HL Deb 21 February 1962 vol 237 cc785-802

6.15 p.m.

Debate resumed.


My Lords, when your Lordships last discussed the Youth Service and the Albemarle Report, on May 18, 1960, the debate took place on a Motion introduced by the noble Earl, Lord Longford, who has just been speaking to us. I did not take part in that debate—indeed, at that time I was not even a Member of this House. But I have read the Report of the debate in which several of your Lordships who have spoken to-day participated, and I found it an edifying experience. Among the wide range of ideas which were thrown up then—ideas which did not always accord with one another, as has also been the case to-day—I was particularly struck by two recurrent themes, the first of which was the recognition that, somehow or other (I will not put it more precisely than that) the young people of to-day are more different than any other generation in memory. Those were the words of the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, in his authoritative and, if I may say so, most impressive speech [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 223, col. 969]. Perhaps I may also say that I entirely agree with what my noble and learned friend on the Woolsack said to-day about the noble Lord's speech, and particularly his account of the activities and experiences of Youth Ventures, Limited.

If any of your Lordships should doubt the truth of those words of the noble Lord in the last debate which I have just quoted, I would invite him to study the philosophy of youth, as expounded by Mr. Adam Faith in his notable television discussion with the most reverend Primate the Lord Archbishop of York, and to read the two remarkable articles by Ruth Adam entitled "Our Teenage Daughters", which appeared in the magazine section of the Sunday Times on December 10 and 17 of last year. They purport to describe the outlook of the modern girl on life, on her absorption with sex, and her relations with her parents. The picture may well have been over-painted in those two articles—I hope that it was. But even if the articles represent only a partially true picture, then clearly the implications for society cannot be disregarded.

The second thing that struck me in the last debate was your Lordships' unanimity that it is no good passing moral judgments. We have not had any moral judgments passed to-day. It seems to me that if we who are the parents and the grandparents of the youth of to-day attempt to pass moral judgments, we merely condemn ourselves. In that debate my noble friend Lady Ravensdale of Kedleston, in a speech which the noble Earl, Lord Longford, particularly praised when he was winding up, said this—I quote from column 1033 of Hansard of May 18, 1960: Lastly, though I know it has not been mentioned very seriously, I think you cannot do anything with these young people, whether in the clubs or homes or schools, without bringing in religion and ethical principles, so that you may have some small chance to trounce and get rid of this lust and passion for money and sex in all the ghastly posters and Press today. My Lords, I could not agree more with those sentiments, if I may respectfully say so. It seems to me that the difficulty is that if the Youth Service actively set out to do just that, it might well defeat its purpose; it might drive away those who were most in need of it. This point was argued with great cogency by my noble and learned friend in his speech, and I do not think there has been in the course of this debate any substantial disagreement with that view.

What then, my Lords, is the purpose of the Youth Service? Almost every speaker this afternoon has made a contribution to the answer to that very big question. For my part, I believe that a part of the answer is to be found in one sentence in the first article of Mrs. Adam, to which I have referred. The sentence is this: The disturbing thing is not so much the richness of their sex life, but the poverty of anything else. The one purpose of the Youth Service should, in my judgment, be to relieve "the poverty of anything else". How is it measuring up to that purpose? The momentum of the Albemarle Report is being maintained, as my noble and learned friend explained, and as I shall hope to explain in the course of my speech.

We have had this afternoon two notable maiden speeches, by my noble friends Lord Coutanche and Lord Vaux of Harrowden, and I should like to add my congratulations to those which they have already received. One always knew that my noble friend Lord Coutanche did a wide variety of things during his time in Jersey; indeed, it might be fair perhaps to say of him that he was not only the "Lord High Everything Else", but the Lord High Executioner as well. However that may be, I certainly did not realise that, in addition to everything else, he had had so much to do with youth work. I am sure that all your Lordships enjoyed, as I did, the benefit of his experiences in Jersey; and also, if I may respectfully say so, the felicity of the language in which he recounted them.

I think it is safe to give this assurance to Lord Vaux of Harrowden; that he will not be incarcerated, as his ancestor was 400 years ago, because of the speech he made in your Lordships' House this afternoon. I am sure we were charmed by his enthusiasm, because he spoke from the depths of his own knowledge about the needs of young people—and I have been here long enough to know that your Lordships always appreciate that. I may say that I was particularly interested in his suggestion that in his experience the married man with a family is the most valuable form of youth worker. I hope that both those noble Lords, having broken the ice to-day, will frequently plunge in again.

The noble Lord, Lord Stonham told us at one point in his speech—and it is true—that on the same day as the Albemarle Committee's Report was published my right honourable friend announced that the Government had accepted the recommendation which required action on their part. The noble Lord congratulated the Government and my right honourable friend on making, that decision, and on living up to it; and on their behalf I should like to thank the noble Lord for saying that. The basic features of the Report were that the Committee expressed dissatisfaction with the existing condition of the Youth Service and called for a new look in keeping with the post-war generation of young people. They summarised the aims of the Youth Service as association, training and challenge of the right kind, and set a target of doubling in five years the number of people using the facilities of the Youth Service, from one million to two million.

My Lords, the noble Earl, Lord Long ford, asked me if I could give figures to show how the number of young people using the Service to-day compared with the number before the Albemarle Committee reported. My right honourable friend's Department has not taken a census in the Youth Service since the Report was published, because it is still rather too soon, and at the moment we have no membership figures. But my right honourable friend thinks it would be right to take a count in about a year's time, when we shall begin to see in action the new club leaders who are being provided through the building and training programme. However, the national voluntary organisations have collectively recorded some increase in their 14 to 20 age group membership in the first year after publication of the Report—that is to say, after 1960—and the employment by local education authorities of full-time youth organisers and leaders also points to an increase in the number of young people attending youth clubs.

Nothing has been said in this debate about the Youth Service in Scotland, but I feel, and possibly your Lordships would agree with me, that Scotland ought to have at least a brief mention. As the House may be aware, no Committee corresponding to the Albemarle Committee was appointed in Scotland because my right honourable friend the Secretary of State already had available reports on the state of the Service there. But in December, 1959, my right honourable friend set up the Standing Consultative Council of Youth Services in Scotland, under the Chairmanship of Lord Kilbrandon, a Judge of the Court of Session, who I believe is an old friend of my noble and learned friend on the Woolsack, and whose interest in the problems of youth is well known North of the Border. The only other thing I want to say about Scotland is this. There has been a surge of interest in outdoor activities for young people in Scotland, and that is one of the most striking developments in their Youth Service. The Scots, if I may say so, are very fortunate in having wonderful resources in their countryside to be exploited, and the education authorities and voluntary organisations are well aware of the possibilities of exploiting them even further.

I think your Lordships all know which are the main recommendations of the Albemarle Committee that have been accepted by the Government, so I will not tall you what they are. But I should like to say that, immediately after my right honourable friend had made his announcement about the acceptance of the recommendations within his Department, administrative arrangements were strengthened, an assistant secretary and a principal being appointed to give all their time to the Service, compared with what was called "half an assistant secretary" before. The appropriate under-secretary and other senior officers also took a direct interest in the Service from that moment.

As the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, said, the Youth Service Development Council has met fourteen times since it was set up in March, 1960. My right honourable friend the Minister of Education is the Chairman, and has, in fact, taken the Chair at nearly all the meetings. The other sixteen members were chosen for their special knowledge of young people and their interest in them. The Council has given a great deal of general advice on current developments in the Service, and specific advice on grants for experimental and special purposes. The Council also has a public relations function, one result of which was the publication, in November, 1960, of Youth Service, a monthy bulletin designed to stimulate discussion and exchange of views about the best Youth Service practices. That bulletin now has a circulation of some 23,000. I was very glad to hear my noble friend Lady Elliot of Harwood welcome this publication.

Now, my Lords, I should like to say something about grants from the Ministry. These have been substantially increased, and the estimate for expenditure on the Youth Service in 1961–62—that is, excluding expenditure by the local education authorities, which is of course taken into account for the purpose of a general grant—is £775,000, compared with £560,000 in 1960–61, and £229,000 in 1959–60. These grants from the centre, from the Department, take various forms. First, there are grants to national voluntary youth organisations towards their headquarters, administration and training expenses, particularly in respect of the 14 to 20 age group. The total for 1961–62 is £236,000 for 35 organisations, compared with £123,000 to 23 organisations two years ago. The organisations new to the grant list include some of the big denominational youth organisations, to which the Albemarle Committee made special reference.

Next there are grants for special development in experimental work. These were started, in accordance with the recommendations of the Albemarle Committee, with the aim of attracting unattached young people into the Service, and they amount so far to £57,000. Grants have been given to the Youth Theatre, which is the enterprise started by Mr. Michael Croft, for the establishment of a national headquarters to enable an expansion of their activities; and also to the Council for Nature, for the appointment of an officer to attract more young people to the work of the Council's conservation corps. Two other organisations, the National Association of Youth Clubs and the Young Women's Christian Association, receive grants for experiments involving research into the techniques of approaching and attracting potential delinquent "unclubables", Some of your Lordships may be aware that the Y.W.C.A. recently held a money-raising exhibition of Royal gifts, and a number of Members of your Lordships' House, including myself, contributed to the exhibition.

A grant was made to the Hertfordshire Association of Boys' Clubs for the salary of a manager of an experimental workshop for the repair of motor cycles, scooters and radio and television sets. There was also a grant to the Ocean Youth Club for the encouragement of character training under sail, and another to the Service and Friendship project sponsored by the Girl Guides' Association. Two grants have been given for development in Wales: one for the setting up of peripatetic demonstration teams to improve the standard of activities, and another for mobile leaders to run clubs in sparsely-populated areas. The Royal Association in Aid of the Deaf and Dumb is opening a pilot scheme to enable deaf and dumb adolescents in London to take part in activities comparable to those of a normal youth club, and a grant has been awarded to enable them to put this in train.

Next, grants to voluntary training bodies and groups, towards the capital cost of providing buildings and initial equipment, have been made. The grant normally amounts to half the estimated cost of the project, and the total offered in 1961–62 is likely to be about £800,000. Lastly, my Lords, grants have been made for students training as youth leaders at the National College, Leicester, Westhill Training College, and University College, Swansea. So, my Lords, I think your Lordships will see that that is quite a comprehensive list. My noble and learned friend talked about these colleges in his speech at the beginning of this debate, and I think that perhaps it is not necessary for me to say any more about them.

So I should now like to come on to deal with buildings. The first youth service building programme, providing for work to be started to the value of £3 million in the two-year period April, 1960, to March, 1962, was announced in March, 1960. This was followed by the announcement in August, 1960, of a programme of £4 million for the one year 1962–63. The £7 million was, as the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, said, divided into approximately £5.65 million, including £450,000 for Wales, for local education authority projects, and £1.35 million for voluntary projects in England and Wales. The noble Lord argued that this division was not really satisfactory, and that there was not enough for voluntary projects as opposed to local educational authority ones. I recognise that that is a perfectly legitimate point of view, but the opinion of my right honourable friend is that this proportion, which I have explained to your Lordships, is about the right one.

The noble Lord referred to the circular which was issued on February 16, and perhaps I might say a word to him in further explanation of sub-paragraph (c) of paragraph 10 on the back page. That paragraph says: The Ministry will be prepared in very exceptional circumstances to consider a voluntary project outside the normal arrangements when there is an element of urgency, e.g. a sudden and unusually favourable opportunity to buy a site or existing premises". What that really means is that it is providing for the buying of existing premises, if they need to be snapped up in order to get them at all, and then using them straight away.

The response of both the local education authorities and the voluntary bodies to the Albemarle Committee's plea for more buildings and better buildings for the service was most encouraging. By November of last year, the total of bids put in by local education authorities and voluntary bodies amounted to about £13½ million; twice the value of the two building programmes. But, my Lords, however great the enthusiasm may be, it is unhappily the case that not everything can be done at once, and sooner or later some control of the rate of advance was inevitable. Although the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, thought that more money ought to be spent, I think he recognised that there had to be some control. So that is why last December my right honourable friend decided to introduce a system of locally decided priorities for Youth Service capital projects for the 1963–64 and later building programmes. But before he took this decision he consulted the Youth Service Development Council, representatives of the local education authorities and representatives of the national voluntary bodies and youth departments of the churches.

Under the new arrangements, Youth Service capital projects from either the statutory or the voluntary side, which can be undertaken in the year concerned, will have to be put into a common order of priority to be settled locally and submitted to the Ministry once a year. The Ministry will decide how many projects in each area can be allowed to proceed. There will be a few exemptions from the new procedure; the main ones are projects costing less than £2,000, and projects which serve a regional or national purpose, rather than a local purpose. The projects which may not be included in the two programmes already announced will have to be resubmitted locally.

I understood the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, to argue that the effect of this is really going to be to give the local authorities complete control over the voluntary organisations. I do not honestly think that he need be too frightened of that. If he again turns to the circular which I have already mentioned he will see that the final paragraph, paragraph 11, says: The new arrangements will involve many people in both the statutory and voluntary spheres in even closer consultation and co-operation than before. Having listened to all this debate, I think I can say that that is one of the pleas that has been made by nearly every speaker: that co-operation should be intensified.

My Lords, the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Norwich spoke of the need to give our youth a sense of purpose, and an even greater need to promote service by youth.


My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Lord for one moment, before he leaves the subject of buildings? Many of us, as I tried to explain, are very anxious about the 1963–64 building programme, in view of the economic policy which the Government have felt it necessary to introduce—the economies, and so forth. Has the noble Lord anything to say about that?


If the noble Earl will permit me, I will be coming on to the questions he asked me in a moment, and I shall deal with that in order.

My Lords, I think the House was impressed by what the right reverend Prelate said about these things. He went on to express the view that the possibility should be examined of giving young people specific jobs to do overseas. I should like to tell the House that voluntary service overseas has been financially aided by the Government through the Department for Technical Co-operation. The right reverend Prelate also recommended that a contribution to the life of the community in some form or other should be part of the education of every boy and girl at school during their last year. In 1960 a grant was given to the new Service by Youth Trust, of which the right reverend Prelate is a member, and the purpose of this Trust is specifically to encourage opportunities for young people to give service to the community.

The right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of London said that the Youth Service consisted of more than an organisation of leisure time, and that seemed to strike a note of approval in your Lordships' House. He also said that the heresy of "salvation through ping-pong" had long been abandoned. I do not think any Member of the House would question the wisdom of that decision. Then he said that not only the young can speak to the young, and it seemed to me that, when he said that, he was in fact echoing some of the sentiments which had previously been expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Vaux of Harrowden.

My noble friend Lord Buckinghamshire, whose great interest in the Boy Scout Movement is well known to all of us, recommended the lowering of the age limit for grant purposes. As he said in his speech, my noble and learned friend on the Woolsack had already explained the Government's view on that point, and I do not think that there is anything which I can really add to what my noble and learned friend said. The noble Earl also referred to the question of payment of contributions by young people themselves, and to the recommendation of the Albemarle Committee about that. My right honourable friend is anxious that young people should pay a fair contribution towards the cost of the Youth Service facilities that they use, but he has left this question to the discretion of the local education authorities and the voluntary organisations. Certainly, however, he would not wish charges to be so high as to inhibit young people from joining a club or other organisation, or from contributing financially in other ways than merely through their membership subscriptions.

My noble friend Lady Elliot of Harwood paid a personal tribute to my right honourable friend the Minister, for which I am most grateful. She said that he had given drive and had used his influence in the interests of the Youth Service Development Council. It is undoubtedly true that he is extremely enthusiastic about this work—and, indeed, about the whole Youth Service. The noble Lord, Lord Chorley, said that the Youth Service ought to be more closely linked with parents. That may well be desirable, but the noble Lord himself admitted that he did not know exactly how we should set about achieving that.

The noble Earl, Lord Longford, asked me several questions, and the first one was whether or not the pay pause will have any retarding effect upon capital expenditure. My Lords, there are two things I can say about that. The first is that, so far as the 1962–63 programme is concerned, there have been no cuts. As regards the 1963–64 programme, I just cannot answer that question for a reason which I am sure your Lordships will appreciate: that the constitutional position is that one cannot anticipate publication of the Estimates.


May I interrupt the noble Lord on one point there? Surely the 1962–63 programme was known before the publication of the recent Estimates.


I should have thought not, my Lords. Then the noble Earl asked me about the comparison of total levels of expenditure on the Service now as compared with pre-Albemarle Report days, and particularly about expenditure by local education authorities as opposed to direct expenditure from the centre. My Lords, the White Paper on general grants for the current period, 1961–63, made reference to the increased expenditure of local education authorities on the development of the Youth Service, and more will be known about their actual expenditure in this period when the amount of the general grant for the next period, 1963–65, comes under review later on this year. In the meantime, it it fair to say that the expenditure by local educational authorities has probably gone up pro rata with the increase in Exchequer expenditure—that is, by, let us say, about three times.

My Lords, the noble Earl criticised my right honourable friend for not having required the local education authorities formally to review and bring up to date their further education schemes as recommended by the Albemarle Committee. The explanation is simply this—and I think the noble Earl really knows it—that my right honourable friend decided not to require formal revision of development plans, or in any other way to ask the authorities to consider expanding the Youth Service in a uniform way, because he recognised the wide variations in the present state of the Service, which mean that each area has its own particular problem. He also thought that the formal revision of development plans might inhibit experiment.

However, after giving that explanation in a circular in August, 1960, he went on to emphasise the importance of each authority undertaking an appraisal of their Youth Service work, and of drawing up, in full consultation with voluntary partners, working plans for action over the next few years. It therefore seems to me that to a very large extent my right honourable friend has already done what the Committee recommended and what the noble Earl would like. What he has not done is to require a formal review. The noble Earl said that if the Minister of Health could do this in order to encourage his Hospital Plan, so could my right honourable friend the Minister of Education. With all respect to the noble Earl, I do not think that one can compare the Hospital Service of this country with the Youth Service.


My Lords, I am sorry to break in again, but there is a misunderstanding. I was not referring to the Hospital Plan: I was referring to the expansion of the mental health services by the local authorities, which is totally different.


My Lords, I beg the noble Earl's pardon. I will not go on to explain why I think the other comparison I spoke of earlier is incorrect.

In August last year, an inquiry was addressed about progress to local education authorities, and replies from 126 of the 146 authorities in England and Wales produced these facts. At the time of the Albemarle Report, authorities were employing directly, or aiding the salaries of, some 700 full-time youth leaders. By the middle of last year this number had increased by at least 100, and authorities and voluntary bodies had plans to employ another 450 over the next three years. Even more important was the fact that the number of youth officers and organisers employed by local education authorities had gone up from 350 to 425, and would probably increase by another 50 in the next three years.

It has been said time and time again this afternoon that the Youth Service is essentially a partnership between the Ministry, the local education authorities, and voluntary bodies, including the Churches. That point was made with particular emphasis by the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of London, and by my noble friend Lady Elliot of Harwood. Whatever is done essentially to provide a more substantial framework, the building up of a live Youth Service must depend on local effort and effective co-operation between all the bodies in each locality. Progress is being made in most areas, and it is hoped that the new arrangement for capital projects will help to stimulate co-ordination of all the available resources.

Among both the local education authorities and the voluntary bodies there is undoubtedly a great revival of interest in the Youth Service, and of willingness to try different ways of improving and expanding it. Part-time and voluntary workers, too, are an essential part of the Youth Service. Some authorities and national voluntary organisations already have comprehensive schemes of training for them; but this is by no means universal, and it is my right honourable friend's aim to bring the level of training of all areas up to that of the best areas. Accordingly, he set up a Working Party last July to consider the kind of training necessary for part-time workers and to advise on the best ways of arranging it. The Report of the Working Party should be available in the early part of this summer.

My Lords, I hope that I have replied to the main topics to which your Lordships wished me to reply. The main criticism has been, as I expected, that the Government are not putting up enough money; but I thought that point would be made with much greater emphasis than in fact it was.


My Lords, we do not know how much they are putting up.


I have been trying to tell the noble Earl. There are very few debates on any subject, at any rate debates to which I have to reply for Her Majesty's Government, in which that sort of complaint is not made. The noble Lord, Lord Stonham, knows that, as I do. All your Lordships have your favourite services or your favourite projects, and some of your Lordships have more than one on different days, Yet all your Lordships must know, just as I, that neither this nor any other Government could respond to all the financial calls made upon them, Nothing would have given me greater pleasure than to have stood here this afternoon and announced major increases in expenditure on all sides of the Youth Service. But, my Lords, I think the economic facts of life to-day are as well known to your Lordships as they are to me. I would say again that the two last building programmes have not been cut in any way.

Your Lordships may be sure that the Government are much alive to the importance of a growing Youth Service in this country. I am extremely grateful for the valuable suggestions which have been made during the course of the debate, and I know my right honourable friend will be grateful too. I should like to add my thanks to those which have been made by every speaker in this debate, I think, to the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, for giving us all a chance to have what I, at any rate, have found to be a most enjoyable afternoon.

6.55 p.m.


My Lords, I should like briefly to express my thanks to all those who have taken part in what I think has been, in many ways, a remarkable debate, first of all because, although this is a debate on youth, in which everyone has spoken with knowledge, with enthusiasm, with confidence and with hope in the future of our youth, no one who has spoken has been younger than 45. I am sorry I cannot put the age at any younger than that; but my noble friend Lady Ravensdale of Kedleston has completely given the game away by confessing that she has been actively and enthusiastically concerned, and indeed with very great success and devotion, with the Highways Club for no less than 45 years; so I am bound to say that that is the lowest age limit that I can fix. I hope your Lordships will not blame me for that. This debate has been remarkable also because we have not merely had speeches from two noble Ladies and have listened to two first-rate maiden speeches, but we have had two speeches from right reverend Prelates. And not only that, but we have had the presence on the Benches of Bishops who have varied in number from a minimum of three to a maximum of five. To me—and I say this with the deepest sincerity I can command—that is a tremendously heartening thing.

I should like to add my congratulations to those he has already received to the noble Lord, Lord Coutanche, for his speech, which was delivered with all the knowledge, sincerity, and aplomb (if I may use that word) of one who has occupied such a distinguished position on the Bench and in the Councils of the Island of Jersey for so long. It was a most interesting speech, and I am sure we all look forward to further contributions from him on other subjects within his command. I know that we were also delighted with the maiden speech of the noble Lord, Lord Vaux of Harrowden, who said that he had to dash away, and asked, in effect, if I could assure your Lordships that it had nothing to do with the fact that the last member of the Benedictine Order to address your Lordships in 1559 was consigned to their nether regions. He has, in fact, gone to the northern region of Warrington, where he has hurried back (as he described it) to his humble field work in the Youth Service. We enjoyed his contribution very much indeed, and we hope that it will not be long before we hear from him again. I, for one, certainly in that part of his speech where he was relating his own experience, endorse every word; and I am sure my noble friend Lord Denham will agree that these experiences arise from our practical experience in this work.

I always regret on these occasions, when one has to say "Thank you", that I lack what we in this House would refer to as the "silver tongue and felicity of phrase" of my noble friend Lord Longford, and of what people outside this House refer to as "native blarney". Whichever you call it, it is a marvellous asset on an occasion of this kind, but I hope that, to the extent I lack it, your Lordships will forgive me. I should, in particular, like to assure the right reverend Prelate, the Lord Bishop of London, that, so far as concerns the organisation with which my noble friends and I are associated, we entirely agree with him that there must be a purpose. There is, indeed, a moral purpose in youth; and I do not think we disagree in any way whatsoever with either his purpose or his approach. But before you can have any effect on anyone, you have to make contact. You have to get them in. One of the great tragedies of the present situation is that so many people in positions of local and national power think that you can influence young people merely by standing on the steps and haranguing them. They do not even hear. I repeat that we must devote ourselves to the service of youth without thought of place, without thought of recognition and without thought of thanks.

I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Elliot of Harwood, for stressing the matter of the help of the community. It is amazing what beneficial effects arise when parents take an interest; and what a power they have! That, indeed, is not surprising. I have heard my noble friend Lord Longford say that he does not go so far as I do in distinguishing the methods in conventional and non-conventional clubs. In effect, there is no difference. I do not accept that there is anyone "unclubbable". I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Coutanche, will not mind my saying this. We want to forget that word. We want to find the kind of clubs for all. I do not accept that, once young people are in a club, there is any difference between the 40 per cent. who like orthodox organisations and the 60 per cent. who do not. Once they are in, they both want the same thing and act in the same way. We should remember that.

My noble friend suggested that we are now in a state of suspended hopefulness about the Youth Service. I hope that is not true, though the noble Lord, Lord Newton, depressed me by his speech, which I thought was first-class in its delivery, especially as I know that it had to be undertaken at short notice, but about whose substance, for which I know he was not responsible, I was not so satisfied. The noble Lord rightly referred to the fact that the Assistant Secretary and Principal Secretary have been directed to take an all-consuming interest in this subject, and I should like to pay tribute to them for all they have done and are still doing in truly magnificent and devoted work, but I regret the fact that the head man in this section has had to be changed three times in eighteen months, which means some handicap.

I hope that the noble Lord will come to take a different view in regard to the decision to allow £50,000 for experimental work. That is a ridiculous sum in relation to the need, much as the fact of a club for the deaf and dumb warms my very heart. The noble Lord dealt with the point about local authorities and has assured me that, if premises can be snapped up, voluntary bodies will have them, as of course I read in the circular. As has been emphasised, local authorities vary considerably. There may be a local authority which is interested in youth work but where perhaps the chairman may be an elderly gentleman or elderly lady of the Youth Committee who is rigidly determined, not to exclude youth work or youth clubs, but to exclude any kind of activity which he or she thinks is not the right thing. In such a case voluntary bodies are going to have a very difficult time. I hope that the assurance the noble Lord gave about paragraph 11 of the circular will work out in the way he suggested.

One important point about which I do not think the noble Lord has satisfied the House is the volume of help. He referred to sums from the central Government of less than £1 million. This is to be divided among nearly 5 million young people in the course of a whole year. That is not even "chicken-feed," if I may use the expression. There are many owners of broiler-houses who spend more than that every month in feeding their chickens. When we are looking at this question and its relative importance, please let us bear this in mind.

I agree with the noble Lord that it is no use passing moral judgments; and, as he said, none has been passed to-day. Shall we say simply that there is a wider gap than in any previous generation? I was intrigued by the noble Lord's selection of his authorities—Adam Faith and Ruth Adam. At least, that is getting back to fundamentals—and I think that is important in matters of this kind. The noble Lord said that the momentum of the Albemarle Report is being maintained. I hope that it is, but I rather doubt it. He referred to the poverty of the desires of the youth in some of the clubs. I think that it was John Burns who said that the tragedy of the working class lay in the poverty of their desires. Now, of course, we are in an age where they have money to enlarge their desires, and it is for us to do our utmost—indeed, I would say to spend our lives, in so far as we can—to ensure that we can guide them, humbly perhaps, in asking for the right things.

I hope that the noble Lord will not be satisfied with a membership check in a year's time, and that it will be possible to have a membership check every year. The voluntary bodies keep lists of their members and there seems to be no real difficulty there. I am grateful to everyone who has supported this debate. I think that this is an extremely vital and fundamentally important subject. I hope that what has been said will be studied and considered throughout the country, and perhaps, in another year or so, we may return to it again and record a much faster advance. It is in that belief, and with grateful thanks to all noble Lords who have taken part in this debate, that I ask your Lordships' leave to withdraw this Motion.

Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.