§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ THE PAYMASTER-GENERAL (LORD ROCHESTER)
My Lords, in moving the 618 Second Reading of this Bill, I should, in the first place, like to present it as a Government contribution to the great national movement to assist the depressed areas, which has been one of the most encouraging features of a difficult and at times tragic situation. One of the leading members of the Party represented by the noble Lords opposite stated in his speech on the Third Reading of the Bill in another place that he wished to pay a tribute to the great section of public opinion which had not only been deeply disturbed and concerned by this problem, but had at times shown that concern, in a voluntary and magnificent way, worthy of the best traditions and sentiments of this country. I very fully concur in that expression of view, and I hope that I shall be able to convince your Lordships that the Bill, if it does not fully satisfy the wishes and expectations of all your Lordships, does at least go some way to respond to the general public desire for action, and suggests a hopeful and experimental course, which may ultimately lead to a large measure of success. If I cannot succeed in commanding the complete assent of noble Lords opposite, I do at least hope that they will agree to the contention that this Bill does in a concrete, definite, if in their view limited, way attempt to grapple with the problem on orderly and carefully planned lines.
I will not trouble your Lordships by rehearsing at length the history which has led up to the presentation of this Bill. It will be enough to remind you of the fact that there was an investigation by four investigators into the conditions of what are known as the depressed areas, though if I may repeat the observation of the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Durham, they may be distressed but they are not depressed. The Government have very carefully considered the Reports of the investigators to which tributes have been widely paid in the Press and in the country, and I should like, if I may, to add my voice to that eulogistic chores. As a result of those investigations, taking into account the broad lines which were common in the Reports, the Government have prepared this Bill which I am now submitting to your Lordships for Second Reading. I will, in a moment, briefly explain the various clauses one by one. I would, however, anticipate that detailed explanation by two or three 619 general observations, which I hope will tend to clarify certain doubts which have arisen in the course of the debates in another place, and which may also help to exhibit the broad lines of the Bill.
In the first place it is a Bill to set up two Commissioners with regional Sub-Commissioners, who are charged with the duty of initiating, organising, prosecuting and assisting measures designed to facilitate the economic development and social improvement of the depressed areas scheduled to the Bill. It will be observed that these two Commissioners are completely separate from all Government Departments, and the object has been to concentrate in the hands of two people duties which, if spread among a number of Departments, would tend, or might tend, to be too much dissipated to serve the purposes of the emergency in which admittedly we find ourselves. In order to secure that the Commissioners shall be able to do the work imposed upon them, the Bill is so framed, as within the powers conferred upon the Commissioners, to give them the freest possible power of movement. They are necessarily, in both cases, responsible to a Minister of the Crown; this is in order to bring them within the four corners of constitutional practice. Subject to this, however, and to the necessary financial control which the voting of their monies imposes, they will be in a freer position than any other executive officers of the Crown.
It is the Government's policy, and wish, that they should be encouraged to experiment freely, with the knowledge that some of such experiments may fail; they may even make mistakes and thus prove that mistakes are not the sole prerogative of members of the Government! The first striking point, therefore, in the proposals in the Bill, is that the Commissioners have wide powers which they can freely exercise. The second point of general importance is the amount of money placed at their disposal. Here I do not for a moment desire to shirk the issue. It has been freely alleged that £2,000,000 is a pill to cure an earthquake. That, however, is a question of the size and contents of the pill and the seismic powers of the disturbance to which reference is made. If the pill is not merely gilded, but solid gold, and if the extent of the depressed area more especially affected by the economic earthquake is 620 not unduly exaggerated, I submit to your Lordships, that the amounts placed at the disposal of the Commissioners are not insufficient for the experimental purposes for which they are intended. It is stated in the Bill, in terms, that the £2,000,000 are voted for the existing financial year, that is, up to the end of March, covering, therefore, a period of roughly three months. It is also clearly laid down that further sums thereafter may be voted, to the amount that Parliament may determine.
It would, I suggest, have been rash and inexpedient to devote a larger sum for the first three months, until the Commissioners had, as a result of their preliminary investigation of their problem, been able to submit to Ministers their view as to any additional funds they would ultimately need for their purposes. It is both unfair and premature to assume that this sum is the whole or indeed necessarily a considerable part of what the Government, at the request of the Commissioners, may subsequently ask Parliament to allot. I should, therefore, like to make it abundantly clear to your Lordships, that the £2,000,000 is in the nature of a token vote and merely a preliminary figure for the three months ending next March, and therefore that the criticism of the smallness of the amount is beside the point in view of the definite provision in Clause 3, subsection (2), to the effect that this amount can be augmented as Parliament may determine. The idea of this arrangement is that the Commissioners shall start off with enough money to make it certain that they will be enabled to undertake any experimental work which they think is necessary and that thereafter, as and when the Government and Parliament think that more money should be given to them, that will be done.
In the third place there has been much discussion on the area to which the Bill applies. It has been argued that the four selected areas, which are scheduled in detail to the Bill, by no means exhaust those parts of the country in which distress is prevalent and extensive. Upon this, I would emphasise that the Bill is experimental in its nature, and relates in the first place to those areas by common consent the worst in respect of unemployment, the worst in average, in particular localities, and in duration. Secondly, it is essential for successful ex- 621 periment that it should be concentrated as narrowly as possible on the areas most urgently in need of assistance; and thirdly, while it is true that there are other areas in need of assistance, in those other areas there are in nearly every case internal powers of recovery and otherwise favourable circumstances which make their case at least less urgent and less compelling. We have therefore three general points. First, that the Commissioners have wide powers to be freely exercised; secondly, that the moneys to be placed at their disposal are by no means limited to the £2,000,000 mentioned in the Bill; and thirdly, that the areas chosen are deliberately chosen as those which, for the purposes of the present experiment, are most urgently in need of aid.
I come now to the clauses, which I will attempt to explain as briefly as possible. Clause 1 provides for the establishment of the two Commissioners. I have already stated their general functions as designed by the Bill. In particular they are: (a) To act in association with the Unemployment Assistance Board in matters relating to the promotion of the welfare of persons covered by the Unemployment Act, 1934—a very wide power if the powers of the Unemployment Assistance Board are borne in mind—and (b) to recommendations to Government Departments and local authorities, as to the removal of existing difficulties in the exercise of their powers. Here again I anticipate that the intervention of the Commissioner, as a sympathetic third party, will in many eases act as the solvent of those interdepartmental difficulties which, often despite the good will of the Departments, are an inevitable deterrent to rapid progress. The Commissioners coming in from outside with the single object of improving the condition of the depressed areas will certainly be able to exercise a wide and useful influence in this regard.
On the other hand their powers are limited, and I think your Lordships will agree, properly limited, in certain respects. I have already indicated the first limitation, which is that of area, and I have explained the reasons for that limitation. There is the second important limitation of not being able to assist undertakings carried on for the purposes of gain, except in the class of case that is covered by proviso (i) to subsection 5 622 of Clause 1, namely, those whose primary object is to establish an unemployed person in a position of independence or partial independence. I would say in further explanation of this proviso, which has given rise to certain misapprehensions in another place, that its principal object is to assist such undertakings as those of the cultivation of small holdings where some part of the produce may be sold, but which are not conducted primarily for profit, but only for securing a livelihood for the persons engaged therein. In other words, this limitation is to prevent assisting private enterprise which involves competition. In the next place, the Commissioners' powers do not permit them to grant financial assistance by way of grant or loan to any local authority except in respect of expenditure on works by local authorities not covered by grants from Government Departments, or towards the provision of small holdings or allotments. The object of this provision is to prevent the otherwise inevitable overlapping between the powers of local authorities and the Commissioners, an overlapping which would tend to rob the Commissioners' work of much of its usefulness. There is, however, a wide field of effort in the ground left open to them, and in order to secure that, even here, there shall be no confusion of function, it is provided that help shall only be given in such cases with the consent of the appropriate Minister.
Clause 2 is a new clause interpolated as a result of representations made in another place and provides for the possible appointment of a Deputy Commissioner for England and Wales. It was represented in another place that the Bill as then drawn only made it possible to appoint two Commissioners, and it was felt in some quarters that experience might indicate the wisdom of appointing a third Commissioner, while the terms of the Bill as originally drawn gave the Minister no powers in that behalf. The Government were not of opinion then, and I want to make it abundantly plain to your Lordships that they are not of opinion now, that a third Commissioner will be necessary, seeing that the Commissioner in England will already be assisted by Regional Sub-Commissioners. The Government are, however, perfectly ready to provide for the possible contingency of the appointment of a further 623 Deputy Commissioner, and the provision in Clause 2 is therefore inserted.
Clause 3 contains the financial provisions of the Bill. I have already made a reference to the £2,000,000 to be provided by Parliament; in addition sums received by the Commissioners in the exercise of their functions, as for instance from sale of land, will be paid into the Depressed Areas Fund. The Commissioners may with the consent of the Treasury accept any gift or bequest for purposes within their functions as is set out in the Second Schedule, but any sums so received will be administered separately under Clause 3, subsection (3). The remaining subsections of Clause 3 provide that the necessary Parliamentary control shall be exercised over the expenditure of the Commissioners by means of Estimates and for the preparation of accounts and their audit and submission to Parliament by the Comptroller and Auditor General. The Commissioners may appoint and pay such officers and servants as are required, subject to the consent of the Minister of Labour or the Secretary of State as the case may be, and the Treasury. The cost of this staff, together with such sums as may be paid (with similar consent) to the Commissioners should such payment be necessary (although in point of fact the proposed Commissioners will in fact, like the Paymaster-General, be unpaid), will be regarded as part of the expenses of the Commissioners as is set out in the Second Schedule.
Clause 4 enables the Commissioners to acquire land. Read with the relevant Schedule—namely, the Third Schedule—its intention is to provide an expeditious means in the Commissioners for this purpose. It will be realised that it may be necessary in the course of the Commissioners' work that the normal methods of acquisition of land should in this particular emergency be amplified. The provisions, however, are carefully drawn to safeguard existing rights. With necessary modifications they are the same as those contained in the Public Works Facilities Act, 1930, which your Lordships will remember was an Act passed to expedite the procedure for empowering local authorities and statutory undertakings to execute works which would contribute to the relief of unemployment and facilitate the acquisition of land required for the purposes of their 624 function. That latter Act was passed in order to provide more speedy machinery in this direction, in substitution of the somewhat protracted methods provided by the Land Clauses Acts.
The object of Clause 5 is to enable the Commissioner for England and Wales to work through the local authority, if he so desires, in the provision of land for cultivation by unemployed men in the depressed areas. The county councils may wish to act as agents for the Commissioner, and the clause would permit of this. On the other hand, if they prefer to exercise powers already vested in them in the Small Holdings and Allotments Acts, for the purpose of providing such land, the Commissioners will proceed in accordance with subsection (1) of Clause 5. In that event the land will be acquired by the small holdings authority and will be vested in them as part of their small holdings estate, and will be used by them for letting to unemployed men. The subsection in such cases will enable the Commissioner to give a supplementary grant if it be required.
Clause 6 provides for the application of the Bill to Scotland, and needs no further explanation, but I am sure my noble friend Lord Strathcona, who so ably represents the Scottish Office in your Lordships' House, will heartily agree that the appointment of a separate Commissioner for Scotland is both necessary and desirable. Clause 7 provides for the continuance of any powers or duties which may still be regarded as appropriate or necessary, in the Unemployment Assistance Board upon the termination of the Act. The Unemployment Assistance Board are charged with the promotion of the welfare of persons covered by the Unemployment Act, and therefore it appears appropriate that the similar functions more widely exercised, though over a limited area, should, when they are no longer exercised by the Commissioners, be handed over to the Board. The reference to such transfer of powers is only to those powers which concern the welfare of the unemployed. Any other powers or holdings of land are to be transferred to the appropriate Government Department, so far as may be necessary for completing or carrying on something already begun, or winding up the Commissioners' affairs, but not so as to enable a new exercise of the powers to be begun. Clause 8 is the short title, 625 extent and duration of the Bill. The duration of the Commissioners powers under this clause is roughly two years and a quarter—namely, to the 31st March, 1937. Then I come to the Schedules. The First Schedule specifies the depressed areas, and I have already explained the grounds upon which these particular areas are chosen. The Second Schedule relates to the proceedings of the Commissioners and is in common form, so far as appointment of officers, etc. is concerned and I think needs no further comment. The Third Schedule is also in common form and relates to the acquisition of land.
This, my Lords, is a brief statement of the detailed provisions of the Bill. I have not claimed for it, and the Government do not claim for it, anything more than that it is a beginning, but we believe it to be a spirited beginning to the ultimate solution of the acute difficulties that have arisen in these particular areas. We know that the final cure rests, not in the acts of the Government, but in the good will and determination of the British people to continue to assert themselves until they reach their full and merited prosperity. Nevertheless, the acts of Government are an essential ingredient in that recovery, and in so far as this Bill, in a particular direction, starts a new and hopeful process, I confidently submit this Bill to your Lordships for Second Reading. I would only add that it must not be supposed that this particular measure is the whole of the Government's programme in respect of the general problem of unemployment. Nothing is further from the facts, for there has been steady and continuous action, and I think that we are justified in claiming that the employment figures, which are over 800,000 more than they were when the Government took office, are in themselves proof that the Government have not been idle. I would not have your Lordships suppose that we are content with the progress made. We are not. We are continuing our efforts in all the directions already initiated, and in others also, of which this Bill is but one, and I hope a fertile, example. I beg to move.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(Lord Rochester)
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
My Lords, let me say at once, and let me assure my noble friend who introduced this Bill, 626 that those of us who occupy these Benches welcome, just as warmly as those immediately responsible for the measure, any steps that may be taken, whether voluntary or obligatory, whether their source is private initiative or legislation passed through Parliament, towards alleviating the lot of those who must be counted as the outcasts of our present social order. We welcome the opening of social clubs in these distressed areas; we welcome the planting of settlements; we welcome the setting up of centres where unemployed men can learn to produce things with their hands that are of use to them in their homes; and we welcome the admirable work that has been done by the National Council of Social Service and by the Personal Service League. These are signs that the spirit of Christianity, a spirit which lives in individual minds rather than in institutions of orthodox religion, is still alive, and that the sentiment of solidarity is able to overcome even the most rigid of class barriers.
But, and it is evident in this matter that the Government are of our opinion, voluntary effort, however widely it may be supported, can only scratch the surface of the problem. We are glad to see that the Government, realising the gravity of the situation and seeing quite clearly that men of goodwill cannot meet single-handed a national emergency, have stepped into the breach and produced the present measure; but, glad as we are to see that public money is to be spent in these areas, that a large sum of money is to be thus spent, we regret very deeply, and must express our profound dissatisfaction at, the inability of the Government to implement the recommendations of those members of Parliament they themselves appointed to investigate the economic and social conditions in these areas.
I would refer very briefly not to the more general, and admittedly more difficult, proposals that these Commissioners suggested, but to two very practical schemes which the Government Bill appears to have neglected. In the first place, a suggestion was put forward by at least two of the four individuals who were responsible for this Report, that encouragement should be given to local industries, and that they might be developed on the spot by some such scheme as a Public Development 627 Company. That is a small matter, but it is one which would touch the particular economic resources of the localities concerned. Again, one of the immediately practical recommendations of those Commissioners was that powers should be given for the undertaking of land development on a fairly large scale—what we should call general farming as opposed to the very minor agricultural undertakings that are possible when people are limited to small holdings and allotments. It is evident that from an economic point of view larger scale agricultural undertakings are more likely to be profitable and efficient than work done on a smaller scale and without proper co-ordination. We therefore regret that this is another recommendation which seems so practical and yet has been ignored by the Government.
But our dissatisfaction has far deeper roots than those which I have already mentioned because I think it stands to reason that the root causes of this grave malady of unemployment and poverty, which is exhibited at its worst in these depressed and almost derelict areas, are not to be found in the areas themselves, that they cannot be segregated and allotted to one locality, but that they must be sought in the wider sphere of our national economy, and indeed in the sphere of international economic relations. And may I remind your Lordships that this elementary observation was made, and made very pointedly, by one of these Commissioners, if I may use that term, who are supporters of the Government and who drew up the present Report. This Member of Parliament who, being Civil Lord of the Admiralty, is a person of considerable weight, suggests that,just as the really derelict towns and villages cannot be dealt with in isolation, so it is impossible to promote effective measures for the rehabilitation of any one area without reference to the country as a whole.Those are the words of Captain Euan Wallace, a man who has spent much time and much labour in enquiring into the situation on the spot, and who comes back with a Report which, so far as its major recommendations are concerned, is completely neglected by the Government.
When we survey this grave malady from the angle from which it should be approached, that is to say, on the large 628 national scale, we see the extraordinary gravity that this domestic question has assumed in recent years. We have—and I hope this is relevant, because after all I am trying to indicate that you can only help the worst-hit areas by helping on a national scale, and that all the social evils which are present in our system are only exhibited to a greater degree in these particular localities—we have in the first place, at a time when economic recovery has set in, a standing army of 2,000,000 unemployed men. We have besides at least 1,000,000 families living under conditions which are unhealthy and unnatural owing to overcrowding, or which have been described by the Minister of Health in another place as "radiating centres of depravity and disease." We have, according to the Chief Medical Officer of Health, approximately 50,000 children who are either malnourished or under-nourished, that is to say, who are not provided with sufficient sustenance or sustenance adequate in quality to make them healthy, normal, happy, human beings. And the statistics do not include many mothers of families who starve themselves because they cannot endure to see their children withering before their eyes. We have besides—and it is all a symptom of this same phenomenon of unemployment and poverty—the rising rate of maternal mortality, and a rate which may be observed in the depressed areas to exceed by a very considerable extent the average over the whole country.
I am not suggesting that the Government do not wish to proceed on broader lines, but I am suggesting that they have not yet produced any measure which can be said to attack at the source the great social problems of unemployment and poverty. We maintain that the remedy should be sought in the first place by a bold scheme of public works on a national scale, and by a greatly accelerated housing programme. I am not denying that the Government have got a housing programme of their own, and one which is unique when compared with housing programmes which have been set up in the past; but the inadequacy and inefficiency of preceding Governments is not a standard that we can take when we wish to judge the merits of the Government now in office. The Commission on Housing, which was not composed of politicians but of housing experts primarily and of 629 business men, suggested that a million houses were needed in the next ten years at an inclusive rent of under ten shillings a week. We believe that scheme is one which should be proceeded with, and we challenge the Government to tell us that their housing programme will go anywhere near that, or that they will be able to provide anything like that number of houses at the rent I have mentioned, which alone makes these houses at all a possible economic proposition for the lowest paid members of the working class.
And finally, it should be possible to raise the school-leaving age from fourteen to fifteen, and gradually to approach the upper limit of sixteen years. This, indeed, is a contribution to the unemployment problem on the one hand, because those children are taking work that could be done by men; and on the other hand, it would be a constructive human investment to make our working class more robust and more capable of exploiting the possibilities of life than they are at present. We believe, besides, that it, should be possible to open new channels on the land by afforestation, by land drainage, by schemes for making the surface of the soil fit for agriculture, and that this is a great undertaking which would employ many men and render the land suitable for cultivation in years to come.
My last word is this. We maintain quite frankly that public works, even on a national scale, are not enough. We believe that the roots of unemployment and poverty are fixed in a capitalist economy and that so long as we continue to labour under our present economic régime it will be impossible to cure either unemployment or poverty. Our grounds for that assertion are simply that, on the one hand, owing to the almost complete cessation of international trade, the capitalist system has reached its limits for the production of wealth; and that, on the other hand, under a system in which a small class, owing to its monopoly of the means of production, acquires a major share of the national income, there is bound to be a large section of the population living in poverty in order that a few may enjoy luxury. That is why, looking to these very deep-rooted causes, we challenge any scheme that the Government may intend to set up, and why, judging the present 630 measure both as an immediate step to alleviate conditions in these areas and as a more far-reaching step towards alleviating unemployment and poverty, we cannot but consider it is entirely inadequate and merely trifling with a great problem which should be dealt with on an infinitely larger scale.
§ LORD GAINFORD
My Lords, I am not going to follow the noble Earl who has just addressed you upon the question whether the present difficulties in what I regard as distressed areas can best be met by State regulation of industry and by carrying it on under the different system advocated by the Socialist Party. What I rise to do is to ask two questions of the noble Lord in charge of the Bill. I may say that in the district from which I come, the County of Durham, distress has existed since 1926, when we had a very prolonged cessation of colliery operations in the County. Although things might have improved slightly in 1929, yet the distress of that County has been continuous ever since 1926, and during the last five years it has existed to an even greater extent than is the case at the present time. It does seem to me that the steps the Government are now taking come somewhat late in the day, or rather, I might put it this way, they ought to have taken steps two or three years ago at least to deal with the situation that has arisen. We have got to remember the condition of the men and the families who reside in the County of Durham owing to the loss of work for which they are well suited in the collieries—some 30,000, probably, out of work and their families all suffering; the shipbuilding yards all lying idle, both on the Tyne and Tees; and unemployment in the various limestone quarries, blast furnaces, and other industries in that district. There has been considerable distress, and it has been very sad for us to live amongst it, although we have been doing our utmost to try to secure work for as many people as we possibly could.
What I resent, and what the people of Durham resent, and probably the people of other districts resent as well, is what the noble Lord admitted to be the unfortunate title of the Bill—" depressed areas." I am going to ask the noble Lord and the Leader of this House if they would kindly see if it is not possible 631 to meet what may be regarded as a somewhat sentimental objection, but is really a very strong objection that we have to that particular title. I see, on nearly every page of this Bill, the words "depressed areas." Is it not possible to amend the Bill throughout, and instead of calling them "depressed areas," to call them "distressed areas"? I believe it would be quite simple for the Government to introduce Amendments substituting "distressed areas" for "depressed areas" throughout. In that event the Title of the Bill would have to conform to the provisions of the Bill and subsequently be altered in the same way. I press that because we do resent the idea that we are necessarily depressed; we are only distressed owing to the conditions of trade and the lack of work in many of our industries.
The next point I want to press on the noble Lord is whether he cannot introduce an Amendment—I know it is no use our introducing an Amendment from this side of the House, unless it is to be accepted by the Government—to include in these areas the small area across the banks of the Tees. Here in this Bill you propose to deal with the distressed areas on both sides of the river Tyne—places like Wallsend and Newburn, which lie on the north bank, and on the other side, Jarrow and Hebburn, all named in the Bill, all struggling in the depression of the industries on each bank of the Tyne; but when you come to the Tees, you deal with the distress on one bank, and you decline to deal with it on the other. Of course, these districts are contiguous on both sides of the river; there are the same industries and the same class of people, and in the Middlesbrough area, and along the south bank of the Tees, in Cleveland, there is as much distress as there is in any part mentioned in the Bill. It does seem to me to be reasonable that the Commissioner who is dealing with the County of Durham and certain areas in Northumberland might have his duties extended to those places on the south bank of the river Tees. It is a matter that I believe has been raised in another place, and has not been met, but there is no reason whatever why this experiment—and I admit it is an experiment—in Durham and Northumberland should not be extended to this small area on the other side of the river Tees.
632 In regard to the Bill generally, I have nothing to say except that I think it ought to have been introduced before this. It is an experimental measure, but it seems to me to go in the right direction. It is admittedly a matter on which £2,000,000 may be spent in the next three months, and the Government may come forward and say how much more may be spent in order to carry out, what is most desirable after this experiment has been made during the next three months. I take no exception to these provisions. I welcome the measure, and I am quite sure those who are associated with me on these Benches do the same.
§ LORD DANESFORT
My Lords, I would support as strongly as I can the appeal which has just been made by my noble friend Lord Gainford for the omission of the word "depressed," which appears in the Bill repeatedly, and the substitution for it of the word "distressed." The noble Lord speaks with great knowledge, as your Lordships are aware, of the feeling in this matter in the County of Durham; and, indeed, that feeling is not confined to the County of Durham. There have been letters in the newspapers protesting against the unnecessary use of this word, which is calculated to impede, in all probability, the action of the Commissioners, and in some ways to make it less agreeable for the persons concerned to co-operate with them. Indeed there was a remarkable letter in The Times the other day from the Bishop of Jarrow, who has great experience of the distressed area in the County of Durham, in which he expressed very strongly practically the same views as those which have just been stated by my noble friend Lord Gainford. Sentiment goes very far in dealing with such matters as employment, poverty, and social troubles of that sort, and if there is no necessity, as I believe there is no necessity, for using this word "depressed," which is so strongly objected to in many quarters, I do appeal to the Government to make the change necessary.
It will not hurt them; it will not hurt the Bill; it will be an improvement in the Bill. It is quite true that if an alteration is made in the operative part of the Bill a similar alteration will have to be made in the Title of the Bill. There is no difficulty in this House in altering the titles of Bills. It is continually done. 633 I have made inquiry as to whether there would be any difficulty in altering the Title when the Bill goes back to another place, and I have been assured upon the highest authority on these matters of procedure in the House of Commons that there would be no difficulty whatever as far as procedure goes. What happens there is that if Amendments are introduced into a Bill which make it desirable to alter the Title, then the Title is altered. There is no Rule or Standing Order or anything else in the House of Commons against it. In these circumstances I urge the Government to make the alteration. I am glad to see in their places not only the noble Lord in charge of the Bill, who commended it to us so admirably, but also the noble Viscount who leads the House, and I appeal as strongly as I can to them to make this alteration which, I believe, will result in the smooth working of the BM and the removal of the objections which have been taken very widely against this wholly inappropriate adjective.
§ LORD HUTCHISON OF MONTROSE
My Lords, I only want in a few minutes to say how much I support this Bill. I support it because I think it is the beginning of a movement by the Government to deal with this vast problem of our depressed areas, and also with small holding development. We have heard in another place that the Government are only too willing to accept all ideas, from whichever side of the House they may come. I hope, when the debates not only in your Lordships' House but in another place have been read, that many suggestions will have been made which will be of great value to the Commissioners and to the Departments concerned, and that those suggestions may be absorbed by them.
I was surprised to find that the noble Lord who moved the Second Reading of this Bill had expressed the view that the Commissioners were so very independent that they would be able to do practically as they liked in this matter. As a matter of fact, when you begin to look into the Bill, you find that they have to work through Departments and, of course, will have to justify expenditure to the Treasury. To my mind it would have been a better Bill if there had been more freedom, and a Board with an allocation of money. The mem- 634 bers of such a Board would have been able to devote their talents to this question. After all, the success of this experiment is bound to rest on the character, quality, brains, and tenacity of the various Commissioners who are appointed. I hope and trust that they will be very successful. It is a problem that requires to be tackled, and it is a scheme, when it has been tried in these areas, which will undoubtedly be used by the Government as the basis of a much wider scheme for the development of small holdings and for helping the country to deal with the vast problem of unemployment. We have this great number of two millions unemployed, and I am certain that the problem of dealing with these two millions must be handled by the Government.
I do not want to delay your Lordships long this evening, but I would like to make a few observations on how best in these areas these Commissioners can work. Some years ago, in another place, I was Chairman of a Committee examining agriculture, and especially the problem of small holdings. I wandered in my search for knowledge into various parts of Europe, and I venture to say that if you are going to tackle the very difficult problem of small holdings you have to do it in a different way from that in which it was tackled by the Government after the War. Money was largely wasted in putting up buildings and all kinds of paraphernalia in connection with these small holdings. The best application of money in relation to small holdings that I have seen was in Germany. There they work from their depressed town or area outwards. First of all there is the provision of suitable land at no great distance from the place where the people live. Then there is the development of very cheap or free transport for individuals from the townships in which they live to the areas where they work their small holdings, and, finally and most important, the provision of markets for the produce. Not only in this way do you get a cheap development of the small holding idea, but afterwards, as it develops, as money is collected by the individual small holders, buildings can he placed on the various holdings.
The importance of markets in relation to small holdings is absolutely essential. 635 Without markets the small holder gradually drifts into the production of a small amount of food for himself or his family. It is only when he can bring what he produces from a short distance away to townships, when he is able to sell what he produces at first hand to the consumer in the townships, that you can make a success of small holdings. I have examined one or two places in this country, and I am interested in a society dealing with the subject of markets. There is one experiment at East Grinstead, where a lot of ex-soldiers have been developing small holdings, and they have been most successful. In other parts of the country, in Norfolk especially, the marketing development has not been a success, largely because the produce gets into the hands of those who are handling foreign produce. It is that kind of thing which has to be carefully watched. It must be seen that the produce of the small holder does not get into the hands of those who are dealing with overseas produce. Marketing has to be done on a co-operative basis by the small holders themselves. Experiments are also going on now at Salisbury Plain and at Bulford, and I am sure the Secretary of State for War who leads the House will know a great deal of the efforts of the Commander-in-Chief of the Southern Command in this connection. They are just beginning to move in that direction and I congratulate the military authorities on giving an example to the civil authorities of the way in which these markets can be developed.
There is another point I should like to raise in connection with these depressed areas. It is too late for me to develop at any great length the various ways in which the small holding problem can be tackled, but I would like to express the hope that the Commissioners will not make the mistake of putting buildings on the land and trying to start small holdings in that way. The more practical way is to give men cheap transport from the district in which they live so that they can go backwards and forwards to their holdings. Another point I wish to bring to the notice of your Lordships is that very useful work can be done in some of the depressed areas on the coast by dealing with harbours. A lot of small harbours along our coasts are undoubtedly derelict and quite unfit for 636 any trade at all. A great deal of work can be done there to develop a useful trade with small craft round the coast. The suggestion has been made before and I am very glad to bring it forward now. The last thing I wish to say is that I hope that this small sum of £2,000,000, which is altogether inadequate to deal with this vast problem—though I realise of course it is only for the rest of the financial year—will not be frittered away on too many different kinds of activities, but that the Commissioners will concentrate on two or three main schemes and try to carry them through to success, so that they may be an example of what can be clone and so that ultimately they can be applied to the whole country.
My Lords, I hope the noble Lord who has just spoken with such refreshing vigour will forgive me if I say no more about his speech than that I fully agree with every word. In this non-Party atmosphere perhaps your Lordships will allow me to say that my noble friend the Leader of the Opposition wishes me strongly to support the plea of the noble Lord on the Liberal Benches, Lord Gainford, for a change in the Title of this Bill. We very much hope that the Government will give way to the arguments of the noble Lord and also those of the noble Lord opposite, Lord Danesfort.
I want to offer some very brief observations on this measure. My noble friend the Earl of Listowel, who spoke after the noble Lord, the Paymaster-General, referred to the young people and the tragic spectacle of unemployed youth in these districts, and the noble Lord, Lord Gainford, knows very well that the awful problem in Durham is accentuated by the fact that mothers who used to take pride in their boys going down the pit are now discouraging them from doing so. It is a most dreadful thing that the old family pride of the young men following in their fathers' footsteps is disappearing owing to the appalling conditions of the industry. My noble friend did not mention another very serious problem—that is, that the Commissioners, with the best will in the world, following out all the suggestions of the noble Lord who preceded me, will not be able to do much for the old people. There is a great tragedy for the elderly people who fall out of employment to-day and I very 637 much regret that the Government have not undertaken some policy to help the aged. We had a most interesting debate a few months ago in your Lordships' House, initiated by my noble friend Lord Sanderson, with regard to children and the raising of the school age, but this problem of old people is particularly acute and their plight is all the worse in the distressed areas—to adopt what I hope will be the new term—because the younger members of the community will be moved away whenever possible. Surely the time has come when some boldness is required here, and I think the Government should consider lowering the pensionable age and raising the amount of the pension on condition that the pensioners leave gainful employment.
Last Sunday I assisted at an immense meeting held in one of the London suburbs, a non-party meeting attended by 2,000 people, to consider this very question. There is really a rising feeling in the country that there is something wrong with the body politic when you have elderly people toiling because of their poverty when they are really past work, while young men are standing idle at the street corners. If you can get the old people out of industry by lowering the pensionable age and increasing the amount of the pension, I believe you will do a great deal to help the position not only in the distressed areas but throughout the country. Such action needs great boldness, and when the Chancellor of the Exchequer says that we cannot afford it I would remind him that money paid out to old people in the form of pensions is all spent in this country over the shop counters and gives employment, and that in effect it does not cost the country anything.
There is one other matter want to deal with that has not been mentioned in the debate. I am sorry that the Government are not pursuing a vigorous policy with regard to afforestation. This refers particularly to the country from which the noble Lord, Lord Hutchison, comes. We are still importing £70,000,000 worth of timber into the country each year and the visible supplies of timber are diminishing. Except in New Zealand, there is very little new planting going on anywhere in the world although the consumption of timber for all the different industrial uses to which it is put is mount- 638 ing all the time. We have only scratched at that problem in this country. This is a policy which, if really pursued in the most vigorous manner, would do a great deal to help the whole question of employment in this country and would help also to balance our economic position.
I want also to draw your Lordships' attention to what I consider is an extraordinary state of affairs, in regard to which I hone the noble Lord the Paymaster-General will be able to give your Lordships some information. It has been ventilated in the Press and it has been referred to in another place, and I think it is time that your Lordships took up the matter. It undoubtedly affects the distressed areas because it affects the shipping industry and therefore also the coal industry and the iron and steel industry. On the one hand, His Majesty's Government propose to subsidise the tramp shipping industry. On the other hand, we had the Bill before your Lordships' House for the Atlantic merger by which the country is committed to pay an immense subsidy for building two gigantic liners for the luxury trade across the Atlantic. So far so good. Many defenders can be found for both policies, for subsidising tramp shipping and for building luxury liners.
But there is a new type of transatlantic traffic that has arisen, traffic that caters for what I may call the small man who wants to go across the Atlantic cheaply. He is not a pauper. If he can get a passage across the Atlantic for £10 or £15 and buy food as he requires it he will be glad to go. He belongs to that great public who go on cruises to the Mediterranean and so on. If you look around industry to-day you will see that the callings that pay are those that cater for small people. Cinemas, cheap restaurants, small hotels, cheap forms of transport, the light motor car industry—all these are flourishing for the simple reason that they cater for the masses of comfortably-off people, not wealthy, not poor, but people who want the best that their money can afford. If you can attract that immense travelling public with a cheap line of special steamships—not the great luxury liners, in which you have to pay about ten pounds a day for the most modest quarters, combined with great luxury in catering and so on; not that type of ship at all, but the moderate-sized liner, which incidentally (and this 639 will interest the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, as President of the Navy League) is only of use to you in wartime as an auxiliary cruiser or transport, whereas your great super-liners are not suitable for that purpose—that line will flourish too. It must be a line of smaller or medium-sized liners catering for the small man who wishes to cross the Atlantic cheaply. It is those which, according to the best opinion, could be made to pay.
Very well. Without any subsidies, without any assistance from the Government, a group was formed to purchase from the Americans the Red Star Line, which flies the Blue Ensign. It was to be a British company. The money was available, and a workable scheme was got out. It would have given employment to British officers and seamen, to dockside workers and so on, and later on it was intended to build new ships. And what happened? The Treasury, through the Bank of England, let it be known in the City of London—I am betraying no secret because this has been exposed to the world—that anyone providing that financial assistance would be persona non grata to His Majesty's Government; and things are so that a threat of that kind in the narrow upper circle of high finance in the City of London is equal to a command. I repeat, no subsidy was asked for, no assistance was asked from the State, and here was a businesslike proposal to run a new form of traffic which would not have competed with the luxury traffic organised by the Cunard-White Star Line, but His Majesty's Government come down, through their Treasury and through their connections with the Bank of England, and veto it. I see the Lord Chief Justice in his place; I would have thought that he would have had something to say about this matter, but I bring it to his attention now as a fair example, not of bureaucracy interfering with the liberty of the subject, but of bureaucracy by a sort of invisible form of government exercised by the Treasury, and avowed in another place by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
On the one hand, I repeat, subsidies for tramp shipping at the taxpayer's expense; on the other hand subsidies for the building of great luxury super-liners; immense distress in certain areas which is occasioning this Bill; and yet when people propose to act on their own account and bring in a new line of shipping traffic across the Atlantic they 640 are vetoed by the Government, or rather those who are prepared to find the money are told that it will be made very uncomfortable for them, or that they will incur the displeasure of the highest authority who are in touch with the Government, if they do. That is a very extraordinary state of affairs, and I should like the Paymaster-General, if he will be so good, to say whether this matter has received further consideration. I am glad to say that when the matter was ventilated before, the Chancellor of the Exchequer did not completely shut the door. I now understand that those who are fathering this enterprise are prepared to meet the Government with regard to not building ships except after a certain period, and no doubt in collaboration with the Board of Trade. That is the situation. I think it is deserving of your Lordships' attention, and I would request the Paymaster-General to give us what information he can. After all, this country's interest in and dependence upon its shipping are overwhelming, and it is because our overseas trade carried by our shipping is in such a condition of decline that your Lordships are asked to pass this Bill to-night. What I have said, therefore, has a direct bearing upon it, and I would beg your Lordships' attention to it.
§ LORD MOTTISTONE
My Lords, before the noble Lord replies may I say one word in support of the suggestion which the noble Lord, Lord Hutchison, made with regard to the small harbours of this country? Let some of the money devoted to relieving unemployment be applied to improving the small harbours of this country. I would not detain your Lordships for a moment but for the fact that I have some special knowledge of this question owing to my life-long connection with the lifeboat service. I think it is true to say, and I do not think anybody can contradict it, that although we are the greatest maritime nation, the condition of our smaller harbours in the indented coastline of Great Britain and Ireland is far inferior to the condition of the harbours in almost any other country in the world. I raised this question in the House of Commons when I was first elected nearly thirty years ago, and I have been urging it ever since.
If I may, I would ask the noble Lord, bringing a fresh mind to bear upon the 641 problem as he is now doing, to ask his Department to see whether what I say is not true, that totally unlike the small harbours of France, of Belgium, of Holland, of Germany, even of poor Portugal, which is poor in money, even of Spain and of course, of Italy, our small harbours, which used to be so vitally important to our fishing fleets, are now, in many cases, almost derelict. It is a most astonishing thing to see, as I see constantly as I am going about either inspecting lifeboats or in my own boat, wonderful little harbours which even when I was a boy bad a good depth of water and were properly buoyed and marked, now left really derelict, silted up and with no proper marks. If a survey be made of the coast of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and since we are speaking of lifeboats one would wish to include Southern Ireland, because fortunately the lifeboat service is still one, including that country, it will be found that there is an immense amount of work to be done. It would not involve the employment of millions of people, but it would involve the employment of a great many. It ought to be done, and any impartial man or any foreigner would certainly say, as many have said to me, that it ought to be done without delay.
I know that money is not unlimited, but as well as being the greatest maritime nation, we are undoubtedly the richest nation in Europe, and it does seem a strange thing, and it astonishes all those who come from abroad, whether they are here on life-saving service or not, that we allow our small harbours to decay more and more, while all other countries are caring for theirs with a view to encouraging their fishing fleets and facilitating their life-saving service. I would therefore respectfully beg my noble friend to bring his fresh mind to bear upon it and at last take the action which all of us would say is highly desirable in the interests of our naval supremacy on the one hand and our life-saving service on the other.
§ LORD ELTON
My Lords, I had certainly not intended to take part in this debate, and I am not going to detain your Lordships now for very long, but I have been very much inspired and interested by the succession of contributions made from all angles without any Party feeling, and if I may say so I have 642 thoroughly agreed with the suggestions which fell not only from the noble Lord, Lord Hutchison, on this side of the House, but from the noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, opposite. In the course of this brief discussion the only noble Lord who has advanced any criticism of the Bill is the noble Earl who first spoke from the opposite Benches, Lord Listowel. I do not intend to follow him into his possibly somewhat academic essay upon the rival merits of Socialism and Capitalism, but I would like to say just one word on his general criticism, which I take to be that this is a very small measure. I think the striking metaphor of the pill and the earthquake came from the Paymaster-General, but that was, I think, the general attitude adopted by Lord Listowel.
It is possible that it may prove to be a very small measure—I do not think we can tell yet—but I think that it contains within it very great possibilities. If the Commissioners use their powers as we all hope they will use their powers, and if their relations with the Government Departments prove to be what we all hope they will be, then I think that we shall have a road opened to us towards supplying something of the lack of which some of us who support the Government have been very sensible during the last few months. In the third subsection of Clause I the Commissioners are instructed to make suggestions to, and to co-operate with, the Government Departments—in the plural. This, my Lords, is an age of plans, and plans may be classified by their relative remoteness from reality. At the extreme end of the scale you have the professional theorist with his almost annual paper Utopias, of which one constant feature is their invariable divorce from reality. A little nearer reality you get the various apostles of the New Deal. I do not think that any actual new deal has produced any very striking material results for its people, but there is no doubt it has produced in more than one case astonishing psychological results and consequently immense political dividends. Mr. Lloyd George has recently announced that he is prepared to give us a new deal, and the gusto with which he announced it makes one suspect that the dealer is well aware of the position of the aces in the pack. That announcement is the kind of announcement, in the 643 present state of public feeling, to win a ready response.
At the other extreme we have had our own Government proceeding along the line of steady advance, producing very solid results, but up to very lately leaving the public unhappily conscious of the lack of a new sense of direction. It does seem to rue that in this subsection, with its instruction to the Commissioners to make suggestions to Government Departments, if they really make suggestions and if the Government Departments are really going to co-operate with one another, we have the thin end of what may be a very valuable wedge. Personally I regard what the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, said with regard to the struggle between Socialism and Capitalism as almost as much out of date as the struggles between Tories and Whigs. What is wanted is not an "ism" but an empirical plan growing out of the novel age in which we are living. I think that if the Government will make the use of this Bill of which it is susceptible, we have there a valuable possible avenue towards that empirical plan which some of us are anxious to see.
§ LORD ROCHESTER
My Lords, may I first of all pay my need of thanks to all the noble Lords who have spoken, for their response to this Bill? It seems to me that there has been very little actual criticism, but a good many statements have been made as to the insufficiency of the Bill, and the wish has been expressed in more than one quarter that the Government could see their way to go further. Speaking generally, I think the Government cannot be displeased with the reception which the Bill has received in this House. Having said that, may I deal seriatim with the points which have been raised? First as to my noble friend Lord Listowel. I should like to thank him for his contribution to the debate and to say, as to the constructive suggestions that he made, that I will see that they are brought to the attention of my right honourable friend the Minister of Labour. If they cannot be usefully employed in this connection I am quite sure that they will not be pigeon-holed, and I feel there is little doubt they may even yet be the germs which may be utilised on some future occasion. After all this is only an experimental Bill.
644 Now, as regards my noble friend Lord Gainford, I confess quite frankly that he placed me in a little difficulty. He raised two points definitely, in addition to his general approbation of the Bill. As I understood him his two questions were, firstly, as regard the Title, and secondly, as to the extension of the area. Perhaps he will allow me to deal with the second point first. In reply to the point as to the extension of the area, I would say this, that Middlesbrough was not covered by the investigation, and in fact its unemployment figure, though high, is substantially lower than that of Jarrow. The line for experiment, I am sure he will appreciate, must be necessarily drawn with a certain arbitrariness, bat in this respect I do feel that it is defensible, and with the best will in the world the Government have come to the deliberate conclusion that, as regards this experiment, they are not able to extend the area covered by the Bill. I would in that connection reiterate what I tried to say in moving the Second Reading. I said that they have chosen those parts which by common consent are the worst in respect of unemployment, the worst in average, in particular localities, and in duration. The Government feel that it is essential for successful experiment that it should be concentrated as narrowly as possible on the areas most urgently in need of assistance, and while they do not for one moment suggest that there are not other areas which should be considered, they do not feel able to extend the areas as regards this experiment.
As regards the point that my noble friend raised as to the Title of the Bill, there I confess that he has a good deal of support in this House. My noble friend Lord Danesfort and my noble friend Lord Strabolgi, speaking as he said with the full authority of the Leader of the Opposition, supported that contention. I want to say, speaking as a member of the. Government, with a full sense of responsibility, that while I cannot concede the point at this moment I can say that the Government have given the matter most sympathetic consideration. The only suggestion I can make, in view of the extreme paucity of time, because we are going to ask your Lordships to give us all the remaining stages of the Bill to-morrow—and I make the suggestion with great 645 diffidence and reservation—would be this, that if one of the noble Lords who have spoken to-night would put down an Amendment to delete the word "depressed" in order to insert the word "special" I would see that it was brought to the immediate attention of the Minister of Labour, and if any persuasive powers of mine are of value, I would do all I can to see that it has every possible consideration to-night. I would like to add, because we are so short of time, that scarcely think the word "distressed" instead of "depressed" would be suitable.
§ LORD GAINFORD
I do not like the word "distressed" myself, but it was the word used by the right reverend Prelate and referred to by the noble Lord. I think the word which he now suggests is a better one, and if the suggestion which he makes is carried out I believe it would be adopted.
§ LORD ROCHESTER
I think the noble Lord will agree that I was only quoting the right reverend Prelate. I want to make it abundantly clear that as I am speaking for another Department than my own I cannot commit the Government; but I can say that it has already received very sympathetic consideration, and if an Amendment is put down in this sense I will do all that in me lies to try and see whether I can persuade the Government to accept it. But I am sure noble Lords will appreciate that if am giving no pledge, and I feel that that is as far as I can go in answer to all those who have raised the question of Title.
My noble friend Lord Hutchison, if he will forgive my saying so, need make no apology for his contribution to the debate. It was most helpful and constructive, and it was especially valuable on the point as to how the Commissioners should encompass their task. He laid stress upon the importance of the provision of markets for small holders. I thank him for that suggestion, and assure him that it shall not be overlooked. In the absence of the Leader of the House perhaps I should be divulging no confidence if I told him that he has a very sympathetic hearer in the noble Viscount, because to my knowledge the War Office have actually lent their representative, to whom he referred, to the Commissioners who are being appointed under this Bill, so that 646 the noble Lord can rest assured that his suggestions will receive the fullest possible consideration.
The next speaker was the noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi. He asked us for consideration for the aged. I can assure him that the Government need no conversion on that point. But it scarcely comes within the purview of this Bill. If he will allow me to take note of that contention, without suggesting for a moment that it can be dealt with in this connection, that is as much as I can do for him. As regards his suggestion about afforestation, I will see that that matter also is brought to the notice of my right honourable friend.
Then he came to another subject which is one which I feel I must deal with in rather more detail. He referred to the Red Star Line. Now, I should like to point out that the originator of that scheme proposed that the two ships should be built at Belfast. That was his original suggestion, and therefore it would scarcely help the difficulties that we are dealing with in this Bill. The originator's second proposal does not include the building of any ships, and I suggest therefore that the proposal as regards the Red Star Line would scarcely be of material assistance to the distressed areas. I noticed his remark about stewards and those who would be indirectly affected. But they would scarcely be so numerous as to make an appreciable impression upon the problem with which we are concerned. Nevertheless I will see that his request is not only noted, but is brought to the attention of the Treasury.
One of the ships is coal-burning, so that has a greater effect, but I am really only linking it up with the distressed areas. Has the Paymaster General any further information as regards the Government's action, because the time is slipping away, and these ships may be bought by another nation?
§ LORD ROCHESTER
I will bring to the attention, of the Treasury the noble Lord's remarks, but I scarcely think that they come within the purview of this Bill.
§ LORD ROCHESTER
I certainly will. As regards the noble Lord, Lord Mottistone, he asked me to bring a fresh mind to the problem. I would remind him that I too am getting into "the sear, the yellow leaf," because I was in the House of Commons with the noble Lord, nearly thirty years ago and I remember the assiduity with which he has always stressed this point. A great deal is to be said for the survey to which he referred. He and Lord Hutchison dealt with the question of the small harbours round our coasts that are almost derelict. I can only say in that connection that as we are dealing with specific areas under this Bill it would not have that omnibus effect to which he referred, but it may be that his suggestion may possibly bear fruit in another connection, and I can assure him that no suggestion coining from him or from Lord Hutchison falls upon deaf ears as far as the Government are concerned. Perhaps in this connection he would allow me with great respect to pay my meed of praise to him for the invaluable and indefatigable work with which his name is always associated in our minds connected with the lifeboat service in this country.
As regards Lord Elton's speech I am sure he will not expect me to deal with it, because in essence it was rather a reply to the first speech to which we listened. I think I have now dealt with each one of the speeches made to-night. If there is any point I have missed I have not done it intentionally, but I do ask, in view of the close proximity of the Recess, that your Lordships will be good enough to give the Bill a Second Reading to-night, and I hope you will be equally good in allowing us to take all the remaining stages to-morrow. But if the Amendments to which I refer are put down they must be put down at once. As regards the Title, I will see that every consideration is given to that.
§ LORD PONSONBY OF SHULBREDE
My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for the very accommodating speech in which he has met all the criticisms, and on behalf of my noble friends I desire to say that we should appreciate very much the change from "depressed" to "special." That would meet our objections completely, and I understand that that Amendment is going to be put down in the name of a noble Lord from each Party, and we are depending on the 648 noble Lord to use his influence with the Department in question in order to get that Amendment accepted. I think perhaps the noble Lord just a little overstressed our enthusiasm for this Bill. We really do not regard it as anything very remarkable, but we hope it is an experiment that will succeed. I return to the simile that I used in an earlier part of the Session. I regard this as dealing with sores and wounds on the body, without really going to the fundamental cause which has produced them. It is like poulticing a mortifying limb, instead of really getting to the cause of the disease. But we wish it well, naturally, and we hope that the experiment will prove successful. The very fact that there is a line drawn round the area which prevents the Government from dealing with anything outside that line is in itself something in the nature of an absurdity. But we hope that the efforts that no doubt will be put into this enterprise will be successful.
§ LORD ROCHESTER
My Lords, if I may speak again with permission of the House, may I thank the noble Lord for what he has said? I want to be equally frank as regards the Amendment. Though I used the singular there will he more than one, because apart from leaving out the word "depressed" in order to insert "special" it will be necessary to make a consequential Amendment in subsection (1) of Clause 1 and right through the Bill wherever the word appears.
§ On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.