Necessitous Areas.

Oral Answers to Questions — Unemployment. – in the House of Commons on 28th November 1922.

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Mr. T. THOMSON:

52.

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that in many industrial areas, owing to the abnormal amount of unemployment, the local poor rates have increased fourfold; and what assistance is the Government prepared to give to such necessitous areas as the county borough of Middlesbrough, where out relief has increased from an average weekly charge on the rates of £377 in 1914 to £6,500 at the present time?

Photo of Major Sir Archibald Boyd-Carpenter Major Sir Archibald Boyd-Carpenter , Bradford North

The Minister of Health has at present under his consideration an application for sanction to the raising of a loan for the assistance of the Middlesbrough Union. He has no reason to suppose that the arrangements made for enabling the guardians to spread a portion of their expenses over a term of years will not prove adequate in this and the other industrial areas to which reference is made.

Mr. THOMSON:

I again ask the Prime Minister is he aware of the total inadequacy of short term loans of six months and five years to deal with the question of necessitous boroughs, and will he receive a deputation representing typical necessitous boroughs on this question before the House rises?

Photo of Mr Bonar Law Mr Bonar Law , Glasgow Central

I cannot answer that question, and I suggest to the hon. Gentleman, who is an experienced Member of this House, that this is obviously Departmental business.

Photo of Mr William Thorne Mr William Thorne , West Ham Plaistow

May I then ask whether, in the event of a requisition being made to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health from all the necessitous Poor Law areas in different parts of the country, he will be good enough to receive the deputation?

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

The hon. Member had better put that question on the Paper.

Mr. THOMSON:

On this point, may I ask, Mr. Speaker, to whom we should address questions in the absence of the Minister of Health, and if it is not right that who should address them to the Prime Minister where legislation is necessary?

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

No, they must be addressed to the Department. The House was informed yesterday of the temporary absence from our midst of the Minister of Health.

Photo of Mr William Thorne Mr William Thorne , West Ham Plaistow

Can the Prime Minister toll the House when he is going to fill the position of Minister of Health?

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

Not on this occasion.