§ 2.59 p.m.
§ BARONESS BURTON OF COVENTRY
rose to call attention to the problem of leisure; and to move for Papers. The noble Baroness said: My Lords, in rising to move the Motion that stands in my name on the Order Paper, I hope the House will condone some slight overlapping with another debate. I will do my best not to be guilty of tedious repetition, and I am comforted by the tolerance that is shown to all speakers 238 in this House. When I saw the words of the Motion in the name of the noble Viscount, Lord Hanworth, for April 8 last, I felt anxiety and regret: anxiety because I feared that his Motion might well cover the theme that I wished to take to-day, and what I have wished to take for many months, and regret that an official duty prevented to-day's Motion from being taken on that day in April instead of to-day. But since then, having read, having enjoyed, and having learned a great deal from that important debate of April 8, which was on a MotionTo call attention to the need for an increase of automation in British industry and commerce, and for effective planning to meet the inevitable changes which it will cause in our society,I now hope that it may prove to have been a background or a raising of the curtain for what I propose to say to-day.
I want to talk about the problem of leisure—the great intimidating fact of expanding leisure, as Kenneth Tynan described it. In 1957, I attended a conference in Geneva to discuss the problem of automation and its many effects on our society. The numbers of those attending were relatively small—I should think we numbered about 100; but the cross-section and experience were interesting. Representatives came from most European countries, and from the United States of America, and, of course, from the International Labour Organisation in Geneva. There were social workers, engineers, psychologists, writers, and people skilled in the management of fully automated factories and in the training and retraining problem of those who worked in them. I was invited because of a two-fold interest: first, because of my interest in leisure and recreation, and secondly because at that time in my constituency of Coventry, South, workers and management were confronting each other over this problem of installing automatic machinery in the car factories. As the House will realise, many of the hopes and fears were brought home to me very vividly indeed.
I came hack from Geneva with one thought firmly entrenched in my mind, which I thought was a basic fundamental one. It was that the problem of leisure would be one of the great prolems of the 1960s. It seemed to me then, and it seems equally true to-day, that 239 three points arise immediately. First, this problem of automation is bound up inextricably with the problem of leisure; secondly, automation must come at a time of full employment if it is to be acceptable. In the past, and still to-day, the words "automation" and "unemployment" are linked together, and I need not tell the House that even in our affluent society of to-day there are many who have known the soul-destroying effect of unemployment. And it applies not only to those living in the past. Many people must have seen the B.B.C. programme, To-night, when it visited Northern Ireland in February this year, and when the reporters there talked to some of the would-be workers who had been out of work for a long time. I think that any of us who saw that programme must have realised the hopelessness and resentment of the people involved—a feeling made all the stronger because of the lack of sensationalism with which the problem was dealt. What I felt was even worse was that we saw on the faces of some of these people the dying of effort and the consequent inability to work again. I am quite sure that I need tell nobody in this House that anyone who has had experience of it, and who has come across people who have had long periods of unemployment, will know that a man can be out of work so long that, quite honestly, it is beyond him to start again; it is beyond him to make the effort. In fact, these people were suffering from enforced leisure.
If people fear that automation will bring unemployment, then they will not have automation, and, as my noble friend Lord Williamson said in this House recently, if people think, rightly or wrongly, that they personally are going to be worse off as a result of technological change, it will be idle and futile to expect their willing co-operation and acceptance. Perhaps before I continue I shoud express the deep regret of my noble friend Lord Williamson that an official engagement prevents him from being here this afternoon.
The third fundamental point that I thought arose seven years ago, and still arises today—and I say this with all humility—is that each one of us will have to look at this problem of leisure with a completey changed outlook. Con- 240 ventional thinking will have to go. May I startle our critics by saying: Where better place than your Lordships' House for this to happen? I believe that this House is the place where new ideas, or different ideas, get a fair hearing; and not only a fair hearing, but, if they are good enough, acceptance. I am convinced that many critics of this Chamber would have quite a different attitude if they were fortunate enough to sit here. In my short membership I have found a willingness to consider a different approach; and, far from being a morgue or a mausoleum, I think this is a forum which permits many subjects to be discussed that would not see the light of day in another place, simply because of pressure of business.
So, my Lords, what can we do with this conception that automation and unemployment are linked together? Obviously, we all know that this conception can be changed only by a positive approach. After all, machines always have made possible a gradual reduction of working hours, along with better wages and higher living standards, as a result of greater production. I should like to ask whether there is any reason why this should not be so in future. It is not for me to stress the obvious, but more and more automated machinery is on the way. Whether this be machinery where the entire process is electronic, as defined by my noble friend Lord Hobson in a recent debate, or whether this machinery be partially automated, as mentioned by my noble friend Lord Taylor (I thought I would clear myself with both points of view) it will mean, in my opinion, quite simply, shorter working hours or unemployment.
I intend to venture into very deep waters and say that it seems to me that the benefits the nation should receive from all this—because I refuse to accept the unemployment—should be in this order of priority: shorter hours, lower prices, longer holidays and increased wages and salaries, discussed and negotiated through the appropriate machinery in each industry. We all remember that the 47-hour week was introduced in 1919. It stayed with us for 28 years before it was reduced to 44 hours in 1947. Increased productivity followed, and output per person increased by over 12 per cent. 241 in the first year and by 28 per cent. in the second. I remember, going back only to 1958, reading in the Press that influential New York labour leaders had started a behind-the-scenes drive to reduce the present 8-hour working day to 6; and I remember reading that outsiders laughed. But it was such a group that met some 76 years ago with the ambition of cutting down the 10 or 12-hour day to an 8-hour day. Outsiders laughed then. But the 12-hour day became Federal law. I have here a cutting from the Daily Herald of April 15 of this year, aid the heading is "Engineers Face up to Automation". Speaking of the then forthcoming conference of the Amalgamated Engineering Union, under a sub-heading of "35 hours" there is this sentence:There are a spate of resolutions calling for a 35-hour week as the union's new objective—and for a 40-hour week this year.Looking at The Times of Monday, May 11, following on the Conference, I read that it is anticipated that the engineering employers will be offering the workers a "package deal" which will includeReduction of the working week from 42 to 40 hours before the end of next year …I suggest that it is impossible for anybody, however non-technical, to hear talks, read papers or to see on television the new machines and processes of to-day, or to have the privilege, as we do, of hearing the noble Lord, Lord Bowden, explaining something of these mysteries and of those projected for to-morrow, without realising the completely new world of the operator. Obviously, this is a greater change for you and me than for the young men and women who are growing up and training with these ideas. I do not propose to-day to deal with this vast and complex field of human approach to automation, but the training of the young workers, the re-training of the next in age and the problem of those who just cannot face the change offer, I believe, a challenge to our trade unions which is greater and more far reaching than that offered to any other section of the community to-day.
I heard vivid stories in Geneva of workers who just could not stand the loneliness of working alongside these up-to-date machines instead of with their workmates. I remember reading not long ago in the papers, as, I am sure, 242 your Lordships will, of the loneliness of a man driving one of these huge diesel engines as it thundered along the railway tracks; and it seemed to me that this loneliness is only one of the problems arising from more automated machines.
I should like to look at the social consequences, accepting what seems to me to be a basic condition for real progress, that conventional thinking will have to go. So, what leisure are we considering—the leisure of to-day or the leisure of to-morrow? We have ruled out, I am sure, by common consent, the leisure of unemployment. By the turn of the century shall we have a four-day working week with us? Mr. Frank Cousins, in February, wrote that national planning and strong trade unions could ensure that industrial progress brought greater leisure and higher living standards, and not merely higher profits and unemployment. On the agenda for the annual conference, in June, of the National Union of General and Municipal Workers are motions dealing with the part to be played by a shorter working week resulting from the spread of automation. So, whether it be a four-day working week or one of longer duration, I think there is no doubt that it will be a shorter working week that we can look forward to in the future.
Looking at this in your Lordships' House with minds of to-morrow, what is to be the social consequence of the leisure thus offered? Points such as shift work, week-ends, family life, sports fans, a twenty-four hour working week, all come to mind. Which would people prefer if they had a choice—a shorter day throughout the year; a longer day and a shorter week; or a longer day, a longer week and four months off? Developments such as these are not impossible; they are merely different; and it seems to me that we have to cease saying: "This is impossible". I do not think it is impossible if our minds will make a fresh approach. I would suggest that both sides of industry will have to work out ideas like these and Government will have to be a willing partner. But I believe very definitely that it would be no use doing this, that you and I and everyone else and both sides of industry and the Government, would 243 be just wasting our time, if we had more leisure and people took another job or worked more overtime as a result.
So I come to the actual words of my Motion—I am sure to the relief of the House—the problem of leisure; the great intimidating fact of expanding leisure. How many are ready to use it to-day? How many have the opportunity? How many have the facilities? What can we do to ensure that people do have a free choice between genuine alternatives in deciding how to use their leisure and in developing their interests and tastes? Would your Lordships think it was true that the only body with the financial resources needed to break the grip of the financial tycoons on entertainment and communication is the State? Is it correct that artists are made and tastes created by skilled salesmen? How far is it true to say that local and group interests, that spontaneity in the use of leisure, have no chance in present circumstances?
If we take the Arts and leisure, I remember speaking to a conference on the problems of local Government in 1960 on this aspect and talking of the priorities of patronage. At that time, in 1960, the Government grant to the Arts Council worked out at little more than 7d. per head of the population, and although it had been increased to that, I would remind the House that it was one of the lowest in Europe. Certainly four years ago the biggest scope seemed to be with local authorities in so far as the Arts were concerned. But only last month, I think the House will remember, we had the announcement of an imaginative venture by the Institute of Directors, who have now established an Arts Advisory Council for the benefit not only of themselves and their employees but of the community as a whole.
I do not wish to trespass further on this particular aspect, because many other speakers are to follow me, including my noble friend Lord Willis, who know much more about it than I do; but I should like to pay a tribute to Coventry. Our Belgrade Theatre was the first theatre ever to be built in this country out of public funds, and the feeling in Coventry in 1960 was that the 244 Belgrade was very much a social centre, appealing particularly to young people. I remember its being said that this theatre had the youngest audience in the country. I am sure we shall all agree that the provision of art galleries, museums, the maintaining of first-class orchestras and the building of theatres must be included in any concept of leisure, as must the provision of youth hostels and the development of facilities for physical recreation and sport.
The House knows my views here and all I want to add is an expression of deep gratitude and appreciation to the L.C.C. for the wonderful gesture they have made in giving the nation the Crystal Palace National Recreation Centre. This, my Lords, is not only a wonderful gesture: to date it has cost the L.C.C. some £2¾-million. The Central Council of Physical Recreation is running this centre for the L.C.C., and we have been meeting since the summer of 1961 in order to see what has to be done. In spite of many difficulties, the opening is to be in July; indeed, I should have been there now if I had not been fortunate enough to be detained in your Lordships' House. I hope that everyone who can will go and see this centre. It should make a major contribution to the leisure and recreation of many people of all ages.
My Lords, I want to come to another aspect, to the social consequences of leisure to which I made reference earlier. This is a problem of to-morrow to be dealt with to-day. There is no need for me to tell people much better informed than myself that automatic machinery is expensive: to make it pay, it must be used round the clock. Is it possible to have bigger wage packets, more production and shorter hours? Yes, my Lords: but only if shift work is accepted to keep the machines going. This would affect the private lives of all workers of all grades. Will people be prepared to accept it? What will the reaction be when the usual weekend of leisure is sometimes exchanged for days off in the middle of the week? What effect will this have on family life—with father having his days off when the children are at school? What will sports fans say when Saturday shifts stop them going to events which are at present part of their lives? Obviously conventional ideas will have to go. 245 In connection with this, I wonder whether I might just mention an article in the Daily Herald, which had the heading "Working round the clock" and was dated November 12 last. In this article they said:Employers and trade unions have not come to grips with these problems yet. The T.U.C. have no official policy on three-shift workings. The Federation of British Industry have called for more shift working to make Britain more competitive with other countries.The Ministry of Labour said yesterday: 'We have no figures on this subject later than a 1954 survey'.… All this emphasises what the Industrial Welfare Society discovered in a shift-work survey earlier this year:"—that was 1963—workers will accept three shifts if they are first convinced it is economically necessary and if approached in a reasonable way.When we get down to a 24-hour week—and I would hasten to say we are looking at the future to-day—need this mean a 6-hour working day, with three days off during the week right through the year? It need not. But it will tax the imagination and the wisdom of both sides of industry. What would be wrong with a 7-hour working day for five days a week but only eight months a year, leaving the workers with four clear months of leisure with pay? When I first aired this thought in 1958 I suggested that people might care to use that sort of leisure to take a trip on one of the gigantic liners then being built for the America-Europe Travel Project, which aimed at fares ordinary people could afford. I remember saying then that at least that would give us the opportunity to get to know each other better on both sides of the Atlantic, or anywhere else for that matter, and I thought it would be a better investment for the future than any bomb—and I hasten to say I am not a unilateralist.
And if some people say this is crazy thinking, at least I am in good company, because Mr. Ray Gunter as recently as June 26 last said that automation will eventually mean a 25-hour week and three months holiday a year. With automation and more leisure on its way, world tourism and the whole business of holidays at home and abroad becomes more important each year.
If people were given the choice, if all of us and both sides of industry were prepared to use our imagination and 246 look ahead, how would anyone who works like to apportion his leisure time? Given shorter hours, would he choose the shorter day throughout the year, would he choose a longer day and a shorter week, or would he choose a longer day, a longer week and four months off?
With variations like this for workers within particular industries, productive equipment could be kept going right round the clock, and there is no reason why Monday and Tuesday should not prove to be equally as good a time off as week-ends. Developments like this are not impossible; they are merely different.
A successful scientific revolution such as we are talking about to-day must mean that people will have more time for the Arts and pleasures of life, and to give more voluntary service. I think one of the most fascinating and thought-provoking areas for any development of leisure must be the aspect of newspapers, of reading and of related angles, and this would have been discussed to-day by the noble Lord, Lord Thomson of Fleet, had he not, unfortunately for me and I think for your Lordships, been in Canada.
I hope it has been clear in what I have been trying to say that I am not for one minute suggesting that leisure should be organised for us, but I believe that we in Parliament have a responsibility, a responsibility of advocating the provision of a real choice of the best possible facilities for our nation to enjoy any leisure that comes their way. I think this is one of the great problems of our time. Looking at to-day's list of speakers and adding to it those who spoke on April 8, I am quite convinced that this House has a contribution to make. It seemed to me that my task in opening our discussion to-day was to try to paint a background against which so much expertise could speak—expertise, if I may say so, of considerable standing in our national life, and which I know is intending to cover most major aspects of this huge subject: the provision of facilities to enjoy leisure, the widening of all our minds to appreciate the possibilities, the adventure of welcoming this great intimidating fact of expanding leisure. This must be for us, this must be for the Britain of the future, this is, 247 a challenge for us to-day. I beg to move for Papers.
§ 3.25 p.m.
THE EARL OF ARRAN
My Lords, I am very glad to be taking part once more in a debate on leisure, and I think the whole House is in the noble Lady's debt. I had the honour of introducing a Motion on this subject some four year, ago, and we had quite a remarkable debate. This time there are even more speakers, and I believe that we may get even further than we did on the previous occasion. People are waking up more and more to this problem of leisure as it becomes more actual; and many I believe, like myself, are anxious. For when we discuss leisure and its uses we are, in fact, discussing human happiness. If we are not happy in our leisure when shall we be happy? It is on this aspect that I should like to speak, very briefly, this afternoon. I hope that in so doing I shall not be straying too far from the point.
I confess to deep concern about our progress in the search for happiness—and when I say "our" I refer not only to people in this country, but to those all over the world who are concerned with improving the state of man. The better off we become in material things—and that, of course, includes our increasing opportunities for leisure—the greater our discontent. Almost it seems as though in our successful pursuit of what we believe to be right and good we have lost our way. For decades, indeed for centuries, we have been trying, slowly, to redress the material injustices and to achieve that millennium when all shall be equal in opportunity, at least. We have laboured onwards in the firmly held belief that when poverty and inhumanity are removed from us we shall have found the answer to everything. And just at the moment when we seem to be nearing our goal, suddenly it seems that we may have been chasing a mirage; suddenly our conception of what is good for man is in danger of turning to dust and ashes.
For where have we got to? What is the progress report? On the credit side we have in certain places, in certain countries if you like, removed the evil things which needed to be removed. Our standards of living are high—almost 248 unbelievably high. In Western Europe, at least, few people starve. But in these much-blessed places, while the obvious causes of distress have disappeared, is the total of human happiness any greater than it ever was? I should like to think so, but the evidence is rather disheartening. Naturally one looks first to those countries which have solved their social problems. I think particularly of the Scandinavian countries and Switzerland. These countries are the prototypes of the new civilisation, of the brave new world. They are very important. Mr. Nehru, I am told, suddenly interjected, in some Commonwealth debate or other, "What is happening in Sweden?" What indeed? As I pointed out in our last debate, the pattern there is one of divorce, illegitimacy, promiscuity and suicide. They are so happy they shoot themselves. In Denmark much the same is true. In Switzerland, too. And oh! the dullness and the unimaginativeness of those peoples! As for the United States, where so many people have so much, are things much better there?
It is clearly right that we should continue to press on in our attempt to bring material prosperity to mankind. But what lies at the end of it? My anxiety is that, having finally achieved this, having dispelled the wants and fears which have bedevilled mankind since the beginning, we may be brought up with a jerk and suddenly find ourselves in a vacuum—all dressed up, as it were, and nowhere to go. "You've never had it so good"—that silliest and most misleading of slogans—may turn out to be "You've never had it so bad".
So far, I have struck a sombre note which is out of keeping with my normally cheerful attitude to life and its blessings. Things, of course, are not as bad as all that, and I refuse to believe that man's age-long search for social justice has been in vain. Otherwise, we might as well pack up and go home. All the same, there are things that we have to face. We must surely admit that the Utopias promised to us by the politicians are chimeras, and that, whatever Party gets in next time, or at any time (and I personally do not see any great difference between them; the whole thing seems to be terribly artificial) we shall not be much better or worse off 249 in the things that really count. We have to accept the fact that the material millennium will not be the spiritual millennium. Above all, we must face the inexorable truth that man is happy only when his mind or his body is occupied. when he is striving for something. That is why I so wholeheartedly agree with the noble Baroness that this problem of leisure is perhaps the greatest of all problems for us, and even more for our children.
In our last debate I did not suggest practical solutions—I am not a practical man. What I ventured to do was to point to the places where I thought the answers might be found. I thought of the education authorities; I thought of the Churches; I thought of the trade unions. To what extent in the four years since our last debate have they come to grips with this business? Doubtless they will tell us to-day. Last time, quite frankly, I felt that they had not given much thought to the matter. I am particularly sorry that the noble Lord, Lord Williamson, will not be here to-day. As a keen union man myself, I am sometimes worried lest in their anxiety to get immediate material benefits for their people the unions ignore the longer-term issues. I believe that unless they think ahead they will become out-dated and lose their purpose. I would say the same about the Churches who, after a long and unprofitable sleep, are beginning finally to realise that Christianity is not just dogma and dogfights.
I hope that I have not been tempted too far from the path which lies before us this afternoon. But the subject, by its very breadth, has given me the opportunity to say things which I have long wanted to say. Last year I tried to initiate a debate in your Lordships' House on happiness. I was told that there was no Government responsibility. This struck me as quite ridiculous. If Governments are not concerned with the happiness of the electorate, what are they there for? Frankly, I find the future a little frightening. I think it possible that we may discover that for centuries we have been worshipping false gods. It may be that everything will be all right on the day. As the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, said last time, things tend to work them- 250 selves out in the end; and, whatever the new and ghastly Utopia which awaits us, there will always remain, thank God! the glorious vagaries and diversities of human nature, the things which make one man different from another. None the less, I think that we should be prepared, actively prepared, for more prosperity and for more leisure, lest when they come upon us we find ourselves truly perplexed.
§ 3.36 p.m.
§ LORD AMULREE
My Lords, I want to make what I trust will be an extremely short intervention in this debate, and to talk about two types of people who really have had leisure thrust upon them. whether they want it or not. The first type of people to whom I shall refer are those elderly folk who retire. I was told a sad thing when I was working in the Civil Service before, during and after the war—namely, that when civil servants retired their average expectation of life was about two years because they had nothing whatever to do with themselves when they retired, and so they died simply from boredom. I think that was rather an exaggeration, but it was certainly borne out by certain facts which one saw at the time.
There comes a time, with men particularly, when the moment of retirement has a particularly bad impact upon them, because they lose their status in their family, they have a big drop in their income, and quite a number of them have nothing to do and they become extremely bored. The type of men I refer to particularly are the manual workers—the people whose real asset when they were working was their physical strength rather than their mental skill or powers. Those whom we call "white collar" workers are peculiarly of the type who do skilled work, and generally go on working when the moment for retirement should have come. They go on working partly because they want the extra money which comes in from that work; but they do it also for the companionship of the people they work with. They do not, therefore, feel lonely and bored.
I think the same does not apply with women, although one can say that they rarely retire in the sense that they are keeping house and doing housework. They have quite a lot of spare time and 251 leisure. I think one finds among those men and women a great feeling of loneliness and isolation, particularly when their family has grown up and gone away; possibly when their spouse has died or their friends have gone away.
As I have mentioned before, that leads to all sorts of physical and mental troubles, in the sense that they decay, they degenerate physically and mentally, and that leads finally to mental or physical disease, which calls for some sort of care. One can say, quite rightly, that a certain number of people do not do that. They live rather lonely and isolated lives, but they are quite well. One can say that a certain number of people keep on working, and therefore they do not seem to decay. It is rather a question of whether they work because they are fit, or whether they are fit because they work. That is a point which I do not think can be decided. It is rather like the problem of whether it was the egg or the hen which came first. That is a point which I think will never be decided, either. I am quite sure that if we can make some good arrangements for these people when they retire into their enforced leisure, we can save a great deal of expense and trouble in the future. That would be a good example of preventive medicine.
Your Lordships may say that it is all very well for me to talk in that kind of way, so I should like to suggest something that could be done to put my ideas into practice. There is not a great deal I can suggest, but various people are now taking an interest in people being trained for retirement. I will not go into great detail, but there is a very good council in Glasgow which does a great deal of work on these lines, and similar work is being done in the United States of America. These are matters which want inquiring into. If there is this large amount of experience to be obtained, we need somebody to go into the matter to try to analyse it and see whether or not it is going to be of value.
The other thing which can be of great value is to find some kind of simple task for these people to do. There is a body called Employment for the 252 Elderly, which has set up workshops for the elderly in various parts of the country. People can come together there for half a day at a time and do what are called simple repetitive tasks, for which they get a certain amount of money. These tasks have to be set them by consultation with local shops and trades people to find out what kind of work they require. There is no point in getting people to sit down to do work which nobody can sell. That seems to me a good project, and there have been one or two workshops, notably in the borough of Finsbury, where there has been a successful shop, which have done a great deal of good for people who otherwise would have had to come in for some kind of care and attention. It is not easy for people to find simple, modified jobs to do when they retire. Generally, the most exciting job they can get is to become a public lavatory attendant, and one cannot call that a very inspiring job, although it is a very valuable one. I am quite sure this problem will become larger. More people will be retiring, more people will have leisure forced on them, and it seems to me that it is time some inquiry was set on foot as to the best way to cope with these people.
There is another class of people who, again, have leisure forced upon them, and that is the patients who go into hospital. I do not mean the ones who go in for a short time with an acute illness and who are there perhaps for only a fortnight, for with them it is no real problem. I am referring to the longer-stay patients. This was brought home to me by a cousin of mine, a very intelligent person, who unfortunately broke her leg, was taken to hospital and was there for twelve weeks or more. She wrote to me and said that the boredom of being in hospital was almost more than she could bear, lying in bed with absolutely nothing to do. I am sure the same thing must apply to people who go into homes, people with really long-term illnesses who go into places where they are taken care of and are well looked after, but where absolutely nothing is done to keep them interested.
§ VISCOUNT MONTGOMERY OF ALAMEIN
My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord one question? He has paid great attention to leisure time when one retires. I should have thought that the 253 much more urgent question is to teach the young people of to-day how to use their leisure time as they grow up. Is that not a matter of education? Should it not begin initially in the home and be carried on in the school? It is no good waiting for him to become a lavatory attendant.
§ LORD AMULREE
The noble and gallant Field Marshal is quite right. It should begin at school, but, unfortunately, we have a large number of people to whom the same problem applies who went to school a long time ago, and it will be a long time before we can catch up on the matter. I agree that we should start when they are that age rather than wait until they are 95.
Having put in my word for patients in homes and hospitals, I should like to say that although there are not a large number of elderly people who can do full-time jobs, one wants to get as much work as one can for them. One would like to see them working on a production basis so that they feel they are actually contributing something to the world, rather than working in arts and crafts just to keep them amused. That is why I am grateful the noble Baroness has initiated this debate, for it has enabled me to put these points to your Lordships.
§ 3.47 p.m.
THE LORD BISHOP OF CHESTER
My Lords, I should like to add my word of gratitude and congratulation to the noble Lady for the ability and charm with which she has introduced this important subject. There are few Members of your Lordships' House who have been able to use leisure to such a profitable extent as has the noble Lady herself, and we are grateful to her for having spoken from the background of her own personal experience.
It is implicit in this debate that we shall all have at our disposal in the future a great deal more time than is needed for the earning of our living. The introduction of labour-saving devices and automatic processes, both in industry and in the home, will increasingly require less and less time to be devoted to the business of making and distributing things, and will make available more and more time which may be devoted to activities that are 254 not required of us, forced upon us by the exigencies of economic demands. This situation suggests, as the noble Lady has suggested, a strange reversal of our previous experience. In the past, apart from those whose affluence meant that they did not need to work, the necessity of not having to work has all too often been imposed upon men by the tragedy of economic recession. It now appears that the necessity of not having to work in the future as we have done in the past will be the lot of all men and will become part of our system of life, not through economic disaster but because of economic efficiency and prosperity. The curious turn of the wheel can produce the same state of affairs from directly opposite circumstances.
We need the experts to tell us the extent of the changes to which we can look forward, though it needs little imagination to picture the radical nature of the changes in our outlook and behaviour which will come when work, though far from being the major preoccupation of men's lives, becomes merely an incident in them. Some of us will be less influenced than others, for automation cannot be introduced in the training of men's minds, the health of their bodies, and the pastoral care of their souls. Yet even in these departments changes will come. I envisage, for instance, in my own vocation that there will be a great increase in the number of those who offer themselves for ordination to a part-time ministry, so that their leisure may be profitably used in the service of the Church. We have long known the priest scholar, the priest teacher, the priest doctor, and the priest farmer. Why not in the future the priest civil servant, the priest scientist, the priest businessman, the worker priest?
But the point this debate must bring home is that this increased leisure is fraught with great possibilities not only for the increase of man's happiness but also for his suffering. The release from the wearisome drudgery of work which demands the greater part of man's time and leaves him little opportunity for recreation must, if rightly used, be a source of untold blessing. Coupled to the increased opportunities for travel, for appreciating and practising the Arts, for taking healthy exercise, the new leisure which has already come into 255 men's lives must be the gateway to a world which has too often in the past been the privilege of the few. But leisure, whether it comes from prosperity or adversity, can, if it is not understood and provided for, prove to be a curse rather than a blessing.
Most of us, especially in our more harrassed moments, will have some sympathy with the sentiment expressed on the tombstone of a charwoman who had spent her life working her fingers to the bone, thatShe has gone to Heaven to do nothing for ever and ever.Undoubtedly, it is sometimes heaven to have to do nothing. But, equally, we know that such a state in the long run would be not heaven but hell. We have seen the searing effect which enforced idleness can have upon men's characters, and we should recognise that misused or unused leisure, the boredom of having time on our hands, is one of the major causes of misery and misbehaviour.
The difficulty is that one cannot directly train people to use their leisure, for it is of the essence of leisure that it should be free, and at the disposal of the individual to use as he is moved. Most of us know the disastrous effect which deliberate training can have upon one's appreciation of things which, had we not been forced to accept them, could have been thrilling and satisfying. The romance of the life of St. Paul has been darkened for many of us by having to learn his missionary journeys by rote. The profundity and beauty of a Shakespeare play has been lost by having to do it for the school certificate or the G.C.E. If young people suspect that in education for leisure they are being got at and improved by the "do-gooders", they will soon react by rejecting those activities which in leisure could be a source of satisfaction simply because they have been dulled in the classroom.
The leisure which is increasingly made available will be a challenge to the whole personality and to the overall education which each has received. Men will not use their leisure wisely and well because they have been trained to specific activities which will keep them busy and out of mischief, but because they are educated in the fullest sense and are 256 capable of appreciating their opportunities and fitting themselves to take advantages of them.
However, the facilities and the incentives must be available to those who wish to profit from them, and it is at this point that the public authority should be ready to give guidance and encouragement. One of the most obvious ways that this can be done is in the realm of sporting activities, for they are clearly one of the most wholesome uses of leisure. Since the publication of the Report of the Wolfenden Committee on Sport, and the debate on it in your Lordships' House, the Government have done much and this should be duly recognised. Grants for coaching schemes and administration have greatly increased; financial help to the Central Council for Physical Recreation and the National Playing Fields Association have relieved those organisations of a good deal of their burden; grants to local voluntary sports bodies under the Physical Training and Recreation Act have been more generous; there has been better co-ordination between the various Ministries concerned with the provision of sporting facilities; larger grants have been made to overseas teams, valuable surveys have been carried out and increased expenditure, generally, has been stimulated.
I do not think that sufficient credit has been given to Her Majesty's Government for what has been done, but the reason for this lack of appreciation, I would suggest, is that most people do not know that it has been done. With all this increased aid there is still lacking the incentive and the imaginative presentation which will give a new look to all that is being done. There is an air of improvisation and a lack of continuity in the policies of Her Majesty's Government. No permanent section has been created in the Department of Education and Science to cope with the complicated and specialised problems of giving aid to sport. I still believe that the need for a Sports Development Council is as great as ever, and I hope that Her Majesty's Government will look at this matter again.
One of the points which the Wolfenden Committee emphasised was what it called the gap, the gap between school age and adulthood. Many children 257 learn to play games at school but never go on to play games after they have left school. My experience leads me to think that this gap is not confined to sporting activities. Children are to-day given excellent opportunities for learning cultural and creative activities of a wide variety at school. Do they continue these interests after school? No doubt, like many of your Lordships, I attend a great many school speech days. The proceedings are generally embellished by musical performances of a very high order. There is good singing and good instrumental playing of good music. I have often asked myself: what happens to these performers? I doubt whether they have learnt to carry on in choral singing, in participation in orchestras, in support of opera, concerts and so on, and there is here, so I believe, a gap. If this volume of effort and expert tuition is largely running to waste, there ought to be careful investigation to discover why these opportunities are not bearing fruit in the leisure occupation of those who have been given such excellent training at school.
At the risk of being repetitive, it must be asserted again and again in this debate that the future prospects of increased leisure present us with wonderful opportunities for the enriching of men's lives, and fearful possibilities for their self-destruction. If life becomes too easy, if men are deprived of the element of challenge, then all too easily they become soft and the good things within their grasp become Dead Sea fruit in their mouths. The increased leisure that will come into the lives of all of us requires us to ask where it is that we, and especially our young people, are going to find the causes which will call forth our idealism, our discipline, our self-sacrifice. In the past, paradoxically enough, these things have all too often been found in war where so many, in Noel Coward's words, founda strange heaven in the midst of unbelievable hell.That challenge will, we pray, not come again, for even if there were to be another war, which God forbid!, it would give little opportunity for heroism or sacrifice.
We must look else where for this essential ingredient for men's happiness. I believe it is to be found in the reawaken- 258 ing of the need for service and the readiness of those who have leisure to use it in responding to the expanding opportunities which the needs of the world present. Voluntary Service Overseas has paved the way. The recent debate in your Lordships' House on the Welfare Services has reminded us of the demand here at home. There is a great need for an imaginative and forceful effort to bring to the notice of our people the ways in which they may use their leisure time in service to those less fortunate than themselves. If our new-found leisure is used solely in self-satisfaction, it will destroy us. If, as a result of the opportunity it provides, time and talent are used to relieve those in need, it will prove to be, as it should be, a source of strength to our nation and happiness to our people.
§ 4.2 p.m.
§ LORD WILLIS
My Lords, in my contribution to this debate I wish to touch, in particular, on the problem of young people. Before I come on to this in detail, I should like to thank my noble friend Lady Burton of Coventry for having put down this Motion. As she knows, I was most anxious that this subject should be debated, because it had appeared to me that we never seemed to find, in this House or in the other place, sufficient leisure to discuss leisure, although it is a vital and important problem.
The result of much that we discuss in your Lordships' House is directed towards the problem of increasing the available resources of this country; towards increasing production, more productivity. This is the Golden Fleece that every political Jason nails to his masthead—increased productivity. But this time we have the opportunity in this debate to ask the questions: what is this for? Why? Of course, increased production is vital, but it cannot be an end in itself. It will make us richer, we hope; it will end more of the poverty, we hope. But for what purpose? What comes then? The world is moving forward at breathtaking speed. Every year, every week, almost every day, our scientists and our technicians make discoveries which can change and reorganise our lives and the lives of our children: but we seem to be caught up so much with the day-to-day rush of our 259 present-day problems that we are never able to look into this problem.
I hope your Lordships will forgive me if I agree immediately with the noble Earl, Lord Arran. It may sound naÏve or airy-fairy, but I believe that the object of Government must be to improve the human condition; to increase the sum total of human happiness. I wish we had a department of human happiness in the Government. We may differ on ways and means and priorities —indeed, we on this side very often differ from the noble Lords on the other side—and it is not always easy to achieve a balance. Very often, for example, you increase the happiness of the landlord at the expense of the tenant, or the other way round. But, by and large, the common aim is to increase the total sum of happiness. And—a new factor in this situation—the incredible thing is that to-day we have available the means to make this possible for the first time in human history. For the first time in five hundred generations of human life we have the opportunity to create human happiness.
It is possible to exaggerate, and I know we have a long way to go yet. Above all, we must learn to control the forces that science is releasing for us, so that we do not destroy ourselves in another war. But if we can do this, then who can doubt that, on this island at least, we are within reach of the basic target of all human endeavour?—that is, we are providing the material needs and the leisure for everyone to enjoy a rich and varied life. Previous societies were divided into the leisured classes and the others. To a great extent that distinction no longer applies: leisure has become the right and the privilege of all; and this, as I say, is the basic and new feature in the situation that we have to face. Moreover, we have to face this fact, also. The amount of leisure is going to increase, as other speakers have indicated. The Americans have estimated that by the year 2000 their population will double, but the demand for outdoor recreational facilities will treble. Our population is expected to increase by half as much again by the year 2000, and I think it is fair to say that our demand for outdoor recreational facilities will, at the same time, treble. This gives some 260 idea of the scope and extent of the problem.
To me, the central dilemma we are facing with regard to leisure to-day—and it is going to increase to-morrow—can be illustrated by one simple example. Take John Smith, who has worked a full week in a factory in the city. He decides he would like to take a day off on Sunday and take his family down to the seaside for a breath of sea air. A thoughtful society has provided him with full employment and a 40-hour week, so that he has the time and means to do this, and has provided him with the mobility to do it in the shape of a motor car. What happens? He finds that a few million other people have the same idea. He finds his mobility is reduced to nothing as he gets stuck, bumper to bumper, behind other cars, and he spends half his precious leisure stuck in a car breathing exhaust fumes instead of sea air. That is a slight exaggeration, but I think it brings home the problem. The simple fact in that respect is that our road building has not kept pace with the growth of car population. To take the analogy further, the arrangements we are making in the shape of facilities for leisure are not keeping pace with the increasing demands of leisure.
Let me come now to the particular problem of young people and leisure. This is the group, the teenagers, which is always in the news. A small proportion have, in a sense, no basic problem at the moment so far as leisure is concerned, because they are grammar school boys and college boys who will eventually go up to universities. Their time is either fully occupied with studies—and I can speak on this because I have an eighteen-year-old son who is in that position at the moment—or, for when they have leisure, there are ample facilities in the colleges, as in most universities, for recreation fields, rugger fields, halls, tennis courts and so forth; theatres, debating societies, film societies and so on. These facilities are all part of the life of the boys of the grammar schools, who then go on to universities. Society, quite rightly, provides these lads and girls with these things, and the result is that in the universities and colleges we have in these boys and girls an exciting and intelligent cross-section of young people who are restless, 261 questioning and critical. This is no bad thing, and we should not resent it, as so many older people seem to do. It is the function of the younger generation to challenge the values and standards of the older generation. They are not always right, but their challenge is vital and honest. It is in this clash between the two standards and two values that new standards and new values arise for the future.
That is one thing. But consider the position of the young people who leave school at 15—the great majority. The new factor here is that they have more leisure than ever before—leisure without fear, without restraint—and they have money in their pockets. This is the first generation ever to be in this situation. This is a new problem. One can say that they are better off than they have ever been, and better off than their fathers ever were; and in one sense that is true. Yet time and again we hear that they are bored; we hear this word "boredom". I am not talking about the extreme fringe; I am not talking about the long-haired lavender cowboys, with their high heels and mascara make-up: I am talking about the average run of young people who leave school at fifteen. Some adults react in anger at this problem. They say: "They have more money than we ever had; they are better off than we ever were; they are too soft and we spoon feed them too much". That reaction is understandable; but it is rather stupid. Does anybody doubt that if—which God forbid!—there were ever another war these young men and women we are now criticising would give as devoted service as their fathers did in the past?
My Lords, there is nothing basically wrong with young people. We ought to consider a few facts before we blame them. First of all, let us remember that society has in some senses branded them as failures. I know that great care is taken in the Ministry of Education and by the educational authorities not to talk of boys who do not pass the 11-plus as failures. I know that it is regarded as a selection process and a screening process. We all know that. But the pressures of society, parents and communities are such that these boys are regarded as the riot-so-clever, as the ones who have been held back, the 262 ones who have failed. How often, in fact, does one hear the words: "He has passed his 11-plus" or "He has failed his 11-plus". They are branded with failure. They leave school at fifteen, the age when there is bound to be a reaction of any normal young person against the discipline of both school and parents. They are treated like adults in many respects; they go to work, as their fathers do; they bring home a pay packet, like father does; they have the urge to be adults and to behave as independent human beings and, in addition, they have all kinds of biological problems seething inside them.
In addition—and this is one of the curious paradoxes of our present progress in education—many of the natural leaders of these young people have been creamed off by our educational system. I am sure that if my old friend, Lord Lawson, or Ernie Bevin had been youngsters to-day they would have gone to grammar schools and then to university and would have been in a special stream, separated from the vast majority of young people. These young people have lost these natural leaders. On the whole they go into the dullest and the least exciting jobs, where there is a great decline in skills and training, and they are often unable to follow their fathers or take the same pride in craftsmanship that their fathers did. The other day I heard of a steel erector, a "spiderman", one of those proud men who take great risks in their job. Their job is dying out to-day because of the introduction of pre-stressed concrete, or something like that about which I do not much understand; but the steel erector, the "spiderman", is going out, and the boys cannot follow their father. In a sense, they feel deprived because of this. One of them is working now as a tailor in a shop and he feels that this is a "cissie" job.
These are the young men and women who explode on to our streets every year in their hundreds and thousands. And what do they find? Nothing!—little more than nothing! Most of our towns, from the point of view of these young people, are dead and lifeless deserts with tiny, cheap coffee bars and record shops, like neon oases, here and there. In one locality that I know young people crowd into an automatic launderette with their 263 guitars to play songs because it is the one place they can find in which to amuse themselves. Their jobs are grey; their streets are grey and there is no real outlet for their natural exuberance and restlessness. I do not want to exaggerate. Many of these young people adapt themselves and find outlets, are reached by social workers, and so on; but many do not. And all the time we, the older generation, are responsible for building up the pressures and tensions which surround these young people.
No generation in history has been subject to such pressures as this generation. Through television, films, pulp papers, they imbibe, day after day, false values and the doctrine of cheap success. "Success is all that matters." This phrase is screamed at them day after day. You, too, can be a beauty queen, and win £1,000 and a Hollywood contract." Advertisements are beamed at them with the intensity of a laser ray. "You can have a skin like a film star if you use this soap"—with the implication that if you use it, you might even become a film star. "You will get your girl if you use this hair cream"; "Real men smoke such-and-such cigarettes", and so on. They read headlines about themselves in the Press and begin to believe their own publicity and to live up to their own image. Is it any wonder that a small proportion of them seek to intensify their lives by desperate remedies and that the very small lunatic fringe do so by drink, noise and drugs because they cannot stand the pressure? A tremendous number seek further intensity for their lives and further colour in other things; they turn to weird clothes, motor-cycles, "pop" music, and so on.
Two or three years ago, I was working on a television play about young people. I spent a good deal of time with what we used to call the "corner boys". One of them said to me in relation to his motor-cycle: "When I am on my bike doing 'a ton', I feel somebody". There is a tremendous lot to be learned from a statement like that. Without his motor-bike, he felt like nothing. These machines take them out of the cities, give them the thrill, danger and excitement which is lacking in their own lives. It is much 264 the same with popular music. During the last few years there has been a fantastic development in popular music—this tidal wave of noise and frenetic energy under which we are in danger of becoming submerged. I am glad to see that Richard Hoggart has been appointed to make an inquiry into this.
But the reasons for this wild development are not very hard to find. There was a vacuum there: and it had to be filled. We did not fill it, so they filled it themselves. So we have the age of the Beatles. What is the attraction and appeal of a group like the Beatles to modern youngsters? It is not hard to find. "They are ordinary lads, just like you and me"—this is what the people say. "They did it; and I can do it." They are alive, noisy, enthusiastic, and they are technically very good. It is all a matter of admiration. They are colourful and different; they thumb their noses at the adult world and its conventions. They are successful, they are objects of envy; and by listening to the Beatles and others like them young people can get companionship with others of their own age.
Let us face it: a great deal of this process is natural and inevitable; but a lot of it—too much of it—is artificially created. The teenage market in this country is worth £30 million a year; and this is obviously going to attract a few people who feel they can make a "quick buck" out of it. Many commercial interests have exploited and whipped up this movement and created more publicity for it. I read a newspaper report about some of the side Products of the Beatles industry. There were wigs, sweaters, headbands, shoes, bracelets, belts, boots, tiepins, dolls with cornflakes, and millions of pictures. One firm making plastic busts of Shakespeare for the 400th anniversary discovered they were not making enough money, and turned to making plastic busts of the Beatles.
My Lords, there is no sign of an end to the deluge. One "pop" group after the other comes forward to fill the vacuum. And what is the attitude of the older generation? The attitude is: "If you can't lick 'em, join 'em." We have the spectacle of many grave, reverend and learned seigneurs climbing on the Beatles' bandwaggon. The 265 attitude seems to me—and it seems to me an attitude of complete defeat—that "It keeps them busy; it keeps them off the streets"—as if this were enough. Let me read a little quotation about the Beatles.They herald a cultural movement among the young which may become part of the history of our time … something important and heartening is happening here. The young are rejecting the sloppy standards of their elders … they have discerned dimly that in a world of automation, declining craftsmanship and increased leisure, something of this kind is essential to restore the human instinct to excel at something and the human faculty of discrimination.A statement like that would be funny, if it were not so tragic; and it was made, I am afraid, by the Minister responsible for Information, Sir William Deedes.
Are we going to have a situation in which other centuries will look back and say that the eighteenth century was the century of Bach and Beethoven, the nineteenth century was the century of Brahms, and the twentieth century was the century of Beatles and Bingo? Say all the things you like about the Beatles, and I will join with you. Say that they are likely, youthful, relatively harmless. But surely we have a higher responsibility than that. We have to ask: is it enough? This is not culture. This is a cult—a cheap, plastic, candyfloss substitute for culture. And somebody should have the courage to say so. it fulfils some basic psychological function as primitive as the war dances of savage and backward people. It is an act of worship of "phoney" idols, a release from drudgery and greyness, an artificial and temporary breakthrough to excitement, a ritual "pep pill"—and that is all one can say of it. We ought not to go under in the tidal wave. Somebody ought to make a stand. Somebody ought to say boldly, "This is not enough." Above all, we ought to see that the fault lies not with them but with us. We are the people who left the vacuum that has to be filled.
My Lords, Carlyle said:The great law of culture is: let each become all that he is capable of being.I should like that written up in all Government offices. This is the job of the Government, to provide the means whereby all young people can develop 266 full and rich lives. I agree that we cannot legislate for leisure. That would be wrong. Leisure in itself is freedom. Every man must be free to use his leisure as he wishes, provided that he does not encroach on the liberty and leisure of others. We cannot tell a man what book to read, but we can build a library and stock it with a variety of books, and then encourage him to use them. That is what we can do—build libraries, speaking in the wider sense.
Nor can we impose culture from the top. My friend Arnold Wesker made a brave and gallant attempt to do this, but it cannot be done from the top. As the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Chester said, one cannot be a "do-gooder" in culture. People resent it; they resent people coming down to do good to them. We can only provide the conditions in which a thousand different plants can grow and produce a thousand different blossoms in their own way. This is where the weakness lies, because we do not provide the conditions or the facilities.
We are a wealthy nation, and our democratic and cultural traditions are the envy of others. Our roll of honour includes Shakespeare, Dickens, the Brontes, Congreve, Sheridan, Turner, Wren, Gainsborough, Reynolds, Purcell, Delius, Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Britten, Burbage, Garrick, Kean, Olivier, Gielgud, Ashcroft and thousands of others. Our actors, our companies, our young film-makers are welcomed all over the world wherever they go. We have wonderful cause to be proud of our cultural traditions and heritage; yet as a nation—and this is the contradiction—we adopt towards the Arts in general the attitude of Philistines and barbarians. We are as miserly as Scrooge. The noble Lord, Lord Derwent, in reply to a question that I raised the other day, said, "We always do things better" in this country. Alas! I weep. I wish i[...] were true. We give to our theatres all over the country less than certain cities in Western Germany give to their one single theatre. That is but one example. Time and again one reads that our young people have to travel miles to train for the Olympics because there is not a swimming bath where they live. I live very near Bromley, which has a Conservative, but a very good and progressive, Council, which is going to put up a new 267 theatre building. But at the same time they have plans for a multi-storey car park next the railway station. We already have a large number of car parks in Bromley (they are very progressive about that), but they are going to have another one, at a cost of something like £300,000—and of course it will bring trade to the borough by bringing people with cars—but the plan for a youth centre in Bromley is on the shelf. I ask what is the priority in this day and age? It is difficult to say, I admit, but my view is that the youth centre should come down off the shelf.
It is time, I think, that we faced this problem squarely, and said to the leaders of the Government—to all politicians, in fact—that there is no point in a scientific revolution unless there is a cultural revolution, too; and this is what we need. There is no point in building muscle if the mind is neglected. There is no point in training workers in new skills to face the age of automation, if we neglect to help them to find also new cultural and spiritual development. It does not take a genius to see what must be done. I should like to give one or two points. To clear the way, we should start in the schools, by rousing the interest and stimulating the imagination there. I do not believe that enough of this is done, even yet. There is still too much cramming for examinations and not enough reliance on the stimulating of the imagination and the development of an all-round mind.
I think that we must overhaul the Service of Youth; give it more money, instead of the tiny dribs and drabs given to it now, and more help and more buildings. Let us make a big drive to recruit and train voluntary youth leaders from all sections of the community. Let us take the initiative in appealing to them to come forward and help in this field. We must build youth and cultural centres throughout the country. Let us use the facilities that exist. In many schools, for example, facilities lie unused through great portions of the week-end, or have days reserved only for the boys at school. The University of Hull, for example, is to spend a great deal of money on a theatre and playing fields for its students. Fine! I am all in agreement. But let the other children 268 in Hull use it during some part of the week, or let them have a pari-passu kind of arrangement, so that one section of the community is not neglected at the expense of the other.
Let us try to harness the energy and daring of youth and extend schemes like the Duke of Edinburgh's Award and others; make them more popular, better known, and widen the basis on which youth can take part. Let us develop civic pride in various projects, and let our young people take an interest in these. A couple of years ago was in Australia where a small town, about the size of Amersham, had opened an Olympics-size swimming pool. I asked how they did it and was told that they ran a big campaign to raise the money in the town. They got something from the shire authority, and then they got the young people to dig the site. They had three good swimmers who they hoped would go to the Olympics. Why canot we do this? Again, where I live there are hardly any facilities for swimming. I am sure that we could get the money and the voluntary work if an appeal were made in the right way. Let us also give a new look, without prejudice, at some of the old-established youth organisations. Are the Scouts and the Guides, which have done such valuable work in the past, really "with it" to-day? Is there not a great deal more they could do to modernise their particular appeal to young people?
Could we not increase the subsidies, in addition, to the Arts Council, and get the National Theatre to tour—to take, for example, a film of Olivier's wonderful Othello so that it could be available to hundreds of thousands of other people? Cannot we take a new look at television, and suggest that it should not blindly follow trends but play a positive part in the encouragement of young people to do these things? And if they say that television is not there to sell, but merely to entertain, let us tell them that they sell a great many cigarettes through television and there are other, better things they can help us with. I should like to see the development through television of Mr. Harold Wilson's idea of a National University of the Air.
Finally, on the development of local civic radio stations, I have noticed with 269 horror in the last week or so a revival of the campaign to allow commercial radio in this country. I hope that this will not be allowed, and that we shall stop it, because otherwise we shall merely have more airways "chugged up" with "pop" music.
People say: where is the money coming from? The money must be found, and it is there. One thousand million pounds a year goes on gambling in this country. The profit on "one-armed bandits"—that is, fruit machines—is £10 million a year. Think what the Arts Council could do with that! Why do we not nationalise the "one-armed bandits" and give the money to the Arts Council? But seriously, my Lords, why not a culture tax, as they have in some countries on the Continent, levied on juke boxes, "pop" records and authors who are out of copyright? All over the world Shakespeare goes, and he blacklegs on living authors, as George Bernard Shaw once said. If we put a one-half of one per cent. royalty on every performance of Shakespeare's plays, and on all these authors out of copyright, we could build up an enormous fund to help the Arts or the Youth Service in this country; or even if we had a national lottery, as they have in Sweden.
I apologise to your Lordships for taking so long, but. I have nearly finished. I do not pretend that this is a miracle cure; it cannot be. It will take years to get any results. But let us face the fact that youth feeds on ideas and causes, and we have to lire their imaginations and give them positive outlets. This is urgent in other ways. If you want to look at it merely commercially, may I say that there was a report of an American company who were recently trying to choose a site on which to build a new factory. They sent a representative over, and had the choice of a site in Yorkshire or a site in Germany. They chose the site in Germany, for the simple reason that the workers in the factory would have more cultural facilities and sporting facilities available in the area in Germany, and they wondered what the executives would do on a Sunday in that area of Yorkshire.
The situation is desperate. It is not a question of thinking what it will be like in the year 2000, hut of thinking what it is like now. It is so urgent and 270 desperate that. I beg the Government to launch a new cultural offensive, side by side with this new cultural revolution. We dare not forgo our responsibility for leadership in this field. We cannot leave this vacuum of leisure to be filled entirely by the "pop" promoters or the bingo merchants. We have to get our sum right; we have to get the equation right, and say that prosperity is not enough. We have to beware the third day. I should like to finish up by quoting a little of Shakespeare in relation to this subject. He says:This is the state of man: to-day he puts forthThe tender leaves of hope: tomorrow blossoms.And bears his blushing honours thick upon him:The third day comes a frost, a killing frost,And when he thinks (good easy man, full surely)His greatness is a-ripening,-nips his root And then he falls …My Lords, I think we should ponder those words.
§ 4.35 p.m.
§ BARONESS ELLIOT OF HARWOOD
My Lords, we are having an extremely interesting debate, and we are much indebted to the noble Baroness, Lady Burton of Coventry, for having put her Motion on the Order Paper and given us the opportunity to take part. I was most interested in what the noble Lord, Lord Willis, had to say, and may say that with a very great deal of what he said I entirely agree. I think he has put energy, drive and thought into this, and what he was talking about makes sense: as he said, it adds up. On that I would support the noble Lord wholeheartedly.
I was most impressed by the analysis made by the noble Baroness, Lady Burton of Coventry, of the situation which might arise out of the development of automation. First of all, it is mathematical, and then it seems to me also to be a jigsaw puzzle. How mathematical jigsaw puzzles can work out, I do not know. But the fact is that the noble Lady has put before us a very challenging picture, and it is one about which we are all concerned and to which we should all like to make some contribution. I should like, also, to support what the noble Lady said about Coventry. It is a most remarkable city. Coventry has done things since the war 271 which no other city has done, and it has shown great faith in the future. Its cathedral alone is one of the greatest buildings to be put up in my lifetime; and I am sure, also, although I have not had experience of it, that the noble Lady's reference to the theatre is absolutely true.
The fact is that in various parts of our country a tremendous amount of drive, initiative and enterprise is going on; but we want to see it spread further, and we should like to see more than we do now. I have been listening to the speeches (there are many more to follow, and I do not propose to detain your Lordships for long), but it is not easy to see exactly what can be done beyond increasing what we are at the moment trying to do. The world is divided into those people who have more leisure than they want and those who have not nearly enough leisure and no one day is long enough for all they want to do. Those who have too much leisure are, on the whole, people who indulge in rather foolish things sometimes, in order to get a kick out of it and to fill in their time.
I do not think these people are entirely divided by wealth or education. I know a lot of rich people who, it seems to me, spend their leisure time in the most foolish and unproductive ways. Equally, I know a lot of people who are not so rich who spend their leisure in interesting, wise and creative ways. Although I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Willis, that there are greater opportunities for people who go on to universities, to technical colleges and so on, it is not only a division of "haves" and "have-nots", rich and poor, or however you like to express it. The fact is that leisure is a subject on which we can exercise our own judgment and ideas, which are very varied, and one cannot legislate for them. There is no prescribing, it seems to me
The noble Lord, Lord Amulree, spoke about the leisure of the old people, about whom he knows so much. I will join forces, if I may, with the noble Lord, Lord Willis, and talk about the young, because the subject of young people is something about which I know a little, having spent some part of my life trying to discover more about it. Many years ago leisure was restricted, money was restricted and young people had not the 272 choice of the alternatives they have today. They were happy, and it may be that they were as happy, or even happier, than children are to-day. But it was quite different. The noble Baroness, Lady Burton of Coventry, is right in saying that what we are facing to-day is something absolutely different from what has been faced in any other generation.
It is that very difference which the noble Lord, Lord Willis, emphasised: the difference of choice; of having your leisure over-organised; and in the sense he was talking about "pop" music, advertising and so on, it is almost being interfered with, because you are hardly given the chance to choose. So although there is much more time and many more opportunities, there are other things which make it more difficult for young people to choose what is recreative and satisfying in the real sense, and what will give them something in life which will be of interest always.
I do not think we ought to get too much concerned about the fact that we always hear of the bad cases and not of the good. A vast amount of work is being done through the Youth Service, of which I have some small knowledge and on which I think the Government are to be congratulated. I agree that it is not enough. I agree that we want more money and more opportunities, so that people would then have a better chance of taking these opportunities.
Nevertheless, a great start was made with the Albemarle Report, by the establishment, shortly afterwards, of a college for youth leadership training. I learned by inquiry at the Ministry of Education that they are now turning out 250 to 300 students a year and that they should reach the target of 1,300 new youth leaders by 1966. That is very satisfactory. But there remains this terrible shortage, not only of trained people, but of people to train. As we know, the personnel position in education, whether in the primary school or as youth leaders, is very difficult indeed. There has also been a big drive to train part-time people for youth leadership. I was encouraged to find that there are over 4,000 part-time leaders employed at the present time by 142 local education authorities. I think that is most encouraging, although admittedly it is not enough. 273 I also found, with considerable interest, that the building projects for the Youth Service are going ahead satisfactorily. In 1964, 682 projects, worth £6 million, have been completed, and 108 projects for the Youth Service worth £1.9 million are under consideration. The Advisory Committee which is organising all this have a further 218 projects worth £1.6 million. Those things are all in the right direction, and we want to see them go ahead even faster. I believe those voluntary organisations, to some of which the noble Lord, Lord Willis, referred, put forward even bigger schemes, and each year they fall between £7 million and £8 million short of what they would like to have. I think we could well put forward the proposal that we should speed up the building estimates and building projects for the voluntary organisations as well as the local education authorities, over the next ten-year period.
One realises that one is always talking about more money. We have had many debates in your Lordships' House about education, and we know of the tremendous programme for universities. We have had debates on the Newsom Report and on primary education. We know that vast sums of money are needed for all these things, and that it is difficult to provide enough money for everything. Nevertheless, I would put in a plea for the adolescent—for the people who are in that gap about which the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Chester spoke and which is difficult to fill.
I think this is a matter of urgency. I also believe that if we could do something for those adolescents we should find that they are not far away from being law-abiding citizens. On the whole, they are not anxious to be bored moped-riders, smashing up peaceful seaside resorts or having gang fights with other teenagers. I believe that if they were given other opportunities and other chances, that type of activity would probably die away. And this is urgent, because now we have 1 million more teenagers than we had some years ago, since the bulge has gone through the schools and has now come out into this age group.
It is difficult to persuade the adult population—and here I think we are all to some extent responsible—of the 274 urgency and enormous importance of this problem, and that it is something which we adults must do something about. And yet—and I speak now with some experience in local education—it is difficult to persuade people that the Youth Service should not be at the bottom of the programme for expenditure on development. I should like to congratulate the Department of Education, because in the last years they have increased considerably their grants to voluntary organisations. What is more, they have brought in 38 voluntary organisations who had no grants before. This was one of the recommendations of the Albemarle Committee.
I am sure your Lordships know of the extraordinarily enterprising things which are being undertaken through the enterprise of the organisations. The organisation I know best, the Youth Club Organisation, has arranged expeditions to Greenland, to Greece, across the Pindus Mountains, camping and hiking holidays in Europe, and on one occasion an expedition to Israel. Great interest has been aroused by the Duke of Edinburgh's Awards, and the tests which young people go through are very exhausting and trying, and also character-making in consequence.
Nevertheless, with all that—and there is much more that one could talk about —there are a great number of young people who are not interested in this kind of thing. What is it they want? The noble Lord, Lord Willis, has put before us the idea of developing more of the Arts Council activities, more theatres, more art galleries, libraries, and so on. In all of that I could not agree with him more, but I am still afraid that the young we are trying to influence will not be tempted into those places unless more is done to bring their educational interests to that point.
I think there is something we could do for the young adults. These are the 17 and 18-year olds, who may possibly be thinking about getting married or planning to get married, and who will have their own homes, and so on. They want a different type of club or youth organisation, because they are less interested in activities and more interested in thought and discussion. I should hope that we might develop in our youth organisations the kind of 275 club to which some of us may belong, where we meet our friends and have a meal and talk, and where nothing is particularly organised but where we can discuss the problems of life together. It is not a question of talking down to people or talking at people, but of letting the people meet each other on their own level, with ordinary discussion as equals, under conditions with which the old-fashioned types of youth club did not have any particular relation—a rather sophisticated and more adult club is what I would look for, for that type of person, with time to talk, time to think, and not necessarily to be organised.
Variety is what we are seeking, and while I agree that we want to encourage the activities to which people respond enthusiastically, and while we want to increase the number of playing fields, swimming pools and the things about which the noble Lord, Lord Willis, has spoken, I still think there is room for a place where leisure can be spent, not actively, but in a more sophisticated manner. For that, we need new buildings and more generous contributions from local authorities as well as from the Government.
Too often, I believe, the young look with great impatience at the lack of interest of the adult community in their problems; and it is because of that impatience that they appear to be brusque and rude in an endeavour to "get their own back", as it were, on us. This is where skilful club or youth leaders can be of very great help. But they must have good salaries and good buildings, and they must be prepared to have immense patience and understanding with those rather tough young things.
I believe that in the Albemarle Report we have a blueprint which, expanded and developed as it was always intended it should be, will provide some, though not all, of the answers to this problem. If we can get more money, more buildings and more people, it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that in five years' time the purple heart takers, the "mods" and "rockers" and all those strange characters whom we read about in the newspapers, will themselves be organising their own worthwhile activities and not breaking up other people's homes.
276 My Lords, I believe that if the Government could see their way to go further in this field of youth service, if they could undertake yet more responsibilities —and I know it means money; we cannot get away from that—and if, at the same time, the adult community, whether it is in the local authorities in the areas in which people are living or nationally, would take a keener interest in what is going on and in helping in any way they can, we should get a much better relationship between the young, very active and possibly rather brusque and rude, growing-up teenager and the adult community.
I hope that out of the debate we are having to-day, which I am sure will bring forward many more ideas, as it has already brought forward many ideas, we may take a useful step into the age of automation, which, as the noble Baroness, Lady Burton of Coventry, has rightly said, is not really so far away. It may be far away in some industries, but not in the modern industry in which the noble Baroness participates. To an extent, it is already with us, and we have somehow or other to meet it. I urge upon the Government, in the case of young people, to continue the good work and to expand it as much as they possibly can.
§ 4.52 p.m.
THE LORD BISHOP OF NORWICH
My Lords, like others of your Lordships, I should like first to thank the noble Baroness, Lady Burton of Coventry, for initiating this debate, and for the setting in which she has introduced it. We have been assured again and again that the development of automation may bring factories and offices to do mechanically many processes at present being done by men and women; will lead to increased leisure as well as increased wealth, and will not lead to unemployment—a particular form of leisure which no one wants. The fear of being called a Luddite has kept all but the most intrepid sceptics quiet. But now the anxieties begin to mount up, and the noble Baroness has called our attention to them.
The evidence from the United States, as popularised in this country by, for instance, Michael Harrington's book The Other America, indicates that increased automation is adding steadily 277 to an increasingly grave problem of unemployment. Worse, it is both perpetuating and creating large pools of virtually unemployable people; areas of self-perpetuating sub-culture, with all the processes of degeneration built into them. The effect is felt not only among manual workers; bank staffs are feeling it, and white collar workers generally have to face the possibility either of reduction of staff or of refusal to replace those who leave.
In this country the President of the Amalgamated Engineering Union, Sir William Carron, recently warned the Union's national committee that some redundancies under automation are inevitable. The maintenance of the machines will not absorb the redundant production workers as had previously been hoped and asserted. So, also, the Principal of the Manchester College of Science, reflecting a week ago on the same facts, called for a comprehensive programme of re-education now for unskilled workers, nearly one and a half million of them, who, he alleges, will be unemployable if the industrial changes are effected which must be effected if we are to maintain our projected 4 per cent. growth. The alternative is that these men will not only be unable to share the increased wealth which automation is supposed to bring, but will be subjected to all the personal and social deterioration which we know accompanies unemployment and unemployability—to an imposed and unwanted form of leisure which past experience has shown to be one of the most degrading social evils which can afflict our society.
In advocating a comprehensive programme of re-education, one is all too well aware of the considerable difficulties in introducing those most likely to be affected by unemployment to new skills and new types of work at a time when some would feel themselves either too old or, at all events, too little inclined or prepared for re-education, and would, in any case, as they must, be peculiarly reluctant to do other than fight for the continuance of their present work. But if the process of re-education is presented and recognised as a means of continued security of employment, this is surely an undertaking in which the Government, employers and trade unions could 278 successfully, and indeed must successfully, co-operate as a matter of immediate importance.
I believe that these sober realities should have a place in our minds when we are debating this subject, as indeed they have been already in the speech given by the noble Baroness, for we are not concerned only with how people should use their spare time; we are concerned with how they shall live. One can scarcely imagine this House debating leisure, still less debating it as a problem, 100 years ago; but that it is a problem for the present, and an even larger problem for the future, is evident from the speeches which have already been made and from the previous debate initiated by the noble Earl, Lord Arran, to whose speech this afternoon I listened with great enjoyment—and awake!
Some of the issues with which we are faced to-day arose in what I suppose was the last major period in which the active promotion of useful pleasure pursuits was Government policy—namely, in the Tudor Era, when King Henry VIII gave a Royal lead in providing tilt yards and tennis courts, built on a piece of Abbey property alienated to him in Whitehall where a Saxon hall or palace had once stood, and recently opened up in the excavations made in refitting the Treasury site. Archery and manly sports were encouraged to prepare the nation to defend itself against attack from France and Spain; but also, in a time of deep social and economic disturbance, to divert young people from joining the strolling bands of "sturdy beggars".
For the most part, however, leisure and its pursuits remained the privilege of the few until the Industrial Revolution. Then, for large numbers of the population, rural toil was converted into urban toil in what was socially a far more merciless environment, from which many people still suffer. Relief from this toil was sought in short bursts of highly emotional participation in mass occasions. It might be the preaching of a Wesley among the colliers of Bristol; it might equally well be a public execution at the Tyburn Gallows at Marble Arch. It might be a great political occasion—a speech from Mr. Gladstone; or it might be a brass band contest; a club day with the friendly societies; or a day in the crowds on Epsom Downs or Hampstead Heath. This was the 279 recreation of the poor—the industrious poor, not the very poor. This made the maximum use of limited time in terms of emotional return and the minimum demand on limited cash. It needed no capital, no equipment. Saturday afternoon football crowds, when they happened only on Saturday afternoons, brought this picture right into our own times.
In no more than a generation this picture has changed. It has changed because, as a nation, we have redistributed our wealth and the allocation of our time. And with this there has arisen a remarkable proliferation of activities and interests in which an increasing number of people are participating in the greater amount of time released from work and the physical and mental demands made by the necessity of living. This means that leisure is no longer to be regarded solely in terms of rest or emotional compensation after the effort and tedium of long hours of work. Leisure is a substantial part of any person's normal life. Most people, or at least more people, come to their leisure less tired, with more energy to use than was formerly the case—though I sometimes wonder if that is true of the housewife. As leisure therefore comprises a large and growing proportion of most people's active life, there is all the more importance attached to the way it is used.
One requirement—it is a very important one, and one that has frequently been named and surely needs to be underlined all the time—is that leisure should be a matter for everyone's free choice. You cannot compel leisure or impose how it is to be used. It is a personal thing, an expression of individual talent and character and interests. But while you cannot impose the way in which people choose to spend their leisure, that does not mean that everything to do with leisure lies outside the business and responsibility of good government. A responsible society must be concerned that its people are given freedom of opportunity in the use they choose to make of their leisure. The concern and intention in this will be misdirected (and here I very much agree with what the noble Lord, Lord Willis, said in this respect) if at the back of it the object of 280 making provision for leisure is evaluated in terms of greater production, although it is true to say that if people's leisure is satisfying it is likely that their work will be better. But the aim in any practical policy for leisure must ultimately lie in respect for the best interests of every citizen as a person and a free member of society.
The ingredients required for leisure are adequate time, adequate wealth and the incentive, inspiration and skill needed to put the opportunities given by time and wealth to good use. In this the responsibility of Government lies partly in the whole setting of the framework of society in which the nation's life is ordered. But there are certain particular points of special responsibility, one of which has been already underlined in this debate; namely, that of education where interests, a sense of purpose, an inquiring mind and good health may be promoted, as we all hope will be the case, in their homes. Secondly, more must be done in enabling the capital and personal equipment required—not necessarily in providing all of it, but almost essentially some of it—for a great variety of forms of leisure. As regards the latter, a great deal has been done, and is being done, through Government and voluntary agencies. But there are certain serious present gaps which can be filled only with Government planning and initiative. There are two of these which I should like to mention.
The first is vividly portrayed in the Newsom Report, which I believe is one of the most striking and valuable educational and social documents produced in recent years. I am thinking particularly of Chapter 3 entitled "Education in the Slums." It opens with a quotation from the work of Mr. J. B. Mays, who has devoted many years to the study of methods of social education in slum areas. I should like to quote from paragraph 52 of the Report. The Committee say this:We find many different kinds of social problems in close association: a high proportion of mental illness, high crime and delinquency rates; and above average figures for infant mortality, tuberculosis, child neglect, and cruelty. Here, too, the so-called problem families tend to congregate. Life in these localities appears to be confused and disorganised. In and about the squalid streets and narrow courts, along the landings and staircases of massive blocks of tenement flats which are slowly replacing the decayed 281 terraces, outside garish pubs and trim betting shops, in the lights of coffee bars, cafés and chip saloons, the young people gather at night to follow with almost bored casualness the easy goals of group hedonism.These are the areas which we have left behind in the advance of our prosperity, in the redistribution of our nation's wealth and amenities. These are the areas where we have not invested our capital; the Newsom Report tells us that no less than 79 per cent. of the schools in these areas are grossly substandard, against a national average of only 40 per cent. These are the areas in which teachers do not stay, if they can get out—he few who stay long enough to realise a professional vocation there. And so these are the areas where the children do not stay at school either— not a day longer than Parliament compels them to; for here their education is so inevitably limited as to be powerless to enlarge their imagination. They are restricted more than other children, to the bare classroom subjects, with less time on practical subjects and physical education, simply because there are not the classrooms, the facilities and the teachers for them. As a training ground for leisure what can these schools do? Only one in eight among fourth-year pupils belong to any school clubs and societies; just one half of the number in secondary modern schools generally.
Let us recognise our obligation to these areas and resolve to meet it in terms of wider social, economic and housing policies, as well as in the educational reconstruction which Sir John Newsom and his Committee call us to. He asks for a hold rebuilding of schools—and it is interesting that he underlines that they should be small schools—in these areas, for such measures as will encourage more teachers to stay in them and to live in them, so sharing the community's life; for an interdepartmental working party to be set up to deal with the general social problems, including education, in slum areas.
Finally, let me quote him again on the very subject of this debate, leisure, in the context of these children. Here I quote from paragraph 72:We are clear that an adequate education cannot be given to boys and girls if it has to be confined to the slums in which they live. They, above all others, need access to the countryside, the experience of living to- 282 gether in civilised and beautiful surroundings, and a chance to respond to the challenge of adventure. They need priority in relation to school journeys, overseas visits, and adventure courses. Clearly this is an educational matter, but it is not solely one. Children below school age, young workers, older people—the whole community—need to have a stake in something more than the streets in which they live.It is not simply a matter of facilities. Every educationist knows well enough that good results can obtain where the physical amenities and buildings are sub-standard, and how improvisation can be turned to positive advantage; but this is no argument for keeping them that way. It is just because it has been shown that good results can be achieved in these areas with inadequate facilities that we know that any priority given to these areas, in terms not only of buildings but of persons, will be amply justified.
THE EARL OF ARRAN
My Lords, if I may intervene, I wonder whether I understood the right reverend Prelate correctly. I think he was talking about school journeys and holidays in the country for children. Perhaps I may say —I am a prejudiced person, as chairman of the Children Country Holiday Fund —that we do send 6,000 children away to the country every year, and the results in terms of happiness are quite immeasurable.
THE LORD Bishop OF NORWICH
I thank the noble Earl for what he has said. It is very much in support of the direction which the Newsom Report recommends.
The second point I wish to make concerns the incentive or inspiration and the skill which are necessary to put leisure to creative use. In this country—it is not true of all countries—we believe in letting people enjoy their leisure in their own way, provided that in the process they are not being anti-social. There is a whole range of leisure of a simple kind which is shared by people of all kinds.When a felon's not engaged in his employment,Or maturing his felonious little plans,His capacity for innocent enjoymentIs just as great as any honest man's.Such studies as I have come across of the way people actually use their free time seem all to agree that leisure is, for most people, a home and family- 283 centred affair. This appears in Mr. Ferdynand Zweig's study of workers in the more affluent motor industries, and others; it appears in some studies of Dr. A. R. Emerson of the University of Nottingham, and of Dr. Mark Abrams of Research Services. I quote two passages from Professor Abrams based upon a study made in the winter of 1962:Very broadly, it would seem that contemporary British home life is heavily concentrated on the traditional domestic activities. By and large, people at home are doing more comfortably and more spaciously what they have always done. Even in the middle of winter there is little time allocated to pursuits likely to exercise and satisfy any sense of craftsmanship or specialised intellectual activity. The one major addition to the traditional pattern is the large amount of time spent on watching television and listening to the radio. These already take up nearly one-quarter of all the average person's waking hours at home. At the week-end the proportion is even higher, and this suggests that, at least in the first instance, the provision of any additional time for home activities will be used largely to watch more television, especially if the supply of television programmes is also increased.His second passage describes activities outside the home:In general, then, one can say that, apart from the young, the British citizen in winter spends little time outside his home, and what time he does spend is very largely demanded by the necessity of working for a living and getting to work. These compulsions affect men much more than women. Only the young unmarrieds devote a majority of their waking hours to activities outside the home and there meet their fellow citizens on anything like an expansive scale outside the work situation. With marriage they return to the domestic hearth, and with old age they rarely leave it.The fact is that this domestic routine, centred more and more upon television, offers a great opportunity to the broadcasting corporations, and I know that they are already alive to it. The suggestion that television viewing encourages passivity is not, it appears, justified by the facts. The B.B.C. have made careful studies which go to show that television has drawn its viewers from other passive pursuits—not from active ones: from the cinema, from the pubs (if that can be described as a passive pursuit) and from sound radio.
There may, indeed, be programmes on television which invite no more than a passive response, but there are many more which do not. The B.B.C.'s 284 Shakespeare cycle can draw 3 million viewers—many of whom would never have gone to a theatre to see Shakespeare. And is watching Shakespeare a merely passive experience? Or is seeing the dramatised version of a great novel, which many would never read for themselves? We know of the new and extensive interest created by television in archaeology, in wild life, in aquatic life; we know of real creative writing and of more and higher musical performance coming out of educational programmes, as well as more extensive and more selective reading. We know of the wide response to the "activities" programmes—motor-car servicing, dress-making, art, languages, keep-fit, which the B.B.C. put out with well-written publications to accompany the radio transmissions.
We have here a means of helping people into a more active and skilled, a more interesting, and therefore a more satisfying and more ennobling, use of leisure. One hopes that the broadcasting corporations will continue to present programmes which are imaginatively slanted to engage the participation of viewers in the variety of ways in which this can be done. Other agencies can help in the same way. The extramural departments of universities, the adult education committees of local education authorities, and that old and well-tried institution the Workers' Educational Association—all at hand, ready to work in concert with these educational and cultural programmes of the broadcasting authorities. Here I must express the hope that the Minister of Education will not hamper the progress of such bodies as the W.E.A. by freezing or by restricting their grants. They have a new rÔle to fill in our society and, with encouragement, I believe they can fill it.
My second reflection is on those significant words in my quotation from Dr. Mark Abrams, where he says that "apart from the young" the British citizen in winter spends little time outside his home. The young, quite properly, want to be up and out. It would be wholly unnatural if they were content to spend as much of their leisure time inside their homes as do their parents. They are the group, too—say from school-leaving to about 22—who 285 are not watching television in great numbers. They have time, and they have money in their pockets. What incentive and inspiration is being offered them to turn these into leisure interests? The problem is especially acute in one particular area which I want to mention—the new housing areas where there are young people; and in those circumstances there is not always any traditional, established provision to help them.
Many of the larger post-war housing estates—I can think for instance of Leigh Park, near Portsmouth, or the New Towns, like Stevenage—when they were established were peopled, for the most part, by young marrieds with small children. There were few teenagers in any of them. Many of these towns—as, for instance, in the case of Stevenage—have been planning for the time, which is now upon them, when they would have a large teenage population. But in recent new housing extension and overspill development there are, in many cases, a number of teenagers among the families who first make their homes there. In so many cases the houses are built and the families go to live there without any sort of amenities available.
What I should wish to urge is that when any new housing area is being planned amenities for young people particularly should form an integral part of the initial buildings in the estate—not be an "extra" after the houses have been built up, and only then if there is enough money to go round. Otherwise, life in these communities gets off on the wrong foot and soon acquires a notoriety for teenage delinquency. The decrease of incidents of juvenile delinquency in Liverpool and Birmingham attributed to the interest teenagers take in the Beatles and in Skiffle groups is relevant in this connection.
The young need, and will respond to, a variety of provisions for their leisure, whether it be dance halls, sports facilities or the type of activity centres which were recommended some years ago by a Youth Committee established by the Dulverton Trust; or the variety of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme, which has the great merit of bridging the gap between school and after school, and in regard to which just recently the 286 Gold Award has been recast to make it more adult; or the opportunities yet to be presented on a sufficiently wide and imaginative scale of schemes of voluntary service by individuals or groups of young people, at home as well as overseas. In this, I would cordially agree with what my brother Prelate, the Bishop of Chester, has said on this score, and what was also said by the noble Lord, Lord Willis. Some at least of these provisions could take root in the new housing areas from their inception, provided that there is adequate planning, both for amenities and leaders.
I have mentioned two specific areas where particular needs in respect of leisure are now apparent and claim Government assistance. First, the slum areas, particularly in relation to their schools, and, second, provision of leisure facilities for teenagers—and especially at the time of building new housing areas. Before I sit down (and I must apologise for going on so long in a debate in which so many speakers are following), I should like briefly to say something on a quite separate topic related to leisure on which Christians have been much exercised and often misunderstood. I refer to the question of the use and observance of Sundays, an inheritance from our Jewish forefathers of the Old Testament and their insistence on a day of rest: of time to be free from work and your master, to realise yourself in natural surroundings with your family, with your friends and with God. It rests on the principle that work is not the final end of man, but a perfection of these relationships with man and with God in his final end and fulfilment. We value Sunday as a symbol to all men—not just to those who worship—of what else there is for them which does not come from within their daily work.
Yet we cannot make a hard and clear distinction between work and leisure, as though the one were set against the other: they are complementary. The things which many of us enjoy in our leisure time are the products of sheer hard work by other people: music, art, the drama, architecture—even the English countryside. Inspiration, together with discipline and skill, are necessary to all genuine artistic creation, as they are to the majority of leisure pursuits. When we consider our own lives it is the same: we are one person, whether at work or at play; and the same person, too, with an 287 outlook moulded by both and affecting both. A concern for leisure is not simply a matter of providing amenities for the enjoyment of spare time. It is a concern for the wholeness and fulfilment of human beings.
§ 5.25 p.m.
§ LORD WISE
My Lords, in accordance with other speeches which have been made to-day, it is my pleasure to congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Burton of Coventry, upon staging this discussion. It has been a long time coming, but now that it has reached debate the fact that there are 20 speakers upon the list is a compliment to the noble Lady. I am glad to follow the right reverend Prelate, the Lord Bishop of Norwich, and I would tell the House that he has recently occupied his leisure to some good purpose. A few days ago he visited a youth camp in his diocese and took part in a football match in which he scored three goals—which was a pretty good effort at his time of life.
The whole question of leisure will undoubtedly be fully covered to-day, but I want to speak essentially about the problems of our young rising generation, those between twelve and twenty—in fact, the teenagers. I have no authentic figures as to how many there are likely to be in this country, but at a rough guess I expect they form at least one-tenth of our population, a matter, say, of 5 million, or even more, boys and girls. In my view, they are our greatest national potential, an asset of immense possibilities and an asset which must be considered very seriously in all our future plans. My concern at the moment is what place in their lives sport, physical fitness and healthy bodies can and should take. There are some—a very small and irresponsible section—about whom I cannot hazard a guess as to how they can be properly fitted into a society which professes that attributes of orderliness, cleanliness, friendliness, decency and charity should be, and in fact are, essentials for membership.
My noble friend Lord Willis has referred at some length to this particular section of the community, but I think that this present period will probably pass as swiftly as it began. I hope it will. These boys and girls are not typical of British youth, but while this 288 phase lasts I think we should ask ourselves how it has been brought about? How and why did it begin? What is the cause? Who is to blame?—the parents, the example of grown-ups, the local authorities, or the Government itself? Is it the direct outcome of boredom, lack of opportunity for reasonable recreation and pleasure and means of giving service to the community which increasing leisure should be able to provide? It is obvious that youth expects encouragement, co-operation, help, direction and consideration in the solving of its problems. Persuasion is better than force, and example better than precept.
I have spoken of sport, physical fitness and healthy bodies. Without these among its people a nation becomes dull and tends to decline. The "be-all and end-all" of life is not work and work only. The enjoyment of leisure and other essentials make for a full life to which we are all entitled. With each succeeding generation the conditions of their days will become so different from those which some of us knew more than half a century ago-and not less of the present. But in our younger days we were satisfied to make our own amusements and recreations. Time did not seem to hang; it certainly was less hectic, and it could not be said that we became bored. There always seemed to be something to do, some sport to indulge in—perhaps not spectacular, but certainly interesting and satisfying.
Allowing, for school and working hours, sleeping and meal times, the youth of to-day may have approximately six to eight hours of the day at their disposal for leisure. We are expected to try to help in making provision to close that gap. I am especially interested in the way sport and athletics can fit into that operation. I am not thinking in terms of anything of a professional nature or spectacle. Our teenagers should be participants and not habitual spectators: participants, as T am pleased to see many of them every year at quite half a dozen school sports, and perhaps 1,700 of the finest youth athletes of both sexes at the annual All-England School Championship Sports: spectators on special occasions, such as the School Football International between England and Germany a few 289 days ago, when I saw nearly 90,000 schoolboys and budding footballers at Wembley, cheering the skill, fairness and good friendship of both sides. Based upon a figure of about 8,000 in my own county, there must be quite 500,000 young footballers and cricketers playing their seasonal games on Saturday afternoons. What happens to the rest of the 5 million? That is our problem. Participation can start at school level and there lies the foundation for success in any sport or occupation.
I never cease, as occasion arises, to applaud the efforts of those responsible for the provision of excellent and adequate playing fields, tennis courts, gymnasiums, lecture halls and swimming pools, if any, in some of our new schools, where such facilities have been available by reason of the foresight of those who acquired the land. There are, however, at present very many schools in cities, towns, villages and crowded areas where such ideal conditions cannot be provided. In my experience the local education authority, with Government aid, assists within its limits in providing equipment and facilities for sports and similar activities for those within the school age.
I want to make a special plea to the Government, through the Minister now concerned with sport, for even greater assistance to be given to voluntary organisations and associations which endeavour to provide, under great financial strain, for the welfare and leisure hours of those who are still at school or have just left. The voluntary organisations of Britain cannot be matched or surpassed anywhere. They are a credit to our people, part of a great heritage of unstinted service, and a pleasing feature and characteristic of our daily national life. Their survival is partly contingent upon Government help. There is a need for State aid. They must go on, if only to keep our boys and girls off the streets Lind out of mischief. Every penny spent in doing that is money well spent. We cannot afford to overlook the importance of voluntary work, nor must we assume that functions for which the State must be responsible will be forever undertaken voluntarily.
Two days ago at Question Time the Minister told your Lordships that 21 290 applications had been made to the appropriate Government Committee for financial assistance. Two organisations had been helped and the remaining applications were under consideration. I am anxious that support can be given to the various bodies which form the English Schools Sports Associations. These are run generally through the enthusiasm, the dedication and devotion of headmasters and teachers. They provide the means for the advancement on a national and international basis of athletics, association football, cricket, rugby football and suchlike healthy sports. They operate outside school hours and, if applications for grants or financial assistance have already been made, I hope that the Minister will be generous in the interpretation of their needs. Financial help would not be misused; it would be used entirely in the interests of youth.
I am not unmindful of the generous grant which I believe is given annually by the Government to the Central Council for Physical Recreation, for the implementation of its many outdoor and indoor activities on behalf of the youth of Britain. This was referred to by the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Chester. This organisation has a niche of its own in the amateur sporting life of Britain, and obviously its work is appreciated and finds favour with the Government. In its development, contact has naturally on occasion to be made with a Government Department, and I have made the Minister aware of the month by month hold-up in arriving at a decision regarding the use of large hangars on a disused aerodrome within reach of East Anglia, for the purpose of indoor training and athletic competitions.
May I suggest that the Minister for Education and Science could arrange to obtain these hangars from the holding Ministry and lease them to the association concerned? That solution is simplicity itself, and it could be done by the retention of the buildings for Government use. I have made my plea on behalf of the athletic and sport-loving youth of Britain, and I hope that their leisure will be full of interesting, enjoyable and health-giving recreations. May this plea not fall on deaf ears.
§ 5.37 p.m.
§ LORD LUKE
My Lords, I should like to pay my tribute as others have done to the noble Baroness, Lady Burton of Coventry, on her tenacity and patience in this matter which have now been rewarded. I am sure we have all been watching carefully the place of her Motion on the Order Paper under "No Day Named". May I also pay tribute to her for the way in which she introduced this debate and for the number of speakers that she has induced to follow her. If I had been introducing this Motion—and I know she will forgive me—I would have given it another title. I would have given it the title "Planning for Leisure". She probably will not agree, but then this better title, as I think, fits in rather better with what I am going to say.
One might hear anyone saying, "Well, leisure is no problem to oneself. It is the other body who has the problem." In other words, any young person hearing about this debate, or seeing that we were going to debate this subject, might say, "Leisure is our business. It is no problem to me and it is not your business." Yet how busy we all of us are over leisure! Yet, again, of course we get the wrong use of leisure; we get hooliganism and the excuse that people are bored. Of course, the first part of our problem really is: what does anyone want to do for the relief of boredom? That depends on your age and on your temperament. So the problem subdivides itself, again, into age groups and their completely different requirements.
We have before us a wealth of opportunity for creative thinking. As we grow older leisure becomes somewhat more static, perhaps it slows down or perhaps we have fewer activities. We tend to become watchers rather than participators, though of course there are enough of those right down the scale. The problem of leisure applies to all ages in varying degrees. Far the most serious problem concerns those who are in the transition period, as was mentioned by the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Chester—the transition period before they have learnt to become responsible citizens. Because I think it is a problem of whether or not they take advantage of existing opportunities, and whether there 292 is a willingness to be advised, a willingness to be befriended, if you like, or even led. But for the rest, the very young, the not so young and the older, it is a problem of shortage of opportunities, one way or another, in the right places. The noble Lord, Lord Amulree, mentioned workshops for the elderly. I know something about that, too, and I could dilate on it, but perhaps we shall keep that for another occasion. So to discover the requirements we need to estimate accurately what people want, and not give them what we think is best for them. This means assessing the shortages and not taking the easier course of providing what is easiest.
We are all agreed that the most important moment is just when people leave school. All of them have great and wide opportunities in school to occupy themselves in a variety of recreational pursuits, although I am mindful of what the noble Lord, Lord Willis, says about pre-occupation with exams. They have all these varieties to suit most tastes; but how many will throw these over on leaving school, simply because freedom means release from everything that went with school? This certainly happens in too many cases, but it is no argument for not pressing ahead with providing facilities in just those areas where they are lacking—and there is everything to be said for providing facilities which can be used by the same people during school and after they have left. This matter is. I know, under urgent consideration by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Housing and Local Government.
The greater use of facilities is most urgent, and part of this can be achieved by hard surfaces for greater wear, and floodlighting. Some noble Lords may have been to Harlow New Town and seen what has been done there with great success—their hard area with floodlighting, and its use, day and night, up to a very late hour. Indeed, the whole plan for leisure (if I may so put it) in New Harlow is a real object lesson, as regards not only what is going on outside but also what is going on inside their new centre. The right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Norwich spoke of the new housing areas and of the amenities there, and I was very 293 interested in what he said. I realise that a New Town has even more opportunities than new housing areas for putting the amenities right. Of course, one difficulty is really similar to the problem of housing itself, for with an increasing population it is very hard to keep pace with requirements, and in our island our progressive restriction of space is happening at a moment when opportunities for recreation are reaching a greater proportion of the population. In Scandinavia, for instance, where standards in these matters are considered to be high, the population is relatively stable.
There is a growing and significant movement for more co-operation between the statutory authorities and voluntary organisations. This is a good sign, and I welcome it. This has been strong for quite a while between the Ministry of Education, the Central Council for Physical Recreation and the National Playing Fields Association, and also the Ministry of Housing and Local Government. Ties are strengthening, and this has been assisted by the new Department set up and presided over by Mr. Quintin Hogg and his new lieutenant, Sir John Lang. They have made very great strides to bring things together, and, I think, just in time, because voluntary organisations are under very great strain. I know that a joint statement is in preparation at this moment, and we—that is the National Playing Fields Association—have had an opportunity of seeing it and of commenting on it. This statement goes a long way in urging local authorities to certain courses of action which we heartily support.
In some areas of the country people are already ahead of what is suggested. For instance, there have been set up local sports development councils or, if you like, local recreation development councils. These exist in Hertfordshire and Suffolk, and are doing excellent work. They are formed in villages and towns on a county basis, bringing together local authorities, local education authorities and voluntary sports and recreational bodies. These are well received, and have been the means of finding out the local needs and of co-ordinating future planning and provi- 294 sion. Increased Government grants are most timely and appreciated.
In spite of the rejection by the Government of the Sports Development Council suggested in the Wolfenden Report, people in counties have discovered that locally this is exactly what they want. We think it is important in urban areas to set up recreation committees composed of members of education committees, parks committees and planning committees, not with any executive powers but for consultation and review of what each constituent committee is doing in the sphere of recreation. Otherwise—and this has happened—these departments are working in isolation and do not get a picture of the whole. I want to make a very strong plea for the setting up of these recreation committees. Such committees have already proved useful in what I call "balanced development", though I understand that Sir Keith Joseph uses the phrase "comprehensive development".
I am aware that the research and development group of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government has a very heavy programme, but I hope they will find time for following up these suggestions, including in their research and development the question of the standard of six acres per thousand of the population for open spaces, and the need for local authorities to give official guidance in maintaining this standard. The increasing cost of land in urban areas and the lack of action to preserve or earmark playing space in areas of new development is again something on which the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Norwich spoke.
I am very glad to see that the Civic Trust, in its publication Urban Redevelopment, is fully alive to the need for open space, and is giving that subject rather higher priority than it has enjoyed up to now. In the United States, they have what are called recreation associations. There is, for instance, the National Recreation Association of America, which looks at and provides recreation comprehensively. Out of this has stemmed a body called the International Recreation Association. I think that we in this country may need to go somewhat along these lines in our organisation of recreation. We tackle it, it is true, with great energy, going into 295 the provision of constituent parts—facilities, and so on—with the Central Council and the National Playing Fields Association complementary in the work they are doing; but the closer integration now going on is all to the good.
I should like to say a few words on research, because I think research in these matters is just as important as in other spheres. As part of the research work that the National Playing Fields Association have been doing is work on the best types of sports halls and pavilions for playing fields and their adaptability as social centres—the object being, of course, to fulfil a need and to try to meet that need with efficiency and economy. This follows on what we were able to do, in conjunction with the Athletic Association, for less costly running, tracks, which resulted in a considerable increase of those in the country. At this moment, I believe the greatest need is for a major survey into the needs for swimming pools, and research into greater simplification and a reduction in cost. This is quite beyond us to tackle, and I think it must be carried out by the Government: but it is a very urgent matter. To provide for swimming in covered pools is a costly thing, I know, but it is one of the most popular pastimes, and we need to extend it round the year and round the country. We need to think in terms of one swimming unit serving so many of the population. There is here a sum for somebody or other to do. We have a standard on land of 6 acres per 1,000 population. Nobody has worked this out in terms of water, but I hope somebody will.
Finally, my Lords, may I say a word on leadership? We have heard quite a bit about this. The noble Baroness, Lady Elliot of Harwood, spoke of youth leadership and youth service and of the good work that goes on there. The noble Lord, Lord Willis, said that all the leaders were "creamed off" (I think that was the expression he used) and there were none left. But I would suggest that in any activity in life there is always a leader arising. Your Lordships will observe that gangs would not exist unless there were leaders to organise them, so they arise in that sphere as in others.
296 I think the most productive research undertaken by Playing Fields is that into what I call recreational leadership. It has proved most successful and has been a boon to those densely-populated areas where it has been tried. It consists in placing a man who has the right temperament and training into a community, among age groups from preschool to late teenage, among those least affected by clubs and other organisations, those whose parents have the least time for them; and the process is really simple in that it starts in a very small way—maybe just kicking a football around with one or two people. This has grown. as it has in the London boroughs, into over a hundred five-a-side football teams where none has existed before, and where those who at the start threatened to break it up became leaders themselves. The art in this, of course, is that you select from the young people themselves the leaders in each age group so that they really organise themselves, so that there is no imposing organisation on them. It begins by having one man who will draw it out of them and appoint young leaders who themselves take over.
There are one or two further points I want to make here. The first is that this is something that the National Playing Fields Association started, and they paid for suitable men for one or two years and then handed over to the local authorities. It is not a thing that we can carry on indefinitely. This has been achieved in some sixty towns of the country, and now we want to make a plea that these men should have a status and a pay scale accepted by the local authorities. Secondly, as our resources for carrying out the training of these leaders are limited, some official action should be taken. We think this method has now been proved, and should be taken up by the local authorities in a wider context. If any noble Lord is interested, I can show a good film on this particular subject.
Many things need careful consideration, and the most important one is the effect of leisure occupations of a largely mobile population. especially the teenagers who are mobile for many miles and in considerable numbers. What we need to do is to bring out the need to "sell" recreation, as it were; to have 297 attractive social as well as physical amenities, constant publicity and encouragement to local communities to use their facilities and to arrange for competitions to take place, and so on. There are endless possibilities before us and there is room for much interesting thought and study. There is still a great scope for voluntary action in all this field. The best way to tackle the whole problem is to have close liaison and joint working between the statutory authorities and the voluntary bodies. The voluntary bodies are doing—and must continue to do—valuable pioneering work and should be given every encouragement and assistance.
My Lords, I must apologise for taking so long, and I must: apologise also for having to leave very soon because I have a long-standing engagement to open an athletics track—and I have five minutes to get to Epsom, if that is of any interest to your Lordships. So I go on from leisure here to leisure there, and it is one long round of leisure. Actually, we are as busy as bees. But, at any rate, I am glad to have had the opportunity of adding, I hope, to the solution of the problem of leisure.
§ 5.55 p.m.
§ LORD GARDINER
My Lords, I think it is not impossible that if in twenty-five years' time somebody were to look back to the debates in your Lordships' House he might take the view that to-day's debate was the most important which has taken place in recent years, on the ground that it was the one subject which really foresaw what was to become the principal problem of the next twenty-five years. I should like to associate myself, if I may, with those who have already expressed gratitude to the noble Baroness for having given us the opportunity to discuss this subject this afternoon. There are two things which seem to me to be clear: one is that everything which exists in the whole of creation is in a continual state of change and, for some reason that I do not pretend to understand at all, an ability to change appears to be a condition of continued life. The second, apparent upon looking at history, is that the rate of change on this earth, at least, has continually increased. It is the recent increase in change which has given rise to the situation we are discussing this afternoon.
298 I am not a scientist and I do not really understand the scientific revolution, but when I ask my scientific friends what it all comes to, they say that it all collies to this: unless within x years we have a four-hour day we shall have fallen a long way behind the other countries which are now at the same stage of economic development as we are. They differ a little about the value of x. Some say it is ten, some say it is twenty, but one realises that if we are even within measurable distance of men working only half a week—and apparently we are—this is revolution, indeed. Because in all the long history of man we have spent most of our hours working, sleeping and eating, and this really means that for the first time mankind will be free. I am not ordinarily pessimistic, but when I think of what follows from that I cannot really say I am looking forward to it enormously.
The first obvious problem is how we are to see to it that, instead of half the population working a 5½-day week and the other half being unemployed, everybody is equally employed. I think that none of your Lordships has really touched on this matter this afternoon, except the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Norwich; and judging from the experience of America this is not at all an easy problem and it does not at all follow that it will be easy to overcome it. This is one of the very real problems which we have to tackle. The American experience would seem to suggest that there is a very real danger that the result may be that a great many people will be working the sort of hours they are working now and a great many others will be unemployed.
I do not know whether I am merely being a pessimistic lawyer, but I wonder, if it is true, as I think it partly is, that "The devil finds mischief for idle hands to do", and the crime rate is what it is now, what is it going to be like when men are working only half a week? What is the divorce rate going to be like? Because I fancy that a good many married men are only saved from the divorce courts by their habit of going home after a day's work; or. if they do not, the wife has the habit of saying, "Where have you been?" What will happen when for half the week the 299 men have no work to come home from? However, as I understand it, there is no way of avoiding these problems because you can make things so much cheaper with automation and electronics; and since we have to export abroad an equivalent amount to that which we import, all the scientists and industrialists appear to be agreed that we have no choice. We are bound to go in for it soon, and in a big way. I have sufficient confidence in the English industrialists and work people to think we shall succeed in doing that. The real problems are the consequences.
As to the rest, I was proposing only to address your Lordships briefly on a section of the community in whom I am particularly interested—5 million young men and women between fifteen and twenty: more teenagers than we have ever had, I think, since the First World War. I am particularly interested in the 4 million leaving school at school-leaving age. My noble friend Lord Willis and I served on a Youth Commission some five years ago, and we share very much the same views. He has already said much better than I should have said it, so much of what I should have desired to say that I want to add only one or two footnotes.
I would stress this curious dichotomy, the extraordinary difference in the way we treat the one million who go on to some form of further education and the way we treat those who, unfortunately, leave school at school-leaving age. No responsible education authority, whether grammar school, public school, comprehensive school or university, would merely provide lessons. They would not think that they were doing their job, if they did not also provide playing fields and coaches, places where young people can meet and dance, and facilities of a 11 sorts. But when it comes to those who leave at school-leaving age, those facilities which are provided for those who stay on at school were intended under the 1944 Education Act to be provided by the Youth Service. And I put in a plea for a still greater expansion of that service.
Your Lordships may remember that in about 1957 a Select Committee examined what had happened to the Youth Service. They found that there 300 had been a modest increase in the expenditure on the Youth Service from 1945 to 1950, but that, unhappily, every year from 1951 to 1957 there was a steady decrease in the expenditure on the Service. Examined by the Committee the Ministry of Education spokesman said:It has been a definite policy for some time now not to advance the Youth Service".Since the Commission of which my noble friend Lord Willis and I were members pointed that out, and since the Albemarle Committee said the same thing, the position has improved, I know but I believe that it could be improved still further. As long ago as 1948, the McNair Committee estimated that we should need 5,000 to 6,000 trained youth leaders. In 1956, there were only about 1,000, and while it is gratifying to know that by 1966 there may be about 2,300 altogether, we need a greater encouragement than that, I feel, in this field.
A number of your Lordships have already referred to the position of playing fields, and I imagine that we all support what they have said. Nobody, I suppose, would deny that, in comparison with most foreign countries, our provision of playing fields for young people is extremely unhappy. The right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Chester is not alone in thinking that a better result would be achieved if we had a Sports Development Council. While the L.C.C. have done their best, we know that so often, after a long journey on a bus or the Underground, when you get to the playing fields, you find changing accommodation which looks as if it had been built about a hundred years ago. You are rather less surprised to find that in fact it was built a hundred years ago. A further difficulty in London, which no doubt somebody is keeping in mind, is that under the reorganisation of London the playing fields are now going to the boroughs. There are boroughs which have more playing fields than the ratepayers' young people need, and unless somebody keeps an eye on this point there is a danger that the surplus land may be sold off while other boroughs are faced with grave deficiencies in playing field accommodation. So far this has not mattered, because they were all under the L.C.C. and everybody was eligible to use any of the available playing fields. 301 If I may put it shortly, I should like to see a substantial development in the Youth Service generally, with local authorities required to draw up five-year programmes to make good the deficiencies. I should like to see our secondary schools having annexes for the use of the Youth Service. I should like to see a Sports Development Council, and perhaps consideration given to the question of the rating of playing fields, because some small charities which provide playing fields find the rates on their land are a very real problem. And let us definitely recruit an adequate number of youth leaders. Finally, we need to develop a desire for service and a sense of adventure. I am sure that we ought to approve what is being done by Outward Bound, but it is not only in the field of physical activity that proposals of that kind can be made. I see that in our Report we suggested 5,000 adventure scholarships to give opportunities for adventure for the unorthodox and "off-beat" characters who do not mould themselves to the tidy categories of excellence established in the educational and industrial worlds. The only condition is that the project undertaken should be a genuine one and the young person concerned must take a share in the work.
For the rest, I would merely endorse what my noble friend Lord Willis has so admirably said and hope that in future we shall give rather more attention to this particular sector of the community. If I say that it is a most neglected sector, I do not mean neglected by Members of your Lordships' House, but by the public as a whole. Every community looks after its children, but these are not children. So far as authority is concerned, adults can look after themselves, because if they do not like what an authority is doing, they can vote against it. But these young people have no vote, and no political Party need be worried whether the teenagers approve of what is being done. I am one of those who sometimes think that we ought to give consideration to the question of whether it is right that no one in this country should have a vote until the age of 21. If we want people to behave as responsible citizens, we may have to treat them as responsible people. With a General Election every five years, a first vote at 21 means a first vote, on 302 the average, at about 22½ or later. The vote at 18 would mean in practice the first average vote at or about 21. I should have thought this was a question which we might discuss on some other and more suitable occasion.
§ 6.9 p.m.
THE LORD BISHOP OF LINCOLN
My Lords, I hope that in the course of this debate we shall not overlook that section of the community who are increasingly discovering a wide variety of uses for their leisure time. My right reverend brother of Norwich has spoken of the particular things encouraged through broadcasting, but I think that it is also true that among young people particularly there are a growing number who seem to display quite an extraordinary adventurousness and variety of interests. I am well aware that this is a comparatively small section, but they give us some grounds for believing that we have, in fact, produced a lively generation; and that is some tribute to te education system of this country.
But they are not our main concern in this debate, because I think that for them leisure is no problem. We are concerned with the problem of leisure, for this particular reason: that this is the first time in human history when we have required with leisure something much more than either rest or just being idle—and I hope that your Lordships will not think it is not a good thing on occasions to be, frankly, bone idle; this may be a most refreshing process. On other occasions, when leisure was so small, it could be just fun and recreation for going back to the normal processes of life where you find significance.
The noble Lord, Lord Willis, told us of the rider of the motor-cycle who said that it was while doing "a ton" that he discovered some meaning or significance in his life. I suggest that we are now expecting, and indeed must expect, that men and women will find meaning and significance in their leisure to compensate for the deprivation of meaning through traditional ways. I would remind your Lordships that the normal traditional places where a man and woman found leisure were at home, work and in the neighbourhood; and I believe it is still true that for the great 303 majority of citizens of this country home, with its family life, is one of the places where we should say: "This is the place where we discover some meaning in our life". But I think it is also true that for growing numbers of people the vast urban expansion has deprived them of the meaningful life in a recognisable community—again a point on which the noble Lord, Lord Willis, spoke so clearly—and equally in their daily work.
I wish I could be quite as easy as some of your Lordships in your acceptance of automation. In one sense I suppose that it must be accepted; but not, pray God, with an easy mind or conscience. I think we should not forget that a hundred years ago Charles Kingsley and F. D. Morris protested against the developments of the industrial system. They were told how successful these methods were in the producing of our own industrial greatness, and they replied: "They are wrong, because they deprive human beings of their proper dignity". I sometimes think it is a sad reflection on our society that we allow processes of technical development to take place without corresponding research on the effect on the individual, who nevertheless will be involved in the process. And it is only when the process has been perfected that we try to do first-aid casual work on the individuals involved as a result.
But, clearly, automation is going to increase greatly the leisure of many people, and those people have to find in their leisure time the kind of meaning and significance which in the past many of them found through their work; or they may have found it through their skill. I would remind your Lordships that skill is a part of our birthright, and skill, as many of us know, is as much a way to wisdom as are the more detached ways of academic learning. Even when the conditions were such, as we know they have been, that work deprived men of great skill, at least they often had circumstances which gave comradeship in work, the working of men in teams and groups, as a result of which the individual man did have some sense of meaning and significance. Much of this has gone already; and still more will go in the future.
304 If I were asked why it was a proper charge upon the economy of this country that we should meet these demands for the facilities of opportunities for leisure, I would say that this is not some charity of a Welfare State, but the proper duty and obligation upon an economy which has deprived, and will deprive, great numbers of men of their birthright to find meaning and significance through daily work. Indeed, unless adequate provision is made to see that in this leisure time men and women are able to discover afresh something of the meaning and significance of life, then I feel that the mental health bill of this country will not be just doubled, but will in the course of our lifetime be trebled.
I believe, for these reasons, that we have to see that the problem of leisure is not the same as it was in the past; that it means enabling men and women, through a vast variety of ways and opportunities, to discover meaning and significance through their particular activities and bents. I believe that at the present time there is a great deal of enterprise in this respect. I am not at all despondent about the variety of opportunities and the experiments which are being carried out at the present time. But almost all of them are handicapped and prevented from playing their full part because they are so miserably and meanly suplied with the necessary financial support. So many of these experiments would play a much greater part. Your Lordships have seen the finances, only recently published, of the Duke of Edinburgh's scheme, and how miserable a sum that is, considering the immense value to individuals who take part in those enterprises. Again and again a youngster goes on such a course and discovers in the process that he can do something; and he has a significance, because he belongs to a group and a team. I do not wish to speak more of this aspect: it has already been referred to in the course of the debate.
Finally, I wish to make one particular plea. Sir Richard Livingstone, who was one of the great educational pioneers, in his book, Education For a World Adrift, spoke of the adult education colleges which were founded by that remarkable Danish Bishop, Bishop Groeningen, in the early nineteenth century. He said that these should play a part in our 305 modern society. It is indeed the case that provision was made in the Education Act, though perhaps, with few or no exceptions, that provision has not been realised. I believe that if we could have some such opportunities whereby the youngsters of seventeen and eighteen could spend a period (and it is quite clear, from the figures which the noble Baroness, Lady Burton of Coventry, has given to us, that there is the possibility of such a period) in such a college, they might there discover skill and meaning through the comradeship and the sense of belonging.
Another great Danish philosopher of the last century, speaking of a university, said that university is a place where you discover yourself to be "that man" he did not think of women's education, or he would have added, "that woman". Surely these opportunities for leisure should do precisely that. We must shape the opportunities for leisure in such a fashion that the growing generation discovers the meaning and significance of their life; that they are "that man" or "that woman". Then they will discover that standards take on a new imperative. The alternative to that, and the only alternative, I think, is the other use of leisure. Alan Paton, in one of his writings, says that if a man forgets who he is, or if he is never taught who he is, he becomes a lost soul; and when a man knows he is lost, he will use every means to drug the pang in order that he may forget the bitterness. Many people are using leisure for precisely that thing.
§ 6.20 p.m.
§ BARONESS SWANBOROUGH
My Lords, I should like to thank the noble Baroness in a different way from that in which other noble Lords have thanked her. I should like to thank her for having put this Motion on the Paper, but I should also like both to congratulate and thank her tremendously for what she has done in painting a picture so broad and vast that for me, at any rate, it has done something from which I hope I may benefit. As she painted that picture, one realised that in fact the problem of leisure is not only for the young or for the old, but for men and women in the years to come, as well as for boys and girls in the immediate future. I hope that we can keep this before us as 306 we look to what we hope may be done in the years to come, because I am quite convinced that the skills and crafts which can give opportunity to men and women, as well as the great opportunities through education and all the other things which have been mentioned, are things which all of us know about and which, perhaps, none of us has done enough to press further forward.
I was interested that none of your Lordships has so far mentioned one of the greatest contributions to leisure time of which I know, and that is the vast growth of the local authority libraries throughout Great Britain. I believe that this could in time be of a value that is beyond words. I believe that our local authority libraries are unsurpassed throughout the world, as is their service to the individual citizen. This, I think, is of great importance, because it has taught people not only the joy of selecting and reading, but also the joy of something quite different.
In the East End of London there are two libraries that I have visited several times which have the most wonderful selection of long-playing records. On one occasion, when I asked the librarian whether there was a danger in not testing the records when they were brought back, whether they were of classical music or of "pop" music, he looked at me with a very down-grading smile and said, "People would not take the trouble to come and fetch the records unless they were going to be kind to them". This, I think, is an indication of how many people in this country look at the particular thing they have selected for their leisure time; and the problem of leisure seems to me to be the way in which we can give opportunity to men and women, boys and girls, to select for themselves the thing that would be most worth while to them in their leisure time. I think a great many questions could be answered if we all knew how to make things attractive enough to offer them in the right shape to the person who has the leisure.
I feel very strongly that this country has been enriched, and our national character strengthened, by the voluntary services of the country and by the voluntary contribution of the individual, whether it be in local government or the magistracy, whether it be to the Church or in any of the other great 307 national organisations which are the outcome of voluntary service endeavour. I am happy to feel that the link of voluntary service with patronage has gone, and that to-day the integration of voluntary service into statutory aid is indicated by the gift of the individual's time, skill and energy, and that this gift is of real value to the community. I think it is necessary for us all to realise that at present this gift is given with great cost to the individual, because leisure time is not there and, therefore, has to be made. This is a point which must be remembered as we look forward to the contribution that leisure time can give in the future to voluntary service.
Up to date volunteers have made their individual contribution for a variety of reasons, and the philosophy of voluntary service, I feel, must be jealously interpreted so that at no time can it be used as a means to an end. More leisure would give more opportunity to other kinds of people who would like to give their voluntary service to a scheme in which they are really interested. People whose days have been over full of work will be able in the future to offer their skills when their leisure hours have been increased, and this would lead to what the noble Lord, Lord Willis, called a richer and a more varied life.
Work in its manifold ramifications should, by and large, be towards the enrichment of life itself, and, if this be carried to its logical conclusion, towards the broadening and strengthening of the life of a nation. Among the youth of to-day not only is there a great urge of participation in the community, but I have experience that there is also a great desire to contribute to it. It behoves those who are responsible to recognise this, to watch the trend, and to furnish the openings for youth to take. The noble Lord, Lord Willis, in a most remarkable speech, also said that youth feeds on ideas and causes. There is not one of us who does not know this to be absolutely true, and it is something we should keep in the fore-front of our minds.
To succeed in opening the right channels for youth so that they can really participate, voluntary bodies must take trouble to make work available at a 308 time which suits the youth, and not at the time the voluntary organisation feels is useful to themselves. They must also have the imagination to present the work to the young man or maiden in a form that will be not only acceptable but a challenge to that person. They must, therefore, be imaginative in their approach and efficient in their methods, so that they attract not only the young who know what they want to do, but the young who are not sure what they want to do.
Even before leisure time comes to them, there are a mass of young people working in voluntary service to-day—business girls working in hospitals in the evenings, boys and girls doing special work at the weekend; and anybody working for the disabled or the old, or whoever it may be, can tell you that they have a large number of boys and girls wanting to help. But those who volunteer must be carefully handled if the work is to be of any value either to the persons they serve or to themselves, and as their efforts are more and more integrated into statutory bodies the community have an important part to play in recognising and using to the full the latent talent, whether it be of the young or the middle-aged or of the not so young.
Last month I was in the United States of America where I was a member of a very small working party which was investigating the whole question of leisure time occupation and voluntary service in regard to that problem. This question was being investigated entirely on a philosophic basis, and there were at the meeting a few of the top women thinkers in this field. It lasted for an intensive 48 hours, and we gained many interesting findings out of it. It would appear to all who are closely concerned with this aspect of leisure time that people are anxious to give their services, by and large, for the benefit of the community in one shape or another, whether it be for those who are sick or for those who are old or for building a swimming pool or putting up a youth centre. The scheme is the same—the call of the community, the wish to participate in the community and the fact that many seem to be without the knowledge of how this work can be done. It is for this reason that many of us feel that organisations 309 themselves must clear their minds as to how they can offer to people with leisure the chance to participate in schemes which are built on sufficiently worthwhile fundamentals to have an attraction for the young who mind about standards and who feel that the challenge is worth accepting.
One thing in this regard that I think must be underlined right through is that financial prosperity is surely of no use to a country unless there is in that country decency of living and happiness 0f undertaking. The range of occupations of leisure is so vast that this interpretation of the need of a country alongside its riches is one which must be considered seriously. if we really aim at a new set of values—and we all hope that we do—assisting in the many ways of giving help which there are could bring to many people great understanding of the problems which exist and of a new interest and of the part they can play in trying to solve some of these problems.
One cannot help remembering that our forbears gave a tithe of their income, whether in cash or in kind, to the community, and it is surely not beyond the realms of possibility that we might, in an age of leisure, give a tithe of time and skill in this new world, so that each and every individual can in turn participate in the national conscience. In its various manifestations the character of a nation defies analysis or classification, but surely a nation is enriched by the fact that its citizens play a day-to-day part in the living of the nation. It seems to me that the challenge of to-day and to-morrow can be met by the assumption of personal responsibility by hundreds of thousands of persons, and I believe that the thoughtful use of leisure is one of the ways in which this can be achieved.
§ 6.32 p.m.
My Lords, I want to talk briefly this evening on leisure and adult education in the widest terms. It looks simple. There are evening classes, vocational and non-vocational; public libraries, where one can read for improvement or pleasure; and museums and art galleries. All these are available to the mass of the citizenry at little or no cost: and many, in fact, do spend a part of 310 their leisure on intellectual pleasures. But the fact is that many do not. They do not know what to do with their leisure; and—the word has been used frequently this evening—they are "bored", which leads either to demoralisation or to violence. This situation is bad enough as it is. What will happen in the future when leisure becomes more abundant?
We have come very far since the days of the peasantry. During the ploughing and harvesting season the peasant worked all day from dawn to dusk: he had no day of rest, and this question of leisure did not arise. But now, in our urbanised civilisation, we have come down to a working week of 40 to 45 hours and to a five-day week. When we add in the public holidays and the paid annual holidays. it is clear that most people have lots of spare time. I confess that I find it difficult myself, having been brought up on a six-day week, to get adjusted to a five-day week. What will happen when we have a four-day or three-day week, I do know. But it is quite clear that automation will bring down the working week from something like 40 hours to 25 hours.
There was a debate last month in your Lordships' House on automation and I will not go over this ground again. Your Lordships know very well what is happening both in the Western World as a whole and in Britain. We are at the beginning of a second Industrial Revolution, which has already hit the United States, and I share the pessimism of my noble and learned friend Lord Gardiner. I have just come from New York and I brought back two fascinating facts. The first is that 90 per cent. of all electric light bulbs used in the United States are produced by 18 operatives working enormous automatic glass-blowing machinery. The second fact is that the familiar computer, the wiring of which is very complex and which, in the past, had taken quite a long time to produce is now being wired by other computers. In other words, one has parthenogenesis in the metallic world; almost the dangers of the Sorcerer's Apprentice.
In the United States, unemployment at the moment is counted by the millions. The right reverend prelate the Lord Bishop of Norwich has spoken about too much leisure. I believe that the same thing will happen in Britain, if we are 311 not very careful. On this side of your Lordships' House we are naturally interested in planning to mitigate the evils of a sudden increase in unemployment, and, like the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, I think that something must be done in the matter of redistribution of wealth between the haves and the have-nots—those who have work and those who are thrown out of work by automation. But we shall not be able to prevent all technological unemployment. I know that various methods are available for dealing with this problem—the phasing out of the superfluous; the re-location of men from one part of the country to another; the re-training of redundant labour by the employer and by the State: some, naturally, I am afraid, will emigrate.
I fear that we are faced with many hundreds of thousands of unemployed who will have all the leisure in the world—seven days a week—and nothing to spend but the dole. The trouble is that many of those with most leisure are the least equipped to know how to use it. They have no intellectual resources. What is the use of having more sports centres if there are thousands of young men and women who are too apathetic to use them? The noble Baroness, Lady Swanborough, has spoken of libraries. I agree that their spread and use is important; but what of those for whom reading a book is agony and who will not go to a library and take out books; those people who have no intellectual resources and who are not even prepared to go and fish? If I believed that they were, I should buy shares in fishing-rod companies, but I do not believe that fishing is a solution.
§ LORD SHACKLETON
My Lords, will the noble Viscount allow me to interrupt? I hope he does not suggest that fishing is an unintellectual pursuit.
My Lords, I naturally bow to my elders and betters.
It is not only a question of leisure for education, but of education for leisure; and there are great dangers if there are large pockets of bored or restless people in this country. We know a great deal about those who use the facilities, but we know very little about those who do 312 not. The noble Lord, Lord Luke, has spoken about the need for more research. Is it not possible that there should be some society or institute, or some journal, for the proper study of the use of leisure in this country and elsewhere, to devise new forms for the use of leisure; and, above all, as the noble Lord, Lord Luke, said, to publicise them and make them more attractive? In France in the 1930s there was a Ministry for Leisure. I would not go as far as to suggest such a thing for this country. As a matter of fact, if one mentions any successful experiment abroad it damns it so far as Great Britain is concerned, with one exception—that is, New Zealand, which seems to show a lead in so many matters of social life.
One aspect of the use of leisure that I think needs publicising is the possibilities for the young unskilled workers to acquire more skills on their own before they are thrown out by the machine. Otherwise they will suffer from that chronic disease, lifelong leisure through unemployment. In the United States this has already happened, and there are many hundreds of thousands of young Negroes and Puerto Ricans who will never get a job in their lives. They have not entered the labour market, or they have been thrown out of the labour market. They are not skilled; they are incapable of or uninterested in acquiring new skills. In this country many young people stay on at school, but many do not, and if they do not use the opportunities for further education they will find themselves unemployed.
The Ministry of Education are already interested in this subject, and have provided educational facilities and training facilities for the unemployed. But the trouble is that many thousands of potential unemployed—that is to say, young men and women who are employed today but will be thrown out of work by the machine—are not interested. It is perhaps the good fortune of young people not to look ahead. They say "Who, me? No; I shall never be out of work". What is needed, I think, is much more publicity for the opportunities that are now available for acquiring additional skills for those who are at the moment unskilled. It might even be worthwhile to consider giving allowances to young men and women while 313 they are going through this additional training. I am sure that it would repay the nation in the added skills.
It is no use lamenting the present position; we cannot reverse the trend. I am no enemy of automation; on the whole, it will be a blessing. There will be many owners of factories, many managers, many skilled workers who will receive higher income, and will have more time in which to spend it. Most of us will benefit if we have more machine slaves at our beck and call. But the weakest will go to the wall. The noble Lord, Lord Willis, referred to the traffic problems of Britain. We delayed for 25 years, and look at the traffic problems to-day! The plans for improving the roads were made 25 years ago, but the lack of money for building them has resulted in the most colossal problem, which now we have to face.
We are already in the middle, or at the beginning, of a Second Industrial Revolution while we are still trying to clear up the debris of the first—the slums, poverty, squalor, disease and ignorance. In the Second Industrial Revolution caused by automation, ignorance, I suggest to your Lordships, is the greatest of the evils, and the man who knows too little will be the man who is thrown on the scrapheap. The motto for the age will be "Woe to the ignorant!"
It is not only the unemployed for whom I am concerned; I am concerned also for what I may call the helpless intellectual. Many of us in your Lordships' House are helpless in many of the skills which to-day are a matter of course to the younger generation. We shall benefit from mass-produced goods and automated services: they will all be cheaper. But everything else will be dearer as the handicrafts die out; because the fact is that no one to-day wants to do personal 3ervice. Recently in New York I discovered that a barber charges four times what he charges in London, and when one considers that in general the cost of living in America is twice what it is here that is still twice what one would expect to pay. In spite of that, nobody wants to be a barber.
§ LORD TAYLOR
My Lords, does the noble Viscount seriously suggest that the Americans are going round without their hair cut?
Their wives are cutting it for them. The trouble is that many barbers are in their sixties or seventies and there is no new generation of barbers coming forward.
§ LORD CHORLEY
My Lords, can the noble Viscount tell us whether the husbands do the coiffure for their wives?
No, that has not yet hit the United States. The problem in the Affluent State is that everybody will have more money to spend on T.V. and washing machines and motor cars but will not be able to find people to repair them. In the United States to-day it is often better to throw away a damaged piece of equipment than to try to find somebody who will repair it for you. The manufacturers are now making the life of this so-called durable equipment one or two years: in other words, there is built-in obsolescence. It is now part of the philosophy that you buy more and more equipment in order to keep the factories busy and the economy going. In other words, the consumer has become cannon fodder for the manufacturers and the distributors.
So what conclusions do I draw for the helpless intellectual?—that the helpless intellectual should use part of his leisure or her leisure to learn to do things for themselves. I should be very much happier if I could cook a whole meal and repair all my own clothes. My children and grandchildren are more suited to this automated age, but we so-called "senior citizens," as the Americans call old people, are caught. And as the old craftsmen die out I suggest that we replace them ourselves, and use our leisure to learn to maintain the so-called durable goods. We already look after our gardens. We shall in future have to repaint our own houses and do the wiring, plumbing and carpentry ourselves. In the machine age we shall have to use leisure in order to learn how to dominate the machine and not be intimidated by it.
§ 6.48 p.m.
§ EARL BALDWIN OF BEWDLEY
My Lords, we should all be grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Burton of Coventry, for so persuasively urging us to peer ahead into the gloom of a future 315 without toil, in the hope of picking out one or two signposts to go by. The danger of leisure, I take it, is that it may induce idleness, and idleness, we used to be taught, inevitably leads to sin. When people recklessly exclaim, "What the hell is there to do?" they are very soon supplied with an answer from the address indicated; because, as the noble Lord, Lord Gardiner, said, in quoting more or less from Isaac Watt's lines:In works of labour or of skill I would be busy too;For Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do.And that, I dare say, is what sociologists, who may or may not believe in Satan, regard as the real problem of leisure: the time at one's disposal for mischief, or, to bring it up to date, anti-social conduct.
Thanks to automation, we are supposed to be in for a great increase in spare time. If I may, I should like to follow the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, by lobbing one or two statistics into the general stew. I read recently that an American economist has done a long sum in noughts showing that in 35 years the United States will have 660 billion more hours of leisure. It means very little to me, but I like to contribute some figures if I can. Another American economist called this an absurd underestimation. Then another man said that in ten years 2 per cent. of the population will do all the work that is needed. Presumably someone will see that the other 98 per cent. of us get a little pocket money.
Leaving the economic side of it, I come back to the problem of what to do about all this leisure. I cannot believe that moderately educated men and women, as we all are, really do not know how to occupy themselves in this wonderful world unless they are slogging at a paid job. Consider, for example, how the largely self-educated Scotch families used to pass the long winter evenings. Look at the quality of the old books that one can still see on the [...]helves of almost any Highland cottage to-day; and think of the quality of the folk who read those books. It is entirely natural for the young to be bored, especially in towns; and I should 316 guess that it is only the urban boys and girls whose hours of idleness really worry the sociologist.
I found no comfort in reading an article written last year by one who was described as a social philosopher, a lecturer at a big city college. The article proferred advice to adolescents, the first injunction of which was—and I quote:Never accept authority, whether that of a jealous god, priest, prime minister, president, dictator, school teacher, social worker, parent or of anyone else whatsoever, unless, in your own seriously considered view, there are good grounds for it.And, a little further on, he says:You, in the last analysis, are the only judge of what seems right and feasible to you.Well, one can see the point; but I shudder when I consider the quality of my reasoned judgment when I was a youth. I cannot think that this advice to citizens between the ages of 13 and 21 or so is going to make the work of organisers and leaders of clubs any easier, however surely it may guide the children towards self-fulfilment and freedom from complexes, deprivations, traumas, et cetera. When I was a lad, I thought as a lad, and I was proud of my ability to reason. Consequently, I did many foolish things—I still do, but not so many; bad things, too, which my seriously considered view misled me into thinking were justified. I had not yet learned that even in maturity the higher reasoning powers are too often at the mercy of the lower passions and get forced unconsciously into their service. Especially is this so in youth, when the blood runs strong, and it has always been so.
In this fourth centenary of Shakespeare's birth I think it is apposite here to remember Mr. Justice Shallow, speaking in his dotage about his wild youth. Mr. Justice Silence says:You were called 'lusty Shallow' then, cousin".By the mass,replies Shallow,I was called anything; and I would have done anything indeed too, and roundly too".And then he finishes by saying:Jesu, Jesu, the mad days that I have spent!Golden youth, for all its splendid qualities, is naturally inconsiderate, saucy, 317 noisy and, when it dares, destructive. It is also rather given to self-pity. The bad qualities of Leaden Age society can put up with rather more easily.
But, looking back from age to youth, I think that two things mainly kept me and my friends from being even more graceless than we were: an early training at home by precept and example in self-discipline; and at school and after, likelihood of punishment and disgrace. In other words, fear and shame, which are two words that are nowadays being pushed out of the vocabulary of parents and teachers.
In this matter of training children in good habits so that they may use their leisure decently, I think that we can learn a bit from nature. Animals, wild and tame, start their young on their way of livelihood by example and punishment. The animal parents are most tolerant, but they often have to stop the little beasts from making a nuisance of themselves by cuffing them and biting them. They do not give them time to think out whether there are good grounds for obeying. Instinctively, the elders know that it is best for the juniors' future to obey, and smartly, too.
I remember watching a long time ago a huge out-door cage of monkeys at Dudley Zoo, where the leisure time for the poor captives is infinite. There arose a hullabaloo in a far corner; tempers were rising and teeth were shown. Whereupon, a large dog-faced baboon, who had been lolling against a rock on the hill having his pelt examined by a subordinate, raised his head and glared, at the same time making a slight movement of threat with his powerful frame. Instantly there was order, and the monkeys skipped off in search of more peaceful occupations. They knew what was coming to them.
My point is simple as it is basic. In spite of our artificial life, there is still enough of primitive nature in our civilisation to make it dangerous for us to stray too far from her ancient paths. For all our cleverness, nature is usually cleverer and always wiser; and a little less self-expression and a little more discipline for children might work wonders in the coming days of leisure. Of course, this problem of spare time can never be solved, but I do not think that it should he dealt with only by providing enter- 318 taining outlets for physical and mental exuberance. Catharsis is all very well in its limited way, and it is a most useful psychological dose of salts on occasions. But chronic catharsis does not seem to me to make sense, and we should beware of overdosing.
This suggestion of a return to natural practice—it is not an original one, I know—goes against the teaching of this new Age of Reason—and that is not original either—the aim of which seems to be to banish the bogeys of pain and loss and frustration and awe from our children's lives. It sounds good. But if such a state were to be achieved, what is to become of the character which can prosper only through adversity? Or, if I may use a more contentious term, what is to become of the immortal soul? The spiritual standards are going down all over England as it is, and I do not think that they will be raised again by any devices short of going back to some elementary principles.
It will be through this promised increase of leisure that the spiritual battlefield will become greatly extended, and self-discipline on that field means almost everything. Let us therefore not treat the young, or for that matter the old, as if they were all in a bruised psychological condition, which seems to be the official trend in these affairs. Let us allow the soul some opportunity for exercise; or, when the time comes, it may find itself tottering into the next world enervated, if not paralysed, and certainly altogether unfitted for its function in eternity. Of course, to those who are convinced that there is no such future it does not so much matter. But it seems to me that to discount the possibility is rather a bold gamble.
§ 6.59 p.m.
§ LORD TAYLOR
My Lords, I think an end-of-term spirit is creeping into our speeches, and I do not altogether object. A few moments ago the noble Viscount, Lord Goschen, who I am sorry to see has left us, promised that he would signal me with a mystic sign as soon as I started to go on for too long. Alas! he has disappeared. I hope he will be back before long. I am one of Lady Burton of Coventry's conscript army. I was beaten up—and delighted I am to be so charmingly beaten up—to take part in her debate. I am delighted for 319 three reasons. Reason No. 1 is that it enabled me to hear her excellent and delightful opening speech. Reason No. 2 is that I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to the whole of this debate—and, what is more, I am enjoying it more and more as it goes on. (After an interval for my speech, your Lordships can start enjoying it more later on.) Reason No. 3 is that it enables me to speak of something I have never spoken about before, and I hope I will never speak about again, namely, sport. I am doing this entirely in honour of my noble friend Lady Burton of Coventry.
The particular aspect of sport I am going to talk about is how to build yourselves a sports centre: in other words, Do-it-yourself sport. I venture to speak about this only because in our town of Harlow the citizens have built themselves such a sports centre, with no help from me, and therefore I can speak perfectly honestly and candidly about it. I must tell your Lordships a little of the background and how the people in a New Town spend their leisure time. There are 60,000 of these people, and most young married couples spend a dickens of a lot of time looking after children. They spend a great deal more time doing this than they used to do, because the so-called working class are adopting middle class standards of social behaviour, which I think is a very good thing. The children are beautifully cared for, beautifully brought up—not that children of the working class in the old days were not beautifully brought up, as my noble friend Lord Lawson is reminding me forcibly, but parents nowadays are adopting a middle class standard, whether you like it or not. They are demanding the best for their children, and it is a jolly good thing they are.
There are in the town 300 voluntary organisations one can join—anything from judo to jam-making, baseball to bee-keeping, stamp-collecting to psychic research. The people have started it all themselves. There are 100 sports clubs in the town. There are 55 football teams—as compared with twelve churches, let me say. Had there been 55 churches and twelve football teams I should have been seriously worried about our mental health, but I think we have it the right way round. That number is excluding school teams. One 320 of the results of having 55 football teams is that you get small audiences at football matches. I do not think that matters a rap. I would far sooner have 55 teams playing and small audiences than large crowds watching one match.
There are 18 public sports grounds in the town, and there are about 10 private sports grounds run by the firms of the town. So with 18 public sports grounds for 60,000 people, we come well above the ratio given by the noble Lord, Lord Luke; you will not find many places with that ratio. We have a fine closed' swimming pool, built by the Urban District Council. We are building an 18-hole golf course, so there is plenty of active entertainment for everybody, but there is very little passive occupation.
Just as a matter of interest, a colleague and I have carried out a survey, and I can tell your Lordships that over 20 per cent. of the adults in the town actually play games, over 30 per cent. of the men and about 12 to 15 per cent. of the women. Remember, it is a fairly young population. Another 30 per cent. beyond that watch games, so the participation in sport, either watching or playing, is quite large. There are in the town four community associations, each of which has its own community centre, and part of the idea of building such a town is to have places where people can meet. Each community centre has associated with it three or four residents' common rooms as a first line of democratic behaviour, as a place where people can meet almost on a village basis. There are over 4,000 members of these associations. There are youth centres in three of the large schools, with 500 or 600 members each, and an average attendance per centre of 1,500 to 1,700 a week.
To see these youth centres is a staggering experience. My noble friends Lord Willis and Lord Gardiner were talking about 15 to 18-year olds who left school at 15. It is most exciting to see how, if proper youth centres are provided, these young people use these centres, and use them abundantly. Sixty per cent. of the young people in our town aged 15 to 19 are in some organised activity. One sometimes hears about vandals in New Towns. We have made careful investigations and found that 321 almost all our vandals are aged 5 to 9. They are not very ferocious individuals, but occasionally they chuck bricks at statues, and we have to discourage them and teach them.
We have music in our town. We have a resident quartet called the Alberni Quartet. We have a lot of Do-it-yourself music, and children of families who were never musical before are now participating. I do not think it is a very beautiful sound they produce, but they are doing it themselves. They are playing drums and double basses and goodness knows, what. This amazing amount of Do-it-yourself activity seems to me to be very encouraging.
One thing we arm short of is water sport. The great need at the moment is for a boating lake for sailing, for many people are making their own boats. We are also short of communal workshops. We are looking into the possibility of having communal workshops where young people can repair their own motor bikes in comfort and with the necessary facilities. I do not regard a motor bike as an evil thing. I do not agree with my noble friend Lord Willis, who mentioned the sorry degradation of standards nowadays and quoted a young friend of his who said: "When I am on a motor bike, I feel somebody". I must confess that when I am on my son's motor bike I feel somebody, and wonder whether I shall still be somebody in a very short time. But I do not think this is a bad thing.
§ LORD FERRIER
My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Lord to say that I think Lord Willis said that the youth had told him, "When I am on a motor bike doing 'a ton' I feel somebody".
§ LORD TAYLOR
I think the noble Lord is right, and must say that I have never done "a ton", and I hope I never do. I must equally say that kids needs kicks, not purple hearts. It is right and proper for kids to get excitement. They want thrills, and I do not see anything wrong with whizzing about pretty fast, provided you learn discretion pretty quickly, too. Anything worth while involves a bit of a risk. Even coming to your Lordships' House involves a bit of a risk—financially, anyway.
THE EARL OF ARRAN
My Lords, if I may interrupt for one moment, may I say that surely the question of motor bicycles and "the ton" is not merely of its being a risk to the riders themselves, but of its being a risk to others.
§ LORD TAYLOR
I quite agree. I am overstating a case. And yet there is a virtue in danger, and the problem is how to get danger in a socially satisfactory way.
§ LORD FERRIER
That is why I interrupted the noble Lord. I remember well the days when, more than forty years ago, I was a keen motor cyclist, and there is something in what the noble Lord says. I do not dispute what the noble Earl said: that there may be danger to other people.
§ LORD TAYLOR
I thank the noble Lord. The other things my noble friend Lord Willis said I found extremely interesting, and with most of his remarks I agree in toto—except for his gloomy view of some teenagers and his dislike of the Beatles. I personally do not think it is wicked to like the Beatles. I do not think it is wicked to like Danny Kaye. I have all my life liked the popular music-hall artistes of the time. I liked Gracie Fields, I liked Vera Lynn, I liked Jack Buchanan, I liked Vesta Tilley, and I think I should have liked Marie Lloyd. I do not think this was wicked. But my noble friend Lord Willis mentioned many people I ought to have liked. I have liked some of them but not all of them, and some of them I have never heard of, I am pleased to say. That deals with Lord Willis.
Seriously, my Lords, the lesson I have learned from our experience in Harlow is that if the facilities are provided for the young people they will be used. But to provide the facilities takes a great deal of enthusiasm and drive, it costs a lot of money and it demands evening work, which means a properly paid staff. I was delighted to hear the noble Lord, Lord Luke, pay tribute to what we have done in Harlow. As your Lordships will see in a moment, our sports centre involves evening activity, and this is one of the most important things for young people who are working during the day. We have this almost unique 323 sports centre which is very nearly completed, and it is in a little way an imitation of what my noble friend Lady Burton of Coventry was speaking about—the wonderful Crystal Palace sports centre which the London County Council are building.
The Crystal Palace sports centre is really magnificent, and if your Lordships have not visited it I would advise you to go down and see it. It will be better still when it is opened, but even now, when it is not opened, it is still a wonderful piece of work. I think I am right in saying that it is being run by the Central Council for Physical Recreation for the L.C.C. They are going to have a loss on this project of £48,000 a year for five years—if I am wrong my noble friend will correct me—because they will have to employ a large staff, and the L.C.C. are going to subsidise it. This place has a huge hall and three wonderful swimming pools, one for diving, one for Olympic distances and one which I think is a practice pool. It is a splendid effort for a great city. But there are two other sports halls in the country, one at Lilleshall in Shropshire, which, again, the Central Council for Physical Recreation runs, and one at Largs in Scotland.
Our sports hall at Harlow differs from those two, and, certainly, it is more of a practical model for most places than is the Crystal Palace centre, because the Crystal Palace centre is on such a magnificent scale that it could not be reproduced by any ordinary authority. When we drew the master plan of Harlow we marked out just near the town centre an area of 30 acres which we designated "central sports area" and then we forgot about it. Then, in 1958, the workers in the factories—and by this time there were about 50 factories—formed spontaneously an Industrial Sports Association. They were holding an annual sports meeting. They came to the Development Corporation and said, "We want to develop this sports area that you have on the plan, and get it going."
The net result was that there was created a non-profit-making charitable company entitled the Harlow and District Sports Trust, to take over the area and develop it. It took over a 99-year lease of those 30 acres at a nominal 324 rent. The chairman was Colonel Arthur Noble, who was chairman of the Essex County Playing Fields Association, and there were representatives on the council of this body—again, very much on the pattern that the noble Lord, Lord Luke, was speaking about—of the local authorities, the sporting bodies, industry, education, the professions and so on, in the neighbourhood. Incidentally, as this was a New Town, there were representatives of the Development Corporation.
It was a three-phase job to build a sports centre. The first was the building of the open air sports areas, the second was the provision of changing rooms, pavilions and stands for spectators, and the third was the building of the main physical buildings, the sports hall and a public house—because a public house is really a very proper thing to have in a sports area, as any of your Lordships who have visited Lords will know. In the first phase there was a banked arena to be built, which was done by the Development Corporation, and it was primarily for athletics. In the centre was a football pitch, and around this was a 440-metre Olympic-standard running track. Then there was a cricket field, with two hockey pitches for the winter, tennis courts and a bowling green. Most important of all, there were two practice areas, one grass and one—to which the noble Lord, Lord Luke, was referring—all-weather Red Gra.
This Red Gra is the most valuable thing we have provided, in terms both of use and of income. It is used by 1,200 people a week, mainly young people, and it is floodlit. The rain goes straight through this Red Gm. It has elasticity, which asphalt has not. It needs watering in the summer, but it is a perfect playing area for almost every kind of game in the winter and it is used continuously by all sorts of teams. Compare this with the beautiful cricket ground. A cricket ground has two to four matches per week, and that means four to eight teams. This Red Gra area, which is a quarter the size of a cricket ground, has 80 teams a week using it. The lesson is obvious. In terms of economics a cricket ground is, indeed, the hardest area to justify; but 325 of course it can very properly justified in terms of aesthetics and other very special pleasures.
This open-air sports area has cost about £50,000 to develop. And remember that the ground was available at a nominal rent. The Trust received £21,000 from the Wolfson National Playing Fields Association Trust, £13,500 from the Development Corporation, £5,000 from their own supporters' club, £3,300 from the Ministry of Education, £9,000 from local industry and various other odd bits of income. We did one thing which was unique, and which is well worth considering. We invited every family in the town to allow a penny a week to be added to their rent, and 5,000 families have agreed to a penny a week extra on their rent for the sports centre, which brings in over £1,000 a year of income.
The sports hall, which is nearing completion and which is perhaps the most interesting item of all, will provide facilities for the same intensive use as the Red Gra training area, but of course it can be used whatever the weather. The main hall is 120 feet by 100 feet, which is a very big area, and it is 28 feet high. This Chamber is probably about 40 feet high. Nylon nets will hang down and divide this place up into quarters, so there can be two tennis courts or four badminton courts, or it can be used for netball, basket ball, volley ball, indoor soccer, indoor cricket training, table tennis, gymnastics, fencing, wrestling, and even boxing. In the same building there are two squash courts, two smaller halls for judo and keep-.5t classes, the supporters' club room, with billiards, table tennis and the rest, lounges, bars, changing rooms, store rooms and so on. We estimate that al least 1,000 young people ought to be using this place every week.
It has cost £120,000 to develop, and of that £108,000 has so far been raised. How you get the money to build a sports hall is very important, and £20,000 has come from the Urban District Council, £20,000 from the Ministry of Education, £10,000 from the Essex County Council, £40,000—which would not be available in any other place except a New Town—from the Development Corporation, and £26,000 has been 326 raised locally by local initiative. That is the way the money has been raised.
Then you must have good staff. You have to employ some staff to run a sports centre like this, and we estimate that the cost of running a sports centre of the kind I have described, with cricket and all the outdoor sports, the pavilion, and so on, and this big sports hall, apart from the golf course, which is in fact run but as a separate entity, is about £15,000 a year for a community from 60,000 to 80,000. We reckon that the return on activities will be about £7,000 a year, so there will be a deficit of about £7,000 to £8,000. This deficit will get less. We hope to clear off the debt as time goes on.
The supporters' club should grow, and the ground rent for the pub—which, incidentally, is called the "Willow Beauty" and overlooks the cricket ground—will rise; but there will be a great temptation to use this sports hall for money-raising events on Saturdays and Sundays—events such as professional wrestling, dancing and Bingo. That, I think, would be an absolute shame: yet we do not quite see how we are going to bridge the gap.
That is the financial picture. The total cost of the venture, for a population of 60,000 to 80,000, has been £200,000. Of that money, £100,000 has come from within the town itself and the remaining £100,000 has come either from charitable gifts or, directly or indirectly, from the Government. Every borough or urban district throughout Britain with a population of 50,000 to 100,000 could have a sports centre like this if it were keen enough and if the necessary money and land were available. This has been done in Harlow, quite spontaneously, simply because we were a new community and had not got anything and were starting from scratch.
However, you have to have the site, and thirty acres may be a very difficult thing to come by in developed areas. Then you have to have at least half the capital cost coming from somewhere outside the town. I do not see how you can hope to get by with less than half the capital cost, and that might be as much as £1 or £1 10s. per citizen—it is of that order. Then you must have at least half the running cost coming 327 from some other source, but that can come from within the town; it is well within the rates available. That gives an idea of the money required. It must be remembered that we have had the advantage of having the Harlow Development Corporation to act as a fairy godmother to a degree which would not obtain in other towns. It will require a lot of imagination and a lot of Government spending to achieve such sports halls everywhere, but I cannot help thinking that it is a very sound investment on a relatively small scale. Spread over ten years. £60 million is £6 million a year. I suggest we might very well and very profitably spend that £6 million a year in the next ten years.
§ 7.27 p.m.
§ LORD AUCKLAND
My Lords, although your Lordships' House and leisure are often equated in a spirit of burlesque, the debate which we have had to-day has been a serious one. It has covered many aspects of leisure, in its widest sense, and we are most grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Burton of Coventry, for having initiated it in her usual vigorous manner. The noble Baroness is herself, of course, a distinguished sportswoman, and is therefore well qualified to move a Motion of this nature. The amount of leisure enjoyed by Members of this House is indeed small compared with that enjoyed by many sections of the community, because, quite apart from the work done in this Chamber, there is work on local authorities, on commercial boards, with trade unions and in many other spheres of a voluntary nature.
I do not propose to deal with the subject of the Arts, because I have a Motion down on that topic for June 3, when possibly some of the things which have been said to-day may again be raised in a different form. But I believe this to be a very serious subject, because too many people have as a conception of leisure lying down on a beach and getting one's back very sunburnt, or lazing in the garden with a lawnmower by one's side. Of course leisure must be a matter of personal choice. A man who works on the roads, or any manual labourer, naturally likes to sit by a television set for a while at the week-end, or to choose some sedentary form of leisure; but there are 328 many who regard the ideal form of leisure as walking over the hills, either in Scotland or on the Sussex Downs, preferably with a dog. That is certainly my idea of leisure—taking the most exercise possible.
I think that one of the troubles we are up against to-day is that all too few young people will use their feet. They tend to drive around in sports cars, or to congregate at football matches, and they will not take exercise. I am not suggesting for one moment either that they are not entitled to do these things, provided that they do not break the law, or that there are not a good many young people who do indulge in proper physical exercise; but I think one would like to see more people doing this. I well remember a few years ago, down at Eastbourne, walking over the Sussex Downs one Sunday afternoon and covering about eight miles. We met four people and one dog. On the beaches there were upwards of 75,000 people. Doubtless many of those people had been doing physical work of a very tiring nature during the week, and good luck to them if they want to have a nice, relaxing weekend! But I feel that we in this country grumble too much about crowded roads, and the fact that our climate is not right, whereas how many people really bother to visit our National Parks, in Snowdonia and elsewhere? I believe very strongly that there is as much beauty in Scotland, Wales and this country as there is in many of the so-called glamorous places on the Continent, and I hope that more young people will use their leisure hours in visiting these places.
Quite a lot has been said about young people, and the incidents of hooliganism over the Easter holidays have been widely publicised in the national Press and elsewhere. These incidents are, of course, to be deplored; and, frankly, I get very sickened when I read that a youth who has been hauled before a magistrates' court has used the words, "I was bored"—because, my Lords, there is no reason why he should be bored. Most seaside resorts, even out of season, provide adequate entertainment for young people—entertainment of all kinds. For example, in Clacton on that particular week-end there was at least one well-known "pop" vocal group playing in the town, and the hall was half-empty. 329 There was really no excuse for those who misbehaved themselves.
But I should like to paint the other side of the picture. In my own town in Surrey, a number of young people connected with the local church, in company with youngsters from many other parts of Surrey, congregated in the grounds of Guildford Cathedral. Some of them were dressed in rather a bizarre fashion, some had transistor radios with them, and they took picnic luncheons. But they all carried the standards of their local parish churches; and some had walked ten miles and more in order to congregate at this point. It is also a fact that many of the youngsters of the 17 to 25-year age groups spend their leisure hours repairing the homes of old people and reading for old people. So it is vital that we get the other side of the picture.
The noble Lord, Lord Taylor, in his customary entertaining speech regaled us with what goes on in Harlow. I think it is fair to say that the same thing goes on in Stevenage and in the other New Towns. We hear too much about hooliganism and vandalism in the New Towns. Of course there is a certain amount; but if one bothers, as I have done, to talk to the magistrates on the benches of those New Towns the picture is very different. No one can condone this hooliganism and bad behaviour; but we must get this matter into perspective.
My Lords, I should like to put to my noble friend Lord Bessborough one or two questions, of which I have given him notice. First, would it not be possible for grants to be given to local builders and others to help some of these youth organisations build their own centres, rather than that every centre should be built for them, at the expense of the taxpayer and the ratepayer? I believe that in most towns enough able-bodied youngsters could be found to carry out this work, with good advice from some local builder or somebody who knows something about building. It would give these youngsters a sense of achievement and would also save a good deal of money. I believe that the Albemarle Committee recommendations have been acted upon by the Government, and I think this very sen- 330 sible; but I think that here there is a real suggestion.
I should like to know, too, how much opportunity there is, in the State schools particularly, for these youngsters to spend their leisure hours on Outward Bound courses, or pony-trekking in the Highlands of Scotland or elsewhere. This is an admirable way of spending leisure. Then I should like to know how much opportunity is given them to indulge in creative work, such as art—because doing things with their hands would keep these young people very much occupied. Perhaps I might illustrate this with one story. Recently, my family and I went to Nairn, in Scotland, for a holiday. When my wife went into town, about two miles from where we were staying, to the shops, she gave a lift to a youngster who was staying with his parents at the hotel. The first place the youngster wanted to visit was the local amusement park. My wife said to him: "There is a beach quite near, and also a harbour. Would you like to go to see those and get some fresh air? "He thought for a moment and said: "I can go to my home in Aberdeen, and I can go to the amusement centre. I think there is something in what you say." Of course, this is very typical of the Scottish mentality. I think it is pertinent to point out that Scotland sets an example to the rest of the country in what is being done, has been done and, no doubt, will be done in the future for these recreation centres, such as pony-trekking, ski-ing and generally spending leisure hours in a practical manner.
I think the churches, too, have done a marvellous job here. I have already referred to our own church group in Ashtead, Surrey; and last year there were many youngsters who crowded these churches at Evensong on Sunday evenings. Three-quarters of the congregation are often under 35 years of age. Afterwards they go to the church hall for discussion groups and Bible study. We have had them in our own house, and they have been courteous. They are doing their own bit to promote the Christian life of this country.
My Lords, we have had a debate of the standard which the noble Baroness expected. This is not a humorous subject; it is a great social problem. 331 But I feel that if there were a little less denigration of the youth of this country and a lot more tribute paid to those youngsters who are really building up for themselves and their neighbours a Christian and hardworking society, many of the problems of delinquency in this country would be more readily solved.
§ 7.38 p.m.
§ LORD CHORLEY
My Lords, I am the next member of the conscript squad. I hope you will not think I must be the awkward member, to inflict a speech upon you at this late hour; but I should like to say that I have not been "beaten up" at all. I was recruited to this squad with a most charming smile. I have that advantage over the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, at any rate. I ought not to be facetious after the admonition on the seriousness of this subject just addressed to us by the noble Lord who has just resumed his seat. I agree, of course, that it is a very serious subject, and I would add my tributes to those paid to the noble Baroness for giving us a most interesting afternoon on a subject which, on the face of it, is not a Party political subject. I say, "on the face of it", because I am sure that after the next General Election the new Government will take a much more positive line about this problem than the line which has been taken by the present rather dim Administration—if noble Lords opposite will allow me to use that expression.
Just to mention one or two of the matters on which they have failed to get on with the job, I would refer to the National Parks Scheme which has been referred to more than once this afternoon by other speakers, including the noble Lord, Lord Auckland. This scheme was set afoot fifteen years ago by my noble friend Lord Silkin. It was a completely new experiment in this country, and experience of its working has shown that it needs a considerable number of improvements which can be provided only by legislation. We all know quite well that the National Parks Commission, which has been doing a very good job of work, with inadequate resources and inadequate power, has more than once brought its comparatively moderate requirements to the attention of the responsible Minister. 332 Yet the little Bill, which would have given them more than they need, has not been forthcoming.
The noble Baroness who initiated to-day's debate introduced a discussion on sport a year ago or more. We had a good debate on that occasion, and there was a demand from every speaker—not only from this side—for a Sports Development Council. But that has not been forthcoming either. I hope that before long we shall have much more positive steps taken in the direction of securing the equipment for leisure which we need.
This debate is on the problem of leisure, but my problem is to get any leisure. Other noble Lords have echoed that thought—particularly the noble Lord, Lord Luke, whose speech we all enjoyed so much. It is plain enough, from what has been said this afternoon, that sport and physical activities generally are regarded by most of your Lordships as providing one of the most important solutions to the problem of leisure. I say "solutions" because it is clear enough that the answers to this problem are to be found along a wide diversity of paths, and the discussion, very properly, has ranged over a very wide field. Even for the individual, the solutions vary a great deal.
At present, attention has been concentrated on young people, because of delinquency and hooliganism; rather vicious hooliganism, which we all deplore, though I do not think we should attribute it to the great mass of our young people, because it is only a rather small section among whom it is rife. But the problem of leisure is much wider than the question of sport and recreation. The waste of leisure opportunities among the adult population is, in its own way, even greater and more deplorable than among the youth. If the spare-time activities of father and mother (I think it was the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Norwich who quoted the researches into this) are so very trivial, we cannot expect a great deal from the younger members of the family.
It is even more depressing to see so many old people crawling towards the grave in quite unprofitable idleness. The old people have not been referred to this 333 afternoon, but they are a great problem. It has been said that "sometimes they sits and thinks, and sometimes they just sits". Unfortunately, that describes the situation over a wide area. Their working lives are over and their leisure time is almost limitless; but they just have not learned how to use it, and very little, if anything, seems to be done to help them. All the stress is on the youth.
I drew attention to the plight of these old old people in the debate which the noble Earl, Lord Arran, brought up three or four years ago, but the Minister did not pay any attention to it and I do not think that any attention has been paid to it since. Yet it seems to me that this is a very important part of this problem, and it is time that something was done to help these old people. The trouble is, of course, that they have not the energy to be hooligans. If only they could make a commotion, they might find themselves in the centre of the picture very quickly! We always pay a great deal of attention in this country to people who make a commotion. That is very typical of us. The people who just have a good cause or a legitimate grievance seldom get much attention paid to them, unless they march about the streets and make a row.
So I come back to that area of the debate where the field has been most tilled this afternoon; that is, the youth. Here the aspect which has been most emphasised has been sport and physical recreation, and certainly this aspect has a great deal to be said for it. But that is the short-term view, because the delinquents and hooligans who form one of the most disturbing features of our national life to-day cannot be altogether cured in this way. We have to think of the fact that these young people will grow into adults and into old age, and if they are not trained in something more than physical education, much of their later leisure will be completely wasted in the way I have described.
Much leisure, much more money than they have had before in the history of youth, and much better food than they have ever had, undoubtedly produce an explosive mixture in the young human animal—and it is very natural that it should. We ought to realise that this is a natural phenomenon. A controlled explosion is one of the most effective 334 techniques of the civil engineer. I think it is about time that the social engineers began to learn something about controlling these explosions of youth. In other words, I agree with what the noble Lord, Lord Luke, was saying about planning this problem and not just leaving explosions to go up on their own, which is pretty well what we have been doing these last few years.
One of the few efforts made in the direction of planning this—on the physical side, it is true—we owe to His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, with his Award Scheme. So far as I know, this has been referred to by only one speaker this afternoon, the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Norwich, but I believe that this is an important illustration of what can be done in planning leisure over a wide and important area of youth. I expect that most of your Lordships are more familiar with this Scheme than I am, but I should like to direct my attention to it for a few minutes, especially as the recent Report of the director of the Scheme has attracted some uninformed and silly criticism in the Press. I should have liked to examine that criticism in detail and show how stupid it is—no careful reader of the Report could possibly have made such criticisms; but as the time is late, I will leave this out.
The Duke himself has explained his own Scheme in the felicitous language which we have come to associate with his speeches asdesigned as an introduction to leisure time activities, a challenge to the individual to personal achievement and as a guide to those people and organisations who are concerned about the development of our future citizens".In his current Report, the Director, Sir John Hunt, who was a distinguished soldier and the organiser of the Everest Expedition, which was one of the most successful mountaineering expeditions in which the youth of this country have been engaged (and we are very fortunate to have him as the organiser of the Award Scheme) described it asa many-sided challenge to the enterprising youth of leisure time, so arranged as to enable individual boys and girls to meet it as they choose".I should like to underline those last words, because they emphasise the encouragement which the Scheme gives to the individual participants. The 335 award comes in as a recognition of effort, perseverence and achievement of the individual candidates who are taking part in the scheme.
Although it started only as recently as 1956, the Scheme has already achieved remarkable success. I think everybody who reads the Reports year by year—I have them sent, as I expect many of your Lordships do—will appreciate that it has made astonishing progress during the seven or eight years of its life. Some 1,500 secondary schools are what are called licensed operators, as well as a large number of youth clubs. These secondary schools represent nearly one-third of all the local-authority schools in the country, which is an astonishing achievement in such a short space of time; and a large number of the great independent schools are also participating in increasing numbers.
At this late hour I do not wish to take up too much time in attempting to give a detailed description of the Scheme and the way it works—and, indeed, I have little personal knowledge of it, apart from having had talks from time to time with Sir John Hunt. But I should like to make one comment on the current Report which I think is most relevant to our discussion to-day. Sir John Hunt and his colleagues are clearly meeting a great difficulty at a point of what one might call the switch-over from the schools to industry; the point at which the boy ceases to be a schoolboy and goes into industry. The Report says:Point blank there is still relatively little appreciation of the Award Scheme in industry.This is really the crucial time of the whole business; the time at which the boys and girls—and there are girls in the scheme, as well as boys—have to start steering their own course through life. It is just at this particular point that they, as it were, escape from the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme and come into industry and under the influence of private employers, who, it is clear from the Report, are making no real effort to assist with the Scheme. I hope that a message may go out from this House and from Parliament that it is about time employers recognised that it is up to 336 them to take some part in helping with the Duke's Scheme and helping with the organisation of the leisure-time activities of the young people who are working for them.
§ LORD SHACKLETON
My Lords, may I interrupt my noble friend? I am interested in what he is saying about the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme, and I should like to know how he thinks industry should take more interest. This is a matter that has continuously exercised my mind, as somebody engaged in management, but I do not find an easy answer to it.
§ LORD CHORLEY
My Lords, there are, as I understand it, quite a number of businesses which are licensed operators of the Scheme, and if it could be taken up by other captains of industry, obviously a wide extension could be secured. I have no doubt that the director of the Award Scheme would be glad to discuss this problem with my noble friend, because I know that he is anxious to establish more contacts with industry and to get the Scheme going more successfully among the industrialists.
What I have said deals, of course, with the physical side of the problem, and I do not want to take up more time, except to indicate that, in a sense, this is the least important of all the aspects of the leisure problem. As the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Norwich so well said, we have to get the whole of the personality of the individual citizen engaged in this business. It is not a question only of his physical being, but of his intellect; and this has been realised in the famous saying mens sang in corpore sano. We have not given as much attention to the intellectual side of it in this debate, or in the world outside, as we ought to have done, though I agree that we have given some attention to it.
The emotional side of it has been even more starved, and little in the way of arrangement and care on that side appears, either in this debate or at all. I was interested in what the noble Lord, Lord Luke, said about the necessity for research into the whole of this problem, and I think on the emotional side—which I regard in the end as the fundamental 337 aspect of the problem—it is high time that careful research was carried out. I should like to close my speech by supporting what the noble Lord, Lord Luke, said, and by asking that research into this important problem should be immediately initiated.
§ 7.58 p.m.
LORD ST. JUST
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Chorley, and I seem to be fated to follow each other in the order of speaking. I remember some three years ago that I followed the noble Lord in a Foreign Affairs debate, and I then had to disagree with him. To-night, however, I may say that I agree with him wholeheartedly on the great problem of old people and their leisure. It is almost an insoluble problem, but I think many sociologists and others are looking into it now. I know of at least three highly trained people who are doing a survey into the question al the present time.
As we have heard in this debate, leisure will certainly become more and more an issue in the future. I am positive of one thing, and that is that the State must never allow itself to be involved in the total takeover of the organisation of leisure. I believe that many people in the affluent society which now exists feel that they lose control of the young and then automatically the State should take over and run the young people's lives. This is a problem that is coming about, and I feel it must be stopped as soon as possible. The very idea is wrong in principle. It is a sign of a failure of the families, of which we have heard so much in this debate, to control the young. This is where so much has gone on concerning the problem of the youth of to-day.
I should like to spend a little time in covering the age group that was referred to by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, in what I thought was a most impressive speech. This age group is roughly from 16 to 22. Here there is a feeling of insecurity. I am not trying to excuse what happens on this basis, but I think there is this feeling of insecurity. I believe it comes from the speed of life and bewilderment, which is always a cause of break-out and viciousness if it goes wrong. The other difficulty connected with this is that the family hold has lessened at a much earlier age than it used to do, owing 338 to the fact that these young people earn such enormous salaries so soon. This automatically takes away the control from the family. A father may tackle a son or daughter on a problem of control, and they just turn and say, "Thank you very much; we are earning £14 or £15 a week", and parental control is then virtually lost.
That is why I believe, in principle, in a form of organised centres run on the concept of the Outward Bound idea, but in a more fluid state. I think the Outward Bound idea is superb, but it covers a limited bracket of people. In fact, in most cases only the best are taken—people who are likely to do well on its courses. I am wondering whether the Government, in co-operation with youth societies, could take over some old Army camps and form them into centres where the young, both boys and girls, could go during the summer, especially on Bank holidays. I think the important time is over the Bank Holidays. I think in many cases youth leaders and psychologists would be prepared to go there—and this is the only point at which I want to bring psychology into the question—to help and guide the young in the form of interest that they might continue later on in life. As the noble and gallant Field-Marshal said earlier on, it is a question of education. This is where the basis of the whole problem lies.
Much has been said about young people between the ages of 16 and 20, and that boredom is at the bottom of all the trouble. I think that in some ways boredom produces an unbalanced person if it is not checked in the right way. But, again, it is only a question of training, educating, helping and guiding young people into the vast fields of leisure which exist. Many of your Lordships have been lucky: you have the country and the country pursuits, and this problem does not come up in the same way in the country. In the towns one finds a certain number of gangs forming up, and a certain amount of hooliganism, but one does not find this with people who have been brought up to country pursuits. It is the urban and town population, which is a growing one, which suffers from this problem. 339 I am certain that the outlets of sport and hobbies these days are unlimited. The attempts to channel the young into the right way, so as to get them absorbed in these interests, are breaking down. I feel that if all sides of society, such as the education authorities, the Church, and the social authorities, can get together—a course which I do not think would be very expensive—and form some school on the lines I have mentioned, it may help to overcome one of the more serious problems of leisure at the present time.
§ 8.5 p.m.
§ LORD MILVERTON
My Lords, I should like to add my tribute to those which have been paid to the noble Lady for moving this very important Motion, and for the gracious and comprehensive manner in which she did it. There are many ways of dealing with it, and I wish to confine myself to one aspect—one that I think has been touched upon tonight only by the noble Lord, Lord Gardiner, in the first part of his speech. That is, that underneath this Motion the problem which faces the next fifty years of mankind is probably the most serious one that it has ever had to face. It is on that particular side that I should like to say a few brief words.
I remember thirty-odd years ago being attracted by an essay written by Bertrand Russell, entitled, In Praise of Idleness. It said, almost prophetically, that modern technique has made it possible to diminish enormously the amount of labour required to secure the necessaries of life for everyone. He pointed out, even those years ago, that the wise use of leisure is a product of civilisation and education, and that education must aim, in part, at providing tastes which would enable a man to use leisure intelligently, thereby bringing happiness and joy of life, instead of frayed nerves, weariness and dyspepsia. He proceeded to debunk the idea that hard work is, per se, a virtuous thing. He also pointed out that if men were not tired they would not devote their spare time to amusements which are purely passive and vapid, such as watching football matches. So I looked for a definition of "leisure."
The Oxford Dictionary tells us that leisure is opportunity afforded by un- 340 occupied time. Time is, we all know, the raw material of life, but it brings no magic with it. It is only made available. I suppose that a philosopher might think of it as the past ever increasing by diminution of the future. But what is "wasted" time? One may think of it as waking hours that are spent neither in work nor in play; and procrastination, they say, is the thief of time. So to be alive is to dream, to aspire and to act, and time must be apportioned between these as a man sees best for himself. As Sir John Lubbock wrote:Do what you will, only do something.Leisure time means so many things to different people: time to do what you want to do; time free from work; time for recreation; time for self-improvement, and time to be of service to others. It is, of course, sad that a person has no other idea than merely to spend it. But not to be occupied and not to exist amount to much the same thing; and, most reprehensible of all, of course, is the habit of those who know nothing better than to kill time. The boredom that a man may feel when he is doing necessary, though uninteresting, work, is as nothing in comparison with the boredom that he feels when he has nothing constructive to fill his time with. He is wise who avoids boredom by keeping his mind wide open and responsive to what is going on in the world around him.
It takes wider knowledge and better understanding to live happily in the modern world. Applied science has revolutionised personal attitudes and beliefs. Without up-to-date knowledge we plunge into fear-ridden confusion. Our unpreparedness embarrasses us already. We have to face a continuing initiation in the art of living everyday life. Most people to-day lack the navigational equipment for the wide sea of life. How many of us will be able to say at the end: "I have made as much out of myself as could be made of the stuff"? And the saddest of all obituaries would be: "His hidden talents were never discovered".
All this is leading up to the fact that it all comes back to education, like most other problems in the world, and a crash education system is not practical sense. Education is all that is meant by culture. Culture enables a man to 341 develop, to the utmost of his desire and ability, the fullness of living, physically, morally, intellectually and artistically. It helps him to weed out non-essentials, to cleave to the significant in knowledge and to think clearly. It enables him to become all that he is created capable of being.
We are not self-sufficient. Our physical survival depends upon constant access to material resources outside our bodies. In like manner, my Lords, our growth into spiritual individuality depends upon our keeping ourselves linked in one way or another with our spiritual resources. To-day we are facing a spiritual vacuum. We live in a world which is utterly unprepared for its future. The biological adaptation of man limps behind technological development. We have been told that only 5 per cent. of the population are really capable of profiting from a university education, and that, only 10 per cent. of us can intellectually participate in our civilisation instead of just living in it as strangers.
§ LORD SHACKLETON
My Lords, would the noble Lord care to tell us where he obtains his figures as to the percentage of human beings who are capable of participating in modern civilisation or profiting from going to a university?
§ LORD MILVERTON
The figures came from one of those cultural periodicals. I cannot give an exact reference at the moment, but I was so surprised when I read it that I made a note of it in one of my diaries.
To quote a person whose reference I can give, in that brilliant book of his entitled Inventing the Future, Professor Dennis Gabor, a distinguished F.R.S., has pointed out that the union of science and technology has created the victory over poverty, and so mankind is threatened with grave economic and psychological imbalance. The question is: can we afford to allow the productivity of modern technology to give more leisure than is good for it to an unprepared humanity, which could relieve its boredom only by creating larger families and increasing the other great problem of over-population?
342 The means of production will soon out-run the needs of consumption. It is a solemn thought that present prosperity is based on defence expenditure, waste and Parkinson's law. Mankind is psychologically unready for a peaceful future. We have to breed a reasonable humanity which prefers civilisation to numbers. Development is now so explosively fast that it is out of proportion to the time which social institutions and man himself require for adaptation to it. It is possible to eliminate unnecessary waste and work, but the present generation has been brought up on the gospel of work, which is now being debunked, though compulsive work will surely have to stay with us until a new generation has grown up for whom there will be no sharp distinction between work and play.
The armaments race has been an easy way out for surplus energy and when it relaxes man will be ready, perhaps, for the next step in civilisation. The rationalisation of work of all kinds, whether we like to admit it or not, is going to produce unemployment on a gigantic scale, and the social uselessness of a large fraction of humanity, and this means a need to change the fundamental conventions of our civilisation, the elimination of unskilled labour. There will be no economic use in that future world for the lowest grade of I.Q.
Until recently the majority of people had to work hard in order to keep a leisured minority. But we are now faced with the possibility of a world in which only a minority need work to keep the majority in idle luxury; and soon the minority which has to work for the rest may be so small that it could be recruited from the most gifted parts of the population—rather as Kipling envisaged when he wrote:The winged men the Fates shall breedSo soon as Fate has wings.We have to find the moral equivalent to war and to economic ambition. If the adult is not to abuse his freedom, self-discipline must now be inherent in his education. Some noble Lords opposite are apt to look with jaundiced eyes on the public schools, for instance, but there at least the harsh austerity of life has its merits in the formation of 343 character. Long ago the East had something of philosophical value which our excessive materialism has tended to destroy. As the poet said:The East bowed low before the blastIn patient deep disdain.She watched the legions thunder past—And plunged in thought again.The speed of what we call progress is having terrifying consequences. As Professor Gabor says, it is about as wise as building more distilleries for alcoholics. He points out that our civilisation faces three great dangers. The first, destruction by nuclear war; the second, being crippled by over-population; the third, the Age of Leisure—which he points out will become the Age of Boredom—for which mankind is totally unprepared. Leisure for all is a complete novelty in human history. Deprived of the spur of economic necessity, will the human character collapse? These alternatives of nuclear war or boredom of a terrifying, universal kind demand education of a quality and urgency not yet possible.
Since man began his struggle in his history as we know it, he has always been fighting against nature; but now that victory is in sight, will he be able to conquer the still more dangerous enemy which now faces him—that is, human nature? Civilisation means, among other things, I suppose, a suppression of aggressive urges. Uninhibited aggression threatens civilisation with destruction, but inhibited aggression makes man feel frustrated, which is also part of the dilemma of the future. The age of nothing but the common man would no doubt be dull and stagnant whereas a world of dedicated world-improvers would be a short-lived hell; and indeed we should know then that "the road to hell is paved with good intentions."
What is the answer to all this? The future it is true, is piled high with difficulties, not least of which is the difficulty of transferring national loyalties to the whole of humanity. Education for leisure must start early. One has to keep people out of crime, alcoholism and boredom. Men have to be sufficiently domesticated to stop killing each other without taking to drink in the process. At present, to keep self-respect one must work, but there is no eternal validity in this idea of work and progress. I sug- 344 gest that what we need is a vision, a faith for living. As Pope wrote long ago:That something still which prompts the eternal sigh,For which men bear to live or dare to die.We have a long road to travel. As one looks around the word one sees men in power, irresponsible power-addicts, with the morals of adolescent gangsters. The book I have mentioned, Inventing the Future, is worth widespread study. If we can look forward, with its brilliant author, to the coming of what he calls post-historic man, of the common man living for his own happiness and not for the glorification of his rulers, and of the un-common man who finds his fulfilment in selfless public service—that is the stupendous challenge which faces the coming generations. And perhaps I ought to conclude my remarks by ranging myself with Maurice Chevalier and saying, "I'm glad I'm not young any more".
§ 8.23 p.m.
§ LORD SHACKLETON
My Lords, this is the cosy part of the evening, when a few of the faithful of your Lordships are still here. I should like, after paying tribute to my noble friend—and no tributes have been more justified than the ones to her—to pay tribute to the two noble Lords, Lord Somers and Lord Auckland, who have obviously found an admirable way to occupy their leisure by helping to provide a House. I would make a mild protest at the absence of certain noble Lords who have spoken, and I only hope that they have, in fact, made their apologies to the Minister. I do not know, but I expect some will be coming back. It is a well-established tradition in both Houses of Parliament that Members do provide a House, and in particular do send a message to the Minister in charge for the Government if they are not going to be there. Of course, the normal retaliation is to pay no attention to their speeches, even if they deserve it. I do not want to make too heavy weather of this, but it is a tendency to which I think the Whips on both sides of the House might pay some attention.
It certainly has been a very wide and interesting debate. This is, of course, a subject that has concerned people for many years. I remember 27 years ago, 345 as a very new talks producer in the B.B.C., putting on a series of programmes called "The Problem of Leisure", and there was, even then, an awareness of what would come about as a result, if not of the Second Industrial Revolution, undoubtedly what is, I think, now the Third. I would disagree with my noble friend Lord Samuel that this is the Second Industrial Revolution. It really is the Third. It is worth recapitulating this: the First was the application of power; the Second was the application of process production, and the Third, of course, is automation.
I should like to start by sounding one slight warning note. I am one of those who have been shouting for years about the consequences of automation and how inevitably we should all be driven into a state of enforced leisure in which only the most privileged would be allowed to work and the rest—particularly those unfortunate people to whom the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, referred, without, if I may say so, very much foundation in regard to judgment of their intelligence—forced to live in idle luxury. That, in the past, would not have been regarded by mankind as a fate worse than death. I think it is quite likely that this will come about: that the most privileged people will be allowed to work for perhaps four hours a week, and the less privileged two hours; and the rest will have to make do with golf or galaxy hopping, or whatever it may be. Galaxy hopping will be a concept familiar to the noble Earl, Lord Bess-borough, who, I know, is interested in space travel. These are the sort of activities which have for long been regarded in science fiction as the natural occupation for the citizen of the future.
I admit we are very much still in the 20th century, and the earth has about 200 million years to go. Obviously, automation will take effect some time during that phase, but the actual figures of working hours, both in this country and in America—and this is where I would quarrel with my noble friend Lord Samuel, had he been here—do not, in fact, show any decline at all. This is rather astonishing, because certainly one would have expected, with the extension of the five-day week and such matters, that there would be a decline. Statistics in fact show that the average man in 346 industry is now working longer hours than before the war. Of course, quite a lot of this is overtime, and this is a special device; the working week gets shorter, and this merely means that payment goes up as a result of overtime rates.
In the course of the debate I consulted the international figures on this point. The United Nation's monthly bulletin of statistics shows that the country in which, in the last few years, there has been the most remarkable reduction is, surprisingly, Germany. I always think it is fun to look at the statistics, whether we accept them or not; they do tell a different tale. Indeed, the indices of employment do not show any very significant change. I should have said that while in the long run we must take seriously all the warnings that have been given us, in the short-run the situation is still controllable. The effect of automation in the United States has been most serious in those industries which were particularly suited to the application of automation. This, of course, is particularly the motor car industry, in places like Detroit.
The tragedy has been the absence of any real initiative—this is a matter which any Government in this country has to face—to provide the necessary retraining, redeployment, and indeed to plan for the future. This is something which clearly will raise big political issues into which it is not my intention to go to-night. But I would say t—hat I think it will be some while yet before the full horror of leisure and idle luxury is upon us, and that in these circumstances we have time to think about it. But it is important to think in good time.
One other aspect of this arises out of the speech either of the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Norwich or of the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Chester, which I believe to be of real importance. I think at this late hour it is hardly worth while, tempting though it is, to discuss the structure of organisations of leisure. I gather that now the word "infra-structure", which was originally invented for N.A.T.O., has penetrated throughout our life. "Infra-structure" and "ecology" are two new words that go deeper and I deeper. But one thing is certain: that a 347 great deal more money is being spent; and, of course, some of the most important expenditure is on the part of local authorities.
I will not at the moment join issue on one side or the other on the question of whether we should have a Sports Council. I admit that in this matter I tend to follow my own Party line. I am not always quite sure what it is on this particular point, but perhaps my noble friend Lady Burton of Coventry could clarify it. But on one thing I am sure we are all agreed—namely, that there must be a much greater increase in expenditure from the public sector, whether directly by the Government or through local authorities. Indeed, in recent years there has been a great measure of increase. I believe it is calculated that in this respect something like £35 million will be spent by local authorities.
This, of course, is the obverse side of the really deplorable failure of many local authorities (this has been said so often) to make use of the facilities provided for them in what is called the 6d. rate for cultural and artistic activities. Some most interesting statistics have been produced on this. Obviously, all local authorities are not in the favourable position of Harlow, as my noble friend Lord Taylor quite honestly made clear. But a number could do more. It is not always—although I think it will tend to be so—the Socialist controlled councils which will do more. There are others. There were examples mentioned of progressive-minded people of all Parties who have given a real lead, and in fact have shown that municipal entertainment of all kinds should go on. There are, however, some notable examples of authorities, which really ought to be pilloried, where little has been done. This applies to both Conservative and Labour councils. It is really most regrettable.
I think we should give credit—we usually do on these occasions—to those people who are giving a lead. I am sure that my noble friend, whatever criticism she may have of the present situation, will acknowledge that there are many devoted people in the Central Council of Physical Recreation who have helped 348 to provide initiative, advice and all that is needed to encourage those who are willing to be encouraged; and to give certain guidance to local authorities and community centres.
It is surprising, in a debate of this kind, that so little has been said on the subject of community centres and local activities. We had a most interesting speech from the noble Baroness, Lady Swanborough, on the question of local and voluntary activities. Here again there are certain striking examples in the country. In my own county, Hampshire, there is a most remarkable achievement in the Lymington Community Centre. I could have talked at great length on the energy and the vast scope of activity that is provided there. Clearly all this uncontrolled development must continue, and I do not think that any of us have yet reached the stage when we want to tidy it up into too tidy a pattern. At the same time, whether it be through a Sports Council or through chosen instruments like the Arts Council or the Ministry of Education (which is now making, I think, real strides in facing the responsibilities which to some extent in the past it has failed to face) the Government have a big contribution to make.
But I should like to support those noble Lords who have asked for research in this matter. I do not know whether it was the noble Lord, Lord Auckland, or one of my noble friends on this side, who mentioned this; but, once you begin to get active in it there is practically no subject in the social field that does not call for research. Here, once again, we run into the difficulty of the shortage of social scientists and of people capable of dealing with this. There are certain particular problems which have emerged pretty clearly in the debate. There is the problem of a particular group of young people—and I think we have had a fairly balanced discussion on this.
We had a strong and quite fascinating speech from Lord Willis, with most of which I thought I was going to agree; but at the end I found myself disagreeing quite strongly on certain aspects. I do not know that I found the speech of Mr. Deedes (I do not know whether he is still "Mr. Deedes", or whether he 349 has been knighted) about the Beatles so bad as all that. It may be that I am rather lowbrow, but I thought this was not an unfair assessment of their importance. I am told that they all passed their "A" levels, too. I must say that I rather object to the suggestion that this brings us down to the level of primitive people. I think it is rather unfair to the primitive people. Anyone who has lived among primitive people knows that the dance is extremely important, and that many of these people have strong spiritual lives.
This activity is tied up partly with the strong life, and partly with the subject—and it is an important aspect—that we ought to consider when we discuss leisure; namely, sex and the procreative urge in man. Clearly, one needs to analyse this further, because again this takes us into the field of aggression. There is little doubt that a great deal of the aggressive activities of the young is connected with the outlet that all the time they are seeking for their sexual urges. I do not propose at this stage to pursue this further, but I think it would be a mistake if, in discussing leisure, we did not recognise this as a rather important aspect of it. I am quite sure this is a matter which the Church recognises in considering the social problems with which it has to compete.
One particular plea was made that in meeting this problem there should be Snore scope for what might be called dangerous activities. There are certain ones which pass quite well. I remember Peter Scott explaining to me that one of the great attractions of gliding was that, of all activities, it was the one in which you were more frightened, with less actual risk. Without actually producing phoney situations where there really is no risk, none the less there is a need and a demand for adventurous activities. I have some experience in this regard, because, as chairman of the Expeditions Committee at the Royal Geographical Society, I know that we are flooded out with applications from young people, boys and girls—and the age bracket seems to get younger all the time—who want to go on serious expeditions and do a bit of scientific work. But, of course, it is the adventure side of it 350 that attracts them; and there is need for more adventurous outlets.
The development in underwater sea exploration is quite staggering—the fact that man is adding to the dimensions. I cannot go down into the water more than 6 ft. without my ears beginning to hurt, but Captain Cousteau goes down several hundred feet. And it is only a matter of time, providing the right gaseous balance is obtained, before people will go down a thousand or even two thousand feet. This offers great scope for the "ton-up" boys, providing the facilities are there. This is not a problem we are going to solve in the next few years, but is something we must look forward to in the future. There is considerable scope for it within our own country.
There is a great increase possible for adventure activities in the hills and mountains. Young people who have never seen a mountain, with a little map reading guidance and if they are taken out on a local authority course or any of the courses of the Central Council of Physical Recreation at Snowdon, will acquire the taste for and learn to carry out these activities with reasonable safety. There will be the odd accident, but one just has to take that in one's stride. In doing this we must take good care to preserve the countryside. This is a further argument for good planning of the countryside. When we move into this automated future, and for those who occasionally want to punctuate their periods of idle luxury with moments of adventure, in preference to going and destroying things, it will be extremely important to ensure that certain of the Highlands of Scotland are not just covered with hydro-electric stations, unless—and this is important—people are allowed to sail on the lakes and swim in them.
I have never understood why one can sail on some reservoirs and not on others. There may be a simple explanation, but I hope that the purist professional approach of the water engineer can perhaps be overcome. Everybody is so keen. It is rather like the Forestry Commission, who are so keen on growing trees that they really would like to kill off every animal and, if possible, expunge the human race so as to grow more trees. At least they have not gone 351 in for quite the amount of toxic spraying in this country that has been carried out elsewhere. We must be very much alert to the specialist interest, however high-minded, and must realise that the countryside is for enjoyment. We do not want to restrict it. As we open it up from the type of landlord who has been ungenerous in the past, equally we do not want to hand it over to the dedicated servant of the State who is also going to prevent fun.
We are to have a debate on the Arts Council, and therefore this has perhaps been a rather one-sided debate. I do not think that is a bad thing, because it is rather desirable that we should lead on to particular aspects, such as the Arts Council. There are many things which I am sure your Lordships would like to say on the Arts Council, which, as a body, in the course of time has created as many enemies as some and is usually going through some sort of crisis. There is one at the moment over the Opera Centre. But, by and large, it has made an enormous contribution to raising standards—the same sort of contribution which the B.B.C. has made and the same sort of contribution which, reluctantly in some ways, commercial TV, in some cases, makes. I say that to the noble Earl, Lord Bessborough. He will, no doubt, be surprised at this generous gesture on my part.
§ LORD SHACKLETON
I was interested in the speech of my noble friend Lord Chorley, in which he urged industry to make more use of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award. I speak as somebody who is in industry, in a firm which is particularly interested in the sponsorship of these things. We have in the firm ski-ing clubs, gliding clubs, sailing clubs and fishing clubs. I should like to say to one absent noble Lord that fly fishing is a very intellectual leisure activity. I am all for establishing standards and I am all for the pursuit of excellence. I am all for professional standards; and therefore we must have professionals to set the amateurs standards.
There has been a complaint that the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme has 352 not as yet been quite flexible enough. It is all right for certain types of industry. I am sure that it needs encouraging, and it is a great measure of achievement that Sir John Hunt has carried it as far as he has. But it is mainly in the youth clubs and in the schools, and particularly in youth clubs, that it is most suitably introduced. I have, as have most other noble Lords, a certain anxiety about introducing other standards of judgment for the employer, despite what I say about the pursuit of excellence. There is a danger, which everybody recognises, that an employer should not regard his employees mainly or even partly by the extent to which they take part in some sport or social activity on the part of the firm.
This is not to depreciate what is done in industry. There is, of course, a society for everything; there is a Society of Industrial Sports Clubs Secretaries. Within reason, industry can do more. It means more than just providing a playing field, which all too often has been wasted. It is the choice of options that is necessary; and here industry can do a great deal more. Your Lordships will be pleased to hear that I am not going to pursue the subject any further, beyond saying that I was interested in this view of the individual who has time for something else—the priest-scientist, one might even say the businessman Member of the House of Lords, and quite clearly there is for many people a prospect of more than one occupation. Because your hours get shorter or you have time to spare, that does not automatically mean that you are debarred from some other form of job, or from some other form of service.
I think it would be an appalling thought that a debate like this should end without our realising that, however near we are to solving poverty in this country, there is the most colossal world challenge which will go on for a very long time indeed. How far the principles of voluntary service are capable of general extension to the whole country, we do not know. We know there are many enthusiastic volunteers who are willing to go in for this, and I think that, both by example and by education, one will clearly be able to get more and more people to do it. It is a truism, as has been said before, that the boy 353 who pulls down the sports pavilion is also the one who in other circumstances can be persuaded to build it.
My Lords, in any discussion on leisure I hope that the message of Western civilisation will not be that we are as yet worried as to how we are going to spend our time. This, of course, is a challenge to leaders, to the politicians, to the Churches and to all of us. But this equally, after a debate of this kind, after the statistics that have been produced and the research which has been carried out, should provide us with a clearer understanding of the problems we need to face in the way of reorganisation in order to meet this wider world challenge.
§ 8.52 p.m.
THE JOINT PARLIAMENTARY UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR EDUCATION AND SCIENCE (THE EARL OF BESSBOROUGH)
My Lords, the noble Baroness arranged a feast for us to begin with, and we had a very full House, with full Galleries. Now we have a more intimate party in which, perhaps, we can talk a little sense, as I think we have been doing. It has been a most useful debate, and we are all most grateful to the noble Baroness for having initiated it. I do not know whether I can look as effectively into the future, or be as effective a crystal-gazer as she has been, especially in regard to the 24-hour week. I will say a little about that later.
I feel that it has been an honour to be invited to wind up such a long and distinguished debate, in which so many Members of your Lordships' House have taken part—I think it has almost been a record—and in which so many useful, interesting, novel and rather exciting suggestions have been put forward. I can assure noble Lords that I will look into all of them very carefully, and will answer now as many points as I can, with in reason. Especially in view of what the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, has said about attendance, I do not promise to answer the questions of all those who have left the Chamber rather rapidly. I should, however, like to add that about half the noble Lords who are not here wrote me very polite little notes, but not all of them. I think that that protest should be registered 354 again by someone on this side of the House.
I must admit that, when I first heard last week that so many names of speakers had been put down, and that the noble Baroness had brought so many noble Lords into this debate, I was filled with alarm that we should be in for a marathon discussion which might last even longer than it has lasted. It was also clear to me then that I should have to do a great deal of homework and research if I was to give adequate answers to all the points raised by your Lordships and by noble Baronesses. I discovered, too, that some eight Government Departments —I think that as from to-day it is ten—were interested in these subjects and very keen to brief me. Listening to this very worthwhile debate to-day has convinced me that I was correct in my initial apprehensions about the calibre of the speeches which I am being called upon to answer.
The noble Lord, Lord Brecon, Minister of State for Welsh Affairs, suggested to me last week that, if the lines had not already been quoted by your Lordships, I should open my own contribution to the debate with the words of his Welsh poet, W. H. Davies:What is this life if. full of care,We have no time to stand and stare?I may say that in recent months I have had little time either to stand and stare or, what is more common nowadays, sit and stare in front of that little screen. But this week-end, as a result of the noble Baroness's Motion, I had no leisure time at all in making my preparations for this debate. All the same, as I say, I am grateful to the noble Baroness for having raised this extremely important problem. Perhaps as a result of the remarks of the noble Earl, Lord Arran, and the noble Lord, Lord Willis, we may eventually achieve a certain happiness. I think that, on the whole, we have been happy in our work this afternoon, and interested in it; and we have certainly had, as I say, many useful suggestions.
I should like to give the noble Baroness a personal assurance that this problem is one which I have had very much in mind over recent years, especially in my own part of the world, and in my own way I have tried to help resolve it. I fear that some of our South Coast towns do have their share of idle youths who do 355 not yet seem to have learnt how best to use their leisure time. That is why I continue, in the tradition of my father, to help our cricket club and keep a cricket lawn in front of the house. We have regular games on Saturdays and Sundays, and among many other teams the youth clubs of the two neighbouring counties play there. That is also why I supported that popular and highly successful venture, the Chichester Festival Theatre, and why I am now hoping to establish a Wild Life Park in that same part of the world.
My Lords, Aristotle reminds us in the Politics that the Spartans remained secure so long as they were at war, but that they collapsed as soon as they acquired an empire because they did not know how to use the leisure that peace brought. I think we are living, on the whole, in a time of peace, and as a result of automation, on which we had that very interesting debate a short while ago, it is likely that there will be opportunities to increase our leisure hours if we choose to do so. At all events, in recent years a number of industries have agreed to reduce normal hours of work and, in a substantial proportion of cases, the 40-hour week, which has long been a principal objective of the trade union movement, has been introduced or, as the noble Baroness said, agreement has been reached on its introduction in the next year or so. Movements are therefore afoot which may substantially increase the leisure enjoyed by the community, although some may wish to go on working longer hours or overtime.
It may be, in fact, that while there will be fewer clerks, there will, on the other hand, have to be many more qualified technicians working on the computers which are one of the main contributions to automation. Also, people may do work at home which they would not otherwise have done, and in this way perhaps they may work more than twenty-four hours in the week.
When I go on to the roads of West Sussex at the week-end, and especially on Bank Holidays, I find an increasing number of cars and motor-cycles, very often with people driving them apparently rather aimlessly, looking for places to visit. That is why I have tried to do something myself. As many of your Lordships have said, one of the great 356 problems seems to be that of boredom, and perhaps a certain lack of imagination as to what people should do in their leisure time. People are taught certain subjects in their schools and may attain their "O" levels and even their "A" levels; they may have been taught a career, and yet are often not taught how to occupy their spare time when they have left school. This, I think, is the crux of the problem that we have to face. All your Lordships have made useful suggestions as to how to combat it, and in the course of these concluding remarks I shall try to deal in turn with some of the principal possible leisure activities suggested, as well as answer some of the points raised by noble Lords.
I should like first to say a word about the role of the Churches. The right reverend Prelates, all three of whom made excellent speeches, would no doubt suggest that increased education in spiritual matters is one of the ways in which to stimulate the mind to take an interest in worthwhile activities. I agree with this, and I know from personal experience the admirable work which local vicars and church youth clubs are doing to help in this. I suggest that we owe a great deal to these dedicated priests throughout the country. Many of them enter into and inspire community welfare activities in their respective parishes. One such man, I understand, started what he thought would be a small club for motor-cycle enthusiasts, and to-day the membership runs into several thousands. I do not know whether the right reverend Prelates approve of this; but, at all events, I gather that it is considered a distinct honour to wear the membership badge of this church youth club emblazoned on one's sleeve.
In the debate on this subject over four years ago, my right honourable friend the Lord President quoted that famous passage from Ecclesiasticus about the wisdom of a learned man coming by opportunity for leisure. I should like to add to it a few words from St. Jerome's letters, beginningFacito aliguid operis …",which, being interpreted, mean:Find some work for your hands to do, so that Satan may never find you idle".The noble Lord, Lord Gardiner, and the noble Earl, Lord Baldwin of 357 Bewdley, have made, I may say, similar quotations, but I thought that perhaps I should cap theirs with another somewhat similar one.
The right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Norwich, who I fear is not with us at the moment, will no doubt forgive me if I do not answer his various questions, which I took down, in regard to slum areas. I was going to tell him of the greatly increased building programmes over the next three years, amounting to 243 projects next year valued at £45 million, with another £40 million worth of projects in 1966–67, et cetera, but I have no doubt that I can write to him on those various points, as I can in regard to what he described as the freezing of grants to the W.E.A., on which must put him right. If there are any other noble Lords who would like to know the exact facts, I shall be only too glad to give them.
But in covering the wide range of activities which we have been considering this afternoon, I should like to give special emphasis to the work of my own Department in so far as part-time education is concerned. As I say, a large proportion of our population has been and is being educated for one career. With the reduction of working hours, many of them wish for, and some require, further education. What facilities are available to them? I should like to meet the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, and give a little publicity to them.
Here, enormous and varied opportunities are provided by the local education authorities for leisure and recreational activities. These range from ballroom dancing, fly fishing (about which we have heard a good deal this evening), bird watching and horticulture to the more orthodox curriculum subjects, including the sciences. Last year there were nearly 1,900,000 evening students, including 1 million in evening institutes; and I hope your Lordships will agree that it is a cause for satisfaction that there are almost a quarter of a million students enrolled for day-time study in further education establishments. These students, while they are not pursuing courses leading to recognised qualifications, are studying to broaden their education in a non-vocational way. More and more young 358 people, and adults, are taking advantage of this system.
Most of the L.E.A. provision is made through these evening institutes, of which there are now some 7,500 in England and Wales. They are attended, as I say, each year by over 1 million students, of which the majority, some 700,000, are women. I think particularly of the long-established literary institutes in London and the village colleges in Cambridgeshire and one or two other areas. The great majority of these institutes have, however, no buildings of their own. They operate in such schools and colleges as can be found for them, and the majority of lectures are given by teachers employed during the day in those schools and colleges. However, an increasing number of lecturers are now coming from industry. Some institutes are based on colleges of further education. In Norwich and Northampton, for example, the institutes are housed in the technical colleges, and in Croydon they are under the supervision of the adult education department of the Croydon College of Technology.
As more children stay longer at secondary schools, and as more vocational work is transferred to technical colleges, these evening institutes are to some extent changing their scope, for they are no longer needed to complete a basic education or to provide for technical subjects. In consequence, they are becoming progressively more concerned to provide classes, as I think the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, said, in the arts and crafts, music, drama, language and literature, and for the needs of present-day society in such subjects as photography, car maintenance and cookery. The aim is to provide courses for adults, rather than for adolescents, and most of their students are over 21 years of age. The largest enrolments, incidentally, are in classes for women's subjects.
Adult education classes, in the sense of liberal studies, are provided mainly by organisations other than the local education authorities. These bodies are recognised by the Department of Education as responsible for this provision, and they receive grants in aid of their teaching costs. They are the 21 extramural departments of universities, Reading University, the 17 districts of 359 the Workers' Educational Association and two smaller bodies. Courses which they provide vary from tutorial classes, lasting for a period of three years, to a series of lectures covering a single term or a short residential course lasting for only a few days. Student numbers are comparatively small. They were 135,000 in 1946; last year, the total rose to 203,000. The Department of Education and Science also grant-aid long-term residential colleges, and have approved the plans which four of them have submitted for development. In addition, there are some 25 other such colleges which are not grant-aided by the Government. Most of these are maintained by the L.E.As. and some others operate under the egis of universities.
The Department also offer annual grants towards the headquarters expenditure of a few national voluntary organisations, such as the National Institute of Adult Education, the National Federation of Women's Institutes, the National Union of Townswomen's Guilds and the National Council of Y.M.C.As., as well as the British Drama League and the Music Association. The Department's total expenditure for the current financial year is expected to be of the order of £1 million—the first time that it has reached seven figures. This, of course, is additional to the share of the cost of adult education borne by the L.E.As. and the responsible bodies themselves. They also cater for the elderly people, about whom the noble Lord, Lord Amulree, spoke so movingly. We must certainly sympathise with their case and with their loneliness in what the noble Lord and the noble Baroness described as their enforced leisure.
The right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Chester, the noble Lord, Lord Willis, and, I think, the noble Lord, Lord Gardiner, referred to the gap between school and adult life. In this matter I think it is perhaps not generally realised to what extent children aged from fifteen to seventeen are receiving either full-time or part-time education. About three-quarters of the fifteen-year-olds, three-fifths of the sixteen-year-olds and about half of the seventeen-year-olds are being educated either full-time or part-time. This means that about two-thirds of the total in the three age 360 groups are receiving one or other kind of instruction. I have the exact percentages here, if any noble Lord is interested. It must be remembered that the Government have announced proposals for raising the school-leaving age to sixteen, as was recommended in the Newsom Report. In addition, there are various informal activities in which young people take part. A sample of secondary modern school children taken in connection with the Newsom Report shows that about one-quarter of the children were members of school clubs, and nearly half were members of other clubs.
While on the subject of education, I must also mention the considerable contribution which is being made through radio and television. The right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Norwich made some interesting remarks on this subject. The expansion of these means of education is a matter which, as your Lordships know, I personally have very much at heart, but it is a difficult question at the moment. I hope, however, that it will not be very long before a definite decision about a wholly educational channel and experimental channel will be reached. An interdepartmental official Committee has been established, and I hope that we shall be able to get the information we have long been seeking about the technical implications of such a move.
There is undoubtedly considerable support for the idea in many quarters and I know that my right honourable friend the Postmaster General will do everything he can to expedite the work of this Committee. Meanwhile, the B.B.C. and the independent companies are doing a great deal. There are a number of adult educational programmes on a variety of subjects on both channels. These programmes are generally aimed at the home viewer, but some classes have been formed to follow them up. Southern Television recently put on a twelve-week programme on English Literature, especially designed for the class viewer, to be seen in peak viewing hours and followed immediately by a discussion with a tutor.
There are many examples which I will not go into now because of the lateness of the hour, but there are 361 interesting regional projects: for example, "Dawn University" which took place in October, 1963, in cooperation with the Cambridge Television Committee. This offered a series of lectures at university level. It is estimated that some 200,000 homes tuned in to these programmes. A completely different series in the form of a monthly programme has been put on by one company, in co-operation with the Glasgow Post-Graduate Medical School, with the aim of helping doctors in practice and in hospitals to keep up to date with the latest advances in medical science. I know that the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, knows all about this. Not many doctors have much leisure, I imagine, but if they have, I dare say that this is a way of seeing that it is used. But no doubt any noble Lord, if he wishes, can get a list of the different programmes that are being put out.
There is another interesting programme on geology, broadcast by Television Wales and West, entitled "The Changing Earth". All in all, I.T.A. have the advantage here to some extent in so far as they have a regional structure and are able to initiate programmes of these kinds. But I suggest to your Lordships that you do as I do. I have a list on my table of all the programmes of this kind which might interest me. I am happy that the programme companies are now putting on programmes designed to popularise technology rather than pure science. This is something that my right honour able friend the Lord President has much at heart and, like the noble Lord, Lord Bowden, I think we all recognise the importance of this.
The noble Baroness, Lady Swan-borough, who I notice is still in the House—
§ LORD SHACKLETON
My Lords, before the noble Lord leaves the subject of commercial television, which he has given a quite astounding "puff", will he now tell us something about the B.B.C. programmes—both on television and sound? I could hardly believe my ears—that he, in his position, should have made those remarks.
THE EARL OF BESSBOROUGH
My Lords, I must. apologise. The noble Lord must accept the fact that I was merely trying not to burden the House with too many details. The B.B.C. on both 362 channels are doing most admirable work, and, in fact, in quantity considerably more than the independent companies. I certainly apologise for having quite inadvertently misled the House, but I was skipping pages more rapidly than I intended. If necessary, I will write a letter to the Director-General of the B.B.C.
§ A NOBLE LORD: He will write a letter to you!
THE EARL OF BESSBOROUGH
My Lords, I was going to say a word about public libraries, in view of what the noble Baroness, Lady Swanborough, said. As your Lordships know, a Bill concerning public libraries has just passed its Committee stage in another place and will shortly be reaching your Lordships' House.
The main object of it is to give effect to certain recommendations made in the Report on the Structure of the Public Library Service in England and Wales. In particular, it imposes a duty on the public library authorities to provide a comprehensive, efficient service, and on my right honourable friend the Secretary of State to ensure that this is done. The public library service, particularly in the outlying districts, is a most valuable one. I am sure your Lordships will welcome the fact that some 377 libraries have been approved in the last five years. In 1949 the public libraries in the Unitd Kingdom held some 42 million books and lent them out more than 311 million times. By 1962, the number of books had increased to 77 million copies and the number of loans to 460 million. These libraries spend just over £6 million on books each year and, of course, there has been a great increase in paper backs. They may not all be good books in the classical tradition, but the demand for them seems to prove that we have in this country a pretty widely read population.
On the subject of the Arts, they are, of course, a completely distinct and specialised field of leisure activity. It has always been the view of successive Governments that State support for them must be handled separately from other Government activities in the sphere of leisure. Far from seeking to direct and control the Arts, the Government have continually increased financial support 363 for independent administrative bodies, such as the Arts Council.
I do not propose to go into detail on this subject since the noble Lord, Lord Auckland, has a Motion on it down for June 3. I might, however, say generally that the Government support the Arts in four main ways: by maintaining the national museums and galleries; by giving a large block grant to the Arts Council; by giving direct grants-in-aid to various other bodies; and by acquiring and maintaining for the nation historic houses and their art collections. The expenditure under all four heads has increased considerably over the last few years. It rose from £6,750,000 in 1958–59 to the substantial sum of £11,750,000 in 1963–64, and it is estimated that it will come to £13,500,000 in 1964–65. I must be careful not to skip my remarks too much, in case I fail to say what I should say; but your Lordships know that there has been this notable development in the field of the performing Arts.
A most notable development has been the creation of the National Theatre project, and I am proud indeed that the Chichester venture should have played its early part in this development. There is a very happy connection between the two theatres, which both have Sir Laurence Olivier as their director. As your Lordships know, an architect has been appointed to draw up plans and estimates for the building on the South Bank. The cost of the new theatre, together with a new opera house for Sadler's Wells, will be shared between the Government and the London County Council. Meanwhile, the National Theatre Company continues to play to packed houses in the Old Vic. I say this because one noble Lord said that he did not know this. I think I can claim that the Government's rôle in stimulating the Arts in this country has been well fulfilled within the last few years.
Bearing in mind all the assistance which the Government have given to the Arts, I feel at the same time that I should say that Government finance is not always essential to support the best forms of art. I think in particular of Glyndebourne, and others, which have flourished without any assistance from the Arts Council, apart from exceptional 364 circumstances. It would be a mistake, in my view, for all artistic enterprises to' feel that they must depend on the Government for support. There is a great deal more that I should like to say on this subject, but I do not wish to steal the thunder of my noble friend Lord Dundee, who will be winding up the debate on the Arts Council after the Recess.
I must say something about the rôle of local authorities in matters coming within the purview of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government with regard to facilities for physical recreation and other leisure pursuits. These include the provision of public libraries, which I have already mentioned, art galleries and museums, public walks and pleasure grounds, physical training and recreation, including community centres, sports halls, athletic stadia, swimming pools, public assembly halls, theatres and entertainments. The development of local authority services in the decade and a half following the war was hampered by severe restrictions on capital investment, but the embargo on loans for larger sports facilities was lifted in May, 1962, and since then there has been a significant relaxation in capital investment raised for the 1963–64 period.
There is much that I could say to your Lordships about sport, but I find I have already gone on much too long. But perhaps I should reply again on the subject of the Sports Development Council. The right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Chester and the noble Lords, Lord Gardiner, Lord Chorley and Lord Shackleton, all raised this question again. As your Lordships will remember, my right honourable friend the Lord President said in the debate on May 22 last year in your Lordships' House that this proposal which the Government rejected had, at least for him, considerable attractions, but he thought that the rejection of that particular Wolfenden proposal in the form in which it was put forward was a foregone conclusion.
Much of the work that is done for sport is, of necessity, already aided by the Government or supported by local government funds. There seems, therefore, to be no very good reason for taking it away from the present machinery, and, to do them justice, I do not 365 think the Wolfenden Committee suggested that. Whatever we do, Education Departments, Housing and Local Government and local authorities represent a triangle of activity on which most Government support for recreation must be based, and a Sports Development Council which, in my right honourable friend's words, aided the already aided, or supported what is already supported, could not in that form have a useful part to play. It was with some regret, therefore, that this imaginative and attractive proposal had to be turned down, but I will ask my right honourable friend whether he will look at it again.
While still on the subject of sport, perhaps I might say a word in answer to the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, on the question of the provision of sports halls, with particular reference to the hall in Harlow, which I think he said (at any rate I understood this from him before the debate) had been made possible because the Development Corporation has been able to make a large contribution, but that in an existing town this might not be feasible. I have looked into the position in regard to Harlow and have figures similar to those of the noble Lord. It is true that in this case the Development Corporation is the major contributor—£40,000 out of the total of £120,000—and the U.D.C., the County Councils, the Department of Education and Science, as well as voluntary contributors, have also provided substantial sums. Harlow is evidently a model, and I must visit it at the first opportunity. This is a very good example of co-operation and could be repeated elsewhere, even where no development corporation is in existence, because all local authorities have the powers to give assistance under the Physical Recreation and Training Act, 1937.
Amateur bodies would certainly qualify for capital assistance within certain limits towards the cost of providing such halls. Small halls sponsored by clubs would qualify for capital assistance from Education Department funds under the Physical Recreation and Training Act up to a maximum of 50 per cent., or £10,000. Large halls, particularly those for multi-sports purposes, would normally be provided by local authorities and I know a certain 366 amount is being done in this direction. I understand that to the extent that local authorities may need to borrow money for the purpose, the Ministry of Housing and Local Government would look sympathetically on applications for loan sanction in suitable cases.
The noble Lord, Lord Chorley, raised the question of further legislation concerning National Parks. For some little time past my right honourable friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government has accepted, following discussion with the National Parks Commission, that the National Parks Act could be strengthened. My right honourable friend would like to improve the administration in the parks, helping the planning authorities to do more to develop recreational facilities there and to extend the scope of Exchequer grants for the same end. My right honourable friend made a very interesting speech at Tenby and I hope that the noble Lord read it. He said a great deal about what was being done, not only in Wales but also in this country, and added that it was unfortunate that it had not been possible to find a place for a National Parks Bill in this Session.
There is also the question as to whether, when a Bill is introduced, it might be right to go wider than National Parks, and I think there is much merit in Mr. Dower's aim, stated in his paper on the function of open country. I recommend that paper to noble Lords who are interested.
It may be of interest to your Lordships to know that in 1963–64 the local education authorities spent £11,250,000 on social and physical training, under the relevant sections of the 1944 Act, as compared with only £6,250,000 in 1959–60. This expenditure included the provision and maintenance of their own centres, aid to centres provided by other bodies, training courses, playing fields, swimming baths and camps. Nearly half of it went on the Youth Service, to which my noble friend Baroness Elliot of Harwood referred in her interesting speech. In this connection, I think we should all congratulate her on what she has done. I know from my wife, who is one of her county presidents, what a magnificent contribution she has made in this field. I do not need to tell her 367 that since the Albemarle Report was published a new spirit has been injected into the Youth Service as a result of the implementation of the recommendations.
In a general way, I think we must all feel strongly that what needs to be done in these matters should start in the home, in the families, as well as in the schools, and that more extra-curricula activities to interest the young in pursuits which may entertain, amuse and baffle them for the rest of their lives should be encouraged. I was particularly interested in the remarks of the noble Lords, Lord Auckland and Lord St. Just, who drew attention to the excellence of the work being carried out by the Outward Bound schools, and certain other suggestions made by those two noble Lords which I will certainly look into.
I have tried to answer a few points, although not as many as I had expected to answer, and, indeed, I have cut out a large part of my speech. That is obviously the wish of your Lordships, although I should have liked to satisfy the noble Baroness, Lady Burton of Coventry, in greater detail, because I was most interested in her speech and the fact that she has mobilised so many noble Lords this afternoon and this evening. I am sorry, but I feel I should not go on any longer. But as I have travelled through some of the possibilities which are available, facilities which I think are unsurpassed in any country in the world, I wonder how we are going to find enough free time in which to enjoy them all. Personally, in this day and age I do not know how anyone can find any difficulty in occupying their spare time. With the help of our advancing educational standards we are achieving greater opportunities to widen our own horizons, as well as the vistas of those who follow after us. Those self-same standards are going to give us longer hours in which to enjoy the expanding opportunities.
In this age of leisure trips, leisure equipment, leisure clothes, leisure spending on leisure items, let us energetically try to ensure that everyone is catered for in his leisure hours. Were our traditions of leisure stronger, we could perhaps be more confident in 368 living a leisurely life. We may not be here to enjoy the fruits of our questioning to-day, but we are here now to encourage people to do things—paint pictures, make music, decorate their homes, carpenter wood, mend their bikes—in short, to do something. We are here to encourage whoever wants to create beauty in the living of to-morrow. As I said at the beginning:A poor life this if, full of care …I hope that we all have a little time to "stand and stare" during the Whitsun holiday, and that a little Holy Fire descends upon us.
§ 9.33 p.m.
§ BARONESS BURTON OF COVENTRY
My Lords, we have had a wonderful debate, and whether noble Lords have been dragooned, persuaded or cajoled to join in, I should like to express my deep appreciation to everybody who has been kind enough to take part. I should also like to say to the Minister—because I do not always say such nice things to him—that we are deeply appreciative of the trouble he took before the debate to try to find out what everybody would like answered. I hope that as a result of this debate to-day we shall find much better facilities for leisure, because I think that in this respect at present we lag behind many countries. Once again, I thank everybody who has taken part in the debate, and I ask permission to withdraw the Motion.
Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.