§ 4.8 p.m.
§ Mr. T. JOHNSTON
I beg to move,That this House has noted with concern the convincing evidence of widespread malnutrition, is of opinion that the destruction of essential foodstuffs is a crime against society, and regrets the continued failure of His Majesty's Government to take effective steps to deal with this grave and urgent problem of hunger and want in the midst of plenty.I do not propose to go into the question of dietetics. Doubtless we all eat things at the wrong time, and doubtless we drink the wrong kind of liquid at the wrong time and in wrong quantities. I am perfectly well aware that dietetics are being considered more and more by the medical profession. There is a tendency all through the world, from Russia to the United States, towards the disappearance of tuberculosis, in every class and every age, with one exception. Unfortunately tuberculosis is increasing in every country among young women, and it is believed by those who are best qualified to speak on the subject that that increase in tuberculosis is due to the 1230 modern practice of what is known as slimming. But I do not intend to speak on dietetics. I want to present the case of malnutrition arising from under-feeding, arising from poverty, arising from insufficiency. I believe that other than the question of peace and war there is no graver or more momentous issue that can be discussed by this Parliament.
The hon. Gentleman the Member for St. Albans (Sir F. Fremantle) has committed himself, and without challenge I believe, to the statement that ill health costs this nation in cold cash every year no less than £300,000,000. I believe he included in that £300,000,000 a large sum of money due to loss of earning capacity; but Sir John Bray, the President of the Institute of Municipal Treasurers and Accountants, in his presidential address in 1931, said that the proper figure is £200,000,000. I can personally trace in the accounts here and in those of local authorities something in the neighbourhood of £113,000,000 per annum spent directly in cold cash every year upon ambulance work arising from disease. Evidences of malnutrition and under-nutrition in this country are legion. We shall doubtless be told to-day that things are getting better. We shall be told that the infant mortality rate has fallen from 150 to 80 in 20 years. We shall be told that the expectation of life of the average citizen in this country has increased in 50 years by 15 years per life. We shall be told that typhoid has gone, that typhus, infantile diarrhoea, leprosy and smallpox have been killed by the splendid efforts that this country has made in public sanitation. It may all be very true that these plagues and diseases have gone. It may be true that our death rate is decreasing. Yet all that will be largely irrelevant to the purpose of our discussion this afternoon. Sir Robert McCarrison, in his Cantor lecture to the Royal Society of Arts this year said:To save a man's life by surgery does hot necessarily make a healthy man of him. What we should like to know is the number of semi-invalids carried by the nation, why all hospitals and nursing homes are full, why under National Health Insurance the increase between 1920 and 1930 of short-term sickness (that is sickness not exceeding six months in duration) is 109 per cent., and of long-term sickness 230 per cent.; why the enormous decline in quality of eyes and teeth.1231 I suggest to the Minister of Health that when he is dealing with questions of averages in housing he does not include Buckingham Palace in his estimates. We take the area of housing that is urgently in need of treatment. The question of the general average decrease of mortality in this country is, as I say, irrelevant to our discussion this afternoon, but whatever may be said of averages, it is, unfortunately, true that there is accumulating a mass of evidence of chronic underfeeding and debility—what is described sometimes as sub-normality—among the poor. I propose this afternoon to prove that statement from official documents. Incidentally, there are more than four Departments of the Government interested in the question of malnutrition in spite of what the Prime Minister said, because we find that the Adjutant-General in his report for 1934 points out:What is disconcerting to any citizen with a care for the good of his country is that over 52 per cent. of the men who went to the recruiting office did not come up to the physical standard laid down and in the big industrial areas of the North the percentage of rejections rose to 68.The Chief Medical Office of Health for the Department of Education in his report for 1934, dealing only with the routine medical examinations of schools, said that 12 per 1,000 of the children examined were mal-nourished and 14 per cent were under-nourished. The distinction is one which I find difficult to draw, but at any rate this official finds 26 per 1,000 of these children definitely requiring better food and more food. It is pointed out in the lecture by Sir Robert McCarrison, to which I have already referred, that our school medical officers are only judging by height and weight and that if we include such symptoms as round shoulders, protruding bellies, easy susceptibility to fatigue and poor muscular development it is not 12 per 1,000 that are shown to be malnourished or under-nourished, but several times 12 per 1,000. The committee of the Save the Children Fund extracted figures from the reports of the various medical officers for the larger cities in the country showing that the children suffering from sub-normal nutrition in Leeds were 9.2 per cent.—not per 1,000—in Merthyr 13 per cent., in Newcastle 17.2 per cent. and in Pontypridd 21 per 1232 cent.—one child in five reported by the medical officers should be suffering from sub-normal nutrition.
It is true that there are wide variations in the standard of diagnosis. In the League of Nations report for 1935 one extraordinary illustration of that fact is given. Bootle, which for all practical purposes is a suburb of Liverpool, returns a malnutrition rate 12 times as high as the rate given by Liverpool. The Board of Education in 1931 set up a committee to examine and report upon the existence of adenoids and enlarged tonsils in our schools. They got Sir George Newman to preside over it and at an early stage in the proceedings the committee examined certain conclusions reached by Dr. McGonigle, of Stockton-on-Tees, whose work on the subject of malnutrition is beyond all praise. He drew attention to the close connection between rickets and enlarged tonsils and adenoids. Dr. McGonigle had found 83 per cent, of 2,676 children examined in Durham County showing definite signs of rickets. Sir George Newman's committee set out to test his figure and they made a careful examination by X-ray and otherwise of 1,638 children in London. Although they disagreed with Dr. McGonigle's figures, even Sir George Newman's committee found that 87 per cent. of the children examined in London had some abnormality which they said might have been due to rickets.
There appeared in the "Times" of 11th December, 1934, a remarkable letter from Dr. Walker, a medical officer in charge of four hospitals in the North. I give just four statements from that letter. He said first that between the Tees and the Tyne there was a substantial and progressive deterioration in public health; secondly, that children and young adults were more prone to infections and catarrhs and recovered from those much more slowly; thirdly, that anaemia due to malnutrition was rapidly increasing in evidence; and, fourthly, that rickets were highly prevalent. The Ministry of Health again sent a body of professional experts to the area indicated to examine that statement. They made a special examination of 1,300 Sunderland children who were, I admit, specially selected from the poor areas. This departmental 1233 committee—the members of which were I think with one exception professors—discovered that 20 per cent. of those children were suffering from subnormality or malnutrition. They made a special examination in Durham County. They took children from Fence Houses and Seaham Harbour and they got nearly similar figures. They found 21.9 per cent. subnormal and 1.3 per cent. were definitely under-nourished. Worse than that, this committee.a Government committee whose report hon. Members will find in the Library of this House—proved from the records of the Sunderland municipal hospital that of 1,400 pregnant women 12 per cent. were suffering from anaemia and 7½ per cent. from debility and an examination of mothers of young children showed that in the town of Sunderland no fewer than 26 per cent. were subnormal, as far as nutrition was concerned.
Recently, Sir John Boyd Orr published a book which aroused widespread attention. I only wish to make a brief reference to his conclusions. He is a man of international standing in these matters. He was of great assistance to the Government in 1930 when I was successful in pressing for an examination of the health of school children in Lanarkshire and the provision of free milk there as a test. I cheerfully pay my tribute not only to Sir John Boyd Orr's work, but also that of the present Minister of Agriculture, without whose assistance I should not have got the necessary grants from the Empire Marketing Board on that occasion. Sir John Boyd Orr shows that 10 per cent. or 4,500,000 of the people of this country are endeavouring to live on a standard which is below the minimum of the British Medical Association. They can only spend as a maximum 4s. per week on food and he says that their diet is deficient in every constituent. He adds that there are 9,000,000 persons in this country who can only spend 6s. per week on food and that while their food supply is adequate in fuel and tissue-building constituents, it is deficient in protective constituents.
Then we had recently, the remarkable report—which I wish Ministers would read—issued by the Women's Labour Party. I do not know of any collection of budgets and reports dealing with this subject which is more sickening to read 1234 than those contained in that report. I am not going to read a selection from them this afternoon, but I propose to give the House the net statistical conclusions drawn from them. The Women's Labour party took 476 unemployed families and discovered that 41 per cent. of those families cannot spend more than a maximum of 3s. per week per head on food, and a large number cannot spend more than 2s. a week. There are 179 of those families, or 37 per cent. of the total, who buy no fresh milk any week in the year. Thirty-two of these families can buy one pint of milk on Sundays, as a delicacy, but the rest are in semi-starvation. It is no use telling these poor people to go to domestic science courses, to go and learn how to make a succulent meal of potato peelings and old tea leaves. There can be no waste there, with a total expenditure of 6d. a day. There is no wise way of spending 6d. a day on food. They are in poverty before they begin. They must buy tinned food when they can get it at all, but they certainly cannot pay for fuel or gas, and many of them have long been bereft even of cooking utensils.
There was a remarkable report issued, called the Jones-Cowie report, of an investigation made in Cardiff. I have drawn the attention of the Minister of Agriculture to this report on a previous occasion, but may I repeat in one word what the figures disclosed there are? It is published by "The Welsh Journal of Agriculture," and it is called "The Consumption of Milk in Cardiff." Is it credible, at this time of day, that while in the good middle-class houses every house gets liquid milk per day, in the good working-class houses only 91 per cent. get liquid milk per day, in the new housing areas, where they have to pay more in rent and therefore less on food, 85 per cent. only have liquid milk, and in the poor working-class houses 26 per cent. of them never get liquid milk at all? If the right hon. Gentleman is looking for a market for liquid milk, it is there. The Ministry of Health report on "Diets in Poor Law Children's Homes," published in 1932, states that the weekly minimum cost of food alone, purchased wholesale and for 200 children at a time, for the diet fixed by their own medical officer, comes to 4s. 6½d. per head. On the British Medical Association's diet scale the cost is 5s. 10d. per individual, and Dr. 1235 McGonigle now says that with the increase in prices that must be 7s. But Dr. McGonigle goes further. In his recent book—if I recollect aright it is in the last table in the book—he shows that the death-rate of the 25s. to 30s. a week family is more than double, year after year, the death-rate of the 75s. a week family.
These are either statements of fact—and so far they are all official or semiofficial—or they are not statements of fact. If they are statements of fact, we are entitled to ask this afternoon, What are the Government going to do about it? "The British Medical Journal" in 1933 published an analysis of the effects of poverty and under-feeding on 1,000 unemployed families, and their statement is that 50 per cent. of the women were suffering definitely from anaemia. And all this in a world of actual and potential plenty, where we are busily engaged to some slight extent in destroying food or to a larger extent in preparing legislative and administrative restrictions upon the production of food. The right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Agriculture, when asked questions in this House about the dumping overboard of a third of a million herring, said the total destruction of fish only amounted to 0.1 per cent. of the total catch, but he forgets that it is not only the destruction of the fish that are caught; it is the prevention of the catching of fish that he must also consider. The report of the White Fish Industry Commission, recently issued, says that foreign landings have been reduced, through regulations, by 10 per cent., and yet you find trawler owners asking for complete exclusion of foreign landings, and so far as inshore fishing is concerned, the same Commission say that there must bea limitation of the numbers engaged in the fishings.It is not only in fishing, however, that the Government are busily engaged in trying to prevent the production of food. In potatoes it is occurring. You cannot start now to grow potatoes unless you first satisfy certain conditions, and in regard to milk, from 27 per cent. to 40 per cent. of liquid milk produced in this country is deliberately turned into manufactured processes. I ask a question of the Minister of Health about dried milk, and he admits that they are converting 1236 half-a-million gallons a year of liquid milk into dried milk for export abroad. If you please, they are turning it into cans and tins and trying then to sell it to Czechoslovakia—to anywhere else but the stomachs of the people of this country who need it. These are not statements made by Socialists. I have taken care to cull these reports from authorities who would be respected by hon. Members opposite. Here is the London "Times" saying, in an editorial on the 13th February of this year:One-half of the population is living on a diet insufficient or ill-designed to maintain health… Why should not some of the milk now poured into factories be poured down human throats?On a previous occasion the Editor of the "Times" even more strongly made that point when he said:There is clearly something wrong… Answers will have to be found for the economic riddles over which the world is now bewildered. Until they are solved or perhaps solve themselves, there can be no general return to prosperity.He also said this:There are 140,000,000 inhabitants of agrarian Europe (not including the U.S.S.R.) the produce of whose labour is largely lying unused, and whose energies are idle or wasted.Coffee is destroyed deliberately every year; soldiers are sent out by the United States Government to stop the production of oil in the wells of Texas and Oklahoma; cotton growers are urged by the Federal Farm Board to destroy a third of their crops. But I ask this House to listen to a quotation from "Adventure," of a Rectorial Address delivered at St. Andrew's University by the late Dr. Nansen. He went up to St. Andrew's University to be installed as Lord Rector. He had been Famine Relief Commissioner for the League of Nations, and this is what he said:The Russian famine in 1921–2, when the Volga region and the most fertile parts of Russia were ravaged by a terrible drought—when something like 30,000,000 people, or more, were starving and dying—dying by the thousand… There was in various trans-Atlantic countries such an abundance of maize at that time that the farmers did not know how to get rid of it before the new harvest, so they had to burn it as fuel in their railway engines. At the same time the ships in Europe were idle, and laid up, for there were no cargoes. Simultaneously there were thousands, nay millions, of unemployed. All this while 30,000,000 people in the Volga region—not far away and easily 1237 reached by means of our ships—were allowed to starve and die, the politicians of the world at large, except in the United States, trying to find an excuse for doing nothing on the pretext that it was the Russians' own fault—a result of the Bolshevik system.Fancy, if the unemployed had been put on board the idle ships, had been sent to South America, and had brought the maize to the Black Sea and saved the stricken millions, how much suffering they could have relieved. Do you not think the world would have been the better for it? I tell you that there is something rotten in the condition of the world.So, side by side with want and undernourishment, we have organised limitation of production and organised restriction of the market. Day after day, harvest after harvest, we turn aside the beneficence of Providence. Instead of welcoming the technical skill and the knowledge of man, we are engaged in their frustration. Long ago Carlyle said, "In the midst of plenty the people perish," and it is as true to-day as when he said it. Our capacity to produce has outrun our courage to distribute.
I am forbidden to quote in this House the names of certain high personages, but a statement was made at the opening of the World Economic Conference in 1932 which might almost have been taken from a Labour party manifesto. The statement made was:Discovery, invention and organisation have multiplied their possibilities to such an extent that abundance of production has itself created new problems.Yet the Minister of Agriculture knows that our cow population in this country has grown by 300,000 between 1930 and 1934, and I see from the last League of Nations Report that the yield is up by one-ninth per cow. Yet while that is so, we drink in this country of milk, per head, a third of what the Norwegian drinks, from a third to a fourth of what the Swede drinks, a half of what the Yankee drinks, a third of what the Dane drinks, a third of what the Canadian drinks, less than the German drinks, and less than the Austrian or the Belgian drinks. In regard to margarine, Denmark consumes six times as much per head as we do—and Denmark is a butter exporting country. It is butter abroad and margarine for the producer. I happened to be looking through the report for 1933 of the Director-General of Health for New Zealand when I observed that in that great land of butter exports 1238 no less than 10 per cent. of the share milkers' children never touch liquid milk. The Director-General for Queensland in his last annual report has a great article headed, "Our milk-starved children."
This is not the occasion to discuss long-term policy. We have our views and hon. Gentlemen opposite have theirs. Nor is it the time to discuss monetary policy. I have my views, and some of my hon. Friends differ. Monetary considerations will require to be faced before this old world is put right, but this is not the occasion for considering them. What is urgent is that we should this afternoon get preparation for action next winter. If we cannot agree with the pleas made by Professor Julian Huxley and others in the "Times" for a free milk supply to our school-children, surely, as a temporary measure, we might take steps to bring the babies, the toddlers and the children under five up to the level of what is offered to the children of school age. If it is right that the children of 5 to 14 should get free milk or cheap milk in the schools, surely it is even more proper and fitting that the babies, the toddlers and the young children, who are more in need of milk than schoolchildren, should get equality of supply. There is no need for further inquiries, and I trust that the Government will not attempt to fob us off this afternoon with any promise that they are going to make further experiment and inquiries. We have had the Corry Mann inquiry and the Lanarkshire milk in schools inquiry, in which we proved that we can raise the height of the children by three inches, that we can raise their weight by six lbs. and that we can bring the blush of health to the cheeks of our bairns.
I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Agriculture that, when we left office and he came in, he made use of the experiment we had carried out at the Scottish Office and developed it. I only hope that he and the Minister of Health will be able to press the claims of the younger children and the sick and nursing mothers upon their colleagues in the Cabinet. We have had too the experiment of milk in schools. What more do we want? Every local authority and headmaster tells the same story of better health everywhere. Mr. de Valera is making a bull point in his election manifesto of the physical results that have been achieved in the 1239 Free State during the past four years as a result of his provision of cheap and free milk in the schools. He did far more than that. He had a surplus of 60,000 fat cattle after the dispute with this country, and instead of doing what the old economists and politicians would have done, allowed that surplus to break the price and the farmer while the poor starved, he conceived the idea of letting the poor eat that 60,000 fat cattle off the market. It was an enormous success. I do not want to boost Mr. de Valera's campaign for him here. The point I am making is that there have been experiments in plenty. We know all that is to be known about this question, and we do not want to be fobbed off with half a dozen canteens in half a dozen distressed areas. It is no earthly use saying to the starving mother of a starving child who is just over an imaginary line from a depressed area, "You do not get milk and your baby shall cry, but the child over the imaginary line will get milk."
The right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Health has deservedly achieved a great reputation as an administrator. When he was at the Post Office he did extraordinarily well. Here we are dealing with something greater than telephones; here is human life. I have given proofs of malnutrition and under-feeding. The right hon. Gentleman is the Minister of Health, and it is his duty and the duty of his Government, with this surplusage of milk, milk flowing over the cans so that farmers cannot get a price for it, to see to it that next winter the milk goes to the needy. It is not my place to make suggestions to the right hon. Gentleman how it should be done, but I will venture to make a suggestion to him. It is that he should send out to every medical officer of health a circular telling them that next winter they will get whatever supplies of milk they require from the Milk Marketing Board at manufacturing prices. If it is right that milk should go to chocolate and dried-milk manufacturers for 5d., surely it can go in the first instance to local medical officers of health for 5d. They should see to its distribution. In some cases mothers would go with their children to the clinics and there would be no costs of distribution. There would be other ways of distribution which could be arranged. I am suggesting that the beginning of the way out 1240 of the present mess is to authorise medical officers of health to get milk supplied at 5d., which would be within the competence of the local ratepayers, and to see to it that every human being gets an adequate supply of this most necessary foodstuff.
The cost of two battleships would wipe out the scandal to which I have referred. I would call the attention of the hon. Member for St. Albans to the fact that if it cost the price of two battleships to prevent these scandals, we should save the cost of four battleships in ambulance work. If we cannot or will not, if we are so impervious to unnecessary suffering and anguish, if we arc so callous to the heartbroken struggles of the unfortunate victims of unemployment and maladjustments in our social order, that we will not at least feed the hungry from the surpluses, actual and potential, of our social economy, if this Parliament will not bend its energies to the grave issues we have placed before it this afternoon, then God help us as mere babblers, unfitted for the high responsibilities of our office.
§ 4.56 p.m.
§ The MINISTER of HEALTH (Sir Kingsley Wood)
The right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken has made a most effective contribution to the Debate. I think, speaking as Minister of Health, that it is most desirable, for a variety of reasons which I shall endeavour to state. that we should spend a day in the House of Commons on a subject which is creating wide interest not only in this country, but in every country in the world. The subject of the Motion affects a number of Departments, and when I heard the right hon. Gentleman speak, I wondered whether there should not have been more Departments represented than those he enumerated, and whether we ought not to have had here the Foreign Office and the Russian Ambassador and people of that kind. This subject is of great moment to my Department. I propose to deal with the part of the Motion which affects the Ministry of Health, and later my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture will deal with those aspects which more affect his own work. The matters which I consider most affect the Ministry of Health are those contained in the first and third parts of the Motion, namely: 1241That this House has noted with concern the convincing evidence of widespread malnutrition,and the part which makes allegations of "hunger and want in the midst of plenty." I propose to give certain facts which I regard as material to the adequate consideration of this question and to indicate the policy of the Government and some of the steps that are being taken. In this matter of nutrition, which is so vital to the good health of the nation, I think that it can fairly be claimed that the initiative has been taken by this country, not only in investigation but in action, and that, while as in other spheres more can and should be done, this country certainly leads the way in the services and the provisions which it is making for its people. As a result of those efforts there is in this country to-day a, rising standard both of health and social conditions.
The word "malnutrition" has been inserted by the Opposition in their Motion, and it is the peg upon which the right hon. Gentleman has hung his indictment. Malnutrition is a word much used to-day and much abused. Few take care, and many refrain, when using it, to explain its true and full meaning, and the terms of this Motion, with its implication that malnutrition is solely concerned with lack of food, is one more example of how a problem largely scientific and economic can be twisted and turned for other purposes. I would also draw attention to the fact that the Motion alleges widespread malnutrition—it is not a matter of certain areas, I could understand that—and with its concluding terms linking up malnutrition with allegations of want and hunger it is a general fulmination against the whole condition of the nation. The right hon. Gentleman has referred as tin authority to Dr. Mc Gonigle, who recently wrote a book entitled "Poverty and Public Health," and I should very much like to give the House a statement by him which, I think, puts the matter in the perspective in which I should like the House to consider it in this Debate. He says:There are those who maintain that the incidence of malnutrition is trifling. Others see it everywhere. One explanation of the apparently contradictory views expressed by men of science and able clinical observers is to be found in the loose and confused manner in which the word 'malnutrition' 1242 has been used. This confusion is unfortunate, for it has given rise in the public mind to doubts as to the motives activating the savants. The word 'malnutrition' has by many been used in its narrow sense to indicate a bodily state resulting from an insufficient intake of food and characterised by a loss of body weight. If the word 'malnutrition' is used to connote this condition"—and that is the matter to which the right hon. Gentleman has devoted his speech—then those who assert that malnutrition is rare are correct.That is the statement of an authority which the right hon. Gentleman quoted. I would like to add this further quotation from the same authority:The word 'malnutrition' is used by others in a different sense. These people use the word to signify deviations from normal bodily growth or function attributable to qualitative defects of diet rather than to insufficiency in the total of food eaten. If this latter interpretation of the word is accepted, it follows that a high percentage of the population of this country must be categorised as having been at one time or another victims of malnutrition.If we take that as a fair statement of what is the position I think it puts the matter very much as I, at any rate, would like it to appear before the House to-day; and I would like at once to say that if malnutrition is defined in the way Dr. McGonigle has put it, it is a real problem and certainly, as Minister of Health, I should be the very last to minimise it or its importance. The right hon. Gentleman, has also referred to the statements widely made up and down the country by Sir John Orr in his survey of this matter. Sir John Orr is a distinguished member of my Advisory Committee on Nutrition, and I should imagine that no one would be more surprised than Sir John Orr at the uses to which his contribution to this subject has been put and the deductions drawn from it. When Sir John Orr's book was published the other day I saw that one paper went so far as to announce it with this headline:Sir John Orr's Indictment: 50 per cent. of the people starving.As a matter of fact, as anyone can see for himself, Sir John Orr deals not with minimum requirements but with optimum requirements, which, as he said, represent a state of well-being such that no improvement can be effected by a change in diet. Those who quote Sir John Orr ought always to remember the final conclusion which he gave in his book. He says: 1243There is need for further investigation and further discussion on the whole question in all its complicated relationships in order that the measures taken to deal with the situation may be based on generally accepted facts and well informed public opinion.And I should have expected Sir John Orr to have come to that conclusion, because his own examination, as we see from the book, was based only on the family budgets of 1,152 families, more than a third of whom were for the most part in the industrially distressed areas. Therefore, when we hear a great deal about Sir John Orr, and quote his statements, I hope that those observations will always be remembered. There is a League of Nations report on nutrition which reminds us that nutrition is an economic, agricultural, industrial and commercial problem, and it is, therefore, not surprising that doctors and scientists, like politicians, disagree on this subject very much indeed.
We often hear Sir John Orr quoted rather incompletely, but there is another equally eminent member of the Ministry of Health Committee who can, I suppose, be regarded equally as an authority, and that is Professor Cathcart. He says that malnutrition is due not so much to poverty as to ignorance and other causes of the same kind; and another doctor equally entitled to be considered when we quote these authorities, Dr. Robert Hutchison, the President of the Royal Society of Medicine, asserts that diseases due to over-nutrition are increasing while those due to under-nutrition are decreasing. I may say, while we are discussing these differences of medical opinion, that I myself have some personal sympathy with the medical man who gave the opinion that, after all, comparatively small stature was not a bad thing.
May I also say that if it were really true that the allegations in this Motion were accurate, if there were widespread malnutrition, everyone would agree that the health of the population would be rapidly declining and national deterioration would be widespread, especially in children and young people? What are the facts? Viewed over any period of time which enables just comparisons to be made, our national health is improving, not merely steadily but remarkably, 1244 and, as another authority has said, if any large proportion of the population were seriously under-nourished, as is sometimes represented, the existence of such low death rates as we have in this country would become difficult to explain. When a Motion submitted to the House of Commons contains allegations that there is widespread malnutrition in this country, it is a fair thing to adduce in evidence against it that in the last 20 years we have added some seven years to the expectation of life, and reduced the infant mortality rate from 100 to 57 per 1,000 births. Improvements of this magnitude in our vital statistics are not compatible with widespread malnutrition, under-nourishment, hunger and want. I am bound to put this side of the matter before the House; later I will indicate what I think is another side. When there is a general indictment of this kind the Government ought to put the other side without, I hope, being accused of complacency or anything of that kind.
Take the still more direct test, so far as this country is concerned, of those diseases which we all know are specially associated with malnutrition, tuberculosis and rickets. The right hon. Gentleman mentioned those two diseases in his speech, but I did not quite follow him; however I will examine his point further when I see his speech in the OFFICIAL REPORT. The authoritative facts are that the death rate from tuberculosis is less than half of the rate in the first decade of this century, and less than a quarter of the rate 50 years ago; and as regards rickets, which is directly associated with this question, the number of deaths is only half of the number five years ago, and there has been a progressive diminution in the number of patients with active disease. The report—the right hon. Gentleman did not quote it, but I hope he will read it—which has just been issued by the Committee on the Scottish Health Services says that the decline in rickets, especially in its severer forms, is one of the most striking features of the evidence given before the Committee.
Take another matter which is a very fair test, in face of a general indictment of this kind, and that is the condition of the children of the country. The right hon. Gentleman as far as I could follow him, quoted places here and there and various conditions in various districts, which I can assure him I will examine 1245 carefully when I have an opportunity of checking them, but I have the official figures which relate to the inspections by the school medical officers of this country during 1935. Inspections were made of 1,687,331 children. They were inspected at the routine medical inspections; what are the results, according to the report which is officially issued? The nutrition of 14.6 per cent. was found to be excellent, 74.1 per cent. were normal, 10.6 per cent. slightly subnormal, and 0.7 per cent. bad. Those figures speak for themselves.
It is very interesting to consider the condition of the children and young people of this country. There is another report, quite unbiased, from no one who is engaged in any political controversy on this subject, a report just issued and which appeared in the "Lancet" two or three weeks ago, by the Chief Medical Officer of my old Department, the Post Office. In that report, Dr. Bashford, whom I know well as Chief Medical Officer, referred to the conditions of people who came to the Post Office for employment. He pointed out that adolescents examined at 16 years old for employment in the Post Office, weighed on an average 16 lbs. more, and were one and a-half inches taller than those of the corresponding social position 25 years ago, and that 16-year-old girls weighed, on an average, 10 lbs. more and were one inch taller than the girls of 25 years ago of a corresponding class. That is a very valuable contribution to this subject. I was interested very much—
§ Sir K. WOOD
I will say something about the Army, if the hon. Gentleman wants me to do so. It is constantly said in the course of these arguments and Debates: "Look at the rejections, so far as the Army is concerned." That is used as part of the case respecting bad conditions of the nation. I submit, since the hon. Gentleman has asked me, that those statements are not well founded. In considering the standard of recruitment you have always to remember that it is based upon the principle that men have to be selected to serve all over the world, in tropical as well as temperate conditions, and must be physically capable of duty under all conditions. The rejection of 1246 recruits is not, therefore, an indication of the physique and nutrition of the general civil population. I may say that the standard of recruitment is still high, and that the lowering of physical standards which, I see, has been alleged in certain quarters, relates chiefly to slight reductions in chest measurements and to a small reduction in height.
When you see the reasons why many men are rejected for the Army, on account of disabilities which incapacitate them from the military point of view, you see that a large number of the rejections do not reflect upon the general health. In 1933–34, about 35 per cent. of the recruits who were medically examined were rejected. It is very interesting to see why. The principal causes of rejection were: Diseases of the middle ear, loss or decay of teeth, defects of the lower extremities, diseases of the heart, insufficient weight, flat feet, defects of vision, under chest-measurement and under-height. I have come to this general conclusion, from the figures which I have had given to me, that, apart from dental defects, the only causes of rejection which could be ascribed to malnutrition were insufficient weight, under chest-measurement and under-height. The percentages rejected in these three classes were: 1.93, 0.75 and 0.59. It is well that those facts should be known, because these arguments are very often used.
I could have understood if the right hon. Gentleman, instead of making a general indictment of this kind, had said that malnutrition or undernourishment obviously existed in certain parts of the country.
§ Mr. DALTON
The right hon. Gentleman has given the House a considerable amount of information. We should like a little more. He has dealt with recruitment of the Army, but he now seems to be leaving the subject. Before he does so, may I ask him whether it is or is not the case, not during the period which he has taken, but over 50 years, which is the period he has taken for other comparisons, that the proportion of recruits presenting themselves for the Army who have not been rejected as physically unfit, has fallen? How does that compare with the statement he has just made?
§ Sir K. WOOD
If the hon. Gentleman will put a question on the Paper I will answer it. I do not think that he has quite followed my point. You have to 1247 examine the reasons for the rejection of recruits, and to see what proportion affects the question of malnutrition, or under-nourishment, which we are considering to-day. Perhaps he will now allow me to proceed. I was saying that I could have understood if, instead of a general indictment, anxiety had been expressed and statements had been made, not in regard to the state of the whole nation, as appears in the Motion, but an anxiety, which I feel myself, in relation to the distressed areas. If signs of deterioration in the health of the people are to be found anywhere, one would expect to find them in the distressed areas. The problem of those areas has been my special concern. I need hardly tell the House that I have tried, as far as possible, with the information at my disposal, to arrive at a true assessment of the position. Anxious watch has been kept for any evidence suggestive of deterioration and the available vital statistics have been carefully scrutinised. Periodical surveys have been made, particularly of those sections of the population most likely to suffer from disturbance of nutrition. A visit by medical officers of my Department and the Board of Education, for the purposes of such a survey, is now in progress in South Wales.
I hope the House will believe that I want to give a fair account. I am perhaps stressing the other side of the picture, because of the form of the indictment which the right hon. Gentleman has presented to the House. I will say at once that signs have indeed been found of the strain which depression and unemployment unhappily impose, particularly in the years of adolescence. I should also say that the vital statistics afford no evidence of a halt in the steady improvement in the health figures in these areas, which is so satisfactory a feature of the current social history of this country as a whole. I will give a few figures to substantiate that statement. The percentage decline in the general annual death rate between the period 1911–14 and the year 1934 was, for the whole of England and Wales, 31 per cent. The corresponding figure for Gateshead was 32 per cent., for South Shields 35 per cent., Sunderland 37 per cent., West Hartlepool 35 per cent., Newcastle-on-Tyne 32 per cent., Tynemouth 32 per 1248 cent. and Merthyr Tydfil 23 per cent. I would like to add that the percentage decline in infantile mortality between the same two periods is no less marked and compares well with the decline which is taking place in the rate for the country as a whole.
There is another statement sometimes made, which the right hon. Gentleman has not quoted. It has been said that our efforts to improve housing conditions may even be harmful because tenants removed from slums to new housing estates may have less to spend on food. Figures have been produced to show that the vital statistics for a new housing estate were less satisfactory than statistics for a slum area. Such figures as I have seen were, however, derived from too small a population to be significant. I have accordingly arranged, because I want to get this matter cleared up, it being very vital from a housing point of view, for figures to be obtained from a number of large towns. Those from Manchester have already been received. The death rate for the whole of the city in 1935 was 12.9 and for the new housing estates, 7. The death rate in 12 slum areas, averaged over five years, was 17.3. These are crude death rates and, of course, standardised rates may qualify the situation; the crude rates are probably too favourable. The infantile mortality rates are, however, fully comparable and are even more striking. They show a rate of 71 in the whole city, 61 in the housing estates and 120 in the slums. Those figures show that when you take a wide area, such as is the case with the figures produced from Manchester, the benefit is seen of what housing is doing.
§ Sir K. WOOD
I have put certain facts before the House because I want hon. Members to see the position as I, as Minister of Health, see it. I should not like anyone to think that this is the end of the matter, so far as I am concerned. Notwithstanding those figures, which I think cannot be beaten by any other country in the world, there is great scope for activity and advance. Malnutrition in the true sense of the term exists and must be fought, and it is manifest that we must continue to pay increasing attention to the nutrition of 1249 the nation as a potent weapon against disease and a great instrument for the promotion of mental and physical efficiency and well-being. I suggest that the special problem which we have to face is how to increase the consumption of those foodstuffs which modern science has shown to be of special health value. There are evident difficulties—and I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will agree with me in this—in devising a system which will enable those foods to reach consumers at prices which they can pay, and at the same time secure for producers a just reward for their labours.
The Empire, particularly this country, has played a leading part in the further elucidation of this problem. At the meeting of the Assembly of the League of Nations last September Mr. Bruce and Lord De La Warr were foremost in bringing this matter to the attention of the League, and much useful work is being done by the League organisations including an important committee presided over by Lord Astor. In this country, also, valuable work is being accomplished by the Medical Research Council and the British Medical Association. But I think the House will agree that it is wise for me in framing Government policy to look for guidance most directly to the Advisory Committee on Nutrition. That committee has been recently reconstituted and enlarged under the chairmanship of Lord Luke, and I may inform the House as I do not think it is generally known that the committee includes some of the leading scientific authorities of our tune—men like Dr. Buchan, Professor Cathcart, Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins, Professor Mellanby and last, but not least, Sir John Orr. The committee have recently informed me that the available data regarding the consumption of various kinds of food in this country are insufficient to justify any safe and far-reaching conclusions, and they have recommended that further information in relation to family budgets should be collected.
Having received that recommendation from this expert advisory committee, I have consulted with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour and arranged for the required information to be obtained in the course of the inquiry which my right hon. Friend has 1250 recently set up in connection with the cost-of-living index. In the meantime the Advisory Committee have presented a report to me stressing the high nutritional value of milk and that report accords with, and reinforces, the special policy of the Government which has been, and is, to increase the consumption of clean, safe milk. I do not think there is any controversy or division of opinion on this matter. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that milk is usually regarded as an ideal health food, and one of the most nourishing and wholesome in the world. I do not think I need enumerate to the House all that has been done in furtherance of the Government's milk policy. Under the Milk Act of 1934 about 2,250,000 school children are receiving a daily ration of one-third of a pint of milk for ½d. The local education authorities give free milk to a large number of school children now totalling, I think, over 300,000; and as regards the point made by the right hon. Gentleman as to children under five, they can, if they are in need, obtain milk, as I dare say he knows, from the clinics of the country.
I would also point out, because I think it ought to be known in view of the statements that have been made this afternoon, that nearly all of the 422 maternity and child welfare authorities provide milk for mothers and children free or at cheap rates, and the total annual provision in this respect has been roughly estimated to be equivalent to 7,000,000 gallons, including dried milk. I think that that ought to be pointed out when statements are made that we are indifferent to this aspect of the matter. I have been considering, in conjunction with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, the possibility of extending the scope of the schemes now in operation and I can give this undertaking to the House, with regard to the suggestions that the right hon. Gentleman has made. The Government will certainly be willing to give their support to any practical proposals for extension.
The matter is, I may say, very closely linked with the whole question of milk marketing which is now under examination by the Milk Reorganisation Commission. It would, for example, be highly unfortunate that we should take any action which might have the effect of in- 1251 creasing the price of milk to the general consumer, but I hope that when the report of the Commission is received it may be possible to find means of enlarging the schemes which are now doing such valuable work. This, I believe, is the direction in which we can most profitably seek to advance at the present time. The House will see that action is being taken in many ways, and it is the desire of the Government to see the efforts that have been made expanded. Indeed, as my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer said in this House a few days ago:When we have reached a satisfactory conclusion as to what is the proper diet for persons living under the conditions in which they are to-day there are very many ways in which we can improve the health of the people."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 3rd July, 1936; col. 825, Vol. 313.]I think the House will have welcomed the expression of the Chancellor's conviction that by a continuance of the policy which we have been pursuing for the last few years and which has so immensely raised the position of the country, we shall be able to provide the resources that are necessary to meet all reasonable demands in the future. That statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer is a very satisfactory one. I would, however, make this observation, that whatever we may be able to do in these special ways, the best nutritional policy of all was not referred to by the right hon. Gentleman in his speech. That is to reduce unemployment, to improve the standards of living and to increase purchasing power. Those are objects which the general policy of the Government is achieving. Increases in employment and wages are playing an important part in improving the nutrition of our people, and there can be no doubt that the Government's policy during the last few years has increased the purchasing power of the lower incomed groups and the average consumption of some of the commodities which are prominent in good dietary.
I would say a word in conclusion about the terms of the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman. I know he will not think that I am making any personal reflection when I say that the Motion is not couched in particularly honest terms. We are invited to note with concern the convincing evidence of widespread malnutrition and then to 1252regret the continued failure of the Government to deal with this grave and urgent problem of hunger and want in the midst of plenty.We have there the usual twist that is given in certain quarters, and it is so, carefully framed as to insinuate what its authors hesitate to state openly in their Motion. Sometimes Socialists are less careful. I read an article the other day by Miss Mary Sutherland, which said:Thousands of children in this country are systematically starved year by year.
§ Sir K. WOOD
Everyone knows that that is not true. There was a very frank admission on this matter in another article which I read recently. It said:A very fine report on the subject of nutrition and food supplies; got up by the women's organisation, is now available at a penny and every effort should be made to interest the Annual Conference of the Labour party on the subject. No issue excepting peace and war is more vital or more urgent to Socialism.This article appeared in "Forward" of 30th May last, and the initials at the bottom are "T.J."; and in another article "T.J." says:May I commend Sir John Orr's 'Food, Health and Income' to those who see in nutrition one of the great channels of Socialist propaganda?The Socialists are asked to take an interest in nutrition because it is important to Socialism. I ask the House to reject the Motion, associated as it evidently is with party ends. In doing so the House can be assured from the facts that I have adduced to-day that not only is the nutrition of our people regarded by the Government as a vital factor in the health conditions of our people, but that with present and future policy and action we can look confidently to still further improvements in the standards of health and living of the nation.
§ Miss WILKINSON
Before we go on with the Debate, may I call attention, to the fact that there is an escape of gas of some kind in this Chamber?
§ Mr. MAGNAY
Is it not within the knowledge of most Members of the House that, when there is a high tide in the river, we get these abominable 1253 smells? May I ask you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, to bring to the notice of the proper quarter the offensive state in which the House is?
§ 5.43 p.m.
§ Mr. R. ACLAND
I will endeavour to put before the House the views of my right hon. and hon. Friends, who, I regret to say, have deserted me. I wish to ask the Minister of Health one question on the figures he gave with regard to recruiting. I have the figures here for 1934. I gather that the Minister was quoting the figures for 1935, and that he was giving the figures of rejections by the medical staff. The figures which I have correspond with his, but from his figures he drew the conclusion that only a very few of the rejections were on account of causes which could be attributed to under-nourishment or malnutrition. If he was quoting the numbers rejected by the medical staff, is it not right to say that the medical staff never see the recruits at all until they have been weeded out by the recruiting staff, who reject, without medical inspection, all those who are under height? In 1934, according to my figures, 46 per cent. of the applicants were rejected by the recruiting staff, including men who were obviously unfit, too short, and so on. Is that a fair inference?
§ Sir K. WOOD
I have a statement supplied by the authority and it says:Many men are rejected from the Army on account of disabilities which incapacitated them from the military point of view only, and do not reflect on their general health.
§ Mr. ACLAND
The figures that I have say that 46 per cent. were rejected by the recruiting staff as under height before ever any of them went before the medical staff.
§ Sir K. WOOD
I have found another statement. It says:In 1933–34 about 35 per cent. of the recruits who were medically examined were rejected.
§ Mr. ACLAND
That surely proves my point that before ever a medical test was applied at all 46 per cent. or thereabouts were rejected as under height. It is absurd to say that 06 were rejected on grounds of malnutrition or under-nutrition. But I will pass from that.
§ Sir FRANCIS FREMANTLE
Why does the hon. Member pass from that, and why does he take it that those who are rejected on the ground of small stature are in any worse condition than the others?
§ Mr. ACLAND
The Minister gave the figures for rejection and then said that only six or 6 per cent. of those who were rejected were rejected for causes which have any connection with malnutrition. I say that on a proper review of the rejection tests 46 per cent. in 1932 were owing to causes which might have been brought about by malnutrition. I think the Minister is an optimist if he thinks he can escape a charge of complacency. Government spokesmen are really wizards at complacency. By founding their figures on 1933, which was the turn in the world depression, instead of 1931, when they came into office, they would convince anyone that we are in a state of boom, which only requires an expenditure of £100,000,000 or £200,000,000 on armaments to convert it into the millennium. They have convinced the country that unemployment does not exist by pushing it all up into the Special Areas, which apparently do not matter, and now we are told that no one is under-nourished or is suffering from malnutrition. I am glad that Dr. McGonigle has been accepted as an authority on both sides of the House, because he gives figures that those who have wages of 30s. a week have 4s. 3d. per head to spend on food, whereas the diet laid down as necessary by the British Medical Association would have cost 7s. in the town that he was investigating, those with wages of 40s. have 4s. 4d. and those with wages of 50s., 4s. 11d. Even the well-paid workman earning £3 a week has only 5s. 9d. to spend on his food, on which he should have spent 7s.
In view of these facts can anyone seriously doubt that very large numbers of our people are mal-nourished in the sense of getting an improper and ill-balanced diet, and that very large numbers, thought it may be relatively smaller, spend their lives in a state of real hunger or fear of hunger? Is not that a situation in which we cannot be complacent, in which it is not enough for the Minister of Health to chronicle the achievements of the past, for which we give him and his Government, and 1255 all Governments concerned, all the credit that they deserve? When you get statements such as these in the McGonigle Stockton report, is it good enough for the Minister to make a speech in which the House listened in vain for a single proposal of what the Government is going to do about this question? The only thing he could say they were prepared to do was to consider practical proposals put up by someone else for an increase in the distribution of milk, And they were not prepared to consider that seriously until the Milk Reorganisation Committee has reported, a committee which started its investigations 18 months ago and has not reported yet. Is that the whole of the practical proposals part of the answer that the Government is prepared to make to the recent discoveries of ill-balanced and inadequate diet? If we can get nothing from the Government in the way of practical proposals, perhaps we on this side may be allowed to offer some practical suggestions of our own. If it is proposed to deal with the problem of insufficient supplies of vegetable, animal and animal produced food, it seems to me that it will be necessary to extend further help than we have done to those who wish to grow their own vegetables. That would, no doubt, need legislation and perhaps should not be talked about now, but smallholders will need better security of tenure.
Let me look at the Amendment which is shortly to be moved, welcoming the steps that are being taken to secure the maximum supplies of food to our people and reasonable remuneration for home producers. Those are noble sentiments, and they are rather well-drafted. May I suggest the addition of five words which seem to me to have been left out—after the word "food" insert "at prices they can pay." If those words were inserted, the Amendment could not be passed, because it would be impossible to welcome something that has not taken place. The argument that we hear from the other side, that as long as other industries receive assistance agriculture must have its share, is one with which we, particularly those who represent agricultural constituencies, have considerable sympathy, but only on three conditions. They are that the assistance given 1256 shall concentrate upon the foods which we produce best, and which by a fortunate coincidence happen to be the foods of which the poorest people are now the shortest and which are shown to be needed for their proper diet. The second condition is that the assistance shall be given at the consumers' end and not at the producers. The assistance should be designed to bring the food within the means of the poorest and not to restore the bank balances of the producers. Lastly, the assistance must be dependent upon efficiency. Assistance given at the consumers' end is politically permanent. The present schemes of the Ministry of Agriculture are in danger of being politically swept away, to the utter ruin of the producers.
A proposal in relation to milk was put forward by the right hon. Gentleman who moved this Motion. I want to put up another one, which would not cost the Government a penny piece, although I think a case is made out for spending money on the distribution of milk. We are selling milk to-day at 2s. a gallon retail. Suppose we could select persons, such as expectant mothers, young children, the very poorest of the population and the sick, and supply them with milk for a shilling a gallon from their regular retailer. Of course that would not pay the retailer, because he has to pay 1s. 3d. a gallon, but if you make it a condition that the milk must be bought from the retailer's shop in containers supplied and cleaned by them in quantities of not less than a quart at a time, it would be an adequate reward for the retailer if he received 1s. 6d. per gallon. If the selected people were paying 1s., there would be sixpence to make up. We are now paying a subsidy of round about £1,000,000, which goes straight into the manufacturing pool and is distributed amongst the producers. That £1,000,000 would finance the distribution in that way of 40,000,000 gallons. But those 40,000,000 gallons are now being sold for manufacture at 6d. With this change they would be sold to the liquid market at 1s. 3d.—a gain to the pool of 9d. a gallon. On 40,000,000 gallons, that is £1,500,000. I believe that over a wide range of products by putting in £1,000,000 to bring the price down at the consumers' end you will get more than £1,000,000 going into the producers' pool 1257 and, in addition, you will bring about the improved health of the people.
I come to the second point, that the subsidy must depend upon efficiency. This principle has been wholly ignored except in speeches. The Minister has conceived it to be his duty simply to put cash into the banking account of the producers so as to give them a credit balance at the end of the year. He has had a marvellous opportunity. When he came to office the producers were more ready than ever before to listen to proposals for reorganising the selling side of their industry, and in four or five years he has taught these producers to open their mouths and ask for a subsidy, and he stands there like a dentist and says, "Open wider." A marvellous opportunity has been lost. It ought to be almost out of order to use the word "policy" as applied to any scheme which merely transfers cash from one individual to another. It is to my mind a scandal that, when people are short of food, and producers are admittedly getting an unremunerative price, the whole intervening machinery is in a state of inefficiency, which cannot be justified on any ground. The facts are known. We have report after report. The Whitehead Committee in 1936 was deeply impressed with the unnecessary elaboration and waste of effort in the present distributive system, and said that proper organisation provided the greatest immediate scope for reduction in price. The Grigg Report in 1933 says:There also appears to be an urgent need for some measure of quality, control and standardisation in home produced creamery butter if it is ever to command a more prominent place in the home market.Did the Government notice the word "urgent" in that recommendation? Is any recommendation of the Lane Fox Commission on meat going to be carried out in the legislation to be introduced this autumn? The Ministry of Agriculture Report in 1929 says:It cannot be seriously maintained that our meat supplies, taken as a whole, are handled as efficiently as are the meat supplies of our overseas competitors with their up-to-date plant, where nothing is wasted and from which all supplies reach the consumer in the best possible condition.Is it not a tragedy that those splendid words should be applied to our competitors but never to ours? At Smithfield 1258 Market, where they are as anxious to sell British meat as any other, you can go, as I have done, and probably many other Members, and ask what is the complaint about British meat. You are told, "Poor conditions, irregular supplies, mixed lots, ineffective grading or none at all, requiring inspection of every item, and breed."
I know that I shall be called various names by some of my constituents in North Devon when I next go there, for the criticisms which I am making of the state of mind into which agricultural producers have been allowed to slip. I am, therefore, glad to say that those who work in Smithfield Market approve of the small North Devon breed of cattle as being what the public wants. But with that exception, and, of course, with the exception of Scotland, the country as a whole is producing cattle which are too big and unsuited to the demands of the people. This is what they say in Smithfield about Uruguay. A few years ago the Uruguayans on their scrubby barren land produced a breed of cattle which, when they came over here, looked like dromedaries, but they say that the people of Uruguay have steadily improved the breed until Uruguayan meat to-day has now moved up to second quality, that is, second only to the Argentine. There is a very limited quantity of Scottish which is even above that.
Is it beyond the power of this nation, with its Minister of Agriculture, to do the same sort of thing as Uruguay has done? If so, the only thing that I can say to the Minister is that he should go to Uruguay. I know, as I said before, that I shall be abused by producers in my constituency for what I am saying, but I sincerely believe that I am speaking in their interests as well as in the interests of the people who now need more fresh food. Without efficiency in agriculture, 2,000,000 agriculturists cannot maintain a policy of subsidy, levy, tariff and quota against some 20,000,000 of people, who, in one way or another, and in a more or less degree, are suffering from want of food every clay of their lives.
§ 6.3 p.m.
§ Mr. J. P. L. THOMAS
I should like to come back to the Vote of Censure, moved by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Stirling (Mr. John- 1259 ston), which, on its face value, must attract a great deal of sympathy both in this House and in the country outside, and which is obviously and quite understandably drafted with that object. I think, in taking the paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty as his text, the Mover of the Motion has painted the picture in high lights and deep shades, with none of the effects of ordinary daylight. The speech of the Minister of Health, the House will agree, has admirably supplied the missing tones, and after his speech the House and the country will have a somewhat different picture of the situation, and one which is very much nearer the truth. There were many quotations during the speech of the right hon. Gentleman who moved the Vote of Censure, and we have had many quotations in the Press of this country, from the scientists, and I in no way wish to belittle the views of those distinguished men. Great as the improvement is, the standard of nutrition is not what we should like it to be, but I am not convinced that scientific knowledge is always the most practicable for application.
Hon. Members opposite have used the opinions of scientists as weapons against this Government on the subject of nutrition as if scientists had produced solid facts and the final word upon this whole question. The scientists themselves are much more modest than some of the right hon. and hon. Members opposite pictured them to be. Sir John Orr, in the Foreword to his book, "Food and Health and Income" emphasises the fact very strongly that knowledge on the subject of nutrition is both inadequate and by no means complete at present. In this other document which I have in my hand, the "Workers' Nutrition and Social Policy," published by the International Labour Office at Geneva, it says thatthe phase of this subject of nutrition is still in its very beginning, and that while human requirements in general for the maintenance of perfect health have not yet been clearly defined, the requirements of various types and groups of workers are still less known.So that even the experts are still in doubt. They maintain that far more research is needed, and our question to-day on this side of the House in speaking in defence of the policy of the 1260 Government, is whether the Government have been active enough in their research or whether they are at a standstill and are neglecting their obvious duty? The speech of the Minister of Health has shown us, at least on this side of the House, that the Government are fully alive to the need for further research work—work which is complicated and at times very prolonged. I was glad to hear from him that the Advisory Committee on Nutrition has been at work ceaselessly for the last 12 months. The Government have taken their suggestions as far as they have gone with regard to milk, and both from what I have heard outside this House, and from the Minister this afternoon, further conclusions on other foodstuffs are very near at hand. I welcome also the statement from him that the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be generous and by no means unsympathetic towards financing this nutrition research. That is what we expect of him. Those of us who remember his period as Minister of Health realise that he is not likely to be niggardly on this all important question.
But I would beg hon. Members to approach this subject not merely through the eyes of scientists, but through the eyes of commonsense men and women. We must ask ourselves this question: If the standard of this country's nutrition is bad, is it the fault of this Government and is this Government responsible We have listened to facts and figures from the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Health, and I am convinced that the answer of those who have studied the facts must be definitely "No." This question Members of the House know is not one merely of money. We all know in all quarters of the House that money is necessary in order to buy good food, and therefore, on this side of the House anyhow, there is all the more satisfaction when we compare this year with the position when the Government took office in 1931. The Minister of Health mentioned increased employment and the fact that a million and a quarter more people were drawing wages instead of unemployment benefit. Look also at the question of the cost of living. The figure of 44 per cent. for this year over the pre-War figure compares very favourably with the 60 per 1261 cent. of 1929–30. If you take food prices alone instead of the general cost of living index the figure of 26 per cent. to-day over the pre-War figure compares more than favourably with the figure of 50 per cent. in 1929–30.
Quite apart from the question of money, there is another important problem. Are people gaining the knowledge of what is the right food to buy, and, having bought it, are they using sufficient industry and care in preparing and cooking it attractively for human consumption? Even in the country, where fresh food in the form of eggs, cheese, fruit and butter is at hand, I have often seen a working man go out to his day's work with tinned food as the basis of his midday meal. That is proof positive of one of two things, either profound lack of knowledge by some of our housewives on the value of the different kinds of food, or perhaps the fact that they are not sufficiently trained in the preparation of nourishing and attractive foods. There is a tremendous field for education along those lines. Much has been done both in the towns and countryside by the women's institutes, which are working ceaselessly to instruct the every-day housewife in how most wisely to spend what household money there is available for food. This House also owes a debt of gratitude to the Press and to the British Broadcasting Corporation for their constructive work in educating the people of this country along these lines.
All this education is happening at home, but the reason why I have intervened in this Debate to-day is that during my experience of the last two years before I left the Colonial Office I have found that this drive for education on the nutrition problem is not only confined to this country but is also being carried on in our Colonial Empire. This is common knowledge in some quarters, but perhaps the House as a whole do not realise this fact. At the moment the Colonial Office, with the very strong and useful backing and co-operation of the Departments concerned, are going most thoroughly into the whole question of nutrition throughout the Colonies and Dependencies for the government of which this Parliament is responsible not only in relation to their health but in relation to the whole question of the 1262 general agricultural and educational policy throughout the Colonial Empire. I think they feel at the Colonial Office that while Great Britain has gained much knowledge upon this question of diet and nutrition during the last 30 years, that knowledge has not been so easily accessible to the people of our Colonies and our Dependencies. At the present time the Colonial Office is doing its utmost to further this work as part of the Government policy on nutrition, and that is why I mention it in the House to-day in view of this Vote of Censure by the Opposition. A very full review and inquiry is taking place through the proper channels in our Colonies and Dependencies, and before long the results will be in the hands of the Colonial Office.
I do not suggest for a moment that the Colonies have already been backward in this matter. We have heard a lot of the proposals for supplying milk to school children in England but perhaps hon. Members do not always realise that those plans are going on in our Colonies at the present time and that the same scheme is being put into action both in Ceylon and Malta. As far as education propaganda on nutrition is concerned, you will find especially in Tanganyika and Malaya, that it is being pushed forward with great energy among the schools and school teachers of the Colonial Empire.
§ Mr. HOLDSWORTH
Is it in order for the hon. Gentleman to discuss what is being done in the Colonies on this particular Motion?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The Motion seems to be very wide and I do not think that the hon. Member is out of order.
§ Mr. THOMAS
This general Vote of Censure upon the Government has been moved because of its so-called neglect of the question of nutrition. It has been shown by the Minister of Health what the policy of the Government has been at home with regard to nutrition, and at the same time I think that the House should know the position as regards our Colonial Empire, for whose health this Parliament is responsible. One of the main objects of the Colonial Development Fund is therefore being fulfilled by the Colonial Office. Financial assistance is being granted, and will be more freely granted when the surveys come in, for 1263 promoting public health and nutrition in our Colonies and dependencies.
To-day a Vote of Censure has been moved on the Government, a Government which, as the Minister of Health's speech has shown, is pushing ahead faster than any Government that has gone before, to abolish the paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty, not only here at home. but in those different parts of the Empire for which this Parliament is responsible. When we vote to-night we should bear in mind that this Vote of Censure has been moved by a party which is conducting at the moment a great deal of propaganda through its Press and in the countryside on the question of nutrition and the alleged lack of Government work on this question. I have searched the records of that party from 1929–31 and I cannot find an occasion on which either in Parliament or in party conference time has been given or practical suggestions have been made to deal with this question of nutrition. Therefore, I am glad that this Vote of Censure has been moved, because it has given the Government a chance to tell the House, and, through this House, the country, what is being done on this all-important problem, and to show how much safer it is to leave the nutrition and health of our people in the hands' of the present Government, with its record in regard to health services and employment and wages, than in the hands of a Government composed of hon. Members from the party which has moved this Vote of Censure.
§ 6.18 p.m.
§ Miss WILKINSON
It is very tempting to deal with the last speaker. If we could only take him round the country and say: "This is a typical young Tory," it would show that a section of people in the Tory party are really on the left. One would have thought that the sort of speech that the hon. Member has delivered had died round about 1910. He says that in the countryside there is a plentiful supply of milk, cheese, butter and eggs available, but that the misguided working man insists on taking out with him tins of salmon or other tinned food. I do not know what constituency the hon. Member represents, but if he has any country housewives in his constituency 1264 I think he will discover that even for the comparatively well-to-do artisans cheap tinned food is very much dearer than the commodities he mentioned. He suggests that having bought—but what is the use of worrying about the hon. Member? The important thing is to come to the speech of the Minister, because the Minister's speech was a classic of what we have to expect from that somewhat complacent gentleman.
The right hon. Gentleman said that certain doctors are saying that there are more deaths from over-feeding than from under-feeding. I think he must be speaking very largely of his own acquaintances, and not from a knowledge of the country at large. He made one statement which hon. Members on this side of the House will not let him forget. When we quoted Sir John Orr the Minister said that Sir John Orr's figures were based on a standard which could not be improved upon, and he argued that that was too much to expect. Are we to understand that it is the considered view of His Majesty's Government that the working classes of this country cannot be expected to reach or hope for a standard of health which cannot be improved upon?
§ The MINISTER of AGRICULTURE (Mr. Elliot)
What my right hon. Friend said was that in all classes of the community it is hopeless to expect that a standard could be reached which could not be improved upon.
§ Miss WILKINSON
Over-feeding is a dietary error, which is very different from sufferings due to nutritional errors, which mean that a person is not getting sufficient of the right kind of food. Overfeeding is a dietetic and not a nutritional error. The Minister quoted Dr. Cathcart and Dr. Hutchison, who have made speeches which are such a joy to the Primrose League and the Noble Lady the Member for the Sutton Division of Plymouth (Viscountess Astor). We are given to understand that it is all a question of the ignorance of the working-class mother, but neither Dr. Cathcart nor Dr. Hutchison have ever told us how we are going to maintain health on 2s., 3s. or 4s. per head per week. If Dr. Cathcart would come down and teach working-class mothers, who have only 2s., 3s. or 4s. per head to spend, we might listen to him. It is merely a question of mathematics that those few shillings per head 1265 per week is all that these people have to live on, when they have gone through the sieve of the means test, and they have no other source of income. When Dr. Cathcart can show even the most ignorant mother how she can even begin adequately to feed a family on 4s. per head per week, to say nothing of 2s. per head, we will listen to him.
The Minister of Health said that he might agree with the Labour party if they would only deal with the depressed areas, because then our case would be so much stronger. I am the representative of one of the most depressed areas in the country, and the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, West (Mr. K. Griffiths) pleads for an area which is not one of the worst, and asks that it should be included in the depressed areas. If we take those areas that are on the schedule of the depressed areas, and those which are on the margin of it, what do we find? If we take Durham, the West and parts of East Scotland, West Cumberland, South Wales, and very large parts of Lancashire, and we look at the population figures, we find that in those counties there is 50 per cent. of the population of the country. Therefore, if the Minister says that he will accept our case for 50 per cent. of the population, there is not much left for his case.
The right hon. Gentleman referred to improvements in tuberculosis. I do not decry those figures, but I would call attention to the fact that right up to the War period, or, at any rate, up to 1910, tuberculosis was a disease which was widespread through all sections of the community. It was perhaps through faults in hygiene, partly due to seclusion and the unhealthy clothing of women, and the fact that they did not play open-air games. There has been great improvement since then. There have been better schools, sports for women, improved hygiene, with the result that tuberculosis, except bovine tuberculosis and certain hereditary forms, has practically become a poverty disease. If we take not the figures for the whole country but the figures for the 50 per cent. of the population in regard to tuberculosis, they tell a very different story from that which the Minister so complacently put before the House.
Take the question of rickets. The Minister guarded himself by saying that 1266 as regards rickets the improvement was considerable. I would quote the statement made by Dr. Janet Campbell, a woman official of the Ministry, that even a slight degree of rickets is dangerous in women, and that even a slight degree of pelvic rickets is the cause of a considerable amount of maternal mortality. Rickets is admittedly a disease due to malnutrition, bad or insufficient food, or lack of sunlight, and it is, therefore, a poverty disease. Therefore, it is not fair for the Minister to safeguard himself on the question of the severer form of rickets. We on this side object to the fact that good health is becoming a class question. It is a class question. The Minister has rightly said that standards of normality vary. A child of a certain standard may be classed as abnormal in Jarrow, but it would be definitely subnormal if it was attending a public school.
We have recently had an investigation in the Newcastle-upon-Tyne area, where a section of working-class families, collected at random, have been compared with a similarly selected number of those of the professional class. The figures prove the contention that I am making. Take the question of weight. Fifty-five per cent. of the children of the poorer class were, on examination, found to be below normal weight, while only 13 per cent. of the well-to-do children were below the normal weight. Above the normal weight there were 11 per cent. of the poor children and 48 per cent. of the well-to-do children. As regards height, 45 per cent. of the poor children were below the normal height and 5 per cent. of the well-to-do children were below the normal height. Above the normal height there were 2 per cent. of the poor children and 11 per cent. of the well-to-do children. As regards anaemia, 23 per cent. of the poor children showed definite signs of anaemia and none of the well-to-do children showed signs of anaemia. That is what I meant when I said that good health is becoming very largely a class question.
The Minister referred to the investigation that had been undertaken by the women's section of the Labour party. That is probably of its kind the widest and most careful investigation that has been made at the moment. I will not give the figures because they have been very largely published in the Press, but it is right that one or two sentences from 1267 some of the letters should be quoted. The hon. Member who spoke last spoke as if the increase in employment necessarily meant an increase in the amount of money available to spend on food. I wish that statement were true. In a good many trades the wages for unskilled labour are definitely below even the means test standard for a man with three, four or five children. Let me quote from a letter of a woman whose husband is a labourer. After paying for rent and other necessary outlays she has about 18s. a week for food for six. Perhaps the gentleman who was quite sure that it was ignorance on the part of these women might give her some good advice on how to feed a family of six on 18s. a week:Some days I buy 3d. worth of pieces of meat to make a dinner and have a few potatoes. I buy a lot of bread. I can assure you we could do with a good deal more food, but when a man has got the name of working, you don't get much sympathy, whereas a man on the dole or the means test in this town can get boots for his children and also the school milk free. Three of my children are at school, but I can only pay for milk for one of them.That raises an important point with regard to the milk question. The Minister said that 7,000,000 gallons of milk per years came under the scheme of free or cheap milk as liquid or dried milk. It seems to me that 7,000,000 gallons is not very much about which to boast. An hon. Member behind me, with a much better turn for mathematics than I have, has calculated that this means 150,000 pints of milk per day. Is that much to boast about, when you have millions of gallons of milk which you do not know what to do with, and when you are selling it at 5d. per gallon for manufacturing purposes? The Government will have to do much better than that to convince even its own supporters. I would ask the Minister to verify these figures, but I have been given to understand that whereas in the beginning the surplus milk sold for manufacturing purposes amounted to 22 per cent. of the amount at the disposal of the Board, it now amounts to 40 per cent. If that amount is being sold to make cheap combs, sugar bowls, and other celluloid stuff I suggest that it is something like a national disgrace.
§ Mr. ELLIOT
Really, my right hon. Friend did not say anything of the kind. The proportion used for manufacturing purposes is something far down in 1268 the decimal points. The 20 per cent. and the 40 per cent., are being used for the manufacture of foodstuffs, butter, cheese, dried milk, every penny of which is going down the throats of the people and being used for food.
§ Miss WILKINSON
I am glad to have the correction. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will give a tabulated list of the uses to which this manufacturing milk goes. It really is important. A large amount of milk may be going to make chocolate, a foodstuff, but a foodstuff which the people about whom I am speaking cannot buy. I want to make two points in regard to this matter. I appreciate to the full the value of the milk sold at ½d. per pint per day. I have seen the difference it has made in the elementary schools in Jarrow. But there is another side to the question. There are many women who complain that if they have five children at school, not an unusual family in my area, it means 2½d. per day or 1s. 0½d. per week, which is a serious item for them. The Minister also threw out hopes that the Milk Reorganisation Committee might possibly consider an extension of the cheap milk system. However desirable it may be to be able to buy this cheap milk at manufacturing prices it really does not go far enough; and for this reason: On every quart of milk the housewife pays the present artificially high price, which is kept up by the Milk Marketing Board in order to subsidise the manufacturing section. If a larger amount is bought at manufacturing prices, even if the present price remains the same, the housewife who is buying for herself will still be paying higher prices in order to subsidise the manufacturing price.
The Minister said that there is no real starvation in the country. I believe that is honestly the view of a large number of hon. Members opposite. However high party feeling may run in this country I do not think there is a single hon. Member opposite who would not raise his voice if he thought there was real starvation in the country which was going uncared for. The difficulty is to decide when under-feeding starts. It is most difficult to do, even when you have children under regular inspection in the elementary schools, and it is still more difficult when you are dealing with the adolescent, who really needs as much 1269 food as a grown-up man; indeed, a boy who is growing needs more food than a man whose bones are set. It is underfeeding at this time for two or three years which shows itself in cardiac and pulmonary troubles, and lower resistance to infection.
The House will pardon a personal experience. Last winter I used to go to my constituency every fortnight. At first I did not notice the occurrence until it became so regular that it became a perfect horror. Every time I got out of the station I was met by some party workers who had always the same story to tell, that a worker in the party had suddenly died during the short period. At first I took it as one does in a case of death. I saw the bereaved family, and expressed my sympathy. But I discovered that these were young people. The vicar of one of the largest churches in the area pointed out to me that in a family of well-known church workers three young men had died within the month, their ages ranging from 21 to 25 years, and he said to me that these young men were just like eggshells. They looked all right outside, but when they were faced with the infection and cold of the winter they just cracked like eggshells. These are cases which it is very difficult to put into statistics, and doctors seldom sign that death is due to starvation or malnutrition. I remember one woman speaking to me and saying that because of the means test she had gone to live with her married son and daughter, who already had four small children. She said, "You know, I do not want to be a burden on them, so I slip out at meal times and say that I have had a bite at my neighbour's." I remember that case very vividly because the woman died. There was cardiac disease on the certificate, but her doctor told me that, of course, it was obvious the woman was more than half starved.
These cases do not go into the statistics. I do not deny the statistics of the Minister. His Department can present a beautiful case showing that such things do not exist, but those who represent these areas and who have worked in them, who go into the houses and meet these people, know that they are not getting enough to eat. It is no use that young man saying that these women are ignorant. The chairman of my women's section, a first-class woman 1270 and capable organiser, otherwise I should not be here, on one occasion held out a newspaper parcel in which she had two cods' heads. When I laughed she said that she had got them cheap and was going to stew them with potatoes. Will that young man, who will presently have a good dinner at his club or in this House, tell that woman how she is going to make a better dinner of two cods' heads? That is what we also want to hear from Dr. Cathcart.
The Prime Minister over and over again has made speeches which show that he understands. He is signing enormous sums for battleships; but what sort of people are you going to put into these battleships to man them? If the next war is to be won on nerve, muscle, and sinew, they cannot be built up as quickly as the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence can turn the machinery of this country into making shells. We must build up the nerve, sinew, and muscle of our people now. Surely this is the time, when these vast amounts of milk are available for distribution, when so much food is being destroyed, food which would mean all the difference to these women if it was distributed. The Prime Minister has put in a Minister to reverse the engine as regards the production of munitions. Could he not give power to the Minister of Agriculture to reverse the engine with regard to the policy of restriction? These facts are real and are crying to heaven for attention. They can be seen in the poor areas. We hear too much of London and the employed of London, but in these areas the situation is getting worse and there is also a lack of hope. I urge the Prime Minister, while there is yet time, to bring forward a comprehensive plan for dealing with the situation.
§ 6.45 p.m.
Mr. GRAHAM KERR
The problem with which the House is dealing is really a biological problem, and therefore it is perhaps not unsuitable that one who has spent his professional life in dealing with that subject should indicate some of his views. The question which has been raised is indeed a formidable and alarming one. Such phrases as "widespread malnutrition," "a crime against society," and various other phrases are surely calculated to cause alarm. Yet I feel that when that formidable looking figure is punctured by a little bit of science, as 1271 it will be this evening in the further course of the Debate, it will cease to be so formidable in its deflated form. The House will not expect me to follow the impassioned appeals to which we have just listened in the extraordinarily touching speech of the hon. Lady the Member for Jarrow (Miss Wilkinson). It is unnecessary for me to assure her or any other hon. Member that hearts beat as warmly on this side of the House as on the other side for infants, toddlers, schoolchildren and grown-ups. Nor is it desirable that I should simply try to answer statements of alleged facts by other statements of alleged facts. I think the House will rather expect me to say something about how in biology we would approach a tremendous, complicated problem of this nature, and above all, I ought to indicate some of the pitfalls which we learn to try to avoid.
One of the worst of those pitfalls is involved in the use of statistics. We learn that there is no surer way of hiding the truth and no easier way of distorting the truth than by the use of statistical methods. To get reliable conclusions from statistics one has, in the first place, to see that the number of cases dealt with is relatively enormous, far larger than those available for some of the conclusions we have heard put forward in this Debate. We have to take care that the facts of observation have been collected by one who is a trained and skilled observer and who is free from any prejudice in the course of his observations, for even the most skilled observer, if he enters his investigations with prejudice one way or the other, is liable in spite of himself to give what is really not an honest record of fact. There is another pitfall we have to avoid, and that is the evidence of the scientific specialist. To become a specialist, unfortunately it is necessary to lose one's sense of proportion. In working out some great problem of biology, the investigator has to work for months, it may be for years, in dreary drudgery. He may have to subject himself to great personal discomfort, and it may be even to deadly personal danger, and he simply will not do that unless he feels that the thing at which he is working is the most important thing in the world for which to work. In other words, he entirely loses his sense of proportion.
1272 Again, there is one particular sort of specialist of whom one has to be particularly aware in the world of biology, and that is the chemical specialist. It will surprise the House to know that chemistry is unaware of any difference between the protoplasm, the living substance, of the lowest, most primitive forms of life, and the highest, as we call man. The chemist is unable to detect any difference between the living substance—the protoplasm—of some lowly worm or slug and the human being, it may be a criminal, a savage or an imbecile, it may be a great scholar, a pioneer of human invention, or one of the great leaders of the world. The chemist, in fact, when he wanders into the world of biology, as he makes his way along his narrow path, does so in blinkers. He regards the cobblestones [...]f chemical facts; he acquires an unparalleled knowledge of those cobblestones; and yet all the while he is unaware of the great world of beauty and complexity that lies around him, the world to which incidentally he owes his own life and existence.
I warn the House against one or two of these obvious pitfalls. I would mention another, and that is the tremendous care which has to be taken to see that one is entirely cognizant of the possible disturbing factors, which may completely invalidate the whole of one's conclusions. I have noticed such disturbing factors cropping up again and again in arguments upon this particular subject. Let me take one particular item of diet, the kind of food which is known in biology to be the most valuable of all kinds of food in the animal kingdom, namely, the yolk of the egg. I have heard arguments dealing with the greater amount of money spent upon eggs in different classes of the community. Conclusions based upon such differences ignore entirely the fact that eggs, in monetary value, differ enormously, according to whether they are the eggs of the common fowl, the eggs of the plover, the eggs of the cod—cod roe—or the eggs of the sturgeon, that is to say, caviare. It is nonsense to base conclusions upon different expenditure on particular types of diet unless one goes carefully into the matter and sees that one is really comparing the same sort of thing.
Another important disturbing factor which is ignored is the element of waste. 1273 Anybody who has lived in a humble household or in a wealthy household knows perfectly well that the economical housewife in poor circumstances wastes nothing, but pinches and pares; whereas in the houses of the wealthy, paid cooks and servants are completely uneconomical. In that way another important type of argument is invalidated. As a matter of fact, the problem of nutrition is one of the most tremendously complex problems in physiology. I have lived among the Gauchos of the pampas, who used to exist entirely on beef; I have lived among these splendid labourers, the Piedmontese, who lived almost entirely on macaroni. I have also lived among the savage tribes in the Gran Chaco, and I would mention that the most finely developed of all those tribes were Indians who were entirely dependent upon what they could hunt. But the fact that they were splendidly developed was not due to their nutritious diet; it was due, I am sorry to say, to the terrible selection that goes on in the case of these primitive fighting tribes whereby the weak are constantly being weeded out and in that way the standards of the race kept up to what is called an Al state. In connection with the Gran Chaco, I might mention that in that same part of the world I came across a particular kind of beetle grub that was able to build up the same living protoplasm, which the chemist tells us is not different from that of, shall I say, a university professor or on hon. Member of this House, out of dry cork and nothing else. Where in this case are all these proteins and fats and carbohydrates and other things which we are told are necessary? I have referred to these particular points in order to drive home the fact that nutrition is an immensely complex problem, and that it would be well for us to scrutinise with the utmost care evidence that is put before us before we allow ourselves to draw conclusions.
Before sitting down, I would like to mention one other thing to which reference has been made in the course of the Debate, and which is in fact indicated in the Motion moved by the right hon. Gentleman, namely, the destruction of herrings, which has excited general attention lately. That is a problem with which I have been in intimate 1274 touch for 30 years or so. It is a well-known case that in any particular fishery district one finds that there are great variations in the prosperity of the fishery. In one year the fishing will be a failure, and if one talks to fishermen in that neighbourhood they will probably put it down to the felonious methods of fishing used by other people. The biological fact is that during those periods it is not a question of the number of fish there are in the sea, but a question of the fish in the sea migrating, going from place to place in the ocean.
There, in the causes of this migration, you have one of the biggest problems which faces fishery science at the present time. At various laboratories for many years past expert investigators have been engaged working under deplorably unencouraging conditions to try to work out the cause of these fish migrations, due, in the first place, to the favourite food of the particular fish changing its position, that again depending on the migration of its food, and so you get a whole chain of food organisms depending ultimately on complicated physical and chemical conditions. It is the object of science to work this out, but so far science is still woefully ignorant about it. At present we are quite unable to say where these gluts of herring or any other fish will turn up. It may be here, there, at any point on the coast. Obviously, the ideal thing would be to have vast refrigerating organisations at every available point or to have a marvellous system of transport that could he concentrated in a few hours. But it is obvious that such things are not within the sphere of practical politics, although those who are interested in fishery science devoutly hope that the time will be reached eventually—after the country has spent a great deal more money than it has at present.
May I conclude by quoting the view of that great authority, one of the most distinguished of my own pupils, Sir John Orr, who has been quoted at such length? I have cut out an important piece of that great work of his, which I am sure will please my hon. Friends opposite:This is the first attempt which has been made to get a picture of the food position of the country showing the relationship of income, food and health. It was recognised that the data were 1275 inadequate and some of the existing data of doubtful accuracy, and that therefore the best that could be done would be to make an approximation to the picture which might be drawn if all the requisite data were available.This is the important section:It is believed, however, that the picture is the most accurate which can be drawn under the circumstances and that therefore it can serve as a working hypothesis, provided it is always kept in view that it is only an approximation, which will need to be revised from time to time as further information accumulates.I think that when the jury of this House brings in its verdict it will show without any dubiety that it is a British habit not to bring in a verdict of guilty upon a mere working hypothesis, a mere approximation which requires further information in the future.
§ 7.5 p.m.
§ Mr. LESLIE
We have just listened to an address which would not, I am afraid, go down very well if given before an audience of unemployed men in a distressed area. Another speaker on the other side asked us to view this through eyes of common sense, and mentioned that the Minister of Health is pushing along fast. The Minister cannot push too fast, when we know the distress that is rampant throughout the country at the present time. The public conscience has been stirred considerably by Sir John Orr's analysis and the valuable contribution which we have had from Dr. McGonigle. It is certainly a revelation to be told on the highest authority that 50 per cent. of our people live below a standard of diet which is considered necessary for health. Those of us who represent distressed areas know that prolonged unemployment has a terrible effect on the physique and stamina of the race, and while it is true that the rest of England shows a steady decrease in the death rate from tuberculosis, it is significant that there is a very high death rate from tuberculosis in the distressed areas. I have taken these figures from the report of the Minister of Health for 1933. They deal with people between the ages of 15 and 25, and everyone will agree that between 15 and 25 is a critical period in the life of young people. The male death rate from tuberculosis in Durham and Northumberland per 100,000 was 103 in 1914, but it jumped up to 112 1276 in 1930. The figure for females rose from 124 in 1914 to 163 in 1932.
I have the report which all Members will have received this morning from the Durham County Council, and there is no denying that the council has been making heroic efforts to cope with this problem of tuberculosis. The cost has increased from £7,591 in 1914 to £82,486 in 1935. It was stated that as far as women are concerned the high death rate was largely due to fashion and to women attempting to slim. In the distressed areas the slimming there is not by choice. It is because they are unable to get sufficient nourishing food. The figures for Wales and other distressed areas are even worse than those for Northumberland and Durham. In Merthyr Tydfil County Borough the male death rate rose from 131 in 1925 to 197 in 1932. For women the figure rose from 185 in 1925 to 268 in 1932. The very fact that there is a decrease in the rest of the country but these enormous figures for the distressed areas, surely proves conclusively that lack of proper nourishment is, to say the least, a contributory factor in that high death rate. Only a fortnight ago at a conference of approved societies, this resolution was adopted:This conference calls attention to the continued high death rate from tuberculosis between age groups 15 and 25, particularly among young adult females.Surely the approved societies ought to know what they are speaking about, and when they adopt a resolution of this kind I take it that they view the matter very seriously. Again, it is very significant that in the north of England 68 per cent. of potential recruits for the military forces were rejected as being physically unfit. How can you hope to rear boys of the bulldog breed under the conditions which prevail in the distressed areas? I remember during the last War the then Prime Minister stated that if we had had proper housing accommodation, proper feeding and proper wages for the workers, instead of having a C3 population we should have been able to place at least 1,000,000 more men in the field. A proper diet is a most important factor in nutrition, and the want of it is the cause of malnutrition. Food is required not merely to satisfy hunger but for building material right through the period of growth and as a protection against disease. We have heard a good 1277 deal about the experiments made in schools. We know that where those experiments have taken place they have shown not only an increase in height but it weight. If you take a distressed area where a large proportion of the workers are unemployed, and you take into account rent, rates, insurance, fuel and clothing and deduct that from unemployment benefit, what is left for food? Something like 2s. 6d. to 3s. a week. This means that they have to do without the most nutritious foods—milk, butter, eggs, fresh fruit and vegetables. Thousands of people in the distressed areas exist on bread and tea, with margarine or dripping. That is almost the only food which they are able to get.
I want to pay tribute to the magnificent work done by the Society of Friends in the allotment movement in the distressed areas. They have done excellent work. But how disheartening it is to these men who work on the allotments when their produce is taken into account by the Unemployment Assistance Board. That is unfair and has taken from these men the very thing that could have been of value to them. Mention has been made of the destruction of fish. I happen to hail from a fishing port. These fishermen risk limb and life and after a hard night's toil arrive in the port, find the fish is not wanted and then have to go out to sea again and dump it. Millions of herring, one of the most nutritious of fish, have been thrown into the ocean during the past four weeks, and I myself on one occasion saw over 8,000 crans of herring dumped into the sea. People who are acquainted with the subject say that herring can be preserved by dousing them in salt and then putting them into cold storage. But if you call at a fishmonger's shop in any of our cities to-day you will find that the cheapest price at which you can buy herring is 2d. each. Why not preserve the herring instead of wasting them? Why not send them to the distressed areas? During the War the Government paid thousands of pounds for coarse Iceland herring from the Scandinavian countries, just to prevent the Germans getting them. If that sort of thing could be done by a Government in war time, why not do the same thing now in order to help the distressed areas?
§ Mr. BOOTHBY
Does not the hon. Member realise that the best way to preserve herring is in barrels in salt; that those herring are sold all over the Continent, and that the reason why they are not sold to the same extent in this country is because the workers will not buy them? Does he not think that a little propaganda in favour of the herring as the cheapest and most nutritious food in the world would do more good than anything else?
§ Mr. LESLIE
I agree that propaganda is very useful, but I do not for a moment believe that if the herring were sent to the distressed areas, the people there would reject them. Then, on the subject of milk, we find that we pay 3d. per pint for milk to-day and I understand that factories are buying milk which is called surplus, at 5d. per gallon. I say there can be no surplus milk so long as a single child or nursing mother has to go without. We have also been told that the consumption of milk here is much lower than in the Scandinavian countries, Holland or the United States. Why not supply milk to nursing mothers at as cheap a rate as we are selling it to the factories?
There is also the question of the restriction of potato growing. We have seen the result of the Bishop Auckland experiment. A so-called surplus of potatoes was sent to Bishop Auckland and sold at less than the ordinary rate, and the result was an increase of sales there by 69 per cent. Again I would suggest that meals provided by education authorities and maternity and child welfare committees ought not to be taken into account by public assistance committees or the Unemployment Assistance Board in assessing the need of applicants. I hope the Government will take that point into consideration. Yesterday we discussed a Midwives Bill. I know that those engaged in maternity nursing in our hospitals are always much concerned about the patients who come to them from poverty stricken districts and are always doubtful of being able to bring them through the period of confinement. There is a case in which important help could be given by providing mothers and particularly nursing mothers with cheap milk. Surely the health and happiness of the people ought to be the first consideration of any Government.
§ 7.20 p.m.
§ Miss HORSBRUGH
I was surprised at the statement of the last speaker to the effect that the produce of allotments was taken into account in connection with unemployment assistance.
§ Miss HORSBRUGH
I know that in a great many places, as long as the produce is not sold, it is not taken into account. I should like to know how vegetables grown on an allotment would be assessed, in determining the amount of money on which a man could live for a week. Of course in a case where the vegetables are sold it is a different matter. Throughout this Debate there has been, I think, a failure on the part of many hon. Members to realise the full value of allotment schemes. I have frequently found that until people have had allotments or plots, they have not realised the full advantage of vegetables in their diet, because in many cases they have not previously had the money with which to buy vegetables. Where cases have been brought to my notice in which the Unemployment Assistance Board has taken into account money derived from the sale of vegetables from allotments, I have felt inclined to point out that if these people only used the vegetables themselves it would be much better. As I say, the value of vegetables used in the household is not, as far as I know, taken into account, and if the people who grow the vegetables would make more use of them, it would be realised that vegetables can take the place of other foods which they were accustomed to buy in the past.
I do not think there is any dispute between us as to the necessity for a proper diet. The majority of hon. Members will agree that the difficulty arises in knowing what is a proper diet, and it is because there is a lack of knowledge on that subject that I would urge the Minister of Health, when the Advisory Committee and the Committee on Nutrition make their reports, to have the information conveyed to the people of the country in a way in which it can be understood. It is no use having reports which can only be followed by those who know the technical terms and the long words employed by experts. What we want in this country to-day more than ever—and I think other countries have already awakened to the fact—is that ordinary people should be 1280 made to realise the kinds of food which are best for themselves and their children. I believe that the mothers of Great Britain are only too anxious to provide the best food for their families. I believe that in many cases there is malnutrition among mothers who spend the last available penny on getting the best food they can for their families, regardless of their own needs. The tragedy is that often they are spending those pennies on food which is not the best, and they could use the money far better if they knew more about nutrition values. I believe, that that sacrifice on the part of the mothers ought to be rewarded by the fullest possible information about the best food which they can give to their children.
Once or twice in the course of this discussion references have been made to the new housing areas. I agree that food of itself without air and light is not going to be of much use to the people. This is not merely a question of diet. It is also a question of surroundings, and I think nothing more effective has been done recently to help the people, and especially the young people, than the tremendous housing programme which has been carried out in the last few years. The subject of malnutrition as we are discussing it to-day may be divided under two heads. First, there is the problem of the people who are not getting enough food. When I looked at the terms of this Motion, I thought how much agreement there could be on that subject and I came to the conclusion, perhaps wrongly, that the Motion had been framed by the Opposition in such a way as to preclude agreement. We are all agreed that there are people in this country who are not getting enough food, but that does not mean that under-nourishment is "widespread." I believe if we regard it as "widespread" we are not going to find a cure for the evil which does exist.
§ Miss HORSBRUGH
That is not what the Motion says. The Motion says it is "widespread" and if we are going to tackle it, as a widespread problem all over the country, we are not likely to succeed. I want to see the actual cases of under-nourishment which exist tackled in the proper way. As the hon. Member for Jarrow (Miss Wilkinson) says, those cases are not brought out in statistics. 1281 They are individual cases of hardship, and if we merely regard this as a widespread problem we shall not get at those particular cases of hardship. There should be further powers to deal with the cases of under-nourishment which occur. We shall not deal with them effectively if we treat this matter, as though half the working-class population of the country were under-fed as has been suggested. Nor do I think it would be the right plan to attempt to deal with the problem by arranging to supply milk to all children or all adolescents whether they are in need of it or not. Again, I fear that by dealing with the matter on such a wide scale we should fail to get at the particularly difficult cases which we want to relieve.
The other branch of the subject concerns the balance of diet and the ignorance of food values which is, I think, widespread. I have already mentioned the need for further information on nutrition values of different foods. When I read the statement of Sir John Orr that the only person who is not mal-nourished is the person who is in such a state of well-being that no improvement could be effected by a change in his diet, I ask myself, is there a single hon. Member here who is not suffering from malnutrition? I believe that this ignorance of food values affects the people of the country as a whole quite apart from those who are actually suffering from lack of food. I know that when one introduces cases on this point one is accused of suggesting that money has nothing to do with malnutrition. Money has something to do with it but poverty is not the whole reason for malnutrition.
Many people who could afford any form of food for their children give those children special diets which are not expensive. I discussed this matter today with an eminent man who has been studying the question of diet during the last two months in different areas and among different classes of people, and I have heard from him, as I have heard from many other experts, that the ignorance of people in all classes, rich and poor alike, on the question of food values is to a large extent at the root of malnutrition in this country. For instance, it has been pointed out to me that the majority of people in this 1282 country do not drink enough water. Wherever there is a good water supply people, and above all the children, should be encouaged to drink plenty of it. I have also been told by experienced people—and I do not pretend to be an expert myself—that raw carrots are very useful as part of the diet of children. Experts in the treatment of rheumatic diseases attach great importance to raw carrots as an element in diet, but how many people in this country know of that fact? It is simply because certain foods are ordinary and cheap that they have been overlooked. I give those two examples, but there are others.
I am aware that hon. Members opposite may suggest that I am advocating that the poor of the country should live on raw carrots and water. One's statements are often twisted in that way, but I do not mind. I think those are two examples showing that what is really wanted in this country, above all else, is a knowledge of food values. We should try to get away from the idea that people are only under-nourished or wrongly nourished if they are poor and that if you gave them more unemployment allowances and higher wages you would, of necessity, improve the standard of diet. The hon. Member for Jarrow has pointed out that it is not only in the case of unemployed persons that this difficulty arises. She told us of the case of a man working at a low wage whose wife was unable to get for her children some of the advantages enjoyed by the children of unemployed people. I urge that any scheme for helping mothers or children to get extra supplies of milk or food, should not be confined to the unemployed. We should take into account the difficulties of particular cases such as have been mentioned. It might involve some sort of means test, but I would rather have that than have the people in want.
I oppose this Motion, and I regret that it is drawn up as it is. Hunger is not widespread in this country, and it is because it is isolated that I beleve we should tackle these isolated cases. What is widespread is the total ignorance of real food values. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Health, who has already done so much for the housing of the people of this country, can, I believe, do a great deal for the right feeding of the people of this country if he will give us 1283 further information and give it us in a way that every one of us can understand.
§ 7.31 p.m.
§ Mr. T. SMITH
I have taken a great deal of interest for many years past in diet and diet reform, and I have heard and read all kinds of dietaries, but I have never yet heard of raw carrots and water. It may be that that is a diet which is more beneficial than one has understood, but I should not like to advocate a diet of raw carrots and water in the industrial constituency which I represent. If I did, I am afraid that they would want to know if I had taken leave of my senses. It reminds me of what used to occur during the War, when well-intentioned people used to go down to working-class constituencies and tell working-class crowds that they could make a good meal out of cod-fish heads, and someone said, "Who is going to eat the bodies?" To talk of raw carrots and water is not treating this Motion with the consideration it deserves. The Motion speaks of "the convincing evidence of widespread malnutrition" and expresses the opinionthat the destruction of essential foodstuffs is a crime against society.We on this side are prepared to back this Motion. Malnutrition, as the right hon. Gentleman said, can be defined in more ways than one. I am not concerned, personally, with the rich man who chooses his own kind of food and suffers as a result. I am more concerned with the people who need food and cannot get it on account of poverty, and that is the basis of this Motion. I think my right hon. Friend the Member for West Stirling (Mr. Johnston) is to be thanked for bringing it forward, because there is convincing evidence in this country of malnutrition. There are areas in this country, which are not depressed in the ordinary sense of the term, that contain many people suffering from malnutrition. We hear a good deal of discussion in this House about the Special Areas, and they have their problems, but there are other areas which, although not defined as Special Areas, have a certain amount of poverty, and some of those districts are in Yorkshire.
There is a human side to this problem, and it is not a question of statistics. Let 1284 any hon. Member opposite make a practice of addressing working-class meetings, especially in districts where unemployment and low wages axe rampant, and I guarantee that he will have the same experience as I have had, namely, that he will see from the platform evidences of malnutrition. Those of us who keep in contact with our constituencies can see it. Indeed, when I have visited my own old town of Sheffield and addressed my old comrades, I have been astonished at the deterioration which I have seen in some of the men with whom I used to work. I make this challenge: Is there an hon. Member in this House who can keep a household going on the amount of money which the wife of the ordinary unemployed man has to spend? Is there one in this House who could keep a household going on the amount of money that is laid down by the British Medical Association in their scale?
We heard a great deal during 1935 about 3,000 calories being necessary in 24 hours, and what that ought to cost, and when we are told that an ordinary human being can be kept in health for a week on 5s. 4½d., it is just playing with the question. Indeed, 5s. 4½d. is just about the amount of money that the average Member of this House spends on one dinner, and you cannot go out into your clubs and hotels in the West End of London and get a decent dinner, including tips, for 5s. 4½d. Yet you expect an individual to live for seven days a week on that amount of money. I remember, in the days when I was a guardian in Sheffield, sitting with a well-respected steel magnate, who said to me, "Look sharp, I have a directors' meeting to attend. What about giving the old man 6s. a week to live on?" I said, "Hold on a bit. Will you be having lunch before you go to your directors' meeting?" He replied, "Yes." I asked, "How much will it cost you?" He said, "I shall be lucky if I get outside the Victoria Hotel for 10s." I said, "Yet you want this old man to live for seven days on 6s." He said, "I have never seen it in that light before," and, in fairness to him, I should say that from that time onwards he began to alter attitude towards people applying for Poor Law relief. There is not an hon. Member in this House who could manage to keep a home going on what we expect our unemployed to subsist on.
1285 What can we do about it? There is a number of things that can be done, and the right hon. Gentleman touched the root of the problem when he said, in his concluding remarks, that this is a question of purchasing power. Give the people the money, and they will get plenty of food. I agree straight away that in some cases there is ignorance as to the exact kind of food to buy, but there is more knowledge on the subject to-day among working-class people than there used to be, and there are more women to-day who would buy fruit, vegetables, fish, and fresh meat, if they had the money to do it with, than used to be the case. Anybody who goes into a working-class district on a Saturday night and looks at the market will find that the very poor people with limited purchasing power have to scour round the stalls in order to get a bit of cheap meat. You cannot expect a working-class mother to study a balanced diet when you give her but a few shillings on which to keep each individual member of her family. What can be done is for the Government to take a different attitude from that which they have taken up till now with regard to the people who are out of work. They have got to lift the means test, and they have got to give bigger allowances to the people who are out of work. We shall see, in the course of a day or two, when the new regulations come along, what their attitude on that question will be.
There are other things that could be done. For instance, take the question of milk in schools. I know, from my own family's experience, that not all kiddies like milk, and I know that some folk in this House do not like milk, taken alone. But I admit that the giving of milk at cheap rates to school children has been beneficial to the 2,250,000 children who have participated in it. But what is to stop your making milk in schools general? Why cannot that be done? The hon. Gentleman the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture used to be at the Board of Education. Has he forgotten Circular 1437? We urge that the provisions of Circular 1437, insisting that free meals should not be given to necessitous children until the symptoms of under-nourishment have appeared, should be withdrawn. Why should you have to wait until a child is under-nourished before you give free meals? This request 1286 is backed up by the Association of Local Education Associations and the British Medical Association, as well as by many medical officers of health, who have strongly protested against this provision.
There are a score and one different things that could be done if only we had a Government big enough to get down to it. I submit that purchasing power is at the basis of this question, and that wages are far too low in certain industries. I repeat that there is a good deal of credit to be given to the women of this country for the way in which they have managed during these last eight or 10 years. Anyone who knows a working-class district knows what they have to do. There is another cause of ill-health among working-class people that is often not recognised, and that is the anxiety of the mothers with regard to their children, the absolute anguish that many of them are in when the husband falls out of work. In colliery districts we have this position, that many of the men who have given their skill and the best of their lives in the industry are no longer wanted. You have thousands of men out of work, many of whom will never get another job, and the anguish of those poor fellows is almost appalling.
The time has come when we ought to have a revision of some of our social reforms. We could give you at least five or six indications as to what we believe ought to be done. Take the question of workmen's compensation, and look at the position to-day of thousands of men who are off work through accidents, and who are getting between 20s. and 22s. 6d. a week, totally incapacitated. There is plenty of room for improvement there. There are three or four things that ought to be done. Hon. Members opposite are profuse with their sympathy, but they have forgotten their own votes during the lifetime of this Parliament. How many hon. Members opposite are there who express sympathy with the poor of this country who have themselves gone into the Lobby against any improvement suggested from this side? There are lots of things that could be done, and purchasing power is at the bottom of it. If we insisted on workers being treated better than they are treated to-day, and if we insisted on those who are unemployed being better treated and on the people who have to run the household being given a greater purchasing power, 1287 we should not see so much malnutrition as we do see at the present time.
§ 7.44 p.m.
§ Mr. SPENS
I beg to move, in line 1, to leave out from "with" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof:satisfaction the increasing attention that is being given to the problems of nutrition, welcomes the steps which have been and are being taken to secure the maximum supplies of food to our people combined with a reasonable remuneration to our Home producers, and approves the continuous efforts of His Majesty's Government to promote better health and social conditions in this country.I would like, first of all, to say a word or two as to why we thought an Amendment was desirable. It would have been the easiest course to have given a direct negative to the right hon. Gentleman's Motion and to have done nothing else. The Motion was drawn in very wide terms, which would have enabled anyone to speak on the subject from his own particular point of view, and at first sight an Amendment appeared to add very little to the Motion, but let me suggest that the Motion, as worded, even if we give a direct negative to it, appears to concentrate the problem on malnutrition, which by itself is isolating an essential question from a number of other circumstances on which it seems to us to depend. Malnutrition as such does not depend merely on whether or not you have enough of or the right sort of food. It depends in a great number of cases on the circumstances in which you live, your surroundings, your personal situation, whether you have been in employment or out, whether you are living in a healthy or an unhealthy home, and whether your mind is occupied with worries or is free from worries. The real problem is something much broader and bigger than the question of whether people are given the right kind and quality of food. Therefore, our Amendment in the first place widens the problem into a problem of nutrition generally. It calls attention to the question of the supply of foodstuffs, and then to the necessity by social services and other efforts of that nature for better surroundings under which those persons who get an adequate quantity of food of the right kind may avoid the evils of malnutrition.
1288 The problem divides itself into various sub-questions. First, nutrition is a problem for all sections of the population. Apart from the really wealthy, with whom I do not propose to deal, there is a large class of persons who have adequate means to purchase food of the right quality if they want to. In their case, through ignorance, they do not purchase the right food, and to those persons a widespread education on the subject of foodstuffs is of the utmost importance. That is not without assistance to the next class which has difficulty in finding the money to purchase the right foodstuffs, because many of the essential foodstuffs which we want to make available for the poorest section of the country depend on the quantity of those foodstuffs which are produced and consumed by the community as a whole. I regard it as a fundamental economic law—to take, for instance, the most important food of all, namely, milk—that if we are to make it cheap throughout the country, we should produce as much as we possibly can, distribute as much as we can, and sell as much as we can. Then, by the reduction of overhead costs from top to bottom, we should be able to get far more milk in its liquid form available to the population than they would otherwise have.
The education of those classes who have the money to purchase the best types of nutritious foodstuffs is of value to the real core of the problem, which is to get the right foodstuffs to the poorest classes of the population. It is of great importance because, although it is true, as my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health has pointed out, that if you take the figures of th edeath rate generally, of the tuberculosis death rate generally, and so forth, there is a vast and continuing improvement, there are certain cases about which those of us who take an interest in the subject have great anxiety. Hon. Members have referred to the question of young women. Tuberculosis is not uncommon among young women of the classes of parents who can afford to give them proper food, but who, through the temptation which so many households with limited means have to spend less money on food and more money on recreation, buy the cheapest and less valuable foodstuff. I have often been struck, in connection with this problem of health and food, at the change which has resulted from the introduction of the small motor car. Years ago in hundreds of 1289 thousands of small houses and cottages there was a certainty that at least one good meal a week would be taken by the family, and that was the Sunday dinner. That is all changed. Those families to-day are out on the roads. They are picnicking by the side of the roads, and, instead of eating fresh meat and vegetables, they are eating cheap tinned foodstuffs.
We welcome the interest that is being shown in all quarters of the country in nutrition generally. We advocate that every effort should be made by everyone interested in this subject to go on trying to teach, in the simplest language to everybody, the values of various foodstuffs. It is not a waste of time, trouble, money or effort to try to teach that in every class in the country. I appreciate, of course, that it is useless to say to a woman who has only a few pence to spend on food, "Why don't you spend it on this instead of on something else?" When you get to that class, it is not so much a question of nutrition or malnutrition as a question of economic difficulty, a question largely of purchasing power. May I say a word on the policy of the Government in trying to get foodstuffs to the people, and on what further steps can be taken? It is common—and one realises it particularly if one represents an agricultural constituency—for Members of the Opposition to say that the Government are going in for a policy of restriction of supplies. It is well known in any branch of the industry what is the total consumption of any particular foodstuff by the people of this country. It is quite well known what proportion of a particular commodity comes from home and what comes from abroad. No step has ever been taken by the Minister of Agriculture which cuts down the total supplies of the country of any particular commodity.
§ Mr. HOLDSWORTH
Is it not true that, so far as potatoes are concerned, there is a limitation of acreage and that a man must pay a fine if he grows any more? Is not that a policy of restriction?
§ Mr. SPENS
I have heard the hon. Member argue that before, and I have never had an opportunity of replying to him. Before I come to his question, let 1290 me point out that if the total amount of any commodity which the country consumes in the course of the year is known, you do not deprive any person of that article as long as you secure that that amount is available on the market each year. The policy of the Government is to maintain what are known to be the total amounts of supplies required by the people of the country, but to carry a certain amount of switch-over, if they can, so that of the total quantity available in each year an increasing quantity shall be produced by our own people. When we deal with the cost at which foodstuffs will reach the consumer, it appears to me an obvious economic fact that the more our producers produce at home, the less will be their overhead costs and the more they will be able to compete with the foreigner. We are thereby able to keep down the cost of the competing foreign stuff. The more we can develop on those lines, the more progress we shall make towards getting to the consumers the stuff they want at the cheapest price. That is the policy I have seen operated under my very eyes. Hon. Members will say that it involves at the start a rise in retail prices. It did in some articles, because, when the policy started, we were in a period when there was a huge glut of foodstuffs coming from all over the world. Many hon. Members believe that it is desirable that that should be allowed to continue and that there should pour into this country from all over the world any amount of foodstuffs of every kind without any restrictions. Surely, however, the result of that would only be one of two things. Either it would ruin our own countryside and create a new unemployment problem there—
§ Mr. SPENS
That is true, but how many less would we have had employed if we had not had our policy? How many more farmers, smallholders and cottagers would have been receiving public assistance but for our policy? All that I am submitting is that if we are really to get the foodstuffs that we want to our people, we must produce the greatest possible quantity in this country. We want these foodstuffs processed, so far as they need processing, in the greatest possible quantities. We 1291 want them carried on our railways and our transport in the greatest possible quantity. We want them retailed in the greatest possible quantity. When we have done all that we shall steadily reduce overhead charges from the first point of production to the last point of delivery, and have done something towards cheapening the foodstuffs of the people.
§ Mr. E. J. WILLIAMS
Does the hon. Member appreciate the effect of that policy upon industrial exports to customers abroad? Restriction of imports must obviously impoverish customers who would take, for example, South Wales coal, and other things. Does he realise the effect of his policy in creating unemployment, lack of purchasing power and consequent malnutrition in distressed areas?
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
There was no real problem for the countryside in Glamorganshire when the miners were employed and receiving good wages, because they are specialists in consuming prime beef.
§ Mr. SPENS
I should like to go with my hon. Friend into the reasons why Glamorgan lost its coal trade. Whether he and I would agree I do not know. Unfortunately, I have had through my hands many coal concerns in that part of the world which have gone through the process of being wound up, and I know a good deal about that particular problem. I believe that the Government's policy of increasing to the utmost agricultural production at home with a view to getting that produce to the people of this country will in the end prove to be a sound policy. In that way we shall decrease unemployment and have a chance of putting on to the tables of the people the foodstuffs they want at a price which the bulk of them will be able to pay; but even though unemployment be going down we shall still have to face the economic difficulties of those who receive 1292 the smallest sums in wages or public assistance, the question of how they, with the money available, will be able to purchase the foodstuffs they really require.
Is it possible to do something beyond the general policy of steadily increasing employment and decreasing unemployment in the hope that by getting people back to work they will get higher wages and be able eventually to buy what they ought to be able to buy? We know that that problem is localised to some extent in what are called the Special Areas. I ask those hon. Members who are so keenly interested in the Special Areas to remember that it is also a problem in the so-called prosperous South of England. People in any one of the towns in my division or in the countryside who are out of work have the same problem. Although people out of work in the countryside can generally get the foodstuffs they want in one way or another, inside the towns it is still a question of giving those people purchasing power or assistance. We have already, through the milk experiments, begun to assist them, and I was delighted to hear my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health say that inquiries were to be undertaken to see whether anything further could be done along those lines. We should try to encourage the consumption of liquid milk by our people, particularly those who need it, and I specially welcome that statement by the Minister of Health.
I have often wondered whether, when we get occasional experiences of the "kindness of nature," it would not be possible to make greater use of that bounty. A few years ago we had a tremendously heavy crop of fruit in Kent. Some farmers equipped with cold storage plant were able to store the fruit and put it on to the market in later months of the year, but the bulk of the growers found after the first two days that it was simply not worth while to pick it and send it to market, and in many cases they allowed children to come in and take it, getting rid of it in that way. There is a problem. At certain times certain parts of England have a surplus of foodstuffs which would be of the greatest value to the people in other parts. The prospects of the fruit crop can usually be foreseen some weeks ahead, and in that respect the position is different from the case where, unexpectedly, a heavy catch of herring is landed.
1293 Would it not be possible to organise the distribution of those surpluses in the districts where the foodstuffs would be welcome? Some people may say that that would mean merely sending in a casual load of herring or a load of fruit one week and nothing more for six or eight weeks, and that it would amount to very little, but I am not sure that there would not be an advantage to the country generally. If a producer is going to lose the whole results of the work he has put into a particular crop because there happens to be a bountiful harvest, it is a serious thing for the village where his land is situated, and I cannot help thinking that in addition to the inquiry into the milk surplus there ought to be an inquiry to see whether these other surpluses cannot be utilised. I agree that it will require organisation and expenditure and the co- operation of the transport authorities, but I believe we might be able to do something to assist the people who are in need.
The right hon. Gentleman who opened the Debate made a suggestion which, as far as I could make out, was to the effect that milk at manufacturing prices should be made available for everybody in the country. It seems to me that would be attended with very great difficulties. In the first place, it would mean that the present retail price, which everybody pays who can afford to buy milk, will no longer be paid—and that will produce a very difficult state of affairs. If, on the other hand, the proposal is confined, as I understand was in the mind of the Minister of Health, to making this milk available for unemployed persons or other poor people there might be less difficulty about the proposal.
I have moved this Amendment because I believe that it will concentrate the attention of the House on what is really the main problem, that of getting food to the people and generally improving social conditions in the country. I am sure that in saying this hon. Members will not think that I am being complacent or ignoring the problem, which I realise does exist, among those who have been long out of work in the Special Areas. But if one looks back to conditions at the beginning of the century and compares them with what they are to-day it must be admitted that, as a country, we may be very proud of the improvement which has taken place. When I look back to the condi- 1294 tions which used to exist in London, in Surrey and in Scotland, but have now vanished, I can only feel that if there is as much improvement during the next 30 years as in the past 30 years we shall have been very successful, but in my view that improvement will depend on the continuance of the financial stability of the country will depend on our being able steadily to develop our industries, and whether people can be confident if they embark on an undertaking they will be able to go on developing it right through their lives. It is by development along those lines that we shall bring about better and cheaper feeding of the population. If I may say it without offence to the other side, it is just because the threat to the general system contained in their nationalisation programme is so great that I can never find myself in agreement with them on any economic subject at all.
§ Mr. SPENS
That is not an economic problem solely. I feel that what the Minister of Health and the Minister of Agriculture are doing at the present time is on the right lines, and that if their policy is developed along those lines that not only will the question of nutrition be dealt with successfully but that it will also be possible to deal with the special subject of under-nourishment, which does exist at the present time, to some extent, in certain areas and among certain people outside those areas. This is not just a specialist question. We do not want to waste too much time over technical inquiries but ought to get on with the solution of the transport and economic difficulties and try whether we cannot solve the problem within the next generation.
§ 8.14 p.m.
§ Major DORMAN-SMITH
I beg to second the Amendment.
I hope that this Debate will not mean that this infant of nutrition will be thrown out into the somewhat rough seas of party politics, because I believe it is too young and too delicate to suffer such treatment. It is a matter of concern to all of us in this House, and an excuse for throwing it into the sea of politics would only be forthcoming if it could be shown that we on this side were doing 1295 nothing about it. The Minister has shown that we are doing quite a lot about it, on sound lines. It could not be otherwise. Not even the most flinty-hearted Tory could possibly be indifferent. He could hardly afford to be. I know that hon. Members on the other side do not ascribe very high motives to what comes from these benches, but, taking the very lowest possible motive, that of self-interest, it will be seen that, on this side, we must go into this matter very thoroughly, because no contented and well-fed nation has ever gone or ever will go, Socialist. Take it on the very lowest plane, and it is seen that we are interested in pressing ahead with nutrition perhaps even more than hon. Members opposite.
I hope that we shall not make this matter the shuttlecock of politics. It is a much bigger and more important matter than that. It is not an old subject. I do not think that any of us thought in terms of nutrition or malnutrition until the scientists focused our attention upon them. I have looked through pamphlets and policies of hon. Gentlemen opposite, and I can find, no more than I can find in our own, anything about it. That may be blameworthy. I do not know whether hon. Members can show me anything. [An HON. MEMBER: "I will send the hon. Member something."] I shall be glad to see it, but it must date from the preJohn Orr age. That is the only stipulation I make. I do not think any Member of the party opposite could stand up and say that the party has a comprehensive scheme to deal with this problem, but I believe that they are working, as we are, to arrive at a proper solution.
I am peculiarly interested in this question from the standpoint of producing the essential health foods, in order to carry out any policy of nutrition which we have to put into operation. You have to start from that standpoint before you can put a policy into operation. You have to be pretty certain about your food, and unless we get the producers in this country able to go on with their production, any scheme of nutrition will fall by the wayside. There will be nothing to eat or to consume. I believe that the policy of this Government tends to make it more and more possible for producers to continue in their job, and for that reason I support the Amendment. It has 1296 been the task of the Minister of Agriculture to see, as this Amendment states, that there is a maximum amount of foodstuffs coming into the country. We are told that there have been most serious restrictions, but in fact there have not been those restrictions. They simply do not exist. What could have been done, had we wanted it, would have been to allow gluts in the market, but that would have put all the producers out of production. We have managed to prevent that.
Far be it from me to say that our agricultural policy is perfect. The Minister of Agriculture would have a great shock if I ventured to say anything like that. Complaints have been made from time to time from many quarters of the House that our farmers are inefficient. We are told that agriculture is living on doles, and so forth. I suggest that this is the first Government for over 100 years to give any consideration or encouragement to the farming industry. There has been great development since they came in, and great attempts at organisation. Foreign countries may have got ahead of us; I think they have; but that is because this country has encouraged them to do so and to use our market. We are now seeing that policy reversed. I hope that in the near future we shall see the production stimulated of the essential health foods, sold at reasonable prices which consumers are able to pay. Any policy must be started from the producers' end. It is no use merely having factories, or coal mines, or anything else; you cannot eat them. If your producers cannot produce, nothing else is much good to you.
We are told that we have to go on considering and examining this problem. I believe that all the evidence, such as Sir John Orr shows us in his work, means that we have to do more examination. If hon. Members opposite were in office, they would have to do quite a lot more examination than they had done up to the moment. The Milk Board and the milk problem have been mentioned on more than one occasion. I can assure the House, as far as the producers are concerned, that there is nothing we want to see more than fresh milk going down the mouths of the people. That is obviously what we want to see. I believe I am right in saying that the Milk Board are going to see what they can do in the 1297 Rhondda. They have made tentative attempts in Merthyr Tydfil. I would appeal for retailers and middlemen to co-operate a little more than they have done in the past with the producers. We are prepared to co-operate to the very full, in trying to put over a policy of nutrition. I hope that we shall not be expected to do anything in five or 10 minutes, and so ruin the whole business by doing it hastily, without laying our plans properly. I commend to the House this Amendment, in the hope that it will lay a foundation for the nutrition policy which is urgently required.
§ 8.24 p.m.
§ Mr. JAMES GRIFFITHS >
I have listened with great interest for some time to the speeches which have been delivered. They seem to resolve themselves into an argument from hon. Members on the other side that the problem is not really one of lack of knowledge, and from hon. Members of our side that the root of the problem is not that the working class in these days do not know food values, but that their purchasing power is so depressed that knowledge is futile because they have not the means of putting that knowledge into effect. It has fallen to my lot during the last four or five years to be at the head of a great trade union, and in the course of my duties I have had to collect a good deal of information about men who were at work in one of our big industries. We took steps to find out what wages were being paid, what were the deductions from those wages, and, in particular, what was the amount available for the purchase of food. Some hon. Members opposite have spoken of lack of knowledge, and one hon. Lady alluded to the value of cold water and carrots, I think it was; but I would put it to them that the problem which exists in the special areas is not merely the problem of those who are unemployed. Very often it seems to be thought that the problem of the depressed areas is entirely confined to those people who are unemployed, and it is forgotten that there is also the problem of those who are in employment.
I want to quote two typical cases. We have taken great care to ascertain that they are typical, and they can be multiplied by the hundred in South Wales and by the thousand over the whole country. One is that of a man, his wife and four 1298 children of school age. They were living in the only house available to them, a house which was owned by their employer, and the rent of which was deducted before the man received his wages. It amounted to 15s. per week. Over a period of seven weeks, for which the man's pay tickets are in the office of my union, working on the average 5½ shifts per week, and after the rent and other items had been deducted from his pay, the average wage per week left to maintain that family of six was 33s. 10d Allowing for three meals per day for the family of six, that works out at an average of 3¼d. per meal. That is a problem, not of lack of knowledge, but of lack of means to purchase the food required to keep the family in health and comfort.
The other case is perhaps not quite so typical, but at the same time it is not entirely exceptional. It is that of a father, mother and six children, the wife being an invalid. Over a period of six weeks, after 15s. 5d. a week had been deducted for rent and after other statutory and other deductions had been made, there was available, in cash wages per week, 22s. 6d. to keep that family of eight. Allowing three meals a day, seven days a week, that is an average of 1½d per meal for that family of eight. Hon. Members on this side could all multiply cases of that kind. We urge upon the House and the Government that this low purchasing power, this inability to secure the food that is essential for the maintenance of health, is going to have in the end a disastrous effect upon the nation.
We have also had to give attention to a problem that has not been referred to in this discussion. In the mining industry the men are subject to very grave risks, and we have been alarmed to find that during the last few years, for a number of reasons, the accident rate has increased. On this matter we speak from our own practical knowledge, and what I am saying will be borne out by every inspector in the mining areas. His Majesty's inspector for the Cardiff division has time and again called attention to the fact that the low wages in the industry are having the effect of increasing the accident rate. Men are so deprived of good, healthy food that their powers soon become exhausted, and in consquence they are not so quick- 1299 witted as they otherwise would be, with the result that the accident rate is increasing. On this question I want to quote an outside authority. In September, 1935, Professor K. Neville Moss, of Birmingham University, who had been making some investigations into the relationship of low wages and malnutrition, made a most interesting statement. Low wages and malnutrition mean the same thing; the one represents the other. There may be cases, though I believe the number is very small indeed, in which malnutrition is due to lack of knowledge, but that part of the problem is only a tiny part of the whole problem; in by far the greatest degree it is due to Jack of purchasing power through low wages. Professor Moss said:If a miner's wages fell too low, one of two things must happen: either he had to do with less food, and in consequence reduce his work output, or he must maintain his work output and dietary standard at the expense of his family … A coal getter was of mature years and was invariably a married man. Whether he worked full time or not, he had to feed, clothe and house his family, and if his wages fell below the standard which enabled him to maintain his own food requirements, three things would happen. Firstly, his output of coal would fall; secondly, he would he more liable to absenteeism on account of illness caused by deficient nutrition; and thirdly, he would, owing to lack of alertness duo to fatigue, be more liable to fall a victim to underground accidents.The mechanisation of industry calls for greater quickness of mind and concentration upon the work, and it is a well-established fact, which no Member of the House would attempt to deny, that, if a man is to maintain his quickness of mind, and his power to concentrate on his work and keep alert for seven or eight hours, it is essential that he should be well and properly fed. We know, however, that there are tens of thousands of men who do not get the food necessary to enable them to do their work efficiently and with safety to themselves.
Reference has been made to the fact that this may appear to be, to use the words of one hon. Member, the endless controversy between the countryside and the industrial areas. It is true that the countryside is depressed. In my boyhood there were wealthy agricultural areas in West Wales, and, when I was a boy working at home, my mother used to buy meat, butter, eggs and cheese from the 1300 farmers in the rural areas, who used to come round to the houses and sell them. But the industrial workers in these depressed areas, and in other areas in the country, cannot now buy agricultural products grown in this country because the prices are too high, or rather, because their wages are too low, and they have been compelled to buy cheap foreign products because of their depressed wages. Therefore, I would urge upon those hon. Members who represent the agricultural interest, and who certainly make on all occasions and at all times the stoutest fight for the agricultural industry, that the best way to enhance the prosperity of agriculture is to give the industrial workers wages which will enable them to buy home products. Agriculture is becoming depressed in the same ratio and for the same reasons as other industries. Their prosperity goes together.
In working-class homes it is the mother who makes the sacrifice. It is she who goes short. She sees to it that, within the power of the wages, the man who goes to work gets the best that those wages can buy, low as they are. She sees to it that the children do not suffer. It is the mothers who suffer and go short. That is clearly indicated in the high increase in the maternal mortality rate. It is part of the price that the women are paying for the depression. I meet men in South Wales who went to school with me, and started working in the pit at the same time and who have been unemployed for three, four or five years or, even if they have not been unemployed, have been working for miserably low wages. They have put up a stout resistance and tried to keep their pecker up in the hope that someday they will again find a place in our industrial life. All one has to do is to walk the streets. It needs no close investigation. We do not need commissions. I wish it were possible for hon. Members to meet these men, women and children in an industrial area to whom fish and chips has become a luxury meal, something to look forward to once a week.
This great problem lies at the root of all others. We pride ourselves on being a great and a Christian nation. Almost every day for the last month someone has called attention to the fact that food is being destroyed at one end and men 1301 and women are being destroyed for lack of food at the other end. The system that allows that stands condemned by any standard. I believe that hon. Members opposite would join us in paying tribute to my right hon. Friend was opened the Debate. In this Motion we are drawing attention to one of our gravest problems. There are at least 50,000 men in South Wales whose cash wages are less than 35s. a week. My division is a big steel and tinplate producing centre. I have heard the Chancellor of the Exchequer refer with pride to the fact that the great steel industry is reviving, owing to Government policy, and that increasing numbers are employed. There are hundreds of men employed in that industry who earn less than £2 a week. Purchasing power has been depressed, with the consequence of a shortage of food, and that is having a really serious effect upon the motherhood and childhood of the nation. I ask the Minister of Health at once to set about the real task that we have to face. If war broke out, the first thing the Government would do would be to set about organising food supplies. Why cannot we organise food supplies for peace as well as for war? It is essential to lose no time. It is not a question of finding out more about the problem. The problem is that the purchasing power of our people in the main is depressed, and the way to solve it is to grant an immediate increase in purchasing power. Malnutrition is widespread because poverty is widespread and wages are low. I hope that the Government will bear this in mind when the Regulations are issued to-morrow night.
§ 8.43 p.m.
§ Mr. MARCUS SAMUEL
The subject of malnutrition is one in which Members on all sides of the House are bound to take an interest. It would be a horrible thing if it were made a matter of embittered political controversy and exploited as such. I have been reading something which is very relevant to the Motion, although it has not been mentioned very much to-day, the appeal made by the Leader of the Opposition to the electors of Derby. It says that a Government which allows half its people to suffer in semi-starvation is in no position to give a lead in dealing with the economic discontent, which creates 1302 a war atmosphere, and that only a Socialist Government can stop the drift to war and make full use of the bounties of nature. What is Socialism? It is Communism in fancy dress—dressed up to look pretty. The skeleton of Communism is the backbone of Socialism. When the right hon. Gentleman says there are 20,000,000 people suffering semi-starvation, that is a downright fabrication, so blatant that it falsifies itself. I am sorry to mention this point, but it may be rather more painful to me perhaps than to hon. Members opposite. Here we have a Motion blaming the Government for widespread malnutrition and hunger and want in a world of plenty. The Government are urged to deal with this grave and urgent problem at once. This evening probably our Socialists, our four Independent Labour party comrades, our comprehensive Communist, and perhaps our Liberals, will form a Popular Front and vote against the Government, and pop will go the Front.
Let me give the House a few illustrations of what I should call the easy virtuosity and the thoughtless levity of some of the Gentlemen opposite who table Motions of this sort. The Motion is one which calls upon the National Government to settle a world-wide problem. Whence comes that "plenty" which is so glibly spoken of? It is not produced within the confines of this country. Time after time when the Opposition refer to the burnt wheat, coffee and other corn-modifies, they are dealing with matters which are going on in other parts of the world over which the Government have no control. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about fish?"] That is one of the fishy things. If you came to analyse what a person's share might be of what had been thrown away you would find that he would not get even the tail of a fish. Even assuming that the things that are going to waste in that way are capable of economic distribution, where do we come in? It is a world-wide problem. This country has a population of 40,000,000, while the world, when Mr. Whitaker last counted it, had a population of something like 2,000,000,000. In any scheme of equitable distribution, we, with our relatively higher standard of living, would not get a look-in, and would have to take less.
Now I am coming to a point which hon. Members opposite may appreciate. Under the heading of "Is there a Glut?", I 1303 have in my hand the report of the National Council of Labour Women on nutrition and food supplies presented at a conference held on the 20th and 21st May of this year. It is rather remarkable. They call attention to this paragraph in a publication of the League of Nations:The existence of surplus stocks and overproduction in general, at certain moments, in certain countries, does not in any way prove that the world produces too much food, or even enough to meet the needs of its population.Talking of the world at large I would remind hon. Members opposite that, by general consent, the Map Room in the Library of this House is allotted to them by courtesy, and I think that it is rather a good thing, because I do not believe that they know where they are, and it it quite time that they found out. Have they any plans? I am coming to the point which I would like to stress. Have they any plans to improve the standard of living in this country? If so, what are they? I am a dealer in facts, and I shall give a few examples to show that they have nothing in their heads, in their hats, or up their sleeves with which to deal with this problem. Here is my first example. At the Labour party conference at Hastings in 1933–and there has been no change since—Mr Smart, Faversham, moved what they call a composite resolution—it sounded very nice indeed—instructing the National Executive Committee to prepare, in time for submission to the next annual conference, a scheme whereby socialised credit applied to retail traders may be used to enable the home market to absorb as much as it needs of consumable goods, so that the standard of living shall be raised substantially in the first few months of the next Labour Government.It added:With this programme the Labour party would sweep the country and this plan would mean the final establishment of Socialism and the Socialist Commonwealth.Very smart, of course, but would it? What happened immediately after that? I am reading from the report I have here. Dr. Hugh Dalton, now the hon. Gentleman the Member for Bishop Auckland, at once jumped up to oppose the resolution on behalf of the executive. This is what he said: 1304I am going to ask the Conference to reject this resolution and not spend time upon it, because we have already declared a policy in the report which you accepted last year, providing for the extension of purchasing power sufficient to enable the production of the country to be absorbed. I ask you to reject this resolution.Now we seem to be tracking their policy to its lair. Apparently we have only to look at the policy that was adopted in the previous year. I have been to the trouble of discovering what policy the hon. Member for Bishop Auckland was referring to; the policy which would obviate this poverty in the midst of plenty. The report to which he referred was that of the Labour party conference held in Leicester in 1932. I hold a copy of it in my hand and, as can be seen, it is in a green cover. I looked through this document carefully—I always read these reports—in search of the comprehensive policy. On page 208 I found a complaint from a Manchester delegate that Miss Margaret Bondfield, when Minister of Labour in 1930, had decided that 24s. a week was enough for women workers under a Trade Board, and made an Order to that effect. I concluded that this could not be the policy referred to. However, after diligent searching, I found this remarkable policy which was to increase the purchasing power of the people. It was hiding under the heading of "Currency, Banking and Finance," and I understand the enthusiasm of the hon. Member for Bishop Auckland for it, because he was the one who proposed it. Apparently the policy which was to sweep the country was one to stabilise wholesale prices and foreign exchanges and so on, and all sorts of nebulous propositions. But do you imagine that it was a concrete, definite policy? If so, you will be wrong, for the right lion. Gentleman finished up by saying:We ask you to give us a further period for intensive study, and we will undertake to bring before you at the next Conference definite proposals for dealing with this matter.
§ Mr. SILVERMAN
I wonder whether the hon. Member opposite feels that sufficient time has elapsed since then to enable the party to which he belongs to make all the investigations necessary.
§ Mr. SAMUEL
It is not a question of making investigations. I was about to say that the Leader of the Opposition 1305 to-day stated that about 50 per cent. of the people were in a state of semi-starvation.
§ Mr. SAMUEL
I understand that the Leader of the Opposition is the right hon. Member for Limehouse (Mr. Attlee). I may be wrong. I was not talking about the right hon. Member for West Stirling (Mr. Johnston). I was saying that when this Member of the Labour party said that they wanted something definite, he was turned back to the conditions and proposals which had been mentioned the year before, and those conditions and proposals were proved to be null and void. Nothing has been done since.
In regard to malnutrition, the word "malnutrition" does not appear even in the index of the reports of the Labour Conferences for 1934 and 1935. Maternal mortality did appear. That was a by word at by-elections. It was to be the password to power or, if you like so to describe it, it was to be the by-pass word, the short cut, to power. The most inexcusable use was made of this horrible scourge at the elections and other times. Now, malnutrition takes its place. Therefore, the only policy which hon. Members opposite have for a solution of the problem is some hotch-potch of currency and banking proposals, which will require "a further period of intensive study" before it reaches proper shape. I suggest that they would be better advised if they devoted their time to intensive study rather than to bringing forward what is really a futile and puerile Vote of Censure. I can best describe the Vote of Censure in three words, "tripe in type," and I shall feel all the better when I have registered my vote against it.
§ 8.57 p.m.
Mr. DAVID ADAMS
The House is exceedingly fortunate in having an excellent Opposition which at all times, has recognised the obligation that is upon it to keep the Government in touch with modern affairs. Of all the services that the Opposition has rendered since this Parliament began, there is none greater than to call the attention of the country and the Government to the prevalence of the great and growing evil of malnutrition. The housing agitation has resulted in almost settling that problem, but it has taken 50 years to secure that achieve- 1306 ment. The age in which we are living is so rapid and intensive that we shall not require to wait 50 years before solving the nutritional problem. The Minister of Health waved his magic wand and almost convinced us, as he undoubtedly convinced his supporters, that there was no such thing as a nutritional problem in this country, that all was exceedingly well, that our standards of health were rapidly rising and that the problems of the distressed areas cannot be considered in regard to the question of food. If that be so, why have we had the agitation from this side of the House, and also partially from the other side of the House, as to the problems of the distressed areas? Are the distressed areas aesthetic problems? Are they some mild form of sociological trouble, or is there, in fact, a most serious problem arising from the circumstance that we have a great part of the population in this country who are underfed? That today, whatever may have happened in days gone by, the necessary commodities cannot be purchased by a large section of the population?
It is instructive to observe the physique of hon. Members opposite all capable of purchasing the commodity of health. An examination would show that on the other side of the House there are at least 25 men of six feet upwards in height, with a physique and quality in accordance, and that they are well balanced by the intellectual stature on this side of the House. We have opposite an illustration of those who have had the benefit of heredity and environment, and none of the disabilities which have fallen in an intense degree in recent years upon the workers of the country. The standards of to-clay show that in certain respects we are growing a race of pigmies, in the days when foodstuffs the world over are supposed to be superlatively plentiful.
It is little use quoting figures to hon. Members opposite. Sir John Orr has stated that there are 4,500,000 people living on a maximum expenditure of 4s. per week per head, and his deduction from that fact is that that section of the population is deficient in every requisite constituent for the calories required to maintain the body in a proper state of physical efficiency, and enable a proper proportion of work to be done. Whatever Sir John Orr's figures may 1307 prove, I know that in county Durham and in Northumberland there are many of our unemployed who have less than 35., and even less than 2s., per head per week for expenditure upon food. Those people are unable to purchase the necessary butter, milk, fruit, vegetables, cheese, and fish but were compelled to subsist largely on bread, jam, tea and potatoes. In fact, good nutrition is not possible for the poor.
I was chairman of an important health authority for some years, and I have always been proud of the fact that the Corporation of Newcastle was well in advance of other corporations in regard to health services. Under the Slum Clearance Act we instituted the first slum clearance scheme. Therefore we were alarmed about two years ago by the very high incidence of disease in the poorer quarters of the city. There was a longer period of convalescence in our hospitals, a larger number making use of hospitals, and a high rate of infantile mortality. In England and Wales it was 64 per 1,000 births, but in Newcastle it was 76 per 1,000. We discovered on investigation that malnutrition was at work. An investigation was made by Dr. Spence, as the hon. Member for Jarrow (Miss Wilkinson) has mentioned, into the condition of 125 city children and 124 drawn from the professional classes between the ages of one year and five years. They were examined scientifically for general condition, height, weight, blood values, the incidence of anaemia and other nutritional diseases. The city children were found to be deficient in every direction. Among the 124 of the better-class children, only two suffered from pneumonia, while out of the 125 city children 17 had the same trouble. Only one of the better-class children suffered from pleurisy, and two others from a chronic and recurrent cough, while among the city children 32 were similarly affected by chronic or recurrent bronchitis. Only in six of the better-class children was there a record of an attack of measles; among the poorer children no less than 46 had had measles. It is worth while summarising the results of Dr. Spence's examination in order to have them on the records of the House. According to Dr. Spence examination showed that 130855.2 per cent. were below the normal standard of weight, 47 per cent. below the normal standard of height; 23.1 per cent. were anaemic with haemoglobin values below 65 per cent. and five children out of 103 specially examined for the purpose had active rickets. There are at present no definite standards by means of which the physique and state of nutrition of children can be estimated with mathematical accuracy. An expression of the incidence of poor physique or malnutrition must therefore be regarded as an opinion, the validity of which will vary with the experience of the observer and the methods which he uses. Bearing in mind the limitation of the use of figures in this connection, I have drawn the following conclusions from my investigations:That is so far as children are concerned. Then we had an investigation into 100 families of working-class areas with 231 adults and 304 children. The investigations were carried out by the staff of the Market Supply Committee, a statutory body operating under the Ministry of Health, and examined the consumption of the main items of foodstuffs. So far as meat was concerned, the total average consumption in Great Britain is, 46.5 ounces per person per week, but our employed, many of whom are grossly underpaid, consume only 24.7 ounces and the unemployed 19.4 ounces per head per week. The expenditure on meat per head of our employed was 1s. 2¼d per week, whereas the unemployed could only afford 7¾per head per week. With regard to eggs—and this is a strong point of the Ministry of Agriculture. The right hon. Gentleman likes to hear the word "eggs," and likes to have questions addressed to him as to what eggs are coming into this country from foreign 1309 countries to the detriment of the consumers. What is the situation in regard to eggs? The average consumption in Great Britain is approximately three eggs in the shell, per head per week: In Newcastle our employed have 2.1, but our unemployed average only 1.1 eggs per head per week, cheap imported eggs.
- (1) That at least 36 per cent. of the children from the poor districts from the city which I have examined were unhealthy or physically unfit and as a result of this they appeared malnourished.
- (2) That since this high incidence of apparent malnutrition is not found in the children of better class families, it is due to preventable causes.
- (3) In my opinion, the main immediate cause of the apparent malnutrition of the city children is the physical damage done by infective diseases occurring in young children at susceptible ages, and under conditions which prevent satisfactory recovery.
- (4) The main factors which promote and perpetuate this physical damage are, the housing conditions which permit mass infections of young children at susceptible ages; improper and inadequate diet which prevents satisfactory recovery from their illnesses."
With regard to an item which is now fundamental—the consumption of milk—fresh milk consumed throughout the country is slightly less than one pint per head daily. Our employed in Newcastle have 29 pints, or a little less than six ounces, and our unemployed 18, a little over three ounces. In a small way that illustrates what we have discovered in Newcastle so far as the average working-class home is concerned. With regard to milk generally, the Minister has properly urged local authorities to aim at one pint per person daily. The average in Newcastle is two-fifths of a pint. The difficulty, of course, is the inability, through lack of financial means, to purchase foodstuffs, particularly milk. In spite of the small quantity which is consumed on the average, a number of our people do not have fresh milk at all. We examined the case of 1,452 working-class families prior to the fixing of the winter price at 7d. a quart. 392 families, or 27 per cent., used condensed milk only. After the price had been raised, 500 families, or 34.5 per cent., found that condensed milk was the only form of milk within their financial capacity. It is true, I believe, that most of the working-class families, even the poorest, endeavour to have a milk pudding as a particular luxury for the children, if they have any, during the week-end. It is a fact that in Newcastle, apart from the three tons of dried milk supplied from our centres, annually many of our people do not know the taste of milk, excepting cheap condensed.
The investigations were interesting as regards the question of fuel. Those investigations gave an interesting sidelight on the poverty of many of our people. We had a complaint from several of the tenants that the municipal houses in which they had been living for a few weeks were damp. We were surprised, because Newcastle prides itself upon its municipal housing. Consequently, a house-to-house investigation was instituted to inquire into the cause of this dampness. The housing committee discovered, as a result that no less 1310 than 75 per cent. of the houses of the poorest people, who had been moved from the slum areas, were atmospherically damp but not structurally damp, the cause being the inability of the tenants to purchase the necessary fuel for the proper heating of the home. These are genuine cases taken from statistics supplied by the Newcastle Corporation as to the lot of so many of their people whom they have been struggling to raise to a better standard of life by various remedial measures within their competence.
We have made further examinations of the position of our poorest people, and have obtained identical results. For the Ministry of Health standard diet of 3,000 calories, which some say would mean an expenditure per head of 7s., we in Newcastle say would mean an expenditure of 5s. l½d. We have made inquiries into the position of a large number of our unemployed families, with similar results. So far as is known to-day, a diet containing the requisite calories should be made up of 100 grammes of protein, 100 grammes of fat and 500 grammes of carbohydrate. Our unemployed on the average were deficient in the first named by 26 per cent., in the second by 9.9 per cent. and in the third by 12.6 per cent., making an average over the whole of the population we examined of 13.7 per cent. Is it remarkable that the hospitals are well filled and that we require expenditure, at the instance of the Ministry of Health, to extend our hospitals both for children and adults? In spite of the new age in which we are living, the age of science which ought to put us on a higher pedestal, it is obvious that the necessity is to raise the purchasing capacity of the workers of the country generally, and particularly of those who are suffering from unemployment. Is there any reason why this Government, with the ability and power which it possesses, should not take into serious consideration the necessity of establishing a national minimum standard of living based upon a certain income below which no person would be permitted to engage himself, and no employer of labour permitted to engage a worker?
§ 9.21 p.m.
§ Mr. MABANE
I think the House will agree that most of the hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on the other side who 1311 have spoken on this subject have, so far as we on this side are concerned, been speaking to the converted. We all recognise that there is a most important problem of nutrition, and of malnutrition, and the only matter at issue is exactly where the standard of malnutrition is to be determined. I followed very closely the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Stirling (Mr. Johnston) and I observed that he did not endeavour to argue that there is at the present time any increased or increasing malnutrition, but merely stated in general terms that there is malnutrition. That is no new problem.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
I think I quoted, for example, Sir Robert McCarrison, who definitely declared that there was a large increase in the expenditure of friendly societies through sickness benefits.
§ Mr. MABANE
I recognise that the right hon. Gentleman quoted many statistics, with which he endeavoured to show that other statistics of progress really did not make a complete picture, but I still recollect that he did not argue that at the present time there is increased or increasing malnutrition, as compared with other times in the past. Indeed, all the vital statistics show a record of considerable progress in this country. The Minister of Health quoted some of those statistics. He quoted the decline in the death date, which over a generation shows a decline from 14.3 to 12 per thousand. He quoted a decline in the infantile mortality rate which, also in the last generation, was from 140 per thousand to 57 per thousand. I think the only problem with which we are concerned to-day is whether the rate of progress we are making in this country in regard to these social problems, and particularly in regard to problems of nutrition, is as quick as it might be, and if it is not, how we can persuade the Government to increase the rate. I think that the best speeches made during the Debate have been those which have not been tinged with party flavour. I would say that I regret equally the speech of the hon. Member for Jarrow (Miss Wilkinson) and the hon. Member for Putney (Mr. M. Samuel), both of whose speeches were tinged with party flavour. In approaching this problem we ought to have in mind 1312 only the welfare of this country. Hon. Members opposite have damned their case a little by trying to insist too much that this is a question of poverty. If we were to examine the speech of the right hon. Gentleman who opened the Debate we should be led to believe that the problem was entirely one of poverty. If hon. Members argue that it is entirely a question of poverty they will prevent certain valuable steps being taken towards the diminution of malnutrition. While poverty is undoubtedly an important factor in this problem, ignorance is equally a contributory factor, and lack of efficiency in distributive organisation is almost equally contributory.
I can speak on the effect of ignorance from practical experience. I spent some years living in the slams of Liverpool studying this and cognate problems as Head of the University Settlement in that city. We observed there a high infantile mortality rate, and that great damage to the health and the physique of children occurred between birth and the age of five. I was responsible for conducting an experimental ante-natal and postnatal clinic. We had in the district in which it was situated an infantile death rate of 108 per 1,000. The hon. Member for the English Universities (Miss Rathbone) assisted me. I was looking back to-day at a report we made, and I found this:The diagnosis of the problem of ignorance has been the mast satisfactory feature of the Clinic's work. The ignorance of the mothers of their own bodies: of the care they should take of themselves during pregnancy: of the effect of such care on their future health and that of their children are startling.… But the experience of the Clinic has shown the mothers, even of the poorest district, to be eager for education. … The remarkable improvement in the physical standard of the children attending the Clinic, and the very marked difference in the death rate among them as compared with that of the district is largely attributable to this education.We succeeded in reducing the infantile mortality rate to 48 per 1,000, as against 104 per 1,000 in the surrounding district, and that depended in no way on increasing purchasing power but solely on the education we were able to give in the care of the child.
§ Mr. MABANE
The hon. Member is, or was, a member of the Liverpool City Council which recognised the value of this work so much that it took it over and ran the clinic itself. I know there are other contributory factors, and that in Liverpool casual labour contributes substantially to malnutrition.
§ Mr. MABANE
The clinic was operating in the 10 years before 1923, when it was taken over by the local authority. All of us must agree that ignorance is to some extent a contributory factor in this problem. No hon. Member of this House would endeavour to sustain a proposal that anyone in this country should lack adequate nourishment if able and willing to work and unable to earn an income. We would all like to see every man, woman and child able to attain that optimum standard referred to by Sir John Orr and quoted by the Minister of Health. We know there are people unable to attain that standard, and surely the purpose of this Debate is to enable us to make suggestions to the Government to enable that standard to be attained in so far as the Government can assist. I want to suggest certain lines of action that it might be valuable to pursue. It is not much use merely stating the case. That is my criticism of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman who opened the Debate. He merely stated the case, and did not examine the causes or suggest a remedy.
The Government should make more determined efforts to overcome the ignorance of people of how to spend money in the best possible way, and of dietetic problems. I hope that in pursuance of this purpose the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labour will concentrate increasing attention on maternity and child welfare, and on nursery schools, so often advocated by the Noble Lady the Member for the Sutton Division of Plymouth (Viscountess Astor).
§ Mr. MABANE
That may be, but it is also true that scarcely a day goes by 1314 on which the Noble Lady does not urge the provision of still more nursery schools. Perhaps too the two Ministries might endeavour to establish in schools and homes means whereby the population might be educated more carefully in dietetic problems. Next, we must make every effort to increase the income of the population so that more food may be bought. Perhaps in that direction this Government can claim a particularly good record compared with the last. In the last 2½ years there have been recorded wage increases representing an increased spending power of about £30,000,000 a year in the hands of the workers of this country. The best way to increase wages and improve income is for the financial and economic condition of the country to be sound, and in that direction the efforts of this Government have met with complete success. In addition, I believe it to be the duty of every industrialist to do his best to raise the wage level of his employés. I say that as one who is, in his own small way, engaged in business. It would be a good thing if we could get a spirit among employers to do their best to raise wages before they are forced to do so by strikes or other means. Perhaps we shall be on the way towards a solution of this problem when those engaged in business recognise that to be in business involves a social duty, first to the customers, second to the wage-earners, and perhaps only third to those who are to take the profits.
I want to refer to a third line of action that the Government should pursue, and which up to the present they have substantially neglected. I have said that we desire that distribution should be more effectively organised. At the outset of my speech I admitted that poverty was a great factor in the problem, and I suggested that ignorance was another contributory factor. But I believe that the inefficiency of the distributive process is perhaps most important of all. What we really want to do is to make available to those who need it, this "plenty" which is referred to in the Motion. I believe that the greatest contribution which could be made to the problem by the Government is a determined effort to improve the efficiency of the distributive system. It is astonishing to contemplate the extent to which 1315 the distributive process has been neglected by Governments. This is a great problem of organisation, demanding investigation, careful study and ultimate action. It is no use bringing to the attention of the House isolated cases of food distribution as examples of the failure of the distributive process. They are only symptoms. We want something more comprehensive than merely dealing with isolated cases of that kind.
The real problem with which we are faced is the cost of bringing foodstuffs from their point of origin to the table of the consumer. What is that cost? The answer is that no one knows. I think it incredible that in this year, faced with this problem, we should have to say in this House that no one in the Government knows officially the cost of bringing foodstuffs from their point of origin to the table of the consumer. It is an enormous problem. Distribution is the largest industry in the country. It employs 2,000,000 people and has a turnover of £2,000,000,000 a year. I say, definitely and deliberately, that there is not a Minister on the Treasury Bench whose Department knows officially any single fact worth knowing about the distributive industry. Statistically speaking, the distributive industry is in the Dark Ages.
I asked the Minister of Agriculture—and perhaps he will deal with this point when he replies—what is the average retail gross profit on the sale of milk and the answer was that the information is not available. I asked what is the average gross profit on the sale of foodstuffs, and the answer was that the information was not available. You may ask any Government Department for important facts about the distributive industry, and the answer, I am afraid, will be that the information is not available. So long as the information is not available, it will be impossible to make any real progress along what I consider to be the important line of approach to the problem. What is the good of Ministers or any others saying that the major economic problem to-day is not production but distribution, when, at the same time, we have to admit that we do not know the facts about distribution. It seems ridiculous. Some retail distributors have tried, on a voluntary basis, to collect information about the distributive process but the area covered by them is 1316 very limited. It is important that we should now make a serious attack on the problem of distribution. If we were to investigate it, I believe it would be found possible to inaugurate a great era of progress and development in the whole distributive process, that would produce economies resulting in a decline of not less than 10 per cent. in the average price of foodstuffs. If we could achieve such an average decline we would have substantially destroyed a large part of the problem of malnutrition.
Therefore, I urge the Government to institute a census of distribution, in order that the facts may be known. In this country we periodically undertake a census of production. but there has never been a census of distribution. Many of us have asked for such a census but, so far, a deaf ear has been turned to our plea. The United States has recently had a census of distribution, and it has also been done in Canada. The value of such a census would be inestimable. It would make possible economies which would result in a reduction in the cost of nearly every one of the important foodstuffs concerned in this problem. Think of the things that we could do if we had the necessary information. We could prevent overlapping, we could arrange the proper distribution of retail outlets, and even more important, we should know what we do not know now—the most efficient method of distribution. Not one of us can tell at present whether it is more efficient to distribute, thinking only of the retail process, by chain stores, departmental stores, the one-man shop or the Co-operative societies. No one knows whether it is better to serve the shop directly from the producer or by means of the wholesaler. I believe that if we knew these facts we should be on the way to that reduction of cost which is so important. Reference has been made to the organisation of production, or as some hon. Members would have it, the restriction of production. But we organise and restrict production today because we have not organised distribution. If we organised distribution, I believe that half the difficulties at present involved in the organisation of production would disappear.
I urge these considerations on the Government in the most friendly spirit. I believe that no previous Government has paid such careful and continuous 1317 attention to the problem of nutrition as the present Government. It is no use for hon. Members opposite to say that Ministers have not paid any attention to this problem merely because it has not been debated in the House before to-day. I ask them to consider the general undertone of many of the Debates which have taken place since 1931. They will find that the undertone in those Debates has been one of concern on the part of the Ministers of the Crown with this great problem of nutrition, and has represented a desire to improve, to the greatest possible extent, the standard of living and nutrition of the people of this country.
§ 9.43 p.m.
§ Mr. CROSSLEY
I have only seven minutes in which to address the House and my task is to compress what I have to say into that space of time. I am particularly pleased that the Minister of Agriculture is to reply to this Debate. I was profoundly impressed by the speech of the right hon. Gentleman who introduced the Motion, and I am glad that the Minister is to reply, because I believe there is a case to be met. There is much that is good and much that is complimentary to the Government in the report of Sir John Orr. There is the fact that there has been a rise in consumption per head of every foodstuff with the exception of wheat and margarine. The consumption of the latter has gone down in favour of butter. There is this tribute to the Minister of Agriculture:The measures adopted in the United Kingdom were mild compared with those adopted in some Continental countries where the price of certain foodstuffs is being maintained at over twice the world price. Further, in this country the measures adopted were not based to any considerable extent on restriction.There is the fact that the Parliamentary Secretary gave the lead at Geneva and filially there is the fact that whatever our position is to-day—and I agree there is a problem to be faced—we are far better off than we were five years ago. Having said that, I want to make two pleas. There are Special Areas in the country, and I suggest that there are two special types of people who need special treatment. The one is the young. We have already gone some way towards giving special treatment to the young by giving milk in the schools, which I hope will be developed. The other is those who have been unemployed for some 1318 considerable time, and their need is much greater than that of those who have been unemployed for only a short time. I do not want to appeal for distribution in kind by the Unemployment Assistance Board or anything like that. The hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan), who is not now in his place, thought I did in a previous Debate, but I think that would be impossible, except conceivably in the case of milk. I do, however, appeal to the Government to face the issue of their surplus products, which are nearly all those products which are most nutritious, according to Sir John Orr, and that the Government should set up, not canteens, but distributing agencies, and should say, if necessary, to the private shopkeepers in certain areas, "For these special people it is the interest and the responsibility of the State that they should be better cared for, and we therefore are going to sell, under your price, at mere cost price, the surplus production of our agriculture to those people who most need it."
I want to say one further thing. There has been much abuse of Hitler and Mussolini and other dictators, and I wholly agree that dictatorships are undesirable, but the dictators in their own countries have done a very great deal towards increasing the standard of physical fitness and physical health. It is partly a matter of food and partly, in some cases, a matter of training, but any really competent dictator would have gone some way towards solving this problem of bringing more food to the people who need it; and there are people who need it to-day. I believe that it is not the fact that we have not got a dictatorship which makes us more sluggish in facing this problem; it is the fact that it is a problem under no fewer than five different Departments. If my right hon. Friend the Member for Hastings (Lord E. Percy) had been given this specific job to tackle when he was given his most unfortunate post, a post that I think was most unfair to him, I believe he would have tackled it and that we should have gone much further towards its solution than we have in fact gone, but when you get the Minister of Health dealing with the maternity services, the President of the Board of Education dealing with milk for schools, the Board of Trade dealing largely with the imports of food, the Unemployment Assistance 1319 Board and the Ministry of Labour dealing with the relief organisations in the country, and, finally, the Minister of Agriculture dealing with supplies, how can this problem ever be sat down to and tackled, as it should be, by one co-ordinate?
It is a composite problem, which cannot be solved other than slowly by continual conferences between different Ministers and different Ministries, themselves often relying on the further decision of a third Minister. I believe there is something to be done along the lines of giving a specific Minister this particular task and letting him prepare a proper scheme. I have always felt that if there is need for a Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence, there is even more need for a Minister for the Co-ordination of Health Services. The Minister of Health at the moment is really the Minister of Housing and all kinds of other things.
I must stop now. I would like to say, in conclusion, that I do not think the Motion that hon. Members opposite have put on the Paper can be proved against this Government. The position now is far better than it was, but I believe there is a case to answer and that there are people in this country who are not getting enough food because they cannot afford to get enough food. I think that that is a problem which the Government would be unwise not to realise is exercising the minds of a great many people on this side of the House as well as on the other side.
§ 9.52 p.m.
§ Mr. ARTHUR GREENWOOD
When we put down this censure Motion to-day, we had thought there would have been a real clash of opinion, because the subject of the Debate to-day really goes down to the root of our political differences. This, with us, is the fundamental social problem, and I am sorry that hon. and right hon. Members opposite have not risen to the height of their opportunity. When my right hon. Friend the Member for West Stirling (Mr. Johnston) spoke, there were not broad beams on the faces of hon. Members opposite. The facts are too hard to be denied, and their contribution to-day, I am bound to say, where it has not been disgraceful has been negligible. The right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Health did not show his 1320 usual lightsome spirit. He obviously felt some difficulty in the task with which he was faced. There has been a strange reluctance in the last few years, and again in the Debate to-day, to admit the existence of something called malnutrition. Malnutrition is an ugly academic word. I propose to use a more provocative term and to call it semi-starvation, and to refer to underfeeding and to this process of social suicide which the State is permitting to continue.
The right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Health, in his speech, asked what malnutrition was, told us a good deal about what other people had said it was or was not, never defined it himself, and then said there was not much of it. That, I believe, was really the burden of his speech. In spite of all that the hon. Member for Stretford (Mr. Crossley) said about the attention which the present Government and their predecessors have given to this problem, the truth is that the National Government have been too much concerned with painting pictures of returning prosperity ever to peer below the surface of our national life. To-day Members on those benches have not been a happy band of brothers. They know that what has been said about the existence of this problem is true. They do their best to close their eyes to all this tragic spectacle of poverty. They would, if they could, and if their consciences allowed them, blind themselves to all the social evils which flow from poverty. I have gathered to-day that poverty is a state of blessedness, is the ideal state of life, that people ought to live on water and raw carrots. If that be so, why do not hon. Members follow that law of life themselves? It is heroic to be poor when you are rich, but the rich very rarely voluntarily follow the path of poverty. Why? Because they know that poverty would kill all that they value in life.
It is all very well for people in fortunate circumstances to speak as some of them have done to-day, but in their hearts they know they would not change the places they now occupy for the position of a person who is on unemployment benefit. [HON. MEMBERS: "Would you?"] Certainly not, but I have never made a virtue of poverty. It is left to Members of the Tory party to make a virtue of poverty, to regard poverty as something which leads to holiness. I am 1321 not pretending that I would be poor if I could avoid it. I am making the complaint that hon. Members opposite, never having lived the lives of the poor, never having known what poverty really means, are prepared to extol the virtues of poverty as a way of saintliness of life.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
The Noble Lady is the arch-apostle of the existing system. As I said at the beginning of my speech, this is the fundamental issue between Members on these benches and Members on those benches, and it is sheer hypocrisy on the part of hon. Members opposite to pretend that semi-starvation, privation and under-feeding have no evil results on the person who suffers from them.
The Minister to-day was more than usually vague. This Government prefers to hide ugly facts under averages; semi-starvation does not exist if there is a good average. The average person does not exist in this country. To tell a miner who is earning 30s. a week that the average wage in this country is 50s. is little comfort to him. It is little comfort to his wife, because it does not give her the additional 20s. with which to buy food. Averages hide a multitude of social sins, and this use of averages does not help us very much. What are the broad facts of this situation I want to put one or two perfectly straightforward questions to the Minister of Agriculture to which I hope we shall get an answer. There have been inquiries into this problem of nutrition and certain conclusions have been reached. They may be provisional conclusions if you like, and it may be said that we must have more research. Research never fills empty stomachs. But certain provisional conclusions have been reached by independent authorities and by Government committees with regard to what is necessary for the maintenance of an ordinary physical standard—a minimum standard and an optimum standard. The Minister of Health complained this afternoon that Sir John Orr talked about an optimum standard. Why should he not? Why should the people whom we on these benches represent have to put up with the minimum? I do not want to quote a lot of figures, but let me quote the Ministry of Health Advisory Committee on Nutrition, the members of which were 1322 all experts. one or two were referred to by the Minister, and he ought to accept their words because he quoted some things they said. The committee was dealing with diets in Poor Law children's homes, and they said:The weekly cost per head of the meals specified in the appendix"—I will not go through them, because there are recipes which I do not understand, but it is a very varied diet which, according to this committee, is really necessary for children in Poor Law institutions:The weekly cost per head of the meals specified in the appendix would vary according to the locality of the home, the number of children in the home, and the conditions under which the foodstuffs are purchased. In a home containing about 200 children we assume the weekly cost, allowing one pint of milk per child per day, would be about 4s. 6½d. per head if all provisions were bought at contract prices.Some of the names which were signed to that statement were quoted by the right hon. Gentleman this afternoon. Does he believe that or does he not? Since this report was issued that food could not be bought for 4s. 6½d. Sir John Orr was quoted to-day, and the right hon. Gentleman had got somebody to go with a small tooth-comb through his writings and speeches to find some little grain of comfort that he could quote against us. What has the right hon. Gentleman to say against this? I quote from page 49 of Sir John Orr's book. The right hon. Gentleman's acquaintance with this volume is not very great, and I advise him to use it as his bed-book to-night.The state of health of the people of the different groups suggests that as income increases disease and death-rate decrease, children grow more rapidly, adult stature is greater, and general health and physique improve.What is the right hon. Gentleman's answer to that? Are these facts about what is necessary to keep people, even at the minimum—not the optimum—denied? They are not denied. The right hon. Gentleman dare not deny them. Does he deny that there are a very large number of people in this country whose means do not permit them to buy the food necessary to live up to the minimum standard Let us take a low estimate. Let us assume that the cost of food for a man, wife and three children is 25s. per week, which is not extravagant. Add to that those overhead charges which have 1323 to be met even before food is bought—rent, clothing, insurances, household renewals, coal and light. There are hundreds of thousands of workers in this country who are not receiving, whether as wages or unemployment benefit or Poor Law relief sufficient to buy the food to maintain bare physical subsistence. Is that or is that not a fact? Will the Minister of Agriculture deny that?
It may be that wisacres on the other side of the House know how to spend money better than the working-class housewife. It is idle to say, as some hon. Members have said, that working-class housewives do not buy the right food, do not buy it in the best market, do not cook it properly. If I were a betting man, I would back the working-class housewife against the ladies who rule in the houses of Mayfair. I object to Tories on those benches trying to explain away the poverty of the people by talking of the ignorance of the working classes. Let us admit—because we must be kind to our opponents—that people do not spend to the best advantage.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
Even if the working-class housewife could buy her foodstuffs on the scale that the Noble Lady does, and not have to go to the small shops round the corner; even if she had the most modern kitchens, with all the necessary appliances for cooking, instead of the old pots and pans that so many of them have; even if every working-class housewife had a diploma in cookery, could she then make ends meet on the wages that come into hundreds of thousands of working-class homes? The money that comes home on Fridays or Saturdays is not sufficient. Is that or is that not a fact? I have asked the Minister of Agriculture whether the Government deny the money expenditure required to maintain a bare physical standard of life. I have asked him whether every family in this country enjoys an income which would enable them to live up to that standard. Is the answer "Yes" or "No"? If the answer is "No," then malnutrition, semi-starvation, under-feeding exist.
The right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Health made play with the word "widespread." I say under-feeding is 1324 widespread. I say there is not a working-class district where you will not find people living below the poverty line. I returned early this morning from Derby, a prosperous town. The Prime Minister wrote a letter to them to tell the people there how prosperous they are. I saw people there who were on poor relief who were not receiving sufficient, on the Minister of Health's own showing, to keep body and soul together, and that in a relatively prosperous town. Of course malnutrition is widespread. I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he denies that? If the scientific investigations, which have not gone far enough for hon. Members opposite, represent anything near the truth, unless working-class families have hidden resources unknown to public assistance committees and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, or unless they have a secret hump on which they live, there must be malnutrition in hundreds of thousands of homes. I should like the right hon. Gentleman to say whether that is so or not.
§ Sir F. FREMANTLE
Does the right hon. Gentleman deny this statement from the Committee on Scottish Health Services?although there is no evidence of widespread and gross malnutrition.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
I am coming to that in a moment. I have adduced a general argument that there are large numbers of people in this country who, as investigation has shown, have not an income sufficient to maintain a decent physical standard of life. If that is denied, well and good. But we have now proof that malnutrition exists. I know that the Government are very reluctant to admit it. Let us admit that the statement just quoted to us is the statement of an honest man. I could produce some Scottish medical authorities who would say that there is malnutrition. I am not going into the cases, because I have not got them here, but medical officer after medical officer has stated that malnutrition exists in the area for which he is responsible. Malnutrition is not something which comes to light like measles or diphtheria. It is a creeping paralysis among the people. It takes time to come to light. Are all the statements of medical officers, who have said for two, three or four years now, that malnutrition exists and is extending, to be 1325 repudiated from that bench? That is my second question to the Minister of Agriculture. It is a very important question. He happens to have against him some of the greatest authorities upon nutrition in this country, authorities who have given the Minister of Health a standard for the Poor Law child.
Will the Government repudiate as unsatisfactory and untrue the statements which have been made by committees of independent people and by responsible medical officers, as to the existence of malnutrition? I say that there is sufficient evidence now to prove that malnutrition has become a grave and increasingly important national problem. There is a certain amount of converse evidence. I do not propose to quote it in detail, but there is ample evidence to show that where children, who are not enjoying the optimum diet, are enabled to receive the kind of foodstuffs necessary, their physique, their health, their general tone and their whole being are improved. Is that denied? Can it be denied, in face of the experiments in Lanarkshire, to which my right hon. Friend referred, and of other experiments, which have proved the phenomonal improvement in the physique of boys and girls when they get the right kind of food? Nobody can deny that? Good. We have got one admission, anyhow. Is it not fair to assume—and this is my third question to the right hon. Gentleman—that the absence from the diet of things which improve physique will result in a deterioration of health? I hope that the Minister of Agriculture will answer that question. What further proof is needed that, among large num hers of our people, there is a physical condition which is highly unsatisfactory and is no credit to us as a nation?
What have this Government done in the past five years to deal with the situation? We have been told that they have done something. They began their very awkward and storm-tossed passage by reducing the rates of benefit of the unemployed and by forcing reductions of wages, when the people who were controlling the Government were not likely to suffer from malnutrition. There was a deliberate act of policy which pushed down to the poverty line large numbers of our people. The Government slowed down deliberately the social services. They said that the financial condition of 1326 the country would not permit of expenditure on what are life-saving services for the mass of the people of the country. Side by side with that standstill policy, there was a spate of tariffs, levies, restrictions, and schemes of one kind and another, for which the mass of the consumers in this country have to pay, either by doing without things or by paying more for them. The policy of the Minister of Agriculture has been one of prosperity for the farmer and paucity of supplies for the consumer. [HON. MEMBERS: "Nonsense."] It has been admitted on those benches to-night. When, two days ago, the right hon. Gentleman made his announcement about his beef scheme, was he thinking about malnutrition? He was thinking about his friends the farmers. Is it going to mean more beef in the homes of the people? [An HON. MEMBER: "Yes."] We are glad to think that there is at least one optimist left on the Government benches.
The whole trade policy of this Government, and of the one that preceded it, was to put money into some people's pockets in order to take food away from a large number of people. And now there are some new contributions to be made. What has been suggested to-day? More inquiry. Does it help a hungry child to be told that the Prime Minister, in whom everybody trusts, is having another inquiry? We are faced with stark realities. The problem is there. The answer to poverty is more money in the pockets of the people. I am not denying the necessity for further inquiries. Let us inquire. But we have inquired sufficiently to know that there is in this land to-day a volume of poverty which means that numbers of people are going without the necessities of life. Then the next great constructive proposal, and I hope this will ever be remembered, is that of raw carrots and cold water. I commend it as a diet to hon. Members opposite.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
I do not think it will in any way forward the Minister of Agriculture's policy. He cannot build up British agriculture on carrots and cold water; it is better that people should have more milk and more beef, and other vegetables besides carrots. To what a pretty pass we are reduced when hon. Members opposite, who would themselves 1327 never dream of living on carrots and cold water, suggest it as a diet for the poor. Mr. Speaker, I think that that is offensive. There is only one way to deal with poverty, and that is to give people more spending power. The Minister of Health admitted that himself this afternoon. The way out of this problem is not to teach people how to cook, but to give them utensils and the food to cook—
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
I suppose the bon. Gentleman is a good cook himself. I am not, and do not pretend to be. There is a quotation which I should like to give, because it has a bearing on this question. It is from a speech made by Mr. Colin Campbell, when presiding at the annual meeting of the National Provincial Bank at the end of January this year, in which he was arguing for increased purchasing power among the masses of the people. He said:It had been estimated that, if the undernourished classes in this country were able to enjoy a full diet, there would be an increased trade in foodstuffs amounting to about £200,000,000 a year, giving revived activity to British farming without harming overseas trade or shipping.I ask the House, is it not sensible, in a democratic nation facing the trials which we are facing now, to see that the people who are the backbone of the nation have at least the necessaries of life? Are we asking too much? All hon. Members on the opposite side of the House who understand the beginning of politics—many of them do not—know this to be true. If the drums of war began to beat, hon. Members opposite would be on the recruiting platforms asking the miners and the workers to go to war again. They would be heroes again then. When it comes to a national crisis it is not people who sit on that bench who matter. It is the common people. I have said before at this Box, that the one thing that matters more than anything else to our people now is the quality of the race.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
There are people in this House and outside who regard this Debate a great deal more seriously than hon. Members opposite. They try 1328 to ride off on a serious issue on a wave of frivolity. They have done it before. They will pay the penalty for it. I shall stand at this Box when many Members here are outside. [Interruption.] I am in the hands of the House. The right hon. Gentleman has to reply, and this kind of interruption does not make his reply any easier. I come back to where I started. It is as well that hon. Members should be reminded of the essential truths of the problem. The problem is one that divides us from hon. Members opposite. They have to-day treated the poor of our land as an inferior race. They have said things in the House which they dare not say in any working-class district. They treat a problem like this with levity. We have said that the curse of the poor is their poverty. That is true. We have said that hon. and right hon. Members opposite will do anything for the poor except get off their backs. We have said, and we shall reaffirm it to-night in the Division Lobby, defeated though we may be on this occasion, that there is no cure for poverty except a classless society and social justice for everybody. There can be no abolition of this canker which is eating at the very vitals of our national life except equality of opportunity for all people, based on common citizenship, and calling for common sacrifices. Until we get that, this disease will remain, and will rot the very fibre of the British Constitution.
I believe in the British Constitution. I have been longer in this House than some of the people jeering. I have tried to be a good parliamentarian. I believe in Parliament, and I believe in a Parliament representing people who are equipped to exercise the responsibilities of citizenship. But if you deny them those elementary rights without which they cannot exercise these responsibilities, you are heading for ruin. I believe that there is enough common sense, even in this House of Commons, to realise that you cannot play for ever with the lives of our people. The more intelligent they become, the more they understand the possibilities of life, the more they realise the opportunities which are denied them, the more dangerous that poverty will become. The way to real democracy in this country is through prosperity for the common people. There is no other way. It will 1329 not come as long as we have yelping dogs on the other side of the House. [Interruption.] The House to-night on that side side has shown itself in a way which is a disgrace to the State. Those who are responsible for it will not reap the fruits of their action to-night, but sooner or later, and sooner rather than later, the shackles of poverty will be taken from the arms and the necks of the poor.
§ 10.33 p.m.
§ Mr. ELLIOT
The right hon. Member opposite, I am glad to notice, has found in the concluding phrases of his remarks a sentiment with which we can all agree. He is a defender of the British Constitution and he believes in Parliament. We are willing to go so far with him the more readily, since we disagree fundamentally with him in everything else he said to-night, and not the least, that this was a dividing line between our party and the party opposite. What a piece of effrontery for the right hon. Member to try and score a point that way, and still more so after the statesmanlike speech with which the subject was opened by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Stirling (Mr. Johnston).
§ Mr. ELLIOT
Are we on this side to remain in silence when called yelping dogs? Effrontery is a small word to use in regard to language such as that. The right hon. Gentleman used strong, if irrelevant language, and he cannot complain, and to do him justice he will not complain, of a little hard hitting back.
§ Mr. SHINWELL
With great respect to you, Mr. Speaker, I venture to point out that the right hon. Gentleman opposite began his speech in a definitely provocative fashion, and, what is more, with the highest respect to yourself, I say that he will get all that he asks for.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
One speech in this House must be answered by another. That is indeed the essence of debate. 1330 But it cannot be answered if hon. Members are not allowed to make their speeches.
§ Mr. ELLIOT
I say that the allegation that the subject of the Debate to-night represents the dividing line between this side of the House and the opposite side is an allegation which was not borne out by the language of the right hon. Gentleman who introduced the Motion, not borne out by many speeches from that side of the House, not borne out by the speeches on this side, and it will certainly not be borne out by me, and least of all will it be borne out by the very bible of this Debate, the book entitled "Food, Health and Income," a book which was written by a scientist who is himself in the employment of the agricultural Departments of this country, and most of whose data were gained in conjunction with the Market Supply Committee set up under the Agricultural Marketing Act, 1933, presided over by Lord Linlithgow, now Viceroy of India, whom nobody will describe as a strong supporter of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite.
It has never been outside the tradition of our party to take an interest in the social condition of the people. It is a tradition of ours older than the Labour party itself, and it will be a tradition of ours long after that party has ceased to exist. The difficulty in which the House is placed to-night is the difficulty of hon. and right hon. Members opposite in having put down a Vote of Censure and having brought no evidence to support the main conditions which they said they would adduce. They bring forward these accusations of widespread malnutrition. The right hon. Gentleman opposite said that it was a growing malnutrition. Does he still stick to that?
§ Mr. ELLIOT
There is no evidence whatever to prove it, nor did the right hon. Gentleman try to prove it. He paid no attention to the evidence given by the Minister of Health, and numerous speakers who followed, of the improved state of health in this country, the fall in infantile mortality, the fall in, the tuberculosis rate, the fall in all the vital statistics of the country. The right hon. Gentleman does not deny that, and he cannot deny it. The Motion makes 1331 reference to the destruction of essential foodstuffs. I was waiting with interest for any cases of that sort to be brought forward from the opposite side of the House. I waited in vain. It is true that references were made to the destruction of herrings during the course of the year. Is it the first time that herrings have been destroyed in Scotland or off the Scottish coasts? Were there no examples of it during the tenure of office of the right hon. Gentleman opposite? Were there no evidences of it when he was responsible for the poor of this country as Minister of Health? Did he take any steps whatever to deal with it then? Did he introduce any organisation to deal with it? By what right does the right hon. Gentleman hurl it at us as the dividing line between hon. Members opposite and us, that we have taken no steps to deal with this matter?
I have looked up the figures and I find that there was not a single year during which the right hon. Member for West Stirling was Under-Secretary of State for Scotland and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood) was Minister of Health and responsible for the conditions of the poorer people of this country, in which food was not destroyed. In 1929, on 13th June, 518 trans were destroyed at Lerwick. On 18th June further large quantities were destroyed at Lerwick. In 1930, on 11th June, 280 crans were destroyed at Stronsay and on 27th May, 1,300 crans were destroyed at Lerwick. Again on 26th June, 8,000 crans were destroyed at Lerwick, more in one single day than were destroyed during the whole of the past 12 months. The right hon. Gentleman said that there was a vital difference between his party and ours in this matter. There is. The vital difference between them and us is that they stood still and looked at it, while we have instituted inquiries and organisations to deal with it.
The right hon. Member for Wakefield talked about hypocrisy. It is a word which can be used on both sides of the House in this connection. He talked about other things. He talked about the condition of the poor. Has he no recollection of the inquiries into the condition of the people, inquiries as to how their conditions could be improved, which took place when he was in office, joint discus- 1332 sions with hon. Members on this side, to which the Minister of Labour was a party? Does he wish the books of that committee to be opened? Does he wish the minutes of that committee to be published? He knows better than anyone else what he was discussing with us in 1931. Since that time the condition of the Unemployment Insurance Fund has been improved and the allowance for children has been raised by 50 per cent. Does he deny that? Does he deny that steps have been taken to improve the condition of the people? Does he deny that the cost of living is 10 per cent. below what it was when the Labour Government was in office? He said that the poor have to pay more. How is it then that the figures of consumption have risen? How is it that the amount consumed has gone up, and that the cost of living has gone down? How does that square with his accusation? He recklessly hurls about these accusations without a jot or a tittle of evidence in support of them. He does not advance the great cause which we all have at. heart by such methods. An improvement in the condition of the people, the abolition of slums, are our objects as they are theirs. The right hon. Gentleman put some questions which he thought would be puzzling and teasing for me to answer. He said: "Do you deny that there are people who are not in receipt of sufficient, sums of money to get an optimum diet in this country?"
§ Mr. ELLIOT
Does the right hon. Gentleman suggest that people are not getting the minimum diet? That is something which can easily be seen. If people are below the minimum, it is the duty of the local authorities in this country to see that they are brought up to it. That is a statutory duty which they have. The relieving officer can be charged before the law courts of this country if he is not giving benefits where they are needed. Nobody suggests that there are not diets of the people of this country which are deficient. Deficiencies exist, but they are being reduced. There are 22,500,000 people in this country in receipt of the optimum diet, a figure never reached before in any period of any society. [An HON. MEMBER: "That is only half the people!"] That is true, but to have raised half the people to such a point that no further 1333 improvement of any kind or description can be made in their diet is a claim which is, at any rate, worth regard.
Furthermore, an improvement is taking place in the condition of the others. No one would deny that the consumption figures, which I have here, for home foodstuffs and protective foodstuffs have risen steadily, more particularly during the terms of office of the Government. Nobody denies that. The right hon. Gentleman accused us a little while ago of frivolity; does he deny the evidence of statistics in this matter? He cannot deny it. His attitude does neither himself nor his hon. Friends any good. He asked what we are doing to improve the position of the people of this country. Let me take my own city, the city of Glasgow, which is well known to the right hon. Gentleman and to many hon. Members here, some of whom share his political convictions and some of whom do not. I hope the right hon. Gentleman has seen the figures for milk in schools in March, 1936. There were in March 53,000 children on a paying basis for milk and 54,877 getting daily milk without making a penny of contribution towards it. How many received it either one way or the other when he and his right hon. Friends were in office? What did he and his right hon. Friends do for the health of Glasgow? We have made positive advances towards improving the health of Glasgow which at any rate deserve something more than some of the adjectives which the right hon. Gentleman used and the attitude which he displayed in the remarks with which he wound up this great and important Debate.
§ Mr. ELLIOT
There is room for a great improvement. Even with 54,000 children receiving milk free there is room for a great improvement, and that improvement is continuing. Only this week we have started a new scheme for Glasgow whereby not only schoolchildren, but the toddlers from two years onwards get milk at the stations which have been opened. That scheme is being tried in four constituencies in Glasgow—in the Gorbals Division, the Bridgeton Division, the Govan Division and in Anderston, one of the Wards of my own Division of Kelvin-grove, which is one of the poorest in 1334 Glasgow. These stations have been opened and 5,000, 10,000 and 15,000 children are attending at them and getting supplies of milk. Naturally more remains to be done in Glasgow, but more is being done and more will be done. The differences between us are not differences of ideal. The ideal of a fit nation, thank God, is the ideal of the whole of this House. It is on the advance towards that ideal that we have a reasonable and legitimate difference of opinion.
The hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) delivered a speech whose tone all on this side welcomed—a tone of an advance towards a goal which we all desire and a desire to move still faster to that goal. But with all that we have to combine what we have said in our Amendment, "a reasonable remuneration to our Home producers." That is the real crux of this whole great problem. We know it more particularly from the side of agriculture, but the question of the primary producers is a question which is not confined to one side of the House. Right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite have it in the case of the miners. I agree that they themselves have more mining seats than we have, just as we have more agricultural seats than they have, and the problem of the miners bears more immediately on them than on us.
§ Mr. ELLIOT
It is true that over the country as a whole the price of coal is relatively much above the price of foodstuffs.
§ Mr. ELLIOT
The wholesale prices of coal as compared with pre-war are above the wholesale prices of food as compared with pre-war. In spite of that, the House and the country welcome an advance in the price of coal which would bring a better remuneration to the primary producers of fuel, and it does not lie in the mouths of those who desire and welcome that advance to complain of a reasonable remuneration for the primary producers of agricultural produce.
§ Mr. ELLIOT
The miner's wage has gone up and is still above the wage of the agricultural worker. The wage of the 1335 agricultural worker has been held in the grips of a depression which has lowered the wages of agricultural workers all over the world. There is no other country in the world where the wages of agricultural workers have been held. In America, on the Continent and in the Dominions, in all the great progressive countries, the remuneration of the agricultural worker has gone down 10, 20, 40 and 50 per cent. In this country it has not only been maintained but increased. How has it been increased?
§ Mr. ELLIOT
It has been increased by the Measures which have been submitted to this House by this Government, and if it had not been for those Measures it would not have been increased, and if those Measures were taken away it would fall to what it was in pre-war days. Nobody in this House would contemplate that for a moment. I was accused by the right hon. Member for Wakefield of being the farmers' friend. I glory in that. I was accused of having put on tariffs, subsidies and quotas. These were necessary to maintain the supply of home-produced foodstuffs in this country and to maintain an adequate remuneration for the agricultural labourer. I look at the record of agriculture through the tenure of office of right hon. and hon. Members opposite, and I see that during their tenure of office home production of foodstuffs was not increasing but diminishing. There was a fall of 10 per cent. in wheat acreage and a rise of 50 per cent. when we come into power and passed those Measures to which reference has been made. There was a fall in the production of pig meat of some 20 per cent. during their tenure of office and a rise of about 35 per cent, when we came into power.
I am not suggesting that it was due only to the advent to power of this Government, that agricultural production increased, although I say that had it not been for those Measures, the decline which manifested itself during the tenure of office of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite would have continued and extended, and widespread bankruptcy would have come upon the countryside. What is more, there would have been a subsequent rise in food prices which 1336 would have more than wiped out all the temporary advantages gained by the consumers in this country. Surely, the remuneration of the primary producers, one of the main objects of any Government, will not be denied by the party opposite to the agricultural producers. That reasonable remuneration demands the special Measures which we have taken. That being so, it does not lie in the mouths of hon. Members opposite to complain of those Measures which still mean a cost of living 10 per cent. below what it was when they were in power and an annual saving of £150,000,000 and more, compared with the cost of foodstuffs in the year 1929.
The House is now being asked to pass a Resolution which would be a Vote of Censure on the Government. We have put down an Amendment which we believe more accurately represents the facts of the case. I do not ask the House to take that Amendment as a Vote of Censure on the Opposition, though I might have done so, if all the speeches from the benches opposite had been in the same tone and temper as that of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wakefield. I ask the House to pass the Amendment because it is, as I say, an accurate representation of the facts of the case. I ask the House to pass it in order to enable a continuance of the advance towards better nutrition for all, and the sweeping away of the reproach that many thousands, indeed millions of our people do not get the full advantage of modern powers of production and are not able to consume those foodstuffs which science is ready and waiting to offer them.
It is true that great advances have yet to be made, but those will be made by co-operation and not by fighting each other across the Floor of the House. We have managed to keep agriculture largely out of the immediate clash of party politics. [Laughter.] The right hon. Gentleman opposite takes so little part in agricultural debates that he does not know the temper of the House on that subject. We hope to be able to continue the progress which has been made, nutrition and to maintain that co-operation which, as the right hon. Gentleman who opened the Debate said, has already been evinced in the experimental work initiated by him and carried on by us 1337 when we came into office. He did not treat his subject in the spirit of bitter gibing, which the right hon. Gentlemen who closed the Debate tried to introduce, and much greater progress will be made if we can keep that spirit out of our discussions. It is certain that, while great things have been done, great things remain to be done; and it is that and
§ no other spirit that I ask the House to defeat the Motion and accept the Amendment.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 139; Noes, 359.1341
|Division No. 277.]||AYES.||[11.1 p.m.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir F. Dyke||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||Owen, Major G.|
|Acland, R. T. D. (Barnstaple)||Grenfell, D. R.||Paling, W.|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)||Parker, J.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)||Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Parkinson, J A.|
|Adamson, W. M.||Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'Isbr.)||Groves, T. E.||Potts, J.|
|Ammon, C. G.||Hall, G. H. (Aberdare)||Price, M. P.|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Pritt, D. N.|
|Banfield, J. W.||Hardle, G. D.||Quibell, D. J. K.|
|Barnes, A. J.||Harris, Sir P. A.||Rathbone, Eleanor (English Univ's.)|
|Barr, J.||Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)||Richards, R. (Wrexham)|
|Batey, J.||Henderson, T. (Tradeston)||Riley, B.|
|Bellenger, F.||Hicks, E. G.||Ritson, J.|
|Benson, G.||Hills, A. (Pontefract)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Brom.)|
|Bevan, A.||Holland, A.||Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)|
|Broad, F. A.||Hopkin, D.||Rowson, G.|
|Bromfield, W.||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Salter, Dr. A.|
|Brooke, W.||Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath)||Seely, Sir H. M.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (S. Ayrshire)||John, W.||Sexton, T. M.|
|Buchanan, G.||Johnston, Rt. Hon. T.||Shinwell, E.|
|Burke, W. A.||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Silkin, L.|
|Cape, T.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Silverman, S. S.|
|Cassells, T.||Kelly, W. T.||Simpson, F. B.|
|Chater, D.||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Kirby, B. V.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. J. R.||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. G.||Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B Lees- (K'ly)|
|Compton, J.||Lathan, G.||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Cove. W. G.||Lawson, J. J.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Daggar, G.||Leach, W.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Dalton, H.||Lee, F.||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)|
|Davies, D. L. (Pontypridd)||Leslie, J. R.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||Logan, D. G.||Thurtle, E.|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Macdonald, G. (Ince)||Tinker, J. J.|
|Day, H.||McGhee, H. G.||Viant, S. P.|
|Debbie, W.||MacLaren, A.||Walker, J.|
|Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)||MacNeill, Weir, L.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Ede, J. C.||Mainwaring, W. H.||Watson, W. McL.|
|Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough E.)||Mander, G. [...]e M.||Westwood, J.|
|Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Marklew, E.||Wilkinson, Ellen|
|Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||Marshall, F.||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.||Mathers, G.||Williams, T. (Don Valley)|
|Gallacher, W.||Messer, F.||Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)|
|Gardner, B. W.||Milner, Major J.||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Garro Jones, G. M.||Montague, F.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Ha'kn'y, S.)||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Gibbins, J.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)|
|Green, W. H. (Deptford)||Muff, G.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Mr. Whiteley and Mr. Charleton.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Barclay-Harvey, Sir C. M.||Bowyer, Capt. Sir G. E. W.|
|Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.)||Baxter, A. Beverley||Boyce, H. Leslie|
|Albery, Sir I. J.||Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Bracken, B.|
|Alexander, Brig.-Gen. Sir W.||Beauchamp, Sir B. C.||Braithwaite, Major A. N.|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'kn'hd)||Beaumont, M. W. (Aylesbury)||Brass, Sir W.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. L. C. M. S.||Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)||Briscoe, Capt. R. G.|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Beit, Sir A. L.||Brocklebank, C. E. R.|
|Apsley, Lord||Bennett, Capt. Sir E. N.||Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham)|
|Assheton, R.||Bernays, R. H.||Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith)|
|Astor, Major Hon. J. J. (Dover)||Birchall, Sir J. D.||Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)|
|Astor, Visc'tess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Bird, Sir R. B.||Browne, A. C. (Belfast, W.)|
|Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.)||Blair, Sir R.||Bull, B. B.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Blaker, Sir R.||Bullock, Capt. M.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Boothby, R. J. G.||Burghley, Lord|
|Baldwin-Webb, Col. J.||Bossom, A. C.||Burton, Col. H. W.|
|Balfour, G. (Hampstead)||Boulton, W. W.||Butler, R. A.|
|Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)||Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Caine, G. R. Hall.|
|Balniel, Lord||Bower, Comdr. R. T.||Campbell, Sir E. T.|
|Cartland, J. R. H.||Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral)||Magnay, T.|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Maitland, A.|
|Cary, R. A.||Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)||Makins, Brig.-Gen. E.|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon. J.||Manningham-Buller, Sir M.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. W. (City of Chester)||Gridley, Sir A. B.||Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M.|
|Cayzer, Sir H. R. (Portsmouth, S.)||Grigg, Sir E. W. M.||Maxwell, S. A.|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Grimston, R. V.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.|
|Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord Hugh||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. (Drake)||Mills, Sir F. (Leyton, E.)|
|Channon, H.||Guest, Hon. I. (Brecon and Radnor)||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)|
|Chorlton, A. E. L.||Guest,Maj. Hon. O.(C'mb'rw'll,N.W.)||Mitchell, H. (Brentford and Chiswick)|
|Christie, J. A.||Guinness, T. L. E. B.||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Clarry, Sir Reginald||Gunston, Capt. D. W.||Mitcheson, Sir G. G.|
|Clydesdale, Marquess of||Hacking, Rt. Hon. D. H.||Moore, Lieut.-Col. T. C. R.|
|Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir G. P.||Hamilton, Sir G. C.||Moore-Brabazon, Lt.-Col. J. T. C.|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Hanbury, Sir C.||Morgan, R. H.|
|Colville, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. D. J.||Hannah, I. C.||Morrison, W. S. (Cirencester)|
|Cook, T. R. A. M. (Norfolk, N.)||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.||Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J.|
|Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Harbord, A.||Munro, P.|
|Cooper, Rt.Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh,W.)||Hartington, Marquess of||Nall, Sir J.|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Haslam, H. C. (Horncastle)||Neven-Spence, Maj. B. H. H.|
|Courthope, Col. Sir G. L.||Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton)||Nicolson, Hon. H. G.|
|Craddock, Sir R. H.||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||O'Connor, Sir Terence J.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh|
|Craven-Ellis, W.||Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan-||Orr-Ewing, I. L.|
|Critchley, A.||Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.)||Palmer, G. E. H.|
|Croft, Brig.-Gen. Sir H. Page||Herbert, Capt. Sir S. (Abbey)||Patrick, C. M.|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C.||Hoare, Rt. Hon. Sir S.||Peake, O.|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Holmes, J. S.||Peat, C. U.|
|Cross, R. H.||Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.||Penny. Sir G.|
|Crossley, A. C.||Hopkinson, A.||Percy, Rt. Hon. Lord E.|
|Crowder, J. F. E.||Hore-Belisha, Rt. Hon. L.||Perkins, W. R. D.|
|Cruddas, Col. B.||Horsbrugh, Florence||Peters. Dr. S. J.|
|Culverwell, C. T.||Howitt, Dr. A. B.||Petherick, M.|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. Sir J. C. C.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil)||Hudson, R. S. (Southport)||Pilkington, R.|
|Davison, Sir W. H.||Hulbert, N. J.||Plugge, L. F.|
|Dawson, Sir P.||Hume, Sir G. H.||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.|
|De Chair, S. S.||Hunter, T.||Porritt, R. W.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir T. W. H.||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Denville, Alfred||Jackson, Sir H.||Radford, E. A.|
|Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||James, Wing-Commander A. W.||Raikes, H. V. A. M.|
|Dodd, J. S.||Jarvis, Sir J. J.||Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.|
|Donner, P. W.||Joel, D. J. B.||Ramsbotham, H.|
|Dorman-Smith, Major R. H.||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (S'k N'w'gt'n)||Ramsden, Sir E.|
|Dower, Capt. A. V. G.||Jones, L. (Swansea, W.)||Rankin, R.|
|Drewe, C.||Keeling, E. H.||Rathbone, J. R. Bodmin)|
|Duckworth, G. A. V. (Salop)||Kerr, Colonel C. I. (Montrose)||Rawson, Sir Cooper|
|Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side)||Kerr, H. W. (Oldham)||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)|
|Dugdale, Major T. L.||Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.)||Reid, Captain A. Cunningham|
|Duggan, H. J.||Keyes, Admiral of the Fleet Sir R.||Remer, J. R.|
|Duncan, J. A. L.||Kimball, L.||Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)|
|Dunglass, Lord||Kirkpatrick, W. M.||Robinson, J. R. (Blackpool)|
|Dunne, P. R. R.||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Eales, J. F.||Latham, Sir P.||Ross, Major Sir R. D. (L'nderry)|
|Eastwood, J. F.||Law, R. K. (Hull, S. W.)||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)|
|Eckersley, P. T.||Leckie, J. A.||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.|
|Edmondson, Major Sir J.||Leech, Dr. J. W.||Russell, A. West (Tynemouth)|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Lees-Jones, J.||Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)|
|Ellis, Sir G.||Leigh, Sir J.||Salmon, Sir I.|
|Emery. J. F.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Salt, E. W.|
|Emmott, C. E. G. C.||Levy, T.||Samuel, Sir A. M. (Farnham)|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Lewis, O.||Samuel, M. R. A. (Putney)|
|Entwistle, C. F.||Liddall, W. S.||Sandeman, Sir N. S.|
|Errington, E.||Lindsay, K. M.||Sanderson, Sir F. B.|
|Erskine Hill, A. G.||Little, S[...] E. Graham-||Sandys, E. D.|
|Evans, Capt. A. (Cardiff, S.)||Llewellin, Lieut.-Col. J. J.||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir P.|
|Everard, W. L.||Lloyd, G. W.||Scott, Lord William|
|Fildes, Sir H.||Locker-Lampson, Comdr. O. S.||Selley, H. R.|
|Findlay, Sir E.||Loftus, P. C.||Shakespeare G. H.|
|Fleming, E. L.||Lovat-Fraser, J. A.||Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)|
|Fox, Sir G. W. G.||Lumley, Capt. L. R.||Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)|
|Fraser, Capt. Sir I.||Lyons, A. M.||Shepperson, Sir E. W.|
|Fremantle, Sir F. E.||Mabane, W. (Huddersfield)||Simmonds, O. E.|
|Furness, S. N.||MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.|
|Fyfe, D. P. M.||M'Connell, Sir J.||Smiles, Lieut.-Colonel Sir W. D.|
|Ganzonl, Sir J.||McCorquodale, M. S.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Gibson, C. G.||MacDonald Rt. Hn. J. R. (Scot. U.)||Smith, L. W. (Hallam)|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. M. (Ross)||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)|
|Gledhill, G.||Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight)||Smithers, Sir W.|
|Gluckstein, L. H.||McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.||Somerset, T.|
|Glyn, Major Sir R. G. C.||McKie, J. H.||Somervell, Sir D. B. (Crewe)|
|Goldie, N. B.||Macmillan, H. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Goodman, Col. A. W.||Macnamara, Capt. J. R. J.||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, E.)|
|Gower, Sir R. V.||Macquisten, F. A.||Southby, Comdr. A. R. J.|
|Spears, Brig.-Gen. E. L.||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)||Wedderburn, H. J. S.|
|Spender-Clay, Lt.-CI. Rt. Hn. H. H||Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)||Wells, S. R.|
|Spens, W. P.||Thomson, Sir J. D. W.||Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.|
|Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'l'd)||Titchfield, Marquess of||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Stewart, J.||Henderson (Fife, E.) Touche, G. C.||Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Stewart, William J. (Belfast, S.)||Train, Sir J.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Storey, S.||Tree, A. R. L. F.||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir A. T. (Hitchin)|
|Stourton, Major Hon. J. J.||Tryon, Major Rt. Hon. G. C.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.|
|Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, N.)||Tufneil, Lieut.-Com. R. L.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)||Turton, R. H.||Wise, A. R.|
|Strickland, Captain W. F.||Wakefield, W. W.||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (N'thw'h)||Walker-Smith, Sir J.||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.||Ward, Irene (Wallsend)||Wragg, H.|
|Sutcliffe, H.||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir J. S.|
|Tasker, Sir R. I.||Warrender, Sir V.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Tate, Mavis C.||Waterhouse, Captain C.||Captain Margesson and Dr. Morris-Jones.|
|Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)||Wayland, Sir W. A.|
§ Question put, "That the proposed words be there added."1342
§ The House divided: Ayes, 350; Noes, 141.1345
|Division No. 278.]||AYES.||[11.12 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Everard, W. L.|
|Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.)||Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Fildes, Sir H.|
|Albery, Sir I. J.||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord Hugh||Findlay, Sir E.|
|Alexander, Brig.-Gen. Sir W.||Channon, H.||Fleming, E. L.|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'kn'hd)||Chorlton, A. E. L.||Fox, Sir G. W. G.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. L. C. M. S.||Christie, J. A.||Fraser, Capt. Sir I.|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Clarry, Sir Reginald||Fremantle, Sir F. E.|
|Apsley, Lord||Clydesdale, Marquess of||Furness, S. N.|
|Assheton, R.||Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir G. P.||Fyfe, D. P. M.|
|Astor, Major Hon. J. J. (Dover)||Colman, N. C. D.||Ganzoni, Sir J.|
|Astor, Visc'tess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Colville, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. D. J.||Gibson, C. G.|
|Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.)||Cook, T. R. A. M. (Norfolk, N.)||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Gledhill, G.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Cooper, Rt. Hon. T. M. (E'nburgh,W.)||Gluckstein, L. H.|
|Baldwin-Webb, Col. J.||Courtauld, Major J. S.||Glyn, Major Sir R. G. C.|
|Balfour, G. (Hampstead)||Courthope, Col. Sir G. L.||Goldie, N. B.|
|Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)||Craddock, Sir R. H.||Goodman, Col. A. W.|
|Balniel, Lord||Cranborne, Viscount||Gower, Sir R. V.|
|Barclay-Harvey, Sir C. M.||Craven-Ellis, W.||Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral)|
|Baxter, A. Beverley||Critchley, A.||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Croft, Brig.-Gen. Sir H. Page||Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)|
|Beauchamp, Sir B. C.||Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C.||Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon. J.|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Aylesbury)||Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Gridley, Sir A. B.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)||Cross, R. H.||Grigg, Sir E. W. M.|
|Belt, Sir A. L.||Crossley, A. C.||Grimston, R. V.|
|Bennett, Capt. Sir E. N.||Crowder, J. F. E.||Gritten, W. G. Howard|
|Bernays, R. H.||Cruddas, Col. B.||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. (Drake)|
|Birchall, Sir J. D.||Culverwell, C. T.||Guest, Hon. I. (Brecon and Radnor)|
|Bird, Sir R. B.||Davidson, Rt. Hon. Sir J. C. C.||Guest, Maj. Hon. O.(C'mb'rw'll,N.W.)|
|Blair, Sir R.||Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil)||Guinness, T. L. E. B.|
|Blaker, Sir R.||Dawson, Sir P.||Gunston, Capt. D. W.|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||De Chair, S. S.||Hacking, Rt. Hon. D.H.|
|Bossom, A. C||Denville, Alfred||Hamilton, Sir G. C.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||Hanbury, Sir C.|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Dodd, J. S.||Hannah, I. C.|
|Bower, Comdr. R. T.||Donner, P. W.||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir G. E. W.||Dorman-Smith, Major R. H.||Harbord, A.|
|Boyce, H. Les[...]e||Dower, Capt. A. V. G.||Hartington, Marquess of|
|Bracken, B.||Drewe, C.||Haslam, H. C. (Horncastle)|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N.||Duckworth, G. A. V. (Salop)||Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton)|
|Brass, Sir W.||Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side)||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.|
|Briscoe, Capt. R. G.||Dugdale, Major T. L.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Duggan, H. J.||Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan-|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham)||Duncan, J. A. L.||Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.)|
|Brown, Rt.-Hon. E. (Leith)||Dunglass, Lord||Herbert, Capt. Sir S. (Abbey)|
|Brown, Brig,-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Dunne, P. R. R.||Hoare, Rt. Hon. Sir S.|
|Browne, A. C. (Belfast, W.)||Eales, J. F.||Holmes. J. S.|
|Bull, B. B.||Eastwood, J. F.||Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.|
|Bullock, Capt. M.||Eckersley, P. T.||Hopkinson, A.|
|Burghley, Lord||Edmondson, Major Sir J.||Hore-Belisha, Rt. Hon. L.|
|Burton, Col. H. W.||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Horsbrugh, Florence|
|Butler, R. A.||Ellis, Sir G.||Howitt, Dr. A. B.|
|Caine, G. R. Hall-||Emery, J. F.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)|
|Campbell, Sir E. T.||Emmott, C. E. G. C.||Hudson, R. S. (Southport)|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Hulbert, N. J.|
|Cary, R. A.||Entwistle, C. F.||Hume, Sir G. H.|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Errington, E.||Hunter, T.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. W. (City of Chester)||Erskine Hill, A. G.||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir T. W. H.|
|Cayzer, Sir H. R. (Portsmouth, S.)||Evans, Capt. A. (Cardiff, S.)||Jackson, Sir H.|
|James, Wing-Commander A. W.||Morrison, W. S. (Cirencester)||Smithers, Sir W.|
|Jarvis, Sir J. J.||Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J.||Somerset. T.|
|Joel, D. J. B.||Munro, P.||Somervell, Sir D. B. (Crewe)|
|Jones, Sir G. W. H. (S'k N'w'gt'n)||Neven-Spence, Maj. B. H. H.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Jones, L. (Swansea, W.)||Nicolson, Hon. H. G.||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, E.)|
|Keeling, E. H.||O'Connor, Sir Terence J.||Southby, Comdr. A. R. J.|
|Kerr, Colonel C. I. (Montrose)||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Spears, Brig.-Gen. E. L.|
|Kerr, H. W. (Oldham)||Orr-Ewing, I. L.||Spender-Clay, Lt.-CI. Rt. Hn. H. H.|
|Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.)||Palmer, G. E. H.||Spens, W. P.|
|Keyes, Admiral of the Fleet Sir R.||Patrick, C. M.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'l'd)|
|Kimball, L.||Peake, O.||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Kirkpatrick, W. M.||Peat, C. U.||Storey, S.|
|Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Percy, Rt. Hon. Lord E.||Stourton, Major Hon. J. J.|
|Latham, Sir P.||Perkins, W. R. D.||Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, N.)|
|Law, R. K. (Hull, S.W.)||Petherick, M.||Srauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Leckie, J. A.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Leech, Dr. J. W.||Pilkington, R.||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (N'thw'h)|
|Lees-Jones, J.||Plugge, L. F.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Leigh, Sir J.||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.|
|Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Porritt, R. W.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Levy, T.||Pownall, Sir Assheton||Tasker, Sir R. I.|
|Lewis, O.||Radford, E. A.||Tate, Mavis C.|
|Liddall, W. S.||Ralkes, H. V. A. M.||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Little, Sir E. Graham-||Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)|
|Llewellin, Lieut.-Col. J. J.||Ramsbotham, H.||Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Lloyd, G. W.||Ramsden, Sir E.||Thomson, Sir J. D. W.|
|Locker-Lampson, Comdr. O. S.||Rankin, R.||Titchfield, Marquess of|
|Loftus, P. C.||Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)||Touche, G. C.|
|Lovat-Fraser, J. A.||Rawson, Sir Cooper||Train, Sir J.|
|Lumley, Capt. L. R.||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)||Tree, A. R. L. F.|
|Lyons, A. M.||Reid, Captain A. Cunningham||Tryon, Major Rt. Hon. G. C.|
|Mabane, W. (Huddersfield)||Remer, J. R.||Tufnell, Lieut.-Com. R. L.|
|MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.||Rickards, G. W. (Sklpton)||Turton, R. H.|
|M'Connell, Sir J.||Robinson, J. R. (Blackpool)||Wakefield, W. W.|
|McCorquodale, M. S.||Ropner, Colonel L.||Walker-Smith, Sir J.|
|MacDonald Rt. Hn. J. R. (Scat. U.)||Ross, Major Sir R. D. (L'derry)||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|MacDonald, Rt. Hon M. (Ross)||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)||Ward, Irene (Wallsend)|
|Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight)||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir J. S.|
|McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.||Russell, A. West (Tynemouth)||Warrender, Sir V.|
|McKie, J. H.||Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|Macnamara, Capt. J. R. J.||Salmon. Sir I.||Wayland, Sir W. A.|
|Macquisten, F. A.||Salt, E. W.||Wedderburn, H. J. S.|
|Magnay, T.||Samuel, Sir A. M. (Farnham)||Wells, S. R.|
|Maitland, A.||Samuel, M. R. A. (Putney)||Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.|
|Makins, Brig-Gen. E.||Sandeman, Sir N. S.||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Manningham-Buller, Sir M.||Sanderson, Sir F. B.||Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon H. D. R.||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir P.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M.||Scott, Lord William||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir A. T. (Hitchin)|
|Maxwell, S. A.||Selley, H. R.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.|
|Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Shakespeare, G. H.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)||Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)||Wise, A. R.|
|Mills, Sir F. (Leyton, E.)||Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Shepperson, Sir E. W.||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Mitchell, H. (Brentford and Chiswick)||Simmonds, O. E.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.||Wragg, H.|
|Mitcheson, Sir G. G.||Smiles, Lieut.-Colonel Sir W. D.|
|Moore, Lieut.-Col. T. C. R.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Moore-Brabazon, Lt.-Col. J. T. C.||Smith, L. W. (Hallam)||Sir George Penny and Dr. Morris-Jones.|
|Morgan, R. H.||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir F. Dyke||Charleton, H. C.||Gibbins, J.|
|Acland, R. T. D. (Barnstaple)||Chater, D.||Green, W. H. (Deptford)|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Cluse, W. S.||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)||Clynes, Rt. Hon. J. R.||Grenfell, D. R.|
|Adamson, W. M.||Compton, J.||Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'Isbr.)||Cove, W. G.||Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)|
|Ammon, C. G.||Daggar, G.||Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Dalton, H.||Groves, T. E.|
|Bonfield, J. W.||Davies, D. L. (Pontypridd)||Hall, G. H. (Aberdare)|
|Barnes, A. J.||Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)|
|Barr, J.||Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Hardie, G. D.|
|Batey, J.||Day, H.||Harris, Sir P. A.|
|Bellenger, F.||Debbie, W.||Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)|
|Benson, G.||Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)||Henderson, T. (Tradeston)|
|Bevan, A.||Ede, J. C.||Hicks, E. G.|
|Broad, F. A.||Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough E.)||Hills, A. (Pontefract)|
|Bromfield, W.||Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Holland, A.|
|Brooke, W.||Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (S. Ayrshire)||Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.||Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath)|
|Buchanan, G.||Gallacher, W.||Johnston, Rt. Hon. T.|
|Burke, W. A.||Gardner, B. W.||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)|
|Cape. T.||Garro Jones, G. M.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)|
|Cassells, T.||George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)||Kelly, W. T.|
|Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Owen, Major G.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Kirby, B. V.||Paling, W.||Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)|
|Lansbury, Rt. Hon. G.||Parker, J.||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Lathan, G.||Parkinson, J. A.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Lawson, J. J.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Leach, W.||Potts, J.||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)|
|Lee, F.||Price, M. P.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Leslie, J. R.||Pritt, D. N.||Thurtle, E.|
|Logan, D. G.||Quibell, D. J. K.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Macdonald, G. (Ince)||Rathbone, Eleanor (English Univ's.)||Viant, S. P.|
|McGhee, H. G.||Richards, R. (Wrexham)||Walker, J.|
|MacLaren, A.||Riley, B.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Macmillan, H. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Ritson, J.||Watson, W. McL.|
|MacMillan, M. (Western Isles)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Brom.)||Westwood, J.|
|MacNeill, Weir, L.||Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)||Whiteley, W.|
|Mainwaring, W. H.||Rowson, G.||Wilkinson, Ellen|
|Mander, G. [...]e M.||Salter, Dr. A.||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Marklew, E.||Seely, Sir H. M.||Williams, T. (Don Valley)|
|Marshall, F.||Sexton, T. M.||Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)|
|Messer, F.||Shinwell, E.||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Milner, Major J.||Silkin, L.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Montague, F.||Silverman, S. S.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Ha'kn'y, S.)||Simpson, F. B.|
|Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn's)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Muff, G.||Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)||Mr. John and Mr. Mathers.|
§ Main Question, as amended, put.1346
§ The House divided: Ayes, 328; Noes, 135.1349
|Division No. 279.]||AYES.||[11.26 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Castlereagh, Viscount||Ellis, Sir G.|
|Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.)||Cayzer, Sir C. W. (City of Chester)||Emery, J. F.|
|Albery, Sir [...]. J.||Cayzer, Sir H. R. (Portsmouth, S.)||Emmott, C. E. G. C.|
|Alexander, Brig.-Gen. Sir W.||Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Emrys-Evans, P. V.|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'kn'hd)||Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Entwistle, C. F.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. L. C. M. S.||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord Hugh||Errington, E.|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Channon, H.||Erskine Hill, A. G.|
|Apsley, Lord||Chorlton, A. E. L.||Evans, Capt. A. (Cardiff, S.)|
|Assheton, R.||Christie, J. A.||Everard, W. L.|
|Astor, Major Hon. J. J. (Dover)||Clarry, Sir Reginald||Flides, Sir H.|
|Astor, Visc'tess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Clydesdale, Marquess of||Findlay, Sir E.|
|Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.)||Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir G. P.||Fleming, E. L.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Colman, N. C. D.||Fox, Sir G. W. G.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Colville, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. D. J.||Fraser, Capt. Sir I.|
|Baldwin-Webb, Col. J.||Ccok, T. R. A. M. (Norfolk, N.)||Fremantle, Sir F. E.|
|Balfour, G. (Hampstead)||Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Furness, S. N.|
|Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)||Cooper, Rt.Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh,W.)||Fyfe, D. P. M.|
|Balneil, Lord||Courtauld, Major J. S.||Ganzoni, Sir J.|
|Barclay-Harvey, Sir C. M.||Courthope, Col. Sir G. L.||Gibson, C. G.|
|Baxter, A. Beverley||Craddock, Sir R. H.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Cranborne, Viscount||Gledhill, G.|
|Beauchamp, Sir B. C.||Craven-Ellis, W.||Gluckstein, L. H.|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Aylesbury)||Critchley, A.||Glyn, Major Sir R. G. C.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)||Croft, Brig.-Gen. Sir H. Page||Goldie, N. B.|
|Beit, Sir A. L.||Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C.||Goodman, Col. A. W.|
|Bennett, Capt. Sir E. N.||Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Gower, Sir R. V.|
|Bernays, R. H.||Cross, R. H.||Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral)|
|Bird, Sir R. B.||Crowder, J. F. E.||Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)|
|Blair, Sir R.||Cruddas, Col. B.||Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon. J.|
|Blaker, Sir R.||Culverweil, C. T.||Gridley, Sir A. B.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Davidson, Rt. Hon. Sir J. C. C.||Grigg, Sir E. W. M|
|Boulton, W. W.||Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil)||Grimston, R. V.|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Dawson, Sir P.||Gritten, W. G. Howard|
|Bower, Comdr. R. T.||De Chair, S. S.||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. (Drake)|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir G. E. W.||Denville, Alfred||Guest,Maj. Hon. O.(C'mb'rw'll,N.W.)|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||Guinness, T. L. E. B.|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N.||Dodd, J. S.||Gunston, Capt. D. W.|
|Brass, Sir W.||Donner, P. W.||Hacking, Rt. Hon. D. H.|
|Briscoe, Capt. R. G.||Dorman-Smith, Major R. H.||Hamilton, Sir G. C.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Dower, Capt. A. V. G.||Hanbury, Sir C.|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham)||Drewe, C.||Hannah, I. C.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith)||Duckworth, G. A. V. (Salop)||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side)||Harbord, A.|
|Browne, A. C. (Belfast, W.)||Dugdale, Major T. L.||Hartington, Marquess of|
|Bull, B. B.||Duggan. H. J.||Haslam, H. C. (Horncastle)|
|Bullock, Capt. M.||Duncan, J. A. L.||Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton)|
|Burghley, Lord||Dunne, P. R. R.||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.|
|Butler, R. A.||Eales, J. F.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.|
|Caine, G. R. Hall-||Eastwood, J. F.||Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan-|
|Campbell, Sir E. T.||Eckersley, P. T.||Herbert, Capt. Sir S. (Abbey)|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Edmondson, Major Sir J.||Hoare, Rt. Hon. Sir S.|
|Cary, R. A.||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Holmes, J. S.|
|Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Smiles, Lieut.-Colonel Sir W. D.|
|Hopkinson, A.||Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Hore-Belisha, Rt. Hon. L.||Mills, Sir F. (Leyton, E.)||Smith, L. W. (Hallam)|
|Horsbrugh, Florence||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)|
|Howitt, Dr. A. B.||Mitchell, H. (Brentford and Chiswick)||Smithers, Sir W.|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)||Mitcheson, Sir G. G.||Somerset, T.|
|Hudson, R. S. (Southport)||Moore, Lieut,-Col. T. C. R.||Somervell, Sir D. B. (Crewe)|
|Hulbert, N. J.||Moore-Brabazon, Lt.-Col. J. T. C.||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, E.)|
|Hume, Sir G. H.||Morgan, R. H.||Southby, Comdr. A. R. J.|
|Hunter, T.||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H.||Spears, Brig.-Gen. E. L.|
|Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir T. W. H.||Morrison, W. S. (Cirencester)||Spender-Clay, Lt.-Cl. Rt. Hn. H. H.|
|Jackson, Sir H.||Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J.||Spens, W. P.|
|James, Wing-Commander A. W.||Munro, P.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'I'd)|
|Jarvis, Sir J. J.||Neven-Spence, Maj. B. H. H.||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Joel, D. J. B.||Nicolson, Hon. H. G.||Stourton, Major Hon. J. J.|
|Jones, Sir G. W. H. (S'k N'w'gt'n)||O'Connor, Sir Terence J.||Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, N.)|
|Jones, L. (Swansea, W.)||Palmer, G. E. H.||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Keeling, E. H.||Patrick, C. M.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Kerr, Colonel C. I. (Montrose)||Peake, O.||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (N'thw'h)|
|Kerr, H. W. (Oldham)||Peat, C. U.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.|
|Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.)||Perkins, W. R. D.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Keyes, Admiral of the Fleet Sir R.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Tasker, Sir R. I.|
|Kimball, L.||Pilkington, R.||Tate, Mavis C.|
|Kirkpatrick, W. M.||Plugge, L. F.||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)|
|Latham, Sir P.||Porritt, R. W.||Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Law, R. K. (Hull, S.W.)||Pownall, Sir Assheton||Thomson, Sir J. D. W.|
|Leckie, J. A. Radford, E. A.||Titchfield,||Marquess of|
|Leech, Dr. J. W.||Raikes, H. V. A. M.||Touche, G. C.|
|Lees-Jones, J.||Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.||Train, Sir J.|
|Leigh, Sir J.||Ramsbotham, H. Tree,||A. R. L. F.|
|Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Ramsden, Sir E.||Tryon, Major Rt. Hon. G. C.|
|Levy, T.||Rankin, R.||Tufnell, Lieut.-Com. R. L.|
|Lewis, O.||Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)||Turton, R. H.|
|Liddall, W. S.||Rawson, Sir Cooper||Wakefield, W. W.|
|Little, Sir E. Graham-||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)||Walker-Smith, Sir J.|
|Llewellin, Lieut.-Col. J. J.||Reid, Captain A. Cunningham||Ward, Lieut-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Lloyd, G. W.||Remer, J. R.||Ward. Irene (Wallsend)|
|Locker-Lampson, Comdr. O. S.||Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir J. S.|
|Loftus, P. C.||Robinson, J. R. (Blackpool)||Warrender, Sir V.|
|Lovat-Fraser, J. A.||Ropner, Colonel L.||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|Lumley, Capt. L. R.||Ross, Major Sir R. D. (L'derry)||Wayland, Sir W. A.|
|Lyons, A. M.||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)||Wedderburn, H. J. S.|
|Mabane, W. (Huddersfield)||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.||Wells, S. R.|
|MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.||Russell, A. West (Tynemouth)||Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.|
|M'Connell, Sir J.||Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|McCorquodale, M. S.||Salmon, Sir I.||Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|MacDonald, Rt. Hn. J. R. (Scot. U.)||Salt, E. W.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|MacDonald, Rt. Hon. M. (Ross)||Samuel, Sir A. M. (Farnham)||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir A. T. (Hitchin)|
|McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.||Samuel, M. R. A. (Putney)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.|
|McKie, J. H.||Sanderson, Sir F. B.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Macnamara, Capt. J. R. J.||Scott, Lord||William Wise, A. R.|
|Macquisten, F. A.||Selley, H. R.||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Maitland, A.||Shakespeare, G. H.||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Makins, Brig. Gen. E.||Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)||Wragg, H.|
|Manningham-Buller, Sir M.||Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)|
|Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Shepperson, Sir E. W.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M.||Simmonds, O. E.||Sir George Penny and Mr. James Stuart.|
|Maxwell, S. A.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir F. Dyke||Cluse, W. S.||Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Compton, J.||Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)||Daggar, G.||Groves, T. E.|
|Adamson, W. M.||Dalton, H.||Hall, G. H. (Aberdare)|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Davies, D. L. (Pontypridd)||Ha[...], J. H. (Whitechapel)|
|Ammon, C. G.||Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||Hardie, G. D.|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Harris, Sir P. A.|
|Banfield, J. W.||Day, H.||Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)|
|Barnes, A. J.||Dabble, W.||Henderson, T. (Tradeston)|
|Barr, J.||Dunn, E. (Rather Valley)||Hicks, E. G.|
|Batey, J.||Ede, J. C.||Hills, A. (Pontefract)|
|Bellenger, F.||Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough E.)||Holland, A.|
|Benson, G.||Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Hopkin, D.|
|Bevan, A.||Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)|
|Broad, F. A.||Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.||Jenkins, Sir W. (Heath)|
|Bromfield, W.||Gallacher, W.||John, W.|
|Brooke, W.||Gardner, B. W.||Johnston, Rt. Hon. T.|
|Brown, Rt. H[...]n. J. (S. Ayrshire)||Garro Jones, G. M.||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)|
|Buchanan, G.||Gibbins, J.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)|
|Burke, W. A.||Green, W. H. (Deptford)||Kelly, W. T.|
|Cape, T.||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.|
|Cassells, T.||Grenfell, D. R.||Kirby, B. V.|
|Chater, D.||Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)||Lansbury, At. Hon. G|
|Lathan, G.||Parkinson, J. A.||Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)|
|Lawson, J. J.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Leach, W.||Potts, J.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Lee, F.||Price, M. P.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Leslie, J. R.||Pritt, D. N.||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)|
|Logan, D. G.||Quibell, D. J. K.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Macdonald, G. (Ince)||Rathbone, Eleanor (English Univ's.)||Thurtle, E.|
|McGhee, H. G.||Richards, R. (Wrexham)||Tinker, J. J.|
|MacLaren, A.||Riley, B.||Viant, S. P.|
|MacMillan, M. (Western Isles)||Ritson, J.||Walker, J.|
|MacNeill, Weir, L.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Brom.)||Watkins, F. C.|
|Mainwaring, W. H.||Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)||Watson, W. McL.|
|Mander, G. le M.||Rowson, G.||Westwood, J.|
|Marklew, E.||Salter, Dr. A.||Wilkinson, Ellen|
|Marshall, F.||Seely, Sir H. M.||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Mathers, G.||Sexton, T. M.||Williams, T. (Don Valley)|
|Messer, F.||Shinwell, E.||Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)|
|Milner, Major J.||Silkin, L.||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Montague, F.||Silverman, S. S.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Morrison, Rt. Hon H. (Ha'kn'y, S.)||Simpson, F. B.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn's)|
|Muff, G.||Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Paling, W.||Smith, E. (Stoke)||Mr. Whiteley and Mr. Charleton.|
That this House has noted with satisfaction the increasing attention that is being given to the problems of nutrition, welcomes the steps which have been and are being taken to secure the maximum supplies of food to our people combined with a reasonable remuneration to our home producers, and approves the continuous efforts of His Majesty's Government to promote better health and social conditions in this country.