HC Deb 19 July 1955 vol 544 cc270-331

7.1 p.m.

Mr. Ian Mikardo (Reading)

I beg to move, That this House views with concern the increasing number of disabled persons who are unable to secure training and employment at Remploy factories; and calls upon the Government to remove the present restrictions and to provide facilities for extending the activities of Remploy in such a way as to absorb large numbers of disabled persons. This is the first time I have had the honour and the responsibility of moving a Motion on behalf of Her Majesty's Opposition, and I hope it will not be the last, although perhaps I had better put it as a hope rather than an expectation. I almost feel on this occasion that I ought to ask the House for the customary indulgence which it extends to maiden speakers, though I cannot promise, because that would be out of character, that I shall follow a maiden speaker's practice of being non-controversial. Even if I am to be controversial, I shall also try in opening this debate to be constructive.

The Minister of Labour, when replying to a Question last Thursday, said that he wants to do his best for Remploy, and, if he really means that— and I will say something more about that in a moment or two—he will find ungrudging support on this side of the House. We, in the Labour Party have always believed that it is the responsibility of the community to do everything possible to prevent the handicapped man from being thrown on the scrapheap of idleness and dependence. There are many cripples and other handicapped men who cannot keep up with fit men in the hurly-burly and fast tempo of modern practice, and the idea of making it possible for them, nevertheless, to maintain themselves and their families by doing a job of work has always been one of the most cherished aims of our movement. Few of us will forget the hard work and passionate advocacy devoted to this cause particularly by our old and dearly-loved friend, the late George Tomlinson.

Perhaps I may be allowed to remind the House that Remploy, which was originally called the Disabled Persons Employment Corporation, was formed in April, 1945. The Labour Government in that year and in subsequent years allocated to it rapidly increasing amounts of financial assistance in order to enable it to develop quickly. The original plan provided for the establishment of 130 factories employing about 13,000 severely disabled persons. In fact, only 92 factories have been established, and two of these have since been closed down, so that there are now 90.

Since the present Government came into power, there has been constant pressure to save money on Remploy. The Government grant has been cut by about £400,000 a year compared with what it was during the last years of the Labour Government, and, allowing for the fall in the value of money which has taken place in the lifetime of the present Government, that leaves a cut in real terms of well over 20 per cent. The consequence is that Remploy has now had to stop altogether the intake of disabled workers. All over the country there is a great demand by large numbers of these men for employment in Remploy factories, but the doors of these factories are now slammed in their faces. Of all the mean acts and heartless cheeseparing of the present Government, this is the meanest and the most heartless of all.

I would be ashamed if I were the right hon. and learned Gentleman to be a member of a Government which denies to a cripple, an epileptic or a spastic the chance to make himself as other men and to hold up his head with other men, but I know that the criminal I am accusing is not the right hon. and learned Gentleman who sits by the Dispatch Box. It is the Chancellor of the Exchequer. But if the Minister of Labour really wants us to believe that he is seeking to do the best for Remploy, he ought to be much tougher than he has been in fighting the pettifogging meanness of his right hon. Friend. He virtually admitted to us last week that doing that is a pretty tough job, but he ought to do it all the same.

The right hon. and learned Gentleman was brought into this Government for pretty well the same reason that Brutus was brought into Cassius's conspiracy—in order to lend an air of respectability to what might otherwise have seemed a ramshackle and shabby crew. The right hon. and learned Gentleman was brought into this Government because it was thought of him, as Casca said of Brutus, that— He sits high in all the people's hearts: And that which would appear offence in us, His countenance, like richest alchemy, Will change to virtue and to worthiness. Now, the right hon and learned Gentleman, again like Brutus, has made— the most unkindest cut of all. Perhaps I may be allowed to give the House some figures about this cut. The level of activity of Remploy when the present Government took over was measured by an annual subvention of the order of £2¾ million. The grant for the year 1950–51 was £2,669,000. In the next year, 1951–52, it went up to £2,782,000. Then came the Tory Government, and, in their first year—1952–53—the subvention was cut from £2,782,000 to £2,217,000. In the next year—1953–54—it was much about the same figure, but last year—1954–55—Remploy exceeded its estimates, and, therefore, against the Government's will, had spent something approaching what it had spent under the Labour Government—actually, £2,680,000.

At this stage, the Government and the right hon. and learned Gentleman started to get tough with Remploy and forced an estimated reduction in the current year's expenditure to £2,387,000—a reduction of about £300,000 in a single year. In addition to this cut, the estimate for interest-free loans for capital expenditure has been cut from last year to this year by much more than half.

In the face of these figures, I should like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary, when he comes to speak later, to tell us how he managed to say, as he did say on the 17th February— There is no question of reducing the amount spent on Remploy."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 17th February, 1955; Vol. 537, c. 547.] It seems to me that there is no question of that; it has just been done, and there is no question of it at all.

What a miserable performance this is for a Government that keeps telling us that they have provided a soaring prosperity for the whole community. What sort of a prosperity is it out of which we cannot afford £300,000 for the halt and the lame? Just before the Election, the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave away £100 million in tax reliefs, most of it to businesses and to wealthy people. Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman going to tell us that the Government could not have afforded this £100 million without exacting a contribution towards it from the cripples, the cardiacs and the polio victims? Is that what he will say?

I fancy that we shall be told by the Government how much it costs to keep each man working in Remploy, and that it is dearer to keep him working than to pay him the full rates of pension and other State assistance to which he may be entitled. That is a totally false argument. Our duty towards these men is not just to give them food, clothing and shelter, but to give them self-respect. I cannot possibly put this point better than it was put by the chairman of Remploy, Ltd., in his last annual report. I would like to quote what Sir Robert Burrows said: Consider for a moment what Remploy achieves both for the individual and for the nation. It is not difficult to imagine the life of an unemployed disabled person, existing on small allowances. Compare it with the life of a disabled Remploy employee who earns a wage which provides him with a higher standard of living and the self-respect of a man employed on productive work who feels that he is contributing to the well-being of the nation, and not drawing on the wealth created by others. The fact that he is a taxpayer and a contributor to National Insurance makes him feel that he is on equal terms with his fellow-men as a working member of the community. This discovery of personal pride not only affects his own mental and physical health but has an inevitable reaction within his own family. So far as the nation is concerned, it benefits directly from the production of each individual employed by Remploy, and indirectly from his higher morale. It is this noble work which, under the benevolence of the present Minister, is being ground to a full stop. I do not dispute that, as with all other expenditure out of public funds, the Minister has a duty to see that there is the utmost economy in the administration of the national expenditure, but the measures that the Minister has taken are panic measures, which never result in true economy. Let us consider in detail what these panic measures are.

They are four. First, there is this silly and indiscriminate business of imposing a total stop to new entrants. On 4th January this year, there were 6,540 disabled persons in Remploy. By 21st June that number had dropped to 6,196. Now the Minister says that he does not intend that the number shall drop below 6.000 during the current year. I find that phrase "during the current year" somewhat sinister-sounding. Does he mean that in later years he envisages still further reduction? That is a direct and straight question, and the House is entitled to a straight answer to it.

It is true, and I am sure we are all very happy about it, that the total number of disabled persons is falling, but it is not falling in proportion anything like so fast as the fall in the number of people for whom Remploy work is available. A total and indiscriminate ban on new entrants prevents Remploy taking in even the most deserving and obvious case that comes to its notice.

The second panic measure is to cut the administrative and supervisory staff. I know many of these people, because most of them are members of the same trade union as myself, and I know that they do much more than people in similar jobs in an ordinary factory. For example, a works superintendent and a works foreman at Remploy do not merely supervise. They also have the duty of designing and making special jigs to fit the work of each handicapped man so that the work can be done even with his own particular disability. Yet a large number of these indispensable people have been thrown out, while a lot of rather sleek and not so useful gentlemen in higher administrative positions, and in the sales department in particular, go on being employed and mounting up the overheads.

Thirdly, I understand that the Ministry has imposed on Remploy an upper limit of salary of £1,500 a year, and that if the company wants to pay more than that amount it must get a special dispensation. I do not understand how the Minister can do that and still pretend that he does not interfere in the day-to-day arrangements of the company. I am sure there is room for considerable saving in administrative salaries, but this is absolutely the worst way of going about it. It was tried in aircraft factories during the war, and many and devious were the wangles that were used to get round it. At any rate, in practice it is much too heavy-handed and inflexible. It inhibits proper management and just does not work.

The fourth and last panic measure is the silliest one of all. It is a reduction in the amount available to the company for capital expenditure. Remploy is no different from many other manufacturing companies in that one of the best ways to improve its financial position is to improve its capital equipment. The Minister's false economies have compelled the company to do exactly the opposite to what any decent management would argue should be done.

I promised at the beginning of my speech to be constructive, and I therefore want to end by telling the Minister four intelligent things he might do instead of the four stupid things that he has done. The first of these is to strengthen the board of directors. I know that he has already taken steps in that direction and I particularly welcomed his announcement last year that Mr. Zealley is to become chairman of the company next year. I should be very surprised if Mr. Zealley does not come to the Ministry very shortly after he takes up his appointment and tells the Minister that he cannot do his job of running Remploy with a board of directors that contains no fewer than 10 part-time, amateur directors.

Secondly, the Minister ought to get really tough with the Ministry of Supply and the other purchasing Departments in order to get them to place contracts with Remploy. So far he and the Parliamentary Secretary have relied on rather feeble exhortation, and it has not done much good. He ought to be able lo induce his fellow-Ministers to see that Remploy does not get only those contracts which no private sub-contractor will take on because they are unprofitable.

The right hon. and learned Gentleman kindly invited me last week to tell him about profitable contracts which Remploy could do. I cannot do that. The Minister knows quite well that it is difficult for a private person to give details about Government contracts without a breach of confidence. In any case it is his job and not mine, and I am too good a trade unionist to blackleg by doing unpaid the work that he is paid to do. He ought to do it. I invite him and the Parliamentary Secretary to go to the Ministries. I will give them a tip. Let them look at the assisted contracts of A.F.B. and see what they put out that Remploy could do. The Ministers might get a shock.

I urge the Minister to give Remploy a substantial once-and-for-all grant for capital expenditure, particularly for stocks and work in progress, in order to give them a flywheel of turnover on which they can expand. If he really wants, as I am sure he does and as we all do, the weekly cost per disabled man to come down, the best way to achieve that is to expand the organisation so as to spread the overheads over a larger figure of turnover. All the evidence goes to show that the one thing more than any other which has stopped Remploy from growing has been that it cannot finance an adequate level of stocks and work in progress.

My fourth and last suggestion is this. I wonder whether we have not by now reached the stage when we can take a wider view of the subject and not treat Remploy as a self-contained enterprise. I should like to see it working more closely with similar institutions for handicapped persons, such as the workshops attached to some hospitals and those run by some local authorities. Although I admit that it is revolutionary and probably full of complications and difficulties, another suggestion is that we should consider whether we could not expand Remploy to employ people whose only disability is that of old age. The House has often discussed the problem of the worker who reaches retiring age, who has lost some of his power with advancing years but is still capable of making a productive contribution and does not want to retire. That type of man needs what is called sheltered employment in the same way as a disabled man, and we might conceivably use the lessons learned from Remploy to provide it for him.

I want to conclude by asking the House to forget for a moment all the details, the technicalities, complexities and statistics and to think of this as a human problem. A man may have been severely wounded in the war or may be suffering from a chronic but not totally disabling disease. He is living at home in enforced idleness on a pension. It is true that he has an income of sorts and the means to buy the necessities of life. His wife and children do not go short of food and clothing as they probably would have done a generation ago.

There the man's satisfaction ends. The rest of his life is a caricature of what a man's life ought to be. Perhaps his wife has to go to work. He sits at home and wanders round the house, desperately trying to find something to occupy his time and mind. The children get in his way and he gets cross with them and then is sorry. Then one day he gets a job in Remploy, and suddenly he realises that he is no longer a piece of human flotsam. He has to get up in the morning to go to work like any fit and normal man. His wife gives him his breakfast and sees him off to work, just as does Mrs. Smith the wife of the ordinary man next door. He goes home at the end of a day, just like Smith next door, and tells his wife what has happened during the day. Then, at the end of the week, he brings home a pay packet and can walk in with a few flowers for his wife and a few sweets for his children, paid for out of money he has earned for himself. It is a transformation—a miracle. It is that transformation, that miracle, which this Government are denying to every man applying today for a job with Remploy. They should be ashamed of themselves.

I ask the House to pass this Motion in order to affirm that the Government's behaviour in this matter is unworthy of the leaders of a decent and civilised community.

Mr. A. J. Champion (Derbyshire, South-East)

I beg formally to second the Motion.

7.25 p.m.

The Minister of Labour and National Service (Sir Walter Monckton)

I certainly cannot complain of all the observations which the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Mikardo) has made about me. I do not think that I ever expected to be invested with an aura of respectability quite to the extent which he has mentioned, but I should like to make it quite plain that, when I said—as I did in answer to him the other day—that I wanted to help Remploy, I meant it. I do want to help Remploy.

I quite appreciate the nature of the criticisms which he has made against my administration of my office in this respect and, if I may, I will come to deal with them. I would also agree that I used the expression about the "hard cause," which ho recollected in answer to a supplementary question. I also agree that, like most people who have a worthy cause on which to spend money, I could always do with more. As to being insufficiently tough, it may be that that is a just criticism, but I will only say this. I do not think that anyone who has sat as long as I have in the office I hold is so tenacious of that position that he would not know what to do if it was suggested that he was being put into an impossible and unfair position in this respect. I cannot say that I have been put in that position.

I agree with the hon. Member that this, of course, is primarily a human problem. We are all trying to see what we can do for men who suffer from this or that particular disability or adversity. We want to look at it as a human problem, but that cannot excuse us from looking also at the financial problems which are bound up with it. No one who is in charge of a Department can overlook that side of his work, however much he is impressed with the human character of the heart of the problem.

I agree, also, that the hon. Member wanted to look at the problem of Remploy not so much by itself as in connection with the other measures taken for dealing with the disabled. I do not think that we can look at the question in proper perspective unless we do that. In the Ministry of Labour it is one of the chief interests of the job that we are not by any means confined, in dealing with the disabled, to dealing with the problems of Remploy. In an ordinary year we place no fewer than 120,000 under the D.R.O. services. In the industry rehabilitation units we train about 8,400 disabled persons every year, of whom three-quarters go to work outside and to training courses. Four thousand people are trained in the Government training centres and in other sheltered employment, such as the hon. Member referred to, there are about 5,000 other disabled men. A large number of them are blind persons, and another large number are in such ex-Service men's workshops as the Lord Roberts Memorial Workshops.

There is another interesting part of the work which must be remembered when considering Remploy and its work. The last figures I have are for the six months up to January this year. A thousand people who had been in what I would call the Remploy category—the Section II men, who are more suited for sheltered than for open employment—graduated, if I may use that expression, into open employment. That is one of the most encouraging features of the work. The rate for that six months is being kept up. I have figures only for the London region, but there the figures are over 250 for the months that have passed since January last.

Therefore, when looking at the problem of the 6,000 and more men who are in Remploy—or who have been in Remploy—one must first look at it in the perspective of the work done for much greater numbers of men who are disabled and who are helped, by grants and otherwise, in these establishments. The hon. Member can rightly point out that the numbers of people who are disabled and unemployed are going down. In 1948, there were no fewer than 64,000 people disabled and unemployed in the register—in Section 1—for open employment. When I took up my present post there were over 40,000. Today, the figure is 32,000. There is a happy decrease in the number of Section 1 disabled people unemployed fit for non-sheltered industry.

Let us take what is nearer to the heart of this question, because it helps us in looking at the Motion. Take Section II people, those who are registered as unemployed and need sheltered employment. The number unemployed in 1948 was over 10,000. When I took office at the end of 1951, it was over 7,000. Today, it is just over 4,000. That is a very healthy drop in the number of unemployed disabled men for whom not only Remploy but these other bodies and institutions offer their services. The drop since 1948 is one of more than half and since we came into office the drop has been from 7.000 to 4,000.

Mr. Edward Evans (Lowestoft)

Could the right hon. and learned Gentleman tell us what has happened to those people?

Sir W. Monekton

Yes. A great number of them—and I have illustrated this over the last six months of last year—have found their way to non-sheltered employment. I was dealing with the figures on the register. If people are registered as wanting employment, we find them jobs if we can; and if they graduate to open employment, so much the better.

The other figure which I want to contract with the drop from 7,000 to 4,000 is that of people who are or have been employed in Remploy factories. To keep a sense of proportion we should know the order of the figures with which we are dealing. In 1949–50, the average number of workers in the Remploy factories was 3,500. That rose to 4.900 in the following year and to 5,830 in 1951–52 For the first time it reached 6,000 as an average in 1952–53, and since then it has always been between 6,000 and 6,600. Today, it is 6,150.

Mr. John Paton (Norwich, North)

Would the right hon. and learned Gentleman give the House the figures for the opening of new factories over the same period?

Sir W. Monckton

I must deal with one set of figures at a time.

The Motion refers to the increasing number of disabled persons who are unable to secure training and employment at Remploy factories, and it is important that I should say, first, that the number of people registered as unemployed has dropped from 7,000 to 4,000; secondly, that the figure of 6,000 which, as I said the other day, is the lowest to which the run-down is tolerated, was never reached until 1952; and, thirdly, that we are dealing only with the figure between 6,000 and 6,500.

Mr. Aneurin Bevan (Ebbw Vale)

The right hon. and learned Gentleman says we should have the relevant figures 6o that we can maintain a sense of proportion. Perhaps he can now tell the House the estimate of the additional money which would be needed to provide employment for all who would be eligible.

Sir W. Monckton

That is a very difficult question to answer. As everybody who has dealt with the problem knows, and as I am sure the right hon. Gentleman recognises, not all the 4,000 who are unemployed on this part of the register could conceivably be employed in Remploy factories.

Mr. Bevan

I said "eligible."

Sir W. Monckton

One of the things to bear in mind is that we cannot have these factories everywhere. There are 90 of them, but a number of the 4,000 would not be near a factory. Further, a number of them would be found to be unsuitable for such employment, even though on the register. The Disabled Persons Employment Act, 1944, never contemplated that every person who is disabled should be found employment. He must be capable of holding employment. That is another difficulty in trying to make an estimate of that kind.

Mr. Bevan

This is very important In fact, it is the centre of the problem. We ought to have some idea of what sort of expenditure the Treasury must provide for the right hon. and learned Gentleman. I hope he realises that we are trying to help him in this matter. We ought to know whether Remploy has formed any estimate or made any survey of the number of persons who could be given employment if the finance were available.

Sir W. Monckton

I do not think I can answer that. I do not know the answer to it. I acknowledge the fact that the right hon. Gentleman, like the hon. Member for Reading, is as anxious as I am—and I hope they will believe that I am anxious, too—to do what I can for these people. No part of the work which I have had to do at the Ministry has given me more interest or excited my desire to help more than this. If I have failed in this, I assure hon. Members that it is not through lack of good will. I have given those figures and I am sorry that I cannot supply the right hon. Gentleman with those for which he asked.

I must now come for a moment to the position which arose when the Supplementary Estimate was necessary last year. As hon. Members know, in 1952 the Select Committee on Estimates criticised rather severely the losses being incurred in Remploy factories. A policy was introduced at the end of 1952—I knew of it and approved of it—for expanding Remploy production in quantity and trying to channel it and restrict it in range to lines in which standing orders could be obtained from Government Departments and constant orders from industry outside.

The basis of the theory was that if we expanded the sales there would be a lower loss per man and a lower percentage of overheads to sales. On that basis the expansion began, but in fact it did not work out like that at all. The sales rose substantially. Government Departments accounted for more than a third of the total of the sales. Yet the overheads, as I informed the House last week, went down only by about 5 per cent. of the total of the sales. There was no appreciable reduction in the loss per head of disabled workers. Indeed, in the year 1954–55 the loss per head went up to a higher figure than that which had excited the criticism of the Select Committee.

One is responsible not only for one's work but also for the finances of it, and the situation in the summer and autumn of 1954, financially, was difficult. The loss per disabled man employed was still £400 a year, or £8 a week. The number employed was still rising a little. That was when the Supplementary Estimate of £450,000 became necessary, and £250,000 of it was directly due to losses being incurred in the ordinary way of business. It was in the light of the critical position which had then arisen that it became necessary in my view to examine the position; and it was then that we called a halt in order to stop the losses from running away.

In a business of this sort it is necessary from time to time to stop expansion. That happened in 1949—and I am not making the smallest criticism of it; I completely understand why factory building was stopped in that year, I think wisely and necessarily, under the administration of the right hon. Member for Southwark (Mr. Isaacs). The right hon. Gentleman said that … in the long run it would be a false kindness to the severely disabled to jeopardise the success of the Corporation by over-hasty expansion at the present stage."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. 7th July, 1949; Vol. 466, c. 176–7.]

Mr. Bevan

Closing down is not overhasty expansion.

Sir W. Monckton

In the present case, it was decided that it would be right for the time being not to replace wastage except in some cases for special factories, such as those for the tuberculous. Others have been taken on there and, in addition, there have been other cases in which men have been required. By and large, however, the wastage was not to be replaced.

There are three points which I want the House, in fairness, to bear in mind.

Mr. Victor Collins (Shoreditch and Finsbury)

Before the right hon. and learned Gentleman leaves the question of wastage, could he deal with this point? The yearly intake to March, 1954, was 1,457 and the wastage was 1,092, leaving a net increase of only 365. With a wastage of that order, how does he hope to maintain the numbers above 6,000 if there is no substantial intake this year?

Sir W. Monckton

I was coming to that, if the hon. Member had waited a moment.

First. I wanted to say that it was basic to this policy that there should not be any discharge for redundancy of any possible kind and that did not happen. There was none of that. Secondly, some of the wastage which no doubt the hon. Member has in mind included men graduating, so to say, to outside industry. I did mean to say that I was not going to see the figure drop below 6,000. I had no intention of seeing the figure drop below 6,000 and did not mean to imply that I would be prepared to see it happen at some other time.

I hope the House will bear in mind that the figure was never 6,000 until 1952. It has been some hundreds above 6,000. It has come down to 6,000 and is not going below that figure at this time, when the number of people available for this work has gone down, in the years in which I have been in office, by 3,000 from 7,000. One has to look at that to get the measure of the change which has been introduced.

Of course, one did not want merely to leave the matter there. I do not think it is quite right to say that the measures taken are to be described as panic measures. I have said what happened about the stopping of recruitment. As to the cut in the administrative and supervisory staff, that was an economy which the company thought it could introduce. The sales estimates for this year do not seem to have gone down as a result and none of the people discharged in that way was disabled.

As to the upper limit—the third measure of £1,500 on salaries—that is not an upper limit in the sense that it cannot be exceeded at all, but it cannot be exceeded without reference to the Ministry of Labour, which is a very substantial difference. I think there would be great difficulty in tilling some of the posts at that figure.

As to the reduction in the amount of capital expenditure, the figure mentioned is one which the company itself estimated at a stage when there were no new factories being built and we have not cut down on what the company suggested.

I do not want to detain the House unduly on this matter, but I want to say a word or two about what I am still trying to do. In order to look into the conditions which had made it necessary to call a halt, the company called for a report from two experienced gentlemen in the Ministry of Labour. One was experienced in examining workshops for blind workers and other forms of sheltered employment. In addition, the company called for a report from the Organisation and Methods Department of the Treasury. A very full report was issued at the end of last month; there are 400 or more paragraphs in it. It has already been considered by the company and the first talks between the company and the Ministry are taking place this week on it.

The problems that are thrown up in the report are very real—measures of reorganisation, financial control, changes in the board, and so forth. The principal problem, one which is inescapable and was touched on a little by the hon. Member for Reading, is one of policy. It has always to be fairly looked at and judged and there is not a simple answer to it. Probably about one-fifth of the employees of Remploy are people of low productive capacity potential who may be said to be capable of no more than 10 per cent. of a normal man's production. One has to face that when looking at the figures.

I see all the advantages of employing them all, but it does have an effect on the figures of loss per man, which, in these cases, must be a great deal more than £400 a year. I fully appreciate the human side of this problem and how important it is to consider the satisfaction a man gets, even when of the lowest productive capacity, if he produces something. I see that and I am very anxious not to deprive anyone of a chance of producing something, but somewhere a line has to be drawn.

It cannot be said in any economic sense that in the case of some of them they are making a net contribution to production. It is an extremely difficult situation, which has to be faced by the board, the Government and everybody concerned in seeing what we can do about those with the lowest production potential. It is a matter on which different views may be entertained on all sides of the House, but I have no intention of making a suggestion that we should reduce the number by taking away that 10 per cent. I am not suggesting that; I am merely saying that it is one of the basic problems which have to be faced from time to time.

Mr. S. O. Davies (Merthyr Tydvil)

On that very important question, is the Minister satisfied with the figure he has just given the House? It has alarmed some of us who have taken an interest in Remploy in our constituencies from the beginning to hear that 20 per cent. of the persons employed are incapable of producing more than one-tenth of what the average able-bodied man is capable of producing. Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman accept that many of us who have worked with this problem from the very beginning cannot accept that statement? It cannot be correct.

Sir W. Monckton

I should be very happy to find that that figure is wrong.

Mr. Davies

It is a slander on these men.

Sir W. Monckton

I can only give the House the information. Problems thrown up by reports and examinations of this kind suggest that the figure I gave, that a fifth are able to produce only about 10 per cent., applies in general. If that turns out to be wrong, no one will be more delighted than I.

I turn to what the hon. Member for Reading said about strengthening the board. As I announced in the House last week, I have taken what, I hope, is a wise step in getting Mr. Zealley, with his wide experience of industry and human relations in industry, to say that he will become chairman next year and vice-chairman under Sir Brunel Cohen for the time being. All who have had dealings with Sir Brunel know that he will do his best to help Mr. Zealley in that task. I have also obtained the services of Mr. George Dowty, Chairman of Dowty Equipment, which has had contracts with the company. I also anticipate other changes in the very near future.

It is very easy for Ministers and others to criticise the board, but we must remember what a great task it has undertaken, voluntarily undertaken. There are 90 factories with 6,000 workers in them. Whereas the ordinary industrial concern gets a site near its market and transport facilities and, as near as it can, the sort of employee it wants, Remploy is in very different case. It has to go where the men are, whatever industrial considerations may be at stake, and, with all the scattered units and low productivity, it has to pay to its workers about 75 per cent. of a normal, fit man's wage. That is not to say that the task is impossible, but it is to say that it is very difficult.

I hope that the new board will be given a chance. I owe a great debt to the old board and those who voluntarily came forward at a difficult time. It is one of the joys of the Ministry to find how men and women of public spirit are prepared to cone forward to give their time and effort in cases where they are satisfied that the cause is a worthy one.

Group Captain C. A. B. Wilcock (Derby, North)

Before the Minister passes from that subject—we all recognise the difficulty of the board and the work it has done—could he say whether he is satisfied that orders from Government Departments have been sufficiently large to make it possible for the board to make this a reasonable enterprise?

Sir W. Monckton

The orders from the Government are a matter to which we constantly give our attention, to see whether we cannot get a longer line of orders, so as to avoid constant shifting, which is difficult where men are grouped in small units, and have to be trained in fresh operations. In spite of all our efforts, the total of Government contracts in which Remploy and other sheltered workshops might share does not appear to be increasing, although it is the view of the Remploy Board that it is getting a bigger share of a smaller total of that kind of order.

One improvement has, however, been made in the course of the last year. We now have agreement with the Supply Departments that they will give to Remploy forward indications of the expected volume of goods which they will require in specified commodities. They do not give any guarantee of contracts but it does enable Remploy, who find this arrangement very useful, to manufacture for stock and delivery as required. Obviously, short-term notice of contracts is difficult to accommodate. And so we are trying to improve the position in that respect.

Mr. Edward Evans

Can the Minister give the total of sales to Government Departments?

Sir W. Monckton

The best indication I can give now is that of total sales of about £2¾ million, over one-third is from Government contracts. The figure is about 38 to 40 per cent. Sometimes it is a little higher or a little lower, but that is the present position.

Provision for the disabled has been something upon which we have been able very often to agree when we do not agree about other things, and in the light of the figures which I have explained to the House I do not believe that there is much between us now. Hon. Members are, naturally, properly anxious that the work of Remploy should be extended as soon as it is possible to do so. That is an anxiety which I share. Anything I can do to bring that time forward, I will do.

But just as, in 1949, it was found necessary to call a halt, so there are times—and this is one of them, I think—when one ought to pause and take stock before going forward again with the work. We have paused, and I have shown the House the order of the figures involved in the perspective of disabled work as a whole. We are taking stock, and it will not be long, I trust, before we can go forward, perhaps all the better for the inquiries which have been made, because the money may be spent to better use.

Mr. Percy Collick (Birkenhead)

On Merseyside there are 100 disabled men who are eligible for entry into the Remploy factory. In the Wallasey Remploy factory there are now ten vacancies. Is it not possible for the Minister to arrange for instructions to be given at least for those ten vacancies to be filled?

Sir W. Monckton

I will look into the individual case that the hon. Member has raised, but I should not want lightly to alter the position. It may be that that is an exception. I will have it considered and will let the hon. Member know.

If I have not covered all that I should like to have covered in answer to the hon. Member for Reading, it is out of mercy to the House, for this is a subject on which one could continue for a long time. I only want to say this in conclusion, and I hope the House will believe me. Even if hon. Members differ from me as to the way in which I have carried out my duties. I genuinely want to help Remploy.

7.53 p.m.

The Rev. Llywelyn Williams (Abertillery)

I am sure that all students of the social history of this nation in the post-war period would readily admit that, of all the great steps forward in social progress, none has been greater than the setting into operation of the great scheme of Remploy. It may not be the greatest project in magnitude of scope, but in greatness of vision I believe that Remploy must be regarded as the greatest of all. When one contrasts the attitude taken by pre-war Governments to the handicapped, the maimed and the injured with what has happened since the war, one is enabled to see things in their true perspective.

Life deals fairly cruel blows to a small proportion of the members of any community. No war can be waged without some people paying, in personal sacrifice and injury, a very heavy price; and what is true of war is true, although of course to a considerably lesser extent, of industry. The heavy industries have extorted a very heavy price from those engaged in them. In addition, there are those people who, through great misfortune, are handicapped from birth through some physical disability or incapacity.

We on this side of the House associate the great Remploy scheme with the names of the late Ernest Bevin and the late George Tomlinson, two great Socialist stalwarts. We are now, and always will be, very solicitous that nothing shall happen to this scheme, this great vision, which is fraught with such tremendous possibilities in the alleviation of suffering and the restoring of self-respect to so many members of the community. We certainly will be very solicitous that no cold hand of the Treasury shall in any way interfere with the possibilities of this scheme.

Since 1945, 10,000 men and women have been employed in Remploy. As the Minister stated, at varying stages during the last ten years 1,700 of those 10,000 have been able to return to jobs in open industry. All of us welcome with considerable joy the statement that this rehabilitation scheme has indeed been a rehabilitation scheme for such an appreciable percentage of the 10,000 people who have been employed in Remploy.

There are 90 factories, and a healthy variety of jobs is undertaken in them. In reply to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) on 14th July, the Minister stated that on 4th January, 1955, 6,540 disabled persons were employed in Remploy and that at 21st June the number had fallen to 6,196. I quote these words from a further reply by the Minister: I do not intend that the number of workers should fall below 6,000 during the current year."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. 14th July, 1955; Vol. 543, c. 2091.] My hon. Friend the Member for Reading (Mr. Mikardo), in one of the most moving speeches I have heard in this House, referred to his misgivings about what he thought was a tacit innuendo in that figure of 6,000 for the current year. The Minister sought to assuage those misgivings but did not do so completely. A drop of 5.5 per cent. in six months is very appreciable.

The question that occurs to me is why should the process not be reversed? Instead of speaking in terms of not letting the number fall below 6,000, why not speak in terms of expansion? Why not say, "I would hope that by the end of the year we shall have as many as 7,000 employed in Remploy"? The Minister's assertion that the numbers of the seriously disabled in Section II have come down from 7,000 to 4,000 does not in any way materially affect my argument that this figure should not be going down to a 6,000 minimum but should be soaring towards 7,000, for there are still sufficient people on the register in Section II, people who are seriously handicapped and severely disabled, who could be profitably employed in Remploy. That is the burden of our case against the Government—their restrictive policy towards Remploy.

No one on this side of the House would deny that the Minister is genuinely concerned about this great project. That may be partly explained by his own nature and the type of man he is, and also by the fact that he is quite near to this problem. It comes under his Department. He is knowledgeable about it and has probably visited many of these Remploy factories, as has his Parliamentary Secretary. But the Treasury would regard Remploy as one item amongst many hundreds of others, and its attitude would be more objective. That is why the Treasury suffers in comparison with the Ministry of Labour in any imaginative, sympathetic outlook on the whole question of Remploy, and we rightly discern the interference of the Treasury with this great, inspired and noble project.

Surely this restrictive policy on the part of the Treasury cannot be due to the fact that the quality of the manufactured goods in Remploy is poor and unsatisfactory. I am sure that if the Minister were to examine the reports of Government inspectors he would agree, and say so in the House or in some other place, that the quality of the goods turned out in these Remploy factories is excellent. My information is that, on that ground at least, there can be no justification whatsoever for any restrictive policy. I believe that sales have increased by 14 per cent. during the last year ending March, 1954, as compared with the previous year, though I think that there is considerable point in what my hon. Friend the Member for Reading said about the really unsatisfactory percentage of orders given by Government Departments.

The Minister said that it was roughly about one-third. I think that he mentioned 38 per cent. It sounds very good, but in view of the fact that this is essentially a Government project, surely we can expect a higher percentage than that. Surely there is no earthly reason why such huge purchasing Departments as some of the Government Departments could not do more to help this Remploy scheme. In addition, possibly a strongly-worded circular to local authorities might help. I am not satisfied that local authorities are doing what they should in connection with the factories.

As to productivity, together with my hon. Friend the Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. S. O. Davies) I was aghast to hear the figures given by the Minister relating to poor productivity on the part of some sections of Remploy. I know that Sir Robert Burrows used these words in his annual report: The output of the disabled employees, however, has doubled since 1950–51, and during 1953–54 stood at about £400 per man per annum. Possibly some people would approach this matter, though not publicly in the House of Commons, for obvious reasons, from the point of view of its lack of profitability. We on this side of the House must and will emphasise that this Remploy concern was never intended to be an ordinary business concern with profit and loss measured merely in terms of £ s. d. We start our approach with the axiom that one cannot weigh the imponderable and cannot calculate the incalculable. As my hon. Friend the Member for Reading said, happiness, self-respect, a sense of belonging to a community, of being able to do something for one's family are things which can never be measured in terms of financial profit and loss.

I know that the losses on paper, in figures, are seemingly alarming, but we should not be put out unduly by these considerations. In 1951 the expenditure above income, including depreciation, was £1,732,000. In 1952 it was £2,443,000. In 1953 it was £2,380,000 and in 1954 £2,521,000. The estimated loss last year is slightly less than that for the previous year, at £2,430,000.

The Minister said in reply to a Parliamentary Question I put to him on 19th April, I think it will be known to all of us that their work"— that is Remploy's— cannot be measured in that way."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 19th April, 1955; Vol. 540, c. 13.] Therefore, we must dismiss altogether this idea of Remploy being a matter of £ s. d. It is a social service and this departmental outlook of the Treasury, this thinking of communal life in terms of this and that Department, is completely irrelevant to the existing picture.

I do not see why we should not think of Remploy in terms of a hospital. Patients probably cost £5 or £6 a week to keep in hospital. [HON. MEMBERS: "Twenty pounds."] I am corrected. The figure is much larger. The same applies to institutions and social services, and we should think of Remploy in similar terms. The wages are certainly not extravagant. The standard rate is 2s. 9¾d. per hour for a 40-hour week. Surely that is not wild spending or extravagance in any sense of the words.

I should like to conclude by bringing the question into the focus of a constituency and of a community which I know very well, in which I live. We have a Remploy factory in Abertillery, and if ever industrial enterprise brought light and relief and real joy to a community that factory in Abertillery has done so. It employs 77 people. There are varying estimates of its full capacity. Some speak in terms of 150, but I think that that may be an exaggerated estimate. I am told by some authorities that the full capacity is 84.

In other words, 12 per cent. of the full complement of workers in the Remploy factory in Abertillery are still unused. But we have on the register in the Abertillery area, in Brynmawr, Blaina, Newbridge and Abertillery itself, 18 people, excluding those at Pontypool, who are still waiting, day after day, for an opportunity to have what the others have, that is self-respect, a feeling of being, in the nation, producers and citizens in the industrial sense of the word.

I know many of these people, people whom I always regarded before 1951, when the Remploy factory was set up, as being completely unable to do a day's work, as being destined to live for ever on what assistance they could obtain from State sources. It is a never-ceasing miracle to go to that factory and to see them do a useful job of work and to know that a certain life is much enriched because of its place in that factory.

I want to conclude by joining with my hon. Friend the Member for Reading in an accusation of the Government. I do not believe that the Government are being prompted to the same degree in solicitude as we on this side. We are very proud of Remploy, and we wish that the Government were equally proud. We believe their restrictive practices in this regard deserve utter condemnation. The true watchword for Remploy should he "Expand."

8.11 p.m.

Mr. John C. Bidgood (Bury and Radcliffe)

In this preliminary canter, I ask, as is customary, for the indulgence of the House. I use the term "preliminary canter" for very obvious reasons. We are tonight discussing a body of people many of whom cannot walk, least of all canter. I am quite sure that hon Members, as they knock at doors in their constituencies, must have been appalled at the number of physically handicapped people with whom they came into contact.

I am sorry to say that in my own constituency that applies, and I think this is a fitting opportunity for me to make reference to somebody who is at present incapacitated yet not through any cause we are discussing tonight. I refer to my predecessor in the representation of my constituency, Sir Walter Fletcher, who I am quite sure will be very much missed on both sides of the House.

My authority for intervening in this debate is twofold: firstly, because over a number of years I have been chairman of a voluntary organisation which deals on a county basis with the welfare of the physically handicapped; and, secondly, because there is a Remploy factory in my constituency. Hon. Members will appreciate that, in view of the fact that I have for some years had first-hand dealing with the problems of the physically handicapped, I fully realise the importance of sheltered workshops.

I should like to refer the House to a circular to disablement officers' committees of Remploy, which contains this statement by the executive director of Remploy, Ltd.: The Company has had to take the decision not to replace disabled workers leaving their employment for the time being except where production in a particular factory would be held up over labour shortage. Those who have seen this circular will know that it means virtually that Remploy is closed to admissions.

I should like also to refer to a letter which, quite by a coincidence. I received only this morning from one of my constituents. It says: However, my brother-in-law is still unemployed, and Remploy seems the only place to make him feel of use to the community. I sincerely trust you will do your utmost to help to solve Remploy's problems and so enable him again to follow a useful vocation. I am not going to discuss the relative merits or demerits of the Government's policy on Remploy. That would possibly be entering the realms of controversy, and I have no wish to do that on this occasion. But what I should like to say is this. I am fully cognisant of the wonderful work that Remploy has done for a substantial period of years.

I should like to make this point, that unfortunately, due to the normal residential character of Remploy and the doubt attending the problem of travel, the severely disabled are finding insuperable obstacles in attending Remploy, even if they have the opportunity so to do. As I have said, we have a Remploy factory in my constituency. It draws its workers from 19 different districts, and many of them have to travel seven or eight miles to and from their work. I know from my own personal experience that voluntary organisations are having the utmost difficulty in placing in Remploy factories those whose needs they know. I agree that it is laid down that Remploy should provide home employment, but I understand that only about 100 people are being provided with such employment.

There is not the slightest doubt from what has been said this evening that 6,000 people employed in 90 factories touches only the fringe of the problem of the physically handicapped. We have heard that during the years 1953–54, the Civil Estimates Committee authorised the sum of £2,280,000 in Remploy grants. This represents a subsidy of £7 6s. per worker per week after crediting the sale of the product. Each Member has his own view as to whether or not that is a good or a bad thing. Some hon. Members may deplore what they call a heavy subsidy; others may require some relationship between output and earnings; yet others may condemn this policy as not being conducive to a sense of responsibility in those employed in these factories or a maximum overcoming of individual handicaps or deformities; and yet others may feel that this is money very well spent.

There is, therefore, every conceivable shade of opinion on both sides of the House. But one particular point with which every Member of the House is in agreement is that the actual fact of disablement is not the most important thing to the person so disabled. The most important factor in the lives of the disabled is the sense of boredom, the sense of frustration, the sense of the inability to compete in the open market which each and every one of us wishes to see removed. I should like to ask the House, can we reconcile the subsidy I have already mentioned with the frustration of those unable to obtain employment with Remploy? How can we help those who are already employed with Remploy to the greatest possible production compatible with their own individual deformity, and how can we produce a spirit of achievement as distinct from one of charity? There is not the slightest doubt that few of our disabled people want charity; all they want is opportunity. So, for the next minute or two, I propose to offer the House four suggestions, none of which I recommend specifically but each of which is worthy of the consideration of hon. Members.

Firstly, would it or would it not be possible to grade pensions on assessment of disability, and thereafter pay the rate for the job? It could possibly provide an incentive to the fullest production in Remploy factories or, on the other hand, the reverse result might be achieved.

Secondly, I have already referred to the difficulties of placement due to the non-residential character of Remploy factories. Some hon. Members may think that there would be less wastage and that difficulties of placement might be overcome if substantial encouragement were given to employers for training within industry. We know that financial incentives would be required to offset the greater amount of attention, the slower rate of adaptation and the provision of special equipment. However, it is up to each and every one of us to decide in our own minds whether the Exchequer appropriation would exceed the sum now being spent in special training centres.

Thirdly, I would like to suggest to the House that local authorities should make fuller use of the residential training facilities of voluntary organisations throughout the country. They have powers to do so under Section 29 of the National Assistance Act, 1948. and also under Circular 32/51. I am rather concerned, with regard to the circular, that only 94 out of 146 local authorities have yet submitted schemes to the Minister, and of those 94 many have gone no further than to submit schemes. Some hon. Members might think that the Ministry of Labour should consider more sympathetically applications for grants in respect of sheltered workshops where residential facilities already exist.

My fourth point is that it might be wise to consider the possibility of setting up a co-ordinating committee of all Government Departments dealing with all aspects of the physically handicapped.

In conclusion, I would like to misquote a proverb: An ounce of training is worth a ton of pity. I am sure that if we, as a nation, can realise the responsibility we owe to the physically handicapped, and can give more than that ounce of training, ultimately there will be a substantial saving to the Exchequer. What is more important, we shall give to the disabled peace of mind and a spirit of independence which cannot possibly be counted in terms of £ s. d.

8.25 p.m.

Mr. Frederick Willey (Sunderland, North)

I am sure it is the wish of all hon. Members who have heard the hon. Gentleman the Member for Bury and Radcliffe (Mr. Bidgood) to congratulate him on his valuable contribution to our discussions. We recognise at the same time the record of public service which has prompted the hon. Gentleman to intervene on this occasion. If I may express a personal hope, it is that he will continue to speak in a way which gives us great comfort on these benches. The hon. Gentleman referred to his predecessor. We remember him as one of the most delightful Members of the House to whom it was always a pleasure to listen, and I am sure that the hon. Gentleman is following in his footsteps.

May I also say a kindly word about the right hon. and learned Gentleman and his Parliamentary Secretary? I have every reason personally to appreciate the interest which both of them have shown in the question we are discussing tonight. I appreciate very much their interest in Remploy and, for that reason, I appreciate the strong pressure which must have been brought to bear upon their Department to take the step which has been taken this year. If we had not had a Minister who was so personally devoted to the problem,. we would have had harsher economies than we are discussing tonight.

This is really a mean and sordid economy, and it is not to be considered alone. One of the first economies of the Tory Government in 1951 was to impose the burden of charges upon cripples getting their appliances. We protested vigorously against that. We pledged ourselves to remove the charges. We protest equally against this petty economy at the expense of the same handicapped people. I am sure that when we return to office at the next Election we shall restore Remploy to its proper place in our scheme of social services.

This is a particularly mean economy if we consider first how it is being enforced. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman were here, I am sure he would excuse my saying that he was ill at ease. He gave us a lot of irrelevancies. He talked about the loss per head. We are not concerned about that when considering the economy that is being made here. He talked about the report of the Organisation and Methods Division. We are not concerned about that report which was made subsequent to these economies.

What we are concerned about here is a reduction of the social services. We know that we had the Report of the Estimates Committee and the company endeavoured to carry out certain economies. We know equally that each disabled man is very properly a charge on the Exchequer and these economies, simply and solely, are directed to reducing the number of disabled people who are a charge upon the Exchequer. That is why I say that it is a mean and sordid economy. If I may amplify the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Reading (Mr. Mikardo), I think the purpose of the reduction of the loans for capital expenditure was for the same purpose, deliberately to enforce a restriction upon the activities of the company. It will only make things which are already difficult enough more difficult still.

Personally I would not mind if we were discussing economy in the light of the report of the Organisation and Methods Division, but we are not doing that. We are simply closing the doors of Remploy to further disabled people, and so, in that way, the Government will be pleasing the Tory back benchers who have been howling for economy in the last few years. Of course, it is proper Tory economic policy to make the weakest go to the wall first. We know that these disabled people have not the effective lobbies that other people have. They are in small numbers spread over the country.

I say this in passing about the Organisation and Methods inquiry, that I myself feel that this is the wrong form of inquiry. I mentioned this, as the Parliamentary Secretary knows, when I made a suggestion that we might have an inquiry along the lines of the Fleck inquiry into the N.C.B. I made it for this reason. I think that the nigger in the woodpile here is the Treasury. The Treasury is composed of the wrong sort of people to inquire into the possible grounds of economy of Remploy. In any case, O. & M., if they provided any service, ought to have provided the information for an independent committee on the lines of the Fleck Committee.

So far as the board is concerned, I welcome the appointment of Mr. Zealley. I had the pleasure of serving with Mr. Zealley, in an unpaid capacity, I hasten to add, on a public board. I do not know what Mr. Zealley's views are, but my views are that if we are having a public board with considerable commercial responsibility, it ought to be largely a paid full time board. We ought to get away from the idea that this is a charitable organisation and should therefore depend on voluntary help. This is largely a full-time job. I feel that in the main the board should comprise paid members.

Another thing which we have to face up to, which affects not only Remploy but other boards, is how to improve the relationship between such a board and the Government. It was for that reason that I suggested that the intervention of O. & M., although it might be helpful, was not the right sort of intervention. I think that we have a lot of unnecessary and avoidable friction through this direct relationship, often at a relatively low level, between the Treasury and the public boards. I should have hoped that we would have had, in the light of our experience regarding Remploy in the last few years, constructive proposals on making the board more highly-powered. I say in passing that I welcome the steps which are now being taken to create consultative machinery at national level. Perhaps it ought to have been done previously. At any rate we welcome it now.

The second thing I would have expected, in the light of our experience over the past few years, is that we would have had before us some results of a scientific study of the employment of disabled people in two regards: which is the best employment from the economic point of view, and, equally important, which sort of employment is most satisfactory to disabled people. I feel somewhat critical of the Select Committee on Estimate C, because I do not think that it paid sufficient regard to the primary purpose of the Remploy scheme.

I wish to say a few words too about one of the other constructive proposals made by my hon. Friend the Member for Reading. The Minister and everyone else concedes that we want long-run contracts providing some guarantee of work to this organisation. Have we all forgotten the cardinal recommendations of the Tomlinson Report? Surely we should go back to those recommendations. In a Britain with full employment, private employers may have to face the fact that some work should be carried in sheltered employment on non-competitive terms, and the workers should recognise the fact that some form of employment should be provided possibly only for people in sheltered employment. If we used Remploy in terms of full employment we should be releasing workers who are not handicapped for other work, and so be helping the national economy. I would have much preferred the Government to come along and talk in those terms.

I join with other hon. Members in saying that I would welcome the Government saying, "We have had this experience; we are now going to make proposals generally for the employment of handicapped people." I recognise at once the work done by the Piercy Committee, but the time has come when we should have a public corporation catering for the employment of handicapped workers and co-ordinating the work. I am not asking for the individual component parts of the pattern to give up their identity, but I should like the work in hospitals, in the 69 blind workshops, and in Remploy, and the work sponsored in private undertakings, to be co-ordinated so that we could be certain that the best work was being done in both senses, not only economically, but also by providing the greatest satisfaction to the disabled people.

I will conclude, as many other hon. Members have done, on a personal note. When I was seeing constituents one Saturday evening, I was asked to go downstairs. I went down and saw a poor fellow suffering from Parkinson's disease who, for that reason, was unable to climb the stairs. I am very happy to say that he obtained work at a Remploy factory, but I very much regret that if I have a similar experience I shall now have to tell my constituent that he will not obtain employment in Remploy.

This is a question not of statistics but of individuals. The right hon. and learned Gentleman has made it clear that there are still thousands of disabled people seeking work in sheltered employment. While there are any such handicapped people who are without work, it is the duty and responsibility of the country to ensure that they are provided with work, and work which is satisfying to them.

8.37 p.m.

Squadron Leader A. E. Cooper (Ilford, South)

I do not often find myself in agreement with the great majority of the words uttered by the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Mikardo), but I thought that tonight he made an uncharacteristically moderate speech with most of which I agreed. On the other hand, I imagine that the hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey), judging by his excessive use of phrases such as "mean and sordid economy," still believes that we are in an electioneering atmosphere. His taunt about the Labour Party winning the next General Election is beside the point. He should get it into his head now that it will be very many years before the Labour Party wins another General Election.

None the less, my right hon. and learned Friend should accept the fact that many of his hon. Friends are not at all happy about the situation in Remploy. I agree with much that has been said. I agree that we must look at the problem not in terms of pounds, shillings and pence but in terms of a social service, of rehabilitation, and of giving men and women an opportunity to lead a full and profitable life which would otherwise not be possible for them or which they could have only in small measure but for the existence of Remploy.

On the other hand, we ought not to exaggerate the problem. There are at present about 6,000 people employed in Remploy factories. The total number of disabled people eligible for such work under Section II is about 4,000. Not all the eligible people on unemployment registers are able to obtain employment ill Remploy factories; they may be too far away from factories, or they may be in isolated pockets of two or three. The number in that category is about 1,300. In other words, the problem that we have to consider is what is to be done with 2,700–3,000 disabled people under Section II for whom employment could be found if factories were available or opportunities existed in factories.

Sir Frederick Messer (Tottenham)

Does the hon. and gallant Member know that there is a large number, a number which is not known, of unregistered disabled people?

Squadron Leader Cooper

We have to legislate on the facts which are known and not on speculation. I am dealing with the official figures published by the Ministry of Labour. I have no knowledge of the numbers of people who are unregistered, any more than has the hon. Member for Tottenham.

The problem is: what are we to do with these 3,000 people for whom work can be found? There is no right hon. or hon. Gentleman on this side of the House who deliberately wants to adopt any cheese-paring policy because of a dislike for disabled people. I can assure the House that there is as much desire on this side of the House for improved social services as exists on the other side. I believe, in spite of the gibes coming sotto voce from the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan), that our record over the last few years justifies that statement.

At present, we require about four new factories to satisfy the requirements of Remploy. One is needed in the Liverpool area. I do not agree with the present policy of calling a halt in the expansion programme. I do agree with the hon. Member for Sunderland, North that the nigger in the woodpile is the Treasury. The Treasury is a very soulless and unfriendly organisation. It deals with pounds, shillings and pence and, in many cases, is not concerned with human lives.

Through the Minister of Labour the House must very strongly express to the Treasury its view that money must be found, that these new factories must be provided and that employment must be found for these 3,000 people who can do something worth while. To put it another way, in private industry it is now virtually impossible to find an adequate supply of labour. Supposing, as has been suggested, that these disabled men have a productivity no greater than 10 per cent., that means that we have about 300 men who can provide something for 52 weeks in the year towards the country's economy, something which is not being provided at present. I submit that in our present state of affairs we cannot afford to allow the productivity of 300 men to lie fallow.

I find it difficult to support the views put forward by some hon. Members about the way in which Government Departments and local authorities might help. It would be very wrong for Government Departments to be forced to give a definite proportion of the orders which they have to place to Remploy factories. If that policy were adopted, it is very likely that we would run into very considerable difficulties with the trade unions who are looking after people in other industries.

Mr. Collins

is not the hon. and gallant Member aware that there already exists a priority list, including Remploy and blind workshops and others, that Government Departments offer a proportion of contracts to the priority list already, and that that causes no trouble whatever?

Squadron Leader Cooper

In such circumstances the proportion is very small indeed in relation to what we are discussing. To provide work for all these people, orders running into several millions of pounds would have to be found. I believe that the hon. Member has some business experience and will know that it is almost impossible to find orders of that size.

What I submit has to be done—and it is in this respect that I think the organisation in Remploy could be considerably improved—is to give it a first-class sales organisation to sell the goods, which can be sold at competitive prices against those of private industry. I believe that that can be done, and that it is within the capacity of the existing factories to do more than is now being done.

Various Departments in the Government do very silly things in regard to this sort of organisation, and I wonder whether my right hon. and learned Friend is aware, for example, that in the past year the rents of these factories, which are under the control of the Ministry of Works, have been increased by no less than £3,000 a year, and that Remploy has been informed that in the next three years the rents of Crown property factories are to be increased by no less than £26,000.

Mr. Mikardo


Squadron Leader Cooper

I entirely agree with the hon. Member that it is idiotic to give factories substantial grants to cover a deficit and then make a substantial increase in the rents which they have to pay. It is that sort of thing which the Ministry of Labour must take into consideration when discussing this matter with other Departments that are concerned with Remploy.

We cannot sit back and allow the Treasury to dictate a policy which will curtail the activities of about 3,000 men and women whose only desire is to be given a job of work to do and to make a valid and valuable contribution to our economic prosperity. It is not just a question of pounds, shillings and pence. To give these people, who now sit at home, often eating their hearts out, as was said by one hon. Gentleman, being a burden to their families—to give them work will give them a mental, moral and psychological stimulus which will be of enormous benefit to themselves and the country as a whole.

In criticising the policy now being pursued, we must also bear in mind the very great contribution which Remploy has already made, and should not overlook the fact that in competitive industry, which is unfettered, there are more than 2,000 men and women who have been trained in Remploy factories who are now able to work side by side with their more fortunate colleagues and earn a decent wage to enable their families to live in comfort.

conclude by appealing to my right hon. and learned Friend to reconsider the position that we have reached in this matter, and to see whether it is not possible to persuade the Treasury that this policy of retrenchment, which nobody wants in this matter, shall be reversed, so that we shall continue to perform the task to which we have all set our hands in this House for many years—to look after these people who, in many cases, owe their disability to service to their country in other directions.

8.49 p.m.

Mr. Victor Collins (Shoreditch and Finsbury)

The hon. and gallant Member for Ilford, South (Squadron-Leader Cooper), having objected to the words "mean and sordid" used by my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey), allowed his own better feelings to overcome him, and proved that, in his own view, the Government would he very unkind indeed if they allowed 3,000 disabled people to go on living without any hope of employment.

The hon. and gallant Gentleman said that he did not feel that the Minister would be able to do quite so much about contracts from Government Departments as had been suggested by my hon. Friend. I do do not agree. I think that very much more can be done by Government Departments in furnishing Remploy, and, indeed, other priority organisations, with a share of Government contracts if sufficient good will and energy are displayed in the matter.

I ask the Minister to investigate in particular the methods used by Government Departments in placing their contracts with organisations like Remploy and others on the priority list. He will find that the normal procedure is that contracts go out to tender. The Government Departments find the lowest tender and then get on to Remploy or a similar organisation and offer them the work. Very often the price at which the contract is offered is not only less than the total cost of the material and wages, without overheads, but is below the cost of wages alone.

These offers are a violation of the fair wages clause, by the Government Department which is itself responsible for printing the fair wages clause on the contract. It is a most reprehensible system. I assure hon. Members that I am speaking from knowledge and experience in this matter, because it has been my lot, on behalf of the trade federation of which I am president, to go to Government Departments and protest on behalf of blind workshops at this very practice.

It is utterly useless for the right hon. and learned Gentleman to have to face the criticism of committees because Remploy is uneconomic, when other Departments in the Administration are endeavouring to contribute to that situation. I assure the hon. and gallant Member for Ilford, South that I am speaking as an ordinary employer when I say that there is no objection on our part to organisations on the priority list getting a far larger slice of Government contracts.

The hon. and gallant Member was good enough to say that I had had experience of business. Most of my business life has been passed in the basket-making industry, which, unfortunately for me, is regarded by everyone as the prime favourite for handicapped workers. For the last 23 years I have been president of the employers' federation of this industry, and the workshops for the blind are members of my federation. I have thus had considerable experience of working with handicapped people and, in particular, with blind workers.

I regret the tendency in this debate almost tacitly to assume that the return of output per worker in Remploy is at anything like a reasonable distance from that of other people. In making baskets almost the only prime essentials are a good pair of arms and hands. Of course, sight is a very great additional advantage if you can have it. We find that the relationship between blind workers and sighted workers in our industry is that the sighted worker turns out, on the average, three times as much work as the blind worker. In Remploy, I understand that the average is about one-sixth. That is not good enough.

I was interested to hear what the Minister said about one-fifth of Remploy workers having only 10 per cent. of the output of normal workers. It happened that I had occasion, some time ago, to discuss with representatives of Remploy the output of a small section of one of the factories which they wanted to send out regularly. It was the output of 15 workers. When we came to discuss the matter, the output was only the equivalent of two ordinary workers, which con firms what the Minister said. It is nothing like good enough.

We ought to be considering this question of Remploy in an altogether broader way. We have built up conditions in which blind people have a special place. No one wants to take anything from them. Blindness is a terrible affliction, but there are other afflictions which, in many respects, are equally bad. All handicapped people should have the same opportunities, the same support, the same facilities as we have been able to give to blind workers. I refer to the severely handicapped people, the spastics, the epileptics, and so on. I believe that Remploy should be developed into an organisation catering for all except the blind. I believe, too, that these figures which have been mentioned are completely false when we consider the very large cost of training.

In an intervention, I mentioned to the Minister an intake of about 1,400 people in one year, of whom only about 300 remained in the organisation at the end of the year. It is true that several hundreds had gone into open industry. That is a tremendous dividend. It cannot be regarded in cash terms, but it is the finest dividend of all. The Remploy report quotes the case of a man sitting in a chair for fifteen years, until one day he heard of Remploy. He does not sit there any longer. He is out working in the factory, doing a useful job.

There are 6,000 such people in those factories today, and there could be many more. All it really wants is the good will and the finance of the Government. It wants not only the good will of the Minister and of his Parliamentary Secretary—we know that is there—but somehow that side of the House has to move the Treasury sufficiently to see that the wherewithal is provided.

I began my remarks by saying that I do not accept for one moment that the output of the men in Remploy is anything like as good as it should be. Hon. Members who come to my small factory see several self-propelling carriages lined up. They belong to people who have come to us in the ordinary way, through the employment exchange and knowing nothing. We have to pay our way—we are not complete philanthropists—but it has served our purpose to train those people. Some of them have perhaps a body and arms but very little else, but I can assure the House that today they are competing on level terms with, and earning wages equal to those of, 100 per cent. fit men. If that can be done in an ordinary commercial organisation—on a small scale, I admit—then I say that it can be done very much better than it is at present by an organisation such as Remploy.

With a proper balance of factors, most physically-handicapped people can be economically employed. What we need is a medical industrial rehabilitation, a medical assessment, a real study of the needs of people related to their own capabilities. If we had that there could be a far greater intake into Remploy and a far greater number of trained people going into open industry. Remploy should be regarded as a training unit for those people to go out into industry—something quite separate from its function as a training unit for its own industrial and factory purposes.

When, as he eventually will, the Minister considers the report of the committee, I hope he will find out just how much of Remploy's expenses go to training and credit it with that—and credit it, too, with what goes out in trained labour, able to take its full part in the world in open competition. The Minister will know of the little organisation called Michael Works, Ltd., which started in 1946 and lasted for three years. It had only 60 places. It only took people considered to be economically unemployable, but in three years it turned out 212 fully-trained people who are now in open industry and 98 per cent. of them are still in employment.

That organisation found itself in difficulties because of lack of capital, but its dividends in human happiness were tremendous. The organisation, or what was left of it, was taken over by Remploy, but, unfortunately, not with quite the same spirit. It may be that the intention was there, but certainly not the method which had animated the smaller organisation. I hope that spirit can be recaptured and that it will animate the Minister so that he can animate the Chancellor to provide, first, the wherewithal and, secondly, the method.

The Minister cannot deny, following the statement of the chairman of Remploy, that the intake has been halted through lack of funds. That is a blot on the Government's administration which no words can wipe away. Only action can wipe it away. I hope that the Parliamentary Secretary will tell us tonight that the funds will be provided and that when the new chairman takes over he will be given the wherewithal to do the job, the good will and the full backing of the Government; and that we shall be able to build up an organisation for all the disabled people of this country of which the whole nation can be proud.

9.2 p.m.

Sir Ian Fraser (Morecambe and Lonsdale)

I listened to the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Mikardo) and I thought he was so anxious to make a case that he was somewhat unfair. He suggested that if we are not willing to build more Remploy factories or spend more money on Remploy we must necessarily be mean—that was the word he used—and unkind to disabled people. None of us would like to be charged with that.

I venture to think that the case suggested by the Motion put down by right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite is misconceived. It must not be assumed that the only thing to do for disabled persons is to place them in a Remploy factory. I have the greatest regard for my right hon. and learned Friend the Minister of Labour, and I am quite certain that he would not lend himself to any mean practice. I have the greatest regard, too, for another friend of mine who used to be in the House—Sir Brunel Cohen, who, I understand is to be chairman of the group of factories for this year. I take note of what he tells me, but, in spite of his advice, which I value, I feel bound to place before the House my own very long experience in this matter.

I do not consider that it is always or necessarily best to invite disabled persons to enter sheltered factories or sheltered employment. Some persons are wholly incapable of employment in open industry but are still capable of employment in sheltered factories or under special conditions, and such cases may justify workshops exclusively designed for them, but I think the value of special sheltered factories has been greatly exaggerated out of sentiment and sympathy for the disabled.

Indeed, I go as far as to say that wherever and whenever it is possible to place a disabled person with an ordinary employer in competitive work, alongside normal workmen, then it is a crime if, instead of doing that, we place him in a sheltered factory. Persons in sheltered factories become introspective. The very fact that they are among people 80 or 90 per cent. of whom are similarly disabled is, I think, a handicap to them and not an advantage.

May I substantiate these views, which seem to be in dissonance with views expressed by many in this House, from my personal experience? I have been intimately and directly connected with the livelihood and well-being of some few thousand persons blinded in the two world wars. If I may be allowed to say so, they are my proteges and my friends. St. Dunstan's, the organisation which cares for them, has great resources and great experience. It would be quite easy for us to establish sheltered workshops here and there if we thought that was the right thing to do, but we do not. We have trained our men to work in factories and in commercial enterprises on their own account, and we have no blinded soldiers working in sheltered factories.

We have not taken advantage of the traditional system in the blind world in which blind persons go into what are called workshops for the blind. We have not taken advantage of Remploy. For the majority of these men who are not now too old or retired but in the prime of their life, we have found employment on their account or in other people's factories. If a blinded soldier can work in a factory where he is the only one who is disabled, or possibly there are only two or three out of 100, he is infinitely better off than if he works in a sheltered workshop where he is one among many. Without making too many concessions to his disability, his fellow workmen, the foreman and shop steward, as well as the manager and employer, will see that he gets work suitable for him.

I believe that to be not only the right way, the best way, for the nation to deal with this problem, but by far the best way for the disabled person himself. He is much happier working in open industry. I would say that any scores of thousands of pounds or any hundreds of thousands of pounds that the Ministry of Labour can spend in the business of settling and placing disabled persons in open industry would be infinitely more worth while to them than the same number of pounds spent in building secluded special factories for them to work in.

May I come to the heart of the matter by taking the most difficult case of all? I am told that we must have secluded factories in order that we may provide employment for epileptic persons. I should say that scores of thousands of pounds or even hundreds of thousands of pounds should be spent in educating the trades unions and employers to believe that many epileptic persons can do 90 per cent. of a man's full work and are affected only from time to time, and then for a very short time, by their disability. If we could spend the money persuading people that these persons are very nearly normal, we would do much better than by building special factories in which to segregate them and make quite certain that they are not normal.

I have chosen the most difficult case, which is said to be one which we must place apart. I do not think it good for disabled persons to be placed apart. They are not so happy, so well employed or helped, and they do not contribute so much to the well-being of the nation. I will believe that sympathy among hon. Members opposite has led to this Motion, but that it is misplaced. It would be far better were the Ministry of Labour to see what could be done to place increasing numbers of disabled persons in open industry relying on the benevolent and kindly help of employers. In my view, it is far better that Government and philanthropy should spend their money and give their thought to trying to persuade employers and trade unions to take enormous trouble about each case and to try to place it rather than send it away to a special place. That is like sending people away out of life itself.

I would say to the mining industry, "Do not assume that you can escape your responsibility if a man is hurt in the mines by sending him off to the State to employ him in Remploy. What you should do is to use all the ability and ingenuity in your union and all the good will of the Coal Board to find him a job in the surroundings to which he is accustomed, amongst the people whom he knows and amongst the companions of his life's work."

I do not honestly believe that the solution is segregation. On the contrary, wherever it is possible to place a person in ordinary industry by an exercise of special skill, special powers of persuasion or special good will, that person and the nation are being done a good turn.

In the light of these remarks, I do not think that the criticism of the Government—that they have not been willing at this stage to increase Remploy—is a fair one. There is a place for a system like Remploy just as there is a place in the blind world for Workshops for the Blind. But let me observe, in passing, that whereas in the past the only employment for the blind was in special workshops, at this date more blind persons are employed in open industry than in blind workshops—and rightly so; and they are the happier elements.

I therefore say that although I am sure that this criticism, especially as it is sponsored by the Leader of the Opposition, himself an ex-Service man and one whose view in this matter I greatly admire, is sincere and sympathetic, I am certain that it is misplaced and that the House would do better to encourage the Ministry to carry on with this good work on a modest scale but to spend any money it has to spare in getting the disabled back into normal life.

9.13 p.m.

Mr. Aneurin Bevan (Ebbw Vale)

I thought it proper, and I hope that hon. Members will agree with me, to rise at the last possible moment in order to give as many hon. Members as possible an opportunity to speak. I know that in that I am supported by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour. Therefore, I must hurry to say what I have to say in the few minutes that are at my disposal.

I should like to reply for a moment or two to what has been said by the hon. Member for Morecambe and Lonsdale (Sir I. Fraser). The great difficulty about his speech is that I think it is rather misplaced. The hon. Member speaks upon this subject with almost unrivalled authority, but on this occasion he appears to have missed the goal. What he said has been taken up many years ago.

I remember, for example, that in 1946 or 1947 my right hon. Friend the Member for Southwark (Mr. Isaacs), then Minister of Labour, and I addressed the conference in Tavistock House of employers and medical authorities, when we called for and received a very great deal of co-operation in making a job analysis in order to place in open employment a large number of men, particularly those who had been injured in the war. But we are dealing here with a different sort of problem.

I thought that the hon. Member for Morecambe and Lonsdale might have recognised that one of the great claims made by Remploy is that it has already trained a large number of people to work in open employment. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Yes, but Remploy must be given the credit for that, because it has been a sort of training escalator which has taken handicapped people from their homes and trained them to the point where they can be efficiently employed in open industry. To that extent Remploy has lost the services of efficient workmen, but private enterprise has gained. It is no use arguing that there is no case at all for Remploy. Even the Minister would not argue that.

Sir L Fraser

Nor did I.

Mr. Bevan

But the hon. Member wanted to do so on a diminished scale. If Remploy is to be even further diminished, I am afraid that the hon. Member will carry very few people with him from any side of the House.

To speak in a debate on a subject of this kind is peculiarly difficult. All of us in the House are influenced by personal contacts, and to some extent we sometimes blur the main issues that have to be discussed. For example, I confess to having feelings of personal friendship and regard for the Minister of Labour, and I find it, therefore, very difficult to knock him about. I have to choose between this unusually benevolent feeling on my part and the adjuration which I have just received in a form of a letter from a handicapped person. He is 50 per cent. handicapped and has been trained, but he cannot obtain a job at Remploy and is being kept by his wife, who is a nurse.

He writes: I will close hoping you knock hell out of those complacent Tories and all those who draw fat pay packets pretending to look after the cripples' welfare. Yours to a cinder … The House will see, therefore, that I am in the unhappy position of being torn between the Scylla and the Charybdis of my own benevolence towards the Minister and my desire to win the approval of the writer of that letter.

This is a comparatively narrow field and hon. Members have exposed it to almost its full extent. It may be rather wider than the Minister suggested. He told us that he thought that perhaps there were about 4,000 handicapped people in Great Britain who could work only in sheltered occupations. Many of my hon. Friends take the view that the register would be much larger if there were more prospect of work. We cannot tell. Our experience has taught us in the last ten years that there is always a much larger number of forgotten citizens in these kind of categories than we know about.

I remember, for example, that when I was collecting statistics at the Ministry of Health to determine how many aural aids might be required, we had a figure of about 100,000 but it is going up to 150,000, to 200,000, and to 250,000. In certain grades of society there is a large number of poor, sick, weak and helpless people who crawl into the light when they think that there is a chance of getting warm, but until they think that there is a chance they remain in the darkness. Therefore, we do not know how many people there are at the moment, but we are being asked to accept statistics, the figures that are known, and not to deal in imponderables.

Suppose we take the Minister's own figure—4,000, of which perhaps 2,000 or 3,000 would be capable of receiving advantage from sheltered occupation. I think that that is a reasonable figure. Any hon. Member in any part of the House can challenge it if he wishes.

Squadron Leader Cooper

That is roughly the figure I gave.

Mr. Bevan

That is the figure that the hon. and gallant Member gave and I believe that the Minister said that it was 3,000. We do not know.

But is it not a reproach on the present Administration that we do not know? We have all kinds of market surveys. We have the most refined organisation for finding out what people believe about certain things, and indeed the Government's own activities are based from time to time on market surveys. Surely it would have been quite easy long ago to have made a complete analysis of the small number of people to find out how many of them would be able to benefit by sheltered occupation. The Minister should know it. I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will be able to tell us, because if he is, then one certain fact at once emerges, that we are not here dealing with a problem which would be a bottomless pit of public expenditure.

We have always been warned from the other side of the House that we on this side were inclined to be too sentimental and careless about public expenditure on the social services. We have been told by many eminent persons in the medical profession that it would be possible to spend many more hundreds of millions of pounds on serving the sick people without getting a corresponding advantage either to them or the nation. With a great deal of that criticism I am sympathetic, because obviously there must he financial limits to what any society can spend on any particular kind of social service.

We are not face to face here with the unplumbable, the unknowable, the unpredictable. We are not faced with a Chancellor of the Exchequer who has to defend himself against importunate Ministers because he would not know when the end would be reached to their requests. Here, the position is quite clear. The Minister himself said how clear it was. We are here dealing with the fact that employment in Remploy factories has been stabilised at 6,000 when there are still a proportion of 4,000 who could benefit by employment in those factories. Does any hon. Member opposite deny that? Does the Minister deny it?

What, then, has stopped the employment? I want to know from the Minister why is it that after six years the development of Remploy has been stopped at 6,000. It really is rather unforgivable, because what we have done actually is break faith with broken ex-Service men. We have done it, too, in the most frivolous way. We have not done it because huge sums of money are involved. We have done it wantonly and frivolously, and the Government must accept the responsibility.

The Minister suggested in the course of his speech that we, on our part, had to call a halt in 1949 to the development of this service for what he hinted were reasons of national economic crisis. But that is not quite correct. If he looks at the figures he will see that in the very year about which he spoke the number of factories jumped from 47 to 73, the biggest leap of all. I will give the figures, because we must remember that here was a new and developing service which was called into existence for two main reasons: first, the awakened national conscience which forced us to give assistance to weak people who had been formerly neglected; and, secondly, because it was expected that the war would produce far larger numbers of injured people than, fortunately, was ever the case. So the Ministry of Labour formed the estimate of 132 factories. From 1947 onwards they were being built at the rate of, in 1947, 6; in 1948, 15; in 1949, 47; in 1950, 73; in 1951, 86; in 1952, 91; in 1953, 90; and, today, 90.

When the Administration opposite came into office they stopped the construction of further factories in Class II with the knowledge that, on the Minister's own admission, there were still 4,000 people who could benefit, of whom, on the showing of past history, at least 1,000 would have graduated through Remploy into open employment.

Why has the figure been reduced? The Minister did not give the explanation, but we know it. The explanation is that the Minister lost the tug-of-war with the Treasury. The Minister is a very skilful lawyer. If there is anything to be extracted from a case, he will extract it. He is much more skilful in the arts of advocacy than I am and, if his case is threadbare, it is not because he could not knit it closer but because the threads are too wide apart.

The Minister lost the argument with the Treasury but, nevertheless, the right hon. and learned Gentleman is not so innocent a politician as sometimes people think he is. He is one who believes that virtue ought to be reinforced by guile and he had an argument with the Chancellor of the Exchequer that I can easily conjure up in my mind. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said to him, "Look here, Walter, I want to have a reduction in this cost. I am asking everybody else to make his contribution. What contribution are you going to make?" In my experience Chancellors of the Exchequer act as though there is a democracy among facts and that everybody ought to make a contribution when sacrifices are needed, including the cripples. Why, was it not the same Chancellor of the Exchequer who, for the sake of only £95,000 last year, put 50 per cent. charges on cripples? And all that hon. Gentlemen opposite got for that miserable, sordid, squalid, mean operation was £95,000.

It is true, of course, that hon. Gentlemen opposite can now sit back. They have a majority. Unfortunately, the cripples are in a minority. If the cripples were in a majority, hon. Gentlemen would not be opposite. But, of course, the political morality of the party opposite is so high that they can easily exploit the cripples because they are few. So the Government put £95,000 a year on cripples, people injured in industry. Tomorrow we shall be discussing the recruitment of men into the coal mines, and hon. Gentlemen opposite encourage people to get hurt in the mines but refuse them employment in Remploy if they are injured and put a 50 per cent. charge on an artificial appliance if they are injured in the pits. So hon. Gentlemen must not, when they discuss the social services, imagine that they have a case which will stand up, because it will not. It is a poor one.

Again, why was 6,000 decided upon? There is an excellent reason. It was because 6,000 was the figure we reached and, therefore, in their discussions with each other the Minister of Labour probably said to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, "Look here, Rab, I cannot go to the House of Commons and defend a smaller figure in Remploy than the Labour people got." So it stuck at 6,000. There is no other conceivable explanation. There is nothing sacrosanct about 6,000, except that we achieved it in the years when we were building up again, when there were great difficulties, as hon. Members on this side of the House know, when there was a temporary halt in the building up of Remploy factories. It was occasioned by the fact that we ran out of trained personnel and they had to be built up before we could expand further.

Therefore, for a while we had to halt, but we took the leap in those years. Ever since the party opposite has been in power, the number of factories has been reduced. It has been said by the Minister that a proportion—although he did not tell us the proportion—of the 4,000 with which we are dealing are capable of only 10 per cent. of the production of a normal worker. He does not tell us what proportion of them are capable of only 10 per cent., because he has not found out. He does not want to find out because, if he did, he could not defend his feelings against the revelation. So he remains in ignorance of the fact. It obviously is not much more than a very small percentage, and, therefore, it seems to us on this side of the House that the Government have failed to make a case at all from the very beginning.

Why is it that we attach very great importance to this matter? There is, first, the human side. I think that hon. Members on the other side sometimes do not recognise that many of these social services have come into existence not only because the conscience of society will no longer stand the suffering that formerly occurred, but because there have been profound changes in the structure of the family over the last few generations. The specialisation of modern industry has broken up the family. Until now it has been a comparatively small unit. In past societies the crippled or sick members of the family could be looked after by the larger group which the family represented, and social services in those days were not as necessary as they are now because the family provided a sort of raft. A man or woman was safe because he or she was supported by the family.

Now the family is much smaller and, therefore, society has to take the place of the larger family group. That is a very profound reason why the social services have to be built up. It is not merely a consequence of the creeping paralysis of Socialism, such as the right hon. Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill) once described it, but because we have to adapt our institutions to the changed pattern of social organisation. That is why we are, in a very special sense, the guardians of these handicapped people and have to come to their rescue.

I do not need to tell hon. Members in any part of the House that in this balance sheet which we are being asked to consider a very large number of items are always left out. For example, the Minister of Labour can form no estimate at all of the cost to the social services by reason of the fact that these handicapped people are not being rehabilitated. When they are left to their own resources, they decline; they become depressed; they become introspective; they very often develop all sorts of mental disorders and become permanent charges on the other social services. That figure is not in the balance sheet at all.

That is the sort of myopic way in which the Treasury always reasons. If it cannot give a precise figure, then, of course, the figure does not exist at all, and the result is that expenditure on the other social services mounts up, but because it cannot be attributed to Treasury neglect in another respect no attention is paid to it. So we are pleading here that not only is this is a human activity which we are asking to be expanded, but that it is also a sensible one. It is in the national interest that these people should be trained and be able to make their contribution to society as a whole.

I seriously suggest to the Minister—I believe that in this matter I speak for the conscience of each hon. Member if he were able to express it freely this evening without having to consider the party Whips—that this is a mean and miserable business which no one would really want to defend. If hon. Gentlemen opposite want to pass a vote of thanks to their right hon. and learned Friend for the work that he has done, the best thing for them to do would be to go privately to the Treasury and say, "Look here, Rab. You have gone too far. This is something that we cannot defend. For goodness' sake, put your hand in your pocket and find the additional £1 million which is necessary to bring light, hope and succour into the homes of between 2,000 and 3,000 cripples in Great Britain."

9.36 p.m.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour and National Service (Mr. Harold Watkinson)

I should like, first, to say that there was, of course, no need for right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite to table their Motion. In respect of the desire of my right hon. and learned Friend and myself to have a debate on Remploy, they are knocking at an open door. It is well known to hon. Members such as the right hon. Member for Blyth (Mr. Robens) and the hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. F. Willey), who have taken a continuing interest in the subject, that we have never said we feared or wanted to avoid a debate in the House. Indeed, I think it a very good thing for Remploy, and probably a very good thing for its future, that it should occasionally be discussed in this House.

Neither my right hon. and learned Friend nor I has any objection at all to any criticism made by hon. Members on either side of the House in the course of doing their duty. I am sure that the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) and I are in agreement when say that sympathy is a generous emotion and there is nothing wrong with hon. Members on either side of the House asking the Government to try to do more for these individuals, because they deserve, and have, everybody's sympathy. Therefore, if the right hon. Gentleman had knocked a lot more hell out of us than he has, we should not have minded. We should have said that it was a very good case.

Mr. Bevan

Then give us the money.

Mr. Watkinson

Before we come to the money we had better deal with a few facts. I am not going to weary the House with a lot of statistics. This is a human problem. Where we differ from right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite is not in our interpretation of the desires of the Treasury, for example. I know the views of the right hon. Gentleman about all Chancellors, including his own; they have always been quite plain. The difference between us lies in what we are really trying to do for the disabled people. I want to look at the matter in that light.

I must first correct one thing. The right hon. Gentleman said categorically that when he and his right hon. and hon. Friends were in office they reached an employment figure of 6,000 in Remploy. That is not so. We all make mistakes, but I must correct that one.

Mr. Bevan

Let me read out the figures. In 1951–52, 1952 being the year in which the figures for 1951–52 were recorded, the figure was 6,003.

Mr. Watkinson

No, that is not the figure as I am advised, and I have most carefully checked it.

Mr. Bevan

That is a Press statement issued by Remploy.

Mr. Watkinson

I have the figures in my Department. As a matter of fact, in the year when the right hon. Gentleman was responsible for Remploy his figure was a thousand less than the minimum figure to which we are committed at the moment. I do not want to press that point; I do not want to go into statistical comparisons, because they are very arid. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] If we do, they are entirely on our side, because the pure statistics of the case go 100 per cent. to show that under my right hon. and learned Friend Remploy has done better for the employment of the disabled than it ever did in the years when the Socialists were in office.

I do not want to pursue that line, because I think that the sense of the House, or I hope that the sense of the House, is to see what we can best do with Remploy in the future so that it helps the disabled as much as it possibly can. That is why I consider while we welcome the debate and the criticism, that the Motion is both incorrect in its facts and quite unnecessary. If right hon. Gentlemen opposite are proposing to divide the House on this Motion, then it is a great pity that we have dragged Remploy into the political arena. It would have been far better to have made our points and to have tried to work together to do better for the disabled.

Let us come to some of the facts, and let us look first at what we are really trying to do. Before doing that, I should just like to say that the contributions to the debate have been very helpful and constructive. There are two hon. Members in particular whose speeches I should like to mention. One is the hon. Member for Shoreditch and Finsbury (Mr. Collins), who has a great experience with the disabled and who was kind enough to come and see me some time ago and give me the benefit of that experience. We shall most carefully take into account what he and other hon. Members have said.

I must also mention the maiden speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Bury and Radcliffe (Mr. Bidgood). We all know his interest and his great work for the disabled in his own area, and he was very wise to pick this occasion to give the House the benefit of his great experience and of his obviously great sympathy with the disabled. I know we all listened with great interest to what he had to say, particularly to his detailed points, like the difficulties of travel and so on, which we will undertake to consider most carefully. We look forward to hearing further contributions from him as able, as I am sure they will be, as the one he has made today.

I first want to deal with what we are trying to do in Remploy. The right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale made a very fair and proper point when he mentioned the great work that Remploy has done, and I am very glad that he gave them credit for "graduating" disabled people so that they could go on to wider employment in general industry. There are nearly a million disabled people today in ordinary employment, in ordinary factories, doing ordinary jobs, and jolly good luck to them.

That brings me to the point which the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Mikardo) raised. He said we wanted to give a feeling of normality, to take people from their homes and let them feel, quite rightly, that they were doing decent jobs. Is that not the very reason why Remploy must be reasonably efficient? I do not mean efficient in the economic sense. Men must go to Remploy to do a proper job. They must be made to feel they are doing something worth while. Otherwise it is probably as bad as to put a man in a factory and make him make boxes and knock them to pieces again. I am not saying that is the kind of thing done in Remploy. It is the sort of thing we must guard against.

That is where we come to some of the difficulties, and the right hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends are certainly not in line with a quite recent Select Committee on Estimates under the chairmanship of the hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu). I do not want to pursue this very far, but that Select Committee dealt with the Estimates in 1952–53 and noted with approval that the Remploy estimate for the year was reduced to £2,150,000.

I must quote these words: …it remains their opinion that the consideration of the undoubted and unquestioned value of the work which the company is doing for the permanently disabled has to a certain extent been allowed to overshadow the need for the most careful economy. They consider that considerable reorganisation of the management of the company is now imperative. That is what a Select Committee of this House said quite recently.

Mr. Bevan

So what?

Mr. Watkinson

The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ebbw Vale says "So what?" The "So what?" of it is this. That was the beginning of this examination of the structure of Remploy which led us to believe that until some changes could take place, we must put a quite temporary stop on any increase in its numbers. That was the beginning of the story.

Let us take another example. The hon. Member for Reading quite rightly and fairly said that he was very interested in the employment of fit people in Remploy, and he is naturally interested through his own trade union. One of the difficulties we got into—and I do not blame the board of Remploy for it—arose when they were trying to employ more disabled people, which is what they should be doing. In March, 1953, they had 2,000 fit people—in other words, a number equal to 33 per cent. of the total of disabled employees were fit—and in April, 1954, it had gone up to no less than 40 per cent., because there were 2,400 fit people to 6,300 disabled people. The picture was getting completely unbalanced.

The second reason is that hon. Gentlemen interested in the Remploy scheme considered quite rightly that we ought to reduce the numbers of fit people to the present figure of 2,100, which I think is still very high, in an attempt to try to reduce the overheads so that more disabled people could be employed.

That is one of the reasons why we thought that a study of Remploy was necessary. The first reason was the Report of a Select Committee of this House, and the second reason—and this has nothing to do with the Treasury—was that it appeared to us that, quite genuinely and with the best of methods and hopes, the company was employing far too many fit people and not nearly enough disabled people.

One of the things that I want to do particularly is to see if we could not use more disabled people in the supervisory and executive jobs, because after all they are just as happy doing that job as anything else. That was one of the reasons why two of our own people were loaned to Remploy and the reason why Remploy asked for the Organisation and Methods Division of the Treasury to carry out this survey.

There is another point here to rebut this constantly reiterated charge from hon. Members that in some way or another the Treasury has a sort of—

Mr. Bevan

Before the hon. Gentleman leaves the other point, as this is a very important matter, may I put one question to him? If, therefore, the examination shows that the defects can be remedied and the balance put right, we have an assurance that the numbers will be increased?

Mr. Watkinson

Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will allow me to make my own speech. I shall answer his point. I did not interrupt the right hon. Gentleman, and we have all tried to keep our speeches as short as we could. I will come to the point.

I said there were two reasons. The second thing I want to say about the Organisation and Methods inquiry is that, while this report is made to the board of Remploy, and therefore it is not our document, as the Minister said, the board is to discuss the matter with my right hon. and learned Friend this week, and I think it is only fair to tell the House, as so much has been said to try to make the Treasury the villain of the piece, that this is a very sympathetic and sensible report, on which I think we can build in the future.

One of the reasons why I think it will be a very great pity if hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite press this Motion to a Division, and I hope they will not, is that this is a purely temporary phase, a purely temporary stop while this necessary measure of reorganisation and looking ahead was carried out in the interests of the employees of Remploy themselves.

Mr. Mikardo

Surely the hon. Gentleman is not really trying to persuade the House that it was impossible to conduct a management reorganisation in a company with 6,500 employees, and that, in order to conduct that investigation and reorganisation, they had to reduce the pay roll from 6,500 to 6,000? Nobody will believe that.

Mr. Watkinson

I am trying to make my own speech, and I shall continue to do it. The hon. Gentleman knows very well that the 6,000 people are in 90 different factories. If he says that we have made no effort towards reorganisation, let me remind him that we made an effort to which he very much objected when we got rid of a number of fit people. He and his union made a lot of unnecessary publicity about it, which considerably embarrassed the board of Remploy in its task of getting on with the job. That was all the thanks it got from hon. Gentlemen opposite in trying to do that particular job.

What we have to do, and what we are going to do, is to try to look at Remploy in this wider aspect. As my right hon. and learned Friend pointed out, if we look at the picture fairly we see what has happened. Since 1946, the number of disabled people available for employment in Remploy has decreased to one-third of what it then was. In the same time, the number of people employed in Remploy has gone up from 500 to 6,100 at the moment. Several hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite have talked about a permanent stop on recruitment. Of course, it is nothing of the sort. I have said that this was a temporary phase.

We clearly stand by what my right hon. and learned Friend said, that the numbers will not be allowed to go under 6,000, even during this temporary period while we are conducting the most expert examination that we can achieve. That must mean that very shortly we shall start recruiting again, and we must do so. This will be done as soon as the company gets anywhere near the figure of 6,000. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why 6,000?"] Because that is the figure which we have decided is about the best at which to get the present organisation running reasonably economically while we look at the practical organisation, as we are now doing, and while the new, reconstituted board is making its own plans for the future, is considering the Organisation and Methods Report and is generally looking again at the whole picture of Remploy in the rather different circumstances.

We are looking at Remploy in different circumstances today, circumstances in which there are far fewer disabled people, whatever the number may be. I do not think any hon. Member denies that there are far fewer disabled candidates for Remploy than there ever were before. No hon. Member can deny, equally, that Remploy is employing more people than ever in its history, except for the very short period when it ran up to 6,500. I have every hope that we shall get back to that figure again.

Let me add this. The right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale said and made a lot of play with the fact that we were not looking to the future or trying to find out the real position. I am very glad to tell him and the House that earlier this year, before the argument about Remploy started at all, we put in hand a review to find the national requirement of new Remploy factories, based on the number of unemployed disabled persons, in the new conditions.

Mr. Edward Evans

How can the Minister possibly know the number of totally disabled persons eligible for Remploy when the provision of the National Assistance Board dealing with disabled persons is not mandatory, and until we have compulsory registration of disabled persons?

Mr. Watkinson

That is why we are conducting this survey through our own officers who know the local conditions. I was going on to tell the House that the position in five regions of my Ministry has been examined. They are the Northern, the East and West Ridings, the North Midland, the North-Western and Scotland. We have others in hand. In these regions there are, of course, some pockets of severely disabled unemployed which obviously could be met only by new factories. Perhaps the House might like to have some figures. The review has so far shown that in the recruiting areas covered by the 53 Remploy factories in these regions, which are the only ones covered in the review, there are about 1,700 severely disabled persons unemployed. In some areas, for example, in Glasgow, Tyneside and Merseyside, the numbers appear to be sufficient to justify the setting up of an additional Remploy factory. There are other areas which we have to examine.

I am giving these facts to show that we have not been sitting still and writing off Remploy as a dead or dying concern, but are planning for the future on logical, practical grounds which, we think, give much better hope for the future of the men working in Remploy than if we proceeded in a slap-happy way hoping that somehow sometime one will make ends meet at the end of the year. I do not think that that attitude is much of a tribute to the past pioneers who built this great concern. I am sure that they built in the hope that it would become a reasonably efficient organisation.

Of course, it will always lose money. Whether it is £8 or £6 per head probably does not matter very much, although if it could come down to £6 per head—which is about the average wage at the moment—it would be a more logical figure. That was, I believe, the figure when the right hon. Gentleman was responsible. But honestly, I do not think the money matters in this, and I do honestly say to the right hon. Gentleman and to hon. Gentlemen that what has been before us is not the Treasury but the fact that we felt—and I am not criticising the board—that Remploy had got out of balance. It contained too many fit men and the sales policy was not entirely right.

The grouping of factories makes things very difficult. For instance, 50 per cent. are employed on the making of furniture. We cannot go to Government Departments for orders as much as we should like, because they cannot give us as much work as we should like. These are practical problems. We have a new board and we have a sympathetic report from the Treasury O. and M. Division,

which the board will discuss with us next week. The new chairman, vice-chairman and others will have new ideas. If those new ideas cost more money we will give them sympathetic consideration, and we will start recruitment at the end of the year.

In my view, Remploy is being fairly and properly dealt with in the interests of the disabled, and our policy is fair and right. On those grounds, I hope that the Opposition will not press the Motion, but if it does, I most certainly advise my hon. Friends and, indeed, the whole House to reject it as being quite unnecessary in the present circumstances.

Question put:—

The House divided: Ayes 220, Noes 268.

Division No. 26.] AYES [9.58 p.m.
Ainsley, J. W. Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Johnson, James (Rugby)
Albu, A. H. Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse) Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)
Allaun, F. (Salford, E.) Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Jones, David (The Hartlepools)
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Jones, Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)
Awbery, S. S. Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) Jones, Jack (Rotherham)
Bacon, Miss Alice Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)
Baird, J. Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)
Balfour, A. Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury) Kenyon, C.
Bartley, P. Fernyhough, E. Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Flenburgh, W. King, Dr. H. M.
Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.) Finch, H. J. Lawson, G. M.
Benson, G. Fletcher, Eric Ledger, R. J.
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) Forman, J. C. Lee, Frederick (Newton)
Blackburn, F. Freeman, Peter Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)
Blenkinsop, A. Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)
Blyton, W. R. Gibson, C. W. Lindgren, G. S.
Boardman, H. Gooch, E. G. Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Greenwood, Anthony Logan, D. C.
Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.) Grey, C. F. MacColl, J. E.
Bowles, F. G. Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Mcinnes, J.
Boyd, T. C. Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) McKay, John (Wallsend)
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Griffiths, William (Exchange) McLeavy, F.
Brockway, A. F. Hale, Leslie MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Mahon, S.
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.) Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)
Burke, W. A. Hamilton, W. W. Mallalieu, J P. W. (Hudderfd, E.)
Burton, Miss F. E. Hannan, W. Mann, Mrs. Jean
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.) Mason, Roy
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Hastings, S. Mayhew, C. P.
Carmichael, J. Hayman, F. H. Mellish, R. J.
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis) Messer, Sir F.
Champion, A. J. Herbison, Miss M. Mikardo, Ian
Clunie, J. Hobson, C. R. Mitchison, C. R.
Coldrick, W. Hotmail, P. Moody, A. S.
Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead) Houghton, Douglas Morrison, Rt. Hn. Herbert (Lewis'm, S.)
Collins, V. J. (Shoreditch & Finsbury) Howell, Charles (Perry Barr) Mort, D. L.
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Howell, Denis (All Saints) Moss, R.
Cove, W. G. Hoy, J. H. Moyle, A.
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Hubbard, T. F. Mulley, F. W.
Cronin, J. D. Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Neal, Harold (Bolsover)
Cullen, Mrs. A. Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)
Daines, P. Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. (Derby, S.)
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. Hunter, A. E.
Darling, George (Hillsborough) Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Oram, A. E.
Davies, Harold (Leek) Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Oswald, T.
Davies, Stephen (Merthyr) Irving, S. (Dartford) Owen, W. J.
Deer, G. Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Paget, R. T.
Delargy, H. J. Janner, B. Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)
Dodds, N. N. Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T. Palmer, A. M. F.
Donnelly, D. L. Jeger, George (Goole) Pargiter, G. A.
Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Brmwch) Jeger, Mrs. Lena (Holbn & St. Pncs, S.) Parker, J.
Dye, S. Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Parkin, B. T.
Paton, J. Snow, J. W. Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Peart, T. P. Sorensen, R. W. Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Popplewell, E. Sparks, J. A. West, D. G.
Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Steele, T. Wheeldon, W. E.
Probert, A. R. Stewart, Michael (Fulham) White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Proctor, W. T. Stones, W. (Consett) Wigg, George
Pursey, Cmdr. H. Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.) Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.
Rankin, John Swingler, S. T. Wilkins, W. A.
Reid, William Sylvester, G. O. Willey, Frederick
Rhodes, H. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield) Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab' tillery)
Robens, Rt. Hon. A. Taylor, John (West Lothian) Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon) Thomas, George (Cardiff) Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Robinson, Kenneth (St. Panoras, N.) Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.) Williams, W. R, (Openshaw)
Rodgers, George (Kensington, N.) Thomson, George (Dundee, E.) Williams, W. T. (Barons Court)
Ross, William Thornton, E. Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E. Timmons, J. Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Short, E. W. Turner-Samuels, M. Winterbottom, Richard
Silverman, Julius (Aston) Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill) Usborne, H. C. Yates, V. (Ladywood)
Sheffington, A. M. Viant, S. P.
Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.) Warbey, W. H. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Slater, J. (Sedgefield) Watkins, T. E. Mr. Pearson and Mr. Holmes.
Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.) Weitzman, D.
Agnew, cmdr. P. G. Dance, J. C. G. Hope, Lord John
Aitken, W. T. Davidson, Viscountess Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) D' Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Horobin, Sir Ian
Alport, C. J. M. Digby, S. Wingfield Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence
Amery, Julian (Preston, N.) Dodds-Parker, A. D. Howard, John (Test)
Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton) Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)
Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J. Doughty, C. J. A. Hughes-Young, M. H. C.
Arbuthnot, John Drayson, G. B. Hulbert, Sir Norman
Armstrong, C. W. Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond) Hurd, A. R.
Ashton, H. Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E 'b' gh, W.)
Astor, Hon. J. J. Duthie, W. S. Hutchison, James (Scotstoun)
Atkins, H. E. Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir D. M. Hylton-Foster, Sir H. B. H.
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M. Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Iremonger, T. L.
Baldwin, A. E. Errington, Sir Eric Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)
Balniel, Lord Farey-Jones, F. W. Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)
Banks, Col. C. Fell, A. Jennings, J. C. (Burton)
Barber, Anthony Finlay, Graeme Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)
Barlow, Sir John Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F. Johnson, Eric (Blackley)
Barter, John Fletcher-Cooke, C Jones, A. (Hall Green)
Baxter, Sir Beverley Fort, R. Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.
Beamish, Maj. Tufton Foster, John Kaberry, D.
Bennett, Dr. Reginald Fraser, Sir Ian (M'cmbe & Lonsdale) Keegan, D.
Bevins, J. R, (Toxteth) Freeth, D. K. Kerby, Capt. H. B.
Bidgood, J. C. Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. Kerr, H. W.
Biggs-Davison, J. A. Gammans, L. D. Kershaw, J. A.
Bishop, F. P. Garner-Evans, E. H. Kirk, P. M.
Black, C. W. Glover, D. Lagden, G. W.
Body, R. P. Godber, J. B. Lambert, Hon. G.
Bossom, Sir A. C. Gomme-Duncan, Col. A. Lambton, Viscount
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A. Cough, C. F. H. Lancaster, Col. C. G.
Boyle, Sir Edward Gower, H. R. Langford-Holt, J. A.
Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.) Graham, Sir Fergus Leavey, J. A.
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H. Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich) Leburn, W. G.
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Green, A. Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.
Brooman-White, R. C. Gresham Cooke, R. Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)
Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton) Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans) Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)
Bryan, P. Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) Lindsay, Martin (Solihull)
Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T. Gurden, Harold Linstead, Sir. H. N.
Burden, F. F. A. Hall, John (Wycombe) Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)
Butcher, Sir Herbert Hare, Hon. J. H. Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)
Campbell, Sir David Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Lloyd-George, Maj. Rt. Hon. G.
Carr, Robert Harris, Reader (Heston) Lucas Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)
Cary, Sir Robert Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon) Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick)
Chichester-Clark, R. Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.) Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, w.) Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Macdonald, Sir Peter
Cole, Norman Harvie-Watt, Sir George Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry
Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert Hay, John Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel McLaughlin, Mrs. P.
Corfield, Capt. F. V. Heath, Edward Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Henderson, John (Cathcart) MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hn. H. F. C. Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W. Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)
Crouch, R. F. Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Maddan, Martin
Crowder, Sir John (Finchley) Hill, John (S. Norfolk) Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)
Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood) Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark)
Cunningham, S. K. Hirst, Geoffrey Markham, Major Sir Frank
Currie, G. B. H. Holt, A. F. Marlowe, A. A. H.
Marples, A. E. Profumo, J. D. Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Marshall, Douglas Raikes, Sir Victor Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)
Mathew, R. Ramsden, J. E. Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, S.)
Maudling, Rt. Hon. R. Rawlinson, P. A. G. Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. P.
Mawby, R. L. Redmayne, M. Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C. Remnant, Hon. P. Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)
Medlloott, Sir Frank Renton, D. L. M. Tilney, John (Wavertree)
Milligan, Rt. Hon W. R. Ridsdale, J. E. Touche, Sir Gordon
Molson, A. H. E. Rippon, A. G. F. Turner, H. F. L.
Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter Robertson, Sir David Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Moore, Sir Thomas Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.) Vane, W. M. F.
Morrison, John (Salisbury) Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks) Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.
Mott-Radclyffe, C. E. Roper, Sir Harold Vickers, Miss J. H.
Nabarro, G. D. N. Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard Vosper, D. F.
Neave, Airey Schctield, Lt.-Col. W. Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Nicolson, N. (B 'n' m'th, E. & Chr' oh) Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R. Wakefield, Sir Waved (St. M'lebone)
Nield, Basil (Chester) Shepherd, William Wall, Major Patrick
Nugent, G. R. H. Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.) Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)
Oakshott, H. D. Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood) Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)
O'Neill, Hn. Phellm (Co. Antrim, N.) Spearman, A. C. M. Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.
Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D. Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, W.) Watkinson, H. A.
Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (Kens'gt'n, S.) Whitelaw, W. S. I. (Penrith & Border)
Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.) Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard Williams, Rt. Hn. Charles (Torquay)
Page, R. G. Stevens, Geoffrey Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Panned, N. A. (Kirkdale) Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.) Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Peake, Rt. Hon. O. Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.) Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Peyton, J. W. W. Stoddart-Scott, Col. M. Wills, G. (Bridgwater)
Pickthorn, K. W. M. Storey, S. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Pitt, Miss E. M. Summers, G. S. (Aylesbury) Wood, Hon. R.
Pott, H. P. Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington) Woollam, John Victor
Powell, J. Enoch Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne) Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Price, David (Eastleigh) Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Prior-Palmar, Brig. O. L Teeling, W. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Mr. Studholme and Colonel Harrison.

Question put and agreed to.