HL Deb 02 August 1910 vol 6 cc662-4

Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee, read.


My Lords, I should like to consult the convenience of noble Lords opposite with regard to this Bill. We read the Bill a second time last night, and I think those noble Lords who were present on that occasion and read the special rules which were made by the Board of Trade in connection with the Labour Exchanges and which I had placed upon the Table of the House for the information of your Lordships, were satisfied generally with the objects of the Bill. But I understand it is desired by several noble Lords that the further consideration of this Bill should be postponed. I would not under ordinary circumstances have asked the House to take the further stages so quickly, but your Lordships will realise that the Labour Exchanges are accumulating very useful information, and the purpose of this Bill is to place this information at the disposal of boys and girls who are going into the world to enable them to know which special avenue of employment is most likely to afford them a suitable opening. That information is accumulating, and it was thought that even during the next few months the Bill, if it were passed, would prove of service. If, however, there is a desire to have more time I would not oppose a postponement.


My Lords, I am glad to hear the noble Earl say that if the House wish a little more time to consider this Bill he is disposed to fall in with that request. This is a Bill which met with very little consideration in the other House owing to the congestion of business during the last week or two, and the noble Earl the Lord President, through no fault of his own, was obliged to ask your Lordships to read it a second time with very short notice. Personally I must confess that I had not looked at the Bill yesterday when the noble Earl proposed its Second Reading, but I have since looked at it and also at the special rules made by the Board of Trade in pursuance of the Act, and I venture to think that if your Lordships are to consider the Bill in connection with those regulations more time is required than we are able to bestow at the present moment. The Bill confers independent powers upon the education authority. Under the Bill the education authority would be able to act quite independently and without reference to the Board of Trade. The Board of Trade, from what I have heard, is doing very good work in regard to Labour Exchanges, and it seems to me that very good reason ought to be given for setting up any other authority, whether it be the Board of Education or any other, which could act without reference to the Board of Trade. Turning to the special rules your Lordships will see that there is only one case—that mentioned in Rule No.6—in which the Board of Education is obliged to consult the Board of Trade with reference to this Bill. The Bill is not so simple as it seems, and it would be to the public advantage if the noble Earl would postpone its further consideration.


My Lords, I desire to make no criticism whatever on the merits of the Bill, for I have not read the rules which the noble Earl has laid on the Table. I think it is quite clear that this matter wants careful consideration. I do not think it is possible to exaggerate the value of a wise initiation of a policy for obtaining proper employment for these children. Therefore it is of the greatest importance that Parliament should not make a mistake. My noble friend Lord Hamilton of Dalzell will know that I was anxious to mention the matter in this House a few days ago, not with reference to it Bill but on a Question which might have led to discussion, but at the wish of the noble Lord and the Board of Trade I did not proceed further with the matter, and after that I am a little unwilling, to enter into a discussion of this subject on the very last day of our sittings. I therefore hope that further time will be given for the consideration of this Bill.


My Lords, I am interested to hear the words spoken from the opposite side of the House. I am sorry that any delay should be necessary as to bringing this Bill into early operation, but anything would be better than our bringing the Bill into operation without being sure that it is so worded as to ensure that it will work thoroughly well. The object is so indisputably good, the need is so real and so urgent, and the outline of the machinery seems to me so admirable that I should be very sorry indeed to see the Bill unnecessarily delayed. I support the Bill with all my heart, but if it be clearly understood that our desire is to expedite and to further the cause we are promoting rather than hinder it, I should join in the appeal that a little delay would be preferable to premature action, which might hereafter involve operative difficulties.


My Lords, after what has been said I will certainly defer the further stages of the Bill until after the autumn recess. Three months and a-half will elapse before we meet again, and in the meantime I hope that any Amendments that are to be moved will be sent in so that they may be circulated and considered before Parliament reassembles. I will put down the Committee stage for the first day on which the House meets after the recess.

Committee of the Whole House put off accordingly to Tuesday, the 15th of November next.