HC Deb 29 June 1934 vol 291 cc1449-52

(by Private Notice) asked the Prime Minister whether he can now announce the names of the Unemployment Assistance Board to be set up under Part II of the Unemployment Act.

The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Ramsay MacDonald)

In view of the immense importance of the work of the Board, affecting as it will the welfare of many millions of people, the Government have been most anxious that it should be composed of persons eminently fitted both by character and experience to fulfil the responsibilities which will rest upon it. Above all, they have felt the necessity of finding a Chairman whose personal qualities were well known to the public and would be likely to command general confidence.

After an exhaustive examination of the whole field of selection open to them, the Government came to the conclusion that, if he could be persuaded to accept the post, by far the most suitable Chairman would be my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour. My right hon. Friend's intimate knowledge of the Unemployment Act, his familiarity with the work of the Ministry where he has presided during the last two-and-a-half years and served for a still longer period with so much success, and his well-known qualities of sympathy and impartiality, would, in the view of the Government, be invaluable, especially in the early years of the Board. The Government recognised that, in asking my right hon. Friend to give up his seat in Parliament and to break off his political career in order to devote himself to this special service, they were asking him to make a very great sacrifice. But I am glad to say that my right hon. Friend has agreed, at the unanimous request of his colleagues to allow me to submit his name to His Majesty for this post.

Accordingly, His Majesty has approved of the following appointments:

The right hon. Member for Rushcliffe (Chairman).

Sir Ernest Strohmenger, lately of the Ministry of Health; now of the Treasury (Deputy Chairman).

Professor H. M. Halls worth, C.B.E., M.A., M.Com., B.Sc.

Dr. Thomas Jones, C.H., LL.D.

Miss Violet R. Markham, CH., J.P.

Mr. Matthew Reynard, J.P.


Can the Prime Minister say when this Part of the Act wilt begin to operate?


No; I am not in a position to say yet. If my hon. Friend will be good enough to put any consequential supplementary questions to-my right hon. Friend who will be in my place next week, he will get the answers as far as it is possible to give them. The matter is still being worked out.


May I say how much I, and, I am sure, my colleagues, approve of the appointment of the Chairman, whom I consider to be an ideal man for the position? Would the Prime Minister, not so much for the benefit of the House, but for the benefit of the public outside, state the qualifications of all the other members of the Board?


I was hoping that I might have that opportunity.

Professor Hallsworth is the David Dale Professor of Economics at Armstrong College, Newcastle-on-Tyne. He is Chairman of the Newcastle Local Employment Committee and Chairman of the Keg and Drum, Paper Box and Paper Bag Trade Boards. He was director of the Industrial Survey of the North East Coast area made for the Board of Trade in 1931, and he is the author, jointly with Professor S. J. Chapman, of one of the most authoritative books on unemployment, confining his studies to the area of Lancashire.

Dr. Thomas Jones has been Secretary of the Pilgrim Trust since 1930. He was formerly Deputy Secretary of the Cabinet Office, and Secretary of the Economic Advisory Council. He was Special Investigator of the Royal Commission on the Poor Laws, 1906–1909; Professor of Economics in Queen's University, Belfast, 1909–10; Secretary of the Welsh National Campaign against Tuberculosis, 1910–11; and Secretary of the National Health Insurance Commissioners for Wales, 1912–19.

Miss Violet Markham (Mrs. Carruthers) is Chairman of the Central Committee on Women's Training and Employment; Deputy-Chairman of the Sugar Confectionery Trade Board and appointed member of the Cutlery Trade Board; and has been a member of the Industrial Court since 1920.

Mr. M. A. Reynard is Director of Public Assistance in the City of Glasgow. He was a member of the Consultative Council on Local Health Administration and General Health Questions from 1926 to 1929.


Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us whether all these are full-time posts, and what the salaries will be?


They are not all full-time posts; but perhaps my hon. Friend would be good enough to put that question to the Lord President of the Council next week, when a complete answer, so far as is possible, will be given.