HC Deb 14 July 1936 vol 314 cc1935-2011

Question again proposed, That a sum, not exceeding £2,207,766, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1937, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Department of Health for Scotland; including Grants, a Grant in Aid, and other Expenses in connection with Housing, certain Grants to Local Authorities, &c., Grant in Aid of the Highlands and Islands Medical Service, Grants in Aid in respect of Benefits, &c., under the National Health Insurance Acts; certain Expenses in connection with the Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Contributory Pensions Acts, and other Services.

6.18 p.m.

Captain McEWEN

Resuming the severed thread of my tale, which hon. Members may remember had to do with two maternity cases, in December last, the local doctor who was in charge of the first case decided, for technical and urgent reasons into which I am not qualified to enter, that the woman in question must be immediately removed to hospital, and accordingly she was removed to the Simpson Memorial Hospital, Edinburgh. Shortly after that, her husband was met with a demand on the part of the hospital authorities for payment of a fee of no less than £3 4s., and that indeed was not all, because there were other expenses. There was the doctor's fee of a guinea, there was a nurse's fee of approximately 5s., and there was the fee for transportation in the ambulance for a matter of some 50 miles, which amounted to £3 8s. The local doctor was placed in the unenviable position of having to impose this burden upon the husband's shoulders, and at the same time as the woman was removed, the doctor informed the Department of Health that this step had been taken under the maternity scheme, and the Department stated that they would send down a medical officer. Accordingly, shortly afterwards this medical officer appeared. It was a woman, and she stated to him that the only responsibility of the Department of Health was the efficient and expeditious transport of the patient to the hospital and that the question of the expenses involved did not concern them.

There is a second case which I would like to state, of a woman who was sent, in April of this year, from the county urgently to the Simpson Memorial Hospital. Her husband was a farm worker, whose weekly wage was 28s., and he has been faced by the lady almoner of the hospital with a claim for three guineas a week maintenance while his wife was in hospital. I am well aware that hospitals and the kind of services in a hospital to which I have been referring cannot be brought out of the air or given for nothing, but at the same time I would ask if it is fair that a man should be treated as a pauper owing to an entirely, I will not say unpremeditated, but at any rate unforeseen, emergency, and I would be glad if my right hon. and gallant Friend, in reply, could give some hope to men in the position of the two men whom I have mentioned that they will not be called upon to produce suddenly, out of the blue, such a really alarming drain upon their tenuous personal exchequer.

6.22 p.m.


I am not At one with the mutual admiration society which has been exhibited in the Debate to-day. I am not at all satisfied with the administration by the Government of the health services in Scotland. I have on several occasions been trying to get the Scottish Office to do something in connection with the housing situation in the division that represent, but I have not been at al! happy with regard to what the Scottish Office have done when the facts have been put before them. It is true that the housing authority in Glasgow is the corporation, but I am convinced that if the Scottish Office were to put pressure upon the housing department in Glasgow, it would be to the advantage of all concerned. I put down a question the other week, in which I asked how many houses had been certified as unfit for human habitation in the three wards that are in my division, and I was very greatly surprised at the answer which was given to me. I have not the figures beside me at the moment, but I am convinced that there are a good many more in the Mile End ward.

The point that I want to put to the representative of the Government here is that I am convinced, from my knowledge of the division, that the inspection of houses is not being done in any satisfactory way at all. Under the 1925 Housing Act the duty is laid upon the local authority, and also upon the landlords, to see that there is a proper inspection of the houses, and I notice in the report that the Department itself did not seem to be thoroughly satisfied with what was happening in that respect and drew the attention of the housing authorities to their duties under the 1925 Act. I would like the Under-Secretary of State to inform me when the inspection took place by the sanitary authority in the Mile End Ward to decide how many of those houses were in a habitable condition. The figure which was given to me was that somewhere about a dozen houses were certified in that ward as unfit for human habitation, whereas anybody who knows the ward or who knows anything at all about Glasgow knows that there are hundreds of houses in that ward that any decent sanitary authority would certify as unfit for human habitation.

I also got the figures with regard to the numbers overcrowded, and the overcrowding in the Mile End Ward was much greater than in the Deniston Ward, but at the same time I am convinced that there is the need for a far more efficient inspection of the houses and that there should be a far greater number of houses condemned than is the case at the present time in that ward. I have approached both the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Under-Secretary of State with regard to trying to help people to get houses in my division. I have gone to both of them, and I am not so sure who was the better proposition. I tried the Secretary of State, and the results were not very satisfactory, and then I tried the Under-Secretary of State, and again the results were not very satisfactory. I have cases of single apartments with father, mother, and eight children, and I go to the Ministers, and the Ministers go to the housing authority, and the housing authority tell the Ministers they are doing all that they can, and the Ministers pass on the message to me.

I am not in the least bit satisfied that all is being done that ought to be done. I think the housing department pro- gramme of the Glasgow Corporation is quite inadequate, in view of the situation in some of the slum districts in the city of Glasgow. They estimate that they are going to produce a programme of about 6,500 houses per annum, and in view of the circumstances in Glasgow I submit that that figure is quite inadequate, having regard to the horrible housing conditions, which are a disgrace to Glasgow and also to this House. Unfortunately, owing to the visit to the other end of the Lobby, I have not by me my copy of the report on the health services, but there was a paragraph in it to which I wanted to draw attention. There were all those compliments paid to the committee which inquired into the health services, and one of the questions dealt with was that question, which aroused a certain amount of attention, whether the movement of people from slum houses to other houses put them into a position in which they were not able to get a sufficient amount of food because of the increased rents.

I would like to draw the attention of the Under-Secretary to the paragraph in the report where the committee deals with this question. The committee state that if this were so it would be serious, but that it is not true. They then say that they did not get any representative evidence to show that it was true. They first make the definite statement that it is not true, and then say they did not get sufficient evidence. Some of us who have contact with people who have been shifted from the slums into the housing schemes know from the incomes that are going into the homes and from what some of the people have told us that they are riot able to get the necessary amount of food. With wages and unemployment allowances what they are, it is evident that this must be happening. These people had not a surplus of income over expenditure previously, and the increased rent which they are called upon to pay must come from somewhere.

This is one of the factors which mean that we are not getting the results from the improvement in housing conditions that we ought to get. It is not sufficient to give a family in a slum area a better house if the family has not an adequate income for its needs. It is necessary to do something to provide the family with an income which will enable them to make the best use of its new home. It is stated in the report, however, that under the 1935 Act the local authorities may make rebates of rent where the people are not in circumstances which allow them to pay the rent. I would like the Minister to give us some figures showing in how many cases this option by the authorities has been exercised. We might be told the percentage of people who have gone to new houses who have been excused the payment of rent because of the difficult economic circumstances in their homes.

The question of milk, with which I should also like to deal, has interested me a, great deal because since the milk was given to children in schools at a reduced payment there has been a disposition on the part of Members of the Government to think that they are developing wings and have almost become angels through having done this for the poor children. One of the reasons why it was done was not so much the need to do something to improve the physique of the children as the need to get rid somehow of the surplus milk. There had been so much complaint about milk being poured down the drain that this scheme ultimately came into being because of the economic necessity of doing something to deal with the surplus. Although it may have been a bad cause that was responsible for supplying milk to schools, I think that is a good thing. The milk, however, should be given free.

I am not happy about the way in which the poverty of the children is made a stigma in the administration of the milk scheme in schools. A number of children get their milk without paying for it, and the others know that these are their poorer little brothers and sisters. From my own experience in an elementary school in Glasgow I protest against this way of dealing with the children. I agree with what has been said to-day that the Scottish Department should make an attempt to increase the amount of milk that is being given. It would be a sound expenditure to do all that is possible in the provision of milk for children. Surely, if the Ministers are so pleased with what has been done already in this respect and think it so wonderful, they might now have a little more courage and go much further.

As I see the Government in action in connection with health services, I find that they are very timid. There is no real attempt to grapple with the situation. The unfortunate position exists in my own division of the Mile End Ward having an infantile mortality rate of well over 100, while in the Denniston Ward, where the better-off people live, it is well under 50. As the representative of the Camlachie Parliamentary Division, I have to give an answer to the people why there is that difference between two parts of the division. The only answer I can give is that the Government are not treating the people fairly, and that the whole policy of the Government is directed to making things comfortable for the comfortable and well-to-do people. I am asking that the Ministers who are responsible for Scotland, when they have presented to them questions of overcrowding, such as I have presented, and when they have presented to them the horrible housing conditions in the Mile End Ward, which is responsible in such large measure for the high infantile mortality rate, should take definite steps to create the circumstances which will enable the lives of the children to be saved and which will give social justice to the people.

6.40 p.m.


I am quite happy to be reckoned among the noble band of those who have joined the mutual admiration society to which the hon. Member for Camlachie (Mr. Stephen) referred. It is true that in this Debate a lot of bouquets have been thrown about. First we had the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Scotland, followed by a speech from an ex-Secretary of State, followed again by a speech of another ex-Secretary of State, the right lion. Gentleman the Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Sir A. Sinclair).


We have heard all that before,


You are going to hear it again. Your memory is not what it used to be. I have noticed that lately. It is easier to criticise than to administer. As the poet said: 'Tis hard to say if greater want of skill Appear in writing or in judging ill. The Minister himself, in opening the Debate, made one or two trenchant remarks. He said that health policy has many sides. We have seen that to-day. Hon. Members have talked about maternity, child welfare, public health, housing and milk supply, and all the follies of the Government in getting dearer milk for the people instead of cheaper. The Minister in his next point spoke about protecting the people against insanitary housing and he told us that he is having great difficulties. These are shown by two reports which we have got, one being the Seventh Annual Report of the Department of Health for Scotland, signed by the Secretary of State, and the other being a wonderful report from the Committee on Scottish Health Services. Those of us who have had any experience of local government must be greatly indebted to that committee for the useful observations they make and the conclusions they have reached, and for the great amount of labour they have put into the preparation of their report.

I see one of the members of the committee on the Front Opposition Bench, and I am sure that he applied his mind to this subject and that great credit is due to him and to the other members of the committee for this report. The Minister said that we cannot get bricklayers in order to build more houses. Last year 17,000 houses were built, according to this report, and it is suggested that there might be 20,000 built this year. If, with a scarcity of bricklayers, 17,000 houses were built, I would like to ask the Minister how he is going to get the bricklayers to build an extra 3,000.


By getting the bricklayers to work harder.


We are told in the report that there has been a meeting with the bricklayers and that there has been a promise of considering payment for holidays. There has been another promise to apprentices that if they take a little technical training they will get more wages than the others. I have been 50 years in the trade and I have heard those promises before. They do not mean one more man in the trade. Many of us in the trade pay for all the technical education that our apprentices will take. They have had that opportunity long ago. Something much more definite than this will have to be done before we can get more bricklayers. I respectfully suggest to the Minister that houses can be built of other things than bricks. Stone houses are being built to-clay by private enterprise.


And they are better than brick.


When I was convenor of the Housing Committee in Lanarkshire we built stone houses under the Addison scheme, and they did not cost much more than brick houses. We have heard today from the right hon. Member for West Stirling (Mr. Johnston) that he would like to see refrigerators installed in the houses. I should like to see more houses before there is any question of providing refrigerators. But it is only a question of money. It costs a little more to build with stone, and a little more to put in refrigerators. We see from the report that the houses built last year by the local authorities cost £7 more than the houses of the previous year. Prices are rising for the same class of house. I think we have been building too cheap houses. If all these up-to-date appliances are wanted they can be had for money. There has been some discussion to-day about sterilisation, a subject which riled my good friend the right hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. J. Brown) on sending people to institutions where there are expensive refrigerators and bathrooms and furnishings and furniture, but the suggestion is that these people should be sent to a lethal chamber, while in housing schemes there are the most inexpensive fittings for people mentally and physically fit. I say advisedly that we seem to have reached saturation point in the production of houses in Scotland per year having regard to the man power available. There are no idle men in the building trade. The Secretary of State himself admits it. You may advertise for them but you cannot get them. There are other valuable points in the report from the committee on the Scottish Health Services. On page 122, when they are talking about water supply and drainage, they state:

  1. "(1) A technical survey of the water resources and supplies of Scotland should be undertaken at once.
  2. (2) A comprehensive inquiry should he held into the whole question of water 1943 supplies with the object of securing a more economic and more effective use of resources."
They go on to say, with reference to drainage: It may be noted that the Burgh Police Act provision is compulsory, while that of the Public Health Act is enabling. It has been urged by several witnesses that in special drainage districts the obligatory provisions of the Burgh Police Act should be adopted by the county council as well as the burgh. There are many lots of land in many parts of Scotland which could be made suitable for housing if there were a proper water supply and proper drainage. The Commissioner for the Special Areas referred to an expenditure of £1,250,000 for sewage purification. For that class of work we do not require bricklayers or the skilled workmen of any other trade, but unskilled men who are now largely unemployed, and such men should be utilised in order to bring the drainage and water supply of Scotland up to a fair standard. The local authorities, the burghs and the county councils, should be persuaded to work together, not considering alone the boundaries of the county or the boundaries of the burgh, but the contour of the land, the watershed of the land, so as to make the best possible use of the water supply, and also the best use of rivers as outlets, with proper sewage purification in order not to pollute the streams. It has been done in the past, in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, and Renfrew-shire. Glasgow some years ago spent £2,000,000 in intercepting sewage going into the Clyde in order to purify that river, but what did Paisley do? Paisley continued to pour raw sewage into the Cart. [Interruption.] I believe they are starting purification works now. But the Clyde is tidal and up comes the tide and sweeps the sewage flowing out of the Cart up to Broomielaw. On the other hand there is Cambuslang, where sewage purification work was put in hand. They purified their own sewage, but are affected by the sewage from Paisley. Then there was the case of the Burgh of Hamilton in Lanarkshire. The County Council of Lanarkshire spent lots of money on sewage purification, but Hamilton does nothing and pours crude sewage into the Clyde.


I would like to say, in case these statements get abroad, that Paisley has now realised the evil and has full plans for dealing with it.


I am glad to hear that something is to be done at Paisley at last. I suggest to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State that in the ways I have indicated he could help the housing programme and at the same time give employment. We have heard a good deal about the advantages of milk and other things in improving the health of the people, but I think there is great need to save the people from the ill effects of insanitary housing, a point which was also made by the right hon. Gentleman himself. The right hon. Gentleman told us that we were to have a Bill on the subject of maternal mortality on the 24th of this month, before we rise for the Recess, but I should like to know what is going to be done in regard to many of the suggestions put forward in the report from the Committee on the Scottish Health Services. If we tackle water supply, sewage purification and river pollution it will be of benefit to the health of the people and will enable many new districts to be developed. We should like to know whether the right hon. Gentleman has any proposals to bring forward. We cannot expect them before we break up for the Recess, but will he kindly tell us "what he is going to do about it," as hon. Members opposite have put it. Has he any practical suggestions to make? Finally, I wish to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on his wonderful report, and I have no doubt that had all the evidence which is now available been in his possession earlier he would have been able to tell us more of what it is proposed to do.

6.54 p.m.


I regret very much that I did not hear the opening speech of the Secretary of State, but it has been reported to me that he made a special reference to the report of the Departmental Committee on Health Services. As a humble member of that committee I want, on behalf of my colleagues, to thank him for what he has said, and to thank hon. Members on both sides of the House for all the kind things they have said in dealing with that monumental report, which was the result of three years' work by that committee. One thing I may say on their behalf is that it is not the thanks of this House or of the Secretary of State that will be our reward for those three years' work, but we shall have our reward if effect is given to our recommendations towards securing a real health policy for Scotland, so that we may no longer be in the unhappy position of getting reports which prove that the health services of Scotland do not provide as high a standard as is found in England. I do not propose to pursue this subject of the report, which speaks for itself, but to concentrate on the housing question, because what impressed me as a member of the committee was that. though you may try to build up social services in the interests of the people and do everything possible to improve their health you will never be successful unless those health services pivot round decent housing. Decent houses and decent surroundings must be the pivot on which the health services revolve if they are to be a success.

There are three things which are essential to secure decent housing. First, we must have an up-to-date ordnance survey of Scotland, so that we can have proper town planning. Recently I attended a conference which was addressed by the Secretary of State. I went from that conference with high hopes, because he had given me a promise, as representing one of the local authorities, that those housing authorities which had already started on the work of town planning would have priority for ordnance survey purposes. I took advantage of what I thought was a good offer, and instructed the town clerk of Kirkcaldy to apply for that priority, but to my surprise I discovered that, through lack of staff, priority would only mean attention three years hence. That is not good enough. If there is not adequate staff it is time it was provided to enable us to get an up-to-date ordnance survey and thus ensure decent town planning.

The second necessity in housing is the land. As a housing convener I have had to buy tracks of land during the last two or three years, trying to put the town of which I am administrator in the forefront in the provision of houses. I had succeeded in bringing down the price of land for housing from £300 an acre to £210 in one case and £211 in another. I thought I should have the approval of the Secretary of State for that particular work, but what happened? I do not blame the Department, and I know the Secretary of State would be the last to put the blame on the Department, because he has to accept responsibility in this House. I found, after having negotiated that reduction in price, that we were compelled to go to arbitration, and instead of getting the land at £210 an acre Kirkcaldy—and similar things are happening elsewhere—will have to pay £217 per acre, plus the cost of the arbitration. In the other case, where I could have paid approximately £190 to £200, we will have to pay £217 per acre, plus the cost of arbitration. May I quote from the arbitrator's report: While I have not taken into account or been influenced in any way by the price agreed on between the parties themselves but disapproved by the Department of Health, I cannot help feeling that it was a mistake in this case for the Department to disapprove a price adjusted between the seller and buyer, who knew, not only the local conditions, but also all the circumstances better than anybody else. As a result of being compelled to go to arbitration under the 1919 Act we have to pay at least £7 per acre more plus the cost of arbitration.


What was the cost of arbitration?


We have not the returns in yet, but it will not be less than £150 in my opinion, because King's Counsel were engaged in advising the town council on the one hand and the seller of the land on the other, and we have, under the arbitrator's decision, to pay the full cost. It is right that the Department should take a keen interest in the price of land, but I suggest that some discrimination should be shown, and that authorities should not be compelled to go to arbitration when they are able to prove, as they were in this case, that they have reduced the price of land, particularly to the extent which I have mentioned.

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for SCOTLAND (Lieut. - Colonel Colville)

Does the hon. Member say that both these cases were in Kirkcaldy?


Yes, both were Kirkcaldy cases. The third point I want to refer to is, having town planned and bought your land, you have then to build your house, and I suggest that you should not always be compelled to take the cheapest contractor. It always means stamped work. We have had to put repairers on to alter the chimneys in some houses to stop the tenants from being smoked out. Why? Because the Department are repeatedly compelling local authorities to accept the lowest offer. Let me quote from a letter which I have received asking me to raise the matter in this House. My correspondent says: Since the Department of Health insist on the lowest tender for housing work being accepted, unless an authority can prove that the contractor is a scamp (and this is very difficult and accompanied by certain risks) I have often wondered why the Department do not take steps to prevent unqualified and unsuitable contractors from pricing schedules, as is done by the War Office and Admiralty. Everyone knows (including the Department) that frequently the lowest contractor cannot possibly carry out the contract strictly in accordance with the specification and general conditions unless he resorts, as he invariably intends to do, to some form of roguery. We have had evidence of that in many parts of the country. The Department in one case insisted on the lowest tender being accepted, when the town council knew from past experience that they could not get a job from the lowest contractor. They wanted to accept the second or third lowest, but they were compelled to accept the lowest, and some hard things were said in that town council against the Department. My correspondent goes on: I submit that the present practice constitutes a real menace to all connected with the building trade. It is unbusinesslike and tends to undetectable methods of evading the specification, inferior workmanship, etc. My suggestion is that a contractor wishing to tender for housing work should first make an application to the Department by submitting a statement as to his qualifications and general ability to compete for such work. The Department would then issue a certificate if the applicant were found to be suitable, which certificate would be graded (say for 50, 100 or 500 houses) according to the contractor's status. Such a measure would I think be quite legitimate and fair to all, and would effectively prevent the unscrupulous person from tendering. Where the disbursement of public money is concerned, are the public not entitled to the guarantee that only fit and proper persons shall be entrusted with work? He makes a further suggestion which I submit for consideration. It is that even for the post of clerk of works you should have specially qualified individuals, men holding a certificate which would make them eligible to apply for a situation as clerk of works. The consequence of that would be that you would have fully qualified men seeing that the schedules and specifications were being worked to. So much for the building of the house. I want to refer to a suggestion made by the hon. Member for Cathcart (Sir J. Train). We will be in a tragic position in Scotland in the near future. We will not have a properly trained mason in many districts. Even if it costs a little more, it would be wise to allow local authorities to have some of the houses stone-faced, so that there could be started again the apprenticeship system. I understand that it was on the building of houses that the apprentice mason first got his training. If you allow local authorities to build a certain number of stone-faced houses it would provide work for that type of apprenticeship, and would take away some of the drab dullness in many of our housing schemes and would give us far better schemes than are being provided in Scotland at present.

It would help in connection with housing, and particularly the rent that can be charged, if the Secretary of State would use his influence with the Chancellor of the Exchequer to reduce the rates of interest now payable on the moneys borrowed for housing under the 1919 Act. That is one of the reasons that rents are high. Rates of interest have been much reduced, but because of the 6 per cent. that is still being paid on housing bonds that were necessary for the building of houses at that time, we find that rents are extortionate compared with houses built under the 1924 and 1930 Acts, and the houses now being built under the 1935 Act. The Secretary of State should take a personal interest in this matter, dig in his heels and refuse to budge until the Treasury have met this demand.


Would the hon. Member tell me how long these 6 per cent. housing bonds have to run? I understood that they were issued for only 20 years, and that most of them will shortly have been exhausted.


I understand that they run for 30 years. In other cases money was borrowed from the Public Works Loans Board at high rates of interest, and there is no remedy unless the Secretary of State can bring his influence to bear with a view to getting the reductions for which I have asked. Under the 1924 Act we are having this difficulty. Many of the authorities in Scotland were not paying the £4 10s. per house. They were able to let the house at a reasonable rent with a rate charge of £1 15s. to £2 10s. per house. Some of the authorities are in difficulties because they are only assessing on £1 15s. and not on £4 10s., and the rates are being challenged. Counsel's opinion is being asked whether the Department of Health have the right to compel them to pay £4 10s. per house. The sooner this is cleared up in the interests of just financial administration the better for Scotland.

I want to refer to only one other point and that is the issue of the rent regulations. Two drafts have been issued to the authorities, but the regulations have not been issued and every authority is anxiously awaiting them because they do not want to allow people who are able to pay a reasonable rent to get cheap rent merely because they were living in a house unfit for human habitation. As an administrator I think it is wrong that merely because a person was living in an unfit house he should have this advantage, while someone else, perhaps a lifelong abstainer like myself, who preferred to have a semi-decent house rather than a glass of beer or whisky, is penalised. The regulations should be issued as quickly as possible so that those who, because of poverty, cannot live in a decent house, will be able to get the benefit of these standard rents. We are doing our best in Stirling and Falkirk. In the town where I am an administrator we have a scheme ready, and I appeal to the Secretary of State to get the regulations out as speedily as possible so that we can get down to providing for our people decent houses, in decent conditions, at rents in accordance with the ability of these people to pay.

7.15 p.m.


The last speaker touched on an important point when he demurred to the Department insisting on the lowest offer being taken. There is no greater commercial blunder than that. Generally, the man with the lowest tender is a blackleg among the contractors. That is the real meaning of the saying in the Old Book: Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it. You have to choose men who are proud of their job and who would be ashamed of handing out anything of bad quality. Good work is by no means always done for the sake of making money. It is done for the joy of doing a good job, and the money comes afterwards.

I remember when, over 30 years ago, I was a member of the Glasgow Town Council, and when we would never have dreamed of taking the lowest tender. We always took into account the character and the history of the contractor. Contractors such as Morrison and Mason, or the Brands we could have trusted to do work without any tender, because we knew we should get fair treatment. We chose them, and we did not choose the fellow who was going to do the job cheaply and nastily and fight us for extras. It is wrong to impose upon Kirkcaldy or any town this burden of taking some fellow without any qualifications who is simply out to do scamped work. What you want is to get honest work by people who know how to do their job, and any town, with its knowledge of the local people, ought to be able to select the best man and not be tied down to an inferior man for the matter of a few pounds. Of course, if there is an extravagant charge, you may have to call the work in question, but the principal thing is to get the best type of contractor and an honest and thorough job.

I listened with very great interest to the speech of the Secretary of State. There is no doubt that Scotland is a long way behind in some things. We suffered more in our Scottish towns from the rise of industrialism than did any other part of the country. It has always been a horror to me to go to some of the principal Scottish towns and see the conditions in which the poor wage-earners live, in those tenement houses. Nothing could be worse, unless for old people and childless couples, than a tenement house, yet people live in them and raise families of children there. The hon. Member for Hitchin (Sir A. Wilson) said in his book, "Walks and Talks Abroad," that when he was in Germany the Germans said they did not believe in tenements because tenements made Communists. I used to think that Communists were dreadful fellows until I came across the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher), but now I think they are rather amusing. We do not want our working classes housed in tenement buildings; we want to spread them out and give them comfortable homes—not merely houses.

The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Stirling (Mr. Johnston) raised a point I want to comment upon, for though I always admire his idealism, yet when he comes down to hard facts he goes a bit astray. He spoke of food being put in refrigerators, but many poor people buy their food from the little shops almost from hour to hour, and they have no food to put into refrigerators. Besides, refrigerators are dangerous things, and very delicate things that need service, and unless they are scientifically handled there is no knowing what accident might happen. The food goes in and out and back into the refrigerator, and because it is cold people believe that it is wholesome; but the food may have been out and in so often that it has got out of condition. A refrigerator would be a very strange and very dangerous gift for many working-class houses, although that may come, in the course of time.

After all, we do not want cold in Scotland; what we want is warmth. Why not have central heating in every house? There ought to be a central heating apparatus at the end of every street, with a self-feeding arrangement for the fuel, such as there is in all the modern flats in London. Every house in every street in Scotland should be centrally heated, so that the wife of the poor workman need not bother about cleaning grates, and might have a little gas fire or a central heating radiator. Then her whole house would be warmed, and cheaply, done in that centralised—perhaps I should say communistic—fashion. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. J. Brown) spoke of huge heaps spoiling the landscape round collieries. But these heaps are the very stuff for automatic stokers. I could take him to premises which are burning the stuff and it costs them, delivered, about 10s. per ton. That is the practical solution, and instead of the poor people being cold, as they very often are in Scotland, their buildings would be completely heated and dry, and the necessity for the household fire would not he very much, except for those who wanted it. Every room would be dry arid warm.


I understood that the hon. and learned Gentleman wished to get the people of Scotland out of their tenements.


Yes, of course I do but you could carry out a scheme of central heating perfectly well with cottages. You could lay all the pipes underground. I see no difficulty about it. Another thing that was said by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Stirling that there was no need for one or two apartment houses. That is surely incorrect. If you go over some of the latest flats which are being built in London you will find that you are asked to pay £500 or 1600 a year for a two-roomed or three-roomed flat, and that there is only very small accommodation. That is the kind of thing that is necessary for old people. An old man does not want more than a single comfortable room, with perhaps, a kitchenette, and an aged couple do not want more than two rooms. Of course, a family wants space and more accommodation.

Another thing which some hon. Members mentioned, and made a great song about, was milk. We believe in milk, of course, but as a result of what the Government have done in setting up the Milk Board, porridge and milk has become a luxury in the country areas. Children used to be able to run to the farmer and get up as much milk as they wanted for 3d. a quart, but now the Milk Board comes along and says that he must not sell it under 6d. a quart. One result is that in the villages there are dumps rising to the sky of tins of Swiss milk. I learned of a farmer who was getting 3d. a quart for his milk from the local people, but the Milk Board said that he had to charge them 6d. He answered that it was impossible to get them to pay 6d., and in the end he had to sell his cows. Now the people in that locality get no milk from him, and use tinned milk. The Milk Board offered him 5d. per gallon for his milk instead of the 1s. he was getting, so he had to sell up, and my informant keeps a couple of goats to get milk for her children.

The only milk trusted to be milk was that sold by the small retailer who owned his own cows, milked them and sold it round the village. It was genuine milk. One woman who had 12 cows, wrote to me that the Milk Board had fined her about £250. They took away her licence to sell also, and when they found that she had paid for her husband's operation and treatment in hospital, they said: "How dare you pay your doctor's bill or your hospital when you have not paid the Milk Board." The Milk Board raises actions of interdict or injunction in the costly Court of Session against small men with a few cows. People have to pay the Milk Board's fines, which are put on them not in a court of justice, which is a most extraordinary thing. The hon. Member for Galloway (Mr. McKie) will agree, that some people are profiting enormously and that land values have gone up by six years purchase at least in his territory, values created by destroying direct producers in other places.


Will the hon. and learned Member allow me to say—


No, I will not let the hon. Member interrupt. People are being victimised by the payment of these sums. Last year there were over a thousand of them fined, and now there are 2,000 or 3,000. The Milk Board sits as its own court of justice and is its own prosecutor and people have to pay their fines which go into their own till. There is no jurisdiction by which you can go to a court of law. I have never seen such a thing done before. It reminds me of the Star Chamber or of the persecution of the Jews. There has never been such a monstrous outrage let loose upon the people of Scotland since Claverhouse was let loose upon the Covenanters. Those who used to make cheese and get 3d. to 3½d. a gallon now get 5d., and the result is that milk is increasing more and more until it is not a milk pool, but a lake, and I do not now know how we are going to get rid of it. This Milk Board business is worse than Chicago with its gangsters, who rob the dairymen. There they take far more off the farmer than the dairyman pays the farmer. We have legalised gangsters, in the persons of the Milk Board. The whole thing is most expen- sive and costly, and the people are paying more for an inferior article.

It has a great deal to do with the practice of selling so-called "pasteurised milk." Why do they not call it "half boiled milk"? That is what it is. When I protested against dyed kippers, the fish shops would have used it as an advertisement if I had said "fresh dipped kippers," but when I called them dyed kippers some of them put up a notice saying that they did not supply dyed kippers. Pasteurised milk is no good as a food. You cannot raise calves on it, and if you try to feed animals on it you will find that they do not get much nourishment. It is of very little use for children. That is what the refrigerator is suggested for. It would never do to allow the little producers to survive who supply the only milk that is worth drinking, fresh from the cow. The term "pasteurised milk" ought to be prohibited. If you called it "half boiled milk" people would know what they were buying. It reminds me of a wine merchant who introduced Scotch whisky to England and put a label on his bottles "guaranteed 35 under proof." The wretched Englishman thought he was getting something special, whereas he was getting watered whisky and it should have read "well diluted whisky." In pasteurised milk you are only getting debilitated and devitalised milk, and something ought to be done to stop this discreditable business of deceiving the people and to see that they get wholesome milk.

I would give the surplus milk not only to the school children, but all children. I would make it cheap. I certainly would give the children plenty of milk and I would not pay more than 2d. a gallon for it. It is only a surplus product which otherwise would be poured down the drain, and the farmers ought to be very glad to get something for it. I would do the same with surplus herring and other fish. The first thing to be seen to is food for the people, and plenty of it. Housing is all very well, but it is no use having a bigger house if you do not have plenty of food. It is like a man having a good-looking suit of clothes on, but no underclothes, in cold weather. He would be very cold. That is the position of the poor people. I see it reported that in some of the housing schemes of the London County Council the health of the people have suffered, because they have had less money to buy supplies of food than when they lived in their poorer but less expensive quarters. What the Secretary of State and the Department of Health should do for the poor people is to get hold of these surplus supplies and see that they are distributed honestly, and not give the producers anything in the nature of a profit, because whatever they get for it they ought to be glad to get, instead of having to throw the surplus away. If the Government did that, our people would be to that extent better fed, and much more healthy.

7.30 p.m.


I do not propose to follow the hon. and learned Gentleman in his remarks, although I must say I am much more in agreement with him this afternoon in advocating more food and milk for the poor than I have been on other occasions when he has advocated certain other beverages. I am afraid I must ask the indulgence of the Committee, because, like so many other speakers, I desire to give my impressions of the Report of the Committee on Scottish Health Services. Those who have read the report will have been struck with the fact that it goes back to the time of the Black Death, in 1349, and tells us that in many parts of Europe, including England and Scotland, no less than one-third of the population died of that disease. We know, too, that, in his "Short History of the English People," Green tells us that, of the population of 3,000,000 or 4,000,000 that inhabited England at that time, at least half were cut off by the repeated ravages of the Black Death. The report goes on to speak of other plagues, notably the epidemic of cholera in 1832. It is an interesting fact that in the city of Glasgow in 1832 the first cholera epidemic cut off 14 per 1,000 of the population, a larger proportion than is now cut off in a whole year by all the diseases together. In the second attack of cholera, in 1848–49, 11 per 1,000 were cut off, which is almost as high as the death rate of the city from all diseases to-day.

How did it come about that we passed from that condition of affairs to the progressive combating of disease that we see to-day? First of all, there needed to be a change of mind and of attitude on the part of the whole people towards disease. Up to that time they had counted it as a kind of judgment of an angry and vengeful God, considering that the remedy lay in spiritual repentance. In 1574 the Kirk Session at Edinburgh—they had only one Kirk Session then for the whole city—gave utterance to these words: The only ordinary means appointed by God, in his Holy Word, whereby the said apparent scourge can be removed, is an[...] public fast and humiliation. I find, in the town records of the city of Glasgow regarding the Great Plague of 1648–49, that they spoke of it as The pleesure of God in an[...] mare hot manner than had ever been seen and known heretofore. They placed the people that were affected out on the moor, made some crude provision against contagion, and said that they would wait "until it should please God to lift the heavy hand of the pestilence." In 1832, three Acts were passed by this House with regard to cholera, and two of them had this Preamble: Whereas it has pleased Almighty God to visit the United Kingdom with a disease called the Cholera. When we come to 1853, we find a change coming over the people, or, at least, the Government. In that year the Presbytery of Edinburgh, against a cholera scourge that was moving towards them, petitioned the Government that a fast might be appointed by royal authority. Lord Palmerston was then Home Secretary, and the letter which he wrote in reply is a classic. It was a turning point in the consideration of disease. These were his words: The Maker of the Universe has established certain laws of Nature for the planet on which we live, and the weal or woe of mankind depends on the observance or the neglect of these laws. He refused to grant their prayer, but urged them to purify their cities, especially in the poorer parts, from the causes and sources of contagion, which, he said: if allowed to remain, will infallibly breed pestilence and be fruitful in death, in spite of all the prayers and fastings of a united but inactive nation. When man has done his utmost for his own safety, then is the time to invoke the blessing of Heaven to give effect to his exertions. If I may give just one more of these landmarks of change in the attitude towards disease, Charles Kingsley, on the 5th October, 1857, gave a notable address at Bristol, in which, speaking of these plagues and these old ideas of disease, he said: They fasted, they prayed; but in vain. They called the pestilence the judgment of God; and they called it by a true name. But they knew not (and who are we to blame them for not knowing?) what it was that God was judging thereby—foul air, foul water, unclean backyards, stifling attics, houses hanging over narrow streets till light and air were alike shut out—that there lay the sin, and that to amend that was the repentence which God demanded. We have now had a century of battling with disease and a different attitude of mind. We have Local Government Acts, since the great Act of 1833, Acts of Sanitation, and Public Health Acts and services, with the result that, as was indicated to-day, the death rate for Scotland, which in 1890 was 22.3, is now 12.3. There is a very striking statement on page 65 of the Report of the Scottish Board of Health with regard to the great progress that has been made in the four cities in regard to infant mortality. It is not mentioned in the report, but in 1860 the infantile death rate in the City of Glasgow was 182 per 1,000. In 1890 it was 149, and it is now 98. In Edinburgh, in the same period (1890–1935) it has gone down from 144 to 70; in Dundee, from 208 to 68; and in Aberdeen, from 159 to 90. But how far do we lag behind even England? I find that the infantile death rate in Scotland in 1934 was 77.7, whereas in England it was only 59. But an even more remarkable fact was referred to by the hon. Member for Camlachie (Mr. Stephen), namely, the difference as between the various wards. In the Exchange Ward of the City of Glasgow, the infantile death rate for 1934 was 141. In the Townhead Ward it was 132. But in Kelvinside and Cathcart it was only 28. As a temperance reformer I might take some comfort from the fact that, taking the whole of these wards, the infantile death rates largely correspond with the numbers of public houses in the various wards; but that would be a very partial and unfair judgment to draw, because there are so many social circumstances, of which good and bad housing is one of the foremost, that a larger view must be taken. But if the social conditions in a great city like Glasgow could be equalised, and if poverty could be abolished, great multitudes of children would be saved alive.

With regard to hospital services, in 1926 Lord Mackenzie gave us a report in which he pointed out the great inadequacy of the hospital services, particularly in regard to the waiting lists. That report showed that there were 5,854 persons on the waiting lists of the six teaching hospitals in the four main towns in Scotland, whereas there were only 3,256 beds. I want to ask the Minister how we stand to-day in this regard. I find that Dr. Chalmers, a former medical officer of the city of Glasgow, gave, in the "British Medical Journal" of the 30th May last, an account of the dispensary services in Glasgow, in which he pointed to the vast extension of hospital work that has taken place. But he pointed out that, while in regard to medical and surgical services the increase has only been from 37,000 in 1901 to 40,000 in 1934, in regard to other groups of attention for other kinds of troubles the number has risen from 18,000 to no less than 153,000. I have not time to go into the passages in the report relating to maternity services, ante-natal care, orthopaedics and so on, in regard to which the serious inadequacy of the hospital services is pointed out. Professor John Fraser, Regius Professor of Clinical Surgery in the University of Edinburgh, addressing the Voluntary Hospitals Conference on the 18th June last, spoke of the serious concern that was felt in the medical profession with regard to this matter, and said there was no doubt that in many instances the prospects of successful treatment were imperilled by the delay which these waiting lists necessitated. It was, he said, a disconcerting fact that in the past decade, while the beds available had increased by only 16.9 per cent., the waiting lists had increased by 71.4 per cent. I would like the Minister to tell us what steps are being taken to meet this serious situation.

I do not refer to the subject of housing save as it affects health. The hon. and learned Member for Argyllshire (Mr. Macquisten) put in a kind of justification, in a way, for the one-roomed and two-roomed houses in certain circumstances, but I would like to say this: I was for three years a member of the Royal Commission on the Housing of the Industrial Classes in Scotland, and some figures supplied by Dr. Chalmers came to my notice then which have stuck to me ever since. I found that, for the city of Glasgow, taking the boys who died before reaching the age of five, the rate in one-roomed houses was 40.6 per thousand; in two-roomed houses 30.2; in three-roomed houses 17.9; and in houses of four rooms and more it was 10.27. Therefore, on the basis of the census of 1911, from which these figures were compiled, for every boy that was dying in a house of four rooms and upwards, four in proportion were dying in single-roomed houses.

I notice, from the report on Scottish Health Services, that since 1901 the expenditure of local authorities on health services, excluding housing, has gone up from £2,101,000 per annum to £8,985,000. In my view, and I believe generally in the view of the Committee, that expenditure must go on expanding. There is really no discharge in this war against disease. What we have done is a great incentive to further conquests. Nothing can give more hope to the social reformer in every cause than what we have achieved in the matter of health. There is no greater joy to an individual than the restoration of health, and no greater joy can come to a public service than in the saving of life. May the Ministers of State share it, and may we share it with them. We on this side desire to see the whole health service in a comprehensive way a public service, with the best medical skill available provided to all withiut distinction. We wish to see the establishment of a social order which will attack the root causes of many diseases that afflict the mortal frame; and, although there will always be disease and death, though "pain and passion may not die," yet, in the words of Tennyson, we have been able to Ring out old shapes of foul disease": and when we look at the tables of expectancy and supervisorship in the report, we see the coming fulfilment in a way of the words of the ancient seer: As the days of a tree are the days of my people and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.

7.48 p.m.


I should like to express my appreciation of the very flattering reference made to the southwestern part of Scotland by the Secretary of State. He attested that, no matter what had happened in other parts of the country, the south-western part had given loyal co-operation and admir- able assistance to the Scottish Office in their work during the past year. That remark was well deserved, for I understand that by the end of 1937 there will not be a single slum in Dumfries. They had all been cleared out. It has been a very expensive process and it has been admirably done. Dumfries is noted for its beauty, and this change has not in any way led to a deterioration of the amenities of the city. I do not want to dwell very long on the matter except on one point. The Secretary of State has been told of many things that ought to be done and need to be done. I should like to lay before him the fact that a very considerable section of Dumfriesshire, and thousands of houses all through Scotland, have no supply of pure water. It is folly to talk about all these ambitious schemes when you are confronted with the fact that an essential thing for good living and health is denied to so many people. There are thousands of persons who live in conditions that are disgraceful. Sanitation is no further advanced than it was 100 or 200 years ago. Here in 1936 we are talking of refrigerators and other things when so many of our people have not even pure water inside their houses.

There is no question that the county council of Dumfriesshire has co-operated loyally and admirably with the Secretary of State in carrying out the wishes of the Scottish Office. They have now come to the point that it is no use building more houses because there is no water supply for them when they are built. The county council has consulted engineers and has had the most elaborate plans laid before it, and has laid them before the Scottish Office. One of these schemes would cost £250,000, an incredible sum when you look at the very sparsely populated area to which part of the scheme would apply. On the whole county it would mean a rate of 3s. 3d. in the £. The county council has invited the co-operation of the Minister to provide this absolutely essential service, asking him to share the burden, and I should like to hear that when he praised South-Western Scotland he meant more than mere words. If he admits that the administration has been worthy of his commendation, let him show his appreciation in some practical form. I have given the Scottish Office particulars of housing scandals so disgraceful and disgusting that I would not mention them in this House. I appeal to the Secretary of State, if it is necessary to go in for some of these grandiose experiments, not to fail in giving the people this essential service. A civilisation that cannot give the people pure water, in my eyes stands condemned.

I am amazed at the patience of our people. I have seen in the West of Ireland good sanitary cottages, built with British money lent at a very low rate of interest, which has since been repudiated, with half an acre of ground attached, at half-a-crown a week. You have done that for Ireland. Why? Because Ireland protested. Ireland resorted to force. You have a loyal population in Scotland. They have been patient and long-suffering, and I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman not to concede to force what he refuses to conscience. It is his duty at least to co-operate with us. I welcome the suggestion of the hon. Member opposite that the Secretary of State should take his courage in both hands in dealing with the Chancellor of the Exchequer. This thing is so vital that, unless we can get justice for Scotland, it is his duty to intimate that he will take a certain course. You cannot go on year after year letting people dwell in these conditions. Children from these cottages where there is no sanitation and no water get some sort of scholarship and go to Dumfries, or some other central town, where things are better, and they realise the disgraceful and disgusting conditions under which their fathers and mothers live. They register a vow that in no circumstances will they go back to that country life of disgrace in which they have been brought up. They turn their backs on it once for all and that accounts for a great deal of the depletion of the countryside. If the Secretary of State will take a firm stand in giving support to this water scheme for the county, if not for the whole of Scotland, he will give satisfaction to everyone concerned.

7.57 p.m.


I think it was a good arrangement that speeches should be short. It has given Members from various parts of Scotland an opportunity not only of discussing general health services, but of bringing before the Minister other questions in which we are interested. He said that, while progress had been made, there was no room for complacency. I think we can all agree with that. There is certainly no room for complacency on the part of the Government with regard to the health services. While it may be true that during recent years there has been a certain improvement, we require a very considerable improvement yet in health conditions. We all welcome the report to which reference has been made, as it opens the way for a fresh endeavour to establish a higher health service than we have enjoyed up to the present. We have discussed practically everything that has any bearing at all on the health of the people.

I wish to bring before the Minister one or two questions which are of a rather local character, but which have a bearing upon what has already been discussed. The first point is in connection with housing. My hon. Friend the Member for Stirling and Falkirk (Mr. Westwood) laid down certain conditions necessary before we embarked upon a housing scheme. There required to be town planning, land available for housing, and building contractors for carrying out the work of building the houses. I want to draw the attention of the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland to another thing required in connection with housing. In my area the local authority are having very considerable trouble with their housing schemes, and what has arisen in my district is not peculiar to that district. The Under-Secretary would be able to find it in other counties in Scotland where coalmining goes on. He would find in East Lothian, and I dare say in Lanarkshire, and in practically every mining county in Scotland, similar conditions prevailing. I refer to the damage done to new housing schemes by subsidence, which is becoming very serious.

I received a letter from the Cowdenbeath Town Council this morning asking me to raise this matter at the first available opportunity in this House, and I am taking this opportunity of drawing the attention of the Under-Secretary to the fact that new housing schemes are being ruined by underground workings. What is the use of encouraging local authorities to go in for new housing schemes, if in a few years these schemes are to be rendered absolutely useless by underground workings? I ask the Under-Secretary whether anything can be done to deal with that situation? I would remind him that the matter was of sufficient importance over 10 years ago—I believe it was in 1924—for a Commission to be appointed to inquire into the damage that was being done in mining areas by subsidence.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Colonel Sir Charles MacAndrew)

I do not think that the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland is responsible for subsidence which should come under the Ministry of Mines Vote.


The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland and the Health Department are responsible to a certain extent for new houses.


That is true, but I think that subsidence comes under a different Vote.


I would draw your attention to the fact that the Department of Health has some responsibility for the sites that are selected. No local authority can say that it will build a certain number of houses upon a certain Site within its area without the sanction of the Department of Health, and it is because that Department has a say in the selection of these sites, that I am drawing the attention of the Under-Secretary to the fact that new housing schemes are being ruined by underground workings. I was going on to draw his attention to the fact that a Royal Commission was appointed a number of years ago to inquire into and to report upon such conditions as I am describing, and that that report was presented to the Government—I expect that it would be the Government of 1925 or later—and as far as I know nothing has been done as a result of that report. No step has been taken to safeguard either local authorities or private individuals from damage done by subsidence. In my area this is becoming a very serious matter. New houses that have been erected by the local authority are being ruined, and a very magnificent secondary school, which is quite near to one of these housing sites, has been rendered absolutely ueless from the same cause. I ask the Under-Secretary whether nothing can be done to avoid that sort of thing in mining areas. I am well aware that it has been a matter of very great concern to the Scottish Office, as it has been to the local authorities, to get suitable sites in mining areas, but the fact remains that local authorities have been encouraged to go on with building schemes in these particular areas, and now these schemes are being wrecked by undermining.

I want to raise another matter to which my attention has been called, and to which I hope the Under-Secretary will be able to give me a reply. I think that I shall be within the bounds of order. I am not quite sure, but you, Sir Charles, will put me right if I happen to stray. The matter is not new, but this is a new phase of it. We have had before now the Department giving instructions to local authorities to do this, that and the other. It is an old game which has been played by the Department of simply giving instructions to local authorities to do certain things without making any contribution towards the cost of the particular services. Last year the Scottish Office issued a circular to local authorities containing instructions with regard to air raid precautions. I think that I am in order in referring to that matter because, while it has nothing to do with maternity schemes or child welfare or anything of that kind, the safety of the population is just as important as the health of the population. What is the good of going in for all these plans for the betterment of the health of the population if in a few years time you are going to be engaged in a war and have an air raid exterminating the whole life of the community?

This air raid precaution circular was sent to the local authorities giving them very specific instructions as to what they were to do in order to safeguard the civilian population from the effects of air raids. I know that the Under-Secretary has had certain requests from local authorities. They have asked the Scottish Office, in view of the instructions which have been issued to take these precautions, to make certain provisions. They have suggested, for instance, that an expert ought to be appointed by the Government to instruct the local authorities as to what steps are necessary in connection with the precautions which are required to be taken. It has also been suggested that an anti-gas school should be set up in Scotland where officials or agents of the local authorities could be trained in anti-poison gas arrangements. But an even more important suggestion has been made by local authorities, namely, that the Government should make a contribution to the local authorities in respect of the expenditure that will be imposed upon them in the carrying out of these instructions. A statement has been issued to-day to the effect that the Government are to spend something like £850,000 in providing gas masks for the civilian population, and that, in addition, an antipoison gas school is to be erected somewhere in England in connection with the giving of the instructions to which I have already referred, and I should like to know whether any arrangements of the kind are to be made for the representatives or the agents of the local authorities in Scotland.

It seems that before long we are to be engaged in a war, and that in that war there will be air raids, and poison gas will be used, At any rate, the Government are taking precautions, and I should like to know whether the Government are really in earnest about the circular which was sent out last year, and whether arrangements are definitely being made to protect the civilian population against gas attack? The most important question is that of the expenditure in connection with a matter of this kind. The Government ought to bear the whole of the expense. While the Government may say that they have a claim upon local authorities to take charge of and to carry through this particular duty, the financial responsibility should rest wholly upon the Government, and the local ratepayers should not have to bear any part of the cost of carrying out the instructions issued in connection with this matter. I hope that we shall receive some information from the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland before the Debate closes as to what is being done in that connection.

While improvements have been made with respect to the general health services, we hope that we are to have still greater improvement in connection with housing, public health and many other of our services. I see the hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife (Mr. Henderson Stewart) is waiting very patiently. He is interested in a matter in which I am also interested, namely, the drainage of a very considerable part of Fife, not all in his constituency, as a very large part of it is in West Fife. I would press the Under-Secretary to give us some information as to what is to be done in connection with the great scheme which is being provided by the Fife County Council for the purification of the River Leven, which has been a burning question in our county for a considerable time. It is becoming more serious as the days go by. The Scottish Office has been pressed to give the local authorities some encouragement to go on with that great purification scheme. I hope that I shall have the support of the hon. Member for East Fife with regard to this matter, and that he will also press the Under-Secretary to try to get a grant from the Government for the local authority in connection with the undertaking of that particular scheme. I assure the Under-Secretary that they may potter about with the purification of the River Leven as they like, but unless some scheme such as has been proposed by the Fife County Council is undertaken, you will not purify that river, and the sooner it is purified the better.

In addition, there is the big scheme which has been proposed from time to time in Fife for the introduction of a good water supply for the East of Fife. The water supplies which are at present under the control of the county council and other local authorities are ample for the whole county. What is wanted is a proper distribution of the water supplies that are already available. Great emphasis has been laid to-day on the need for a good water supply and a good drainage system. Those are two very essential matters where public health is concerned. In the county of Fife those two schemes were put before the Scottish Office some time ago, and I should like the Under-Secretary to give us some encouragement to believe that in that county we are to have those two great schemes of water supply and drainage in a very short time.

8.16 p.m.


The hon. Member opposite began his speech by reference to the Government Circular dealing with anti-gas precautions and asked whether that was a serious Circular. I do not think that there is the slightest doubt that it was a serious Circular. But neither do I think that the hon. Member is entitled to assume that war is inevitable in the course of the next year or two. What right has the hon. Member to make such an assumption? I should have thought that the Scottish Office had sufficient justification for their Circular when on looking around Europe and seeing a vast and steadily accelerated increase in armaments they felt bound, as those responsible for the safety of the people, to offer at least their advice upon measures of protection.


May I point out that the evidence that the Government really expect a war to come at an early date was provided to-day by the appointment of a new person to take charge of munitions? Therefore, they have almost fixed the date of the war.


I was allowing the hon. Member for East Fife (Mr. Henderson Stewart) to answer a point that has been raised. On this Vote the matter is in order.


I do not want to pursue the matter. It was a small point which seemed to me to require a reply. I should like to follow the hon. Member for Dunfermline (Mr. Watson), who is a neighbour of mine in Fife, along the line he pursued towards the end of his speech, particularly with regard to water supplies and drainage. But before I come to that I would ask leave to put a question to the Under-Secretary. I asked a question this afternoon about the steps which the Government propose to take to meet the very deep anxiety that exists in the hearts of a great many Scotsmen as to the future of buildings which have historic or other particular merit. Those of us who have love for our country know that there are many buildings in nearly every county or town that are and will always be bound up with the story of our country's development, and we look with despair upon the increasing destruction of these ancient and historic dwellings. I should like from the Government some statement going further than that made by the Scottish Secretary at Question Time in order to satisfy me and those who think with me that the Government are perturbed about this mat- ter and are determined as far as possible, within proper requirements—


On a point of Order. Does this question come within the scope of the Vote before the Committee?


I was listening carefully to the hon. Member and it does not seem to me that he has raised any matter which is out of order.


The hon. Member is raising the question of historic houses in Scotland falling into ruin and the necessity for the Government assisting in putting them into order.


That is not the point.


That was the point of the question to-day. Does not that come within the scope of the Estimate for the Department of the First Commissioner of Works?


I think that it can be raised on this Vote.


The hon. Member opposite has, perhaps, not appreciated the point that I am making. We all know that local authorities condemn houses as slum houses which must be destroyed, and I am asking that before a house is destroyed on the test of its slumness we should also consider its historic value. It is clearly a housing problem. I am asking that the Scottish Office shall give us a better assurance than we have already had that they are taking pains to see that local authorities shall not arbitrarily destroy some of the most artistic buildings in Scotland merely for the sake of town planning or rehousing.


On a point of Order. I would draw attention to the fact that the Vote before us is Class 5 of Vote 14, and I submit that it is not competent to discuss the question of historic buildings which may be affected even by a slum clearance. That question does not arise on this Vote.


I gather that on this Vote it is competent to repair, reconstruct, improve, or pull down, and therefore I think that the hon. Member is in order.


It is not the duty of a local authority to repair a house of that kind. The approach is to the Department of Health. It is not competent on this particular Vote to provide any money for that particular purpose.


To provide money simply because it is an historic building would not be in order, but the local authorities have the option of deciding whether or not to repair, reconstruct or improve them, and that is the point which the hon. Member for East Fife (Mr. Henderson Stewart) is raising.


I can relieve you of any further trouble by passing from that point, because I have made what case I desired to make. The hon. Member for Dumfries (Sir H. Fildes) made an eloquent appeal for a better system of water supply in his county. I have a case for an equally strong appeal in respect to Fife, but I would ask the Committee to realise that although this is a matter specially affecting Dumfries and Fife, particularly East Fife, it concerns almost every large county in Scotland. I have made it my business in the last few months to get from the county councils of Scotland reports showing exactly how they stand in regard to water supply, and what effect it has had upon health and upon future housing. Their replies are now available, and I have evidence in my hands to prove, first, that there is serious shortage of water supplies in several large counties, that the shortage causes grave insanitation in certain cases and serious ill-health in others, and that it acts as a deterrent, and in some instances as a complete obstacle, to the relief of overcrowding and the provision of new houses. That is as serious a charge to make against the present state of our country as could be levelled. I have here a report from 12 of the largest counties in Scotland, and there is not one of those 12 which is not suffering just now from a shortage of water. In one part of the county of Fife there are 17 villages, with a population approaching 4,000 people, where the lack of water supply is putting almost a complete brake on housing development. In their report the county council say: In the following villages there are numerous insanitary houses which are not fit to be occupied and which cannot be sufficiently renovated, nor can new houses be erected to take their place since no adequate water supply exists. Similar conditions obtain in other parts of the kingdom. The county council go on to say: The bulk of the rural population still depends for water supply on wells, springs and burns—primitive sources of supply unprotected for the most part from contamination. Every drop of water has to be carried, often for the best part of a mile, in fair weather and in foul. I came across a terrible example in one of those villages. I made a tour last September and I found that the drainage of five houses ran together into what should have been a running burn. It was dry and had been dry for some weeks, and the accumulation of the excretion from these houses lying there made one disgusted and ashamed that such a sight could be presented to the eyes in these days. This is not due to want of initiative on the part of the local authority or to any lack of sense on the part of the people concerned. There is no water to provide better drainage.

But I do not want to put a local case. The same conditions exist in other counties. I will not deal with Dumfries since the hon. Member for Dumfries has already done so. I pass to another county. Take the county of Perth. The county council say: The question of water supply is an acute problem especially in the more remote districts, and there is no doubt that the lack of an adequate water supply in the smaller parishes is hindering the erection of houses. In several other areas where houses are required it is doubtful if we can proceed without first providing a water supply. I want to draw special attention to the next observation of the county council. The Secretary of State and his Department are pressing local authorities in Scotland to proceed with their survey of overcrowding and to make plans for relieving that condition. This is what the Perthshire County Council say: The problem will be even more acute when we come to deal with the erection of houses under the 1935 Act. Here is another county. Listen to what Selkirk has to say: Since the overcrowding survey results have been put before the county council, the council has realised that the number of houses in the area in question must be added to by at least 10 per cent. in order that the provisions of the Statute may be complied with. It is obvious that until an adequate water supply is provided neither can the proprietors of existing houses be expected to improve them nor can local authorities prepare a scheme for the construction of additional houses. This evidence is overwhelmingly confirmed by the report of the Department in a most striking chapter, and I submit that the position is so grave as to demand the immediate attention of the Scottish Office. I ask for a water policy for the whole of Scotland, and one cannot mention water supply without automatically mentioning drainage. In Fife we have the appalling conditions of the outflow of the River Leven, sewage improperly controlled, being washed back on the sands, and visitors to that most attractive town sickened by the sight. There is a great need for drainage schemes. I submit that this is a health matter of the most urgent importance. We have the report of the Government's own committee who speak of the increase in the consumption of water in Scotland due to the development of modern sanitation; and what an excellent thing it is. They point out that the natural water resources of Scotland are ample, but they need better distribution. Some of the areas have never had a proper water supply; even some of the larger urban undertakings are working on a small margin of safety. This is what the Government's own committee say.

What are the causes of the delay in providing water and drainage supplies? They are two. The first is the multiplication of authorities. There are literally hundreds of different authorities in Scotland responsible for water and drainage supplies. There are dozens in Fife, let alone outside that historic county. That is one of the difficulties. We must get away from the parochial view that "I am a county or borough and I will consider no scheme because it is not mine." There will have to be a widening of authority, and a much more generous and tolerant outlook. The other reason for the delay is that there are no funds. The hon. Member for Dumfries said that in his county the water scheme would involve a rate of 3s. in the £. In Fife it is a somewhat similar figure. The Government's own committee admitted that cost is the obstacle which prevents improvements being carried out. Given a wider authority, ideal units of administration, there would still be a water and drainage problem in Scotland, because there are no funds available within the areas. I beg the Scottish Office to give us an indication that the gravity of this problem throughout the whole of Scotland is recognised, and that, given a proper unit of administration and proper evidence of a county's inability to pay, a national scheme will be formed, soundly thought out and generously financed by the Government.

8.35 p.m.


I regret that I was not in the Committee when the hon. Member for Falkirk and Stirling (Mr. Westwood) delivered his maiden speech, but as I know my hon. Friend is a good Tory I have no doubt that if I had heard it we should have disagreed. This afternoon I have heard hon. Members on all sides of the Committee talking about the housing of the working classes, and, as far as my knowledge goes, only one speaker knew anything about house building. I happen to be the other who knows something about it. I have been connected with house building in Ireland, Scotland and England. I have acted as a building supervisor with a building company, and during that time I learned how not to build and how houses ought to be built. I have acted as an estate agent responsible for the repair and upkeep of working-class houses, and I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that my experience has led me to believe that we are wrong in demanding more houses, and that what we ought to do is to demand better houses for the working classes.

Let me tell the Committee of one of the common statements made in the building fields of this country. I suppose one or two hon. Members will understand what the expression means: among the workers one often hears the statement, "If the wind take and blow through them, it would blow them over." There is a great deal of truth in that. I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to visit some of the new working-class houses in the depth of winter, and if he did so, I think he would agree with the expression I have used, because in the new houses it is almost impossible to keep clear of colds, and so on, in the winter time. I would like to tell hon. Members something of what has happened in the houses built under the supervision of the right hon. Gentleman's Department. For the purpose of cheapening working-class houses, substitutes for plastering have been allowed. I am not speaking about Scotland for the moment, but I could take the right hon. Gentleman to a street of houses not 27 miles from London where the local authority had to empty every house, to find alternative accommodation for the tenants, to take away every stick of furniture they possessed and to have it fumigated and treated. Let it be remembered that those were new houses having been built for 18 months only. Those houses had to be cleansed because they were buginfested. Substitutes are being used which provide the necessary nesting place, in the absence of plasterwork, for these pests that are to be found in most of the old houses in the city of Glasgow and in other parts of Scotland. In the report of the Department itself, there is a statement by the commissioner who is examining those areas—the areas in which there are bad houses, the slum areas—concerning not only the people who inhabit the slums, whom he describes as people who are anxious to be clean and anxious to do well if they have the opportunity in new houses, but also pointing to the fact that their houses are bug-infested. What is going to happen? New houses are being built, and for the sake of cheapness the standard of house building in Scotland has been reduced. A beginning is being made with the removal of people from the slum areas into new houses, but unless exceptional care is taken the whole of the new property will be bug-infested and ruined, and in the course of time will become slums.

I would like for a few moments to refer to another part of the present method with which I entirely disagree, that is, the manner in which mass building is allowed to be carried on. We have to-day been hearing about how impossible it is to find bricklayers to do the work. The right hon. Gentleman has told us that he is trying to arrange for a supply of bricklayers to carry on housebuilding in the future. It will never be possible under mass production methods to build working class dwellings which, in future, can be called homes for the working classes. I am speaking with knowledge of this subject. I dare say the right hon. Gentleman is just about as old as I am, and I am inclined to think that it would be a miracle if in 60 years time he were addressing the Committee from that Box. Let me say that it will be a greater miracle still if at the end of 60 years the houses that have been built under mass production methods are standing.

I would recall to the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) that he and I were colleagues on the Glasgow Town Council, and I can remember how pleased we were when we were allowed to erect houses for the working classes by direct labour. If good houses—not four walls, a roof, a window and a door—are wanted for the working classes I suggest that the right hon. Gentleman should encourage the building of those houses by the local authorities themselves. I venture to suggest that the Drumoyne scheme is the best scheme in the city of Glasgow. It is one of the cheapest-built schemes in the city. The hon. Member for Gorbals will remember that we had a talk with the trade union members who carried out the work. We told them exactly what we wanted, they were never at a loss and there was no trouble, and the houses were built at £140 cheaper than the contract price. I could give examples from other parts of Scotland, and I think I am entitled to ask that in future, in the case of large schemes, this should be done at least in the big centres. I know how difficult it would be in some of the small burghs, but I believe that in the big centres it could be done with great advantage.

There is another important factor in connection with the provision of good homes for the working class. The question of water supplies has already been mentioned, and I would also call attention to the importance of sewage disposal. The hon. Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby) spoke of the Scottish Development Council, and, if I remember aright, the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State has given his blessing to that body. I think I read in the Press a week or two ago that he had attended a meeting of the council. I would ask him to suggest to the council that they could do something useful in connection with this question of sewage disposal. If hon. Members compare seaside towns in Scotland with seaside towns in England they will notice immediately one important difference. In English seaside towns there have been created artifi- cial sea fronts. In Scotland we have allowed our seaside resorts to remain more or less in their natural state which is, I think, a good thing. But in England while they were laying out these artificial sea fronts they were also looking after the question of sewage disposal and in many of the large summer resorts in England they treat the sewage before its disposal in tidal waters, which makes it much easier to deal with.

The Development Council could do a useful work if they took up the question of sewage disposal in some of our Scottish resorts. I would mention the places that I have in mind, were it not for the fact that this is the height of the season and as they have only a three months' season if we were to do anything which interfered with them, we might find that a number of those ordinarily resident in West of Scotland watering-places would be in the poorhouse next winter. Therefore, I must be careful in what I say, but it will be found that in some of the towns on the west coast of Scotland the sewage disposal system has grown up in a haphazard manner and without any attempt at organisation. One man lays a pipe from his house down into the water and some distance further along in the same terrace, another pipe is laid down into the water. I dare not say too much about that because my hon. Friend the Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood) is, I know, a frequent visitor to Largs, so I am prohibited to some extent from dealing with that place and, as regards Millport, my hon. Friend the Member for Govan (Mr. Maclean) has a house there. I understand, however, that he takes good care to live in that part of the town which is not affected by the return of the sewage when any tidal disturbance takes place.


Would not my hon. Friend do the same?


Of course, but what I want to emphasise is that the Development Council should do something with regard to these coastal towns. It would be a tremendous benefit to the Scottish people if the present state of things were remedied. If an Englishman bathing at one of our summer resorts found the conditions which I have experienced on some occasions he would never go back again. It is positively dangerous. The workers and their children go down to these resorts for their health. They leave Glasgow where the sewage disposal system is well organised and where they have good sanitary conditions and they go down to these places and very often they come back with all kinds of diseases resulting from defective sewage disposal in those towns. My time is up and before I conclude I ask the right hon. Gentleman or the Under-Secretary to give us an assurance that the Government's policy of increased armaments will not interfere with the housing and health policies for Scotland laid down by the right hon. Gentleman.

8.52 p.m.


I wish to deal with the question of infectious diseases in Scotland, and in that connection to draw the attention of the Minister and the Committee to one or two passages in the report on the Scottish health services. [Interruption.] I would like to have the attention of hon. Members opposite. It often seems to me that some of my hon. Friends on the other side while concerned about the interests of the people in the cities are rather forgetful of the interests of the people in the country. I would remind them that the country is as important as the towns in considering these questions of health. As regards the treatment of infectious diseases in the counties of Scotland I asked a question on 16th June and was informed that the number of beds available in the counties for infectious diseases in 1930 was 2,850 and in 1935, 3,000, but while there is an increase in the number of beds available in these institutions all over Scotland, I would draw attention to what appears to be a rather serious position in Aberdeenshire in this respect.

I would ask my right hon. Friend to make inquiries as regards other county districts in Scotland, and I would point out to him that in 1932 there was a great diminution in the number of fever hospitals in Aberdeenshire. The number of hospitals was reduced from 12 to five, and the number of beds available for infectious fever cases was reduced from 155 in 1930 to 80 in 1935. That seems a serious reduction, especially when we find that in other parts of Scotland the number of hospitals and the number of beds available for infectious fever cases has increased. I admit that a certain amount of provision has been made in the city of Aberdeen, but only to a small extent. For the last three years the county has been suffering from a scarlet fever epidemic, and many parents are worried about the situation. In 1933 there were 660 cases of scarlet fever of which 596 were treated in the county fever hospitals. In the following year that figure rose to 1,491 of which 1,176 were treated in the hospitals. In 1935 there were 1,412 cases of which 1,140 were treated in the county fever hospitals. It seems to me rather a serious matter when you cut your beds down in the way I have stated and the very next year you have a large increase in the number of cases of scarlet fever in the county.

My attention was drawn to the matter because of one case which came under my notice, and that was a case where a man had developed scarlet fever and had been taken to the local fever hospital and sent home again in a fortnight's time. He was told that he must be kept separate from the rest of his family. They had two rooms, and his wife kept herself and the child in one room and put her husband into the other, giving him his own utensils, and he had to wash them up himself. It seems to me that if we are going to have so few beds for fever cases in our counties, there is great danger that cases will be sent back to their homes before they are clear of the infection, and therefore I think it is of great importance that this subject should be seriously considered.

There is one rather interesting thing about the report of the Committee on Scottish Health Services. If hon. Members will look at page 81 of the report, they will see it stated that in the Scottish Command in 1933, out of 6,994 men who were presented for medical examination, no fewer than 522 failed because of diseases of the middle ear, and if they look at page 54 of the same report they will find that the principal complication of scarlet fever is disease of the middle ear. It is a disease which leaves very serious after effects, and I beg my right hon. Friend to make inquiries to see that everything is being done in order to prevent this fever spreading over Scotland. I would like him to pay special attention to see whether anything can be done to make more beds available in a large county like Aberdeen. where there has been such a very serious outbreak of scarlet fever.

8.59 p.m.


I want to keep strictly to the arrangement which has been working so well to-day, and to confine my remarks within a very short compass. When the Secretary of State for Scotland made his interesting opening statement this afternoon, he showed the national characteristic of caution, for while he was expressing pride in the achievements that have been recorded during the last few years, at the same time he did not blink the fact that much still remains to be done, and certainly that is the fact when we look at the question of housing in Scotland. In my own constituency—and I do not know it as intimately as I would like and as I hope to do in the time to come—I have knowledge, in a village of some hundreds of inhabitants, of very bad housing conditions. I have a note in that village of a one-roomed house inhabited by a widow, three grown-up sons, two grown-up daughters, and two girls at school, a total of eight persons living in one room, without any real amenities about it at all in the way of sanitation. Near by, I am told there is another single-roomed house, with a man and wife and four grown-up daughters.

That is an indication of the problem that still remains to be solved in that village. In that place the drainage is an open burn. The hon. Member for East Fife (Mr. Henderson Stewart) talked about sewage disposal into such burns. In winter this burn floods out and is practically a loch in some parts, while in summer it is simply an open sewer. For quite a considerable time efforts have been made to have the housing problem dealt with in the village to which I refer, but there has been a considerable amount of delay, and that delay is laid locally at the door of the Department of Health, for what is claimed to be undue interference on their part with regard to site and the purchase of land at certain prices. I would ask the Secretary of State to expedite the efforts that are being made to deal with the problem there and not to impose any vexatious restrictions. The county which I represent has its hands full in dealing with the housing problem, and it certainly needs nothing in the way of extra work imposed upon it by the Department of Health in attending to the housing needs of the people.

While I believe the county council are now straining every effort to deal with the problem in the County of Linlithgow, there are certain places that have not been touched, and I am told that in the village of Livingston there are houses in the same condition as they were in when Cromwell housed his soldiers in them. I have not checked up its historical accuracy, but that is the statement that is made. They are houses with no proper sanitation, with no water supply, and with water having to be carried across a main road, which is sometimes very busy, and the danger of carrying water across it has to be incurred by the people living in those houses. I hope that in due time the problem there will be tackled in an effective manner.

I want to refer now to a problem arising out of the setting aside of the 1924 Wheatley Act. I have had many complaints from the tenants of houses belonging to colliery companies who wish to have them for their employés. For one reason or another the title of those people who are in the houses to inhabit them, because of their association with the colliery, has passed away. A husband who worked at the colliery may have died, or whoever was associated with the colliery may have ceased to be employed there, and in certain cases the colliery companies have claimed that those houses must be vacated. They have gone the length of turning the people out, and that has increased the problem of overcrowding in certain parts of the county. I have a recollection of one case of a family of 10 which went to live in a three-roomed house which already contained 11 persons. One room was allocated to the family of 10, and in that room they ate, slept and passed their lives. In another case a family of six were so desperately placed that they landed in the county poorhouse. There are others in the county who are in constant fear of eviction because a colliery company requires the houses in which they live. I want to know what is the Minister's remedy for this state of affairs. Under the 1924 Act it was possible for the local authority to build houses for people in that position and for young married couples such as have been described to-day. To-day, however, as these houses are not slums and are not overcrowded, the only opportunity that remains for these people is to get out in some way, and the only way in which they can have their needs met is by development in other directions, when they might by chance obtain a house that becomes vacant.

I was glad that my hon. Friend the Member for Tradeston (Mr. T. Henderson) made reference to the question of direct labour in housing. I want to ask what is the policy of the Secretary of State with regard to house building by direct labour. I know of cases where delay has occurred in providing houses by the Department insisting upon competitive tenders being produced before local authorities were allowed to build by direct labour. The argument for direct labour is that better houses are produced under better conditions for the workers, and there are no inducements for scamped work to be put in. There is much scamped work put into housing schemes at the present time because the contractors competing for the job put in tenders that are below the actual cost of production, and the only way in which they can make on the contract is to scamp the work and avoid putting in material in accordance with the specifications. Rather than discourage direct labour, the Department of Health should encourage it. They would reap the reward in years to come for by making it possible for houses to be built in a better way they would save the considerable upkeep costs that are due to scamped work. The small but very efficiently run burgh of South Queensferry has made a great success of building by direct labour. It was the council of that burgh, with their experience of direct labour in producing excellent houses at low cost, which was held up for a time by the Department of Health insisting upon competitive tenders being obtained. I am glad that as the result of a protest that I made, the right hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary of State enabled the corporation of that town to get ahead with their work with direct labour, and I thank the Under-Secretary for what he did in that regard.

I want to ask what progress is being made by the Department with the inquiry into the financial aspects of the 1929 Local Government (Scotland) Act, especially in relation to the small burghs. Recently I put questions to the Secretary of State, who said in reply that he did not think the antagonism to the 1929 Act was as acute as it had been. I want to assure him that the main faults of the Act are still looked at with great disfavour by the small burghs. Their protesting has not been so active recently because they are waiting to hear the result of the Department's consideration of the report of the County Councils' Association on the complaints that have been made. They also wish to know, of course, the result of the inquiry that is taking place in the Department. I understand that the Convention of Burghs is also making an inquiry into the incidence of rates. I want to make a plea for the extension of the inquiry that is now being made in the Department to embrace much more than merely the financial aspect. The demand for this is based upon what was said by the then Prime Minister on 10th July, 1929. I well remember that date, for it was the day on which I first ventured to address this House. The then Prime Minister, who is now Lord President of the Council, spoke about the possibility of an inquiry of this kind. We were then dealing with the question of trying to save the Scottish education authorities from the 1929 Act, and the right hon. Gentleman said: The pledge for the future which I gave at Glasgow still holds. What is in my mind now? If we save education, we must give the other parts of the machine time to work, and then, say, after 12 months of experience have been drawn from the working of the Act, the inquiry can begin. That inquiry will be, as I said at Glasgow, an inquiry primarily into local administration, but I should be very sorry indeed if from the view of that committee the larger question of Scottish self-government were to be excluded. If the House will agree to my suggestion and we set up such a committee, it will not be my fault if the terms of reference are so narrow that the larger question of Scottish self-respect and the recognition of Scottish historical authority are excluded from the view of the Committee."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th July, 1929; cols. 933–4, Vol. 229.] It is on that basis that I ask for an extension of the inquiry that is now going on, and I hope that the influence of the Lord President of the Council in the National Government is still sufficient to ensure that the view which he held at that date will be carried into effect.

9.15 p.m.


I find myself very largely in agreement with the views put forward by the hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Mathers), but I find it rather difficult to follow his argument in support of the use of direct labour for building houses, because, taking his argument to its logical conclusion, if contractors were tendering below the cost of production one would assume that similar houses built by direct labour would have to be let at a higher rent; but, of course, it is very difficult to draw comparisons between housing schemes where there are different factors at work, and I do not propose to pursue this point further. I should like to add a word of congratulation to the Secretary of State for the encouraging and reassuring statement with which he opened the Debate. It seemed to me that this afternoon he came out in his true colours, and with genial and disarming sincerity. He has already launched successfully a crusade against slums, and now he is sharpening his lance to lead an assault against ill health and disease with, I believe, a large measure of support from all parties and from public opinion throughout Scotland.

The Debate to-day has been largely based on two documents, the Annual Report of the Department and the Report of the Committee on Health Services. There is sufficient material in those two reports to provide for a dozen debates. There are far too many points of interest in them to be covered in one debate. The two reports are closely linked together. The annual report indicates that during 1935 substantial progress was made in many directions in the development of the health services, but at the same time there are undoubtedly disquieting factors. Several have been already mentioned, but I would draw attention to one which I regard as the most disquieting of all, and that is the loss of 18,500,000 days through illness among insured persons in Scotland in the year. With facts like those it is obvious that there was need for a comprehensive inquiry into the existing health services. Now, after three years' deliberation, we have the report of this Health Services Committee. We have had it in our hands for a matter of only a week and have not had time to give it detailed consideration, but I have studied it sufficiently to be able to give my opinion, for what it is worth, that here we have a bold and comprehensive and far-reaching report on health services.

I was particularly glad when the Secretary of State made his statement in connection with this report. I did not expect him to make any detailed statement as to future steps to be taken, because that would not have been in order, and I should not be in order now in making specific requests, but he did say that the report indicated the lines of advance for the future, and I interpreted those words as meaning that he had given his blessing to this report in its main lines. If that be so, then here we have, clearly indicated, the lines along which the health services of Scotland may be developed in future. I have only one word of criticism to offer on the report. I said it was a bold report. The committee faced problem after problem in a courageous manner but on one they evaded the issue, though it is a most important problem, the development of the existing Poor Law medical services. They gave the excuse that although it is a very important question, admitting that the present state of affairs is by no means satisfactory, a committee is at present sitting on the subject. I think that was an inadequate excuse, and I regret that there is no definite recommendation as to the reorganisation of the Poor Law medical services. Chapter 20 is probably the most important chapter. It deals with the reorganisation and development of the health services. One point to which I hope the Secretary of State will give most careful consideration is the development of the domiciliary service, that is the family medical service, with the general practitioner as the fundamental unit, providing a service for the family with access to all the ancillary medical services.

Coming to the question of housing, I wish to draw the attention Of my hon. and gallant Friend the Under-Secretary to one particular point. Before I come to it, however, I would mention that I was rather surprised to find the hon. Member for Tradeston (Sir John Train), who speaks from a wealth of knowledge of house construction, while asking for better houses suggesting there was no need for more houses. In that respect I think he is entirely wrong. We need not only better houses but a very large number of additional houses to meet the needs of the working classes. But the particular point to which I wish to refer concerns slum clearance in the towns, and in Edinburgh in particular. I have already called the attention of the Under-Secretary to the point and he has got the Department of Health to take action. In Edinburgh slum clearance has gone on apace during the last five years, and the progress is very satisfactory, but in the process the small shopkeepers in the slum areas have been hard hit. They are a deserving class of the community. They find that their customers have been taken away and rehoused in the new estates on the outskirts of the town. There are provisions in the Act of 1930 and in the Act of 1935 for payment of compensation to shopkeepers who sustain loss from slum clearance. In Edinburgh, at any rate, those provisions are a dead letter.

I make no request to-night for amending legislation; I am going to the root of the problem. What is required is a larger measure of rehousing on the cleared areas. In Edinburgh, for every 10 houses demolished under slum clearance, only one new house is built on the cleared site. Making all allowance for the necessity of reducing the density of building in these areas—the importance of which I recognise—I believe there is scope for rehousing more people on the cleared sites. If the speed of rehousing on the sites were accelerated the small shopkeepers could afford to hold on until they found their old customers rehoused in the same area, and that would be a real remedy for this particular difficulty.

9.25 p.m.


I am glad to see the Secretary of State for Scotland in his place. I wish he had been here when the hon. Member for East Fife (Mr. Henderson Stewart) was speaking. The Secretary of State says that he heard him—partly. I hope he heard him contradicting the statement made by the Secretary of State. The hon. Member for East Fife put up a great plea for water in East Fife where, he said, innumerable villages lack water. This time last year I put a question to the Secretary of State asking whether there was any part of Scotland where there was a shortage of water. At that time there was an outcry all over England. He gave me a reply that there was only one place. I put a supplementary question: "Where was that place?" He said that it was the Brig o' Turk. The Brig o' Turk is a place that is absolutely surrounded by water; it is right in the "land of the mountain and the flood." Yet supporters of the Government have been paying tribute to the manner in which the Secretary of State has handled Scottish matters. There never were better officials than the Scottish Office officials. No Ministers of the Crown were ever better served. These reports are evidence of that. I want to say to the Ministers, including the Lord Advocate, that they are just as capable as any who ever held office, but there is no getting away from the fact that the condition of my native land is a disgrace to them, to put it mildly. Talk about committees being appointed and submitting reports. They have had information ever since I came to this House—for 15 years—and there has been no outstanding effect produced on conditions.

It is true that things have improved in our time; I am the last man in the world to deny it. But the fact remains that there has been no advance made in proportion to the advance that could have been and should have been made. We read in these statements made by outstanding authorities and ex-Under-Secretaries for Scotland about the size and weight of the boys and girls in relation to the size of the apartments which their parents occupy, and there has been nothing outstanding done to eradicate the condition made known long ago. It is a disgrace to the Ministers that men can stand here and make the statement that the boys and girls in four-apartment houses are two and three inches taller, better developed and have a higher degree in the schools than the boys and girls in the one-apartment houses. The vast majority of my race to-day still live in one-apartment and two-apartment houses. Here, with all their ability and good intentions—we know what is paved with good intentions, the road to Hell—here are the facts, staggering. According to the report of the Scottish Health Services Committee 6 per cent. of the children at school are under-nourished. That is not in Russia or Germany, where the children are better looked after—no man is sorrier to say it than I—than the children of my native land. Eighty-eight per cent. of the youth of my native land offering themselves for the Army are re- jected as physically unfit. Here is the youth of that hardy, intelligent race whom the Romans, their sires, could never deface. You may hear, hear if you like; that is what sticks in me—that the race that I am sprung from is deteriorating. Do not forget that. You can shake your heads if you will. For all the bouquets thrown at the Secretary of State there is no getting away from that.

Another hard fact is that the population of my native land is declining. There is a state of affairs for you. Come here with a record of work done, worthy of the name of Scotsmen, and I will be the first to pay you tribute. The hon. Member for Eastern Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby) suggested what he would do; he would sterilise this and do the next thing, suggesting that there are too many people in Scotland. The fact of the matter is that our population is declining. The straths and glens of my native land that reared a hardy race will be depopulated completely. Then you come to the housing of the people. What do I see in actual operation in my own constituency? That the people who are taken into the new houses are worse off. They have to starve to pay the rent. They are shut up in a single apartment with all their belongings. That is all they are able to afford. The housing problem in my native land is a poverty problem. We take them from the single apartment, and they can only make things meet by paying the rent of that single apartment. In that apartment there is just the one fire, and that fire not only heats the house but does the cooking. We take them into what they call the new-fangled house. The fireplace is not for cooking but is simply for heating the room. If they want to cook they have to get a gas cooker, but they have not the wherewithal to do so. We give them two or three rooms, but they have not the means to furnish them. Nevertheless they start to make some semblance of furnishing. It would do some hon. Members a power of good if they would see the marvellous attempts that these poor people make at what they call respectability. They do it, but they starve themselves, particularly the mothers.

That is what is behind the physical condition of the young men who are now being asked to join the British Army. It is the result of underfeeding and of their mothers being underfed. Any hon. Member who doubts my word will find that it is easily to be proved. Let him walk through any of our slum clearance areas, particularly in my native place, Glasgow and he will spot at once the young men and young women who have come from the slums. They are undersized, and under-nourishment looks out of their very eyes. Rickets—every one can see it for himself. I am not talking about some place far away, but of what is going on in my native land, under the administration of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenock (Sir G. Collins). I told the right hon. Gentleman before he was sent back this time with the high honour of being Secretary of State for Scotland, about his responsibility. He is the Minister of Health, responsible for the health of the people of Scotland, and to-night he has heard, not only from these benches but from his own benches, that the health of the Scandinavian countries is far better than our own.

How long are we to stand it? Are you not going to shake yourself in a determination to do something? It is no use telling me that we are better than ever we were. I readily admit that we are better, but what are we, compared with the possibilities that made the "Queen Mary"? That ship was the apex of ship-building, a great creation. Think of all the ingenuity, the thought, and the struggle, striving and perseverance which were put forth in order to produce that ship. Think of the motor-car, and remember, as I do, the days when there were no motor-cars. Look upon the motorcar to-day, "a thing of beauty and a joy for ever." Think of all the ingenuity, thought, endeavour, and determination to conquer nature's forces and to produce those wonderful things, in my time. If the same endeavour were put forth in order to save our children and to produce a race, of which to-day we have no conception, to what heights would it not be possible to rise? I think of the outstanding capabilities of the Scottish race and of the hardihood of our raw material, the finest raw material in the world, the Scottish working class. The Secretary of State for Scotland, his assistant and his officers have that raw material to work upon, yet here is what we get-year after year the same thing. We are hammering away, but the impression we make is never noticed.

I hope the Secretary of State for Scotlnad will take the suggestion in the best possible fashion when I ask him to take a look round, not to go with his rich friends in Greenock, but to go to the port of Glasgow, which is the last word, and see—


I would remind the hon. Member that I went to the slums of Dumbarton in company with himself.


I appreciate what the right hon. Gentleman did at that time. I would say to the Under-Secretary of State: "We are expecting great things of you, my boy. You have a reputation to make, and I hope you will make a good reputation, because you have splendid material to work upon." I would ask him to take a walk through the different towns. I know he went with the King, but that is only a fragment. I want him to go to these slum clearance schemes, and observe the result of the vicious system which is sapping the manhood and womanhood of our people and making them practically wrecks. To-day you are left with this residue, but you have the power in your hands. I am satisfied that if the Secretary of State for Scotland were to come to this House and state the case as I am stating it, from the same angle, the House would rally to Scotland and do all that was humanly possible to eradicate the terrible state of affairs which prevails there at the present time.

9.44 p. m.

Captain W. T. SHAW

I want briefly to draw attention to the question of increased water supply for the rural districts of Scotland. It was in 1934 that we passed the Rural Water Supplies Act for Scotland, under which the Government were empowered to give grants to health authorities for installing water supplies. I should be much obliged if the Secretary of State, when he replies to the Debate, would tell us how many applications have been made for grants from rural areas, what has been granted, and what money has been placed in their way. The hon. Member for East Fife (Mr. Henderson Stewart) said there was no money in the rural districts to pay for the necessary installation of water supplies. That is true, but in many cases what would have been the ordinary sources of supply for the rural areas have been appropriated by the cities, and if the rural areas get supplies now it is at a very high figure indeed.

It is a very difficult question. I have taken up with the Secretary of State the case of one district, the Newbigging district near Dundee, and my right hon. Friend has been very helpful. His Department have given a grant under the Act of 1934, and I understand that the City of Dundee is going to install a water supply system in that district. I would ask my right hon. Friend, however, to see if he can hurry up that matter, because I do not suppose that the people of Dundee, although they are our very good friends, will be so anxious to install such a system in the county as they would if it were in their own burgh. The question is very urgent. I have had letters quite recently from people who say that they cannot at the present time get water for ordinary domestic purposes. Therefore, I would ask my right hon. Friend to do what he can to expedite this matter.

9.47 p.m.


In the first place, I want to associate myself with the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Dunfermline (Mr. Watson) on the question of subsidence. That is a matter of which the Under-Secretary, at any rate, is pretty well aware, because he knows what the position is in his own native town. I am wondering whether the Department will at long last endeavour to make some arrangement whereby, not only the local authorities, but the small owners of private houses shall be compensated for the loss they have sustained by reason of this subsidence. In Lanarkshire and in the mining counties generally this question is a serious one.

The main point, however, to which I desire to direct the attention of the Committee is the lack of housing accommodation. I have had occasion perhaps more than any other Member of the House to draw the attention of the Secretary of State and the Under-Secretary to the serious condition of affairs in my own constituency and throughout the county of Lanark owing to the lack of housing accommodation. Young married men are being compelled to give up their employment because of their inability to find a house, and apparently the only thing that the Government can offer them is the poorhouse. That is a condition of things which ought not to be allowed to exist, and I am satisfied that, if the Department of Health for Scotland and the Secretary of State are willing, they can find a remedy for it.

Quite a number of young men, as decent as any Member of the House of Commons, have had to undergo periods of imprisonment in Lanarkshire, including Hamilton, because they have occupied houses against which closing orders have been made as being no longer habitable. These young men, in the absence of other accommodation to which they could go, have been compelled to take more or less forcible possession of these houses. The local authority is not to blame for this. The local authority are up against a condition of things for which they have really no responsibility. They have not been able to get from the Government the necessary money to build houses sufficient to meet the requirements of the large number of applicants. Young men getting married have no other resource but to go into rooms, and very often they are prohibited from taking rooms because the regulations of the local authority are against the sub-letting of new properties. But even if they shut their eyes, as they do, to the fact that some of these young people are going into these houses, sooner or later they reach a point at which they cannot any longer look upon it blindly.

I am not speaking merely of individual cases; there have been hundreds of cases in the County of Lanark, and I think I should be correct in saying that within the last few years there have been some hundreds in my own constituency, in which married men with families, being unable to find other accommodation, have had to occupy their parents' rooms, or someone else's rooms, and pay extortionate rents. Moreover, as has been pointed out by my hon. Friend the Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood), provision for the ordinary conveniences of life in these new houses does not exist, and anyone who has any imagination at all can fancy what is the position of a man and his wife with children in a house which is already occupied, and in which they are only subtenants, with no cooking accommodation whatever. I would ask the Secretary of State for Scotland to take special note of the absolute need which exists for some additional grant to the industrial areas of Scotland for the provision of houses for that type of men and women who are being rendered homeless because of the present lack of accommodation in those areas. The local authorities have nowhere else to put them but the poorhouse, and, when a man goes into the poor-house, he loses his right either to get a new house when it is built or to get employment. He is practically confined there; it is not a poor-house, but a prison.

There is nothing to boast about so far as housing in Scotland is concerned. It is true that those more or less intellectual persons who are generally chosen for this kind of work make inquiry into the conditions and come along with a report of this kind as if it were something new, but long before I came to this House at all a medical man who occupied a very high position in the Government of this country during the War, Dr. Addison, wrote in the old "Nation" newspaper in 1911 two articles dealing with housing conditions generally and the effect that evil housing conditions have upon the health of the people, and suggesting that the high rate of maternal mortality was largely due to the evil housing conditions, not only of Scotland, but over the whole of Britain.

We have an unenviable reputation among the civilised nations of the world so far as housing and health are concerned. It is nothing less than a damnable disgrace that young married couples should be forced into the position of having to rear their children in the poor house because there is no housing accommodation for them. It is not for lack of money. If the country had not the means to provide proper accommodation I, like many others, would be prepared to grin and bear it. We can spend hundreds of millions of pounds in the destruction of life, but apparently there is not a single suggestion coming from the Government to spend anything like a reasonable sum for the provision of decent houses for the working class. I wish that the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State and the Under-Secretary had to live in one-apartment houses with the midden next door to them. They would know something about it. They know nothing at all about the evil con- ditions under which the vast majority of the working class live, and the working class are the people who produce the wealth that makes it possible for this Government and all other Governments in civilised countries to exist. The first thing that would be done by any Government having any regard for the people it represents is to see that they get a decent income sufficient to pay a reasonable rent for a decent house, in which they can rear their families. They would sooner get rid of much of the evil effects of maternal mortality and rear a race that would be capable of rendering useful service to the community than will be the case as long as we allow these evil housing conditions, which could easily be got rid of. If the Government would spend a reasonable sum in the provision of accommodation of the kind we have suggested, there would be no such evil as maternal mortality and the present conditions of health so far as the vast majority of the people of Britain as a whole are concerned.

9.58 p.m.


The Debate has shown that a keen interest is taken in all Scottish matters to see what can be done for the health of the people, and in health one naturally includes housing. I wish I could agree with the last speaker that it was merely a matter of money. Looking round Scotland, especially in the industrial areas, where we have appalling slum conditions, with hundreds of thousands of houses that ought to be got rid of, one of the difficulties is to organise the building of houses so that it can be done without undue delay. A great deal has been done, and I endorse what has been said of the work of the Secretary of State in pushing on rehousing. The hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood) suggested that the Secretary of State should go to various parts and see the slums for himself. My right hon. Friend came to Dundee and saw the slums. He also saw the new housing areas. I should like to say what enormous help he gave to Dundee in suggesting what might be done. An enormous amount of work has been done, but what really makes one almost despair at times is the slowness. Is it not possible that we could build more houses?

My right hon. Friend has been pointing out to the people of Dundee that they must arrange to build more houses and build them more quickly. People are living in houses which are absolutely unfit for human habitation. Children are being born and spend the early part of their lives in places where people ought not to be living, just because of the delay that is taking place, and they may be ruined for the rest of their lives. There will only be satisfaction for us who represent the Scottish people, and I believe for him, when we not merely have plans and schemes of houses to be built, but when the houses actually are built and the slums demolished and people are living in decent houses of the right size in places where children can be brought up with some chance of health. Statistics show the improvement, physical and mental, brought about through living in larger houses. We are at least getting this satisfaction, that there are more people now living in larger houses than there were. The improvement has been slow, but the plans are there for getting rid of overcrowding. The hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs said there had been no improvement in the last 15 years. In that way be condemned every Government that has held office. The difficulty is not a simple one which can be overcome merely by handing out money. It means planning, and arranging with the building trade. We are all thankful that schemes are being put in hand, but I would urge that they should be accelerated to the very limit, because it is a case of life and death to the people.

There are one or two points in the report to which I should like to draw attention. I was struck in reading it, and the report of the Department of Health, with what they say about dental treatment. In going about in Dundee and elsewhere talking with medical officers and school authorities, it has struck me over and over again that dental treatment is not receiving sufficient attention. We find that 70 per cent. of the children examined required dental treatment. I cannot see how you can say you can look after health in general and not see to the health of the teeth. You might just as well say, "We will look after the health of the children, but we will not look after anything to do with their feet or hands." We know the extreme value of proper dental treatment to the general health, and I hope the matter will be looked after better. It will be an enormous saving if you have the children's teeth attended to at a very early age. We see from the report not only that 70 per cent. are in need of treatment but that five times the number of extractions were made than of teeth filled. Over and over again it is pointed out how much can be done.

I read with interest of a scheme put forward by the Dental Association. if we could have the children's teeth looked after properly, in later years we could have a far wider dental service, which is impossible now because of the enormous expense. We find that the expense would be enormous. Why would the expense be so enormous in taking on a dental service now? Simply because there had been neglect in early life. We find to-day that the real expense is the expense of providing false teeth for people who would have had their teeth preserved if they had been looked after in early life. It used to be always part of every holiday that as soon as we came away from school we had to visit the dentist. It was the price we had to pay for the holiday. The sooner one went to the dentist and got it over, the sooner one could enjoy the holiday. I should like, if possible, for the examination of a child's teeth to start probably before the school age or, at any rate, that there should be an examination in the first year of school life. We could then, during the next 10 or 15 years seriously work out schemes which would help the health of the people of this country enormously.

There is another point to which I would like to refer in this report. I was struck in reading the report, so full of interest, that the expected life of the individual is longer now than it was before. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Stirling (Mr. Johnston) said that even survival in Dundee is about three times what it was before, a most satisfactory and encouraging thing for some of us. Although we are keeping people alive longer, I sometimes wonder if at this time many of these older people are paying the price for this advance in science. The death rate is down, but how many of these older people are being kept alive when, they are not really enjoying good health? There are many older people throughout the country to-day to whom sufficient attention is not being paid. They are suffering perhaps from some malady or chronic illness, and suffering pain in many cases, and are perhaps almost crippled with rheumatoid arthritis or some such complaint. When we are rightly taking preventive measures and looking after young children, those who are at school, and those who are going out to work, ought we not to pay some further attention to the older people, who had not the chances that we give to the children of to-day, and many of whom are not being properly looked after?

One of the difficulties in the hospital services to-day is the rush of patients. The bed is wanted and the patient must go. When the reorganisation of our hospital service comes about, I would ask my hon. and gallant Friend to see that there are certain wards in our hospitals set aside, or as suggested in the annual report, hospitals or homes for older people who have no one to look after and care for them, or who may, perhaps, be crippled in some way, or are not strong and in good health, so that they may not have to spend their last years in misery, pain and discomfort. While bending all our energies in order to see to it that the next generation shall not fall heir to many of the ills that our older people have suffered, we should not forget these old people, but see to it that there is accommodation provided for them in our hospitals.

I should like to ask a question on the subject of the administration of the old age and contributory pensions scheme. It has often been said that people who have ceased to be employés have not realised, when they have taken on some business of their own, that they could become voluntary contributors. I am sure that hon. Members have had cases brought to their notice where men and women have gone out of the contributory pension scheme and have not realised that they could have continued as voluntary contributors. Perhaps they have heard of the case of some widow. Her late husband had paid into the fund for many years but took on a small business and did not realise at the time that he could become a voluntary contributor. Would it not be possible, in the case of a man or woman ceasing to be an employed contributor, for some very clear notice to be sent explaining that he or she could become a voluntary contributor? They should be told in simple terms that if they wish to remain as contributors, they would have to pay so much a week, that they would receive a pension at the age of 65, and that it would ensure, should the husband die, that the widow would receive a pension. A clear statement to these people would be of great value, and I would ask that the matter be borne in mind when these cases arise.

10.11 p.m.


There are four short points which I should like to make. On reading the report one comes across the following paragraph in page 320: Education for health should be placed in the forefront of national health policy. And on page 321 it says: Health education and physical training should be given special prominence in the standard curriculum of teachers in training and of medical students. Paragraph 7 on the same. page says: The school medical service should be adapted to provide a continuous supervision of the schools from a health point of view. I lay stress on the word "continuous." Any one who had read that report would naturally say, when going round the schools, "Who is responsible for this health education in our schools today?" In the larger schools of Scotland the question of a qualified medical practitioner being permanently on the staff should he reconsidered. It was considered previously, and for reasons of which I do not know, it was cast aside. The report calls for continuous medical education, and I do not see how that can be done unless you have a qualified man permanently on the staff. The second point to which I wish to call attention is in connection with the Seventh Annual Report. It is a point which has been made three or four times to-night, but those who sat on the Scottish Housing Committee foresaw the position where, on page 33, it says that: Throughout the year numerous complaints and reports were received of the scarcity of bricklayers and plasterers on housing schemes.… A substantially larger annual output of housess by local authorities is essential if the programme for the eliminating of unfit and overcrowded houses is to be timeously realised. We have had no suggestion yet from the Scottish Office how they are going even to keep up with the programme which they have made out. There has been no suggestion as to whether they are to consider other types of houses than brick houses. Surely brick houses are not the only kinds to be built in Scotland. I know the objection to steel houses, but I would say, do not put them aside altogether, because you cannot complete the programme with bricks or even stone houses. The question of steel houses has been reconsidered by various people, in view of the faults of the first that were built, and progress has been made in designing and building. If the Scottish Office find there is danger of the programme of dealing with overcrowding being delayed they should consider the various alternatives to brick houses. Some of us feel that in 10 years' time we shall still be facing in our constituencies, if we are in the same constituencies, this overcrowding problem, which sickens one just now.

There are two other points with which I should like to deal. When one goes to the country districts of Scotland one sees great electric posts everywhere, with lines of electric power running across Scotland, but we have seen precious few rural houses or farms with electric power or light in them. We ask that in the building of small houses in the country larger rooms and better accommodation should be provided, but we have to remember that those houses have to be lighted and heated. I was not in the House when powers were given to the electricity people to go over the land with their lines. Although the main intention was private profit, one of the reasons why those powers were so gladly given was that it was believed the country areas would get cheap electricity. That has not occurred in many parts of Scotland, and I would ask the Secretary of State for Scotland to look into the question. I do not ask for an answer to-night. I know that it can be said that in Kilmarnock they are getting benefit, but in many areas where the electric lines run past farms, when a farmer asks for a supply the price is too high to enable him to get the service. Some of the shares of these companies are rising, and I think there should be a limit to the amount to which they can rise.

The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Captain Bourne)

I rather think that that is not a matter for which the Secretary of State for Scotland is responsible in any way.


I bow to your Ruling. The only reason why I raised the question was that it affects rural housing in Scotland, and I was asking the Secretary of State to get into touch with the Minister of Transport. I leave it at that.

The last point is a small one but it is important for a number of people, and it is that when artisans find that they can apply for a better class house above the £10, £15 or £20 per annum rental, although they are on a weekly wage they are asked for three months' rent in advance. If that was done under private enterprise it might be all right, but where the houses are State subsidised I do not think it is right or fair that the local authorities should be able to ask for three months' rent in advance from a good, working-class type of man, who has a good record but has only weekly wages. I put down a question on the subject but received no reply, and I think it is important enough to draw attention to the matter.

One of the most important things that has arisen under the tenure of office of the present Secretary of State is the fact that he is, as far as his business permits, covering Scotland personally. There can be nothing more encouraging to local authorities and local associations of every sort than to feel the personal touch which gives them encouragement. It makes them feel that certain things are worth while when personal attention is paid to them. There are limits to the Secretary of State's capacity and time to pay these visits, but I can speak for a good many people when I say that the amount of visitation which he has done, the time he has given, and the help he has given have been vastly appreciated by those who are doing local work in Scotland.

10.19 p.m.


I think that hon. Members who have taken part in the Debate to-day can congratulate themselves upon the success of the self-denying ordinance which they imposed upon themselves at the beginning of today's sitting in deciding to limit themselves to speeches of 15 minutes duration. I think that it is the first time in any debate that we have succeeded in getting in 26 speeches. My speech will make the 27th, and the reply of the Under-Secretary will be the 28th speech. Had it not been for the long procession to the other place we might have succeeded in getting in 30 speeches.

The Secretary of State and the Scottish Office have received many commendations upon the work they have done during the past 12 months, but some criticisms have been directed against them by Members on their own side with regard to a lack of proper water supplies in many of the rural areas of Scotland and, indeed, in some parts which are particularly favoured with supplies of water. This is one of the things which the Secretary of State and his officials should take into serious consideration. We are not in the same position as England, which sometimes suffers from lack of water during dry periods. It is very rarely the case that there is a complete lack of water, or such a scarcity as to reduce supplies to a few hours, as is the ease in England. There are sufficient sources of water supply in Scotland to enable authorities generally to provide a proper supply for the smallest hamlet in Scotland—an adequate water supply and proper drainage, if the matter is taken in hand and properly organised.

The Secretary of State said, in regard to housing, that schemes had not been carried out on so extensive a scale as would have been the ease if there had been a proper and adequate supply of water. The senior Member for Dundee (Miss Horsbrugh) made the same statement. I cannot understand this complaint about the shortage of water. Anyone can witness what is going on in London, where huge buildings with expensive flats, seven and eight and nine storeys high, are being erected, rushed up in a night like an Aladdin's palace, and at the same time the Secretary of State for Scotland is complaining that he cannot get sufficient water supply to build single flats or two-roomed houses. Such a complaint is not well founded. If it were a period of national emergency and workmen were required for the erection of munition factories, the building of these expensive flats would be stopped and crowds of builders would be put upon the work of erecting munition factories. I submit that if something of the same nature were done in this case and the various local authorities refused to allow these flats to be built until adequate accommodation was provided for the workers of the country, it would be found that there would be sufficient workers to satisfy the necessities of the case and to build the houses required by the working people.

There is one other point to which I would like to refer before I give way to the Under-Secretary. There is a statement in the report of the sub-committee and also in the report of the Department referring to the lack of hospital accommodation for maternity services. From the statements that are made there I consider that the Minister should see the absolute necessity of insisting that the local authorities or those responsible should go ahead not only with the housing of the people, but also with the provision of satisfactory accommodation for those requiring hospital services. There is an inadequate supply not merely of beds in maternity hospitals in Scotland, but an inadequate number of maternity hospitals to meet the needs. Even the Minister himself, or those responsible for the report, inform us that the maternal mortality for the year 1935, 6.3 per thousand, is above the rate of the previous year, 1934. There is not a very serious increase, but there is nevertheless an increase over the rate of the previous year; and the number of women who died during the year 1935 from causes peculiar to pregnancy and childbirth was 555, as compared with 551 during the year 1934. The Department of Health for Scotland admits the shortage of bedding accommodation in the maternity hospitals in Scotland. I hope that the fact that they themselves have to confess to that shortage will be sufficient to justify our believing that they intend to have the shortage remedied in a considerable way very soon.

I read this report last week, and this particular part of it struck me at the time. There was a rather unfortunate coincidence. On Friday night I was in my constituency, and as usual, when there, was attending in my committee room to a number of people who had complaints to make and who wanted advice from me. One case was not only unfortunate, but tragic, and it bears out the report in its reference to the shortage of beds in maternity hospitals. A woman about to give birth to a child was taken to a maternity hospital in Glasgow. I will not say which hospital, because I am not allocating blame. After the child was born, the woman was removed from the ward in which she gave birth to the child to another ward, and in order to get to that ward she had to be taken through a passage in the open air. The husband and the father of the woman came to see me and were stricken with grief because pneumonia had set in and the woman had died. Had there been a sufficient number of beds in the hospital, had there been adequate hospital accommodation, there can be no doubt that the life of that woman would have been saved, the tragedy of a motherless child would have been averted and the grief of the parents and husband of the woman would not have been brought into existence.

It seemed a peculiar coincidence that, almost immediately after reading the report, such a case should be brought to my notice. I ask the right hon. Gentleman and the Under-Secretary to realise that these cases should not be treated merely as matters of cold fact, set out in bloodless type in a report presented to the House of Commons. They should be regarded as matters of living human importance, calling for remedy at the earliest possible moment, in order that some of the tragedies represented by these 550 cases may be averted and the maternity death rate in Scotland considerably reduced.

Most of the other matters referred to in the report have been adequately dealt with by hon. Members during the Debate. Some have criticised and some have praised, but while we on this side are willing to admit the good intentions of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite we must condemn the shortcomings of the Government which they represent. When money is required for social services, such as those referred to in the report of the Department of Health, and also the report of the committee appointed by the right hon. Gentleman two years ago, we are always told that the money cannot be found. That is always the cry when money is required for the extension of these social services in Scotland. There is little money for housing, and no money for hospitals, and only very inadequate supplies to meet the needs of the children. But it is a different story when it comes to finding money for other purposes which are not purposes of construction. Money is not available for building up the physique of the nation, or providing homes for the people, and making possible some happiness for the child and the mother and the breadwinner. But when it is required for the destruction of human life and property, hundreds of millions can be found immediately in a country which is supposed to be too poor to provide what is necessary for improving the lives of its people.

We cannot allow these Estimates to pass without protest. When the Secretary of State or the Under-Secretary require the means to finance the authorities who are called upon to administer these social services, they cannot get the money. Yet the Government can squander millions on purposes which are not concerned with human well-being and waste the money, as plainly and as certainly as if they were throwing it down a drain. We refuse to allow these Estimates to pass without entering our protest against the manner in which the social services are starved, while hundreds of millions can be found for other services which ought to be abolished.

10.35 p.m.

Lieut.-Colonel COLVILLE

I will begin by referring to the tribute that was paid by the right hon. Gentleman who opened the Debate for the Opposition and by the right hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Sir A. Sinclair) to the loss which we all sustained by the death of my predecessor, Mr. Skelton, a loss which we feel very deeply both as an administrator and as a friend. The self-denying ordinance which has resulted in enabling some 28 speakers to take part in this Debate has been a signal success, but it has left the one who has to gather up the fragments at the end of the Debate with a far greater task than I believe any other Under-Secretary of State has ever been faced with before. If 28 Members have raised only five points each, I will leave hon. Members to calculate for themselves the nature of the task which I have now to fulfil. However, I shall, in the time at my disposal, endeavour to deal with as many points as possible, and I think the Committee will acquit me if I do not deal with them all. I can assure hon. Members that we shall, in the Department, carefully scan the OFFICIAL REPORT to-morrow for all the points that have been raised by hon. Members in the Debate, and if 1 shall not have answered them all in my speech, I can assure hon. Members that they will not escape our attention.

The hon. Member for Govan (Mr. Maclean), who wound up for the official Opposition, if I might begin at the end and work back, referred to several important points, and he ended on the note, which he made, I think, for the purpose of putting some life into those who were behind him, that he did not think the Government would be able to find the money necessary for the social services, though they might be ready enough to find it for other services. By the nature of this Debate, I am precluded from speaking on matters which would require legislation, and consequently the very wide proposals which come from the report of the Committee on Scottish Health Services—


Do you accept them?

Lieut. - Colonel COLVILLE

—can only be referred to in a general way. But these proposals require large sums of money. What I can say is that as an earnest of my right hon. Friend's intention to deal with that report seriously, he has already announced that he is introducing, on the 24th of this month, a Bill to deal with maternity services, and when hon. Members see the Bill, they will realise that we are in earnest in tackling this problem. The hon. Member for Govan raised several other points, which were also mentioned by other speakers in the course of the Debate. There was the question of the labour shortage in housing schemes, and that is a problem which we have to face. We have had, as my right hon. Friend explained, representations from one side of the industry. The master builders came to see us at the Scottish Office, and put their views, and it is the intention of my right hon. Friend and myself to see the representatives from the men's side, and that is to be done on Tuesday of next week, the 21st instant. I would rather not say anything to-day in anticipation of our talk. Hon. Members will agree that it would not be wise to say anything now, except in a general way. If there is this serious problem of shortage we shall have to make every endeavour to get our programme carried out. That will involve examination of alternative methods of building and the bringing in of other operatives than those of which there is a shortage. I will not say any more on that point in view of the deputation from the men's representatives on Tuesday.

The hon. Member for Govan referred to the water question, and, as he said, the problem in Scotland is not one of lack of water. We have plenty of good water. The question is how, from an engineering and economic point of view, to get the best supply to the people. The policy of the Government in relation to water supply was stated in the Annual Report of the Department for 1935. At present the policy is to encourage better distribution of available water resources through increased co-operation among local authorities. To this end the Department in May convened conferences of the water authorities in Fife and of local authorities in Banffshire. In each case it was resolved to recommend the setting up of informal joint committees to consider the question of increased co-operation. The Fife Committee met in July and recommended that more detailed information be obtained about the future water needs of the authorities. The Department are hopeful that good results may follow. Local authorities in Angus and the Kincardine County Council met at a similar conference in July. This conference adjourned until October to allow the authorities to consider the matter.

The Committee will be aware that the Rural Water Supplies Act, 1934, provided a certain sum of money for use in Scotland for the purpose of assisting water schemes. The sum was £137,000, of which all but a small balance has been allocated. Grants have been offered and accepted for 71 schemes representing a capital cost of £590,000. Of these schemes, 41 have been completed or are in progress, and for six the local authorities concerned are inviting tenders. In addition, the Special Areas fund, in the areas where the fund is applicable, has assisted certain other schemes to the total capital value of £105,000. If hon. Members ask me to forecast the future and say what grants will be available, I cannot do so to-night. It is not only a problem of making money available from the State. It is also a problem of getting the best degree of co-operation between the local authorities concerned to operate successful schemes. The right hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland raised the case of districts where there is no one to co-operate and where it is a question of lack of rateable value for getting the money for a large scheme. We will bear that fully in mind in our consideration of this problem. The report on health services gives importance to this question in relation to the general health of Scotland. It is a recommendation which we regard as of great importance.

The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Stirling (Mr. Johnston) who opened the Debate, referred to milk adulteration in Edinburgh. I shall have to make inquiries into why such a high percentage of adulteration is found in that area, and I will do so and communicate with him. In relation to housing, he raised the question of building hostels. We are not opposed to the building of hostels if it be necessary but we must have regard to the possibility of de-crowding operations releasing surplus houses of a type suitable for the purpose the right hon. Gentleman has in mind. We are prepared to allow hostels where it can be shown that there will be no surplus of houses of the type which would normally house the persons whom the right hon. Gentleman has it in mind to house in hostels. I could develop that problem more fully, but I have merely time to touch on it in that way. It is akin to the problem raised by several hon. Members of finding accommodation for young married people.

The hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. D. Graham) made a strong plea, which he has reinforced to me personally on several occasions, for help for young married people who are not at present in overcrowded houses or slum houses and therefore do not qualify for a new house under present schemes. I would say, in reply, that the Government's policy is directed to giving the utmost assistance we can where we believe it is most needed, and that is in the abolition of the slums and the clearing out of overcrowded property. During the last 15 years large numbers of houses have been built by State aid—the figure was given by my right hon. Friend in his opening speech—and yet this acute problem of the slums and overcrowding remains with us, and we have decided to make a deliberate and concentrated attack on that dual problem of slums and overcrowding. As the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton), who interrupts me knows, the number of houses under construction in Scotland for the relief of slum conditions is larger than under any previous administration, including the one which he supported; but the problem of the young married people is urgently before us and I appreciate all that has been said by hon. Members about their difficulties. I believe that as the slum clearance and decrowding operations of local authorities get under way—and there are signs that they are getting under way—considerable number of fit houses will be vacated, and that at an early date.

I am strengthened in that view by the number of houses scheduled as overcrowded which are houses built by the local authorities since the War, not old houses without modern conveniences, but local authority houses which have become overcrowded since that time. We are watching the problem of young married couples, but we are concentrating on the bigger problem of slum clearance and overcrowding in the belief that as those schemes develop a large number of fit houses will shortly be released which will provide accommodation for young married people. I have written to the hon. Member for Hamilton to-day—I do not know whether he has yet received the letter—showing him what I believe will take place in the Hamilton area, and I hope my beliefs will be justified, but we shall watch with close interest to see that the programme is carried out and shall do all we can to accelerate it. The hon. Member for Govan spoke of the shortage of labour, and in those circumstances it is all the more imperative to concentrate on the type of housing which is most urgently needed, and I am sure the party opposite will be with us in acting in that way.

The right hon. Member for West Stirling referred also to the need for variety and beauty. We are fully conscious of that. My right hon. Friend has held two conferences with the purpose of encouraging proper town planning and is doing everything in his power to see that we build houses of which we can be proud in the future. We have placed at the disposal of local authorities the services of Professor Abercrombie, who has an international reputation in town planning, and we shall do our best to see that his services are used. The final point to which the right hon. Member for West Stirling referred was the introduction of refrigerators. Some hon. Members have smiled at the idea of refrigerators in Scotland, but I appreciate the point, and if any help can be given to people in that direction it is not a thing which will be overlooked. The refrigerator is in some countries not now regarded simply as a luxury, but as a method of keeping food fit.

The right hon. Member for Caithness raised a question which deserved an answer about the Advisory Committee's sub-committee on Rural Housing. He complained that the committee was not giving sufficient opportunity for evidence to be given to it by those local authorities which had really first-hand knowledge of this problem. The sub-committee asked the Association of County Councils to give evidence and the association was specially asked to secure that the evidence was representative of Highland counties and the attention of the association was drawn to the desire of Caithness to give evidence. The choice of representatives is in the hands of the association, and the sub-committee never suggested that any county which desired to give evidence should be debarred from doing so. I am glad that the right hon. Gentleman raised this point; I should not like him to feel that any county which desired to give its views was debarred from doing so. The hon. Member for Dumbartonshire (Mr. Cassells) dealt, among other things, with the question of milk in schools and milk for children during the holiday season, and he seemed to be under the impression that we were in Scotland putting the children in a worse position than they are in England. There is no truth in that. In point of fact the milk scheme in Scotland has made great advances and the amount of milk which is being consumed by the children in the schools is very large. We shall do everything we can in our power to encourage it.

In relation to milk in the holidays there is a cleavage of opinion. Some people think it difficult to get children and teachers to go to school in the holidays to have the milk handed out there. A scheme of distribution is being carried out in an experimental way in four large centres—not schools—in Glasgow. It is true that the Scottish Milk Marketing Scheme has not powers to distribute through the schools, but it is a scheme capable of amendment.


I think that the Under-Secretary has not quite appreciated the point which I endeavoured to make, which was that the Government have given the responsibility which ordinarily devolved upon the public authority to the Milk Marketing Board.

Lieut.-Colonel COLVILLE

I got the hon. Member's point, but any authority which will distribute milk, which was not done in the past, should be encouraged to do so. The matter is in an experimental stage, and we shall develop it by all the means in our power. The hon. Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby) raised. a number of questions of special interest, into which I should have liked to go in detail. He spoke of the slag heaps question, which he believed might be taken up by the Scottish Development Council. I have gone into that point. It is a matter which I have already discussed with the Commissioner for the Special Areas, in order to see if anything could be done. With regard to hospital facilities, referred to by the hon. Member and by a number of other hon. Members, we are fully conscious of the fact, which was brought out forcibly in the health services report, that there is a shortage of hospital accommodation in Scotland at the present time, particularly in regard to cases of infectious disease. That recommendation has already had our immediate consideration.

It is not possible for me to go through the list of the 28 names which I have on my paper, but almost all hon. Members referred to the provisions of the Health Services report. It took three years to prepare, and hon. Members cannot expect the Government to pronounce upon it in three weeks. We regard the recommendations as of very great importance, and the report will not be pigeon-holed, but will be used, and is being used now, for the framing of policy. I can assure hon. Members that the work of those who were engaged in making this report will be of great value. The hon. Member for Stirling and Falkirk Burghs (Mr. Westwood), who paid a tribute to the work of those who made this report, said what I thought was a very wise thing, namely, that the best thanks which could be given to them was the acceptance of their recommendations. I cannot promise him that to-night; I can only promise that the report will not be pigeon-holed, but will be gone into very carefully. The report which we have spent so much time discussing to-night is, in general, a cheering document, but its chief value lies in the incentive which it gives to further effort.


You need it.

Lieut.-Colonel COLVILLE

That is one of the hon. Member's critical but seldom constructive observations. I intended to read to the Committee a passage

from a book "My Life of Revolt," with which hon. Members will be familiar, and which pays tribute to the advance which has taken place in the conditions of living of our people. That advance has taken place on the same lines as the objection raised this evening by its author, namely, by moving slowly, but it is being accelerated, and this Debate has shown that when we discuss health questions we go outside the lines of party, because we get co-operation from all sides.

Question put, "That a sum, not exceeding £2,207,766, be granted for the said Service."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 176; Noes, 111.

Division No. 288.] AYES. [11.0 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J. Fremantle, Sir F. E. Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.
Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.) Fyfe, D. P. M. Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.
Albery, Sir I. J. Ganzoni, Sir J. Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)
Alexander, Brig.-Gen. Sir W. Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J. Mills, Sir F. (Leyton, E.)
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'kn'hd) Gluckstein, L. H. Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Goodman, Col. A. W. Morris, J. P. (Salford, N.)
Aske, Sir R. W. Grigg, Sir E. W. M. Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H.
Atholl, Duchess of Grimston, R. V. Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J.
Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet) Gritten, W. G. Howard Munro, P.
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Guest,Maj. Hon. O.(C'mb'rw'll,N.W.) Nall, Sir J.
Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h) Guinness, T. L. E. B. Neven-Spence, Maj. B. H. H.
Birchall, Sir J. D. Gunston, Capt. D. W. Nicolson, Hon. H. G.
Blindell, Sir J. Guy, J. C. M. Orr-Ewing, I. L.
Boothby, R. J. G. Hannah, I. C. Palmer, G. E. H.
Boulton, W. W. Hannon, Sir P. J. H. Penny, Sir G.
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury) Harbord, A. Percy, Rt. Hon. Lord E.
Bull, B. B. Haslam, H. C. (Horncastle) Petherick, M.
Burghley, Lord Halsam, Sir J. (Bolton) Procter, Major H. A.
Butler, R. A. Heilgers, Captain F. F. A. Radford, E. A.
Cartland, J. R. H. Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P. Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.
Cary, R. A. Holmes, J. S. Ramsbotham, H.
Channon, H. Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J. Rankin. R.
Chapman, A. (Rutherglen) Hopkinson, A. Reed, A. C. (Exeter)
Christie, J. A. Horsbrugh, Florence Reid, W. Allan (Derby)
Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir G. P. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.) Remer, J. R.
Colman, N. C. D. Hudson, R. S. (Southport) Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)
Colville, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. D. J. Hume, Sir G. H. Robinson, J. R (Blackpool)
Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.) Hunter, T. Ross, Major Sir R. D. (L'derry)
Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.) Hurd, Sir P. A. Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)
Courthope, Col. Sir G. L. James, Wing-Commander A. W. Rowlands, G.
Craddock, Sir R. H. Jarvis, Sir J. J. Salmon, Sir I.
Crooke, J. S. Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth) Salt, E. W.
Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C. Jones, L. (Swansea, W.) Samuel, M. R. A. (Putney)
Cross, R. H. Kerr, Colonel C. I. (Montrose) Sandys, E. D.
Crowder, J. F. E. Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.) Selley, H. R.
Cruddas, Col. B. Kimball, L. Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)
Culverwell, C. T. Kirkpatrick, W. M. Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)
Dawson, Sir P. Lamb, Sir J. Q. Shepperson, Sir E. W.
De Chair, S. S. Law, R. K. (Hull, S.W.) Smiles, Lieut.-Colonel Sir W. D.
Denman, Hon. R. D. Leckie, J. A. Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)
Denville, Alfred Leech, Dr. J. W. Smith, L. W. (Hallam)
Dodd, J. S. Liddall, W. S. Somervell, Sir D B. (Crewe)
Donner, P. W. Lindsay, K. M. Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Dorman-Smith, Major R. H. Llewellin, Lieut.-Col. J. J. Southby, Comdr. A. R. J.
Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side) Lloyd, G. W. Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)
Dugdale, Major T. L. Loftus, P. C. Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)
Duggan, H. J. McCorquodale, M. S. Strickland, Captain W. F.
Dunglass, Lord MacDonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness) Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.
Eastwood, J. F. Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight) Sutcliffe, H.
Edmondson, Major Sir J. McEwen, Capt. J. H. F. Tasker, Sir R. I.
Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. McKie, J. H. Tate, Mavis C.
Emery, J. F. Maclay, Hon. J. P. Thomson, Sir J. D. W.
Emrys-Evans, P. V. Macnamara, Capt. J. R. J. Train, Sir J.
Everard, W. L. Magnay, T. Wakefield, W. W.
Fox, Sir G. W. G. Maitland, A Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Fraser, Capt. Sir I. Makins, Brig.-Gen. E. Ward, Irene (Wallsend)
Waterhouse, Captain C. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Wedderburn, H. J. S. Wise, A. R. Major Sir George Davies and Mr. James Stuart.
Wells, S. R. Womersley, Sir W. J.
Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir A. T. (Hitchin) Wragg, H.
Adams, D. (Consett) Hardie, G. D. Parkinson, J. A
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.) Henderson, A. (Kingswinford) Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.
Adamson, W. M. Henderson, T. (Tradeston) Potts, J.
Ammon, C. G. Hills, A. (Pontefract) Pritt, D. N.
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven) Hollins, A. Riley, B.
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Jagger, J. Ritson, J.
Banfieid, J. W. Jenkins, A. (Pontypool) Robinson, W. A.(St. Helens)
Barr, J. Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath) Seely, Sir H. M.
Bellenger, F. John, W. Sexton. T. M.
Benson, G. Johnston, Rt. Hon. T. Shinwell, E.
Broad, F. A. Kelly, W. T. Short, A.
Bromfield, W. Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T. Silkin, L.
Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (S. Ayrshire) Kirby, B. V. Silverman, S. S.
Buchanan, G. Kirkwood, D. Simpson, F. B.
Cassells, T. Lansbury, Rt. Hon. G. Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn's)
Cocks, F. S. Lathan, G. Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)
Compton, J. Lawson, J. J. Smith, E. (Stoke)
Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford Leach, W. Smith, T. (Normanton)
Daggar, G. Lee, F. Stephen, C.
Dalton, H. Leonard, W. Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)
Dobbie, W. Logan, D. G. Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)
Dunn, E. (Rother Valley) Lunn, W. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Ede, J. C. McEntee, V. La T. Tinker, J. J.
Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough E.) McGhee, H. G. Viant, S. P.
Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty) MacLaren, A. Walkden, A. G.
Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H. Maclean, N. Watkins, F. C.
Foot, D. M. Marklew, E. Watson, W. McL.
Garro Jones, G. M. Marshall, F. Welsh, J. C.
Gibbins, J. Maxton, J. Westwood, J.
Graham, D. M. (Hamilton) Messer, F. Williams, D. (Swansea, E.)
Green, W. H. (Deptford) Montague, F. Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Ha'kn'y, S.) Williams' T. (Don Valley)
Grenfell, D. R. Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)
Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth) Muff, G. Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)
Griffiths, J. (Llanelly) Noel-Baker, P. J. Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Groves, T. E. Oliver, G. H.
Hall, G. H. (Aberdare) Paling, W. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel) Parker, J. Mr. Whiteley and Mr. Mathers.

Lords Amendments considered accordingly, and agreed to.

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