HC Deb 20 April 1939 vol 346 cc535-69
The Chairman

The first Amendment on the Paper, in the name of the hon. Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Mander), is out of place here, as I think he knows; and the next Amendment, in the name of the hon. Member for Blackpool (Mr. R. Robinson), must come as a new Clause.

4.12 p.m.

Mr. Creech Jones

I beg to move, in page 1, line 22, after "conditions," to insert: subject to a maximum of three per cent. interest in respect of any loan. The purpose of the Amendment is to ensure that the capital charge falling on the company with respect to the renting of these camps shall be kept as low as possible. I am sure it is the genuine desire of Members in all parts of the Committee that not only should these camps be economically managed but that the charge to be made to the school children or local authorities or persons using the camps shall be as low as possible. It seems important, therefore, that the interest payable on the capital invested in the camps shall be as low as possible, and the purpose of the Amendment is to attempt to limit the interest charge so that the limitation may be expressed in a small charge on the public. I am sure it is the general experience of all who have run camps of this kind that capital costs form an important element in the charge. Therefore we suggest a limitation of the amount of interest payable in respect of the loans that are raised.

4.14 p.m.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Mr. Bernays)

I quite agree with the hon. Gentleman that the interest rates should be as low as possible, and the intention is that the rate of interest should be 4 per cent. This is a little more than the Public Works Loans Board rate of 3⅞ per cent. But that is, of course, a moveable figure and may increase. What we want, in regard to these figures, is to have a fixed rate of interest, and, as the hon. Gentleman knows, 4 per cent. is the rate charged by the Special Areas Commissioners to trading companies. I am sure the hon. Member will agree that no local authority could borrow at a rate as low as the 3 per cent. mentioned in the Amendment. If the liabilities for interest prove to be too high, the difficulty can be met in the agreements with the companies. This Amendment, by fixing a maximum rate of interest below what are the current rates for borrowing, really seeks to increase the subsidy or grant to a recognised company. In our judgment, this is not a good way of doing that. In our view if an increase were necessary—we hope it will not be—it would be better to provide for this directly in the agreement, by increasing the proportion of the advance to be treated as a grant. There is, of course, the possibility that the grant may not be sufficient, but that is a matter which can be seen only in the light of experience. Having heard this explanation, I hope the hon. Gentleman will not press his Amendment.

4.16 p.m.

Mr. Noel-Baker

We are obliged to the Parliamentary Secretary for his explanation. Of course, the purpose of our Amendment is to reduce the burden which will fall on the statutory companies in the carrying out of their duties. The financial burden which they have to carry in respect of debt will inevitably affect the prices which they can charge to those who use the camps. Our purpose is to bring about the maximum use of the camps. If the Government will subsidise the camps further in other ways, of course we shall be ready to leave the 4 per cent. in the Bill, but I want to urge upon the Government the desirability of there being a further subsidy beyond that which is at present provided, namely, £500,000. I think the burden which will fall on the companies will be a very heavy one and will necessitate their charging their clients a higher price than should be charged, and will thus correspondingly reduce the use that will be made of the camps for the highly desirable social purposes which everybody has in view in supporting the Bill.

Mr. Creech Jones

I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

4.18 p.m.

Mr. Noel-Baker

I beg to move, in page 2, line 5, at the end, to insert: (4) Any agreement entered into by the appropriate Minister regarding the operations of a recognised company shall be presented to Parliament. I do not need to make any elaborate explanation of this Amendment, since it is self-explanatory. We regard it as highly desirable that Parliament should be able to follow very closely this important social development, and that when the Departmental Votes come forward each year we should be able to discuss the work that is being done—with public money and in pursuance of an Act of Parliament —in the light of a full knowledge of the facts. I hope that the Government will accept the Amendment and that any agreements they make with the companies will be presented to Parliament.

4.19 p.m.

Mr. Bernays

I fully appreciate the hon. Gentleman's remark that the House, having voted a substantial sum of money, naturally will want to know what is being done with it and be able to review the expenditure from time to time. I appreciate also that it will want to know what are the relations between the Government and the companies and how the whole scheme is progressing. In our view, however, this information would be better given in an annual report by the company on their activities. Later on, there is on the Order Paper a new Clause in the name of the hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Noel-Baker) providing for such an annual report, which would be laid before Parliament. When that new Clause is reached, my right hon. Friend will ask the House to accept it. If that is done, I hope the hon. Member will be satisfied, and will not consider it necessary to press this Amendment.

4.20 p.m.

Mr. Ede

I am rather sorry that the Parliamentary Secretary has not been able to accept the Amendment. I do not think the concession he has offered with regard to the new Clause quite covers the point made in the Amendment. Clearly, the House will want to know what is the agreement between the Government and the company which will be carrying out the objects of the Bill. I do not imagine that an annual report would deal with details of that sort. Indeed, if the agreements were laid before the House, it might be one way of checking the annual report, and of seeing how far the agreement was being carried out. I hope the Government will not be adamant on this point, but will be prepared to give the House an opportunity of seeing the agreements. The House is becoming less and less important in the minds of Ministers. I have in my bag in the Lobby a document that was sent to county aldermen which the right hon. Gentleman the Lord Privy Seal, earlier this afternoon, thought was of no concern to the House of Commons; it was not controversial, and the House could take it on his word. May I say that we have not so high an opinion of Ministers as they have of themselves? We desire to see the agreements that are entered into in regard to these matters, and I hope the Government will agree to this.

4.22 p.m.

Sir Ralph Glyn

I understood my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to say that in principle he accepts this Amendment, and that the point will be covered in a new Clause later on.

Mr. Ede


Sir R. Glyn

If my hon. Friend agrees in principle, I assume that the Minister of Health will see that the annual report will contain everything that this Amendment would give. Otherwise, I should support the Amendment, because I think it is of the utmost importance that a report should be made to Parliament giving full details of what transactions have taken place. I would not like the Amendment to be pressed, because I am certain that the Minister recognises the importance of keeping the House in touch with the operations of the companies. I should like to have an assurance on this point.

4.23 p.m.

Dr. Haden Guest

The right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Health will remember that, in the Second Reading Debate, he stressed the experimental character of the Bill and the fact that it was a new departure and that there might be an expansion in future. In view of these facts, I think there is a good case for the presentation of any agreements that are made, irrespective of the annual report. My hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) said that, in his capacity as a county alderman, he received a document, and that he thought Ministers did not think much of Members of Parliament. Apparently, they think more of county aldermen.

Mr. Ede

Quite right.

Dr. Guest

It would be an advantage if these agreements were laid before the House. The Bill is an experimental one, and it would be a definite advantage if the House had an opportunity from time to time of reviewing the proposals that are made and the agreements that are entered into, as they are entered into.

4.24 p.m.

Mr. David Adams

I wish to support the Amendment. I fail to see any relationship between the Amendment and the proposal that there should be an annual report of any particular company.

The Minister of Health (Mr. Elliot)

It is not merely an annual report of the company, but an annual report to the House.

Mr. Adams

It is an annual report of the company to the House. What relation has that to the agreement? There might be something in an agreement to which we took the strongest exception, but which we should not be able to rectify on the annual report. What we suggest is that we should see what are the agreements in connection with which public money is to be expended. In some cases it might, in our judgment, be spent too rapidly, and in other cases too slowly, or under conditions that we would like to vary. The suggestion which the Minister has made has no relationship with the request contained in the Amendment.

4.25 p.m.

Mr. Graham White

I think the point of the Amendment is one of importance, but I should like to ask whether it would be possible for any point of real substance to be included in any agreement that is made without that point also being included in the annual report. The answer to that question might make some difference to my view on the matter. I can realise the difficulty which might arise if an agreement was made in February of one year and was not reported to the House until February of the following year; in such a case, the matter might have been settled before it could be dealt with on the annual report.

4.26 p.m.

Mr. Elliot

I am anxious to meet the Committee on this matter. Hon. Members want to be reassured on two points. First of all, they will get the ipsissima verba of the agreement in the annual report. I will give an undertaking to that extent. Hon. Members are a little uneasy lest a delay should take place and the annual report come out when arrangements have been running for a long time. I am anxious to meet that point. I do not think it is reasonable to insert a statutory demand that every agreement, as soon as it is entered into, should be the subject of a White Paper. There is indeed the danger that the volume of Papers which we have in the House might snow under the information which we desired to convey. If the Amendment were withdrawn, I should be willing to give an undertaking that, by the end of this year, I would circulate all the agreements so far entered into, and that they would be included as annexes to the annual report. I think that is a fair offer to the Committee, and one which meets the suggestions which hon. Members have made.

Mr. Ede

May I point out that the annual report referred to in the new Clause on the Paper in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Derby (Mr. Noel-Baker) is a report of the company and not a report of the Minister of Health, and that the Minister is placed under an obligation, by that Clause, to put the company's report before the House? It is not a report of the Minister. If he would include these agreements in his annual report as Minister of Health, I think that would go some way to meeting our request.

Mr. Elliot

Surely, it would not be desirable to print all these agreements in the annual report of the Minister. If I give an undertaking that I will give an interim report of all the agreements that have been entered into, say, by the end of this year, I think that is a reasonable offer. I will give a further assurance that I will get in touch with the companies, and I am sure they will agree to include the agreements in the annual report.

4.29 p.m.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Before the right hon. Gentleman spoke, I was going to ask him what was the reason for not giving us the agreements when they are made, because, as he has just said, it is obvious-that they must be reprinted as annexes to the annual report. Therefore, up to that point he has met us, but as has been pointed out, that might mean a delay of a year, by which time many of the points in the agreement might have lost their actuality and urgency, and things might have settled down to such an extent that no changes could be made, although changes were desirable. To meet that, he said that he would make an offer to print all the agreements made up to the end of this year and then give them to us. We are hoping for a very rapid development and that there may be a good many such agreements, and we should very much like to see them at the earliest date.

The Bill is modest in scale, and it is very important. It is concerned with three major special developments—country school education for our children, the holidays of our adult population, and the safety of our people in time of war. On a matter of that fundamental social importance, it is desirable that Parliament and the public should be carried along with the Government. I wonder whether the Minister could amend his offer by saying that once a quarter he will lay the agreements made before the House, if he thinks it is too complicated a matter to lay each agreement as it is made. I should have thought it would have been simpler to lay each agreement as it is made, but if that is too difficult or complicated, or if, as he suggested, we should be snowed under by the volume of paper —I hope there may be so many agreements—I suggest that he might let us have them once a quarter.

4.32 p.m.

Mr. Elliot

I am anxious to meet the Committee, but I think statutory provision is inappropriate. I will give a gentleman's agreement to the hon. Member that I will consult the leaders of the Opposition party as and when the first agreement is come to, and I think we shall have no difficulty in deciding at that point that a print should be made of such agreements for the benefit of the House. I think that a statutory obligation is altogether too rigid, but I have no desire to withhold these things from the House. I think this little conference that I have suggested should be able to meet the point.

4.33 p.m.

Mr. Westwood

Are we to understand that that promise applies not only so far as agreements with companies which may be set up in England are concerned, but equally to agreements that may be come to with the company which I understand is to be selected for this purpose and which is now carrying through the work of building houses by alternative methods in the Special Areas in Scotland?

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Colville)

I will give an undertaking that we shall work in exactly the same way in Scotland as the Minister of Health in England in this connection.

Mr. E. J. Williams

Is the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Health certain that he will be in a position, as Minister of Health, to carry out his gentleman's agreement? Will he be Minister at the end of the year?

Mr. Elliot

That is one excellent reason for shortening the term.

4.34 p.m.

Mr. Creech Jones

I take it that there will be two agreements, one with the English company and the other with the Scottish company. Am I to understand that we are talking about the agreements, as between the companies and the Government, or are we talking about the agreements which the companies enter into with certain bodies to run the camps?

Mr. Elliot

I was meeting the hon. Members on their own Amendment.

Mr. Creech Jones

I take it that there are only two agreements?

Mr. Elliot

I think that probably there will be more.

Mr. Noel-Baker

In view of the offer made by the Minister, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

4.35 p.m.

Mr. Noel-Baker

This is by far the most important Clause in the Bill. It establishes the statutory companies and lays down the basis of the finance. I want to call attention to certain matters which were raised on the Second Reading of the Bill, and to ask whether the Minister can give us any further explanation with regard to them, as I hope he will be able to do. The first point is that, in our view, this plan is far too modest in scale. We see every day that we are coming nearer and nearer to the dangers of air warfare. If the ambitions of the Government under this Bill are realised, we shall have, presumably within the compass of the present year, camp accommodation in war conditions for 35,000 people, as against the 3,000,000 or 4,000,000 who must be evacuated and as against, as I think, the 8,000,000 or 10,000,000 for whom the Government ought to make provision. It is, therefore, a very modest Bill, and it is modest, too, in relation to the other social purposes of which I have already spoken to-day. I hope that the Minister will tell us that he is making such progress with the development of this first scheme that in some consultation with the board of management of the company he will be able to make very rapid further progress towards other schemes which will shortly be coming along in another Bill.

The Clause deals with finance, and I have already said, on our Amendment with regard to the rate of interest, that we should like to subsidise these companies more heavily than they are being subsidised, for the reason that we want to reduce the basic rate that the companies must charge to local education authorities. The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland told us on the Second Reading that under the arrangements here set forth the companies will have to pay an interest and sinking fund charge of 2s. 3d. per head per week. That seems to us much too onerous, and if they cannot reduce the rate of interest, I hope the Government will tell us that they plan to reduce in some way the burden of the £700,000 which they are laying on these companies to be repaid by way of interest and sinking fund. Connected with that point, and in particular with the charge of 2S. 3d. per head per week for interest and sinking fund charges, is the rate of grant which the Board of Education is going to give to local authorities. In the Second Reading Debate, if I understood him aright, the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland told us that in Scotland the Government intended to continue the practice that now exists with regard to certain camps there and to make a 50 per cent. grant, but, as was pointed out by my hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) in that Debate, if these camps are used for elementary school education purposes, the grant in England will be, not 50 percent., but 20 percent. I do not know whether the Government have been able to take that matter into consideration, but I hope they have and that they will be able to tell us that they will be more generous in this regard than they led us to believe on the Second Reading.

The third point that I want to raise is that of the expansibility of the camps. I feel with great force that if these camps are to have any war-time purpose at all, it is little short of absurd to provide only for a two-fold expansion. I will not set out the arguments again, because that would involve going over the evacuation figures, which the Minister and I have discussed so often, but if the Government are going to the great trouble of organising these camps partly for war-time purposes, they ought to allow for a much larger expansion than merely two-fold, and I do not think it would be very difficult—indeed, I know it would not be difficult at all—and I do not think it would be very expensive to increase the expansion up to four-fold, five-fold, or even, as I have argued before, up to 10-fold. Certainly it would increase the capital charge, and undoubtedly you would have to put in provisions for further drainage, a larger water supply, rooms for stores and spare parts of the buildings you intended to put up, perhaps some larger central organisation administrative buildings, perhaps more land, and so on. But I do not think the basic capital charge for all that would be beyond what the Government ought to be able to support, in view of the urgent international crisis through which we are living. I hope again that the Minister will be able to tell us that the Government are revising their views on that matter and that the expansibility is to be more than two-fold.

I now come to the composition of the boards of managers of the statutory companies. I urged on the Second Reading that the Government should add to the boards of managers someone who might be a representative chosen by them in consultation with such bodies as the National Trust, the Council for the Preservation of Rural England, the Council for the Preservation of Rural Scotland, and so on, whose special job on the board of managers would be to look after what is often called the amenities aspect of this matter After all, 50 camps is a small-scale start, and we hope that it will be increased. If we are going to set up camps by the hundred in this country, we may, as I then argued, do very much to diminish the already greatly reduced tracts of unspoiled English countryside, and I think it will be to the interest of everybody, and above all of those who will use the camps, that these camps should not spoil the amenities of the countryside. I know that the Government will tell us that one of their directors, one of the members of the board of managers, has great experience in this regard and is a man who will pay attention to it, that he is a qualified architect and planner, and so on. That may be so, but with regard to the architecture and what may be called the technical planning, he will have a very full job, and I believe it would create confidence in the minds of those who are interested, that it would be of direct advantage from every point of view, and that it really would give us a much better guarantee than we have ever had before if the Government would accept the proposal and add someone to the board of managers who might be representative of, or chosen in agreement with, the National Trust and the other bodies that I have mentioned.

The last point that I want to raise on the Clause is this: These companies are to organise camps for evacuation purposes in time of war. They will, therefore, have devoted their attention to that aspect of the matter in time of peace, and they will be better qualified than anybody else in the country to organise camps for evacuees in war conditions. There is, as everybody knows, a large number of commercial camps in existence and now being developed and continually increased all round the country, and particularly on many parts of the coast, and I want to ask the Government whether they will consider giving, in the agreements which they are going to make, perhaps in the Defence of the Realm Act which they are now drafting for wartime purposes, power to these statutory companies to take over commercial camps and to run them in conjunction with their other camps for the reception of people evacuated from vulnerable areas. We have not put down an Amendment to that effect, because it did not seem to us to be suitable for this Bill, but I hope the Government will give us an assurance that they will take it into account and that they will, if possible, make arrangements that these companies shall have that power in time of war.

4.43 p.m.

Sir William Davison

I would like to support what has been urged, that the Government should give some assurance that a representative of the National Trust or of the Council for the Preservation of Rural England should be put on this board. I think it is essential that in providing these 40 or 50 camps nothing should be done to interfere with the amenities of the countryside, which are so essential to everyone, and not least to the people who will be occupying the camps. This is the more necessary in view of the terms of Clause 3 of the Bill, which, once the Minister's approval has been given to a site, to the building of a camp, or anything to do with it, exempts it from the control of the local authority. We know how busy Ministers are in these days, and how impossible it is for them to go thoroughly into the question whether a particular camp is interfering with the amenities of a district, whereas, if there is a representative of either of the two societies I have mentioned, whose special duty it will be to see that the camps do not interfere with the amenities of the district in which they are situated, he will be a very valuable help to the Minister in making up his mind as to any local protest.

With regard to the inability of the Minister to deal with matters of that kind, I would point out that recently in my own constituency, in a part which was town planned for residences only, the Post Office desired to put up a telephone exchange, and the Minister said, after considerable discussion with the local authority, that he could not interfere with this desire for a public improvement. I give that as an instance to show that a busy Minister, overwhelmed with the duties of his Department, cannot give the consideration required as to whether any particular camp does or does not interfere with the amenities of a district, or say whether by making certain changes the dangers anticipated by those primarily responsible for the amenities of the district could be met. I earnestly support the appeal to the Government that represen- tatives of either the National Trust or the Society for the Protection of Rural England should be on the board.

4.46 p.m.

Mr. Mander

I, too, should like to suggest that every possible consideration be given to the question of amenities and that they should be properly looked after by a Member of the board. It may be said that Mr. Percy Thomas is there for that purpose. Mr. Thomas is a well-known practising architect, but I am not aware that he is a planning expert. He is not a member of the Planning Institute. It would be very advisable that there should be some such arrangement as exists in connection with the Air Ministry, where Professor Abercrombie goes round to the sites that the Ministry are thinking of taking over, and advises the Ministry from the amenities' point of view whether or not it is suitable territory to take. I know that the Minister desires to work as closely as he can with the Council for the Preservation of Rural England and others, but he would make the matter much more secure than it is at the moment if he could give an assurance that there will be on the board some person whose duty it will be to look after these matters and who is fully qualified by his professional experience to carry out that work.

4.47 p.m.

Dr. Guest

I support what has been said by my hon. Friend the Member for Derby (Mr. Noel-Baker) with regard to the provision of extra water supply, storage and cooking arrangements. I made some reference to this on Second Reading. Would it be inside the powers conferred by this Bill for the company to provide for the doubling, the trebling or the quadrupling of the accommodation required? It is obviously very desirable that that should happen. If you have a camp to take 100 people and you have the basic drainage, water supply and cooking arrangements that would deal with 1,000 people under war conditions, then you would be able to increase your accommodation, by tents, etc., when the emergency arose; but you must have the basic skeleton or foundation in the camp. I should like a specific assurance from the Minister that the power to do that exists in the Bill, if it should become desirable to do it. If not, it may be necessary to bring forward an Amendment. I heartily agree with what the hon. Member for Derby said on the amenities question. It is quite easily possible so to arrange the camp that it becomes part of the landscape and is even an addition to the landscape, by the exercise of a little common sense; but it is possible on the other hand, absolutely to Spoil the beauty of a district, as I regret to say has been done in many parts of the country, and even in the immediate neighbourhood of Edinburgh, as the Minister for Health will know. I hope that that aspect of the matter will receive very careful attention as it is urgently important.

4.49 p.m.

Mr. H. Strauss

I should like briefly to support the appeal made by the hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Noel-Baker) and others on the amenities question. As a member of the executive committee of the National Trust and in other capacities I know and share the very great interest that is rightly taken by the amenities societies in the question raised by the hon. Member. The hon. Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Mander) drew attention to the fact that the Air Ministry which needs land perhaps as urgently as any Department finds it possible to consult Professor Abercrombie before choosing its sites. It would be far the most convenient course that an experienced country planner should be a member of the Board of Management. That would be regarded by the amenities societies as the simplest way of giving them the minimum protection required. I do not think that the member placed on the board would be a representative of the Council for the Preservation of Rural England or of the National Trust, though each of those bodies would be prepared, if consulted, to advise the Minister regarding those whom they would consider suitable. That there should be an experienced country planner on the Board of Management before the sites are chosen is in the view of all those who are concerned with these matters absolutely essential. If the Minister would give an undertaking in this matter, no consideration with which he is concerned would be in any way weakened and no harm of any kind would result, but on the other hand those, and there are many, who are concerned about the beauty of this country would be very much relieved. I support very strongly the appeal made by the hon. Member for Derby.

4.51 p m.

Sir Henry Morris-Jones

I should like to endorse the appeal made to the Minister from all quarters of the Committee in regards to the protection of amenities. As far as Wales is concerned—I speak particularly of the North Wales coast—I should have liked to see a representative of the Council for the Preservation of Rural Wales on the board, especially having regard to the camps that may be located in the Principality. The question of camps is becoming rather a vexed question in the constituencies of many hon. Members, particularly those who have large coast-lines in their constituencies. The competition of commercial enterprises for the building of camps has become a very serious matter and in many directions is threatening the amenities of the countryside and, incidentally, very seriously jeopardising the property of those who have come to live in those localities. I would strongly appeal to my right hon. Friend that so far as the Government are concerned in regard to these camps every security should be given to the House and the country that no camp will be built that will not be in conformity with the geographical and natural amenities of the district. I do stress the point as far as Wales is concerned there should be a member of the Council for the Preservation of Rural Wales on the board.

4.53 p.m.

Mr. Ede

I support the point of view put by the hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Noel-Baker) and I want to appeal particularly in regard to the town areas respecting the use of the camps by school children. On the Second Reading of the Bill and in the discussion on the Money Resolution, I made a strong appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education that he should use his influence with his Noble Friend the President of the Board of Education to see whether the percentage grant payable for the use of these camps by English elementary school children could be increased. The anomalies that will be created unless this is done are such that I do not think the Board or the Minister can contemplate. It would be most anomalous if you have the local education authorities in respect of some camps putting the secondary school children in one group, because they will get a 50 percent. grant for them, and putting the elementary school children in another group because they will only get a 20 per cent. grant for them. They will be doing that with the knowledge that in the country from which the Minister of Health comes a 50 percent. grant will be paid for all children.

During the Committee stage of the Money Resolution the Parliamentary Sectary to the Ministry of Health tried to ride off with a story about the complication of the English grant formula. That does not arise, because this is additional expenditure, and, therefore, every penny that goes into this will be taken at 20 percent. or 50 percent. Unless the Board of Education are prepared to make some concession on this matter, those districts which most need the facilities that these camps ought to afford will find themselves denied the opportunities. I elaborated the point at greater length on the Committee stage of the Money Resolution and I do not desire to delay the Committee to-day. Therefore, I will not repeat the arguments that I then used; but I do sincerely hope that the Board of Education will realise that if they want to help the children in the distressed areas they must do something towards increasing the percentage grant that will be available.

4.58 p.m.

Mr. Loftus

I support the appeals from all quarters of the Committee for extra precautions to preserve amenities. I rise more particularly to ask a question. There is an Amendment to Clause 1 which stands in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool (Mr. R. Robinson) and myself and other hon. Members, but I notice it has not been called. I should like to know whether there will be an opportunity later on to discuss the point raised in the Amendment, or can it be raised by a new Clause or in some other way?

4.59 p.m.

Mr. Keeling

I want to support the plea. of the hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Noel-Baker)that the board of management of the company should include a country planner whose exclusive duty it would be to keep a watch on the siting of the camps and the fitting of them into the landscape. I understand that Mr. Thomas has been held out by the Minister of Health as a suitable person for that duty. I have nothing whatever to say against Mr. Thomas, who was recently the President of the Royal Institute of British Architects, but I suggest that his hands will be full with the architectural side of the board of management's duties. He will be fully occupied in designing camps. It is essential that there should be a member of the board who is charged with the duty of planning the sites. It has been suggested that the board will consult the officials of the Ministry, but I do not think that that is sufficient. I hope my right hon. Friend will accept the suggestion which so many hon. Members have supported.

5.0 p.m.

Mr. Bossom

I wish to add my plea to those which have already been made to the Minister on the question of amenities. The Minister has indicated that members of his staff will probably co-operate in this matter. I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to throw his mind back to a few years ago when members of the staff of the Department of which he was then Minister had certain responsibilities in relation to another place and when their actions were such that the House of Commons had to stop them. I hope the Minister will accept the representations which have come to him from all parts of the Committee on this point. We want someone on the board of management who is capable of observing the sites and looking after amenities from a town-planning and not only from an architectural point of view. The architect has a particular kind of work to do and the work of town-planning is entirely separate from it. There is a Town-planning Institute for that purpose, and it is not practical or proper that such work should be left entirely in the hands of the architect. I hope, therefore, that consideration will be given to the plea which has been made this afternoon.

5.3 p.m.

Mr. McEntee

There is an Amendment on the Paper in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for West Willesden (Mr. Viant) concerning the wages and conditions of people who will be affected by Clause 4, and I wish to ask for an assurance that the Fair Wages Clauses which is applied by the Government in all normal contracts, will be included in every contract made under Clause 1. I wish to ask, further, whether consideration has been given to the very important question of the furnishing of these camps? Clause 1 leaves it rather an open question whether furnishing comes under the Bill at all or not. Sub-section (1) refers to promoting the construction, maintenance and management of the camps. I presume that one of those three terms must include the furnishing of the camps. In war time these camps will be used to house both adults and children. In peace time they are to be used for housing children on holiday and some of them are also to be used for adults on holiday. Furniture suitable for children might not be suitable for adults, and vice versa, and in view of the large amount of furniture which will be required, I think that consideration should be given to the actual furnishing of the camps by people who are qualified to give such consideration. As far as I know there is no one on the board with any special competence in that respect. I am not saying anything against the general qualifications of the members, but I suggest that there should be someone on it with special qualifications in regard to furnishing.

My last point is that where these camps have to be constructed of timber, Empire timber should, as far as possible, be used. I have been charged with thinking too much about the Empire but in this connection I think about Empire timber in the first place because it is Empire timber, and in the second place because I know that the conditions under which it is grown and worked are infinitely better than the conditions under which timber is grown and worked in most foreign countries. In addition, experience teaches me that timber grown in the Empire is much more suitable for this kind of construction work than any timber which we can get from any other part of the world. Therefore, both on patriotic and on practical grounds I hope that, as far as possible, Empire-grown timber will be used for this purpose.

5.6 p.m.

Sir William Jenkins

Although provision is being made in this Clause for both England and Wales, I see no reference to the number of camps which it is proposed to construct in Wales. We have a number of school camps there as a result of arrangements made between the social services and the local authorities, and these camps are very much appreciated, particularly in South Wales where so many of our children come from distressed areas. These camps give the children opportunities of going away for some weeks at a time which is very useful. Unfortunately, last year one of the camps, that at Pembrey, was closed and nothing has been done to replace it. I should like to know whether it will be possible to make additional provision in this respect in Wales. These camps give a much needed opportunity for improving the general health of the children. I think the Board of Education must appreciate as much as we have appreciated locally, the efforts made and the assistance given in that respect. The closing of that camp deprived 300 or 400 children of this benefit and affected us considerable, and we are anxious to know what can be done to replace it. I hope that additional camps will be provided.

5.8 p.m.

Mr. E. J. Williams

I should like to reinforce the plea of my hon. Friend the Member for Neath (Sir W. Jenkins) with regard to the reopening of the camp at Pembrey. I also wish to support the statement of my hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede). In his reply on the Money Resolution the Parliamentary Secretary said that the formula involved was a little complicated and that to relate the 20 percent. grant to the 50 percent. grant would be very difficult. We think, however, that the same financial conditions which apply to England and Wales should apply also to Scotland, and I am surprised that hon. Members should be prepared to stand for any differentiation. One may assume that a large number of these camps will be in the less vulnerable areas and thus they are likely to go west—I mean, geographically., It is singular that the further west one goes the more distress one finds.

Mr. Ede

What about the north-east?

Mr. Williams

I am sure the Committee will take note of the voice of South Shields in that connection, but I think it is admitted that from Lancashire right down to South Wales is a distressed area, although there are patches here and there in the Midlands, like Birmingham, which are comparatively well-to-do. The Minister should realise that it is in distressed areas that the camps will provide the greatest physical benefit to the children. In those areas the local authorities are already over-burdened and Parliament continually imposes greater burdens upon them. On this occasion advantage should be taken of the opportunity to alleviate as far as possible the burden falling on the local authorities. By differentiating in this way between England and Wales on one hand and Scotland on the other, an additional financial burden is being placed upon areas which are least able to bear it. I ask the Parliamentary Secretary to give us an assurance that where secondary school children have to go to these camps, the 50 percent. and not the 20 percent. will be paid, regardless of any formula.

5.12 p.m.

Sir Robert Young

In reply to a question by my hon. Friend the Member for Shipley (Mr. Creech Jones), the Minister said there would not be more than two agreements, but I imagine that there will be 50 agreements. Two companies are to be formed and 50 camps are to be set up, and I take it that the two companies will be responsible for the 50 camps. If that is so, are we to understand that a report will be given in relation to each of these 50 camps? I presume that the Government do not propose to make one agreement with one company for the whole 50 camps without giving details of each of the various camps coming under the administration of that company.

Mr. Elliot

On that particular point, may I say that the earlier Amendment proposed that any agreement entered into by the appropriate Minister regarding the operations of a recognised company should be presented to Parliament. I should not think that there will be 50 agreements. I do not think there will be many more than two, but I think we can leave the matter to the discussions which are to take place between the Leaders of the Opposition parties and myself. The point which the hon. Member has just put indicates how difficult it would be to define in a Statute the information which should be communicated to the House. I am anxious to communicate as much as possible with the least possible trouble both to the company and to hon. Members.

5.14 p.m.

Mr. Bernays

The reception which has been accorded to this Clause indicates that there is no objection to it, in principle. The Committee has welcomed it, but has shown concern about various questions of administration, and I propose to direct myself to some of the questions which have been put to the Government upon it. The hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Noel-Baker) repeated the point which he made on the Second Reading that the Bill was modest in scale. I can only reply that it is, in a sense, experimental. It may be that we shall be able to expand in the future, but for the moment we must keep to the figure that is in the Bill and any additions will require new legislation. We must see how these proposals work and proceed in the light of experience. With regard to the financial points which have been raised we are not in a position to alter the financial arrangements, and I think when the Committee examines them, they will agree that the terms in the Bill are not unsatisfactory. A question was put by the hon. Member for North Islington (Dr. Guest) as to whether a company could in certain circumstances expand a water supply. I can assure him that it is certainly in their power to do so if they consider the requirements to be necessary. The hon. Member for West Walthamstow (Mr. McEntee) raised one or two points. The first has more relation to Clause 4 than to Clause 1. There is an Amendment down on the point, and when we come to that Clause my right hon. Friend will be able to give the hon. Gentleman the assurance of which he asks.

Mr. McEntee

Clause 4 deals with a different matter. I am asking for an assurance that all men employed will be subject to the ordinary Fair Wages Clause which is inserted in Government contracts.

Mr. Bernays

If the hon. Gentleman wishes me to give the assurance now I will give it. He also made a point about furniture. The Board of Management are really fully acquainted with the point, but we will naturally bring it to their attention. Other questions were raised about the number of camps there would be in Wales. No number has yet been fixed and we are at present looking for the sites. With regard to the general question of camps in the Special Areas, they are dealt with under Special Areas legislation and there is a 100 percent. grant for them. With regard to the education point raised by the hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede), it does not come within the province of my Department or within the province of the Bill, but I am authorised to assure the hon. Gentleman that this matter is being given careful consideration by the Board of Education.

Mr. Ede

Can the hon. Gentleman say "careful and sympathetic consideration"?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education (Mr. Kenneth Lindsay)

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Bernays

The most important point that has been raised in the discussion on the Clause has related to amenities, and a number of speeches were made in all parts of the Committee upon that matter. The Government were specifically asked whether they would include a representative of the Council for the Preservation of Rural England or kindred bodies upon the Board of Management. We are most anxious to do all that can be done to preserve amenities, but our difficulty is that the Government do not want to overweight this board. If they gave representations, for instance, to this council there would be demands from other bodies for similar representations.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Before the Parliamentary Secretary proceeds to develop the point, he had better understand the point we made. We did not propose representation particularly of these bodies. We proposed that there should be either a representative chosen by these bodies to represent themselves as a series of organisations together, or somebody chosen for the special purpose by the Government in consultation with those bodies, but only one man. I do not think it can be said that a board which consists of six people instead of five is over-weighted.

Mr. Bernays

I did not say that the hon. Gentleman had asked for a representative of that body. I was only making the point that if my right hon. Friend agrees to put on one representative to represent one particular interest, there will be claims from others which will be just as strong, and there is a danger that the board will be over weighted.

Mr. Bossom

I am sure that the Parliamentary Secretary does not understand the situation at all. This strikes right at the root of the question whether a camp is in the right place and properly arranged. All other questions will follow on. If the camp is in the wrong place there will be a destruction of amenities and there will be an offence for ever. I, therefore, beg my hon. Friend to give consideration to the pleas that have come from all quarters of the Committee on this point.

Mr. Bernays

If my hon. Friend will let me proceed with my speech he will see that I understand the point that has been made. I am saying that other interests will want to be represented such as, for instance, youth hostels. After all, this board has to do a job of work quickly and expedition is the essence of its task.

Mr. H. Strauss

This is a point of great importance. Neither the National Trust nor the Council for the Preservation of Rural England has asked for any representation whatever. The claim put forward from all quarters of the Committee on behalf of all these bodies with similar interests is for an experienced town planner to be on the board, and unless the Government think there is no merit in the claim surely they are wrong to turn it down. On the question of expedition, surely it means less delay and not more if there is on the board a person with this qualification.

Mr. Bernays

If the hon. Gentleman will only allow me to proceed with my speech he will see that the Government are very much aware of the point that has been made and are doing their best to meet it. We fully appreciate the importance of considering amenities, and in our submission the real safeguard lies in proper administration. I think the House will be relieved to hear that on every site a town planner has been consulted already and sites have not been decided upon until it has had the agreement of a town planner. As has already been announced, one member of the board of the English company, Mr. Percy Thomas, is a distinguished architect and a past-president of the R.I.B.A. This in itself will secure that architectural and planning consideration are given full weight. In addition the Government understand that the company have already engaged as consulting architects a well-known firm with large experience in this type of work to prepare preliminary plans. They have also been in consultation with the R.I.B.A.

Mr. Bossom

May we have the name of the firm?

Mr. Bernays

I am not in a position to give it but I will make inquiries.

Mr. Ammon

Is not this discussion getting out of hand? Cannot the Minister get up and make the point plain, for evidently the Parliamentary Secretary does not understand the point before the House?

Mr. Bernays

It is rather difficult to proceed with so many interruptions. I understand the point, and I am trying to assure the Committee that I understand it. We have been asked whether we would take into consideration the importance of amenities, and I say that no site has been agreed upon except after consultation with a town planner and with the specific agreement of the town planner to the site. I would further point out that these plans in any case have to be submitted to my right hon. Friend. That ensures that they will be subject to a thorough examination by the qualified architects of the Ministry of Health. In practice, this means that the chief architect of the Department, who has on his staff a number of architects and others who are experienced in planning work, will make himself responsible for all these matters. The House can be assured that in the unlikely event of some planning considerations being overlooked by the company and their advisors, every proposal, whether as regards the site, design or lay-out, will be scrutinised in the Department from the planning point of view. I hope that that fact will reassure the Committee that we have this point of amenities very much in mind and are doing our best to see that camps are adequately planned.

5.27 p.m.

Mr. Noel-Baker

I am bound to say that the Minister's answer has been extremely unsatisfactory. At more than one point in the speech I felt very much inclined to move that we report Progress and ask the Minister to make the statement himself. On almost every point the Parliamentary Secretary made he has been unsatisfactory. He said he agreed that this is a Bill on a modest scale. He did not tell us that the Government would in the near future bring in another Bill. They are evidently going to see this Bill through before they consider it. They may be in time for the next war but one, but they will certainly not be in time for the next. The hon. Gentleman said on the financial basis that nothing has been changed, but everybody agrees that more subsidy is required. He did say on the authority of the Board of Education that the Board would consider the rate of grant sympathetically. On that I will only say that we shall watch them to see that the point is not forgotten. On the question of expansibility, which again, from the point of view of the war-time purpose of this Bill, is of supreme importance, the Minister said nothing except that the Board would be able to increase water supply if it so desired. Of course the Board will be able to do so. What we want to know is whether the Government will take into consideration the importance of making these camps expansible and beyond the limits which they now propose. Until they do that we do not consider that they are giving proper consideration to one of the important aspects of this Bill.

The hon. Gentleman came lastly to the question of amenities, but he did not understand the point very well. At any rate, he did not convince me that he understood it. Still less did he make me understand what are the objections of the Government to the proposal which we put forward. It is no good telling us that a town planner is to be consulted and that the plans will go up to the Department in the last resort. We all know that Government Departments have done more than anybody to debauch the amenities of the countryside. We want a guarantee that those who are giving their lives and the whole of their time to safeguard the beauty of England will be consulted, and that there will be someone with that background and outlook giving the whole of his time and attention in his work on this board to see that the beauty of England is preserved. For that purpose we need somebody who has long experience, who has the confidence of those who are interested in these matters, and who will be prepared to go to every camp site and examine things on the spot. I ask the Minister to rise and tell us that he will reconsider this point. I ask him to throw over the fatuous argument that adding one more member to this board will overweight it.

5.31 p.m.

Mr. Mander

I think the Minister of Health has treated his Parliamentary Secretary very unfairly in allotting to him a task which he himself ought to have undertaken. The Parliamentary Secretary has done his best within the scope of his authority, but clearly this is a matter which must be dealt with by someone who has, at any rate, the power of give and take and can speak with authority. The Government have approached this matter in a wholly different spirit from that displayed by the Minister in dealing with the earlier Amendment. Then, in response to one or two speeches, he said, "We want to work together, and if you say you want that, I will give you a gentleman's agreement that you shall have it." But on this Amendment, which is one of the greatest importance, on which responsible Members behind him have urged exactly the same point of view as has been put from this side, namely, that there should be someone associated with town planning on the board, he contents himself with putting up his Parliamentary Secretary to bring forward the best arguments available, and they were not in the least convincing.

The proposal is not, as has been represented, that the Council for the Preservation of Rural England or the National Trust shall have someone on the board. That would be unreasonable. The suggestion is that there should be somebody whom those bodies, unofficially consulted, would regard as acceptable to them and appropriate from their point of view, but appointed on the sole responsibility of the Government. The suggestion has been made that a whole host of other interests would want to be represented on the board. I think the only one which has been mentioned was the Youth Hostels movement, but I do not believe they would immediately come and say they must go on the board. Such a suggestion seems to be put forward merely in an enthusiastic attempt to find some argument for not doing what the Committee want to be done. The name of Mr. Thomas was mentioned. It is no good bringing forward his name. He is an admirable practising architect, but he is not a member of the Town Planning Institute and not an expert on this subject, and, therefore, does not satisfy the views of those who want this matter specially regarded. The point was not made that because the Air Ministry can have Professor Abercrombie why cannot this board have somebody advising them on this aspect?

The Parliamentary Secretary has given us to understand that some sites have already been inspected and some chosen. It will be interesting to know how many have been inspected and chosen in anticipation of the passing of this Bill and where they are. Then he told us that a certain eminent firm of architects had been appointed and he was asked to give the name. Naturally, at the moment he did not feel able to do so, but I hope the Minister will give us the name, because we are entitled to have it. I hope the House will go on pressing this matter in order to make the Government realise that if they want to get on with this job they must act in a reasonable way, as the Minister showed that he wanted to at the beginning of the discussion, and fall in with the wishes of the representatives of the people.

5.34 p.m.

Mr. Elliot

I feel some hesitation in rising to speak, because the Committee seemed to greet the remarks of my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary as those of a Minister who had not appreciated the point at issue. I listened very carefully to his remarks, and all I can say is that if they showed that he had not appreciated the point at issue I doubt whether I have appreciated it either, and I should hate to expose my ignorance or to get at loggerheads with the Committee. The hon. Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Mander) said that we began the discussion in a friendly spirit and I hope to see that spirit preserved to the end. I am afraid that I shall not succeed in convincing the hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Noel-Baker) that this Bill is in all respects as he would desire it to be, because a good many of the points he raised had already been put forward by him on Second Reading. He demanded on this Clause 1 that we should make an announcement that we were going immediately to introduce further legislation. I think that on reflection he will see that that is asking a spokesman of the Government to go rather further than he could reasonably be expected to go. I can imagine no one who would more roundly condemn the Government if, on Clause 1 of this Bill, they announced that they were about to introduce further legislation on the same point.

He thanked us for intimating that we were considering one of the points which had been raised, the rate of grant, but wanted to be further assured that the board could count on grant for the services of the camp beyond the actual needs of the particular number of school children or double that number of adults. He wanted to know that the board had powers to go beyond that. The point was certainly raised by his colleague the Member for North Islington (Dr. Guest). All that we are discussing at the moment is whether this legislation does give the board the powers which Parliament would desire it to have.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Technically that is all that arises on Clause 1, but this seemed to me the most convenient opportunity to ask the Government their intentions regarding expansibility. On Second Reading the Government told us they only intended a twofold expansion, and I urged repeatedly that that would be inadequate, and I hope the Minister will be ale to tell us that the Government, after further consideration, have made some progress towards providing for a more than twofold expansion, and that while the powers exist they intend to urge that the companies should use them.

Mr. Elliot

I think the hon. Member has been a little less than fair to us. He said a camp which would hold a certain number could not without difficulty accommodate more than double that number of adults under war conditions but the point of expansibility is being kept in mind up to a figure far beyond a twofold expansion. When the Parliamentary Secretary spoke of water he was merely giving water as an example of one of the services which could be expanded. Another point which is not specifically connected with the war activities of the country in the near future, but rather with its peace activities, which we hope will be far more enduring, was raised from many quarters in the Committee. I have the greatest sympathy with the Parliamentary Secretary, who could never finish one sentence without one or two, or sometimes three, Members getting up simultaneously to ask—

Mr. George Griffiths

And you pulled him down.

Mr. Elliot

No, I held him down. So great was his anxiety to give information to the Committee that I thought he would be answering one question before he had heard the second or third, but that was done with a reasonable desire to get on with his remarks, because he was undoubtedly delayed in his speech and that naturally tended to confusion. Neither he nor I had any idea that a great number of persons were to be added to the board on account of the interests of town planning, but the point was repeatedly urged that the Council for the Preservation of Rural England ought to have specific representation on the board. I am perfectly certain that the Parliamentary Secretary has got that point. We do understand that that was one of the points which was being put. Our point is simply that other interests would also ask to be represented on the board. The hon. Member for Derby will agree that the youth organisations have repeatedly pressed strongly for someone to be placed on the board who would give special attention to their interests.

Mr. Mander

They are customers.

Mr. Elliot

There are other bodies which have also put forward claims to be consulted, but speed is the essence of the matter, and I ask the Committee to realise that every person added to the board would tend to delay proceedings. The hon. Member for East Wolverhampton and others have said that if the Air Ministry could be advised by Professor Abercrombie why could not the Ministry of Health be advised by somebody who had, as the hon. Member for Derby said, long experience in the matter and possessed the confidence of those who are interested. I am prepared to concede that point. The Ministry of Health will be advised on this matter by somebody who has had long experience and who has the confidence of those who are concerned, by no less than a past president of the Institute of Town Planning, Mr. Pepler. There is a name which commands the confidence of those interested in the matter, because they selected him to be their president and he has had very long experience. I put it to the hon. Member for East Wolverhampton that that meets that point. That leaves only one other point, which is: Should that representative be on the board or be at the ear of the Minister? I beg him to accept the view that he should be at the ear of the Minister, and that it is not necessary for him to be actually on the board. I give two further assurances. There is nothing in the Clause proscribing any such person from being added to the board. If the Committee passes the Clause now we are not by any means shutting our minds to the matter, and after the assurance that we shall have Mr. Pepler's advice I do not think it is unreasonable to ask the Committee to let us have the Clause, so that we can start operations and then see the outcome.

The hon. Member for East Wolverhampton asked how many sites had been selected and approved. Between 60 and 70 sites have been inspected and some 14 have been approved, after consultation with the town planning organisations of the very areas where it is proposed to put the camps. Then I was asked where they were. They are in the home counties. As to Scotland, some 40 sites have been inspected there and nine are provisionally considered to be suitable. Several sites have been inspected in Wales, but so far none has been decided upon.

Mr. G. Griffiths

How many in Yorkshire?

Mr. Elliot

That shows the difficulty of making progress. The Committee are so interested in the project that there is a danger of their actually delaying affairs. We have already selected 14 sites, and as soon as the House gives us authority we can get on with the work, and I beg hon. Members not to delay us unduly by a too meticulous attention to detail in these matters. The Government were also asked for the name of the firm of architects to which the Parliamentary Secretary referred. The architect is Mr. Tait, who is well known to my Scottish colleagues as having been concerned in the design and layout of the Empire Exhibition in Glasgow. He is a member of the firm of Burnet, Tait and Lorne, who were responsible for some of the Government buildings at Calton Hill.

I hope that I have met the various points that have been brought forward in the Committee, except the one that an additional town planner should be added to the board. I ask the Committee to trust the discretion of the Government in this matter and to take my assurance that my mind is not closed in regard to it. If I find that progress can be made in this way I shall be very glad to consider the suggestion later on. At the moment I cannot take the responsibility of adding further names to the board or to give an assurance of adding further names while the matter is before the House, but I will consider any reasonable demand made by other bodies who are interested in the matter.

Sir Robert Tasker

Would the right hon. Gentleman be good enough to give me the name again of the firm concerned?

Mr. Elliot

The name, which is well known to my Scottish colleagues, is Messrs. Sir John Burnet, Tait and Lorne.

Mr. W. Joseph Stewart

Have any sites been considered on the North-East Coast?

Mr. Elliot

So far, sites have mostly been in the home counties within range of London. From the evacuation point of view that is where the greatest necessity arises, and it is an area not covered by the activities of the Special Area Commissioner, who has himself inspected several areas which are not covered elsewhere

Mr. R. J. Taylor

Is it the Minister's intention to inspect or to have any sites in Northumberland?

Mr. Elliot

I cannot say that. Sites will certainly be inspected in all parts of the country, but I would not like to be taken as giving a pledge to the Committee that sites will be chosen in any particular part or in any particular county. If a suitable site is brought forward in any part of the country I can certainly undertake that it will be considered.

Mr. Denville

Is not everything carried on with a London complex? Already sites have been fixed for about 40 places in the home counties and not a solitary site fixed in the provinces.

Mr. Elliot

My hon. Friend is a little unfair there. Many camps have been set up in the provinces in conditions much more advantageous than those prevailing at the centre. In the Special Areas they have a 100 percent. grant. The reason why we are considering these camps in relation to London is that London has not

the advantages of some other parts of the country; indeed, it has a great disadvantage in that it is one of the chief areas from which evacuation would take place if we were in danger because of air warfare.

5.49 p.m.

Mr. Noel-Baker

It is very difficult to resist an appeal made in such terms by the Minister of Health but we are entirely unconvinced, not that we have not confidence in Mr. Pepler—he is very well known to me, not only because of his public record but because he happens to be a personal friend—but he might be retired under the age limit. We think that there is a very strong case made out by the youth organisations. I do not believe that the addition of several members to the board would lead to delay and that to say so is a complete fallacy from begining to end; but any such claim is on a totally different basis from this claim. They are sectional interests, but the preservation of the beauty of England is a national interest which concerns everybody. We hope that the Government are going to change their mind but, while we are in agreement with the main purpose of the Bill, we propose, as a protest on this matter, to vote against the Clause.

5.51 p.m.

Mr. Gallacher

If the Minister wants to get his camps speeded up he should put someone on the board with a thorough grasp of what is wanted and who will utilise his position on the board to that end. That is the idea of the Amendment, and if the Minister understood that point he would not keep insisting that he wanted to get ahead with the job. The Amendment is for the purpose of getting ahead with the job. He asks us to trust him, but I assure him that he will get no trust from anybody on this side of the House—neither he nor any other Member of the Government. The only time when we shall have any trust in the Minister or those associated with him is when they pack their bags and go.

Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 224; Noes, 110.

Division No. 78.] AYES. [5.53 p.m.
Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.) Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Astor, Major Hon. J. J. (Dover)
Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G. Apsley, Lord Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.)
Albery, Sir Irving Aske, Sir R. W. Balfour, G. (Hampstead)
Amery, Rt. Hon. L. C. M. S. Assheton, R. Bernays, R. H.
Blair, Sir R. Hannon, Sir P. J. H Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)
Boothby, H. J. G. Harbord, A. Rawson, Sir Cooper
Boyce, H. Leslie Harris, Sir P. A. Rayner, Major R. H.
Bracken, B. Harvey, T. E. (Eng. Univ's.) Reed, A. C. (Exeter)
Brass, Sir W. Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton) Reed, Sir H. S. (Aylesbury)
Broadbridge, Sir G. T. Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Reid, J. S. C. (Hillhead)
Brooke, H. (Lewisham, W.) Hely-Hutchinson, M. R. Reid, W. Allan (Derby)
Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith) Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P. Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury) Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan Ropner, Colonel L.
Bull, B. B. Hepworth, J. Rosbotham, Sir T.
Butcher, H. W. Higgs W. F. Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)
Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. Hoare, Rt. Hon. Sir S. Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.
Campbell, Sir E. T. Hogg, Hon. Q. McG. Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.
Cary, R. A. Holdsworth, H. Russell, Sir Alexander
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Hopkinson, A. Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)
Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham) Hore-Belisha, Rt. Hon. L. Salmon, Sir I.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. N. (Edgb't'n) Horsbrugh, Florence Samuel, M. R. A.
Channon, H. Howitt, Dr. A. B. Sandeman, Sir N. S.
Chapman, A. (Rutherglen) Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport) Sanderson, Sir F. B.
Chapman, Sir S. (Edinburgh, S.) Hunloke, H. P. Sandys, E. D.
Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston) Hunter, T. Schuster, Sir G. E.
Colville, Rt. Hon. John Hurd, Sir P. A. Scott, Lord William
Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.) Hutchinson, G. C. Seely, Sir H. M.
Cooper, Rt. Hn. A. Duff (W'st'r S. G'gs) James, Wing-Commander A. W. H. Shakespeare, G. H.
Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G. L. Jarvis, Sir J. J. Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)
Cox, H. B. Trevor Jones, L. (Swansea W.) Simmonds, O. E.
Critchley, A. Kerr, H. W. (Oldham) Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.
Croft, Brig.-Gen. Sir H. Page Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.) Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn's)
Crooke, Sir J. Smedley Keyes, Admiral of the Fleet Sir R. Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Knox, Major-General Sir A. W. F. Smithers, Sir W.
Cross, R. H. Law, Sir A. J. (High Peak) Snadden, W. McN.
Crossley, A. C. Leech, Sir J. W. Somervell, Rt. Hon. Sir Donald
Crewder, J. F. E. Leighton, Major B. E. P. Southby, Commander Sir A. R. J.
Cruddas, Col. B. Levy, T. Spears, Brigadier-General E. L.
Culverwell, C. T. Lewis, O. Spens, W. P.
Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil) Lindsay, K. M. Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'l'd)
Davison, Sir W. H. Lipson, D. L. Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)
Denman, Hon. R. D. Mabane, W. (Huddersfield) Storey, S.
Danville, Alfred MacDonald, Rt. Hon. M. (Ross) Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (N'thw'h)
Donner, P. W. McEwen, Capt. J. H. F. Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Duckworth, Arthur (Shrewsbury) McKie, J. H. Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.
Dugdale, Captain T. L. Macnamara, Lieut.-Colonel J. R. J. Sutcliffe, H.
Duncan, J. A. L. Macquisten, F. A. Tasker, Sir R. I.
Dunglass, Lord Maitland, Sir Adam Tate, Mavis C.
Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. Makins, Brigadier-General Sir Ernest Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Emery, J. F. Mander, G. le M. Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)
Emmott, C. E. G. C. Manningham-Buller, Sir M. Thomas, J. P. L.
Emrys-Evans, P. V. Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Thomson, Sir J. D. W.
Entwistle, Sir C. F. Markham, S. F. Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Erskine-Hill, A. G. Marsden, Commander A. Touche, G. C.
Evans, Capt. A. (Cardiff, S.) Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M. Train, Sir J.
Findlay, Sir E. Maxwell, Hon. S. A. Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.
Fleming, E. L. Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J. Turton, R. H.
Foot, D. M. Medlicott, F. Walker-Smith, Sir J.
Fox, Sir G. W. G. Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Fremantle, Sir F. E. Mitchell, H. (Brentford and Chiswick) Ward, Irene M. B, (Wallsend)
Furness, S. N. Morris-Jones, Sir Henry Warrender, Sir V.
Fyfe, D. P. M. Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.) Waterhouse, Captain C.
George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey) Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J. Watt, Lt.-Col. G. S. Harvie
Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J. Munro, P. Wedderburn, H. J. S.
Gluckstein, L. H. Nall, Sir J. White, H. Graham
Glyn, Major Sir R. G. C. Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H. Whiteley, Major J. P. (Buckingham)
Gower, Sir R. V. Nicolson, Hon. H. G. Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir A. T. (Hitchin)
Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral) O'Connor, Sir Terence J. Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Granville, E. L. Patrick, C. M. Wragg, H.
Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon. J. Peake, O. Wright, Wing-Commander J. A. C.
Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.) Petherick, M. York, C.
Grimston, R. V. Porritt, R. W. Young, A. S. L. (Partick)
Guest, Lieut.-Colonel H. (Drake) Pownall, Lt.-Col. Sir Assheton
Guinness, T. L. E. B. Procter, Major H. A. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Gunston, Capt. Sir D. W. Radford, E. A. Lieut.-Colonel Herbert and
Hacking, Rt. Hon. Sir D. H. Ramsay, Captain A. H. M. Major Sir James Edmondson.
Adams, D. (Consett) Benn, Rt. Hon. W. W. Collindridge, F.
Adamson, W. M. Bevan, A. Cove, W. G.
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.) Brown, C. (Mansfield) Daggar, G.
Ammon, C. G. Burke, W. A. Dalton, H.
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Cape, T. Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)
Banfield, J. W. Charleton, H. C. Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)
Bartlett, C. V. O. Chater, D. Day, H.
Batey, J. Cluse, W. S. Dobbie, W.
Beaumont, H. (Batley) Clynes, Rt. Hon. J. R. Ede, J. C.
Bellenger, F. J. Cooks, F. S. Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough E.)
Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty) Lathan, G. Smith, E. (Stoke)
Frankel, D. Lawson, J. J. Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)
Gallacher, W. Leach, W. Smith, T. (Normanton)
Gardner, B. W. Leonard, W. Sorensen, R. W.
Gibson, R. (Greenock) Macdonald, G. (Ince) Stephen, C.
Green, W. H. (Deptford) McEntee, V. La T. Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. McGhee, H. G. Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)
Grenfell, D. R. MacLaren, A. Summerskill, Dr. Edith
Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth) Marshall, F. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Griffiths, J. (Llanelly) Mathers, G. Thorne, W.
Groves, T. E. Maxton, J. Tinker, J. J.
Guest, Dr. L. H. (Islington, N.) Messer, F. Tomlinson, G.
Hall, G. H. (Aberdare) Milner, Major J. Viant, S. P.
Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel) Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.) Walkden, A. G.
Hardie, Agnes Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Walker, J.
Hayday, A. Naylor, T. E. Watkins, F. G.
Henderson, A. (Kingswinford) Noel-Baker, P. J. Watson, W. McL.
Henderson, J. (Ardwick) Paling, W, Westwood, J.
Henderson, T. (Tradeston) Parker, J. Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)
Hicks, E. G. Parkinson, J. A. Williams, T. (Don Valley)
Hills, A. (Pontefract) Pearson, A. Wilson, G. H. (Attercliffe)
Jagger, J. Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W. Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)
Jenkins, A. (Pontypool) Poole, C. C. Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)
Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath) Richards, R. (Wrexham) Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Jones, A. C. (Shipley) Ritson, J.
Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T. Sexton, T. M. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Kirby, B. V. Shinwell, E. Mr. Whiteley and Mr. Anderson.
Kirkwood, D. Silverman, S. S.