HC Deb 03 May 1934 vol 289 cc584-605

9.16 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 6, line 40, to leave out Sub-section (1).

I look upon this question of training and training centres as a matter of great importance. I move this Amendment partly in order to give the Parliamentary Secretary an opportunity of making a statement as to what these centres are going to be, the extent of them, and their methods of functioning. I should be the last to deny to any man of any age the right to improve himself from a vocational or any other point of view. I look rather kindly upon many institutions that are already functioning, some of them controlled by unemployed men themselves, and all tending to give them an opportunity of making themselves proficient in some calling for which they have a bent. But, while I am prepared to countenance that, we cannot lose sight of the fact that this is part of the statutory conditions laid down for benefit, and we must be especially alert in looking into the details of it. By the fifth statutory condition, if a man has been required by the insurance officer to attend any course of instruction, he has to prove that he duly attended. In this Sub-section there is a combination of the methods that apply to those over and to those under 18 years of age.

I can see quite readily that it would be an advantage to some men who have been unemployed for long periods to have an opportunity of making themselves fit for re-entry into employment, but I should like to indicate a, possibility that may arise out of these seemingly innocent words. In practice, hitherto, insurance officers have in the main confined their activities to what may be called young persons, perhaps unmarried persons in the main, but, as I read this Clause, that age restriction might not hold, because it appears to me that this widens the age at which the insurance officer may look upon a man as suitable for sending to courses of instruction as a part of the condition of receiving benefit. They may look upon a man as soft and consider, in view of the possibilities of employment in the future, that he requires a little hardening up. On the other hand, while not desiring to cast any aspersions on any insurance officers, there is the possibility, if it has not actually occurred in the past, that some people have not comported themselves at the exchanges to the liking of the officer concerned, and it has been possible, as a sort of reprimand, to subject them to the fifth statutory condition. I want to prevent this Subsection being applied not as a help to individuals but as a penalty.

In my opinion, a tremendous extension of centres will be required, because, notwithstanding the betterment of trade which we have been told about, and which we all acknowledge to various extents, there will still be a large army of unemployed of varying ages for a number of years. I should also like to know if the Government have come to any determination as to the type of centres to be provided. Have the men to be segregated according to trades? Have the Government come to a decision whether the training is to be sufficiently comprehensive for preparing men or keeping them fit for re-entry into all trades of any importance, or are they going to fall back on the expedient which has been adopted in the past of providing courses of instruction in employments to which men could most suitably turn themselves if they were useful with their hands? Do the Government visualise the provision of any machinery which will give the Exchanges adequate guidance as to what industries require new blood? Every industry of any size is covered by agreements between employers and employed, and they make an effort to secure the requisite number of apprentices, or new blood, to keep it going. I hear the Parliamentary Secretary saying in an undertone that he wished they did but they do not. At least the structure of the machine is there, and there is no reluctance on the part of the trade unions to admit the apprenticeship which the industry can absorb. At present the centres have no such guidance, and I put the matter forward as one of importance.

The Minister invited Members to pay visits to these centres. I have been a pretty regular attendant at a centre which I regard as exceptionally well conducted with a manager who did not look upon his work merely as a job but had a real appreciation of what came from his factory, and therefore I am not prejudiced. But even there in my opinion it was rather haphazard. I found a tendency to stress things which have a certain amount of popularity, such as woodwork and little dickerings in motors. I want to know, in view of the fact that this is to be made a condition whether conscious attention is going to be given to the various industries that require new labour. I have been in a committee that had some conscious thought in this direction. I would remind the hon. Member of the local training advisory committees after the War. There employers and employés met under the jurisdiction of Government officials, ascertained the requirements of the various industries and endeavoured to meet them. I have addressed these remarks to the Minister of Labour in order that he may have an opportunity of explaining in detail, because the progress of this Bill has been such that there has been nothing said about this great question of training these men and making it a condition of receiving benefit.

9.28 p.m.


I beg to second the Amendment.

The House has just listened for a long time to a Debate on an Amendment on the former Clause. We could not see why that Clause needed to be in the Bill, and all what we said about it we repeat on this Sub-section. The object of the Sub-section is to compel unemployed men to join authorised courses. The one thing an Englishman does not like is compulsion. Here the Government seek to compel men who are unemployed to join these various courses. There might be something to be said for training centres and training camps under Part II of the Bill, but whatever can be said for training centres and camps under Part II cannot be said under Part I. The first part of the Sub-section says that the Minister wants power to compel unemployed men to attend these authorised courses in order to keep them fit for employment. We have to remember that the unemployed to whom this Sub-section applies are those who will not have been unemployed for more than 26 weeks, and, in spite of that, the Minister wants power to compel them to attend authorised courses. What need is there for that? A man who has not been unemployed so long as 26 weeks does not need to be kept fit for employment. This House at the end of July or the beginning of August will adjourn for 14 weeks, and some Members will not return at the end of the 14 weeks, but nobody is going to argue that because the Members have not been here for 14 weeks or a little more they are not fit for work here. They will be fit, or will consider themselves fit, for work when they return, and, if it is not necessary to compel the Members of this House to keep fit for employment, there is just as little need to compel the unemployed.

The Minister said to-day in answer to a question that there were over 80 per cent. who had found work from the training centres. If the training centres are doing such good work, that in itself should be sufficient to encourage unemployed men to go to them without them being compelled to attend. At a matter of fact, we believe that a lot of those who found employment by means of the training centres would have found employment if they had not been there. Personally, I am not at all enamoured of the training centres. I have not so much objection to the training of juveniles under 18 years of age, but I have not yet been able to bring my mind to support training centres and training camps for those over that age. One could understand it if the Minister were seeking power only to compel single men to attend. The danger is that the Minister can apply the power to married men, and one feels a strong objection to his doing that. To take a married man away from his family and send him miles away to a training centre, in my opinion is not a wise action. I am not sure whether under this Sub-section the Minister proposes to send any of these unemployed to the training camps. If he proposes that, in my opinion it is a crime. None of these men ought to be sent to a training camp. Nothing that can be said for a man that has been unemployed for some years going to a training camp or centre can be said of this class of man. In the case of those who have been employed for a short period of time, I think the House should hesitate to give power to the Minister to compel them to go to training centres, and therefore I have great pleasure in seconding the Amendment.

9.34 p.m.


I have listened with considerable astonishment to the speech of the hon. Member for Spennymoor (Mr. Batey), and, when I saw this Amendment on the Order Paper, I thought it extraordinary that the Opposition should seek to delete this Subsection from the Bill. Surely this is a question which should be discussed, as far as we can, upon non-party lines. This particular portion of the Bill provides something which hon. Members on all benches seek to have carried out in the most efficient manner possible. I was interested to hear the hon. Member opposite say that, so far as Part II of the Bill was concerned, he thought that there was something to be said for these training centres.


No, I did not say that. If I get the chance I shall oppose it. I said that what might be said for training centres under Part II cannot be said under Part I.


The OFFICIAL REPORT will show in the morning who is correct. I thought it was too good to be true for the hon. Member to find it possible at last to say a good word for the Bill. At least Part II to him is less objectionable so far as training is concerned than Part I. When we are raising this particular question, we want to bear in mind carefully what has been said by the hon. Member for St. Rollox (Mr. Leonard). I was particularly impressed by his stressing of the fact that it is very important that there should be the most efficient liaison between the training centres and sources of employment in this country, whatever those sources may be; that we should not concentrate at any particular moment in the training of the men at these centres for one trade in particular at the risk of overcrowding it when they leave the training centre; and that we should not go in for too general a form of training which may make it difficult for the men to obtain any particular job in any particular position when they leave. I am sure that that is a part of this scheme which the Government will bear very carefully in mind.

If I might give a particular instance of the point which the hon. Member for St. Rollox raises, it is this. We are faced at this moment in Sheffield with a situation in which the city has now touched a record for production, not only a postwar record but a record for all time in the production of steel, and that state of affairs has come to pass at one and the same time as there are still left in the city some 40,000 unemployed. It is due very largely to the rather peculiar circumstances in which Sheffield finds itself. During the War men poured into the city for the purpose of making munitions. They have remained there. A new generation has been born, and is now growing up. The population of the city increased by some 50,000 persons during the four years of the War, and although more people than ever are being employed, there are still some 40,000 unemployed. Yet there is a definite shortage of skilled labour in the steel industry in Sheffield. I think that the training centres can perform a very useful function if they can divert the flow of unemployed men through channels which will lead them to cope with a situation such as that. With that point in view, I was rather surprised to hear the hon. Member for Spennymoor (Mr. Batey) say—and again I hope that the OFFICIAL REPORT will prove that I am not misquoting him on this occasion—that it was a crime to send married men to a training centre.


No, to a training camp.


A training centre or a training camp. He thought it was a crime, and the point he was making was that it would mean taking them from home and breaking up the family life, and that the social consequences would be disastrous. The Government are not proposing to send married men overseas as so many went during the War. I gather that it is not even proposed to send them many miles from home. The scheme, as I understand it, is that, in these areas where unemployment is most concentrated and most serious, these training centres will be set up for the purpose of dealing with this problem. I can well imagine—and I hope that the Minister when he replies will be able to confirm it—that in areas such as Sheffield—I mention that because I happen to "be one of the members for that City—there will be a training centre to which married men can go within a few minutes, where they can receive useful instruction which will enable them to obtain employment. I am sure that if that is so, the House will be in favour, upon whichever benches we may sit, of using this machinery for the purpose of obtaining employment for those men.

It is probably agreed that, whether we like it or not, this country is entering upon a period of economic planning. There is a difference of opinion as to the priority, the speed and the tempo of that planning, but there is no difference of opinion that the time has come when there has to be very careful thought and organisation of industry from whatever point of view. I support this proposal of training centres, believing that they represent a very important contribution to that economic planning, and that they will be a great help in joining up idle men with industries where they can find employment, and in giving them a real opportunity to find their place in industry, and to earn their livelihood, and, in so doing, I hope that the Government will resist the Amendment.

9.43 p.m.


We make no apology for having put down the Amendment. If the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken wishes to know our intentions, I would tell him that we have mainly put it down with a view to giving an opportunity to the Government of stating clearly their intention on this part of the Bill. We had a short discussion on Part II as far as training was concerned, but I do not think that we have had any discussion whatever of the training under this part of the Bill. I have in a previous Debate made no bones as to my view in regard to training, and anyone who has seen it at first hand would not have any hesitation, under the limited conditions under which it has operated, of giving it his blessing. Generally speaking, if a married man has wanted to go to a centre he has done so. I have seen large numbers of men who have been only too pleased to get away from the great cesspool of unemployment to some place where they could have a reasonable chance of getting into condition and of securing a jumping off place for a job. Therefore, I believe that the training has done splendid work, and has accomplished a great deal. As far as juveniles are concerned, there may have to be some compulsion.

Do the Government visualise any very wide extension of the training system under Part I of the Bill? Do they mean to operate generally the training centres as they are at the present time, with the usual gradual expansion? Here and there a centre is opened in some part of the country, and sometimes there is an extension in regard to the class of work undertaken. That is a normal development. Do the Government visualise a wide extension of the development? Do they intend to bring men into the centres compulsorily? I have never agreed with the use of the word "camps." In the "Daily Herald" investigation, which was very favourable for the training centres, when the term "concentration camp" was used, it must be clearly understood that that was a term that had been used by the Home Secretary. I do not know whether it was used by him, inadvertently, but the "Daily Herald" took that term from the Home Secretary's lips.


I understand that the Parliamentary Secretary took it from the "Daily Herald."


I understood that it was a quotation from something that the Home Secretary had said. I have never accepted the term "camps." Do the Government intend to apply compulsion on a large scale? Do they mean to send men to these centres without the pull of a job, that is, a job in the offing? Is it intended to send them to the centres as places where they can be pulled together and stiffened? I could understand men volunteering to go to the centres, even if there was not the prospect of a job. I have known young men who would be very pleased to get away from the place that had been such a trouble to them, with no prospect of a job, where they could get a change and be engaged in some way, and also get a good feed. Generally speaking, they do get good food in the training centres. Is it the intention to extend the camps and to keep the men there, without any prospect of a job, and compel them to go there? It is very important that we should have an answer to these questions.

We cannot discuss Part II of the Bill, but the Unemployment Assistance Board can make arrangements with the Ministry of Labour for training some of their people, and it is the more important in view of that particular function that is laid upon them that the Ministry should take over some of the people. Upon the answer to these questions will depend our view on this matter. Training in general is a principle for which I stand, and in this matter I am speaking for our party. We stand for that, but we will not assent to wholesale compulsion. We shall be very careful about giving our blessing to a scheme which means simply sending men to the centres without any prospect of a job, especially if they are to be compelled to go there, but with the two principles of training voluntarily, and with very limited compulsion, and also the principle of the pull of a job, we are entirely agreed. I take this opportunity of paying my tribute to the men who are running the training centres. They have done splendid work, and it is because I appreciate that splendid work that I should not like to see the Ministry launching out, without limit, in a way that might possibly damage the work that has been accomplished. The work has great possibilities but there are great dangers, and it is important that we should go very carefully.

9.49 p.m.


The House has shown by its reception of the remarks of the hon. Member for Chester-le-Street (Mr. Lawson) how much it appreciates what he has said. If I dealt fully with this matter I should occupy most of the remaining time before 11 o'clock. A good many questions of detail could more properly be dealt with when our Estimates are under discussion than on this Amendment, but I will give a reply in broad outline. The hon. Member for St. Rollox (Mr. Leonard) asked a number of questions. I should like to thank him for the tribute that he paid to the work of the centre in Glasgow, which I have had the opportunity of seeing. I will distinguish between the various types of training centres that we run. There is, first of all, the training centre which takes youths and trains them for a definite job. The training that is given there is very intensive, for a comparatively short time, and we have found by experience that unless a man can be placed practically at once into a job the training that he has got is not retained and most of the work that has been done for him is wasted. Therefore, we are compelled to limit the number that we take into these centres to the number for whom we think we can find jobs as soon as they come out. If there is any considerable gap they lose the skill which they have gained. That is a real check on any undue development of those training centres.

The hon. Member suggested that it would be desirable that some from of advice should be taken in order to make sure that the men were not trained in industries where there was already a surplus of labour and that the training should be concentrated on those industries where there was a lack of labour. I agree with the hon. Member. I hope he will forgive me when I say that one reason why there is a lack in this respect at the present time is that the trade unions have always refused to co-operate with us. I hope that I may take his suggestion as an indication that the trade union movement, at all events in Scotland, will revise their view and will in future co-operate with us in trying to place these men.


Is that an invitation that there should be co-operation in an inclusive scheme, representative of all sections, including employers?


I shall be glad to see it tried.


Is that the condition that was offered to the trade unions and the employers?


The position is that the trade unions have actually opposed our schemes. If they will co-operate with us we shall be the first to welcome such cooperation with open arms. The hon. Member also asked whether we give a general training or whether we train for particular trades. Usually, we train for particular trades, because the training has to be so intensive and we have not the time to give a general training. We must concentrate on the man getting work, and we try to limit our training to those trades where there is likely to be an opening. For example, many of the neon electric signs which cover shops in London have been erected by boys and young men trained in one of our centres. We discovered that there was a lack of men to erect these signs, and boys from our training centres were snatched up as fast as we could turn them out.

We have just discovered that there is a demand for men who can put stained glass in the doors of some of the new houses which are being erected. Apparently some people have an artistic taste. There was, apparently, a shortage of people who could do this work, and we, therefore, developed a new course in order to train men who could put in stained glass windows. We cannot hope to make any great extension of these particular training centres until trade shows definite signs of revival. The hon. Member for Hillsborough (Mr. G. Braithwaite) talked about training men for the steel trade. I have not time to go into the matter fully, but I should deprecate the idea that it is the task of the Government to train persons for the steel trade. The training of apprentices is a matter for the industry. We have undertaken these training courses to enable people in distressed areas, who have no chance of getting a training locally, to have an opportunity of acquiring skill which they may be able to exercise in other parts of the country. It would not be right for the Government to go to the expense of training people in Sheffield for the steel trade in Sheffield, or in any other industrial centre, like Birmingham.

I now come to the second class of industrial centres, where we take in men largely for reconditioning. In 1931, when relief schemes were being largely closed down, the opportunities of placing men from these centres were considerably restricted, and for a time we had to restrict the intake of the centres. It has always been considered that you cannot adequately train a man or exercise discipline over him unless you can hold out the prospect of a job within a certain definite period. I happened to ask the manager of a training centre whether he thought he could exercise discipline over the men if there was not a definite promise of a job, and he thought that on the whole it was worth an experiment. He thought he could. However, to cut a long story short, we made an experiment and we filled up our centres, pointing out that there was no more than a small prospect of a job but that they would have the opportunity of a training under excellent conditions and with excellent food. The response was excellent and very encouraging; there was no difficulty in maintaining discipline. We filled up all our existing centres.

The next point was whether we could develop it still further, and we tried an experiment last year of running a certain number of tented camps around each of the permament centres. It was purely an experiment, and we did not know whether it would be possible to maintain discipline among the men. Again the experiment was extremely successful. The men responded splendidly, and we hope this year to extend the scheme still further. It shows that we are doing precisely what the hon. Member for Chester-le-Street suggests—namely, going slowly in our extensions, and, as I see it, it is the line upon which we shall proceed, to make an experiment here and an experiment there, and where it is successful to enlarge upon it as far as we can. Hon. Members may have realised that the wording of the Sub-section is not the same as the corresponding Sub-section in the original Bill. We have inserted the words for the purpose of giving him an opportunity of becoming or keeping fit for entry into or return to regular employment. The object is clearly in the interest of the men themselves, and the Sub-section is not in any way a penal Clause. I must stress that point as a matter of great importance.


Take a given centre with five openings in one of the sections, and 10 men unemployed at the appropriate Exchange. Will the offer be extended to the 10 men unemployed or will there be any possibility of five of the men being selected and it being made a statutory condition of benefit?


The matter must be looked at from the point of view of the unfortunate manager in charge of the centre. He is trying to turn these men into semi-skilled artisans in the course of six months. Is it likely that he will be able to do that with conscripts? Obviously, in order to get good results they must be men who are reasonably anxious to make the best of their opportunities——


If a recipient of benefit refuses to go to one of these centres does he run the risk of losing benefit?


I am coming to that point in a moment. In this Sub-section we have made a change from the existing law. The existing law, in Section 7, Subsection (1) of the Act of 1920, merely states that the insurance officer can order a man to go to one of these centres and if he does not then, automatically, he is disqualified from benefit without any sort or kind of appeal. Incidentally the first people to put this Section into operation were hon. Members opposite. We have abandoned that proposal, although a man who has volunteered for training is still served with a formal notice that he has to go. Under the Sub-section we have given the man a right of appeal to the court of referees, and he can appeal on the ground that it is unreasonable to insist on his going. Therefore, we have considerably modified the existing law in order to make it clear that they would only go as volunteers, or where there is really good cause for requiring them to go. The hon. Member for Spennymoor (Mr. Batey) thought that it was disgraceful to insist on a married man going. I do not agree with him. Surely it is better for a man to be separated from his family for a month or so with the prospect of being able to get a permanent job, and move his family out of a derelict area, rather than to have to live in a derelict area and continue unemployed. The hon. Member says that this ought not to apply in the case of those under Part I, men who have been out of work for 26 weeks or less.

I think that this point of view arises from our experience of the last few years, particularly in some of the depressed areas. In pre-War days for a man to have been out of work for six months would have been regarded as a very long time indeed. From 1911, when the Unemployment Insurance Act was first brought in, to 1914, the average number of days for which benefit was drawn by those who were unemployed was 15. I am not going to say that in the course of the next year or two years we shall get back to that state of affairs. But, after all, this is to be the basis of our unemployment system for a generation. I look forward to the day when even six months will be regarded as a considerable period, especially for a juvenile, and it will be only reasonable to say, for example in a village, to a miner's son when a pit has closed down and is not to be reopened, that before he has waited six months, to be demoralised by standing at a street corner, while he is still fit and still has the habit of steady work, "You can go off at once and be trained for a job." For that reason we have inserted this Sub-section in this particular form.


Let me put a question with regard to the people who are sent for the purpose of being reconditioned. Would the Parliamentary Secretary say whether a person who has, either voluntarily or otherwise, been sent to get hardened up in his own occupation, be presented with a green card for any vacancies that may occur during the period that he is attending the centre as a refresher?


I do not quite follow the hon. Member. The mere fact that a man is attending a training centre will be a valid excuse for not taking the job. On the other hand the mere fact that he is at a training centre will not prevent him taking a job which comes to his notice.


Will it be taken as a reasonable excuse for not attending a centre that a man is the holder of an allotment? A considerable number of allotments have been taken by these men, and if the allotments are to be left without cultivators that would be a very serious matter.


Speaking from memory I rather think that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour gave a promise in regard to that point on the Committee stage. Obviously, the circumstances would be taken into account and a man would not be compelled unreasonably to abandon an allotment. On the other hand I think my hon. Friend will agree equally that a man ought not to be allowed merely to say, "I have an allotment," which possibly he has never cultivated before, and to regard that as a valid excuse for not going to a training centre.

10.10 p.m.


The Parliamentary Secretary was so sweetly reasonable in the first part of his speech and so much represented what I believe to be the mind of the House, that I was a little disappointed at the last part of his speech, but I am not quite sure that the last part of his speech did not really represent what is in the Bill. My view always has been that the training of juveniles up to 18 years of age was most desirable, and that it was not unreasonable that young persons should be required to attend training courses to become efficient for industry or to be conditioned, as the case might be. But it is one thing to do it with young persons under 18, and quite another thing to do it with an adult, a man of 27 or 28 or 30, and to do it against his will. The Minister said that; he said in the light of his experience and knowledge, after visiting these centres and giving the subject a lot of study, that it-was not likely to be effective if compulsion was applied. But almost in the same breath he said that he did not think it unreasonable to insist on this condition for married men. That rather suggested compulsion. Compulsion of a man who has volunteered to go to a course and then, having gone to the course, requiring him to continue his training so that the money spent on him should not be wasted, is one thing, but it is quite another thing to make as a condition of receiving benefit the attendance at a course. That is particularly so when you make it the condition of receiving ordinary standard benefit.

When we come to Part II of course it is quite another story. You assume that when a man has to go on public assistance he has been a very long time out of work and may have become demoralised, and there may be a case made out for requiring attendance as a condition of public health payment, although even there, in the light of experience in London of one or two compulsory training centres where residence is required, compulsion has not produced very satisfactory results. I have only to mention Belmont as one example. The cases we are considering under Part I are the cases where there is still a legal claim to benefit, quite apart from any condition. I do not like these words. After the speech of the Parliamentary Secretary I am satisfied that as long as the matter is in his hands all his influence will be brought to bear on making attendance as fas as possible voluntary, in order to make the results satisfactory. But we have to remember that we are dealing with an Act of Parliament and not with a particular Minister.

The Parliamentary Secretary made a very important statement. He said that we were making an Act of Parliament for all time, or at any rate for a generation. Of course no Parliament can pledge future Parliaments. Any future Parliament can undo what any past Parliament has done. The Minister is not to have the administration of this Measure. The responsibility is to be with the Statutory Committee. They are to have direction from Parliament as to what Parliament desires, and if these words remain in the Bill they will constitute an instruction to the new committee to require attendance at a course as a condition, whenever they think fit. It is unfortunate, after the excellent, fair and reasonable statement of the Minister that these words should be retained. It would be much better if he left it to the discretion of those responsible to require attendance at these courses without compulsion of any form or character.

10.16 p.m.


May I put a question to the Parliamentary Secretary? I agree with the last speaker as to the fairness of the greater part of his statement, but I must say that the last part of his statement, referring to the married men, was rather ominous. I would ask him to explain further what is meant with regard to compulsion in the case of married men. If the Minister intends to use the Clause in that direction, I can easily see the possibility of using it on a wholesale scale, and I think in the interests of the training, as well as in the interests of the men, we ought to put our foot down on such a proposal.

10.17 p.m.


I tried to compress my remarks in order not to delay the House unduly and I may have compressed them too much. I was referring to what I understood to be the objection of the hon. Member for Spennymoor (Mr. Batey) against any married people going to these centres at all.


No, the camps.


If the hon. Member was only referring to the camps, that is another matter. Obviously, the overwhelming proportion will be single men, and all I wanted to do was to enter a caveat that the odd case of the married man would not be excluded.

10.18 p.m.


Reference has been made to co-operation with the trade unions, and I would like the hon. Gentleman to realise that the trade unions in the big industries—he mentioned the steel industry in particular—have a duty towards their members. In the building industry to-day there are certain trades, including my own trade—that of a carpenter and joiner—in which there is an over supply of men and there are other trades within the industry in which there is a definite shortage. The practice with regard to centres that have operated previously has been that a person who is being trained for the building industry is trained for a particular trade in the industry that is not over-supplied. We feel that there will be serious consequences as the result of bringing in these quickly trained men. Their training is inadequate, not from the point of view of the training which it is possible to give within six months, but inadequate to fit them for the trade in which they are to be employed, and the result is that when they get a job they are unable to hold it. They get into the trade unions, many of them with the object of getting benefit, which is quite a laudable one, and no doubt also with the object of supporting the principles of trade unionism. The result is that they are thrown on the trade union funds because of the inadequate nature of their training and their inability to carry on the occupation for which they have been partially trained.

In view of that experience, I think the Minister will understand the lack of readiness on the part of the trade unions to co-operate in these training centres unless they have guarantees, which the Minister is not prepared to give. I think he is not prepared to give any guarantee to any of the trade unions in regard to the type of co-operation that he is expecting from them. I have seen a good deal of training centres of all kinds, and personally I think a good deal of good work is done within those centres. Generally speaking, one would say that they are an advantage, but I think the Minister should recognise that when he is passing strictures, as he did, on the trade unions, they are scarcely justified, and if he expects co-operation from these very important bodies, he will have to consider reasonable guarantees that they have a right to expect from him.

10.21 p.m.


I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will leave these words in the Bill, because we who have to answer in our constituencies for the provisions of this Bill will not be afraid to face up to the compulsory powers that lie at the back of this Measure. It seems to me that the Opposition are getting away from the real point, which is to get men back into work, and when they object to the compulsory powers that exist in respect of married men they forget that it will be very much more important to get a married man back into work through a training centre, and thereby enable him to provide sustenance for his wife and family, than many single men, it may be.


As the hon. and gallant Member is so emphatic about taking a married man away to a training camp, will he tell us for what form of occupation they will train him?


The Parliamentary Secretary gave us specific examples of men who were taken from distressed areas land trained for particular openings that existed, and although these powers will be used carefully, as the Minister has said, nevertheless I hope they will be kept within the Bill. It strikes me that we have nothing to justify the supposition that the right hon. Gentleman is la sort of Public Enemy No. 1 and his Parliamentary Secretary Public Enemy No. 2, and that they are going to administer this Measure in la harsh and unreasonable way. There are always recalcitrant cases, and it is as well to have these compulsory powers in the interests of those cases themselves. I hope that we who support the Government will face up to the question of the need for compulsion in the background, in the knowledge that it will be used reasonably and fairly, as it has been in the past.

10.23 p.m.


I feel, after the speech of the Parliamentary Secretary, that it is necessary to be clear on one or two points. The hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Thanet (Captain Balfour) speaks on the assumption that there is a vast amount of work going begging and that it cannot be done because the labour of this country is untrained.


Where are the bricklayers?


Does the hon. Member suggest that bricklayers cannot be obtained?


I do.


Then he had better get into touch with their trade union, and he will find that his information is inaccurate. The position is not that there is a lot of employment available and that there are no trained men able to take it; the reverse is the case, and it is impossible to find an occupation of a major character for which men can be trained with any hope of getting employment. The hon. Gentleman quoted one or two trades peculiar to some fad or fashion of the moment, but the people who were trained to do that work were not men; they were youths. Nobody on this side objects in principle to the training of youths, but, as the Minister said, the whole problem of providing training for adults, as we have experienced in London, is vitiated by the belief on the part of the unemployed themselves that these training centres have a penal aspect. Whether it be true or not, the belief is a firmly rooted one.


That belief has been created through the propaganda of the Labour party.


If the hon. Member knew a little more about what is said by responsible Labour people, he would not have made that remark. The fact remains that in the minds of unemployed men there is a continual fear that they are going to be parted from their families and sent to training places like Belmont. As the Minister said, the best

results are not to be got from conscripts; the best results will be got from free and voluntary training. Would it not be very much better if these training centres were voluntary? I am certain that, with the exception of a tiny minority, most unemployed men would welcome the opportunity of training, and all the social life and activity that that training would mean as a relief from the eternal, dreary monotony of waiting about in unemployment. If this were a voluntary scheme to which men might be invited to go, I believe there would be a very large response, but the whole meaning of the thing is vitiated by the firm belief among the unemployed that there is a penal aspect to it. I would therefore urge the Minister, in the interests of what he has in mind, to remove the compulsion.

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

The House divided : Ayes, 210; Noes, 51.

Division No. 234.] AYES. [10.31 pm
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Crossley, A. C. Howard, Tom Forrest
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)
Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K. Culverwell, Cyril Tom Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)
Aske, Sir Robert William Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil) Hume, Sir George Hopwood
Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfe Denville, Alfred Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover) Dickie, John P. Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)
Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M. Drewe, Cedric Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Roml'd)
Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet) Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel Jamieson, Douglas
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.) Ker, J. Campbell
Bateman, A. L. Dunglass, Lord Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)
Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Edmondson, Major A. J. Kerr, Hamilton W.
Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury) Eillston, Captain George Sampson Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton
Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.) Elmley, Viscount Law, Sir Alfred
Bernays, Robert Emmott, Charles E. G. C. Law, Richard K. (Hull, S. W.)
Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B. Emrys-Evans, P. V. Leckle, J. A.
Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn) Erskins, Lord (Weston-super-Mare) Leech, Dr. J. W.
Blindell, James Essenhigh, Reginald Clare Leighton, Major B. E. P.
Boulton, W. W. Ford, Sir Patrick J. Lindsay, Noel Ker
Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart Fox, Sir Gifford Lloyd, Geoffrey
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Fraser, Captain Ian Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)
Broadbent, Colonel John Fuller, Captain A. G. Loftus, Pierce C.
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Gamzoni, Sir John Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton Lyons, Abraham Montagu
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y) Gillett, Sir George Masterman MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G. (Partick)
Browne, Captain A. C. Glossop, C. W. H. MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Gluckstein, Louis Halle McCorquodale, M. S.
Cadogan, Hon. Edward Goldle, Noel B. MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.) Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)
Carver, Major William H. Greene, William P. C. McEwen, Captain J. H. F.
Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City) Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John McKie, John Hamilton
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Grimston, R. V. Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton
Chapman, Col. R.(Houghton-le-Spring) Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. Macquisten, Frederick Alexander
Clayton, Sir Christopher Hammersley, Samuel S. Magnay, Thomas
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Hanbury, Cecil Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.
Coltox, Major William Philip Hanley, Dennis A. Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.
Colman, N. C. D. Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Marsden, Commander Arthur
Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J. Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenn'gt'n) 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
Craven-Ellis. William Hepworth, Joseph Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)
Crooks, J. Smedley Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller Milne, Charles
Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle) Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston) Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)
Croom-Johnson, R. P. Hornby, Frank Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres
Cross, R. H. Horsbrugh, Florence Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)
Morrison, William Shepherd Ropner, Colonel L. Sutcliffe, Harold
Moss, Captain H. J. Ross, Ronald D. Tate, Mavis Constance
Muirhead, Lieut.-Colonel A. J. Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge) Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A. Thorp, Linton Theodore
Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth) Runge, Norah Cecil Todd, Lt.-Col. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)
North, Edward T. Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy) Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)
Nunn, William Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l) Tree, Ronald
O'Connor, Terence James Salt, Edward W. Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.
O'Donovan, Dr. William James Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart Turton, Robert Hugh
O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D. Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)
Pearson, William G. Selley, Harry R. Ward. Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Penny, Sir George Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell) Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
Petherick, M. Shepperson, Sir Ernest W. Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)
Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H. Shuts, Colonel J. J. Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Pybus, Sir Percy John Simmonds, Oliver Edwin Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Raikes, Henry V. A. M. Skelton, Archibald Noel Watt, Captain George Steven H.
Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian) Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich) Wells, Sydney Richard
Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles) Smith, Sir J. Walker- (Barrow-In-F.) Whyte, Jardine Bell
Ramsbotham, Herwald Somervell, Sir Donald Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
Ramsden, Sir Eugene Sotheron- Estcourt, Captain T. E. Wills, Wilfrid D.
Reid, David D. (County Down) Spens, William Patrick Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)
Reid, James S. C. (Stirling) Stevenson, James Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Reid, William Allan (Derby) Storey, Samuel Worthington, Dr. John V.
Remer, John R. Strauss, Edward A. Wragg, Herbert
Renwick, Major Gustav A. Strickland, Captain W. F.
Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U. Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Rickards, George William Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart Captatn Sir George Bowyer and
Commander Southby.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) Mainwaring, William Henry
Attlee, Clement Richard George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea) Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot
Banfield, John William Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur Mander, Geoffrey le M.
Batey, Joseph Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)
Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale) Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.) Maxton, James
Brown. C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Groves, Thomas E. Mliner, Major James
Buchanan, George Grundy, Thomas W. Nathan, Major H. L.
Cape, Thomas Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Zetl'nd) Rathbone, Eleanor
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Harris, Sir Percy Rothschild, James A. de
Cove, William G. Janner, Barnett Smith, Tom (Normanton)
Cripps, Sir Stafford Jenkins, Sir William West, F. R.
Daggar, George Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) White, Henry Graham
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) Kirkwood, David Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Lawson, John James Wilmot, John
Edwards, Charles Leonard, William Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)
Evans, David Owen (Cardigan) Logan, David Gilbert
Foot, Dingle (Dundee) McEntee, Valentine L. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin) Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan) Mr. G. Macdonald and Mr. D. Graham.

Amendment made : In page 7, line 12, leave out from "period," to the end of the Sub-section, and insert : or during such part thereof as may be determined on any subsequent claim to benefit."—[Mr. Hudson.]