HC Deb 07 July 1937 vol 326 cc341-5
45. Mr. Lawson

asked the Prime Minister whether he is now in a position to state the terms of reference and the personnel of the Royal Commission to inquire into the question of the geographical distribution of the industrial population?

47. Mr. W. Joseph Stewart

asked the Prime Minister whether he can now make any announcement as to the Royal Com- mission which is to be set up to inquire into the question of the geographical distribution of the industrial population?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir. The King has been pleased to approve the setting up of a Royal Commission to inquire into the question of the geographical distribution of the industrial population. The Terms of Reference are: To inquire into the causes which have influenced the present geographical distribution of the industrial population of Great Britain and the probable direction of any change in that distribution in the future; to consider what social, economic or strategical disadvantages arise from the concentration of industries or of the industrial population in large towns or in particular areas of the country; and to report what remedial measures if any should be taken in the national interest.

The members of the Commission are:

Mr. Lawson

In view of the very wide terms of reference, may I ask whether the primary duty of the Commission is to inquire into the location of industry?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir, I think that is directly covered by the terms of reference.

Mr. Gallacher

Would it not be desirable to put on the Commission one or two representatives of those who have been moved from derelict areas into the areas where there is employment? They will be able to give some valuable information.

The Prime Minister

There is no reason why they should not appear and give evidence.

Mr. Shinwell

Will the right hon. Gentleman circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT some of the qualifications of these gentle- men who have been appointed on the Commission?

The Prime Minister

I shall be very happy to do that.

Mr. James Griffiths

Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that these persons, any or all of them, have a deep, intimate knowledge of the depressed areas? In view of the importance of this matter to the depressed areas, and the necessity for confidence being felt in the Commission has he given consideration to whether any of the members have any vital intimate knowledge of the depressed areas?

Mr. Magnay

Is is not a fact that Mr. Bevin was defeated at Gateshead in 1931?

Mr. Gallacher

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that men such as I suggest would not only be able to give evidence but would understand better than some of the others the particular questions to ask in order to get evidence, and that, therefore, they ought to be on the Commission?

Mr. J. Griffiths

May I ask for a reply to my question?

The Prime Minister

I have forgotten what the hon. Member's question was.

Mr. Griffiths

I asked the right hon. Gentleman whether he is satisfied that any of the members have a deep, intimate, personal knowledge and experience of the problems of the depressed areas; and as this Commission was announced as part of the programme to deal with the depressed areas, is not the absence of any such members a serious omission?

The Prime Minister

I cannot accept that view of the objects of the Commission as announced by the Government. This is a much wider question than that of the depressed areas, although it no doubt has a bearing on the depressed areas. It is taking altogether too small a view of the importance of this matter to associate it merely with the depressed areas.

Mr. Gallacher

Why are you afraid to put some workers on it?

Following are the particulars promised by the Prime Minister:

The Rt. Hon. Sir Montague Barlow, Bt., K.B.E., LL.D., F.S.A. (Chairman).

Minister of Labour, 1922–24; M.P. (Salford), 1910–23; Chairman or Director of several public companies.

Professor Leslie Patrick Abercrombie, F.R.I.B.A.

Professor of Town Planning, University College, London; Professor of Civic Design, University of Liverpool, 1915–35.

Ernest Bevin, Esq.

General Secretary of the Transport Workers' Union; Chairman of the Trades Union Congress General Council.

Francis D'Arcy Cooper, Esq.

Chairman of Unilever, Ltd.; Mac-Fisheries, Ltd.; Moor Park, Ltd.; T. Wall & Sons. Ltd.; and a Director of other companies.

Mrs. Lionel Hichens, A.R.R.C.Member of Oxfordshire County Council and of the Oxfordshire Education Committee.

Mrs. A. V. Hill.

A member of the Hornsey Borough Council; Chairman of the Hornsey Housing Trust, the Highgate Child Welfare Society and the Hornsey Home Helps Association, and member of other committees.

Professor John Harry Jones.

Professor of Economics, University of Leeds since 1919; has been a member of Trade Boards and of several Government Committees; author of works on economics.

Sir Francis Joseph, K.B.E., J.P., D.L.

A Director of A. & S. Henry & Co.; Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Co., Ltd.; L.M.S. Railway; Midland Bank; and of other companies. Formerly a member of the Liverpool City Council; President of the Federation of British Industries, 1935, and of the North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce.

Parker Morris, Esq., LL.B.

Town Clerk of Westminster; Secretary of the Metropolitan Boroughs Joint Standing Committee.

Sir Arthur Robinson, G.C.B., C.B.E. Secretary of the Ministry of Health,1920–35; Chairman of the Supply Board since 1935.

Sydney Arthur Smith, Esq., F.S.I., F.A.I.

A member of the firm of Messrs. Wetherall, Green & Smith (Surveyors and Estate Agents); a Vice-President of the Auctioneers and Estate Agents Institute.

George W. Thomson, Esq.

An official of the Association of Engineering and Shipbuilding Draughtsmen; a member of the T.U.C. General Council.

Sir William Whyte, O.B.E., F.R.S.E., J.P.

Formerly Clerk and Treasurer of the Middle Ward of Lanark; hon. Chairman, Town Planning Institute, Scottish branch; has been a member of many Government Committees; author of works on local government.