§ Mr. MOLSON
I beg to move, in page 3, line 39, to leave out "aforesaid," and insert, "for which the fund may be applied."
This is a drafting Amendment, in order to make clearer the purpose of the Clause.
§ Mr. E. BROWN
The Amendment is intended to make more precise the definition of the purposes for which the fund may be applied. Therefore, I accept the Amendment.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ 7.40 p.m.
§ Mr. MOLSON
I beg to move, in page 3, line 42, at the end, to insert:but shall not include the payment to any persons of pensions or other similar payments, not being payments by way of temporary assistance.It will be within the recollection of the House that on the Second Reading of the Bill it was explained that up to the present it has not been permissible for any money paid out of the Welfare Fund to be devoted to pensions. That was not because of any expressed prohibition in the Act of 1920 but on account of the definition of persons to whom payments might be made under Section 1 of that Act. The first part of that Section provided 272 that payments might only be made to workers in and about coal mines, and it appeared possible that upon a strict legal interpretation it would not have been permissible for the wives or dependents of miners to make use of miners' welfare halls. Therefore, advantage has been taken of this amending Bill to make it quite certain that purposes of that kind are included within the purposes of the fund. On the Second Reading, when certain questions were put to the Secretary for Mines it became apparent that the Bill as drafted had so widened the scope of the fund that it was possible that pensions might be included. Therefore, the purpose of our Amendment is to make it quite clear that the Welfare Fund is not to be used for the payment of pensions.
I should like to make it plain that I am not necessarily opposed to the payment of pensions to miners. I am fully aware that at the present time a new problem is arising as the result of the mechanisation of pits and the tendency to concentrate production upon the newer units. A new problem, different not only in degree but in kind, from which we have been suffering ever since the War, is gradually emerging. We are finding now that many of the younger men in the coalmining industry are able to get back into work or to be absorbed into other industries as, to a certain extent, industry revives, but in the case of a man of the age of 45 or more there is very little prospect that he will ever again be employed. Speaking for myself, it is my conviction that before the end of this Parliament it will be necessary for the National Government to make up 273 their minds what they are going to do about this new problem of permanent, chronic unemployment among the older men.
Whether that be the case or not, it is desirable that such a situation should be dealt with by Parliament as a great problem which it will have to consider. There can be no justification whatsoever for a scheme which would make it possible for the committees of the Welfare Fund to deal with this matter in piecemeal fashion. It was pointed out in the report of the Departmental Committee that the payment of pensions for miners between the ages of 60 and 65 would cost £1,380,000 a year, a sum far in excess of the whole of the Welfare Fund. If an attempt was made to pay pensions out of the Welfare Fund there would be a number of schemes which would apply only to miners, which would apply only to some miners, and only to miners in some districts. It would be at the discretion of the committees and would be a burden upon a single industry. Apart from that fact, we should not then be dealing with the problem in a comprehensive way. It is surely obvious that Parliament is providing a certain sum of money to be applied to certain specified objects, and it would be most unfortunate if some of that money were poured into the almost bottomless pool of pensions.
We have had a Debate this afternoon as to whether it is possible to justify the reduction of the levy from one penny to one halfpenny. Obviously, if at the same time that we are reducing the levy we very largely increase the possible purposes on which that money may be spent, the result will be that other important welfare work will be held up. Upon this point I should like to say to the Minister that if he is prepared to accept our Amendment it will bring the Bill within the scope of the recommendations of Mr. Alfred Smith, the representative of the Miners' Associations on the Committee. He says:In the event of pension schemes not being allowed, I recommend that the output levy should be reduced from 1st January, 1933, by one halfpenny per ton for the same period as is recommended by the main report.It is no illusory danger that some of the Welfare Fund may be used for the purposes 274 of pensions. At the present time welfare work has been held up to a very great extent, in Lancashire, where they have accumulated about £180,000 with a view to the payment of pensions. The hon. Member for Ince (Mr. G. Macdonald), when he was opposing an Amendment of this kind, which I moved upstairs, argued that there was no need for it on three grounds: (1) because the money would not be available; (2) because the coalowners were no longer willing to approve of the money being devoted to pensions, and (3) because the central committee would disallow any such scheme. It seems to me that those arguments are a complete and absolute justification of the Amendment that I am now moving. If there is no possibility of pensions being set up then no harm will be done, but when the House of Commons is legislating with regard to a levy on a particular industry it is only right that it should decide exactly for what purposes the money is to be spent. To leave it to the discretion of the local committees would, I think, be unwise. Nor do I think that this House would be right in relying, as does the hon. Member for Ince, on the unfailing wisdom of the coal-owners in vetoing any scheme of which we do not approve.
The final argument that I would put forward is that in the Departmental Committee's report it is pointed out that pensions are an entirely different matter from the welfare schemes and that it would be most unwise to confuse these two entirely different things. They say that if there had been a unanimous recommendation on the part of those who appeared before them for some of the funds to be devoted to pensions they would have regarded that as evidence that the purposes for which the fund was set up had been achieved. Most of the coalowners who appeared before the Committee were opposed to pension schemes, and there was no unanimity on the part of the miners themselves. I hope the Government will see their way to accept the Amendment. The Minister upstairs undertook to give it careful and favourable consideration between then and the Report stage, and I hope he will be prepared to accept it.
Lord DUN GLASS
I beg to second the Amendment. The hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Molson) has developed the 275 argument in respect of the Amendment, and I do not think there is any need for me to go further.
§ 7.49 p.m.
§ Mr. G. MACDONALD
I sometimes wonder whether it is wise to put one's arguments in a reasonable way. Hon. Members are so ready deliberately to misconstrue what one says to suit their own purpose, or to use it in what I consider an improper way. It is true that in Committee I opposed this Amendment. I showed that those who proposed it need have no fears. The reduction in the levy makes it almost impossible to carry through a pension scheme, but we are not arguing that the fund itself shall make sole provision for pensions. No such fund could do so. All that it can be expected to do is to make some contribution towards a pension scheme, or a superannuation scheme which might be in existence. We prefer the Bill as it is, without the Amendment. In Committee the Minister stood solidly for the Bill against all attempts to change it, and I hope that he will stand solidly against this Amendment, and will not be influenced because it has been moved by one of his own supporters. The Bill as it stands says that where owners and men in a district agree to make application to the Central Welfare Committee for some allocation to be made to a pension scheme they can do so. That is a very modest proposal. In the first place, the owners have to agree with the workmen, and I think the owners are a body of men who would first of all have regard as to whether the fund could be spent in any-better way than in pensions before they would agree to such an allocation. I do not think that the coalowners with all their faults, they are almost innumerable, would support an application for an allocation to be made for pension purposes without being satisfied that it was the best form of welfare work.
I can understand the argument that it is not welfare work. We think it is. There was no division in the Miners' Federation on this point. We in Lancashire pressed it with perhaps greater vigour than any district in the Federation, but every district is opposed to the Amendment, including the hon. Member's own district of Yorkshire. We have tried to get the Minister to accept some Amendments suggested by the Miners' 276 Federation. He has refused every one. I ask him to refuse this Amendment, and for once to accept the point of view put forward by the Miners' Federation. We claim that this is welfare work. The introduction of machinery in the mines is displacing the older miners. The manipulation of machinery needs young men of vigour, not old men, and from the age of 50 upwards they are being discharged to a greater degree than ever before, because there is now no work for them. We say that if in a district where coal-owners and miners set up a superannuation scheme some years ago and now find that owing to long periods of unemployment it is difficult to keep the fund solvent, they should be able to apply for an allocation from the Welfare Fund. The Central Committee, sitting in London, will decide whether the district shall use this amount for that purpose, or whether there is some other welfare work which is preferable to pensions.
The amount of money at the disposal of the districts makes pensions almost impossible. The owners will, in all probability, oppose such an application, but even if they agree I think that the central committee will certainly turn it down. I want the Minister to admit as a principle that the assistance of pensions schemes is welfare work, and if at some future date it may be necessary to use money for this purpose that the districts will not be prevented from doing so by this Bill. I do not want any legal difficulties put in the way of men and owners in a district, if they are agreed, making an application for such an allocation. If the Minister will leave the matter open, I am sure that he will never regret refusing the Amendment.
§ 7.52 p.m.
§ Mr. E. BROWN
No subject has given me more thought and care than this particular issue. Hon. Members will understand that from the inception of the Miners' Welfare Fund the point put forward by the hon. Member for Ince (Mr. G. Macdonald) has not been the view of the authorities. He and the Miners' Federation think that pensions are welfare work. In 1920 it was ruled legally that they were not, and through all the Acts of Parliament pensions have been regarded as not being welfare work. That was the position up to the introduction of this Bill. It was not illegal on account of any express prohibition in any of the 277 previous Acts of Parliament, but only because of the definition of the person who should be the recipient of the results of welfare work. In accepting one of the recommendations of the Committee, there were certain things about which there was a doubt—I put it no higher than that—like aged miners' homes and other things, to which no one objected, but which have always been in doubt as to whether they were legal or not, this Bill brings them in and makes sure that they are legal, but in doing so we have reversed the process of recent years and have made pensions technically legal.
I promised that I would give everything said in Committee most careful consideration. I have done so, and I am bound to say that I regret that I cannot do what the hon. Member for Ince desires. May I tell him that if anything tipped the balance it was his own speech and his own interjection. He put the case for the Amendment. He pointed out that the money was not there; and, secondly, that agreement could not be arrived at even in Lancashire, where they hold this view so strongly that they have held up other welfare work which should have been done, and have accumulated a fund of £162,000. The hon. Member went further and by an interjection raised the whole question of the scope of the Welfare Fund. He had said that it was a small matter. I said:It is a big matter of principle. We are being asked to decide whether or not the old age pension is sufficient for certain kinds of aged people.Mr. G. MACDONALD: It is not entirely that. Many of our older men are stopped between 60 and 65, before they get to the pension age. That is the type of case we have in mind much more than the man of 65."—[OFFICIAL REPORT (Standing Committee C), 8th March, 1934; col. 149.]What is the position if I refuse to accept the Amendment? Two things are done. In the first place, you raise hopes in the minds of many miners, especially those in that difficult position described by the hon. Member for Ince and the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Molson), who have stopped work and have not reached the pension age, that this Bill would give them the right to a pension, a hope which, in my judgment, there is no present prospect of being made good. Secondly, we throw back on the Central Welfare Committee the decision as to whether or not any particular application 278 for a pension scheme shall be granted.
§ Mr. G. MACDONALD
Has not the welfare committee discharged that onerous duty now for 13 years? Does the Minister accept the principle that an allocation towards a superannuation fund is welfare work?
§ Mr. BROWN
The point is that the welfare committee has not done so for 13 years. They have always taken the position that it was ultra vires and turned it down on that basis. But the inquiry committee did discuss it as a matter of principle, and in their report they say:Had we received evidence that there was a general desire on both sides of the industry for the Miners Welfare Fund to be used to provide pensions, we should have had to regard this as evidence that the present work of the fund had been largely done, but even this would not have altered our view that as a matter of principle a welfare fund and a pensions fund are different things and should be kept separate and in actual fact the evidence we received showed definite opposition to the proposal on the part of the owners, no universal feeling about it on the workmen's side (though certain districts strongly favoured it), and much to indicate that if pensions were provided from the fund it could only be at the expense of other important welfare work.This raises a bigger issue than welfare work. It raises not merely the question as to whether an old age pension at 65 is enough, but whether it begins early enough, and I think the House ought not to put on the Welfare Committee the invidious choice of having, in the remote event of a pensions scheme being set up, to turn it down. We ought to make up our own minds, and if at any time there is an opportunity of bringing in a pensions scheme for miners it should be brought in on its own merits and financed by its own fund, not by a domestic levy for miners' welfare work. Weighing everything, I feel bound, having regard to the committee's report and the history of the fund, and also the desire which I am sure the House feels that no single miner should have hopes raised which cannot be fulfilled, to advise the House to accept the Amendment.
§ 7.58 p.m.
§ Mr. PALING
I am sorry the Minister has come to that decision. I was hoping that we should get rather more generous treatment. We have not succeeded in 279 getting anything whatever; the only Amendment he has accepted is a limiting one. The question of pensions may not be much, but the Amendment takes away the right which existed in the Bill for people to spend money in certain directions if they thought fit. I agree that if agreement between the owners and the men could not be reached they could not proceed. If it was proposed to spend up to 4s. on pensions I agree that agreement could not be reached, but there may be the case of a district where the amount of money coming in is so small that it would not be worth while to bring in any schemes of welfare work, but, if that money was put into a pool, they might find half-a-dozen or 20 men whom they could assist by giving something in the nature of a small pension. In such a case it may be that both owners and men would consider it a desirable thing to do. You have cut out the possibility of spending money in that direction. I do not see why you should do so. The hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Molson) said that before the end of this Government the plight of the old miner would be such that the Government would be compelled
§ to do something for him. I hope the hon. Member is right. I do not know whether he speaks with authority.
§ Mr. MOLSON
It was clear that I was expressing my own personal opinion as to what would be necessary sooner or later.
§ Mr. PALING
That rather alters it, for the hon. Member's personal opinion will not affect this Government. The things they have done and have not done have been so bad—
§ Mr. PALING
It is a limiting Amendment. If the hon. Member will put down another Amendment providing pensions for the people he is talking about, he will soon see whether it is accepted or not. I disagree with the whole basis of the argument for the Amendment under discussion, and I am sorry the Minister has accepted it.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 257; Noes, 49.281
|Division No. 160.]||AYES.||[8.2 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Fleiden, Edward Brockiehurst|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Chapman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Fleming, Edward Lascelles|
|Albery, Irving James||Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)||Ford, Sir Patrick J.|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Fox, Sir Gifford|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Christie, James Archibald||Fuller, Captain A. G.|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Clarke, Frank||Gibson, Charles Granville|
|Apsley, Lord||Clarry, Reginald George||Gillett, Sir George Masterman|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Clayton, Sir Christopher||Glossop, C. W. H.|
|Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M.||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Gluckstein, Louis Halls|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Glyn, Major Sir Ralph G. C.|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Colville, Lieut-Colonel J.||Goff, Sir Park|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Conant, R. J. E.||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Cook, Thomas A.||Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Cooke, Douglas||Grattan-Doyie, Sir Nicholas|
|Belt, Sir Alfred L.||Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter|
|Blaker, Sir Reginald||Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Greene, William P. C.|
|Blindell, James||Cranborne, Viscount||Grenfell, E. C. (City of London)|
|Boothby, Robert John Graham||Crooke, J. Smedley||Grigg, Sir Edward|
|Boulton, W. W.||Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Grimston, R. V.|
|Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton||Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Gunston, Captain D. W.|
|Bracken, Brendan||Culverwell, Cyril Tom||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Harbord, Arthur|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Dawson, Sir Philip||Hartington, Marquess of|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'i'd., Hexham)||Dickie, John P.||Hartland, George A.|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Drewe, Cedric||Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)|
|Buchan, John||Duckworth, George A. V.||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Duggan, Hubert John||Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.|
|Cadogan, Hon. Edward||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford)|
|Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly)||Dunglass, Lord||Hepworth, Joseph|
|Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)||Eady, George H.||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller|
|Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Elliot, Rt. Hon. Walter||Hornby, Frank|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||Horsbrugh, Florence|
|Carver, Major William H.||Elmley, Viscount||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||Hurd, Sir Percy|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.)||Essenhigh, Reginald Clare||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.|
|Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Munro, Patrick||Smithers, Waldron|
|Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Nail, Sir Joseph||Somervell, Sir Donald|
|James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.||Nall-Cain, Hon. Ronald||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan)||North, Edward T.||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Nunn, William||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||O'Connor, Terence James||Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.|
|Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Spens, William Patrick|
|Kerr, Hamilton W.||Palmer, Francis Noel||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmoriand)|
|Keyes, Admiral Sir Roger||Patrick, Colin M.||Stevenson, James|
|Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Peake, Captain Osbert||Stones, James|
|Latham, Sir Herbert Paul||Peat, Charles U.||Storey, Samuel|
|Law, Sir Alfred||Penny, Sir George||Stourton, Hon. John J.|
|Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Perkins, Walter R. D.||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Levy, Thomas||Peters, Dr. Sidney John||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Lewis, Oswald||Petherick, M.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Liddall, Walter S.||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton.|
|Lindsay, Kenneth Martin (Kllm'rnock)||Pybus, Sir Percy John||Summersby, Charles H.|
|Lindsay, Noel Ker||Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Lloyd, Geoffrey||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Loder, Captain J. de Vere||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Loftus, Pierce C.||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.||Reld, David D. (County Down)||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Mabane, William||Reld, James S. C. (Stirling)||Todd, Lt.-Col. A J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G. (Partick)||Renter, John R.||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.||Train, John|
|MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Rickards, George William||Tree, Ronald|
|McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|McKle, John Hamilton||Ropner, Colonel L.||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|McLean, Major Sir Alan||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Runge, Norah Cecil||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Macquisten, Frederick Alexander||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Magnay, Thomas||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest||Russell, R. J. (Eddlsbury)||Wlliiams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Rutherford, John (Edmonton)||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Martin, Thomas B.||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)||Salt, Edward W.||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)|
|Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Milne, Charles||Savery, Samuel Servington||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.||Withers, Sir John James|
|Mitcheson, G. G.||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'oaks)|
|Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin|
|Morgan, Robert H.||Skelton, Archibald Noel||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Morrison, William Shepherd||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)||Mr. Womersley and Dr. Morris-Jones|
|Mulrhead, Lieut.-Colonel A. J.||Smith, R. W. (Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dins, C.)|
|Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea)||Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Maxton, James|
|Batey, Joseph||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Milner, Major James|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Grundy, Thomas W.||Owen, Major Goronwy|
|Buchanan, George||Hall, George H. (Marthyr Tydvil)||Paling, Wilfred|
|Cape, Thomas||Harris, Sir Percy||Parkinson. John Allen|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Jenkins, Sir William||Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)|
|Cove, William G.||John, William||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Daggar, George||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Smith, Tom (Normanton)|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphllly)||Thorne, William James|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Kirkwood, David||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Dobbie, William||Lawson, John James||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Edwards. Charles||Logan, David Gilbert||Williams, Dr. John H. (Lianelly)|
|Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||Lunn William||Wilmot, John|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.)||McEntee, Valentine L.||Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee!||McKeag, William|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||TELLES FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mr G. Macdonald and Mr. Groves.|
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the Third Time."
§ 8.12 p.m.
§ Mr. JOHN
I wish to oppose the Motion. The hon. Member for Abertillery (Mr. Daggar), in moving an Amendment on the Report stage, stated that after the Second Reading and the bludgeoning of the Bill in Committee it 282 was difficult for him to find new arguments to bring forward. After the further bludgeoning on the Report stage the difficulty is far more acute. I shall confine myself to objecting to the Bill on general principles. I object to the Bill because, in effect, it is going to restrict and to retard the general welfare work in the coalfields. One could understand some justification for the Bill if 283 welfare work as originally intended had been completed or were in course of completion. But that is not so. In spite of all the efforts of the central and district committees of the Miners' Welfare Fund to improve social amenities, owing to the magnitude of the work that they have to perform they have not yet touched the fringe of the problem of improving the social conditions of the miners.
The Bill reduces the amount of the income of the Welfare Fund and adds liabilities to the expenditure, which was not intended when the fund was originated. Section 20 of the Mining Industry Act of 1920 says, as to the purpose of the fund, that—There shall be constituted a panel to be applied for such purposes connected with the social wellbeing, recreation and conditions of living of workers in or about coal mines, and with mining education and research, as the Board of Trade, after consultation with any Government Department concerned, may approve.That Section of the Act was made necessary because of disclosures that were made after the Report of the Sankey Commission and subsequent commissions. Conditions in the mining industry were such then that it was necessary to introduce a Measure bringing about a change and improvement. For practically a century the coalfields had been de-developed and the coalowners had been utterly regardless of the welfare conditions of the miners. Mining villages had been permitted to grow up without any order or plan whatever. In some cases they consisted of wooden huts without water supply or sanitary conveniences. Houses were built around the pitheads and mean streets of drab and dreary dwellings came into existence. If local authorities or private enterprise provided houses, the coalowners came along and tipped rubbish in front of or behind the houses and these rubbish heaps in the course of time spoiled the view and spoiled the property in its entirety. It showed, as I have said, an utter disregard for the welfare of the miners that those conditions were permitted at a time when the coalowners were piling up fortunes. They had not time in those days to look after the welfare of the workers.
It was arising out of those conditions that the enactment which I have quoted 284 was passed in the Mining Industry Act of 1920. It was not until it was made compulsory on the coalowners to provide for the welfare of the miner that they adopted that policy. They were forced to do so. Prior to that anything in respect of the moral or physical well-being of the miners was absent from their ledgers. In this Bill it is provided that a portion of the output of levy is to be contributed towards the erection of pithead baths. This to some extent removes the responsibility or statutory obligation which was formerly placed upon the coalowners to another part of the panel. The Mines Act of 1911 imposed an obligation on the coalowners in connection with the erection of pithead baths. Until 1926 the coalowners lacked interest in the provision of pithead baths, but in 1926 another Measure was introduced which made it compulsory upon royalty owners to subscribe a 5 per cent. levy towards the provision of baths.
It may be argued that the absence of the provision of baths between 1911 and 1926 was attributable to lack of interest on the part of the miners. It may be said that the miners had the opportunity, provided they had balloted and had shown a two-thirds majority in favour of it, to compel the provision of baths. It may be true that the miners were not interested in the construction of pithead baths, but it is also true that there was even less interest on the part of the coalowners. In the 12th annual report of the Welfare Fund it is stated that of 296 offers of baths made between 1927 and 1929 only 102 or 34 per cent. were accepted and 115 were refused or deferred by the coalowners. In 58 cases the men were known to be or were stated to be opposed to the provision of baths. The 115 cases can be easily understood. They indicate the constant attitude of the coalowners, an attitude of which the conditions I have already outlined were significant.
The Secretary for Mines during the Report stage said that while the Miners' Federation were opposing the Bill because of the reduction of the levy from a penny to a halfpenny, the coalowners were opposing the Bill on the ground that they could not afford the halfpenny. The coalowners have never been willing to contribute at all in this respect. There is no instance where the coalowners have declared their willingness to contribute 285 towards the Welfare Fund. Only the compulsion of an Act of Parliament made the coalowners subscribe anything. If the coalowners object to the Bill because of the halfpenny levy it only shows that they are consistent in their policy. They are following up to-day the policy which they have adopted all along the line. They base their objection to the halfpenny levy on the ground of the depressed state of the industry. But in the days between 1911 and 1920 there was no depression in the industry. On the contrary, enormous profits were being made. In 10 years they made profits aggregating £20,000,000 from the industry. Their objection to the Bill is not really because of depressed conditions in the industry but because of the absence of any desire on their part to contribute anything at all to this fund. If such desire existed, why did they not provide for the welfare of the workers in a period when the industry was very successful?
This Bill is going to contract the ordinary welfare work because it is going to reduce the income of the Welfare Fund by 50 per cent. and, in addition to reducing the income, it is going to divert the greater portion of the balance to purposes for which it was not originally intended. In the case of pithead baths there is a 20-year programme and a sum of £375,000 annually is to be spent on the erection of baths. We are very pleased to find that there is to be a long-term programme. Indeed, if I have any objection at all, it is that the term is too long. I should like to see all these baths completed within five to 10 years, not on the lines suggested during the Report stage of shortening the term on the halfpenny basis, but on the lines of shortening the term by increasing the amount of money available for the erection of baths. This £375,000 is to be made up of the output levy of £179,000 and the royalties levy of £196,000.
No one is going to argue against the necessity for pithead baths. Baths of this kind are more essential in the mining industry than in any other industry. There are miners' homes with no facilities of this kind at all and these baths are a boon to the miners. But why take the output levy or the greater portion of it for the erection of pithead baths? The answer may be that it is desired to finish the programme in 20 years, that in order to do so it is 286 essential to spend £375,000 a year, that the amount of money which comes in from the royalties levy is not sufficient to make up that sum, and that therefore it has been found necessary to augment it by taking the greater portion from the output levy. The 1911 Act and the 1926 Act imposed obligations on the coalowners and a certain obligation on the royalty-owners, but is there no moral obligation on the royalty-owners for the provision of social amenities for the miners? They risk no capital in the coal mines, they risk no labour in the coal mines, and they have not sacrificed during this period of depression. It is the miners who have sacrificed, in low wages, and in some instances the colliery shareholders also have sacrificed.
The hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Mines gave me some figures the other day as to the royalties received during the period when the royalty-owners have had to contribute 5 per cent. towards the erection of pithead baths. From 1927 to 1932 they have received £32,998,000, or practically £33,000,000, in royalties. How much have they paid towards the erection of pithead baths out of that sum? £1,346,000. Supposing the Secretary for Mines had devoted his attention, not to reducing the penny to a halfpenny, but to increasing the levy on the royalty-owners? They have paid less than a farthing per ton, but assuming he had increased that to a penny per ton, equivalent to the amount that is paid by the colliery owners, that would have given him sufficient money to erect the pithead baths in a less period than 20 years, without any need for transferring any money from the output levy. The Minister says this Bill is based upon the report of the Committee, as if that report was, like the laws of the Medes and Persians, unchangeable. We have had other commissions reporting on the question of miners' welfare. We have had the Sankey Commission and the Samuel Commission. The policy outlined by the Sankey Commission was that there should be a penny per ton towards the miners' welfare. Why is the report of this Committee more sacred to the Secretary for Mines than the reports of those commissions?
There is no doubt, as the hon. Member for Ince (Mr. G. Macdonald) said, that this committee sat in an atmosphere of economy. The National Government 287 were economising in every direction, and in that atmosphere the mentality of the committee was affected, but if that committee sat now, in the atmosphere that the National Government have attempted to create with regard to the revival in trade, and the rosy outlook that the Secretary for Mines gives to the mining industry, undoubtedly that committee, instead of reducing the penny to a halfpenny, would increase it to 4d. It is very peculiar, in reading this report, to find from the first page to the last that every member of the committee is satisfied that there is a tremendous work to be done in providing social amenities for the miners and improving their conditions. On page 74 they recommend adequate facilities for indoor recreation and social intercourse. Then they recommend:adequate facilities for outdoor recreation, having regard to local needs and existing facilities at every place where an appreciable number of miners live, both for children and adults.These recommendations, if they mean anything at all, mean that the work of the Welfare Committee during the last 13 years has not been sufficient to meet the actual needs of the mining villages. If a penny per ton in the last 13 years has been insufficient to meet the needs of the mining areas, how in the name of common sense will a halfpenny do it in the future?
The Secretary for Mines, in his speech on the Report stage, said with great gusto that there was £800,000 at present in hand to meet claims that had not been submitted. It is very peculiar. In South Wales there are scores of schemes waiting. Some of them have been waiting in the hands of the Welfare Committee for over three years, and whenever they apply they are told, "We have not got any money. We have already mortgaged the future to the extent of two or three years." Therefore, there must be something wrong somewhere; and the South Wales coalfield is only a reflex of all the other coalfields. Scotland, Yorkshire, and Lancashire are in the same position. They all have a large number of schemes that are waiting, and the local or district committees have not sufficient funds to meet the needs.
This Committee suggests improving facilities for indoor recreation. If those needs exist and have not been fulfilled 288 on the penny per ton, how are they going to be fulfilled on the halfpenny? In one centre of the constituency that I represent practically every pit that was working has been stopped for the last two or three years, and where the coalowners in the years that are gone have refused to provide for the social amenities of the workers, they themselves have attempted to provide them by the contribution of a penny per week in order to erect libraries. Some of those libraries are now being closed. A month ago, on application, the district welfare committee in South Wales made a grant of £52, or £4 per week for 13 weeks, in order to keep that library open. At the end of the 13 weeks, however, that library will have to be closed. At present it is a centre of attraction for the middle-aged and old men. On cold mornings they have no other place to go to. They are unemployed. They go into the library, they sit down and read, and if the library has to be closed that is one source of indoor recreation that will be closed to them. If there is insufficient money in the district fund at the present to keep these libraries open, what possibility is there in the future for the maintenance of these libraries when the amount is reduced by half?
§ Mr. MOLSON
Is the hon. Member seriously suggesting that after those libraries are put up, the running expenses should be paid out of the Welfare Fund? In the past a capital sum has been provided in cases where a library or other facility was to be kept running by the district, but is the hon. Member suggesting that it should be maintained out of the fund?
§ Mr. JOHN
Yes, I seriously suggest this. Where libraries have been erected by the workers and maintained by the workers during a period of depression, when there is no income to maintain these libraries because of unemployment, I maintain that it is part and parcel of the welfare work to maintain and keep open these libraries until such time as the pits are re-started.
§ Mr. E. BROWN
The hon. Member does not suggest that it has been part of the normal work of the Welfare Fund up to the present to give grants for maintenance?
§ Mr. JOHN
I agree, not grants to maintain the libraries. The Secretary 289 for Mines has under this Bill increased the amount of the output levy which is to be devoted to pithead baths, research work, safety work and educational work. He has extended the scope of the levy by this Bill, and, if an extension can be made in one direction, it can be made in another. It would be a tragedy in the mining valleys if, simply because of unemployment, these libraries, which have been maintained for a number of years have to be closed. Take the case of outdoor recreation. The Rhondda Valley has, I think, been the biggest goldfield for coalowners in this country, but in Tonypandy no provision has been made for any welfare work whatever. During the last two or three years there has been a grant for the erection of a small hall to seat 150 people, but there are no playing fields for the children, no bowling greens, tennis courts or football grounds at all. In that area unemployed men have levelled off an old rubbish pit so that they can play football on it. An application has been in for a long time for money with which to turf it, but they cannot get it. Surely, instead of the revenue of this fund being reduced, it ought to be maintained on the basis of the penny levy.
Does anybody argue that the conditions of to-day are such that the miners of this coalfield can be satisfied? I cannot understand why, whenever there is any depression in the mining industry, whenever the coalowners are in a difficulty, whenever there is any need to economise, the economy every time is directed against the miner His wages have been reduced and his hours increased. We cannot reduce his wages any more. Indeed, he has to-day to be dependent on public assistance in the form of a subsistence wage. You cannot attack his wages any more, so you say, "The conditions of the industry are such that the coalowners object to continue paying this levy, and therefore we shall attack the social amenities of the miners." The Secretary for Mines, in his Second Reading speech, said that the welfare schemes have created an atmosphere in the coafield that has made it possible for the miners' representatives and the mineowners' representatives to work better together. The experience in the past will demonstrate the possibilities of the future, but it will be useless to get these joint committees 290 in existence and to map out work unless the necessary money is provided with winch to work out the schemes that have been planned. They will not be able to work out any future schemes, because the amount of money that will be going into the districts will work out at only about £10,000 a year.
Another feature in this Bill to which we object is its retrospective character. If we introduced a Bill to better the wage conditions of the miners or the compensation position of the miners, and we made it retrospective, everyone in the House, including the Secretary for Mines, would raise their hands in horror. They would argue the impracticability and impossibility of making such legislation retrospective. This Bill is a new departure in the legislative procedure of this House. Intimation was given to the coalowners that there was no need for them to contribute the levy which they were called upon to pay under the Act of Parliament, because, as far back as the 5th April last, the Secretary for Mines made it clear in this House that it was the intention of the Government to introduce a Bill on the lines of the recommendation of the Departmental Committee that the penny should be reduced to a halfpenny. That was stated eight months before the introduction of the Bill. The Secretary for Mines, in effect, told the coalowners, "You have been complaining that you cannot pay this penny, and I am giving you sufficient notice that there is no need for you to pay it this year, because sometime or other I shall introduce a Bill that will reduce it to a halfpenny." Why was it necessary to make that announcement so early? Why was the Secretary for Mines so rash when he knew that the Government's time was so taken up with other Measures that it was impossible for him to introduce the Bill before December.
The Secretary for Mines has based one of the reasons for this Bill on the ground that the precarious position of the industry is such that it is impossible for the coalowners to contribute. What is the value of this levy, not so much in money as in service? Most of the schemes are introduced to brighten the lives of the miners and of their wives; they are in the interests of men who, owing to the depressed conditions over which they have no control, have only a drab, dreary life to look forward to. What hope have 291 the miners of 60 years of age of pensions? What hope have they of any employment in this or any other industry? Seeing that there is no hope of any work in the future for these men, it is the duty of the Secretary for Mines not to cramp or limit the social possibilities which are open to them, but to extend them, and in that way to brighten their lives.
§ 8.45 p.m.
§ Mr. MOLSON
I intend to detain the House for only a few minutes, but as I have followed this Measure through Committee I would like to express my general views upon it. In the first place, the Opposition have omitted to notice that two of the principal arguments they put forward to-day are completely inconsistent. Their first argument was that this is a coalowners' Bill and that the Government are under the influence of the coalowners. Unfortunately for that argument, other hon. Members have stood up claiming to speak on behalf of the miners and affirmed that 85 per cent. of the penny levy is paid out of the miners' wages. They cannot have it both ways, and I think that when they really consider this matter they will see that the Bill has been brought forward by the Government in a genuine and honest desire to relieve the industry of a burden which, in its present state of depression, is too grievous to be borne, but by continuing the levy for a period of 20 years they are enabling the maximum amount of welfare work to be carried out. I, who am not in any way connected with the coal mining industry, and whose only interest, I suppose, is a temptation to pander to the miners of my own constituency, might naturally be expected to take the view that this reduction in the levy was unjustifiable. I approach the question, however, from quite the opposite point of view. What justification is there for Parliament imposing upon the coal mining industry alone of all the industries in the country, a levy upon its output for the benefit of a certain section of the community? The miners are the only community for whose benefit a levy is imposed upon their industry. I have to consider what the justification for that is, and I find it in the fact that coal mining is the most dangerous industry, and that, almost alone among the wage-earners in this country, the real wages of 292 miners are to-day lower than they were in 1914.
§ Mr. MOLSON
It is a shame. It is a lamentable economic fact, and I think we are justified in departing from general principles and continuing this welfare levy for the benefit of the miners. Then one has to consider at what level this impost should continue. We must consider whether, because the welfare levy was imposed in 1920 and reimposed on two subsequent occasions, that really gives the miners a vested right in the levy. The answer clearly is that it does not, but, unfortunately, there is a tendency, when some benefit is conferred upon people for a limited space of time, for them to consider that they acquire some prescriptive right to the continuance of that benefit afterwards.
§ Mr. MOLSON
If the ruling class thinks so, their bad example has been followed by those who are rapidly approaching the position of being the ruling class; but in this case, as in many others, the example is a bad one and should not be followed. The point I make is that this levy was imposed for five years, and that no miner can claim that he has any right to a continuance of it for a longer time than that for which it was originally imposed, with the extensions which have been granted from time to time. While reducing the amount of the levy we are extending it for a period of 20 years, so that it will be possible for schemes to be carried out with a due regard to the future, and there will not be the need to maintain the reserves which were built up in the fund when it was temporary. Another justification for the reduction in the amount of the levy has not, I think, been brought out in these Debates, and that is that the administration of the fund during the last 11 years has frequently been inefficient and wasteful.
§ Mr. MOLSON
On pages 63, 64 and 65 of the Departmental Committee's Report will be found observations which are relevant to my contention. 293There have been numerous instances of payments being made on their certificates "—That is the certificate of the District Committee—that money was required for immediate expenditure when it has not actually been expended for long afterwards, or on different welfare purposes from those for which it was granted, and sometimes not expended at all but eventually returned to the district fund.There are cases of wasteful expenditure also, but I am specially referring to the fact that if there is a more efficient administration of the fund the smaller sum of money can be made to go further. Finally, a consideration to be taken into account is the existing depression in the coal-mining industry. According to the last quarterly statement issued by the Ministry of Mines, we find that, taking Great Britain as a whole, there was a loss of over 5d. per ton. A great deal has been said about a penny or a halfpenny being a small sum, but when the industry as a whole is running at a loss of over 5d. per ton it would obviously make a considerable difference if that loss were increased to over 6d. So much in defence of a Bill which, on the whole, I regard as fair and reasonable to both parties, and the type of reasonable Measure which I should expect the National Government to bring forward.
But I cannot sit down without expressing my regret that the Government should have been unwilling in Committee or on Report stage to eliminate that most objectionable retrospective feature in it which I criticised on Second Reading and criticised and voted against upstairs, and to which, at the risk of being called, as I was by people of my own party, "narrow and pedantic in my outlook," I object most strongly. I object strongly to the Bill being made to apply to the output of 1932. The Committee reported in December, 1932, and the report was under consideration by the Government until 5th April, 1933, and it would have been possible to avoid the worst part of this objectionable feature had an announcement been made by the Secretary for Mines before 31st March. The levy was payable, in respect of the calendar year 1932, before the 31st of March, and I can see no justification for the Government not having made its announcement before the 31st March. The Minister's memory played him a 294 trick upstairs, which seldom happens, when he said that it had been necessary for the Government to consider the whole of the report. As a matter of fact, in the announcement made on 5th April the decision of the Government applied only to the amount of the levy.
§ Mr. E. BROWN
The hon. Member is quite wrong. It was necessary in order to make up our minds to consider the whole report.
§ Mr. MOLSON
I have a copy of the hon. Member's announcement, but, unfortunately, it is not quite complete. I now have a copy, for which I am very much obliged to the hon. Member for Spennymoor (Mr. Batey). Here is the passage in which the Minister said:The other recommendations of the committee, apart from that relating to the amount of the levy, are still under consideration."—[OFFIOIAL REPORT, 5th April; col. 1755, Vol. 276.]
§ Mr. MOLSON
I very much regret that the Minister should not have been prepared to reduce the levy as from the present year. That there is difficulty in collecting the welfare levy at the present time seems to be no argument for something which is objectionable to the constitutional precedents of this House. There have been cases of retrospective legislation before, and in some cases they were inevitable. In this case, I see no justification for it whatever. Therefore, although I am entirely in agreement with the general principle of the Bill, I regret because of the particular feature to which I have referred and against which I protested at each of the stages of the Bill, that I shall not be able to vote for the Third Reading.
§ 8.57 p.m.
§ Mr. CHARLES BROWN
I can understand why the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Molson), who has just made such a laboured effort, finds it necessary to justify his general support of this Bill; it is because he represents a mining constituency. I am certain that the views which he has expressed will not commend themselves very forcibly to his mining constituents. He has told us that the two main arguments which we have been using against the Bill are mutually destructive. He began by telling the House 295 that we had said that this was a coal-owners' Bill, and he sought to refute that by calling attention to the fact that we had also said that the miners paid 85 per cent. of the penny and the coalowners 15 per cent. Those arguments are not mutually destructive. The miners pay the 85 per cent. of the penny with a good grace and make no protest, but the owners pay the 15 per cent. and grumble all the time. The arguments are complementary and not mutually destructive. I am certain that that point will not commend itself to the mining constituents of the hon. Member for Doncaster.
The Secretary for Mines has defended this Bill in a very spirited fashion. Sometimes while I have been listening to him I have wondered whether his heart was really in the job. I remember that for a long time he was associated with a party which showed some concern for the social improvement in the conditions of the people. I do not think he will be able to refute the general statement made by the hon. Member for West Rhondda (Mr. John) who said that the Bill will inevitably retard welfare work among miners. If he cannot, I am afraid that the spirited defence of the Bill which he makes from time to time cannot be in keeping with those ideas about social improvement which he once held and which I have heard him voice on more than one occasion. The Secretary for Mines must know as well as we do the environment in which miners have lived and still have to live and he must know of the need for the improvement in those conditions.
He is a member of a bad Government, and because of that he has to do deeds which I am sure outrage his conscience. There is no matter for pride in this Bill being put forward by the National Government. It is a Bill in keeping with the entire policy of the National Government. Anything mean that they can do, they do, and they justify those mean actions on the basis of some committee's or commission's report—any mean report of any kind that they can seize with the greatest avidity. On the basis of those mean reports they bring forward measures which are calculated in every way to injure some section of the working-class.
§ Mr. MOLSON
Is it not the case that all those "mean" reports have been issued by committees and commissions set up by the National Government's predecessors who had not the courage to act upon them?
§ Mr. C. BROWN
That is all the more reason why the National Government should not act upon them. Claiming to be a National Government, they should put the national interests above the interests of any particular party. They do not do that. Instead of putting the national interests above the interests of any party they legislate all the time on behalf of vested interests. Here is an example of legislation on behalf of mine-owners of the country. To put it bluntly, this is a mineowners' Bill; there can be no doubt about that. It is calculated to damage the mining community in all sorts of ways, although it was in the interests of the mining community that the levy was first instituted. I do not wish to keep the House any longer. For my part, I shall not have the slightest hesitation in going into the Lobby against the Bill.
§ 9.3 p.m.
§ Mr. DAVID DAVIES
I will commence my few observations by referring to the question asked by the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Molson). He wanted to know the difference between differentiating in the mining industry and in any other industry. In 1920 when this Act was passed, the people of this country took into consideration the conditions of the mining areas, which at that time had been described as exceedingly sordid. The mining valleys in his area have been described by the hon. Member for West Rhondda (Mr. John) as so narrow that the river has to turn on its side in order to run down, and people who wear boots which are nines in size have to take them off in order to turn back in them. That is the condition which exists in areas in South Wales which is the greatest coalfield in the world. We have long narrow valleys land long streets of houses, and in that area there are 300 schemes that have not been completed and large numbers of others that have not been started.
If this scheme was justified from its commencement, it is justified in its continuance until it realises its aim—the improvement of the amenities of the mining 297 areas which contribute so largely to the well-being of this nation and which have suffered such enormous depression. There are not only the risks in the mines to be considered, but also the depressing surroundings in which the miners have to live. They have to live near coal tips, and we have heard it stated to-day that the only way in which they can get the means of out-door recreation is by levelling coal tips. They are not prepared to do that after their work in the mine—
§ Mr. MOLSON
Perhaps the hon. Member will pardon my interrupting him, since he has been good enough to refer to me. May I ask him if he can explain how it is that the representative of the Miners' Federation, in his dissenting minute, says that, if the pension schemes were not allowed to be included—a point which has already been dealt with during the Report stage—he agreed with the majority that the levy should be reduced to a halfpenny?
§ Mr. DAVIES
I take it that he was talking about his own area. Whether he was or not, I am talking about my area. I live in a village of which I am exceedingly proud, because I was born there. It has a population of over 12,000, and its amenities are a little better than those of the narrow valleys further up. But these men live away from the collieries, and, as the hon. Member for West Rhondda said, they have no playing fields, no indoor recreation, no tennis courts or bowling greens. We were hoping that his fund, to which our men are compelled to contribute at the pits, would continue in order to maintain the schemes near the pits. We laid down, as a joint welfare committee, that, before we would grant money for the creation of the scheme, we must have security for the continuance of the scheme—for the continuity of that maintenance which was forthcoming from the pennies and twopences deducted from the wages of the men who were working at the collieries. Many of those collieries have now closed down. I had a reply the other day from the Secretary for Mines indicating the number that had been closed since 1926. Now we are put in an exceedingly embarrassing position. If it be argued that this additional halfpenny is going to ruin the mining industry, then I say that the sooner the industry collapses the better. We are 298 put in an embarrassing position because we have no wherewithal to meet the expenditure involved in the schemes that we were responsible for creating. Since I have been in this House there have been three colliery explosions, and the Secretary for Mines secured from the House crocodile tears and sent a wreath of sympathy to the relatives of those who lost their lives in those disasters. The House was exceedingly sympathetic. To-night we, who sent them flowers that they could not smell, ask the Government to continue the levy of one penny to enable these people to smell some flowers during their lifetime. I protest with all the vehemence that my soul can command against this pernicious attempt of the Government to reduce the penny to a halfpenny, because it deprives the men in the coalfield in which I live of their only hope of getting some ray of that sunshine of which they have been deprived. They are deprived, not only of the ordinary amenities of life, but even of sunshine and God's fresh air, for 8½ hours every day in a vitiated atmosphere, and they are entitled when they come out to have some improvement in the amenities of which they are now being deprived. I protest as vehemently as I can at the conduct of the Government, and I hope that we shall vote against the Third Reading of the Bill.
§ 9.11 p.m.
§ Mr. BATEY
I have listened to almost the whole of the Debate to-day, and my surprise has been that so little has been said in favour of the Bill. The only arguments have been arguments against it. I want now to support the rejection of the Bill, and I do so gladly. To me it is not only a mean Bill, it is a wicked Bill doing a gross injustice to the miners of this country. When the welfare levy was started in 1920, the mining villages of this country had been suffering from 200 years of neglect. I was born in a Northumberland colliery village, where there were no sanitary arrangements at all, and where there were no welfare halls. One has been proud, as one has gone round the mining villages, to see the welfare halls and the institutes that have been built for young people. In those days a young man in a mining village in Northumberland had only two places that he could go to—either the public house or the chapel. From all the money that was 299 made in the colliery districts the miners received no benefit; they were left to get along as best they could; and when, in 1920, the Government of the day decided to start a Welfare Fund, it was a real blessing to the young miners of this country. It was done at a time when the conscience of the country was tender, just following the War, and this House raised no objection. I want the House to realise what was the object of starting the Welfare Fund. In the report of the Welfare Fund Committee for 1933, on page 113, Section 20 of the Mining Industry Act, 1920, is set out. It reads as follows:There shall be constituted a fund to be applied for such purposes connected with the social well-being, recreation and conditions of living of workers in or about coal mines and with mining education and research as the Board of Trade, after consultation with any Government Department concerned, may approve.I want to direct the attention of the House to the provision that the fund is to be applied for purposes connected with the social well-being, recreation and conditions of living of the workers. We have not gone far yet in improving the social well-being and the conditions of the workers in our mining villages. I know it is 13 years since that Act came into force, and during those 13 years there has been a levy of penny per ton, but no one will say that during that period it has been possible even to catch up, let alone wipe out, the 200 years of neglect. Experience will show to-day that that has not been possible, and in our mining villages a huge amount of work still stands to be done. I have heard no argument to justify a reduction of the welfare levy. It cannot be justified with the huge amount of work that there is still to be done in the mining villages. A week ago my hon. Friend the Member for Gower (Mr. D. Grenfell) asked the Secretary for Minesthe number of mines in which pithead baths have been provided; the number without pithead baths; and the estimated cost of providing suitable pithead bath accommodation at all mines in the United Kingdom?The reply was:At the end of 1933 159 mines employing about 248,000 wage-earners had been provided with pithead baths. In addition, building had been commenced or grants made for baths at 48 mines employing about 300 58,000 wage-earners, making a total of 207 mines with 248,000 wage-earners. There remain some 532,000 wage-earners without pithead baths. To provide all these with baths, including canteens, would cost between 7½ and 8 million pounds.There remain to-day twice as many miners without pithead baths as with them. That points only one lesson to me, that instead of cutting down the levy it ought to be increased and greater activity ought to be shown in the provision of pithead baths. It is not sufficient for the Minister to say they are reducing the levy but extending the period over 20 years. Twenty years is a long time to look forward to. Some of my colleagues say that a lot of miners will be dead before 20 years. But we have this consolation, that the Government also will be dead long before that.
§ Mr. BATEY
I might have said dead and damned. I agree with the hon. Member. I thought the feeling of the country, as we have learned it recently, would have had some effect upon the Prime Minister, the Minister for Mines, and every Member of the Government, because, as sure as night follows day, when the time comes for the country to express an opinion on the work of the Government one can see what will be the verdict. I am hoping that if ever Labour comes back into power again, as we believe it will, it will not be satisfied with pithead baths being erected over a period of 20 years but will insist not only on a restoration of the levy but upon making up for the years that the levy has been reduced so that baths can be provided long before the end of 20 years.
§ Mr. DAVID REID
In this calculation of the number of mines where a bath remains to be provided, does the hon. Member include only mines with such a life before them that the erection of baths would be an economic proposition?
§ Mr. BATEY
That would have been answered if I had read the whole of the Minister's answer. I had better finish it:The hon. Member will realise, however, that there are a number of cases of small mines, or mines with only a short life ahead, where the construction of pithead baths would not be a reasonable proposition. Apart from these cases I estimate that approximately £7,125,000, the total which will be made available during the 301 next 19 years under the Bill now before the House, will be sufficient to complete the programme."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 6th March, 1934; col. 1640, Vol. 286.]But there are far more things needed than pithead baths. Canteens are praised by the Welfare Committee. Up to the present there have been only 66 erected. Canteens where the miner, before he goes to his work, or when he comes up from the pit, can get coffee or cocoa are absolutely essential. The Welfare Committee Report shows that every one of the 66 that have been erected has been a success. None has been a financial failure. In order that there should be a speeding up in the erection of canteens we urge that the levy ought not to have been reduced. It ought at least to have stopped at a penny.
In addition to pithead baths and canteens, we have an urgent need in mining villages for welfare halls and institutes. One comes across welfare halls and institutes only here and there; we ought to have them in every mining village. On that account this levy should not have been reduced. The Welfare Committee has dealt with many important matters. To take only one or two; they have provided for district nursing, for special medical treatment, appliances and apparatus, and for invalid chairs. All these are essential things, and mean much to our mining villages; yet, instead of being able to provide more of them in future, owing to the reduction in this levy they will be practically cut off. They will have to be stopped. We submit that a Government which takes a step of this kind takes an enormous responsibility to the miners. The position was made clear in an Amendment that was accepted to-night by the Minister of Mines. He accepted an Amendment on the Report stage to make it absolutely clear that aged miners' homes would come within the welfare work. I was glad he accepted that Amendment; it was the only good think that he has done in the whole of the Debate.
§ Mr. E. BROWN
The hon. Member is quite wrong. I accepted no such Amendment. The provision has been in the Bill from the beginning.
§ Mr. BROWN
May I help the hon. Member again? The point about which he is in trouble is this. There was a technical Amendment moved by the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Molson), which was only to make quite clear what was already the intention of the Bill, and had been in the Bill from the beginning.
§ Mr. BATEY
I am glad of that explanation, because we understood in Committee that there was a doubt whether the grants made for the aged miners' homes' movement were within the confines of the Bill. That Amendment to-night was accepted, and made it absolutely clear that for the future the Bill does provide in its welfare work for giving grants for aged miners homes. In the North we have erected more than 2,000 of these homes; that, in my opinion, is one of the grandest works that one can do with this fund, because it means much to an old man or an old woman when there is no rent collector coming to knock at the door and demand rent, and when no fear enters into their hearts that they will be turned out of the house. Now, instead of being able to get more money for the provision of those homes, the reduction of the levy means that we shall have less. Instead of being able to build more homes, we shall only be able to build fewer.
The Government may take what credit they like for a step like that; in my opinion, it is not an action for which anyone can expect credit. Why are the Government doing it? Some of my hon. Friends have said that they are doing it because they want to please the coal-owners. Nobody can say that the coal industry cannot continue to afford another halfpenny a ton. They have been able to afford a penny per ton during the bad years and they can afford it now. If we are to believe what all the Members of the National Government say, that things are getting better, that trade is improving, that even the coal industry is improving, there is less need to-day to reduce this levy from a penny to a halfpenny than ever there was. The industry can afford to continue to pay this penny per ton.
The coalowners to-day pay no local rates, because by the De-rating Act, 1929, they were freed from paying them. In 303 the county of Durham the amount that the coalowners paid in local rates during 1933 only amounted to a halfpenny per ton. Some hon. Members on the other side keep saying that there is no chance of the coal industry in the depressed areas being revived, and no chance of new industries appearing, because of the high rates. The coal industry is paying a rate of a halfpenny a ton; that should not frighten a new industry from coming up into the distressed areas. Our distressed areas ought to be places to which new industries should rush, after the Derating Act. Now that coalowners have been relieved of so much, it is a shame that the Government should say that they cannot afford to pay this penny per ton. The Minister of Mines said to-night on the Report stage that it was difficult to collect the levy. The total of the levy collected since the Welfare Fund started is £30,549,548, and the small amount not collected over all those years is £110,615. With such a small amount outstanding, there is not much of which to complain in the collection of the levy. I am not sure that the percentage outstanding of the royalty levy is not larger than the amount outstanding of the welfare levy. I notice in the report of the Miners' Welfare Fund that they give an account of the royalties welfare levy from 1926 to 1932 and show that the sum of £1,200,000 has been paid, and that the amount outstanding was £4,822. Therefore, there is just as large a percentage outstanding for the royalty levy as there is for the welfare levy. We know that there are some people who will never pay unless they are forced to pay. There is that class among coalowners just as there is among royalty owners. They will not pay if they can avoid doing so, but it is no argument to say that the difficulty of collecting the levy is one of the reasons why the levy should not be collected.
I am not only objecting to the reduction of the levy from a penny to a halfpenny as being a wicked act on the part of the Government towards the mining community of this country, but I am objecting also to the reduced levy being dated back to 1932. The Secretary for Mines talks about Mr. Shinwell appointing a committee. I was on the Committee upstairs which discussed the 1931 Bill, and the one victory which we thought we 304 had won there was that we had succeeded in putting into the Bill that the penny per ton levy should continue until 1936. Because we had won that levy we were rather careless about the appointment of the inquiry committee, but it will make some of us, if ever we sit on the other side of the House again, far more wary of appointing committees.
§ Mr. BATEY
No doubt it was honest, but we shall not be so ready to do it in future, even if it is honest. In the Act of 1931 we thought we had won a victory when we enacted that the penny levy should continue for five years. That Act is still in existence, and it will be the law of the land until this Bill is passed. I submit that the Secretary for Mines has acted illegally in deciding to reduce the levy from the beginning of 1932. He has acted so illegally in smashing the Act of Parliament that I am not sure that, if the Secretary for Mines had his due to-night, instead of sitting on the Treasury Bench he should not be in gaol. There is no question that the levy is being reduced. The Secretary for Mines may say, "I did not do it." He has told the House that he has kept pressing for the penny, but if so, it is strange that now only a halfpenny is to be paid. I put a question to the Secretary of Mines last week, and he replied that the levy collected for 1932 amounted to £903,320, and that the levy collected for 1933 had dropped to £510,353. Whether the Secretary for Mines had told the coalowners or not, or whoever had told them not to pay, the answer proved that last year there was only half the amount of the levy paid that was paid in 1932. We should have had the full amount. We should know who told the coalowners that they had not to pay the levy when the Act of Parliament still stands, and when a penny levy should have been paid. We debated the matter in Committee at the first day's proceedings on Thursday, 1st March, when the Secretary for Mines said:The situation was that, unfortunately, the report"—That is, the report of the Inquiry Committee—did not reach me until the end of January, 1933, and the financial year for the collection of the fund ended on 31st March. I 305 was, therefore, faced with a severely practical problem, and I ask the Committee to bear that in mind as the sole reason for the course of action that we have taken. It was not because we desire to set up any undesirable precedent, but we have acted because of the severely practical point of view.That has not justified the reduction of the levy by one-half in 1933. But the Secretary for Mines came back to the question on the same day. He said:The fact is, that it was unfortunate for us that the report came to us at a period which gave us but a short time to prepare a Bill or ask for the sanction of the House. We did the next best thing. We made up our minds upon the practical point of collection, of date and of rate. I do not think that the Committee can charge us with undue delay, for on the 5th April the announcement was made in the House as to the intentions of the Government.We will look at that announcement in a moment, but I will finish the quotation.The Government made it clear that they intended to do three things—to accept the report of the Committee with regard to the halfpenny, to make it effective from the date suggested by the Committee, namely, the output of 1932, and the collection of 1933, and to act accordingly in advance of asking the House to make a decision."—[OFFICIAL REPORT (Standing Committee C), 1st March, 1934, cols. 6–8.]I submit that there is nothing there which justifies the action of the Government in reducing the levy back to 1932 when there was an Act of Parliament which said that a penny levy should be paid. I now come to a question which was answered by the Secretary for Mines on 5th April, 1933, as there has been so much misconception as to what really was the answer on that occasion.Captain SPENCER asked the Secretary for Mines whether any decision has been reached in regard to the recommendations of the Departmental Committee of Inquiry into the Miners' Welfare Fund?The SECRETARY FOR MINES (Mr. Ernest Brown): Yes, Sir. The Government have decided to accept the Committee's recommendation that the amount of the levy should be reduced from one penny per ton to one halfpenny, and its duration extended for a period of 20 years. The necessary Bill will be introduced as soon as the state of Parliamentary business permits. My hon. Friend will be aware that the Committee, recommend that the reduction in the amount of the levy should take effect at once, that is to say, in respect of the levy on the output of 1932. Under the existing law, however, the levy is due and payable on or before the 31st March, and it is clearly necessary that the law shall be complied with.306 It was not complying with the law to reduce the levy from a penny to a halfpenny when the law says that until 1936 a penny per ton shall be paid.Captain SPENCER: Will the hon. Gentleman say whether the penny that is now being paid will cover 1932 and 1933?Mr. BROWN: The actual provision to be made will require careful consideration, and I am unable to commit myself at the present time. The suggestion of the hon. Member is the sort of arrangement that I have in mind."[OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th April, 1933; cols. 1755–56, Vol. 276.]That was all that was said on the 5th April. The Minister said that he had it in his mind, yet we find that, with the Act of Parliament in existence, the levy was reduced and the amount of money obtained was only half what it was the year before. We are entitled to protest against such action on the part of the Government.
I should like to call attention to Clause 3, Sub-section (2, a, b). Paragraph (a) says:for the purposes for which the proceeds of the royalties welfare levy are required to be appropriated, such sum as will, together with the proceeds of the said levy for the financial year ending next after the end of that calendar year, amount to three hundred and seventy-five thousand pounds;That means that the Government are cutting down the welfare levy and the welfare work to make some provision for the erection of pithead baths. Under this Sub-section they provide £373,000 for the erection of pithead baths. In the year 1926, in order that pithead baths might be erected, the Government took the step of putting a levy upon royalty owners. They decided that the royalty owners should pay 1s. in the £ for the erection of pithead baths. The amount of royalty levied for the erection of pithead baths in 1931 was £220,000, in 1932 £204,000, and in 1933 £179,000. What do the Government propose to do in order to ensure that pithead baths shall be erected over a period of 20 years? They say that in addition to the levy on royalty owners there will be certain money taken from the Welfare Fund to make up the £375,000. We do not protest against the £375,000, but we do protest against the money being taken by robbing general welfare work. To take the money from other welfare work means the building of fewer welfare centres, fewer institutes and fewer recreation grounds. We object to 307 other welfare work toeing neglected in order to provide this money.
The money for the erection of pithead baths has been found since 1926 toy a levy on royalty owners. That levy has been a decreasing amount in the last three years. The Government ought to have increased the levy on the royalty owners instead of robbing the Welfare Fund. The royalty owners would have no room to complain. The coalowners have no complaint to make in regard to local rates, and the royalty owners take heavy sums of money out of the mining districts and do not pay a single farthing in local rates. Recently I put a question to the representative of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, who are large royalty owners in Durham. We do not like any royalty owners. The answer I received was that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners from their estates in the county of Durham for the two years from 31st March, 1932, had received from agricultural and other land £75,900, tithe rent charges £1,100, from coal £212,000, lead £100, other mineral and mineral way leaves £54,400, making a total of £345,500. When more money is needed for the erection of pithead baths these are the sort of people who ought to be forced to pay, and not the general welfare work that is so much needed and is so essential to our people. Paragraph (b) says:for the purpose of promoting research into methods of improving the health and safety of workers in or about coal mines, the sum of twenty thousand pounds;The amount spent last year was £59,000. In this Sub-section the Government say that £20,000 is to be provided for research into the health and safety of miners. No one will question the wisdom of research into a matter like that. The sum set down in the Bill is £20,000. Listen to what the Inquiry Committee have to say:The estimates of the Safety in Mines Research Board for 1933–34 contemplated an expenditure of £57,868 for research compared with £57,800 for the previous year, and £3,960 for safety instructional work compared with £3,050.There is now to be a reduction from £59,000 to £20,000—
§ Mr. E. BROWN
The hon. Member knows quite well, because it has been explained over and over again, that this £20,000 is a minimum to be provided over 20 years. He knows also that there is £12,400 as the result of an endowment 308 fund, and in addition to that he knows also there is £1,750 as a grant from the Exchequer. He knows quite well that the Central Welfare Committee, after a division has been made, will have at least £50,000 out of which they will have ample funds to do all that they want.
§ Mr. BATEY
It is criminal on the part of any Government to restrict expenditure upon research into the safety and health of miners. The Government all the time have made a set against the miners of the country. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] They increased hours, left wages to the mercy of the coalowners, and now they are attacking research into health and safety conditions.
§ Mr. BATEY
You have given us certain figures, but you know that there will be a substantial reduction for research. Be honest and tell us what the reduction is. Sub-section (3) goes on to say:but, where there is established for any district a committee or body which appears to the Board of Trade to represent the interests of the owners of, and workers in and about, coal mines in that district, no sums required by the said proviso to be allocated for the benefit of that district shall be applied for those purposes, except with the approval in writing of that committee or body.309 I do not think that challenges my argument, which is that the amount of money to be spent on research into safety and health is being substantially reduced. The Government should have taken another course. They get from the Treasury the handsome sum of £1,750 a year for research. The Treasury should pay the whole cost. This Bill is aimed directly at the miners, it will injure the miners, and as it will not better their position in any way we shall oppose as strongly as we can.
§ 10.2 p.m.
§ Mr. PARKINSON
Any one who has listened to this Debate will agree that most speeches have been against the Bill, and, if the Secretary for Mines took into consideration the feelings that have been expressed, he could not very well ask for the Third Reading. There are really one or two points in the Bill which should be altered. I do not think the Minister has taken up quite an honest attitude. Not only have those in opposition to the Government spoken against the Measure but a large number of speeches have been made by supporters of the Government who have not agreed with all that the Bill contains and who have been quite as strong critics of some portions of the Measure as Members of the Opposition. It appears to me that the mineowners have been, doing all the kicking in connection with this matter, and they have kicked the Government so hard that they have found a soft spot; and the Government have capitulated. The levy for the Miners' Welfare Fund is a small item, and the objection is chiefly raised by the coalowners, not by the mining community because they know the great improvement that has taken place in the social life of our people owing to the operations of the fund.
When the Act of 1931 became law, they thought that the levy was assured until 1936. However, we have this new Measure which is cutting down the operations of the fund. The miners believe that welfare work should be extended, and that improvements in social conditions and opportunities in the villages should be further developed. It has given them an opportunity for physical and intellectual development. Under the terms of the Bill, the amount of money is to be cut down by half, and that means that there is to be less than half the welfare 310 work done in the villages during the next few years. The money which will now be paid will do little more than provide for pithead baths to meet the annual demand. The reduced levy will certainly not relieve the industry to any extent, and there will be little opportunity to carry on the social improvements, the social welfare and the physical development which have been carried on in the past. One wonders how it is thought that these things can be done.
The Departmental Committee in their report from first page to last speak absolutely in terms of a penny per ton levy, but when they come to make a recommendation they recommend a halfpenny levy. Why such a recommendation should be brought forward is to me a mystery, after I have read the report. I may be taunted with the fact that Lancashire has not taken the amount of money due to it. Of course, the Minister and the House know quite well why that has not been done. In Lancashire we have been holding fast to a principle, and to the belief that some of this money ought to go to the aged miners to help them to live during a very difficult period of their lives from 55 to 65 years of age when they are unemployed. However, we have a large amount standing to our credit now, and we shall set our house in order with a view to complying with the law; we shall spend the money on some such object as the Central Committee will agree to.
One speaker who rather amused me was the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Molson). He could not understand why welfare work should apply only to the mining community. If he would look around he would know the reason. Welfare work is already being carried on in almost every industry in the country and is not confined to miners. But the mining industry is the only one that is called upon to pay a levy for its upkeep. Employers and owners of industries during recent years have recognised the value of welfare work. They have recognised that it keeps their workers efficient, that the workers are able to do more work than they did under the old hard system of 10 or 15 years ago. Consequently, they have taken up welfare work in their own interest and in the interest of their workpeople, and mutual benefit has resulted.
311 In the Departmental Committee's Report it is stated that the coalowners say there is no need for any levy at all. We who worked in the mines nearly 50 years ago know what those times meant. We understand the shortcomings of ordinary country life. We understand that in the mining villages there was nothing at all to which to turn, except the public-house or the small chapel or church. There was no kind of recreation. In bygone days, when the coalowners were making very handsome profits, and in the intervening period when they had an opportunity, without crippling or curtailing their income to a large extent, of doing something to improve matters for the miners, they refused absolutely to do it. Really the coalowners ought to be the lest people to cry out now. But we find that when something must be done to keep the workers in physical efficiency the owners are the first people to yell about it being done. It is not because it takes more from them than from the men. It has been mentioned already that the owners are paying lower rates than they formerly paid. To-day their rates are something like one-third of what they were formerly. Having had a reduction in their rates or their rateable value, of two-thirds, they have done very well indeed.
The Minister said that he and the Government and the Departmental Committee had faced the facts. That means that three out of four sides have faced the facts. But there is a fourth party to this bargain, and that is the mining community. Have the miners no right to face the facts? The fact that they face is that they want a continuance of welfare in its fullest sense. They do not want it to be curtailed. They realise the great help and benefit they have secured from it during past years. My point is that of the four parties who must face the facts the greatest and the most important are really being left out of calculation. Surely if the mining community, with its reputation for bravery in the mines, is made up of men who can be relied on in times of crisis to be ready and willing to sacrifice all that they have in defence of other people, they ought to be given an opportunity of stating their case and of being taken into consideration, particularly when they are paying over 75 per cent. of the cost in times of prosperity.
312 It is stated that the reduced levy will bring in something like £437,000. Something has been said about the money which has been spent in years past. I ask the Minister what have those figures to do with this Bill? The additions to the annual expenditure were produced by the Act already on the Statute Book and not by the Bill that we are now discussing. It seems sometimes to be forgotten that there is an Act on the Statute Book, that it has not yet been abrogated, and that this Bill is not yet the law of the land. Welfare work is only partially done at the moment and it will only be possible to carry it on in a restricted way when the new levy is in operation. Of course the old levy is actually still the law, and I shall have something to say later about the speech of the Minister in April of last year intimating to the coalowners that they would not have to pay the penny a ton. The scaling down of welfare activities ought not to take place until a new Bill has been placed on the Statute Book. What we are doing may suit two out of three of the parties concerned, but it will not suit them all.
According to the answer given to a question by the Minister last week it appears that at the moment pithead baths have been provided for one-third of the mining population. If two-thirds are still unprovided with pithead baths and if we reduce the levy to a halfpenny, it is going to take practically the whole of the 20 years to provide the total number of baths required. It is true that there are certain collieries which cannot be taken into the calculation in this respect, but at the same time, in regard to the collieries which must be taken into calculation, it is not right that people should be asked to wait for 10 years for something which they have a right to expect now. From every point of view, too, the retrospective element in this Bill is open to objection. I think it is lowering the prestige of any Government that they should seek to stop the operation of something which is at present actually the law, and seek to substitute for it an enactment which is only in embryo. A Bill which is only in the course of being passed into law should not be accepted as governing the situation when the present law has not been abrogated.
The Act of 1931 is still the law which should operate in respect of the levy. 313 Whether the speech of the Minister last April was taken into calculation by the coalowners or not, that does not make such a proceeding right, neither does it give the coalowners the right to get away without paying what they ought to pay. Why should this Bill be anticipated by the Minister and why should the present law be ignored to suit one section of the community? Does it mean that the Government and the coalowners are in collaboration and that the Government are controlling something which they know they ought not to control? I do not want to be too bard on the Minister, but I think that in this case he has succumbed to something to which he ought not to have succumbed. He has ignored those who are the greatest contributors, when the industry is in prosperity, in order to give relief to the employers who cry out when they find it is not in prosperity. The retrospective character of the Bill is definitely and distinctly unreasonable and gives a pointer to future legislation. I should like to read some sentences from the speech of the Minister in Committee in reply to the Amendment for the substitution of the word "thirty-four" for "thirty-two":There is great force in the contention of the hon. Member that a general constitutional argument with regard to legislation of a retrospective character is raised and one would not, on general grounds, combat that argument but it must he remembered that we are debating this question in the atmosphere of 1934 and not of 1933. The legislation takes this form not because the Government or the Ministry want to outrage any canons of procedure or to introduce any precedent…but because of the severely practical nature of the problem involved…. It was not because we desire to set up any undesirable precedent but we have acted because of the severely practical point of view."—[OFFICIAL REPORT (Standing Committee C), 1st March, 1934; cols. 5–6.]Whose point of view is so severely practical? Is it the Government's, the coalowner's or the worker's point of view? Is welfare work to be retarded or advanced? Is the fund so very large that we can afford to reduce the amount of the levy? Evidently the Government have made up their mind that the retardation of welfare work and the lowering of its value is to be their ultimate aim. As a Member of this House, I have heard the Minister speak very strongly about retrospective legislation. 314 I have heard him champion the rights and the freedom of Members of this House. I do not know why the change has taken place. I have always looked upon the hon. Gentleman as one of the great upholders of political freedom and of the rights of Members in this House. I do not know whether he changed his opinions when he crossed the Floor of the House, or whether it is merely a case of expediency, but his action at the moment in connection with this Bill does not lead one to believe that he continues to hold the opinions and the position which he has taken up before. What is retrospective legislation, after all? Cannot it be applied to other matters than to this, and may not this instance of retrospective legislation prove to be a precedent for others which may be very dangerous in the future from the hon. Gentleman's point of view?
This Bill means a limitation of welfare work in the future, with a lower income than for two years past, and that we are halving the money for the work, and it will not mean any return for the employers. One would think that ordinary common sense and confidence demanded a continuance of the whole of the period fixed in 1931. In Committee the Minister said:I can assure hon. Members that the constitutional point was not in our minds.I should like to know what he means when he talks of the constitutional point. Further down he made this significant statement:We made up our minds upon the practical point of collection, of date and of rate.Then he said:The Government made it clear that they intended to do three things—to accept the report of the committee with regard to the halfpenny, to make it effective from the date suggested by the committee, namely, the output of 1932, and the collection of 1933, and to act accordingly in advance of asking the House to make a decision."—[OFFICIAL REPORT (Standing Committee C), 1st March, 1934; col. 8.]That is a definite statement that the Government had made up their mind to put this into operation without asking the House of Commons whether they agreed or not. I think that is taking an exceptional attitude; it is taking a liberty which ought not to be given to any Government, and if hon. Members of this House were alive to their own 315 interests, I feel sure that they would support the Labour party in trying to defeat the Bill. We think that more rather than less money is needed in the industry for this welfare work and that higher pressure ought to be put on the royalty owners than has been put up to now. The year 1932 has gone, and the year 1933 has gone, and still the law remains that they must pay their levy of a penny per ton up till 1936. Surely no Government has the right to stand here and say that Parliamentary honesty would condone such a breach of the law of the land.
I want to warn the Government again that this may operate more detrimentally to them and probably more forcibly also in the future. Expediency is not enough to cause the setting aside of the law, and it is something more than expediency for the Government to break the law in this way. There ought not to have been a retrospective period at all, because such enactments have not proved acceptable to Governments in the past. Why the Government, in view of the fact that they have such a huge majority, should find it necessary to resort to this kind of thing, is beyond my comprehension. Whatever the recommendation of the Committee was, the reduction of the levy ought not to have been put into operation until the passing of the Bill through this House.
I look upon this as a deliberate violation of the law. That is the intention of the Government. A Government without honour is in a bad way. A Government which violates the Constitution is a weakly thing. Surely a Government ought to be loyal to its own supporters and to itself, and it ought not to do the kind of work which is done in this Bill. The social welfare work which this levy does ought to be of more paramount importance than the breaking of the law. It has given happiness and health to a large number of people who live in sordid conditions. I believe that even many employers will admit that the men in a large number of mining communities are living in conditions which are much lower than they ought to be, and that in such conditions they cannot maintain the physical strength necessary to carry on their work. The welfare scheme has been welcomed and has done great work 316 in helping people, but it seems now that half of it at least is going to sink out of existence with ignominy owing to the action of the Government which have the power, if they had the will and the honesty, to carry on the levy at its full rate until the whole of the requirements of the miner's life have been secured.
§ 10.27 p.m.
§ Mr. E. BROWN
I am sure the House will not want me to go over again the ground I covered during the Report stage. The hon. Member for Wigan (Mr. Parkinson) always takes so much trouble with his speeches that I am reluctant to say to him that one-third of his speech was built up on an entire misapprehension. He talks about things done illegally. Nothing whatever has been done illegally. The issue about the retrospective nature of the Bill has nothing to do with legality or constitutional procedure, but is a question whether it is desirable or not.
§ Mr. PARKINSON
Surely if the Act of 1931 is accepted as the law of the land, it must be in operation until it is abrogated or dispensed with by a succeeding law.
§ Mr. BROWN
If the hon. Member will pursue his research into the Committee stage, he will see that that is what is being done. I have quoted in Committee the actual form sent out this year and every other year to the owners. I have done nothing but my statutory duty. I am under the obligation until this Bill becomes the law of the land to callect the penny levy, and I am doing that. As to whether or not the hon. Member would have had me, in view of the Government announcement of April, 1933, when part payment was offered on account, take legal proceedings, is another matter. He is under a complete misapprehension if he thinks anything illegal is being done. The announcement which was made was carefully drafted and was an announcement of Government policy, and until this Bill becomes law I shall continue to do my duty to operate the Act of 1931.
§ Mr. BROWN
The answer to the hon. Member is that the Government have 317 done nothing of the kind, neither this Government nor any other Government. Hon. Members opposite have constantly made the point that of the £13,000,000 collected we have had only £110,000 of bad debts. That is because each successive Secretary for Mines has handled the thing as a practical problem. It is not as easy to collect this levy as one would imagine from the denunciation of hon. Members opposite. The fact is that a great deal of this money has been paid from year to year from loans or overdrafts, and every Minister of Mines has over and over again had to deal with cases where coalowners have had their last notices and have come asking for further time in which to pay. The issue then becomes, "If the writ is issued, will the Minister get the levy, or will the result be to close down the mine and throw men out of work?" That is what has been happening all along. If the hon. Member objects to that attitude he must attack his own Government and every preceding Government.
§ Mr. BROWN
I have listened to all the speeches since a quarter to four this afternoon, apart from an absence of about three minutes, and I have heard some very hard things said. Very hard language has been used, but I listened to it patiently and cheerfully, because I realise that the language was not really addressed to me but to people outside. When the hon. Member for Spennymoor (Mr. Batey) used the word "wicked" he did not mean the word "wicked" at all. He knows perfectly well I could have retorted at once that one of the most wicked things to do is to bear false witness against your neighbour.
§ Mr. BROWN
When the hon. Member said that we were cutting down the grant for research he was bearing false witness against this Bill. I have pointed out over and over again that apart from the £12,400 which is the interest on the endowment fund of £259,000, which still operates, this is the first time that a specific and definite grant has been made and put into a Statute of the land for the purposes of research into questions of health and safety. It is a sum of £20,000 per annum.
§ Mr. BROWN
The hon. Member ought to allow me to make a reply. I think I shall have his own party with me in saying that they might listen during the few minutes which I hope to take to make this thing clear. For the first time £20,000 a year has been set aside to make it quite certain that we can carry on these researches into the causes of difficulty from the point of view of safety and health, so that we may be able to obviate them as the years go by. There is this £20,000, plus the £12,400, which still continues as the interest on the endowment, plus £1,750 as a Treasury grant. The hon. Member is not quite fair in sneering at the £1,750, because he knows that the Treasury is finding £85,000 a year for fuel research in order to help the industry. On top of that, after we have made the two apportionments under this Bill of £20,000 for research for 20 years and £375,000 for pithead baths for 20 years, we still have left a quarter-of-a-million of money at the minimum, £200,000 of which will go to the districts every year and £50,000 to the central fund. That means that out of the £50,000 the Welfare Committee will, as in the past, be able to use its own discretion as to just how much it can add for research to the £34,150 I have mentioned. It is bearing false witness against the Bill—and if I cared to use a stronger word than the hon. Member used—
§ Mr. BROWN
We will come to the pithead baths. The hon. Member says that we are robbing the Welfare Fund in order to pay for pithead baths. We are doing exactly the same as Mr. Shinwell did, and what every other Minister has done. What has been the practice since 1926 when the levy was made upon the royalty owners? Ever since the demand began to grow from the districts where it was initiated by miners and mineowners it has grown regularly every year. There is nothing in our minds except to make quite sure that, according to the Statute of the land, there shall never be one penny less in the Baths Fund than £375,000.
§ Mr. BROWN
The point is that that is the value of the levy on the output of 1933, which is 207,000,000 tons. The hon. Member is dealing with a point which I am now going to take. That is a minimum, and as the output goes up two things happen to the fund. There will be, first of all, more royalty levy, and as there will be more royalty levy, less will be needed from the Wefare Fund to make up the difference between the royalty levy and the total of £375,000.
§ Mr. JOHN
I want to get this quite clear. The hon. Gentleman is justifying now the transference of the output levy in order to augment the royalty levy on the ground that it has been constantly done. It is quite true, but we complain not that it has been done, but that the Secretary for Mines is increasing the figure from £150,000 to £179,000, while depleting the fund by halving the output levy.
§ Mr. BROWN
The answer is that the hon. Member will understand that there was a recommendation by the Inquiry Committee, with which he and his hon. Friends did not agree. That recommendation was that we should no longer have any funds in the districts, and that the funds should be taken from the districts and concentrated at the centre. It is because the whole of the districts were strongly opposed to that that we made this arrangement. We had to do our best in view of the report to carry out the main purposes which the Inquiry Committee said were outstanding. The 320 first of those was pithead baths, and the second research. Because of the recommendations of the Inquiry Committee for the abolition of the district funds, we made our arrangements. That is why we took the programme laid down by the Inquiry Committee, and that programme, as a matter of fact, is being carried out at the rate of three baths per month. We allocated such a sum as, for the next 20 years, would make the royalty levy up to £375,000. After those allocations have been made we are able to leave a residue of one-fifth to the Central Welfare Fund and four-fifths to the districts. That amounted to £202,700 on the 1933 output in the districts each year, and £50,000 in the Central Welfare Fund, plus certain endowments which we have for research and scholarships.
Nine-tenths of the talk about this Bill is from people who have never applied their minds to finding out what it really does. They have never really worked it out. The hon. Member for Spennymoor (Mr. Batey) takes out his answers. He carries them about with him in all parts of the country as well as in this House. That is very good indeed. He quotes the answers, but he does not inform the House, as he should, and as a Member who knows all about pithead baths, that not only are there lots of mines which, because of their small size, will not have the baths but there is still in some areas a great deal of resistance among the mining population to the provision of pithead baths.
§ Mr. BROWN
I say that there is a great deal of resistance yet. This programme has only begun to get fully under way during the last five or six years, and there are many people yet in the mining areas who need to be convinced that pithead baths are really vital from the point of view of welfare. More and more the opinion is growing that this is a principal end of welfare work, and the Bill makes it certain that a long-term programme will be possible. It is indeed, for all those who have to plan these things, a great advantage to have a 20-year period in which they really can plan on a regular scale.
The hon. Member for West Rhondda (Mr. John) raised the question of 321 maintenance, and that is another difficulty. I could not help thinking, when the hon. Member for Spennymoor was talking about miners' institutes in Durham, of the last report of the Central Committee, where it is stated that one institute, which cost a great deal of money, is now being closed down because it cannot be carried on. That is another side of the problem, and another indication that things are not so easy and simple as hon. Members, in their passionate speeches in this House and outside, would lead the electors to believe. We believe this Bill to be a sound solution of a very difficult problem. I accept, as Minister of Mines, the responsibility for
§ it on behalf of the Government, but I am not going to let Mr. Shinwell and the Labour Government get away without their responsibility. When hon. Members say that the Bill is a mean Bill, that this is taking a mean action, I retort that the meanest of all political actions is to see a difficult problem, look it in the face, and then pass by and let some other man face the problem that you do not care to handle.
§ Question put, "That the Bill be now read tee Third time."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 275; Noes, 58.323
|Division No. 161.]||AYES.||[10.43 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Hornby, Frank|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Horsbrugh, Florence|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.|
|Albery, Irving James||Culverwell, Cyril Tom||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)|
|Apsley, Lord||Dawson, Sir Philip||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.|
|Baillie. Sir Adrian W. M.||Drewe, Cedric||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Duckworth, George A. V.||James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H.|
|Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J.||Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Jesson, Major Thomas E.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato|
|Bateman, A. L.||Dunglass, Lord||Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan)|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Elliston, Captain George Sampson||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)|
|Belt, Sir Alfred L.||Elmley, Viscount||Ker, J. Campbell|
|Bilndell, James||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)|
|Boothby, Robert John Graham||Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||Kerr, Hamilton W.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Essenhigh, Reginald Clare||Keyes, Admiral Sir Roger|
|Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton||Everard, W. Lindsay||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Fleming, Edward Lascelles||Latham, Sir Herbert Paul|
|Bracken, Brendan||Ford, Sir Patrick J.||Law, Sir Alfred|
|Braithwalte, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Fraser, Captain Ian||Leckie, J. A.|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Fuller, Captain A. G.||Leech, Dr. J. W.|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Gibson, Charles Granville||Lees-Jones, John|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Gillett, Sir George Master man||Leighton, Major B. E. P.|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham]||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Levy, Thomas|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Glossop, C. W. H.||Liddall, Walter S.|
|Buchan, John||Gluckstein, Louis Halls||Lindsay, Noel Ker|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Glyn, Major Sir Ralph G. C.||Liewellin, Major John J.|
|Bullock, Captain Malcolm||Goff, Sir Park||Lloyd, Geoffrey|
|Burghley, Lord||Goldie, Noel 3.||Lockwood. John C. (Hackney, C.)|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Loder, Captain J. de Vere|
|Butler, Richard Austen||Gower, Sir Robert||Loftus, Pierce C.|
|Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly)||Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd. N.)||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.|
|Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)||Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||MacAndrew, Lt.-Col C. G. (Partick)|
|Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Graves, Marjorle||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)|
|Carver, Major William H.||Greene, William P. C.||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Grenfell, E. C. (City of London)||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.|
|Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Grimston, R. V.||McKle, John Hamilton|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.)||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.||Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Gunston, Captain D. W.||McLean, Major Sir Alan|
|Chapman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)|
|Christie, James Archibald||Hammersley, Samuel S.||Macmillan, Maurice Harold|
|Clarke, Frank||Hanbury, Cecil||Macqulsten, Frederick Alexander|
|Clayton, Sir Christopher||Harbord, Arthur||Magnay, Thomas|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Hartington, Marquess of||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.|
|Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)||Martin, Thomas B.|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford)||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)|
|Copeland, Ida||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Milne. Charles|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Hepworth, Joseph||Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Mitcheson, G. G.|
|Craven-Ellis, William||Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston)||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres|
|Crooke, J. Smedley||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Morris-Jones. Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)|
|Morrison, William Shepherd||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Muirhead, Lieut.-Colonel A. J.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton.|
|Munro, Patrick||Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Nail, Sir Joseph||Rutherford, John (Edmonton)||Summersby, Charles H.|
|Nall-Cain, Hon. Ronald||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Salmon, Sir Isidore||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Salt, Edward W.||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|North, Edward T.||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Nunn, William||Savery, Samuel Servington||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|O'Connor, Terence James||Scone, Lord||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.||Todd, Lt.-Col. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Palmer, Francis Noel||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Patrick, Colin M.||Skelton, Archibald Noel||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Peake, Captain Osbert||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Peat, Charles U.||Smith, Sir J. Walker. (Barrow-in-F.)||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Perkins, Walter R. D.||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)||Warrender. Sir Victor A. G.|
|Peters, Dr. Sidney John||Smith, R. W. (Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Petherick, M.||Smithers, Waldron||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Peto. Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilston)||Somervell, Sir Donald||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Spencer, Captain Richard A.||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Held, Capt. A. Cunningham.||Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|Reld, David D. (County Down)||Spens, William Patrick||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)|
|Renter, John R.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut-Colonel George|
|Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.||Stanley. Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)||Wise, Alfred H.|
|Rickards, George William||Stevenson, James||Womersley, Walter James|
|Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecciesall)||Stones, James||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)|
|Ropner, Colonel L.||Storey, Samuel|
|Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||Stourton, Hon. John J.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.||Strauss, Edward A.||Captain Sir George Bowyer and|
|Runge, Norah Cecil||Strickland, Captain W. F.||Sir George Penny.|
|Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Mason. David M. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)||Maxton, James|
|Batey, Joseph||Grundy, Thomas W.||Milner, Major James|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Nathan, Major H. L.|
|Buchanan. George||Hamilton. Sir R. W. (Orkney & Zetl'nd)||Owen, Major Goronwy|
|Cape, Thomas||Harris, Sir Percy||Paling, Wilfred|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Jenkins, Sir William||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Cove, William G.||John, William||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Cripps. Sir Stafford||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Daggar, George||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Kirkwood, David||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lawson, John James||Smith, Tom (Normanton)|
|Dickle, John p.||Leonard, William||Thorne, William James|
|Dobble, William||Logan, David Gilbert||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Edwards, Charles||Lunn, William||Williams. David (Swansea, East)|
|Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.)||McEntee, Valentine L.||Wilmot, John|
|Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||McKeag, William||Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mr. D. Graham and Mr. Groves.|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill accordingly read the Third time, and passed.