§ 3.30 p.m.
§ The MINISTER of LABOUR (Sir Henry Betterton)
I beg to move, in page 6, line 9, to leave out from the beginning to the end of line 14, and to insert:(1) Sub-section (1) of Section four of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1930, shall have effect as if there were inserted therein after the words 'offered to him' the words 'or if it is proved by an officer of the Ministry of Labour that the claimant has neglected to avail himself of an opportunity of suitable employment'.When this Bill was first printed, I invited representations and opinions not only from Members of all parties in the House but from people outside who were entitled to express the views of those who were likely to be affected, and the conclusion that I came to was that there was, and is, a doubt sincerely felt by large numbers of people that the words "unable to obtain employment" might be so construed as to mean in effect a reinsertion of the words "genuinely seeking work." Having had almost more experience than anyone in the House of what those words might mean, I am determined at all costs to avoid any doubt, and it is for the purpose of resolving those doubt that I propose this Amendment.
The reason that I speak with some feeling about these words "genuinely seeking work" is this: They were part of the Acts from 1921 onwards; in 1921 they applied to those on uncovenanted benefit. Cases of uncovenanted benefit were referred to committees which advised the Minister, and we had to give a final decision in many hundreds of cases as to whether this condition of "genuinely seeking work" was fulfilled. In order to satisfy the condition, a man had to go from colliery to colliery and from factory to factory where there might be no earthly chance of obtaining employment, and there was case after case where a man, perhaps, went and badgered the foreman 206 of some works or factory which all the time had displayed outside a notice that no labour would be engaged except at the Employment Exchange. That experience satisfied me, and I have been convinced, that those words "genuinely seeking work" are not proper words for an Act of this kind. In 1924 for the first time they were applied also to standard benefit, and in 1927 they were re-enacted. The trouble arose in the construction of the words "genuinely seeking work." It did not arise upon the words "unable to obtain employment."
I am satisfied, as the result of representations from many quarters inside and outside the House, that the fear is real and sincere that, when it comes to construction by the court of referees or by the umpire, it might conceivably be said that "unable to obtain employment" was in effect the same thing as "genuinely seeking work." Let me, by reference to the Royal Commission, state why the words "unable to obtain employment" were inserted in the first instance. The Royal Commission, in paragraph 439, relating to the condition "unable to obtain suitable employment," said:If that condition were restored, and if it were administered in the way in which it was administered when it formed part of the Third Statutory Condition, the effect would be that a claimant would not lose his benefit unless the Court were satisfied that he knew that there was a possibility of getting work and he did not take reasonable steps to get it. It has been suggested that such a condition might be so construed as in effect to require the claimant to prove that he was genuinely seeking work. We do not think that such a construction would be right.Therefore, the view of the majority was, that, although there was a possibility of these words being so construed, it was so remote that it might safely be disregarded. The minority came to very much the same conclusion. The minority state, in paragraph 73, on page 411:We have stated that benefit should be continued so long as a claimant is without work, able to work, and unable to get work. We do not think that with proper safeguards as to interpretation there is any reason why the condition which existed in the 1911 Act 'unable to obtain suitable employment' should not be reinstated.At the bottom of the same page, in paragraph 74, it says:It must be made clear that the only other occasion on which a claimant might 207 fail to satisfy this condition would be if it were proved that he knew that suitable employment was available and he made no reasonable efforts to obtain it. The condition would thus only apply in cases where a claimant had shown by his acts that he preferred benefit to work.It will be seen that there was a gap which both the majority and the minority thought ought to be closed. The case, of course, was that of a man who knew that work was available and did not apply for it. There is common ground with regard to that matter. The Amendment strikes out from the Bill Sub-section 1 of Clause 6, and inserts, in Section 4 of the Act of 1930, the words of the Amendment which I have moved. As very few hon. Members will have a copy of the Act of 1930 before them, perhaps the Committee will forgive me if I read from it. Section 4 of that Act reads as follows:If on a claim for benefit it is proved by an officer of the Ministry of Labour that the claimant, after a situation in any employment which is suitable in his case has been notified to him by an Employment Exchange or other recognised agency, or by or on behalf of an employer as vacant or about to become vacant, has without good cause refused or failed to apply for such situation, or refused to accept such situation when offered to him.At that point, after those words, I propose to close the gap to which I have referred by inserting the words in the Amendment, which reads that this Section shall have effectas if there were inserted therein after the words offered to him,' the words 'or if it is proved by an officer of the Ministry of Labour that the claimant has neglected to avail himself of an opportunity of suitable employment,I do not think that I need read the rest. From what I have said, I have made it clear that, on the one hand, I have closed the gap to which both reports of the Royal Commission have referred, and at the same time I have made it abundantly clear that there is no question now of the restoration of words equivalent to "genuinely seeking work." I have put the onus of proof upon the officer of the Ministry in this matter in the same way as the onus is upon him in regard to the other cases referred to in this Section. When I introduced the Bill on Second Reading I said in all good faith that I was prepared to welcome constructive suggestions to make the Act 208 as good an Act as it could possibly be, and I believe that this suggestion, coming as it does, not from one quarter but from many quarters, goes the whole way to meet a position of which I ought to take notice. I explained why the words were originally put into the Bill, and I have explained the reasons which have induced me to take them out and to insert other words. I claim that I have, in this matter at any rate, fulfilled the promise to give full and fair consideration to any suggestions from whatever quarter they come if I believed such suggestions tended towards making the Bill a better Measure.
§ Mr. ANEURIN BEVAN
This is a very difficult matter to discuss, because we have only just had the Amendment put into our hands.
§ Mr. BEVAN
It is very difficult to visualise its full effect. I should like to hear from the right hon. Gentleman the administrative reasons which have led him to change the wording of the 1930 Act at all. He has mentioned the minority and majority reports of the Royal Commission, but what experience in the Ministry of Labour and at the exchanges has led him to desire any alteration at all? We have not heard. I have not heard from any official at the exchanges any effective criticism of the existing procedure.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member has put his point on procedure and has asked the Minister for further information, and I do not think that he ought to make a speech at this point on the Amendment.
§ Sir H. BETTERTON
It is a perfectly fair question, but obviously one which I cannot adequately answer across the Table at this stage. I suggest to the hon. Gentleman that the answer is to be found in the evidence which was tendered to the Royal Commission and upon which both the majority and the minority made their report. I think that it would be agreed that I would incur a very serious responsibility if, having had this report before me, I had done nothing to meet the case, which I have endeavoured to meet in a way which I hope the Committee will approve.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I want to keep the Debate in order, so as to prevent difficulties arising. My proper duty now is to put the Question, and the Question in the form in which I should naturally put it would be, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause." I assume that that will be negatived and that Sub-section (1) will be omitted. I want to call the attention of the Committee to the fact that if that be done it will necessarily destroy the next two or three Amendments on the Order Paper. Hon. Members whose names are down to those Amendments perhaps may not wish to move them, but I realise that hon. Members who each have Amendments down may wish to raise some similar point on the inserted words on the assumption that Sub-section (1) is to be cut out and other words put in place of it. Therefore, I think I ought to remind the Committee that if they wish thus to deal with matters raised by those Amendments their only way to do so will be by Amendments to the Minister's proposed Amendment. We might to-day, for the convenience of the Committee, do what we have done on other occasions. If the Opposition care to do so, we might take the Minister's Amendment in two parts: First of all, strike out Sub-section (1) and then deal with the Question of the words being inserted in place of it.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I beg the right hon. Gentleman's pardon. I thought he was rising to refer to the remarks which I have made. I have not put the Question. If the Committee raise no objection, I propose to put the Question in two parts, first "That the words proposed to be left out"—that is, from the beginning of Sub-section (1) to the end of line 14—"stand part of the Clause." I am assuming that the Committee will negative those words without discussion, and that will enable me to put the Question, "That those words be there inserted."
§ Mr. MAXTON
I am not clear on the matter. You said that you would put the Question that the words of Sub-section (1) stand part, and you assumed that that Question would be accepted.
§ Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause," put, and negatived.
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ 3.54 p.m.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
I think the Government have put the Committee in a very serious difficulty this afternoon, and my first words must be formally to protest. I have already protested personally to the Minister in stronger terms than I can do in Committee at this sudden descent upon the Committee of a first-class Amendment, when only two or three of us knew of the substance of it a few minutes before the Debate began. The Minister had a very extended vacation during Christmas, when he might have brought his mind to bear upon the problem. Having, presumably, frittered away that opportunity, he appeared in Committee yesterday and carried through five Clauses under the Guillotine, and there was no indication up to 11.34 p.m. that he had it in his mind to bring before the Committee to-day a substantial Amendment of this kind. I should like to offer my sympathy to you, Sir Dennis, in the difficulty in which you have been placed owing to this eleventh hour repentance on the part of the right hon. Gentleman.
The right hon. Gentleman has gone some considerable way towards meeting the case which my hon. Friends and I have put up in the House, but how far he has gone it is very difficult to tell, because very few hon. Members have the Act of 1930 in front of them or the report of the Royal Commission. We have never believed that there was any need whatever for changing Section 4 of the Act of 1930, but now, after all this time, 18 months after the publication of the Royal Commission's report, yet when the Bill has been before the House for weeks, and on the second day of the discussion in Committee under the Guillotine, the right hon. Gentleman suddenly feels that there is something which must be changed in Clause 4 of the Act of 1930, which has been so strongly repudiated by hon. Members opposite, but which, so far as 211 I recollect, has never been repudiated on any occasion by the right hon. Gentleman or the Parliamentary Secretary. We have never understood why they want to change it. We cannot understand why it has taken the right hon. Gentleman so long to make up his mind to change it, and, having made up his mind to change it, we cannot understand why he has said what he has said.
It is difficult to argue on the right hon. Gentleman's words in detail, because they are new to the Committee. Section 4 of the Act of 1930 has by general admission worked pretty well, and there is no reason for changing it, but the Minister, after mature reflection, has gone back on the words in the Section and wishes to insert other words. What is not clear to those of us who have had a minute or two in which to glance at the proposal, is the reason why the proposed words are to be inserted. The right hon. Gentleman quoted from the minority and majority reports, but it does not seem to us that Section 4 needs any alteration. It is made perfectly clear in the early part of the Section that if a man has refused an offer of a situation and put himself out of suitable employment, he is disqualified for benefit. Let me read the words of Section 4:If on a claim for benefit it is proved by an officer of the Ministry of Labour that the claimant, after a situation in any employment which is suitable in his case has been notified to him by an Employment Exchange or other recognised agency, or by or on behalf of an employer as vacant or about to become vacant, has without good cause refused or failed to apply for such situation, or refused to accept such situation when offered to him—That seems pretty well to cover the situation. The Section then goes on to say:or if it is proved by an officer of the Ministry of Labour that a claimant has without good cause refused or failed to carry out any written directions given to him by an officer of an Employment Exchange with a view to assisting him to find suitable employment (being directions which were reasonable having regard both to the circumstances of the claimant and to the means of obtaining that employment usually adopted in the district in which the claimant resides) he shall be disqualified for receiving benefit for a period of six weeks or for such shorter period and from such date as may be determined by the court of referees or the umpire, as the case may be.It appears to me that those provisions completely fill the need. But in the 212 middle of the words which I have read these further words are to be inserted:Or if it is proved by an officer of the Ministry of Labour that the claimant has neglected to avail himself of the opportunity of suitable employment.It is true that the words there proposedOr if it is proved by an officer of the Ministry of Labourput the onus of proof upon the Department and not upon the man, but those are not the words to which I draw special attention. I want to know exactly what is implied in the wordsthat the applicant has neglected to avail himself of an opportunity of suitable employment.The provisions in Clause 4 of the 1930 Act seem to me to be sufficiently explicit. "An opportunity." What kind of opportunity? Any opportunity? Is an opportunity an opportunity when it is unknown to the man who is out of work? If there is a job vacant 10 miles away in another town, it may be an opportunity, but if it is outside the knowledge of the unemployed man, is that to be regarded as an opportunity? Is not an opportunity one which can reasonably, somehow, be brought to his notice, or which has been brought to his notice, by the Employment Exchange? This seems to me to be a form of words which may be the cloven hoof, and while on this side of the Committee we welcome this partial salvation of the sinner, not complete as yet, while we should welcome the re-establishment of Clause 41 of the 1930 Act, I do not feel that I ought to commit my hon. Friends on this side to the additional words which the right hon. Gentleman has inserted. I hope that one of my hon. Friends will move an Amendment to leave out these words, but if we are defeated on this, I must say that if, after reflection, we are as suspicious as we are at the moment, we shall feel it necessary to raise the question on the Report stage.
§ 4.3 p.m.
§ Mr. A. BEVAN
In the first place, I should like to associate myself with what my right hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood) has said in protest against this manuscript Amendment. The Government have been preparing this Bill for two years. Do I understand that the Minister allowed these words to remain in the Bill in 213 order to be able to make a concession in the course of the Committee stage, so as to be able to satisfy the Committee that he was in a reasonable state of mind, and that, after the experience of last evening, he thinks that the time has arrived to make a concession to the Committee? Obviously the Minister must have been aware of what the existing words in the Bill would have done. He has had long enough to study them, and I really must protest against this habit of inserting Clauses in the Bill in order to be able to take them out at a diplomatic time in the Committee. I would ask hon. Members to realise that if the Minister includes things in the Bill in this way so as to be able later to satisfy the Members of the Committee, then at once the Guillotine ought to be abolished, because there may be a lot of things in the other Clauses which we shall never reach—things with which he himself does not agree, but on which we shall not be able to force him to make Amendments because we shall not be able to debate the Clauses. I want to protest against that abuse of the House of Commons.
It is frightfully difficult in this business to understand what the full effect of these words will be. If hon. Members will cast their minds back over the history of this part of the Unemployment Insurance legislation, they will realise that the Ministry of Labour administratively has always violated the expressed intention of the House of Commons. That has been the difficulty over these words. I do not believe that there are Members in any part of the House who desire to see the not-genuinely-seeking work condition applied in the way it was in the Exchanges. In the last Parliament we had a very important Debate on this principle, and it was expressed in all parts of the House that it was absolutely undesirable that an unemployed man should be driven to look for work which he knew was not there, and that there should be organised lying at the rota committees in order to satisfy the officers of the Exchanges that men had actually been running about looking for work, when everybody knew it was a fiction. No one desires that state of affairs to arise, but it arose because Parliament incorporated in this legislation a form of words which made the test for work subjective, and not objective. It put the 214 onus of proof upon the applicant for benefit, and not upon the Employment Exchange, and once the onus of proof is shifted from the Exchange to the applicant, immediately all the difficulties of not-genuinely-seeking work can arise.
If the right hon. Gentleman will recollect, the Attorney-General in the last Parliament attempted to incorporate in the Bill words bearing some such interpretation as the Minister now suggests, and we rejected them. We insisted upon the inclusion of the existing language, because we wanted to make it clear, above peradventure, that the onus of proof must always rest upon the Exchange itself, and never upon the applicant, because if it rests upon the applicant, the test becomes subjective, and it does not exist in the presence of an actual offer of employment. I have had some experience of the administration of rota committees, and I know what happened. By this Amendment you are quite unnecessarily adding another test. There are tests already in the Bill perfectly adequate, and there is one situation that makes it unnecessary for the Minister to put in these words. It is that in almost every part of the country there are more men available for jobs than there are jobs available for men. That fact itself protects the Chancellor of the Exchequer from having to carry an additional burden if men will not seek out jobs that are there, because if one man does not get the job another man gets it, and the same burden will rest upon the Exchequer and the fund.
§ Mr. BEVAN
There would, of course, be differences of that kind, but it might happen that you would drive a single man into a job and keep out a married man, and that would cost more. We cannot discuss differences of that sort; we have the actual protection as long as more men are idle than there are jobs available, and it is unnecessary cruelty to insist on the mass of the unemployed searching eagerly out for any opportunity of employment. They have not the means of increasing the amount of employment available, and, as long as they have not got that, this sort of legislation is unnecessary. I grant that this 215 legislation would be necessary if ever the situation arose in which employers were searching around for would-be employés and employés were hiding from them while the State was keeping them on the fund, but until that state of affairs arises, the necessity for this type of legislation does not arise. Coming to the actual words of the Amendment:if it is proved by an officer of the Ministry of Labour that the claimant has neglected to avail himself of an opportunity of suitable employment.If hon. Members will look at those words, they will see that it is the actual administration, and what has happened before, that we must keep in our minds, and not these words. What will happen at the Employment Exchange? The officer must shift the onus of proof on to the applicant. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!" and "Yes"!] Let us see. In the first place, the obligation to find out whether there are available jobs rests upon the applicant under these words. An officer of the exchange must, therefore, interview the man at the exchange to find out whether he has looked for jobs that it was within his knowledge he could obtain, so that he must shift the onus of proof at once on to the applicant, and say to the applicant, "So many jobs were available in that factory yesterday. Did you look for work?" "So many jobs were available at that colliery last week. Did you go?" He must say to a shop assistant, a girl, "This stores advertised a position the week before last. Did you apply?" In other words, the officer, in order to discharge his duty, must make a list of the jobs which were available in that locality, and must present it to each applicant for benefit to secure information as to whether they did, in fact, look for work.
§ Mr. BEVAN
I said so. In every city, town and village in this country every day some job arises. I am not striving to make a party point; I am trying to say what would be the administrative consequence of this, and I am also assuming—I think I am right in assuming—that in all parts of the House no one desires to see men unnecessarily tor- 216 mented, and I really am apprehensive that this conceivably might give rise to some such danger, to which it is unnecessary for us to expose ourselves.
§ Mr. MOLSON
I am not quite clear about this point. Is it this? Suppose a pit was taking on an extra 100 men, and those extra 100 men were taken on, and the Employment Exchange proved that the other men knew of that opportunity, and did not avail themselves of it, does the hon. Gentleman pretend that when it is known that they were not seeking to obtain that work, they ought to go on receiving benefit?
§ Mr. BEVAN
I was trying to deal with that point. If there are jobs going in every city, town and village, those jobs always represent a very insignificant number for all the men out of work. Those jobs, presumably, must be known to every applicant for benefit. It assumes here that he hasneglected to avail himself of an opportunity of suitable employment.
§ Mr. BEVAN
If hon. Members believe that these words mean that, then why do not they insert words to make it quite clear, or why do they have this in at all? The existing legislation meets every contingency. The officer will catechise applicants for benefit with a copy of all the jobs going in front of him; the applicants will know that they are going to be asked these questions, and you at once get the treadmill of search starting all over again in order that they may be armed with the right response to the officer. That is precisely what will happen. That is how the obligation will shift back on to the unemployed man. Seven jobs were advertised by an urban council in my constituency and over 600 men applied for them. Three men are required at a colliery, and there are 6,000 men at the exchange, but not one of the 6,000 knows that he may be one of the three to get a job. Therefore, the officer will be entitled, under these words, to insist that all the 6,000 men should try to get one of these three jobs. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] Hon. Members are talking without the book. If I was an applicant for benefit imagine the conversation which would occur. The officer 217 would say, "Did you look for one of these jobs?" I should say "No."
§ Mr. BEVAN
I am assuming all the time that he knew of it. There are 6,000 men at the exchange, and all who did not apply for one of these three jobs can be deprived of benefit under these proposed words. If the men know that they are going to be asked to satisfy that test, then the 6,000 men will troop to the colliery and ask for any job that might be given.
§ Mr. BEVAN
Hon. Members really are displaying the most appalling ignorance of unemployment administration. I submit that at the time these jobs are available and that anyone of the 6,000 men might have them, therefore, they are available to them at that time, and all the 6,000 men must apply for them because it is not known who are the three to be employed. The officer, therefore, is entitled to ask all the men whether they have applied for the jobs.
§ Mr. BEVAN
In that case this Amendment is unnecessary. That is, indeed, the existing situation and under it justice is done, because if an individual refuses to go to a job which is offered him he has definitely refused a particular job which he could have had. Under these words he is turned down for a job which he could not have had.
§ Mr. MARTIN
I think the hon. Member is right, he is on a sound point, but would he not be satisfied if words were added to the proposal to imply that any particular job should be notified in the 218 exchange, provided that the men were suitable? That would not be so objectionable.
§ Mr. BEVAN
I shall be delighted to hear the answer later on. I want the Committee to realise that all reasonable requirements of the State are satisfied under the existing law. Therefore, why expose yourselves to these dangers? Hon. Members who represent constituencies with more settled conditions will be very sorry later on if they accept this proposal. The best thing is to run no risks with ambiguous language of this kind, cut it out, and tell the Minister of Labour that he has under existing regulations all that he requires. We do not want to start this trouble all over again. Once the men know that they are to be liable to cross-examination by an officer of the exchange—and the officer will have to hold a cross-examination if he is to do his duty—the fear of that cross-examination will drive them into all sorts of futile searches for work around all the factory and mine gates in the districts. That is an uncivilised and brutal way of bringing employment within the reach of the unemployed. The right way is to send a particular man to a particular job, and to refuse him benefit if he refuses a particular job. Any subjective test with over 2,500,000 men idle will create endless trouble, will scare employers, because they will be asked to write endless notes, and I hope that hon. Members will consider the matter earnestly and ask themselves whether it is necessary to run these dangers. I hope the Minister will see his way to withdraw the Amendment.
§ 4.23 p.m.
§ Mr. CURRY
The repeated interruptions which the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) has had to undergo shows the danger of the methods adopted by His Majesty's Government. The Bill is very complicated and all those who are 219 interested have spent hours and days upon a study of it and have tabled Amendments only after very careful consideration. It is therefore regrettable that the Minister of Labour has delayed so long in bringing forward this manuscript Amendment. It is between six and eight weeks since the Second Reading of the Bill when some of us, so far as this Clause is concerned, put forward exactly the arguments which the Minister has pointed out to-day, and the Amendment which we have tabled was put down in no spirit of party criticism but because our experience led us to be apprehensive of the very real dangers we were running in reviving what we said was the genuinely-seeking-work Clause. The supporters of the Bill told us on the Second Reading that that was not the case, and I believe, on the general case, it is held that there is no danger of a return to the genuinely-seeking-work Clause by accepting this Measure.
To-day the Minister of Labour has laid great emphasis on finding suitable work, but he did not mention the word which frightens many of us, the word "proof." We are apprehensive about the onus of proof being thrown upon the applicant. The purpose of the Amendment, as I take it, is to take that onus off the applicant and put it on to the Minister, through the proper officials. If that is so, we welcome it as a great step forward, but at the same time we regret that it has been brought forward in this way. I think it is unfair to ask the Committee to accept the responsibility for these words at a glance. So far as my friends and I are concerned we are glad that the Amendment has been moved, because the words which we fear most have been eliminated, but at the same time we hope that the Government will not prevent us having second thoughts about it. We do not desire our opposition to resolve itself into carping criticism or into something like a vain search for the Loch Ness monster, but, having regard to the importance of the matter, we do not wish to commit ourselves to the acceptance of these words to-day without further opportunity of giving them careful consideration. The Amendment to which my name stands will not now be moved because we have gained our point. With these reservations, I welcome the action taken by the Government this afternoon.
§ 4.29 p.m.
§ Major HILLS
I want to put before the Minister a difficulty which presents itself to some hon. Members. There is no doubt that the genuinely-seeking-work Clause is a matter which excites the greatest interest. When the Bill was brought before us we found a short Sub-section put in to meet that point. That we considered for some time. At the same time we saw that a very long Sub-section (1) of Section 4 of the Act of 1930 was repealed. On that we could make up our minds, for we had something upon which to decide. Now we have the whole of that long Sub-section reinstated, and put into the middle of it are two or three lines. I do not know what other hon. Members think, but I feel that I am quite incompetent to decide the question now. I cannot do it. We have considered the Government Sub-section, and that I am prepared to support, but now I am asked to give my mind to the effect of an alteration of a very long and complicated Sub-section of a previous Act. I respectfully say that it is rather hard that the Amendment should not even have been handed in last night. Had it been handed in then we could have spent this morning puzzling it out. Our brains are not as quick as those of Ministers, and we want all the assistance that we can get. We are put in a very difficult position. I admit that the Minister made one of his reasonable speeches, but we have to decide this matter for ourselves. I wonder whether the Minister could find some way of giving us rather more time to consider the proposal? It is a very difficult and a very important matter, and if it could be adjourned to the Report stage, or if some subsequent opportunity could be given, the Minister would do no harm to the prospects of his Bill and would give great help to his perplexed supporters.
§ 4.35 p.m.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I agree that the words we are debating are of very great importance. Reference has been made to the annoyance caused by the Minister handing in a manuscript Amendment. I confess that I do not much care about joining in a heresy hunt on that score. I am more concerned that the Minister, if he seeks to improve a Clause, ought to try to amend it, even if it means handing in a manuscript Amendment. I would 221 sooner have a manuscript Amendment moved to improve the Bill than that the Minister should stand on his dignity because he is afraid to put in a manuscript Amendment. All Governments have done this sort of thing during the Committee stage. The last Labour Government did it on the "not genuinely seeking work" Clause. They did not even have their Amendment typed and handed to us. They bandied about words of which we knew nothing. They discussed them behind the Speaker's Chair, and then returned to the House, and we did not know what they were. If it were possible I would, of course, much prefer that Amendments should be on the Order Paper, but I want to make it clear that if an Amendment is moved to improve a Bill, whether the Minister is driven to it by numbers or by advice or in any way at all, I would much sooner the Amendment was made by any method that the Minister chose than that the Minister should have to defend himself against introducing Amendments in manuscript form.
Another thing to be recognised is that the Minister is on strong ground here. He is going further than the Majority and Minority Report asked him to go. That should be remembered. I hope that the Labour party will forgive me for mentioning these things: First this Commission was their Commission, appointed without the vote of this House. It was appointed deliberately by them and supported by them in private party meetings. Not only was the Commission appointed by them, but the terms of reference were chosen by them. The most damning thing of all is that evidence was sent to that Commission by the Ministry of Labour, then controlled by Miss Margaret Bondfield. The minority agreed to the words as passed in the Act. Both Miss Rackham and Mr. Astbury agreed.
Two or three considerations have to be taken into account in addition to the words. There are certain important factors which should be borne in mind by those who were not in the House at the time. First of all when "not genuinely seeking work" was abolished by the Labour Government it affected a far larger number of people than is now the case. "Not genuinely seeking work," even if it was reimposed to-day, would 222 not apply to anything like the number to which it formerly applied. The late Labour Government disqualified some under the Anomalies Act, and the means test has cut out large numbers of people to whom "not genuinely seeking work" would not apply. Benefit as a right from 30 stamps for, roughly speaking, a year and four months, has gone, and benefit is now a maximum of six months. These facts should be borne in mind.
There is another important aspect here. To-day we are not discussing merely "not genuinely seeking work." If a man commits this offence for the second time in 12 months he is now liable to a disqualification from benefit for six months. When hon. Members consider these words, and the liability of a man they should remember what they are doing. If a man cannot carry out this instruction his second offence in a year means that for six months he is to get no benefit; he can be disqualified for six months. When hon. Members put a penalty of six months on a man it is necessary to exercise far greater care than ever before. I hope I am not out of order in mentioning this, but the Minister would not impose such a penalty without very great concern. It has been suggested by one speaker that words should be added to the Minister's Amendment. We have taken the precaution of handing in an Amendment to the Minister's Amendment. We wish to have added the words "defiitely offered to him." That means work definitely offered.
§ Mr. A. BEVAN
Does the hon. Member's proposal mean the addition to the Amendment of the words "definitely offered to him"?
§ The CHAIRMAN
I have not the least objection to the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) referring to his Amendment, but I would point out that he must not yet discuss his Amendment.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I agree that in the main they may be, but my point is this: It is not first of all the court of referees to which the applicant goes. He is first of all interviewed and examined by an insurance officer. He is asked: "Why are you unable to get a job? Why have you not gone and got a job?" The man replies: "I have not gone because I did 223 not know." But the officer says: "You are a pattern maker and you did not go. There is a pattern maker who has started and he is in the same branch of the union as you. Why did you not know of this job in the same way as he knew? Why is it that he knew and you did not know?" Of course the man finds difficulty in answering. It comes to this, that when a man is examined it is not an examination on facts at all but an examination on how the man looks, on how he appears to the officer at the time of the examination. A disqualification is to him a punishment of the most severe kind. It is a fine. Only facts should be examined by the insurance officer. You have no right to try a man on his appearance. Even under the Minister's Amendment the man will be examined by the officer. Supposing, as in the instance which I have just cited, pattern makers have been started at a certain place. I will reduce the dimensions of the case which I gave. Supposing there are two men in the same branch of a union living, if you like, in the same street, and one man gets a job and the other does not—
§ Mr. MARTIN
Surely, in that case, the words which the hon. Member proposes to insert should not be "definitely offered work," but "definitely notified of work."
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member must not discuss the merits of the Amendment suggested by the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan). That is not under discussion now.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I will not quarrel about the words. My point is that there are two men, and the one gets a job and the other does not. What is the insurance officer to prove in that case? That is my point. In a criminal case there is always an indictment framed. In the Scottish courts the prosecution have to frame an indictment and they are called upon to prove it. Bear in mind that in this case a man is being tried for an alleged offence. But there is no plan of an indictment in this Amendment. As the law now stands, the indictment is that the man has refused to carry out certain written instructions. When a man goes to the court of referees he meets that indictment and it is something which he can meet. But in this case, even with the proposed change, he has no indict- 224 ment to meet. The officer has to prove that the man is unable to get a job, but the man who is being tried for the offence has no indictment to meet. Do not put the unemployed man in a worse position than the criminal. At least treat him the same as you treat the criminal. There is no lawyer in this Committee who would allow such a proposal as this to go through, in reference to a criminal who had to be tried by the courts. Why should we allow it to go through in the case of the unemployed man? Why should we make it worse for him?
The Minister says two things. He says first that it is not his intention to do this and the words appear to be harmless. But when the condition about "not genuinely seeking work" went through the House of Commons the late Dr. Macnamara the Minister and everybody said that the intention was only to punish those who were not genuine. What could be fairer or more equitable? In fact, the words "not genuinely" were good words. But they lacked this feature. There was no indictment in them. There was no charge; they were words capable of any kind of construction. My submission is that anything that does not give the unemployed man a proper indictment and charge to meet is no use. My plea to the Minister is, that we should meet the unemployed man on decent terms. Do not forget that the insurance officer has a tremendous advantage. He is doing this job every day in the week. The man only appears there once in a year. It is easy for the trained man to prove his case, but it is a terrible thing for the man who is only there as a fleeting visitor to prove anything. Bear that factor in mind.
These words may be some improvement on the words that the Minister has in the Bill, but this Committee ought to insist that whatever the unemployed man is to be punished for, should be a definite thing with which he is definitely charged. In other cases he may be charged definitely with misconduct for instance, but the misconduct must be made out and we must be shown what it means. Under other conditions, a man may be charged with a definite offence or it may be alleged that he is incapable of doing work, but in this case no charge is framed. It was stated in answer to the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan) that this was being done because 225 of the Commission's recommendations, and because of the evidence given before the Commission. I have been through that evidence and apart from the evidence of one or two officials—and most of it had nothing at all to do with the applicants who will come under this Clause—there was no weight of evidence to show that great abuses existed at all. No man in this Committee who represents an industrial constituency and who visits the local exchanges regularly and interviews the managers, can say that there is one-hundredth part of the abuses which have been suggested. How many men are there to-day refusing jobs—even half-decent jobs. I do not know what is the experience of other hon. Members but my quarrel is not with the men for refusing the jobs. It is with the men for the kind of jobs which they take. I know a man of 24 years of age who started the other day as a chimney sweep at 20s. a week. My quarrel with them is on account of the jobs they take and not on account of the jobs they refuse.
This is all for the sake of getting a few odd men here and there. I could have stood it if there were only one per cent. of unemployment and if when a man refused the job he became a burden, but at its worst what does it mean to-day? If a man refuses a job, it only means that somebody else gets it and there is no change. It is not as though there was any fresh burden involved. By this Amendment the Committee will be taking the risk of disqualifying a huge number of people in order to get a phantom few of so-called offenders. I trust that the Committee will reject the Clause as it stands in the Bill and will revert to the original wording under which every reasonable safeguard is taken and of which neither the country nor the unemployed need be ashamed.
§ 4.55 p.m.
§ Sir LUKE THOMPSON
I should like to add my quota to the discussion of this Clause which is, possibly, one of the most important parts of the Bill now under consideration. While I sympathise with those who have just seen the manuscript Amendment—as we have all just seen it—and who may have some difficulty in appreciating its terms, I would like to say to the Minister that I recognise the courage with which he has met this question. He has studied it carefully and, 226 evidently, after many representations he has been convinced that this Clause which was put down with a sincere desire to carry out the representations of the Commission was not likely to achieve its object, and he has therefore submitted his Amendment.
May I try to explain the position as I see it? It is quite easy to skim off from the difficulties, as the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) has been doing, by referring to what has been done in the past. In the interpretation of this Clause there is a degree of uncertainty, but let us look at things as they are. Under the present Bill we are dealing with a different position regarding unemployment insurance, from any with which we have had to deal in the past. To-day you have a clear demarcation as between insurance and assistance. For the first time you are wiping away the test for transitional payments. There will be no statutory test when this Bill goes through for transitional payments and, while we are speaking of men who may be turned down under this Clause, we must remember that it will be possible for such a man to go through under the other part of the Measure, and to be better off, if he can prove a certain degree of need. That possibility exists. Under Sub-section (6) of Clause 3 we have laid down that if the first Statutory Condition is complied with, and if a man has 30 stamps available he can then draw benefit for 156 days. The only other test was the condition as to being capable of and available for work but unable to obtain suitable employment.
Is it possible to think, under all the conditions, that a man might go on for 156 days without ever attempting to get work? The Royal Commission saw that point, and the Royal Commission defined the position, and it was to meet that position that Clause 6 was put down. I think most Members had some doubt in regard to the fact that the onus of proof was being placed on the applicant instead of as it had been in the previous Act. The provision in the first part of Clause 6, Sub-section (1), as to proof that a man was capable of and available for work was a simple matter and I did not raise any quibble about it. The very fact that a man applied for benefit might be taken as showing that he was capable 227 of and available for work. The truth is that if you had placed the onus on him under capability, it meant that he would have had to be able to supply possibly, in the case of sickness, a medical certificate to the insurance officer instead of, as at present, a certificate of discharge saying he was capable of work.
These were difficulties and I could not see my way through them quite, but when I came to the latter part of this paragraph, "unable to obtain suitable employment," I felt like the Minister that the interpretation of it as it stood at present would imply an interrogation and that it would mean that the applicant must be examined from time to time. I am thankful to the Minister that under his Amendment, whether we think the words are absolutely correct and adequate or not, he has shifted the responsibility and the onus from the insured person on to the officer of the Ministry, and in so doing he has made a very great gain and security. After all, what can be the exception to the words? All that you have added is that the onus of proof is put upon the officer. [An HON. MEMBER: "What is the need for it"?] There is a need for it, considering that we are discussing the permanent stability of the Insurance Act. The whole question is whether this is a reasonable Amendment. Is it reasonable to apply it as a test to a man who needs benefit?
§ Mr. A. BEVAN
The onus of proof is on the officer to show that a man has not sought suitable employment.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Order. I think it would be better if hon. Members would leave these matters in the hands of the Chair. I was attempting to assist the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan) who was entitled to make his interruption when the hon. Member for 228 Sunderland (Sir L. Thompson) gave way.
§ Sir L. THOMPSON
I have not the least objection to the interruption. I personally have been through all the Insurance Acts since 1922, and I remember the 1924 Act, when the very best that the Labour Government could then do was embodied in the "not genuinely seeking" clause, which proved such a great heartbreak and disaster to the working men. We do not want to repeat that, and I am convinced that the only way to prevent it is to put the onus of proof, not on the man, but on the officer, which this Amendment does. I have not yet heard a single argument advanced by the Opposition that the onus of proof will come back on to the man himself. I am sure the Minister will listen attentively to all that is said, and, as I understand it, that the onus of proof should rest on the insured person is the very last thing the Minister wants. I think, therefore, the Committee will be well advised at this juncture to receive this Amendment.
§ 5.7 p.m.
§ Mr. MAINWARING
When the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan) endeavoured to point out the danger contained in the words now proposed to be inserted, it was obvious that there was considerable doubt as to the correctness of the point of view which he was endeavouring to put. May I give this from my personal experience, which will also serve to indicate that little if anything is changed in the present proposal of the Ministry from the actual situation which existed when the "not genuinely seeking" clause was in operation? When the "not genuinely seeking" clause was in operation the responsibility was upon the officer. It was the officer who had the responsibility of questioning any insured person in case of doubt, and in practice whenever he did question an individual, he was in effect charging him with not genuinely seeking work, and that charge resolved itself into an allegation that he had neglected an available opportunity of suitable employment. I can quite sympathise with many hon. Members who have expressed doubt as to the logic of the position, because it is precisely what we put up on behalf of the workmen when the same difficulty arose in years gone by.
229 I personally could not at first understand why it was that an insurance officer at a local exchange, or a chairman of a court of referees, or even the umpire himself could deem it at all reasonable that 100 men should be expected individually to look for one job that might be available. How could they deem it possible for every one of those 100 men to obtain that job? Yet that is precisely what they did hold, and in my personal experience scores, aye, hundreds and thousands of such men have been turned down by courts of referees, and those decisions have been upheld by the umpire. Let there be no mistake about it. This is no hypothetical danger that we are arguing, but something that we have gone through. I have personally known scores of cases before the umpire where it has been argued that if any one individual out of 5,000, say, who had signed on at the local exchange could be shown to have failed to go and ask for one job that was available, that might reasonably be held against him as having neglected an available opportunity. What the umpire would ask and did ask was, "How do you know that if this man had presented himself, he would not have got the job?"
In my judgment, the substitution of the words "neglected to avail himself of an opportunity of suitable employment" really is no improvement on the old "not genuinely seeking" Clause, and whatever hon. Members may think of our arguments, at any rate they cannot deny to me and many other hon. Members on these benches the actual experience that we have had. We are not talking about some hypothetical thing that might happen in the future, but of something that we have gone through for many years on behalf of many thousands of unemployed people in this country. Therefore, having regard to our experience, when we all agree as to the intention—there is no division in this Committee about the intention—to protect the unemployed man from any such evil, surely hon. Members are not going to blind themselves to our experience as to the danger implied in these words. To protect even their own intentions, therefore, we ask them to agree with us that we cannot accept these words.
§ 5.12 p.m.
§ Sir H. BETTERTON
I do not know whether it will be for the convenience of the Committee that I should make a proposal now, but I agree, of course, that it is difficult at such short notice to appreciate the precise significance of the technical and local application of these words. I suggest that the actual wording of this proposal be considered by me between now and the Report stage. I will have regard to what has been said in all quarters of the House, and so long as the principle which I have endeavoured to lay down and the object which both the majority and the minority reports of the Commission had in mind are carried out, then I shall consider what is the best form of words for carrying out the purpose I have in view. I only make that proposal because I know there are a good many other matters to be discussed before seven o'clock.
§ Mr. MARTIN
On a point of Order. Shall we have an opportunity of putting down our own form of words on this matter between now and the Report stage?
§ Mr. JANNER
On a point of Order. What will be the exact result of accepting the Minister's suggestion? Will it mean that we shall not proceed with this Clause now?
§ 5.13 p.m.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
As I understand it, the suggestion of the Minister is that the Committee should accept the words he has put before us to-day, subject to an undertaking on his part to reconsider the newly added words so as to see whether fresh words can be devised to meet the Minister's intentions and the wish of the Committee. So far as I am concerned in this connection, I shall be prepared to allow the Debate to end now, but I would put this point to the right hon. Gentleman, that on the Report stage, if this is going to be a matter of 231 controversy, the question of time will become important again, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will consider that aspect of the case.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
I appreciate that, and I am not objecting to that. I am merely saying that, having got it on the Paper and then having to amend it later, this being a Government Amendment, hon. Members ought not to be robbed of discussing their own Amendments on this point on the Report stage.
§ 5.14 p.m.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I cannot be a party to accepting anything but the complete deletion of this Sub-section (1).
§ The CHAIRMAN
I do not want the hon. Member to be under a misapprehension, but we have omitted Sub-section (1) already.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
Yes, but I understood from the Minister that he was going to ask for the insertion of his Amendment. In that case, I am not going to be a party to it. I want to be quite frank with the Minister. His suggestion means shuffling. We shall still come back to the old issue whether the present words are going to stand or be amended. I am standing for no Amendment in principle in the present Bill. That is why I moved an Amendment with words which brought the Bill back to the principle which existed before. All that the Minister is doing by his present offer is to shuffle off, but we shall still come back to the issue, which is a simple one, namely, whether the present Act is satisfactory or not. I say that the present Act gives everybody everything that is desired, and I shall divide against the insertion of these or any other words that make the position worse than the present Statute.
§ 5.17 p.m.
§ Mr. A. BEVAN
May I raise a point of procedure? If we accept the Amendment which the Minister now moves on the undertaking that he will amend it later, will that give us the chance of dividing against the Amendment itself at a subsequent stage? We are willing to accept the Amendment now on the assumption that it will be amended later. There 232 will then be a Debate. In the course of that Debate shall we have a chance of dividing against the Amendment in its entirety if we do not accept the Minister's new Amendment?
§ The CHAIRMAN
The Minister has undertaken, as I understand it, not to amend these words on Report, but to reconsider them between now and Report and to give hon. Members an opportunity of doing the same thing; and, if these words are now inserted, they will not come forward necessarily on the Report stage to be passed as part of the Bill as they would in Committee. It will be open to any hon. Member to put down an Amendment to leave out this particular Sub-section.
§ Mr. BEVAN
Therefore, the position in which we are left is that we are not given any more on the Report stage than we already have. We now have these words before us in the Committee stage, but we have no guarantee that we shall have them in our hands on the Report stage because we might not reach them.
§ Sir H. BETTERTON
I am not asking the hon. Member to accept this Amendment without a Division. If he objects to it, his logical course is to vote against it.
§ 5.20 p.m.
§ Mr. JANNER
May I make an appeal to the Minister, in view of the difficulty that has arisen, to consider this matter from the other angle entirely. It is clear that all hon. Members realise that we have not had an opportunity of fully considering the effect of the Minister's Amendment, and it is not fair to ask the Committee to commit itself to the acceptance even provisionally of an Amendment with the nature of which we are not fully conversant. There is a much simpler method by which the Minister can obtain his ends. He can withdraw the Amendment now and put down an Amendment on the Report stage. That would give us ample time to consider and discuss it. It is not such a trivial matter as might appear on the surface. It is a serious thing to create a new offence, and that is what this Amendment is actually doing. What is the extent of that offence? I do not know. It would require much more time to realise what the repercussions of it are going to be, but undoubtedly it 233 creates a new offence by a man who is unemployed. It is true that it does not, on the face of it, place the onus upon the unemployed man, but it creates something further for him to answer, which ultimately means that the onus is actually being placed on his shoulders to controvert something with which he will be faced and in respect of which he may not have full knowledge.
It also makes the unemployment officer carry out a further invidious duty and places upon him a new obligation. It says to him, "You have now to do something further than you had to do under the previous Acts; you have now to make yourself in the nature of a prosecuting counsel and find out further facts with which to confront the unemployed person when he comes for relief." The result is that it creates a new and difficult position, so far as I see it. I do not say that I thoroughly understand it, but I am convinced that it creates a new difficulty for the unemployment officer. I want to put definitely to the Minister that there is no case which is not covered by the Act which is already in existence. See how clear it is—If a claimant has without good cause refused or failed to carry out any written directions given to him by an officer of an Employment Exchange with a view to assisting him to find suitable employment (being directions which were reasonable having regard both to the circumstances of the claimant and to the means of obtaining that employment usually adopted in the district in which the claimant resides).This is so clear that it is obvious to anybody that nothing further is necessary, unless there is some motive which one cannot understand. It does not say any particular job. It does not say that the unemployment officer is bound to say, "You have got to go to that job." He can give directions as to what type of job a man has to look for and where he is to look for it. What more is wanted? Why place the onus on both the officer and the applicant to do anything more than that? I cannot see how the Amendment is going to help, and I cannot see what effect it will have different from the effect of the words now in the Bill.
We want to make the community realise that the Employment Exchange is the place to which they should apply for work. It is being done now and we know that year by year applications are 234 coming in to the Employment Exchanges in greater numbers.
I have taken the trouble to find out what happens in my own constituency in regard to this matter. The applicants who were placed in work through the agency of the exchange in Stepney were 16,780 on the 23rd January, 1933, and 18,420 on 22nd January, 1934. That means that the community is realising more clearly year by year that its duty is to go to the Employment Exchange and ask for men when it requires them. That is what we want the community as a whole to understand and to appreciate. We do not want our men to go looking for jobs in places where they cannot exist. If an officer has three vacancies and 5,000 or 6,000 men on his books it is true that he may argue that some of them had neglected to avail themselves of the opportunity to fill the jobs merely because they had not gone after them. I believe it would be incumbent on him to say to a man, "You knew the job was going; have you been there to see about it? If not, why not?" If the man replies, "I did not know of it," the officer should in duty bound—
§ Mr. JANNER
My hon. Friend knows very well that that does not actually prevail in practice. He knows if he has ever visited a court of law that the method of shifting the onus from one side to the other is not difficult. If it is a question of proving negligence, the prosecution will come forward and establish circumstantial evidence to show that there was negligence. They have only to establish a prima facie case and then the onus is shifted to the person answering that case to show that the prima facie case is not right. It is a case of "a thin partition their bounds divide" when it comes to a question of whether the onus is on the unemployment officer or on the man. What is the need for this alteration? I have heard nothing from the Minister to indicate that there is a need for it. If it is redundant, it is unnecessary. The hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) says that he does not care whether it is redundant or not; it should be taken out to make doubly sure. There are sometimes loopholes in these redundant Clauses which 235 do not make them so redundant as they seem. The Act is clear, and there is enough in the Act to meet what is necessary. It is not fair to impose anything more on the unemployed man when he is searching for work, and it is unfair at this stage to put us in the difficult position of having to vote for something with which we do not agree on the off-chance that on the Report stage we might be able to confirm the vote that we have cast to-day. That is not the way to do it. I suggest that the Minister should withdraw the Amendment now and give us an undertaking to put in something later when we can consider it fully.
§ 5.28 p.m.
I thought the hon. Member was continuing the point with which the Debate was interrupted. Do I understand the position to be that if the suggestion to insert this Amendment is adopted there would then be an opportunity at a later stage for re-discussion? If that be so, and the later stage is taken under the Guillotine, there can be no guarantee that this matter will be discussed again. Is not the only possible way of ensuring that for the Minister to withdraw the whole Clause and put down a new Clause? The 12th day is allotted to new Clauses, and this new Clause would then become the first Order of the 12th day. There would be no difficulty in having a discussion then.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. and gallant Member has put a question on a point of Order. I hope I have not been understood to give any Ruling or make any statement other than a statement of what is the ordinary procedure. Members of the Committee know what the procedure is under the Guillotine, and the difference between procedure on Report stage and Committee stage.
§ 5.31 p.m.
§ Mr. McENTEE
I have been hoping that the Minister would accept the suggestion made to him, and withdraw the Clause, because assuming that he gets the Clause now—which I should say he will—and later puts down an Amendment which has suggested itself to him between now and the Report stage, it may then be considered necessary to seek to amend that Amendment, yet we have no guarantee that there will be any oppor- 236 tunity to discuss either the Minister's Amendment or any other which may be put down. If the Minister will not withdraw the Clause, then I have to ask myself, in the first place, what was his intention in introducing this Amendment at all, and, in the second place, what is the real meaning of the words he now seeks to introduce—"the opportunity of work." What really is an opportunity of work? While my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan) was putting what was regarded by some as an exaggerated case, I recalled to mind something that is happening now in my own constituency. The local authority have advertised for a public convenience attendant. From the experience of the past, I think it is safe to say there will be not fewer than 400 applicants for that position. I do not know how many men there are on the books of the local Employment Exchange, but probably there are some 3,000. Any one of them, probably, would be able to carry out the duties of a public convenience attendant, would be a suitable person for the post. Most certainly any ordinary working man could carry out the duties. I have said that probably 400 people will apply; let us assume that there are 1,200 people who are suitable for the job and who are now signing on at the Employment Exchange who do not apply.
What would be the position of those people in the event of these words being inserted in this Measure? A man who had not applied for the job might be told by one of the officials at the exchange, particularly if he were a man regarding whom there was some doubt whether he was genuinely seeking work. "I see that a job was advertised in the local Press; did you apply for it?" If the man said that he did not, it would be reasonable to suppose that the official might say, "Well, there was a job available for you, a job you could have done if you had got it, but you made no effort to obtain it. You must have known of the job, because it was publicly advertised. You are not making any reasonable effort to obtain work." Surely such a situation as that could arise in any district. I know of two or three similar cases in which jobs have been advertised within the last few months. There can scarcely have been a man or woman in Walthamstow who did not know of those jobs being available. Most of them say, 237 "I should like the job, but I have no chance of getting it," and they just do not apply. As they did not apply, then, under this new wording, it would be almost a certainty that they would lose their benefit.
Still, I can hardly believe that that is the intention of the Minister. If it is his intention that men should be treated reasonably, as I presume it is, why on earth does he want to change the existing regulations at all? Everybody who has spoken admits that they cover every reasonable opportunity for the exchange officers to induce people to try to get work, and give them every reasonable opportunity of striking off the very few persons as to whom there is evidence that they are not genuinely seeking work. I hope I shall get an opportunity of voting against this new form of words. Although I consider it to be a better formula than the one in the Bill as presented to the House, I shall vote against it because I feel it does not effect what the Minister himself appears to desire. I take the Minister at his word, and I do not think it is his intention to strike off benefit men who are reasonably seeking work. But I think it must have been proved to him to-day—the example I have just given is one which could be met with almost any day—that if he insists on inserting his Amendment it will result in striking off benefit many people who ought not to be struck off. If the Minister could improve the words in the way suggested by the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan), and were prepared between now and the Report stage to introduce words saying that an offer of work had to be made to the man, then I am quite sure nobody would object to the Clause.
§ 5.38 p.m.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
I would appeal to the Minister to consider seriously the suggestion put forward by the hon. and gallant Member for Gainsborough (Captain Crookshank). In these discussions we have to consider not only the merits of the subject before us but also the question of the time which is at our disposal. There is very little time to discuss Clauses. There are two important Clauses which will have to come up on the Report stage, and doubtless we shall find that there will be others. At the moment we are discussing a Clause for which the Minister himself cannot find a satisfac- 238 tory form of words. We go on discussing it but we are discussing it in the air although there are other important clauses to come before us to-night. If on the other hand this clause were withdrawn it could come up again as a new Clause and in the meantime the Minister would have had the opportunity to think out exactly what it is that he wants inserted in this Clause. I do not see that the rest of the Bill would suffer if this Clause were put back. We should have a full opportunity of discussing it under Committee conditions. With the amount of stuff already that there is likely to be before us on Report stage there is the greatest danger that we might find ourselves in a position in which time did not allow any opportunity for discussing any alternative to something which the Minister put forward which might not be regarded as satisfactory. I think the most practical suggestion has come from the hon. and gallant Member for Gainsborough, and it would assist both the House and the Minister if that were adopted.
§ 5.40 p.m.
§ Sir H. BETTERTON
I am sorry that I cannot accept the suggestion. I do not know whether the hon. Member for Limehouse (Mr. Attlee) was in the Committee at the time, but the first Amendment passed was to leave out Sub-section (1) of Clause 6, and the position now is that there is a vacuum there. I am not prepared to agree to a Clause, or a part of a Clause, being moved out and nothing being put in its place at the time. As to the statement of the hon. Gentleman opposite that the words suggested in the Amendment are unsatisfactory, of course I do not admit that they are. What I have said is that I would consider them, and the suggestions that have been made, in order to see whether they can be improved or not. That is a fair offer, which I will certainly carry out, but I must not be taken as admitting for a moment that the words bear the interpretation which has been put upon them.
§ 5.41 p.m.
Again I would make an appeal to the right hon. Gentleman, speaking for hon. Members on this side of the House. He has just said that as the first Sub-section has been taken out there are, in fact, no words 239 in front of the figure "2" in line 15. In the same way he might move that the words from there to the final words of the Clause might be conditionally moved out.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. and gallant Member's suggestion amounts to a request that the Minister should agree to this Clause being negatived and reserve his right to move a new Clause.
That is my suggestion. There would be an opportunity to move a new Government Clause on the day on which we take new Clauses, and being a Government Clause it would take precedence over all private Members' Clauses. As there has been no suggestion of any other Government new Clauses it would be the first Order of the Day on the 12th day of the proceedings under the Guillotine. That was my suggestion, and I only reinforce it, speaking for, certainly, some of the supporters of the Government, by saying that we have been just as astounded as anybody else by getting a manuscript Amendment of such importance as this to a Bill which has been in print since the 23rd November. We have not had the benefit of any legal statement on the point either from the Opposition Front Bench—which perhaps is not surprising, as the hon. and learned Gentleman over there is probably rather cautious about what he says now—but we might reasonably have expected some legal statement from our own side to amplify the Minister's opening speech. Frankly, I think that most of the Members who have listened to this Debate since it started feel they would like further time in which to make quite sure that these are the right words. We are flying in the face of the words of the Royal Commission. Their words are sacrosanct about a great many things; they were sacrosanct about the matters we discussed last night, I understood, and they are sacrosanct about the debt problem, and we wonder why there should have been this change, on so short notice, without enough opportunity for us to see the Amendment and to weigh it up. As to the hon. Gentleman below me who supported the Government from the depths of his knowledge, I would not contradict him on the spur of the moment, but I would like time to con- 240 sider this matter. He has obviously had more time, because his copy of the manuscript Amendment is not the same as my copy. It is on different paper, and so I think he must have heard of it before the rest of us.
My real object is to plead with the right hon. Gentleman to give us a further opportunity when we can discuss this matter. To leave it to the Report stage, as he has suggested, gives us no guarantee, because no statement has been made as to whether the subsequent stages of the Bill are to be taken under the Guillotine or not. If they are carried on under the Guillotine, the right hon. Gentleman knows just as well as I do that the Government cannot guarantee the discussion even of their own Amendment. It entirely depends upon the trend of the Debate and the particular hour of the day when the Amendment comes up for discussion. They cannot guarantee it any more than the Chair can guarantee it. The only certain way of getting this matter ventilated is to negative this Clause and to put down a new one. I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman, at this early stage of the discussions upon this very difficult Bill to help the Committee as much as he can.
§ 5.46 p.m.
I associate myself with the hon. Member for Sunderland (Sir L. Thompson) in thanking the Minister very warmly for considering the redrafting of this Clause. It must be perfectly obvious that he is just as anxious as we are to ensure that there shall be no return to the conditions which operated under the genuinely-seeking-work Clause. We are very grateful to the Minister for giving us this opportunity of expressing our opinion and for altering the Clause in order that those of us who represent industrial constituencies shall not run the risk of the legal interpretation of the Clause being different from the intentions of the Minister. Perhaps it is only fair to say that there are two points connected with the Clause which we ought to take into consideration.
§ Mr. JANNER
Would the hon. Lady forgive me for interrupting? She said 241 that she did not want misunderstanding between the interpretation of the Bill and the intentions of the Minister, but we have not yet been told what the intentions of the Minister are.
I think that I used the words that I did not want the legal interpretation different from the intention of the Minister. It must be obvious from the statement made in his opening speech that the right hon. Gentleman did not want to return to the conditions operating under the genuinely-seeking-work Clause. That is the crux of the discussion to-day. As I understand the position, the Opposition as well as hon. Members on this side, are of the same opinion. We are all united in trying to insert a Clause which will not in any circumstances whatsoever cause a return to conditions operating under the genuinely-seeking-work Clause. I hope that I have made the position clear.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
On a point of Order. I dislike to interrupt the hon. Lady, but, I would like to ask her, why alter the present Clause? Coming as she does from an industrial constituency, what does she know of any recent local instance which provides a reason for altering the Clause?
I am only too delighted to answer the question put by the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan). I repeat I want to be quite certain that we are not to return to the conditions operating under the genuinely-seeking-work Clause. There are two important points which must be taken into consideration by the Minister under this Clause. The first is that no man genuinely unemployed shall be penalised because of the legal interpretation of the Clause, and, secondly, the regulations must be so watertight as to prevent abuse of the fund. From the point of view of His Majesty's Government, there are those two considerations; I am seeking for a Clause which will adequately cover these points. If I may return to the remarks made by the hon. Member for Sunderland; I agree with him in the views he expressed, and have complete confidence that the Minister will use the opportunity for time to consider for the purpose of finding some way out of this rather difficult situation. I merely wish to reiterate that, from the Minister's own 242 expressed attitude, he is one with us in trying to find a reasonable solution. I accept his attitude in the spirit in which it is meant, and thank him very warmly for his consideration in allowing the Clause to be redrafted.
§ 5.51 p.m.
§ Mr. MARTIN
Following the hon. Lady the Member for Wallsend (Miss Ward), I reiterate the phrase "legal interpretation." That was the whole point of the speech of the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan), which received a great deal of response in the Committee. Is it not in order to ask the Law Officers of the Crown whether they agree with the view or not? We have a Law Officer sitting on the Front Bench. Would he not give his opinion as to the interpretation to be put upon the Clause?
§ 5.52 p.m.
§ Mr. MAXTON
It is most unfortunate that the Committee should be in the position in which it now is, obviously anxious to debate this matter, but unable to do so because of considerations of time. Every minute that we spend on this point is depriving us of opportunities for discussing other things. One can feel all over the Committee a certain breathlessness about everybody who gets up to speak. We are tumbling over one another to say the most we can in the shortest possible time. I at once accept the Minister's suggestion as an attempt to save the time of the Committee, but I do not think that he has been quite candid, and I am very suspicious of him. He is the most genial and kindly Minister who has ever sat on that bench. He is ready to make concessions all over the place, and everybody runs away with the impression, because of that, that he is soft. That is the most profound mistake. He knows his job as well as any Minister who ever sat there. He knows that while he does not want to re-establish the not-genuinely-seeking work position, he wants something between not-genuinely-seeking work and the 1930 position. He has not told us why.
The right hon. Gentleman referred very vaguely to the Royal Commission's Report, but that does not answer anything at all. This Committee is entitled to know what experience has been obtained at the Employment Exchanges since the 1930 Clause came into operation, leading 243 the Ministry to think that they need some greater disciplinary control over unemployed men than is at present given by the 1930 Clause. I cannot see in the 1930 Act a loophole for the dodger, nor can I see a point where officials can use their power oppressively for the purpose of harassing an unemployed man whom they do not like. It is a good Clause. My hon. Friend the Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) and I have a particular affection for it because it took a devil of a struggle to extract it from the late Labour Government. My hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan) remembers very well the occasion when it was extracted, and the part that he played. On that occasion, as my hon. Friend the Member for Gorbals reminds me, Law Officers of the highest rank ran backwards and forwards with tense excitement and all the rest of it, and there was much cogitation and discussion both in the House and in private. The result was a Clause which, as far as we know, has never been publicly questioned by anyone who has operated the Act. What is the objection to maintaining it? The Minister has not told us, and the hon. Member for Sunderland (Sir L. Thompson) does not know, any more than anybody else.
§ Mr. MAXTON
The onus of proof is not upon me, I do not understand, and therefore I do not accept. The hon. Member for Sunderland says, "I do not understand and therefore I do accept." The Minister obviously is disinclined to a proper and adequate discussion of it. He refuses to accept the very reasonable proposal of the hon. and gallant Member for Gains-borough (Captain Crookshank). He tells us that we shall have an opportunity upon the Report stage. It is going to be a great Report stage. All the things that we do not like in each of the allotted periods of the Time-Table are to be brought up on that Report stage. The hon. and gallant Member for Gains-borough is wrong in saying that the Report stage is not guillotined. If I remember rightly we are allowed four days under the Time-Table for the Report stage and Third Reading. There is not an unlimited time for close and intensive examination during four days for the whole 244 Bill, added to the fact that the power of selection on the part of the Chair becomes a very strong one on the Report stage. I suppose it will be wrong of me to suggest, or to make even this whisper, but the sort of understanding between the Minister and the Chair gets more harmonious on the Report stage than during the Committee stage. It is necessary, in order to facilitate the work of the House.
If the Minister wants to assist himself and the Committee he can do so by getting up and telling the Committee what evidence has been brought to him which leads him to believe that the Clause in the 1930 Act, part, of which was read by the hon. Member for Whitechapel (Mr. Janner), needs alteration. [HON. MEMBERS: "Read the Clause."] Here is the whole Clause:If on a claim for benefit it is proved by an officer of the Ministry of Labour that the claimant, after a situation in any employment which is suitable in his case has been notified to him by an Employment Exchange or other recognised agency, or by or on behalf of an employer as vacant or about to become vacant, has without good cause refused or failed to apply for such situation, or refused to accept such situation when offered to him, or if it is proved by an officer of the Ministry of Labour that a claimant has, without good cause, refused or failed to carry out any written directions given to him by an officer of an Employment Exchange with a view to assisting him to find suitable employment (being directions which were reasonable having regard both to the circumstances of the payment and to the means of obtaining that employment usually adopted in the district in which the claimant resides) he shall be disqualified for receiving benefit for a period of six weeks, or for such shorter period and from such date as may be determined by the court of referees or the umpire, as the case may be.What is wrong with that Clause?
§ Mr. HOLFORD KNIGHT
If no notification is given to the man, and there is no direction from the officer, is there any obligation on the man to look for work?
§ Mr. KNIGHT
My hon. Friend is relying on those words, and the Committee desires an understanding. I am suggesting to the Committee, on this recital, that those words turn on a notification or direction; and, as I understand the words 245 proposed by the Minister, it is intended to enlarge those words to include the search of the man outside the notification or direction.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I am sorry, but I cannot agree with the hon. and learned Gentleman, because I do not follow him. If I were a Minister, I should say that he ought to have put a difficult legal question like that in written form, so that I could have an opportunity of considering it. I am not trying to make awkward difficulties; I just do not understand. Honestly, I do not know whether the hon. and learned Gentleman is trying to help me or trying to hinder me.
§ Mr. KNIGHT
This is a very serious matter, which the Committee wants to understand. The hon. Gentleman, to the advantage of the Committee, has read certain words. I ask him, on that recital, whether those words do not turn on a notification or direction. They contemplate no other circumstances. The Amendment of the Minister contemplates circumstances turning neither on a notification nor on a direction, but putting a duty on the man himself.
§ Mr. MAXTON
That is the accusation that is made by the Opposition against the Minister—the hon. and learned Gentleman's Minister—that he is trying to re-institute the "not genuinely seeking work" provision. The hon. and learned. Gentleman knows that, if I had had my way, he would have been a Law Officer, but, unfortunately, we are both bound by the position in which we sit in the House. If the hon. and learned Gentleman will leave his Minister to me for the moment, I will try to deal with him. I am not accusing him of that of which the hon. and learned Gentleman is accusing him. I am not accusing him of attempting to re-institute the "not genuinely seeking work" provision—
§ Mr. MAXTON
I am asking the Minister a simple question to guide me, and, incidentally, it might answer the difficulty that is in the mind of the hon. and learned Gentleman: What has happened at the Employment Exchanges between 1930 and the present day that leads him to believe that the existing 246 Clause is not meeting all the needs of the situation, that it is not safeguarding the interests of the Insurance Fund and safeguarding the interests of the insured person without imposing upon the insured person the hideous inquisition which, to every one of us who recollects it in the pre-1930 period, was a torture to the large mass of the unemployed people in this country, and an unfair way of protecting the fund as against the rights of the man?
If I might interrupt the hon. Member for a moment, I would suggest that he will find his answer in the majority and minority reports of the Royal Commission.
It is in paragraph 439, on page 235:Having regard to the combined effect of these measures"—that is to say, the general measures governing the payment of unemployment benefit—we do not consider that the condition 'genuinely seeking work' should be restored. But we recommend that the present disqualification should be replaced by the original condition 'unable to obtain suitable employment'.Does the hon. Member wish me to read the whole paragraph?
It goes on:Under the present rule, a situation must be notified to a claimant before the disqualification can operate, and the disqualification has no effect upon a claimant who, knowing that work could be obtained if he applied for it, omits to make any application. Under the original condition ('unable to obtain suitable employment'), the Umpire held that it was 'for an applicant to satisfy the court of referees or the Umpire that on any day on which he claims benefit he was unable to obtain suitable employment, and that, if it appears that he knew that there was a possibility of getting work and did not take reasonable steps to get it, he does not show that he was unable to get it.' … If that condition were restored, and if it were administered in the way in which it was administered when it formed a part of the Third Statutory Condition, the effect would be that a claimant would not lose his benefit unless the court were satisfied 247 that he knew that there was a possibility of getting work and he did not take reasonable steps to get it. It has been suggested that such a condition might be so construed as in effect to require a claimant to prove that he was genuinely seeking work. We do not think that such a construction would be right, and we are satisfied that no such construction was put upon the condition when it formed part of the Acts from 1920 to 1924, before the condition 'genuinely seeking work' was introduced into the insurance scheme. For these reasons we recommend that a claimant should be required to prove that he is 'unable to obtain suitable employment' and that the present disqualification under Section 4 (1) of the Act of 1930 should be repealed.I understand that the minority report accepted that recommendation of the majority report.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I am sorry to have put the hon. Lady to the trouble of reading all that. She did it, if I may say so, very distinctly and clearly, and I am sure that the whole Committee will thank her for it. It is a very clear statement of what the Commission thought, but it gives not one solitary reason. The Minister refers us to the evidence, which he knows, of course, we have not available at the moment, but which my hon. Friend the Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) and myself, and another former colleague of ours whom he used to know very well, went into in very great detail. We have refreshed our memories on it again and again, and we cannnot find any justification in any of the evidence given there for the reimposition of anything approximating to the old "not genuinely seeking work" provision. We particularly object to leaving the Clause that is going to deal with this matter in any condition of vague generality which leaves the man at the mercy of interpretation—either interpretation by a local official, by a chairman of a court of referees, or by the Umpire. We will not agree to any form of words which leaves the insured person at the mercy of a vague generality. We do not see any reason why the Clause of the Act of 1930 should not be maintained in the existing legislation, and I can assure the Minister that, from the point of view of his own personal com- 248 fort, he would do better to bear the ills he has than fly to others that he knows not of.
§ 6.12 p.m.
§ Mr. BATEY
The hon. and learned Member for South Nottingham (Mr. Knight) interrupted the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) when he was reading a Clause from the Act of 1930, and he thought it was reasonable on the part of the Minister to seek to amend that Clause. I want to ask the hon. and learned Gentleman to remember that he was responsible for that Clause in the Act of 1930. It was passed by the Government that he was supporting then, and, therefore, he was responsible for the words which the hon. Member for Bridgeton read.
§ Mr. KNIGHT
I would remind the hon. Member that that Clause, which was inserted by the late Labour Government, has now to be reviewed in the light of the evidence given before and the recommendations of the Royal Commission.
§ Mr. BATEY
The Clause is there, and it was passed by the Government which the hon. and learned Member was supporting. I rose because two Members from the North of England have entered into this Debate, the hon. Member for Sunderland (Sir L. Thompson) and the hon. Member for Wallsend (Miss Ward), and the impression that one would get from the speeches of those two northern Members is that they, representing the working class in the North of England, would make matters worse for those who are unemployed at the present time. They may claim that they represent the unemployed in the North of England at the present time, but I would like an opportunity of going to a meeting in either of their Divisions and arguing this question before the unemployed there. The hon. Member for Sunderland was bad, but the hon. Member for Wallsend is worse, because she seems to think that there are not sufficient safeguards at the present time, and that there ought to be far more penalties for those who are unemployed than exist at present. She is not satisfied with the Clause in the Act of 1930. She thinks that it does not meet the situation, that some of the unemployed escape through that Clause, and that it should be made more stringent. I think that any Member 249 coming from the North of England, representing an industrial Division, and believing that at the present time there are not sufficient safeguards in regard to the unemployed, is misrepresenting the unemployed in the North of England.
If I may interrupt the hon. Member, I think he is entirely misrepresenting my views. If I may say so, I am supporting the Minister in an alteration of the Clause which from my point of view, rightly or wrongly, I consider is going to make it better for the unemployed. The mere fact that I read a paragraph from the Royal Commission's Report in answer to a statement made by the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) does not in any way commit me to the findings of the Royal Commission's Report.
§ Sir L. THOMPSON
I must take serious objection to the statement that I am misrepresenting the unemployed in my constituency. It is agreed by hon. Members opposite that the Clause as it stands, putting the onus of proof on the unemployed, is not acceptable in any part of the Committee. I am supporting an Amendment which removes the onus of proof from the unemployed.
§ Mr. BATEY
I am not in the least surprised at the hon. Gentleman's attitude, because I believe that he is prepared to back the Government through thick and thin. It does not matter what they propose, I believe the hon. Member would support them. He says he does not believe that he is suggesting anything which will make it worse for the unemployed, but he is adding another penalty. He is making it possible for more of them to lose their benefit. If he does not want to injure the unemployed, why not stick to the present Clause? It is because he has the feeling that there should be another penalty put on them that he is supporting the Amendment. It is not sufficient for either him or the hon. Member for Wallsend to say, "We do not want the not genuinely-seeking-work Clause," when 250 they support an Amendment like this, which is far more dangerous. If we had the words "not genuinely seeking work," we could understand it, but the Minister is stealing a march upon the Committee with words of the most dangerous nature, that the claimant has neglected to avail himself of an opportunity of suitable employment. What will happen is this. In Wallsend, which I know well, if 50 men are wanted to start a colliery, the insurance officer can say to a miner, "Have you applied for work?" If he says "No," the officer will say, "You have neglected to avail yourself of an opportunity of suitable employment," and he can put the man out of his benefit. It is not fair for Members coming from industrial divisions and pretending they are representing the unemployed to support an Amendment like this.
§ 6.19 p.m.
§ Mr. SCRYMGEOUR-WEDDERBURN
Since the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) repeatedly asked what were the reasons for superseding the provisions of the 1930 Act, and since he took the trouble to read verbatim provisions laid down in that Act, I should like to read to him a paragraph in the Report which specifically refers to his quotation from the 1930 Act.Under both parts of this test the initial onus is placed on the Employment Exchange. Under (a) the exchange must notify the claimant of a suitable situation; under (b) it must give the claimant written directions with a view to assisting him to find suitable employment. We have dealt elsewhere with the functions of the exchanges under the Labour Exchanges Act, 1909, and have expressed concurrence with their established practice of sending to an employer only the applicants industrially best qualified for a vacancy notified by the employer. It follows that the value of provision (a) as a test of the bona fides of a claimant is closely circumscribed and that in the case of an unwilling worker the value of the test is negligible. With regard to (b) we found that the power to give written directions has in fact been used very sparingly and that any considerable use of the power—especially its use solely as a test of claimant's bona fides—is calculated adversely to affect the proper performance by the exchanges of their functions under the Labour Exchanges Act.The hon. Member may not agree with these reasons which have been given, but he cannot claim that no reasons have been given for superseding the provisions of the 1930 Act. 251For these reasons we find the present disqualification for benefit, as contained in Section 4 of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1930, to be largely non-effective in checking the claim of persons who do not desire to work or are not making reasonable efforts to obtain work, and we do not think the test in its present form could be made effective. While a test of willingness to work must give rise to difficulties of administration, we do not consider that such a test is impossible to administer.The hon. Member's life has been spent in close contact with the conditions with which we are dealing, and we listen with respect to anything that he may say, but do not let him say that no reasons at all have been put forward and accepted by the House and the Government for superseding the provisions of the 1930 Act. It seems to me that nearly all the speeches that have been made against the Amendment ought more properly to have been directed against the operation of the not-genuinely-seeking-work Clause and, since hon. Members opposite will not allow that the construction which will be placed on the Amendment is that which the Minister himself desires to be placed on it, it is perhaps not out of place to remind him that the not-genuinely-seeking-work Clause was imposed by the Labour party, who were evidently quite incapable of foreseeing the construction which would be placed on it. I am assuming that the Labour party did not mean it to be interpreted in the manner in which it was interpreted.
As for the words of the Clause as they stood before being amended, it seems to me that they did no more than put us back in the position in which we stood between 1920 and 1924, before the not-genuinely-seeking-work Clause was introduced, and during that period all those hardships which were envisaged by the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan), and which admittedly occur under the administration of the not-genuinely-seeking-work Clause, did not exist. Even if we had left the Clause as it was and no Amendment had been made at all, there would still have been no ground for objection which could properly be brought forward. Since this is a matter of enormous importance to the unemployed population, we recognise that any proposal to interfere in any way with the third statutory condition must give rise to the very greatest anxiety, and I am 252 sure that it is on account of that that the Minister has brought forward the Amendment. I believe that, if he had left the Clause as it stood, there would have been no ground for any serious apprehension. I think all sections of the Committee are agreed as to the intention. We all agree that, if a man is not making a reasonable effort to obtain work, he ought not to be qualified, and we equally agree that a man ought not be made to roam around the country looking for work at every factory, which he knows he cannot obtain, before he qualifies for benefit. Our only difficulty is to find a form of words which will give practical effect to intentions which are common to the great majority of the House. It is only because of apprehensions, which were not unnatural, and not because he really believed it to be in effect necessary, that the Minister introduced this Amendment, and I think the proposed words will give practical effect to the intentions of the Committee.
§ 6.27 p.m.
§ Mr. HOROBIN
I regret very much that the Minister was not able to accept the suggestion of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Gainsborough (Captain Crookshank) and, if this goes to a Division, I shall certainly vote against the Government. That has nothing to do with the merits of the Minister's proposal, which seems to me perfectly sound and desirable on its merits, but I ask him and the Committee to consider a point which has not, perhaps, been sufficiently emphasised, and which is very important in these days. We are dealing with the rights and, in a sense, with the property of a very large number of people. This statutory condition has to be satisfied by something like 750,000 people making new claims every month. Suppose this Committee was faced with a Labour Government and we were discussing under the Guillotine a Bill which was going to decide compensation in cases of property to the tune of 750,000 every month and there was any question that we were not going to have a sufficient opportunity for discussing it, we should say, rightly, that it was an abuse of the powers of the House.
What is the position? The present Act has been in force for several years in its present form and we know how it is being administered. A Royal Commission was set up and heard evidence 253 and sat for months considering its report. Its terms were incorporated in this Bill. The quotations which have been read from it are totally beside the point. They may be a very good reason for the Bill as we now have it, but they cannot conceivably be craved in aid for altering it at the last minute, because the Bill as we have it contains the provisions which the Royal Commission ask should be incorporated. We had the Royal Commission's Report and it was put into a Bill which was presented before the Recess. All of us who are interested in the subject have carefully considered the Bill for months. Now, with not even 24 hours' notice, we are presented with a vital change. The terms of that change are irrelevant. As far as I have been able to consider them, the terms now proposed to us are fair.
There I differ entirely from Members on those benches, but I submit to the Committee that is an irrelevant point. It is not fair when we are considering the property—for it is property—and the happiness of millions of people of this country, to the tune of 750,000 or more individual determinations every calendar month in the light of proposals which have been before the country for months. It is not right, when there is a perfectly easy way out of it, that we should be asked possibly to put it out of the power of this House to consider carefully what we are doing. It is upon those grounds, upon the wide grounds of the rights of the people of this country of which we are the guardians, that I submit that the Committee ought not at this moment to take a step which may put it out of our power to consider these matters more carefully than we can possibly do at the moment. If the matter goes to a Division, I for one shall go, in very strange company, into the Lobby against it.
§ 6.31 p.m.
§ Mr. BOOTHBY
I endorse every word which came from my hon. Friend. I frankly confess that I do not fully understand the implication of the Amendment which has been handed in by the Minister. I do not know how anybody in this Committee can fully understand its full implication. I do not accept the views of any of the hon. Members who have spoken, either on one side or the other. I do not think that we can be 254 expected fully to appreciate the possible effects of the Amendment in so short a time. I feel very strongly that in a matter which is admitted on all sides to be vital, the Government can treat the House and Committee in this very cavalier way. It is doubly important when hon. Members who support the Government with such a large majority are acting as trustees for a very important body of the nation at the present time in considering a most vital aspect of this Measure. I do not think that the Government have brought forward any sufficient or valid excuse for putting down the Amendment to-day and asking us to consider it this afternoon. There is no certainty that we shall be able to consider it on the Report stage, because it comes under the Guillotine Motion, and we do not know whether the Chair will accept this particular Section for discussion on that occasion. I, for my part, without committing myself in respect of the merits of this proposal, could not possibly support the Government in the Division Lobby upon an Amendment which we have seen for the first time this afternoon.
§ 6.33 p.m.
§ Captain HAROLD BALFOUR
I wish to support what my hon. Friend has said, and to make an appeal to the Minister and ask him to convey it to the Patronage Secretary. Personally, I agree with an hon. Member who spoke earlier in the Debate that it is better to have the Amendment than let the Bill go forward without the Minister being satisfied as to its contents. Having put down the Amendment, it is the Government who have taken the time in the Debate to-day, and quite rightly so. Further Debate is required on this particular point, which is one of great substance. It is now 25 minutes to seven o'clock, and at 7.30 the Guillotine will fall. No doubt this question will be debated probably up to that time, and we shall then have to pass the following Clause, which is a most important one, without any Debate whatever. I cannot feel that the Government foresaw the circumstances which have arisen to-night. I would ask the Patronage Secretary whether he cannot bring forward an Amendment to the Guillotine programme in order that this House may be held in respect by the electors whom we repre- 255 sent, and also that we may do justice to the trust which has been put in us by the millions whom we represent. It is really a state of affairs which I do not think the Government themselves like having thrust upon them, and that, I suggest, would be the easiest way out.
§ 6.35 p.m.
§ Mr. CHARLES WILLIAMS
I should not have risen except for what has been said by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for the Isle of Thanet (Captain Balfour). I have been here almost the whole of the afternoon and have heard a very large number of the speeches. I heard the brilliant speech of the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton), and admired the skill with which he delivered it. Nothing is more helpful than to read out large blocks of a report or anything else when you have not very much to say. I have had some experience of that myself. The Government have come down to-day and made a tremendouns concession in this Amendment which entitles them to some credit. If the hon. and gallant Member for Thanet had been here the whole of the time I think he would realise that the Government have done everything possible to meet the Committee in this respect. It would be wrong for any one who has been here for a large part of the time—and no one dislikes the Guillotine more than I do—not to realise that what has really happened is, that the time which should have been taken up on the other two Clauses has been used up by the concession of the Government. I should like the Government to remember, before they make a concession in the future, that very often, as in this particular case, brevity is not one of the things you get in the House of Commons after making a concession. Nothing is easier than to hang a case, as has occurred this afternoon, on the question of a concession. I hope that when
§ further time is asked for, the Government will take what has happened during the last three hours into very close consideration. The Government have tried to meet the difficulties, and I hope that they will not give way on this matter as they have been requested to do by one or two hon. Members in the last few minutes, for it will not be in the best interests of the House.
§ 6.38 p.m.
§ Mr. KENNETH LINDSAY
I rise only because of the remarks of the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams). I have sat here through the whole of the Debate, and the only reason I have got up at this point is to ask the Minister, if he is not able to accept the very reasonable suggestion of the hon. and gallant Member for Gainsborough (Captain Crookshank), if he can give us from his administrative experience any concrete particulars before we vote upon this matter? It is not a question which we can pass over lightly. We shall have to answer for it, and we shall have to go back to industrial constituencies and face this kind of point. It is not a minor point, but one upon which people will be turned down time after time, and I am not prepared to vote in favour of an Amendment of this kind, not that I accept the view of hon. Members opposite. It is far too serious. Some of us have given much time to the Bill, and would like to reconsider this Clause and ask for expert opinion, and perhaps go back to our constituencies, before voting upon a form of words which is still vague and open, at any rate, to two types of understanding, one on this side of the House and one on the other side. I therefore ask, whether there will be any opportunity for some further consideration?
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 281; Noes, 75.259
|Division No. 76.]||AYES.||[6.40 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Brass, Captain Sir William|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B.||Broadbent, Colonel John|
|Albery, Irving James||Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Brocklebank, C. E. R.|
|Alexander, Sir William||Blindell, James||Brown, Ernest (Leith)|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Bossom, A. C.||Browne, Captain A. C.|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfe||Boulton, W. W.||Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.|
|Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M.||Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Burghley, Lord|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton||Burnett, John George|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Burton, Colonel Henry Walter|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Boyce, H. Leslie||Butler, Richard Austen|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Cadogan, Hon. Edward|
|Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly)||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)||Ratcliffe, Arthur|
|Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Rawson, Sir Cooper|
|Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Hepworth, Joseph||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Carver, Major William H.||Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)||Reid, William Allan (Derby)|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Remer, John R.|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Hornby, Frank||Rickards, George William|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.)||Rosbotham, Sir Thomas|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Chamberlain,Rt.Hon.Sir J.A.(Birm., W)||Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.|
|Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Clarke, Frank||Jamleson, Douglas||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Clayton, Sir Christopher||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Rutherford, John (Edmonton)|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)|
|Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir Godfrey||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Salmon, Sir Isidore|
|Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Kerr, Hamilton W.||Salt, Edward W.|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Knox, Sir Alfred||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Cooke, Douglas||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.|
|Cooper, A. Dull||Law, Sir Alfred||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Copeland, Ida||Leckie, J. A.||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Leech, Dr. J. W.||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Crooke, J. Smedley||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Shute, Colonel J. J.|
|Crossley, A. C.||Liddall, Walter S.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest||Skelton, Archibald Noel|
|Culverwell, Cyril Tom||Llewellin, Major John J.||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Lockwood, Capt. J. H. (Shipley)||Smith, R. W. (Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Denville, Alfred||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.||Somervell, Sir Donald|
|Donner, P. W.||MacAndrew, Lt.-Col. C. G. (Partick)||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Doran, Edward||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Soper, Richard|
|Dower, Captain A. V. G.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Drewe, Cedric||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||McKie, John Hamilton||Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.|
|Duggan, Hubert John||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Spens, William Patrick|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington,N.)||Macquisten, Frederick Alexander||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)|
|Eady, George H.||Magnay, Thomas||Stanley Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)|
|Eden, Robert Anthony||Maitland, Adam||Stevenson, James|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Makins Brigadier-General Ernest||Stewart, J. H. (Fife, E.)|
|Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Storey, Samuel|
|Elliston, Captain George Sampson||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Stourton, Hon. John J.|
|Elmley, Viscount||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Meller, Sir Richard James||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-|
|Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir Murray F.|
|Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||Milne, Charles||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A.(P'dd'gt'n,S.)|
|Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Morgan, Robert H.||Thompson, Sir Luke|
|Fox, Sir Gifford||Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Fremantle, Sir Francis||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Morrison, William Shepherd||Todd, A. L. S (Kingswinford)|
|Gault, Lieut.-Col, A. Hamilton||Moss, Captain H. J.||Train, John|
|Gibson, Charles Granville||Munro, Patrick||Tree, Ronald|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Gledhill, Gilbert||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Gluckstein, Louis Haile||Normand, Rt. Hon. Wilfrid||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Goff, Sir Park||North, Edward T.||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)|
|Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)||Nunn, William||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Granville, Edgar||O'Connor, Terence James||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Graves, Marjorie||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G.A.||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Palmer, Francis Noel||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-|
|Greene, William P. C.||Patrick, Colin M.||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Peaks, Captain Osbert||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Grimston, R. V.||Pearson, William G.||Whyte, Jardine Bell|
|Gritten, W. G. Howard||Peat, Charles U.||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.||Perkins, Walter R. D.||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Guy, J. C. Morrison||Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Pike, Cecil F.||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)|
|Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Hanbury, Cecil||Pybus, Sir Percy John||Withers, Sir John James|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Radford, E. A.||Womersley, Walter James|
|Harbord, Arthur||Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)|
|Hartland, George A.||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)||Ramsbotham, Herwald||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Ramsden, Sir Eugene||Sir George Penny and Commander Southby|
|Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)||Rankin, Robert|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir Francis Dyke||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Macmillan, Maurice Harold|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Groves, Thomas E.||Mainwaring, William Henry|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Grundy, Thomas W.||Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot|
|Banfield, John William||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Mander, Geoffrey le M.|
|Batey, Joseph||Hamilton, Sir R. W. (Orkney & Zetl'nd)||Maxton, James|
|Bernays, Robert||Harris, Sir Percy||Milner, Major James|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Healy, Cahir||Owen, Major Goronwy|
|Boothby, Robert John Graham||Holdsworth, Herbert||Paling, Wilfred|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Horobin, Ian M.||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Buchanan, George||Janner, Barnett||Price, Gabriel|
|Cape, Thomas||Jenkins, Sir William||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)|
|Cove, William G.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness)|
|Curry, A. C.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Smith, Tom (Normanton)|
|Daggar, George||Kirkwood, David||Thorne, William James|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Lawson, John James||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Leonard, William||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Dobbie, William||Lindsay, Kenneth Martin (Kilm'rnock)||White, Henry Graham|
|Edwards, Charles||Logan, David Gilbert||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||Lunn, William||Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Mabane, William|
|Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||McEntee, Valentine L.||Mr. John and Mr. D. Graham.|
§ 6.49 p.m.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I beg to move, in page 6, after the words last inserted, to insert "definitely offered to him."
It is not my intention to detain the Committee, because we have spent a tremendous amount of time on this matter. The acceptance of our Amendment would result in the words reading:or if it is proved by an officer of the Ministry of Labour that the claimant has neglected to avail himself of an opportunity of suitable employment, definitely offered to him.We think that before a man undertakes the risk of losing his benefit he ought to have a definite offer of a job. That is a perfectly fair proposition to make. Any other proposition is unfair, and places the man in an impossible position.
§ 6.50 p.m.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of LABOUR (Mr. R. S. Hudson)
I am afraid that it is impossible for the Government to accept the Amendment. I am sure that the hon. Member who moved it must realise that this was likely to be the case.
§ Mr. HUDSON
The whole point of the difficulty that has arisen in administering this particular Section of the Act of 1930 has been that of making a man a definite offer of a job. The words that we are proposing to insert are put forward in order to close a gap. To add to those words the very words whose existence 260 causes difficulty would defeat the whole object of our Amendment. For these reasons, we cannot accept the hon. Member's Amendment.
§ 6.51 p.m.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
The case for my Amendment has not been answered We say that a job should be definitely offered. The Parliamentary Secretary has spoken of the difficulty that exists in administration. Will the Committee note how he is shifting his ground? First he says that he is proposing to alter the Act of 1930 because the Royal Commission recommended that course, and now he is saying, "I am not doing it because the Royal Commission recommended it, but because it has been found administratively impossible definitely to offer a man a job." The Ministry of Labour is a great agency. It has employment officers, apart from insurance officers, who go up and down the country trying to find jobs. The Employment Exchanges have what is known as a work-finding department, with expert officers deputed to find jobs for people. They act as canvassers, looking for work in the great industrial districts. These canvassers, with all their ability, cannot get the offer of a job for these men, and yet a man is to be disqualified because he cannot get what the paid officers of the Ministry of Labour cannot find for him.
The more one examines this matter, the more danger arises. The Minister has a staff of ability and character. In the City of Glasgow there are capable 261 men from the Department, hunting for jobs, first-class men, and they cannot find jobs to offer to men. Whenever they do find a job and it is offered to a man and he refuses it, he is disqualified. That is the law now and we do not object to it, but we do say that with all the powerful agencies of the Ministry, their contacts and their telephones, they cannot get jobs. I cannot understand why science and technique should be applied to ordinary life in order to ease life, and yet it is not brought in to ease the life of the unemployed. It means that we are still back at the old barbarous state. I attend frequently at the court of referees where the men are examined as to their search for work. At the present time we have the not-genuinely-seeking-work condition on the Statute Book. It is called, "not normally in insurable employment," but it is really the not-genuinely-seeking-work provision.
Men are asked if they have searched for work. There are telephones at the Employment Exchanges and there are telephones at the works. In my own division there are very few, if any, works; the works are miles away. Why should not the telephone at the Employment Exchange be used and inquiry be made at the works? Why should men have to spend hours in search of work when a mere telephone inquiry would suffice? The Minister may say, "Until there is compulsory notification we are unable to work your system," but I say that the failure of the Government to get compulsory notification ought not to be so used that the unemployed man has to bear the burden of it. No man ought to run the danger of being disqualified unless as a preliminary he has had a definite offer of a job. We are here dealing only with standard benefit. You are increasing the disqualification of the man. The Amendment which I have proposed is one which hon. Members carry out in their every-day lives. There is a prominent King's Counsel sitting on one of the benches opposite. I would ask him how in the Law Courts he could found a charge against a man because he has been unable to get a job? What would be the indictment? If the man has been offered a job and he has refused it, that is a definite offer and there is something to go on, but there is nothing to go on if no definite offer of a job can be made. I 262 trust that the Committee, without any feeling of party prejudice, will support our Amendment.
§ Mr. HUDSON
I think that the hon. Member is labouring under a misapprehension as to the effect and the object of this Amendment. There are a certain number of cases where it can be shown quite definitely that a man knew of the existence of a job and that the job was open to him, but that he did not go and take it up. The job offered was not necessarily at the time known to the Exchange. Under the existing law there is no possible means of dealing with that man. I do not say that there are a very large number of men concerned, but there are a number, and we cannot touch them as the law stands. The Amendment is designed to deal with those few, and no more. The hon. Member is quite incorrect in thinking that we have in mind a much larger field—
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
The hon. Member states this case: that a man may know of a job. The type of men we are discussing now are all people with insurance records; every one of them is a regular working man with full insurance qualifications. The presumption is, therefore, that these men are looking for work and have not been a long time unemployed. A man with a first-class insurance record who knows of a job but does not go for it is charged with the offence of not going for a job when he knows that one exists, but the indictment that the Parliamentary Secretary is framing is not that he refused to go for a job when he knew it existed, but that the exchange thought that he refused to go. There is no charge against him that Mr. Jones, carpenter, refused to go to Mr. Brown, an employer of carpenters, on a particular date when a job was offered him. If that were the charge the man could meet it; he could say, "I did not know there was a job at Mr. Brown's for a carpenter at that particular date." But the charge is that the man is not able to get a job at any particular time, without a specified time or place ever being named. There is no need for the answer to prove any particular offence or time or place. Assume that a firm has vacancies and a man does not go. The officer at the moment can say, "I have notified John Jones to go to Messrs. Brown, carpenters, 263 and he has not gone." That is punishable now under the 1930 Act. Messrs. Brown, carpenters, have a job vacant and notify John Jones that he can come and he does not; that is a disqualification under the present Section 4 (1):If on a claim for benefit it is proved by an officer of the Ministry of Labour that the claimant, after a situation in any employment which is suitable in his case has been notified to him by an Employment Exchange or other recognised agency, or by or on behalf of an employer"—In other words, if an officer now says to John Jones, "There was a job you could have gone to in Messrs. Brown's shipyard, and you have not gone," the man can now be disqualified. But the position to which the Minister takes us is that the exchange say, "We have heard"—just imagine that as evidence in a court of law!—"that men have been started by Messrs. Brown; we think that you should have been one of those men; why were you not one of the men who were started?" The man has no answer, because he does not know. How can a man prove that he went to a firm? John Brown employ 5,000 men; how does a foreman or any man know whether I go down there or not? There was a system, which the umpires did well to abolish, of the giving of cards to applicants for work; it was open to every possible abuse in the way of slinging the cards about, and was so grievously abused that every decent man at the exchange asked for its abolition. The result is that the man cannot prove that he went to the employer at all, but the exchange will say, "We know that there were certain men started and you were not one of them; why not?" and he must show why he was not.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
At the present time the man must be notified, but under the proposed alteration he need not be notified. I am the chairman of a highly-skilled union, and this kind of thing happens to us. A firm starts six pattern-makers and I have often said to a fellow, "Why are you not one of the six? I thought that you were a reasonable fellow to get in there; why are you not starting?" The man cannot give me an answer; he cannot prove anything; he 264 does not know. There might have been a private reason in the firm; the man might for some reason not have been suitable on the last occasion. The reason might be anything, but the man is not able to prove it.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
The officer has to prove that the man has neglected. How does the officer prove it? Let us take the case of eight pattern-makers for six jobs; two of them have not got started. The officer comes along and says, "Why are you two not started? Do you know locomotive work and live in the district?" They say "Yes," and the officer has proved his case, by saying that vacancies occurred at a certain place and it was reasonable to expect those two men to have started. The man has to disprove the presumption that he has now been started among the six, and it is an impossibility to disprove it. We say that this matter should be put back on its previous footing, with this alteration, that a definite offer of a job should be made.
§ 7.9 p.m.
§ Mr. HUDSON
Let me carry the point made by the hon. Member one step further and see what happens. I quite admit that when the eight pattern-makers apply for six jobs, two are bound not to get them. But let us assume, as happens occasionally, that the eight men on a Saturday night had all been together and knew perfectly well that a shop, which had been closed down for a fortnight, was going to start the following Monday. What happens? Instead of eight turning up, seven turn up and the eighth fellow does not take the trouble to leave his house and try to get the job. It is only in a case like that where the officer can prove that the man knew perfectly well on Saturday night that there was a chance of getting a job and that he might have been one of the six engaged, but that he never availed himself of the opportunity—it is only in that type of case that the conditions could possibly arise at all.
§ 7.10 p.m.
§ Mr. LOGAN
At a very early hour the Minister came in with a manuscript Amendment and destroyed one or two 265 Amendments which he had on the Paper. We are now asked to accept what is practically the manuscript Amendment which was moved by the Minister. We had an Amendment down before the manuscript Amendment to insert the words "definitely offered to him." I should imagine that the Minister or the Parliamentary Secretary would not for a moment answer that he was willing to accept an Amendment to a manuscript Amendment that was only handed in to-day, as he would have given no consideration whatever to the subject. When I consider what this means, it is rather ambiguous. Let us examine the penalty:if … it is proved by an officer of the Ministry of Labour that the claimant has neglected to avail himself of an opportunity of suitable employment.The officer will, in my opinion, be both judge and jury; he will decide and he will make definite what, apparently, is indefinite. I am at a loss to understand why the Under-Secretary is not able to accept the latter portion of the proposed Amendment to his Amendment—"definitely offered to him." This makes quite clear to the Minister, without any ambiguity, the spirit underlying this Amendment. The Amendment says that it must be definitely offered. There are a thousand and one reasons on which officers can form an opinion. An indictment can be framed against a man, and he has no protection whatever. I should have imagined that, so far as English fairplay is concerned, when you bring an indictment against a man and a penalty is to be attached, at least he ought to be able to put up a plea or a defence. What protection has he unless the officer is able to say that the work was definitely offered to him? You are offering him no employment; he has to go with a thousand and one men to the docks. The Canadian Pacific Railway Company, or one of the big firms in Liverpool turn down 400, 500 or 600 men for a job at which they require only a few. At 7 o'clock they go down to wait, and one of the officers in one of the clearing-houses may say "This man did not turn up for a job." I should have thought if the Minister were going to describe this as a simple Amendment, that he would have put simple language in its place. It is ambiguous, and my opinion is that he wishes it to be ambiguous. He does not want a clear definition. The Amendment is as plain as a 266 pike-staff. I ask the Parliamentary Secretary if he has any time to listen to the discussion—I hope that I am not interrupting him—to realise that I am in earnest about this matter. [Interruption.] I am wondering whether the National party really want this matter to be made definite or not. In the Amendment of the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) you have a definition, but the Minister of Labour, like all the rest of the Ministers, is not prepared to accept anything reasonable from the Opposition except under pressure from Members of his own party. [Interruption.] Perhaps the hon. Member behind me will just keep quiet.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Captain Bourne)
The hon. Member for the Scotland Division (Mr. Logan) is supposed to be addressing me, and if he will do so he will not be interrupted.
§ Mr. LOGAN
Interruptions should also be addressed to the Chair and not to the hon. Member who is speaking. I am not here to teach manners to those who ought to know better. I suggest that the Amendment of the hon. Member for Gorbals is one which the Minister might accept. What mandate has the Parliamentary Secretary for declaring that the Government are not willing to accept it? What authority has he for saying so? It is King's English, it is perfect, and it gives terminology to something which at the present moment is rather ambiguous. I suggest that the Government should accept it.
§ 7.18 p.m.
§ Mr. JANNER
I am sorry to intervene again, but it is necessary for us to understand what the position is going to be. The Parliamentary Secretary let the "cat out of the bag" when he said that it was intended to pin down any man of whom it could be said that he ought to have known—this is what his speech meant—that there was a job available, although the job had been filled.
§ Mr. JANNER
The hon. Member referred to seven or eight people going after six jobs. Suppose you had a case where eight or nine people knew of six jobs that were available and that they agreed between themselves that the first 267 six should apply—these six may have been out of employment longest—and that if the positions were not obtained by the first six, then the others should apply for them. That is one side of the picture, but there is another side. Suppose there were 400 or 500 people unemployed in a particular district and there was some work suitable for all of those 400 or 500. Is it not logical to say that it would be the duty of the officer to make every single one of those 400 or 500 for whom a job was suitable give a reason why he had not applied for the job which was available? The proposal of the Government places the onus upon the whole of these men. It not only makes the officer himself demand from all of these men an explanation, but pushes the onus of proof from the officer on to the men themselves.
§ Mr. CAPORN
Does the hon. Member seriously suggest that any tribunal under such conditions would say that the whole of the 500 men had been guilty of negligence? He knows the definition of negligence; doing something which a reasonable man would not do, or abstaining from doing something which a reasonable man would do.
§ Mr. JANNER
I am surprised that the hon. Member as a lawyer should ask such a question without knowing that the answer is that the onus would be placed on each man to prove that he had made an application for the position, whether he got it or not. If it does not mean that I should like to know what it does mean. It means clearly that a man who knows of a job, or who is in a position to have known of a job, and does not apply, must answer to the officer as to why he did not apply. Consequently, he is thrown under the same conditions as he would have been if the whole of the original Clause had been left in the Bill.
I take an entirely different view from that put forward by the Government. We are dealing with two sets of men, the exchange officer and the person who applies for relief. They are both human beings. In the Employment Exchange in my own division, Stepney, there have been no complaints of misunderstanding to my knowledge between the people on different sides of the counter, and in my view it is not fair to the man who is on the one side or on the other of the 268 counter to introduce something which makes a difference between them, or which creates a difficulty between them which is almost insurmountable. That is what would be done by the Bill unless you add the words suggested by the hon. Member for Gorbals. And why not? Employment Exchanges are there for the purpose of finding work, and each year employers are coming more and more to the exchanges to get their demands met. Why should we not encourage this rather than create fresh difficulties? If the proposed words are accepted they will merely mean that before you can accuse a person of having committed an offence you have to show that there was an opportunity for him to go to a job and that he had not been sent on a futile errand to a job that had been filled. I repeat that under the Bill every man out of the 600 who did not apply for the job would be answerable for not having applied although there was only one to be filled.
§ 7.24 p.m.
§ Mr. MARTIN
In my view the words proposed by the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) go further than the arguments he put forward. What I think he means is that there should be proper notification. Earlier in the Debate I suggested such notification. To say that the Employment Exchange should definitely offer a job to a man is unreasonable, but if the Amendment suggested notification in writing or verbally, I think it would be on a more reasonable basis. I would, therefore, suggest that the words "definitely offered" should be deleted and that the words "duly notified by the authority" should be substituted.
§ 7.25 p.m.
I support the Amendment of the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) to the proposed Amendment. It is about time that the Employment Exchanges carried out the duties for which they were formed; and the Amendment would at least allow them to do the work for which they were established. I should like to know also how this legislation will apply to miners if the proposed Amendment is refused. The Parliamentary Secretary says that if there are six jobs offered for carpenters and only six out of eight unemployed carpenters apply, that the two who do not apply may have their money stopped. Suppose there is an advertisement in the Press that 20 269 miners are wanted in the County of Derbyshire. There may be 3,000 miners in Yorkshire signing on at the Employment Exchange. Does the Parliamentary Secretary contend that the 3,000 miners in Yorkshire are to go to Derbyshire to seek for jobs when only 20 men are needed? It makes the thing absolutely ridiculous. If Employment Exchanges carry out their duties the men who are needed can be sent to the jobs, and it is time to stop a man's pay when he has refused a job that has been offered him. These proposals will put men in a far worse position than they were before and I appeal to the Government to accept the Amendment, and put the obligation on the Minister of Labour. We do not want men trailing all over the country without
§ the slightest chance of getting employment.
§ 7.29 p.m.
§ Mr. LAWSON
I want to draw the attention of the Committee to the fact that we are supposed to be discussing the Amendments on the Order Paper and that we have been talking now for nearly four hours and have not touched one single Amendment. I ask the Government whether they really mean to persist in a guillotine which is capable of doing business in that way?
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 70; Noes, 307.271
|Division No. 77.]||AYES.||[7.30 p.m.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir Francis Dyke||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)||Mainwaring, William Henry|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Groves, Thomas E.||Mander, Geoffrey le M.|
|Banfield, John William||Grundy, Thomas W.||Maxton, James|
|Batey, Joseph||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Milner, Major James|
|Bernays, Robert||Hamilton, Sir R. W. (Orkney & Zetl'nd)||Owen, Major Goronwy|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Harris, Sir Percy||Paling, Wilfred|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Healy, Cahir||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Cape, Thomas||Holdsworth, Herbert||Price, Gabriel|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Janner, Barnett||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Cove, William G.||Jenkins, Sir William||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||John, William||Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)|
|Curry, A. C.||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Daggar, George||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness)|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Smith, Tom (Normanton)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Thorns, William James|
|Dobbie, William||Kirkwood, David||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Edwards, Charles||Lawson, John James||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||Leonard, William||White, Henry Graham|
|Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Logan, David Gilbert||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Wood, Sir Murdoch Mckenzie (Banff)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Lunn, William||Young, Ernest J. (Middiesbrough, E.)|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||McEntee, Valentine L.|
|Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Mr. Buchanan and Mr. G. Macdonald|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E.R.)||Cobb, Sir Cyril|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Colfox, Major William Phllip|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Brass, Captain Sir William||Conant, R. J. E.|
|Albery, Irving James||Broadbent, Colonel John||Cook, Thomas A.|
|Alexander, Sir William||Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Cooke, Douglas|
|Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Cooper, A. Duff|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Browne, Captain A. C.||Copeland, Ida|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Crooke, J. Smedley|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfe||Burghley, Lord||Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Burnett, John George||Croom-Johnson, R. P.|
|Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M.||Burton, Colonel Henry Walter||Crossley, A. C.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Cadogan, Hon. Edward||Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly)||Culverwell, Cyril Tom|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)||Dalkeith, Earl of|
|Balniel, Lord||Camphell-Johnston, Malcolm||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)|
|Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar||Cassels, James Dale||Denville, Alfred|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Castlereagh, Viscount||Donner, P. W.|
|Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B.||Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Doran, Edward|
|Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Dower, Captain A. V. G.|
|Blindell, James||Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Drews, Cedric|
|Borodale, Viscount||Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel|
|Boulton, W. W.||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Duggan, Hubert John|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)|
|Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton||Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Eady, George H.|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Clarke, Frank||Eden, Robert Anthony|
|Bracken, Brendan||Clarry, Reginald George||Edge, Sir William|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Lockwood, Capt. J. H. (Shipley)||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Elliston, Captain George Sampson||Mabane, William||Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)|
|Elmley, Viscount||MacAndrew, Lt.-Col. C. G. (Partick)||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)|
|Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Salmon, Sir Isidore|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||McCorquodale, M. S.||Salt, Edward W.|
|Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)|
|Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.|
|Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||McKie, John Hamilton||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Selley, Harry R.|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Macquisten, Frederick Alexander||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Fox, Sir Gifford||Magnay, Thomas||Shaw, Helen S. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Fremantle, Sir Francis||Maitland, Adam||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest||Shute, Colonel J. J.|
|Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Gibson, Charles Granville||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Smith, Sir J. Walker- (Barrow-in-F.)|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Gledhill, Gilbert||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Meller, Sir Richard James||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Glyn, Major Sir Ralph G. C.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Goff, Sir Park||Milne, Charles||Soper, Richard|
|Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)||Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Granville, Edgar||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale||Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.|
|Graves, Marjorie||Moreing, Adrian C.||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Morgan, Robert H.||Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.|
|Greene, William P. C.||Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)||Spens, William Patrick|
|Grimston, R. V.||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)|
|Gritten, W. G. Howard||Morrison, William Shepherd||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)|
|Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.||Moss, Captain H. J.||Stevenson, James|
|Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Munro, Patrick||Stewart, J. H. (Fife, E.)|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Storey, Samuel|
|Guy, J. C. Morrison||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Stourton, Hon. John J.|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Normand, Rt. Hon. Wilfrid||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||North, Edward T.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Harbord, Arthur||Nunn, William||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)||O'Connor, Terence James||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir Murray F.|
|Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)||Palmer, Francis Noel||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Patrick, Colin M.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Peake, Captain Osbert||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Hepworth, Joseph||Pearson, William G.||Thompson, Sir Luke|
|Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Peat, Charles U.||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)||Perkins, Walter R. D.||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Peters, Dr. Sidney John||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Hornby, Frank||Petherick, M.||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Horsbrugh, Florence||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Todd. A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bliston)||Train, John|
|Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada||Tree, Ronald|
|Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Pike, Cecil F.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Pownall, Sir Assheton||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.||Pybus, Sir Percy John||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)|
|Jamieson, Douglas||Radford, E. A.||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan)||Ramsbotham, Herwald||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.|
|Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Ramsden, Sir Eugene||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Rankin, Robert||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour.|
|Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Ratcliffe, Arthur||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Kerr, Hamilton W.||Rawson, Sir Cooper||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Knight, Holford||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Whyte, Jardine Bell|
|Knox, Sir Alfred||Reid, David D. (County Down)||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Reid, William Allan (Derby)||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Remer, John R.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Latham, Sir Herbert Paul||Renwick, Major Gustav A.||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Law, Sir Alfred||Rickards, George William||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|Leckie, J. A.||Ropner, Colonel L.||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)|
|Leech, Dr. J. W.||Rosbotham, Sir Thomas||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Ross, Ronald D.||Withers, Sir John James|
|Liddall, Walter S.||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)|
|Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.|
|Llewellin, Major John J.||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.|
|Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hn. G. (Wd, Gr'n)||Runge, Norah Cecil||Sir George Penny and Mr. Womersley.|
§ It being after Half-past Seven of the Clock, the CHAIRMAN proceeded, pursuant to the Order of the House of 19th December, successively to put forthwith the Questions necessary to dispose of the 272 business to be concluded at Half-past Seven of the Clock at this day's sitting.
§ Question put, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 312; Noes, 72.275
|Division No. 78.]||AYES.||[7.43 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||McKie, John Hamilton|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)|
|Albery, Irving James||Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||Macquisten, Frederick Alexander|
|Alexander, Sir William||Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Magnay, Thomas|
|Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Everard, W. Lindsay||Maitland, Adam|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Fleming, Edward Lascelies||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfe||Fox, Sir Gifford||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Fremantle, Sir Francis||Marsden, Commander Arthur|
|Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M.||Ganzoni, Sir John||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton||Meller, Sir Richard James|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Gibson, Charles Granville||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Milne, Charles|
|Balniel, Lord||Gledhill, Gilbert||Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar||Glyn, Major Sir Ralph G. C.||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th,C.)||Goff, Sir Park||Moreing, Adrian C.|
|Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B.||Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rf'd, N.)||Morgan, Robert H.|
|Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Granville, Edgar||Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)|
|Blindell, James||Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||Morrison, William Shephard|
|Borodale, Viscount||Graves, Marjorie||Moss, Captain H. J.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Munro, Patrick|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Greene, William P. C.||Nall, Sir Joseph|
|Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton||Grimston, R. V.||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)|
|Bracken, Brendan||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.||Normand, Rt. Hon. Wilfrid|
|Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E. R.)||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||North, Edward T.|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Nunn, William|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Guy, J. C. Morrison||O'Connor, Terence James|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon)||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Palmer, Francis Noel|
|Browne, Captain A. C.||Harbord, Arthur||Patrick, Colin M.|
|Buchan-Hepburn. P. G. T.||Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)||Peake, Captain Osbert|
|Burghley, Lord||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Pearson, William G.|
|Burnett, John George||Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)||Peat, Charles U.|
|Burton, Colonel Henry Walter||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)||Penny, Sir George|
|Cadogan, Hon. Edward||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Perkins, Walter R. D.|
|Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly)||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P||Peters, Dr. Sidney John|
|Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)||Hepworth, Joseph||Petherick, M.|
|Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, B'nstaple)|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)||Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bliston)|
|Cassels, James Dale||Hornby, Frank||Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Horobin, Ian M.||Pike, Cecil F.|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Horsbrugh, Florence||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Pybus, Sir Percy John|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Radford, E. A.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)|
|Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.||Ramsbotham, Herwald|
|Clarke, Frank||Jamleson, Douglas||Ramsden, Sir Eugene|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Rankin, Robert|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Ratcliffe, Arthur|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan)||Rawson, Sir Cooper|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham-|
|Cooke, Douglas||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Kerr, Hamilton W.||Reid, William Allan (Derby)|
|Copeland, Ida||Knight, Holford||Remer, John R.|
|Crooke, J. Smedley||Knox, Sir Alfred||Renwick, Major Gustav A.|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Rickards, George William|
|Crossley, A. C.||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Latham, Sir Herbert Paul||Rosbotham, Sir Thomas|
|Culverwell, Cyril Tom||Law, Sir Alfred||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Leckie, J. A.||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Leech, Dr. J. W.||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Lees-Jones, John||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Denville, Alfred||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Donner, P. W.||Liddall, Walter S.||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Doran, Edward||Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Dower, Captain A. V. G.||Llewellin, Major John J.||Russell, Hamer Field (Shef'ld, B'tside)|
|Drewe, Cedric||Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hn. G. (Wd, Gr'n)||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)|
|Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Lockwood, Capt. J. H. (Shipley)||Salmon, Sir Isidore|
|Duggan, Hubert John||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Salt, Edward W.|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)|
|Eady, George H.||Mabane, William||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Eden, Robert Anthony||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G. (Partick)||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.|
|Edge, Sir William||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||McCorquodale, M. S.||Selley, Harry R.|
|Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Elliston, Captain George Sampson||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Elmley, Viscount||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)|
|Shute, Colonel J. J.||Strauss, Edward A.||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Strickland, Captain W. F.||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.|
|Smith, Sir J. Walker- (Barrow-in-F.)||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour|
|Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir Murray F.||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Smith, R. W. (Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)||Sutcliffe, Harold||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)||Tate, Mavis Constance||Whyte, Jardine Bell|
|Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Soper, Richard||Thompson, Sir Luke||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.||Thorp, Linton Theodore||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|Spencer, Captain Richard A.||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)|
|Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Spens, William Patrick||Train, John||Withers, Sir John James|
|Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)||Tree, Ronald||Womersley, Walter James|
|Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'oaks)|
|Stevenson, James||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Stewart, J. H. (Fife, E.)||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Storey, Samuel||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)||Sir Victor Warrender and Lord Erskine.|
|Stourton, Hon. John J.||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)||Mainwaring, William Henry|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Grundy, Thomas W.||Mander, Geoffrey le M.|
|Banfield, John William||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Maxton, James|
|Batey, Joseph||Hamilton, Sir R. W. (Orkney & Ztl'nd)||Milner, Major James|
|Bernays, Robert||Harris, Sir Percy||Nathan, Major H. L.|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Healy, Cahir||Paling, Wilfred|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Holdsworth, Herbert||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Buchanan, George||Janner, Barnett||Price, Gabriel|
|Cape, Thomas||Jenkins, Sir William||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||John, William||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Cove, William G.||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Curry, A. C.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness)|
|Daggar, George||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Smith, Tom (Normanton)|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Kirkwood, David||Thorne, William James|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lawson, John James||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Dobbie, William||Leonard, William||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Edwards, Charles||Lindsay, Kenneth Martin (Kilm'rnock)||White, Henry Graham|
|Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||Logan, David Gilbert||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Lunn, William||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||McEntee, Valentine L.||Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Macmillan, Maurice Harold||Mr. G. Macdonald and Mr. Groves.|