HL Deb 04 February 1959 vol 213 cc1052-176

2.13 p.m.

LORD PAKENHAM rose to call attention to the Youth Services; and to move for Papers. The noble Lord said: My Lords, so far as I can discover, we have never before specifically debated in this House the Youth Services and it may well be thought that consideration of the subject is overdue. Be that as it may, we have assembled a wonderful list of speakers to-day, always excluding the first one, and I cannot recall anything like it since the trial of Warren Hastings, described by Macaulay in an essay so familiar to the noble Earl, Lord Dundee. Your Lordships may remember that description of the scene. We were told—this was in 1788: There have been spectacles more dazzling to the eye, more gorgeous with jewellery and cloth of gold, more attractive to grown-up children, than that which was then exhibited at Westminster; but, perhaps, there never was a spectacle so well calculated to strike a highly cultivated, a reflecting, an imaginative mind.

He goes on to say, among a number of other things: There were gathered together, from all parts of a great, free, enlightened and prosperous empire, grace and female loveliness, wit and learning, the representatives of every science and of every art. I think particularly that the references to "grace and female loveliness" are most happy, in view of the fact that we are to-day going to listen to the maiden speeches of two Life Peeresses and that we shall also hear from the noble Baroness, Lady Elliot of Harwood. It is not for me to single out anybody who is to speak, but on this side I cannot refrain from expressing pleasure that the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, who started adult life, so to speak, in the world of boys' clubs will he addressing us; and that also we shall listen to, among many other representatives of the world of youth, the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, whose father, so dearly loved in this House, did as much as any man for the cause of boys' clubs.

There are four factors Which lend special point to a discussion of the Youth Services at the present time. First of all, there is the statistical prospect. We are faced with a new situation which will not rapidly subside but will last as far ahead as we can see. It is calculated that, owing to the bulge in the population, the number of young people reaching the age of fifteen will have increased by about 50 per cent. between 1957 and 1962, and that even in the 1970's it should be at least 25 per cent. higher than at present, because the abolition of National Service will enlarge the numbers available for these facilities between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one.

Secondly, there is the increase in juvenile and adolescent crime. I do not intend to trespass on that subject much to-day, if only because we can expect to be ddb Ming crime generally before very long. But we are all aware—and if we were not before, we certainly are since we read the White Paper published a day or two ago—that on the face of it, at least, there has been a major increase in crime since pre-war days, including juvenile and adolescent crime. I Shall look forward, as will others, to some analysis to-day of the situation in those figures from the noble Baroness, Lady Wootton of Abinger, who speaks with expert knowledge. Whatever measure of scepticism may attach to the criminal statistics (and I am afraid that I have played my part in furthering that scepticism), it is natural that there should be among all of us concern about the level of juvenile and delinquent crime. That does not mean that I take a particularly gloomy view of the younger generation.

I find it impossible, as I think most sensible people do, to hazard any guess as to whether the young of to-day are either morally better or worse than we were at their age. They are certainly, taking the youth of the nation as a whole, better fed, better clothed and better educated than any of their predecessors. But it seems to me—I may be biased with so intimate a contact—that they are less deferential to their parents; they are quicker to expect the rewards of maturity; they expect more of life. And they are, I would say, more vulnerable; and although they may be more promising in many ways, if they do go wrong they are more likely to go over the precipice.

Taking the vast majority of those who leave school at the age of fifteen—and, after all, the vast majority do—they are surely more neglected in relation to their moral needs than any other section of our community to-day. While it should not he difficult to avoid complacency When we look at the crime figures, I hope that none of us will approach this youth debate in a spirit of defeatism or pessimism. When we see all these young people, more numerous than ever before, possessed, it may be, of a greater potential for good or evil than any previous generation, we should surely recognise not only an urgent need but an unprecedented opportunity.

Let us see what our rulers have been doing about it—and I try to approach this without any Party predisposition. That would be the third point: the verdict of the Select Committee of 1957. This Committee, which was an all-Party Committee, reached the following scathing conclusion: That the Committee were not satisfied that the Ministry of Education is properly exercising its responsibility for the money voted. The impression gained from the Inquiry is that the Ministry is little interested in the present state of the Service and apathetic about its future. Your Committee considers that this apathy is having a deeply discouraging effect on the valuable work done for the Service—much of it voluntary and unpaid. I am aware that the Ministry made certain comments in reply, and that the Committee, in their turn, commented on those comments; and it may well be that to-day the noble Viscount, Lord Hailsham, who I am so glad is to reply, will wish to offer comments of his own. However, there it is on the record: that was the conclusion of this all-Party Committee which examined the Youth Services in 1957.

I myself cannot believe that any Member of this House who has read or reads the evidence given to that Committee will be surprised at that conclusion. I will to-day give only one quotation from a high spokesman. One does not like to identify individual civil servants, but it was a very high spokesman from the Ministry of Education. He said to the Committee: It is certainly true that among the many services which might be further expanded and developed in order that all the possibilities open to an Education Ministry were fully carried out, the Youth Service is one which it has been definite policy for some time now not to advance. It is worth observing that that evidence was given officially for the Ministry on May 2, 1957; a definite policy not to advance the Youth Service was well established for "some time now" before the so-called bank rate crisis of the autumn. We must regard that, I submit, as an utterly deplorable state of affairs.

Then we come to the attitude of the Government since that time. The full enormity of the official attitude appeared to take some time to seep through to the serious public. It may be that the economy atmosphere (and I shall not get involved in that wider issue to-day) of late 1957 did not help. But disquiet among those most concerned with youth steadily mounted. The Minister of Education made a tepid though, I am sure, well-intentioned statement on February 20, 1958. I see that in my notes I have the year down as 1058; and although the statement was about 900 years behind the times, it was made in 1958 and not in 1058. However, if I read it, I should seem merely to be indulging in irony, and I will leave that to other speakers.

The House will not be surprised to hear that that statement of February 20 satisfied nobody—at least nobody that I have encountered. At the last Conservative Conference Mr. Butler foreshadowed an inquiry, and a strong Committee—say advisedly what seems to be an excellent Committee—was duly appointed on November 20 last year under the noble Lady, Lady Albemarle. These are the terms of reference of the Albemarle Committee: To view the contribution which the Youth Service of England and Wales can make in assisting young people to play their part in the life of the community in the light of changing social and industrial conditions and of current trends in other branches of the Education Service; and to advise according to what priorities best value can be obtained for the money spent. Better late than never! We are assembled in large numbers for this debate, irrespective of Party, not primarily, as I understand it, to indict the Government—though they can hardly expect bouquets—but to do two things. First, to convince the Government of the widespread public insistence that the whole movement of the Youth Service should be brought out in an entirely new spirit; and secondly, to offer from the varied experience represented here a number of constructive ideas which can help the Albemarle Committee and any Government who have to consider their findings.

What do I and others mean by the Youth Service? A definition was given by the Ministry of Education in their evidence to the 1957 Select Committee on Estimates. They say that the expression "Youth Service" is generally used to denote the promotion by voluntary bodies and local education authorities of the social and physical training and recreation of people aged fifteen to twenty who have left school. That is an official definition, but it will seem to many of us unduly limited in, perhaps, two ways. In the first place, the Standing Conference of the National Voluntary Youth Organisations (often called "Scanvyo") lays the stress on character training when making it a condition of membership that organisations should be formed for the primary purpose of promoting the physical, mental and spiritual training of its members. I feel that in that sense the definition is rather better than that of the Ministry, although there is no conflict between them. I myself believe that the aspiration of "Scanvyo", whether or not it is achieved, in this imperfect world, is, in fact, steadily pursued.

There has been a good deal of support in at least one Ministerial circular (and I hope that it will not be used by the Government) for the view that the sphere of the Youth Service should not be restricted to those between fifteen and twenty who have left school. All the voluntary organisations with which I have been in touch are firmly convinced that the training of character in those still at school is of too much value to be excluded from what is understood by the Youth Service, and to-day I want to use the term in the wider sense.

In these opening remarks, which are intended to clarify all the issues before us, perhaps I should mention that there are twenty-four organisations which are full members of the Standing Conference of the National Voluntary Youth Organisations, and there are a number of others associated with us. Those organisations represent a wide and varied range. I admit the complexity of the Youth Service. It is the despair sometimes of rather misguided people who want to impose (I am not saying this in relation to the Government) some sort of sealed pattern on the Youth Service, and it is rather a headache to any one of us who try to generalise about the service as a whole. Fortunately, noble Lords and noble Ladies who will be taking part in the debate to-day will speak from so many varied and individual angles that I feel that the picture ought to be fairly complete by this evening.

For the purposes of illustration, and at the risk of being invidious, I mention to the House among these organisations the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, the Boys' Brigade, the British Red Cross Society and the Salvation Army. All those are uniformed organisations. Then there are the club organisations, such as the National Association of Boys' Clubs—about which the noble Viscount, Lord Monck, will he speaking with authority. Among those in which the noble Lady, Lady Elliot of Harwood, takes so much interest are the Y.M.C.A. and the Y.W.C.A. There are the Methodist Association of Youth Clubs, and also, on the religious front, Catholic. Protestant and Jewish organisations, such as the Grail, the Young Christian Workers, the Church Army, the Church Lads' Brigade and the Association for Jewish Youth. There are also the three pre- Service organisations to which we here have often turned our attention, and to which we always seek to give our support. There are other associations which no doubt are no less meritorious, but which I must not stop to mention.

I have the membership figures of "Scanvyo" for the United Kingdom, which includes Scotland—I say that only because we may be given Welsh figures which may seem to conflict. They show a total for the United Kingdom of 2,400,000—two-thirds of them under fifteen, and one-third between fifteen and twenty-one. If we add in perhaps 400,000 young people in church organisations, which I should think is rather an under-figure, we draw near to 3 million; and to this should be added the young people in clubs entirely provided by the local authorities or, for some reason, not affiliated to "Scanvyo". I do not know whether the Minister is going to venture any estimate to-day, but I think it is fair to say that in the Youth Service at the present time there appear to be over 3 million young people, or rather more—it is hard to be definite; and that figure would represent perhaps rather less than one-third of the total of the young people in those age groups. I give these figures more for illustration than to try in any way to be definitive.

As the House is aware, our British Youth Service is officially described as a partnership between the voluntary and statutory bodies; and the voluntary bodies, with many of whom I have been in touch, would I know, wish me to emphasise their belief that this principle of partnership is right and proper and necessary. There is certainly no need at all for voluntary and statutory partners to be in conflict. That, incidentally, is brought out quite clearly in a statement issued by my own Party, and I think it is the view of other political Parties, in so far as they have turned their attention to this matter.

As far ahead as we can see there should be ample scope for the voluntary and statutory bodies to work fruitfully together, and all are agreed that it ought to be a partnership not merely in terms of financial aid but in planning, in pooling of resources and in trying to create an adequate and broadly uniform service throughout the country. As most of us are aware, the voluntary bodies themselves are largely self-supporting and wish to remain so. They consider that their best income is that which they earn, and of course a great proportion of the service rendered to them is unpaid. But in certain crucial respects—and we shall be coming back to this matter often to-day—they are dependent on grants from public funds.

The Ministry of Education at present make two kinds of grants. The first is to the national headquarters, to help in meeting the cost of administration, provision of regional organisers and training of leaders. I am subject to correction on all these figures, but I have done my best and I think they will not be far wrong. The present figure of £99,000 directed towards national headquarters is some £20,000 less than in 1950–51 (that is certainly a point which I would wish to labour), whereas the total spent on education by the Ministry and local authorities put together—and I am the last person to say it is too much, and I should think the noble Viscount, Lord Hailsham, agrees with me—is now over £600 million. It has more than doubled during the period since 1950 to over £600 million on education, while these Ministry grants have gone down by £20,000 till they are now about £100,000. In the meantime the cost of living has increased by more than 40 per cent.—I should say by 45 or 50 per cent.—since 1950. We may have more elucidation to-day, but it appears to be difficult to discover what principles, if any, guide the Ministry in making these grants, since what appear to be some highly deserving organisations obtain nothing or very little. For example, the refusal of grant to certain organisations on denominational grounds (and I am not speaking about one communion in particular) is something that ought to be clarified.

In addition to the £99,000 going to headquarters, the Ministry also make capital grants which total at present about £111,000 a year, which go to local groups and units to help them provide and equip new buildings, and those grants again are only a small fraction of the total cost. We have accounted for something over £200,000 in grants from the Ministry. That is not, of course, the end of the story. The local authorities spend a figure which has not been authoritatively fixed, in public at least, but I gather the Ministry reckon—and here again the noble Viscount can correct me if I am wrong—that the local authorities are now spending about £2¾ million a year on the Youth Service. The figures of unofficial estimates are lower, but naturally I accept the Ministry figure, if that is confirmed. Of that £2¾ million some goes directly to local units, some of it is spent on providing the statutory organisations, some of it goes directly to the voluntary bodies and some to the local clubs. Of that £2¾ million 60 per cent. has hitherto been recovered from the Ministry, but the coming of the block grant brings new considerations into the picture. One difficulty here, I think, talking of these local authority grants, is that the grant can vary, and in fact often does vary, very much from area to area and from one year to another.

As regards the global provision, which is rather less than £3 million altogether from the local authorities and the Ministry, it speaks for itself that the Youth Service as a whole, both statutory and voluntary, involving perhaps three million people receives not more than one half of one per cent. of the total national expenditure on education. That is the background, as one might say, for our discussion and criticism to-day.

In short, my Lords, the ideal of partnership is a fine one and the best one and is generally accepted, and there is no reason at all why it should not work in practice. But I know of no one in this field—and I have been in contact with a good many people in past years, and particularly lately—who claims that the partnership is working well at the present time or who fails to put the responsibility fairly and squarely on official policy. That does not mean that the local authorities are blameless—obviously not, from what I have said about variations from good areas to bad ones—but these facts send us to look higher up for the main scapegoat or culprit.

Of course the voluntary organisations have their human failings; I believe they would be the first to admit that. Most of those who have spent a lifetime in this work in the Youth Service—and there are some of them in this House to-day—would I think find their main disappointment in the failure of the Youth Service to reach out and claim effectively more than about half of the young population for whom they would wish to cater. I have no doubt that we shall hear much this afternoon—I hope we shall—about plans within the Youth Service for attracting a wider clientele. We shall probably hear a good deal about the unclubbable boy. I have a good deal of sympathy with the unclubbable boy since I went to school with the noble Viscount and he was a member of a society called "Pop", of which the noble Earl, Lord Home, was President, and some of us were not admitted because we were regarded as unclubbable. From that time the unclubbable boy has seemed to me worthy of attention, along with the stronger brethren. The simple fact is that the Youth Service finds it very difficult to cater for that large and not unworthy element in the population.

I myself shall contribute only one thought to the discussion this afternoon. I believe that, whatever the Government does or does not do, there is room for much closer co-operation than in the past between all those concerned with youth, including the parents, schools, churches—most powerfully—the employers and the Youth Service. In particular-and I make only this one point and there will he many other more learned points made in this connection—I feel there is room for much closer co-operation between the Youth Service and the probation service. I believe that the noble Earl, Lord Feversham, is going to speak; he is head of the probation service and he will tell us much more about it. Speaking for myself, I have been aghast in recent months, as I have explored the problem in different parts of the country, to find a lack of contact between the Youth Service and the probation service, though I realise, of course, that there are many honourable exceptions. In one of our leading cities for which I confess a special tenderness, a city with great traditions of social service, there has been for a number of years a juvenile delinquency committee seeking to represent all those concerned with the attack on juvenile delinquency, including the chief education officer and the chief constable, but the principal probation officer, though on excellent terms with all concerned, has never been invited to be a member. That gives one reason for thought.

Turning to the national picture, I would point out that the Home Secretary turned down the last agreement that was reached by the joint negotiation committee on the salaries of probation officers. Since then he has said publicly that probation officers are working for miserable pay and that no reward would be adequate for so devoted a service. One is always a little frightened when language of that kind is used, because it may operate in the opposite sense to the sense one would wish. But the Home Secretary is an upright man besides being a highly intelligent one, and those concerned with probation officers are waiting anxiously to see whether he intends to honour his words with deeds. Let me say that I am very glad, as I am sure are all those concerned with it, that he is setting up an inquiry, announced only the other day, to go into the service. One can hope that the prospect of full recognition of the probation service will not be postponed without at least an instalment of present justice.

That brings me back to the attitude of the Government to the Youth Services generally. I do not think that anybody honestly doubts the state of discouragement in which the Service has been plunged increasingly in recent years. If anyone does doubt it now, when they have listened to me and to twenty-odd other speakers, I do not think they will doubt it any longer. The disillusionment has been suspended, if you like, with the appointment of the Albemarle Committee. I am very pleased that that Committee should have been appointed. It seems a good Committee, and with its appointment one would think that the cynicism would become less apparent. People may ask: "What are they complaining about? Is it money that they want?" Certainly some more money would be vital. As the Jubilee Trust explained to the Select Committee far from it being possible to achieve any economies, it is essential to the future welfare of the nation that additional, sums be made available for this purpose.

By common consent, two great difficulties at the present time are adequate premises and a supply of trained leaders, and the whole picture would be transformed if the relatively small sums—I repeat "relatively small sums"—required were made available for these ends, whereas in fact certain cuts made in 1952–53 have not been made good and costs have risen steadily. The Fletcher Report proposing a proper system of selection and training for full-time leaders has been pigeon-holed and the number of full-time training courses has been cut down to two. I am not quite sure what the maximum figure was, but certainly it has come down to two. We are all anxious to keep Party politics out of this debate, but I think it would be wrong not to mention at least that the views of the Labour Party have been set out at pages 36 to 38 of the booklet Learning to Live. One sentence at least I feel bound to quote, namely: A Labour Government will encourage the establishment of a national salary scale for full-time leaders in the Youth Service, whose status and qualifications will he equal to those in other fields of teaching … Labour will also develop the necessary facilities for training recruits for youth work. I am sure that those commitments, which are in no way a Party affair and I hope will not be exclusive to my own Party, will be widely appreciated wherever people are interested in youth. There is, therefore, admittedly, a great need to pay the full-time youth leaders better.

But that is not the whole story. In Sussex, for example, my own county, leaders are paid on the Burnham scale. I do not think they are paid on the Burnham scale in many counties. It may be that the noble Viscount, Lord Gage, has brought this about—he was Chairman of the Council in Sussex. But whether it is due to Lord Gage, or to whomever it is due, in Sussex the leaders are paid on the Burnham scale. Even so, leaders are not coming forward in the required numbers, and in the last analysis the Service depends on hundreds of thousands of voluntary helpers of one kind or another, and many part-time leaders, compared with a few hundred full-time leaders.

Therefore, whether we think of a few full-time leaders making it a vocation, or part-time or voluntary people giving an evening a week, I am afraid that the young and ardent spirits are drifting away from the Youth Service and are unlikely to rally to it until they are satisfied and convinced on a moral rather than a material or a financial point. They want to be satisfied, and the assurance can come only from the Government. I certainly do not question the noble Viscount's interest in anything educational, but the assurance can come only from the Government that the leaders of the nation regard this as a vocation high up in national priority, and one which is in no sense a second-class job. They must be persuaded that in the view of those to whom they look for leadership—they are entitled to look to the Government of the day—sthere is no better way of serving our country. At the present time these young people can be forgiven for feeling, as can the probation officers, that their sense of vocation is being ruthlessly exploited and the spirit of sacrifice systematically starved.

I hope and pray that this debate will help the Government this afternoon, and that the Government will feel themselves able to go some way to satisfy them. But all this talk and all these pronouncements by myself or more important people would be humbug unless we are ourselves convinced that in an age of, I hope, overgrowing social equality and expanding educational opportunities, the need for a vigorous Youth Service remains as great as ever and, indeed, becomes still more obvious against the background of intellectual and physical advance. I think I am right in saying that we shall receive an important contribution from the Episcopal Bench. Surely I am right in thinking again that, bearing in mind that intellectual and physical advance, the moral vacuum will be still more glaring unless we try to assist organised Christianity by filling that vacuum with the service that only the Youth Services can render.

To quote the Memorandum of Evidence to the Central Advisory Council on Education which was sent by the Standing Conference of National Voluntary Youth Organisations: It seems most necessary that the Ministry of Education should plan not simply for the continuation of the Youth Service in its present form and on its present scale, but rather in a way which will meet the expanding possibilities of the future. It seems to me that we either accept that point of view or we do not. I greatly hope that it will be accepted by every one of us to-day. I hope we agree that our Youth Service is full of inequalities and anomalies, and, taking the country as a whole, whatever the wonderful work done here and there, it is quite inadequate to meet the immense challenge confronting us.

What then should be done? Before I close, I feel that I must offer at least an outline of my idea of a new Governmental approach. Its broad object would be to restore and enhance the public esteem attaching to the Youth Service while not, of course, interfering with the voluntary principle which is the lifeblood of the whole philosophy. I have set this out in about eight propositions. There is no magic in the words, but I should hope that in a general way the House could feel able to rally behind them. First, there should be a reaffirmation, in much more vigorous terms, of the value and permanence of the Youth Services as a partnership of voluntary and statutory bodies.

Secondly, there should be a call to all patriotic adults, especially those who have had educational opportunities above the average, to take seriously to heart their personal responsibility for the well-being of young people both at work and in their leisure. In particular, responsibility should be brought home to the whole community for offering appropriate help to some youth group or other.

Thirdly—and this goes a little beyond exhortation—the well-known circulars of 1939 and 1944 should be brought up to date and transcended by a 1959 version providing a new and more ambitious definition of the Youth Service. A new circular, when all is said and done, works up more attention than does a pronouncement, or people do not pay attention to pronouncements until they are embodied in circulars. Among other things it should be made plain that there is to be no more shirking by local authorities (within the constitutional framework, of course) of Section 53 (1) of the Education Act, 1944, which runs as follows: It shall be the duty of every Educational Authority to secure that the facilities for Primary, Secondary and further education provided for their area include adequate facilities for recreation and social and physical training. That is the statutory task which was laid down by the Butler Act of 1944, but who is going to say this afternoon that that, in fact, is being carried out everywhere, or even in most places in the country? Encouragement of this kind from a high level is certainly a sine qua non if youth organisations are to raise more money and, still more important, if young and idealistic men and women are going to offer the voluntary leadership on which the whole thing depends.

The Minister of Education, whom we naturally wish all well in these exertions, clearly has a special part to play; but nothing short of a call from the right honourable gentleman the Prime Minister himself would seem to me capable of bringing home the urgency of the need. It must be represented as a major national question. The Churches, of course, public men generally, and all sides of industry are indispensable allies in this great appeal; but apart from appeals and guidance of that kind, two other kinds of action seem to me necessary. First, there should be consultation of a far more effective kind than now exists between voluntary and statutory partners at all levels, and although they would not discuss money only their discussions should include the distribution of available finance. After many talks with those best qualified to know, in voluntary work at least, I am satisfied that the Minister of Education should appoint a strong representative advisory body to assist him about all aspects of Youth Services.

Then, finally, finance. Here, as I have implied or said earlier, no one in the Youth Services supposes that finance represents the deepest issue, yet everyone in the Service is to-day painfully aware that while the present niggardly attitude continues progress is hardly possible; and indeed, that deterioration is almost inevitable. Under this heading of finance, therefore, I put forward four proposals as perhaps the most urgent among many that could be mentioned. First, more finance should be made available to develop good work, with special emphasis on training and additional funds for experiment. While the help given by trusts such as the King George Jubilee Trust and the King George VI Foundation has been invaluable, it is generally recognised that that is insufficient to meet the many growing needs of the situation.

Secondly, special attention should be paid to the need for adequate social provision in new towns and new housing estates. There the youth population is increasing, and will increase far more than the national average over the next ten years—in some cases doubling; yet provision, especially accommodation, and, in the new housing estates, playing fields, is almost lamentably deficient. Thirdly, there should be a restoration of dignity to the small profession of full-time leaders and organisers. We should institute recognised methods of entry and training, as well as a national salary scale and conditions of service, roughly comparable with those of the teaching profession. Finally, there should be an altogether new recognition of the part that can be played in a truly combined effort by the Probation Service. That may involve a little more money, though not much. It must be established for the first time on a footing worthy of their unsurpassed vocation.

My Lords, I am afraid that I have spoken a long while, and even so my treatment must seem narrow and shallow to those concerned with the whole problem of the best service we can render to our young people, of which the Youth Service—our subject this afternoon—is only one aspect. I have said nothing of causes to which we on these Benches, and, as I believe, noble Lords in other parts of the House, are dedicated—the raising of the school age, a major reduction in the size of classes and the establishment of county colleges—to which we here certainly attach special importance, as promised in the Act of 1944. I am sure that none of us wishes to set any limit whatever to the range of subsequent speeches, but those connected with youth work are concerned with character building before all else, and there is just one thing I should like to say as I end.

Not only in the specific church clubs but throughout the Youth Service the Christian contribution, and may I add, with emphasis, the Jewish contribution, has always been outstanding. For example, in 1945 the Standing Conference of Youth Organisations recorded their conviction that the greatest need of young people was in essence religious. That was their view then, and I am sure that they hold it at the present time. No fair-minded believer can fail to recognise the immense services to intellectual achievement and the relief of physical suffering which have been rendered by those who lacked religious consolation, but it is the tragedy of the virtuous pagan that he finds it so easy to communicate his paganism and so hard to communicate his virtue.

When I think of a typical youth organiser, I must ask your Lordships' permission to remind the House of the lines of Matthew Arnold, which come in his poem, East London: I met a preacher there I knew and said, 'Ill and o'erworked how farest thou in this scene?' 'Bravely,' said he, 'for I of late have been much cheered, Much cheered by thoughts of Christ, the living Bread'. Let us try everything we know to encourage our young people to join youth clubs and youth organisations. But in the last resort what really matters is what happens when they get there, and let us reserve our most heartfelt encouragement for those young people and their elders who are striving, often in very drab surroundings, to exercise a spiritual influence. Perhaps I may quote the famous circular of November 27, 1939: The social and physical development of boys and girls between the ages of fourteen and twenty who have ceased full-time education has for long been neglected in this country. Adding, too, those children who are still at school we must, I am afraid, admit that in relation to what has been accomplished in other social fields, and in spite of all the devotion, the sometimes heroic devotion, of those working in the field of youth, that statement of 1939 holds true to-day. Indeed, unless a major change occurs it is in danger of becoming truer still; and I implore Her Majesty's Government to show this afternoon and later, when the time comes for decision, that they are determined that it shall be true no longer. My Lords, I beg to move for Papers.

2.58 p.m.


My Lords, a very large number of noble Lords have signified their intention of taking part in this debate. This, of course, puts Her Majesty's Government in something of a dilemma. As your Lordships probably know, my noble friend Lord Dundee will be replying to this debate, with his usual charm and address, but experience leads me to believe that not all of your Lordships will be present by the time he rises to deliver his remarks. We thought, therefore, and I hope your Lordships will think we thought rightly, that it might be for the convenience of the House if I replied directly to the noble Lord who has now resumed his seat, in order that some, at any rate, of the thought which is in the minds of some members of Her Majesty's Government might be before your Lordships at a relatively early stage. At an early stage of his address the noble Lord who introduced the Motion said that the Government could expect no bouquets. As he reminded the House, the noble Lord and I have known each other on fairly familiar terms for a considerable number of years, and so I can say to him that he can expect no bouquets either; or, rather, in each sheaf of daffodils which I offer him he must expect to see at least one concealed brick, aimed, I trust, with all the concentrated malice of a life-long friend.

To some extent the noble Lord has jumped the gun by selecting as his subject a topic on which, as he knows, a freshly appointed Committee is busily sitting at this moment, but I think I should be less than gracious if I failed to pay tribute to the care taken by the noble Lord to prepare his material for the House. Despite the appointment of the Albemarle Committee I would also congratulate him on his choice of subject. I have a strong feeling that it is time that the Youth Service attracted the attention of Parliament. Indeed, the number of noble Lords who have put clown their names to speak, to which I have already referred, is some evidence of this. The noble Lord himself has on many occasions, both in this House and out of doors, evinced both interest and knowledge of this subject, and if I confess that all my life it has been my secret conviction that the noble Lord has an uncanny flair for grasping the wrong end of an unusual number of sticks, I would this time admit that he has at least got hold of the right stick, which is a positive public service, if he will allow me to say so, even allowing for the fact that the noble Lord, who is a deft master at slipping in the odd bit of Party polemics in a matter which some might prefer to treat in a wholly non-partisan way, nearly broke the stick again in an attempt to beat it across the Minister's back.

However, it is high time we started talking and thinking about the Youth Service, and, in my view at least, we may be reaching the point at which a new advance can be made. Lady Albemarle's Committee may well be the starting point for such an advance; and in defending and praising, as I shall do, my right honourable friend's foresight in appointing this Committee, I am bound, of course, to abstain from anticipating their findings, which prevents me from commenting in detail upon many of the noble Lord's most interesting suggestions. but I am sure that all that has been said and will be said in your Lordships' House this afternoon will be carefully marked by that Committee and, it may be, will find its way into the Report.

The noble Lord is perfectly right in saying that the Youth Service forms an integral part of the service for education outlined in the Butler Education Act of 1944. I think that that is a useful point of departure. He rightly referred to Section 53 of the Act, which, as he told us, makes it the duty of every local education authority to secure that the facilities for primary, secondary and further education should include recreation and social and physical training, and enables a local education authority, with the approval of the Minister, to establish camps, holiday classes, playing fields, play centres and other places, including playgrounds, gymnasiums, and swimming baths, and to organise or contribute to the cost of games, expeditions and other activities. The section goes on to enjoin local authorities to remember the expediency of co-operating with any voluntary societies or bodies.

I think, however, to complete the picture, the noble Lord should have made reference also to Section 41, which states that further education as it is to be provided by the local education authority should include: full-time and part-time education for persons over compulsory school age; and leisure-time occupation, in such organised cultural training and recreative activities as are suited to their requirements, for any persons over compulsory school age who are able and willing to profit by the facilities provided for that purpose. These two sections continue to form the statutory basis for Government policy. But the reality, as the noble Lord has said, differs considerably from the prospectus, and I should myself be the first to admit that the Youth Service, like the county colleges, like compulsory full-time education up to the age of sixteen, like nursery schools and other items, has not yet progressed on the lines or to the extent visualised by the authors of the Act.

In particular it would, I think, be disingenuous on my part not to admit that successive Governments have been compelled to halt further advance in the very difficult circumstances through which we have been passing. I am possibly less penitent about this than the noble Lord thinks I should be. I am inclined to think that both my predecessor, who incurred the criticism of the Select Committee, and, during the eight months I enjoyed as Minister, I myself, were right to concentrate largely on school education and teacher provision. School education was, and I should say to some extent still is, in so drastic a situation that, despite every effort to enlarge it since the war—none, I think, more successful than those efforts of the last seven years—it was, and to some extent still is, almost literally bursting at the seams.

Incidentally, I am somewhat surprised that the noble Lord should have quoted the criticisms of my predecessor in the Select Committee's Report without making reference in greater detail to the answers to these criticisms provided by my successor, I myself having occupied a convenient position between the two slices of bread in the sandwich. But I do not wish myself to enter into this particular controversy. I am concerned with the service and its future rather than with political argument.

I do not myself take the view that these statistical comparisons which the noble Lord made between expenditures on school education and on the Youth Service are really of much assistance in this particular matter. They really are not in pari material. I only know, speaking for myself, that I had made myself a promise that after I had put in hand what has subsequently emerged as the drive in secondary education it had been my intention to have a thorough look both at adult education and at the Youth Service. I was. I am sorry to say, not destined to carry either of these schemes into fruition. But I consider that my right honourable friend who has succeeded me has done exactly right in following this order, and I hope he may have the sympathetic help of noble Lords in pursuing his plan.

The noble Lord did in fact remind the House (and I think he was right to do so) that the Youth Service is, as many noble Lords will already know, a somewhat imprecise term. In the jargon of the Ministry of Education, to which I think the noble Lord referred too acidly, it is limited to the service of those between fifteen and twenty years of age. It is, however, I think, important to remember that neither of the sections of the Act under which the Youth Service is organised is limited in this way. Nor in fact are most youth organisations. Most of the organisations to which the noble Lord referred and of which we are speaking this afternoon—the Boy Scouts, the Girls' Friendly Society, the clubs, and so on—cater at least as much, and often more, for those of school age. Only last week I noticed The Times Educational Supplement said, I thought rather severely: Many organisations regarded as youth service organisations are frankly no such thing. They are children's organisations. The only organisations officially recognised as part of the Youth Service are the so called 'all-round organisations'. Other parts of what we should recognise as "the Service" in popular language run imperceptibly into adult education and physical recreation for the young of all ages and not simply the teenagers. This leads, as I shall endeavour to show, to a good deal of confusion not only in the statistics but also, as I think, in the basic thought underlying the present service.

I would certainly accede wholeheartedly to the noble Lord's plea for a reaffirmation of the principle of partnership—partnership between central Government, local authorities, and voluntary bodies. This always has been, and still remains, at the very heart of our thinking. In Britain, I would say, we have no idea of a National Youth Movement on the lines of some Continental regimes, past and present. Such an idea would, I should hope, be generally recognised as repugnant to our way of doing things, which implies not merely voluntary effort, as the noble Lord stressed, but, as I think he also mentioned, a wide variety of choice. Yet I would say that these very National Youth Movements, Communist, Fascist, and sometimes purely Nationalist, not only owe a very great deal to the example and inspiration of some of our own voluntary movements but present a challenge to our own democratic partnership—which, speaking personally, I would say we should neglect at our peril. But, respond as we may to this challenge, partnership amongst voluntary, local, and central institutions—and, I would add, the private individual—lies at the very heart of our whole system of free institutions.

Again, I would wholly agree with the noble Lord's praise of the work of adults, whether whole-time employed or part-time, who make the Youth Service, or some allied aspect of social service, their chief or ancillary occupation in life. I would also, at least in part, welcome his appeal to adults to do likewise in greater numbers. But here I would utter one word of warning, which might take the form of advice: to await the findings of the Albemarle Committee, at least to the extent of ascertaining first the context and the mode in which these appeals should be made and answered, for at least one reason for the institution of the Committee has been the need to rethink the philosophy and purpose of the service we are discussing.

Youth is not at the moment predisposed as much as it was in the days of my grandfather to accept a service which is run or provided for it simply by adults. Adults have, of course, a most important and indispensable role to play. No doubt State funds, private benefactions, voluntary institutions, and employers, have an important part to-day, as in the past: but I am convinced myself that the youth of to-day aspires to create, to provide, to man, and possibly even to some extent to finance, its own services. Let us never forget, we older ones, that we are catering, as the noble Lord I think reminded us, for a generation of young men and women by and large far better educated, far more skilled, coming from far more prosperous homes, and, by and large, far better paid, than the generation for which my own grandfather gave his life's service, or even the generation of the 'thirties, amongst whom the noble Lord and I grew up and worked.

I would, with respect, utter the same warning about linking the Youth Service as closely or as explicitly as the noble Lord did with the incidence of the juvenile crime wave, which gives rise to so much legitimate anxiety amongst both young and old. I do not by any means say that the noble Lord is wrong to claim, as he did, that if we could put forward a better service for youth there might, as a by-product of that service. be less juvenile crime. But I must add (and I think the noble Lord, to do him justice, would have admitted, and to some extent did admit) that the present generation is not, and does not like to be regarded as, a generation of young delinquents, and the Youth Service is not, and does not like to be thought, just a more attractive alternative to Borstal, whether or not in conjunction with probation.

Whatever its future pattern, the Youth Service is a normal part of our educational service, to be founded in part by the young for the young, by the respectable for the respectable, by the normal for the normal. We must leave behind us many of the ideas of social service natural to our own younger days, amid the evils of unemployment and poverty of our youth. We must look upon the Youth Service as a normal accompaniment of civilised and educated life in what I still claim and hope, and believe to be, the fully employed era of the latter part of the twentieth century. Moreover, I must say that, were I talking about delinquency in this context, I should say a great deal more about the responsibility and duties of parents than has been mentioned in this debate.

My Lords, this leads me naturally to the necessity for a new inquiry. I am glad that the noble Lord made no suggestion that an inquiry was not necessary, or was a mere device for avoiding action. It is precisely the need, of which I have begun to speak, for a new look not only in, but at, the Youth Service which really forms the justification and necessity for the Albemarle Committee. But although the noble Lord did not suggest that an inquiry was unnecessary, I do not think he fully realised how much of our current thinking on this topic is parochial and out-of-date, or how much it requires refashioning in the light of changing social and industrial conditions and a rapidly expanding formal educational service.

I must say at once that I am wholly at one with the thought and argumentation of the author of an article in The Times Educational Supplement last week, when he said: It would be quite wrong to suggest that the Albemarle Committee's work has been already done for it. Its task is not only new but crucial and urgent. The only question is whether it can get to grips with the real essence of the problem, be ruthless and thorough going in its investigations, and produce the report that is needed". My Lords, I would re-echo every word of that judgment.

I would myself have said that at times the noble Lord fell into the superficial and all too common mistake of laying any shortcomings in the Youth Service at the feet of the parsimony of the Ministry of Education, and to suggest that the sovereign remedy for all its troubles would lie in a great increase in subvention from the State without a thorough re-examination of its basic requirements. I am not denying that there may be at least elements of truth in this analysis, but I shall be greatly disappointed if the Albemarle Committee does not ask and does not answer questions of a more penetrating kind.

Despite his striking tribute to the voluntary bodies, with which I wholly agree, I would not myself think that the noble Lord sufficiently clearly realised that the voluntary bodies themselves may need to give some thought to the kind of thing which they are seeking to provide. They were first in the field. and more honour to them for that. But the field has changed. It has changed away from an earlier, and to some extent obsolescent, vision of social need. Even the Service itself, which came much later, needs, to some extent, a new look. The principles and organisation of the Service as it exists to-day were formulated, as your Lordships remember, at a time of great national emergency—about 1939—and have remained unchanged despite the ending of the war, the raising of the school leaving age, the vastly increased personal incomes of young people at work, the development of television as a home entertainment, and the prospective ending of National Service, which will profoundly influence their work. These and other similar social and educational factors inevitably, at least in my view, raise questions as to the type, pattern, scope, extent and standard of the Service, which can be answered only by a full-scale inquiry.

Take, for instance, the question of structure. The author of the article to which I have had occasion to refer points out that the main co-ordinating instruments of Youth Service policy are local youth committees and national and local standing conferences of national voluntary youth organisations. These are concerned mainly with boys and girls who are either under the age of fifteen or are still receiving full-time education at school. Is it reasonable to suppose"— asks the author of the article— that the primacy of the special and difficult problems of working boys and girls can be recognised by bodies so composed? He goes on to suggest that the Youth Service might have a better chance of receiving the concentration of interest and attention it requires were it composed of representatives of organisations either solely concerned with post-school adolescents or prepared to make a special effort to be concerned with them.

Another, and not necessarily inconsistent, suggestion as to structure was that of the Jubilee Trust for a National Youth Advisory Council for England and Wales and a similar one for Scotland (to which, I think, the noble Lord also gave his endorsement), which would, and here I quote, … contain representatives of the local education authorities, and voluntary youth organisations, with a substantial proportion of independent members qualified to speak from the point of view of parents, teachers, employers and Churches"— and whose interests would (and here I quote again) … not be confined to the Youth Service but would extend over the whole field of the many and varied influences which affect young people in their leisure time". It clearly would be wrong for me to pronounce on these matters. My point—and I must limit myself to it this afternoon—is simply that a Committee is required to discuss these and similar questions. I simply cite the fact that the questions are being asked in order to support the necessity for an inquiry.

Another question which I should feel bound to ask is about the extent and type of activity represented in the Service. Have we, for instance, got the right relationship between the Youth Service and organised sport? I should myself rather think not. Again I quote: The specialist bodies, especially the national governing bodies of sport, and the outdoor activity associations are not considered part of the Youth Service, even though they may in fact be providing leisure time activity for far more working boys and girls than do many of the recognised youth organisations. Might not the comparative failure of the existing youth organisations to satisfy the needs of the 15–20s suggest that the prejudice against the specialist bodies ought to be reconsidered? And the author goes on to point out that such an artificial limitation of "youth work" has no parallel abroad. I myself would go a good deal further. In practice, are not some of the existing specialist bodies, even outside sport, among the most successful? Let me give, as an actual example, the Young Farmers. And why stop at outdoor activities? After all, in town and country in a climate like ours much needs to be done indoors. To what extent has not specialisation a place there?

The noble Lord referred to the statistical problem presented by the vast increase in school leavers. But the pattern of the Youth Service cannot fail to be affected by the smaller, but not insignificant, numbers increasingly remaining in formal education. With the active encouragement of the Government the numbers in maintained schools in England and Wales actually staying on in full-time education have risen by about 100,000 to 290,000 since 1948. These are no more than a small proportion of the age groups concerned, but they represent a growing movement of immense significance with a direct bearing on the problems we are now discussing, and although their numbers are insignificant in one sense, I also attach importance to the 50 per cent. increase in the university population which is planned by 1965.

Statistically more important than these is the vast increase in the number of young people taking technical courses. This is again a matter of Government policy. In 1956, there were 76,000 on full-time courses, including, of course. sandwich courses, as against 46,700 only ten years before, and on part-time day or day release, 468,800 as against 222,100 at the earlier date. It must be remembered that all these are volunteers. More than one contributor to the discussion on the future of the Youth Service has pointed out that the Youth Service itself must offer educational opportunities as an essential part of the life of the social groups from which they naturally gravitate. One of the lessons to be drawn from the new pattern may very well be the essential seriousness of modern youth, and their preference for set challenges and formal instruction—even in educational and recreational matters. I myself believe that this has always been so. But here again is matter for inquiry. This however is a matter on which I have some personal thoughts. I put them tentatively, in an interrogative form, because I think that that is more suitable in the present context.

Have we been, perhaps, a little too inclined to play down to the youth of today? It is, of course, easy to do, easier perhaps, when one is faced, as one is faced when interested in this field, with the childishness of adolescents in their irresponsible phase, their fecklessness in their helpless phase, their explosiveness and even their criminality in their delinquent phase. But does it follow that we have hit on the way to deal with such aberrations? I doubt whether youth clubs in themselves are always the appropriate bodies to handle material so difficult as some on which some seem to concentrate. in most young hearts, rationality, maturity, resolution, responsibility. are only there to be brought out of them. The criminal statistics, whatever else they may prove, and they are used for almost every purpose. show that even the majority of young criminals become responsible citizens in any case and before long. How does this happen? Not as the result of being pandered to or played down to, still less, I believe, by the inevitable punishments which accompany or follow criminality, but because intercourse with normal people, absorption in worthwhile pursuits, acceptance of responsibility in due course, makes them so. Surely I am not wrong in suspecting that the object all along is the encouragement of the worthwhile and not the abolition of delinquency? Surely this was the philosophy underlying the Duke of Edinburgh's award? Can I suggest, without blasphemy, that when the Creator of the World said "Let there be light", He did not first consider it necessary to proclaim that He was about to deal with the problem of darkness.

It may be that the Committee will also make up some gaps in our information. To quote again from The Times Educational Supplement: No real research has been made into the finances of the Youth Service. There is no unequivocal figure of what local education authorities are spending, though it is possible to hazard a rough guess.… as the noble Lord undoubtedly did.

It is quite impossible even to make a guess at the money raised from voluntary sources for work in promoting leisure-time activities for the post-school 15–20s.… Accurate statistics of membership are no less hard to come by. In the view of the Government these considerations really demand enough fresh inquiry and fresh thinking to justify a small independent Committee composed of persons with some knowledge of the problems facing the Youth Service, but without direct connection with any of its major organisations. The recommendations of such a Committee would command much more confidence among local education authorities and voluntary bodies than could any proposals devised by the Ministry itself. In a sense this is in accordance with what the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, himself is reported as saying at Bristol on September 20 last: There could be no substitute", said the noble Lord, for an attempt from the highest level to place the whole subject on a new plane of national consideration, and if, as might be the case, this could not be done effectively without a full inquiry then a full inquiry should be initiated by the Minister without delay. My Lords, I respectfully agree with those reported words of the noble Lord.

Accordingly, on the 20th November last, my right honourable friend announced in the House of Commons the appointment of this Committee. The Chairman, as your Lordships know, is the Countess of Albemarle, who is Chairman of the Development Commission. The Committee held its first meeting on the 2nd December, its second meeting on the 29th and the 30th December and its third meeting on the 15th and the 16th January. Its fourth meeting is taking place to-day and to-morrow. It will be seen that the Committee is not wasting any time. It is moving at what might be described as a cracking pace, and the rumour which emerges from its deliberations is of sittings far into the night.

I do not myself think that the problems involved are primarily those of finance. No doubt the Report, when it is delivered, will have financial implications. These must be evaluated when they come. But I would say myself that it is by no means certain that the youth of this country would be content with, or would even fully utilise, a Service, however lavishly financed, which still failed to correspond with contemporary needs or reflected the purely charitable or paternalistic conceptions of bygone days. On the contrary I would say that in a system of full employment, while there will be a good deal of skeletal structure to be provided, the important thing will be to envisage the right kind of Service and then look not merely to the Government but to outside sources as well to provide the finance which is necessary to support the structure.

I am, however, glad to be able to tell your Lordships' House that when the Ministry of Education's Estimates are published it will be seen that my right honourable friend has taken some extra money for grants to the headquarters of national voluntary youth organisations. The sum involved, an extra £20,000, is not intrinsically large, but it represents a quite considerable addition to the grants made for this purpose, and although it will not necessarily be replaced at the exact points, it will in total more than replace the cuts made in 1952 to which the noble Lord referred. This will, I hope, help to assist to establish an atmosphere of confidence in the Government's interest and sympathy for this work, and willingness to help. I have no doubt whatever that, like the noble Lord, the Committee will want to consider the method and the scale of help to voluntary bodies, the difficulty which the latter and local authorities find in paying more attractive salaries and the provision of services in New Towns and housing estates.

I will not deal at length with the noble Lord's reference, in passing, to the block grant as a cause of disparity. I had thought that that bogy, despite the noble Lord, Lord Latham, who made such an eloquent speech about it, had been fully laid already. In any event, I would say that the problem of disparity exists, and exists in an acute form, but it has grown up and been to some extent created by the existing system of grants. I feel myself, without in any way attempting to anticipate the findings of the Committee, that what is wanted to dissipate disparity is a little less uncertainty, and this report of an authoritative Committee, laying down with more clarity the aims, structure and purpose of the Youth Service, will surely do much to dispel it. When this is done it will do a great deal to create uniformity if it is accompanied by vigorous action on the Report when it arrives

I am glad that the noble Lord referred to the position of the whole-time leaders of the Service. The House will remember that the McNair Report in 1944 envisaged as many as 6,000 of these, but the number has been falling seriously for a number of years and is now under 800. I do not myself prejudge the questions either of numbers, training, transferability or salary scale—although I am glad to learn that in one way or another a considerable number are receiving the Burnham scale or its equivalent; but this, too, is a question the answer to which will be provided by the Committee.

I cannot close without expressing my own hope that the Report, when it comes, will do much not merely to clear the air but to restore status, coherence, morale and self-confidence to a Service which has, not without some cause, felt itself neglected over the years. In the last resort, it is public opinion which will be the determining factor in securing recognition by the Government and by the public both of the Service and of its leaders. The Report of the Committee will play an indispensable part in the formation of public opinion. In the meantime, I hope I have said enough to satisfy the House both as to the importance of the problem and of the need for seeking its solution in the Report of the Committee.

I was much moved by the closing words of the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham. It is, of course, a far cry since the middle of the last century when my grandfather, Quintin Hogg, began to devote his life's work to the problems affecting the London boy. He began, like the noble Lord opposite, with a religious motive. He wanted to teach them to read the Bible; but he found very soon (it was before the days of compulsory education) that he first had to teach them how to read. And slowly, painstakingly, the State blundered along in the path of the pioneer and introduced universal education for them all. Then he had to face the problem, when they had read the Bible, of making them honest men. and he found that it was not much good teaching them to read the Bible unless he gave them a living. So was founded the first, and perhaps the vital one, of the series of technical colleges in London. In the end he discovered that he had to provide facilities not only educational but recreational in the great sporting clubs which at the moment still grace the Polytechnic Institute. I think that the world still has a great deal to learn from the life work of my grandfather.

3.38 p.m.


My Lords, my first reference must be to my noble friend Lord Pakenham, to thank him not only for having placed this Motion on the Order Paper but also for having supported it with his usual clarity, candour and conviction. But I feel also that I ought to pay compliment to the noble Viscount, Lord Hailsham, who has given us a comprehensive, enlightening and somewhat encouraging outlook regarding the question before us this afternoon. My noble friend Lord Pakenham did not promise bouquets to the Government, and he certainly did not hand any to them. The noble Viscount did promise bouquets containing bricks but I am pleased to tell him that we failed to see the bricks this afternoon.

I have been exercising my mind as to whether or not this debate is well-timed. We hear a lot about an Election being around the corner, and that is not a good time to raise any controversial issue, because, do as we will, once we have the rumour of an Election floating through the air all Parties use every occasion possible to further their respective interests. For that reason I was afraid that this might not be a timely discussion. I must say, however, that both noble Lords who preceded me have restrained themselves fairly well. I know that the noble Viscount opposite will not mind my saying that he, in particular, restrained himself, because we expect from him force and power, which we do. not always enjoy but which we have to endure. On this occasion he put the case for the Govern.. ment in a moderate way.

Like my noble friend Lord Pakenham and the noble Viscount, I have a great regard for voluntary organisations. The noble Viscount went back to the time of his grandfather. I shall go back to the time of my boyhood. I was a boy in the early part of this century. In those days we had voluntary organisations which are not held in great repute to-day, I am sorry to say. References to-day to the Band of Hope are, as a rule, derisory references, and references to the Sunday School are not applauded very much; nor even references to the Y.M.C.A. Those were the voluntary organisations which played a big part in my life, and I am indebted to all of them. We are told to-day that they were inclined to over-empihasise the moral, spiritual and religious side of life. Perhaps they were. That was not a great fault—not to me, in any case. After all, we did not need physical exercise. I, along with my fellow miners, left my home at 5 a.m. I spent over ten hours underground in the bowels of the earth and returned home at 5 p.m. What "physical jerks" did I need? I had had more than my share during the day. Therefore there was naturally a tendency to concentrate on the religious and moral side, and I was pleased that my noble friend and the noble Viscount emphasised that there is a moral aspect to this problem.

What do we expect our Youth Services to do for the people between fifteen and twenty years of age? What kind of individuals do we expect to be turned out as a result of the Youth Services? Strong, well-developed physically? Certainly. I believe that physical development is vitally important, and I do not think that the Youth Services are neglecting physical development. But is that all? Are we not concerned with culture at all? Are we not concerned that these Services should help in the cultural development of youth? Are we not concerned that they should help to build character? As I see it, the problem is this: how to arrange the activities of the Youth Services in such a way as to benefit the members physically without endangering the intellectual, cultural anil moral aspect. That is a big job. My noble friend said that he was not accepting that narrow definition given by the Minister; and nor, I am quite sure, in his heart of hearts, was the noble Viscount, Lord Hailsham.

We have to ask ourselves: How can we organise the Youth Services so as to provide these things for the rising generation? I think of my own four children and my grandchildren. To me, the rising generation is the finest generation this world has ever seen. When I look at them I think that they are outstanding, physically and intellectually, compared with previous generations. But I sometimes feel that the attitude to the parents and the home is a little disturbing, although I have a great regard for them. It is that regard which causes me to be interested in them. I was in those organisations as a youth. I graduated to be a leader, and I saw the problems that existed over forty years ago. I agree with the noble Viscount that things are different to-day. After all, when I had done my fifty-four hours underground I went to the pay office and was handed a golden half-sovereign. I clutched it and ran home with it until it nearly made a hole in the palm of my hand. I handed it to my mother, and she, in return, gave me my pocket money, a silver three penny bit. Things have changed. The boys in the coal industry to-day are getting more than I got as an adult in the same industry, and it makes a difference. Somebody said the other day "Cash or cosh?" When I saw it I wondered what it meant, but it was not lone before I found out. Too much cash to youth may lead to cosh. But I would say that too little cash to these organisations may also lead to cosh. I would ask the noble Viscount to realise this.

I thought the noble Viscount was making heavy weather of the need for the Albemarle Committee. Nobody on this side of your Lordships' House denies the need for that Committee. We have had experience of Committees, and we were afraid that it might mean delay. I should like an assurance that it will not mean delay, and that the matter is being treated as urgent. If so, we shall welcome the Albemarle Committee still more.

What is the trouble? Since the passing of the Education Act, 1944, things have not gone too well. I took consultation with old friends of mine in the Wigan area. where I spent nearly half a century. I knew that within the Wigan area there were some good youth services. I asked: What is the result? How are things? Let me read the reply I received: The lack of suitable youth leaders, both voluntary and paid, still remains. Many of the loyal men and women who have given so much voluntary service in the past, and achieved such gratifying results, are now finding that other commitments must be given prior consideration. It would appear, therefore, that there is; a need for the training of senior members as potential youth leaders. This important aspect of our work should be given top priority… The lack of funds and the absence of suitable premises considerably hampers the committee's efforts… This situation gives rise to much concern, and the present position will in no way be eased by the fact that many more boys and girls will be leaving school during the next few years. As I say, I spent half a century there. I then asked those responsible for youth services in my native county of Flintshire, where I now live, for their views, and they also replied. What I think the noble Viscount should note is how similar the replies are, although the areas are miles apart. They said: From 1944 the interest of the Ministry appeared to flag from that date onwards"— the noble Viscount need not bother about that point, because Governments of both the main Parties have had charge since that date— and the story of the Service has been one of disappointment at the progressive"— that is for the Party opposite— indifference in high quarters to the leisure time needs of young people between fourteen and twenty. Expenditure on capital projects for the provision of suitable accommodation for young people have been either stopped completely or restricted at different times during this period. It is fair to say that the Service can be regarded as one of the Cinderella services in the educational field. Educational interest in this kind of young person seems to coincide with periods of social instability when authorities fear an outbreak of delinquency. Very little serious effort has been forthcoming from the Ministry to cope with this very important age group. I need not amplify those two quotations. All I need say is that one is from Lancashire, and the other is from Flintshire.

My noble friend has given other instances, and other noble speakers following will no doubt also give instances. The complaint is that those responsible are not able to do the good job they are anxious to do because of limitations. arising to some extent from financial conisiderations. I agree with the noble Viscount that the provision of finance is not the only remedy, important though it is. The co-operation of everybody is needed if these activities are to do what is wanted of them. The noble Lord hinted that he would like to emphasise the importance of the home. I agree. If the home atmosphere. if the type of life on the hearth, differs substantially from the type of life they are trying to live in the various organisations, it is not going to help. The school matters; the employment matters; the type of leadership in industry matters. It is not a case of putting a club there and all will be well. But, as I say, I agree that the financial consideration is very important.

I want to make a brief reference to one case in London of the over-emphasising of the physical side. A friend of mine who has given his life to youth and is still with the youth movement in London informed me that in one district in London the clubs were inclined to concentrate too much on boxing. He was asked to go there, with his long experience, and to try to get a better balance. He went, and he achieved a better balance. There were fewer boxing clubs, because they had been played down; but he found that they had created three football teams, with the result that the balance between the physical and the cultural and moral was still not rectified. We get that type of position where the local people influence the type of life inside the club. That is why it is so important that there should be communal interest in all these clubs if they are to fulfil their expectation.

The noble Lord referred to something being parochial. I hope that I shall not be charged with being parochial if I raise one matter. In the list of constitutional clubs referred to by my noble friend there is one that he did not mention, the Welsh League of Youth. I live in Wales, and know their problem, and I am sure that the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, will have been in contact with them. They are a unique organisation. The whole of their activities are confined to Wales. They were created in 1922 for the purpose of developing and safeguarding the Welsh interest. Their headquarters in Aberystwyth get the direct grant because of the constitution. They are up against a difficulty that does not apply in England: they have two languages. In parts of Wales they have to do their work in Welsh, and in other parts they do it in English. That, of course, creates some difficulty. The noble Earl, Lord Dundee, will no doubt reply that that is a matter which should be raised by the League with the Albemarle Committee. I agree. But what I am asking is that regard should be had to the fact that, because Wales is bi-lingual, the Welsh League of Youth have to deal with matters in a different way from the clubs in England which have only one language.

To-day in Wales we find a few thousand miners unemployed, with the result that the youth leaving school who would have gone to the coal industry in South Wales are not going there, and so are creating an additional problem. They are adding to the need for youth clubs. I hope that in deciding future policy regard will be had to the fact that in certain areas a number of children are leaving school and are out of work, week in, week out, month in, month out, and present a real social problem.

I was reading the other day a book dealing with homosexuality, and I find in that book one chapter by the noble Viscount, Lord Hailsham. I must say that it was a chapter that was very convincing to me. All I want to refer to at the moment is one sentence in the concluding paragraph of the chapter, which he wrote on society and homosexuality: Punishment and repression is a poor substitute for morality in any field, and the aim of statesmanship should be to limit rather than extend the need for it. I thought that that sentence was pregnant with meaning. I know that to-day we have kept fairly clear of—perhaps it is wisdom—and have not over-emphasised, the delinquency and crime among the young. But we must realise that there is a problem. If this House and the other place, and the country generally, give enthusiastic support to youth clubs to enable them to be what they can be, a fountain of inspiration for youth, then I am satisfied that we shall do as the noble Viscount suggests: we shall be limiting rather than extending the need for punishment. It is for that reason I am delighted to support the Motion of my noble friend.

3.58 p.m.


My Lords, in this, my maiden speech to your Lordships, in reply to the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, I would say that after the flutter last week engendered by the Motion of the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, on here- ditary Peeresses, I feel all the more unusually privileged and proud to run under a Hereditary and a Life Peerage. I can only offer your Lordships a personal experience of forty-two years in the Highway Clubs of East London, in Shadwell and Stepney by the docks, to endeavour to show your Lordships the tremendous value I attach to the voluntary youth club work covered by the National Association of Mixed Clubs and Girls' Clubs and the London Union of Mixed Clubs and Girls' Clubs, of which I am Vice-President and President, apart from being Chairman of the Highway Clubs since 1936. I started there as an ignoramus in 1917, and I have no doubt in my mind when I say that the experience I have had in my own particular clubs reflects the general pattern of youth clubs throughout the country. In all those years, what with camping holidays, here and abroad, with our club members, as well as our home activities and sports in connection with the clubs, I can vouch for the remarkable development and expansion of these young people with the facilities afforded them in their vital, adolescent years.

Our service to these boys and girls found noble fruit in the bombing year of the war, 1940, when I lived in the underground washplaces of the Memorial Club as our only form of shelter from the raids, and when those older boys and girls, in spite of their daily war work, gave incomparable service to their country from our Club centre which was turned into a front line emergency centre. They helped in community feeding, worked in the shelters at night, and dug out poor bombed people—doing all this in a truly Christian spirit, helping their fellow men in a voluntary capacity.

Now we come to this trying bulge in the population of young people, which I am afraid will go on for some considerable time. As we have heard from the noble Lord opposite, and from the noble Viscount, this brings increased and special difficulties, changing social background and, alas! many disrupted homes, while the parental influence is often lamentable or negligible. Though, as we have heard already, the material gains are tremendous, the moral background is often weaker and steadily or totally neglected. The backdrop to this highly complicated pattern of stage set is not quite adequate. Our stumbling block, as your Lordships have heard quoted from the Report of the Select Committee of 1957, is the unbalanced pattern of grant aid which reacts on the serious difficulty of finding the right, dedicated wardens and leaders, whose pay, with the increased cost of living, often is not at all worthy of the tremendously important vocation of guiding youth in the difficult adolescent years. In my earlier years voluntary work was much easier. Volunteers are far harder to come by now, though there are still a great many gallant voluntary workers in clubs all over the country.

Our hold-up is the need for greater facilities and better equipment. May I stress to your Lordships, too, the vital point of what a good, bright, gay new building can mean to young people and club members. After seven years of waiting and battling with the local authorities, we now have, through the generosity of the Ministry of Education, local authorities, the London County Council, national associations and charities, as well as generous donations from subscribers, a club in Lowood Street, built from the ruins of a bombed school. That freshness, that gaiety, bright colours, bright curtains and a good cafeteria, have at once increased our membership and our subscriptions, and has awakened (for we lost six out of our seven clubs in the war) a new pride and responsibility in the Club members themselves. What is more important than anything is that it has brought in a keenness, interest and support from the parents, which is the essential need in our work.

We have passed the pre-war years of poor standards of living, misery and unemployment. In my early years—such a long time ago—education ceased at fourteen years. It was then largely through youth organisations of all sorts and kinds that young people were given facilities for filling up their leisure hours with activities, whether it was in sport, physical training, hobbies, drama or debates. In those years there was a larger leisured class to give of their service to these young people. We have had eminent young boxers from our clubs who are probably known to your Lordships. We had two famous gymnast contestants from the Highway Clubs in Frankie Turner and Albert Wales. Our reunion party of old club members, totalling 200 or 300—they meet every year— shows what the clubs have meant to these boys and girls who come from all over the country.

But, as the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, has said, we must approach the problem of youth in a new spirit; and, as the noble Viscount also says, the voluntary associations need to look into their hearts and perhaps put on a new and a modern suit of clothes. I am afraid that all this comes down to the question of paying the highly-trained leader. Although I realise that the financial side is not the only side, I would point out that such a leader can devote himself to this work only if he can earn an adequate salary. I know how hard-driving and utterly wearing the work can be at times. Grateful though we are for them, our grants to-day are, at times, totally inadequate for the gigantic new responsibility occasioned by the higher school leaving age, grammar and technical education, and new modern schools with excellent equipment. To keep pace with these and with bigger wage-earning we must now have far more highly-trained, experienced leaders than before, and we need much more material equipment.

Your Lordships have already heard that the youth service receives only a half of one per cent. of the total expenditure on youth education. I could not agree more with the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, that this is a deplorable situation. It is absolutely hamstringing. I agree that the voluntary and statutory authorities must work in unselfish partnership, without parochial jealousies, as each is vital to the other. We, the voluntary organisations, offered our years of experience to the statutory authorities before the Government or the Board of Education or other Departments ever "cottoned on" to the value of youth and the importance of its pattern in our land, largely due to the pre-Service units.

I am fully aware that there should be a weaving together of devoted service concerning youth, coming from the churches, the schools, the probation officers and the parents. But, as the noble Lord opposite has said, it must be recognised that although in some parts of the country leaders are being paid on the Burnham scale, in other areas the Sword of Damocles hangs over our heads, over the heads of voluntary workers battling to face ever-increasing costs and increasing salaries of well-trained leaders. This is just one instance of the difficulties which arise through those wide discrepancies in grant aid throughout the country. For this reason I strongly support the plea of the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, on this aspect. I venture to think that, with all our faults, we could do our share of the job if we could have greater security from the Government and the various Departments.

Finally, I must, with profound conviction, endorse the views of the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, on the importance of religion and faith in this work. I am afraid that we think more of gold than of God. These young people are our future citizens, developing in a terrifying world. The dictator countries knew only too well the huge importance of youth in connection with the pattern of what they wanted to do. I feel that we here treat it as a sideline. It is not a sideline; it is a lifeline for our future; and I end by imploring Her Majesty's Government to realise their colossal responsibility and to act before it is too late.

4.12 p.m.


My Lords, I feel it a particular honour to follow the noble Baroness, Lady Ravensdale of Kedleston, and to have the honour of expressing our sincere congratulations to her on her maiden speech. It has commanded our close sympathy and attention, for clearly the noble Baroness speaks on this matter as one who understands the younger generation; and she speaks with the authority of long practical experience. I have had the good fortune of knowing her as a friend for many years. She has a wide knowledge of many matters of public interest and in many parts of the world, and I hope that she will often give this House the benefit of her views in the future.


Hear, hear!


My Lords, the announcement that Her Majesty's Government intend to appoint a Select Committee to inquire into the working of the Youth Service is in itself most welcome. But I am sure that your Lordships will have been particularly heartened by the remarks of the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Hailsham, about the urgency with which that Committee is setting about its task; and will have been encouraged and refreshed by the way in which the noble and learned Viscount spoke of its terms of reference in the form of a penetrating reappraisal of what is really needed. I should also like to express a great sense of gratitude to the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, for giving an opportunity at this point for an expression of views on this subject in your Lordships' House and for the way in which he presented it.

As Chairman of the Church of England Youth Council, in succession to my friend the Lord Bishop of St. Albans, who I am glad to see is to speak later in this debate, I feel that this is a matter in which I have a particular concern. I suppose it is true that every generation tends to be critical of the calibre of those who are growing up—and to be surprised that "they are not what they were in our day"—as, presumably, it is natural for the young to regard their elders with a sense of curiosity, and sometimes of pity; or perhaps nowadays as "squares". It is fatally easy for older people to jump to the conclusion that a change in the pattern of behaviour in the young, whether, for instance, in the matter of dress or style of dancing, is necessarily a change for the worse. But whilst it is often said (and the saying really means very little) that there is every bit as good stuff in the young people of to-day as ever there was, there are signs—and serious signs—that give ground for real concern.

Much has been said of juvenile delinquency, and I realise how easy it is to dwell too much on this point. I want just to draw your Lordships' attention to the main offences under which that has arisen. The headings are: violence, sexual offences, drink and disorder, including a particularly alarming rise in convictions for drink offences of young people between the ages of fourteen and sixteen years. Then there are newspaper reports, possibly magnified at times, of hooliganism and violence—a problem which, incidentally, we have in common with many other countries in Western Europe. But what perhaps makes an even deeper personal impression (and I believe it is this which many people who are trying to help the young find puzzling) is the impression that some of them give—an impression of part boredom, part unhappiness, and part defiance. That is clearly symptomatic that all is not well, but I do not mean to say, by that, that all is not well simply with the young people. There is, I believe, a gap in understanding, and I consider that to be one of the most important factors. In any event, that there is a grave problem superimposed on the responsibility and concern which the nation must continually give for every generation of young people cannot be denied.

The problem, in particular, is the care for the post-adolescent boy or girl. But its roots lie deep in the whole process of growing up: in the family, the school, the neighbourhood and the place of work; and it is affected at every point by the standards and values of society as a whole. In this situation there can be little doubt that the Youth Service and the wider educational system of which it is, and ought in practice to be, an integral part seem to be falling far short of what is expected of them.

There is one phrase in the terms of reference of the Albemarle Committee which I feel to be of special significance: it was brought out, in particular, in the remarks of the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Hailsham. After speaking of reviewing the contribution which the Youth Service makes in assisting young people to play their part in the life of the community, it goes on: in the light of the changing social and industrial conditions. I believe that that word "changing" needs to be underlined, for a review of the Youth Service is urgently required, not only because the original conception and planning set out by the Board of Education in such documents as Circulars 1486 and 1516 have not, for a variety of reasons, been carried out in practice, but also because the situation in which young people find themselves to-day is so different from that which existed when the statutory Youth Service originated—as, of course, it is so very different from the days when most of our great voluntary youth organisations came into being half a century ago.

Certainly any number of experiments and changes have taken place recently, but I seriously wonder how far we are not still trying to use old methods to meet new needs. There is no need to speak in any detail as to what the changed conditions are, but I should like to comment briefly on what is perhaps the most important and obvious change—namely., the material circumstances of young people, at least when they have completed their full-time education. The phenomenally high wages which a proportion of young people are earning, and which certainly contribute to the higher incidence of drink offences, are due largely to the scarcity of young people. We have the smallest adolescent population in proportion to the total population of the country that we have had for 150 years.

These high wages go not to the skilled but to the unskilled. They are not the reward for hard work or long hours; indeed, they may be given just as the result of competition. Young people are being treated very much as football clubs use players—buying them in a competitive market; but instead of the money being handed from employer to employer, it goes to the young people themselves. But all this must be said against the background of knowing that, before the war, young people were grossly underpaid, untrained and overworked. What is a very encouraging feature of this situation is the rise in the proportion of young people who are training for skills—among boys it is, roughly, a rise from one-fifth to one-third—and who are receiving moderate wages. Every year far more boys apply for apprenticeships than can be accepted, showing that many more young people prefer opportunity to immediate reward than can be given that opportunity.

Even so, the majority, of course, are still employed in semi-skilled or unskilled work. With more money in their pockets they are much more independent. There are plenty of bidders in the commercial world competing for their valued custom. The majority enjoy more leisure than their predecessors did. Mechanisation means that a good many of them use up less physical energy in their jobs, with a good deal more to be worked off in their leisure time. And many of the old restrictions and taboos in the relation between the sexes have vanished. Courtship begins earlier. One out of every three of the marriages which take place in this country involves a minor. Growing up in the far less restricted conditions of modern society has also removed something of the deference which at one time it was considered youth should owe to age.

In these circumstances, I am bound to say that I find it surprising how many, rather than how few, find their way into, or after the age of fifteen remain in, the various kinds of youth organisation, even though that proportion is a small enough percentage of the whole. Nobody can read of the current work undertaken by our major national voluntary youth organisations without being immensely impressed by their vigour and their vision. Most of them are deplorably short of money; many are working with over-pressed and totally inadequate staffs. But in spite of this the organisations seem to me to be alive to the challenge of the present situation, and are searching for new ways and new methods to meet the changing needs of young people, especially the post-adolescent range. "Openings for development at the present time are almost unlimited," says a recent report of one of the largest of the national youth organisations. And the report goes on to instance experimental work, such as café clubs designed to provide meeting places for young people who would not dream of coming into an ordinary club; and then clubs without walls—the placing in carefully selected areas of highly trained individuals to work with young people without the necessary establishment of a club building.

The voluntary organisations are convinced that they still have a part, and a growing part, to play in the service of young people. But they need more money—of that there is no doubt whatever—to develop their existing work and to carry out a wide variety of experiments which are necessary if their work is to remain contemporary and relevant, as also to develop and extend schemes for recruitment of leaders and for the training of leaders. It is impossible to carry out a national operation on a shoestring budget, though that is exactly what the national voluntary youth organisations have been doing for years. That they have achieved a real measure of success is due to the almost superhuman devotion of a very small number of dedicated people. A larger contribution to those organisations would, I am convinced, prove a thoroughly good investment and would yield a high dividend in the benefit given to young people. But the voluntary organisations would, I believe, be the first to admit that they will never be able to touch more than a proportion of young people. And here is the greatest need of all.

It can, I think, be argued, that in the matter of full-time education, further education, employment, and, to a certain extent, in the provision of leisure-time pursuits, the more intelligent and the more able young person between the ages of fifteen and twenty stands at a great advantage over his or her contemporary who is unable to benefit by these facilities. Yet it is the unskilled or the semi-skilled young people who form the larger part numerically, and whose needs call for an equally carefully planned provision appropriate to their circumstances and situation. Even if, as one earnestly hopes, many more will be influenced by the growth of existing organisations, one is left with a problem of vast dimensions. Any concerted effort obviously requires organisation and this means a danger of thinking about these people in the mass, forgetting that one is concerned primarily with individuals. One of their main needs is to help them stand on their own feet. To do this there are certain general requirements which I should like to mention.

First, and I believe quite vital, is an awakening to spiritual truths and values, and a faith to live by. Then I would mention, alongside that, and not in any sense in opposition to it, the attainment of physical fitness, which has a particular value for young people at that age, a value far beyond the immediate physical results. I think there is some danger of setting the one against the other—physical fitness, on the one hand, and cultural and intellectual pursuits on the other, as if they were competing. Surely the important thing is to enable a young person to see all these attributes as belonging to the whole man. Another requirement is the need in a young person to be tested and to prove himself or herself; and that means effort and not having everything handed "on a plate." I agree very strongly with what the noble Viscount. Lord Hailsham, said about the young doing things for themselves and not always being under adult patronage.

A further requirement (although this is obvious" I am sure that it needs emphasis, for it has sometimes been forgotten) is that young people after adolescence must be treated not as children but as those who are growing to adult maturity; which means that the provision made by the Youth Service for young people of fifteen to nineteen or twenty should be treated separately from the equally important but different needs of the lower age group, for which provision is, of course, equally necessary. The difficulty is to present these requirements in the form which, and by the people who, will appeal to the young people themselves.

I should like to mention one instance of how some of these requirements are, I believe, being met by methods introduced within the last few years—namely, in the type of training which is given by the Outward Bound Movement and Sea Schools, and the rather different but related courses training which are given at Brathay Hall. To climb a mountain or to sail a boat in any circumstances of wind or weather, can and often does provide a release from the very artificial conditions in which so many young people have to live and work. The training, by the nature of the challenge it presents, helps a young person to gain in confidence and in self-respect, and generally makes a powerful impact which, in some cases, can rightly be described in terms of a spiritual awakening. However, such centres can cope only with limited numbers.

There is one new scheme, which has been designed for boys and girls of all kinds between the ages of fourteen and nineteen and which I believe is capable of attracting and benefiting many in the large group of young people who are at present untouched by any of the existing provisions. I refer to the Duke of Edinburgh's Award. The scheme for boys has now been running for the past three years as a pilot project on a limited scale, and at the end of this year it is to be made available for progressively wider use. That for girls has just been introduced. Now the Duke of Edinburgh's Award is not a new organisation but a method available for any approved sponsoring body or authority to use and to make its own. The boys' scheme has four sections: rescue and public service training; fitness; pursuits (and there is a tremendous range of possible options under these headings), and an expedition. It provides a well-balanced programme with a wide choice of interest and activities in three successive stages appropriate to the 14 to 16, 15 to 17, and 16 to 19 age groups. The scheme for girls also includes four sections: design for living; interests; adventure, and giving service. In a modern society nearly every girl is expected to fit herself for a dual role in the community—that of wage earner before marriage and probably for some time afterwards, and that of wife, homemaker, and mother—and both these rôles have been borne in mind in the structure of the girls' scheme of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award.

One particular advantage—and it is an advantage which at this stage is more potential than actual—is that the lower age limit is at fourteen. A boy or girl can start at school and be encouraged to continue after leaving school. If full advantage can be taken of this scheme on a large scale, as it expands the Duke of Edinburgh's Award will become a major influence for numbers of those who are at present, on leaving secondary modern schools, tend to drift. In this connection, it is heartening and interesting to note that the number of local educational authorities participating in the scheme has increased from twenty in 1956 to seventy-seven at the present time. There is the further point that the scheme provides an opportunity to attract a wide variety of grown-ups to share their skills, their attainments and their enthusiasms, with young people; and it seems to be one of the few agencies which can brine into active partnership in the service of young people any number of individuals and organisations able to give some kind of leadership or instruction, as well as schools, clubs, Service and cadet units, and also (and this, in a sense, I feel, ought to be underlined) industrial firms. The contribution of industry in the whole field of the Youth Service is immensely important, and its potential contribution will, one hopes, become an even greater factor in the future. It would be hard to exaggerate the possibilities which may lie ahead of this Award Scheme, thanks to the initiative of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, and to the very capable handling of the scheme by Sir John Hunt and his staff.

My Lords, I am conscious of having already taken up a lot of time, and I am aware of the number of speeches to follow, but I hope I may have your Lordships' indulgence while I add two final points, which I shall try to put as briefly as possible. The first is the question—and this I merely give without illustration, but I believe it to be extremely important—of how to claim and utilise the more generous and idealistic impulses which all young people potentially possess. There is nothing which appeals more to the best in young people than to be shown how they can be of real use, and I would plead for wider and more imaginative ways—not invented or artificial ways, but real ways—of indicating how their help can really be of benefit to the community, or to some sections of the community.

The last point I want to make is to express the hone that the original conception of the Youth Service as a working partnership will be firmly re-endorsed and strengthened, even if it be re-endorsed, as it probably should be, in a rather new mould and pattern: a working partnership of all those concerned with the welfare of young people, which at the present day must mean the establishment certainly of stronger links with industry, and will, I firmly trust, include a firm partnership with the Churches. Not the least important aspect of this partnership is that the different organisations and groups which are trying to help young people in any locality may understand the particular aims and the particular contribution which the others are trying to make, and not find themselves competing for the same young person's presence at the same time and in the same place. One cannot, of course, legislate for awkward and difficult people, and no directions from the top will protect young people from a quarrel taking place over their heads but effective partnership (and it is certainly true that much is lacking in this respect) can do much to prevent wasting resources through competition, and can also avoid placing a young person in the position of having to decide between this or that organisation, or between the overlapping claims of an organisation and of the Church, on grounds which really are not the appropriate ones for a young person to decide where his or her loyalities lie, or should be encouraged to lie.

I hope that the question of how the statutory Youth Service may be able to provide the necessary leadership and machinery for strengthening the partnership, both centrally and locally, may be carefully re-examined. The Church's place in that partnership lies as much in the contribution made by its members in all sorts of personal responsibilities and in youth organisations, which may or may not be under Church auspices, as in the considerable and often enterprising work which different denominations are undertaking under their own control—for example, youth rallies, festivals, summer schools, leadership courses, courses for young industrialists, adventure week-ends, and innumerable Church youth groups and clubs which, in the case of the Church of England, number around a quarter of a million young people in this age range.

But, my Lords, responsibility for young people is a responsibility which falls on every citizen, and requires a partnership which, in fact, covers the nation as a whole. That was the continuous theme throughout the King George's Jubilee Trust Report, Citizens of Tomorrow. To the crucial question: What sort of human beings are young people going to grow up to be?, the answer depends primarily on the extent to which every citizen is willing to accept the fact that he or she has some responsibility and some influence.

4.40 p.m.


My Lords, I have delayed some time before venturing to address your Lordships' House, in the hope that some topic might come before us for discussion on which I could claim to have in a modest way some special knowledge. Your Lordships will appreciate, I know, how very narrowly such a condition restricts the field, and it has not been possible for me to fulfil my hope as I would have wished. In the meantime, in the weeks that have gone before, it has been all too clearly brought home to me how much valour would have been the better part of discretion, for in these weeks we have been privileged to listen to so many distinguished maiden speeches, which have established so high a standard, against which the latecomer must match himself or herself. They have made it all too plain that delay might well have been ill-timed. This experience has culminated in the moving testimony which we heard this afternoon from the noble Baroness opposite, Lady Ravensdale of Kedleston. Therefore I must beg your Lordships to allow me to make an even deeper draft than usual upon the kindness, courtesy and tolerance which my colleagues, the newcomers, and I have already experienced in no small measure in the short period of our membership of your Lordships' House.

Many references have been made this afternoon to juvenile delinquency. I suppose that on a later occasion we may have an opportunity of examining a little more closely the facts about this phenomenon. It is well known that the statistics, on which alone we can draw, are capable of many and not all equally valid interpretations; but we must, I suppose, for the purpose of this afternoon accept them more or less at their face value. We are reminded that to-day a high proportion of recorded indictable offences in this country are committed by young persons under the age of seventeen. I think that, in passing, we may recall that this is no new phenomenon. The proportion of indictable offences committed by young persons under the age of seventeen, which to-day stands at just about 34 per cent., is fractionally a little less than it was immediately before the war. That figure can be interpreted, of course, in either of two ways—as a mark of the depravity of youth or as a testimony of the confidence with which we may expect, as the noble Viscount, Lord Hailsham, said, that they will nearly all grow up in due course to become good citizens. But whichever way we read the figures, we must have constantly in mind that in this respect what is true of the present generation was true also of ours.

More alarming is the record of the increase of violence, particularly between the ages of seventeen and twenty-one. The figures report something like a sevenfold increase in crimes of violence by persons under seventeen, and about an elevenfold increase in crimes of violence by those between the ages of seventeen and twenty-one. There are some unusual features, particularly the increase in crimes of violence in what is, after all, the youth club age of round about seventeen and upwards. One of the unusual features of the present outbreak is that it comes in a group of young persons whose earlier history has not been one of exceptional criminality.

I should like to refer here, if I may, to the interesting figures which were produced in a paper read at the British Association's last meeting by Mr. Leslie Wilkins, of the Home Office Research Unit, in which he traced the criminal history, so to speak, of each generation that has been born year by year as it comes to maturity, since shortly before the war. On one hand, the findings of that investigation are discouraging, inasmuch as it records this exceptional outbreak more or less after the age of puberty, round about seventeen, of a particular group of young persons, an outbreak which, in view of their age, cannot be attributed to their war-time experiences. On the other side, the same investigation gives same ground for hope that the tide is already turning, since the young people who were born in the years 1941 and 1942, and particularly those who were born a little later than that, are now contributing, according to this calculation, rather less than more of what might be called their expected quota of criminality, having regard to the usual pattern of development.

In any case, I believe that we have to keep the phenomenon of violence in proportion. In the court in which I have presided now for many years and which deals with juveniles, I can say from my own experience that serious violent crime is quite exceptional. The area of jurisdiction of this court runs from the heart of London's West End, through such salubrious quarters as World's End, right down to the gates of the Palace of the Bishop of London. It is indeed a varied diocese, and I calculated the other day, with some dismay, that during my seventeen years' association with that court something upwards of 5,000 children and young persons must have passed in procession before me, charged with offences or, in a smaller number of cases, as being in need of the court's care.

Looking back on that experience, I must say that I cannot recall—and I should not have forgotten them—more than, at the very outside, forty to fifty cases of what could he regarded as serious violence. And what is true in this area is true also for our community as a whole. If we look at the figures for England and Wales, the male population between the ages of fourteen and seventeen runs at about 880,000. Of those, in the year 1957 576 were found guilty of violent crimes and another 74 were found guilty of robbery. In the more violent phase, between seventeen and twenty-one, the male population numbers a little over 1 million, 1,091,000. Of those, only 1,635 have been found guilty of violent crimes, with another 199 guilty of robbery. I have quoted only the figures for males. Obviously, if I included the other half of the population, the proportions would have been a great deal smaller; but the law-abiding and passive qualities of my own sex can, I think, be taken for granted.

As the noble Viscount, Lord Hailsham, has said, the aims of the Youth Service are not merely to act as a bulwark against crime. The Service aims far higher, at implanting into the younger generation the same notions, at the very lowest, of constructive citizenship. In that I think we have to recognise that in some respects this Service is undertaking—I will not say an impossible task, but at least a task of immense difficulty; because too often it is trying in some two or three hours in the evening to undo what has been so effectively done in the remaining twenty-one or twenty-two hours of the day.

Consider, for a moment, the conditions in which so many of the young men and women who are the clientele of the youth clubs spend their lives. They go to school in a world where, theoretically, there is secondary education for all. But at the age of eleven they are exposed to what certainly they and their parents regard as a fiercely competitive selection for the only kind of education that until recently was dignified with the name of "secondary". Inevitably the majority of them fail in that examination, and probably that is their first experience of social rejection. They go to work at the age of fifteen, and inevitably, though many inquiries have shown that the majority are interested in obtaining skilled employment, most of them take jobs that call for no very high degree of skill. Often those jobs are tedious and uninteresting, totally unprogressive either in skill or in responsibility, and not of any obvious social value; and they are not even physically tiring. The young people of to-day are not generally hewers of wood and drawers of water; for the hewing of wood and the drawing of water are romantic occupations by comparison with some of the duties which are laid upon the unskilled juvenile.

Your Lordships may say that it is their own fault; that they do not bestir themselves to get skilled training. But there I think one has to remember how powerful are the incentives on the other side. The apprentice who embarks upon a long course of training for an artisan or similar job forgoes no less than about £2 or £3 a week in comparison with his contemporary who takes an unskilled job. It is true also of the boy who embarks upon the road from grammar school to professional qualification or university that he too must forgo immediate earnings. But there is a very real difference between the two cases: whereas the grammar school boy moves in a circle of school fellows nearly all of whom are equally impecunious, the young apprentice moves in a social circle in which his contemporaries frequently earn £2 or £3 a week, which they have to spend upon themselves and their girls, more than he has. I would remind your Lordships that recent statistics tell us that between the ages of twenty and thirty males are now surplus, the numbers exceeding those for the other sex. In that situation, for a young man to be deprived of £2 or £3 a week, some of which might have been spent on the entertainment of his girl, is a formidable and serious handicap.

It is true that, despite what I have been saying, the young people of to-day have more money than perhaps they have ever had before; and the contrast between their comparative material prosperity and the disquieting level of the figures of criminality has been drawn more than once. It is struck, I think, as the opening note of the White Paper on penal policy which we have all just been reading; and the same contrast was pointed a few months ago in the Press by the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, who has done so much, in the legislation for which he was formerly responsible, to salvage what might have been wrecks amongst the younger generation by the establishment of juvenile courts and similar agencies. Those who draw that contrast indicate, I think, a certain surprise that with rising standards of prosperity there should not also be rising standards of social behaviour. I should like, however, to remind your Lordships of one or two factors in the present situation.

The slum dweller of fifty years ago was, by comparison with his modern equivalent, imprisoned in his social environment, and he did not live in a climate of theoretical social equality. But now, day in clay out—or, should I rather say, evening in evening out?—he has intimate contact in his own home with the standards of a much richer and freer life; and "the telly" screen flaunts before him every day the standards of an acquisitive society, and flaunts them before those of his number who have, by the judgment of that society, very little expectation of success by those standards. In these circumstances, frustration, I think, is not surprising. Restlessness and frustration are some of the most important factors which are at work in inducing or, shall I say, in inhibiting the development of the kind of steady social behaviour which the youth club wants to impart in the young people of to-day. Nor is it altogether surprising if the restlessness itself sometimes takes the form of violence. Let us remember that by a little judicious fiddling of the knob it is now possible in a single week to listen to no fewer than seventeen programmes, all of which deal with various aspects of lawbreaking or violence. Surely we should be surprised that, on the whole, we maintain such decorous standards of public behaviour at any age.

Those, my Lords, are some of the cultural influences of our time. Against these the Youth Service wages a gallant if sometimes rather unequal struggle. And this is the cultural desert which the Youth Service is striving to water. Youth is often very resistant, even from an early age. I recall a small boy, whose head hardly came up to the table, who appeared once in my court accused of stealing a large number of comics. Asked if he had, in fact, taken these comics, he replied with the utmost promptness: "No, Miss; they wasn't worth it; they was Eagles." In case any of your Lordships may not be swimming with the cultural stream of the day, may I remind you—though probably I do not need to—that Eagle is the moral comic. I am sure that the right reverend Prelate who spoke just before me will be well aware of this, since I believe that the founder and first editor was a priest in his diocese.

Youth is resistant, and the strength of the forces of resistance is itself a measure of the devotion of the underpaid men and women who staff the Youth Service. But it would be a tragedy if we allowed the deep admiration that we all feel for the work of those men and women to dull the social conscience about the social conditions which make their labours necessary. It is, I think, significant that we do not provide youth clubs for the undergraduates of Oxford or Cambridge, whose lives are already not only full but even, perhaps one might say, much too full. But for others it is always easier to open a club or a clinic than to pull down a slum or to add another year to the period of compulsory education. I thank your Lordships for the courtesy and patience with which you have listened to these rather obvious remarks—a courtesy and patience which have indeed exceeded even my own very high expectations.

5.2 p.m.


My Lords, we have just listened to a most eloquent speech, and to me falls the great privilege, on behalf of the whole House, of saying how much we value the powerful contribution which the noble Baroness, Lady Wootton of Abinger, has made to the subject of this debate. If I may say so, the noble Lady has observed the best traditions of this House by venturing to speak for the first time on a subject on which she is so uniquely qualified from the depth of her knowledge and experience. Your Lordships, I am sure, will share my view that the House is greatly enriched by the fact that the noble Lady is a Member of it. To-day we have had ample proof that the noble Lady will bring wisdom, knowledge and, indeed, humour to many debates in your Lordships' House.

May I also echo the tribute that has been paid to the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, for raising this most important subject, and for the most knowledgeable speech in which he gave us the fruits of his deep and intensive investigations. I am personally indebted to the noble Lord for having given me the advantage of prior notice of what he was going to say. Although we sit on opposite sides of the House, I cannot but agree with much that the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, has said to your Lordships this afternoon. The noble Viscount, Lord Hailsham, thought fit, because he was participating in a debate on youth, to declare to the House that he shared his own youth with the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham. That evidently entitled him to castigate the noble Lord for certain views and principles that he has enunciated in this debate. It happens that I was also at the same school at the same time and, therefore, may I, in my turn, tell the noble Viscount that it is my opinion, as one who has been engaged in social work for more than thirty years, that, in my view. certain content of his speech was not up to date, was prejudiced, and quite clearly emanated from that Ministry in which the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, has found cause to give a certain amount of criticism in relation to its activity of the Youth Services.

The noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, has given an indictment of Her Majesty's Government for not giving a greater lead in the Youth Service. But, in justice to Her Majesty's Government, and to the noble Viscount who has replied to the noble Lord, I think it only fair to point out, as indeed he did, that since the passing of the Education Act of 1944 each successive Government has accepted the view of the Ministry of Education that in order to deal with the tremendous increase in the school population, due to the increase in the birth rate and the raising of the school-leaving age, attention should be concentrated on the provision of schools and teachers. This has applied until now to every Government which has been in power. Therefore, I would underline what the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, has said: that the fact that the Youth Services are the Cinderella of education is not a Party issue; and I entirely agree with the noble Lord that in no circumstances should it become so.

The noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, referred to the need for closer liaison between the Youth Services and the Probation Service. I could not agree more. As one who has had the honour of being connected with the Probation Service for about thirty years, including membership of a Departmental Committee on the Social Services, of courts of summary jurisdiction, to which the noble Lord referred, and which did a great deal to establish the Probation Service, I claim to know a little of the knowledge and experience that probation officers possess in regard to youth and youth work. Here, perhaps I may be permitted to say how much the Probation Service welcomed the announcement of my right honourable friend the Home Secretary on Monday last of the appointment, after twenty-five years, of a new Departmental Committee to examine the Probation Service. This inquiry is, of course, long overdue, and I hope that the importance and value of the probation officers' work will be recognised in many ways, and not least in regard to their deplorable rates of pay.

I understand that the terms of reference of that Departmental Committee have not yet been declared. I should like those terms of reference to include the vital need for research into the proper case load of probation officers. The noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, suggested that a further duty should be placed upon probation officers in connection with the Youth Services. I approve of that. I would remind your Lordships, however, that in the course of its development the Probation Service has proved to be of such value in every area that more and more duties have been placed upon probation officers. Many of your Lordships will know that probation officers are now required by Statute, in addition to the probation cases, to deal with matrimonial conciliation, after-care of people from any kind of penal institution, affiliation and adoption orders. Their probation case load should be about fifty to sixty for men, and thirty-five for women probation officers. The average to-day is sixty-seven cases for men and forty-two for women probation officers. This figure is far too high. In spite of the fact that the Service has doubled itself since the war, the probation officers are still grossly overworked.

In answer to the other point the noble Lord raised with regard to the probation service, I should like to assure him that probation officers, by and large, know all about the activities of youth clubs in their areas. If, as the noble Lord says, they are not members of the youth services committee of a particular town or area, they certainly should be. But the noble Lord will appreciate that it is not generally desirable for probation officers to act as youth leaders. They tell me that it is difficult enough to get probationers into the good club without others leaving. If they were to be actively associated in the running of youth organisations there would be a danger of such clubs being regarded as mainly for delinquents. I would say that the whole essence of successful probation is to integrate the probationer into the normal stable life of his community.

It is well known that in many areas there is a rebellion of youth against organised activity and authority, and so I would suggest that the good and popular club has always to be run by the most subtle means. Many of your Lordships who are to participate in this debate will know much more about this subject than I do, but it is quite clear that in many areas the club catering for a rough and rowdy element requires to be, as the noble Baroness, Lady Ravensdale of Kedleston, said, a gay, exciting adventurous club, and should not smack too much of officialdom and authority. I am sure that we shall hear subsequently in the debate that if a club does smack of officialdom it soon fails to be patronised.

My second reason for speaking in this debate is to draw attention to some of the deep-seated problems surrounding modern youth—problems which have already been touched on by the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Portsmouth and by the noble Baroness, Lady Wootton of Abinger. As I interpret them, they are, broadly, the influences and pitfalls which modern youth encounters and which make more necessary than ever before an effective Youth Service. First of all, let us be quite clear that, in an age of social change and scientific invention, new ideas and also vivid new contrasts are forced upon all of us, and the young impressionable mind is inevitably the most susceptible to change. It is understandable that most of the tensions arising from these changes should be felt by young people, and, as has already been said, they feel these tensions in governing their own lives. But they also feel them in the texture of their relationships with older people and their relationship with authority.

Teenagers, together with those in their early twenties, form a most powerful group, a group that is going to become very much more powerful in the next few years. One authority, an expert on marketing, says that young people between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five number 5 million, and that although they receive only 8½ per cent. of all personal incomes they have no less than £900 million to spend as they wish. He goes on to say that a quarter of this total goes on clothing and footwear, 14 per cent. on drink and tobacco, 12 per cent. on sweets and snacks, and much of the balance on pleasures of addiction. In consequence, the teenage demand is of major importance to certain trades and receives the full force of a modern advertising campaign. In 1957 this age group accounted for 38 per cent. of all consumer spending on bicycles and motor bicycles; it accounted for 44 per cent. of all spending on records and record players, and from 26 to 30 per cent. of all spending on entertainment.

My Lords, to view this group differently, it would appear, from the Report of the Select Committee on Estimates, that nearly 3 million people between the ages of fifteen and twenty exist, and that about a quarter of that number are members of the Youth Services. This is an indeterminate number, but simple arithmetic indicates to me that, at a rough guess, 2 million teenagers are outside the Youth Services. As the right reverend Prelate said, many of this number are searching for some sort of social prestige, some sort of self-importance and self-expression, but they cannot find it at work and therefore they crave for it in leisure. I would say the reason why they cannot find it at work is because the changes in the methods of modern industry have inevitably changed the philosophy of work. More than ever before, large numbers of young people regard work merely as a means, a boring, irksome means, of providing income for leisure, which to them is the real business of living. So we have what is called the youth culture, which is prompted in part by an unfulfilled wish for self-expression. Jazz clubs and rock 'n' roll are the modern fashion; they are instances, I think, of youth's determination to express itself in a different way from the traditional.

Another result of change on which I should like to touch, and to which the noble Viscount, Lord Hailsham, briefly referred, is that many a young person takes his example from members of his social or anti-social group, but not from the older members of his family. Many parents recognise that the younger generation differ in interests and outlook. Your Lordships' House may agree with me that many parents are often prepared to surrender their responsibilities of oversight. They recognise that there is a changed social situation which they themselves do not completely understand, and as a consequence they have experienced a serious failure of nerve in the face of new conditions. I do not know whether your Lordships share this view, but I should say that many parents have all too willingly assumed that the new condition is one with which they cannot cope. Until this attitude is corrected, if it is to be corrected, this places an added need upon the provision of Youth Services. So I would suggest that we find another basic fact, in that the majority of young people are at the mercy of commercial exploitation and rather shallow, if expensive, outlets for expenditure. Many adolescents, unguided by parents, unguided by traditional values, unguided by established Youth Services, have not found very satisfactory outlets for the money and leisure they have. They regard money as the key to success among their associates; yet the relatively big money which they earn does not generally bring the satisfaction or lasting success for which they crave.

The last point I want to emphasise is that immature youth is exposed to-day to a vast, diverse and continuous stream of motley impressions conveyed by the mass media of newspapers, television and films. In so far as the producers of mass media are in the hands of commercial people who seek to win record circulation in the cheap Press, of producers who want to increase audiences, they endeavour to titillate the sensations, to provide easy gratification for curiosity, idle speculations and stimulate the appetites for the salacious and the bizarre. They seek essentially and commercially to play on crude sentiments and to mobilise feeling, rather than to stimulate thought. They also, I think, help to establish attitudes of mind and forms of responsibility that are purely emotional. They thus, in my view, negatively condition individuals for more serious appreciation of things more worth while. In fact, I would say that they are a powerful force in cultivating youth's, and, indeed the public's, incapacities for such subjects as literature, the crafts and the arts.

May I suggest to your Lordships that this spate of sensational material becomes a competitive race, feeding upon social tensions and stimulating them further. Instead of directing attention to the creative possibilities present in everyday life they direct attention to fantasy. In my experience, it is not an exaggeration to say that the broad effect of mass media retards a certain type of individual from becoming adult, and helps him to continue in his adolescent stage by finding worthwhile things dull and boring, because he lacks the inner resources to make everyday experience fruitful and rich. It is, of course, a truism to say that in the cultivation of tastes for the sensational and the vulgar the finer sentiments are destroyed, but sometimes we forget the truism. The values which mass media present to-day are readily absorbed by many young people who, in this sense, in my view, have not a particularly clear understanding of right and wrong, but only an allegiance to one side and an enmity for the other.

I do not know whether my references to some of these basic facts that surround youth are at all interesting to your Lordships' House, but I make them because they are, to my knowledge, often unconsidered in discussion on the causes of irresponsible and anti-social behaviour. I submit that it is factors of this sort that require to be considered in many of the research projects which are now to be established. The White Paper, Penal Practice in a Changing Society, which was issued at the beginning of this week, involves the State in vast expenditure of many millions of pounds which is, in essence and in sum total, nothing other than "ambulance work". The provision of more penal institutions of all types aims to be remedial, but they cannot be described as basically preventive. I am not saying that I disagree with the Paper—in fact, I should like to take this opportunity of highly congratulating my right honourable friend the Home Secretary upon these proposals, which I hope will be implemented at the earliest possible date.

I mention this matter to ask one question—namely, does this mean that one of the aspects of a changed society is that, perhaps complacently, we accept a high rate of anti-social behaviour in our midst? In my opinion, Parliament, parents and the general public must be quite clear on a comparatively simple issue: either society submits to the risk of its members being robbed, violated, or even murdered, in increasing numbers, for which we pay dearly, both in human misery and in paying for the capture and care of criminals, or society must resolve to revolt against the roots of anti-social behaviour which lie deep within the community. My Lords, the Youth Services are quite clearly positive and preventive, as against the curative and remedial services that we run at tremendous cost. Therefore, on every count public money is wisely spent on the Youth Services as one of the best investments we can make for the well-being of Britain in the future.

5.28 p.m.


My Lords, in rising to take part in this debate I should like at the outset to say how indebted we in your Lordships' House are to the noble Lord opposite for raising this question to-day. We have listened to two most interesting maiden speeches. We have heard a most remarkable speech from the Lord Bishop of Portsmouth, and the noble Earl, Lord Feversham, has just made a very interesting speech indeed. It is therefore with some hesitation that I intervene, because so many interesting things have already been said. I do so because I think I am probably the only person in this House who was a member of the original National Fitness Council which was started by the noble Earl, Lord De La Warr, when he was Minister of Education, and which was the precursor of the National Youth Committee. My noble friend Lord Soulbury, who followed Lord De La Warr at the Ministry of Education, invited me to join in 1939, and it was that Committee that really started the National Youth Service as we are discussing it to-day.

At that time, in 1939–40, the Ministry of Education put the most tremendous drive behind this campaign to start youth clubs and organisations, in partnership with the local education authorities. Lord Soulbury himself headed this drive, and no effort was spared by the Ministry, the voluntary organisations and the local education authorities to get this partnership established. Up and down the country youth committees in local education authority areas were formed. For the first time, youth organisations were given financial assistance to provide leisure-time activities for girls and boys, and education and evening institutes were encouraged. We had training schemes for youth leaders in training colleges, in some of the universities and in the voluntary organisations; the funds of King George's Jubilee Trust, which was then in its early days, were used to supplement the grants to voluntary organisations, and the big job of getting the Youth Service going for the fourteen to eighteen age group was, I think, highly successful. That was in the years 1939, 1940 and 1941, and when one thinks of what was then happening in the world it was very remarkable. I put it down to the fact that there was real strength behind those circulars to which the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Portsmouth referred, and also to the fact that in those days the Ministry of Labour recognised full-time leadership in important areas as being war service of a high validity, and encouraged the people to take it up.

Then the war ended, and others like myself who were still actively engaged in the Youth Service hoped that men and women returning from their war service would come into youth work. But conditions of employment were too uncertain, money was scarce, and salaries, as we have heard, were quite inadequate then and are even more inadequate now; and the great drive forward for which we had hoped proved illusory. Voluntary organisations carried on manfully and raised enormous sums of money after the war. Vast sums were raised by the National Association of Boys' Clubs and other organisations, and for a year or two there was a big increase in membership Then, in the name of economy, the Ministry of Education and the local education authorities reduced their help and slowed down their effort, and there came the inevitable result: enthusiasm went out of the Service. The National Youth Committee, the central body which the noble Viscount, Lord Soulbury, started, was disbanded.

The Reports which we had hoped would give us better conditions for youth workers, the McNair and Fleming Reports, were put into pigeon-holes and have never been taken out; and the training of full time club leaders stopped altogether, though I believe there are possibly one or two areas where there is still full-time leadership. We in the club movement fell back on voluntary and part-time leaders to cope with the increasing number of boys and girls who were coming out from the schools and making new demands upon the Service.

Some local authorities have continued their help all the time, and some have continued to run their own organisations; but with the knowledge that in 1960 and 1961 we shall have the peak years of children leaving school, the economies have, I believe, been most unwise. I was glad to hear the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Hailsham, tell us to-day that some £20,000 will be available this year in direct grants to the national voluntary organisations. That will certainly be a help; but it is finance on a larger scale that is really needed. The noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, has given your Lordships figures for the voluntary organisations, and I believe the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Portsmouth has also given them, so I will not repeat what they have said; but the figures in the voluntary and Church organisations still cover great numbers, although we should like to see them very much higher.

The "bulge" is still to come, however. How can we meet it? We have a little time to go—not much—before it actually comes upon us. In the first place, I am sure that the enthusiasm and drive which inspired the Ministry of Education in the days of the noble Viscount, Lord Soulbury, must be brought back. Circulars issued by local education authorities must stress the urgency of the situation, and the partnerships with the voluntary organisations must be vigorously renewed. There must be some finance. Vast sums are not required. Another £1 million in direct or indirect grants would bring about an enormous difference, and local education authorities' budgets could allocate some additional finance for local youth services.

Good people are leaving the Service because they know it has not the recognition which was given it in the war years. Competition from other professions has taken people away. To stop this we must get the conditions of service, training and employment, and the salary scales, which would prevent this competition from being so bad for recruitment to the youth service. Since the war, our education service provision has been remarkable. All types of schools, technical colleges and evening institutes have been built; day release schemes have been established and new universities started. Only provision for leisure time has not kept pace with the rest of our educational provision. It has been the "Cinderella" of the education service.

I believe that this can be remedied. It is not impossible. In The Times the other day I read that statistics from medical officers of health put out by the Ministry of Health tell us that young people are taller, stronger and healthier than ever before. Their energies are unbounded, but they need scope for these energies, and good people to lead them. No generation is exactly like the generation before, and, as has been stressed here by one or two noble Lords, we must have new ideas and new interests to attract young people to-day—interests and conditions different from those which existed in 1949, 1939 or even earlier.

There are many interesting experiments going on. For instance, in youth clubs to-day week-end activities are a popular feature. There are week-end courses. Boys and girls go away on week-end courses in training for leadership, and they will then be the type of person whom, as I believe the right reverend Prelate said, we want to run their own club. This training of senior club members has been enormously successful. There have been courses and conferences concerning the problems and potentialities of young people in industry and commerce. Those have been highly supported by young people in voluntary organisations. Then there is week-end camping, hiking and canoeing, adventure week-ends and other forms of sport which are popular. Many clubs, youth organisations and schools to-day arrange very successful holidays abroad.

The right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Portsmouth referred to two experiments in which I am particularly interested—the idea of the "club without walls", the individual who bravely goes into a new housing area and endeavours to get around him (or her) a group whom he can influence to become the nucleus of a club, and then form an organisation in an area. "Café Clubs" have been successful in one or two places—Sheffield and elsewhere. All those are ways of attracting young people, new ways which are proving constructive rather than destructive, in the way of activities.

All these activities and experiments are going on up and down the country, but the difficulty is lack of funds. In spite of the fact that we raise as much money as we can and that the public, on the whole, are very generous, because of lack of funds these endless demands cannot be met. The noble Lady, Baroness Wootton of Abinger, has spoken, with her unrivalled authority, of the problems that appear in the courts. The noble Earl, Lord Feversham, has also talked of the problems that are facing the probation officers. The "Teddy Boy" trouble, as it has been called by some people, costs the Home Office and education authorities far more than the modest amount which would help to prevent, though possibly not entirely, such conditions and to canalise all this misspent energy to good use. To breed up the son to common sense, is ever more the parent's least expense was said by Dryden: and the State, as well as the parent, might well take this advice. In my opinion there is real urgency at the present time, just as there was in 1939, 1940 and 1941.

In a recent survey carried out by the King George V Jubilee Trust entitled Citizens of Tomorrow, a survey which is fill of interest and importance, emphasis was given to the need to look at the life of a boy or a girl from all sides—not just education or leisure time, but in the light of his future employer, of his trade union, his health and his general environment. In all this several Government Departments have an important part to play: the Ministry of Labour, through the youth employment service; the Home Office, in so far as they are responsible for the juvenile courts and all that is entailed by juvenile delinquency; and, of course, the Ministry of Education. As the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, stressed, cooperation is important, and the lack of it which exists today is really quite serious.

It is worth considering, I think—I hope perhaps the Albemarle Committee will consider it—whether a much closer link could not be devised between all these Departments in establishing a national committee. The suggestion will be made that we should have another national youth committee, and I would support that; and I am not sure that it would not be a good plan to make it rather more all-embracing than the one originally started, of which I was one of the members for many years. The partnership, which the Youth Service inaugurated, is only partly successful. The recommendation made by the Select Committee on Estimates, referred to earlier in the debate, that there should be regular machinery for consultation and discussion between the voluntary agencies and the statutory authorities at all levels from the Minister down to the local authority and the local council in any area is, I think, a very good one. You cannot have a partnership if one partner never meets the other, and that is what happens very often.

I should like to make one other suggestion, too, in regard to the question of direct grants to the many voluntary organisations which are partners in this Youth Service. I have always thought that it should be possible to establish a grants commission rather more on the lines of the Universities Grants Commission, which would deal with direct grant applications on their merits and budget each year for a sum which would, we hope, be more adequate to meet the needs of young people than the sums that are given to-day. There would then be some continuity, and organisations would know they were going to get grants, possibly on a three-year or five-year plan. They would be encouraged, if they did well, to, expand to meet the new conditions, just as in the universities to-day the new demands of science and other technical subjects are being met by vast expansions.

I am not at all despairing of the situation, nor yet of the young people themselves, of whom 75 per cent. never see a juvenile court or get into any trouble. But the big success of the social services, our housing policies and education improvements and provisions, brings us up very clearly in the year 1959 to the inadequacy of our Youth Service provisions. It is not because general conditions are worse than they were twenty or thirty years ago, but because they are so much better, that we must meet the challenge.

This debate has been conducted on strictly non-Party lines, which is right, since those who work in the Youth Service belong to all Parties and to all denominations, and the Labour Government in the post-war period were as much responsible for the economies in the Youth Service as are the Conservative Governments that have followed. I support wholeheartedly the suggestion made by the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, in his summing-up of the present needs. I should like only to add this. I am no longer chairman of one of the big club organisations, but I am closely in touch with the actual running of a mixed club in the East End of London, in which I have been interested, like the noble Baroness behind me, for some thirty years, and also with other youth organisations, and I am chairman of a probation committee. I know enough of the keenness that still exists among youth leaders, probation officers, the clergy and all the rest, to know that if they got a lead from the Government this would have an immediate response from hundreds of people up and down the country who are only too anxious to give more service and to do more in this connection. The Government would not have to worry about pressing on with a new policy: the pressure is there, I think, to drive any constructive policy forward.

I know that the Albemarle Committee is undertaking its work swiftly and taking evidence from all sides, and I have every confidence in their Chairman, their energy and their desire to make constructive proposals. I hope that when the Government receive the Report they will act swiftly. Time is the essence of this problem. The noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, has done us a great service in bringing this subject to the deliberations of your Lordships. I hope that the noble Earl who replies will agree that we must not delay in framing a new policy, and that this debate may have produced some ideas and suggestions which will be of real value to the Government.

5.46 p.m.


My Lords, I should like to identify myself with other noble Lords who this afternoon have expressed gratitude to the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, for initiating this most interesting debate. The subject under discussion this afternoon has been very much in the public mind, and it is something of a novelty, I think, that it should be raised as a full-scale debate in your Lordships' House. The time is, I know, becoming rather late, so I shall be fairly brief in my remarks.

We have listened to many speakers, all of whom have a general or specific knowledge of one or other of the various youth organisations in this country. As I suppose is rather natural, I wish to confine my remarks simply and solely to the Boy Scouts' Association, of which I have been a lifelong member. My noble friend Lord Rowallan, the Chief Scout, is unfortunately unable to be with us, as I understand he has leave of absence, and so it rather falls to me to act, as it were, as official spokesman for the Boy Scouts. I know that a number of noble Lords have been Scouts themselves, in the days of their youth, and may even perhaps, in later years, have taken the part of Scouters on the active side. Noble Lords obviously retain a certain amount of interest in the movement to-day; otherwise they would not lend their land for Scouts to camp upon; they would not identify themselves in becoming county presidents, in joining the Guild and in serving on L.A. Committees and so on. Although I do not exactly set the Boy Scouts on a pedestal, as if they were a sort of be-all and end-all of the Youth Service, I believe that we in the Scout movement do a job that is really well and truly respected by all the country as a whole. I have no doubt that, in speaking for the Boy Scouts Association, I might also say that our sister Girl Guides would also like to be similarly identified.

The aim of the Boy Scouts Association, as your Lordships all undoubtedly know, is to develop a boy's own character among boys and the men of to-morrow by training boys and young men from the age of eight to twenty-three—a deliberate extension there, you will see, of the ages normally associated with the Youth Service as such. The unique form of training which the Boy Scouts apply to all these boys and young men in training holds most strongly, largely through the basic moral and spiritual aspects of the whole training. What is so extraordinary about it is that it appeals so very strongly to boys of all colours, castes and creeds. It does not matter to what part of the world you may go in the course of your travels, you will always find that spirit of friendliness, that real brotherhood, as indeed it should be. In this way, through the international side of the Boy Scouts, one finds this tremendous bond of friendliness, of universal understanding and good will amongst the peoples of the world.

Perhaps I might strike a personal note at this juncture, and say that I had the honour, just four years ago, of going on a delegation from here to Japan. Incidentally, five out of eight of us from your Lordships' House and another place were former Scouts. We felt almost like a Scout patrol taking a message of good will to the far side of the earth. The fact that we were met by Scouts in various shapes or forms at every single airport where we landed between London and Tokyo was a sure sign of the good will the people in these countries bore towards us here.

In the course of this training to which I have referred many boys perhaps do not at first realise the true significance of what we set out to achieve it may be several years before many of these boys realise it. The realisation depends, largely, of course, upon the ability and personality of the Scout leaders or Scourers, as we call them, who are involved in this training. The Scouters themselves have their own form of training at our centre at Gilwell Park, Epping Forest, a place which is well worth a visit. My late father, when he was asked to take his title, took the title of Baden-Powell, of Gilwell. It would be of enormous encouragement and assistance to the Boy Scouts Association if Her Majesty's Government could give a lead to employers to grant to youth leaders (or to Scouters, in this particular case) attending camps and training courses the same facilities as are given to Territorials and others.

In this connection, I would quote a paragraph from a recently-prepared policy memorandum which has been produced by the Boy Scouts Association. With your Lordships' permission, I should like to read that one paragraph. It says: Happily for the country voluntary youth leaders are not deterred by the nonchalance with which their valuable service is accepted by the public and sometimes by authority. The number of Scouters serving in England and Wales to-day is 50,520 compared with 36,677 at the beginning of 1939. But many of the best potential leaders cannot come forward because of family and financial reasons. We recommend that. conscious of what they save the country in money and in defection amongst its youth, the Government should recognise publicly the value of the work of voluntary adult leaders, and should urge employers to facilitate their work by according extra paid leave to leaders taking boys to camp and to leaders offering themselves for recognised training, such as Scout. Wood Badge Training. That was the training to which I referred a moment ago. We consider also that the example of certain enlightened local education authorities which give financial assistance to leaders for training course fees should be generally followed. There are still too many local education authorities which very imperfectly appreciate that the Scout Movement is as much part of the Youth Service as is a local education authority youth club. Now, my Lords, I wish to go on to the other point of the extension of ages in the Youth Service. I referred to it a moment ago, when I said that we train Wolf Cubs from the ages of eight to twelve, Boy Scouts from twelve onwards, and then Rover Scouts from eighteen to twenty-three. In this connection, I should like to read three fairly short paragraphs from this same policy memorandum: Although nearly eight years have passed since the meeting arranged by King George's Jubilee Trust at Ashridge in April, 1951, it is no whit less necessary now than at that time to emphasise a statement in paragraph 3 of Chapter IV of the relevant report Youth Service of Tomorrow. It reads: 'Great stress was laid on the desirability of boys and girls taking up Youth Service activities before leaving school'. While we believe that the importance of this is generally recognised, we feel strongly that it is still too often believed that it is sufficient if a boy is brought into a youth organisation shortly before he leaves school. Boys far too often go adrift at thirteen to fourteen. Prevention is better than cure and no organisation in the Youth Service should be expected to be primarily reformatory. The next paragraph I wish to quote says: We believe that we can claim that a boy who has had seven years' training in a Wolf Cub pack and Boy Scout troop generally proves capable of facing the world, when he leaves school, and becoming a good citizen. Moreover, we find from experience that even a relatively short period in pack and/or troop provides a foundation which is not destroyed when the boy leaves, and which is found useful by other organisations to which he may be attracted, even as it is when a boy goes forward to become a Senior Scout. Then, the third paragraph reads: Little grant-aid is available unless there is what is termed a reasonable membership of those who have left school. Our conviction is that firm official recognition should be given to the vital importance of the formative years eight to fourteen, and to the methods which have proved to be attractive to boys of those years. This is one of the most effective steps which could be taken to hold the boy at this most critical age within the influence of the Youth Service. My Lords, on behalf of the Boy Scouts Association, I have also to state—as, indeed, has been mentioned by other noble Lords this afternoon—the disappointment felt that the cut in the Government grant made in 1952–53 has not been restored.


It is going to be.


I am grateful to the noble Earl. In this connection, there is a further short paragraph from this same circular that I should like to read. I apologise to noble Lords for reading these paragraphs, but I feel that they may be of some importance in this particular matter. This final paragraph says: At the present time Headquarters can keep in the field only fourteen paid professional organisers"— Field Commissioners, as we call them— and only four paid professional trainers at its Training Centre at Gilwell Park, to assist the 58,717 voluntary leaders in the whole of the United Kingdom. Towards this annual cost of £34,000, Headquarters receives from the Ministry of Education an annual grant (reduced from £7,000 in 1952–53 and never restored) of only £5,600—less than 2½d. per member per annum. A further grant to enable the number of Field Commissioners to be increased would be most valuable for, in addition to their direct help in many other ways, the Field Commissioners, operating by day as well as in evenings, can make and maintain significant contacts with local education authorities, with local bodies and kindred organisations, and can be most effective agents in recruiting additional voluntary help of the right kind. There is perhaps one final point that may be worth considering. We feel that the Government should urge the new towns to provide sites suitable for the erection of Scout headquarters—because, after all, a headquarters is vital to any Scout group, wherever it may function. In the early days of the Boy Scout Movement, admittedly, little patrols used to meet under lamposts at the corners of streets, but it is found now that Scout headquarters are a necessity, to act, as it were, as a powerhouse from which the current and energy of the Scout Movement can flow.


May I ask the noble Lord whether he has had any resistance at all from the development corporations of the new towns? I am naturally very interested in this aspect, because the intention always was that proper facilities should be provided for movements of this kind.


In reply to that question by the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, I do not think there has been any actual resistance, but we have had certain difficulties in some quarters in obtaining sites for the erection of headquarters in the new towns. It is hoped, too, that the new towns will not demand very high building standards, otherwise the cost becomes completely prohibitive. In conclusion, I should like to stress that we do not want, just because we as Boy Scouts like to feel that we are "just it", as it were. to set ourselves up on a pedestal. We realise only too forcibly that we are just one link, though a vital link, in the Youth Service as a whole, and we wish to work in happiness and the closest of harmony with the other youth organisations for the ultimate betterment of youth as a whole.

5.59 p.m.


My Lords, I should like to congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, upon bringing forward this Motion this afternoon. In fact, I often feel that your Lordships' House owes a debt of gratitude to the noble Lord for so often bringing forward for debate subjects which lie in the borderland between politics and ethics—and those debates are, I feel, some of the most valuable to your Lordships' House and to the country of any of the debates that we have here. I will try this afternoon to add my small quota to what the noble Lord has declared to be his two aims: to breathe a new spirit into the Government about the Youth Service and to give Lady Albemarle's Committee some new ideas to digest. Having listened to every speech so far, I think that as the result of this debate the Committee will probably have far more ideas to digest than they conveniently cam in the time before which they are expected to bring forward their Report.

We have had a great many figures this afternoon and I want to quote only one. I understand that of about two and a half million boys and girls between fifteen and nineteen who are at work, over one and a half million are outside any form of youth service. Among that one and a half million we find the lone wolves who, I feel, form far too large a pack. The task is to try to draw them into their own community with their fellows, in which they can do interesting and useful things, instead of hanging about, aimless, bored and growing up characterless and perhaps even worse. I feel that industry and commerce largely recognise the problem that this involves and try to help. But, for all that, much remains to be done, and that much, if it is to be done, can play a large part in enabling this country to face the future.

Sir Edward Boyle used this sentence on one occasion: It is the countries which have the best educated and best trained populations which are going to win the race for the world's markets. I think we shall all agree with that, but unfortunately those words of Sir Edward Boyle are inconsistent with the declared policy of the Minister of Education in regard to Youth Service—that is, not to advance that Service.

There is one fact about those two and a half million boys and girls at work which is overlooked. Much stress is laid upon technical training and apprenticeship schemes, and quite rightly, but the unskilled and semi-skilled are increasingly in need of consideration in their work and in their leisure, and it is among these boys and girls that the voluntary organisations can be particularly useful. We are apt to forget how difficult the teen-age years are for the teenagers. They are preoccupied with discovering their own identities, with establishing relations with their elders, with establishing relations with their equals, which possibly is even more difficult, and relations with the other sex, which, of course, is the most difficult task of all.

We read in Plato's Republic of a discussion, in which Socrates took part, on what it feels like to have finished with youth and arrived at old age. Socrates is quoted as saying: Most gladly have I escaped that, and I feel as if I had escaped from a mad and furious master. We who have arrived perhaps at what Plato described as a great sense of calm and freedom must have sympathy and understanding with teenagers who are undergoing their first attacks of these masters, the passions. These tensions are undergone in perhaps unsatisfactory homes—and, of course, in good homes, too—and are undergone amid the effects and aftermath of war and while their young minds are affected by the possibility of a yet more devilish war and the hideous possibilities which are revealed by the scientists and inventors.

In those circumstances, surely it is not surprising that occasionally we get exhibitions of teenage mass hysteria and apathy to some hallowed institutions. The young tend to be cynical and indifferent to the past, while at the same time they are apprehensive about their future. The great thing about these young people, it seems to me, is that they are not units in statistics, such as we have been quoting this afternoon, but every one of them is a human being, the same bundle of uncertainties, fears, loves, hopes, successes and failures, that we all are, or at any rate have been. But it is on how these youngsters turn out in the future that the future of our country literally depends. I know that they are, to some extent, in revolt against their elders. What they want from their elders is good will during the difficult years. If there is too meticulous control by adults, the youngsters will certainly try to escape from it.

The young people, it seems to me, sort themselves out into three main groups, quite irrespective of their intelligence quotient, but related to their social background and environment. The first group are the responsive types, with a clear idea of where they are going in life and aware of their duty to others. These types are found at evening classes and Church groups and form the majority of the accepted type in youth clubs. The third group are anti-social from an early age, and from them are recruited the gangs, with their liking for violence, and the delinquents dealing in minor offences. Between these two groups comes group two, forming the majority of young people, ordinary, well-meaning, but rather apathetic types, earning sufficient money nowadays to satisfy their material needs and amusements, but lacking initiative to better themselves or to think of others. To them education is not what it is in fact—namely, a lifelong process which ends only with death; it is simply a period of life spent in school, and when it is over they say, "Thank goodness, that's finished with."

The first group can look after themselves and they are well catered for. They require personal and expert guidance, best provided by those who have been trained for the work. Group three still more requires expert guidance. And of course it has to be remembered that the Youth Service is primarily educational and not remedial. What about the second group, the majority of ordinary boys and girls who leave school at fifteen? The much talked-of unclubbables come from this group; they are bored with life, even if they do not know that they are bored. This puts them at the mercy of whatever influence comes their way, and failing sufficient drive from the Youth Service they are likely to come under the wrong influence and drift into the anti-social third group. It is with the second group that I think the local education authorities can best help by establishing or sponsoring clubs, taking any youngsters on trust and unconditionally. It is not an easy job; I have no illusions about that. It is work requiring trained leaders, because good-hearted and sincere volunteers do not always know how to handle the modern youngster.

I myself will not listen to all that is said about the young generation not being so good as their forbears; that they are spiritless, lazy, lacking in initiative. That has been said about every generation in turn, including the generation of those who say it to-day. I think that, taken all round, the boys and girls of to-day are all right. Put them up against something and they respond well. For instance, some of your Lordships will know about the work of the Outward Bound School in Cumberland. That is my home county, and I can tell your Lordships that the course they go through in that Outward Bound School is very tough indeed. Then again, apart from the Outward Bound School, you now find at holiday time in the Lake District, in Westmorland and Cumberland, the fells are full of boys and girls from the great industrial towns of the North, indulging in rock climbing of a severe nature, and hiking. There, again, they show an aptitude and willingness. In camping, too, in tiny camps in had weather, they show a great capacity for standing all kinds of hardship. I heard only last week of a boy who declined an attractive holiday with his parents and instead spent six weeks cycling for 3,000 miles, youth-hostelling. That sort of spirit is there among these boys and girls; it only wants encouraging and bringing out.

I have used the word "unclubbable". I do not like that word which has come into use. It may have been invented by a certain type of leader to excuse his failures. It is usually easier to shirk duty and responsibility by classifying as unclubbable a boy who may delight in creating difficulties for others, and to try to shut him out rather than cope with the problem which he presents. As I say, I do not like the word "unclubbable", and I think that those who make use of it are not likely to be great assets in the Youth Service.

The noble Viscount, Lord Hailsham, had something to say about parents this afternoon. They are very much blamed by magistrates. I noticed with great interest the views expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, upon children, and I confess that I wondered if he had derived those views from observation of other people's children or of his own. We hear a great deal about parents who are not bringing up their children properly, but we do not hear anything about the probably far greater number of parents who are trying to do their duty by their children. Of course parents should be encouraged to shoulder their responsibility, and encouragement should also be given to parent-teacher associations. But I repeat that hard cases do not always come from bad homes. I have experience of troublesome characters and some delinquents who come from perfectly respectable homes.

Then there is the question of leaders. The state of affairs in this connection is not altogether a satisfactory one. The ideal is a leader with imagination and personality, but he is a difficult character to get hold of, in any case, and especially difficult when you are trying to enlist him into what is today (we must face it) a blind alley job. A minority do give truly inspired leadership, but effective training is essential for higher standards and training is not always available. The last thing I want to say on the subject of leaders is to quote some words used by Judge Aarvold, who certainly has no doubts about the need for continuing these clubs. He says of the work of the leader: It involves very long hours, cuts him off from nearly all outside interests and contacts and leaves him, while still a young man, considerably exhausted and without recognised qualifications and training for other occupations. I would make only one comment on the word "exhausted" which the Judge used. I expect many of your Lordships saw a recent article in The Times entitled "Inside a Local Youth Club" and read there of the senseless, purposeless, wanton destruction of property inside a club. No wonder a leader gets exhausted when he is confronted day after day with behaviour of that kind. But I feel that, apart from the question of damage and the possible question of pension rights or a certificate of qualification, which has been suggested, what a leader especially wants is some enhancement of his prestige, an assurance of permanence in the work that he is doing and that that work is of the greatest possible social value to the community.

I want to say a word or two about probation officers. I feel that I must say this, because I think the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, is absolutely right in saying that the Youth Service can help to fill part of the moral vacuum in which so many of the young people seem to live, move and have their being. I know from my own experience of the invaluable help which probation officers give to magistrates. They regard their work as a vocation. Certainly I do not want to transform it from a vocation into a career, but at the same time I do want to feel that the officers whom I ask to help me from time to time enjoy reasonable security. I do not like to hear of hardworking probation officers who cannot afford a holiday. However, that matter is being considered at present, and I only hope that the result of the consideration will be that probation officers begin to enjoy a salary commensurate with the admirable work which they do and which will relieve them from the burden of insecurity that they now unfortunately are all too often feeling.

I suppose that in the work of the Youth Service one of the most difficult things to contend with is leisure. Of course, there will be more and more leisure as time goes on. There is a constant pressure to have it increased. But how is that leisure going to be spent? The thing which strikes me most about the young is their boredom, their lack of hobbies and recreations, all too often a lack of purpose, and aimlessness. If they are asked about their future they might easily reply, "Don't know, don't care," or words to that effect. This question of leisure and aimlessness is one of the greatest importance in the work of the Youth Service. I see that the Lord Mayor of Birmingham has spoken about aimless juvenile café society. He said: I do not think it a proper thing for young people to spend hour after hour listening to records, buying cups of coffee and bottles of pop and then moving out into the streets in gangs. That is all too often the case at the present time—not always, but it is too often. They ought to be doing something better than feeding pennies into juke boxes and fruit machines. They ought to have something better to do in their spare time. But their aimlessness is a very bad feature indeed, and I have great sympathy with the leader who said, "I would give my right arm to get them interested in something." How well I understand his feelings, and how much I sympathise with him!

I think that the one thing required in the Youth Service is a change in public opinion. Public opinion is largely formed by the Press and the radio, and too often they give the impression that all young people are arrogant, anti-social and potential criminals. What is true is that a great deal of time and a good deal of money are required to change a delinquent, or a potential delinquent, into a useful citizen. I sometimes doubt whether the public or, indeed Governments—I do not say "Government" but "Governments", in the plural—realise that character-building of young people is a long-term project, and that money spent on it is money well spent, because prevention is much better than cure. It is character, as I have already said, which is going to pull this country through in the future.

The final thing I want to say about these clubs is this. Teenagers want a real club. They have money, and they can pay if they get what they want. I read a letter recently from a young girl who said she wanted a club which would be "a small world of our own where we could go after work." But they want a bright, good, well-equipped club. I read another letter from a teenager describing his club. He said: One room with one table for table tennis, two table tennis bats, one belonging to one of the members, and one ball; one large room with a table supporting a record player and chairs for members round the room, and that is it. A club of that description—and I am sorry to say there are many of them—will not attract youths from the street corner as we want to do. They want something bright and colourful—"contemporary", if I may use that dreadful word. But that is the type of club which is going to attract them from the street corners. I feel that I may have spoken too long, and I want to end by saying this. I think the Youth Service is one of the most important questions with which we are confronted at the present moment, for it is only by encouraging the young teenage boys and girls to come into the clubs, to form their own communities, that we shall make sure of the future for this country. I should like Governments, political Parties and the public, each one of us, to recognise that that is the case, and to give what support we can to the movement.

6.26 p.m.


My Lords, my aim this evening is to be as brief as I can, for what I had in mind to say has in part already been better said than I could hope to say it. First, I should like to be one of the company who have paid tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, for the opportunity this debate affords. Secondly, I desire to associate myself with one or two of the comments made by the noble Lord, Lord Baden-Powell. I speak as one who is a member of the Boy Scouts Association and its Council, and as a Scout for thirty-two years. I hope that the Government will consider the noble Lord's plea for grant aid for approved training camps.

I wish to speak particularly about the position of young people in new towns, for there are four new towns in the diocese of St. Albans which I serve. First, I would take this opportunity of referring with deep gratitude to the vision and resolution of those who planned the new towns, and the high sense of vocation shown by many members of the Development Corporations and their staffs. May I give one or two figures about these new towns? It is estimated that certainly 60 per cent. of those growing up in these new towns are untouched by youth organisations of different kinds—and it may be that the proportion is as high as 80 per cent. It is known that in one new town the population of young people between the ages of fifteen and twenty-one is about 1,500, and that in 1965 it will be 4,300. This sharp rise must be kept well in mind.

In these new towns what are the young people saying? I have consulted clergy who do splendid work as our ministers in these new towns, one or two youth leaders and officials of the development corporation to try to discover the answer. I think it is true that a number of these young people are lonely. Recently 1,300 homes were visited in ten days by members of a theological college, and they found that among the teenage population this deep sense of loneliness, of a new environment, a new school, a loss of old-standing friendships, had unsettled them. Further, there are no street corners where they can meet their friends; and although their elders are thankful to be in their new homes, well built, in roads attractively planned, nevertheless they in their day, as we in ours, quite often want, as adolescents, to be outside their homes and with their friends.

What are these young people chiefly needing? In terms of bricks and mortar they need more youth centres. In one new town it is estimated that £100,000 is needed in the next eight years to provide new clubs in the neighbourhood and a town youth centre. It is noted that a certain county council spends £2 million a year on further education and technical education, but only £18,000 on youth service. It has been said that a great deal of money is spent on those who are prepared to learn and very little on those who are not.

My Lords, I feel that this money factor needs close attention. Possibly at a time when National Service is running down there may be some saving on that account, and it is conceivable that more money should be allocated to the Youth Service. The Service needs more full-time youth leaders. In the new towns there is a rootlessness; there are not the grandmothers—there is not that generation which one has in two-generation towns. In such places the full-time youth leader has a special responsibility. From my knowledge of youth leaders I feel that they have a sense that they are fighting a lone battle, and that nobody cares or understands. It is important that the youth leaders who are there should receive encouragement, and I believe that this debate may do something to help them in that respect. I think there is no doubt that a multiplicity of youth clubs is needed. We do not want merely a tidy Youth Service: we want a Youth Service from which leaders, when they have served their turn, may be able to go on and take their part in the Probation Service. We do want an established service with bright standards, but there should be progress through the service.

The noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, and the noble Baroness, Lady Ravensdale of Kedleston, among others referred to the great need of young people for help in developing their religious faith; and of course I share that point of view. It seems to me that our first concern is not for buildings, not for the actual numbers who come to them; it is for the relationship that young people will find in these places. They need, I believe, to meet elders who will identify themselves with them, who will show compassion without contempt, and who will be interested in each individual member of a club. I quote this sentence from a leader of one of the national voluntary youth organisations: Considerable evidence exists, particularly through many church groups, of the quality of young men and women of to-day and the thinking and service they are prepared to give, with the right stimulus. Under the heading "What are young people needing?" I would mention the point of guidance in dealing with their sexuality. The noble Lord, Lord Winster, has used the phrase "those masters the passions". Certainly these young people are developing earlier; they are marrying earlier; they have a new standard. They are exploring relationships with each other; they are experiencing a new kind of freedom, new patterns of courtship; questions about sex are frankly discussed. Such new freedoms require responsible handling and self-discipline. I believe that the National Marriage Guidance Council is in a position to help some of these young people. I should like to refer to the splendid work of counselling that they do, and I wish it were possible for the counsel they give those in the older age group to be made available for those in the teenage range. The Government have recently increased the grant of the National Marriage Guidance Council, and I very much welcome that Government action.


May I interrupt the right reverend Prelate? Why is it impossible to give help to those in the younger ranges? What is the obstacle?


I understand that the National Marriage Guidance Council concentrate on giving advice to those just about to marry, when they are engaged. I am thinking of the years after school and before engagement, and of the importance of giving help to people at that moment in their career.

The last point I wish to make is one that concerns relationships. What individuals in the teenage group are wanting is friendship with a mature adult. That is a responsibility not of the Government, nor of the development corporations; it is a responsibility of the whole community. Where you do get adults, Christians in particular, with the right standards, keeping their homes open and inviting teenagers in, the results are fairly remarkable. That is well brought out in a booklet by a clergyman, Derek Tasker, called Brother's Keeper. I commend that as a book saying in short compass some of the most sensible things I have recently read about youth work. Finally, the problem of leadership is a problem of adult responsibility. If adults are encouraged to offer hospitality, and youngsters are encouraged to come in, I believe that some of the most difficult problems in the new towns will be satisfactorily met.

6.35 p.m.


My Lords, I should like to add my bouquet, a brick-less one, to the pile that has already accumulated at the feet of the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, for introducing this Motion to-day, and, if I may say so, for the comprehensive and eloquent way in which he moved it. He has a well-deserved reputation in this House for initiating debates on major social questions, and this one forms a trilogy with two others, one on racial prejudice and the other on crime; but the one we are debating to-day has a special significance as it can contribute something, I believe, to the solution of the other two.

The noble Lord expressed his dissatisfaction with the narrow definition of the Youth Service given by the Ministry of Education in their evidence to the Select Committee in 1957. I agree, and I prefer a definition that was given by Sir John Maud, a former Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Education. He defined the objects of the Youth Service in this way: To offer individual young people in their leisure time opportunities of various kinds and complementary to those of home, formal education and work; to discover and develop their personal resources of body, mind and spirit and thus the better to equip themselves to live the life of mature, creative and responsible members of a free society. I believe that that expresses simply but comprehensively the very wide scope of the Youth Service and makes clear its interdependence with parents, school-teachers and employers.

This is a sphere of activity in which it is most difficult for a Government to operate. The State has a natural tendency to authoritarianism and rigidity and uniformity, which is in direct contradiction to the needs of a Youth Service. The State can provide better the material things of life: good housing, good health and good education. It is far less well suited to provide for the moral welfare of its citizens.

The only effective agencies already at work in this field are the churches and the various voluntary societies, but the problem has grown too big for them unaided and the Government and local authorities must help, as was recognised by the 1944 Education Act. But, although the need has been recognised officially for some fifteen years, the action taken so far has been haphazard and ineffective. We have already heard from several speakers of the reductions in the Ministry of Education grants to the voluntary societies, and these have been made at a period of inflation and rising costs and at a time when we are reaching a bulge in our young population. Can we then be surprised that the Select Committee reported that the impression gained from their inquiry was that the Ministry was little interested in the present state of the Service? I would, however, add my word of welcome at the news that in the coming year there is to be another £20,000 available for these direct grants.

But even granted that it was not the Government's policy to spend more money on the Youth Services, it seems to me that the method employed to allocate the money available among the various voluntary organisations was extremely haphazard. As has already been mentioned by the noble Baroness, Lady Elliot of Harwood, one would have expected to find that the amount allocated to these grants would be distributed by some kind of independent body, and not at the whim of the Ministry, who evidently mark up or down the previous year's grant—nobody knows how it was originally calculated—as they think appropriate. If the total funds available are inadequate, it is all the more important that they should be distributed to the best possible advantage.

Since the Education Act, 1944, the local education authorities have also come into the picture with their grants, and nobody would belittle the help that they have given. But once again it has been unevenly distributed. It has varied from year to year and from organisation to organisation. So much depends on the particular local authority concerned. I would repeat the words of the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, that an up-to-date 1959 circular should be issued to local authorities re-defining in more ambitious terms the objects of the Youth Service and re-emphasising the duties of local education authorities in this field.

But the problem is not solved entirely by financial grants. The proper education of a young man or a young woman, in the terms of Sir John Maud's definition—"to equip themselves to live the life of mature, creative and responsible members of a free society"—is a continuous process. It must start at school—indeed, in the home—and continue through technical college, university and apprenticeship. This, as has already been stressed, requires the best of co-operation between all concerned: parents, clergy, teachers, employers and youth workers.

I should like to give your Lordships one outstanding example of what I consider to be the right kind of co-operation. It is particularly appropriate to the hopes expressed by the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Portsmouth for increased co-operation between industry, youth organisations and the churches. It is the college of further education run by the Y.M.C.A. at Rhoose, near Cardiff—Coleg-y-Fro. This college was first established in 1950 as a great pioneering effort in the field of further education. If has now got beyond the pioneering stage and is fully established in its field. At the college, in the closest co-operation with industry, residential courses are held of one or two weeks, to train boys and young men of fifteen and upwards in liberal studies, human relations and practical activities. They are taken at three different stages. There is a course designed for boys straight from school, a second for young men in their late teens and a third for those who have served their apprenticeship. They are planned to give a varied and comprehensive background of knowledge concerning industry, the community, science and the arts, the overall aim being to arouse and sustain a sense of responsibility. to foster an alert informed mind to maintain and enhance standards of skill and conduct and to stimulate initiative, resource, imagination and qualities of leadership.

Some of the work is written, some of it consists of talks and discussions, some of it is practical and some of it is physical exercise. It ranges over the whole field of a full life. It includes art, handicrafts and physical training. Young men who have never been away from home before learn to stand on their own feet. Young men who have never taken any interest in things artistic discover the pleasure of creative ideas. Young men who think they have come for a holiday from work find themselves working willingly, harder than ever because they have discovered a new enthusiasm. The transformation in some of the young men who attend the college is quite remarkable, and rarely does any young man fail to derive some benefit from the courses. It is remark-able how much can be accomplished in a two weeks' residential course, compared with any number of occasional evenings.

With the ending of National Service, I suggest that it is all the more important that this kind of training in citizenship should be widely available, not only to young men but also to young women. But, as always, money is the difficulty. The firms who send their young men to this college have to continue to pay them their wages and a small sum to cover the bare cost of food and accommodation. Only large firms can afford this. Nevertheless, over 4,000 young workers have been through these courses from no fewer than eighteen firms in England and Wales, and more are attending every month. But how much more could be done, and how many more young men could receive the benefit of similar opportunities, if more money were available! Many of the social benefits derived from National Service could be preserved at far less cost to the Government if Coleg-y-Fro and similar colleges were to be given further financial assistance.

I would also suggest that such colleges have a rôle to play, perhaps as an alternative to or side by side with the county colleges for further education envisaged by the 1944 Act but which we have never attained. They would fulfil the same need at considerably less expense and with the undoubted advantage of being voluntary and residential. Perhaps I should add just one word to what I have said about the college. Only recently they applied to the Ministry of Education for a grant—not a very large sum was involved—to increase the facilities for their stage and to provide a potter's wheel for instructional purposes. This application was turned down. That is the kind of thing that sometimes causes pioneers in youth work to be slightly discouraged.

Finally, may I say one word about leadership in giving another example of what leadership can accomplish, because if we get the right leaders we shall solve a number of the problems that have been already mentioned in this debate. We shall avoid the dangers of undue emphasis on physical activity or playing down to youth, and other dangers, as long as we provide the right leaders. What has been done in a small mining town close to my part of the world and well known to the noble Viscount, Lord Hall, the town of Aberaman, is a case in point. There was a Y.M.C.A. building there which, two years ago, was in a state of dereliction and decay. A new leader arrived, and now there is a whole range of brick buildings, including a large common room, two class rooms, a gymnasium, a billiards room with two tables, a lounge equipped with a television set and a radiogram, a boy's club and full changing facilities—all this accomplished in the space of two years by energetic leadership. Materials were begged or borrowed from local firms—or rather from firms all over the country, I believe—and the work was done by the boys themselves, under skilled guidance. That gave them a real pride in their club and they run it themselves. Believe me, no damage is done in that club, because one boy would pounce on another to see that the work they have done is not spoiled.

To give them their due. I should mention that the Ministry of Education made a grant to this club and it is an example of how those grants can multiply in good hands; because originally the grant was calculated on the basis of 50 per cent., but the amount of work that has been done voluntarily in the club has reduced the proportion of the grant to the whole job down to about 25 per cent. That is an example, and I feel a practical example, of what leadership can do and of what can be accomplished nationally if Her Majesty's Government grant the requisite financial backing and we combine it with good local co-operation, good leadership and good will.

6.51 p.m.


My Lords, I feel conscious, even in this House, of the disadvantage of septuagenarians laying down the law for decagenarians. Nevertheless, as one who has had experience (not recently, I am afraid) as a County Commandant in the Army Cadet Force—although I must make it absolutely clear that I have no credentials to speak for anybody else but myself, as your Lordships will probably realise in the course of my remarks—I feel that this is an occasion when certain points should be brought out. Many of them have already been brought out, and I am glad to say that listening to the debate has made me considerably more optimistic, not so much for the revelation of facts but because of the attitude in which your Lordships' House is approaching this question.

There is one thing which, to my mind, and I should rather gather it is in the minds of a good many of your Lordships, stands out a mile; that is that "welfare"—welfare in inverted commas—is not the solution to this problem and, indeed, in some ways tends to complicate it. I thought that the noble and learned Viscount who spoke for Her Majesty's Government gave a hint of that when he spoke of the aspect of education itself being a part of the leisure work done in youth organisations. But it struck me that this whole aspect was pinpointed by the noble Earl, Lord Feversham, in his remarks on the general situation with which we are faced. Many people have spoken to-night about the good work that has been done. We all know that, of course, but it is only the fringe. It is not that which constitutes the problem. It certainly means that those bodies which are involved should get the help which they have so often been denied. The problem, however, does not lie there. So long as we grasp the first essential, then, to my mind, it needs no Working Party (a horrible bit of modern jargon) to bring out that this is not a welfare point. But that has been in the minds of many people who have handled this question in the past.

First of all, as regards the organisation of the training, I myself am perfectly clear, although I realise that it is a contentious attitude, that the kernel of this question must always rest with voluntary part-time workers. I dread the advent of careerism into the Youth Service. Occasionally we have a glimpse of it. Ever since the (in some cases) laughed-at days, when we ourselves were young, we have seen the wonderful exhibition of self-sacrifice by people who have given, very often, their lives in their spare time to this work. It is only when sacrifice is involved that we really get down to the crux of the problem; so I hope that efforts for finance will always be directed to that end—to helping people who are doing the job for themselves.

I am not for a moment accusing the noble Lord who moved this Motion in his most impressive remarks, but there was just one sentence which struck me when be spoke of the attitude of the Ministry. I have an absolute dread—indeed, I should be horrified—if the Ministry, in fact, came into this work other than by helping, encouraging and finding funds, not to spend themselves but for others who can be trusted to spend them. To my mind, if we have the Minister of Education coming in we shall almost certainly find ourselves sooner or later in "welfare".

If I draw from my experience, as I am bound to do, and as your Lordships have done, in using the Army Cadet Force it is solely for that reason. I realise that probably it applies also to all pre-Service units, and we have heard it applied to many other organisations. But I should be alarmed if there were any tendency for Her Majesty's Government, in forming a policy, to base it on any totalitarian scheme which prevented the "cream" from remaining the "cream". I do not want a system so common in other fields to-day, that of trying to hybridise the Jersey with the Friesian. It is absolutely essential that the "cream" element should be maintained—and, what is more, as the basis of all true living and all true life, that advance should come by extending the zone of the "cream" and not by creating a general mean.

I admit that my experience has been with the "cream". We cannot and do not get boys, nor, above all, leaders and officers, voluntarily joining for a lot of discipline, hard work and sacrifice unless they are the "cream"; and it is a fact that we want to expand that as widely as we can. But for goodness sake let us never make the mistake of trying to mix up those aspects with "average" boys! It is absolutely essential that there should be some higher standard in this country than the average boy. I am not making this point as an allegation against the present generation, but it will always be true that there must always be a solid mass above this general level if this country is to survive.

We have already been told, absolutely wisely, that character building is the basis. It must be the basis of all youth work. When things break down it is character that breaks down. There is only one way and that is by discipline, not for its own sake but because discipline leads to self-discipline which comes only from self- expenditure. It is that lack of self-expenditure which is the greatest problem before people to-day; and from self-expenditure ultimately comes leadership. In my experience—and I put it no higher than that—I am convinced that the pre-Service unit is better geared to produce that type than anything else which can be produced. In fact, if public policy or an improvement in the world situation, or a lack of recruiting, brought that question into the real realm of practical affairs then I should say that it would be absolutely essential to create a substitute; and we have already heard to-night about that, and we know what a magnificent substitute there is in organisations such as "Outward Bound". The "Outward Bound" mentality alone is the kind that will build this country. I hope—it may be rather repetitive, but things said three times are true, and I have said it only twice—that we shall be careful not to make this problem too broadly grouped as to youth as a whole.

It is also true—and of course it is vital and the main consideration before your Lordships this evening; and I myself have criticised it—that we have been thinking too much of the "cream". The real point is that the approach to which I have referred must be the starting point for all that is not the "cream". The arrow must always be pointing upwards. Whatever level people are at, it is essential that we should so base it that the lower stature can reach to a higher stature. That, to my mind, is the essence of all true living, and certainly the essence of the position as to youth. It is essential that youth should realise that the only way ad astra is per ardua. There is nothing more tragic than trying to bamboozle youth by making them think life is easy when it is really stern, difficult and full of temptations. That has to be faced, and they have to be brought up to face it. Otherwise, we are only launching them into a fools' paradise in the world with problems which have increased in recent times—problems of private life far more important than the problems discussed in public affairs. Incidentally, although I agree that we do not want to concentrate on that line too much to-night, it is that which has been the cause of all the delinquency. I know that these things are not very popular, but it is not far off the truth to say that when things are not popular you are getting near the bone.

In the Army Cadet Force—your Lordships will remember my proviso about that—the whole question of the padre side of all denominations plays a very big part. I believe that there is no other organisation which approaches it in the importance of the part played by that side. It is absolute "jam" for the padres, because they are dealing with the "cream"; and everyone likes teaching the sixth form. But it does not alter the fact that that needs, to my mind, to be the approach; and it is because that has been the approach that that Force has had the extraordinary success it has enjoyed—not merely civic and concerning character training, though that is the big thing, but also in civil and military sides.

There is nothing more pathetic than trying to bring up a youth with the illusion that he can rely on his own strength in the world without being utterly and completely dependent on the good will and the co-operation (if that is not a blasphemous term) of Almighty God. Unless you are brought up with that background of putting the Almighty in a place where only the Almighty can be. you are sunk from the word "Go". I wanted to make it absolutely clear where I stand, and I am only delighted to find that in fact it is a position which has been occupied by so many of your Lordships to-night.

I believe that if there is a really first-class code for the youth of this country something can be made of them. I believe that the position is as black as the noble Earl, Lord Feversham, painted it. I believe that the last thing we should do is to go away complacent; and, as has been said by other speakers, the last thing we should do is to feel that the answer can be produced in the Education Vote in another place. I believe that there are deep forces behind this which go far more down to bedrock than anything which we can deal with in this House. But what we can do is to make it possible for leaders to come along. If we get that code for youth imbued throughout the country, touching vastly bigger things than we can pretend to discuss to-night, we may get the position, as the poet said: And after this fashion adventure to seek Was Sir Galahad made—as it might be last week.

7.6 p.m.


My Lords, I join with almost every other noble Lord who has spoken in this debate in acknowledging our indebtedness to my noble friend for initiating this debate and also for the insight and the breadth of vision which he showed in his speech. It is a subject of the greatest importance, because the question of the character of our young people more than anything else will determine the part that this country will play in the future in leading the world to peace and decency.

I imagine that many of us have asked ourselves why we cannot understand modern youth, and there appears to be a greater gulf between modern parents and their teenage children than existed between us and our parents. I think that my noble friend has supplied the answer. He said that to-day's youngsters are better fed, better clothed and better educated than we were; they are brasher, more demanding, quicker; and yet—and this is the point—more vulnerable. To put it another way, they are tougher and older outside and much younger than we were inside at the same age. I imagine that this is the key to the whole situation with regard to youth to-day. Time and again I have seen a sixteen or seventeen year old boldly apeing a man, and then something suddenly happened, and I have realised that inside they have to admit to childish fears that we got out of before we were twelve. I think that good material is there; but, more than in the case of the previous generation, they need wise and understanding leadership.

I think this debate has shown that this is the view shared by most noble Lords who have spoken. It has also shown the generous scope and manifold aspects of our Youth Services; but it has shown, as well, in my view, how much weaker they are through lack of co-ordination and, I believe, through the absence of a lead from the Government. In my opinion far from giving a lead, recently the Government have positively discouraged those dedicated and clear-sighted people who devote their days and nights to the citizens of the future.

My noble friend Lord Pakenham mentioned the sum of £99,000 as having been spent centrally (he also mentioned £111,000 capital) by the central Government to assist the Youth Services. That works out, if my arithmetic is right, among five million teenagers at fivepence a year each—considerably less than we have just spent with general approval on one single picture in the National Gallery. Even if we take into account the £2½ million spent through the local authorities on the Youth Service, we find that that is only ten shillings a head per year, or about twopence a week. I believe, contrary to what the noble Viscount, Lord Hailsham, said, that if we had been less niggardly in our expenditure on the Youth Services we should not to-day be contemplating expenditure of millions of pounds on more Borstals and detention centres.


My Lords, I am puzzled at hearing that remark. Perhaps the noble Lord would specify the remark I made to which his observation is contrary.


My Lords, I did not note down the noble Viscount's words, but he did in fact say that it was his opinion that the small amount of expenditure to which my noble friend had referred had not had any effect on delinquency.


My Lords, I think that if the noble Lord reads Hansard to-morrow he will find that none of my remarks bear that construction at all.


I will certainly do so, but I do not want to pursue that particular point because, in any case, money is not, in my view, the most important need. It is important, and of course you cannot get along without enough money, but it is not the most important need. I would suggest just three ways in which a modest expenditure of money could, in my view, make a tremendous improvement in our Youth Services—which means, of course, in our youth. The first is one which has not been mentioned at all in this debate so far: that is, the provision of further recreational facilities by local authorities. My noble friend has pointed out that many local authorities appear to be shirking their duties under Section 53 (1) of the 1944 Act, and, if that is so, I think it is a disastrous and costly neglect which should be put right at once. It is my experience that in many densely populated urban areas (which are usually the trouble spots) further recreational facilities are potentially the most economic and most effective youth service we possess—potentially of far greater importance than all the boys' clubs and all the other services put together.

Perhaps your Lordships will bear with me while I explain what this service has done in London—at least, in the London Boroughs of which I have intimate knowledge. I would ask you to imagine a crowded urban area with scarcely a blade of grass, with no football pitch, no cricket pitch, with two tennis courts among 80,000 people, and with no buildings available except old schools built in the last century—the grimmest and most unpromising background for a youth service, as you can imagine. Four years ago in the Borough of Shoreditch, they were running evening craft and recreational classes for some 300 boys in four different schools, all in the one institute. There was an all-male part-time staff of instructors. Then a new principal was appointed—a woman, about five feet tall and five stones in weight. One day she came and told me that they were starting a canoe club. I said: "There is no water in Shoreditch." She said: "We are making our own canoe, and we have found some water". It was a stretch of canal. She asked me whether I would come and launch the first canoe, which I did. A year later, the chairman of the education committee went to a gala there for the opening of a new canoe hut presented (of all organisations) by British Waterways. There were dozens of canoes there, all proudly flying their pennants. In two years those boys had been twice on the canoe run from Putney to Margate, and there was a civic reception thrown in.

Then they started cricket. There was no place to play cricket, so in the winter they started in an empty swimming pool and in the summer on an asphalt playing ground. In the first year one boy was taken on the ground staff at Lords, and in the second year two more. So far as I know, it was the first time they had ever seen a turf wicket. Then they started a wrestling class. In the first year three boys bore English colours, and one became English amateur champion. I mention these things merely to show the quality of the instruction and the quality of the boys, because success in these cases is not to be measured by trophies—there is too great a tragedy of that, in my view, in the Federation of Boys' Clubs. I think success should be measured in the number of boys taken off the streets and in their conduct and behaviour, and in that test of success the instances I am quoting have been outstanding.

The boys do all the other normal things: they play football and table tennis, they box, they skiffle, and they do a great deal besides. They visit theatres and opera, and they write and print their own journals—and they reach a very high standard. The success was such that there was a clamour for girls to be brought in, and one school was opened. They recently held their own fashion parade, and they have done many other things, so much so that other schools had to be added. One school started four years ago with four pupils: now there are 400. The total number in the institute—that is, the collection of the whole of them—has grown from 300 to 1,500 in four years. That accounts for 25 per cent. of the whole population in that age group in that area, and it is still growing. Its importance, I think, cannot be exaggerated, and I submit that it is impossible for any other medium to do as much as that for as little cost, and so effectively. It is no exaggeration to say that the conduct of those youngsters and their pride in their institute is equal to those of the products of famous schools.

I do not suggest that all recreational L.C.C. institutes are as successful as this one, but they all require two things. The first is just a little more money. Many of the activities I have described are extra activities which have been possible only because the teachers put their hands into their pockets, and a few friends outside did likewise. It cost only about £200 a year for the whole thing—not a great deal of extra money. The second quality in leadership. I should like to emphasise—I do not think it has been mentioned before—that, so far as leadership of boys is concerned, it does not matter whether it is a man or a woman so long as he or she has "got what it takes". I am convinced that if local education authorities were to engage the right type of principal and were enthusiastically to implement Section 53 of the Act, it would so improve the situation that, before very long, we should not hear much about the youth problem.

My noble friend Lord Winster mentioned the article published in The Times quite recently headed "Inside a Youth Club". The author described herself as "fair, fat and fifty", and she mentioned how she had several times literally to eject a boy who was of exceptional strength and who, in her own words, could have knocked her down at any time he wished to. Now, the author of that article, whom I do not know, and the woman principal whom I do know, are utterly different physically, but they have two vital things in common: great courage, and a love for and understanding of even the most unpromising youths—because even the worst types can be made into good citizens. The kind of building described in that article as the place which was needed for these really tough types was an empty warehouse with no windows, with everything breakable out of reach, and with the only gear something they could smash if they wished.

The extraordinary thing is that when destruction carries no penalty they start to build. I have a factory surrounded by an area where, three years ago, even the eight-year olds were on probation. When we put new windows in, they were broken the next morning. Every week-end the factory was broken into. Then a few brave souls had the idea of having a playground on a bombed site just over the wall from the factory. From that day they left the factory alone. They could smash as much as they liked, and because of that they were too busy building. They were busy building huts, a stage, a paddling pool, and even a flower garden. Last year they moved to another site. They were much more ambitious. There was an official opening, with an Air Force band, of the large new huts; sherry, biscuits—the lot. It was far too successful. The older boys formed a clique and excluded the younger ones, and finally had themselves to be excluded. Recently, in revenge, they broke in and destroyed almost everything. But in my view that was a failure of leadership. They should never have been allowed to get control of that club.

Whichever way you look at the Youth Service it boils down to the fact that leadership is the answer. Leaders, of course, are born: that is, they must have a quality of love for and dedication to their fellows, and courage, initiative, patience and persistence. But, given those basic qualities, they can and must be trained, and this is where, in my view, the Government should give a lead and provide the necessary finance. The need for more trained leaders is made clear in almost every publication issued by people with knowledge, and in particular in the Report of the Commission on Boys' Club Work in London, published in November by the London Federation of Boys' Clubs.

I am the president of a good boys' club in Shoreditch, with an Anglican foundation, and connected with King's College. Its success depends almost entirely on one young man, a voluntary leader. We just have not enough, in existing circumstances, of such people; and there will not be enough until we seek them out and train them. One of the best places to look for them is among the senior members of boys' clubs, who can he trained on beyond the age when they should leave. I think that the Minister of Education should provide funds for the National Association of Boys' Clubs to run a permanent training scheme. Of course, the status of club leaders must be improved—at present it is a blind-alley job. It requires not only improved salaries but also the opportunity for leaders to change to other jobs in similar types of work, into the Probation Service or into posts as social service officers, which I think should be created at every large group of schools.

I feel that if boys' clubs are going to play their full part, it is not necessary—in fact, in my view it would be a bad thing—to give them a lot of money and in that way stem, as it were, the marvellous flow of voluntary labour and assistance which is such a tremendous thing in these clubs. But there must be facilities for training and financing so that there can be the necessary flow of leaders. In addition to the local authorities' further recreation, we should have a reconstituted and re-invigorated clubs movement.

The third sphere where I would make a little money do a lot of work concerns the most deserving yet worst treated group of people in the country, the probation officers. We expect them to have university education or social science diplomas, yet they start at only £575 a year. Even at the maximum their salary is only £860—less than the wages paid to a man working in a factory. Every probation officer has case records in excess of sixty. At least on three evenings a week, he has to work until nine o'clock. Just think of what happens when a court remands a youngster for a couple of weeks for a probation officer's report. The officer has to see the boy and the parents, perhaps many times. He has to gather a great deal of information and interpret it, both to the boy and his parents, and perhaps build a bridge between them. And the boy's whole future depends on the officer's report. If it is satisfactory, then the boy goes on probation for a year or two. And the officer has sixty more cases like that to look after. It is one of the hardest and most valuable jobs in the country, as the Home Secretary himself has recently borne witness.

I am glad to see that the Home Secretary has now set up a Departmental Committee. I was also glad to read what was said by the Home Secretary in another place on the question of the increase in salaries for probation officers. He made the point (and I hope the noble Earl will deal with it) that senior and principal probation officers were not given the increase in salary recommended by the negotiating committee, but that it was the first time that had ever happened. The Home Secretary did say, however, that when the economic climate was more favourable he would consider it. The increase was recommended over twelve months ago, and these officers are still waiting. In addition to that, there is the ordinary claim for all probation officers which is under consideration. I hope that the noble Earl will give us an assurance that he will press forward immediately the restoration of that cut for the principal officers, and also early approval of the further increase for all probation officers which is now being negotiated. Whatever the increases, we know that they will not be sufficient for the dedicated service these people do; but at least it will be a recognition.

I hope also that there will be some increase in the number of probation officers, and that the Government will consider, or perhaps submit for consideration to the Departmental Committee, the possibility of enabling probation officers to change into other jobs in the same field. This is felt to be important in the service. For example, it should be made possible for probation officers to become headmasters or housemasters in approved schools without affecting their seniority or superannuation. I think that the up-to-date leadership and intelligibility of youth leaders, probation officers and approved school housemasters would have a beneficial effect on recruitment to all these posts. I hope that these suggestions will be considered, and that we may be given assurances that the Government are really determined to end this policy of discouragement of the Youth Service and to get down to the task of making our youth the brightest and best in the world.

7.25 p.m.


My Lords, so many bouquets have been proffered to the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, that if they had been factual instead of otherwise he would now be resembling a herbaceous border. I make no apology for offering my own as well, more particularly because in three months' time we shall have known each other for forty years. In that time we have had only two differences: one on the matter of our political views, and the other on the matter of our hair styles. There are many reasons why the noble Lord is suited to introduce this Motion, not the least being that he has shown in his own family life that he needed only one or two more and he would have qualified under the Ministry's regulations for a maintenance grant as a mixed club.

I have to declare an interest, having been connected with the National Association of Boys' Clubs for approaching twenty-five years now, and anything I say this evening will obviously be more associated with their work than with anything else. I would emphasise, however, that anything I say will apply to club work and workers as a whole, and not only to the National Association of Boys' Clubs. I am not thinking only of the Association but of the other club associations also, especially the National Association of Mixed and Girls' Clubs with which the noble Baroness, Lady Ravens-dale of Kedleston, has been closely associated, and over which the noble Baroness, Lady Elliot of Harwood, presided so well for so many years.

Last November, we were informed that this Committee was to be set up to review the situation with regard to the Youth Service. Anybody who was connected with the Youth Service must have been delighted. There was an eminent chairman; there was an excellent membership; there was a distinguished secretary. And one read in the leading article in The Times of November 21 that the aim of this Committee was to secure through a partnership of education authorities and voluntary societies a wide range of facilities for cultural and recreational pursuits for adolescents, whether working or still at school. Excellent, my Lords! It could not have been better. But it was not what the Minister had said. The Minister had asked the Committee to review the situation under two headings and to give advice under a third. The two headings under which they were asked to review the situation were, first: in the light of changing social and industrial conditions; and secondly, in the light of current trends in other branches of the Education Service. Their advice was asked: according to what priorities best value could be obtained for money spent. I should like to deal with the second point, which uses the phrase: in the light of current trends in other branches of the Education Service. I am afraid that I asked myself; "What has this to do with it? Why should an important part of education as a whole be subject to trends in other parts?" We have rather suffered from this situation already. That famous circular of November, 1939 (No. 1486), has been quoted, and the age group with which that circular dealt has been referred to. That age group was fourteen to twenty. The age group which the Ministry and local educational authorities consider with regard to grants and other help is fifteen to twenty. It went up from fourteen to fifteen merely because the school-leaving age was changed. I want to refer to this point again a little later, and all I say now is that if we are going to change the age limit of our Youth Service according to whatever the school-leaving age happens to be, I cannot see the Youth Service having a very definite and balanced future. Perhaps noble Lords on the other side of the House may have a better knowledge than anybody about when the age will be raised to eighteen and when the Youth Service will be thought to be unnecessary and we can all either spend more time at home with our wives or devote our attentions elsewhere.

I was reading the local county paper yesterday which prints the record of what happened fifty years ago. Fifty years ago, that is to say in 1909, the Labour Party met and passed a Resolution that the school leaving age should be raised to sixteen immediately. Well, it has not cone yet. I see no reason whatever why the adolescent work which these various organisations, the Ministry and the local education authorities are doing should conform exactly to the school-leaving age.

I now come back to the first point: that the Committee were asked to review the situation in the light of changing social and industrial conditions. What that brought to my mind, and I think to the minds of many others, was that someone in Curzon Street had considered that the present Youth Service was out of date; that it was at the end of its tether; that it had foundered; that it could not cope with the present situation, far less with the bigger one that would arise in a year or two's time. I am sorry to say (I may be wrong about it) that I rather got the same impression from my noble friend Lord Hailsham, who replied to the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, at the beginning of this debate. I rather expected that, because the Minister, in a letter to the Chairman of the Standing Conference of National Voluntary Youth Organisations, just before the announcement of the appointment of the Committee, said this As we all know, the Youth Service does not at present reach large numbers of young people who remain outside youth clubs and youth organisations. It is essential that the Service should keep up to date, and it seems to me that some current thinking about it tends to proceed too much in terms of the social problems of the 1930's. If we are to ensure that the funds available to this Service are spent to the best advantage I feel that we need some good forward-looking advice about the Service as a whole from people who appreciate the needs of modern youth but are not directly connected with particular youth organisations. That makes the matter clear. And as my noble friend Lord Hailsham has not denied it, I feel that he has the same outlook. That apparently is the Government's viewpoint.


The only reason why I did not intervene was because the noble Viscount was in the middle of a sentence. However, as he has invited me to intervene, I may say that there seems to be a wealth of difference between the views that I expressed and the views expressed by the Minister in the letter which the noble Viscount has just read, and the view that the Youth Service was out of date and had foundered. If the noble Viscount has that impression, he has only himself to blame for it, because he has quoted my right honourable friend's words correctly and no doubt he heard my own. The two views appear to be wholly inconsistent.


I am obliged to the noble Viscount. As usual he has given a most courteous reply. It is helpful to me to know that what I thought was wrong. It is not the first time I have been wrong and probably will not be the last. I apologise to him.

There is one new association which has sprung up in modern years which I do not think has been referred to to-day in your Lordships' House. However, it is one which is of great importance in the Youth Service. It has the rather long name of the National Association of Local Education Authority Youth Service Officers. I expect your Lordships have come across these gentlemen in your various counties: they are employees of the local education authority; their time is devoted to youth work; they are growing in number, and they are certainly an important new feature of the Youth Service. I think it is important for us (and I hope that the Committee will so consider) to know what the views of these youth officers are.

I hope I do not weary your Lordships, but they had a research panel which published a report in March, 1958, of which the following is a short extract: The education of young people should be seen as a continuous process … the transition from compulsory formal education to voluntary leisure-time participation presents a challenge to the educationalist who must engage and hold the interest of young people in competition with many other attractions. The emotional, social and recreative needs of technical and academic students are no less real than those of other boys and girls, and the opportunity to satisfy these needs should be conceived as an essential part of their general education and not merely as a relaxation from their serious studies. We would recommend, therefore, that wherever possible the main stream of the leisure-time education should be conducted in establishments that represent real social centres for young people … the evening use of school premises for this purpose may well become a permanent feature of the education service … no difficulty is experienced in encouraging young people to return to school buildings after they have left school provided that an attractive centre awaits them. It is not envisaged that youth centres of this kind would by themselves provide for the infinite variety of need felt by young people for voluntary membership and service … equally vital will be the fluid flexible club organisations particularly suited to the needs of some of the less tractable young people. It seems to us in my county that something must be done. There was a point of view of a rather powerful association, and it may be of some assistance (here I am rather "jumping the gun") to say that after one or two preliminary discussions the voluntary club organisations in my county are meeting the local education authority in order to see whether, on the one side, the youth officers of the local education authority can expand club work through and alongside the school while we tackle what they are pleased to call there "the less tractable young people "—what we should refer to as the difficult ones. I think it is important that, with these youth officers being appointed all over the place, there should be co-operation and running in parallel. If any jealousy or antagonism arises, there will be a waste of time and energy on both sides, and the people who suffer will be the youths themselves.

Quite shortly, my Lords, I would, with all humility, suggest one or two proposals. The first implements what I said earlier. I suggest that we should not tie up the Youth Service with Government legislation about the school-leaving age. There was a letter from the Lord Mayor of Birmingham in The Times about two months ago about this matter, and it was supported later by the Warden of the Mary Ward Settlement. In fact, as they suggested, it may be that we shall have to start younger, even at fourteen; and from fourteen to eighteen—or from fourteen to twenty, if you like—is, to my mind, the best age on which to concentrate. At the age of nineteen, boys in a great many places, and especially in the country, become men.

The second point is finance. We were all delighted to hear from the noble Vis- count, Lord Hailsham, to-day that an extra grant is to be given to national voluntary headquarters. I would make a special plea for national voluntary headquarters. It is easier to raise money for a club than for a county association; it is easier to get money for a county association than for an area association, and easier for an area association than for a national association. It may not be the experience of all your Lordships, but it has been not only mine but that of many others. The smaller the area, the more local patriotism you find, and the one that is out in the cold is the national headquarters. From your national headquarters must spring the impetus, the research and all those things which go to bring in new ideas, to spread the net wider and to do everything of that kind. I had down in my notes that I suppose one should be grateful for small mercies and should not pursue this matter, but I was going to suggest to the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, that perhaps the Government, in view of the fact that the amount is only £100,000 (I think that is the correct figure) could take a risk on the death duties, as one eminent Chancellor of the Exchequer did in the 1920's—noble Lords may remember his name; it was Churchill. He was asked why he expected larger death duties, and he said, "There is no lack of good will on my part." If the Government could take a risk on £100,000 extra death duties, what a tremendous difference it would make!

Take my own National Association of Boys' Clubs which gets £18,000 a year, and used to get £20,000. What a difference it would make if the amount were made up to £30,000 or £35,000. We have not been able to employ those organisers who keep the various specialist activities going and who keep the areas up to scratch because we have not the money to do it. So far as grants from local education authorities are concerned, I think that in most places they have been generous. But it is just for that little extra, even more than the £20,000 spent for the national headquarters, that I would put in a special plea.

With regard to leadership, I would point out that in spite of what people may say or think and of articles in the Sunday Express (which probably your Lordships, like myself, take) leadership is, and always will be, necessary. Do not let us forget that it is leadership. The people we are after are not a cross between a schoolmaster and an adjutant; they are leaders. Both voluntary and paid leaders are required most desperately. I should like to support the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, when he asks for a publicity scheme throughout the country to try to recruit people who would be prepared to give up their spare time in helping clubs throughout the country. People are surprised when they know what is required of them. When you ask for voluntary leaders you do not necessarily mean that you want someone to go out two, three, four, five or six nights a week. If somebody who has knowledge of a specialist activity will come and give one night a week, a fortnight or a month, it would make all the difference to some of these clubs. If you get two or three people like that, your programme, your interest and your numbers all benefit.

The point I am trying to make is this. I will not say we are out of date, but let us assume that we have not gone as far as we could or should like to go. We do not deny it. We could have been more progressive and more active. This is not because of lack of will, but lack of certain essentials. I would say that the two main essentials that we lack are leaders and the little bit of cash at the top. If I may take three minutes more of your Lordships' time on the question of voluntary leadership. I would refer to a report I get every month from an organiser who goes round clubs. In a period of just over a fortnight he went to fifteen clubs, and this is a statement on five of them. Club A: Called on Mr. Sumnell, who has given up leadership on doctor's orders. Club B: New part-time leader and assistant appointed. The other one had gone about two months before. Club C: The leader—he is a policeman—has been posted elsewhere. Club D: The leader is leaving in March and they are still trying to find a successor. Club E: The leader is absent a good deal owing to night work. That is the sort of thing that is going on all the time, and that results in the breaking-up of these clubs. The leader goes, and there is no one else to run the clubs. It is seldom that you will get boys running a club adequately by themselves for a long space of time. They will do it for a short while, but after a time you must bring in that leadership which only an adult can provide.

As for paid leaders, these also are needed desperately. The noble Lord, Lord Stonham, referred to this subject, and I want to quote from a letter written two or three years ago by someone your Lordships will know possibly intimately, Basil Henriques, who has been working in boys' clubs for years. Your Lordships probably know him best for having been for a long time Chairman of the East London Magistrates' Juvenile Court. He said in this letter: A youth organisation without leaders is like a school without teachers. Although all the organisations will have to continue to rely mainly upon voluntary or part-time adult helpers, there are some—and this applies particularly to clubs which are open several nights in the week—which require whole-time leaders who take up the work as a vocational profession. If the money spent on education in the secondary modern schools is not to be wasted, this further education after leaving these schools must be undertaken by men and women of the highest calibre and character. It is almost impossible to recruit the right kind of people to enter a profession which offers no kind of prospects whatever and the status of which is about as insecure as it could possibly be. What is required is for there to be laid down a necessary basic training which will fit people not only for youth leadership but, after a period of specialised training in that branch of social work which the student wishes to enter, for kindred professions such as probation officers, Borstal and approved school housemasters, wardens of homes and hostels, youth employment officers, youth welfare officers, and even teachers. These professions should be interchangeable. They come under different Ministries—Education, Home Office, the Prison Commission, Employment and Health. An inter-departmental committee should be set up immediately to lay down the requirements for the basic training. That is a letter which I think is as true to-day as it was then. No one in his senses, and least of all myself, if your Lordships are kind enough to say I approach that condition, is going to suggest that the few proposals I have made will result in the Youth Service covering every adolescent in the country. Nothing but a compulsory national youth organisation—which God forbid!—could produce this. But I do suggest, with all sincerity, that measures on the lines which I have put forward will produce most quickly, most cheaply and most efficiently the great and progressive expansion which we all wish to see.

7.50 p.m.


My Lords, it is a privilege to be the twentieth speaker to enter into this debate initiated by my noble friend Lord Pakenham in a speech of moment, and supported by speeches until now no less equal in quality. Among those, as your Lordships will have observed, there were two maiden speeches by noble Ladies, which will certainly be remembered, showing close knowledge of the movement.

I shall be brief and I ask your Lordships' forgiveness if I appear somewhat didactic. Knowing nothing sufficient about the Youth Service of to-day, I used the experience of the Y.M.C.A., the Y.C.W. and the Grail, to become up to date, and in doing so unfolded a wonderful record of self-sacrifice so joyfully made by all those concerned with the organisations mentioned or similar organisations. Two points, however, stood out: the quiet sympathy of the officials of the Ministry with these organisations and the almost complete lack of sympathy of many of the local authorities.

This last observation puzzled me very much, but was made perfectly clear this afternoon by what my noble friend Lord Pakenham told your Lordships in quoting evidence given by a senior Ministry official before the Select Committee of 1957. I quote: The policy of the Ministry is not to advance the Youth Service. I gather, however, from my noble friend Lord Hailsham, in his interesting speech this afternoon, that this policy has been or is to be changed. This being so, it is to be hoped that the Ministry will use their powers of direction to the effect that all local authorities—not, as now, a few—use the facilities, financial and other, that are provided for by the 1944 Education Act.

My Lords, the youth service deserves more Government support, without any question, but let it immediately use to the full—it is not now doing it—the support already granted by the Act of 1944. It would, I suggest, make the machinery of this nationally important movement work much more smoothly if it were made abundantly clear to all that a special Department of the Ministry exists for dealing solely with all these intricacies, handled by a distinguished official of the Ministry whose name was well known to all. Give this great work a more immediate and personal touch and I am sure that that will be for the good of the high purpose it has in mind and which is so much in the mind of your Lordships' House.

7.55 p.m.


My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, has done a great service to your Lordships in initiating this debate to-day. There is only one thing which I regret, and that is that more young Members of your Lordships' House have not taken part in it. It is, after all, the young people with whom we are concerned to-day. My qualifications for taking part in this debate are limited to the fact that I have been chairman of a young political organisation which, apart from its political activities, has indulged in, and indeed still does indulge in, activities in which youth clubs normally take part, such as dances, rambles and table tennis tournaments.

The most vital part of youth organisation is, as has been pointed out more than once to-day, leadership. I should like to make one or two quotations. There was an article in The Times called "Inside a Local Youth Club," which has been quoted more than once in your Lordships' House to-day. There is one passage in which the lady correspondent who wrote this particular article mentioned that at first the club concerned was run on a subscription basis and during that time there were very few people who turned up; but when it was made free of charge a great many turned up, and some of them proceeded, to put it colloquially, to "wreck the joint", and this went on in no uncertain manner. But the leader concerned was very courageous and carried on, and of course she was handicapped by the fact that if any of the better members squealed on the more nefarious members things would be made hot for them. That is, of course, one of the problems which clubs face to-day. The leader has to cope with a probably quite small section who will make things bad for the majority who are possibly quite good.

In the Observer recently there were some articles by an American correspondent called Clancy Sigal, who visited a well-known youth club in the suburbs, and some of his findings are really rather significant. One section of the boys announced that they did not like girls and if they got into trouble it was their own fault; they would have nothing to do with it as regards helping them, even if they, the boys, were themselves responsible. Another section said that all they wanted was a good job; they did not particularly care what the remuneration was but they wanted what they called "a good job". To quote, It was girls first, a job second and fame third. But yet another section were asked what they did and what they thought of their jobs, and whether they wanted to work, and a young addressograph operator, when she was asked whether she liked her job and wanted to work, said, "Not Pygmalion likely!" That, my Lords, is a very serious situation and it is one of the problems which we are up against to-day. There are the two factions: the one faction who want what they call "a good job", with possibly far more remuneration than they are prepared to work for, and another faction who just do not want a job at all.

Much has been said about the probation services, and I should like to add one or two facts which I ascertained only to-day from my own area in Dorking. In 1958 in the Dorking area, which is primarily residential, some 80 serious cases came before the probation officer, and of those cases some 80 per cent. were dealt with successfully. That is a very good record and it reflects most creditably upon the work of the officer for that particular district. I feel sure that throughout the country these men and women are doing great work and are achieving results for which the remuneration is all too small. It must be remembered that we have in this country now something like a 25 per cent. teenage population, as against about 20 per cent. in 1951—I think those are the correct figures—so that the probation officers, particularly for juvenile courts, have a tremendously responsible job.

The Churches have done great work. Only last Sunday I went along to the local teenage prayer study group, which meets on Sunday afternoons. The meetings are mainly for youngsters between the ages of fourteen and eighteen. They are held in the local church hut and are conducted by members of the group, under the direction of one of the curates, or sometimes of the rector himself. This particular service was taken by a girl of sixteen—I use the word "service" in a flexible sense, because it was an informal occasion. The service consisted of a few prayers, a few hymns and a few choruses; but it was conducted with the utmost decorum. There was an attendance of approximately one hundred youngsters on that Sunday afternoon. There was a certain small rowdy element at the back of the hall, such as one all too often gets at meetings these days, be they youth or more adult meetings; but by and large the behaviour was exemplary, and the whole affair was most impressive. I was greatly moved by what I saw and experienced.

I think it was the noble Lord, Lord Winster, who mentioned the duties of parents. Of course, parents have a great duty. So often the teacher is blamed because the boy or girl has not been trained by the schoolmaster or mistress how to behave. Most parents are basically good but there are some who are otherwise. One often reads of cases where youngsters come before juvenile courts, and where the probation officer or the local police sergeant has been to the parent who has said, "I could not care less about Johnnie. I do not care what happens to him or where he is." That is a most disturbing state of affairs; but we must not regard it as symptomatic of the entire youth of this country. After all, generation after generation has said "Oh, well, youth is not what it was in my day." I suppose my generation will probably say the same thing about the forthcoming generation. It is an old adage which will continue.

Then there is the problem of what is called the "latch key" child (I believe that one of last Sunday's newspapers mentioned this problem in Crawley New Town)—that is, of children of eight or nine who go to school with a latch key round their necks because their parents are not at home when they arrive back from school. Admittedly there are cases in which perhaps both parents have to work, for financial or other reasons; but it is not a happy life for a child if he or she has to return to a cold home and with nobody there. It is going to frustrate the child, and, sooner or later, the child will come before a juvenile court. We do not want to turn our children into "softies": we want them to fend for themselves. But parental love and control are most important for young people.

Finally, I would say a word or two about National Service. In these days, many youths are doing National Service and come under discipline which, as I said in your Lordships' House not many weeks ago, is very good for them. Here, the Church Army, Toc H and other religious organisations do great work. I always remember the times I went into the local Church Army canteen in Austria. The ladies who ran it were not perhaps ladies of wonderful figures, but they were ladies of wonderful heart who made one feel at home. They did great work. These organisations have done a great deal for the youth of this country.

Something has been said about the "Outward Bound" Schools. Nothing does a young person more good than good, healthy fresh air whilst rambling, climbing or swimming. It is wrong that a young person should be tied to a jukebox or to a skittle group. There is nothing inherently wrong in those things, but too many young people do not get enough fresh air these days. The Youth Services are doing very good work under great handicaps. In place of grumbling individuals who refer to all youth as teddy boys and teddy girls, rock 'n' roll addicts and so on, there are needed people who will do something, who will offer their help and perhaps take over an old, broken-down hut where these people can let off steam "and be taught to construct, rather than be destructive. I would again say that it is a fine achievement that this matter has been so healthily ventilated to-day. We can only hope that in the future the Youth Services will really be able to boast of the credit which they so richly deserve.

8.9 p.m.


My Lords, at this late hour I shall trouble your Lordships for only a few minutes. We have had a most remarkable debate, with some outstanding speeches. I think the two maiden speeches that we heard from the Peeresses were quite remarkable; and I was greatly impressed by the speech of the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Portsmouth and by the speech of my noble friend Lord Stonham. I am sure that the Government must have realised that this House showed a great unanimity. Everybody stressed the need for leaders and leadership; everybody stressed the need for more money, and we have had the backing of people of wide experience. I am not going to talk of my own experiences, for they are too far back. My experience goes back before World War I, but I have kept in touch to a certain extent with boys' club movements and young people, and it seems to me that we ought to consider this to be one of the most important preoccupations of the Government.

We cannot compete on the material plane with the United States or the U.S.S.R., but we can, and should, beat them both in the quality of our citizens. It seems to me that when the Government reduced the grants in 1952 they were failing to realise priorities. It was not a large sum. I do not think there was any excuse for it. They ought to have realised at the same time that the influences that make it more difficult for club leaders were increasing. Glancing back for a moment to my time, I recall that clubs had not much competition. There was not much beyond clubs for boys and girls. Now, of course, we have the cinemas, television and all kinds of things. Her Majesty's Government were at pains to increase television broadcasts—not, I should have thought, on the best lines. The money expended for Independent Television would have been better spent in stimulating the Youth Service. Therefore, if Her Majesty's Government will take the sense of the House, even without waiting for the Report of the Committee, they might decide that they have to do more for the youth movement.

I am entirely against a uniform movement. I think it is our diversity which is our great strength. I do not even mind a certain competition, provided it is on the right lines, and plenty of experiment. Naturally, as one of an older generation I am sometimes disturbed by some of the signs of the younger generation. I cannot remember that in my time we had a lot of smashing up of clubs or disorder in any clubs with which I was connected. What surprises one rather is that with better living conditions behaviour has not, I think, really improved. That may be due to lack of leadership or, more often, to the wrong leadership. People of experience have told me, "Those you have really to get hold of are the gang leaders, because they are the people of outstanding character who lead others away and ought to be leading them right."

I am quite certain of one thing: we have a need to-day more than ever for voluntary service, but, as so often in this country, it needs to be a combination of paid service and voluntary service. That is where we in this country get the best results. It is no good thinking that our appeal to youth should be only to the worst-off; it has to go right through this country. I ran clubs in connection with public schools and we always said at that time that our mission was as much to the public schoolboy as to the boy of East London. The need for service wants emphasising in all classes. We have to set an example. The thing that disturbs me so often is hearing that dreadful phrase, "I could not care less", sometimes as the response to the phrase. "You have never had it so good." I think Governments have to set an example. We tried to do it and were told that we were preaching austerity. We were told to get off austerity, to have a good time, and let everything loose again. I think to-day is a time for emphasis on service for all classes, and particularly for youth.

8.15 p.m.


My Lords, I am sure the Albermarle Committee will read gratefully all that your Lordships have said in our debate this afternoon, and will study it carefully. Apart from two Government speakers, no fewer than seventeen of your Lordships have contributed to the debate, and I believe that every one of these has some special claim to be heard on this subject and to have his opinions treated with particular respect. I am sorry that two or three noble Lords, and, I believe, one right reverend Prelate who had intended to speak have not been able to stay until now.

I think your Lordships will agree that it would be inappropriate, in fact it would be quite unendurable, if I were to attempt to reply to, or comment upon, all the speeches to which we have listened with so much pleasure. But I believe your Lordships would particularly wish me to offer our congratulations once more to the two "Maidens", whom your Lordships have heard with so much pleasure. You will agree, too, I feel, that both of their speeches were of really exceptional merit. The noble Baroness, Lady Ravensdale of Kedleston, who spoke first, is Chairman of the Highway Clubs of East London and is also, I believe, Vice-President of the National Association of Girls' and Mixed Clubs. She spoke very effectively. I thought, about the position of the workers in those of our youth services with which she is concerned, pointing out that long ago, when taxation was not so high, and for other reasons, it was much easier to get voluntary unpaid workers, whereas now it is not easy; and that a great many of them are extremely underpaid.

No doubt your Lordships were glad to hear from the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, and also from my noble and learned friend, Lord Hailsham, that some of these workers—including those in Sussex—are paid on the Burnham scales but there are others who are not, and some who are paid extremely little or nothing at all. Many of these services, I believe, could not carry on in any way if they did not have workers who are people of devout and saintly character, prepared for any amount of self-sacrifice in order that this work may be done. While we may, and must, admire their self-sacrifice and devotion, it is not really in the national interest that many should continue to be underpaid, particularly if we hope to expand the scope and usefulness of these Youth Services. I have no doubt that this will be one of the most important subjects which will be considered by the Albemarle Committee, which is now sitting.

The noble Baroness, Lady Wootton of Abinger, spoke to your Lordships about the prodigious increase in crimes of violence among persons within the youth-club age, as she expressed it. I am quite sure that if any of your Lordships were guilty of a crime of violence you would consider yourselves very fortunate if you were brought up before so understanding a magistrate as the noble Lady. She spoke, I thought, with great understanding on this subject, and I am sure that your Lordships also admired the clear and beautiful style, combined with so much humour, with which she delivered her speech. I hope that we shall have the pleasure of hearing both the noble Ladies again very often. If I may say one other thing about them which perhaps I ought not to say, I cannot help feeling that they have put your Lordships' House just one or two points ahead of the other place, which has been bi-sexual for so much longer than we have.

I must not omit to refer to the third noble Lady who has spoken, my noble friend Lady Elliot of Harwood. Although she is no longer an oratorical virgin, she is able to speak with great authority about this subject, having been for ten years President of the National Association of Girls' and Mixed Clubs and also actively engaged in the running of many clubs now; and she is also still, I believe, on the King George V Jubilee Trust. The noble Lady told us the sad story about the disappointment which those who are interested in youth services suffered after the war, thinking that they were going to get so many new members and expand their activities in all kinds of ways, and then finding that, as she put it, enthusiasm went out of the Youth Service—a situation which the noble Lady attributed mainly to economies by local authorities and by the Government.

The noble Lady argued, with great force, I think, that finance on a larger scale is what is needed. But I am sure that she would agree that finance is not the only thing that is needed. Indeed, the figure of £1 million which the noble Lady mentioned would be only a tiny, almost imperceptible, fraction of the total amount which we are spending on education; and, of course, an almost negligible sum in relation to its object. I think that what most of your Lordships feel about this aspect (at least, this is the impression on the financial side that I have gathered from listening to the debate) is that what we want is a moderate amount of money directed towards certain strategic points in the Youth Service. The noble Viscount, Lord Monck, put it that he wanted more cash at the top, but there was not so much need for it lower down; and other noble Lords, in one way or another, have, I think, spoken in the same sense.

There was one slightly different question which I was particularly pressed to answer by the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, about the Home Office probation officers, who are, of course, indirectly connected with this subject. I will, of course, convey to my right honourable friend the Home Secretary what the noble Lord has said. But all I can say now, in reply to his question, is that on Monday in another place the Home Secretary announced that he and the Secretary of State for Scotland are going to set up a Departmental Committee to inquire into the Probation Service, and he made it clear that the pay and conditions of work of probation officers will be included in the terms of reference of that Committee.


My Lords, will the noble Earl allow me to intervene? In response to a subsequent question at the time he made his statement, the Home Secretary also said that the present negotiations for increased pay must continue, must be got out of the way, and that then we will get on with the Committee. Those were his words. My question was: how long will it be before we know about the increase in pay?


My Lords, I am afraid that that is all I have from my right honourable friend to say to the noble Lord in reply to his question: that this matter will form part of the subjects to be inquired into by the Departmental Committee.

My Lords, I have been much pleased and encouraged to hear from all parts of the House the approval with which the appointment of the Albemarle Committee has been received by your Lordships. The Government, of course, have come in for criticism. We did not expect in this debate to receive any bouquets, and we have not received any; but we have not had quite so many brickbats as I anticipated we might. It is inevitable, and right, that in a debate of this kind the Government should be criticised, on the ground that not very much has been done in the way of expanding Youth Services since the end of the war. The reason for that (I will not elaborate on it) is, of course, that all Governments and Ministers of Education have been rather obsessed, it may be perhaps unduly obsessed, with the gigantic problem which arose from the raising of the school-leaving age at the end of the war.

At that time there were not even enough teachers to provide a proper service for the under-fourteens, and there was a large temporary increase in the birthrate—colloquially described as "the bulge"—which has meant that ever since then we have been engaged in a frantic race to catch up, trying to train new teachers and build new buildings quickly enough, not only to deal with the raising of the school-leaving age to fifteen but to catch up with this bulge in the school population. It is only now that we are in sight of catching up; yet we are still a long way from the goal. We have still a long way to go before we can reduce the size of classes to satisfactory numbers and finish providing the new buildings which are needed. But, my Lords, we are now in a better position to contemplate a greater expansion of these Youth Services.

I think that all your Lordships will agree that it has been necessary to set up this Committee. I do not think any of your Lordships in this debate has made the criticism which is sometimes made in similar circumstances on other subjects, that the Government are setting up a Committee as an excuse for doing nothing, I think it is recognised on all sides of the House that the Albemarle Committee have been appointed, not because we want to get out of doing a little, but because we want help in deciding how to do a lot.

There are two things on which we want advice: one is finance and the other is the method of procedure in the development of these services. As for finance, my noble friend has told your Lordships that the Government, in advance (the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, asked whether we could not do something in advance of the findings of the Albemarle Committee), before we get any advice at all from the Committee, are going to increase the expenditure on grants to headquarters by £20,000 in England and Wales, which is more than 20 per cent. The existing expenditure in Scotland is about £20,000, and that is not included in the English and Welsh figures.


If the noble Earl will forgive me, may I ask whether that figure of £20,000 is not almost precisely the figure by which the grant is less than it was formerly?


No. The amount of the cut in 1952, to be exact, was £11,000, so we are actually doubling the restoration of the cut. That does not necessarily mean that every item which was reduced—


It came down £20,000, did it not?


Actually it is now £97,700. and it will therefore be increased to £117,700.


In short, it is not an increase: it is just a restoration of the cut.


Do not let us take up a great deal of time in arguing about these small figures, but I did give the amount. It was reduced by £11,000 in 1952, and it is now being increased by £20,000. This increase is being given for the next financial year before we have got any advice from the Albemarle Committee. It is really in the nature of a token increase to show that the Government are anxious to pay more attention to the Youth Services, and we hope that it will have the effect which some noble Lords have said is very badly needed: that is, the effect of encouraging the people who are managing these services by showing them that the Government really mean business.

Now the reason why, in our view, it is necessary to have a strong independent Committee to advise us—and I believe all your Lordships have agreed with us about this—is that if you are going to give a considerably larger amount of public money to be spent on the Youth Services. then political Ministers and departmental officials would, I think. find considerable difficulty in deciding exactly how this increased money could best be allocated, and it will be an indispensable help to them, in our view, to have the advice of a Committee which has examined the whole matter from an independent point of view.

Let me give your Lordships only one small example. There is a rule at present that the Government cannot give grants to a youth service which is specifically denominational in character. Although they do give grants to institutions which have a general religious purpose, such as the Boys' Brigade, they cannot give a grant to an institution which is strictly denominational, which may seem, perhaps, a little unfair and absurd. Speaking for myself, as some of your Lordships know, I have always regretted that sectarian bitterness in England (though not in Scotland) has prevented larger grants from being given to the known denominational schools, because it has always appeared to me that, if a religious body carries out some work of essential social importance which would otherwise have to be done by the country and paid for by the taxpayer, and if it thereby saves us the trouble and cost of doing it, we should gratefully give them money in the most liberal and generous spirit. But that is only my personal opinion, and, as your Lordships know, there are serious and widespread prejudices and grudges in England on questions of this kind. It is a difficult and ticklish question for a political Minister or a Government Department to decide off their own bat, and I think it will help and strengthen us very much on all questions of that kind if we have a recommendation, after specific examination and investigation of the whole subject. from a really strong, active and responsible Committee such as the Albemarle Committee is.

That also applies to what my noble friend Lord Hailsham described (and which I think has been generally accepted by your Lordships) as the necessity to rethink, as he put it, the policy and purpose of the Youth Services. That simply means that we want advice. We do not want anything done about the Youth Services in an authoritarian way. We do not want to have anything which could remotely resemble a kind of British Hitler Jugend in this country. We want freedom and we want variety, so it cannot all be prescribed or laid down by the Government. What we think is necessary is that we should give advice or suggestions rather than orders—helped, of course, possibly after consultation, by the arrangement of the grants by which we are able to support the priorities agreed by all of us to be most important. We want to give encouragement to do that re-thinking in order that the Youth Services may be better adapted to the changing industrial and social conditions of our own time.

That does not mean that we think that the existing Youth Services are out-of-date. Still less does it mean that we think that they ought to be superseded. On the contrary, we want to advise them how to adapt their own policy, with our co-operation, to suit the needs of modern times. I think it is one of the first principles of statesmanship that you should make the best use of the instruments which you already have in your hand, and the instruments which we have in our hand are good and well-tried. Some of them have served the country for a very long time—institutions like the Boy Scouts, on which we have had the advantage of hearing a speech from the noble Lord, Lord Baden-Powell, or the Boys' Brigade, the Girl Guides, or the National Association of Boys' Clubs and Girls' Clubs. These institutions, and many others which there is not time to mention, have always fostered, and I hope always will be enabled to foster and to promote, the virtues of discipline and unselfishness, of patriotism and loyalty to the Throne, and, I believe, of true religion. Without these things the best literary and scientific education in the world will never succeed in preserving the soul of a great country, and without these things all your scientific progress and material achievements will not bring happiness to the nation.

The ages between the time when elementary education stops and when settling down in marriage or permanently fixed occupational life begins are, as many noble Lords have pointed out, in most cases the time in which character is mostly formed. And, again as many of your Lordships have said in this debate, we are going to have an exceptionally large number of people of these ages in this country within the next five or ten years. It is quite certain that in what is left of the twentieth century we are going to see a great many more radical changes in our way of life, and whether we can preserve those permanent values in the human character which do not change but which always have to be fought for very hard in every age will clearly depend on how we can help the right kind of teachers, not to force but to guide the youth of our country in the right way.

8.41 p.m.


My Lords, I rise only to thank all those who have taken part in this debate, and also to thank those who have been kind enough, as noble Lords have been in some cases, to express appreciation of the fact that the debate was called at all. I do not know that I have ever taken part in a debate where two maiden speeches were acclaimed more sincerely and unanimously than on this occasion. Both the noble Ladies, like so many of us, look much happier after speaking than they did before, but they are good Parliamentarians and do not detach themselves from the perils of their situation. Nothing could have been more charming and dignified in a simple way than the speech of the noble Baroness, Lady Ravensdale of Kedleston. Though I never had the pleasure of knowing or sitting under her noble father, who led this House, I would say that if her father had been alive to-day, he would have been a happy man.

I see that the noble Baroness, Lady Wootton of Abinger, has returned to the Chamber. I am glad to say that her speech exceeded in brilliancy even the expectations of those who had—I will not say been bold enough to sponsor her, but who had the honour to be allowed to share in her Introduction into your Lordships' House. Her speech left us in no doubt that humour is not a commodity in which the other sex are behind us. I was also glad to see that she is so well acquainted with matters concerning the Church of England. She knows the way to the Bishop's Palace and has no doubt trodden that path very often. She is obviously an ardent student of the Eagle, which I gather is a Church paper. Speaking theologically, I feel that her progress has been very rapid since she took her seat in your Lordships' House. I feel that her speech was one of the most thoroughly delightful speeches to which I have been privileged to listen in my thirteen years in your Lordships' House.

I am not running over all the speakers, because that would keep your Lordships very late, but I was much honoured by the intervention of the noble Earl, Lord Attlee. I suppose that the noble Earl is the only Prime Minister with any great experience of the work of boys' clubs. and I think that that in itself lent a special point to the debate. I doubt whether there has ever been a Prime Minister who has retained the affection of the working classes in the same way as the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, has retained it at the present day. He is an outstanding example of the fact that many of those who come from the educated classes have had no difficulty in being accepted as an absolute friend and equal by the working people of this country. I think that his whole life is a marvellous example of that.

I am also grateful to my noble friend, Lord Macdonald of Gwaenysgor, who seemed to be able to agree with much that I said, and also to my noble friend Lord Stonham, who spoke from such interesting personal experience. I intend in a moment to thank the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, but I must just say here that I felt that this answer to one point raised by my noble friend Lord Stonham was based on inadequate information. It is perfectly correct that the Departmental Committee set up to inquire into the conditions in the probation service, including the question of salaries, is intended to await the conclusion of the present negotiations on salaries. Therefore those of us, like my noble friend and myself, and others in various Parties, who have been pressing for a settlement of this question, cannot feel satisfied with the answer with which the noble Earl was equipped, as I think he will appreciate when he reads the relevant extracts in the morning.

I should like to say to all the noble Lords, of all political Parties, who spoke, how much their contributions were admired by me. I feel that I must mention particularly my noble friend Lord Monck, the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, and the noble Baroness, Lady Elliot of Harwood, who has exceptional knowledge of this subject and spoke with great authority, as did the most reverend Prelate. The noble Viscount, Lord Monck, said that we differed on two points—Party politics and my hair style. It is many years since I thought it was possible for me to have a hair style and I am glad that the noble Lord feels that I am still in that form of competition. It is very encouraging. For that and other reasons, I appreciated his remarks intensely.

I would also express my very great thanks to the noble Viscount the Acting Leader of the House, Lord Hailsham, and to the noble Earl, Lord Dundee. It seemed almost incredible to find that the Ministers had so much to say to us. At any rate, I did not see how they could say anything very definite. I would say now that their speeches were far more interesting than any I myself would have been able to make in their situation. They raised a number of issues which I know that we on this side of the House and noble Lords, wherever they sit, will wish to study; but it was too much to expect a clear and definite pronouncement, and that we can hardly be said to have received.

I think that it was obvious from the tone of the debate that nothing less than a change of policy would satisfy the House. The noble Lord, Lord Sempill, in intervening so helpfully, took an optimistic view on that point and, speaking before the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, said that it was fairly clear to him that a change in policy had occurred or was foreshadowed. If I am allowed to accept his word as official guidance, I can congratulate the Minister, but I cannot be sure, and I do not think that most of us can be sure until at any rate we read the OFFICIAL REPORT, whether we are justified in going away to-night saying, "Thank Heaven, the Government have changed their policy!"

I appreciate what the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, said about denominational schools and clubs, but I must say that in this regard he used one expression to which I hope he will allow me to call attention. He said: "We want help in deciding how to do a lot." That was the one clear sentence I extracted from these hours of debate. If that is a commitment—and in the absence of any contradiction, I suppose we can take it as such—the Government have come down here and said that they want to help to do a lot. That seems very satisfactory and I only hope that that is now made substantially clear.

There is only one other little matter which I will mention here and which possibly may occur later if it is left unmentioned. The noble Viscount, Lord Monck, referred to the last sentence of the terms of reference of the Albemarle Committee, which I think is rather dangerous. They are being asked to advise: according to what priorities best value can be obtained for the money spent. I hope that that does not mean that they will be inhibited, or feel themselves inhibited, in calling for a general policy of expansion, or that they must keep within some ceiling. I am not asking for an answer to-night. if this were so, of course, the utility of the Albemarle Committee would be greatly reduced; but I hope that it is not so. If it were so, their work would be restricted and it would then fall to the Government to decide whether and how the work could be expanded. But I hope and believe that this narrow interpretation mentioned by my noble friend is not, in fact, the one intended.

I should like to say emphatically to the Ministers that I feel that, in the situation in which they are placed, they acquitted themselves in a most kindly and thorough fashion. What the noble Viscount said about me was really generous. He threatened that he was going to "knock my head of", but for once he pulled his punches, and I am going away very happy on that score. I think that all of us, whether we are Opposition. Ministers or whatever we may be, who have taken part in this debate will hope and believe that we have helped this Committee and ultimately the country to gain the Youth Service that we deserve. I beg leave to withdraw my Motion.

Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.