encourage slackness in Government Departments. I think that if my right hon. Friend, the very able representative of the Home Office, had to come down this year and introduce new legislation to impose this provision, not only would he hesitate to do so, but I believe he would not for a moment think of doing it. Obviously, year after year, automatically, the Government are inclined to let these things slide. When the Session is expiring, the expiring laws go on expiring, and I think that is the only justification. If I remember rightly, in 1920 this provision was made because there was a little trade boom. Ever since then it has been justified because there has been a trade slump.

We cannot have it both ways. My right hon. Friend the Under—Secretary now suggests apparently a coming trade boom as a renewed justification for these very undesirable proposals. We do not want to be too hard on an individual employer if an emergency does arise in his industry. If an employer knows that these provisions exist, naturally he takes advantage of them, but if the provisions did not exist no doubt he would be able so to adapt the factory conditions and modify the organisation so that instead of employing juniors he could bring in a certain number of adult workers. Public opinion is growing in favour of keeping young people out of industry as long as possible. It seems unfortunate that automatically—I cannot believe deliberately—these provisions are renewed year by year. I hope we shall have some assurance from the Government that this really is the last time the provisions will be embodied in the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill.

Viscountess ASTOR

I agree with the last speaker in hoping for some assurance from the Government that this is the last time these provisions will be included in the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill. But I do not see why we should trust the promise of any Government when it comes to the Factory Act. We know perfectly well that the Factory Act was never a Government Bill. It was a Home Office Bill. Every Government since 1920, Tory Governments and Labour Governments, have put off dealing with this matter. I can never forget the Parliament of 1920. It "did for" the Coalition of that day. The House was full of War profiteers. All that was necessary was to mention anything to do with humane legislation, such as education or the employment of women and children, and Members would rise in their thousands and shout one down. There was never anything like it. That was at a time before the women had become organised.


I do not see the connection between the Noble Lady's speech and the Bill dealing with the employment of young persons.

Viscountess ASTOR

The Bill refers to the employment of women and young children, and I am speaking about the consciousness of the House which in 1920 passed that Bill. This House is quite different from the House of 1920. There are very few in this Parliament who want to see children and young people working these abominable hours. When the Children Bill was going through Standing Committee we had a definite promise from the Government that they would regulate the hours of work of children in unregulated trades. Otherwise, the Government would never have got the Bill through Committee. But the Government have done nothing since, and we are not certain that they are going to do anything now. Why cannot they have the courage to bring forward a new Factory Act and pass it? What are they waiting for? They have the whole country behind them; they have far more power than any other Government has ever had. We ought to have a national policy for juveniles as far as factories are concerned. Some countries have absolutely upset everything in order to take children up to the age of 16 out of factories. I beg the House and the Home Office to do something. I know that the Home Secretary is for it. Who is keeping him back? It is not the House of Commons, and I do not think it is the officials of the Home Office.



Viscountess ASTOR

Do not bite your leaders. I do not blame the leaders so much as the House of Commons. What are we sitting here waiting for? Why do not we make up our minds what we are going to do about these young persons? We can exert pressure on the Government. If the Government will not give us a promise to deal with the matter we ought to vote against them even on this Bill. The trade unions have not pressed for the reform. They have always been pressing for other things. The whole House is to blame for nothing having been done. There is not a section of the House that is not to blame. I beg the Under-Secretary to go back to the Government and demand that something be done, or to give us an assurance that something will be done about these juveniles. The position is very awkward for some of us. We want to back the Government, but sometimes we feel rather like kicking it. In this case we will not believe a word that the Government say until we see something in a Bill The Government could pass a Bill quite well.

Of course there is a certain section of industry that is never ready to reform itself. Those employers were not ready in Shaftesbury's days. They are willing to sweat anyone. It is only a very small section of industry, but we are in this House to protect the people who cannot protect themselves. In this case it is the young people. I appeal to the Government and the House. Why do we not get to work and do something? Do not let us sit still. We hall never get a better Government than the National Government. The chance of real reform is through this Government. Once we get hack to party polities every party will play its tricks. This House of Commons is the best I have ever seen, but I am afraid its Members are not used to dealing with Governments. If they understood Governments they would get up and make speeches on this subject. Then the Minister would run back to the Cabinet and the Cabinet would take action, and we would get a Bill to protect the juveniles. I say to the Under-Secretary: Give us some assurance and do not make us vote with Members of the Socialist party. Much as we admire their hearts we are a little nervous about then beads.

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Douglas Hacking)

We have all been much interested in the speech of the Noble Lady. I am in perfect agreement with her description of this Government as the finest Government that has been in office for many years, but I must protest against the violence with which she threatens me. I think she said that she felt very much like kicking the Under-Secretary of State.

Viscountess ASTOR:

No, the Government.


Then I take it I am exempted from that form of punishment. The hon. Member who moved the deletion of these lines in the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill said that this was not the first occasion on which his party and he had objected to this two-shift system. That is quite true. Each year that this Bill has been before the House the Government, whatever Government it may have been, has been asked to delete these same words in order to remove the opportunity of the two-shift system being worked by women and young persons of 16 years and over. The Noble Lady has fallen into the same error as has been frequently made by many speakers. She refers to these people as children. The Bill has nothing to do with children. It refers to persons of 16 years and over. Let us make that clear. In the eyes of the law there is a great difference between a child and a person of 16 and over.

I am very glad that on this occasion at any rate the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. R. Davies) has been more accurate than he was on the last occasion on which he addressed the House on this particular issue. He has to-day given a rather half-hearted apology for a statement that he made last year, but he has not been completely accurate even to-day. He said that the employer by making application to the Home Office could, under certain conditions, obtain permission to work a two-shift system. That in itself is misleading. It is true that the hon. Member qualified his statement later, but when he said that the employer could make application to the Home Office he surely meant that the employer and the workpeople jointly could make the application? Do not let us have all this thrust upon the employer, for the employés share the responsibility of making the application.


Does the Under-Secretary mean that a suggestion for the adoption of the two-shift system would come from the employés were it not for the fact that the employer made the suggestion to them first of all?


I said that it is a joint application. It is probable that the employer knows more about his business than any individual workman, and it is almost certain that he will make the suggestion originally. But the hon. Member said that the application was made by the employer, whereas it is made by the employer and workpeople jointly.


Made by the work-people under duress.


The hon. Member also talked about people employed on two shifts a day. That was a misleading statement, and I know he did not mean it. But the hon. Member ought to be careful in the words he uses. To the ordinary person his statement would mean that the same people were working two shifts a day. He knows that that is not true. The hon. Member's words are not only heard in this House but in view of the position which he now occupies and has held in a former Government his words are studied very carefully outside this House and people are apt to believe that what he says is in fact true. I would like at once to make it clear that the same people do not work during two successive shifts. The hon. Gentleman, as I have said, gave us a half—hearted apology to-day. I want to state exactly what the position is with regard to the two-shift system. Last year the hon. Member for Westhoughten said that this Act made it possible for women, young persons and children to be employed at night. That is not true. The hon. Gentleman speaks with authority, and he has already told us that his words went out as far as Geneva and were published in an official book there. I should like to indicate to the Committee how his words appear in that book. They are published in an issue of "Industrial and Labour Information" of 23rd January, 1933. This is a publication of the International Labour Office, and it contains a statement based on the hon. Gentleman's remarks headed as follows: Young workers. Night work by children in Great Britain. Children as I have said do not come under the terms of this Section. Moreover, there is no night work in connection with this Section.


What about night baking?


There is certainly no night work within the meaning of the term as we know it and as industrialists know it. What is the position? This Section does not make it possible for women and young persons or for anybody else to be employed at night and the Section does not deal with children at all.

Viscountess ASTOR

Young persons.


Yes, "young persons." The Section does not do that which has been described by many speakers. It authorises the Secretary of State, if a joint application is received from the employers and a majority of the workpeople in any factory or workshop, and only if the application is a joint one, to grant an Order, not for the employment of anybody at night, not for the employment of any children at any time, but an Order enabling women and also young persons of 16 years and over, to work under a two-shift system, averaging not more than eight hours per day between 6 o'clock a.m. and 10 o'clock p.m., and on Saturday up to 2 o'clock in the afternoon only. Even this is subject to a proviso. If the organisations representing a majority of the employers and a majority of the workpeople in any industry make a joint representation against the granting of Orders in that industry then the power of my right hon. Friend to make Orders under the Section ceases as regards that industry. If an Order is already in existence and my right hon. Friend receives a joint representation against it from the organisations of workpeople and employers, then the Order terminates within four months. My right hon. Friend has never received such representations. All these Orders with one exception are still in existence.

Nothing could be more fair or more generous than that arrangement. It means, in plain language, that if employers and workpeople desire the two-shift system they may have it under certain clearly defined conditions such as the hours that can be worked and the welfare conditions in the particular workshops concerned. If, on the other hand either the employers or the workpeople do not want that system they cannot be forced to have it under any conditions or in any circumstances. The hon. Member for Westhoughton asked what was the effect upon employment of this two-shift system. Of course he knows, because he has previously been told in the House of Commons, that it is difficult to ascertain the actual number of persons affected directly and indirectly. The hon. Member was told in 1930 by the then Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, Mr. Short, that it was estimated that about 40,000 persons were affected directly and indirectly. to-day if one may venture a guess, because it can be little more than that, there are about 50,000 or 60,000 affected directly and indirectly. It is fair to say that but for this extra shift, half the shift workers, at any rate in most cases, would be unemployed. This is quite apart from the large number of other workers indirectly affected such as those engaged in preparatory work and also those engaged in subsequent processes.

Undoubtedly the system in most cases must reduce the cost of production by spreading overhead charges. We still have to export in order to keep our people employed at home. We are still therefore in competition with foreign manufacturers. So far as is known employers in all other countries, at any rate in the leading manufacturing countries, are free to employ women and young persons on this same system. That in itself is a strong argument in favour of the retention of the system here. It is in the interests of the employment of our own people. I do not know whether the Committee are fully aware of the procedure regarding these applications. The hon. Member for West Walthamstow (Mr. McEntee) said that there was intimidation. He used some such word as that.


I say so undoubtedly.


I think "duress" was the word used by the hon. Member. It may be difficult for me to convince the hon. Member. I can only say that usually these applications are actually signed by the workers concerned. Sometimes a ballot is held, but in every case one who is a friend of the workpeople in the person of a factory inspector visits the works in respect of which an application has been made. In fact, the application is generally made through the factory inspector, and in any case the factory inspector visits the factory before submitting any application that he may have received and satisfies himself that the proposal has been properly explained to the workpeople and that a majority are definitely in favour of the application.


How many of them are afraid to say otherwise?


I do not hold such a low opinion as that of His Majesty's Inspectors of Factories, and it is an opinion the expression of which I would resent.


I did not say anything about the factory inspectors. What I say emphatically, and I have experience which I do not, think the right hon. Gentleman has, is that the workers are intimidated to a certain extent if the employers want this system brought into operation. When the factory inspector comes round the workers are afraid to say a word to him because they know that if they do the "sack" awaits them, if not immediately in a short time afterwards.


I cannot accept that statement. It is not a question of any individual seeing the factory inspector, and even if it were, it is very unlikely that the factory inspector would tell the employer "So-and-so as an individual does not desire this two-shift system." Does the hon. Member mean to suggest that a number of workpeople who do not desire the system may be compelled to sign the application for fear of all being discharged? I cannot imagine that any employer is going to dismiss all his work-people because he has been thwarted in his desire to get a two-shift system. I apologise to the hon. Member for having wrongly interpreted what he said earlier with regard to the factory inspectors. I thought his accusation was against the factory inspector and that he suggested that they were intimidated. I withdraw what I said to him on that point.

Viscountess ASTOR

There is already a tremendous shortage of factory inspectors. We have economised on factory inspectors in the last 10 years. Is it quite certain that the factory inspectors go into every one of these cases? I should also like to know from the right hon. Gentleman what is the effect of this system upon the workers themselves.


I was about to deal with the question of health. As far as. the inspectors are concerned I am satisfied that they go into these cases very carefully and make the fullest possible inquiries. They do not make inquiries in front of the employers, but quietly from the workpeople, and I am certain that there is no intimidation such as has been suggested. I would ask the Committee to weigh carefully what I am about to say now. There has never been a request of any kind for the repeal of one of these Orders, and no individual case of dissatisfaction in the minds of the workpeople who have been working these Orders has been brought to light. The fact that we have not had a single request for repeal goes some way at any rate to show that this system is not unpopular among those who are working it. The hon. Member for Westhoughton asked how many Orders had fallen into disuse. Only one has been rescinded. That does not mean, however, that all the others are necessarily in use. What it means is that all the others may be used—that they are still operative.

I come to the question of the type of industries in which these Orders have been granted. I cannot give exact figures, but in the main they have been granted in the hosiery and light metal industries. The hon. Member said that the cotton trade had recently been granted an Order or Orders. That is not quite accurate. The facts are that Orders, few in number, have been granted in the cotton industry over several years. It is nothing new to grant an Order in that industry.

The hon. Member for West Walthamstow and the Noble Lady the Member for the Sutton Division of Plymouth (Viscountess Astor) asked how the health of the workers was affected by this system. I can only quote from the report of an investigation made by the Industrial Fatigue Research Board into the two-shift system in certain factories. The investigation was carried out by Miss May Smith and Mr. M. D. Vernon. In the report they talk under one head of the sickness, and I read: No conclusive statistical evidence has been found of a greater amount of sickness under one system than under the other. Again they say: When the visits were grouped by departments, it appeared that the total sickness of the departments on shift work was exactly the same as that of the departments on day work. Again: It appears that only half as many days were lost through sickness by the shift workers as by the day workers and that there were only about half as many visits to the first—aid room. That really looks on balance as though those young persons engaged on the two-shift system were in better health than those engaged on ordinary day work.

Viscountess ASTOR

Did they approve the two-shift system?


They did not consider the two-shift system except from the point of view of its effect upon the health of the workers. I was asked about the abuse of this system. All that I can say is that in 1932 there were 1,564 Orders operative, not of course all in use at the same time, and proceedings were taken on only six charges in connection with the failure to comply with some portion or other of an Order; five charges related to women and one to a young person. In each case—and this I think ought to show the vigilance of the factory inspectors—the prosecution was initiated by the factory inspector. It was he who took action, and in each case a conviction was obtained, but the abuse of this two-shift system from the figures that I have given is, it must be agreed, infinitesimal, and, moreover, it shows that there is a considerable desire by everybody concerned to work the system. I submit that there seems at present really no case for its abolition.

I said at the beginning that every Government is asked to delete this part of the Schedule and I repeat that no Government has ever done so I repeat that statement, because I would not care to disappoint the hon. Member for Westhoughton, who knew that I would bring forward the argument that the Labour Government on two occasions had recam- mended to the House exactly what we are recommending to-day. I do not want to disappoint him, but I would like to put this in rather a different light. No Government has definitely asked the Committee or the House to delete this section, and, moreover, no Government has ever even recommended its deletion. If I might quote the language that was used by Mr. Short on the celebrated occasion in 1930, it was as follows—and I am going to make the frank confession that I have read the whole of his speech and am going in the first instance at any rate to quote something which the hon. Member opposite will be very pleased to hear read. Mr. Short said: I can assure the Committee that the Government do not desire or intend that this system shall become a permanent part of our industrial law or our industrial conditions. But, If the two-shift system was brought to an end this year it would mean grave dislocation and would no doubt contribute to the industrial depression. If Mr. Short had said that this was an undesirable system but that they could not prevail upon the Liberal party to help them in getting it abolished on that occasion it would have been one thing, but, as a matter of fact, he said, "If you abolish the two-shift system this year, you are going to create unemployment, poverty, and all the things that we do not desire to see in this country." I quoted the exact words, but that is obviously what he meant. It was a bad thing, in the year in which he spoke, for this system to be abolished. With those last words that Mr. Short used, I am in complete agreement, and I maintain, and I desire to impress this upon the Committee, that those words apply with equal force to-day as when he used them three years ago. For that reason, if for no other—and I could give many other reasons were there time—I ask this Committee to resist the Amendment which has been moved by the hon. Member opposite.

4.51 p.m.


The defence of the right hon. Gentleman representing the Home Office really makes the matter a good deal more serious than I had supposed, because the defence which he has so ably put forward is in fact not a defence of this provision as an emergency provision, but, speaking, as I must suppose he does, the mind of the Government, he has brought forward all the arguments he could, with great conviction, to show that this system was a good system and one to be continued. If that be the case, we are considering something very serious indeed, and it shows what an unfortunate system it is to introduce legislation of this kind as an emergency and then to have it coming forward year by year in the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill. The result is that unless somebody actually makes a riot, the Government come to the conclusion that everyone is satisfied and it may as well go on.

From what words of the representative of the Home Office can hon. Members of this Committee to-day look forward to this being abolished at any time? Really, his defence was on the merits of the system. He defends the effects of it on health and on industry; everything is good about it. If that be so, the Government should take their courage in both hands and give this to us as a substantive piece of legislation which could be debated and given proper consideration, but the only intimation I heard that there was anything temporary about this arrangement in the mind of the Government was when the right hon. Gentleman said that we still need to export in order to keep our people employed. I am very glad that he recognises that, but are we to understand that this system is to go on until the time comes when we no longer need to export in order to give employment, because, if that be the case, I am afraid we shall have to wait a very long time? That argument is always very dangerous—to say that we justify this because, if we continue this system, we bring down production costs and thereby it is easier to export our goods. That argument could be developed in favour of things which everybody in this Committee would recognise as an abomination. It could be argued for any kind of sweating, and when an argument of that kind is put forward, we must not regard it as conclusive, but it has to be examined very carefully.

After all, whenever this Measure is presented to us in this form, simply in the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill, then the right hon. Gentleman is not entitled to say that no case for its abolition has been made out. That is not the point. The burden of proof is on him, when he is dealing with the continuance of emergency legislation, to show that there is still, in this year, special reason for keeping it on. Except in his very last sentences, he did not approach that side of the question at all. From his very last sentences we are bound to conclude that even after the National Government have been here so long, conditions are so grave that emergency measures of this kind must be continued. I should be very reluctant to believe that the Government were treating it on those lines, which is rather an accusation against the state of industry at present, but if they are dealing with it on the lines that three-fourths or seven-eighths of the right hon. Gentleman's speech led us to believe, that this is a good system and that it ought to be continued for the benefit of those who take part in it and the benefit of industry, then, in the name of honesty and in order to get the proper consideration, let us have it put before us in proper form.

4.55 p.m.


There are certain considerations in relation to this question which have been lost sight of. I would like to remind the Committee, first of all, that there is one of the leading trade unions of this country which has entered into specific agreements with employers' associations providing for the working of a two-shift day. I say at once that that relates only, of course, to the employment of adult work-people. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh"] Wait a moment; I am making a good point. There might be some ground for the contention of hon. Members opposite if they could show that the employment of young persons in industry was a separate industrial factor, but, of course, it is not. You do not get these young people, fill a workshop with them, and look to them for your production. The young persons are working either in ancillary occupations or in complementary occupations to adult workers. If you were to take the young persons out of your factory, you would dislocate that organisation and indirectly cause great hardship to the adult workers themselves.


suppose we understand correctly that when the trade union made arrangements for the two-shift system those arrangements did not violate the main provisions of the factory laws, as this two-shift system does?


That is quite a new point. I am not prepared to say that there is anything in this provision that we are discussing that violates the main provisions of the Factory Acts either in letter or in spirit, but I say that you cannot take these young persons out of this particular Act without doing a real hardship to adult workpeople who must have the help of these young people in the particular occupation which they are pursuing. I am not at all persuaded that we are not convincing ourselves entirely wrongly that hardship is in fact being inflicted upon young persons. I know a good deal about the working of factories and about the feelings of the people who work in them, and I challenge Members of the Opposition to go into any industrial area in this country and present to young people an opportunity of working from 6 to 2 or from 2 to 10 and finding out for themselves whether they would not grab the opportunity. [An HON. MEMBER "Not because it is right"] I hold that it is right.

There are men in this House—I am one of them myself—who have started work at 6 in the morning and gone on till 5.30 p.m. I am not justifying that, of course, but in those days, if we had been able to knock off at 2 or if we had started at 2 and knocked off at 10 p.m., we should have considered that we were getting a half-holiday each day. Working from 6 to 2 and from 2 to 10 is an industrial arrangement which, in my experience, is liked by the workpeople for the amenities that it gives them, and I do not believe that hon. Members of the Opposition are representing the sincere opinion of the workers in industry in indulging in some of the sentiments to which we have been listening to-day.

4.59 p.m.


I should not have intervened if I had not had some little experience of the subject under discussion. I was half afraid that the Government had no supporters whatever, but I have experienced the two-shift system, and, first of all, I am going to answer the hon. Member who intimated that the work people were practically blackmailed or intimidated to give their opinion as to whether or not they wanted to work on the two-shift system. Allow me to tell the Committee that when this application goes in, a factory inspector comes along and interviews the workpeople, not while they are working, not while the machines are running, but during the meal hours. He mixes among the workpeople and asks them their opinion as to whether or not they are in favour. I am of the opinion that the workpeople themselves favour this system of two shifts. It gives them more liberty and more recreation.

Let us look at it from another point of view. There are certain times in every business when orders are plentiful, and naturally every employer is anxious to get his orders out. There are enough bad times, and when he has the opportunity he wants to take every possible advantage to get the orders out. That applies particularly to a seasonal trade. At such times the employer puts in an application for permission to run his machinery to the fullest limit. There is not the slightest objection to this system. It works very satisfactorily and the work-people are satisfied. The employer is satisfied, too, for it helps to reduce costs. It also helps the export trade. I do not labour that point, however. The point I emphasise is that it helps the employer to get out his orders and to distribute his goods during the season when they are wanted.


Am I to understand the hon. Member to say that the business he has in mind cannot be carried on unless there are two shifts because it is a seasonal occupation?


My contention is that when the employer has the opportunity of getting through an extra amount of work, the two-shift system is a great help to him. I am not going to say it is not possible for that work to be done without it, But where a large factory has certain orders to get out, it is to the interest of the employer and the work-people that they should be got through. It should not be overlooked that by this system you are engaging a double number of people. Are we out to find employment or are we not? This system has been carried on for a few years satisfactorily, and I should like to see it embodied in a permanent Measure. There is no question of hardship to young people, for they have sufficient protection from their parents and the trade unions. This Measure is very useful to the trade of the country, and I hope that it will continue for many years to come.

5.6 p.m.


The hon. Member for Central Bradford (Mr. Eady) has made an admission in what he has said about rush business in a seasonal occupation. He said that the two-shift system was an advantage to seasonal occupations and that the workers were delighted. Is there a Member of the House who is not aware of the difficulties that have arisen in regard to the workers in seasonal occupations? Is there a Member who has not had pressure brought to bear on him in regard to people in industries which are classified as seasonal occupations? How often do we find people, after a seasonal rush when they have exerted all their influence to get a particular trade to themselves, dismiss their hands so that this seasonal occupation becomes a class of industry which throws the workpeople on to the scrap-heap. An industry which must have two shifts a day and can give occupation only to seasonal workers, is dangerous to legitimate business, for it brings in a class of persons who are classified as casual workers. The Ministry of Labour has had to deal with the question of workers in seasonal occupations, which week by week in our industrial areas are throwing hundreds upon the scrap-heap for, although they have con

tributed to unemployment pay, they are not able to get any benefit whatever.

The Ministry ought to consider the question of granting a licence to these seasonal occupations which are not legitimate industries, so that there should be greater scrutiny over them. In the interests of people engaged in legitimate business, competition of this kind that only produces seasonal workers ought not to be allowed. The legitimate trade gives continuous work from year to year, and the spasmodic system of the seasonal trades is a danger. As this question has been raised by a supporter of the National Government, perhaps the Government will consider the question of giving a licence or permission to the seasonal type of business. It is a system that ought not to be tolerated. I have had cases where people engaged in seasonal occupations have paid contributions for unemployment benefit, and when they have lost their jobs they have been denied the right to benefit. Has the Minister considered in connection with this Bill the question of seasonal work? I do not think it was really intended that it should deal with that type of industry. No doubt the conscience of the hon. Member for Central Bradford was pricked when he raised this point; at any rate, he raised a point which is worth the Minister's attention.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Schedule."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 253; Noes, 57.

Division No. 296.] AYES. [5.12 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Broadbent, Colonel John Cook, Thomas A.
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Brocklebank, C. E. R. Cooke, Douglas
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Brown,' Ernest (Leith) Cooper, A. Duff
Alexander, Sir William Browne, Captain A. C. Copeland, Ida
Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent) Buchan, John Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Buchan-Hepburn. P. G. T. Crooke, J. Smedley
Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K. Burgin, Or. Edward Leslie Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)
Aske, Sir Robert William Burnett, John George Cross, R. H.
Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfe Cadogan, Hon. Edward Crossley, A. C.
Atholl, Duchess of Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly) Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard
Bailey. Eric Alfred George Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset,Yeovil)
Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet) Caporn, Arthur Cecil Davison, Sir William Henry
Balniel, Lord Castlereagh, Viscount Dawson. Sir Philip
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Cautley, Sir Henry S. Denman, Hon. R. D.
Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham) Denville, Alfred
Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Chapman, Col. R.(Houghton-le-Spring) Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.
Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury) Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.) Dickie, John P.
Bennett, Capt. Sir Ernest Nathaniel Choriton, Alan Ernest Leofric Doran, Edward
Bernays, Robert Chotzner, Alfred James Dower, Captain A. V. G.
Borodale, Viscount Clarke, Frank Duckworth, George A. V.
Bossom, A. C. Clarry, Reginald George Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel
Boulton, W. W. Clayton, Sir Christopher Dunglass, Lord
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Cobb, Sir Cyril Eady, George H.
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir Godfrey Edmondson, Major A. J.
Briscoe, Capt. Richard George Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J. Elliot, Rt. Hon, Walter
Elliston, Captain George Sampson Lindsay, Kenneth Martin (Kilm'rnock) Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Elmley, Viscount Lindsay, Noel Ker Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)
Emmott, Charles E. G. C. Llewellyn-Janes, Frederick Rutherford, John (Edmonton)
Emrys-Evans, P. V. Lloyd, Geoffrey Salmon, Sir Isidore
Essenhigh, Reginald Clare Locker-Lampson,Rt. Hn. G. (Wd.Gr'n) Salt, Edward W.
Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.) Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'ndsw'th) Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Everard, W. Lindsay Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.) Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard
Faile, Sir Bertram G. Loder, Captain J. de Vere Savery, Samuel Servington
Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst Lumley, Captain Lawrence R. Selley, Harry R.
Ganzoni, Sir John Mabane, William Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.
Gauit, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G. (Partick) Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Gillett, Sir George Masterman Mac Andrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr) Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.
Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John McKie, John Hamilton Shute, Colonel J. J.
Glossop, C. W. H. Macpherson, Rt. Hon. sir Ian Skelton, Archibald Noel
Gluckstein, Louis Halle Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest Slater, John
Goff, Sir Park Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.
Goldie, Noel B. Marsden, Commander Arthur Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Goodman, Colonel Albert W. Martin, Thomas B. Smith, R. W. (Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine. C.)
Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.) Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.) Soper, Richard
Granville, Edgar Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.
Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.) Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.
Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John Milne, Charles Stevenson, James
Gritten, W. G. Howard Mitcheson, G. G. Stewart, J. H. (Fife, E.)
Gunston, Captain D. W. Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres Stones, James
Guy, J. C. Morrison Morrison, William Shepherd Storey, Samuel
Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H. Muirhead, Lieut.-Colonel A. J. Stourton, Hon. John J.
Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford) Murray-Philipson, Hylton Ralph Strickland, Captain W. F.
Hanbury, Cecil Nail, Sir Joseph Sueter, Rear admiral Murray F.
Hanley, Dennis A. Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Summersby, Charles H.
Harbord, Arthur Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth) Sutcliffe, Harold
Hartington, Marquess of Nicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersf'ld) Tate, Mavis Constance
Hartland, George A. Normand, Rt. Hon. Wilfrid Templeton, William P.
Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Peake, Captain Osbert Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)
Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford) Pearson. William G. Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Hepworth, Joseph Penny, Sir George Thorp, Linton Theodore
Herbert, Capt. S. (Abbey Division) Petherick, M. Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)
Holdsworth, Herbert Peto, Geoffrey K.(Wverh'pt'n, Bilst'n) Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston) Pike, Cecil F. Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsand)
Hornby, Frank Power, Sir John Cecil Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)
Horsbrugh, Florence Procter, Major Henry Adam Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.) Purbrick, R. Watt, Captain George Steven H.
Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport) Pybus, Percy John Wells, Sydney Richard
Hurst, Sir Gerald B. Raikes, Henry V. A. M. Whyte, Jardine Bell
Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd) Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich) Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.) Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian) Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H. Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles) Wills, Wilfrid D.
Jennings, Roland Ramsden, Sir Eugene Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir Arnold (Hertf'd)
Joel, Dudley J. Barnato Rankin, Robert Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)
Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Rawson, Sir Cooper Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)
Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West) Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter) Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Ker, J. Campbell Reid, David D, (County Down) Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Kerr, Hamilton W. Reid, James S. C. (Stirling) Withers, Sir John James
Knight, Holford Reid, William Allan (Derby) Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount
Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.) Rentoul, Sir Gervals S. Womersley, Walter James
Lees-Jones, John Renwick, Major Gustav A. Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley
Leighton, Major B. E. P. Robinson, John Roland Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)
Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge) Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks
Lewis. Oswald Rungs, Norah Cecil
Liddall, Walter S. Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Mr. Blindell and Lord Erskine
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) McGovern, John
Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton) Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro'.W.) Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)
Banfield, John William Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)
Batey, Joseph Groves, Thomas E. Maxton, James.
Sevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale) Grundy, Thomas W. Milner, Major James
Briant, Frank Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Parkinson, John Allen
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Harris, Sir Percy Pickering, Ernest H.
Buchanan, George Hicks, Ernest George Price, Gabriel
Cape, Thomas Hirst, George Henry Rathbone, Eleanor
Cove, William G. Jenkins, Sir William Smith, Tom (Normanton)
Cripps, Sir Stafford Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Thorne, William James
Daggar, George Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Tinker, John Joseph
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) Kirkwood, David Wallhead, Richard C.
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George White, Henry Graham
Edwards, Charles Lawson, John James Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.) Leonard, William Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)
Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen) Logan, David Gilbert Wilmot, John Charles
Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin) Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander
George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) Lunn, William TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea) McEntee, Valentine L. Mr. Duncan Graham and Mr. G. Macdonald.

I beg to move, in page 4, to leave out lines 11 to 13.

The effect of carrying this Amendment would be to bring to an end the Dyestuffs (Import Regulation) Act, 1920. The passing of that Act has led to a very interesting and, in some ways, successful experiment, and I have not the slightest doubt that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade, in seeking to justify the continuance of the Act, will point with pride to the fact, that whereas in 1913 we produced only about 9,000,000 lbs. of dyestuffs in this country, in 1922 the figure had risen to 20,000,000 lbs. In 1929, the peak year was reached with 55,000,000 lbs. There has been some decline since, but in 1932 the figure was 49,000,000 lbs. I do not wish to repeat many of the arguments used last year. The hon. Member for South Bradford (Mr. Holdsworth), who is not in his place at the moment, gave at that time an admirable survey of the history of the dyestuffs industry in this country since the passing of the Act of 1920, and I do not propose to cover the ground he traversed on that occasion. I am sorry that none of his colleagues are here. I want to say only this about his speech, that his arguments were so convincing and his case was so good that he persuaded us on these benches to go with him into the Lobby in support of bringing the Act to an end. I do not know whether he and his friends are going to return the compliment to-day, when the Division is called, and join us.

It is interesting to review, after 13 years, the arguments originally used to persuade the House of Commons to pass the Act for the regulation of the import of dyestuffs. It was contended that the industry was vital to the future of the country, not merely for industrial and commercial reasons but for defence purposes. I would like hon. Members to note that point, because I shall refer to it later in another connection. It was contended that it was the duty of the State to afford some assistance to an infant industry which, in the national interest, ought to be established in this country, and that assistance has been given. The industry has been established. It is no longer an infant industry. I do not think even the Parliamentary Secretary will advance that argu ment this afternoon. It is now a Colossus, with one foot in Britain and another on the Continent of Europe. Instead of being an infant industry, it is to-day part of an international cartel, and it is difficult to understand why this huge international combine should need the special protection of the British Government, even so far as the British side of it is concerned.

The Parliamentary Secretary, in replying to the Debate last year, informed the House that the Tariff Advisory Committee were to consider the matter during the year. They have done so, and I want to make some references to the report they issued in September of this year. Last year objection was raised to the continuance of this Act by a number of Government supporters. I do not know whether we shall see them raising objections on this occasion. Among them was the hon. and gallant Member for Salford West (Commander Astbury). He wanted the Act abolished, as I understood his speech, and a tariff introduced in its place. I suppose he meant that there should be an additional duty. He knew quite well that the 10 per cent. ad valorem duty was applied, and still is, I think, to dyestuffs imported under licence, and I imagine that what he wanted was additional duties. No doubt he will be specially interested in the Tariff Advisory Committee's report, because it seems that experience is teaching them that in some ways tariffs are not as useful as their advocates have contended. I shall quote the relevant passage from the report, which is on page 7, where the Tariff Advisory Committee say: The restrictive effect upon importations of a system of protective duties seems likely, from what we have been told and from what we know of the history and present position of the dyestuffs industry generally, to be much weaker than in most other trades. There is a large surplus productive capacity on the Continent which, in seeking an outlook wherever one can he found, would surmount any moderate obstacle in the shape of protective duties of the order we have normally recommended hitherto. If the British industry is to be afforded that reasonable security against potential unrestricted foreign competition which it can fairly claim, some other form of safeguard is necessary". I wonder whether the Tariff Advisory Committee, when they penned that paragraph, had in mind the fact that there are also many other industries outside this country which have a large surplus productive capacity which cannot be effectively dealt with by tariffs. Apparently that point is being driven home to them by the experience they gain as information in regard to industrial matters is placed before them. I suppose the Parliamentary Secretary will resist our Amendment to-day on the ground that the Tariff Advisory Committee recommend the continuance of the Act. I suppose that will be the main argument he will advance. They have certain comments to make about the present situation of the dyestuffs industry, to which I would briefly refer, and as I do so I want to put one or two questions to the Parliamentary Secretary. Last year he had something to say in reply to the criticism of the continuance of the Act because the cartel had come into existence. I will read a few of his remarks, quoting from the Debate in the House on 8th December, 1932: That brings me to the cartel. A great deal has been said during the Debate about the cartel and the prejudicial effects resulting from it. I wonder whether the Committee has ever thought of what an international cartel would be if this country had been excluded from it? The case I am making is that the effect of the cartel without Great Britain would have been extremely damaging to this country. But the cartel which has come into existence is one in which this country is included, and, so far from being a disadvantage, is an enormous advantage. What is there left? It is said that the prices of all essential dyestuffs have been increased."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 8th December, 1932; col. 1847, Vol. 272] The argument has been used that the cartel sent up prices immediately the British Dyestuffs Corporation became part of it. The hon. Gentleman tried to prove, and perhaps did prove, that the price increases were largely due to the fact that we had gone off the Gold Standard, and not to any sinister intentions on the part of those who were operating the cartel. The Import Duties Advisory Committee have something to say about the cartel, and I want to quote what they say, because it is very interesting. It will be found on page 6 of their report. They say: Much else has been said to us about the existence of the international cartel agreement between the principal British dye—making concern in this country and the powerful organisations on the Continent. The contents of this agreement had not been disclosed to parties outside the cartel, and the submissions which we have received in regard to it are necessarily based on conjecture. It is said that the very existence of the cartel provides the principal dye-making concern in this country with a sufficiently effective protection. We have had an opportunity of considering the terms of this particular agreement, and there does not appear in these terms anything to which objection might be taken either by makers or consumers; but obviously everything depends upon the way in which the cartel is operated. It appears to us that provision should he made for securing adequate investigation of any authoritative complaints that may be made, and we make some suggestions as to this. At the same time, we think that users and makers realise that they are in a state of mutual interdependence, and that the British interests in the cartel are alive to the responsibility which rests upon them because of this fact. I want to refer to their suggestions in regard to the cartel, because I would put a question to the Parliamentary Secretary. The committee suggests that it would probably be wise to do something, seeing that the cartel exists. I will quote from their report again, page 9: We think that the present regime, if permanently established, would meet with a readier acceptance on the part of colour users, if means could be found to remove anxieties as to the possibility of exploitation. If some provision could be made whereby complaints by any responsible body of consumers as to exploitation in respect of dyestuffs and intermediates generally or of a particular class or classes thereof could be addressed to an independent authority, who would have powers of investigation and whose findings would be made public, a substantial reason for the opposition of the colour users to a continuance of the present system should, we think, be removed, and we understand that it would meet with general acceptance if the duty of investigation were entrusted to the Import Duties Advisory Committee. If requested to do so, we are prepared to undertake this task. I would like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary whether or not the Government intend to put into operation some such proposal as is suggested in this recommendation. Obviously the Advisory Committee have come to the conclusion that in certain circumstances it would be possible for this cartel grossly to exploit the consumers and users of dyes in this country, and that for confidence to exist it is necessary that some such suggestions as they make should be put into operation. I would very much like the Parliamentary Secretary to tell us whether or not the Government propose to do what the Advisory Committee recommend, in the passage which I have just quoted.

Further, do they intend to do anything in the way of setting up a standing joint committee of producers and consumers, as requested or suggested by the Import Duties Advisory Committee, in, I think, the last paragraph of their Report? It is obvious that even to the Advisory Committee the present situation is in some way unsatisfactory, and consequently they suggest that the Act should continue and that, where dyes are brought into the country on licence the 10 percent. Ad valorem duty should not apply to dyestuffs generally but that the Act should be continued.

I want to say a word about the costs argument which has been used, and which was put forward by colour users and people who consume dyes in this country, against the continuance of the Act. One of the general arguments, the main argument in fact, that has been used, is that the process of development of the dye industry in this country, by a system of regulating the import of dyestuffs, has put certain burdens upon colour users and consumers, and has, to some extent, increased their cost of production. It is suggested that it is very difficult to ascertain precisely what amount has been added to the costs by the operation of this Act during the last 13 years, owing to the nature of the industry, the taxes upon it and its dyeing costs. The users are contending that, in some ways, the Act has increased their costs, and they point out that now, if ever, the lowest possible cost of production for textiles is necessary if they are to meet competition effectively in the world market. Whenever this question of competition in the world's markets arises, it is contended that we have no chance of regaining markets at all, unless there are lower costs of production.

One of the first things that is usually done in the face of circumstances like these is to attack the wages of the operatives in the various textile industries. That is usually the first line of attack, when it is desired to lower costs of production. If, as the Colour Users' Association contend, there are now enhanced costs of production, in the later stages, at any rate, of this process of establishing the dye industry in this country, by reason of the methods which have been used, surely we have reached a point, now that this industry is part of an international combine, where we have not to ask the workers in textile industries to take lower wages in order that competition may be met in foreign markets, and to bolster up the profits of an international cartel. That is the point on which, I think, we ought to have some answer from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade. In my own area, for instance, a demand is being made at the moment for reductions in wages in the fine gauge section of the hosiery industry. Dyeing plays no unimportant part in the cost of production of hosiery. I have heard it stated more than once that a fair figure to fix is probably in the region of Is. per dozen pairs for dyeing costs——


Can the hon. Member provide a single instance of a dyer in the Nottingham area who objects to this Act?


The hon. Member for West Nottingham (Mr. Caporn) made a speech on this matter last year and he did not want, in that speech, to have to go before the Import Duties Advisory Committee at all. I carefully read his speech. He thought it would take the advisory board too long to deal with the matter. Incidentally, in the course of his speech, he made the same sort of statement which he has just risen in his place to make, that there has been no progress among the dye users of Nottingham in the hosiery trade in connection with this matter. I am not saying that there has been. I am talking of hosiery manufacturers for the moment, and not of dye users, and I am merely pointing to the fact that, so far as the hosiery manufacturer is concerned, one part of his costs is somewhere in the region of Is. per dozen pairs for dyeing, and when a dozen pairs of hosiery—I am thinking for the moment in terms of lisle and not of silk —costs 16s. 6d. from the factory, Is. is no inconsiderable part of the costs. That is my point.

The other point is that there is, at the moment, a movement on foot to reduce the wages of the workers in the fine gauge section of the hosiery industry. Presumably that demand is being made on the usual grounds that competition has to be met, and that costs must be lowered, and so the first line of attack is again upon wages. All that I am asking is, whether through the instrumentality of this Act, costs of other kinds are being artificially kept up while the workers are having to pay the first price, so far as reductions are concerned. I hope that the Parliamentary Secretary will be able to reply to that point.

I have only two or three other things to say. At first sight I shall probably appear to be saying something that is not relevant to the present topic when I refer to yesterday's Debate, but in a moment I shall be able to make my point clear. I listened with a good deal of interest to yesterday's Debate and to those speeches which were breathing out threatenings of slaughter. With many of them I agree. I agree with the sentiments that were expressed. Politically, it was stated yesterday, Germans were outside the pale and, in existing circumstances, we ought not to have anything to do with them. This Government is fostering an industry built up by Government regulations during the last 13 years, and its figureheads have no scruples about entering into industrial agreements with German dye producers and German chemical undertakings to exploit, in all probability, British dye consumers, and incidentally to assist in reducing the wages of British workmen. If these dye costs of production are going to be made the basis of a demand for wages reduction, it seems to me that some of the boasted patriotism about which we have heard so much looks nasty—very nasty indeed—in the light of the industrial arrangements that have been made from time to time.

The setting up of import regulations in connection with dyestuffs is said to have something to do with national safety and national defence, and not merely with commercial and industrial purposes. If it has something to do with national defence, all the details of this cartel arrangement should be made known to some impartial body outside, if Government support is to be continued to be given to the industry. We are told a good deal about what happened in endeavouring to make it possible for this country to make dyes which we could not make before. I know something about that. We had not a dye that was any good for hosiery, after the War. If you had a pair of black stockings which came fresh from the dyeing, and you put your hands down them, your hands were black immediately you withdrew them. We had no fast black dye at that time. I claim to know something about that, in more ways than one. These dyes depend upon chemical formulae in one way or another. Does the cartel make any provision for the exchange of chemical formulae between one part of the cartel and another? Some of the chemical formulae would be very important, should. a conflict arise between us and some of the Continental nations. We have a right to know what are the ramifications in every way of this international cartel. I think that we are justified in moving this Amendment to-day, because we have reached a stage in the development of the industry, now that it is part of an inter national cartel, in which it ought no longer to need the special protection of the British Government.


I beg to second the Amendment.

5.45 p.m.


I am certainly not prepared in 1933 to do what I did not do in 1930. On the contrary, all the arguments which we put forward in 1930 in favour of bringing to an end the artificial protection of this industry have been strengthened by the lapse of time. The very foundation of the case for the protection of this industry and the prohibition of imports from abroad, when this scheme was originally put forward, was that it was to be a temporary measure 10 give time to the industry to organise itself, to build up its goodwill, to make experiments, to organise its laboratories. It was always understood, and it had been put forward by the industry itself, that once it was established, once it was on a permanent foundation, it was quite prepared to meet free competition and to permit imports to come in. We have had the advantage now of another of these reports.

I do not believe in looking up people's past in these wicked times; it is rather a cruel and unkind thing to do; and I do not know what the Parliamentary Secretary did on that historic occasion when there was so much difficulty in guiding the Bill through in order to get these duties extended: but, whether he voted for it or whether he voted against it, one thing I think he will accept, and that is that it was on the understanding that it was only going to be for a very little time longer. Year after year, however, we have Governments coming down and—I do not want to be unkind—sneaking things through under the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill. This Government has leisure, it has time, and, above all, it has the power, if it really is determined to do so, to give permanent protection to this industry and to continue these prohibitions and interferences with the raw material of a most important industry. If the Government are determined to do that, they ought to follow the proper procedure, which has now been established by Parliament, and submit the matter to the tribunal set up for the purpose, the Tariff Commission.

This problem cannot be treated as an isolated one. This industry does not stand on its own legs; it is dependent on other industries; and it is common knowledge that the industry above all which has to face the fiercest foreign competition in the neutral markets of the world is the textile industry. In that industry Japan is undoubtedly filching many of our best markets. She has made immense inroads into the Australian and New Zealand markets, of which we largely had a monopoly up to a year ago. There may be explanations of that, such as low money wages and long hours; but it has been put forward by, I think, the President of the Board of Trade that one explanation is the fine organisation of the industry and its high standard of efficiency. A very big factor, especially in the silk industry and in the cotton industry, is the supply of cheap dyes—cheap colours.

In this interesting report it is put forward as a new factor that, owing to the establishment of a cartel, conditions are now changed, and prices are no longer lower. That is a very novel argument for continuing this protection and prohibition of imports. Is the Minister satisfied that the cartel does not really owe its existence largely to the fact of the tariff, and the monopoly which has grown up behind it in this very country? If we had a free market in England, it is very doubtful whether the cartel could function effectively. This is not an isolated example. We had an example of it in the case of incandescent gas mantles. Before there was a tariff, there was no cartel; when the tariff came into existence, the cartel was established, 'and there is no doubt that the big monopoly which has grown up in this country under the aegis of a tariff is in a position to bargain and make arrangements with the cartel. There is undoubtedly growing up throughout the world a great dyestuffs monopoly.

I maintain that our first consideration must be our big textile industry. It is true that the silk industry is quite prepared to come into the deal. That is not surprising, because they have always asked for tariffs themselves, and I 'suppose they feel that, if they were to ask for a free market for their raw material, users of their material might come in and ask for the abolition of their privileges. On the other hand, there is the big Colour Users' Association, which, in paragraph 6 of the report, is stated to be representative of almost all the dye-using industries, with the textile trades predominant. The report goes on to say that its existence and co-operation has contributed materially to the smooth working of the Act. That is to say, they played the game. It continues: The association has declared itself opposed to a continuation of the Dyestuffs (Import Regulation) Act, and also to the extension to the dyestuffs industry of any degree of tariff protection whatsoever. Now again, however, for the third, fourth or fifth time, this privilege is automatically to be renewed. I think we are entitled, at the end of this Session, to have a clear statement of the future policy of the Government. What do they propose to do? Are they going on with this makeshift system of day-to-day policy, or are they going to bring forward a new policy; and are they going to submit that policy to the Tariff Commission? Or, alternatively, are they now going, as has been promised time after time, to allow this industry, after it has had time to build itself up on a sound foundation, to fact the full free light of competition, and give to manufacturers 'and users of this essential raw material an opportunity to buy it in the cheapest market?

5.55 p.m.


Listening to the speech of the hon. Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris), one is reminded of the old adage: Hope springs eternal in the human breast. The hon. Member is asking this Government to do something which he knows they will not do, and we generally find him iii the Lobby supporting them to see that they do not do too much; or, if he does not go in to vote for them, he stays outside so that he may not vote against them. In this case we want to know where we are getting to. Hon. Members who, when Protection was established by the votes of those who supported the Government, protested when the issue was the question of Protection for what they are pleased to call Free Trade—Free Trade spells competition, and competition inevitably ends in monopoly—are now grumbling against the effects of their own doctrine, because throughout the world to-day the countries that used to be our cutomers have become our competitors.

I remember, as a young man in Lancashire, working in a textile manufacturing concern, where we got 17s. per week for 56 hours, and 2d. stopped for club. That firm was busy night and day, year in and year out, producing textile manufacturing machinery to equip factories in Japan, China and the East generally; and now, when all the factories are built and fully equipped, and able to produce goods under conditions that we cannot dream of, you are turning round and talking about the effects of that competition and the results of its inevitable economic development, which means that, even if the workers of England were prepared to live on nothing at all, they would not be able to compete against the low wages and horrible conditions of employment that prevail in these Eastern countries. Tariff Reform is simply tariff-raff reform; it touches nothing. Now the hon. Member for South West Bethnal Green comes along with some of his grandmother's medicine. So far as we are concerned, we believe in a national organisation of industry in the national interest. We are asking for the right of the people to organise industry in the interests of the people. Hon. Members opposite used at one time to believe in democracy—government of the people by the people for the people. We believe now in industry by the people for the people, which is a different proposition. I used once to stand at meetings listening to people talking about one vote for every man and woman in the country. "One man one vote" it was called at first, and later on it was called "adult suffrage."


The hon. Member is now getting rather far from the Dyestuffs (Import Regulation) Act.


We have been dyed with this stuff for a long time. It is the kind of stuff that we used to be dyed with when we were politically unconscious. Now we have arisen to a sense of the situation, and we ask the hon. Member for South-West Bethnal Green, who objects to the Government's policy, why he has been supporting it so much. Why is he sitting on those benches? You cannot have your cake and eat it; you cannot pretend to be against the Government to-day and with them to-morrow. [An HON. MEMBER: "Hear, hear!"] I am glad to hear that. After all, the chickens are coming home to roost. You are beginning to discover now that the old game cannot be carried on much longer, that you cannot run with the hare and hunt with the hounds all the time and every time. Why should there be this opposition to the Government's proposal now, when hon. Members allowed it to go through on the theory that after the War was over everything in the garden would be lovely?

The Dyestuffs Bill was a temporary proposition, but we know very well that the majority of the Government's supporters meant it to be a permanent part of their machinery. They believe in Protection as a matter of principle. I do not object to their believing in Protection; it is their principle. They have always been advocating protection for themselves, but not protection for the common people of this country, not protection for wages. They have never supported the workmen in their protest against reduction of wages, but they have always supported those who have demanded protection for their selling capacity. They are Protectionists when they are selling something, and Free Traders when they are buying anything. They do not believe in protection so far as great classes of people are concerned.

Now the Dyestuffs Bill conies along. I happen to be a member of a union which is interested in this matter. Many of our members work for this combine in Great Britain—for a combine has been made, not merely of Continental manufacturers, but inside this country, for the protection and control of the home market. As a consequence, they have closed down seven chemical factories in this country, and concentrated their production in one factory. Seven factories have been closed down. Is that the Tory policy? As the result of this combination and control of synthetic production of chemicals, thousands of members of the various trade unions interested are practically out of work. There is no hope for them. This Government has no solution of the problem. It cannot solve anything. We are supporting Amendments against all these Bills because whatever Amendments we may propose we know will be beaten by the mutual consent of those who pretend to be opposed to them. Some of them will talk in the House against the Government but not vote against them, because they are afraid they may not be on the next coupon, and their names will not appear on the list of the next National Government candidates. They are hanging together, because they are afraid they may hang separately. We are going to hang them as soon as possible.

6.1 p.m.


I oppose the Amendment because I know the benefits which have been conferred on the textile industry by this Act. In my opinion, it has been a very useful one, and I hope it will continue. The Mover of the Amendment stated that the Bill was favouring a system of attacking the wages of the workpeople. Surely he is sufficiently intelligent to know that this could not possibly be. What on earth have dye-wares to do with the lowering of wages in the textile trade? I am surprised at a. gentleman of his ability making such a statement. The question of Japanese competition has been introduced. I am of the same opinion about that, that it has nothing to do with it. I hope the Government will be strong enough to carry on this Act, as it has been of very great benefit to the textile trade.

6.3 p.m.


Last year, when this matter came before the Committee, in a somewhat comprehensive review I pointed out what had been the attitude of the Dyestuffs Industry Development Committee in their various reports and I said that, with an industry divided against itself, it was a little difficult for the Government to deal with it as a whole, and for that reason the Government had decided to ask the Import Duties Advisory Committee to inquire into the whole circumstances of the industry and see how the interest of the country would best be served. Mt Import Duties Advisory Committee accepted that task and have issued their report. The hon. Baronet the Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris) asks me to make an announcement of the Government's intentions with regard to the problem as a whole, and I very gladly respond. The Government have decided to adopt the recommendations of the Import Duties Advisory Committee on the policy to be followed in the future, and a l3ill to give effect to those recommendations will be introduced in the new Session, but as there is doubt whether it will be possible to find time for full consideration of the Bill in all its stages before 31st December it is necessary, as a purely precautionary measure, to continue the existing Act for a further period.

The Committee will understand that this is a matter that must be dealt with by legislation. It is not one that ought to be dealt with continually by being included in the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill, but the Government have reluctantly been obliged to continue the Act in the Schedule as a precautionary measure, lest it should not be possible to complete all the stages of the new Bill by the end of the current year. The Import Duties Advisory Committee have been informed of the proposals of the Government, and it is understood that they intend in the near future to make appropriate recommendations regarding changes in the Import Duties referred to in their report and, immediately those changes are put into force, the President of the Board of Trade will issue under the 1920 Act, a general licence permitting the importation of the goods which the Committee have recommended should no longer be subject to prohibition. That is a clear announcement of what the Government proposals are.

The hon. Member for Mansfield (Mr. C. Brown) put one or two questions. They were very largely relating to matters which flowed, in his view, from the existence of the cartel. He mentioned how desirable it was that any agreement of an international character should be referred from time to time to some impartial committee. He will have read with interest that this very cartel agreement has been under consideration by the Import Duties Advisory Committee and will note their comment upon it. The first question was whether the Bill which the Government propose to introduce will include a provision for the protection of consumers. Certainly, there will be a provision in the Dyestuffs Bill which will deal with that recommendation. I refer to the recommendation in paragraph 20, page 9, of the report of the Import Duties Advisory Committee. He then asked whether any steps would he taken to set up a joint standing committee of makers and users. The answer again is in the affirmative although that, of course, will not be done in the Bill. On both those matters the recommendations of the Advisory Committee will be followed. The hon. Baronet the Member for South-West Bethnal Green called attention to prices. I am sure he never wishes to make a point unfairly. I ask him to look at the last six lines on page 5 of the report. The Committee, who had before them the various partners in this great industry, say: It has been frankly stated that the users have no serious complaint as to the prices charged by the dyestuffs industry, but they are apprehensive as to what may happen in the future. So that for the present there is no complaint. The future will be safeguarded by the provisions which the Government propose to include in their Bill. I trust that with that explanation the committee will feel that this precautionary inclusion in the Schedule of the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill is an obvious necessity.

6.9 p.m.


I should not have intervened but for a statement of the hon. Baronet the Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris).I want hon. Members to get away some what from the effect of Japanese competition on wages. It may be interesting to the hon. Baronet to know that wages in Lancashire are not too good. When I heard so much about Japanese competition before the summer Adjournment I thought I would make inquiries about wages in the Lancashire textile industry. I have been astonished to find, in my own division, young men of 22 and 23 years of age working a full week in the textile mills for as low as 15s., on the plea that they are still little piecers waiting for men's jobs. As long as young men of 21, 22 and 23 years of age are employed for six days a week at full time for 15s. I am not very much impressed by Japanese competition consequent on low wages. [Interruption.] I will give the hon. Member proof if he wants it. It is common knowledge. Anyone representing a textile constituency will agree that the wages of little piecers are as low as 15s. a week.


You said 19 to 21.


21, 22 and 23 years of age.


Not in Yorkshire.


I am not speaking of Yorkshire. I am speaking of Lancashire. Surely there is some county apart from Yorkshire to be considered. As far as I am concerned, Lancashire is more important than Yorkshire, and, if I may say so without offence, a more intelligent county too!

I have been astonished at the absence to-day of one or two Lancashire representatives who have always complained that the monopoly of our dyestuff industry consequent upon tariffs was damaging their trade as colour users The hon. And gallant Member for West Salford (commander Astbury) has complained more than once on that score, and I was very much impressed by his contention that the dyestuffs Act had made it possible for a monopoly to be created here at home to the disadvantage of colour users. The strangest thing of all to me, however, is that when the present Government want to make out a case for tariffs they always put up a Libearl to make it The President of the Board of Trade and the Parliamentary Secretary are supposed to be two good Liberals, and if you read their speeches a few years ago you would find that they contradict every word they have said lately on the subject. I am a little amazed at what the hon. Baronet said on this issue. He seems to wobble. Does it not stand to reason that, if Free Trade in principle is good, we ought to adhere by it irrespective of the Government in power? I make the confession on my own behalf that I am an unrepentant Free Trader. [interruption.] I should like the hon. Member to make his applause a little more musical in future if he does not mind.


Is the hon. Gentleman in favour of allowing dumped Japanese low-wage goods to come into this Lancashire of his and stop employment for our people?

The CHAIRMAN (Sir Dennis Herbert)

I do not think we can allow

the Debate to extend to one on Free Trade generally.


I will answer the hon. and gallant Gentleman in another place. I have tried to weigh the effects of the Dyestuffs Act in a very simple fashion, as to whether its continuance really does more good than it does damage to our own colour users. I am convinced by speeches which have been made in the House from time to time that the colour users of Lancashire really are at a disadvantage because of this Measure and, therefore, we shall vote against its continuance.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Schedule".

The Committee divided: Ayes, 228; Noes, 56.

Division No. 297.] AYES. [6.15 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Dickie, John P. Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romford)
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds,W.) Doran, Edward Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Duckworth, George A. V. James, Wing.-Com A. W. H.
Aske, Sir Robert William Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel Joel, Dudley J. Barnato
Astbury, Lieut.-com. Frederick Wolfe Dunglass, Lord Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)
Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton) Eady, George H. Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)
Atholl, Duchess of Eastwood, John Francis Ker, J. Campbell
Balley, Eric Alfred George Elliot, Rt. Hon. Walter Knox, Sir Alfred
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Eillston, Captain George Sampson Latham, Sir Herbert Paul
Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet) Elmley, Viscount Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)
Balniel, Lord Emmott, Charles E. G. C. Leckie, J. A.
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Emrys-Evans, P. V. Lees-Jones, John
Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare) Leighton, Major B. E. P.
Bennett, Capt. Sir Ernest Nathaniel Essenhigh, Reginald Clare Liddall, Walter S.
Borodale, Viscount Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.) Lindsay, Kenneth Martin (Kilm'rnock)
Bosom A. C. Everard, W. Lindsay Lindsay, Noel Ker
Boulton, W. W. Falle Sir Bertram G. Llewellin, Major John J.
Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst Lloyd, Geoffrey
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Fremantle, Sir Francis Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'ndsw'th)
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Galbraith, James Francis Wallace Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)
Briscoe, Capt. Richard George Ganzoni, Sir John Loder, Captain J. de Vere
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Gillett, Sir George Masterman Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander
Browne, Captain A. C. Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.
Buchan, John Glossop, C. W. H. Mabane, William
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Gluckstein, Louis Halle MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick)
Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie Goff, Sir Park MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)
Burnett, John George Goldie, Noel B. McConnell, Sir Joseph
Cadogan, Hon. Edward Goodman, Colonel Albert W. McCorquodale, M. S.
Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.) McKie, John Hamilton
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Granville, Edgar McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)
Cassels, James Dale Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas Macpherson, Rt. Hon. Sir Ian
Castlereagh, Viscount Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter Magnay, Thomas
Cautley, Sir Henry S. Grenfell, E. C. (City of London) Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.
Chapman, Col. R.(Houghton-le-Spring) Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John Marsden, Commander Arthur
Clarke, Frank Gritten, W. G. Howard Martin, Thomas B.
Clarry, Reginald George Gunston, Captain D. W. Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)
Clayton, Sir Christopher Guy, J. C. Morrison Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John
Cobb, Sir Cyril Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H. Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)
Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J. Hanbury, Cecil Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)
Cook, Thomas A. Hanley, Dennis A. Milne, Charles
Cooke, Douglas Harbord, Arthur Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)
Cooper, A. Duff Hartland, George A. Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)
Copeland, Ida Heilgers, Captain F. F. A. Muirhead, Lieut.-Colonel A. J.
Crooke, J. Smedley Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford) Murray-Philipson, Hylton Ralph
Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle) Hepworth, Joseph Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.
Crossley, A. C. Herbert, Capt. S. (Abbey Division) Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)
Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Hornby, Frank Nicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersf'ld)
Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery) Home, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S. Nunn, William
Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset,Yeovil) Horsbrugh, Florence Peake, Captain Osbert
Denman, Hon. R. D. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney,N.) Pearson, William G.
Denville, Alfred Hume, Sir George Hopwood Peat, Charles U.
Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F. Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg) Penny, Sir George
Petherick, M Salmon, Sir Isidore Strickland, Captain W. F.
Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n,Bilst'n) Salt, Edward W. Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.
Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart Summersby, Charles H.
Pike, Cecil F. Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D. Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)
Power, Sir John Cecil Savery, Samuel Servington Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Procter, Major Henry Adam Selley, Harry R. Thorp, Linton Theodore
Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich) Shakespeare, Geoffrey H. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian) Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell) Wallace, John (Dunfermline)
Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles) Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar) Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Ramsbotham, Herwald Shepperson, Sir Ernest W. Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
Rankin, Robert Slater, John Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)
Rawson, Sir Cooper Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D. Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Reid, David D. (County Down) Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam) Watt, Captain George Steven H.
Reid, James S. C. (Stirling) Smith, R. W. (Ab'rd'n & Klnc'dine,C.) Wells, Sydney Richard
Reid, William Allan (Derby) Somerset, Thomas Whyte, Jardine Bell
Rentoul, Sir Gervals S. Somervell, Sir Donald Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
Renwick, Major Gustav A. Southby, Commander Archibald R. J. Wills, Wilfrid D.
Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U. Spencer, Captain Richard A. Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir Arnold (Hertf'd)
Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge) Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H. Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)
Runge, Norah Cecil Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland) Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy) Stevenson, James Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Stewart, J. H. (Fife, E.) Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)
Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield,B'tside) Stones, James
Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury) Storey, Samuel TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Rutherford, John (Edmonton) Stourton, Hon. John J. Mr. Blindell and Mr. Womersley.
Banfield, John William George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea) Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)
Batey, Joseph Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur McEntee, Valentine L.
Bernays, Robert Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)
Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale) Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Maxton, James
Briant, Frank Grundy, Thomas w. Milner, Major James
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Parkinson, John Allen
Buchanan, George Harris, Sir Percy Price, Gabriel
Cape, Thomas Hicks, Ernest George Salter, Dr. Alfred
Cove, William G. Hirst, George Henry Smith, Tom (Normanton)
Cripps, Sir Stafford Jenkins, Sir William Thorne, William James
Curry, A. C. Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields) Tinker, John Joseph
Daggar, George Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Wallhead, Richard C.
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) White, Henry Graham
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Kirkwood, David Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Edwards, Charles Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)
Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen) Leonard, William Wilmot, John Charles
Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)
Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin) Logan, David Gilbert
George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) Lunn, William TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Mr. Groves and Mr. D. Graham.

6.24 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 4, column 3, to leave out lines 31 to 46, and to insert instead thereof the words "the whole Act."

The Public Works Facilities Act was passed by the Labour Government in 1930, receiving the Royal Assent in August. The Act arose, I understand, out of a conference of local authorities convened by the Prime Minister, particularly in view of the gravity of unemployment, to see what could be done to facilitate the desires of local authorities in removing certain difficulties and making it possible to proceed with greater speed in providing employment. Other conferences were held with local government organisations, and generally the Bill received the support of the municipal authorities and local government organisations and was considered to be a desirable Measure. The local authorities at the time pointed out obstacles—and that is why I am asking the Government if it is possible for them to review their action in regard to the proposal to drop Section 1—which undoubtedly existed and prevented them from acting rapidly and putting into operation certain phases of public works. The obstacles are very extensive. The then Minister of Health the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood), in moving the Second Reading of the Bill pointed out the existing difficulties of local authorities, and if the proposal of the Government is carried here to—night those difficulties will still remain. He reminded the House of the various steps which had to be taken when a local Bill was being promoted, and said: During October and November the local authority or statutory undertaker has to publish notices of the scheme in the newspapers. By the 30th November they have to deposit plans, books of references an sections. By the 15th December they have to serve the necessary notices on owners, lessees and occupiers of lands affected. The 17th December is the last date for depositing petitions for the Bill and copies of the Bill at the Parliamentary Office. There are two further steps to be taken before the end of December. By the 18th January they arrive at the stage when the examination of petitions for Bills begins. Towards the end of January there is a conference between the Chairman of Ways and Means and the Lords Chairman to determine in which House particular Bills should begin. The 12th February is the last date for Petitions to this House against Private Bills. It is only at that point that serious legislation begins. Then there is the Committee stage, and the fact that there are generally Committee stages taken separately in the two Houses makes for a good deal of further delay. It is very unusual for a Private Bill, the preliminary action on which has been taken in October, to reach the Statute Book before Easter. "—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 11th July, 1930; cols. 808–9, Vol. 241.]

I should have thought that the fact of that very elaborate and complicated machinery which has to be pursued in regard to promoting a Bill would have appealed to the Government as being unnecessary and undesirable, and that after the. Bill was passed and had become an Act they would not have considered it desirable to drop this very useful piece of legislation. The Conservative party, at the time the Bill was introduced, said that they had no desire to impede the Labour Government in making any arrangements which might be necessary to assist in providing employment, and, after certain criticisms had been levelled at the form in which the Bill was then drafted, I believe they generally agreed to support it. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel) spoke very much in its favour, and stated that in his experience it was eminently desirable that some such arrangement as the Bill provided at that time should be embodied in our legislation in order to get over much of the difficult situation with which local authorities were faced.

I should like, if it is possible under the Amendment, to ask the Government to look at the matter in a wider way than they appear to be inclined to do at the moment. I am aware, from public statements made from time to time by representatives of the National Government, that in their opinion public works are not as remunerative and do not employ the personnel as was originally claimed would be the case. I am sure that those statements have been made without a full examination as to the remunerative capacity of public work or its utilitarian value apart from its financial and economic return as regards employment of personnel. If public work is to be taken in hand as something extra to ordinary employment then, obviously, the wages paid to the employes who are engaged in some branch of public work will produce benefit by the amount of the trade that they will put into circulation by disposing of their wages in the purchase of goods. Many economists have examined the statements of the Government representatives—I refer particularly to a statement made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and one by the President of the Board of Trade—and if there was time adequately to debate the matter, I think we could prove that the statements of the Government are very inadequate when they say that the amount of money spent upon employment of personnel was not having such good results as had been claimed by those who urged the spending of the money in that direction.

In regard to public works, the particular Section of the Act with which I am dealing gives an opportunity for local authorities, or some competent undertakers agreed upon by the local authorities, to do work of a public character, and I would ask the Government how in many phases of public life they are going to deal with this matter if they drop the present Section? Take waterworks and water storage. Who is going to initiate work in that direction? Who will come forward and say out of the many months of rain during the year that they will store up sufficient water to meet our needs for some other period of the year? That is work of a public character so important that instead of obstacles being placed in the way of facilitating its execution the Government ought to be desirous of leaving available what machinery we have for that purpose and even extending it rather than diminishing it. There are other classes of public work. The Royal Commission reported, 18 months or two years ago, on the question of road bridges. It was stated by the Royal Commission in their report that there were something like 7,000 road bridges in Great Britain not equal to ordinary road traffic. The traffic has to be diverted and expense, incurred in diverting it away from many roads which could be used if our bridges were ordinarily sound to meet the needs of our present transport system, and it would be of decided advantage to the community. The present rate of repairing and strengthening these bridges is, I understand, about 300 or 400 a year, and the Commission recommended that 1,000 bridges per year should be put into general repair in order to be able to meet our needs.

The Government, in their desire to look after private enterprise as against public enterprise, are overlooking many deficiencies in private enterprise, and are not taking the necessary steps or providing the machinery that would allow public works to develop in the way they ought to do. There is the question of planning. How are we going to deal with that unless we have public works and a national plan and unless we lift the work out of the hands of private enterprise? Private enterprise will not be able to take an economic view and plan for Great Britain. Private enterprise will deal with its own specific industry, wherever it deals with it at all, and if it desires to extend, it will extend in that system of economic development generally closely associated with and compatible with its own industry. If we are to have anything like economic planning, and everyone agrees, more or less, that it is necessary at the present time, public works will come more and more into the public eye. Undisciplined private enterprise is very erratic in its work and generally inadequate in its result. What is to take the place of private enterprise except public enterprise? If private enterprise is not equal to the task of meeting the needs of the country, then public enterprise appears to me to be the only sensible and logical alternative. Public enterprise will have to be developed more and more as the years go on.

I am pleased to note certain reductions in the figures of unemployment, but I am afraid that no one in looking at the figures can feel certain that there is a sense of permanency about them. Are we not apprehensive that the unemployment figures which have been reduced are more of a temporary than a permanent character? If that be so, what are we going to do with those people who have not and cannot find employment? What is to happen to the unemployed? If public enterprise does not take the place of private enterprise, and if private enterprise is not able to employ the people to-day, what is going to happen to the unemployed? Are they never to have a chance of getting employment? Private enterprise will always have, even at the end of its maximum effort, a substantial amount of unemployment. What is going to happen to those unemployed? Is there not some gap to be bridged between the work of private enterprise at the present time and that which the country needs?

A bridge must be built, and if public enterprise is to bridge the gap, there should be some real opportunity given, and the Government should do some useful work in that direction. If public work is to be done, it will have to be done by public enterprise as against private enterprise. We shall have opportunities at an early date of going into this matter in much greater detail, but I feel very seriously, and I am sure that every hon. Member must feel, that if we had anything like intelligent planning for a number of years and if we had the desire and the will impartially to organise the economic resources of labour that have been demoralised by charity—efforts to deal with unemployment by the agency of charity are demoralising to the giver and demoralising to the receiver—we should do an enormous amount of work in making our roads and houses much better than they are to-day, and we should do valuable work towards eradicating the slums, provided we utilise the material and organise with skill the labour available for the purpose.

I would beg the Government not to drop this part of the Act. Why do they wish to drop it? What is their reason for dropping it? Are they apprehensive, or have they been asked to drop it by the municipal authorities who requested the Government to introduce the Bill originally? Have the local authorities expressed the view that this part of the Act is no longer necessary? Have the people who were consulted by the Government at that time said that it is no longer necessary The Government are seeking to drop machinery which ought to be used by them, and I would ask them not to drop it, because it is machinery that could be brought into use at a later period, even if it cannot be used at the present time. We cannot leave to private enterprise the job of meeting the needs of the nation. There are many things which the nation has to put under public direction and control. There are many directions in which private enterprise has limited usefulness and is no longer capable of satisfying the general need. This particular machinery is useful, and it would be a mistake to drop it.

The conditions responsible for bringing the machinery into being have not disappeared since the Bill was introduced and the Act has been in operation. The unemployment that existed at the time the Labour Government introduced the Bill in 1930 was just over 2,000,000. That was in July, 1930. In July, 1933, the registered unemployed were 2,438,000. I could also give the figures for September of this year and September, 1930. There are over 300,000 more unemployed in September of this year than in the year when the Bill became an Act. Therefore, I would ask the Government not to scrap this machinery. I know of no other way of providing employment for a very large number of our people than the range of public works. We know that there are certain industries in which the personnel is larger than that industry will ever again be able to absorb. Over 250,000men in the mining industry will never be required again. There are 150,000 to 200,000 people who will probably never be required again in the textile industry. If private enterprise is not able, with all the opportunities they have, with the Government encouragement they have received, with protection, quotas and other things provided for their aid, to provide work for this large number of unemployed, I suggest that the next alternative is some form of public enterprise.

I suggest that the municipal authorities who urged the introduction of the Bill in 1930 shall not again be placed in a position in which they were handicapped by the circumlocution methods which meant that five or six months passed before it was possible for any serious attention to be paid to their request. I wish to rationalise the procedure and make possible their approach to the problem of providing employment where they think it is practicable and would meet some public need, quite apart from the mere business of providing employment. The provision of employment in itself would be of enormous value. The very fact of being able to provide employment and give men and women an oppor- tunity if earning their living would be an enormous advantage.

What has happened in the case of the millions of pounds which have been spent in the dole, as it is called, and through the Poor Law? You have nothing as a result of that expenditure except pale-faced, dejected and demoralised men and women. I suggest that it is wrong to take any step whatever which will impair or render less effective and easy the opportunities of municipal authorities to provide employment by the means of public works, and that it is right and proper that the Government should give them every facility. I urge on the Government that the period of the usefulness of this provision has not passed. I believe that in the future the demand of public authorities for waterworks, harbours, roads and bridges, and the clearing of slums will increase and, therefore, I home the Government will withdraw the proposal that this provision should be dropped and accept the Amendment. that it should be continued, because I feel certain that its usefulness will be apparent in the early future. If the Government have no specific reason for dropping it, I hope that they will agree with my Amendment.

6.48 p.m.


I desire to support the Amendment. Only this week I received a letter from one of the largest firms of steel manufacturers in my constituency, indeed one of the largest firms in the country, which has always been consistently Conservative and did its best to prevent my coming to this House at all, asking me to take the first opportunity to urge on the Government the necessity for public works. They point out that, as a consequence of the Government's attitude since 1931, their steel department has been more or less at a standstill, and that men have been unemployed as a result. The number of men unemployed at the Employment Exchange at Darlaston is between 25 and 30 per cent. of the total number of insured persons, and this steel firm suggests that the Government should give facilities to municipal authorities to get along with works of public utility. My hon. Friend has alluded to the question of bridges, and has pointed out that the Royal Commission suggested that at least 1,000 bridges which are no longer capable of carrying modern traffic should be re- built or reconditioned every year. Many municipal authorities and urban district councils realise the danger of these bridges, and would be only too pleased to take steps to put them in a proper state of repair. Their difficulty is that they receive no encouragement from the Government.

The MINISTER of TRANSPORT (Mr. Oliver Stanley)

Will the hon. Member give me the names of the authorities who wish to strengthen these bridges whose requests have been turned down?


A good deal of what I am saying can be found in the report of the Royal Commission——


That was three years ago.


Yes. I am not in a position to quote to-night any information more than that which I have been able to dig out of the report.


I must call the attention of hon. Members to the fact that we must not, on this Amendment, get into a general discussion on public works. This proposal deals only with certain machinery for expediting public works for which private legislation is necessary. I do not want to curtail anything which the hon. Member has to say, but in view of the interchange between him and the Minister of Transport just now, I think I must draw attention to the limits of the Debate.


It will be agreed that if these facilities, which it is now proposed to drop, were continued, it would help matters very considerably and would be a gesture from the Government that they proposed to look more favourably on works of public importance. Local authorities would thus be able in many instances to do something for their own local unemployed. In spite of anything the Government may say to the contrary it is far better, in the long run, to provide actual work for the unemployed rather than settle down to a system of unemployment pay. This is most important, because in spite of the drop in the figures I am satisfied that the hard core of unemployment still remains, and that the number of men who have now been out of employment for over 12 months continues to grow. These men are eating their hearts out. They have no desire to be continually unemployed; they want a chance to work. It will be admitted that to give better facilities for public works would allow local authorities a better chance to proceed with such schemes as they may have in their mind. I have heard it said that it is easier and perhaps cheaper to pay unemployment money than to embark on schemes of public works—


Now the hon. Member is getting to something which is distinctly outside the Bill. He is now asking a question as to how unemployment should be dealt with. What we are able to deal with on this Amendment is simply and solely whether this machinery should be continued or not on the particular matter of the promotion of private legislation.


I am sorry that I have trespassed outside the scope of the Amendment. I can only urge that at the moment 'there appears to be no real reason for dropping this particular provision. Even if the Government are not very sympathetic at the moment, that is no reason why it should not remain in the Bill. I hope the Government will realise that it would be a tremendous mistake to put anything in the way of municipalities providing more employment and adding to the amenities of the community and the well-being of the nation.

6.56 p.m.


This proposal conjures up many memories of the year 1930. I remember the Conservative party demanding that public works should be expedited and that the Government should show themselves a Government of push and go. I remember the jeers and the criticisms— the justified criticisms— of the slow and sleepy Government of that day, which was not doing anything by way of public works. Let me remind the House of the description of the Act: An Act to expedite the procedure for empowering local authorities and statutory undertakers to execute works which will contribute to the relief of unemployment: to facilitate the acquisition by such authorities and undertakers of land and easements required for the purposes of their functions; and for purposes connected with the matters aforesaid. As I understand, tucked away in a small line of this Expiring Laws Continuance Bill is a proposal that these powers should come to an end at the end of December, 1933. I know it has been the policy of the last two years, through financial stringency, for the Government not to encourage public works. The President of the Board of Trade has pointed out that they have lost faith in that policy, and do not propose to embark upon it again. That may be right or wrong, I doubt its wisdom, but what on earth is the reason in a machinery Bill to drop a proposal which was intended to improve the cumbrous, slow, and, above all, the expensive method of private Bill legislation? I should like to see this particular Section recognised us part of private Bill procedure connected with local government. I do not know why at the end of a Session this very excellent improvement in our local government procedure is to be done away with, and why we are to go back to the old machinery of private legislation. Such a proposal requires some explanation. The Committee ought to know why it should go out of its way to repeal this most excellent provision.

One of the weaknesses of local government has been the slowness of the machinery for private Bills. We in London are more fortunate; we can do things through our General Powers Act. We have a special status which is denied to other local authorities, and it is a very slow process even as it is. But it was as a result of appeals from every part of the House, particularly from the Tory party, that machinery was speeded up by short-circuiting the methods of local authorities when it was necessary for local public works. The scheme still, of course, had to come to Parliament, but this was an attempt to simplify procedure. I think it was one of the good things done at the end of the life of the Labour Government. For some reason in 1933, without any explanation, this proposal is smuggled through in this peculiar makeshift Bill. I hope it will not be smuggled through, at any rate without adequate explanation.

7.1 p.m.


I want to underline what my hon. Friends on this side of the House have said and what has been said by the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, and to express amazement that the Government have taken the opportunity of trying to abolish this Section which, as my hon. Friend has said, to the knowledge of those who were in the House at the time this Bill was put through, met the needs of the local authorities so well that the Bill actually went through without any opposition on the Second Reading. But the surprise is all the more intense because the unemployment figures, although they are improving—and I am glad to say that they are improving—are yet some 300,000 above what they were when this Act was put through. I ask myself, therefore, why it is that the Government are taking a step of this kind. Have the Government abandoned altogether any plan of employing men, particularly long-distance men, who are out of work at the present moment?

It is true that the unemployment figures are improving, but there is a menacing fact in connection with the present figures of which this House would do well to take notice. I am sure that the Ministry of Labour, which watches the figures in their various sections and in their proportions, must be well aware of this fact. In the basic industries this numbers employed are actually getting fewer. There are to-day 75,000 fewer men employed in the mining industry than there were two years ago. That is a pointer to some of the other basic industries. If one liked to analyse the figures, he would be able to show that not only are the wholly unemployed increasing— that is, the people who are without employment— but the Ministry of Labour itself has admitted that, whereas the numbers of those unemployed for 12 months and more were two years ago 100,000, to-day they are over 300,000. Then, of course, there is the fact that the figures of those 'N h o have gone on to the Poor Law or the Public Assistance have increased during the past two years by some 330,000. I heard someone on that side the other day say that the people who went on to the Poor Law still had to register and therefore were found among the figures of the unemployed. But that is not at all a tenable position, and the Ministry of Labour would, I think, admit that the people who are counted as being not normally insured—that is the middle-aged people, who are very often the best and most able craftsmen—are struck off the register and go on to the Poor Law. Those people do not register at all. Only a few months ago I was informed by the Ministry of Labour that during the past two years the people who have been struck off the register for that reason—what is known as the "poor condition" numbered 253,000.

I am therefore amazed that the Government are taking away a. Section in this Act which gives the local authorities, if they wish, the opportunity to short-circuit all the roundabout and costly methods that have to be used of carrying new Bills upstairs in order to get some scheme going. The Government are actually cancelling the Section 0in this Act which makes it possible to do that. They have already, of course, closed down the Unemployment Grants Committee. That is hopeless. Now they take a further step by making it impossible for local authorities who are eager to meet the needs of their own areas to express those needs as they did in the past. It is a pity that the Ministry of Labour is not dealing with this matter as well as the Ministry of Health. I remember when this Act went through that these benches were crowded with hon. Gentlemen who are now sitting either on the Government Benches or behind them, and we were continually assailed with questions on what we were going to do about these unemployment figures, and what steps we were going to take to get the men working and to encourage the local authorities to get them working. Now there are 300,000 more unemployed than there were at that time. As I have shown, the long-distance unemployed men have trebled themselves in the last three years.

The depressed areas which some of us represent are infinitely worse because of the operation of this machinery. After two years of that the Government are now going to take away a Section which represents the only little hope the local authorities had of ridding themselves of any expense in doing a little for their people. I wonder if it is not possible at this eleventh hour—I do not know why we should mention the eleventh hour particularly, but at this last moment—to ask the Government to forgo the cancelling of this Section, and thus the neutralising of this Act. It is true that in the near future we have another opportunity of meeting this situation as far as the unemployed are concerned, but hardly anywhere in the country are there now any schemes going, because even now the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labour—the Unemployment Grants Committee—give no encouragement to these people. I do think, however, that even Conservative Members, Nationalist Members, at least those who have public experience of local authorities, ought to express the local authorities' view and vote against this proposal unless the Government alter their line of action.

7.10 p.m.


I am sorry to intervene in this Debate, but I desire to represent a point of view which I feel very strongly. I have been a public man for many years; I have taken a great interest in unemployment questions, and before coming to this House, during the last few months, I have taken the trouble to ask the council of which I have long been a member its point of view in reference to these proposals. The Government, it setms to me, have no occasion to ask that this Section should be dropped. They still have the power of dealing with any application that may be made to them, and, if these applications are in their opinion unreasonable and against the public interest, they can defeat them. But in a town like mine, after Christmas, there is for three or four months a terribly lean time. We have thousands of unemployed people. We have dealt with the problem by works of public utility, for which we have received grants from the Government of the day, and we have tided over those people with little extravagance. They have been put to work perhaps four days in the week at the current rate of wage for labour in that district. Those steps have given human happiness to many people, and at a time like this are moneybags to weigh against human happiness and comfort? Is it a time when cheap money is so abundant, but unemployment is still so considerable, that this Section should be maintained? I belong not to a Labour council but to a Conservative council. I am proud to be a supporter of the Government, and I take pains to try to keep them in office and secure their hold upon the affections of my constituents. I urge them to be generous by not dropping this Section, and to meet the views of my council. The Government have sufficient powers for the purpose of safeguarding public interests, and I ask them most strongly to abandon this proposal. I could make a long speech on the merits of work of public utility. I ask the Government to encourage local authorities such as mine to deal with their unemployment problem. When I put to my council the question as to what my attitude was to be, I had a unanimous vote that I should say to the Government: "Keep the Section in for the benefit of the deserving"—not for every application that may be made, but using wise discrimination. Why should you shut, bar and slam the doors in the faces of the working people of this country who, after months of suffering and unemployment, will be put in a sorry state if the Section is abandoned?

7.14 p.m.


There seems to be much Suspicion, misunderstanding and misapprehension as to what exactly the Government are doing, and it might be well if I intervened at this stage to say what we are doing. It is really not necessary to discuss the whole question of unemployment, under this Act——


The Chairman will decide that question.


He has already ruled that it does not come in. Nor is it necessary to debate this question of public works or otherwise. You can still support this present proposal of the Government believing, as some people may, in public utility works. I do not understand the argument of the hon. Member for Yarmouth (Mr. Harbord) that this Section is vital for the preservation of this country and particularly of Yarmouth. Yarmouth has never applied to utilise the machinery of Section 1 of this Act. I could show in a moment that, if any Government embarked on a scheme of public works, this Section would not be missed.

Let me explain exactly what is the effect of this Act. Section 1 deprives Parliament of its jealously-guarded procedure in regard to Private Bills. It took away every stage of a Private Bill except the Report stage and the Third Reading. When it was introduced in another place Lord Parmoor, then Leader of the House, explained that this Act was only required to be continued until the end of 1932. It was an emergency measure. The real value of this Act lies in the other sections. I will show how practically inoperative Section 1 has been. Since January, 1932, only three schemes for the whole of England and Wales have been submitted and confirmed under this special provision. There was one in 1932 and there were two last Year. There were only 14 before that, when. Labour was at the helm driving forward great schemes of public works. There are now only four schemes on the stocks, two concerning the Ministry of Transport and two concerning the Ministry of Health. For that reason we allow this special procedure to Continue to the end of this year. So far as I know there. are no other applications from any local authorities to permit schemes under this section. The section was very narrowly drawn to exclude everything controversial

It is all very well for the hon. Member for East Woolwich (Mr. Hicks) to say that all water supply, bridge repairing and town planning schemes must stop, if this Section is repealed, but it is not the case. No big water scheme would ever go through under it; it would be too controversial. No Bill is required for a small scheme. As to bridges, the operative section is Section 3 of the Act, and that we are continuing. No Bill is required for strengthening or widening or repairing bridges. As to town planning, there is a special Act.

I hope I have allayed some suspicions in the minds of hon. Members. The really effective part of this Act is Section 2. That gives power to the appropriate Minister to whom application is made to dispense with the procedure of bringing in a Bill in the case of a local authority which desires to acquire land and which cannot otherwise acquire land unless a Bill is promoted. The Section enables the Minister to dispense with the Provisional Order, which involves a Bill, and to simplify altogether the power of a local authority to acquire land. There are other useful provisions permitting rapid entry after acquisition has been made of a property. Nearly three hundred special Orders have been made under Section 2. Section 3 is another useful section dealing with the right of easements over land in connection with bridge construction. I ask the Committee not to see in our action something which is not really there.


Is it not correct to say that the municipal authorities were called into conference by the Prime Minister, and that after exhaustive discussion upon the matter they urged upon the Government the need for Section 1? Is it not correct that subsequent conferences were held and that they also urged its importance? Am I to assume from the Parliamentary Secretary's statement that all this effort by the Government and municipal authorities has been of no value at all, that the machinery which is provided under the Act is of no use, and that no one will be under any handicap if the machinery is removed? Although the Parliamentary Secretary says that the volume of application has not been such as to justify the retention of the section, is it not the case that the Government have placed a dead hand on municipal authorities so far as public works are concerned, in the last two years, and have discouraged them in every possible way? Would it not still be possible for the Government to feel perfectly satisfied with their authority in the matter if they allowed the section to remain in?

7.22 p.m.


We have heard from the Parliamentary Secretary a speech in which he has made it clear that in his opinion this Act as a whole is a useful Act. He has drawn our attention to the useful work done under Sections 2 and 3. In fact, regarded from the Government's point of view, the Act is quite a satisfactory piece of legislation. Why then does the Minister tinker with it at all? I cannot understand. If Section 1 is doing no harm—and nothing in the Parliamentary Secretary's speech has indicated that any harm is being done —why interfere with the Act in this way? It may be that no great number of applications have been made under this particular Section. That may have been because people were not encouraged and did not consider that the prospects were very good, under the present Administration, in bringing forward schemes, but in any event why close any door at this time by which useful work might be done? In matters of government a great deal depends not only on the actual measures, but on the psychology of the thing. People are discouraged because they have the impression that the policy in general is a policy of restriction. Why should it be necessary to go out of one's way to make another gesture of restriction which, as far as I can see, is totally unnecessary. It will cause trouble, despondency and opposition where there is no necessity for it at all.

Who has complained at any time that the rights of Parliament were being swept away by the shortening of the procedure with regard to private Bills? What is the reason behind the Government's proposal? One cannot see the motive. As far as I can gather, some of those behind the Minister are disappointed that the Measure does not go further and close down public activities altogether. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] I thought so; one cannot help hearing remarks that are made. I am glad that the Front Bench does not take that attitude. I ask them, however, to go further, and to take every opportunity to encourage those who are so hopeless now, and not to offer them cold water in a quite unnecessary measure for no conceivable reason at all.

7.26 p.m.


I am rather surprised that a Government of this character, with such a tremendous majority, should take away from the local authorities indirectly a power which has only recently been granted to them. The Parliamentary Secretary said that owing to the paucity of schemes in the last two years the Government were justified in the step they were taking on this Act. Does he not know that local authorities up and down the country, even those with Labour majorities, have been saying to themselves, "What is the good of proposing big schemes when we know that the Government have issued an ultimatum that no more money will be found for carrying out the schemes"? The cry has been for economy, economy, economy, however unjustified it may be. Much useful work is in abeyance simply because we do not know where to find the money without the assistance of the Government.

Take the case of my own locality, only a 6d. omnibus ride from this House. We were lucky to get through a scheme for a £3,000,000 road to the docks. We had another scheme for increasing decent transport between Eastern England and London. That scheme was stopped half way through by the Government. That was economy. But the scheme will ultimately have to go through, as otherwise there will be two bottlenecks left. Some future Ministry will have to give us permission to go on with the rest of the scheme, and instead of costing £750,000 to complete the scheme, in the end it will cost us £2,000,000. That may be economy, but it is not efficiency. What benefit will the Government gain by omitting this Section. Will they gain anything? Surely they are not so friendly to the lawyers as to make it easy for them to draw money from the ratepayers. In West Ham alone our average charge for law expenses in connection with Parliamentary Bills, are in the £ on the rates annually. That represents between £5,000 and £6,000. It must mean a lot more to other districts which have bigger interests than ours.

We are not asking that the Government should give us any new privilege, but that they should leave us as we are under the present Act, and that we should not be compelled to spend a lot of the ratepayers' money on legal expenses. After all, Parliament is a comparatively new institution compared with local government, because government in this country began not at Westminster but in parish and village meetings. Of course I do not expect all of my hon. Friends to have such historical knowledge as I possess. This proposal takes away from the localities a power only recently given to them. We are taking away that power before it has had a chance of being effective. There is one thing which stands out and it is that if we go back to the old method we shall be placing a heavier burden on the local authorities. We shall make it more difficult than ever to get schemes through and therefore we on this side stand by this Amendment and ask the Government at least to give us

the crumb of comfort for which we ask and save something from the wreck.

7.32 p.m.


Like my hon. Friend the Member for West Middlesbrough (Mr. K. Griffith) I ask the Government why they wish to repeal this Section? The Under-Secretary told us that there were only four schemes affected by it, but even if only one scheme were affected, would not that make it worth while to retain the Section? Is it not worth while to continue these facilities if even one more man can be put into employment? Why withdraw these facilities I If the machinery is in existence, it does not follow that it is going to be used in order to spend an unlimited amount of money. I think that is an argument which will appeal to many hon. Members of the Conservative party. Indeed, I think it ought to appeal to every fair-minded Member whether he be Conservative, Liberal or Labour. If the Government insist on withdrawing these facilities, we must conclude that they have some motive for doing so which they have not yet disclosed. With all respect to the hon. Member for Silvertown (Mr. J. Jones), I suggest that those who are real economists will support the retention of these facilities, because economy means wise expenditure. It does not mean merely being mean and withdrawing ail expenditure. The effect of this Section of the Act is to provide for economy by the municipalities and for the reduection of their expenses. Therefore, I cordially support the Amendment and I hope that hon. Members opposite will go to a Division upon it, and that many Members in all parts of the Committee will give it their support.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Schedule."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 211; Noes, 57.

Division No. 298.] AYES. [7.34 p.m
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Blindell, James Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie
Aske, Sir Robert William Bossom, A. C. Burnett, John George
Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfe Boulton, W. W. Caporn, Arthur Cecil
Atholl, Duchess ot Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton Cassels, James Dale
Bailey, Eric Alfred George Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. w. Castlereagh, Viscount
Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M. Boyce. H. Leslie Chapman, Col. R.(Houghton-le-Spring)
Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. ot Thanet) Braithwaite, Maj.A. N. (Yorks, E.R.) Clarke, Frank
Balniel, Lord Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Clarry, Reginald George
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Brass, Captain Sir William Clayton, Sir Christopher
Beaumont. M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury) Briscoe, Capt. Richard George Cobb, Sir Cyril
Bennett, Capt. Sir Ernest Nathaniel Brockiebank, C. E. R. Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.
Cook, Thomas A. Knox, Sir Alfred Runge, Norah Cecil
Cooper, A. Duff Latham, Sir Herbert Paul Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)
Copeland, Ida Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.) Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)
Craven-Ellis, William Leckie, J. A. Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)
Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle) Leighton, Major B. E. P. Rutherford, John (Edmonton)
Croom-Johnson, R. P. Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Llverp'l)
Crossley, A. C. Liddall, Walter S. Salmon, Sir. Isidore
Cruddas, Lieut Colonel Bernard Lindsay, Noel Ker Salt, Edward W.
Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C. Little. Graham-, Sir Ernest Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery) Liewellin, Major John J. Savery, Samuel Servington
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Lloyd, Geoffrey Selley, Harry R.
Denman, Hon. R D. Loder, Captain J. de Vere Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.
Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F. Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Dickie, John P. Lyons, Abraham Montagu Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)
Doran, Edward MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G. (Partick) Shepperson. Sir Ernest W.
Duckworth, George A. V. MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr) Shute, Colonel J. J.
Dunglass, Lord McConnell, Sir Joseph Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Eady, George H. McCorquodale, M. S. Skelton, Archibald Noel
Eastwood, John Francis McKie, John Hamilton Slater, John
Elliston, Captain George Sampson McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston) Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Elmley, Viscount Maitland, Adam Somerset, Thomas
Emmott, Charles E. G. C. Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Somervell, Sir Donald
Emrys-Evans. P. V. Marsden, Commander Arthur Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.
Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare) Martin, Thomas B., Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.
Essenhigh, Reginald Clare Mason, Col. Glyn k. (Croydon, N.) Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Falie, Sir Bertram G. Mayhew, Lieut. Colonel John Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.
Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Spens, William Patrick
Galbraith, James Francis Wallace Milne, Charles Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)
Ganzoni, Sir John Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd A Chisw'k) Stevenson, James
Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres Stewart, J. H. (Fife, E.)
Gledhill, Gilbert Moss, Captain H. J. Stones, James
Glossop, C. W. H. Muirhead, Lieut.-Colonel A. J. Storey, Samuel
Gluckstein. Louis Hall* Murray-Phillpson, Hylton Ralph Stourton, Hon. John J.
Goff, Sir Park Nail, Sir Joseph Strickland, Captain W. F.
Goodman, Colonel Albert W. Nall-Cain, Hon. Ronald Sutcliffe. Harold
Gower, Sir Robert Nation. Brigadier-General J. J. H Templeton, William P.
Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.) Newton, Sir Douglas George C. Thomas, James p. L. (Hereford)
Granville, Edgar Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth) Thompson, Luke
Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas Normand, Rt. Hon. Wilfrid Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John Nunn, William Thorp, Linton Theodore
Grimston, R. V. O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wickon-T.)
Gunston, Captain D. W. Ormiston, Thomas Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)
Guy, J. C. Morrison Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H. Pearson, William G. Wallace, John (Dunfermline)
Hanley, Dennis A. Peat, Charles U. Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Hartland, George A. Petherick, M. Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
Haslam, Sir John (Bolton) Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n.Bilston) Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)
Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Procter, Major Henry Adam Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford) Raikes, Henry V. A. M. Wells, Sydney Richard
Herbert, Capt. S. (Abbey Division) Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich) Whiteside, Borras Noel H.
Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston) Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian) Whyte, Jardine Bell
Hore-Belisha, Leslie Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles) Wills, Wilfrid D.
Hornby, Frank Ramsbotham. Herwald Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)
Horsbrugh, Florence Rawson, Sir Cooper Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)
Hudson, Capt. A. U.M. (Hackney, N.) Ray, Sir William Windsor-Clive, Lieut. Colonel George
Hume, Sir George Hopwood Reid, David O. (County Down) Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)
James. Wing-Corn. A. W. H. Reid, William Allan (Derby)
Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West) Renwick, Major Gustav A. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Ker, J. Campbell Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U. Sir George Penny and Mr.
Kerr, Hamilton W. Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge) Womersley.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Groves, Thomas E. Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot
Banfield, John William Grundy. Thomas W. Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)
Bernays, Robert Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Maxton, James
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Harris, Sir. Percy Milner, Major James
Buchanan, George Hicks, Ernest George Owen, Major Goronwy
Cape, Thomas Hirst, George Henry Parkinson, John Allan
Cove, William G. Holdsworth, Herbert Rea, Walter Russell
Cripps, Sir Stafford Janner, Barnett Salter, Dr. Alfred
Curry. A. C. Jenkins. Sir William Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A.(C'thness)
Daggar, George Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Smith, Tom (Normanton)
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Thorne, William James
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Tinker, John Joseph
Edwards, Charles Kirkwood, David Wallhead, R'chard C.
Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen) Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah
Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Lawson, John James Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea) Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick Williams, Dr. John H. (Lianelly)
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur Logan, David Gilbert Wilmot, John Charles
Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) Lunn, William
Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.) McEntee, Valentine L. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan) Mr. D. Graham and Mr. G. Macdonald.

Question put, and agreed to.

Schedule agreed to.

Preamble agreed to.

Bill reported, without Amendment; read the Third time, and passed.