§ Considered in Committee [Progress 3rd December].
§ [Sir DENNIS HERBERT in the Chair.]
Question again proposed,
That, for the purposes of any Act of the present Session to provide for the initiation, organisation, prosecution and assistance of measures designed to facilitate the economic development and social improvement of the depressed areas; for the appointment of Commissioners for those purposes; and for purposes connected with the matters aforesaid, it is expedient to authorise the payment out of moneys provided by Parliament—
§ The areas to which this Resolution applies are the following areas, that is to say: —
§ Depressed Areas in England and Wales.
- The county borough of Gateshead;
- The county borough of Merthyr Tydfil;
- The county borough of Newcastle-upon-Tyne;
- The county borough of South Shields;
- The county borough of Sunderland;
- The county borough of Tynemouth;
- The county borough of West Hartlepool;
§ In the administrative county of Durham—
- The boroughs of Durham, Hartlepool, and Jarrow;
- The urban, districts of Annfield Plain, Barnard Castle, Benfieldside, Bishop Auckland, Blaydon, Brandon and Byshottles, Chester-le-Street. Consett, Crook, Felling, Hebburn, Hetton. Houghton-le-Spring, Leadgate, Ryton, Seaham Harbour, Shildon, Spennymoor, Stanhope, Stanley, Tanfield, Tow Law, Washington, Whickham, and Willington;
- The rural districts of Auckland, Barnard Castle, Chester-lo-Street, Durham, Easington, Hartlepool, Houghton-le-Spring, Lanchester, Sedgefield, South Shields, Sunderland, and Weardale;
§ In the administrative county of Northumberland
- The borough of Wallsend;
- The urban districts of Longbenton, and Newburn;
- The rural district of Haltwhistle;
§ In the administrative county of Cumberland—
- The boroughs of Whitehaven, and Workington;
- The urban districts of Cockermouth, and Maryport;
- The rural districts of Alston with Garrigill, Cockermouth, Ennerdale, Millom, and Wigton;
§ In the administrative county of Mon-mouth—
- The urban districts of Abercarn, Abersychan, Abertillery, Bedwas and Machen, Bedwellty, Blaenavon, Ebbw Vale, Llantarnam, Llanfrechfa Upper, Mynyddislwyn, Nantyglo and Blaina, Panteg, Pontypool, Rhymney, Risca and Tredegar;
- The rural districts of Pontypool and Saint Mellons;
§ In the administrative county of Glamorgan—
- The borough of Port Talbot;
- The urban districts of Aberdare, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Gelligaer, Glyncorrwg, Maesteg, Mountain Ash, Ogmore and Garw, Pontypridd and Rnondda;
- The rural districts of Cardiff, Cowbridge, Llantrisant and Llantwit Fardre, Neath and Penybont;
§ In the administrative county of Brecknock—
- The urban district of Brynmawr;
- The rural districts of Crickhowell and Vaynor and Penderyn;
§ In the administrative county of Pembroke—
- The borough of Pembroke;
§ Depressed Areas in Scotland.
§ The counties of Dumbarton, Lanark (excluding the city of Glasgow), and Renfrew;
§ The parishes of Ardrossan, Beith. Dairy, Dreghorn. Dunlop, Fenwick, Galston, Irvine, Kilbirnie, Kilmarnock, Kilmaurs, Kilwinning, Loudoun, Riccarton, Stevenston, and Stewarton, within the county of Ayr;
§ The parishes of Falkirk, Grangemouth, Muiravonside, and Slamannan, within 1714 the county of Stirling so far as situated south of the London and North Eastern Railway lino from Castlecary to Linlithgow;
§ The parishes of Bathgate, Ecclesmachen, Kirkliston, Livingston, Linlithgow, Torphichen, Uphall, and Whitburn, within the county of West Lothian so far as situated south of the London and North Eastern Railway line from Linlithgow to Ratho;
§ The parishes of Kirknewton, Mid Calder and West Calder, within the county of Midlothian."
§ 10.10 p.m.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Before the Committee proceed with the discussion of this Resolution I would like to call attention to the fact that from the number of Amendments on the Order Paper it would seem that there is a rather widespread misapprehension as to what can be done upon a Resolution of this kind. I think, therefore, it would be for the convenience of the Committee, if I were to say at once that, with the exception of the first two Amendments on the Order Paper—in line 9, to leave out "two million" and to insert "one million, nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred" and in line 10, to leave out "either of two"—and the last but one—in line 68, to leave out from end to end of Resolution—they are all out of order. I have been asked to state a reason for that Ruling which I shall do quite shortly in this way. The Committee is aware of the very old-established rule that the House does not grant money except at the request of the Crown or, in other words, upon a Resolution which has the recommendation of the Crown, and only grants money when so asked for the purposes for which it is requested. We now have before us a Resolution with the King's Recommendation signified, in other words a request by the Crown for the grant of a certain amount of money for certain purposes. It is not within the competence of the Committee, either to increase the amount named in that Resolution or to extend the purposes for which the money is to be granted. For that reason, therefore, the Amendments, with the exceptions I have indicated, would be out of order, and the only course which hon. Members can adopt in regard to the points raised by those Amendments which are out of order, is, so far as it may be in order to do so, to discuss those points on the Resolution 1715 and to be guided by their own opinion on the subject as to whether they support the Resolution or oppose it.
§ 10.13 p.m.
§ Mr. LAWSON
While thanking you, Sir Dennis, for your early guidance upon this matter, may I point out that Mr. Speaker while giving a definition such as you have just given also said in reference to this Money Resolution:If I were asked for my opinion on the subject I should say that not only has the limit been reached but that it has been rather exceeded in the amount of detail which is put in a Money Resolution."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 3rd December, 1934; col. 1236, Vol. 295.]May I ask if your Ruling means that we shall have a sort of Second Reading Debate in which we can express ourselves upon the Government's action in appending all these points to this Money Resolution and thus limiting the opportunity of the Committtee to put down Amendments which they desire to have discussed.
§ 10.14 p.m.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The question which is before the Committee is the Resolution which appears on the Order Paper. If the hon. Member cares to describe a Debate on that Resolution as a kind of Second Reading Debate, he can do so, but what is before the Committee is the Resolution as a whole. The Amendments which are on the Order Paper may be moved in due course when the hon. Members whose names are attached to the Amendments are called. This is strictly the position: When an Amendment is called, the discussion is limited to that Amendment until the Amendment is disposed of, and then the original question of the Resolution is again before the Committee, unless and until another Amendment is called. Hon. Members will perhaps realise that I have stated the position shortly. The common practice is this: The Resolution is discussed as a whole. When it appears to the Chair that the discussion has reached a certain point, I will not say has drawn to a conclusion, he calls an hon. Member who he anticipates will move an Amendment. After that is done, the Amendment is dealt with, and when that is disposed of the original question which was before the Committee is put before the Committee again to be further debated if desired, or voted upon.
§ Mr. LAWSON
I want at once to raise the issue of the manner in which the Government have treated the House in reference to this Resolution.
§ Mr. JOHN WALLACE
On a point of Order. I may not have heard you correctly, but I understood you to say that only the first two Amendments and the last but one of the Amendments on the Order Paper are in order. I wish to ask whether the fourth Amendment, in the name of the hon. Member for Dundee, which deals with the inclusion of additional areas, is in order. It raises the question of an extension of the areas to which the Bill is to apply.
§ The CHAIRMAN
That Amendment is quite clearly out of order under the ruling which I have already given, as it would extend the areas in which the money is to be expended. The fact that hon. Members cannot move an Amendment in a certain sense docs not necessarily mean that they cannot raise the point in debate. Hon. Members may give as a reason for opposing the Resolution the fact that it does not include something which they would like to see included, although they cannot move it as an Amendment.
§ 10.17 p.m.
§ Mr. LAWSON
May I now pursue the point I was about to make, that when the announcement was first made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in reference to these depressed areas there was very great disappointmnt at the amount that was mentioned. We are well aware that, that amount having been put into the Money Resolution, we are almost powerless. There was indignation at that particular time, but I am sure the House did not expect that we were going to be cabin'd and cribb'd by having the areas definitely attached to the Money Resolution, so that we are almost powerless either to discuss the Money Resolution or to make Amendments to the Bill later on. That is a very real grievance. Members in all quarters of the House are interested in areas which are depressed, some of them almost derelict, but yet they are hindered from having those areas included for consideration in the Bill.
Take the case of Middlesbrough. I think that of all the ironies, the worst is that Middlesbrough is left out of a Bill 1717 for dealing with depressed areas. Those of us who know the facts know that if there was a pioneer in drawing attention to this matter it was one of the hon. Members for Middlesbrough. I was very much surprised to find a reference to the county that I represent. I was amazed to find that the area bordering upon my own area is actually excluded from the Resolution. I refer, not to Stanley, which is included, but to West Stanley, which has been notorious as a depressed area and yet we are powerless to discuss it or to put down an Amendment with a view to including it in the Bill. We do not want to hinder the progress of the Bill, although we have expressed ourselves as to its definite limitations, but, the Government have shown not only that they are limiting the amount and the activities to some extent, but also that they are deliberately excluding discussion upon areas that really deserve consideration and by Members who deserve better treatment from the Government because of the support they have given them in the past.
I am not arguing the question of precedent. I am putting the general principle, that the Government have set out to deal with the depressed areas and have not only excluded consideration of some depressed areas, but have deliberately, by naming the areas in this Resolution, taken a step for the purpose of suppressing consideration. On Monday last Mr. Speaker expressed himself in a way that I am sure very few Members have ever heard a Speaker express himself within our experience in this House. It is a very rare thing indeed for Mr. Speaker, when he is asked to express himself upon a Money Resolution, to do other than give a bare interpretation, but his words are on record, and they were:If I were asked for my opinion on the subject, I should say that not only has the limit been reached, but that it has been rather exceeded in the amount of detail which is put in a Money Resolution."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 3rd December, 1934; col. 1236; Vol. 295.]If I had been a Member of the Government responsible for that Money Resolution, I should have accepted that as a rebuke, taken counsel with the Members of the Cabinet, and withdrawn the Resolution for further consideration, so here to-night we make our protest on general grounds, and we hope the Committee will 1718 support that protest during these proceedings.
§ 10.23 p.m.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
On a point of Order. I wanted to question your Ruling on the earlier point, but I want now to know what is before the Committee at the moment and whether we are discussing the Financial Resolution or a point of Order.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I want to raise a point on your earlier Ruling. You said that your reason for refusing to allow the Committee to discuss certain Amendments bringing in other towns was that the Resolution was governed by precedent, that the recommendation given by the Crown in effect granted the money, and that no alteration could be made either increasing the sum or extending the use of the sum. I want to raise this point. There is no suggestion that the sum should be increased. All that is suggested now is that the sum so granted might be used in a wider area, and that there is nothing in the Bill or the Resolution that says that the commissioners are not to go outside their particular areas. I submit that, seeing that we are not asking for more money, and that the commissioners have power on occasion to go outside their areas, there is nothing wrong in the Committee discussing the extension of the area which the Resolution covers.
§ The CHAIRMAN
May I interrupt the hon. Member and ask him kindly to tell me where in the Resolution the commissioners can go outside these places?
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
On the Second Reading and in the Debate on the Address it was clearly laid down by the Chancellor and others that the commissioners may, if they find it necessary to take action in another area, go outside the areas selected for them. The Bill says:The functions of the commissioners shall extend to the initiation, organisation, prosecution and assistance of measures outside the areas specified in the First Schedule to this Act in so far as they are satisfied that such measures will afford employment or occupation for substantial numbers of areas from those areas.1719 The point is that the commissioners themselves have power to spend money outside the areas defined. We are not asking for increased money, for that is laid down in the most definite way; all that we are seeking is to argue that the money allocated should be spread in a wider fashion. I therefore submit that you, Sir Dennis, ought to revise your Ruling and allow a discussion on the question whether it is desirable to extend the areas and therefore the use of the money which Parliament has been good enough to grant.
§ 10.30 p.m.
§ The CHAIRMAN
In the first place, may I point out to the hon. Member that I have given no Ruling whatever at present about limiting discussion?
§ The CHAIRMAN
The only Ruling I have given is one to limit the Amendments. I have before me the passage in the Bill to which the hon. Member referred, and what I should like to do is to try to reconcile the correctness of my Ruling with the correctness of the hon. Member's statement as to what is contained in Sub-section (5) of Clause of the Bill. The Resolution proposes to provide this money for certain purposes in connection with depressed areas, and then it defines those depressed areas. My Ruling was—and I must adhere to it—that those areas as defined in the Resolution cannot be extended; but I would point out to the hon. Member that the Resolution does not say that the money can be expended only in those areas. The Resolution limits the objects on which the money is to be spent to certain matters connected with the depressed areas. Then we must go to the Bill to find out the way in which it can be dealt with for the benefit of those particular areas. What the hon. Member says is perfectly true, that, under one Clause, the money may be spent outside those areas, but for the benefit of those areas, and that, he will realise, does not conflict with my Ruling.
§ 10.32 p.m.
§ Mr. KINGSLEY GRIFFITH
I am not in any way seeking to challenge the Ruling which you have given, Sir Dennis, but I think we are entitled to consider 1720 the position in which that Ruling leaves lion. Members, particularly these who, like myself, supported the Bill upon Second Reading, because it was obvious to anybody—and I do not think the right hon. Gentleman who introduced the Bill would dispute the fact—that this Bill is in itself a skeleton which has afterwards to be clothed with flesh by the commissioners, by their action, and by the backing which the Government, and particularly the Treasury, are ready in future to give. Therefore, we are bound to take this Resolution, with the Bill which follows it, more or less upon trust, believing that it is going to be made into something really valuable. There is no assurance of that. in the Resolution or in the Bill itself, and we must be guided in our hopes very largely by the attitude of the Government to the Bill. We have had two indications of the attitude of the Government to the Bill which are not in a high degree reassuring. The first was the speech delivered by the Secretary of State for Scotland in reply to tile Second Reading, in which no single answer was given to any question asked by any Member in any part of the House, and that was a considerable shock to many of us. Another indication, which is more serious, because it is not merely the aberration of an individual, is that one finds that the Financial Resolution has been so framed as to make it practically impossible, when we conic to actual Amendments to the Bill, for Members who are interested in particular constituencies, or interested in general as to the scope of the Bill and the manner in which it is to he carried out, to alter that Bill for the better as it may seem to them. We are crippled from the beginning and crippled by the action of the Government.
I would put this point to the Government. They rightly sent eminent gentlemen to the depressed areas to find out what the problem was and to report to them in order that they might be able to frame a Bill. I do not quarrel with that in the least—it was a very proper course—but there are other people who should be taken into consultation. Are not Members returned to this House from the depressed areas entitled to be taken into consultation? When we find that the form of the Financial Resolution prevents us, as Members for those 1721 depressed areas, from making those contributions to debate which we should have desired to make, it is bound to give the general impression that there was no intention to make this Bill such an effective Measure that it would stand Parliamentary criticism.
The criticism of Parliament has been taken from it in the very first instance. If we pass this Resolution and are therefore bound to pass the Bill in the limited form to which the Resolution would tie us, we shall be putting on to the Statute Book something which the general sense of Parliament has not framed, and it will not be the work of Parliament. It will not even be the work of the Minister. It will be the work of the Parliamentary draftsmen, who follow the bad habit which has grown up and has been extended of framing resolutions in such a way that subsequent debate becomes a futility. I desire, not only on behalf of those who sit on these benches—I believe the feeling is widely held—to protest against what has happened, not merely as it affects the depressed areas—I am not going to say a word more about Middleshrough, but I am putting a point of general principle—but as it affects our responsibilities as Members of Parliament and the part which we ought to be able to play in relation to Measures of this kind. I wished well of this Bill, and I still wish well of it. I hoped well, but I hope less well now that I see the way in which it has been put before the House.
§ 10.37 p.m.
§ Mr. J. WALLACE
I understood from the previous occupant of the Chair that upon this Amendment, other Amendments having been ruled out, of order, we might be allowed to mention areas which are not officially regarded as depressed. I therefore want to make one or two observations based upon the report of the Commissioner for Scotland. The voice of Scotland has not been heard very much so far in this Debate. I am naturally interested in my own division, and I make no apology for mentioning what is to my constituency a vital matter. On page 195 of the Reports of the Investigations into the Industrial Conditions in certain Depressed Areas appears the statement that among the districts examined were Cowdenbeath and Loch- 1722 gelly, in Fifeshire. On page 197, in paragraph 5, this passage appears:In the area of Cowdenbeath and Lochgelly (Fifeshire) a special statistical examination was made of the villages of Donibristle and Lassodie, but it was found that their condition was closely related to that of the surrounding district. Hence further inquiries were not pursued.I fail to understand the decision at which the commissioner arrived after examining the unemployment condition of those two villages to refer to them simply as resembling the districts round about. They have no relation whatever to Cowdenbeath or Lochgelly, in Fifeshire. In Cowdenbeath and Lochgelly there is an insurable population of something like 15,500, and about 25 per cent. of the workers are unemployed. I cannot understand the process of reasoning followed by the commissioner that, made him say that further inquiries were, not pursued. Further inquiries are urgently needed in that district of Fifeshire. I know the position there, and the extent of the unemployment.
§ Mr. MACMILLAN
On a point of Order. Are we to understand that the Resolution is now before the House?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Captain Bourne)
There has never been an Amendment before the Committee. It is the Resolution.
§ 10.40 p.m.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
My hon. Friend the Member for Chester-le-Street (Mr. Lawson)—who happens not to be in the Chamber at the moment—most certainly thought that he was speaking on the Money Resolution. My hon. Friend wanted to make a speech on the Resolution, and we were under the impression that he did so. Anyhow, he has got in his speech, even if he has done so in a roundabout manner. That, however, was our impression.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
In reply to the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, I heard the hon. Member for Chester-le-Street (Mr. 1723 Lawson) begin his remarks, and I was certainly under the impression that he was making a speech against the Resolution as a whole, taking as the basis of his argument that the Resolution was so drawn that it was undesirable that this Committee should agree to it. That was a speech on the Resolution, and not on the point of Order.
§ Mr. BEVAN
On the point of Order. The hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan), following the hon. Member for Chester-le-Street (Mr. Lawson), rose to a point of Order, and I think the Committee was under the impression that there was still some difficulty, although apparently some hon. Members who follow the Government like sheep cannot see it. Our difficulty is that we do not know what is going to be the extent of the Debate on the Money Resolution itself. I understand that Sir Dennis Herbert gave a Ruling in which he said that it was not proper for a private Member of the House to initiate expenditure. We understand that; there is no difficulty about it. We understand, further, that it is not proper for a private Member to add to the purposes on which the money is to be spent—
§ Mr. BEVAN
We are now discussing the extent of the area on which the same amount of money is to be spent. Mr. Speaker gave a Ruling, and some of us were anxious to find out what it meant. In the course of his Ruling he said that it was not proper for him to usurp the function of the Chairman of the Committee, and we are now seeking to find from the Chairman of the Committee what are the limits of the Debate upon which we are about to embark. Many of us hold the view that it is perfectly proper within the Standing Orders of the House for hon. Members in the course of this Debate on the Money Resolution to add to the areas included in the Resolution—
§ Mr. BEVAN
I have been in the House all the time. When Mr. Speaker gave 1724 his Ruling, I endeavoured to get from him a more definite understanding as to what his Ruling was, and I am now endeavouring to follow up the matter with the Chairman of the Committee. Members of the House are faced with a very grave limitation as a consequence of the manner in which the Government's Resolution has been framed. All through the years there has been no definition of what a distressed area is. It is only now that we have a definition of a distressed area—
§ Mr. BEVAN
We have a list of what the Government consider to be distressed areas. Once this Resolution leaves the Committee, Members who represent what are really distressed areas will be debarred from raising their case in the House. The position that many of us think has been reached is that the Government have exceeded their powers in framing the Money Resolution and owe are making an appeal to you, Sir, to protect the rights of private Members against the Government and to give a Ruling that Members are entitled to move their Amendments on the Resolution including other areas than those contained in the Schedule. We are suggesting that, if you cannot do that, the Chair is not performing its function in defending the privileges of private Members. Hon. Members are treating the matter far too frivolously because when the Resolution is finished with there will be the most grave limitation upon debate, and Members will he substantially disfranchised and not able to represent their constituents. If they do not wish to represent their constituents, they had best leave the Chamber.
§ 10.47 p.m.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member rose to a point of Order. He has made his point quite clear and I am willing to reply to it. This is not the occasion for making a speech. I think the hon. Member was present when the Chairman gave his Ruling that it is the 1725 right of the Crown to ask for money from this House for a specific purpose, and it is not, in my power or in that of the House to put a limit on the discretion o of the Crown as to how far those purposes may be defined in the Resolution. In this case, the Crown was asked for a grant of £2,000,000 for certain specified areas and it is not for me to say whether the Crown has dealt substantially with the depressed areas or otherwise in selecting those areas. All that I am bound to hold, according to the Rules and Practice of the House, is that it is not within the competence of this Committee to add to those areas, but it is in the power of any hon. Member to argue that further areas should have been added and that that is a reason why the Committee should not pass this Resolution.
§ 10.49 p.m.
§ Mr. BEVAN
Mr. Speaker said that in his opinion the Government were exceeding the limits of the Standing Orders in putting details into the Money Resolution. The details that the Government have put in are details which exclude certain areas which hon. Members conceive to be depressed. It is of no use to say that hon. Members have a right to make general speeches in the course of the Debate, but can never express themselves in the Division Lobby. That is an empty and futile right.
§ Mr. MACMILLAN
As there seems to be some confusion, should I be in order in moving to report Progress in order to raise the whole question that follows from the Ruling given by the Chair?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
Not at this moment. The hon. Member for Dunfermline is in possession of the House.
§ 10.50 p.m.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I accept your Ruling, subject to other considerations, as being correct, but is it within the purview of the Chair to say that a Financial Resolution can define depressed areas? Unless these are depressed areas, the Chair has no right to allow the Motion to go forward. If they seek to use the money for areas not depressed, then they are breaking the Financial Resolution. I put it to you, Captain Bourne, that the Chair has power—I do not say duty, because you will exercise that—to step in and say that this Resolution goes far 1726 beyond what a Financial Resolution should, because it seeks to define depressed areas, when an area, may not be depressed at all. I ask that all the parts applicable to depressed areas should be declared entirely out of order. I submit that only a Bill or an Act of Parliament can do that. Your predecessor in the Chair ruled that by the practice and precedents. He said that under the practice and precedents in this House a Money Resolution could not take over the duties of a Bill. I submit that this is a break with precedents. I am not anxious about this Bill because I think it is useless, but I view this procedure as important, because the Resolution takes to itself the purpose of a Bill. A Financial Resolution should not say what a depressed area is: that is for the House and the Committee to say. I say that you, in your power and duty, which are great, ought to rule this Financial Resolution out of order, because it breaks with past precedents by seeking to define a matter in such a way as to overturn the power of the House of Commons in Committee. I put the point to you reasonably. You and I cannot say what is a depressed area. Money granted for depressed areas may not be used for depressed areas. That would be breaking the Financial Resolution. The question of defining these areas should be for the House of Commons to decide either in Committee or in full Session. I therefore suggest that you rule this Financial Resolution out of order as seeking to overturn precedent.
§ 10.54 p.m.
§ Mr. ALBERY
It does seem to me that the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Budhanan) certainly made a point to this extent that the Financial Resolution, as framed at present, can be read as a contradiction in terms. It should have been possible to frame a Resolution which would provide for the spending of money in certain defined districts which are depressed areas. If that had been done there could have been no difficulty as to the meaning of the Financial Resolution. In fact, the Resolution is put the other way round. A limited amount of money is limited to the use of certain depressed areas. The Resolution goes on to enumerate certain depressed areas, but; it is open to argument as to whether they are depressed areas or not.
§ 10.56 p.m.
§ Mr. JANNER
May I ask you, Captain Bourne, to say, when you are replying on this particular point, what would be the position in the event of your giving an adverse decision with regard to any Amendments which may be raisesd on the Committee stage which go outside the scope of the amount allowed in the Financial Resolution? In the event of an Amendment being passed at that stage, would it be possible to have another Financial Resolution?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
With regard to the question of the hon. Member for Whitechapel (Mr. Janner), I think the Committee is well aware of the effect of a Financial Resolution and of the Committee stage of the Bill, and he can hardly expect me to give a Ruling upon Amendments which I have not yet seen. I would point out with regard to the questions raised by the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) and the hon. Member for Gravesend (Mr. Albery) that the hon. Member for Gravesend took the correct course in a matter of this kind. Before this Resolution was brought before the Committee the matter was raised, and Mr. Speaker gave the Ruling to which the hon. Member has already referred, and which stated that, in his opinion, the practice of putting in details to this extent in a Financial Resolution was undesirable. But when further questioned Mr. Speaker replied that he could not hold that it was outside the Rules of the House, and he could not find that this Resolution transgresses the Rules of Order. By that Ruling I am bound, and I am bound to hold that it is not in my power to rule the Resolution out of order.
Sir J. PYRUS
On a point of Order. I understood you to say, Captain Bourne, that it was in order for hon. Members to refer to places which were not included in the area. At the time the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) interrupted my hon. Friend the Member for Dunfermline (Mr. J. Wallace) on a point of Order, my hon. Friend was referring to certain places in his constituency, in regard to which, I understood, he was quite in order. Is it now in order for my hon. Friend the Member for Dunfermlien to proceed with his speech?
§ 10.59 p.m.
§ Mr. WALLACE
I was waiting for your ruling, Captain Bourne, after tile interruption of my speech, which I should have concluded long ago but for the stormy passage raised by the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan). The hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan) said that Members who were not prepared to represent their constituencies should leave the Chamber. I was attempting, in my own way, to represent my constituency, when the hon. Member, quite properly from his own point of view, interrupted me. I can assure the hon. Member that every Member honestly desires to represent his constituency as efficiently as hon. Members opposite desire to represent theirs. I had no idea when I rose to speak that so much heat would be engendered in the Debate. I want to take hon. Members back to the homely Kingdom of Fife. I do not intend to follow the hon. Member for Gorbals into his erudite references to the Rules of Procedure governing Financial Resolutions, but I think I was on farily safe ground when I specifically asked your predecessor in the Chair whether I should be in order in speaking on this particular subject. I do seriously want to bring to the notice of the Minister who may reply the very serious industrial conditons which prevail in Fifeshire at the present time. I regard the excuse which has been given by the Commissioner as altogether inadequate in regard to his failing to pursue investigations further so far as Cowdenbeath and Lochgelly are concerned. It seems to me altogether inadequate, and I want to press very strongly the claims of that particular area, which has suffered so very severely from the depression which is common all over Scotland and is specially serious in the mining areas.
§ 11.3 p.m.
§ Mr. DINGLE FOOT
I should like, first, to say a few words of protest against the form of the Financial Resolution. I do not know whether hon. Members always realise that private Members are confined to the terms of a Financial Resolution and that the Government themselves are bound by the terms of the Financial Resolution. If we pass this Financial Resolution the Government will be unable to introduce any Amend- 1729 ment which extends the amount of money to be spent under the Bill or extends the areas to be dealt with. That seems to me to have a very serious effect on any debates that we may have at any time during the progress of the Bill. The Patronage Secretary referred to the general Debate that we might have on the Question, "That Clause 1 stand part of the Bill." It may be that we may have a fairly general discussion on this Financial Resolution, but what is the use of hon. Members making appeals to the Government or of hon. Members representing different depressed areas putting various points, however well they may put them, if the Government are precluded by the form of this Resolution from responding to their appeals? If we pass this Financial Resolution it does not matter how cogent, may be the arguments put by hon. Members, no matter how overwhelming their reasons may be for some alteration in the Bill, we shall be unable to make any really important alteration. It follows that a Financial Resolution of this kind makes further debate on this Bill absolutely futile. It is an effective form of gagging debate in the House of Commons. This is simply another example among many that ire have had in the last year or two of the encroachments of the Executive. I hope that the Government will take notice of the expression of opinion in the Committee, and that we shall not again see a Financial Resolution of this kind on the Order Paper.
In regard to the general question, it is true to say that there has not been in the present Parliament a Bill which has been received with such deep disappointment as the Depressed Areas Bill. I realise that the commissioners could not cover the whole of the ground, and no one expected them to do so. The Minister of Labour on the Second Reading said that what is proposed to be done was simply in the nature of an experiment, and I take it that he envisages a time when the Government will be able to extend the activities of the commissioners over a wider geographical area. But no machinery has been included in the Bill for such an extension in the future. The question was asked on the Second Reading, but no answer was given. The only way, if the Bill goes through in its present form, as it must if we pass the Financial Resolution, 1730 that the activities a the commissioners can be geographically extended is by means of fresh legislation. Can the Minister give us any indication how long he expects the early experimental stages to take and when he expects to come to the House of Commons and ask that the geographical areas should be extended? That is a. very important matter. Many hon. Members represent areas which, although they may not be the blackest spots in the country, nevertheless have a, high rate of unemployment, which has existed for a number of years. In my own constituency, while the average unemployment rate for the whole of Scotland is 23.7 the unemployment rate for October in Dundee was 26.6 per cent. But. what is more ominous than the actual figures is that this shows an increase of 1.9 per cent. on October of the year before.
§ Miss HORSBRUGH
Do not the figures show that there has been a decrease in unemployment for the first nine months of this year as compared with the first nine months of last year; a continuous decrease in the number of unemployed?
§ Miss HORSBRUGH
May I ask why he has picked out October as the only month of this year when unemployment has been greater than last year, when in every other month there has been a decrease?
§ Mr. FOOT
I took the most recent figure I could find. I wished to give the House the most recent figure, but if I had known that the hon. Lady would ask for the figures for the last 12 months I would have procured them. As between October last year and October this year there has been an appreciable, though nut a great, increase. It is only possible if you are comparing fluctuations in employment to compare like with like and the same months in different years. In Dundee last October we had a percentage of 26.6. That is only 2 per cent. less than Lanarkshire, which is specifically referred to in the report of the Scottish commissioner. It is rather more than Cowdenbeath, with a percentage of 22.5, and I could name a good many other 1731 examples. I am not taking Dundee as one of the blackest spots in Scotland, but as a place which undoubtedly is depressed and where it is very unlikely that our principal industries in the near future will he able to reabsorb our unemployed. It is therefore an area which is deeply concerned with a Bill of this kind.
I think it is a relevant question to put to the right hon. Gentleman as to when in the future we may expect to have provisions and activities of this sort extended to us. Many hon. Members could speak of similar places where unemployment is not so high as 40 or 50 per cent., but is still high enough to indicate prolonged and permanent depression. It matters a great deal to us to know how long this first experimental stage will last. I put down an Amendment, which I understand is not likely to be called, to give power to extend the area of the commissioners' activities. I was not asking that my own constituency or any particular place should be included in the operations of the Bill, but that places like Dundee and areas in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Dunfermline should in future have leave to apply, either to the Minister himself, or to the Secretary of State for Scotland, or to the commissioners, and to show to their satisfaction either that the prolonged trade depression and unemployment in their area justify the activities of the commissioners being extended to them, or else that there are special problems in their area deserving the attention of the commissioners.
The work of the commissioners, as I understand it, is not to be confined merely to buying land and promoting certain local activities; they have also to make recommendations. Although I am not enthusiastic about this Bill, and I do not think many hon. Members are, I do not think that will be the least valuable part of their functions. It seems to me that there are a certain number of questions which are at present nobody's business. When it is a question of organising the unemployed, that has to come under the Unemployment Assistance Board; when it is a question of organising employment, that comes under the Minister of Labour, through the agency of the Employment Exchanges; but there are certain questions which ought to be studied and upon which reports ought 1732 to be made from time to time which seem to me to fall between those two categories. May I give one example? In my own constituency the wages in the principal industry are regulated by a trade board, whose regulations lay it down that there shall be a certain wage paid up to the age of 18, but that on reaching 18 the lad shall receive a full man's wage. The result of that is that a good many employers, when a boy reaches 18, pay him off, and it is a frequent experience to find young men in their twenties who have worked from 14 to 18 years of age and who have since been for some years out of work.
That is a very serious question in that district, and I think it can be paralleled in sonic other Scottish districts, and that is a question which it is nobody's business to study, but which might very well come under the purview of these commissioners. We have this problem and I think it is particularly suitable for study and recommendation by the commissioners, but as the Resolution and the Bill now stand, we cannot bring it to the notice of the commissioners. That is why I think the Resolution is far too closely drawn and the Bill is far too narrow, in that there is no machinery for expansion and no way in which an area outside the districts named in the Schedule will have leave to apply to the Minister or to the commissioners themselves. I am sure that that is one of the main defects of the Bill. I think I am right in saying that if to-night we were to defeat this Resolution that would not necessarily kill the Bill. It would then be for us to have a further King's Recommendation and for the Government to introduce a fresh Financial Resolution. I am one of those who voted in favour of the Bill, not because I thought it went far enough, not because I do not think it is a small and disappointing Measure, not even because my own constituency is not included, but because I do not think that that is any reason for refusing a small measure of relief to other districts which are hard hit. Although I voted for the Bill I propose to vote against the Resolution in the hope that the Government will introduce a fresh Resolution which may give some reality to our debates when we discuss the various Clauses of the Bill.
§ 11.17 p.m.
§ Mr. MACMILLAN
I think it will be generally agreed that we find ourselves 1733 in a painful position at the beginning of this Debate. Unlike the last speaker I feel that this Bill is one of very great importance. I have never under-rated the immense value of the service which it is proposed to confer by the Clauses of the Bill, and it is for that reason that I deplore so much the situation in which we find ourselves, having regard to the Financial Resolution before us. I do not know whether at any stage in this Debate, Mr. Deputy-Chairman, you would be willing to accept a Motion to report Progress—a Motion which would be put forward, I say quite honestly and frankly, with a desire to help the Government out of a situation which seems to me not wholly acceptable to a majority of the House. What is the situation? I am glad to see that the de facto Leader of the House is present.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I ought to inform the hon. Member that I would not agree at this moment to accept a Motion to report Progress.
§ Mr. MACMILLAN
I am much obliged. Perhaps I can develop the argument on the Financial Resolution. We have this situation: A resolution is drawn which has called down upon it criticism from the Chair. I have not long been a Member of this House, it is only 10 years since I first came here, but I have never heard a Government of the day rebuked by the Chair in the way in which the Government were rebuked over the framing of this Resolution by Mr. Speaker two days ago. It is patent to the House from the Ruling given by your predecessor that you have with regret decided that although this Resoultion is strictly within the Rules of Order, it is not in conformity with the spirit of our proceedings, that it has stretched the whole character of our historic proceedings to a degree that has never been done before, and leads to a most regrettable precedent—the more regrettable because it deals, not with matters affecting the few but matters affecting vitally the vast mass of the most oppressed and most impoverished of our fellow-countrymen. I ask the Leader of the House to give some attention to our situation at this time. I speak from my heart. What is the position of the Bill? We say that this is going to be an immense relief, and has an immense future of value to these depressed areas. We hope to build upon 1734 it, not indeed a solution of these great underlying problems, which go far deeper and will need far more, but we hope will be an alleviation of the problems and difficulties caused by unemployment.
If this is not an employment policy, at least it is a policy which we hope will bring to many quarters some alleviation of the worst results of unemployment. Then, we are told that we cannot raise in Debate with any chance of effective discussion the question: To which areas are these beneficent measures to be applied? We cannot raise it because the Resolution is so drawn, that an Amendment which would give to the commissioners themselves the right to raise it on future occasions would be ruled out of order. The field has been so narrowed that while we can discuss our own areas, while we can have the pleasure of making our case, and of appearing in the local papers, our speeches will be barren and unfertile because they can never be brought to the decision of a Division. We can make a general case upon the Resolution. We can enjoy the egotistical pleasure of describing the difficulties of our own constituents but we can never press the matter to an issue. Nor is there any machinery by which this Measure can ever be extended in its operation. By drawing this Financial Resolution in a manner quite out of accord with the spirit of the proceedings and traditions of the House, the Executive has precluded us from debating these matters. We have a situation in which not only are certain areas to have the disappointment of being ruled out of this Bill but they are not even to have the chance of hearing the reasons why they are ruled out. They have a double grievance, first that they are not included and secondly that they cannot be heard.
What is the main function of this House apart from its legislative duty? It is that it should be a sounding board of the feelings of the people of this country and that there should be an opportunity of raising here those things about which we feel deeply. Having for ten years fought, successfully or unsuccessfully; at any rate continuously in an area of this character, I feel it a strange thing that we are now precluded from raising these matters. Why are we precluded? Because of the mere chance that the com- 1735 missioners selected these particular geographical areas for their reports. I would refer hon. Members to pages 69 and 70 of the report of the commissioner for the Durham area, where he gives the reasons why he decided not to extend his investigations outside Tees-side, Tyneside and Wearside. He gave three reasons, but the main reason was the time factor. He was asked to make a rapid survey. These matters he was told brooked no delay, and the Government asked for a speedy report, and consequently, he said, he would concentrate upon the worst part of the area and leave out great parts which would otherwise have been brought within his ambit.
Therefore my protest is not against the Bill. I support the Bill, but the more I support the Bill the more anxious I feel that we should have an opportunity of deciding to what areas it should apply and whether the present areas have been rightly chosen. Surely the House ought to have the opportunity of debating that question. Is it to be the sole prerogative of the executive to frame a Financial Resolution? Is it alone going to decide this matter? We are put in the position of making a formal protest. We cannot go into the Lobby against the whole Resolution, and thereby deprive all areas alike of these benefits and we are unable to take any effective action in the House to extend the geographical areas. More than that, we are even precluded from introducing any machinery by which the Minister of Labour himself, on application from the commissioners, these benefits may be extended to other areas whose conditions may deteriorate. It is contrary to the traditions of the House and an abuse of the powers of the Executive—an abuse upon a matter which, above all matters, ought not to be hedged in and cribbed and cabined by the old mediaeval Rules of Order to which you, Sir, have rightly tied us, a matter which above all, should open wide the channels of discussion because it affects the poorest of the poor. On such a matter we are tied down by mediaeval Rules and not allowed even to raise matters upon which many of us feel more deeply than on any other matter in public life.
§ 11.26 p.m.
§ Mr. A. BEVAN
I have tried on many occasions to explain why an hon. Member 1736 of the obvious talent and qualities of the hon. Member for Stockton-on-Tees (Mr. Macmillan) has not received greater notice by the Government of which he is a supporter, but the speech to which we have listened has given me an adequate explanation. The House must he amazed at what the hon. Member has just been saying. Why has this change taken place in his attitude? Is it because of the meeting of the Conservative party yesterday? Last week the hon. Member was referring to the right hon. and hon. Gentlemen on the Government bench as a lot of disused slag heaps, and he referred to them in that connection in respect of this Bill. Now he feels so enthusiastic about the Bill that he wants it extended—
§ Mr. MACMILLAN
If the hon. Gentleman will refer to my speech he will find that I was most careful to respond to the appeal of my right hon. Friend not to underrate the value of the Measure. I said it did not deal with a lot of greater matters, but I never threw the slightest doubt on the value of the Bill within the sphere within which it was intended to operate.
§ Mr. BEVAN
We are to understand then, that the disused slag heaps have produced a valuable Measure. There is a Measure so valuable, so important, so pregnant with possibilities for the depressed areas of Great Britain, that its chief demerit consists in the fact that its virtues cannot be extended to other parts of the country. The Minister of Labour has indeed got an easy case to answer the Liberals and his friends the enemies inside the Conservative party. On the one hand, the Liberals say this Bill has very little merit at all. On the other hand, the hon. Member for Stockton-on-Tees says it has such merit that he wants it extended to other parts which are now excluded. The hon. Member is always willing to wound but never prepared to strike. The same thing is true of the Liberals. I had some sympathy with them in the beginning, when we were discussing the Standing Orders, because it was obvious that the Government were straining the rules of procedure in order to save themselves from embarrassment, but hon. Members of the Liberal party voted for the Bill, and so did the hon. Member for Stockton-on-Tees. One of the criticisms on the 1737 Second Reading of the Bill was that the commissioners had far too big a task in supervising the depressed areas of England, Scotland and Wales, but now it is said that the commissioners are so valuable that they ought to spread themselves over a still wider area.
§ Mr. K. GRIFFITH
If the hon. Member is referring to me, in complaining of the task allotted to the commissioners—able though they may be—I suggested that they should have subordinates permanently stationed in various areas in order to assist them.
§ The MINISTER of LABOUR (Mr. Oliver Stanley)
Perhaps the hon. Member was not in the House when it was stated that the Amendment raising this point would be in order.
§ Mr. BEVAN
Yes, but it was known before this Debate that the Amendments to which the hon. Member for Stockton-on-Tees has directed attention, put down with the object of extending the areas, were out of order. It was well known before the Second Reading of the Bill that they were out of order. The members of the Liberal party cannot have it both ways.
§ Mr. DINGLE FOOT
How could it be known whether an Amendment was out of order before we had had the Financial Resolution?
§ Mr. JANNER
If the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) was so certain that it would be out of order, why did he argue the question for such a long time?
§ Mr. BEVAN
Because it is our duty, whenever there is what we consider to be a violation of procedure, to direct attention to it in the most definite possible 1738 manner, in order to avoid a repetition of it. The criticism of the Money Resolution which we have heard from hon. Members to-night should have led them into the Lobby against the Second Reading of the Bill, but they want the right to criticise the Government for substantial defects in the Bill and at the same time want to be able to go to the country and say they supported the Bill. Those with whom I am associated hold the view that there are very few virtues in the Bill at all, that £2,000,000 is a miserably inadequate sum to deal with the problems with which the depressed areas are confronted, and that that sum deliberately limits the commissioners to so narrow a field of activity that it is not worth the while of the House to vote it—and we represent depressed areas. On the Second Reading of the Bill we put proposals before the Minister to which we have had no reply. The Secretary of State for Scotland made no reply at all to the criticisms which had been advanced, but that did not deter hon. Members from going into the Lobby in support of the Government, unsatisfactory though the Debate had been. If hon. Members will read the Debate, they will see that it was one in which almost all the speakers were critical of the Government. Nevertheless, members of the Liberal party and the hon. Member for Stockton-on-Tees and his friends were found in the Lobby, as usual, voting against the sentiments which they had expressed in the House.
The position that my hon. Friends and myself take up is that all that can be accomplished by the expenditure of this £2,000,000 can already be accomplished within the powers that the Government possess. It is a part of our case that the Ministries of Health and of Labour, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, already have substantial powers which they could exercise to relieve the situation of the distressed areas, and that the expenditure of £2,000,000 is an attempt to divert the attention of the country from the main problem to which we are endeavouring to attract attention. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to answer a proposition. I have had experience of local government administration. Since I was 21 I have been a member of a local authority, and it has been my unfortunate experience to be a member of a 1739 local authority in a distressed area. Over and over again, deputations have been sent to the Ministries of Health and of Labour asking for assistance for the area.
There was one insuperable difficulty; it was impossible to discover any formula which would distinguish an area which was distressed from one which was not. Suggestion after suggestion was made. Some people said that the rate poundage of such an area was much higher than the average, but others could not agree to that, because, they said, the rate poundage might be high on account of the local authority being extravagant and having spent more money. Then it was suggested that the distinction was the low rateable value of the population, but the objection to that was that assessment committees have no uniform basis of assessment and that assessments are consequently lower in one part of the country than in another and have no reference to the poverty of the district. Another suggestion was that the distinction was based upon the birth-rate. All those factors were so complicated that not one of them could be relied upon as a means of isolating the problem of the distressed areas so that it could be tackled. The first need was to isolate the distressed areas from the rest.
Then a formula was devised. I believe that the production of the formula was one of the most substantial achievements of the Government of 1925 to 1929. I always profoundly disagreed with the de-rating Acts, which were never necessarily a part of the rest of the proposal, but one formula was devised which had the effect of isolating the distressed areas, and that was the population formula. Ministry of Health officials, after years of investigation and representation, came to the conclusion that an area was distressed because of the existence of three factors (a) the high rate of unemployment; (b) the extent of unemployment; and (c) the birth-rate. They were able to use the formula and the rateable value per head of the population, because the Local Government Act, 1929, made it necessary for a uniform basis of assessment to be adopted throughout the country, so that an assessment committee in one part of the country, in assessing its property, did so in relation to the same set of values 1740 as an assessment committee in another part of the country.
These factors afforded some sort of way in which a distressed area could be isolated, and that was a scientific proposition. I do not know of any student of local government who would disagree with it. Where it has been disagreed with is in this, that experience has gone to show that not sufficient regard is paid, in the weighting of the population formula, to the question of unemployment, and consequently there is an agitation in favour of additional weighting of the population formula in those areas where unemployment is extensive. That would give greater financial assistance to such areas, but it would necessitate the attraction of larger funds from the Exchequer, and the principal objection that the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the right hon. Gentleman have to it is that it would mean a greater expenditure of money on the distressed areas. But why is an area distressed? Because it has not as much money as other areas. If, therefore, the Government do not propose to spend any more money on those areas, they are not in any effective sense coming to the rescue of those areas at all. The provision of £2,000,000 to spend on providing expensive staffs to discuss relief work—charity work—is a mockery and a sham, and obscures the real character of the problem with which we are faced.
The Government have abandoned that scientific way of classifying a distressed area. They do not say to themselves that a distressed area is one which is able to attract money under that formula, and an area is not distressed which receives no money under that formula. Have we not heard in this House complaints from Cheltenham, from Folkestone, from Blackpool, that under this scheme they have to provide money for the distressed areas? Did not the Minister of Health two years ago have to face in this House a revolt of the more prosperous areas because he dared to suggest reviving the population formula, under which some local government areas would be called upon to contribute to the distressed areas? An area is not distressed which would be called upon to make a contribution for the relief of other areas.
There you have a definition. Why did not the Government proceed on the basis 1741 of that definition? It is objective; it is scientific; it makes no provision for the passions or prejudices of political parties; it does not depend upon the special feeling of Members in the House of Commons for this constituency or for that constituency; it is a formula which ideally expresses the character of the problem itself. Instead of that, they have drawn a purely arbitrary line. They have said that Ebbw Vale and Merthyr are distressed. That is entirely untrue. Middlesbrough and areas of Lancashire are distressed because they are able to draw money under the population formula. Why has not the Minister applied himself to the task in those terms? Because if the Government had faced this difficulty in a scientific way, if they had had the courage to face up to the policy they themselves devised, they would have to find larger sums of money for the distressed areas. So they have deliberately avoided a scientific policy because it would demand a far larger contribution from the Exchequer.
I therefore say that the Money Resolution expresses the policy of the Government, which is that the commissioners should set to work to a little pioneer investigation into land cultivation schemes, a little self-help here and there, and those schemes that are found to be suitable shall be transferred to the Unemployment Assistance Board and gradually the commissioners pass out of existence. But I warn those who represent distressed areas that if they part with this Resolution to-night they are doing something infinitely more damaging than not coming to the rescue of their own area. They are admitting a form of classifying distressed areas, which may permanently exclude their own areas from any consideration under future legislation. They are admitting a form of classification of a distressed area which no civil servant would dare to defend and which no student of local government would look at for two minutes. I do not say it to offend them, but supporters of the Government who represent distressed areas and who vote for this Resolution will be taking a step which may permanently debar their areas from having an opportunity of being considered by the Government in future.
§ 11.54 p.m.
§ Commander COCHRANE
I wish to ask a question on a matter that was 1742 referred to by the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Dingle Foot). I think the limit of expenditure of this money outside the areas defined in the Resolution is quite clear, but I understood the hon. Member to carry the matter further and to say that in his view it would not be possible for the commissioners to examine and report upon conditions outside those areas. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will give a definite answer on the point, because it is of very great value that the commissioners should be able to examine the conditions in areas outside those that are strictly defined in the Resolution and make a report on points of importance that they find there.
§ 11.50 p.m.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I feel that I cannot resist this opportunity of reminding several Members, who argued in the course of the Second Beading, of what they said about this £2,000,000 being merely a token Vote capable of unlimited expansion. I put it to Members, who complain that this has been interfered with by the Ruling from the Chair, that this £2,000,000 is no token but the final amount. I see the Minister shaking his head. I should be glad if he would explain how further sums can be ordered.
§ Mr. STANLEY
I explained quite plainly that in the Bill there would be found how and when Estimates would be presented.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I am not dealing with the area question, but the amount, which we were told just now could not be increased in any way. This £2,000,000 is the absolute limit of expenditure.
§ Mr. STANLEY
I wish the hon. Member would not misrepresent me. The £2,000,000 is the limit of the action of the House in reference to this Money Resolution and the Bill as it passes, but it is expressly stated in the Bill that there may be paid into the fund further sums as Parliament from time to time may decide.
§ Mr. MAXTON
But this Measure purports to be effective up to the year 1937. That is the time limit of the experiment, and £2,000,000 is the amount automatically being given so far as we know for the operation of the Bill. It may be that at some subsequent time before the expiry of the Bill in 1937 the Minister 1743 may come forward and ask for further amounts. Hon. Members when I was discussing this question last with them were under the impression that this £2,000,000 was granted for the time up to March, 1935, that that was to be the rate of expenditure—£2,000,000 for two months—with subsequent additions of proportionately greater amounts. Nothing of the kind. A three years' experiment with a £2,000,000 limit of expenditure is what we get in this Bill. That is what you are parting with to-night in this Money Resolution. Out of the kindness of his heart or the exigencies of the electoral situation, according to the strength of the agitation in the country, at some subsequent point the Minister may come forward and say further moneys are justified. Here to-night we are passing a Resolution for a three years' experiment to be financed by £2,000,000.
I am sorry I cannot join with hon. Members who are asking for a wider definition of depressed areas. I would like to have some definition of depressed areas and agree with the fears expressed that we are defining something which is going to become a standard. It is defining for the operation and purposes of the Bill for three years, irrespective of what areas may have moved out of the depressed areas stage. Whatever changes may take place, it remains classified as a depressed area. I hoped that the hon. Member for Dumbartonshire was going to rise to protest against describing as depressed an area where the retired war lords and successful merchant princes of Glasgow live. Certainly the residents would be annoyed to be classed in a depressed area. That is a matter which he will have to take up with them. Here we have to-night a definition that is going to govern the situation for three years. If an area is included to-night, whatever changes may take place in its trade during the three years, and whatever prosperity may come to it, it will still remain within the definition of a depressed area. Whatever may happen to the circumstances outside those areas, and however much conditions may worsen outside, such areas cannot be included within the definition of a depressed area. That is the three years duration.
I do not want to argue for extensions of the areas at all. I am prepared to 1744 believe that if the £2,000,000 were concentrated in about half of one of the sub-sections of one of the areas, if the £2,000,000 were spent., say, in Merthyr Tydvil and the area immediately round about, conceivably the expenditure of that money and the activity of the commissioners might give us some experimental guide as to how to tackle the problem in other parts of the country. If it were more concentrated than it is to-day, the £2,000,000 might conceivably be regarded as a mere experiment with great possibilities of future development. But even extended to the limit it is just now in the areas in the proposed Schedules, I can only regard it as a very grave waste of public money which can bring absolutely no good to any depressed area and no added joy to any unemployed man. For these reasons, I associate myself very strongly with the feeling of resentment at the way the Financial Resolution has been drawn. When I have been in previous Parliaments and sitting on the other side of the House I have heard Ministers boast about how tightly they had drawn the Financial Resolution so as to trick the House of Commons out of its proper rights of discussion. It is regarded as cleverness in certain back rooms of Whitehall offices to get a form of Financial Resolution that will confine the Debate within the narrowest limits. It is a low kind of trickery. It is not clever. It is mean and underhand, and I am sorry indeed that the Minister of Labour, in the early part of his occupancy of the office, should have allowed himself—I am not accusing him of being the initiator of it—to be made the agency which conveyed such a trick to the House of Commons. He knows perfectly well that we are cribbed, cabined and confined in the discussion of the whole problem to-night, and the more so when we go on from the Committee. This has not usually been the way in which unemployment, debates have been brought before this House. The general attitude has been that this subject is deserving of the widest and fairest examination that the House can possibly give to it, and to bring this matter before us in a way which does us out of our rights and limits a full and adequate discussion, is not fair, clean sportsmanship.
§ 12 m.
§ Mr. ALBERY
Fortunately my interest in the Resolution is a general one. I support the intentions of the Bill and would not willingly do anything to delay its progress either in Committee or in the House. Since I have been a Member I have taken some interest in financial procedure, and it is perfectly obvious to anyone that this Money Resolution has been drawn in a manner which is calculated to unfairly limit debate; a fact which is resented in many quarters. I say, without any disrespect to the Minister, for I do not believe it has been his immediate concern, that the Government, knowing full well that the way in which the Resolution has been drawn would certainly come up for debate, should have arranged for a representative of the Treasury to have been on the Front Bench. I saw the Lord President of the Council a little while ago, and while I make no point of his absence, I thought that possibly he was prepared to listen to the Debate and deal with this particular aspect of our business. In that case the absence of a representative of the Treasury would not have been of great importance. However, the duties of the right hon. Gentleman have called him in other directions, and we are debating this matter without any Treasury representative. And it will be noticed that the Resolution is in the name of the Financial Secretary to the Treasury. In the circumstances All I can do is to appeal to the Minister and ask him to draw the attention of the Lord President to the matter and suggest that at some later date he will state his views on the procedure, about which complaint has been made to-night, and assure us that a different procedure will be followed in the future.
There are several Amendments to the Resolution on the Order Paper, but I understand that not more than three or four are in order. Two of them stand in my name. It was extremely difficult, under the procedure which has been followed, to put down any Amendment at all. I do not attach much importance to the Amendments in my name. The first has to do with the appointment of the two commissioners. The first observation I have to make is that it is a clear example of the misuse of a Financial Resolution. It is a pure piece of machinery, and there is no excuse for 1746 putting it in the Resolution. The second observation I have to make is that it may prove to be detrimental to the Minister of Labour. Under the Bill we may provide further funds after the experiment has been tried and the Minister might find it desirable to appoint another commissioner. That presumably would not be rendered easier by the fact that it has limited the Resolution. If it is thought that there is anything in the argument I have put forward I shall be pleased to move my Amendment when the time comes.
There is another Amendment in my name, and to my Scottish friends in all parts of the House I make my apologies for having put it on the Paper. I assure them that it has only been done because, as far as I could see at the time, there was no other way of raising the question I had in my mind—the question of the limitation of areas. Possibly my anxiety on that account was misplaced, because several hon. Members have managed to make a substantial contribution to the subject. I apologise if I have been the cause, or apparently the cause, of some confusion with the business of the Committee, and I certainly have no desire to keep them up later than is necessary.
§ 12.6 a.m.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member is referring, I presume, to an Amendment in his name on the Paper. He has not risen in the course of the Debate, I understand. If he had done so he would have been called.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
Further to that point of Order. Is it your Ruling, Mr. Chairman, that in a Debate in which there has been a lot of general discussion an hon. Member who has no knowledge that an Amendment is going to be called loses his right to move it because he does not rise, but that an hon. Member with a later Amendment who rises to take part in the general debate can move his Amendment? Does the hon. Member who does not rise to take part in the general Debate lose his right to move an Amendment?
§ The CHAIRMAN
There seems to be a most unfortunate misapprehension of the Ruling I gave as to the general procedure on these Resolutions. Amendments which are put down to these Resolutions are not called. If hon. Members have Amendments on the Paper in their names and rise to speak they have an opportunity of moving their Amendments. It is perfectly true that if the hon. Member for Gravesend (Mr. Albery) moved his Amendment now, as it refers to a later part of the Resolution than that of the hon. Member for Spennymoor, it would cut out the Amendment of the hon. Member for Spennymoor. That, I am afraid, is due to an unfortunate misunderstanding on the part of the hon. Member for Spennymoor. It is due to the fact that the hon. Member did not rise and therefore was not called. I do not think that any Member of the Committee would wish to cut out legitimate discussion on questions of this kind on any technical ground, but so far as it concerns the Amendment of the hon. Member for Spennymoor that is merely an Amendment to reduce the amount. It is the usual custom and practice of the Chair to refuse to select such an Amendment. I regarded it as a sort of notice on his part that he desired to speak on the Resolution. Had the hon. Member risen, he would have been called. I said just now that his Amendment would have been cut out but I did not realise then that it was an Amendment which would not be selected. The position therefore is that the hon. Member for Gravesend is in possession of the Committee and, if he moves his Amendment, the Committee will proceed to dispose of it in one way or another. When that Amendment has been disposed of, the Resolution will again be before the Committee and if the hon. Member for Spennymoor rises, he will no doubt have an opportunity of making his speech.
§ 12.11 a.m.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I think we are all labouring under a misapprehension, I listened carefully to the hon. Member for Gravesend, and I understood that he only mentioned his Amendment in order to save time. He resumed his seat without moving the Amendment. I not only used my ears, but I was looking at the hon. 1748 Member, and he had resumed his seat when you, Sir Dennis, asked him whether be moved his Amendment or not. We all took it for granted that he did not move anything; that he simply spoke on the general question and made a few remarks about his Amendment in order to save time later. I took it to mean that he imagined that the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Spennymoor (Mr. Batey) would be moved and that afterwards he would formally move his own Amendment. Of course, Sir Dennis, if you rule that the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Spennymoor is out of order, that is another matter, but if it is in order, then I claim, with great respect, that, the hon. Member for Gravesend, not having moved his Amendment, my hon. Friend is within his rights in asking that his Amendment should be called and discussed.
§ 12.13 a.m.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The right hon. Gentleman seems, again, to be under a misapprehension as to what I said. I did not say that the Amendment of the hon. Member for Spennymoor (Mr. Batey) was out of order. What I said was that it would not be selected, but I regarded it as an indication that the hon. Member wished to speak. Consequently, if the hon. Member had risen he would have been called. Frankly, I do not think there is any reason why I should not meet the wishes of the Committee generally and of every Member who is taking part in this discussion, without involving any hardship upon anybody. When the hon. Member for Gravesend (Mr. Albery) was concluding his speech I asked him whether he wished to move his Amendment then, because he had intimated in his speech that he desired to do so at some time or other. I realised that he was apparently under the same misapprehension as others and thought that his Amendment would be called. That, as I have explained, is not the practice on these occasions, and, although it is competent for an hon. Member to speak more than once in Committee, again it is not the practice on these occasions to call on an hon. Member a second time without special reason. Therefore, when the hon. Member for Gravesend was on his feet, I thought, if he wished to move his 1749 Amendment at all, he ought to move it then, particularly as he had explained it. I repeat, however, that the fact of his moving his Amendment will not deprive the hon. Member for Spennymoor of an opportunity of addressing the Committee. As soon as the Amendment has been disposed of the original Resolution will again be before the House in the same unfettered way as before.
§ Mr. LAWSON
On a point of Order. When you explained to the Committee which Amendments you were going to accept, I understood that you said you were going to select the first two Amendments.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member is mistaken. They were very carefully chosen words that I used in my Ruling. I did not say anything about selecting Amendments. What I said was that certain Amendments were out of order. There was nothing whatever in my Ruling to indicate that I intended to call or not to call any Amendment which was not out of order. As I have already stated, Amendments may be moved when the hon. Members whose names are attached to them are called. They will then have an opportunity of moving their Amendments if they choose to do so.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I happen to know that the hon. Member for Spennymoor was under the impression that his Amendment was to be selected, and he has refrained from speaking because he was under the impression that he would have an opportunity of moving his Amendment.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I do my best to meet bon. Members, and the course I propose to adopt will give the hon. Member for Spennymoor an opportunity. While I do my best to assist hon. Members I cannot be expected on every occasion to save them from misapprehension.
§ 12.17 a.m.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I beg to move, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."
I move the Motion on a definite and specific point. I feel that the Committee has got into such a state that we misunderstand one another in a most extraordinary way. I am speaking within the knowledge of hon. Members who were 1750 in the House at the time you made your statement. We most definitely understood you to say that there were certain Amendments which you were going to call—two in the name of the hon. Member for Gravesend (Mr. Albery) and one in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Spennymoor (Mr. Batey).
§ The CHAIRMAN
The right hon. Gentleman is under a misapprehension. Will he allow me to intervene for a moment? I have just seen the proof of my Ruling from the official reporter. There is no question whatever that the words I used were that with certain exceptions, which I mentioned, all the other Amendments were out of order. There was no mention of selecting or not selecting any Amendments.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Order. We must preserve a little order in discussion. The right hon. Gentleman was addressing the Committee and I asked him to give way for a moment to enable me to correct one matter which he had raised in his speech. Unless the right hon. Gentleman gives way, he is in possession of the Floor.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I do not want to prevent my hon. Friend from putting his point, but however your Ruling was put, Sir Dennis, we understood that when you made your statement you were giving us the course of the discussion. You pointed out that we could have a general discussion and that those whose Amendments were out of order would be able to make their case with regard to the matters about which they wished to move, and then you went on to tell us about the Amendments in the names of the hon. Member for Gravesend and my hon. Friend the Member for Spennymoor. Whether or not the actual words were used, you certainly conveyed, I think, to most people in the House, and I will put it to the hon. Member for Gravesend that he was under the impression, that his two Amendments would be called, from the statement made by you, Sir, and we were certainly under the impression that the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Spennymoor would also be called. I think it is extremely unfortunate that that should be the case, and I want to protest very strongly against the dictum of the Chairman, who rather 1751 rebuked us, or perhaps "rebuked" is too strong a word, and I should say he suggested that if hon. Members did not know what they should do, it was nobody's fault but their own. We knew very well that there was going to be a, general discussion, and my hon. Friend, when he thought that was exhausted, would have risen, and the hon. Member for Gravesend definitely did not ride to move any Amendment. He rose to take part in the discussion which was then under way. I do not think my hon. Friends here or anyone else in the Chamber need to be educated either by the Chairman or by anyone else as to the Rules of Procedure. We are not going to sit here and allow people, whoever they are, to rebuke us or to suggest to the House or to a Committee of the House that we are not capable of understanding the procedure of this place.
I think, Sir Dennis, the best thing for us to do is to go home and let the Government reconsider the position in the light of the discussion that has taken place among the members of their own party. I want to be allowed to say to those who have challenged this Resolution that it was challenged by the hon. Member for Gravesend and by my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan) on Monday, that it has been on the Paper for nearly a week, and that all of us must have known how tightly it was drawn. We, at any rate, knew, and the whole question of the manner in which it was drawn was raised by the hon. Member for Gravesend on Monday, before the Second Reading, when Mr. Speaker gave his Ruling and made the statement which has been quoted this evening. In these circumstances, I do not think hon. Members who voted for the Second Reading, knowing that the Money Resolution was drafted in that way, have any cause of complaint tonight, and we on this side are certainly taking the same position as we have taken right through. We thought the Resolution was too narrow and that the proposals in the Bill were too paltry.
§ 12.25 a.m.
§ Mr. ALBERY
On a point of Order. I am sorry to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman, but I have been waiting to rise to a point of Order for a considerable time. I understood the Chairman to rule that I was in possession of the 1752 Committee. Therefore, if the right hon. Gentleman is not on a point of Order, I maintain that I have the right to move my Amendment.
§ 12.26 a.m.
§ The CHAIRMAN
It seems to me that my attempt to meet Members of the Committee is only getting me into greater difficulties. The right hon. Gentleman has risen to move to report Progress, and, in doing so, he has referred to a discussion which has been going on in regard to Procedure. Therefore, I think I ought to say a word or two on that as far as my conduct personally is concerned. I want to say definitely that I had not the slightest intention of administering a rebuke to the right hon. Gentleman's party or to any hon. Member. It is true that he withdrew that word, but I had not the slightest intention of casting any slur or reflection whatever on the right hon. Gentleman or his friends. But I think the hon. Gentleman the Member for Spennymor (Mr. Batey) himself confessed that he was under a misapprehension as to the usual procedure in regard to the Amendments on the Order Paper. If he had risen, he would have been called, but I understand that he did not rise because he was under that misapprehension. That being so, I could not foresee his misapprehension, and I could not tell the reason why he did not rise. I have already said several times, and may I repeat, that if the course which I suggested were adopted, and the hon. Member for Gravesend (Mr. Albery) moved his Amendment, it would still not shut out an opportunity for the hon. Member for Spennymoor to address the Committee. In these circumstances, I venture to suggest that nothing I have said will interfere in any way with what hon. Members wish to do so far as it is in order.
§ 12.28 a.m.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I have been stopped twice in my remarks to hear various explanations and homilies addressed to myself. I want to say, quite frankly, that I have no wish to pursue a controversy with the Chair in any circumstances, but I do object very strongly to hon. Members and other people giving us these sort of back-handed suggestions and compliments to the effect that we are very inexperienced, that we do not know, and so on. I am, however, willing to 1753 accept your explanation, Sir Dennis, and, if I have said anything that would insinuate that I thought you were not doing what a Chairman should do to treat us fairly, I take it back without any reservation. With your permission, I shall stick to my Motion to report Progress, and I will try to continue where I left off, although I am not sure I remember the point with which I was dealing. I have sat here to-night, as I very often sit here, and listened to hon. Gentlemen. We have heard great protestations about this Money Resolution. I repeat that the Resolution was on the Order Paper a week ago. No one should have been ignorant of what that Resolution did and what was the purport of it. The question of the tightness of the Resolution was raised by the hon. Member for Gravesend (Mr. Albery) with Mr. Speaker on Monday and the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan) backed that up. The result was that Mr. Speaker gave a Ruling which has been quoted once or twice to-night. My point is that those who to-night say that this Money Resolution is one that ought to be withdrawn should have voted with us on Monday night.
§ Mr. GLUCKSTEIN
I am sure there must be a misapprehension. If the right hon. Gentleman will look back, he will see that there was an Amendment down. It was the Amendment on which there was a vote, but when the Second Reading was put there was no vote.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
If we neglected our duty in not voting against the Second Reading, we voted for our Amendment and put on record our opinions on the Bill, which I believe are shared by many hon. Members. You cannot vote for a Bill, and then on the Money Resolution which supplies the means of applying that Bill say that that Money Resolution ought to be withdrawn. It is all very fine making these curious speeches. I do not say that the hon. Member for Stockton (Mr. Macmillan) is not as genuine in his desire to help the unemployed as I hope I am myself. What I cannot understand is why, with the opinions he expresses, he continues to support this Money Resolution.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
It is an extraordinary thing. The hon. Member wants the Bill which this Money Resolution does not permit of being operated in a decent manner. If he will vote with us to-night, I shall feel he is really living up to his speeches. I understood the hon. Member to say that we ought to report Progress an hour or two ago. Surely he will be still more in favour of doing it now? I hope all the rest of the hon. Gentlemen who are not in the Government will support us in the Lobby. I have not been able to consult sonic of my friends, but I am making an offer to the Government. If they will withdraw this Money Resolution and consult the hon. Member for Stockton and satisfy him and the other critics, we will help to get the new Money Resolution through after eleven o'clock one night next week and so not waste any time.
§ Mr. STANLEY
I do not want to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman, but I may point out that he has already made this offer to get this Money Resolution through to-night.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
Yes, but as far as we are concerned we should go on with our opposition to the Government. We are quite prepared to stay just as long as the Committee wants to stay to-night. There is going to be no grumbling from us as to how long we stay. I am trying to help the members of the late "Y.M.C.A." to live up to their virtuous resolutions. I do not like to see them becoming hardened sinners too quickly. I know that all of us get on to the slippery slope of party expediency and get to the bottom very quickly, but I want to save the hon. Member for Stockton and to arrest his downward course. To-night I am trying to do that.
I could have made dozens of speeches about this Bill, because everything it contains has been tried. When I listened to the hon. Member for Stockton, I did not know where he had been living all these years. He talked about these great experiments that are going to be tried now and the hopes he had of one of them concerned with men working on the land. Thirty years ago I was at it in the East End. Fifty years ago General Booth brought out a great scheme for "Darkest England", and he raised 1755 £100,000 and proved that men could cultivate the land. We do not need to prove it again now.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
Will you allow me to give my reasons why I want to report Progress? I want to report Progress in order to give the Government a chance to bring in a better Money Resolution. All over the House there are great complaints that this Money Resolution does not deal with the problem of the unemployed in an adequate manner. I was pointing out, as one reason why we should report Progress, that part of the inadequacy lies in the fact that the money is to be used for experiments which have already been tried for the last: fifty years. I think that is relevant, with all respect. A further fact is that General Booth, the Church Army and the Society of Friends have demonstrated already what men can do. What a trumpery thing it is for the Government to come forward and say that they need to get experience as to how to deal with the men who are unemployed. I remember that in one of the three days' Debate on this subject it was said that the money that is to be allocated is to be used partly to help the philanthropic societies who look after the unemployed in one way or another.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I must remind the right hon. Gentleman that on a Motion to report Progress it is not in order to discuss the general Resolution.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
No, but I wanted to give my reasons why this Money Resolution should be taken back. One reason is that the Government are exploiting the generosity of the public and are affecting the work of good men and women who are helping the unemployed. For myself—and in this I only speak for myself—I cannot stand by and see men just forced to stand in the streets with nowhere to go and nothing to do. I have helped, and shall go on helping in my own district and elsewhere, the people who are trying to make their conditions a little more tolerable, but that is not the business of the Government. The business of the 1756 Government is to take this thing in hand in a thoroughly efficient manner and to do the job themselves. This Money Resolution that they have brought forward does nothing of the kind. It is to be spent in assisting philanthropic people doing what the Government ought themselves to do entirely.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I am sorry, but I cannot allow the right hon. Gentleman to continue that argument any longer. Opposition to what is proposed in the Money Resolution is not a ground for reporting Progress. The rule is definite that when a Motion is made to report Progress any arguments on that Motion must be confined strictly to the Motion and the reasons for reporting Progress.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I want to report Progress in order to give the Government time to reconsider the Money Resolution.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I am afraid I cannot allow the right hon. Gentleman to argue the main principles of opposition to the Resolution.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
But I am allowed, surely, to give some reasons why the Government should take the Resolution back. Otherwise, there is no point in my asking the Committee to report Progress.
§ The CHAIRMAN
If it is merely a question of asking the Government to take the Resolution back, that covers the whole of the Resolution. The Motion to report Progress must not be made just for the purpose of opposing the Resolution.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
Yes, so that the Government should have time to amend it in the direction which their own supporters wish it to be amended. I understand from the speeches which I have heard to-night that a large number of Members of the Committee would like to amend the Money Resolution. Under the Rules of Order that is impossible. Therefore, I am asking to report Progress rather than ask hon. Members to vote against the Resolution and thus defeat the Government on a very important Measure. I am asking that we shall adopt a more reasonable method, and that is to report Progress to enable 1757 the Government to have time to consider whether it is not possible to meet the objections that have been raised to this Money Resolution to-night. I hope I have made that clear. In furtherance of that, I am desirous of saying that the direction in which right hon. and hon. Members want it amended has been shown in the reasons which they have already given. I should like to put my reasons in addition. The main reason, if you will allow me to say so, is that the Government should bring up a bigger sum of money in the Resolution and that they should extend the scope of expenditure so that the great British nation in dealing with unemployment should rely on public funds and not on public charity.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The right hon. Gentleman, in the first part of his remarks, was good enough to express—very handsomely, if I may say so—his regret if he made any undue reflection on the Chair. I thank him very much for what he said. In thanking him, I should perhaps say that if anything that I said was what he referred to as in the nature of backhanded slaps or insinuations, they were not addressed to the Opposition or to any particular party in the House or to any individual Members, but to the Members of the Committee as a whole, and that, if there were any Members of the Committee to whom it applied in particular, it was the hon. Member for Gravesend (Mr.
§ Albery) quite as much as the hon. Member for Spennymoor (Mr. Batey).
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I was going to ask if you would not allow me to recall that during the speech of the Leader of the Opposition you constantly interrupted him by pointing out that he was not speaking to the Motion. In view of that fact, I thought a speech which tried to keep within those reasons might be allowed.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
If you will allow me, I was going to point out that there is a case so far not presented.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The Rules of the House are quite definite that when an hon. Member moves to report Progress the Chair has a right to put the Motion without Debate.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Directly it is moved. It is not moved until the mover has resumed his seat. He has now done so.
§ Question put, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 45; Noes, 136.1759
|Division No. 11.]||AYES.||[12.46 a.m.|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)||Macmillan, Maurice Harold|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Griffiths, George A. (Yorks,W. Riding)||Maxton, James|
|Banfield, John William||Harris, Sir Percy||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale|
|Batey, Joseph||Janner, Barnett||Nathan, Major H. L.|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)|
|Buchanan, George.||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)||Smith, Tom (Normanton)|
|Crossley, A. C.||Lawson, John James||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Daggar, George||Leonard, William||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, North)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lindsay, Kenneth (Kilmarnock)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Davies, Stephen Owen||Lindsay, Noel Ker||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Dobble, William||Logan, David Gilbert||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Edwards, Charles||Lunn, William||Wilmot, John|
|Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Mabane, William|
|Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Mr. John and Mr. Paling.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Balley, Eric Alfred George||Briscoe, Capt. Richard George|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M.||Broadbent, Colonel John|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd., Hexham)|
|Albery, Irving James||Bateman, A. L.||Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Belt, Sir Alfred L.||Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie|
|Apsley, Lord||Boulton, W. W.||Burnett, John George|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly)|
|Assheton, Ralph||Boyce, H. Leslie||Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)|
|Carver, Major William H.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Christle, James Archibald||Liddall, Walter S.||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Lloyd, Geoffrey||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)|
|Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir Godfrey||Loftus, Pierce C.||Salmon, Sir Isldore|
|Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Lyons, Abraham Montagu||Salt, Edward W.|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick)||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Skelton, Archibald Noel|
|Curry, A. C.||McLean, Major Sir Alan||Slater, John|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset,Yeovil)||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Soper, Richard|
|Duggan, Hubert John||Magnay, Thomas||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Spens, William Patrick|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)|
|Ford, Sir Patrick J.||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'morland)|
|Fremantle, Sir Francis||Morgan, Robert H.||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Fuller, Captain A. G.||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Morrison, William Shepherd||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Gluckstein, Louis Haile||Munro, Patrick||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Normand, Rt. Hon. Wilfrid||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd. N.)||North, Edward T.||Thompson, Sir Luke|
|Graves, Marjorie||O'Donovan, Dr. William James||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Grimston, R. V.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|Guy, J. C. Morrison||Orr Ewing, I. L.||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Pearson, William G.||Tree, Ronald|
|Heligers, Captain F. F. A.||Penny, Sir George||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Petherick, M.||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Holdsworth, Herbert||Procter, Major Henry Adam||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)||Pybus, Sir John||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Horsbrugh, Florence||Radfard, E. A.||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-|
|Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||White, Henry Graham|
|Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Jamieson, Douglas||Ramsbotham, Herwald||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir Arnold (Hertf'd)|
|Ker, J. Campbell||Reid, William Allan (Derby)||Womersley, Sir Walter|
|Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Remer, John R.|
|Knight, Holford||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Rickards, George William||Sir Victor Warrender and|
|Leckie, J. A.||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)||Commander Southby.|
|Leech, Dr. J. W.||Rosbotham, Sir Thomas|
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ Mr. NEIL MACLEAN
On a point of Order. The hon. Member for Gravesend (Mr. Albery) spoke in the general discussion and resumed his seat. He rose to take part in the general discussion, and when he was called there were a number of Members who rose to continue the general discussion. I wish to ask whether it is in order for a Member to be called upon to rise and move an Amendment when there are other Members who have a prior right to take part.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member for Gravesend (Mr. Albery) was in possession of the Floor of the Committee at the moment of interruption. I asked him a question, and he was answering that question when a point of Order arose.
§ Mr. MACLEAN
The question asked of the hon. Member was "Is the hon. Member moving his Amendment?" The hon. Member rose to say that he would and that put him in possession of the Floor, but he resumed his seat, and we have the prior right.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I am afraid that point as to any misapprehension is disposed of as a result of the Motion to report Progress which was put to the Committee. I must really ask hon. Members to adhere to the practice when carrying on ordinary Debate. An hon. Member who is called upon by the Chair should be treated as being in possession of the Committee. I have pointed out that if the hon. Member for Spennymoor (Mr. Batey) has missed his opportunity for a speech it will still be competent for him to speak later. I have also pointed out what seems to be obvious, that if the Debate is to be conducted in an orderly manner and with as little delay as possible the best thing for me to do is to call upon the hon. Member for Gravesend (Mr. Albery).
§ The CHAIRMAN
There comes a time when, having given a Ruling on a point 1761 of Order, I must ask that my Ruling should be accepted. Although I am always willing to listen to special objections, it is impossible to allow protracted debate on a Ruling from the Chair.
§ Mr. MACLEAN
May I put a question? The hon. Member for Gravesend (Mr. Albery) resumed his seat after having taken part in the general discussion, and if his Amendment is to be called in order the first Amendment is in the name of the hon. Member for Spennymoor (Mr. Batey).
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member is entirely wrong. I stated definitely that it was not my intention to select the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Spennymoor (Mr. Batey).
§ Mr. ALBERY
I beg to move, in line 10, to leave out "either of two."
The only effect is to leave open the question of the number of commissioners who may be appointed.
§ 12.59 a.m.
§ Mr. STANLEY
I am glad to have the opportunity of addressing the Committee on a subject we started a few hours ago. We have strayed a little since then. At the moment I am not prepared to make a reply on the general Debate, but only on the Amendment. As I shall explain, regarding the Resolution as a whole, I am extremely anxious to meet the Committee in any way possible. It is to be clearly understood that in accepting this Amendment I am not accepting the principle involved in it when it is raised in the Bill, but for the purpose of reducing the restrictive effect of this Resolution I shall be glad to accept the Amendment.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Original Question, as amended, again proposed.
§ 1.0 a.m.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I ask the hon. Gentleman to realise that his Amendment is not selected and that when he rose in his place to speak I called on him to speak on the Main Question, not to move his Amendment.
§ Mr. BATEY
I do not object to that because I deliver the same speech. The only purpose in my putting down an Amendment was to use the Parliamentary method of asking for less in order to get more. It is not because I think that the Government are giving too much, for in my opinion the £2,000,000 which they propose to give is as shabby a proposal as the Government could make. It is shabby, for hon. Members will remember that only yesterday the House passed a Resolution to give £12,000,000 to the shipowners. That was a Resolution to give a handful of shipowners £12,000,000, when in the distressed areas we are dealing with no less than 300,000 men, women and children. The Government one day give large sums of money to a handful of people and the next day they come and offer 300,000 working men, women and children £2,000,000. I want to submit why this is a shabby proposal on the part of the. Government. Only last week Members on the other side of the House were asking that the Government should raise £100,000,000 as a loan for the purpose of building more aeroplanes. If that can be justified, then the Government would be more than justified in raising that amount for the distressed areas.
I want to submit that £2,000,000 would not be sufficient for the North-East Coast alone. We have seen how the Government have restricted certain areas and brought in additional areas in this Money Resolution and have enlarged the North-East area. One of the commissioners reported that in Durham there were 147,000 men unemployed, and now the area has been enlarged. I want to submit that on the North-East Coast alone they are entitled to far more than £2,000,000. This sum of money spread over all the distressed areas will not have the least effect on the unemployed, and I would ask the Minister to tell us in his reply on what basis the Government arrived at that figure. It seems to me that they must have taken each area into consideration and also the number of unemployed, and so on, and then arrived at the figure of £2,000,000. It is very difficult for one to imagine the reasons that have led the Government to select this small figure. We have also to keep in mind that this money will be provided and controlled by the Treasury. Members have complained that their areas have 1763 been kept out of the Bill and the Money Resolution, and I believe that they would not have been kept out but for the smallness of the amount. Only trifling work can be done with this amount.
The Minister of Labour based his case when we were dealing with this matter on Second Reading on two things: first, the lay-out of the neighbourhood, and, second, the utilisation of the land. If that be all the commissioners are going to do in the distressed areas, they are not going to do very much. I want the Minister to tell us about the lay-out of the neighbourhood. We have been told before of the need for beautifying the distressed areas for the purpose of attracting new industries there. I have here a picture of unemployed men removing and levelling what we call pit heaps, and what I believe are called slag heaps in other districts. There was this photograph in one of the northern newspapers yesterday, and it shows these unemployed men levelling that area and removing these pit heaps and beautifying the place. It says that that work was being done by voluntary labour, paid only by transitional payment. I hope that the Minister, in being so strong about the lay-out of the neighbourhood, is not going to have the neighbourhood beautified and these heaps removed by voluntary labour. I claim that the men who do this work of beautifying the district and removing these hideous sights are entitled to far more than transitional payment. They are entitled to trade union rates. I hope it is not the intention to do this thing cheaply on such lines. Cheapness is marked all over the Governmemnt's proposal. If it be the Government's intention to do this work in the depressed areas by cheap labour, instead of paying trade union rates of wages, then the Minister will find in these areas as much opposition as it is possible for us to give. This amount of money granted by the Treasury decides the machinery to be used in doing this work. Cheapness is typical of the Government's policy both in regard to this Money Resolution and to the Bill.
Their proposal is to do this work through two commissioners. I am glad that the Minister has removed that from the Money Resolution, but it still remains in the Bill that there should be only two 1764 commissioners—one for Scotland and one for Durham, Northumberland, Cumberland and Wales. I submit that it is beyond the power of any one man to look after such important districts as those. If there was one lesson that we learned from the War, it was that the human material was beyond the power of one man to deal with. No one man—I do not care how clever he is—can deal with these four areas successfully. The Government may be getting the commissioners cheaply but I do not say one word in regard to either of the commissioners. Seeing that they have undertaken the work, I regard both of them as public-spirited men and as brave men to face such a task; but I do say that there is not much credit to the Government in getting them to work for nothing. The Government got them as cheap as they possibly could—cheaper than they could buy them at Woolworths. The Government seem to want everything done as cheaply as possible. If you want work done in the depressed areas, which are situated so far apart, there should be more than two commissioners. There should be more than one commissioner for England.
In advocating more commissioners, one remembers that of late years there has been quite an epidemic of commissioners. I remember that when we sat on the other side of the House, every week either the Prime Minister or some other Minister came down to the House and made a statement that the Government-had decided to set up a Committee. I remember the laughter that there used to be against us from hon. Members opposite. Fun was poked at the Labour Government because they were continually setting up Committees. Now we have gone from Committees to commissioners. We seem to be setting up commissions nearly every week. Whether we have one or more commissioners, those commissioners cannot do anything effective unless they are supplied with money. The only thing that will help the distressed areas is money. If the Government are going to treat the depressed areas in this mean, shabby way, then there is no hope in the appointment of one or more commissioners of any effective work. It is because of that, because I believe that the Government have raised expectations among the people in the depressed areas that they would be prepared to find suffi- 1765 cient money to do something useful in those areas, and because they have failed and one feels that the whole of these proposals are simply a hoax on the unemployed, that I oppose this Resolution to-night.
§ 1.18 a.m.
§ Mr. MAGNAY
It has been very interesting to one who represents—I am sorry to say—the first borough named in the Schedule, the County Borough of Gateshead, to listen to this Debate to-night. It is a curious anomaly, as it seems to me, that those who disagree vehemently with this Bill, yet want to have a share in the benefits that accrue from it. I have heard some hon. Members say that there should be other districts included, and the Amendments put down are quite definite that this or that place should be added. It is not a thing to be proud of. I wish to God I was not representing a depressed area. I am longing and hoping that the result of this procedure and the benefits which will, in my opinion, accrue from this Bill, will put my constituency out of the depresesd area schedule altogether. I think it should be sufficient to anyone who desires to see their constituency included in the Schedule to thank Providence that this need not apply to their area. I wish it were otherwise as regards my own. There came to England a man from God whose name was John Wesley, and who laid it down as a great statement that it was the duty of those who were followers not to go to those who needed them but to those who needed them most. That was his working plan of action. That is precisely what the Government are doing. They are going, not to those who need them, but to those who need them most. I think they are very wise in doing so. As I see the Bill, this is not, as has been said, a distribution of charity at all. The hon. Member for Spennymoor (Mr. Batey) talks about there being 140,000 people to have this £2,000,000 as if it were going to be distributed among them.
§ Mr. MAGNAY
I am sorry the hon. Member did not make himself clear, as his usual wont is. It is not a distribution of charity at all, but a fillip to idustry. I see it working that way. I have been 1766 trying to do something under it already. If I have any luck, this is what will happen in Gateshead. There will be a site surveyed, and the commissioner has power under this Bill to buy that site, level it, and make it a place where you can induce people to come and put up a factory. There will be a quay wall, and I have already seen the Tyne Commissioners about doing the necessary dredging. That is the type of work that can be done, and that is what we can expect from this Bill.
§ Mr. MAGNAY
I have good reason for thinking that that is not a correct view. I am taking my chances in that direction. I think the best way is not to stand up here and make objection to these proposals, but to get at the commissioner and make his work feasible. I was bred in an old-fashioned way, and, when I had a good turn done me, I said "thank you" for it. I take this as a token payment from the Government. I understand that there is £2,000,000 in this current financial year to be spent in the way best suited for the districts. Parliament has power to increase it in due course. At any rate, I think that we should stop this carping criticism and get down to tin tacks and to business, and suggest ways and means whereby we can make the scheme workable. I am going to try and do that, and I suggest that the Committee should get down to business and support the Government in their beneficent work.
§ 1.24 a.m.
§ Mr. JANNER
I endeavoured earlier in the evening to try and take part in the Debate, and I believe it ought not to be impossible to consider the advisability of withdrawing the Resolution even now. We have heard arguments against it from all sides of the House. The hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan), in a few exciting moments, or rather an excitable few moments, levelled accusations against those sitting on these benches, and said that we had supported the Second Reading of the Bill whereas we knew very well that the Financial 1767 Resolution would not enable us to carry out those matters we were particularly concerned about. He himself and his colleagues had argued for a very long time that it was possible within the confines of the Resolution to have an extension to other areas and to deal with other matters. We are, indeed, of opinion that the Resolution could very easily have been removed and amended, and we could then have had another Resolution on the Paper. I put it in all seriousness to the Minister that he has placed us in a very invidious position. Those of us who really do hope that this may be an experiment in a direction that will have very important results are being placed in an invidious position in that a Resolution has been placed on the Paper which the Minister is not prepared to remove, which makes it impossible for us to support him, and which makes it clear that what we have intended at the time that we supported the Second Reading will now become impracticable and impossible of achievement.
We were told that we should have ample opportunity to discuss various points of amendment which we considered necessary in the Bill itself at this stage. Although we can say that we consider there are distressed areas, or that there may be distressed areas in the future, or—to satisfy the hon. Member for Gateshead (Mr. Magnay), who is so perturbed about representing a distressed area—that an area that is now a distressed area may come out of that category, there is no provision whereby any district can be brought into this Bill as and when it becomes a distressed area, nor any provision by which an area at present a distressed area can be taken outside the confines of the Bill. We had an interesting example to-night of how quickly circumstances can change in a district. There was an argument between the junior Member for Dundee (Miss Horsbrugh) and the senior Member for Dundee (Mr. Dingle Foot) on the question of what ratio of unemployment existed in Dundee, and because the senior Member quoted one month the junior Member immediately said that the month before things were different. Suppose that, instead of things improving in Dundee, the junior Member for Dundee found that her constituents would not 1768 be in a position to derive any benefits from the Measure. That is a very serious matter indeed, and we regard it as such, particularly because we have not had replies to points that have been raised by some of our own Members. May I quote once more the statement made by the Civil Lord of Admiralty on this very point:The primary consideration, in view of the urgent nature of the problem, appeared to he to reduce the field of survey to the smallest dimension which considerations of homogeneity would permit.It is perfectly clear that the commissioners themselves, in order to get a homgeneous ruling, chose certain areas, but that they felt that there must be other areas which ought to be given an opportunity of participating in any assistance that might be forthcoming. It may be thought that it is a peculiar thing for a Member not representing a constituency within these safeguards to speak in this Debate. But I am not at all sure that my constituents in Wapping are not suffering from distress through not having an interchange of trade in respect of grain, and that they will not complain at not having an opportunity to participate in this Measure. I have, unfortunately, had the opportunity of seeing what is happening in South Wales for many years, and seeing it from an angle which even many Members who sit for these constituencies have not had an opportunity of seeing it. Many men and women who live in these areas have revealed the whole of their minds and thoughts to me. In my view, and I believe in the view of most people who live in these areas and in areas which do not come within the definition given here, the limitation should not be of such a nature as to deprive us of the opportunity of getting as extensive help as can be given by the country as a whole to the depressed areas. I would like an assurance that the £2,000,000 is not the "be all" and "end all" of the matter.
§ Mr. A. BEVAN
Can the hon. Member assist some of us on these benches? We have not had a general reply from the Government. Will he tell us from what benefits these areas which are not included in the Bill are excluded, because we are not able to find out what the benefits are likely to be.
§ Mr. JANNER
I think that on a matter of this serious gravity we should not deal with it in that way at all. My hon. Friend is not right in dealing with the matter in that way. Everything that can be got is of some value. That is why I am making my appeal that the Government should extend it. We do not want to deter the Government from doing anything in the way of help. We are anxious that they should do as much as they can. We are anxious that the Government should not limit themselves. That is why I make my appeal to the right hon. Gentleman. The right hon. Gentleman has already seen one point raised by the hon. Member for Gravesend (Mr. Albery). It is true that he has not accepted the fact that there shall be more than two commissioners, but he has assisted the hon. Member for Gravesend by giving him an opportunity on the Committee stage of urging that we shall not confine it to two commissioners. We are asking that the Government should not confine us in this Resolution, so that we may be able to ask for that to which we think we are legitimately entitled. I should like an assurance that it is in the mind of the right hon. Gentleman that the £2,000,000 given in this Financial Resolution is only for this financial year and that, when the financial year is over, the right hon. Gentleman will be prepared, if the necessity arises, to bring forward a further Financial Resolution—that that will be possible, within the confines of the Bill itself, and that a new Bill will not be necessary—in other words, that we shall know that the proviso in the Bill is not something merely put in so as to make people imagine that more can be paid when the Government know that it cannot. That is the appeal I am making to the right hon. Gentleman. I want to assure him, and I want the Labour party to understand, that we as Liberals are not prepared to obstruct something that is of value, even if it is of small value.
§ Mr. JANNER
We are anxious to assist, but where we find that the Measure that we are assisting is being hampered by Resolutions of this kind we must put our position to the right hon. Gentleman.
§ 1.38 a.m.
§ Dr. O'DONOVAN
I think that we as a Committee should be grateful that the Resolution has in words been so strictly drawn. I have noticed that hon. Members spend hours, days and weeks discussing unemployment and distress in general, but, if they would put their hands on their hearts, they would confess that they have been singularly unfertile in useful solutions for the trouble afflicting the country. The fact that we are asked to confine ourselves to something definite and operative should be a satisfaction to those who have talked much and produced little. The Bill is not offered as a solution for unemployment. We are asked to vote funds for a social experiment, and, if it succeeds, it will be a political ferment of incalculable force to help. On the other hand, should it fail, we shall in 1936 have the courageous men who have attempted the experiment and who will report faithfully that they could do nothing. The Committee will then have to try, without pain and resentment, to make another and more useful experiment. We should not criticise. We have before our eyes in the OFFICIAL REPORT the record of our own futility. We have heard hon. Members pour the vials of their wrath on the Minister's head and those who poured out the most stinging rebukes thought that they were pouring out the balm of Gilead. The Minister may say:Perhaps it was right to dissemble your love,But—why did you throw a slag heap' in the wheel?I only want to put one question which arises out of the words in Clause 1, Sub-section (5). I wish to ask the Minister if the functions to initiate, organise and prosecute measures with regard to the unemployed can be exercised in a compulsory way. If they can be prosecuted in a compulsory way, then the prosecution of these measures needs some more consideration later on in Committee on the Bill. Further on one sees that these commissioners will be able to finance industrial measures outside the depressed areas, and there will be migration of substantial numbers of persons from those depressed areas. The movement of large bodies of persons either voluntarily or by compulsion gives rise to a biological problem of some complexity and affects the nerves, habits and 1771 health of numbers of them who have been used for years to one environment; and I think that is a matter that we should consider very closely. I would like the Minister's assurance that the implications behind this scheme have already been closely examined. If we are to move large bodies of human beings the problem of houses, education and religion will have to be considered, and these cannot come within the terms of the £2,000,000 voted in this Resolution. I would also like to ask if those who are to be moved will be separated from their kin? If children are to be moved, will the Minister act in loco parentis and will he provide careful supervision in the places to which they are moved, and will the House be assured that, if through necessity children are taken away from their homes, they will have such care and supervision that the Minister will be proud to report it to the House from year to year?
§ Mr. TINKER
On a point of Order. What is the method of calling on speakers in the general Debate. I think we ought to go round before a man is called a second time.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I must protest against the statement of my hon. Friend, for I have not spoken before.
§ Mr. TINKER
If the hon. Gentleman has not spoken before, then I am mistaken, but has he not been on his feet several time during the Debate?
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
Yes, I rose to points of Order, but not so often as Members of the hon. Member's own Front Bench, and I am quite within my rights as a Member of Parliament in doing that. I want now to raise one or two points in connection with this Resolution. I want to refer to the point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton), which I think is one of the most important points of the Resolution. I have read the Debates since the matter first came before the notice of the House. 1772 If you read the Debates, you will see that it was clearly understood that the £2,000,000 was only to the end of the financial year. As I read the Bill, that is not strictly correct, and it is not a fair way of putting it. It has been published abroad that the £2,000,000 is only to the end of the year, and then the Government can add to the sum. What is the position as I see it according to the Rules of the House? We are discussing not merely a Government Bill but a Bill that must be taken in conjunction with the Rules of the House. What has happened already in the case of the Mines Bill? If a sum is to be added to the sure provided under the Act, it must have a financial Resolution. If the Government will consult not only their officials but those in this House I think they will find that I am right. If I am correct, that means that all you are now providing is £2,000,000 unless Parliament sees fit to alter that amount, and it is only provided so long as Parliament thinks fit. If Members think that the additional sums will come in the Estimates automatically, I think they are mistaken for what will be required will be a completely new financial Resolution.
The hon. Gentleman for Gateshead (Mr Magnay) gibed at us for wishing other places to be included in the Resolution. Some Members have wished that their towns would be included, but I would oppose Glasgow being included in the Resolution at all. I will tell you why The hon. Gentleman for Spennymoor (Mr. Batey) made a telling point in this respect. In this Bill the commissioners have power to see that men are employed, but I think in no case will they get trade union wages, and the commissioners have no responsibility to the House of Commons. One of them is a great employer and the other, the Commissioner for Scotland, I see at one time was chairman of the Mental Deficiency Board at Edinburgh. It means handing over to two men the power to smash trade union methods. Whether Glasgow is governed either by the Labour party or their predecessors, I would sooner see the unemployed under the care of the town council than under the care of outside commissioners. I see here the gravest menace to trades union wages and standards. I see unlimited power given into the commissioners' hands.
1773 This is one of the most insidious Measures. It is difficult to oppose £2,000,000 even if it is not going to one's own constituency, when some other poor devil is getting it, but behind this proposal is the fact that this sum is to be used in an insidious fashion and in some cases in a semi-charity-mongering fashion to reduce the standards of life of the great masses of the people. What kind of method has been used in choosing the towns to be regarded as depressed areas? I take Scotland, and I see the Secretary for Scotland sitting there. Anybody who knows Scotland will regard the whole thing as a joke. Who picked out these towns? It is said that the commissioners are two able men. If the commissioners picked these towns as being dpressed areas, they should be locked up. Take Scotland. Gorbals is out. What is the comparison between such places as Stewarton, Dundee and other places? Where is the sense? We are told it is a good Bill, but in its main essentials it is daft. It is just bunk and boloney. The depressed area is being defined. Look at what is says:The parishes … so far as situated south of the London and North Eastern Railway line.If the railway had run another way, some parishes would have been in, but as the line runs the other way they are out. Imagine the sense of making the depressed areas regulated in the same way as our divisions are regulated. For the sake of convenience the railway lines may be used as a mark that people know, and we make them the boundary lines of divisions, but how can you say that if you are on one side of the railway line you are depressed and if you jump across to the other side you are not depressed. The only railways which rival those of Scotland in the matter of twists and turns are those of Wales, and here we are to have this method adopted. The parishes of Ardrossan are included in the list, and the whole of Lanarkshire, except Glasgow. It includes residential places where lords live. In my division there has been nothing but depression ever since the War, but Gorbals is to be out. By what lines are you guided? The Bill is to be operated by two unpaid commissioners who are to look after it and to set people to work. It is not that. It is a device of the Prime Minister 1774 and several of his colleagues. It is typical of the Prime Minister. Examine the thing candidly and without heat. A lot of time has been spent in the last few years in denouncing the Labour Govment. Do not forget that the Prime Minister was the head of that Government and learned everything he knew from it. He comes along and appoints these commissioners. I say it is a most disgraceful thing to promise things that you have no intention of doing. There has been talk of pensions at sixty. You would not promise pensions at sixty unless you mean to give them. I say that behind this Bill there is just the same kind of holding out promises that you are not going to fulfil. The hon. Member for Gateshead (Mr. Magnay) spoke about his constituency. Are the hon. Member and other hon. Members to go slinking up to the unpaid commissioners? It shows what the House of Commons is being reduced to. They will go to the commissioner and say "Please, sir, I have a scheme for my division."
§ Mr. MAGNAY
I am sure the hon. Member does not intend that seriously. I have never slunk up to any man in my life, and I never will. If that be his habit, it is not mine.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
That is what you are asking us to do. That is what you must do, as I see it, whether you like it or not. I see people going up to the commissioner and saying: "I have a scheme. I have got something for my division that I want done. Will you see me about it." The commissioner can see you if he likes, but he does not need to do so. You are out, and he is in. He is not a Minister of the Crown who has to come to the House of Commons where you can charge him. He may say: "You are a nuisance. I do not want to listen. Stay out." You have to go cap in hand and ask for something for your division.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
Whose duty is it to beautify the towns? It is the duty of the town council. It is not for us to go to some unpaid commissioners and ask for it. If the towns of Glasgow and Gateshead are not beautiful now and new schemes are wanted, the town council 1775 should have the management and capacity to see what is needed and go to the proper department about it. They can go to their Member of Parliament and say: "You might raise this with the proper authorities in the proper place and have it done." Instead of that, we have now to go searching for some kind of scheme. I think the Minister of Labour's scheme is most insulting. If you know a scheme is needed, you should not wait until these two commissioners are appointed. The job should be got on with now and at once. Two commissioners are appointed, of whom most of us know nothing—two men who are to have the power to employ men under any kind of conditions and in any way they like and to have unlimited power. For my part, I consider the whole Financial Resolution is misleading the Committee.
The House of Commons should be told definitely and directly what I think is the correct thing, namely, that it needs a new Financial Resolution, that this does not come in the Estimates but is a regular thing added. The whole scheme is badly based. I am glad that my city is not in it. I do not want the commissioners to come into Glasgow and be mucking about. There are enough people already interfering with the unemployed. I say to the Minister that his method of bringing in the Resolution is not creditable. It is not a Parliamentary way of doing business. Indeed, the worst thing of ail is that it will set Member against Member in the House of Commons. There is a sum of money voted. Say you double it. You can multiply it by four and make it £8,000,000. What happens? I try to get £1,000,000 for Glasgow, and the hon. Member for Poplar (Mr. D. Adams) tries to get something for Poplar. Other Members try to get something for the north-east coast, and each of us tries to solve the proplem of poverty in each of our places at the expense of someone else. Then hon. Members go out and say: "I am a smarter Member of Parliament than the other because I was able to blackmail the Minister before him." The hon. Member for Gateshead laughs. If this scheme goes through, he will say: "I was able to blackmail the Minister more effectively than any other man." Instead of being able to get something for Glasgow, Lancashire, the north-east coast, or London, we should be passing 1776 legislation for the unemployed which would operate communally and for the general mass of our people. This scramble will be degrading to the House of Commons and to the unemployed themselves.
§ 2.4 a.m.
§ Mr. HENDERSON STEWART
It is far too late in the night to attempt to answer the extraordinary charges that have just been made by the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan). It is possible that he and his friends may be taking the right view of this Measure when it is in operation, but to me it seems a completely distorted view. The Minister is a man whom we all respect for his courage and straightforwardness. He comes to the House with a great record and tradition of public service. He has told us already precisely what is intended and has given us, if not a pledge, something very nearly approaching a pledge, that this £2,000,000 is only a beginning and will, in fact, be extended as and when necessary. I personally accept that statement in complete good faith. I regret exceedingly that some hon. Members who have known him longer than I have should doubt his word.
§ Mr. JANNER
It is not a question of doubting his word at all. No one doubts his word. The question is whether his intentions, although they may be good, can be implemented within the confines of this Bill.
§ Mr. STEWART
I am sure the hon. Member is not following what I am saying. I was referring specifically to the £2,000,000.
§ Mr. STEWART
The hon. Member is entitled to voice his view. I accept the word of the Government implicitly that this is a beginning, not an end, and that it will be extended.
§ Mr. MAXTON
This is the issue. It is the beginning so far as this Bill is concerned, apart from the Minister's statement and so forth. So far as this Bill is concerned, the £2,000,000 is the beginning and the end.
§ Mr. STEWART
Technically, the hon. Member is correct. No one denies it, but you must see a little more than the 1777 technique of the Bill. What is behind it? I am perfectly satisfied that there is a determination behind it to put at the disposal of these commissioners all the funds needed for carrying out their work. I ask the Minister to answer a couple of questions. This scheme we are discussing is in two parts: first, the amount to be allotted; and, second, the areas in which it is to be spent. Now, the first is a temporary measure, as I see it. I do not attach a great deal of importance to that. But the second part, dealing with the areas in which the money is to be spent, is a permanent part. I may be wrong, but it does seem to me that by the form of the Resolution this part cannot be altered or changed in any way, in any circumstances, until the end of two years. If I am wrong, I shall be delighted to know it. It makes some of us who are supporters of the Government a little doubtful about the Bill. As the Resolution stands, we are prohibited from suggesting any alteration whatever. That is an extraordinary step for a British House of Commons to take.
Are we right in saying that we are going to be prevented from suggesting any change at all? If that be so, then we are not only disfranchised, as an hon. Member has already said, but we are doing the very thing that the Lord President of the Council a few days ago warned the country not to do. That was in a great speech on freedom, in which he said that freedom was the breath of our lives. He upheld British democratic institutions and this House as the place where we expressed the will of our constituents. Here, whole areas are excluded from representation. It is very serious. It is not much good turning to what the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) is going to do by abolishing constitutional methods if an audience says "What about Part II of this Money Resolution which prevented you making an appeal for your constituents?" I can speak with every freedom on this matter, for I have no axe to grind. My constituency is not a depressed area. It is the principle with which I am concerned, and it really is a very important principle. I am so much concerned that I voted with the Leader of the Opposition—the first time I ever did vote with him—to report Progress, because I resent any inroad on the rights and privileges and duties of 1778 Members of Parliament. I do not like to find myself voting against the Government I was elected to support, but I was elected, first of all, as a free member in a free institution, and to defend British constitutional methods. As I see this Money Resolution, it, is not a free Measure. You are tying us hand and foot. If it be right, and there are good grounds for making this inroad on Parliamentary privilege, then let the Minister tell us what they are.
The Minister has the support of all of us on this side for the general objects of his policy, and I am most anxious that the Bill should succeed. I am afraid, however, that unless something is done it will be impossible for it to succeed to the extent we want, as the hands not only of Members of Parliament but of the Minister himself will be tied. I have taken the opportunity to explain my action in the vote that I gave a few minutes ago. As a loyal supporter of the Government, I invite the Minister to explain the position.
§ 2.13 a.m.
§ Mr. TINKER
I do not agree with the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan). I should have liked to have got Lancashire, and when that county was included, to have had the money increased. That is the reason I say that the £2,000,000 is not enough. The commissioners are given power to initiate schemes of work such as dealing with slag heaps. Is the Minister guiding the commissioners in any way in regard to payment? Unless something is done by the Committee with regard to payment, those payments will savour of charity. We shall be having the men working at rates much lower than those to which we think they are entitled. The result will be that we shall have dissatisfaction all round. A little while ago we had an attempt at Leigh to clean up passages. The stuff was left at the sides and, later, the relieving committee attempted to get men to remove it. It was work that should have been paid for at trade union rates. They asked that it should be removed at relief rates. An outcry was raised and the matter was brought to the attention of the House of Commons. I arranged a meeting with the Minister of Health. He used his influence, with the result that that kind of work was stopped. The work under the commissioners should be 1779 paid at the outset at trade union rates. We thought that it was unfair to leave the work to which I have referred uncompleted and then to get it regarded as relief work.
I am afraid that in this scheme the commissioners, with a limited amount of money and trying to do their work to please the Government, may attempt to make the money go as far as they can. Two million pounds spread over 300,000 is not going very far. The Minister told us in his speech on Monday that the outcome of these schemes would probably govern larger schemes of the Government. We are doing this as an experiment for the purpose, later on if it succeeds, of extending it to other places. I am anxious to start the scheme off properly. I believe in Socialism, and I know that we can only attain that gradually. I am going to take all that makes for Socialism. I want these schemes to be on a recognised footing. All schemes by the commissioners should be paid at a fair rate. Unless we start off in that way, it is possible that the Government, whatever may be their intention, may meet with strong opposition. I would advise the Minister to exercise the powers he has and to tell the commissioners that when they are making schemes of work they should see that the men are treated properly.
Many things will have to be done in the derelict areas. We have to clear up the mess left by the industrial magnates. May I ask the Government to prepare against such things in the future; to see that such things are not created in the future as they have been created in the past. People who are getting the wealth from the land should do their duty and see that the land is left in something like decency before they leave the neighbourhood. The derelict areas have been largely created because such people have not done their duty. If they had done their duty, there would have been none of these graveyards. There would have been no need to talk of trade union rates for clearing these slag heaps away. I want the Government to try and prevent these things arising in the future. It is, I think, going to be a comprehensive Measure, and the commissioners will have the power to advise the Government what should be done. In conclusion, I want to advise the Government to try as early as 1780 possible to increase the grant. I am not sure as to the length of time it covers and I would ask the Minister to tell us that when he replies as there is some misunderstanding. Two million pounds cannot go very far, and, if it has to cover any length of time, I can see the failure of the whole scheme. This is a subsidy to poor people, and I would appeal to the Government not to be niggardly in giving to people who are in need.
§ 2.21 a.m.
§ Mr. STANLEY
I hope hon. Members will not think that I am trying to gag them by replying at such an early hour after such a short Debate. I confess I am in some difficulty, because the Debate has followed a curious course. It has been like the triangular duel described in Midshipman Easy. The hon. and gallant Member for Stockton (Mr. Macmillan) and some of his colleagues in the Liberal party have fired at me, and then the Leader of the Opposition and the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan) have fired back on him, and the hon. Member for Whitechapel (Mr. Janner) has fired back on everyone whom he had a chance of hitting. For the last four hours of the Debate, I have been almost exempt from criticism altogether.
Let me deal at once with the main point. I think the only real issue in this Debate, and the one on which hon. Members concentrated until a certain divergence, is the inclusion in this Financial Resolution of the areas to which the Bill is to apply. Unlike many Members who have spoken this evening, I cannot claim to be an expert in the Procedure of the House. I must say that to my mind the object of a Money Resolution is to specify the objects for which the money is to be spent, and I certainly did not realise that hon. Gentlemen would have felt that this was going to restrict its character. Apart from the question of precedents, the real thing is: have hon. Members suffered some real deprivation, and are they really prevented from being able to do some useful work on this Bill? I would suggest that there will not be any deprivation of any right which can be exercised with utility. I think that Members will agree with me, even if they differ from myscheme for a definition of the distressed areas, which is a purely arbitrary inclu- 1781 sion of the areas envisaged by the Commissioners with a view to having experiments in those areas, that the worst thing would be to add haphazardly to the scheme. That, I think, would be the worst of all possible courses, and I think the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale was quite right in saying that there is no alternative between this arbitrary definition of mine, which is adopted both for speed and coherence, and some new definition for the depressed towns and villages to be applied all over the country. Therefore hon. Gentlemen are really having the chance on the Financial Resolution of doing the only useful thing of saying whether this method is the right one or not. If they do not think it is the right one, it is clear that there is no alternative but to substitute some new definition and re-cast the whole thing. I do suggest that hon. Members are not deprived of their challenge in principle to this definition.
I shall try and deal with some of the many points that have been raised in the Debate, but hon. Gentlemen, I am sure. will excuse me if I do not follow some of the wider points which have been dealt with in the many speeches that we have already had on the subject and which indeed will also be raised on the Committee stage of the Bill. I will confine myself at this hour to some of the more narrow detailed points that have been raised. The hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Dingle Foot) asked why there was no machinery in the Bill for the extension of these experiments if they are successful. I think the answer is that if and when anything the Commissioners do proves to be successful and it is wished to adopt it as a nation-wide scheme, it is quite clear that the Commissioners are not the machinery to extend the scheme to the rest of the country. That can be done, perhaps through the Unemployment Assistance Board or some Development Board. I think the machinery is proper for carrying out experiments, but is not the machinery to extend these experiments on a nation-wide scale. An hon. Gentleman behind me asked if the Commissioners could examine and report on areas outside their own. There is no statutory duty upon them to do so, but I have no doubt they will be at all times willing to assist the Government by dealing with matters even outside their areas.
§ Mr. DINGLE FOOT
Under the terms of the Financial Resolution and the Bill, will they have power to extend any part of the funds at their disposal on outside areas?
§ Mr. STANLEY
I do not know that it is worth while dealing to-night with the question of finance. Twice in the last few weeks I have made perfectly definite, categorical statements as to what the finance is to be. Hon. Members who want to ignore my statement can hardly be convinced by my repeating it a third time. Let me make it quite clear, as I did only two days ago. The idea of the financial arrangement is that the Commissioners shall start off with enough money to make it quite certain that they will be enabled to undertake any experiment and Work which they think is necessary, and that thereafter, as and when the Government and Parliament think that more money should be given to them, that will be done. There will be no need for a Financial Resolution, for it will be on the Estimates in the ordinary way. Hon. Members opposite are the last people who should complain about a thing of that kind. I have heard nothing from them but that the £2,000,000 will be wasted, that there will be nothing for the Commissioners to do, and that we might just as well throw the money down the sink. Surely, then, they are the last people to suggest that it is not a prudent thing to start off with a fund sufficient to see that the Commissioners are able to undertake at once whatever they can do, without fear of financial stringency, and that then we should judge from the success of their initial work how much more they require, and it will be given them.
§ Mr. STANLEY
There is no question of date in this at all. They have £2,000,000 to spend, and we do not know how fast or how slowly it will be spent, but when they are in need of more money, whatever the time may be, then, if the Government and Parliament approve, they will, in the normal course, have more money put into their hands.
§ Mr. LOGAN
It has been stated explicitly in debate to-night that it would be for two years. As I read the Bill, at the expiration of four months it may 1783 be possible that the sum may have been used. Do I understand the Minister to say that, if it becomes necessary, this application may then be made to the House, and that it is not necessarily a matter of years.
§ Mr. STANLEY
I think the position is clear. I know hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway are not going to believe me whatever I say.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I ask the Minister to mention anything which has been said up to now which justifies him in saying that.
§ Mr. STANLEY
I did not mean that the hon. Gentleman would disbelieve me personally or suggest that I was telling a lie, but only that he did not believe that in fact it was going to be done The hon. Member said there was going to be £2,000,000 and no more.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I have listened to the Minister rather carefully, and, as I understand him, when this money has been spent, if the Government consider it necessary and the House approves, there will be more money, but the governing factor is whether the Government agrees that more money should be spent in this way. The right hon. Gentleman is not making a promise, I know, but that is the point I want cleared up.
§ Mr. STANLEY
Clearly, one of the factors which will decide it is how this £2,000,000 will be spent.. It is quite clear that nobody is going to be expected to give a pledge of that kind until we see how the experiment goes. I am sure the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) will realise that I was not meaning that be had expressed disbelief in me personally, but he did definitely express the belief that, in fact, there would somehow or other be no more than £2,000,000.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I interrupted because of the right hon. Gentleman's statement that nothing he could say would convince hon. Members below the Gangway. That was a quite unjustified remark. There is no section in this House but would resent, as I resented, his remark that no statement he made would convince us.
§ Mr. STANLEY
I assure the hon. Member that if I said anything offensive to him personally, it was quite unintended. The fact is that I have made this explanation several times already, and the hon. Member has shown in the course of the Debate that he was convinced that no more money than £2,000,000 would be forthcoming.
§ Mr. STANLEY
The hon. Member for Spennymoor (Mr. Batey) raised the question of whether the number of Commissioners could be increased. It is, of course, the intention of the Commissioner for England to have a resident representative in each of the areas which he covers. I think hon. Members will agree that for the settlement of the general questions of policy in London and for consultations with Government Departments it is much better to have the whole of these areas co-operating under a single chief rather than have the different areas under different people, each having to go up to London to carry on his own negotiations and to make his own inquiries. But there will be in each area a resident representative of the Commissioner who will be constantly in touch with local opinion and local needs.
§ Mr. STANLEY
As soon as I have a complete list of these representatives and their addresses, I will give the hon. Member an answer.
§ Mr. STANLEY
I will certainly make every effort to see that all Members start fair. I think that the only other point is that which was raised by the hon. Member for Mile End (Dr. O'Donovan).
§ Mr. STANLEY
Yes. As the hon. Member for Spennymoor knows, the Commissioners are under the general control of the Minister of Labour, and I can assure him that I will keep the closest watch on all these schemes, and it is my desire to see that in no way should trade union conditions be upset.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
This is one of the things which the Chairman's Ruling prevented my raising earlier. Are the men who are going to be put to work on schemes of improvement to be paid trade union wages and work trade union hours, or are they to be paid partly by their unemployment pay and just a few shillings in addition? What we want to know is whether all men engaged on work will be engaged under ordinary normal conditions and paid trade union wages and have trade union conditions.
§ Mr. STANLEY
It seems to me that I might answer that question by way of two examples. One thing that a Commissioner may do is, for example, to take a slag heap for purposes of converting it
§ into a site to be used for a factory. Either he is successful or he is not in passing the site on to some industrial concern. In that kind of case the people employed should be looked on as doing normal work for whatever the normal wage may be. At the other end of the scale might be the desire of the people themselves in the locality, perhaps a village, to make an amenity for themselves—a football ground or whatever it may be. The Commissioner would be perfectly entitled to say: "I will help you by buying the site or giving tools or advancing money, but the method by which you carry out the work is your own affair and not mine." I think the right hon. Member will see that there is a real difference between the two types of work, because in one case it is work and in the other it is assistance.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I will have to argue that to-morrow, because I think there is very great doubt about it.
§ Mr. STANLEY
This is very important. As a matter of fact, I did not mean to refer to it to-night, because it is directly raised by an Amendment on the Bill to-morrow. The only other point is that raised by the hon. Member for Mile End. He asked if there was any compulsion under this scheme. The only compulsion is the power for compulsory acquisition of land. There is no other compulsion whatever. I hope that with those explanations the Committee will now be ready to come to a decision.
§ Mr. MOLSON
There is one point that has not been dealt with, that of the senior Member for Dundee (Mr. Dingle Foot), that in drawing this Resolution so tightly the Government have not only prevented private Members from trying to extend or modify the Bill, but also the Minister from having any flexibility.
§ Question, as amended, put.
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 121; Noes, 30.1787
|Division No. 12.]||AYES.||[2.46 a.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Bowyer, Capt. Sir Gaorge E. W.||Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir Godfrey|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Boyce, H. Leslie||Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Broadbent, Colonel John||Crossley, A. C.|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Davies, Maj-Geo.F. (Somerset, Yeovil)|
|Assheton, Ralph||Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Burnett, John George||Everard, W. Lindsay|
|Balley, Eric Alfred George||Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly)||Fremantle, Sir Francis|
|Belt, Sir Alfred L.||Christle, James Archibald||Fuller, Captain A. G.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Ganzonl, Sir John|
|Gledhill, Gilbert||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Spens, William Patrick|
|Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)||Morrison, William Shepherd||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)|
|Graves, Marjorle||Munro, Patrick||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'morland)|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Normand, Rt. Hon. Wilfrid||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Guy, J. C. Morrison||North, Edward T.||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Harvey, Major s. E. (Devon, Totnes)||O'Donovan, Dr. William James||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.||Orr Ewing, I. L.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Palmer, Francis Noel||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)||Pearson, William G.||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Horsbrugh, Florence||Penny, Sir George||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|Hudson, Capt. A.U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Petherick, M.||Thompson, Sir Luke|
|Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Pybus, Sir John||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Radford, E. A.||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|Ker, J. Campbell||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Tree, Ronald|
|Kerr, Lieut. Col. Charles (Montrose)||Ramsay T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Ramebotham, Herwald||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Leckle, J. A.||Reid, William Allan (Derby)||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Leech. Dr. J. W.||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Liddall, Walter S.||Rickards, George William||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Lindsay, Kenneth (Kilmarnock)||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Lindsay, Noel Ker||Ropner, Colonel L.||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeur|
|Lloyd, Geoffrey||Rosbotham, Sir Thomas||Williams, Charles (Devon. Torquay)|
|Loftus, pierce C.||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Mabane, William||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir Arnold (Hertf'd)|
|MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick)||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)||Womersley, Sir Walter|
|MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Salmon, Sir Isldore|
|McLean. Major Sir Alan||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Macmillan, Maurice Harold||Skelton, Archibald Noel||Commander Southby and Dr.|
|Magnay, Thomas||Slater, John||Morris-Jones.|
|Mannlngham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Soper, Richard|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir Francis Dyke||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Maxton, James|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)||Nathan, Major H. L.|
|Batey, Joseph||Janner, Barnett||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Smith, Tom (Normanton)|
|Buchanan, George||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, North)|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Lawson, John James||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Daggar, George||Leonard, William||White, Henry Graham|
|Davies, Stephen Owen||Logan, David Gilbert||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Dobble, William||Lunn, William|
|Edwards, Charles||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Mr. John and Mr. Paling.|
Resolution agreed to.
§ Resolution to be reported To-morrow.