Class Ix.

Part of Orders of the Day — Supply. – in the House of Commons on 15th March 1929.

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Photo of Mr John Tinker Mr John Tinker , Leigh

The Government have brought about the present depression; they have caused the suffering; and then, in their charity, they have said, "We are prepared to do something now, because the men are down and out and ought to have some help." Even so, they might have gone about it in a different way. To depend on outside charity as a lead to what they shall give seems to me to be a wrong method altogether. If they made a mistake—and they admit that they made a mistake—why should they not say that they would grant, say, £2,000,000, or £1,000,000, in an effort to relieve the poverty? Instead of that, they have given pound for pound. I wonder what the position would have been if the response had not been so large as it has been? Supposing that only £100,000 had been subscribed to the Fund, the Government would have covered that, but would that have met the present position, which even the £1,500,000 does not meet properly? The Government's method is entirely inadequate, and we think that a strong Government would have dealt with the situation far differently. Looking back on what has happened, it staggers me to think that, while such a big fight was put up on the other side of the House to get money for a certain class of people, we have almost to appeal in order to get something. Only a short time ago, for the sake of a mere 283 persons, a strong fight was put up so that they might get a sum almost equal to these two grants from the public and the Government for miners in the distressed areas; those 283 persons received over £1,000,000 between them. We accept what is being given to-day. A beggar has to accept; there is no other course that he can take. We are bound, however, to criticise what has happened, but, although I am criticising the Government as a whole, I am not criticising the President of the Board of Education. I do not join in the criticism of what he has been doing in the difficult position in which he is placed. My comments are general, not individualising anyone on the Government side, but condemning the whole for what has been done. I hope that the Government and the President of the Board of Education will get along and see that this money is given out as quickly as possible.