HC Deb 05 November 1936 vol 317 cc211-2

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that a member of the Unemployment Assistance Board, Professor Hallsworth, attended a week-end school of the Junior Imperial League last month; and whether the attendance of members of the Board at such meetings has the support of the Government?

12. Mr. BATEY

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that a member of the Unemployment Assistance Board addressed a meeting in Durham on 18th October, 1936, of the Durham County Junior Imperial League; and whether he is satisfied that the members of the Unemployment Assistance Board are still taking care to remain outside of politics?

The MINISTER of LABOUR (Mr. Ernest Brown)

I am informed that the invitation to give the address was accepted on the definite understanding that the address would consist merely of an explanation of the Regulations which Parliament had approved. As a member of the Board, Mr. Hallsworth was not speaking in any political capacity, and I do not feel that the matter is one in which any action is called for.


Is it not desirable that "professors o' pairts" should go to school for week-ends to try to improve their education?


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Professor made comparisons between allowances and wages, indicating that allowances ought to be reduced to make them comparable with wages? Does the right hon. Gentleman think that was a very reasonable thing to do?


I was not aware of that.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that when the Unemployment Assistance Board was set up it was stated in this House that the members would be outside politics? Is not this coming within politics in addressing a purely Tory meeting?


I do not think so. Quite often Professor Hallsworth has been asked to address meetings of miners lodges in Durham and if he is asked to address them on this subject as a technical expert I have no doubt he will do so.


In view of the statement we have just heard as having been made by Professor Hallsworth, is it intended that he shall still continue as chairman of the Trades Board?


That is another issue altogether.