§ 8.20 p.m.
§ Mr. GUY
I beg to move, in page 16, line 6, after "committee," to insert:of whom one member shall be a representative of the Society of Women Housing Estate Managers.We are now dealing with a Clause which sets up the Scottish Housing Advisory Committee, and as the Clause reads the Secretary of State has complete discretion as regards the appointment of the Members of the Committee. I would draw attention to paragraph (b) of Sub-section 1792 (1) of the Clause, which gives the Advisory Committee the duty of advising the Housing Management Commissions set up under Clause 24. Hon. Members will notice that Clause 24 (2, h) imposes on the Commissionthe duty to consult the Scottish Housing Advisory Committee as respects any matter specified in the scheme.that is, the scheme for setting up the Housing Management Commission. It is clear that the duties placed on the members of the Advisory Committee are very wide, and it is important, therefore, that the right kind of people should be appointed to it. In moving this Amendment I am not pressing the claims of women as such to be appointed to the Committee, because that principle is to be adopted by my right hon. Friend in the next Amendment on the Order Paper, but I am pressing the claims of those who are specially qualified to act as members.
§ Mr. GUY
If my hon. Friend will allow me I will make my point. This particular society has, I understand, special qualifications as regards housing management. The members of the society, who number some 200, have all had special and practical training in property management, and have had very considerable experience throughout the country, mainly in England but to some extent in Scotland. Among other things, they have managed some 6,000 tenancies in connection with a public utility society. I quite expect that my right hon. Friend will make the objection that it is not advisable at this stage to put upon him the duty of saying who shall be members of the Advisory Committee, because that would involve setting up a Schedule to this Clause, but I would point out that during the Report stage of the English Housing Bill a similar Amendment was moved, and although that Amendment was not accepted the then Minister of Health used these words:I recognise that the Society of Women Housing Estate Managers is a most admirable organisation, which gives a local habitation and a name to this most beneficial development of housing administration, but I do not think it would be right to begin to legislate as to the particular Members of the Committee.1793 He went on to say:However, and this may meet my hon. Friends, I will undertake to give full consideration to the representations made to-night on behalf of the Society of Women Housing Estate Managers when it comes to the formation of the Committee."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 20th May, 1935; Col. 110, Vol. 302.]That is all that I want my right hon. Friend to consider. I hope he will give the House an assurance that, when he comes to the stage of nominating members of the committee, he will give favourable consideration to the claims of this society. In particular, I ask him to keep in mind the question of house management. Property management is one of the most important points in the problem of the adequate housing of the working classes.
§ 8.26 p.m.
§ Sir G. COLLINS
In his concluding remarks the hon. Member for Central Edinburgh (Mr. Guy) asked me to give favourable consideration to a body described as the Society of Women Housing Estate Managers. I readily give that assurance, for the reason that in the choice of members of the committee we shall endeavour to secure only the very best people competent for the purpose which Parliament authorised. Although I have no intimate knowledge of the society to which the hon. Member has referred, I have no doubt, as he has voiced their case, that he has made himself cognisant with their capabilities.
§ Sir G. COLLINS
I think the House will agree that no body should be specially favoured, but I readily give my assurance that when we come to make the choice we shall endeavour to secure the very best people.
§ 8.28 p.m.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
The hon. Member for Central Edinburgh (Mr. Guy) wishes to withdraw his Amendment on the ground that an assurance has been given by the Secretary of State for Scotland, but I would point out that all that has 1794 been said by the right hon. Gentleman is that he will get the very best people. That is not an assurance that he will consult the society mentioned in the hon. Member's Amendment. It might mean the reverse. The only case made out by the hon. Member was that the society knows something about the building of 6,000 houses. Glasgow Corporation have already built 38,000 houses, and 6,000 houses are comparatively small in number. I was anxious to hear what he might say on behalf of the society, because I might have given him my support, but all he said about these people who have a divine inspiration for the job was that they had built 6,000 houses.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I would like to know what training they have had. Is it a university training or a training at some college or some school of domestic science? I came down here sympathetically inclined towards them.
§ 8.30 p.m.
§ Mr. LEONARD
Specialised bodies such as that put forward by the hon. Member for Central Edinburgh (Mr. Guy) are not always the best type of organisation to deal with questions of overcrowding. On the other hand, there are people in Scotland who, although not connected with organisations of that character, yet have an intimate personal experience in Scotland of the details of the requirements of the people concerned. They have a larger knowledge than many of those who have gone through domestic science colleges. While the Minister has given an assurance that he will consider the point raised by the hon. Member for Central Edinburgh, I hope that he will also keep in mind the fact that there are people unconnected with such bodies who would be able to give him ample service.
§ 8.31 p.m.
§ Mr. McGOVERN
The hon. Member for Central Edinburgh (Mr. Guy) has not made out a case for the society which he represents. I would not attempt to dictate to the Secretary of State for Scotland as to his choice of representatives, but I agree with him that only the best people with the greatest knowledge 1795 and experience should be chosen. At the same time it is important that women should be represented, and he has admitted in the Bill—
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Captain Bourne)
The hon. Member is now anticipating the next Amendment, in the name of the Secretary of State for Scotland.
§ Mr. McGOVERN
I did not intend to go into that subject, but merely wished to mention the fact that when one sees the poor types of houses being built in many parts of the country it becomes obvious that the inspiraton of women is badly required in relation to the housing problem.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ 8.33 p.m.
§ Sir G. COLLINS
I beg to move, in page 16, line 25, to leave out from "order," to the end of the Sub-section, and to insert:shall secure the inclusion in the committee of women as well as men, and the appointment of two sub-committees of the committee for the purpose of dealing with matters relating to urban and rural housing respectively.(3) Any order under the last foregoing Sub-section may be varied by a subsequent order.This Amendment brings us to the question of women, whose inspiration we need. It will be within the recollection of some hon. Members that an undertaking was given during the Committee stage that these words would be inserted on the Report stage. It was pressed upon us by hon. Members on all sides of the Committee, and we had great pleasure in very readily falling in with their wishes. This Amendment carries out specifically the undertaking that was given to the Committee. We realise that the inclusion of women on these bodies is essential for the efficient functioning and carrying out of their duties, and we shall endeavour to secure that the very best women, whose services have always been so freely given in public work in Scotland, are appointed on these advisory committees.
§ Amendment agreed to.