§ 7.40 p.m.
§ Mr. SHINWELL
I beg to move,That, in the opinion of this House, the grave situation in the distressed areas demands a vigorous positive policy which, amongst immediate measures, will relieve the local authorities of the exceptionally heavy burdens which now rest upon them, and will provide schemes of afforestation and land settlement and promote the development of other new industries and services in accordance with a considered plan for the proper utilisation of our economic and human resources.992 I beg leave to assure the House that in opening this Debate I shall occupy the shortest possible amount of time. Several hon. Members behind me and in other quarters of the House are anxious to contribute to our deliberations and are in possession of special information which the House should have. Therefore, I shall confine myself almost exclusively to an exposition of the general position in relation to this problem. Before reaching items of controversy, for there are such, I propose to state the points upon which there is a substantial measure of agreement in all quarters of the House. So far as I can understand the position, there seems to be no essential difference in regard to the facts themselves. I take my stand upon the Government's admission of the existence of this particular problem and upon the fact that there is upon the Order Paper an Amendment 993 which in itself indicates the presence in our midst of distressed areas and the problem relating to those places.
There is undoubtedly distress on an unprecedented and exceptional scale. There is vast unemployment, with its inevitable corollary of intense hardship and poverty. I content myself with that bare statement of the position. I do not seek now or at any other time to arouse the emotions of hon. Members. On Monday night the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies made several submissions to the House. He said there was no monopoly of sympathy in any party for those who live in distressed areas, and with that submission I am in cordial agreement. Nothing is to be gained by the presumption, for such it is, that there exists no desire on the benches opposite for a solution of this problem. That submission, I repeat, is accepted so far as I am personally concerned. Moreover, the right hon. Gentleman maintained—I use his own language—that in the course of the four years of the previous Government's term of office rare and refreshing fruit had emerged. That, again, for the purposes of my argument, I accept. It would be strange indeed if, out of the welter, the range of legislation for which the National Government were responsible nothing useful had emerged. Here and there undoubtedly there were legislative advantages. In my view these disputations, these polemics, are of little value. Consequently, I am ready to concede to the Government Benches many things which it might be thought we should deny. This may be the best country in the world. There may be confidence in the National Government. It may well be that the crisis has disappeared and that there is a majority of electors contented with the present Government. Notwithstanding that, the problem of the distressed areas persists and to that we must turn our attention.
The question is not whether the Government have done this, that or the other, or whether they have been proved right or wrong, but rather as to how the problem, an admitted problem, is to be tacked and disposed of. Before I venture on some observations as to the technique necessary to deal with the problem, may I direct the attention of 994 hon. Members to inappropriate methods and how not to deal with the problem. The Attorney-General made a speech on Monday night—I do not seek to raise any unnecessary controversy—which was to put it mildly, thoroughly unhelpful. It was not a substantial contribution to the solution of this or any other problem. His speech was characterised by the fatal philosophy of complacency. I judge by what he said that if the Attorney-General remained in the Government, if his right hon. Friend the Prime Minister remained an honest man, if his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies continued to wear the cap and bells and to provide a touch of light comedy in our deliberations, and if that perpetual ray of sunshine, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, continued to provide a few coppers out of the bag, all would be better than well. That fatal complacency is the worst means of dealing with this great problem. It simply—and I use commonplace terms which will be readily understood—it simply will not do.
I turn now to the hon. Member for Guildford (Sir J. Jarvis). I am sorry he is not in his place, but I make no complaint. He spoke of the desirability of promoting voluntary service. I hope that the wells of compassion will remain inexhaustible, but no amount of compassion, and of voluntary service that springs from compassion, can make a substantial contribution to the solution of this problem. The decoration of interiors in working-class homes is no doubt desirable and the provision of social service welfare schemes equally so, but they leave the main texture of the problem untouched. The hon. Member for South-West Norfolk (Mr. de Chair) appears to have failed singularly in detecting the right solution. I find that he said in the course of his speech on Monday:I further suggest the development of existing organisations, such as the Personal Service League, into an official organisation parallel with the National Labour Reserve, to mobilise all those supplies of surplus food which, although perfectly wholesome, are discarded daily from restaurants, hotels and so forth."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th December, 1935; col. 699, Vol. 307.]That is the kind—I feel I must say this, in the circumstances—of aristocratic and arrogant presumption which arouses 995 more hostility than all the agitators there may be in the Labour party or elsewhere in the country at the present time. I hope that that quotation from his speech will be broadcast throughout his constituency. Moreover, it is no solution of the problem to do as the hon. Member for Gateshead (Mr. Magnay) suggested in his speech, to say in effect, "Conditions are not as satisfactory as I should like them to be, but they might be worse." That is a useless attitude and offers no solution.
Right hon. and hon. Gentlemen who speak in this fashion fail to appreciate that we are living in a modern world, where problems are changing in their perplexity and character every day and require new technique and boldness, and even audacity. We require much courage if we are to reach a solution of the problem now under review. Let me invite the attention of hon. Members to some of the causes. We have to consider the normal process of industrial dislocation, of what otherwise might be described as the wear and tear of capitalist industry, the very natural and inevitable ravages of Capitalism. Moreover, there is the abnormal dislocation of industry which is very largely the aftermath of the Great War, and consequently, and in turn, the unsettlement in Europe. There is intense economic competition. Those are all contributory factors. Then, so far as we in this country are primarily concerned, there is the drift to the South of England. Here I warn hon. Members that that tendency has been considerably exaggerated in speeches, but I do not make too much of that point.
Finally I come to what, in my humble judgment, is the main contributory cause, namely, rationalisation in industry. It is to this consideration that I venture to direct the attention of the House. I will not weary hon. Members with unnecessary figures, but I have extracted several statistics in relation to some of our basic industries. These figures are pregnant with meaning in relation to this problem. I shall take coal first. In 1933 there were employed in the mining industry 793,944 persons. That number includes salaried persons. In 1934 the number was 784,773, so that in the course of 12 months 9,171 fewer persons were employed. If we take the actual mine 996 workers we find that in 1933 the number employed was 773,640, and that in 1934 it had dropped to 772,831, a net reduction of 809 persons.
Singularly enough we produced 13,000,000 tons more coal in 1934 than we produced in 1933, but with 809 fewer mine workers employed in the industry. It may be said that this applies primarily to one industry, but it applies to others. Before I pass to others I direct attention and invite the observations of the right hon. Gentleman before me upon the fact that 4,063 more boys under 16 years of age were employed in the mining industry in 1934 as against 1933. There was, therefore, a reduction in the number of persons employed in the industry, an increase to the tune of 13,000,000 tons in output and the employment of more than 4,000 boys under 16.
I pass to railways. In 1935 it was found that 35,000 fewer persons were employed by the railway companies in this country as against the number employed in 1931. As regards the cotton industry—I speak of the cotton industry advisedly because Lancashire is not regarded as one of the special depressed areas—the figures denote that the problem is much wider than is imagined. In the four years from 1931 to 1934 there were 97,000 fewer workers employed in the Lancashire cotton industry. What about production? Unfortunately I am unable to give the figures for 1934, but I can give the figures for 1930 as against 1933. In 1930, 3,179,000,000 yards were produced, but in 1933 they were up to 3,424,000,000 yards, a substantial increase in output, notwithstanding the fact that 97,000 fewer workpeople were employed. Comparative figures might be furnished—I have them here—in relation to exports.
Just a word about agriculture. Between 1925 and 1931—I take this from the Standard Price Committee report-86,000 fewer workers were employed and agricultural output was substantially increased. In my view these are the integral and cardinal ingredients in the problem, and it is to this aspect of it that we must turn our attention. We have to consider what are the causes of this reduction in the number of persons employed and at the same time the substantial increase in output. I have already said that it is due to rationalisation and partly to the adoption of new methods in production, 997 but what does it matter what the causes may be? The question is, what is the solution? Is the solution to be found by working for increased trade? I understand that it is one of the objects of the Government to promote an increase in trade, but in fact we are now in the midst of a boom in trade. The Prime Minister himself has declared that the recovery which set in a few years ago is now being arrested. We may look forward, as economists familiar with the subject have declared, to another industrial slump, perhaps more devastating in its character than any slump we have experienced in recent years. Certainly we cannot expect the solution as a result solely of an increase in trade. You have increases in output but nevertheless a reduction in the number of persons employed.
Is a solution to be found in the adoption or the continued adoption and application of a tariff policy? Tariffs have been tried. For my part I think it is just as well that we did try them. We have got rid of that controversy. It was said for many years by members on the other side that the promotion of a tariff policy would solve the unemployment problem. It has neither solved the problem nor contributed in any substantial measure to its solution. Tariffs may infuse new life of an artificial character—an infusion of oxygen into a dying industry—but it is no solution. It has been tried and so far it has failed. I challenge hon. Members on the other side on that score. Is a solution to be found in unrestricted trade—and here I turn my attention to the Liberal benches? The junior Member for Dundee (Mr. Foot) the other day said that the removal of restrictions on trade would contribute to a permanent recovery. The junior Member for Dundee is somewhat younger than I am, and he may take it from me that long before the War, long before we spoke of special and distressed areas, and long before the adoption of a tariff policy, there was unemployment on a vast scale. I myself participated in unemployment agitations in the city of Glasgow as long ago as 1908, and we had no tariffs then. There was unrestricted trade, and unrestricted trade in itself is no contribution to a, permanent recovery.
Is a solution to be found in more intense competition in industry and lower price levels? Do lower price levels in industry mean more wages? That is a game of beggar my neighbour, because 998 if we reduce the cost of production in this country our competitors in other countries adopt the same course. Nor is the solution in my judgment to be found in de-rating, or "confidence," whatever that may mean, or subsidies, or by any other form of capitalist device. For years we have had tariffs, subsidies and "confidence," and yet the Prime Minister declares that the problem of the distressed areas still baffles the Government. It has not yielded to the orthodox treatment that has hitherto been applied.
Are we to confess failure? This House will not confess failure in this regard; at least I hope not. Hon. Members on these benches refuse to confess failure, whatever the opinion of the Government may be. If this problem is not tackled in a serious vein worse may befall. Why not make an effort to deal with the problem? I want to ask several questions of the right hon. Gentleman. Immediately after his appointment in July he spoke for a considerable time in this House on the question of whether or not the recommendations of the Commissioners for the distressed areas should be applied. He said:The House will know that everything in this report will receive the most careful consideration of the Government, and where action can be taken it will be taken. The Government will do what they have continuously done about this problem and will take the necessary action."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 23rd July, 1935; col. 1689, Vol. 304.]It was said of the right hon. Gentleman's speech, not in this connection but in connection with other portions of it, that it was somewhat vague and nebulous in character. There is no nebulosity in this. Having regard to this unambiguous statement, I present the right hon. Gentleman with several interrogations. How many men have been placed in work as a result of the application, if any, of the Commissioners' report? I think that question deserves an answer. The right hon. Gentleman and his Government had several inquiries, and several schemes were presented to the Government. How many schemes have been accepted by the Government If any have been rejected, and I assume that some may have been rejected, what was the reason for their rejection Moreover, how many work schemes are in contemplation by the Government? What is the measure of the relief the 999 Government have in contemplation to ease the burden on local rating which we are told paralyses industrial development? Is anything to be done to remove the incidence of rating in relation to the charges for unemployment? I think the right hon. Gentleman might satisfy our inquiries on those heads.
Now I come to a submission for which the Prime Minister was responsible. He spoke of trading estates. Can we have some explanation as to what is meant by trading estates? Are they to remain phantom in character or are they to assume life? Where are they to be placed and what is to be their operation I come to a question which has several tragic aspects—the employment of women in the distressed areas and in particular in the mining area. In a moving speech the hon. Member for Durham (Mr. Ritson) spoke of young women in the mining areas being forced to enter domestic service. Some, no doubt, did it voluntarily, but the question I put to the right hon. Gentleman is whether it is in contemplation to devise schemes which can give employment to women in their own areas? A good deal remains to be said about this matter, but I refrain. I ask the right hon. Gentleman finally what methods the Government intend to employ to counteract the effects of the new technique in industry to which I have referred?
I venture very briefly several submissions in relation to work that might be put into operation. I preface my remarks on this subject with this observation. I do not believe the schemes that I am now about to outline, not in detail but in general form, can provide a solution of the problem. At the best they are only temporary in character. I begin with South Wales. What is to be done about the de-watering of the South Wales coalfields? The right hon. Gentleman who was the Secretary for Mines knows something about this subject. It would make a very substantial contribution to the safety of mine workers, relieve burdens on the mineowners in regard to pumping arrangements, and release at the very least, in the opinion of experts, 35,000,000 tons of available coal. I understand that the scheme would cost £1,500,000. The mineowners, it has been said, have not the money. 1000 Will the Government come to the aid of the South Wales mining industry in this relation and at the same time materially assist to provide employment in that distressed area? What is to be done with the 300,000 acres available for afforestation? I hope my hon. Friends behind me who are to take part in this Debate will have something to say about afforestation and the paucity of schemes that have emerged from the Government in this regard.
Now I turn to Scot land. Are we to hear anything about the contemplated Forth Bridge—the road bridge—or the Tay Bridge, which would employ thousands of workers in Scotland, would assist the iron and steel trades, and contribute materially to the industrial development of the East of Scotland and particularly to the division represented by the right hon. Gentleman—the Leith Docks for example? It would link up the Leith Docks, which are very valuable docks indeed, with the Highlands of Scotland, with the industries of Fife and the industries of Forfar, and develop the industrial areas of the north of Scotland. Is anything to be done on the question of land settlement in Scotland? Sir Arthur Rose mentioned this subject in his report. So far as I know no schemes have emerged. I make the suggestion to the right hon. Gentleman—it may be regarded as a trifling one—of fruit farming in the middle belt of Scotland. Something in this direction has already been done and I believe it can be developed. The hon. and gallant Member for Midlothian and Peebles (Lieut.-Colonel Colville) approves.
§ Mr. SHINWELL
With or without tariffs, I am not concerned. You have got your tariffs and I make no complaint; and if I did make any complaint, in any case the tariffs would remain. If the hon. and gallant Member believes that there are possibilities in fruit farming, with tariffs or without, get on with the job. I leave Scotland, not that there is not much more to be said, but because I want to come to Durham. I made reference in the course of my speech last week to the possibility of a gas grid in 1001 Durham. I believe that is a very valuable project and one that would assist the unemployed in that distressed area and could be regarded as a valuable contribution. Will he not at least order an inquiry into this matter? Also I hope we shall hear something from the Government in relation to further contemplated schemes, if any, in regard to the production of oil from coal. I notice that the hon. Member for Gateshead spoke freely about the subject on Monday night. What is the Government to do about that?
Now I come to the general situation. Is anything to be done generally in connection with schemes of drainage? We have had heavy rains in the country. Those who travel around see thousands of acres flooded out. It is a pitiful and pathetic spectacle, altogether inconsistent with our conception of planning for civilisation. We can hardly describe ourselves, as hon. Members have done, as the best country in the world so long as that spectacle confronts us. If money is required, the right hon. Gentleman himself may be appealed to, because he has himself said that finance is not the obstacle in our path. I would ask him also to turn his attention to the provision of more adequate hospital accommodation throughout the country. It is painfully inadequate. The matter cannot be left entirely to voluntary associations as in the past; they are already heavily handicapped. It cannot be left to the municipal authorities, burdened as they are by high rates. Cannot something be done nationally to deal with the problem of inadequate hospital accommodation? In short, what I are asking for is a national spring cleaning. The best time to indulge in spring cleaning is at a moment of enforced leisure. Now is the appropriate time.
If the problem is to be tackled adequately, we must go beyond what I have said. Rationalisation and its effects can only be cured by the adoption of shorter hours of labour. I shall not argue that question to-night; it is much too big. I agree that in certain industries a reduction in the hours of labour—I will not shirk the difficulty—leads to increased cost of production. Indeed, if it did not lead to increased cost of production it would hardly be valuable. But in the mining industry a reduction in the hours of labour would undoubtedly put many unemployed miners back in the industry, 1002 and it would be much better to put them back in work, even if it meant an increased cost of production, than to continue the payment of doles. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to turn his attention seriously to that aspect of the subject.
Let the Government proceed—and here I turn to the hon. and gallant Gentleman who was recently Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department, and who was associated with the Board of Trade—let the Government proceed with these trading agreements. Hon. Members on the Liberal benches decry the trading agreements. I am not concerned about decrying this, that or the other scheme; I would say, "Get on with your schemes. The more trading agreements we have the better, so long as they produce more employment." Indeed, I do not object to anything at all if it provides work and leads to a material solution of our problem. At all events, we cannot neglect the problem—that is my primary submisison to hon. Members. It is not sufficient for hon. Members opposite to say, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not say, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer said before the General Election, if, indeed, he did not say it during the Election, that the Government hoped that in three or four years it might be possible to deal with the problem of the distressed areas. Hon. Members in this assembly can afford to wait; we can be patient; we can restrain ourselves; but those who live in the distressed areas are unable to contemplate the next four years with fortitude. I have said that I will not bring emotion to my aid. I dislike it. It is better to deal with the facts in a hard-headed and practical manner. If a solution can be found, let it be found, and let the Government turn their attention to the possibility of a solution.
One final word. There is an Amendment on the Order Paper. It admits the existence of this vast problem. But it indicates satisfaction with the Government. I venture to say that hon. Members—and here I turn to the hon. Lady who represents Wallsend (Miss Ward)—have a different political temperament at the beginning of a Parliament from the political temperament that they manifest at the end of a Parliament. I say that with the utmost friendliness, because I had the privilege 1003 of reading some of the hon. Lady's speeches immediately before Parliament was dissolved. She belittled the Government; she lambasted the Government; in fact, I thoroughly enjoyed reading her speeches. But, if hon. Members do that at the end of a Parliament, let them do it now; let them not content themselves with half measures. With these words I conclude. I am painfuly conscious that not half, not a tithe of the case has been stated, but I leave the gaps to be filled in by hon. Members behind me.
§ 8.21 p.m.
§ Mr. WELSH
I beg to second the Motion, which has been so ably moved by my hon. Friend.
I do not think the House can discuss a question of more importance to the people of this country than the question of the distressed areas as they exist to-day. It seems to me, not that there is any lack of experience of the distressed areas, but that there is no real will to tackle the problem that affects the people in those areas. The resources of our country, both material and human, are ample if the will exists in this House to bring a larger measure of life to the people of this country. We only need to look at the facts as they are. I do not know why those facts should not be mentioned, though I have heard quite a number of Members in this House discount these questions when they have touched on the distresses of the people in those areas, appearing to apologise for bringing in "sob stuff." Phrases of that description are no answer to the question. Whether it is regarded as emotional, or sentimental, or whatever one may like to call it, the truth is still there. The people are suffering; they desire to have relief; and we believe that the means to give them relief exist to-day.
The statistics issued by local authorities in those districts impress one very considerably. There is the matter of rating, and I would point out in parenthesis that it is peculiar that the distressed areas are the areas that are suffering most from high rates. Their burden does not seem to be recognised throughout the country as a whole. These depressed areas, which have been struggling for so long, are left to carry their own burden, and one sees year after year the rates leaping up by shillings in the pound, and creating 1004 more distress than there was some years ago. I know that very many factors have contributed to this, and there is no one solution. It may be a matter of approach from many different ways, but the will seems to me lacking. It seems that the House does not mean to apply itself to relieving the distress of the people in those areas.
In the district from which I come there have been increases in the rates within the last year due entirely to the necessity of relieving the destitution of the people—in Hamilton, 2s. in the £; Greenock, 1s. 11d.; Glasgow, 1s. 10d.; Dumbarton, 1s. 6d.; and Clydebank, 1s. 2d. Taking the industrial areas of Scotland as a whole, the rates have risen in the last 12 months by 37 per cent. According to the annual report of the Scottish Department of Health the destitute able-bodied heads of families in those areas increased during the last 12 months by 45 per cent. and the number of dependants of those heads of families by 55 per cent. One could go on giving statistics of that kind, yet they do not convey anything like the meaning of the suffering that exists. The burden on these localities is crushing. The small shop-keeping class, the professional classes, what are designated in many cases the lower-middle class, are suffering inordinately, although hitherto there has been silence as far as they are concerned. Ordinary members of the community do not realise the amount of suffering that goes on among that class of the people. I know any number of small shopkeepers who have struggled to build up their little businesses and taken a pride in them. Not only have they had to face the competition brought about by the multiple shops and the expansion and evolution that have taken place in commercial life, but they have had to meet the higher burden of the rates and, if it is hard on them, the hardship is infinitely greater on their wives, who silently try to maintain a respectable front to the world. The human suffering in that respect has been very considerable.
The hon. Member who moved the Amendment for the Liberal party yesterday mentioned that one of my colleagues said that no one could understand the ravages of unemployment who had not experienced it, and he went on to say that no one should get the idea into his head that there was not an understanding of 1005 the position by men of his status—that there was plenty of sympathy. Sympathy would have solved it long ago if it could have done. There is no more sympathetic institution in the world than this House of Commons. There is no one in the House or outside it without any amount of sympathy, but it is not sympathy that is wanted. It is common justice. We have spent hundreds of millions of pounds in seeking to alleviate the condition of the unemployed but I question very much whether all the expenditure is not outweighed by the damage that has been done to the moral and spiritual character of our people in those areas. A new generation has grown up which in hundreds of thousands of cases have never known what the discipline that labour brings to the formation of character has meant. That young generation constitutes a problem with which statesmanship in the very near future will find very great difficulty in dealing.
A passage in the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Jarrow (Miss Wilkinson) brought out a point with which I have come in direct contact all my life. She quoted the report of the medical officer of health for Hebburn showing how maternity mortality had risen from 86 to 108 per thousand owing entirely to the working and the increasing severity of the means test. The mother of a family has always held it to be her prerogative and privilege to make the first sacrifice, and that undermines her power of resistance in the greatest trial of her life. Here is something that ought to be investigated, because from every depressed area in the country the same tale can be told. Any number of commissions and committees have been set up. I should like to see a commission investigating how far poverty and destitution have affected the physical and mental life of the people during the last few years. A commission on these lines would present a report that would stagger the House. The hon. Lady said there had been no epidemic in Hebburn during that period. The only epidemic was hunger. It is endemic, in fact, and it goes on.
There is no need to continue dwelling upon what every hon. and right hon. Member in this House knows already. One could do it, but I want to suggest one or two things that might help in the district from which I come to alleviate 1006 the distress as far as unemployment is concerned. My hon. Friend mentioned the Tay and the Forth Bridges schemes which are eminently practicable, but there is another scheme which would find employment for a large number of men in that district, and which would add to the real wealth not only of Scotland, but of the whole of this island. I remember that 12 years ago in this House I happened to be speaking in a similar Debate, and I suggested to the Government of that time that the mid-Scotland deep water canal scheme might be put into operation. Since that time a considerable amount of work has been done. The advantages that would accrue not only to Scotland but to the whole country would be very considerable. At the present time the coastal service from Liverpool, Cardiff and other parts of the West coast demand a two days' journey round the North of Scotland or round the South coast of England in order to get to the East coast ports of Scotland. Such a deep water canal would save a day in that journey, but much more important would be the fact that it would bring the northern countries of the Continent of Europe a least a day and a half's journey nearer the Continent of America, and would cut off the most dangerous part of the voyage round the North of Scotland. In that way it would increase the value of the assets of this country and would increase its resources. Here would be something that would bring a very considerable amount of relief to that part of the country.
It has been said on other occasions that a certain important battle in the history of this country was won on the playing fields of Eton. That may be very true, but it is equally true that the economic conquest of the world was won in those industrial areas. Men who have hewn coal in the bowels of the earth have helped to cleave the way to a great Empire for this country. Men have not only produced ships which are the pride of the world, but in producing them they have built a monument to their own craftsmanship and the character of the people of this country. They have not only made bridges of iron and steel, but they have spanned the hemisphere and brought the distant places of the earth to our doors. They have not only manufactured machinery, but they have climbed the heights of the great wild hinterlands 1007 of the earth. They have broken down false frontiers which had hitherto existed in the world. But so great has been the concentration on doing these things that we seem to have neglected the development of our own resources and of our own people. They have not only spun and woven millions of bales of cotton and other materials, but they have woven a pattern to the web of civilisation which for beauty, stability, and aesthetic value has mapped this country out as one of the greatest countries to-day. It is often thought that we do not love our own country. We do, but that does not prevent us from criticising those who are managing our country when we think they are not doing right.
I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Labour that some of these schemes which have been suggested, particularly in his own area of Leith, with its huge amount of unemployment as well as its heavy rating—though it is not so heavily rated as some of the other distressed areas—would relieve the depression and ease the lot of the people. Are we not of the same blood and bone as the men who a few generations ago made all that great impression on world expansion and on civilisation? If with less resources and fewer facilities they have done all those things that I have indicated, why do we stand still? Why do we not tackle this question of the better distribution of the wealth of the country so that a higher standard of life can come to the people? It is an infinitely easier problem. We have greater resources and more facilities to-day. The only thing lacking is the will to do it for this country. If we develop the resources of our own country we shall set in a wider cultural development as well as in commercial strength, a higher standard and example to the world of which we shall all be proud in generations to come.
§ 8.42 p.m.
I beg to move, to leave out from "That," to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof:this House welcomes the decision of His Majesty's Government to press forward with an energetic policy for dealing with the special problems of the distressed areas and assures His Maajesty's Government of its whole-hearted co-operation and support.I am indeed fortunate that the hon. Member for Seaham (Mr. Shinwell) 1008 should have given me such a very good opening for my remarks, because I may remind him that I was one of the 50 points against the National Government used by the Labour party during the recent General Election. I should like to thank hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway for the very effective publicity which they gave me among my opponents, publicity which I might not otherwise have obtained. Ii the hon. Member would do me the honour to go into the history of my Parliamentary career he would find that the speech which was selected by the "Daily Herald" for inclusion in the 50 points against the National Government was delivered by me, I believe, in 1932, and the General Election did not take place until 1935.
I listened to the speech of the hon. Member for Seaham with great amazement, and I perused the terms of the Motion standing in his name with even greater amazement. I do not want to do the hon. Member an injustice, but I am not quite certain whether the Motion on the distressed areas has not been selected by the Labour party to-night in order to pay the debt which they owe to the Council of Action for the support which the Council of Action gave to the majority of the Labour Members during the Election campaign. It seems to me that the terms of the Motion and the speech of the hon. Gentleman rather usurped broadly the suggestions which were put forward by the Council of Action. At any rate, I never grudge the repayment of a debt, and I am very glad, indeed, to think that in my part of the world on Tyneside so many of my colleagues and myself were returned without the necessity for the repayment of that debt. I would also point out that as far as the hon. Member is concerned, he never once referred during the course of his address to the misfortunes of capitalism nor did be indicate that the situation in the distressed areas could not be cured unless the capitalist system was abolished. Neither, curiously enough, did he suggest that the methods for the absorption of the unemployed which are used in Russia should be studied by the Government. I can only assume that, after having listened to the admonitions given by the right hon. Member for South 1009 Hackney (Mr. H. Morrison), the Labour party have decided to throw over the manifesto on which they fought the Election, in the hope that they may be able to prepare a suitable part to play for their return after the next General Election.
In all sincerity, I would say that I come from a part of the country in which, as hon. Members know very well, there is very real distress and very real hardship. I am perfectly confident that if the plan of the Mover and Seconder of the Motion had been heard in the constituencies which they now represent, they would not be sitting here to-night. It is not consistent with the Labour party's policy during the Election campaign, when they promised the aged people that if they would give them their support their pensions would be increased to £1 a week, and that the age for the giving of pensions would be reduced. That plan is out of touch with the manifesto of to-night, which merely stated that the increase of old age pensions will receive the favourable consideration of the Labour party if they return to power. When I go round the North of England, where I have lived for a long number of years, more years than I care to remember, I should hesitate before I made promises to people who are not able to appreciate the difference between the Labour programme that is advocated in the country and speeches such as we have heard tonight from the hon. Member for Seaham.
In what I am going to say to the Government I am not going to disappoint the hon. Member for Seaham, because it has never been my policy merely to give support irrespective of facts. I know that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour in regard to the suggestions and the criticisms which I shall make will do me the honour of realising that, as a back-bencher, I am not in possession of the full facts and am not aware of the many difficulties which the Government have to face in trying to grapple with the very real problem of the areas for which I speak. I have given as much thought as I could to areas such as mine, and I have come to the conclusion, rightly or wrongly, that it is impossible to produce any one big scheme which will provide a reasonable solution for the unemployment 1010 in the special areas. Therefore, I congratulate the Government on the variety of proposals which they have placed before the country and on the variety of proposals on which they are going to base their policy for the future.
If I may venture to make one or two suggestions and to offer one or two criticisms, they will be offered and made on these lines. I believe that there is far too little co-ordination between Government Departments. It seems to me to be the policy of His Majesty's Government to expect my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour and his Department, possibly combined with the assistance of the Minister without Portfolio, to tackle the whole of the problems of the distressed areas, irrespective of any help of any other Government Department. In relation to these problems, my right hon. Friend should be able to draw from all Government Departments, in order that a proper policy may be arranged to meet the situation. I should like to pay a warm tribute to the staff of the Ministry of Labour, who have suffered many visits from me, and who have always helped me in every possible way. I do not think that hon. Members quite appreciate the enormous amount of detailed work that is done by the staff on this very important question. I have appreciated it enormously. In regard to transference, the men for whom transference is desired—men who have been out of work for two, three or even more years, and who probably will not have a chance of being reabsorbed into the industry which formerly provided them with a livelihood, men who are anxious to offer themselves—are very often turned down because they are not in a physically fit condition to stand the strain of transfer, or to receive instruction at an instructional centre, or to receive training at a training centre. If a man who is willing to transfer or to offer himself for training at a training centre is not suitable for transfer or for training, because of some very small physical weakness—in the majority of cases that I have come across there has been very little wrong with them—the Ministry of Labour ought to make some arrangement whereby the men can be put into a sound physical condition, at no cost to themselves, so that they can obtain the advantage of transfer or training for which they may be suited.
1011 In relation to the question of co-ordination, I should like to refer to the position of shipyard workers. As I understand the procedure, if a skilled shipyard worker has been out of employment for very many years he falls into the category of a shipyard labourer and is no longer registered as a skilled fitter, rivetter, caulker or plater. I do not think that I shall often find myself in agreement with the hon. Member for Jarrow (Miss Wilkinson), but in regard to the shipyards which have been closed down, I am to a certain extent in agreement with her. The question of skilled labour there is a tremendously important one. The shipbuilder, the Ministry of Labour and anybody who knows anything about shipbuilding refer to the shortage of skilled shipyard workers. If, owing to rationalisation or the action of National Shipbuilding Securities, Limited, shipyards are shut down, I cannot see why Admiralty work should not be made available in some cases to keep the men in skilled employment. It is simply ridiculous to go on stating in the Press that there is a shortage of skilled shipyard labour, when any of us who represent Clydeside, Tyneside or any shipbuilding centre know that there are hundreds of men who formerly were in the category of skilled shipyard workers who have been reduced to the class of shipyard labourers.
The hon. Member for Jarrow referred to the question of National Shipbuilding Securities Limited, and said that it did not really matter from her point of view when that company was formed. That is not the view I take. I believe in rationalisation, but I do not believe in rationalisation unless the Government are prepared to face up to the social consequences of it. I believe in rationalisation throughout industry, providing we put forward a policy which will deal with the social consequences. I would point out to the hon. Member for Jarrow that National Shipbuilding Securities Limited, was in operation during the period of the Labour Government, and so far as I know they made no real or sincere attempt to deal with the social consequences of rationalisation then.
§ Miss WILKINSON
I took the trouble to look up this matter, and although the formation of the financial company was in 1930, it was considerably later before they started their operations. The operations 1012 were not, in fact, started until the beginning of 1932.
May I point out that in your speech yesterday, you said that as far as the shipyard in your constituency was concerned—
I beg pardon. In the speech which was made yesterday by the hon. Member for Jarrow she said that the buying up of Palmers shipyard by National Shipbuilding Securities Limited, was done in 1933. I am not disputing that point, but I am pointing out that on the Clyde and on the Tyne, shipyards were bought by National Shipbuilding Securities Limited, prior to 1933, indeed shortly after the formation of the company. It may be that the shipyards were not closed down, but everyone knew why the company was formed, and the Labour party made no attempt to provide for the social consequences of the action of National Shipbuilding Securities Limited. Let me come back to my point in regard to skilled shipyard workers. The Admiralty may disapprove, they may take a firm line, but if the Government have to deal with a shortage of skilled shipyard labour the only way it can be dealt with, until there is a real revival in the shipbuilding industry, is by using Admiralty work in order to keep these men in our shipyards in skilled employment. The Cabinet should decide that a certain portion of Admiralty work year after year is to be allotted to these shipyards for the express purpose of keeping these skilled shipyard workers, who are now thrown out of work, in their skilled occupation. I hope the Minister of Labour will bear this point in mind and will be able to tackle the Admiralty with the full weight of the Cabinet behind him.
I come now to another point raised by the hon. Member for Seaham in regard to the schemes which are to be put before the Commissioner and, finally, to receive the approval of the Minister of Labour. The hon. Member spoke as if the schemes were to be put forward by the Government, and entirely forgot that the schemes in relation to a great many proposals have to emanate from the local authority. With great respect to local authorities
1013 I say that this is the wrong policy to pursue. I should like the Government to send expert men into the distressed areas to find out for themselves what schemes would be valuable to these areas. Local authorities have a great deal of work to do already. Without passing any reflection on my own local authority I find that the Commissioner discussed with them a scheme for the clearing of the Willington Quay site as long ago as last February, but no scheme has yet been submitted to the Commissioner. I do not think that this is work for local authorities, and I hope that the Government will set up a body of responsible people to go into the distressed areas and consult with the local authorities—their co-operation of course is very valuable—and find out what schemes would receive the approval of the Minister of Labour—and get on with them. The area of Willington Quay as had greater unemployment in its time even than Jarrow, and it makes an hon. Member like myself, who represents the National Government, very humble when I realise that in the last General Election with an unemployment figure of 55 per cent. they voted six to one in favour of me. If I can do it I hope to see this site cleared—I hope I shall receive the warm co-operation of the Minister—and suitable trading estates established, in which I have a firm belief.
Let me turn briefly to another point. I hope that the Minister when he is satisfied that the enterprise at Billing-ham is a commercial success, will send out scientific experts around the coalfields to make surveys and carry out experiments to find whether the quality of the coal in the various areas is really suitable for the production of oil. With a contracting market surely it is advisable to concentrate the production of coal for industrial and export purposes in those areas where the coal is not suitable for the production of oil, and to put down plant on a similar scale to that at Billingham in those areas where the coal is suitable for the production of oil, and use the coal from those coalfields for that purpose. It seems to me that the Government have been a little timid over this experiment. It requires a large capital outlay to put into operation a plant like this in order to prove a commercial success, but I suggest that if the Government were to raise a loan and 1014 guarantee it, based on information obtainable by experts, it might be a very fine thing for some of our coalfields, which can never hope to come into full production as long as there is a restrictive demand in the world for British coal.
One further point in regard to air development. There does not seem to be the slightest doubt that there is going to be a great move forward in civil aviation. I understand that for defensive purposes it is not practicable for the Government to put up factories for the building of military machines in areas which are vulnerable, but I should not like to think that the establishment of two factories on the north-east coast would militate against the air defence of this country. That is rather an unreasonable proposition, and I would suggest, so far as civil aviation is concerned, that if certain parts of the country are selected by the Government as suitable for the building of military aircraft, pressure might then be put by the Government on firms which are opening factories in other parts to establish factories for the building of civil machines in those parts of the country which are not considered suitable for the building of military machines.
I was much impressed by the speech of the Prime Minister in which he asked industrialists to do their duty, but the Prime Minister is, perhaps, rather more optimistic than I am. I think it needs a little more than even the plainest statement to convince some of our industrialists of the fact that they have a real duty to my part of the country and to other distressed areas. We have had some extremely valuable reports from the original investigators who went into these matters before the scheme was thought of which involved the appointment of Mr. Malcolm Stewart. We had also a very interesting report from Mr. Malcolm Stewart but the report which I know most about is that which was prepared by the present Secretary for Overseas Trade and in it some interesting suggestions were made in relation to pensions, the shortening of hours and many controversial questions which are really of a non-party nature. Those points in the Commissioners' reports ought to be selected and a thoroughly reliable committee appointed to consider 1015 them in all their aspects financial, industrial, economic and political.
With all respect, I deprecate the production of the reports containing the most interesting information based on expert investigation and the selection from those reports only of certain things which are not controversial as subjects of Government action, all the other suggestions being ignored. Whether the result of investigation by an expert committee such as I have suggested proves favourable or not, it would be a great satisfaction to a large number of back bench supporters of the Government if suggestions such as those in regard to pensions and shorter hours received expert consideration in order to see how far we could go in those directions with safety to the financial position of the country. When such an expert committee had reported the Government should allow us to have its recommendations both positive and negative. These should be presented to the House for discussion. I hope the Government will follow that line.
I assure my right hon. Friend that those of us who have been returned from the special areas, with the united support of people of different political feelings in our respective districts, are wholeheartedly behind the Government. During the last four years we were prepared to support every kind of legislation for placing Great Britain, as she has been placed, in a foremost position in the world. We were prepared to stand by the Government in matters which involved a great many sacrifices from our own parts of the country while the Government was engaged in bringing comparative prosperity to the rest of Great Britain. We have stood by the Government while everything possible has been done for Great Britain. Now we say with all the emphasis and power at our command, We believe you can do something to help us. The last Parliament was a Parliament for the restoration of national stability and national prosperity. We look to you to make this Parliament a Parliament for the restoration of the stability and prosperity of the special areas.
§ 9.5 p.m.
§ Mr. CRITCHLEY
I beg to second the Amendment.
1016 In doing so I crave that indulgence which the House usually affords to a new Member when he rises to make his maiden speech. I am sure it will be granted with greater readiness to me, because it is my privilege on this occasion to follow a lady. I NI as very pleased to hear the Mover of the Motion say that sympathy with the unemployed and the distressed is not the virtue of any one party, but that expression of opinion is rather marred, I think, by the remarks which were made during the Debate on the Address by my hon. Friend the Member for Everton (Mr. Kirby) when he said that his colleagues from Liverpool had not faced up to the Government in this matter. It is to my mind regrettable that the hon. Member should take that view, because after the inspiring remarks of the Mover of the Motion I had hopes that we from Liverpool would get together in a spirit of co-operation. Liverpool is definitely looking to its representatives to do the right and proper thing by their city. I, in common with my colleagues, will lose no opportunity of co-operating towards that end.
The wider issue involved in this matter have been well covered, and I want to deal with the question more from a local point of view, as it affects local authorities. As Liverpool can readily be placed in the category of distressed areas, I propose to take it as my example. I am unable to support the Motion. It is too drastic in its character to enable me to give it support. I feel that whatever is done by the Government, whatever its promised policy may be, that policy must be given the closest, the most sincere and the most concentrated consideration, and in that respect I think the Amendment provides the proper opportunity. I feel that the Government have an apportunity now to help the distressed areas. A lot could be done by repealing, if possible, Section 45 of the Unemployment Act, 1934. An hon. Member opposite said that the distressed areas were, in the main, the most heavily rated. That is certainly true in the case of Liverpool. The reason for it is that in the case of most of the local authorities concerned, public assistance demands have increased beyond all reasonable bounds. In Liverpool in 1930–31 the cost of the able-bodied unemployed who had been transferred to the public assistance authority was £293,418, 1017 whereas in 1934–35 the cost under that head had risen to £1,093,566. I suggest that no local authority can carry such a burden without imposing great privations on people. I would refer hon. Members to the provisions of the Local Government Act, 1929, in so far as they apply to the block grants payable to local authorities. The then Minister of Health, speaking on 26th November, 1928, said:While the block grant is to be recalculated every five years the amount of it is to be fixed for each year in any period of five years. The distribution among the counties and the county boroughs, first, is to be partly and ultimately entirely made according to a formula. The result, I anticipate, will be that each local authority will be secured resources which will be adequate, not merely to carry on the services as they are to-day, but to allow for a reasonable expansion during the five years' period for which they will last, in accordance with the public conscience and the demands which the increasing revenues of the country will permit."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 26th November, 1928; col. 93, Vol. 223.]The figures which I have read concerning Liverpool speak for themselves and show an enormous increase in the cost of public assistance, which is one of our most vital public services. If looks as if we are to rely upon the increasing revenues of the country as and when they come in to bring into line a grant from the Government sufficient to meet those enormous increases in its public services, and if that is not forthcoming, then there must automatically follow an increase in the rate poundage, and that is precisely what has occurred in the City of Liverpool. The rate poundage in 1934–35 was 15s. 2d., and in 1935–36 it has been found necessary to increase it to 16s. 2d. How can the city attract new industries when the rates are so high, and how can existing industries expand? It may be said that industry in the main enjoys the benefit of de-rating. That is so, but de-rating is not permanent in character, and the industrialist who wants to expand, if he takes the longer view, will find that the advantages that de-rating offers in the first place will disappear, because it is not permanent in its character. Then we have the other innumerable trades and businesses, which are not subject to de-rating. We have our hotels, for instance, and our shopkeepers. They have to suffer the full burden of the rates, and they cannot escape them. There is no de-rating for 1018 them, and they have in many cases, as in Liverpool, to suffer an almost yearly monotonous increase in the rates. I can think of scarcely anything more demoralising.
I feel that if the Government will give consideration to the immediate needs of the local authorities, they will be doing the country a service. I can tell the Government that Liverpool itself is quite capable of looking after its own affairs. It has a good government there, which has at times been challenged, but without success. The Government will always look to the immediate needs of the city, I am sure, and the city will be grateful, and whatever the amount will be, it will only be expended in accordance with the city's needs. I therefore feel that in these wider matters we might leave it to the careful consideration and the negotiations that will go on between the Government and the local authorities, and I ask the Government if they will take into consideration the question of repealing Section 45 of the Unemployment Act and redefining the block grant payable to local authorities under the Local Government Act. In those terms and in that spirit, I second the Amendment.
§ 9.20 p.m.
Miss LLOYD GEORGE
I feel sure that I shall be giving expression to the feeling of the whole House when I first, on their behalf, offer their congratulations on his maiden speech to the hon. Member for Edge Hill (Mr. Critchley), and particularly on the ability and lucidity with which he put the case for the city which he represents. I aim sure that Members in all parts of the House are grateful to the hon. Member for Seaham (Mr. Shinwell) for having raised this vital question and given us an opportunity before the Recess of discussing it. I, myself, represent a distressed area,. It is not a special area, although it has a higher percentage of its insured populuation out of work than many of the areas that are included as special areas. But I can assure the House that the difference is only a difference in name and that it has 44 per cent. of its insured population out of work. The hon. Member who has just resumed his seat spoke with great eloquence about the need for relieving some of the local authorities of the rates which are almost crippling their activities, and I would like to say that 1019 I hope that even yet the Government may be prevailed upon to do something for the relief of these areas, many of which are suffering for events the blame for which at any rate cannot be laid upon them, wherever else it may be laid.
I cannot find myself as grateful as was my hon. Friend the Member for Wallsend (Miss Ward) to the Government for their activities. The House has debated now for six days the policy of the Government, and with one exception, to which I hope to make reference later, we have had very little satisfaction from the Government as to concrete measures to be taken to relieve unemployment in the distressed areas. We have been told that these areas ought to have special regard taken, but they have already had that, and they have had special commissioners. The hon. Lady the Member for Wallsend was very anxious that a body of responsible people should go down to the distressed areas and consult with the local authorities as to schemes that could be carried out, but I cannot help feeling that the time for inquiry is past. We have had countless inquiries, and I cannot help feeling that the time for action has arrived. We have had special commissioners who were fulfilling the very function that the hon. Member for Wallsend wanted more people yet to fulfil. We have had a special Bill, and we have had a special report, which has now been relegated to a special pigeon-hole. We have also a special Minister.
My hon. Friend the Member for Wallsend said that one of the great difficulties in dealing with this matter was that there was lack of co-ordination between Departments. I think that the greatest difficulty is lack of a co-ordinating committee. That committee should be a committee of authority, a committee which, I suggest, could only be formed from the Cabinet. The special Minister has been devoting his time, we are told, entirely to the study of this aspect of our economic problems. He has been called the Minister for Thought. I think that a great many hon. Members representing distressed areas must have said to themselves oftenOh that his tongue would utterThe thoughts that arise in him.1020 Perhaps it is that his thoughts lie too deep for words. I would like the Minister of Labour to ask his colleague, if he really has a policy, to take the House and the country into his confidence and tell them about it. We have also a Special Commissioner who is looking after the special areas. I do not think anyone in this House would suggest that any blame attaches to him, or that he has not done everything in his power to deal with the problem before him. I say "everything in his power" advisedly, because his power is so limited and restricted, and it is a limitation which he has recognised and put forward for our consideration in a report. The Commissioner can do many things, but there is one thing which is apparently not among his duties, and that is the provision of work. When the last Parliament appointed a Commissioner to be responsible for these areas, and in that Act asked that the Government might do something at last for these areas, they did not think that his functions would merely be an extension of the functions already well performed by private societies such as the Society of Friends and the Council of Social Service People thought that was to be a genuine attempt, not to rescue these areas by simply alleviating distress, but to improve the conditions in these areas and make the lives of the people more endurable by providing work. The Lord President of the Council some months ago told us exactly how the problem of the depressed areas should be tackled. He said:The businesslike way was to say I mention a sum which I put at your disposal. It will be sufficiently big for you to feel confident that you are going to get what is necessary. The ground has been surveyed, the problem is now clear. You go down and face it, you deal with it, you spend money on it, and I will stand by you.' That is the position, roughly and generally, of the Government.I think we are entitled to ask the right hon. Gentleman to-night whether that is still roughly and generally the position of the Government. Does the Commissioner feel confident that he will get the money that is necessary? And necessary for what purpose? Evidently not to provide work for these people who have been out of work for years. That is not one of his duties. Perhaps the Minister will tell us to-night what his 1021 duties are. I think there is no one in any quarter of the House who would suggest that the mere pouring out of money is going to solve the problem in the distressed areas or anywhere else, but it certainly is an important part of providing work, as even a private company or business would admit. But supposing that the Commissioner had the power of providing work, are the Government providing him with the means? On the narrow but generally accepted basis that £1,000,000 will provide work for 2,500 people directly and 4,000 indirectly, the £3,500,000 which the Attorney-General told us the other day is to be provided for schemes in the distressed areas will not go very far. We have heard from my hon. Friend who has just spoken what relief and public assistance cost in Liverpool. You have only to realise that the money for schemes to alleviate distress in South Wales amounts to something like £800,000, and that public assistance charges in Monmouth alone are about £200,000, to get some idea of the magnitude of the problem and of the way in which the Government are dealing with it.
We are told that there are to be trading factories. I was disappointed not to have heard more about them. They are going to build factories at economic rents for new industries. Someone has called them skeleton factories. We have plenty of skeleton factories already—skeleton mills, skeleton shipyards—we have plenty of those, not only in the distressed areas but in other areas where the advantages are better. It seems to me that in this matter the Government are putting the cart before the horse; in other words, putting the factories before the market. I do not believe that any business man in this country will start a new business or extend his business in any area, whether distressed or otherwise, unless he is reasonably sure that he will get a market for the goods that he is to produce. It is true that factories have been established in recent years, but there is no doubt that even if the limit of expansion in the home market has not yet been reached, it is not very far from it. You may have an industry moving to the distressed areas, but if you are really to get a policy of new industries on a scale which is to make an appreciable impression on the problem of unemployment, I 1022 do not think you can do it unless you create or find a new market.
We often talk about increasing the consuming power of the Colonies and the backward peoples in the Empire, but I do not think we need go as far as that. We might start, first of all, by increasing the consuming power of our own people, and I can think of no more practical way of doing that than by providing work and wages for those who are receiving unemployment insurance and public assistance. This even applies to transference. If you transfer people from one area to another, unless you increase the average volume of work available, you are only taking people from the unemployment register in one area and putting them on to the register in another area. You are not increasing the actual volume of work. Therefore, it seems to me that the most vital and the first and foremost thing to do is to increase the purchasing power of our own people at home.
Yesterday hon. Members on these benches, and to-night hon. Members on the Opposition Labour Benches, went in some detail into the schemes of national development which they would put forward. I think that they are to a large measure supported in all quarters of the House. I do not mean relief schemes, those schemes with no end in view, but the provision of work. It is recognised now that those schemes stand universally condemned. I would define them in the words that the Chancellor used last night when he talked of schemes that offered a possibility of providing considerable employment and of adding to the valuable assets of the country. I am convinced that every hon. Member who supports the policy of national development will be absolutely prepared to accept the Chancellor's definition. The House adjourns next week. It will be mid-February before we meet again—not a pleasant time of the year to be unemployed, not a particularly pleasant time of the year to be under-nourished. I would, therefore, with all the power that I can command beg the Minister of Labour to convey to his colleagues in the Government the feeling, which I believe is general in all parts of the House, that they should tackle this problem, and tackle it effectively.
§ 9.39 p.m.
§ Mr. SILVERMAN
May I crave the indulgence of the House as it is usually accorded to one making a speech here for the first time? I hope that in making my speech I may take full warning from a remark made by the hon. Lady who moved the Amendment, and remember that three years hence anything I may say to-night will be upon the official records and may be used against me quite fairly. It seems to me that this problem of the distressed areas cannot be dealt with as though it were a problem existing by itself and divorced from the whole of the economic and social complex of affairs out of which it arises. I have heard during this Debate and during the Debates that have preceded it in the past week many gibes at this party because, as was alleged, it has refrained from endeavouring to apply its Socialistic faith to the problems that we were discussing. Therefore, I hope the House will not think me too doctrinaire or dogmatic if I endeavour to say how, in my view, those Socialistic ideas and principles, for which I and my friends stand and work, are the only principles which have any relevance to the problems which the House is discussing on this Motion.
I am bound to say that, listening to the jibes during the past week and coming here for the first time straight from the open air and light which seem to come so rarely in this Chamber, either physically or otherwise, I felt a sense of deepening gloom as speaker after speaker from the Government Benches, beginning with the Prime Minister, made speech after speech the burden of which was, so far as I could see, purely a confession of impotence—they could not do anything, this course will not do, that measure will not do, no grand schemes will be of any effect and no particular schemes are worth pressing very hard. It came, therefore, rather as a breath of fresh air to hear the speech made on Friday by the hon. Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby). I should like to quote a passage from that speech. Dealing with the problem of the distressed areas he said:Science has not only made it possible but absolutely necessary that human beings should live more abundantly and have more leisure in the future; and, if this cannot be achieved within a measurable space of time, it would have been better if we had never had any scientific development at 1024 all. If we cannot achieve it within a measurable space of time, undoubtedly the system that we are trying to operate at the moment will break. Whether Socialism would be any better I do not know. I do not think so. But I still think we can remedy the situation within the general ambit of the present capitalist system. The acid test of capitalism to-day is whether we can swing over to a sufficient extent from the production of capital goods to the production and consumption of consumable goods."—[OFFICIAL, REPORT, 6th December, 1935; cols. 460–1, Vol. 307.]I propose to explain to the hon. Member with the characteristic impudence of the young and inexperienced, exactly why he cannot hope to solve that problem within the ambit of the present capitalist system. It seems to me that we are approaching this problem from the wrong point of view. I have heard many speakers inside and outside this House talk about the tragedy of unemployment, the disease of unemployment and how we can cure unemployment. I do not regard unemployment as a disease, I do not want to cure it. I want to see more and more unemployment. It seems to me that unemployment is the natural dividend which flows from the achievments of civilisation. We have tried for so many centuries to make work less and less necessary. Every time science produces a new machine that will save the labour of so many labourers have we not welcomed it as a triumph for civilisation? Have we not said "This will add to the leisure and dignity of mankind; this will raise the standard of living; this will help the life of mankind and help humanity on its onward progress; this will make human life less mean; this will make human life less sordid; this will make human life richer, Ye shall have life out of this. Ye shall have life more abundantly."
Now, when civilisation has achieved these triumphs, when our machines are working better than ever we thought they might work, when human labour and its drudgery have been made less and less necessary, here are we, the first legislative Assembly in the world, as the Prime Minister told us, sitting on these benches wringing our hands in despair over the triumphs of civilisation. Unemployment is no tragedy, it is no disease. Unemployment is what we have been striving for, what the whole of the human race has been striving for, for centuries and centuries. The disease, the tragedy, is something other than that. The 1025 disease and the tragedy are that we have not known how to distribute the leisure when we have got it. We have not known how to consume the wealth that we have known so well how to produce. That is the tragedy, and the disease is the disease of those wasted human lives, those embittered human lives, those human lives on whose labour, when they can get labour, all the rest of our dignities and all the rest of our comforts and all the rest of our wealth depend. The tragedy is that with all these achievements of civilisation we have an ever-increasing burden upon those at the bottom of the scale, who are increasing in number year by year.
It is no accident that the distressed areas we are discussing are the very areas which, in the past, have contributed most to the prosperity of this country and to its achievements all over the world. The hon. Member for East Aberdeen was right when he said that we must pay people to eat. I would invite him to go further and say that we must learn how to pay people not to work. Only in that way can we use that dividend of civilisation in the interests of the community which has achieved those things. But does that hon. Gentleman, or any hon. or right hon. Gentleman, think that within the ambit of the present capitalist system we could ever pay people not to work, could ever pay people to eat rather than to produce? Somebody says that we do. [An HON. MEMBER: "The landlords."] But with what difficulty and with what protest and with what anxiety? We have heard what has been said about the means test, and even the hon. Member for East Aberdeen, when he was proposing his remedy and showing how you could add to the powers of the consumer to consume by abolishing the family means test, was not prepared to follow his argument to its logical conclusion and to abolish any means test at all. Yet it is only in that way, and in similar ways, that you can really attack the problem we are discussing.
Is it any fault of the unemployed man in a distressed area or in any area that he is unable to work, and has this House or anyone else any moral right to penalise people for that which is not their own fault? Let us not forget that the imposition of any kind of means test simply means imposing a penalty upon people for something for which no moral 1026 blame attaches to them. Unless you are prepared to say a man is unemployed through some fault of his own—I make that exception—there is no more reason why you should apply any means test to his payment or allowance as an unemployed man than you should apply any means test to the wages of an employed man or to the salaries of Ministers or Members in this House, If, then, there is no moral justification for a means test it might yet be justified if there were any justification for it in expediency. But the point I am trying to make is that there is no case for it in expediency either, because it has been admitted that the whole problem of these distressed areas, the whole problem of unemployment, is the problem of under-consumption, and under-consumption when all is said and done, is only another way of saying starvation, nakedness, bad housing and all the other things which we lump together in the word "under-consumption" or as we used to call it, "over-production."
Within this capitalist system these problems can never be attacked in that way. Why not? Because when you have a system which depends upon profit you cannot have a system which has any use for plenty. That follows so logically and so inevitably that I wonder sometimes why it is not generally admitted. There is no profit in plenty, and if you have a system which tests the economic value of every enterprise by the test of whether at the end of the year's working a profit can be shown you have a system which depends upon scarcity for its very existence. There you have the explanation of why, in this age of plenty, you have the Minister of Agriculture spending most of his leisure hours or, I ought to say, his working hours in trying to invent schemes by which artificial scarcity may be produced.
I remember reading a short time ago a speech by the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), whose absence from the House this evening I do not regret but rather envy. He said "Why is it that all these idle people cannot be brought into contact with the idle factories and the idle natural resources, so that the wealth which they need to consume can be produced by their own labour?" He is not so simple as not to know the answer. They cannot be and they will 1027 not be, within the ambit of this system. They are unemployed to-day precisely because they have always produced too much. The only effect of their producing more would be so to lower prices that the bottom would fall out of the system. The only effect of bringing them into association in that way and of setting them to work would be to increase production, and the only effect of increasing production would be to lower prices at a time when the whole effort of His Majesty's Government is directed towards raising prices. That is why it is not done, and I am quite sure that the right hon. Gentleman knew that that was why it was not done.
Even to-night listening to the hon. Lady the Member for Anglesey (Miss Lloyd George) when she was dealing with the same problem, I heard her say, after she dealt very admirably with the need for increasing the purchasing power of consumers, that one of the best ways of doing so was by providing work and wages. The hon. Lady is proposing to deal with the disease, which consists in the inability of the community to consume the wealth which has been produced, by increasing not merely the effective demand but the supply at the same time. How is that any remedy? It cannot be done. The only way in which it could be done would be by abolishing the system which makes the test of profit the acid test of whether a thing is economic, and to substitute for that test of profit the test of service. It is for that principle that we on these benches contend.
I hope that I have not exceeded the indulgence of the House, either in the somewhat dogmatic and doctrinaire form which my speech has taken or in the length of time which I have taken in delivering it. I would like to say two things very shortly, in conclusion. I have heard throughout this debate hon. and right hon. Gentlemen say that they would like to get something which they have read upon the official record of the proceedings of this House. I too would like to see something that I have read placed upon the official proceedings. It was my fortune—I say not whether good or bad—to read shortly after the Election in a newspaper which supports the Government an article in which a political correspondent was telling Election anecdotes which he believed to be funny. One of 1028 the anecdotes was of a Conservative speaker who was addressing an audience of unemployed and was advocating allotments as one solution of the unemployment problem. One of the unemployed in his audience interrupted and asked what he should do with an allotment. The reply, which the journalist to whom I have referred thought was funny, was, "You could at any rate dig it—dig your grave in it and occupy your allotment." That story was told as a joke, and as one of the funniest stories of the Election.
§ Mr. SILVERMAN
I am unable to say. [An HON. MEMBER: "Maiden speech."] Never mind. I do not mind the interruption in the least. I was asked whether anybody laughed, and I am unable to say. I can only quote the correspondent of that newspaper for what he or she was worth. Presumably the correspondent must have heard somebody laugh, or may be he laughed at it himself; otherwise one would wonder why he thought it was funny. Perhaps it is one of the tests of people's attitude to affairs to look just at that question of what it is that makes them laugh.
Those unemployed people are the salt of the earth. They are the people who are bearing our burdens. They are the people who are paying the price for our mistakes. I have heard an hon. Gentleman on the Benches opposite say: "Why do the unemployed not join the Army, the Navy and the Air Force"? If they did so, we should all be glad to pay them wages for not working and do so much more cheerfully while they were not working than while they were. These men and women, who are paying, with their wasted, stunted, embittered, useless lives, the whole cost of our failure to make civilisation good, are the salt of the earth, and the test of any Government and their policy, the test of any social or political outlook, cannot be better expressed than by judging it by what it is prepared to do for those at the very bottom of the social scale, not in pulling down those who are better off but in raising from the gutter those wasted human lives.
§ 10.3 p.m.
I should like on behalf of the House to congratulate the hon. Member who has just made such a very 1029 interesting maiden speech. I am sure that all hon. Members will agree that he has spoken with great sincerity and great lucidity and that we look forward to hearing him again.
I am very glad to support the Amendment which has been so ably moved by my hon. Friend the hon. Member for Wallsend (Miss Ward). I was most interested in all that she had to say and I feel that her constituency has done itself a great service in returning her again to this House. By doing so it has undoubtedly also shown great confidence in the future action of the National Government in connection with the distressed areas. I regret that I cannot say that the same reason applies to the electors of Anglesey when they returned my hon. Friend the Member for that constituency (Miss Lloyd George). If she will allow me to say so—although she rather objected to the word in her speech this evening—she was returned to this House, I think, because she is a very special person. Whether or not we represent distressed areas, we are all equally concerned with the solution of this problem, especially those of us who live in or around London, where the repercussions of this question are very much in evidence. I am convinced that there is no one solution of the problem, and that it is only by a combination of many remedies that a cure can be found. That is why I, for one, am very pleased indeed at the comprehensive nature of the King's Speech. I feel that every item in that Speech, when translated into legislation, will help to effect the cure for those special areas.
I should like to refer to a very interesting analysis which has been produced by the Minister of Labour. Some months ago, I asked the Minister for certain facts and figures with regard to what is known as the hard core of unemployment, which we know to be mainly centred in the depressed areas. I thought that if these facts and figures could be produced they would make the whole position easier to grasp and easier of solution, and I am most grateful to the Minister for having produced them. The report is in the "Ministry of Labour Gazette" for October, and shows exactly how many men and women have been out of work for one, two, three, four and five years. It also divides these into various age-groups 1030 and into nine or ten of the principal industries affected.
I have no desire to trouble the House with unnecessary figures, but I would like to give just one example which shows the most difficult and certainly the saddest aspect of the whole problem, the problem of those who have been out of employment for the longest time. Even this aspect is shown by this analysis to take on a far more manageable form. In the whole age group from 16 to 64 there are 32,000 who have been unemployed for more than five years, of whom under 20,000 are over the age of 45 and under 64 years, and about 12,000 between 18 and 44. When we divide these further into the various industries we get far smaller figures. Take the one instance of shipbuilding. Only about 1,100 of the younger group have been out of work for over five years, and about 1,100 of the older group. I do not want to minimise these figures in the very slightest, but what I feel, and I am sure all Members will agree, is that we want to hold on to the fact that we are dealing with individuals and not simply with hundreds and thousands of people.
Anyone who studies this report, and it is well worth studying, will feel that in a comparatively prosperous country such as this, where there are more people in work than ever before in our history, and where the standard of living is higher than in almost any part of the world, we are to-day in a position in which, after analysis, the whole problem of the so-called hard core of unemployment does not take on nearly such alarming proportions. When viewed against the whole economic life of the country it should not, and does not, appear either so overwhelming or so insoluble. I am sure that a close study of these figures—and I am not underestimating the difficulties at all—will be a great help to those who are initiating schemes and plans in the depressed areas, both on a voluntary and a governmental basis.
There is just one other matter I should like to mention, which has been mentioned on many occasions in connection with the distressed areas, and that is the problem of malnutrition and the need for higher food consumption. I listened last Friday with interest to the speech of the hon. Member for East 1031 Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby). I thought his speech both practical and constructive—especially when he talked of the necessity for better food, better chosen and better prepared. He referred to the difficulty that our young women to-day refuse to take an interest in cooking. I should like to remind him that very few good cooks are born. They have to be made. Cooking is a science like anything else. We all know what a very excellent dish cabbage can be and, alas, what it too often is! This also applies to a great many other dishes and vegetables.
I was very interested in what the Seconder of the Motion said this evening as to the special strain that we know falls on the shoulders of the women, who have to carry so much of the burden of unemployment. We all know this, whether or not we represent "distressed" areas. The Commissioner pointed it out very clearly in his report last July when he stressed the need for direction and instruction both in buying and cooking food. The various reports we have seen from time to time have shown that malnutrition is not always due to lack of food, but very often to the wrong type of food, wrongly cooked and wrongly prepared. No matter to what political party they belong, people in this country as a whole are very conservative in their tastes and habits, and I am quite sure the Government can do a great deal by constant suggestion on the right lines in this matter.
I welcome very much the special Committee on Nutrition which has been set up by the Government but which, I understand, has not yet reported. When it does report I am sure it will shed a great deal of valuable light on this subject. I believe the Government might do well to establish a permanent advisory committee on food values, on possible menus and seasonable meals, both from the point of view of the body's needs, and of the available foodstuffs at the different times of the year; which it is very difficult indeed for the ordinary housewife to know. Education in this matter will depend on the number of properly trained teachers, and I hope the Government will set up as many courses as possible all over the country, not only in the distressed areas. That is one reason why I welcome the raising of the 1032 school-leaving age, for it will give the girls at the end of their school life a chance of learning the value of foodstuffs and more about cooking. We all know that well-cooked meals must always play no inconsiderable part in the happiness and welfare of our people, men, women and children alike, and the Government should spare no steps to raise the standard of cooking, which would prove of enormous benefit both to the urban consumers and to the agricultural producers throughout the country.
Finally, I believe that the great majority of people, not only on this side but in all quarters of the House, are far more interested in getting things done than in mere party politics or party shibboleths. That is why I, for one, welcome the proposals of the Government. We all want to see a greater degree of security and a still higher standard of living in this country. I do not believe that ultimate perfection or prosperity will ever be reached by the pure doctrine of Capitalism, of Nationalisation, or even of Free Trade. In all human affairs there is always a new and better way, and I am sure that under the National Government we are beginning to find a new and better way to meet the new and complicated problems of the modern world.
§ 10.15 p.m.
§ The MINISTER of LABOUR (Mr. Ernest Brown)
I intervene for only a few minutes, because, if I remember rightly, it has sometimes been said that Ministers on the Front Bench have taken an inordinate amount of time on what is essentially a private Members' night. I am sure that the House feels obliged to the hon. Member for Seaham (Mr. Shinwell), who moved the Motion, and that he will not think I am showing him any discourtesy if I do not make a long and detailed reply. I think it is the duty of a Minister, on such an occasion as this, to sit and listen rather than to speak. I have taken a careful note of everything that has been said, and shall read the Debate carefully to-morrow, There were, however, some practical points with regard to which Members showed quite clearly that they would like further information, and I will do my best briefly VI' give that information.
1033 With regard to the general structure of the Commissioner's power and reports, I would say that the previous report has been examined, discussions have taken place with the Commissioner, and he will shortly be issuing a further progress report. This will show that what was said in the previous Debate has been carried out, that is to say, that he is continuing his work on a wider scale and in an intensive manner. While the hon. Member for Anglesey (Miss Lloyd George), if I may say this about her speech, talked about the need for co-ordination in the Government, I think that in some respects there was lack of co-ordination on the bench from which she spoke. With regard to the new trading estate, she rather made the point that what was needed was a market, and that there was no market. The hon. Member for North Cumberland (Mr. W. Roberts), in his very interesting and powerful maiden speech from the same bench made, however, precisely the opposite point, namely, that the land was there, the market was there, and what was wanted was to develop the opportunity for the use of that market by the people living in the distressed area of Cumberland. That, of course, is precisely the point of the trading estate. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Hackney (Mr. H. Morrison) made a rather disparaging allusion to it in his speech the other night. He said:I have a sort of feeling that it will look like a Chinese bungalow town, or something like a bazaar where people may go and buy if they like; a sort of open air Woolworth's."—[OFFICIAL, REPORT, 9th December, 1935; col. 677, Vol. 307.]That is not the point. This idea is one of three for dealing with the problem. To help to solve this problem you must either revivify the industries in the area, or you must bring new industries there, or you must move people who cannot find opportunities there to areas where there is industry. With regard to the second point, namely, the bringing in of new industries, it has been pointed out that one of the difficulties was that there was no preparation for their going there. On a private basis we have seen two of these trading estates, namely, Slough and Trafford Park. What is meant by the trading estate is this: The Commissioner for Special Areas in England and Wales proposes to start such an experiment in the North-Eastern area, somewhere on 1034 Tyneside. The idea is to create a public utility society to acquire land, to level it as may be necessary, and to construct on it suitable factory buildings on modern lines for letting at economic rents. The estate will be served by roads, railway sidings and power supply. The Commissioner is in touch with the North-East Coast Development Council as to the details of the scheme, and a little later on I shall be able to report to the House the progress which has been made. I may tell Members from South Wales that we contemplate the establishment of a somewhat similar venture, though not necessarily on the same lines, in that area. That is the meaning of trading estates, and all those who have given careful attention, as many Members of the previous House did, to the reports on this subject by the various commissioners who have examined it, will watch the experiment with the greatest interest to see whether it succeeds in doing what we all want, and attracting new industries in those areas where some of the old industries have ceased to give the amount of employment that they used to do.
§ Mr. SHINWELL
Is the hon. Gentleman in a position to say whether the Government will hold themselves responsible for the finance necessary for capital outlay?
§ Mr. BROWN
The Commissioners have never been hampered, inside the terms of the Act, for lack of money. When you are quoting round or approximate figures about any particular plan, especially a new plan, a round figure sticks in the mind and those who do not read the explanations about it with care tend to draw it as an arbitrary figure. It never was the intention of the Government to limit the Commissioners to the sum of £2,000,000, and they have not been so limited. I can give the House the figure of the commitments up to the moment of the Commissioners. It is £3,750,000. If hon. Members feel it necessary to use a round figure, perhaps in future they will substitute that as the figure of the commitments up to date. If in pursuance of his duties a Commissioner desires to enter upon an experiment of this or any other kind for the economic and social development of the distressed areas within the terms of the Act, finance has not been, is not now and will not be an obstacle.
§ Mr. LAWSON
What have they done with it? There is not a sign of one man having been employed in the North.
§ Mr. BROWN
The matter is to be formally debated between the Opposition and the Government, and that will be a more appropriate occasion to go into matters of that kind. All I am doing to-night, having had no warning that any particular issue was going to be raised, is to give what information I can for the guidance of the House.
Suppose you found you were not quite satisfied with one of the Commissioners—I am not saying that you are not, but if you were not—how could you get rid of him?
§ Mr. BROWN
The Government, having the power to appoint, have the power to terminate the appointment if they so desire, but I should like on behalf of the Government to pay a warm tribute to the devotion to duty of the Commissioner in England and Wales and, although I am not responsible, of the Commissioner for Scotland and those district commissioners who have served with such great ability.
In answer to two or three hon. Members who have raised the question of rates, I should like to put one or two facts on record. The Motion calls for Government action, and I would ask hon. Members who have demanded exceptional action to note this for reflection. In the financial year 1933–34 in Cumberland the rates yielded £392,851, and the Government grants were £894,619, or 69.5 per cent. of the total. In Durham the rates were £2,262,579, and the Government grants 23,854,428, or 63 per cent. of the total. I will not proceed any further, but I have given an indication of the relation between rates and grants in order to point out to the hon. Member for Edge Hill (Mr. Critchley) and other Members of the House two things. First of all, when considering the question of local government, we have to realise that extreme pressure for more grants and less rates involves the issue of the national control of other services. I would say to the hon. Member for Edge Hill, who raised 1036 the question of the 1929 Act, that substantial assistance was given under that Act by way of block grants, and the system of block grants is due for revision in March, 1937, when the whole thing will be reconsidered.
§ Mr. KIRBY
I am sorry if I misunderstand the situation, but I saw that other Members were asking questions, and I thought that I would like to ask one. I listened with interest to the figures which the right hon. Gentleman gave in regard to Cumberland and Durham, and I would like to have the comparable figures for Liverpool.
§ Mr. BROWN
I think that I shall be doing an injustice to the House if I take up too much time. I was asked by the hon. Member for Seaham a special question about afforestation. I would inform the hon. Member that at the present time we have almost completed a long-term programme to replace the existing five-year programme which will expire next year. In that connection we are giving a great deal of attention to planting on land in or adjoining special areas. The details are now under expert examination, which is not quite complete, but I can assure the House that the Government have in mind the needs of the special areas and they will take every opportunity, in planning such extended planting programmes as will soon be decided upon, to include schemes which will promote employment in those areas. Another question raised by several hon. 1037 Members is that of land settlement, and I will give one or two figures about that for the information of the House. I would point out that the Commissioner has made considerable progress in this matter since the last report to this House. Arrangements have been concluded with the Land Settlement Association whereby that body will, during the next 18 months, aim at settling 1,500 unemployed families from Durham, Tyneside and Northumberland on the land. Nine estates have already been acquired for the purpose. The Commissioner has already promised land in Durham which will provide holdings of about a quarter of an acre, and 532 new holdings were established in that county last season, and 260 holdings were extended. The work of the Commissioner is developing, some of it very rapidly. It is not the case, as some hon. Members were inclined to say in the early days, that this experiment is making no contribution to our problem. The fact is that the experiment, in the judgment of the Government, has been well worth making, and it is bearing fruit in increasing degrees in all these areas. More than that, when the progress report comes out I am sure that many hon. Members who will look at the total vote of £2,000,000 and treat it as an arbitrary figure and who do not allow for the lag there is in any schemes of development—the planning of the scheme, its announcement and its fruition—will understand that what happens with all schemes happens also with this.
We have heard nothing to-night, polemical. Although the hon. Member for Seaham spoke about things that were not solutions, I noticed in his speech the absence of their solution. We had it given to us in general terms by the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Silverman) in his maiden speech. Perhaps we may discuss that further on some other occasion. We talk of human resources. Human resourcefulness is one of the greatest of all human resources. [Laughter.] Hon. Members may smile, but that is a fact often overlooked by those who put forward arguments about a change of system. The Government never held the view, and do not hold the view that is held by the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne, that all that is needed in this problem is 1038 Government action. What is needed is manifold action to harness initiative energy and wisdom on a many-sided scale in order that all may make their contribution. Because we have done that, we have to report at the end of four years' work a great improvement not merely in the whole employment situation throughout the land, but in these areas also. Nothing was more remarkable at the last Election than the fact that some of those areas which hon. Members: opposite had hoped on this issue to sweep into their net, registered against them, and nothing was more remarkable than the fact that Tyneside was among those areas. [HON. MEMBERS: "What about Durham?"] Tyneside is close to Durham. Of all the victories in the Election none was more remarkable than that of my hon. Friend the Member for Wallsend (Miss Ward), whose Amendment I have great pleasure in recommending to the acceptance of the House.
§ 10.34 p.m.
§ Mr. A. EDWARDS
I must apologise to the House for increasing the overdraft on the indulgence account. I promise them that I shall not do it again. The hon. Member who seconded the Liberal Motion yesterday said that he expected someone from these benches, later on, would get up in order to persuade the House that their policy was not Socialism. May I respectfully remind him that the electors in my constituency anticipated that necessity? The comrade who used to share the Liberal representation of Middlesbrough had the doubtful distinction of forfeiting his deposit, a thing quite unique for a sitting Member. The electors knew quite well that the Liberal policy is not Socialism. Perhaps the Minister will allow me to say this to him while it is in my mind. I would like to assist him in finding trading sites. On Tees-side, which although not a distressed area is yet in a distressed condition, I can find him many sites which can be let at an uneconomic rent and which have all the facilities to which he has alluded in his speech. Owing to the operation of the "Shipbuilding securities" scheme we have on Tees-side whole lengths on the south side of the river which are available for people who wish to put down factories. It is one of the finest rivers in the country. I want to appeal to the Minister 1039 to schedule Middlesbrough as a distressed area. The whole of the area around has been scheduled but the most important town in the district has been missed, and we think that it will be a little unfair if we lose some of the benefits which are to be brought to these areas.
Several hon. Members have asked us for some practical suggestions. May I with all due modesty suggest to the Government an alteration in their present plans? In Middlesbrough we have more than 2,000 families without homes and no possibility of getting them. The last figures given to me show that including slum clearance, 450 houses are being built and that there are 2,000 families on our list without homes. I heard a scheme propounded by the right hon. Gentleman who was Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health, a long time ago, in which he explained to the people he was addressing that if they would invest their money in building homes for working people they would get 6 per cent. on their investment and after 30 years 30 per cent. Those who have the honour of serving on local authorities know something about the housing difficulty. Last year the Government requested local authorities to call a conference of landowners, building societies, builders, and also those people who were prepared to invest their money in these homes for working people. They pressed it as a practical scheme to sustain private enterprise. I had the amazing experience of sitting several times on a body which was trying to solve this great problem. There were first of all the people who owned the land, they wanted a profit; and I will tell the House in a moment what kind of profit they required. Then there were building societies who also wanted a profit, but they came down a half per cent in order to help. Then there were the builders who wanted a profit, and all those people who were to invest their money and receive 6 per cent. on their investment.
In view of the accusations which have been made that Socialism is impracticable, will the Minister bear these facts in mind, and let us have an explanation? There were the landowners, the building societies, who wanted 4½ per cent., the builders and the householders society 1040 who were to provide homes for the working people. We Socialists made this simple proposition which was turned down as impracticable. We said "We can borrow money at 3 per cent. We can buy land cheaper than any of these people. We can develop larger schemes and we can build by direct labour." It only needs a little calculation to show what an immense saving there would have been and our scheme which hon. Members opposite would describe as foolishness would have had this advantage, that it would have put all these people into homes, if the Government had given us any encouragement. It does not seem to me that it is those on this side of the House who are being judged at present. It is the system represented by hon. Members opposite that is being judged and I submit that on the facts it has been proved to be a failure. As far as I am concerned I shall be glad to co-operate wherever I can co-operate if we can only get homes for the people who are in such need of them.
I promised that I would refer to the private profit which these people wanted. Our housing scheme was going so badly that I decided to have a shot at it myself, I went to buy a plot of 10 acres on an estate which had been broken up seven years previously. Then, the 10 acres were sold for £700. They were offered to me for £2,500 and at first I was willing to buy at that price but I was persuaded that the difficulties in the way were so great that I could not carry out my plan. The week after I turned down the offer this piece of land was sold for £3,000. Within two months it was sold for £6,000 and the owners hope to get out of our corporation £8,000 for it. The right hon. Gentleman opposite and many other people have asked us for some practical proposal. Will those right hon. Gentlemen who are now associated with the Government and who were in the 1931 Government undertake, for their own justification, if they are still Socialists, to bring into use the plan which was formulated in 1931 to prevent this kind of profiteering in land values. Such a step would do a tremendous lot to help in this problem. I hope we are going to be sincere. I hoped that there would be sincere discussion about these subjects and that we should learn something from it. These are vital problems. I am not going to take up the time of 1041 the House in giving details of cases of hardship. It may be called "sob stuff" but "sob stuff" or not, it is a record of real suffering.
I suggest another matter for consideration, and that is the possibility of preventing people setting up factories in the Smith in preference to the industrial areas. I do not know of any valid excuse except in exceptional circumstances. As regards the question of transport I have sent stuff two or three times a week to London from Birmingham and Middlesbrough cheaper than I could send it from 20 miles outside London. I have shipped stuff at five o'clock in the evening which has been delivered to my customer the following morning and my expenses were immensely lower than they would be in London. We can send a cargo overnight or within 24 hours from the Tees to London and have it delivered at a very convenient spot and I submit that people who are putting down their factories in London have not a valid reason for doing so. I wish the Government would not allow it. If they took some steps in that direction it would solve half a dozen problems. It would help the right hon. Gentleman whose name has become associated with the disfigurement of our streets to solve this problem.
May I call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to another problem? An hon. Friend of mine in front of me referred to a famous battle which was won out Eton way. I read in a paper recently that we have a hundred Members in this House who were educated at Eton. May I remind them of a famous battle which their colleagues fought in the last Parliament, when they won a less creditable victory—the battle of Waterloo Bridge? That would have needed steel from Middlesbrough, and it would have helped my district had it gone forward. I hope those hon. Members will recover their reputation and, when the project comes before this House again, see that Waterloo Bridge is built in a proper, businesslike way, and buy the steel from Middlesbrough. I do not know whether this was a sense of humour on the part of the advertising department of the National Government, but shortly after that project was being discussed in this (louse, they issued an illustrated paper for the benefit of the electorate, and in that newspaper they showed a bridge, 1042 and they said, "This is made of steel from Middlesbrough." But it was a bridge in Denmark, and the Government gave a loan to build that bridge, but not for Waterloo Bridge. What is the use, if we are to put forward proposals and they are turned down simply because they are branded as Socialism? Hon. and right hon. Members opposite have stumbled across some good plans, but what would they have done if they had become enlightened? They have been described as a gang of inverted Micawbers waiting for something to turn down.
I would like to refer to the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Scotland, who, speaking in this House the other night, waved his hand and expressed his ignorance of an appeal that had been made. I was on a relief committee that was held up to public criticism because the amount we allowed in relief was 5d. per head more than any other committee gave where they did not have a sufficient number of Labour councillors. I am afraid that some of the discussions in this House have not been altogether sincere with regard, that is, to the means test. The story has been told often of a man who went before a committee, and the chairman said to him, "Where do you live?" He replied, "In lodgings." "How much do you pay?" "Fifteen shillings." "Don't you think you would be better with your parents?" "Yes." "Where are they?" "They are dead." The reason I have referred to that is that the right hon. Gentleman, speaking from that Box the other night, not long ago was in my constituency, and he was just as happy and mirthful, and he said, "I enjoy questions." It is the answers that trouble him. He was very happy until someone in the ball asked him about the operation of the means test. Then he pulled himself up to his full stature and said, "Can you expect a Cabinet Minister in His Majesty's Government to answer questions like that?" I submit that the moment when something that really mattered was touched upon there was some difficulty.
At the same meeting I recall well that this member of the Government, referring to the armaments programme, claimed that this would help the distressed areas. He said, "If these men have to defend their country, I am going to insist that they have the best ships that money can 1043 buy." That was a very noble sentiment, but would it not be much more noble if members of the Government said also, "We shall first see that the men who may be called upon to man those ships are properly fed." I do not want to trespass further on the indulgence of the House. I have been happy to note the generous treatment accorded to Members making their maiden speeches. I know
§ there is a happy tradition that the people who follow have to obey, and I do not want to put too great a strain on that tradition.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 141; Noes, 208.1045
|Division No. 7.]||AYES.||[10.54 p.m.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir F. Dyke||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||Naylor, T. E.|
|Acland, R. T. D. (Barnstaple)||Grenfell, D. R.||Oliver, G. H.|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)||Owen, Major G.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)||Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Paling, W.|
|Adamson, W. M.||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Parkinson, J. A.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Hardie, G. D.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Ammon, C. G.||Harris, Sir P. A.||Potts, J.|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)||Price, M. P.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Quibell, J. D.|
|Banfield, J. W.||Henderson, T. (Tradeston)||Rathbone, Eleanor (English Univ's.)|
|Barnes, A. J.||Hills, A. (Pontefract)||Riley, B.|
|Batey, J.||Holdsworth, H.||Ritson, J.|
|Bellenger, F.||Holland, A.||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)|
|Benson, G.||Holland, A.||Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)|
|Broad, F. A.||Hopkin, D.||Rothschild, J. A. de|
|Bromfield, W.||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Rowson, G.|
|Brooke, W.||Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath)||Sanders, W. S.|
|Brown, C. (Mansfield)||Johnston, Rt. Hon. T.||Seely, Sir H. M.|
|Buchanan, G.||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Sexton, T. M.|
|Burke, W. A.||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Shinwell, E.|
|Cape, T.||Kelly, W. T.||Silverman, S. S.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)|
|Chater, D.||Kirby, B. V.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Kirkwood, D.||Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)|
|Compton, J.||Lathan, G.||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Daggar, G.||Lawson, J. J.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Dalton, H.||Leach, W.||Stephen, C.|
|Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill)||Lee, F.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Davies, D. L. (Pontypridd)||Leslie, J. R.||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)|
|Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||Logan, D. G.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Lunn, W.||Thurtle, E.|
|Day, H.||Macdonald, G. (Ince)||Tinker, J. J.|
|Dobbie, W.||McEntee, V. La T.||Viant, S. P.|
|Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)||McGhee, H. G.||Walkden, A. G.|
|Ede, J. C.||McGovern, J.||Walker, J.|
|Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough E.)||McLaren, A.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||Maclean, N.||Watson, W. McL.|
|Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.||MacMillan, M. (Western Isles)||Westwood, J.|
|Foot, D. M.||MacNeill, Weir, L.||White, H. Graham|
|Frankel, D.||Marklew, E.||Wilkinson, Ellen|
|Gallacher, W.||Marshall, F.||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Gardner, B. W.||Mathers, G.||Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)|
|Garro-Jones, G. M.||Maxton, J.||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Messer, F.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)||Milner, Major J.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Gibbins, J.||Montague, F.|
|Graham, D. M. (Hamilton)||Morrison, Rt. Hn. H. (Ha'kn'y, S.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Green, W. H. (Deptford)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Mr. Whiteley and Mr. Croves.|
|Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.)||Baxter, A. Beverley||Butler, R. A.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G.||Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)||Cartland, J. R. H.|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'kn'hd)||Beit, Sir A. L.||Carver, Major W. H.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. L. C. M. S.||Bird, Sir R. B.||Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)|
|Anderson, Sir A. Garrett (C. of Ldn.)||Blindell, J.||Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)|
|Apsley, Lord||Bower, Comdr. R. T.||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. N. (Edgb't'n)|
|Aske, Sir R. W.||Boyce, H. Leslie||Channon, H.|
|Astor, Visc'tess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Braithwaite, Major A. N.||Chapman, A. (Rutherglen)|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Briscoe, Capt. R. G.||Chorlton, A. E. L.|
|Baldwin-Webb, Col. J.||Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Clarry, R. G.|
|Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)||Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham)||Clydesdale, Marquess of|
|Balniel, Lord||Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith)||Cochrane, Comdr. Hon. A. D.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Browne, A. C. (Belfast, W.)||Colman, N. C. D.|
|Barrie, Sir C. C.||Bull, B. B.||Colville, Lt.-Col. D. J.|
|Cook, T. R. A. M. (Norfolk, N.)||Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton)||Ramsden, Sir E.|
|Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Rankin, R.|
|Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.)||Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan-||Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)|
|Craddock, Sir R. H.||Holmes, J. S.||Rayner, Major R. H.|
|Craven-Ellis, W.||Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)|
|Critchley, A.||Horsbrugh, Florence||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)|
|Crooke, J. S.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)||Remer, J. R.|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C.||James, Wing-Commander A. W.||Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)|
|Cross, R. H.||Joel, D. J. B.||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Crowder, J. F. E.||Keeling, E. H.||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)|
|Cruddas, Col. B.||Kerr, H. W. (Oldham)||Rowlands, G.|
|Culverwell, C. T.||Kerr, J. G. (Scottish Universities)||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.|
|Davies, Major G. F. (Yeovil)||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Russell, A. West (Tynemouth)|
|De Chair, S. S.||Latham, Sir P.||Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Law, Sir A. J. (High Peak)||Salmon, Sir I.|
|Denville, A.||Leech, Dr. J. W.||Salt, E. W.|
|Donner, P. W.||Lees-Jones, J.||Scott, Lord William|
|Dorman-Smith, Major R. H.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T. L.||Selley, H. R.|
|Dower, Capt. A. V. G.||Levy, T.||Shakespeare, G. H.|
|Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side)||Liddall, W. S.||Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)|
|Dugdale, Major T. L.||Lindsay, K. M.||Shepperson, Sir E. W.|
|Duggan, H. J.||Llewellin, Lieut.-Col. J. J.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.|
|Duncan, J. A. L.||Lloyd, G. W.||Somervell, Sir D. B. (Crewe)|
|Dunglass, Lord||Lyons, A. M.||Southby, Comdr. A. R. J.|
|Dunne, P. R. R.||M'Connell, Sir J.||Spears, Brig.-Gen. E. L.|
|Eastwood, J. F.||McCorquodale, M. S.||Spender-Clay Lt.-Cl. Rt. Hn. H. H.|
|Eckersley, P. T.||Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight)||Spens, W. P.|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||McKie, J. H.||Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, N.)|
|Ellis, Sir G.||Maclay, Hon. J. P.||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Elliston, G. S.||Macnamara, Capt. J. R. J.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Emery, J. F.||Magnay, T.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Entwistle, C. F.||Maitland, A.||Tasker, Sir R. I.|
|Errington, E.||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Tate, Mavis C.|
|Everard, W. L.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Fildes, Sir H.||Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)||Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Fox, Sir G. W. G.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Thomson, Sir J. D. W.|
|Fraser, Capt. Sir I.||Moreing, A. C.||Titchfield, Marquess of|
|Freemantle, Sir F. E.||Morris, J. P. (Salford, N.)||Touche, G. C.|
|Furness, S. N.||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H.||Tree, A. R. L. F.|
|Fyfe, D. P. M.||Morrison, W. S. (Cirencester)||Tufnell, Lieut.-Com. R. L.|
|Ganzoni, Sir J.||Muirhead, Lt.-Col, A. J.||Turton, R. H.|
|Gledhill, G.||Munro, P. M.||Wakefield, W. W.|
|Gluckstein, L. H.||Neven-Spence, Maj. B. H.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Goldie, N. B.||Nicolson, Hon. H. G.||Warrender, Sir V.|
|Goodman, Col. A. W.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|Graham Captain A. C. (Wirral)||Palmer, G. E. H.||Wedderburn, H. J. S.|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Peake, O.||Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.|
|Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)||Peat, C. U.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Gridley, Sir A. B.||Penny, Sir G.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.|
|Grimston, R. V.||Percy, Rt. Hon. Lord E.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Guest, Maj. Hon. O.(C-mb'rw'll, N. W.)||Perkins, W. R. D.||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Gunston, Capt. D. W.||Peters, Dr. S. J.||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Guy, J. C M.||Petherick, M.|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. D. H.||Proctor, Major H. A.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hartington, Marquess of||Purbrick, R.||Miss Ward and Mr. Storey.|
|Harvey, G.||Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.|
§ Question put, "That those words be there added."1046
§ The House divided: Ayes, 202; Noes, 137.1049
|Division No. 8.]||AYES.||[11.4 p.m.|
|Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.)||Briscoe, Capt. R. G.||Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.)|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G.||Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Courthope, Col. Sir G. L.|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'kn'hd)||Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham)||Craddock, Sir R. H.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. L. C. M. S.||Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith)||Craven-Ellis, W.|
|Anderson, Sir A. Garrett (C. of Ld-.)||Browne, A. C. (Belfast, W.)||Critchley, A.|
|Apsley, Lord||Bull, B. B.||Crooke, J. S.|
|Aske, Sir R. W.||Butler, R. A.||Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C.|
|Astor, Visc'tess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Cartland, J. R. H.||Cross, R. H.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Carver, Major W. H.||Crowder, J. F. E.|
|Baldwin-Webb, Col. J.||Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Cruddas, Col. B.|
|Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)||Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Culverwell, C. T.|
|Balniel, Lord||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. N. (Edgb't'n)||Davies, Major G. F. (Yeovil)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Channon, H.||Denville, A.|
|Barrie, Sir C. C.||Chapman, A. (Rutherglen)||Donner, P. W.|
|Baxter, A. Beverley||Chorlton, A. E. L.||Dorman-Smith, Major R. H.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)||Clarry, R. G.||Dower, Capt. A. V. G.|
|Beit, Sir A. L.||Clydesdale, Marquess of||Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side)|
|Bird, Sir R. B.||Cochrane, Comdr. Hon. A. D.||Dugdale, Major T. L.|
|Blindell, J.||Colman, N. C. D.||Duggan, H. J.|
|Bower, Comdr. R. T.||Colville, Lt.-Col. D. J.||Duncan, J. A. L.|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Cook, T. R. A. M. (Norfolk, N.)||Dunglass, Lord|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N.||Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Dunne, P. R. R.|
|Eastwood, J. F.||Leech, Dr. J. W.||Remer, J. R.|
|Eckersley, P. T.||Lees-Jones, J.||Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T. L.||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Ellis, Sir G.||Levy, T.||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)|
|Elliston, G. S.||Liddall, W. S.||Rowlands, G.|
|Emery, J. F.||Lindsay, K. M.||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.|
|Entwistle, C. F.||Llewellin, Lieut.-Col. J. J.||Russell, A. West (Tynemouth)|
|Errington, E.||Lloyd, G. W.||Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)|
|Everard, W. L.||Lyons, A. M.||Salmon, Sir I.|
|Fildes, Sir H.||M'Connell, Sir J.||Salt, E. W.|
|Fox, Sir G. W. G.||McCorquodale, M. S.||Scott, Lord William|
|Fraser, Capt. Sir I.||Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight)||Selley, H. R.|
|Freemantle, Sir F. E.||McKie, J. H.||Shaw, Captain W. T. (Fortar)|
|Furness, S. N.||Macnamara, Capt. J. R. J.||Shepperson, Sir E. W.|
|Fyfe, D. P. M.||Magnay, T.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.|
|Ganzoni, Sir J.||Maitland, A.||Somervell, Sir D. B. (Crewe)|
|Gledhill, G.||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Southby, Comdr. A. R. J.|
|Gluckstein, L. H.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Spears, Brig.-Gen. E. L.|
|Goldie, N. B.||Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)||Spender-Clay Lt.-Cl. Rt. Hn. H. H.|
|Goodman, Col. A. W.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Spens, W. P.|
|Graham Captain A. C. (Wirral)||Moreing, A. C.||Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, N.)|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Morris, J. P. (Salford, N.)||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Gridley, Sir A. B.||Morrison, W. S. (Cirencester)||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Grimston, R. V.||Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J.||Tate, Mavis C.|
|Guest, Maj. Hon. O.(C'mb'rw'll, N. W.)||Munro, P. M.||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Gunston, Capt. D. W.||Neven-Spence, Maj. B. H.||Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Guy, J. C. M.||Nicolson, Hon. H. G.||Thomson, Sir J. D. W.|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. D. H.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.||Titchfield, Marquess of|
|Hartington, Marquess of||Palmer, G. E. H.||Touche, G. C.|
|Harvey, G.||Peake, O.||Tree, A. R. L. F.|
|Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton)||Peat, C. U.||Tufnell, Lieut.-Com. R. L.|
|Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Penny, Sir G.||Turton, R. H.|
|Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan||Percy, Rt. Hon. Lord E.||Wakefield, W. W.|
|Holmes, J. S.||Perkins, W. R. D.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.||Peters, Dr. S. J.||Warrender, Sir V.|
|Horsbrugh, Florence||Petherick, M.||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)||Proctor, Major H. A.||Wedderburn, H. J. S.|
|James, Wing-Commander A. W.||Purbrick, R.||Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.|
|Joel, D. J. B.||Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Keeling, E. H.||Ramsden, Sir E.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.|
|Kerr, H. W. (Oldham)||Rankin, R.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Kerr, J. G. (Scottish Universities)||Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Rayner, Major R. H.||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Latham, Sir P.||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)|
|Law, Sir A. J. (High Peak)||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Miss Ward and Mr. Storey.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir F. Dyke||Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||Kirby, B. V.|
|Acland, R. T. D. (Barnstaple)||Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.||Lathan, G.|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Foot, D. M.||Lawson, J. J.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)||Frankel, D.||Leach, W.|
|Adamson, W. M.||Gallacher, W.||Lee, F.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Gardner, B. W.||Leslie, J. R.|
|Ammon, C. G.||Garro-Jones, G. M.||Logan, D. G.|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Lunn, W.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)||Macdonald, G. (Ince)|
|Banfield, J. W.||Gibbins, J.||McEntee, V. La T.|
|Barnes, A. J.||Graham, D. M. (Hamilton)||McGhee, H. G.|
|Bellenger, F.||Green, W. H. (Deptford)||McGovern, J.|
|Benson, G.||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||McLaren, A.|
|Broad, F. A.||Grenfell, D. R.||Maclean, N.|
|Bromfield, W.||Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)||MacMillan, M. (Western Isles)|
|Brooke, W.||Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||MacNeill, Weir, L.|
|Brown, C. (Mansfield)||Groves, T. E.||Marklew, E.|
|Buchanan, G.||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Marshall, F.|
|Burke, W. A.||Hardie, G. D.||Maxton, J.|
|Cape, T.||Harris, Sir P. A.||Messer, F.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)||Milner, Major J.|
|Chater, D.||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Montague, F.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Henderson, T. (Tradeston)||Morrison, Rt. Hn. H. (Ha'kn'y, S.)|
|Compton, J.||Hills, A. (Pontefract)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)|
|Daggar, G.||Holdsworth, H.||Naylor, T. E.|
|Dalton, H.||Holland, A.||Oliver, G. H.|
|Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill)||Hollins, A.||Owen, Major G.|
|Davies, D. L. (Pontypridd)||Hopkin, D.||Paling, W.|
|Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Parkinson, J. A.|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Day, H.||Johnston, Rt. Hon. T.||Potts, J.|
|Dobbie, W.||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Price, M. P.|
|Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Qulbell, J. D.|
|Ede, J. C.||Kelly, W. T.||Riley, B.|
|Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough E.)||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Ritson, J.|
|Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)||Smith, T. (Normanton)||Westwood, J.|
|Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)||Sorensen, R. W.||White, H. Graham|
|Rothschild, J. A. de||Stephen, C.||Wilkinson, Ellen|
|Rowson, G.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Sanders, W. S.||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)||Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)|
|Seely, Sir H. M.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Sexton, T. M.||Thurtle, E.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Shinwell, E.||Tinker, J. J.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Silverman, S. S.||Viant, S. P.|
|Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)||Walkden, A. G.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Smith, E. (Stoke)||Watkins, F. C.||Mr. Whiteley and Mr. Mathers.|
|Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)||Watson, W. McL.|
§ Main Question, as amended, proposed.
§ It being after Eleven of the Clock, the Debate stood adjourned.