§ 8 45 p.m.
§ Mr. Ellis Smith (Stoke-on-Trent, South)
We are considering today the Third Reading of the Consolidated Fund Bill, which states at the beginning:We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects the Commons of the United Kingdom in Parliament assembled, towards making good the supply which we have cheerfully granted…I am not cheerfully granting it. When I consider the colossal expenditure of £2,814,085,357 provided in this Bill, with a grand total of £5,064 million, I could not stand here and admit that I cheerfully vote that amount.
This is a measurement of the value which is produced chiefly in the industrial areas, and, therefore, before voting Supply—I hope this will be read—private Members of this House, fulfilling their constitutional duty, have the right to request that the Governmen should redress grievances, or at least elected Members of this House should see that the people's grievances are ventilated here before we part with the Bill. Therefore, I am pleased that the House has at last insisted that its pre-war rights should be restored to the extent that they have been restored today.
Some of us have passed through two world wars and have taken part in war; therefore we are modest and very reluctant to speak strongly when we remember how many were cut off in the flower of their youth while we who were young with them were spared. Here we are again spending £1,600 million, and the ordinary people, for whom alone we want to speak tonight, are wondering where it is all leading. Britain leads the world in the development of atomic energy, and I feel a touch of pride at being associated with the men mainly responsible for this. Britain is leading the world in its peaceful use, in heavy electrical plant, in chemicals, engineering and plastics, nylon and terylene. Most of this production, however, is carried on in our old, drab, air-polluted industrial areas. So my hon. Friends and I desire that the people's grievances should at least be ventilated when we are granting Supply in this House.
150 I propose to make an appeal this evening for a great national drive, carried on with a sense of urgency, for the best possible conditions where people live, where they work and where they spend most of their lives. Those of us who have nearly lost our health on several occasions know that it cannot be bought, it can only be safeguarded. The National Health Scheme has done a great deal, but the bad conditions in our industrial areas still give rise to much needless suffering. Health can only be safeguarded by providing the right environment: first of all, in the home, and in these days the poorest of the poor, in spite of the condition of the houses in which they live, keep their dwellings as spotlessly clean as they can, and so they have no responsibility—in the city, and at work.
Therefore, we welcome the B.B.C. television programme which deals with this matter. A pamphlet relating to it states that the introduction is by:The right hon. Duncan Sandys, M.P., Founder of the Civic Trust.The right hon. Gentleman states:We take a lot of trouble about the insides of our homes, but we mostly do not pay much attention to what happens outside … we have grown accustomed to all the muddle and squalor that are growing up around us.I welcome that statement. That is the note that I want to strike.
It has been my privilege to visit many countries in Europe and to travel throughout the Soviet Union and China. It has been my privilege to read American literature, and to see the new towns in this country; and one can understand why, when I compare the new towns in many parts of the world, including the new towns in the south of England which are a delight to see, with the industrial areas, particularly in the North, a touch of indignation reflects itself in what I am saying.
Here is an example of it. An area within a few yards of where I spent all my life was visited by Sir Winston Churchill in 1906. According to the Sunday Times of 24th May, 1959, Sir Winston, then Mr., Churchill, was assisting in the contest with Mr. Joynson-Hicks for the seat of Manchester, Northwest. It statesChurchill and Marsh took rooms in the Midland Hotel and on the first evening they 151 went for a walk, finding themselves in the poor district…".This applies for a radius of many miles around there.' Fancy living in one of these streets', said Churchill, in an access of compassion, 'never seeing anything beautiful, never eating anything savoury, never saying anything clever! 'Next year will be 1960 and in many parts of this large industrial area, where the population is greater than it is in any other part of the country, including London, where much has been done during the past 10 years, these conditions, relatively speaking, still exist. This is the area where the air is more polluted than in any other part of the country, as I shall show with official statistical evidence later on.
I also read in the Sunday Times:Chronic bronchitis—with winter cough . . and shortness of breath—can be relieved a good deal by reducing smoking and also, where possible, by moving away from areas with high atmospheric pollution.How can the millions living in that area move away?
Therefore, it is for immediate action that we call tonight. Too long has this country acquiesced in this situation. Too long have we allowed this to take place. I owe a great deal of my knowledge of this matter to my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Dr. Stross) arising out of his practical experience in living for thirty years in the centre of Stoke-on-Trent. As a result of that experience and his experience in his medical practice there, he has been able to play a big part in developing an interest by some of us in these matters.
I have here a quotation from the OFFICIAL REPORT of 7th July, 1958, but I have not time to read it. The statistical evidence contained in it is such a black indictment of our tolerating this situation for so long that it has to be read to be believed.
After meeting people in the industrial areas some time ago, my hon. Friend the Member for Abertillery (The Rev. LI. Williams) thought that the time had arrived when he should give voice to what I am saying now. He said that in the incidence ofbronchitis and deaths from that disease, this was probably the worst country in the world.152 He later said:I repeat that Britain has the worst record in the world for bronchitis. The death rate is four times as high as that in the Ruhr or industrial Belgium, and about twenty times as high as that in the Scandinavian countries."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Wednesday, 9th July, 1958; Vol. 591, c. 538–9.]One can, therefore, understand people growing more and more concerned about the effect of this terrible disease.
Bronchitis is one of the major causes of illness amongst industrial workers. It is due mainly to atmospheric pollution and the dust and fumes encountered at work. It is the responsibility of the Ministry, the civic authorities and those who have acquiesced far too lone in the conditions which bring about this illness, to accept responsibility for improving conditions.
On 20th July, 1959, I asked the Minister of Health to state:the estimated percentage of those who died through respiratory diseases throughout the country and for Stoke-on-Trent, Lancashire and Sussex, and the totals, respectively, for the years 1938 and 1958?"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Monday, 20th July, 1959, Vol. 609, c. 848.]These are the percentages. Deaths have gone up a few per cent. between 1938 and 1958 in England and Wales. The percentage of deaths from all causes was 11.5 per cent. In Stoke-on-Trent, where the work is done, the figure was 13.6 per cent. In Lancashire, where output is greater than it has ever been, it was 13.3 per cent. In Sussex, it was 9.9 per cent.
The statistics dealing with the amount of sulphur dioxide in the air over Lancashire, show that in Salford, where I live, and Manchester, it is many times higher than in other parts of the country. This evidence shows the correctness of the appeal that we are making for a drive to deal with this problem.
I am a very lucky man. In the First World War I pulled through, but I remember what happened to boys who were as good as I was. Thanks to the medical profession, the care of nurses and the latest scientific methods of dealing with diseases, twice in my lifetime I have just been dragged away from passing through death's door.
In 1946 I was left with bronchitis and asthma. The specialist, of whom I cannot speak too highly, said that he was concerned about part of my lung which 153 showed a dark patch and asked if I could give him any explanation for it. I must have been a bit slow in answering, because I could not think of the reason. Later I realised that it was due to my having worked near a band-saw that had no exhaust pipe and constantly brought in dark dust which must have been solidifying in my lungs, thus giving rise to my contracting asthma after pneumonia.
Fortunately, I am still strong and probably healthier than I have been for many years. If that dust in my lungs had been stone or silica dust and not vegetable matter, which does not affect the working of the lungs, I would not have been standing here and playing my part in the way that I am. Many a poor soul as good as I am has gone to an early grave because of industry not providing the best possible conditions and people acquiescing in the present conditions for so long. I want to make it clear that I am speaking for the whole of Britain and not for one area, and if anyone thinks that I am over-stressing the part of the country about which I am speaking, I hope he will excuse me. It is because I have spent my life there, and because there are 14 million people living within a sixty-mile radius of Manchester.
I thank the Minister of Labour and his Parliamentary Secretary for being good enough to send me an advance copy of the Industrial Health Report in March, this year. They stated that it must be treated as confidential, and it was treated by me as such. But I read it on many nights and tried to draw the correct lessons from it. As a result of reading that advance copy, I determined to take advantage of our Parliamentary rights at some time in order to raise this issue. The Report was published in 1958. It concerned a survey carried out in Halifax by the factory inspectors of the Ministry of Labour. I understood that the Industrial Health Advisory Committee, which first suggested these surveys, was appointed in 1955, and that its object is the promotion of industrial health. In these days, one would think that all employers would see the necessity of creating the very best conditions, because to have good health is a good business proposition.
At the firm where I was employed the people do not play marbles or run about 154 in circles. Men get to the top on merit. The firm employs over 20,000 people. It realised that good health was a good business proposition and, as a result, it created a first-class medical scheme inside the factory and pioneered a number of ideas which I am now advocating, including the provision of many visiting doctors, carrying out research upon those employed at the firm.
The second survey of industrial health was carried out in Stoke-on-Trent and was concerned mainly with the pottery industry. Its report was an excellent one. I pay the most generous tribute to all associated with the survey and with the writing of the report. In years to come these reports will receive the attention which some of us have given to the factory reports of almost 100 years ago. I hope that the Parliamentary Secretary will make a note of this and put a blue pencil mark under it as thick as he can. It is action that we want now. We welcome the reports, but I have seen too many reports allowed to lie upon shelves, gathering dust. Usually that is the last we hear of them. We are pleading that these reports should be implemented and that action should be taken upon them as quickly as possible.
The best ways in which an industrial health service can be developed are outlined in the Report, and some further evidence on the point will be given later by my hon. Friend. The people concerned in the Halifax survey were very fortunate. They received the maximum amount of co-operation from the public-spirited people of the town, led by the mayor, Mr. Nichol, the trades council, the chamber of commerce, the hospital board, the medical officers, trade unions and employers. They all co-operated to bring about an atmosphere which lent itself to the production of an historical report.
I appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary to take the initiative in bringing about the maximum co-operation not only in Halifax and Stoke-on-Trent but in every industrial area throughout the country. We want to appeal for that co-operation in order to improve the conditions under which people live and work in all areas and in all factories. I ask the Parliamentary Secretary to report to his right hon. Friend the suggestion from this debate that they should 155 meet the Minister of Housing and Local Government on this matter. It is only right for me to say that the present Minister of Housing and Local Government is the most reactionary Minister we have had since the war and that presents a terrible handicap. Hon. Members from the industrial areas know how housing schemes in their constituencies have been retarded, and everyone would say what I have said, perhaps in more stronger terms than I have used.
I was pleased to see that the present Minister of Defence made a fine statement on Saturday, according to the report in the Manchester Guardian today. My hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central, who was present with him, informed me that it was a fine meeting in London. But the right hon Gentleman was appealing for voluntary effort. I also appeal for voluntary effort, but we cannot rely on that. It is the duty of the Government to take the initiative as they did in obtaining the surveys to which I have referred. The Government should see that the maximum co-operation is obtained in every locality.
Last week I listened with admiration and respect to Lord Birkett, and I noted particularly what he said about the acceptance of briefs. The noble Lord has made a fine contribution in life and one cannot avoid being impressed with his personality. But while he was speaking I thought of the experience regarding the North Staffordshire Transport Bill in this House and the Manchester Corporation Bill in 1959, and the shoals of legal people around the corridors of this House representing the property and landed and vested interests. Those are the people who have held us back far too long. In my view, we cannot afford that kind of thing any longer. Are the people in the industrial areas to be prevented for ever from living and working in a proper environment?
I said that I had travelled in Germany, France, Russia and China, where I was surprised to find lovely new towns being built. I was surprised at the lovely buildings in the new towns thirty miles outside London. They are places of beauty, but we in the industrial areas have to carry on amid the old drab surroundings as we have done for far too 156 long. Had time permitted we could show how the Trades Union Congress in its annual reports, and other organisations, have been demanding action, but unfortunately such action has not been taken.
In my lifetime I have seen a great deal of progress, but too much still remains to be done. When I fought the General Election in 1931, men, women and children were poorly dressed, poorly fed, badly housed and there was hardly a blade of grass to be seen on the roadside. There were scores of sufferers from silicosis, like the father of my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North (Mrs. Slater). In those days I vowed that if I lived long enough I would try to be worthy of those electors who gave me their confidence. I still have their confidence, and it would be wrong if we did not speak up for those whom we represent in the way we are doing this evening.
I have lived to see great improvements, and we are now asking that a sense of urgency should be put into a drive to produce industrial conditions which will be worthy of 1960. Therefore, I want to ask the Minister if something cannot be done on the lines which I have been suggesting. When I was young, we used to look upon Pittsburgh as the blackest industrial area in the world. We used to see in our publications dark smoke pouring forth, and we used to think that it must be terrible to live in a place like Pittsburgh. Yet, within ten years, Pittsburgh has so cleaned itself and has so eliminated air pollution and the old industrial conditions that it now ranks as one of the cleanest cities in the world. It is one of the brightest and most modern of cities, with trees and shrubs growing everywhere one goes. What Pittsburgh can do we can do, provided that there is the drive, and in my opinion that drive should come from the Government, no matter what political party forms the Government for the time being.
We see in Britain beautiful churches and cathedrals, monuments of the past, but the monuments of our past are the old, black, dark industrial areas and the conditions we find there. In Stoke-on-Trent, we make the most beautiful pottery in the world, the most beautifully decorated, which is admired by all who see it, and yet we have such conditions 157 in the factories and in the areas round the factories.
I want to make some constructive suggestions. First of all, I suggest that there should be city conferences held in places like Manchester, Stoke-on-Trent, and Halifax. The reason why I suggest these towns, let me explain to my hon. Friend and to other hon. Members, is that the pilot survey schemes have already been carried out there. Based upon these pilot survey schemes, I think these areas are ripe for action in the direction which I am now going to suggest.
First of all, what Pittsburgh can do, Manchester, Stoke-on-Trent, Halifax and other cities can do. We could make local democracy more dynamic. I therefore ask the Parliamentary Secretary if he will ask the lord mayors and town clerks to call together representatives of every Government Department and those of local authorities in order to consider this question. I must admit that in what I am now going to say I speak with a tinge of regret. I found in the Manchester Guardian, of 19th June, that exactly what we are appealing for in this House today has already been done in Finland. We see that in Finland the industrial areas are now built in the woodlands, whereas the old industrial areas have been planted with trees and shrubs and beautified. They are now places of beauty. What Finland and Pittsburgh can do we can do.
I have been through two world wars, which we are supposed to have won, yet in Germany, according to this publication, in place like Essen, Stuttgart and other towns, what we are now appealing for was done long ago. Therefore, these are the ideas on which we now appeal for action. I have already paid a tribute to those who have been responsible for the preparation of these reports. I would have liked to have gone into detail, but I want to play the game, because other hon. Members are doing so in this new arrangement, which is certainly facilitating business on the Consolidated Fund Bill.
I hope that the Parliamentary Secretary will understand that, although I have not quoted from them in detail, I want to pay my tribute once more to those who have prepared these reports. We are now demanding action in order 158 that Britain can hold its own in the world in this age of modernisation, not only of industry, but of the places where the people work and live in order that they, too, will have the benefit of the great improvements in living and working conditions which are now possible.
§ 9.15 p.m.
§ Dr. Barnett Stross (Stoke-on-Trent, Central)
I am sure the House is grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis-Smith) for having raised this subject today. He has painted on a very wide canvas, and I know he will understand that if I speak somewhat more narrowly than he has done it is not because I disagree with anything he has said.
Man suffers from only two causes. There are the so-called acts of God, and the actions of man himself. There is not much we can do against earthquake, tempest, flood, thunderbolt and lightning. These things are imposed on us from outside and we cannot blame ourselves that such manifestations occur, but probably in the main—perhaps more than 90 per cent.—man suffers through his own actions. I am reminded, while thinking on my feet, that Buddha once said to his people:Know all ye that suffer that ye suffer only of yourselves.It is the things we have done and still do which create the environment so antagonistic to a healthy form of life. The merit of the speech of my hon. Friend is that it has drawn to our attention the way in which we have turned our clean air into a polluted stream, like an open sewer, and created in factories conditions inimical to the survival of those who work there. We should never tire of following the example of my hon. Friend and raising our voices against the unnecessary wastage of the most important material we have, our own lives and those of our friends.
I was very happy to hear the words of appreciation spoken by my hon. Friend of the Civic Trust and its work. For a voluntary organisation it is becoming overwhelmed in work, not only because of its own efficiency, but because of the very great need for it to do that work. This seems proof of the need for the sort of intervention for which my hon. Friend asked. The Parliamentary Secretary, in 159 his capacity in the Ministry of Labour, cannot be expected to answer for what is happening through the pollution of our atmosphere. That is not within his purview and we know that the Clean Air Act ultimately will give tremendous help to this country. It was the first national Act dealing with this subject ever put on the Statute Book.
We who live in Stoke-on-Trent or places like it, know of the spectacular recovery made as a result of the initiative of the citizens in Pittsburgh, but no country except Britain has attempted to tackle the problem on a national scale. The citizens of our country are determined more than ever that they will have a remedy and they want the remedy as quickly as possible. The Parliamentary Secretary can take note of the fact that he has this responsibility. In the Factories Act, which we passed recently, there is a subsection to which I draw his attention. In Section 25 (1) of this very interesting Act, in which we all take some pride and on which we did very good work together, the wording is:The Minister shall promote health, safety and welfare in factories and premises and operations to which the principal Act applies by collecting and disseminating information and by investigating or assisting in the investigation of problems of health, safety and welfare; and of the purpose of investigating such problems he may provide and maintain such laboratories and other services as appear to him requisite.I appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary that he should read that provision very broadly. The Bill is now an Act of Parliament, and I plead with him that he and his right hon. Friend should interpret it as allowing him to make experiments of treatment as well as experiments of diagnosis.
§ Mr. David Jones (The Hartlepools)
My hon. Friend should make it clear that the Factories Act, even in its amended form, still excludes large numbers of industries in this country from its provisions.
§ Dr. Stross
Yes. I know this and, like my hon. Friend, I deplore it deeply, but it still includes about 8 million workers, and I can therefore rightly appeal as it stands for action by way of treatment as well as by way of diagnosis.
160 As my hon. Friend pointed out, the Ministry of Labour has presented the House with two most interesting documents—the Halifax Survey and the Potteries Survey. I think that the Parliamentary Secretary will agree with me that the Halifax Survey showed brutally and clearly how deficient is a typical industrial town such as Halifax of the kind of protection which we require for workpeople in the average sort of factory, which is a small factory.
In the Potteries Survey we have a survey in which I have some interest, because I remember pressing the Parliamentary Secretary and the right hon. Gentleman that it should be undertaken. It is a Report valuable beyond words, and not only to those in our own industry, because the principles enunciated by it will make it of value to many other industries, and outside this country, too. For a long time to come people will be grateful because of this Report and will make use of it. They will educate themselves and agitate about their own problems because they have read this Report.
I congratulate the Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary, therefore, on having published it. I understand quite well that the publication of reports of this type, which show all the faults of an industry as well as its virtues, is not the kind of thing which makes Ministers popular with everybody. Where faults are shown and deficiencies are made apparent, naturally those who run the factories concerned may feel aggrieved. I am happy that the Minister did not hesitate to publish, in particular, the survey of the Potteries.
On Friday, when I went to my constituency, there was a conference between leaders of the trade unions, the manufacturers' federation and some of the Members of Parliament who represent pottery interests, including the hon. Lady the Member for Melton (Miss Pike), and in a document for discussion there were these words about the Potteries Survey:Without doubt the survey team carried out a most extensive and detailed exercise with meticulous care and is to be congratulated on its thoroughness in producing such a factual document. A number of points mentioned in the Report have already received the attention of such Committees of the Joint Standing Committee as were set up at the instigation of the then Chief Inspector of Factories in 1956, and other sub-committees are working on additional subjects mentioned in the Report.161 This is very reassuring. For us, it is a very good beginning, but what is happening for us is not happening elsewhere in the country. Therefore, my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South and I are pleading this evening for action, the kind of action about which my hon. Friend spoke in robust terms a little earlier.
This is our theme. There is a great deal of publicity about strikes and lockouts, about the time that is lost and the cost to the nation, but it is a fact that, if one takes the number of days lost for those reasons, that figure must be multiplied by at least a hundred to arrive at the time lost as a result of industrial disease and injury. We must never forget this. In another place, Lord Taylor—who used to be with us here as the hon. Member for Barnet—estimated that between £780 million and £1,000 million a year are lost as a result of industrial injury and industrial disease. That is a very high cost for the country, and I wish to suggest ways in which it may be very greatly diminished.
All hon. Members, I am sure, join with my hon. Friend and I in saying that, in the light of the knowledge we now have, the time for action has come. A long time ago, the Minister of Labour promised that we were to have an industrial health service. He has not yet been able to move at all and no action has been taken At one time, I used to think that I knew something about the way an industrial health service should be framed and administered. I admit that I am much less confident now than I was a few years ago. Theoretical knowledge, in spite of a life of practical experience, is not enough. We are fortunate, however, now that practical experiments have been conducted in Slough and Harlow.
Originally, some of us, including members of the Trades Union Congress, thought that the right thing to do would be to let the new National Health Service take over and include within its scope an industrial health service. Everyone realises that, in 1946, when we were in Committee upstairs, the Minister of Health at that time had enough on his plate in establishing a curative service for the community generally. The T.U.C. was very disappointed, I think, when, after two or three years, we did not have 162 an industrial health service established to cover the whole country. If the Minister of Health was not willing, it was thought that the Minister of National Insurance might be a good person to approach. Then, the approach was switched to the Ministry of Labour. The Ministry of Labour has told us here in the House that it will do it.
Ultimately, it may be that the Minister of Labour will go to the Minister of Health and ask for his assistance. By the combined effort of the two Ministries, in co-operative fashion, we may have a better service in the end. After all, the Ministry of Labour is not as powerful a Ministry numerically as certain of the others. It does not dispose of the great staffs which others have and it is not such a great spending Ministry as the Ministry of Education or the Ministry of Health, for instance. I know that the Parliamentary Secretary will not mind my throwing out that suggestion.
We must not wait very much longer, now that we know that practical experiments are being carried out and we know what it would cost to extend those experiments. I said earlier that we might think in terms of even £1,000 million lost to the community as the result of industrial disease and accidents. Again and again, progressive employers, having taken action, have shown that they can cut down the loss by 50 per cent. very quickly, thus saving £500 million. Surely this would be tremendously welcome to the country. It would pay great dividends to the employers. It would certainly prevent many people losing their wages and income. It would prevent a great deal of pain and suffering which cannot be easily accounted for by hard cash.
I also inferred earlier that the factories to which we should give consideration are not those which employ more than 1,000 people, of which there are about 800 in this country. On the whole, these large factories look after themselves and their workpeople very well. They can afford to do so. However, I believe that of the 230,000 factories in this country as many as 195,000 employ 25 or fewer people. Therefore, in effect, our factories are very small if they are judged by the number of employees. Yet it is in the small factory, however happy it may be as a concern, that the majority 163 of accidents and industrial diseases occur.
We discussed this matter recently when their Lordships in another place asked us to pass some of their Amendments to the Factories Act. We know that 75 per cent. of all cases of dermatitis occur in small factories employing only 15 per cent. of the total working population. That is a very significant figure. We must, therefore, concentrate our efforts on the small factory if we are to do the maximum amount of good with the money and energy at our disposal.
I regret to say that even in the Potteries the survey has shown that simple things like hot and cold water and soap and towels are not always provided. I am sure that, as a result of this survey and action taken by the factory inspectors and the employers, that sort of thing will quickly be remedied.
I referred earlier to Slough and Harlow. The experiment at Harlow is only four years old, but the experiment in Slough has been in being for a longer time. Both experiments have been described as a co-operative industrial health service. It is not expensive. In both areas the employers find all the money required to run the service, although in Harlow some initial capital cost was found as a loan in order to erect the buildings. That is being expunged. I think that £18,000 was given in gifts by the Nuffield Trust. The employers find between 30s. and £2 per worker per year, and with this they are able to offer a completely comprehensive service.
I have been to Harlow and have seen a film of the experiment at Slough, which I know the Parliamentary Secretary has seen. If we could have a network of these services throughout the country to cover, say, 5 million people in the next five years, it would seem that apart from the capital costs, which could come by loans from the Treasury, from the Minister or some other source, the total running costs would amount to only about £10 million a year. That is an insignificant sum for what it would save the country, and the employer and the worker, and save in our self-respect, too. Once we know how and why we suffer, it is disgraceful to go on suffering like this and to see people crippled and 164 injured, as I have seen when I was at work, when now we know that they should not any longer be so injured, crippled or diseased.
No employer whom I can think of would dream of not gladly offering this sum of £2 a week for each employee once the arrangement can be made, but individual factory owners cannot do it themselves. We now know, as a result of the two experiments, what is needed. I beg the Parliamentary Secretary to say tonight, without hesitation, that the Government will look sympathetically as a matter of immediate concern at finding out what should be done to increase these experiments and to have one or two hundred of them as quickly as possible set up round the country where suitable. Other experiments of a different nature may be needed for certain areas.
When experiments have been conducted and the case has been proved, why should we have any further delay when we can so cheaply obtain action? If a health centre is available, the service could be based upon it. If there is a hospital nearby, it can be based on the hospital, as at the Central Middlesex Hospital here in London. If the Government build their poly-clinics—the Minister of Health has said that he will build them, great out-patient departments—they would be most suitable to use as centres.
Staffing would not be very difficult. I have worked out that if we covered the whole of the industrial population, we would need about 4,000 full-time nurses and 6,000 nurses doing part-time to cover the whole of the country. That is not impossible over a period of years. We know very well, therefore, that we could start quickly—in fact, at once.
Will the Parliamentary-Secretary, therefore, please say that the experiments at Slough and Harlow met with his Department's approval and that the Government will encourage them everywhere, that the Minister and he will actively participate in them and that they will search for finance, which could come partly, as now, from the employer and partly from the Exchequer for the loans that would be needed?
I would not be averse—no workman, I think, would be averse—to paying something towards this, for each can 165 benefit. We want the workman, through his own organisation, to be involved in the administration so that he can always take a deep and intimate interest. If we do this, if this co-operative type of system were to develop and spread over the country, we would all feel that it was well worth while. We would no longer consider our workers as being expendable.
§ 9.38 p.m.
§ Mr. William Shepherd (Cheadle)
I do not want to detain the House long, but I should like to make one or two observations on the interesting speeches that we have heard from the hon. Members for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis Smith) and Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Dr. Stross). It was somewhat ironical to hear both of them refer to Pittsburgh. When many years ago Pittsburgh wanted to change the face of its somewhat unattractive city, it invited my hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone (Sir A. Bossom) to go there and help to do it. It was remarkable that a British Member of Parliament was sent all that distance to do something at Pittsburgh, whereas in our own industrial centres a great deal of the blight still remains.
When as a boy, I went to the constituency of the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central, I used to be horrified at what I saw, although I did not come from a particularly attractive town myself. I have never since ceased to wonder how it is that such articles of beauty can be produced from such hideous surroundings.
§ Dr. Stross
We cannot allow that to pass. There has been a tremendous improvement, certainly in regard to atmospheric pollution, and in a year or two the hon. Member will not recognise the City of Stoke-on-Trent.
§ Mr. Shepherd
I shall be very glad when that situation obtains.
I was saying that we have made lamentably little progress, and I want just to point out one of the reasons to the House. It is all very well to have a Civic Trust. I am a great admirer and supporter of the trust, but this is really a matter of economics. The plain truth is that industrialists in the provinces will not pay for decent buildings, and while industrialists in the provinces will not pay 166 for decent buildings we are going to have to make do with the old ones.
I must confess I have a vested interest, for if I went along to an industrialist in the provinces and said, "I will build you a factory and charge you 5s. per sqare foot" he would look amazed and say, "I am having a factory at 9d. a square foot and I could not possibly run to 4s. or 5s." There are some of the larger organisations which are prepared to pay bigger rentals, but it is generally true that British provincial industrialists will not pay rentals which make new buildings possible. I regret to say that until we get a change in this outlook we shall be stuck with a great number of our present hideous industrial buildings, and industrial buildings which are not only hideous but wholly inappropriate for many of the functions done in them. I hope that we shall be able to see in the next decade same change of heart towards that.
The second thing I want to make a comment on is the question of industrial medicine, to which I have given some considerable time in past years. I agree wholeheartedly with the hon. Gentleman opposite. We hear a lot of talk about the 2½ million days lost through strikes and lockouts, but we hear precious little about the 281 million days lost through illness and accident. Clearly, we have to devote more of our time and attention to this problem, because it really means that something like a million workers off each year in terms of losses through ill health and injury.
I have been pressing the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour to reconstitute the Industrial Research Board, which reported in 1947 on conditions which were largely war-time. It had some remarkable things to say. It said, for example, that one-third of the total illness in industry was caused by neurosis in some form or another. Clearly, here is something which pretty readily could be attacked. It is true that we have lost one of the worst enemies, tuberculosis, which was the highest factor in causing absences at one time, but I am quite certain that if we have an attack upon neurosis we can materially improve our attendance figures.
It is not, however, merely a question of medicine. I am afraid a lot of people 167 stay away from work when they are are paid to stay away. Some of the figures in this connection are most disheartening and dismaying. One industrial organisation which previously did not pay people for being sick had an illness factor of 2.5 per cent., but when it started to pay people it had an illness factor of 6.5 per cent., and, strangely enough, the portion of the factory which was on a bonus system on output suffered very little in terms of increase in absence.
§ Mr. Alfred Robens (Blyth)
Presumably, workers who are able to claim payment during sickness do so only on the authorisation of a medical certificate. So the suggestion the hon. Member is making, that as soon as sick pay is paid men deliberately go sick, is presumably a reflection rather more on the medical profession than on the workers concerned?
§ Mr. Shepherd
I think employers, the medical profession and others have a share of blame in this matter. I am merely recording the fact that in this works one section which was on bonus on output did not really get a serious increase in absenteeism; but when the bonus fell because there was no longer available as much work as before the absentee rate rose very rapidly.
When we changed the system in Government service the rate of absenteeism was doubled. Therefore, there is not only the angle of securing improvements in industrial medicine, but the fact that people must have it brought home to them that staying away from work is an important factor in the national life. Medical men are inclined to say "Start work on Monday" when a patient comes to the surgery on a Wednesday. They should get into the habit of saying, "Start work on Thursday" where that is appropriate.
In one way and another I think that we can materially reduce the large number of hours lost. I heartily endorse the plea for improvements in industrial medicine. We have done a great deal but there is a great deal more that we can. There is a body of enthusiastic and intelligent men who spend a great deal of time on the subject. I hope that the Government will soon have the funds 168 and the energy to increase the industrial medical services.
§ 9.46 p.m.
§ Dr. J. Dickson Mabon (Greenock)
I am sorry that the hon. Member for Cheadle (Mr. Shepherd) chose at the end of his speech to make two points which rather spoiled his otherwise excellent contribution. First, he made a generalisation on the basis of a comparison between the rise in payments and before to persons in a certain speech when they are away sick. I should have liked to have read that report and to know exactly what it was arguing. The only comment I would make is that many people go back to work for financial reasons long before they ought to do so and the hon. Member's argument could be put in reverse. Further, it is surely wrong to apply a general argument on a survey of that kind without having a comparable survey made elsewhere at least.
The other point which the hon. Member made was rather unfortunate. Again, it is a matter of speculation. I practise daily in medicine. I agree that doctors must and do accept complete responsibility for certification of sickness. The responsibility for signing certificates is entirely theirs, but I cannot admit that doctors are so readily willing to fit into administrative convenience and pay no attention at all to whether or not a man is genuinely able to go back to work. These are unfortunate generalisations which spoiled what the hon. Member had to say.
§ Mr. Shepherd
I did not suggest that all doctors did this, but I thought that some did. On the second point, I wholeheartedly agree with the hon. Member. Before sickness benefits were paid, I am quite convinced that many people went back to work before they were really well and that did not serve their interests or the interests of the country.
§ Dr. Mabon
I am pleased that the hon. Member agrees with me thus far, and I praise the hon. Member for making the point about neurosis in industry.
I am concerned outside Parliament in my professional capacity with industrial medicine. When reference is made to industrial diseases it is often thought that we are talking only about pneumoconiosis, dermatitis or some of the other 169 obvious conditions, but in fact one of the most important subjects is neurosis. I think of Charlie Chaplin in the film "Modern Times" when he tries to fit the nuts to the machines on the conveyor belt in that excellent sequence. He constantly tries with his spanners to get the nuts fitted, with the result that after doing that work for so long he can hardly eat his lunch. That may be—indeed it is—a caricature of the position, but it is symbolically true of many men in industry.
For example, I have found several patients who are frankly losing confidence in themselves. There is nothing wrong with them physically but they are losing confidence in their ability to do very precise work. I have seen men who do work to an accuracy of thousandths of an inch and they are worried that they might not be able to carry on. Some of them are highly rewarded and some, in my opinion, are not rewarded highly enough. They come to our clinic having simulated many illnesses whereas their basic difficulty is really the nature of their work. Then there is a great deal of noise in factories which upsets people, particularly if at the time they are working against an unfortunate domestic background or under some other strain.
One has to examine numerous circumstances in the matter of neurosis, but the trouble is that doctors have such a great deal of work to do these days. There are not enough of us. It is a pity that we are not emphasising the need to train more doctors rather than listening to false prophets who tell us that we have a sufficient number. Instead of making a precise diagnosis, doctors often have to take refuge in describing a dyspeptic condition which is only a simulation of the actual basic neurosis in the worker. Classifications of sickness by these diagnoses will not necessarily give a clue as to what are the main causes of illness.
It is strange to find the Ministry of Labour functions in this capacity, but the process of history is such that it has been caught up in this matter. The Ministry of Labour ought, however, to have been able to tell us a great deal more in the past five years than it has done. All that it has done so far basically is to give us these reports. I regret to say that they are not wide 170 enough nor extensive enough to enable us to build up a national picture.
The trouble about trying to create an industrial health service in this country is not only the small factory but also the Victoriana of the small factory—bad designs, ancient traditions and ideas, traditions of drab colours, faulty ventilation and the rest. I think that it is a pity that the Ministry of Labour has not commissioned many more surveys into industries than those that we have.
In Scotland, we are distressed that a survey has not been made into out largest industry, shipbuilding, centred on the River Clyde. I remember when I first came to the House trying to follow up the complaint of a local union about a man who had lost a great deal of working time by an accident in a wet dock. I remember trying to chase up the question of regulations covering wet docks. That was in December, 1955. It has taken a long time to get the Ministry of Labour to push through safety regulations for wet docks. We are coming to the end of this Parliament and I think that we have managed to get to the draft stage, but the regulations certainly have not been fully adopted, although we are told hopefully that they will be.
The Ministry of Labour is not quite as expert and competent a Ministry as we are often led to believe in the public Press. I believe that applies to the Minister as well. I think that this is the greatest "kid on" that we have had for a long time. It is not a progressive Ministry. The regulations on wet docks may be a minor matter, but on industrial health, the greatest single progressive item the Ministry could carry out, it has failed dismally. I do not deny that the few reports and surveys we have had are admirable, but there should be many more of them.
The hon. Member for Cheadle made the point, which is very true, that the business man is unwilling to spend money on building decent factories, or, to take it a step further, in creating decent conditions. It is because he has not learned the simple economic lesson that one can make more money if one has clean factories, well run and attuned to the better health of the workers. This is a simple lesson that ought to be beaten into the head of every business man by every politician, no matter what his colour.
171 We have heard the hon. Member for Cheadle quoting statistics and ray hon. Friend the Member for Stoke on Trent, Central (Dr. Stross) telling us the facts about this. Yet we all know that this is now a simple political incantation, a self-evident economic truth. I think that the Ministry ought to have been shouting it loudly for a long time but it has not done so.
The idea of colour in factories is widely recognised throughout America. If one goes to modern factories in America or even in this country, one finds many innovations which would be startling to those who have worked in ancient industries, one hundred years old, which most of our industries are in this country.
As we would bring in an efficiency expert to carry out a time and motion study, we ought to bring in a doctor, an engineer, a scientist or a chemist as a team into the factory to demonstrate what ought to be the environment, what ought to be the temperature, what sounds should be heard, what sounds should not be heard, what should be the colour of the surroundings, how the process should be carried out, whether the worker is to be seated, and in what kind of seat. These are all reflected in the health of the worker and they produce better workers, better goods, and production goes up.
My hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central said that if the worker is made part of an organisation set up to improve health, taking part in the business of voting one of his comrades on to the committee, he will know that he can go to that chap and tell him what he thinks. Then there can be an investigation by the people concerned and something can be done, instead of the depressing thought that nothing can be done about dirty windows, about bad ventilation and so on, which is the experience of most men working in British industry today.
The majority of our factories are small, and the small factory owner will say, "I have not got the money to go in for that kind of fancy stuff". Perhaps in many ways it is difficult for him to do some of the bigger things, but there are many smaller things that can be done, and this is the essence of the argument put by my two hon. Friends tonight. 172 They want action but naturally they do not believe that we shall have an industrial health service at the end of a week or in a year or even in five years. It will take a long time.
However, we want short-term as well as long-term action. We want long-term action in the sense that we want a committee appointed now to go into the best method of organising an industrial health service. There are innumerable diverse examples of such a service. My objection to using Slough and Harlow as the best examples is because they are in untypical areas, where light engineering predominates in modern factory communities. We have not had a health service organised in one of our dull, dark, drab industrial areas, to use the words of my hon. Friends, concerned with, say, engineering or with some of the heavy industries.
§ Dr. Mabon
Yes, the dark satanic mills of, I think, Charles Dickens—and in five years if we are lucky they may be looked into.
There are other matters to which I should like to refer, but I realise that there are other hon. Members who wish to speak before we get on to our next subject. In conclusion, may I say that since the Industrial Health Advisory Committee was set up in 1955, several surveys have been made and that has been all. This Parliament is now coming to an end. I wonder what will happen in the next Parliament? If the party opposite is returned, shall we get the laggardly action of the last five years in the Ministry of Labour? At the end of the next Parliament just what shall we have achieved? I believe that Britain is foolish to ignore industrial health. Paying lip-service through Ministry committees and conducting an odd survey or two is no substitute for the real thing. It may look all right, but it is not good enough.
When in America last year I met the head of the Industrial Health Association of the United States. I was impressed by the way that country is going ahead in expanding industrial health services. It has been hard, I was told, to convince American manufacturers of the wisdom of having health facilities in factories, but it seems that in America one can 173 convince people not so much by talking of first aid or emergency treatment or regular medical examination, which are after all the elementary provisions for any factory, but of the important work of trying to build the right environment, of trying to create the best possible physical and mental conditions in which the worker can do his best.
This kind of thing is being done extremely well in America, with consequent increase in output. The point surely is that one can have this kind of work done and it is not uneconomical. It is not the "frills" of Socialism or the Welfare State but a very sensible provision which ought to be adopted.
I am confident that if in the next Parliament the Ministry of Labour is manned by hon. Friends of mine we shall quickly have an occupational health service. We on this side are committed to that in principle. I know that we certainly cannot rush into that right away, bur. I, for one, am willing to hand over the whole policy to the Minister of Labour, if he would undertake to do it. This policy involves quickly carrying out a series of surveys in the heavy engineering industries and others and the setting up of a committee to inquire into the long-term design of an industrial health service and to go into matters of finance, such as how much should be contributed by the State, the employers and the workers.
I know that there is a very great argument among many medical men and among trade unionists as to whether or not the Ministry of Labour should be primarily responsible for the industrial health service, but that is a matter of administration which can be settled when we have reached the stage of developing the service. Historically, the Ministry of Labour has a responsibility for the industrial health service. So far, in my view, it has not discharged that responsibility very well. It has a great deal to do before it can fairly say that it has tried hard in this regard. I hope that in the next Parliament much more will be done, for it certainly deserves to be done.
§ 10.2 p.m.
§ Mr. William Yates (The Wrekin)
The hon. Member for Greenock (Dr. Dickson Mabon) has spoken in a very kindly 174 manner about the work of the Minister of Labour under the Conservative Government in regard to industrial health. I can speak not for the wide aspects for which the hon. Members speaks, but only for the industries in my constituency, which include the National Coal Board, the steel industry and the C.W.S.
In general, the majority of the employers in my constituency are fully aware of the facts about industrial health that worry them. The National Coal Board takes great care that no person goes down either the Granville or Kemberton pits if he is not feeling fit. Sometimes people on our side say that such a man is an absentee. That is not so; he is never an absentee. It is dangerous for workers to go down a pit when they do not feel well. Those in charge of the steel industries in my constituency are also very well aware of all the problems relating to safety and industrial health. I must admit that I have been rather anxious about the hospital provisions in my constituency. Should there be a major accident in either of the two pits or in the large Sankey steelworks, I do not think that our medical facilities would be quite up to the strain.
With regard to the work of the Minister of Labour on industrial health, some may think that he has not gone far enough and that a Minister from the Labour Party would do better. I very much doubt it. I have seen from my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary, a man of my own generation, considerable understanding of and sympathy with the problems which the country must face. We are not hard-faced men. We understand these problems only too well.
When the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis Smith) speaks about the anxieties he has about conditions in the Potteries and the countryside round about, I support him. My constituency, which experienced the Industrial Revolution, is a mass of pit banks stretching from Coalbrokedale through Okengates to the south almost over to Cannock. What has always surprised me is that neither the Labour Government nor the Conservative Government have found any methods of flattening these large areas which are completely derelict but might be made useful for some form of housing.
175 The great thing to do is to put right some of the unfortunate areas that we have in our countryside. Before we send a person from Kent to Pittsburgh, what about looking at some of the motes in our own eyes? One of the things that we ought to do is to find a method of flattening out these useless sites of pit banks on which we can build houses. These are not agricultural areas which are a capital and national asset. Although this is not the responsibility of the Ministry of Labour, I suggest that the Government ought to look at the matter.
I do not want to detain the House any further, but there was one point of order in which I was interested. It was suggested by the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South that four subjects had been chosen by the Opposition, and four by the Government. That was an arrangement for the Consolidated Fund Bill. I do not know whether it is a good arrangement or not, but I want to be certain that any Private Member in this House can, on the Consolidated Fund Bill, raise any matter of interest to his constituency, or to the country, if so desires, and must be called to speak.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
Most certainly. This business can go on indefinitely. There are four subjects that the Opposition asked for and we are discussing those at the moment.
§ Mr. Yates
I am glad to have that reassurance, because it is very important when we hear that these arrangements have been made. I am speaking as an ordinary Member of the House, and I want to be certain of the facts.
So far as the Ministry of Labour is concerned, I consider that my hon. Friend during his time in office, and those who have worked with him, and with whom I have had correspondence, have given due consideration to most of the things that we have put forward and have had great sympathy for the problems they have had to deal with. I hope that my hon. Friend will long remain in charge of one of the most important social problems and social offices in our country.
§ 10.8 p.m.
§ Mr. A. Blenkinsop (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, East)
I want briefly to ask for a 176 definite assurance from the Minister tonight that this very urgent problem of industrial health and improving the standards of the industrial health service will be tackled as a joint operation by his Department and the Ministry of Labour. If this it not done the proposal will prove to be an utter waste.
There is no doubt that in industrial health we can make far bigger advances than in any other field, but it will be utterly useless if the Ministry of Labour tackles this problem on its own. The trained personnel to be used must be those who are trained for service in hospitals, such as our general practitioners and others. We have had the surveys. We have had the inquiries that have been carried out by such bodies as the Nuffield Trust and others. Now is the time for the practical plans to be prepared.
What is the Department doing to prepare practical plans for an industrial health service in separate regions of this country? We all know that the plans must vary from one region to another because conditions vary so much, but now is the time for the practical proposals to be brought forward.
One section of these practical proposals must be to introduce a laboratory and experimental service which is needed by industry and by workpeople. Already there are some laboratories. What is going to be done to ensure that each region in the country has at least one major industrial laboratory available for those working in industry in these areas? These laboratories could serve not only to help research in the particular diseases current in the industries in the area in which they are, but also as a training centre for those of our general practitioners who will come to use their skills in industrial medicine. In the future many more will do so than is the case today and if they are used they must be trained effectively.
That is the sort of practical plan that must be started now. We must not waste our nursing or medical resources. We want the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Health to start working out practical proposals now, without wasting further years and losing the 270 million working days that we are losing at present.
§ 10.10 p.m.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour and National Service (Mr. Richard Wood)
The debate has ranged fairly widely, and I find one or two of the subjects mentioned, such as the Civic Trust and the improvement of Pittsburgh, to be a little beyond my responsibilities.
I want to begin by saying that the main commentary on the progress made in industrial health is contained every year in the Annual Report of the Chief Inspector of Factories. The House is well aware that a great deal of the inspectorate's work is directly related to promoting industrial health. The work of ordinary factory inspection, which goes on every day, itself makes a substantial contribution towards this. It is for this reason that the staffing of the Factory Inspectorate—in which subject the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Dr. Stross) takes a very deep and abiding interest—both in its general and specialist branches, is most important. I know that the hon. Member and others are delighted to know that there are more inspectors in post today than ever before. There are also more inspectors in post in the medical branch than ever before. Indeed, I believe there is only one vacancy, and I hope that it will soon be possible to fill this.
Quite apart from the Factory Inspectorate, valuable contributions are made to industrial health by industrial medical officers and works nurses, and by the medical staffs at local hospitals and in the universities. Because there are so many contributors to the pool of industrial health it is obviously of immense importance to secure co-operation between industry and the official and voluntary agencies. This is one reason why I set great value, as I was glad to hear the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central did, on the new legislative provision in the Factories Act which makes explicit the power of my right hon. Friend to promote safety, health and welfare by collecting and disseminating information.
The importance of the Industrial Health Advisory Committee, in which my right hon. Friend is able to discuss the important matters which we have been discussing this evening with representatives of employers, trade unions, nurses, the B.M.A., the nationalised industries and 178 other interests has several times been mentioned this evening.
There are two main methods of approaching the problem of industrial health. The first is by making and enforcing laws, in which we have been considerably engaged this Session, having taken a new Factories Act through all its stages. The second is by promoting co-operation between interested parties and encouraging voluntary effort. In some of the Sections of the Factories Act there are provisions which will significantly affect the health and welfare of those working in factories. I refer particularly to the first-aid provisions. In both the new and the existing factories legislation there are provisions under which my right hon. Friend can make regulations to ensure a greater measure of protection for all those who work in factories.
Most hon. Members have drawn attention to the important question of developing the industrial health services. I am sure that the House feels this to be most important. Connected with it are the surveys which have been commented on by many speakers in this debate. Last year we had the Halifax Survey. This year we followed it up with the Potteries Survey and I was grateful for the tributes paid by several hon. Members to the work of the Factory Inspectorate which carried out these surveys. The work was more onerous, because we felt that if the Reports were to have the necessary consistency, the teams of inspectors carrying them out should be as small as possible.
The main purpose of the surveys was to throw light on the best method by which the industrial health services in factories could develop. I am very conscious—in my notes I have underlined this three times—of the need for action which the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis Smith) endeavoured to impress upon me. The Pottery Industry Joint Standing Committee is already examining the Potteries Survey. It will submit recommendations to my right hon. Friend who also will be considering with the Industrial Health Advisory Committee not only whether these surveys should be further extended—I note with interest that that is what a number of hon. Members would like to see—but also the direction and circumstances in 179 which industrial health services can be further developed. In this connection it is immensely important to secure a wider appreciation among the general public of what is being done and also to try to broadcast more widely the advantages to industry of effective industrial health services.
The medical branch of the Factory Inspectorate has recently made quite a comprehensive survey of medical supervision in over 200 factories. The results will be published in the Industrial Health Report of the chief inspector. My right hon. Friend also has in mind the publication of another booklet on the lines of "Positive Employment Policies", which will describe actual examples of good schemes of medical supervision in factories. He intends to try to select schemes and give illustrations not only of what one might call the elaborate organisations but also of more modest schemes which have proved entirely adequate in the smaller factories. My right hon. Friend hopes that such a publication will make clear the great practical advantages to be derived from the introduction and development of such schemes.
It is important to develop occupational hygiene laboratory facilities in relation to the needs of industry. There is a sub-committee of the Industrial Health Advisory Committee studying this matter, but when I visited Slough recently I was impressed to find that the laboratory facilities there are not being fully used. I should like to see industry much more ready to make full use of those facilities than is at present the 180 case. There is a need to make the existing facilities better known and I am quite sure that the Factory Inspectorate can render considerable help in this. It is also necessary for industry to realise the need to use existing facilities more widely than is done at present. There are all kinds of facilities available to industry, and all kinds of ways in which industry can give a fuller recognition to the value of a great deal of the research which is taking place at the present time on the fringe of industry, to help industry, but of which at present use is not being made.
I shall take full note of the various suggestions that have been made during the debate, particularly the suggestions made by the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South, who initiated the debate. I am quite sure that the greatest need at present, as I think he pointed out, is for co-operation and co-ordination between the various Departments and others concerned in this matter. Quite clearly, the number of Government Departments concerned in the kind of city which he would like to see in the future in Great Britain is quite numerous.
In conclusion, I am quite sure that if we are to decrease the incidence of the kind of disease to which he drew our attention, and if we are to try to make our industrial towns better places in which to live, co-operation at all levels is necessary. I shall ensure that the attention of my right hon. Friends responsible is drawn to this debate, and I will also do my best to ensure that the liaison at the lower and local level, which I understand is already good, is still further improved.