HC Deb 27 November 1914 vol 68 cc1508-13W

asked the President of the Local Government Board whether, in view of the fact that the committee of the National Relief Fund has laid down the rule that it only makes grants to relieve distress due directly to the War, his Department is taking any action, either under the Unemployed Workmen Act or by bringing pressure to bear on the Development Commissioners and the Road Board, to have public undertakings put in hand at once, especially in districts such as the East End, of London, where distress, due to unemployment, is very acute, especially amongst working women?


On the outbreak of war the Local Government Board urged upon local authorities the desirability of expediting works of public utility and framing schemes of work which could be put in hand in the event of serious distress from unemployment arising. A considerable number of local authorities have, in fact, prepared schemes for which grants can be made under the Unemployed Workmen Act. The Development Commissioners and the Road Board have also schemes available for the provision of work, and a number of workrooms for employment of women have already been aided under the Act referred to.



asked the Prime Minister whether he, or other Member of the Cabinet, has received any communication from the industrial assurance companies or their superintendents, praying for such Amendments to the Courts (Emergency Powers) Act, 1914, as would mean practically the repeal of the Clauses which aim at the protection of assured persons who have enlisted or whose interests are adversely affected by the War, and whether it is contemplated to accede to this request; whether he is aware that pressure is being brought to bear on many agents to get them to bring about as many lapses of membership as they can, and to keep cases out of the Courts; and whether there is any action in view by the Government to protect industrially assured persons affected by the War against this form of fraud?


The Prime Minister has asked me to answer this question. I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for South-East Lancashire yesterday.



asked the Home Secretary whether, in the case of the proposed order for earlier closing and later opening of licensed houses in the city of Sheffield for the sale of intoxicating liquors, he can, for the information of the inhabitants of the area affected, give the text of the order made on 11th November by the licensing committee and submitted by them to him for his confirmation under the Intoxicating Liquor (Temporary Restriction) Act. 1914?


I give below the text of the order. In response to urgent requests made to me from Sheffield I suspended consideration of this order, so far as it required my approval, until the representations against it, which I was informed were being prepared, should reach me. They were received on the 24th instant, and I have referred them to the justices for their observations. In the meantime the justices have made a fresh order, to come into operation on the 30th instant, embodying so much of their original order of the 11th instant as does not require my approval. The text of the order of the 11th instant is as follows:—

City and County Borough of Sheffield.

Intoxicating Liquor (Temporary Restriction) Act, 1914.

At a special meeting of the Licensing Justices for the said city and county borough of Sheffield, holden at the Court House, Sheffield, on the 11th day of November, 1914,

Upon the recommendation of the Chief Constable that it is desirable for the maintenance of order and the suppression of drunkenness in the said city and as a precautionary measure, the Licensing Justices for the said city and county borough, in pursuance of the powers conferred upon them by the said Act, do by this order hereby direct:—

That the sale or consumption of intoxicating liquor on the premises of any person holding any retailer's licence in the said city, and the supply or consumption of intoxicating liquor in any registered club in the said city, shall be suspended while this order is in operation during the following hours:—

Midnight until 11.30 a.m. and 9.30 p.m. until midnight on weekdays.

9.0 p.m. until midnight on Sundays.

They do hereby further direct that the following shall be excepted from this Order:—

First: The sale or consumption of intoxicating liquor to or by bonâ fide residents of hotels in the said city, and the supply or consumption of intoxicating liquor to or by bonâ fide residents of registered clubs in the said city; and

Secondly: The sale or consumption on licensed premises in the said city, and the supply or consumption in registered clubs in the said city between the hours of 6 a.m. and 11.30 a.m. on weekdays of intoxicating liquor to or by persons other than females. And they do further direct that this Order shall come into operation on the 18th day of November, 1914, and shall remain in force until revoked by a subsequent Order under the said Act, or until the expiration of the said Act.

Given under the Official Seal of the Licensing Justices, which is hereto affixed under their authority by me.

(Signed) F. B. DINGLE.

Clerk to the Licensing Justices.



asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether any information has been received as to the whereabouts of Private H. W. J. Bryan, 1330 D Company, and Private S. W. Hewelt, 1310 H Company of the London Scottish Regiment; whether these men or either of them have been wounded; and, if so, when and in what manner; and whether he is aware that all attempts to communicate with them or to ascertain particulars have failed, that telegrams sent to the commanding officer remain unanswered and unacknowledged, and that applications to the War Office by the parents of the men have likewise failed to elicit any information?


The War Office have no information of any casualty to these men and cannot trace that there has been any previous inquiry about them. If there is any ground for supposing that either of them is wounded and the facts are furnished, inquiry will be made at once.

Limited Companies (Income Tax).


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will state the precise rate at which the Income Tax is to be calculated for the half-year ending 31st December by limited companies?


I have asked the Inland Revenue Department to send the hon. Member a copy of a memorandum on the subject oft Income Tax deductions which will be issued by them very shortly. This memorandum will be brought to the notice of all public companies.

Government Contracts (Sub-Letting).


asked the Secretary to the Treasury whether any of the Government Departments permit firms to accept contracts who have no intention of doing any of the work themselves, but sub-let the work to others; and, if not allowed, what action will be taken with regard to firms proved to have so acted?


I can only answer for Departments under my control, but the Fair-Wages Clause inserted in all Government contracts prohibits transference or assignment, direct or indirect, of any portion of a Government contract without the written permission of the Department, and prohibits altogether sub-letting other than that which may be customary in the trade concerned. Any infringement of this rule would be dealt with on its merits and, if necessary, by the termination of the contract.

County Lunatic Asylums.


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will explain why the Board of Control have refused their consent, except on a condition involving considerable and immediate capital expenditure, to a scheme submitted by the County Council of Surrey, as the local authority under the Mental Deficiency Act, 1913, by which it was proposed to appropriate for the purposes of this Act land and premises forming part of but not required for the immediate purposes of one of their county lunatic asylums, and under which the council could have made an immediate commencement in the exercise of such of their statutory duties under the Act as are considered to be urgently pressing without the necessity of incurring any considerable capital expenditure at a most unpropitious time; if the reason for such refusal be that the scheme would involve the transfer of about twenty-nine inmates of the premises in question into the main asylum buildings and the consequent removal therefrom of a certain number of out-county contract cases for whom the Surrey County Council are not responsible; and whether he will see that the council is not prevented from carrying out their statutory obligations in respect of a far larger number of unfortunate persons for whom they are responsible?


The matter has not previously come before me, and I will consult the Board of Control on the subject.

Coroners' Inquests (Trade Union Representatives).


asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that responsible trade union officials are experiencing difficulty in representing workmen at inquests held in different parts of the country; and, notwithstanding the circular issued in 1907 by the then Home Secretary, Lord Gladstone, urging coroners to give facilities to trade union representatives, the same difficulties are being experienced to-day, and in some cases the coroners have openly stated that they would ignore the circular of Lord Gladstone; and, having regard to the importance of trade union representation at coroners' inquests and the practical and technical knowledge such representatives can give in dealing with accidents, will he cause a fresh circular to be issued or, alternatively, introduce legislation to deal with the question?


The circular letter to coroners referred to in this question was reissued by me in April of last year, and renewed the recommendation that, in an inquest on an industrial accident, the trade union representative of the deceased workman should be allowed to attend and put questions with a view to elucidating the circumstances of the accident. I have no reason to think that this recommendation is not generally acted upon by coroners; but, if my hon. Friend will furnish me with particulars of any cases where difficulties have been experienced, I shall be glad to inquire into them.