§ [18th ALLOTTED DAY.]
§ Considered in Committee.
§ [Sir DENNIS HERBERT in the Chair.]
§ CIVIL ESTIMATES, 1941.
§ CLASS V.
§ DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH FOR SCOTLAND.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £2,834,544, 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, 1942, 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 national health insurance benefits, &c; certain expenses in connection with widows', orphans' and old age contributory pensions; a grant in aid of camps; and other services." —[Note. —£1,550,000 has been voted on account.]
§ The Chairman
I have been asked if I will agree, on the Scottish Estimates, to follow the somewhat disorderly procedure to which I referred yesterday, and with the general assent of the Committee I propose to allow that to be done. It will be necessary to introduce some method into this disorder. There is a number of Votes down on the Order Paper I understand it is desired to take in one Debate the first three Votes, Class V, Votes 15 and 7, and Class IV, Vote 13. The Debate on those Votes will continue for about two and a-half hours. We should then go on to discuss together the remaining two Votes, relating to agriculture. Has that the general assent of the Committee?
§ The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. T. Johnston)
We have six hours of the time of Parliament allotted to us for the discussion of Scottish Estimates. In pre-war years we had two days of seven hours each. I never regarded the system itself and the amount of time which it allowed as adequate. I should not like this occasion to pass without placing upon record my hope that, when the war is 1428 over and we are free again to consider calmly the structure of government in Scotland and its adaptation to life and industry, we shall be able between us to devise a more efficient instrument than this for public criticism of the control of our national expenditure.
The Votes that we are now about to discuss generally are those for health and education. I do not propose to absorb more than my share of the time allotted. I intend, if the Committee agrees, to listen to others and to have notes taken of any criticisms and observations that they may make and, if the time available for reply by the Undersecretary is insufficient, as it may well be, to send replies to hon. Members by post.
The year under review has been a year of the restrictions and the disabilities of war, yet I would say that, largely thanks to the efficiency of our public Health Services, we have escaped without a major epidemic. It is true that our tuberculosis figures are increasing, our diphtheria figures are higher than before, and paratyphoid, cerebrospinal fever and influenza are slightly up, but, on the other hand, scarlet fever, measles and whooping cough are decreasing. The incidence of these figures is rather difficult of explanation. They are not due, I believe, to any one cause. No doubt among the causes are the black-out, window fastening at night, overcrowding due to evacuation, a diminution in our house building arrangements and so on. They are due perhaps also to intensification of toil. But above all I believe they are due to the long and severe winter. In regard to diphtheria, the campaign for immunisation of children has been given wide publicity, materials have been supplied to local authorities gratis. During the year, 500,000 children have been treated. That is equal to 50 per cent. of the total. But susceptibility is believed to be greater among young children, and local authorities during the holidays from school have been asked to concentrate their attention upon pre-school children.
One word about our emergency hospital system. I see that Lord Craigmyle has been referring to the subject in a public speech and has asked why people were not told more tbout this wonderful system of hospitals which the foresight of the Department of Health had built up in our 1429 land. Well, the facts are simple. The emergency hospital service was created to deal with the war emergency. We had to reserve beds and equipment for possible and unknown casualties, but I agree entirely with Lord Craigmyle and other people who say that there ought to be a very much larger proportion of these beds taken for civilians who are on the waiting lists of other hospitals. We have seven new first-class well-equipped hospitals now. We have 20 new annexes to existing hospitals. We have many thousands of beds and we have already taken steps to draw the attention of every doctor and of all hospital authorities in Scotland to the fact that we are willing to see a large proportion of their waiting lists.
Perhaps it would be well to note in passing that we have here one very considerable gain as the result of war arrangements. Here are seven well-equipped hospitals which I hope will be the nucleus of a great service, perhaps the backbone of a great organisation for a united attack upon physical suffering, not for the sole benefit of the citizens in the local government area in which those hospitals happen to have been built, but for all citizens in any local authority area who are in need. This with the stimulus of the Nuffield Hospitals Trust, will, I hope, remove from our midst the folly of the waiting list and enable us all to see more clearly the wisdom of co-operation among hospital authorities, municipal and voluntary, in wide areas for the treatment of human suffering.
May I now refer briefly to hostel camps? We in Scotland are arranging for the provision of four big hostel camps in the Clyde Valley—one North, one South, one East and one West of our great industrial concentrations of population. Four hundred and eighty persons will be provided for in each camp and I hope that this will be some contribution to meeting the housing shortage after the war, because we have insisted in Scotland that these camps shall be so constructed and of such material that they can be readily and easily converted from the cubicle system into houses of two or three apartments and so on, for the local authorities in whose areas they are situated. On the subject of housing itself, I would say that during the year we succeeded in completing 14,206 houses in 1430 Scotland. We shall not be able to complete as many this year but that is the figure for 1940.
§ Mr. Buchanan (Glasgow, Gorbals)
What is the proportion in Glasgow?
§ Mr. Johnston
Perhaps my hon. Friend will wait till the Under-Secretary replies. Then, on the question of evacuation, on which we had a two-days' Debate recently, I would point out that the scale of the problem is so vast and the organisation of any scheme of evacuation is so difficult, that it has been only with the great good will of the housewives in the receiving areas that the scheme, whereby 150,000 people in Scotland are billeted to-day, has been carried through to success.
§ Mr. Kenneth Lindsay (Kilmarnock)
How many of those are children?
§ Mr. Johnston
I am coming to that question later.
§ Mr. Sloan (Ayrshire, South)
When the right hon. Gentleman refers to the housewives, does he mean the working-class housewives?
§ Mr. Johnston
Housewives of all classes. I do not wish to say that any one class of housewife has acted more splendidly than another in this matter. I can say that, of those 150,000 persons who are billeted in Scotland to-day, 40,000 are pre-school children, 80,000 are school children and the others are mothers and homeless persons. From Glasgow alone, the local authority informs us that nearly 50,000 school children, 25,000 pre-school children, 25,000 mothers and young children and 3,500 members of other priority classes have been evacuated between March and to-day. If we add to those figures, 12,000 children already evacuated before March we get a total of nearly120,000 evacuated from the city of Glasgow alone. We have been informed, from every quarter, that in the evacuation camps, where careful medical records have been kept, there has been an increase in height, weight and chest measurement of the children in those camps.
There are also gains educationally. A new world has opened up to many of those children. I heard of one small boy who, arriving with his mother at a village in 1431 Inverness-shire, complained when he got out of the train of the strange smell, and another little fellow said to him "Whisht it's only the fresh air" Those who have seen the children have rejoiced in the new vim and vitality which have come to many of them. In Kirkcudbrightshire, 10 large houses have been taken as hostels, most of them set in beautiful grounds and the avidity with which the children have taken to gardening has been remarkable. In Scotland we have 100 hostels, with another 50 ready for use. We are anxious that every local authority shall explore the possibilities of requisitioning every suitable large available mansion house in its area. We propose to issue a new appeal to these authorities, particularly in the rural areas, and to follow it by visits of officers of the Department to assist the local authorities in their work. Some of the local authorities have their own difficulties, but nevertheless we must take every step to ensure that in the coming winter there is no available house unused in any part of Scotland. Out of 743,800 children on the roll only 3,600 are not now receiving any education. This figure is being steadily reduced. When one considers the destruction of schools and rest centres, overcrowding, and so on, that is a remarkable figure. It is too big, however, and we are taking every possible step to reduce it.
§ Mr. Maxton (Glasgow, Bridgeton)
Can the right hon. Gentleman say where they are?
§ Mr. Johnston
Most of them are in one county. There are 160,200 who are receiving only half-time education. That is a serious problem, but we are taking every possible physical step to ensure that the retardation, particularly in the primary schools, is diminished.
I would like to conclude by saying a word about teaching in the schools. I would refer to an old theme of mine about history teaching. Perhaps at last we shall get a revision of our curriculum, at any rate with regard to other countries. Now that an opportunity -has come to us to show good will in international affairs, we might at least purge our school history books of offensive and inadequate references to our Allies. Voltaire once said something to the effect that all histories are but fables. At least we can diminish the number of fables that are taught to 1432 our school children, and I would like any assistance I can receive from hon. Members in all parts of the House towards that end.
§ Mr. McKinlay (Dumbartonshire)
It will not be in Order to discuss the provision of shelter accommodation, because it is the prerogative of the Home Office. The Debate would have to be restricted to the shelters that have been provided and their effect on the health of the people. I will content myself by making this observation. I would not try to discuss the effect on health, because it is too horrible to contemplate, and as we cannot discuss the type of shelters, it would be much better to leave the discussion to a later stage. I was interested in the reference by the Secretary of State to the building of houses or cubicles—I do not like that term, because it smacks of the model lodging houses—which could be used after the war as two, three or four apartment houses. I do not intend to deal with housing to-day, but I would warn the Secretary of State and the Department not to be swept off their feet by the enthusiasts who suggest every form of type and construction as being speedier and cheaper than the orthodox method of building houses. There is no one more enthusiastic than somebody with something to sell. If a man has poor cement to sell, he can almost persuade a man with hair on his head that his head has been shaved. I am satisfied that you could only introduce such alternatives as methods of construction supplementary to the ordinary methods of supply. I want to say a word about reception and evacuation areas. Without offence, Mr. Secretary, may I state that the Department has become bogged—
§ The Chairman
The hon. Member must address the Chair and not the Secretary of State.
§ Mr. McKinlay
Perhaps you will excuse the familiarity, Sir Dennis. This is a Scottish discussion, in which we are not really politicians but all Scotsmen.
§ The Chairman
I am sure that Scotsmen are the first to want to keep in Order as much as they can.
§ Mr. McKinlay
I wanted to point out that the Department of Health has become bogged in the use of the phrases '' reception area" and "evacuation area." May 1433 I give an illustration which is somewhat personal? I live in a reception area which is on what is called the perimeter of the city of Glasgow. According to the law, it is in order to billet children where I live, despite the fact that to the right and left of me houses have been blown to the ground. All that separates a reception area and an evacuation area may be the: width of a street. I appreciate the difficulties, and we have had explanations of them, but the people outside do not know the Department's point of view on this matter. If you take Dumbartonshire, people have been compelled to return when accommodation was available to live in areas surrounded by bomb cavities simply because they are reception areas. In Glasgow we have the position that it is in order to evacuate children from one part of the city and get all the allowances, while in another part of the city that does not exist. I suggest that what ought to determine whether an allowance is payable or not is the safety margin of any district where people are working and the danger margin in the district they have been removed from.
There is no such thing as an absolutely safe area, and while appreciating the difficulties of the Department, may I suggest that it is absurd to expect the ordinary man and woman to realise the distinction between evacuation and reception areas? I can illustrate it by the sending of workmen back from Stirlingshire to Dumbartonshire. One man had to bring his family home because the allowance was not payable, while another man could come back and the allowance was still payable for his children although there was only the width of a 60-foot road between them. I suggest that while orders may say, "This is a reception area, and that is an evacuation area," surely a little common sense could ensure that we do not have cases in which two men are employed in the same establishment and one is getting an allowance to leave his children in safety and the other getting no allowance, because of the width of a street.
I have made a suggestion to the Secretary of State about the billeting of workmen in areas which have been blitzed. He has told us that so many hundreds of houses were completed in Scotland during last year, despite all the difficulties. There 1434 is any number of houses in such an advanced stage of construction that at very little cost they could be made wind and weather tight and brought into use. I am not suggesting that the walls should be plastered or the finishing touches put on the houses. All I am suggesting is that we ought to keep a reserve of these places not for the billeting of children but for the billeting of workmen. A five-apartment house would provide ready-made billets for 15 men. There are houses being erected by the Glasgow Corporation contiguous to Clydebank which, if they were provided with doors and windows, could be very useful for that purpose. It is not necessary to trouble about the condition of the walls. One of the virtues of leaving the walls in a rough state is that anyone occupying the house will know that it is only temporary accommodation, whereas if the houses were finished one would need almost an order of the court to get the people to leave. If such houses were used all that one would have to provide would be canteens for feeding the men at night and in the morning. No woman would be needed about the place at all. In making this suggestion I hope that something may come of it.
I wish to speak also of the feeding of evacuees. There was one part of Dumbartonshire in which 1,500 people were billeted. It is true that the Ministry of Food arranged to have supplementary supplies of rationed foods taken into that area, but anyone who has to depend upon rationed foods is in for a very lean time, and my complaint is that traders in reception areas into which thousands of people have been sent have not been provided with extra supplies of non-rationed foods. The consequence of this is that the people sent to these reception areas consume a big share of non-rationed foods which are only sufficient for the ordinary requirements of the normal population of the areas. If it is in Order to do so, let me demand on behalf of Scotland that the Secretary of State should have some authority over the allocation of additional foodstuffs. I am sure all Scottish Members will be behind that request. At the moment there is a food executive officer in Edinburgh but he is neither more nor less than a figurehead. I have reason to know that, and I am not blaming the figure-head. It is no use making protests to Colwyn Bay, 1435 because there they are so busy that they regard such protests as very small items in their work. In view of the effect of an inadequate supply of non-rationed food, on the health of the people sent to reception areas, Scotland ought to demand some autonomy in the matter of the allocation of food to Scotland.
§ The Chairman
The hon. Member must not go into that question in any detail, because it comes under the Ministry of Food.
§ Mr. McKinlay
Again I must apologise, but when my constituents come to me and say, "The ersatz sausage has disappeared, there is no meat roll, there is no anything," and I go to the Ministry of Food about it, they say," Those are unrationed commodities; we can do nothing at all," and I am going to pin somebody down to responsibility for seeing—
§ The Chairman
Probably the best thing the hon. Member could do would be to send these complaints from his constituents to the Ministry of Health doctors.
§ Mr. McKinlay
I do not think there would be sufficient doctors to go round, and in any case not all doctors agree. I am suggesting that there has been a definite evasion of what we have always looked upon as the absolute prerogative of the Department of Health in Edinburgh. Surely it is not too much to ask that the chief executive of that Department should make representations along the lines I have indicated, and I am certain that he would receive the wholehearted support of Scottish Members in doing so.
§ Mr. G. A. Morrison (Scottish Universities)
I think it is well that this year again we have been given the opportunity of hearing how the education services of Scotland are functioning under the heavy handicap of war conditions. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has not told us very much, but what he has told us was, in all the circumstances, very satisfactory. The handicap is indeed a very heavy one. Many schools have been out of commission, and still are, owing to the increased demands of the military, greater demands than those made during the last war owing to the larger number of troops 1436 at present in the country. One would like to know whether progress is still going on towards the restoration of school buildings to their proper use. Other school buildings have been unused, and pupils have been idle for long periods, because the buildings were not considered to afford adequate protection against air raids. One would like to know whether there has been improvement in this also.
Then we have had, during the past two years, the great social experiment of evacuation. In reception areas local schools have had to share with visiting schools the use of the one school building, neither getting full time education as we used to understand that phrase in peace time. Elsewhere, schools have been combined, with all the disadvantages that entails, all the difficulties owing to the changes in curriculum, in methods and in text books. In the evacuation areas even where school work has been carried on—and, as I have said, many schools have been out of use— depleted schools have had to be combined because of depleted staffs. I can give one instance brought to my notice in which a teacher, a lady, is fully responsible for one class of 50 pupils in the morning and responsible also for a different class of 50 pupils in the afternoon. That may be an extreme case, and I hope it is.
Some months ago I asked the predecessor of the right hon. Gentleman for statistics showing the numbers of children in Scotland receiving full-time, part-time or no instruction, and the figures which he gave were disquieting. Later figures have been less unsatisfactory, while the particulars just given by the right hon. Gentleman were very much more satisfactory.
Another matter which makes me as well as other Members "definitely uneasy is the supply of men teachers. Some years ago the Education Department made graduation the only qualification for men, but they did not feel able to do it for women. The teachers of Scotland have for years advocated a graduate profession, and we were rapidly coming towards that. About 1931, when the number of teachers admitted was rather less than the normal, the quota of graduates was 800, against 200 non-graduates. That year there were more graduate applicants for the teaching 1437 profession than would have filled all the vacancies in all the training centres. The number of non-graduate women who applied was 160. The figure for non-graduate women completing the course this year is 374. Last year it was 318, an increase of 17½per cent. The number of graduate women this year was 259, against 279 last year, a drop of 20. Taking the two sets of figures together, it is plain that non-graduate women are being employed in place of men called up for military service.
Most of those appointments are not temporary, and they will seriously affect the proportion of graduate and non-graduate teachers. If this is to continue, the cumulative effect will be very serious, and will last for 40 years. May we not hope that something will be done to check the drain of men teachers? Men below a certain medical standard should be exempt or should be released for the work for which they were trained. Men teachers should not be taken away for full-time Civil Defence. The best Civil Defence a teacher can do is to continue his ordinary work. The men are perfectly willing to do A.R.P. work in the evenings.
A war bonus scheme has been set up for teachers which is not over-generous. Such as it is, in spite of the unanimous recommendations of the National Joint Council, the bonus scheme has not been acted upon by all the education authorities. No doubt the right hon. Gentleman will know how to apply further pressure where it is needed. There are hard cases among retired teachers who are on pension, and although it may not be possible to separate such questions from the general pensions question, I would put in a word for a very small and rapidly diminishing class, the pre-1919 teachers, whose allowances, even reckoning the slight increase that has taken place, are still very small.
On a previous occasion I raised the question of supplementing the pay of teachers on war service. Very few authorities have done nothing in this matter. Some have followed the Government's example of making up civilian salary in full and others have adopted the scale of the Joint Industrial Council, with various modifications. I wish to make two points. First, there is no doubt that Circular 118 raised expectations which 1438 have not been fulfilled. In the second place, this was a matter for national and uniform, not local action. There are many cases of actual hardship, and there is much unrest and bitter disappointment in many areas, because of the unequal treatment in adjacent districts. Even more serious, in respect of the precedent it may form, was the flouting of the unanimous ' recommendation of the National Joint Council. Everybody hoped when the National Joint Council was set up that at least its unanimous recommendations would receive the support of the Department almost as a matter of course. This would have been a great gain for education, through the elimination of causes of friction and the avoidance of prolonged or recurring disputes, which make for embitterment. Proposals by the English Board of Education for reconstruction after the war are spoken of and promise much better conditions. I should like the right hon. Gentleman if possible, to lift the veil a little regarding proposals for Scotland. Even a declaration like that of the last President of the Board, including the raising of the school-leaving age to 15 without exemptions, Day Continuation classes, and the thorough overhaul of the secondary school curriculum, would be welcome.
It may not be out of place if I refer to the very great loss that Scottish education has sustained this year by the death of Mr. Thomas Henderson, General Secretary of the Educational Institute, who was well known in this House as well as in America and some parts of the Continent. He was a man of very great ability, of wide interests and a well-stored mind, a very effective ambassador for education. In the service of his own association he travelled all over the world. He was a wise counsellor and an excellent negotiator. I am sure my right hon. Friend will agree that he formed an admirable link between the teaching profession and the administrators of education. Those of us who knew him intimately share the general sorrow at this blow to education, and mourn besides the loss of a steadfast and sympathetic friend. We could ill spare him in these difficult times.
Mr. McNeil (Greenock)
I am encouraged to intervene here because I know that this House extends to inexperienced Members tolerance and 1439 generosity. I am forced to speak because I am concerned, as almost everyone else like me is concerned, about the plight of the bombed-out population in various parts of the country, and particularly, in this 'Debate, in various parts of Scotland. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Scotland gave us some figures, saying that 14,000houses had been completed this year, and spoke of his concern for better housing. My hon. Friend the Member for Dumbartonshire (Mr. McKinlay) warned us against accepting expedients claiming to be a speedy means of housing and said that people who commended concrete usually had something to sell. I have nothing to sell in this Debate; I intend to commend, with all the earnestness I can command, the plight of these homeless people, not only to the Secretary of State but to all Members of this Committee. I do not argue merely from humanitarian reasons or even from broad social principles. I suggest that the difference between defeat and victory may quite easily turn on our treatment of these people. I do not mean to be dramatic or melodramatic about this. I mean it as a cautious, careful statement, because, as we all know, victory or defeat will finally rest on the morale of our people, and where the bombs fall, there is morale most severely tested. A beleaguered town does not withstand an enemy because nine of its ten gates are held; if one falls, all fall.
It has been part of my job to go wherever the bombs have fallen in Scotland, and I think it only just to add that there also I have always seen the Secretary of State for Scotland, his assistants and his officials. I know, as they know and as we all acknowledge, that the spirit of our people in those places has been magnificent. Their endurance, their fortitude, their boldness have robbed the word "heroism" of its meaning, but I feel that there is a great danger that we may ask these people to carry a bigger burden than we have any right to expect them to bear. Morale, I think, rests probably on three principles. There must be an assurance that the cause is just, there must be a reasonable hope of victory, and there must be a conviction that no one section of the people at war is being asked to carry a greater burden than any other section. These people who are at present homeless, if their condition is worsened, may consider that they are being asked 1440 to carry a greater burden; they may consider that they are a forgotten section of the people. If that happens, neither speeches, nor visitations, nor generous relief will take away their fear. In my opinion, only an emergency drive to throw up any kind of emergency housing will meet the needs of these people and will ensure that the morale of the whole nation is maintained at its weakest point.
Perhaps I may illustrate what I mean by quoting figures from an area the name of which I will supply to the right hon. Gentleman but which, for obvious reason of public safety, I will withhold from this Debate. This area was subjected to a sharp series of sharp attacks. As a result, 1,174 houses were either completely destroyed or so badly damaged that they cannot be repaired; 1,024 houses were badly damaged but will in time be repaired, and about 9,000 houses were damaged in a lesser degree, but only about 1,000 of these enter into our calculations. This means that about 3,000 families, totalling between 9,000 and 10,000 souls, had to be billeted in that area, and despite an excellent billeting officer, despite the co-operation of the receiving people, to which the Secretary of State has paid just tribute, and despite the good will of the billeted people, these 9,000 people were billeted in some cases in the most appalling circumstances.
One case, which has been dealt with speedily by the right hon. Gentleman's Department, concerned, for example, a husband and wife both of whom had been previously married. They both had adult families, and as a result the husband and wife and adults of mixed sexes, having no blood relationship with each other were forced to share the floor in one room. I believe that I could harrow this Committee, but I do not want to do so. I want to put forward my case with cool objectivity. Despite the diligent work of this excellent billeting officer, who has made a complete census of the area, and setting aside all the medical, social and moral standards which this Committee normally lays down in relation to housing, there are only 3,000 possible further billets in that area. That is another way of saying that if the bomber strikes again with a similar degree of ferocity, there will not be, in that town, even an unoccupied manger. If there is a third attack, the position will be chaotic.
1441 I therefore think I have a right to submit to this Committee that there are few questions more urgent or more deserved of priority than this one of meeting these needs—they are not confined to that area—with any kind of housing that can now be devised. Let no one suggest that I am unaware of the technical difficulties of this problem, or that I am unappreciative of the hard work and the research which the Secretary of State's Department has done on this job. But technical difficulties can be overcome if I can persuade Members that this problem is as urgent as I see it, or if the Minister can be brought to see this as a problem really concerned with victory or defeat. When there was a cry for huts for Militiamen, huts sprouted in our fields almost like crops. When it was clear that fighter aeroplanes were needed to save this country from defeat, day by day we saw more fighters in our sky. To-day, day by day we shall see more tanks roll off the assembly line because the country is persuaded that it is the great need. What I am asking is, that we should have a Beaverbrook for the bombed-out, and I am quite certain that the Minister has the drive, diligence and imagination to do this job if he can be persuaded to see it with the urgency with which I see it. I am not concerned with what methods are adopted—Nissen huts, timber, concrete, houses standing unroofed—any kind of emergency houses with communal services relating to food, to water, to sanitation, any kind of emergency instrument to meet what I think is a clamant priority.
May I just add this? Whatever is going to be done must be done within the next two months, and I know how much I am asking. But it is plain that the skilled tradesmen of the building industry, and the semi-skilled operatives of the Army, who have already done a similar job for themselves, are available now. By October, when darkness falls, and the bombs fall, this personnel will be completely occupied in coping with the results of the new aerial attack which must, certainly will, come to this country.
§ Mr. Maxton (Glasgow, Bridgeton)
I appreciate very much the fact that I have the opportunity of following the hon. Member for Greenock (Mr. McNeil) in his first speech in this House. I would have been very ready to give way had you, 1442 Sir Dennis, called the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Kelvingrove (Colonel Elliot), because I would have liked to have left to him the honour of congratulating the hon. Member on his entry into this House. All we Glasgow and West of Scotland Members remember the historic struggle in Kelvin-grove, when it was on the turn of a coin as to which of the two would be the representative for the Division. I congratulate the hon. Member for Greenock on his first effort in this House to-day. Some Members have to make their maiden speech under difficult conditions. No one could find a more genial and kindly audience than is to be found when we are discussing, in Committee, the Scottish Estimates. I think we are agreed that he has made the best use of his opportunity.
Now I have said that, I want to start complaining. I want to complain that the Secretary of State for Scotland rationed himself to the very limited period he did. The speech he made was to the point of being of no use to us. I know that his motives were of the very best. He wants to ration out the oratorical time of the Committee on Scottish Estimates. In my view it is nonsense so far as Debate is concerned, particularly nonsensical for the Secretary of State to withhold from the Committee the essential facts that make enlightened Debate possible. I would infinitely prefer that we should have a system by which we balloted for the right to speak on Scottish Estimates than this system. I hope there will never be any attempt to repeat it. I will endeavour to keep well within the time which I understand has been unofficially agreed to for the duration of speeches. It is more necessary to-day that we should have a satisfactory statement from the Minister, because we have not had, for two years, the annual reports of the various Departments. Then we had statements in writing on which we could work, but these have not been produced for two years.
My first question to the Under-Secretary is, What is the excuse? There may be an excuse for not putting up houses in bombed areas, though I do not think it is a good excuse. I think houses in bombed areas are, as the hon. Member for Greenock stated, just as necessary as tanks, planes, or anything else. Earlier 1443 in the war it may have been true that there was a materials difficulty, that there were urgent demands for building for naval, military and other purposes. But to a large extent the problem of extra building for camp accommodation and so on has been overcome. I understand that the materials difficulty has been overcome to a large extent. I hope that the Scottish Office will reconsider the idea of no house building until the war is over—. 14,000 last year, and we are promised less for next year. Fourteen thousand is a pitiable contribution to the ordinary urgent needs of Scotland, let alone the additional war needs that have arisen.
Whatever difficulty there may be in producing houses, surely there is no difficulty in producing annual reports of the Departments of Health, Education, and the other Departments of Scotland. Surely the Secretary of State gets a report from these Departments. If so, what is the difficulty in getting that printed for the benefit of Members, and the people of Scotland generally? Those are my two complaints, first, that we have not had a proper statement, as in the past, from the Secretary of State, and, second, no printed statements from any one of the Scottish Departments. It will be a bad thing if we only get the opportunity of discussing Scottish Estimates on one day a year, though our share, mathematically, of the 20 days allowed for discussion of the Estimates—Scotland getting one-twentieth for its 4,000,000 population in an Empire that has so many million population—means that we are doing fairly well. A more close and intimate discussion of Scottish Estimates would seem to involve the setting-up of a Scottish Parliament or some special machinery in Scotland. I leave that complaint. I hope the Under-Secretary will be able to give some intelligent reason why we have not had annual reports. The war cannot be made an excuse indefinitely. Scotland has to live, even if there is a war on, and the people who are responsible for Scottish affairs are entitled to have an ordered report of the work of all the officials engaged. I hope that in 1942 we shall not be without those reports, and that we shall be given some adequate reason why they have been lacking in 1940 and 1941.
1444 I have some minor points to raise. I have spoken to the Minister about one of them which seems to me to affect both the health and the education of the children of Scotland. I refer to the provision of milk in schools. Children under 5 years of age get a pint of milk a day supplied at a cheap rate. When they reach the age of 5 that stops—it may go on for a week or a month, to the end of a registration period, but then it stops. If the child goes to school it is then entitled to a third of a pint a day. Why a pint should be the appropriate ration for a child under 5 and a third of a pint the ration for a child over 5, I do not know. Very frequently, however, there is a gap of some months between the time when the child reaches the age of 5 and the time when it enters a school. A child who reaches the age of 5 in, say, the April-May period, will in most areas of Scotland not be accepted by a school until September. During that interval there is neither the domestic pint at a cheap rate nor the school one-third of a pint. In some areas I am told that dairymen, misunderstanding the rationing scheme, are not prepared to substitute another pint when they stop the cheap pint, even though the parents are prepared to pay the normal rates. I hope that the Under-Secretary will see that the child's cheap or free milk is continued until it receives the school ration.
Then there is a food question. Perhaps this could be more appropriately raised on the Vote for the Scottish Department of Agriculture, but it is not so much a question on the production side as on the nutrition side. Scotland has a tremendous number of fresh-water fish. Salmon and trout have been of interest only to the sporting fraternity, but they are now a matter of interest to those who want to see our population fed in the best way. I would like the Scottish Secretary to see whether he can take steps to increase both the salmon and the trout population of Scotland before next season. I understand that you do not need to import food from America to produce big salmon and big trout. I want him to see that the fresh-water fish of Scotland are put on the highest possible level, and then that they get into the markets so that they reach the homes of the ordinary people. I want to associate myself with the remarks of 1445 my hon. Friend the Member for the Scottish Universities (Mr. G. A. Morrison) about Mr. Thomas Henderson, who died within the period under discussion. He certainly served Scottish education in all ways, at all times, and in all quarters of the globe. I believe that he represented Scottish education on one occasion as far away as China. I regret his untimely death, and all the more because he was an old friend of mine. I think that his very first entry into the administration and politics of education was when he came to join me as assistant secretary in an organisation called the Scottish Class Teachers' Association. From that time, he was serving teachers and education in Scotland.,
§ Colonel Elliot (Glasgow, Kelvingrove)
I wish it had fallen to me to be the first to congratulate the hon. Member for Greenock (Mr. McNeil). Since that privilege was not allowed me, I do so now. I am sure that my fellow Scottish Members realise, as the; rest of the House will realise in days to come, how difficult a task was set me in opposing him in that City of which I share the representation along with other formidable figures, such as the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton). I am sure the House will always listen with interest to the contributions of the hon. Member for Greenock, and we on this side all wish him the very best of fortune in his new career. He made a very strong plea for emergency treatment for the bombed-out populations of Scotland. I am sure that all of us would agree—and the Secretary for Scotland more than any man—that the present responsibility for housing in Scotland is a sufficient problem at any time, without the diminution of the scanty stock of houses which we in Scotland enjoy. I would add my plea that Scotland should be treated as an area with special claims in any scheme that can be secured for the purposes of emergency repairs and of building up stocks where bombed houses can be rapidly rebuilt, and that, as far as possible, we should even continue with the building of houses, or, at any rate, of shelter, which can be available in time of emergency.
It has been stated by the Secretary of State to-day that that policy has been followed with success in the case of hospital accommodation. I am sure the Committee will have heard with pleasure 1446 that a great addition to hospital accommodation has been made in Scotland, and that we are now in a position to make some inroads into the waiting lists of the Scottish hospitals. These waiting lists have always been one of the scandals of our country, alike from the humanitarian, the social and the economic points of view. That a great nation should be able to afford repair slips to recondition engines, but should not be able to afford to recondition its human machinery, is one of the many anomalies from which we suffer. It is a problem peculiar to Scotland. I was interested, on taking over the responsibilities of Minister of Health in England, to find that that problem was not present in anything like the same intensity in England as in Scotland, and that, roughly speaking, any person could obtain admission to hospitals in England in a reasonable time. In Scotland such a person might have to wait for years. The problem existed also in the North of England.
I am glad to know of the emergency hospital accommodation which has been erected in England, particularly in the Northern districts, where there were waiting periods of as long as seven years before a person could count on getting admission to one of the hospitals in the area. I very much hope that local authorities will see to it that advantage is taken of the accommodation which is now at our disposal and that they will bring to the notice of the voluntary hospitals, not merely by circular or letter, but in every possible way, the fact that the chance is now open and that under the various pieces of legislation in the Statute Book they will secure harmonious working with the voluntary system so that all can benefit by these great new reinforcements which are offered to us. In all overcrowding the overcrowding of a sick person or a person in need of hospital treatment is perhaps the most painful and distressing, and when accommodation is available it is urgently necessary to take advantage of it, all the more so because this accommodation may not last for ever. It is available now, but evil days may come again with the longer nights, and these hospital beds may be taken up with people injured in air raids. We shall all rue the day if we do not take advantage of the beds which are waiting to be used.
1447 I, too, think it is a pity that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State rationed himself too strictly in the statement which he made to the Committee. I trust the Under-Secretary will take it from us that there is no need to confine himself too rigidly when he comes to reply, and that if awkward questions arise, it will not be necessary for him to point to the clock and say, "I should have been glad to deal with them, but time presses. We are all working to a ration." I have seen this device used many times; in fact, I have used it myself, and it is one of the bolt-holes of Ministers in trouble which we would do well to stop up. I particularly would have liked a more extended review of the ordinary services in Scotland, not peace-time services, because all services are now war-time services, but services on which the structure of the nation is built and is being stabilised at this time of emergency. In some of the figures which my right hon. Friend gave us there were some encouraging features, but some of the figures require very close watching indeed. The diseases he mentioned as rising were all diseases of which we must keep a careful note from the point of view of the present period of distress. Meningitis due to overcrowding, paratyphoid—a disease due to bad sanitation— and tuberculosis, the great danger signal of malnutrition, are warnings that strain and stress are beginning to have a really injurious effect on the constitution and make-up of not merely those people who have been reported as having these diseases but those who are in the preliminary stages.
Both in Scotland and England the tuberculosis graphs have turned upward after a long period of decline, and that shows there is a problem, whether it be a problem of fresh air, overcrowding or malnutrition. I think it is more particularly nutrition to which our rulers would be well to give close consideration at the present time. I noted that in yesterday's Debate it was suggested that actual feeding was perhaps leading to a slackening of the maximum war effort in certain conditions, and I co-relate that with the fact brought out at Question-time yesterday—that out of the whole of the pits in Scotlands there are only two canteens. The question whether we can give extra rations to men doing heavy physical labour has been examined time and time 1448 again and is one of great difficulty, because not all manual workers are engaged in heavy physical labour. It is nonsense to say that because a colonel is wearing a khaki coat he should thereby have a great deal more food than any other Member of this House. It is not necessarily so, and he does not, in fact, get extra rations for that purpose. But feeding on the spot in works and canteens is a method by which supplementary rations can be secured for those who most need them. That miners might be short of the necessary food to enable them to produce their maximum output is a great waste which we should not tolerate in war-time. Yesterday the Minister of Labour said that instead of getting 10,000 extra men, he would like to get 10,000 extra rations. By that means he said he would be able to get the extra work produced as a result of this extra food, instead of having to bring more people into the pits. As regards the shortage of material, I do not think the hon. gentleman the Member for Bridge-ton (Mr. Maxton) was quite accurate in his statement that the shortages have been overcome.
§ Mr. Maxton
I do not think I said that, but I know I am like the right hon. and gallant Gentleman—rather exuberant in my expressions. My impression, drawn from various quarters, is that the building material problem is less serious to-day than it was six months ago.
§ Colonel Elliot
Well, if there is any information which the Under-Secretary can give us on this matter, we shall be most glad to have it. I think it is a type of statement which in general terms he might be able to allow us to have, and I should be very glad if that were so. The shortage of timber, the great demands still being met for the construction of factories and public works of all kinds, and the necessity for storing material against the dark days which may confront us—all this would make me hesitate to put forward such a statement, although it would make me all the more grateful to receive it. However, I must not trespass on the time of the Committee, and I would only repeat that we would have welcomed from my right hon. Friend a statement which was twice as long. Housing and nutrition rest upon the functioning of the great basic services of Scotland, and I would 1449 like to impress upon him and Members of the Committee the necessity of stressing in every way the importance of carrying on the normal administrative services in spite of the great demands being made on all classes of the community, and perhaps most of all on the officials of local authorities, by the new emergency tasks which are constantly being heaped upon them.
The services of education, housing, sanitation, and so on, are the foundation of our Scottish effort, and all of them must be kept going, as well as the great extra effort which the country and the local authorities' officials, in particular, are being asked to undertake at this time. They have done wonderful work and we are now seeing some of the fruits of it, but unless we are willing to redouble our efforts, and make sure that the new emergency demands do not subtract from but add to the work which the local authorities and the nation did before the war, we shall not succeed in Scotland, whatever may happen South of the Border, because we had a long leeway to make up and conditions in Scotland were by no means satisfactory as they were in the great sister nation. If we allow ourselves to relax in war time, we shall increase the leeway and the lag, and we shall have a doubly difficult task in the days to come.
§ Mr. Kenneth Lindsay (Kilmarnock)
I intervene only for two or three minutes, because I feel it is impossible to do justice to the subject which I should wish to discuss, namely Scottish education, in the time allotted, and because we have not had a sufficient basis of facts and figures on which a discussion could take place. Therefore, I join in the protest made by the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) and my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Kelvingrove (Colonel Elliot) against the very severe rationing of time which the Secretary of State has imposed upon himself. I think we would all wish to have a broad survey of Scottish affairs so that, even if some of us did not catch the eye of the Chairman, we might have a more careful Debate.
I welcome very much, and would like to pay a tribute to, the speech of the hon. Member for Greenock (Mr. McNeil), which was fluent and full of knowledge. 1450 It was a very rare speech. I am surprised—perhaps it is because I have overdone it, or others have under-done it— that in Scotland so little has been said so far about conditions in bombed areas. I would not have gone as far as the hon. Member did in the matter of details, because one has to be extremely careful, although I do not think the hon. Member said anything which most people do not know; but I was very glad to hear the hon. Member stress the question of morale in war-time. To a person taking in evacuees, the war does not mean Sollum, Bardia and other far-off places; it means an extra personal strain in the home. Anything which can be done to relieve that strain will sustain morale and help in winning the war, and by relieving the strain I mean, for example, relieving the house hold in regard to the midday meals, which means an extension of communal feeding. There has been far too little development of that in Scotland.
I have been made almost a complete Scottish Nationalist to-day, and I have more sympathy than for many years with the idea of a greater devolution of Scottish government. It is really impossible to discuss the great affairs of Scotland, education, health and agriculture, in six hours. My main purpose in rising is to ask a specific question. In education, Scotland had a200 years' start over England—I was re-reading Macaulay's description of it the other day—and it is due to that fundamental training in school and kirk, which happened 200 years before it did in England, that all over the world Scottish men and women have taken the enormous part which they have, not only in building up the British Empire, but in improving their own positions. To-day, Scottish education—I say it with some knowledge—is falling behind the best experiments that are going on in England. I deplore that. Scottish education is becoming too academic. In England there is, at the present time, so we are informed, what is called the "New Testament" of education. My right hon. Friend who recently vacated the position of President of the Board of Education and his officials have prepared a complete and very long document on the whole future of English education, and I understand it is being examined by the local education authorities and the teachers, 1451 and that it will come before a wider public in good time.
I want to put a question to my hon. Friend the Under-secretary of State for Scotland. I am very glad he is in that office, because he is one of the few occupants of it who could be called the Under-Secretary of State for Scottish Education. We have not a special Minister for education in Scotland, but my hon. Friend knows the subject from long experience in education authorities. I want to ask him whether a very careful survey is in process of taking place at the present time, how far it has gone, and what is proposed to be done with it; and whether it will go not only into the question of the machinery of education, such as raising the school age and so on, which is important, but, what is much more important, into the question of whether Scottish education is meeting the needs of industry, agriculture, and the great professions. I am not sure about that.
I want to put forward a suggestion. I believe that in Scotland the time has come, as in England, for something like a welfare department within the Scottish Education Department. It is impossible to-day for a modern teacher to fill up all the forms, to go on teaching, and to deal with the milk scheme and all the extra school activities which are being thrown upon the teacher. I would like also to see the whole of the probation work included under education. It is the people who teach in the schools who know whether a child, at the age of 13, is going off the rails; it is the teacher who can follow up the matter with the parents. It is wrong to have the present separation. There should be an Educational Court closely linked up with the education authority, the parents, the teachers, and the social workers.
A subject in which I am particularly interested, partly because I was the first chairman of that body, is the youth committee, both in England and in Scotland. There has been a wonderful growth in the whole of this work throughout Britain. During the last six months I have been going round the country—during last week I was in three or four places in the North of England—and I have seen a growth in the work for those 1452 between 14 and 18 years of age, such as has not happened during the last 30 years. I should like the Under-Secretary of State to tell us a little more about how this work is developing. I hope he will take to heart the suggestion I have made about creating a welfare department, particularly considering the work that has to be done in the reception areas—which has nothing to do with the old education —the youth work, and the feeding, for it has been proved at Marr College in Ayrshire, if it has not been proved anywhere else, that one good meal in the middle of the day makes all the difference to school children. The quicker this can be reproduced throughout Scotland, the better will be the physical basis of Scottish children.
In conclusion, I hope that in future we shall have more time to debate Scottish affairs, without having to hurry and look at the clock all the time. I hope there will be opportunities to debate special items of Scottish affairs, such as agriculture—which might well have one day— and education and health, which might perhaps be linked together; and we might perhaps have a longer statement from the Secretary of State telling us what progress is being made, what ideas are at the back of his mind, and what we may look forward to next year. I hope also that we may have an assurance that in Scotland as in England, there will be a thorough overhaul of education. That will be an essential part of reconstruction after the war, although I believe in going ahead with things now. I agree with Lord Horder when he says "start now" If we can start on these things now, we shall be able to lay the foundations for a better system in the future.
§ Dr. Morgan (Rochdale)
I hope the Committee will pardon the intrusion of an English Member in this discussion. I intervene as an old graduate of Glasgow University, and as one whom the Scottish people adopted, or allowed to be educated under a scholarship provided for medical education. I am specially interested in the treatment of fractures and in the question of rehabilitation in Scotland, and quite recently I had the privilege of visiting the Glasgow Hospital and Edinburgh Hospital to investigate their fracture treatment arrangements. I hope the Committee will bear with me if I point out certain aspects of the fracture treatment 1453 and rehabilitation schemes. In this connection I recently put a Question to the Secretary of State for Scotland, which I consider he answered very badly and evasively. I asked him whether plans were being considered for implementing the recommendations of the Delevingne Inter-Departmental Committee for the rehabilitation of persons injured by accidents. On that Committee was a representative of the Scottish Office. The reply completely evaded the question, and spoke instead of the provision of six new orthopaedic units. This question is of special importance, and is in some way related to the remarks of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Kelvingrove (Colonel Elliot) when he spoke about wastage.
I wonder whether the Department of Scotland realises that owing to the bad organisation of fracture treatment in Scotland the casualties in one area alone mean that over 6,000 working hours have been lost. This is through inefficient treatment. There have been 100,000 accidents in Scotland a year, of which 20,000 have been cases of fracture. The British Medical Association Fracture Committee, in 1935,confirmed the Report of the Delevingne Committee, that so long as there is unorganised fracture treatment, there will be delay, incapacity, deformity, wastage and so on. I know this is a highly technical subject, and that many hon. Members may be asking themselves what is the difference between organised and unorganised treatment. It has been proved by the B.M.A. Committee, which is comprised of professional experts doing professional work, and not of laymen discussing professional work, that if fractures are treated in the ordinary way, and the patient is sent into an ordinary ward, these terrible results follow. The Committee lay down certain definite principles of treatment which have been accepted by the Delevingne Committee. They concern unity of control, segregation of cases of fracture, treatment by one team of surgeons, appropriate arrangements for exercise and things of that kind. If cases are treated in the ordinary way, calamity results.
Let me take the case of fracture to the wrist. If cases are treated under an organised scheme—and the Scottish Office can find the report and confirm my statement—the length of time between the 1454 accident and the time when the man can get back to work, is seven weeks, whereas if the treatment is unorganised the length of time is 29 weeks. If the treatment is organised the number of persons who are permanently incapacitated amounts only to one-half per cent. whereas under the unorganised system, the corresponding figure is 23½ per cent. I could go on giving similar figures showing that, if treatment is organised, less time is taken, and that if it is unorganised you have these dreadful results. Taking the whole of the fracture cases together, it has been found that under organised treatment only 1 per cent. are permanently incapacitated, while with unorganised treatment the figure is 37 per cent. Unless the treatment is properly organised, both within hospitals and between hospitals, there is prolongation of treatment for the injured person, disability, and extended suffering. Permanent incapacity is not due to any fault of the injured person or workman but to inefficient treatment, disjointed treatment, and unorganised handling. Injured persons are bandied from one surgeon to another, from one hospital department to another, from one person more or less highly-skilled, to another person more or less unskilled, to the detriment of his chance of physical recovery and early return to work. Under the Emergency Hospital Services scheme the Government are responsible for making certain definite arrangements for the treatment of cases in hospitals, and yet we still have certain areas where no organised fracture treatment is given, such as in the Glasgow Royal Infirmary. I visited the Glasgow Royal Infirmary and found that, although it had an excellent clinic, the treatment was completely dissociated and unorganised in the in-patients department.
I wish to ask the Government whether it is not possible by grants to the voluntary hospitals—and I know this is the price for the present hospital system— which are now doing their work to introduce proper organisation both in the in-patient and out-patient departments. Is it not possible by this means to bring these hospitals up to Grade I laid down by the Delevingne Committee? On page 78 of the report the Glasgow Hospital grades are given and on page 75 the classification of the number of grades is shown—Grade I, Grade II, Grade III, Grade IV, Grade V. 1455 Grade I, only, provides an adequate organised fracture treatment approved and laid down as a standard by the Committee. In Scotland in 1939 only one hospital, the Glasgow Hospital, was carrying out this principle. Three hospitals are in Grade II, none in Grade III, none in Grade IV and six in Grade V, which is the lowest in regard to this problem of rehabilitation. Many dissociate rehabilitation from treatment and do not adopt it until the surgical treatment is completed. This often means that a man is permanently disabled. There is nothing dealing with the question of the actual retraining of the injured person, making him fit, restoring his working capacity and as far as possible making him a fit citizen. If there is a rehabilitation centre it must have been very recently set up. I have not heard of it yet. This important subject involves civilians who have been injured in bombing, people injured on the roads, industrial workers and even children. If this thing is done properly, by organising the treatment it will leave an impression on the medical services and earn for the Secretary of State a reputation, which I hope he will richly deserve. I apologise, as an English Member, for intervening in a Scottish Debate, but, being so keenly interested in the question, I hope the Committee will feel that I have not wasted its time.
§ Sir John Train (Glasgow, Cathcart)
I hesitate to intervene, not because I am an Englishman, but because certain things have been said in the course of the Debate. I congratulate the hon. Member for Rochdale (Dr. Morgan) on his very highly technical discourse on the various ills that befall the human frame, but I am more concerned to impress on the Secretary of State the necessity of providing beds in the hospitals for the injured. I had sent me yesterday a cutting from a well-known Glasgow newspaper with the heading, "Hospital waiting lists. A scandal to Scotland" It records a speech delivered by a former Member of this House on Saturday which, my correspondent tells me, has exercised the minds of a great number of people. This gentleman blames not only the voluntary institutions but also the Department of Health. He blames the Department not for the lack of accommodation, but for its modesty in not making known the provision that has 1456 been made. There are thousands of people waiting for accommodation who do not know how to get there. Perhaps the Under-Secretary will give some explanation of this situation and let the people know what has been accomplished. The gentleman who made the speech to which I have referred forgets that the number of hospitals has largely increased in recent years, particularly since the war, and that a great many houses and institutions have been taken over. I hope my hon. Friend will make it known that these are available.
I wonder whether anything is included in these Estimates for assistance for housing. Private enterprise cannot touch it, because of the licences required, and also for economic reasons, but something must be done to provide houses at rents that people can afford to pay. Housing has been a black mark against us for many years, and it is much worse now because of the blitz and the movement of the population owing to evacuation. Some sort of pressure should be put on local authorities and housing authorities to provide housing for the people. It could be done with a little push. I would urge the Under-Secretary on these two points to bring pressure to bear with a view to the provision of houses, to let the people know what provision is available in the way of hospital accommodation, and not to let people who have a "grouse" make speeches which are largely reported in the Press, without some reply being made now that we have these Estimates before us.
§ Mr. McLean Watson (Dunfermline)
I want to join with my colleagues who have referred to the rationing of time because we have rationed ourselves for a number of years. In view of the fact that we have the whole of the Scottish Estimates to discuss to-day, there is even more justification for it than there has been in the past when we enjoyed two days' discussion. So that while we would not object to the Secretary of State taking more time in making his statement, I think that rationing of time is a good thing for Members generally. I would have welcomed a longer statement from the Secretary of State in view of the fact that no reports of the work of the Scottish Departments have been issued this year.
1457 We get an opportunity on occasions like this to bring to the notice of the Secretary of State particular grievances as they affect our constituencies. The Secretary of State raised some important questions in his short speech. He referred to the auxiliary hospital service that has been set up as an emergency in the event of war casualties requiring extra hospital accommodation, and I would like the Under-Secretary to say whether he can assure us that the voluntary hospitals in Scotland are to have a more secure time in future than they have had in the past. Until the war began, our voluntary hospitals were in a desperate position. I am not so well acquainted with the position in the West of Scotland, but the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary has been hard put to it for many years. I hope that before we go in for a large extension of hospital services in Scotland, we shall make sure that the hospitals which existed before the war will be properly looked after and financed. It is no credit to us that we have to depend on voluntary contributions for keeping such an institution as the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary going year after year. I hope we can have an assurance that the future of such an institution will be more assured and that it will have fewer financial losses than it had before the outbreak of the war.
With regard to housing, there are in my constituency houses that were commenced before the war and that have been making slow progress during the war, and many of them are still uncompleted. I would ask the Under-Secretary whether anything can be done to get these houses completed. In every part of my constituency there is a demand for houses owing to exceptional circumstances that should never have arisen. We are reaping many heritages in that area. If former Governments had been wiser and had kept Rosyth Dockyard open instead of reducing it to a care and maintenance basis, if they had developed housing as it should have been developed, in regard to the dockyard and housing accommodation, for those employed there, we should not have been faced with the problem that we have in my area to-day. There is not a house to be got anywhere and it has been necessary to resort to billeting. Every possible step to get accommodation for workers who have come into the constituency has had to be taken, 1458 yet we have houses nearing completion, which could be completed in a few months if the labour and material were available. I 'hope that the hon. Member for Bridge-ton (Mr. Maxton) is right in saying that more material is available to-day than six months ago. My experience is that neither the labour nor material is available in sufficient quantities to allow even for the completion of these houses. I hope that something can be done to have houses completed as early as possible so that more people can find accommodation.
There is another scheme that has been undertaken during the war to provide accommodation for workers in the dockyard. Special arrangements have to be made and houses are being built of concrete by the Scottish Housing Association under the control of the Department of Health. I have never been an admirer of the concrete house. I do not believe that it is good enough for the workers of Scotland. They are entitled to a better standard than the concrete house that is now being erected. They are being built on a site that was prepared by Dunfermline Town Council. Streets were made and the services were put in, and 20 houses were begun before the war. The scheme was then closed down. The Department of Health, on behalf of the Admiralty, took over the site and the concrete houses are being built on it. I suppose that some day the Department of Health will want Dunfermline to take over these inferior houses. I would have preferred the scheme outlined by Dunfermline Town Council to have been completed, instead of the houses that are now being erected under war conditions to accommodate Admiralty workers.
I want to draw the attention of the Under-Secretary to another matter which I have dealt with in correspondence with him. It is in regard to education in Rosyth. From the beginning of the war, schools were taken over, and I believe that a proportion of the 3,000 children who are receiving no education, to whom the Secretary of State referred, are in that area. Schools were taken over and children turned out, and no provision has been made for their education—at least not for the education of all of them. The education authority has done the best it could to provide some education for the children there, but with the lapse of time 1459 parents are getting alarmed at the lack of educational facilities in that place. The Under-Secretary of State informed me in a letter some time ago that arrangements are being made whereby at any rate some education will be available to all the children in that area after the summer holidays. I hope he will look into this matter again, because the scheme which he outlined to me is not at all satisfactory. It means that we shall have the children scattered among halls and Admiralty buildings all over the place, and whoever the headmaster may be his opportunities for imparting serious education to the children will be seriously handicapped. I hope something better than the scheme outlined to me will be arranged, and that all the children in the Rosyth area given at least some education and as many as possible full education.
I agree that there have been exceptional difficulties, but the fault is not on the shoulders of the Department of Health. It lies on another Department, which should never have reduced Rosyth Dockyard to a care-and-maintenance basis. If that had not been done, we should not have been faced with the problems we have to-day. Since the war began, schools have had to be requisitioned for purposes for which they were never designed and the children have had to suffer. These are matters which are of importance to my constituency, and while I am as ready as any other Member to take into consideration the difficulties that are facing all the Departments of the Government, including the Admiralty, I hope that at the end of the next 12 months we shall have a better report from the Secretary of State than we have had to-day.
§ The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Westwood)
I am trying to keep to the arrangement—
§ Mr. Gallacher (Fife, West)
Do we understand that this speech is going to close the Debate?
§ The Temporary Chairman (Mr. Charles Williams)
I called on the Under-Secretary of State, but there is no question of closing the Debate.
§ Mr. Buchanan
I understood that the Debate was going on for six hours and 1460 that three hours would be given to this subject.
§ The Temporary Chairman
I think we had better resume the discussion and not go into the length of the Debate, which is completely out of Order on the Matter before us.
§ Mr. Buchanan
We do not not need offensive lectures. Some Members have been called upon who are not interested in the matter at all.
§ Mr. Westwood
I am in agreement with those who have already expressed their views about the limited time allowed for the discussion of the Scottish Estimates. It is quite obvious that far too limited time is available for discussing the many problems of the administration in Scotland, and I entirely agree with what was said by the Secretary of State in opening the Debate, that we hope that in the scheme of reorganisation which is to be considered after the war it may be possible to get more time for the discussion of these administrative problems. I have nothing to complain of regarding the tone of the Debate to-day. Two complaints were raised. One was that the Secretary of State, while dealing with so many points, had limited himself to a quarter of an hour under the voluntary arrangement we have come to about speeches. That is a voluntary arrangement which was come to many years ago.
§ Mr. Maxton
Not so many years ago
§ Mr. Westwood
If it will help the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton), I will say several years ago. We came to an agreement voluntarily to ration ourselves in the time we occupy individually, in order to allow the maximum number of Scottish Members to take part in Debates on Scottish Estimates. As pointed out by the hon. Member for Dunfermline (Mr. Watson), the arrangement gives Scottish Members an opportunity to voice the views of their constituents and to express their complaint against the administration.
§ Mr. Buchanan
It was an arrangement meant for the Scottish Members, was it not?
§ Mr. Westwood
It was an agreement among the Scottish Members. Another complaint was that the Report of the Department was not available this year. 1461 Annual reports have been suspended during the war in accordance with the general instructions which apply to all such Government reports, but we are preparing a rough summary report and it will shortly be available to Members We hope that it will meet the point raised by the hon. Member for Bridgeton. I am sure he will agree that there are difficulties. So far as the Education Reports are concerned, there is a shortage of staff and staff are engaged on war work.
§ Mr. Maxton
The hon. Member says there is a shortage of staff, but they are all on the pay list. There is no shortage of staff according to the Estimates.
§ Mr. Westwood
They are still on our pay list, but in many cases they are doing other work, all part of the great war work in which we are engaged. I am merely pointing out that the absence of the reports is in accordance with the Government instruction and that exceptional treatment is not being meted out to Scotland.
§ Mr. Lindsay
There is a third criticism, and that is that we cannot take three subjects on one day without failing to do justice to some of the subjects.
§ Mr. Westwood
I have already discovered that the lack of time makes it absolutely impossible to deal with all the problems before us. It is impossible in the time at my disposal, for instance, to answer all the points that have been raised, but I give the same guarantee as I have given on other occasions, that lack of time in this House will not be an excuse for the Secretary of State or me not answering hon. Members. To-morrow we shall go over the report of the Debate carefully, and every question that has been put will be replied to by a letter signed by myself or the Secretary of State, and if hon. Members are then not satisfied with the answers they will still have at their disposal the Parliamentary procedure of putting down a Question on the subject. That is the line I take.
The hon. Member for Dumbartonshire (Mr. McKinlay) raised a number of points, including the allocation of foodstuffs. I cannot refer to this point because that matter is under the control of the Ministry of Food. On the problem of the reception areas, two distinct points have to be kept in mind. Children and other members of the priority classes living in 1462 the openly built parts of Glasgow and other sending areas cannot be evacuated at the Government expense. Homeless persons are in a different position. When they arrive from other areas to stay with friends they get the benefit of the billet-ting allowance, though this allowance stops when their houses are repaired. It is true that people on one side of a street may be treated differently from people on the other side, but we must draw the line somewhere. There are very few cases where the town ends abruptly and the country begins. The town usually fades gradually into the country. We have tried to draw the line as reasonably as possible, having regard to the fact that the accommodation in receiving areas is limited. We have now the best expert advice we can get as to vulnerability, in drawing these lines, but if the hon. Member for Dumbartonshire thinks that the line has been badly drawn in particular cases I am prepared to discuss the matter with him to see whether, inside the general principles which I have laid down, adjustments can be made.
We all welcomed the maiden speech by the hon. Member for Greenock (Mr. McNeil). The knowledge which he shows on this problem will no doubt be extended to us in other Debates in this House, and his intervention will be an acquisition. He dealt with the housing problem, and I must say that it would be misleading the Committee if anyone suggested that there is not a greater shortage of building material to-day than before the war. We are not importing timber, and there is consequently a shortage of timber. There is also a shortage of labour. These matters are not so easily dealt with as at the outbreak of war, and present a problem which is exercise in the minds of all who are responsible for administration in Scotland. These problems were greater than those of England long before the war broke out, and I agree with the right hon. and gallant Member for Kelvingrove (Colonel Elliot) that if we get far behind in these matters, our problem becomes still greater. We have not enough building labour to do the work that was being done before. As a result of arrangements made with other Departments, we have been able to go on with houses which were started before the war, and we have already completed approxi- 1463 mately 16,000 of them. The figures for Glasgow are that in the first quarter of 1941, 212 such houses were completed, and the total number of houses completed in Glasgow, including Pennylee, since the war began is 1,781.
§ Mr. McKinlay
Does the hon. Gentleman exclude from his consideration houses which were not available for the ordinary workers?
§ Mr. Westwood
I am talking about the number of houses that have been completed.
§ Mr. McKinlay
What is the number, excluding Pennylee?
§ Mr. Westwood
I will let the hon. Member know. There are other arrangements in certain parts of Scotland by which houses are built, and some of these houses were started since the beginning of the war. The Secretary of State gave earlier the number of houses which were begun prior to the war, and which have been completed as a result of the special facilities. The right hon. and gallant Member for Kelvingrove referred to the problems connected with shelters and hospital accommodation. Those questions were raised also by the hon. Member for Cathcart (Sir J. Train). I am more than pleased that the matter of the available accommodation resulting from our emergency hospital scheme should be brought to the notice of the people of Scotland. The Secretary of State made special reference to it in his opening statement. We are anxious that the voluntary hospitals and the medical profession shall know that these beds are available and we want them to take advantage of that vacant accommodation and so help to reduce the waiting lists referred to by the hon. Member for Cathcart.
§ Mr. Watson
Is the hon. Gentleman sure that these auxiliary hospitals are not being reserved for war casualties?
§ Mr. Westwood
I say without hesitation that we have the beds available and that there is no justification for a waiting list. I am glad the matter has been raised, and I make an appeal to the hospital authorities of Scotland, and to the general public. We know that some people have antipathies against sending members of their 1464 family to hospital. We know also the difficulties in connection with the medical profession, who sometimes do not want to send their work into another hospital. All that I am saying is that bed accommodation is available in Scotland and that attention has been drawn to the particular point. I should like to stress this appeal to take advantage of the vacant beds, in order to relieve to the maximum the suffering which exists in Scotland at the present time.
There were many points to which I wanted specially to refer, but I can only say again that every one of the questions raised on the Health Estimate will be properly replied to by correspondence. Many questions were also raised in connection with education. The hon. Member for the Scottish Universities (Mr. G. A. Morrison) asked what progress there had been towards using the schools for their normal purposes in Scotland, and whether it was true that they were being used by the military, by the A.R.P. and other organisations. We are doing our very best to get the maximum use of the school accommodation which was provided for educational purposes. There are some places where it is absolutely impossible to get the full use of the schools because they are the best type of building for A.R.P. purposes and because sometimes we have had to use them for rest centres, for which purpose they offer better accommodation than many church or other halls. But we are trying to get the maximum use of the schools for the purpose for which they were built.
The question was also raised about the appointment of non-graduates to our schools. If the hon. Member does not mind, I will be only too pleased to see that he gets a full and a detailed statement on that subject, so as not to take up too much time during this Debate. I can assure him that the question of the appointment of non-graduate teachers is being carefully watched. There is an urgent demand for men with certain specialised qualifications for the Services, and that has reduced the number of graduates available for teaching in our schools. A number of teachers possessing these qualifications have been withdrawn from the schools, and as a result the Department have, in a few cases, approved the appointment to 1465 junior secondary departments of teachers not possessing the specialised qualifications which would normally be required. So far as the female side of our teaching staff is concerned, there is no compulsion that they should be graduates. We were continually working towards that higher educational qualification, but we have never been in the happy position of saying that so far as female teachers were concerned we must have 100 per cent. graduates. In all these cases, as I have already indicated, where we have had to use male graduates for other purposes, the Department's approval is provisional. There will be no slackening or lowering of the standard, and any appointments made are subject to two conditions: first, that the teacher is favourably reported on by His Majesty's inspectors, and second, that the appointment will be reviewed at the end of the war.
It is impossible in the time at my disposal to deal with all the points raised, but a very important point was raised by the hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Lindsay) who said that we really ought to set up a welfare department in connection with our educational system. I can assure him that in any project for the reconstruction of education most careful consideration will be given to any points that are brought to our attention, so that in the building up of the new system of education which must be part of our scheme of reconstruction after the war nothing will be left out, and we shall at least do our best to keep Scotland ahead so far as education is concerned.
§ Mr. Lindsay
Cannot the hon. Gentleman answer the specific question I put to him? Is an examination going on in the Scottish Department, towards the reconstruction of Scottish education, comparable to that which has been going on for some months at the Board of Education?
§ Mr. Westwood
All I can say is that the whole problem of reconstruction is being considered in Scotland as it is in England, but with this difference, that until decisions are finally arrived at we are being very cautious. We want to be in the happy position of telling the country what the conclusions of the Government are in regard to dealing with these problems, and so far no final decision has been arrived at. I can assure the hon. Member, and other hon Members who are in- 1466 terested in this problem, that all the points which are put up to us will receive consideration, so that when we come to organise the system of education after the war we shall at least be doing our bit in keeping Scottish education at the forefront. I thank all those who took part in the Debate for all the points that have been brought to our attention.
§ Mr. Maxton
The hon. Gentleman has-promised to answer all those of us who have taken up specific points in the Debate, and I wonder if he could consider giving us, for the benefit of all concerned, a typewritten resumé from his Department of the sort of reply he would have given if time had not prevented him.
§ Mr. Westwood
I am prepared to give consideration to that point.
§ Mr. Gallacher (Fife, West)
There has been very considerable talk to-day about the necessity of caring for the people who have been bombed out, and I would like to join with those who have spoken on that subject in urging the greatest possible care and attention to the health, especially of the women and children, of those who have been so affected. I have seen the accommodation that has been provided in the early stages before proper billeting could be arranged, and while much valuable service has been given by the various voluntary organisations, the conditions left very much to be desired. On previous occasions I have drawn attention to the fact that the Secretary of State himself was so impressed by the situation of many of these bombed-out people that he gave carte blanche to the responsible committee in one of the blitzed areas to go ahead with taking over houses or spending money freely in order to ensure their welfare. We are all agreed in support of that. But I want to say now, while we are discussing health, that it is not enough to talk in a learned way about houses and the different kinds of houses. What ought to be impressed on every hon. Member, and especially on the Department, is the fact that thousands and thousands of women and children who are living in the rotten, fetid slums are suffering worse from disease than those who have been bombed out. They are even more in need of urgent attention and are not getting it, right now, in the slums of Glasgow, in the slums of Dundee, in the slums throughout the country.
1467 We have all seen the terrible havoc of bombing and are immediately aroused, and our hearts palpitate with pity for those who have suffered. But we become so casual so far as the suffering of the slums is concerned. Is it not the case that the terrible ravages of tuberculosis are increasing? By all means, care for the bombed-out—we cannot do too much for the bombed-out—but why is everything possible not being devoted to the people who have been blotted out with that terrible disease under slum conditions? Why does the Secretary of State not go to some of these authorities and say, "Take hold of these houses in the country, these castles. Take the people out of the slums; give them room, give them a chance of health"? When one goes around and meets all kinds of people, one hears them tell stories of a son, or a husband, or a young daughter, who is lying in one of these places, just waiting the end. I heard during the week-end some really pathetic stories, heart-breaking stories, about visitations to some of these people suffering from tuberculosis, of people who had not the faintest hope, of young people in these slum conditions. It is a terrible thing to dread the coming of the bomb, but to have to lie, week after week, month after month, knowing that life is ebbing away and that nothing will be done—this is real tragedy, a tragedy that is going on in every slum in Scotland.
This Debate is a shame and a scandal. It is treating Scotland without the slightest serious consideration—the health of Scotland, the welfare and education of the children. This should receive the maximum attention. You go around and about and find everywhere that the children's education is being neglected. You hear stories from mothers and fathers concerned about their children not getting education. And now, the question of the health of Scotland and the education of the children of Scotland are given three hours, and we are limited to 15 minutes speech each. That is, of course, a sensible limit so far as Members are concerned, but I never understood that it was intended that the Minister making a statement in introducing the Estimates would be limited to 15 minutes' that the Minister representing Scotland would have 15 minutes in order to review matters of health and education.
Mr. McKie (Galloway)
It is well known that the arrangement about length of speeches is a voluntary one, which has gone on for several years, to give Members an opportunity to participate in the Debate.
§ Mr. Gallacher
I know that. It is quite a sensible arrangement so far as back benchers are concerned, but I never understood that it applied to the Minister when introducing the Scottish Estimates. To introduce them in 15 minutes is a travesty, with the Minister saying that if he has time he will deal with this or that. There is not time to deal with the affairs of Scotland. Then, the Under-Secretary —they are a very tough combination— follows up the Secretary of State by saying that if he had time he would answer this question and that question, but that in view of the lack of time he would not answer anything but that someone in the Department would send the Member concerned a letter. That is not the way to deal with Scotland. We ought to have an abundance of time in which to discuss these problems with people who understand them. At least four times in a Session we should have full meetings of the Scottish Members in St. Andrew's House in Edinburgh to discuss the problems which affect the people of Scotland, and bring to these Sessions representatives of the local authorities affected by any particular problem which we might have under discussion. If we are to deal effectively with the problems of Scotland, why cannot we have these Sessions in St. Andrew's House in Edinburgh, or have them in Glasgow, and be in a position to invite representative men—men of skill, as the Secretary of State for Scotland calls the men who are going to deal with housing—on the particular subject we are discussing to be there to assist us?
§ The Deputy-Chairman (Colonel Clifton Brown)
The hon. Member is going quite outside the range of Supply at the present moment. What he is saying would involve fresh legislation, and it cannot be in Order.
§ Mr. Gallacher
The only point I wish to make is that we are wasting money while we carry on in this way, and that in order to get better results for the people of Scotland, to ensure attention to their health, and care for the children, it is essential, 1469 and I demand it as a right for the Scottish people, that the Scottish Standing Committee meet, not here, but in a series of regular Sessions held either in Edinburgh or Glasgow, where we can get closer contact with the people, closer touch with their problems, and where we can also get the necessary assistance and advice from the people who are peculiarly and particularly interested in the matters under discussion.
§ Mr. Buchanan
I wish to express my thanks to you, Colonel Clifton Brown, for your great kindness in calling me now that no one can reply. I know that an arrangement has been made to end this Debate, but I feel sore that not a word has been said about what is possibly the gravest matter in Scotland, the question of juvenile crime. I only rise to say that and to enter my emphatic protest. I feel terribly sore that there was no allowance made for the raising of what is possibly the outstanding subject in Scotland.
§ Question put, and agreed to.