§ 29. Mr. Nabarro
asked the Minister of National Insurance why the National Assistance Board maintain at Clent, Worcestershire, an establishment for dealing with persons who have lost the habit of work; what is the curriculum of this establishment; how many inmates there are; what is the cost per annum to his Department for maintaining the establishment; how long inmates are kept in residence; and why public funds should be expended for this purpose.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of National Insurance (Mr. R. H. Turton)
The Board have established this centre under the provisions of Section 16 of the National Assistance Act, 1948, with the object of restoring habits of work which these men have lost; the men cultivate the land or carry out such indoor work as needs to be done; the number in the centre at present is about 20; the men ordinarily stay for a few weeks only before being placed in regular employment; and the gross cost is about £4,000 a year.
§ Mr. Nabarro
Is my hon. Friend aware that a certain amount of public misapprehension arises from the curious description given to this establishment—a place for training men who have lost the habit of work? Would my hon. Friend consider giving it a more appropriate name, thereby restoring confidence amongst the general public that it is a legitimate item of public expenditure?
§ Mr. Turton
The word used in the Act was "re-establishment." Actually this is a very valuable social experiment, which is building up the muscles of men which have gone slack, and giving to other men, who have no longer the will to maintain themselves, the will to do so. We are getting very encouraging results.
§ Mr. James Griffiths
Would the hon. Gentleman inform the Board that they should not take too much notice of this criticism? Does not the Act ensure valuable human rehabilitation work?
§ Mr. Nabarro
Is my hon. Friend aware that this Question was not motivated by criticism, but to allay public misapprehension about the expenditure of funds on a legitimate social experiment?