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Clause 1. — (Power to make Orders in Council for effecting certain econoniias.)

Orders of the Day — National Economy Bill. – in the House of Commons on 24th September 1931.

Alert me about debates like this

Amendment proposed [22nd September): In page 2, line 7, to leave out paragraph (b).—[11fiss Lawrence.]

Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."

Photo of Mr Adam M'Kinlay Mr Adam M'Kinlay , Glasgow Partick

I want to resume by asking one or two specific questions of the Minister of Labour and the representative of the Scottish Office. On Tuesday night I said that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education had misled the Committee by saying that certain figures were not available when it must have been within his knowledge that the Minister of Health a fortnight previously had said that 500,000 persons on transitional benefit would be affected by the 1st November of this year. That statement was made to representatives of local authorities at a meeting held at the Ministry of Health, and we are entitled to know, in view of the enormous savings which must come to the Exchequer, how that figure was arrived at. We are told that the saving under the head of transitional benefit will be £10,000,000. This is not a shot in the dark; the Government must have some figures upon which that estimate is based. It must be due to one of two things, either that the amount of benefit available for unemployed persons is to be substantially reduced or that considerable numbers will not submit themselves to the destitution test. I want to have an answer to that question. In my own constituency the bulk of the men are employed in the shipbuilding industry and immediately this Bill comes into operation 2,500 persons at present on transitional benefit will have to submit themselves to the Poor Law test. I know that several hundreds of them will not submit to that test, and I believe the Govern- ment desire that they should not submit themselves.

I have no objection to applying a means test, but why should the Government submit people to a destitution test of which the majority of hon. Members opposite are totally ignorant. I know; I speak with some feeling in this matter, from bitter experience. Will our countrymen and women have to lay bare their souls and give an account of the gifts in kind which they may receive from distant relatives in order to arrive at the sum to be made available? The destitution test involves all these matters. Will the pension of aged persons be taken into account? Will the aged father and mother be called upon to pay for the sustenance of a married son or daughter? That is the Poor Law test; the means from every available source must be taken into consideration. I want to know whether any sums received either under the contributory or non-contributory pension scheme will be taken into consideration? Has the Scottish Office already issued an instruction dealing with these tests? Take the position of Glasgow, where the maximum amount paid in cases of destitution, irrespective of the number of dependants, is £2 per week. There are in my own constituency houses in which 14 persons are living, but it does not matter whether the number is 14 or 20, the maximum amount paid to these persons is £2, and every conceivable donation in kind is taken into consideration in determining the amount.

And what is to happen to persons who are on transitional benefit at the moment? It is a fair interpretation of the position to say that any insured person who has exhausted the right to standard benefit will automatically, before he receives any further payment, become subject to the means test. What is to happen in the meantime? It takes four weeks for an Employment Exchange to determine whether a person is normally employed in an insurable occupation or not, and during that time they receive no benefit. Will the public assistance committee pay these persons the equivalent of the Employment Exchange rate or not? And after they have submitted themselves to this test, during the time that the Employment Exchange is tracing the record of the claimant to satisfy themselves that they have drawn 26 weeks' benefit, what is to become of the dependants in the interim?

4.0.p.m.

What is going to happen in semi-rural areas? It is all very well in a city like Glasgow, where you have a scale of able-bodied outdoor relief available, but in the county districts in Scotland here is no scale of able-bodied relief they simply offer the workhouse to persons who throw themselves on the funds of a local authority. Will there be a scale drawn up in these areas? Will these authorities be compelled to fix a scale? In districts like Stranraer and Wigtown, where no able-bodied outdoor relief is paid, who is going to determine the scale? Are we to go back to the Tory policy of 4½ years ago, when local authorities were only permitted to pay able-bodied relief on a fixed scale of payments dictated by the Scottish Board of Health? Again, who is going to pay for the additional staff of 500 or 600 investigators who will be employed in the city of Glasgow? These are serious considerations so far as we are concerned. The saving under this heading is a saving of £10,000,000. I want to ask the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland whether his Department has issued any instructions yet, or whether they are likely to issue instructions laying down definitely the scales of relief to be made available, because at the moment, while unemployment benefit will be reduced to 15s. 3d. it is a certainty that scales of relief will be reduced at the same time. Some people may think that it is gross exaggeration to say that every conceivable circumstance is taken into consideration by those committees. I am not blaming the public assistance committees or the complexion of those committees, but they are not going to be masters so far as this particular order is concerned, because power is asked for imposing duties on local authorities in connection with the administration of any such service. It does not matter what the elected representatives on the local authorities wish. No, this is something imposed from outside, and by a Government who have no authority from the electors of this country. We had a speech on Tuesday night from the hon. and reverend seignior who represents the Ashford Division (Mr. Kedward). He is quite enthusiastic about the destitution test as something to which everyone ought to aspire. I want to ask the reverend seignior—I am sorry that he is not in his place—as he has paid lip-service to the lowly Nazarene, if he would stick closer to spiritual things and less to material things. [Interruption.] Some of us have been nurtured in Scripture, and I, for one, object to anyone using his public position for the purpose of creating the impression that the destitution test is a thing that we should enthusiastically embrace. I will tighten my belt and go under the destitution test, provided those opposite also go under it. [Interruption.] In Glasgow, the public assistance committee pays a portion of the rent of distressed persons. I want to ask the Tinder-Secretary whether the sum of money paid by the public assistance committee will be taken into consideration as a sum paid towards the landlords, who are drawing exorbitant rents? Will such a sum be taken into consideration in determining the amount of relief that is made available?

I have asked the Under-Secretary to tell us exactly what instructions there are to be. This inflicts a cut both ways—the Gold Standard and rising commodity prices, a blessing which, last week, was a curse. The Prime Minister—"Ah, my friends"; how we on these benches know that phrase—will no longer warble "The Road to the Isles" on Lossiemouth moor. He is now practising "The Londonderry Air." He makes an appeal to us because of a fall in the cost of living, proving that we are 1½ per cent. better off than we were two years ago. I want to tell the Prime Minister, and those who think with him, that had there been a fall of 40 per cent., the unemployed man and the unemployed woman would never have appreciated the benefit for untold years, because, when all is said and done, the right hon. Gentleman is acting on the assumption that they were living in comfort before the fall in the cost of living took place. He says that it is not the time to argue when a man is overboard; that you do not argue when you are going to throw him a life-belt. No, but you are not expected, at least, to join with the pirates who threw the man overboard, and he is possibly not aware that millions of our class have been overboard for 10 years, some of them submerged to drowning point, and the Prime Minister, with his two quarter- masters, is joining up with the pirates who threw them overboard, without even having the decency to consult those who put him on the bridge.

The Navy showed their teeth, the teachers showed their fangs, and the unemployed—hon. Members may smile, but if they believe in the policy they are pursuing, let us have an election now. Let us have an election on the issue as to whether human values are of much more consideration than balance sheet values, and if you give us the opportunity to have, not an intriguing election, not a stunt election, not a coupon election, but an election on the straight issue as to whether the human family have a right to live, or whether they are to die the death of a thousand cuts.

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

I must call the hon. Member's attention to the fact that this has no bearing on the Amendment before the Committee.

Photo of Mr Adam M'Kinlay Mr Adam M'Kinlay , Glasgow Partick

I have no desire to tire the Committee, but I could read the OFFICIAL REPORT of the previous Debate to show that I am keeping closer to the question than the hon. Gentleman who spoke in reply for half an hour.

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

I hope the hon. Member will continue the good course he claims to have pursued on the last occasion.

Photo of Mr Adam M'Kinlay Mr Adam M'Kinlay , Glasgow Partick

I had only two minutes to keep in order then. I am only drawing attention to the fact that I listened to the right hon. Member the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education, who spoke for half an hour and said nothing, and said it very eloquently. I want to appeal to the Government even now. Organised persons have been able to make the Government run away from their original position. Is it because the unemployed are unorganised that the Government ask for these powers? Quite candidly, I, for one, do not believe in handing over such powers as are asked for in this paragraph to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Edghaston (Mr. Chamberlain), who, on a previous occasion, stooped even to pinch the babies' milk.

Photo of Sir Henry Betterton Sir Henry Betterton , Rushcliffe

This Amendment was discussed al some length the other night. There is another Amendment following it on the Order Paper in the name of the hon. Member for Chester-le-Street (Mr.Lawson). Our time to-day is limited by the Guillotine. I rise, therefore, to answer some of the criticisms which have been made in order that the hon. Member for Chester-le-Street shall have a full opportunity of moving his Amendment. In the course of our discussion the other evening there were two main criticisms which were levelled against the Government's proposals, and I want to deal with them as fairly and frankly as I can. It was said, first of all, that it is harsh, that it is unfair, that is unconscionable to impose a needs test at all. That was one criticism. The other criticism was, that if you have the needs test, the inquiry into means should not be undertaken by public assistance committees, but should be made by some other body under the Ministry of Labour. I want to deal, if I may, with both of those points, and I will deal with the second, for the sake of convenience, first, that is, the suggestion that seine other body should be deputed to deal with this question.

If I may say so at the beginning, I do not propose to refer at all to what was said to have been decided by the last Cabinet, the allegations and the denials, nor do I intend to enter into that controversy at all, because hon. Members, I frankly admit, are entitled to have from his Government a justification of the course they are pursuing, and I propose to deal with this matter from that point of view. With regard to the question as to whether it is possible or desirable for the Ministry of Labour, assuming there is a needs test, to carry it out, I will say at once that, in my view, and for the reasons which I will give, I think it is most undesirable to put that work upon the Ministry of Labour at all, and I will tell the Committee why. This point was first of all considered by the May Committee, and because I agree with what they said on this point, and it will shorten my argument, I will read what the May Committee said in paragraph 381: Government Departments have not the machinery for inquiring into personal circumstances and to set up special machinery for this purpose would be a wasteful duplication of the reconstructed machinery now operating tinder the county and county borough councils as public assistance authorities. At the same time we recognise the strength of the feeling against any immediate outward and visible differentiation against those who have fallen out of insurance. Subject to the assessment of need by the public assistance authority we suggest that it might be possible, in the case of an intermediate class of persons who are still suitable for employment to arrange for any necessary allowances to be paid by the Employment Exchanges as agents for the local authority. So far as the Ministry of Labour is concerned, what the May Committee said there is perfectly true, and I am sure it will be supported by the hon. Member for Chester-le-Street. They have neither the premises nor the officers or experience to deal with this matter. But there is another reason which, to me, is even more paramount, and it is this. I am most anxious to develop the other side of the work of the Ministry of Labour. I am most anxious, for instance, that there should be no interference with the placing work of the Ministry. If I may, I would offer a word of congratulation to my predecessor. The placing work of the Ministry of Labour is proceeding very fast indeed, and in the year ended in August last nearly 2,000,000 places were found through the instrumentality of the Ministry. Therefore I am anxious not to place any further burden upon the machinery of the Ministry so as to interfere with that work. That is one reason. Another reason is that I am most anxious not to interfere with at all, but to assist, if I can, the great help that is given by what I may call the industrial guidance of juveniles. That is a very important part of the work of the Ministry, and I want to develop it. To impose on the machinery of the Ministry of Labour any further burden would necessarily tend to interfere with and impede the work in that most useful direction.

There is another reason to which I attach considerable importance. It seems to me that all of us should strive to remove the reproach which one hears on every hand that the Ministry of Labour as such is developing into a mere dole-paying instrument. I want to improve and increase both the dignity and the prestige of the Ministry, and I cannot do that better or more effectively than by removing from it the reproach that the Ministry and our Exchanges are nothing more than offices for the payment of the dole. I am sure that hon. Gentlemen in all parts of the Committee will agree that it is vitally important to show both to the country and to the world that this insurance does not mean the dole. We have heard the word "stigma" used more than once; it was used by the hon. Lady who opened this Debate. I would like to remove the stigma and the reproach that this insurance scheme is indistinguishable from relief.

It is a very significant thing that in other countries—I have in mind America particularly, but what I am saving applies to many other countries where they have a problem of unemployment which may he even more serious than our own—they have refused to follow our system of unemployment insurance, because they say, "Well, we at any rate are not going to render ourselves liable to the charge under which you are suffering, namely, that your unemployment relief is nothing more than an indiscriminate dole." It has been said that NN hat we are doing is framed on the Poor Law. In my view we are doing exactly the opposite. What we are doing is that we are saying to the public assistance committees that they will be asked to assess the needs of these classes of persons.

Photo of Miss Arabella Lawrence Miss Arabella Lawrence , East Ham North

That is the whole point. How are they to assess means other than by Poor Law criteria without the aid of any regulations of the Ministry?

Photo of Sir Henry Betterton Sir Henry Betterton , Rushcliffe

That is one of the points with which I shall deal. First of all there is a difference between Poor Law administration and what we are proposing now. The needs will be assessed by the public assistance committees, but the money will be paid by the Exchequer at the Exchanges. If a man has a transitional qualification he gets it, subject to the assessment of his needs, but as a right, which is a wholly different thing from the Poor Law. There is no question of a loan, there is no question of test work, and there is no question of payment in kind. Up to the amount of the limitation which the Statute will allow, he gets the money paid at the Exchange in exactly the same way as in the case of ordinary benefits.

Photo of Mr Benjamin Riley Mr Benjamin Riley , Dewsbury

For the purpose of assessment will the unemployed man have to attend before the public assistance committee?

Photo of Sir Henry Betterton Sir Henry Betterton , Rushcliffe

Yes, of course, he will, if it is necessary.

Photo of Miss Arabella Lawrence Miss Arabella Lawrence , East Ham North

In assessing the need of the person, will it be the duty to charge all chargeable relatives who are living within or without the house? Will it be, as under the Poor Law, for the committee to estimate the household income? Will there be any appeal to the Minister?

Photo of Sir Henry Betterton Sir Henry Betterton , Rushcliffe

That is the question which the hon. Lady put before and with which I propose to deal. I say at once that they will do, with regard to these people who come to them from the Ministry of Labour, as they do now —

HON. MEMBERS:

The Poor Law taint!

Photo of Mr George Lansbury Mr George Lansbury , Poplar Bow and Bromley

We are really very much obliged to the Minister for his courtesy in giving way to questioners. The whole question is whether these people are to be subject to the destitution test of the boards of guardians?

Photo of Sir Henry Betterton Sir Henry Betterton , Rushcliffe

Of course, I do not accept the word "destitution" What I am endeavouring to explain is that the public assistance committees will deal with those who come to them from the Employment Exchanges in the same way as they deal —[Intterruption.]

Several HON. MEMBERS:

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Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

There are rather complicated questions being asked, and is would be better if the Minister were allowed to answer them.

Photo of Sir Henry Betterton Sir Henry Betterton , Rushcliffe

I would remind the Committee that there are persons who at some time unfortunately have to go to public assistance committees and are not insured at all. I refer to people like agricultural labourers. What I have said with regard to the proposed procedure has been already stated by myself in answer to questions during the course of the last two or three days. What I have said is not new, nor should it come as a surprise to the Committee.

Photo of Mr George Buchanan Mr George Buchanan , Glasgow Gorbals

Take the case of a man with £200 in War Loan. He has an income from that of £10 a year as interest. In some cases the Poor Law authorities assess the man's income as £10; in other cases they take a different course. Is the Minister going to take any steps to regulate the man's income; that is to say, is he going to stipulate that he must sell off that investment down to a particular figure, or is he going to calculate merely the man's income from this interest? Trade unions pay 10s. a week to men in large numbers of cases. In certain cases the Poor Law authorities allow the man half off, and in other cases they allow nothing. Does the Minister propose to issue any regulations which will make the position uniform throughout the country?

Photo of Sir Henry Betterton Sir Henry Betterton , Rushcliffe

It is not my intention to issue regulations in the direction indicated. With regard to the hon. Member's first question, as I said before, the public assistance committees will follow exactly the same practice and procedure as now, and take into account such matters as they take into account now. When we come to the question whether the test is justifiable or not I have to say this: It is very often forgotten that I am administering a compulsory contributory system. In such a system it is clear that not only have I to consider the rights of those who are unemployed, but I have to consider also the rights of those who are employed. The Minister of Labour, as head of this Department, is not a mere automatic distributor of compassionate grants. He is the trustee for an insurance fund, and he has to administer practically as a trustee, having regard to the rights of all three parties to the insurance.

It is easy to see how the present situation arose. In the last Parliament the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) and the hon. Member for West Nottingham (Mr. Hayday), with persistence and very often with eloquence, forced the Labour Government to make concessions which were altogether incompatible with a contributory system of insurance. The result was to bring this contributory scheme very nearly to bankruptcy, and by borrowing during a succession of years to obscure the real effect of what was being done. We have come to the conclusion, and about this there is no doubt at all, that borrowing must stop. Borrow- ing henceforth, therefore, is not a remedy or a means of alleviating the position at all. Having decided to stop borrowing we have been compelled to ask for increased contributions and for cuts in the benefit. I hope hon. Gentlemen believe me when I say that it is no more congenial to me to ask for these increased contributions and cuts of benefit than it would be to any of them. We have been compelled to make great demands upon the contributors and upon those who receive benefits under this scheme.

Photo of Mr Jack Lawson Mr Jack Lawson , Chester-le-Street

We are discussing ordinary benefit as well as transitional benefit. The Minister is speaking as if these transitional people were a charge on the unemployment fund. They are not. They are a charge on the Exchequer.

Photo of Sir Henry Betterton Sir Henry Betterton , Rushcliffe

That is the question with which I am dealing. This is a contributory fund. It is none the less true that with a contributory fund you must consider the rights of all those who contribute just as you consider the rights of those who are out of work and drawing benefit. May I put it in this way. Let the Committee realise what we have been doing. We have been fast drifting into a position in which large numbers of unemployed have been paid benefit under the name of transitional benefit without any real insurance qualification and without any of the checks of local administration which are applied to those who ask for outdoor relief. Therefore, this particular class is being treated in a way which seems to he unfair, not only to those who have contributed to the Insurance Fund, but to those who ask for outdoor relief, because you are not submitting them, either to any proper insurance test or to the check of local administration.

It may be a surprise to the Committee —it certainly was so to me when I got the figures—to find, even now, how many men and women there are who have drawn no benefit at all, since they first came into insurance. We have to consider their position. A large number also have only drawn very small amounts of benefit for very short periods. I propose to give the figures as they were given to me. These figures are the result of an inquiry which my predecessor instituted and of course I received them when I came into office. I admit, of course, that 1931 has been a terrible year for unemployment and no doubt these figures are to some extent qualified by the figures for 1931, but for the two years 1929 and 1930, two-thirds of the persons insured drew no benefit at all, and at the end of 1930, two-fifths of the males and half the females had drawn no benefit at all since they came into insurance. Of those who have drawn benefit, in very many cases, as the figures show, they have drawn it only for comparatively short periods of time.

I formed the impression when I was at the Ministry previously, and it is confirmed now, that it is impossible to justify a system under which a man who has paid his contributions week in and week out, may be living in the same street with or even next door to someone else who is getting precisely the same benefit having paid practically nothing at all. It is impossible to ask those people who are contributing to go on contributing every week while perhaps their neighbours, without any insurance qualification whatever, are drawing the same benefit and you are imposing no test whatever as to their means. It seems to me that in fairness to those who pay contributions you cannot say that those who pay no contributions are to receive the same amount without any test as to whether they need it or not. That is my justification for the proposal which we make with regard to these people, namely, that there shall be an inquiry as to whether they are in need or not.

On the day before yesterday the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for East Rhondda (Lieut.-Colonel Watts-Morgan) described the position of the county in which he lives and, as he is an ex-chairman of the Glamorgan County Council, I know that he speaks with knowledge and authority on that subject. I wish very much I could say that the dark and gloomy picture which he drew was overdrawn, but I am not in a position to say so and I do not say so. He was naturally anxious, however, to know how our proposals were going to affect his county, and what I am now going to say in answer to him will answer a good many of the questions raised in the course of this Debate. He was afraid that there would be a charge on the rates for additional out-relief in consequence of our proposal. That is not so. In so far as these people would have been entitled to transitional benefit in the past, they will now be entitled to draw transitional payments of whatever amount, after investigating their needs, the public assistance authorities decide, up to the limits of the benefit, and those amounts will be paid by the Ministry of Labour.

The second point about which he asked was also put to me by the hon. Member for Gorbals. It is as to whether any additional administrative expenditure which is necessary and approved for the purpose of the inquiry and assessment will be reimbursed to the public assistance committees by the Ministry. The answer is that it will. The third point is that the principles and practice under which applications for transitional payments are investigated and assessed will be the same as those at present in force in regard to applications from unemployed able-bodied men who come for assistance.

Lieut.-Colonel WATTS-MORGAN:

May I point out that in making my points I underestimated the figures. Having since checked them I find that the total number of unemployed both on standard and transitional benefit is not 75,000 but 85,740. Those on transitional benefit alone are not 20,000 but 27,250 and there is also to be added the figure of 712 per 10,000 receiving Poor Law relief. Does the right hon. Gentleman not think that taking away from transitional benefit any number you like, whether small or large, will have an effect on the density of poverty already existing, and cause people to come to the Poor Law to a greater extent?

Photo of Sir Henry Betterton Sir Henry Betterton , Rushcliffe

I do not think so at all. I do not think that conditions in the hon. and gallant Member's county will be altered at all. I do not dispute the figures which he has given but I am most anxious to remove from his mind any fear or apprehension that, in his position as one responsible for the administration of the county of Glamorgan, he will find the situation worsened by what we have done.

Photo of Mr Terence O'Connor Mr Terence O'Connor , Nottingham Central

In the case of a person whose needs have been assessed by the public assistance committee and who proves to be, comparatively speaking, destitute, it is known of course that the limit of the amount which he can receive by way of transitional benefit will be the regulation limit. Will such a person be prejudiced in any way in getting supplementary assistance, by way of Poor Law relief?

Photo of Sir Henry Betterton Sir Henry Betterton , Rushcliffe

No, certainly not! The hon. Member for Gorbals mentioned a point which I am glad to answer. He seemed to think that the effect of these proposals will be to remove from those men who are on transitional benefit such advantages as they have at present with regard to obtaining employment and such other advantages as the Employment Exchange may be able to afford them. Our proposals are designed particularly to secure that that shall not happen and that those who come back for their money to the Exchanges will be, as it were, still within the purview of the Exchanges. It is our desire to do just as much as we can for them in the future, as we have done in the past. We are most anxious in the administration of the scheme not to deprive any man who is on transitional benefit of any of the advantages which he may have now, or to prejudice in any way his chances of getting a job. T was also asked whether the fund or the State is to pay the cost of administration. The answer of course is, that the State pays and not the fund. The extra cost will be paid for by the Exchequer—

Photo of Mr John McShane Mr John McShane , Walsall

Does that apply to the extra investigators?

Photo of Sir Henry Betterton Sir Henry Betterton , Rushcliffe

It applies to any additional cost. I do not expect hon. Members opposite to accept the conclusions at which T have arrived, but at any rate I have endeavoured to give them reasons which seem to me unanswerable, why these proposals ought to be proceeded with, and in these circumstances, I must ask the Committee to reject the Amendment.

Photo of Mr Joseph Westwood Mr Joseph Westwood , Peebles and Southern

There is one point which has not been dealt with so far. Under the existing law in Scotland if an applicant is dissatisfied with the decision of the public assistance committee he has the right of appeal. Will exactly the same right of appeal apply in regard to any case decided by a public assistance committee in connection with the new duties which are now to devolve upon those committees?

Photo of Sir Henry Betterton Sir Henry Betterton , Rushcliffe

Far be it from me to venture into the domain of Scottish law. A representative of the Scottish Office is here and will answer any technical point with regard to Scottish law—a subject with which I am not acquainted. But I may say, generally, that it is our proposal to assimilate the law of Scotland to the law of England, and not the law of England to that of Scotland.

Photo of Mr Joseph Westwood Mr Joseph Westwood , Peebles and Southern

Will the right hon. Gentleman explain the words on page 10 of the White Paper? Under the procedure referred to the exchange will request the public assistance authority to assess their need and to determine the amount payable (not exceeding the rate for ordinary benefit) and such determination will be final. Does not that mean that under these proposals the people of Scotland will be a thousand times worse off than they were previously?

Photo of Sir Archibald Sinclair Sir Archibald Sinclair , Caithness and Sutherland

No, Sir, I do not think that that would be the case at all. This transitional payment is not going to be a Poor Law payment. In so far as it is the transitional payment which the man is receiving, it is true that there will be no appeal. But if the transitional payment is considered to be insufficient he will be entitled to claim additional assistance from the public assistance committee, and then he will certainly have his full right of appeal as regards that additional payment.

Photo of Mr Joseph Westwood Mr Joseph Westwood , Peebles and Southern

If there is an opportunity of dealing with the Scottish position, I shall be prepared to reply to the right hon. and gallant Gentleman on that point.

Photo of Sir James Macpherson Sir James Macpherson , Ross and Cromarty

May I ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will explain these proposals as affecting Scotland?

Photo of Sir Archibald Sinclair Sir Archibald Sinclair , Caithness and Sutherland

Certainly. I am prepared at any time to answer any questions which may be addressed to me on any aspect of these arrangements for which my Department is responsible.

Mr. PALMER:

The Committee will appreciate the reasons given by the Minister of Labour for not accepting the Amendment, but everything that has been said is at best patching up the very deplorable conditions under which those people who have been insured for a long time and have made no claim for benefit are suffering, and their condition will in fact be worsened if this paragraph is allowed to stand. I am utterly opposed to the creation of any machinery that will make more difficult and more complicated the administration of unemployment insurance in this country, and I am also opposed to any means for worsening the position of the unemployed.

The Government have brought in this Bill as a part of their economy proposals. Whatever may have been said in justification of the unemployment benefit cut when the present Government came into being, the position has very materially changed since then. The fall from the pound has undoubtedly altered the situation, but we are bound to challenge another aspect of the matter. Despite the national crisis and all the difficulties that we are encountering, not only have we on this side never accepted, and cannot accept, the position that in the scheme of economies inequality of sacrifice should obtain, but we can never understand why the Government made it absolutely imperative, so to speak, made it a sine qua non, made it the first condition of being a Government at all, that the standard of benefit and the conditions of the people insured under unemployment insurance should be worsened.

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

The hon. Member is rather getting on to an Amendment to the Schedule. The Amendment now before us is whether the words shall stand which impose certain duties on local authorities.

Mr. PALMER:

I was keeping that in mind and leading tip to it. This proposal is creating machinery to worsen the conditions of the unemployed, and I am opposed to the creation of such machinery, because it is not general machinery, that will apply to every insured person under the Act; it is only to apply to those who are most in need of insurance. I am not so sure that I could not make out a case for, and justify support of, some machinery that would take the administration of unemployment insurance from one huge central department down to the localities, where they could watch and administer it more closely and more properly, but this proposal does not do that. It does not deal with the whole range of the operations of unemployment insurance; it deals only with a restricted class.

The right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Labour just now quoted figures showing that substantially just over a half of the total number of people insured under unemployment insurance had never claimed benefit. It can never be argued that those people are not really the greatest beneficiaries under the insurance scheme. They are really the people who are being protected, and of the two the man who has to go to the Exchange, which is bad enough, and this new class, which has to submit to a need test and an altogether abominable inquisition into their title to payment, are far worse off than those who have never claimed benefit at all.

But what is going to happen to those who have never claimed benefit at all if, in the next decade, they happen to fall on a bad patch, become genuinely unemployed for beyond the time which is supported by their contributions, and come on to this transitional payment? Those people whom the Minister is applauding to-day are, by the action of this Bill, to be subjected to the same abominable means test and inquisition as are those people who to-day are on what we call transitional benefit. It is just a matter of degree. The State is saying that if a man is unemployed for a few weeks, he is a good claim, but that if the works gates are shut against him long enough, then he is a bad claim, and he is to be treated differentially. I oppose this provision in paragraph (b) because it is differentiating between one class of insured persons and another, and is setting up machinery which is an abomination to those who claim that, by payment of contributions, they are entitled at least to dissociation from any suggestion or colour of Poor Law or public assistance administration in this country.

Photo of Mr Oswald Lewis Mr Oswald Lewis , Colchester

It seems to me that the opposition to this proposal is based on two objections, one a practical objection and the other a sentimental objection, and, as so often happens, the sentimental objection is the more formidable of the two. If I may take first the practical objection, it has been put or-ward by several hon. Members that it will not be practicable for this work to be done by the public assistance committees. Several hon. Members have argued that the number of cases that they will have to treat is so great that the machinery will break down. As to that, there appears to be a sharp difference of opinion. Some hon. Members on this side who have great practical experience of the question have taken an exactly contrary view, and it seems to me that where there is this conflict of evidence, the Committee should first of all consider what possible alternative there is. There is clearly the alternative to set up special machinery to deal with the question, and I think no one will dispute that that would mean, in the first place, delay and, in the second place, very considerable expense.

Having regard to those circumstances, I submit that the proper thing to do is to give the Government a chance and to let us see if in fact the public assistance committees are capable of dealing with the work. In saying that, I am assuming, of course, that the unemployed will not be in any way prejudiced in the event of congestion causing delay. If there is a doubt on that, I hope that someone speaking from the Treasury Bench will be in a position to assure the Committee that no one in receipt of transitional benefit will cease to have that benefit on the ground that a public assistance committee has not yet had time to consider his case. Quite clearly, a man should continue to be paid until in fact the question of means has been considered; and if we keep that in mind, we may dearly, on the conflict of evidence before us, entrust this work to the people who, in the opinion of the Government, are able to carry it out. So much for the practical objection.

I come to the sentimental objection. It has been urged again and again in this Debate that the average working man, while he may have no objection to drawing insurance benefit when he is out of work, has the very liveliest objection to asking for poor relief. It seems to me that that is both natural and creditable, and I believe it to be true, but is that a reason why this Committee and this House should seek to deceive themselves, to deceive the unemployed, and to deceive the rest of the people of this country by describing what is in effect poor relief as though it were insurance benefit? The transitional benefit which is paid today is in fact poor relief, whatever you may call it. It is not a payment that comes from any contribution made; it is a payment that is given to a man because he cannot get means of subsistence somewhere else.

Photo of Mr Elijah Sandham Mr Elijah Sandham , Liverpool Kirkdale

May I remind the hon. Gentleman that the whole of the revenue of the Unemployment Fund comes from the products of the working classes, and that consequently what is taken out of that fund originally belonged to the working classes and to nobody else.

5.0 p.m.

Photo of Mr Oswald Lewis Mr Oswald Lewis , Colchester

In the first place, I entirely deny that statement; and in the second place, may I remind the hon. Gentleman that it is very dangerous to interrupt me, for the last time he did so he had a large part of my speech attributed to him. Let us get back to the question of the nature of poor relief. The Minister endeavoured to make a distinction between transitional benefit as now paid, transitional payments that are going to be made, and poor relief to a man who does not belong to an insurable trade and falls out of employment. There is in essence no distinction, and so far as these proposals before us are concerned, the only point of difference between transitional payments and poor relief is that one is a direct burden on the State, and the other is a burden on the localities.

In essence they are the same, and I submit that those who persist in the endeavour to confuse the relief paid to a man because he is in need, which is poor relief, with the benefit paid to a man because of payments he has previously made, which is insurance benefit, do a great injustice to the insured workers as a whole. It is due to them that the word "dole" should not be used to describe unemployment insurance. I supported the principle of State insurance against unemployment before the first Act was passed by this House, and I have always been a strong sup- porter of that principle. I have always objected most strongly to the use of the term "dole" being applied to benefit which a man claims in respect of contributions which he has made. We shall not be able to get the application of that word "dole" to insurance benefit done away with until we make a clear distinction between insurance benefit and poor relief. For that reason alone I welcome the proposal put forward by the Government.

Photo of Mr Jack Lawson Mr Jack Lawson , Chester-le-Street

I would appeal to the Committee to come to an early decision on this Amendment for the reason that the Guillotine falls at 7.30, and that after this Amendment there is another Amendment dealing with the proposal which is now being discussed, and a further Amendment dealing with the subject of Orders in Council. Unless we come to an early decision, there will be little or no opportunity of dealing with the central point, which was the subject of the Minister's speech and of the speech of the last speaker.

Photo of Mr George Hardie Mr George Hardie , Glasgow Springburn

On a point of Order. An appeal has been made in regard to the time of the House. What I want to know is—

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

I did not call upon the hon. Member; I called upon another hon. Member. Dr. Forgan.

Photo of Mr George Hardie Mr George Hardie , Glasgow Springburn

I know you did not call on me, but. I am raising a point of Order. I want to know whether there is to be a guarantee that the point raised in regard to Scotland, where there is a difference in the application of the Poor Law, is to be fully dealt with.

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

That is not a point of Order.

Photo of Dr Robert Forgan Dr Robert Forgan , Renfrewshire Western

I want to remind the Committee that paragraph (b) covers far more than the Committee has yet discussed. Up to now the Committee has discussed only the question whether those in receipt of transitional benefit should appear before the public assistance authorities or the Exchange authorities. The Debate will have very little effect upon the fate of this Measure, which will go through unchanged. I want to suggest, therefore, that as the Bill is to become an Act of Parliament, we ought to try and ascertain whether we cannot get some good out of a Measure which I heartily dislike. The Minister of Health a few days ago said that this Government or its successor would speedily have to undertake constructive work, and I suggest that if he should be one of the Ministers designated in the Order in Council under paragraph (b), he might impose duties on local authorities in connection with the 'administration of several services, such as Education, National Health Insurance, and Unemployment Insurance. I do not think I am overestimating the effect of the present situation when I say that this winter will be a winter of real hardship for the working classes, not only because their incomes will be seriously reduced, but because, owing to the rise in commodity prices, it will be difficult for the domestic chancellor to balance her budget.

The big item of expenditure is expenditure on food, and I fear, and I think not unreasonably, that, particularly in those homes where the breadwinner is in receipt of health insurance benefit or is unemployed for a long period, there is a danger of malnutrition and ill-health. I suggest that if the Minister of Health used the powers bestowed on him to impose the duty on local authorities of coordinating their various health services, they could see to it that, instead of waiting to relieve malnutrition among the children, there should be periodical examinations. In that way the local authorities could effectively prevent what otherwise will be serious suffering among the children and the workers.

Photo of Mr William Egan Mr William Egan , Birkenhead West

I should be glad if the Minister would clear up two points arising from the lucid explanation which he has given to the House. Is it proposed that those applicants to the public assistance committees who come from the Employment Exchanges will be heard apart from those who are applying for actual Poor Law relief? Can that possibly be done so that the two classes will not be mixed up? The other point is whether any limitation is proposed to the period of the payment of these transitional allowances.

Photo of Sir Henry Betterton Sir Henry Betterton , Rushcliffe

I am not sure that I appreciate the hon. Member's second point, but if I understand it rightly, I think that I can satisfy him. The transitional payment will be paid as at present until the need has been assessed.

Photo of Mr William Egan Mr William Egan , Birkenhead West

I am referring to the length of time it will be paid. Is there any limitation to the period during which it will be paid?

Photo of Sir Henry Betterton Sir Henry Betterton , Rushcliffe

So long as the applicant has an insurance qualification, he will go on drawing the transitional payment. With regard to the hon. Gentleman's first point, in the vast, majority of cases there will be no personal applications at all. I am afraid that I cannot give an undertaking that they will be segregated in the way he asks.

Photo of Mr William Egan Mr William Egan , Birkenhead West

I gather that the hon. Gentleman said that they would attend the public assistance committees.

Photo of Sir Henry Betterton Sir Henry Betterton , Rushcliffe

I perhaps said that through lack of experience of the work of the public assistance committees. I am told now that in the vast majority of cases there will not be any necessity for attendance at all. There will be attendance only in such cases as the committee may wish to interview. The vast majority of claimants will not be required to attend.

Photo of Mr William Egan Mr William Egan , Birkenhead West

Suppose a public assistance committee require to see an applicant, can he be interviewed apart from the usual relief cases?

Photo of Sir Henry Betterton Sir Henry Betterton , Rushcliffe

I do not think that that would be administratively possible. I have gone into it, and I am afraid that I cannot give such an undertaking as the hon. Member asks.

Photo of Mr George Hardie Mr George Hardie , Glasgow Springburn

I want to raise a point in regard to the difference between English and Scottish law in the application of this new scheme. The hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. O. Lewis) made reference to the compulsory degradation that was taking place. Scotland has always received the highest praise for a certain domination of character and for a great repugnance to taking anything that is not earned, but the system which civilisation is developing in Western parts has brought about a compulsory degradation, and we are anxious in regard to one aspect of this matter. The Minister of Labour tried to make it clear that whatever was to be done under the transitional payments was to be plus Poor Law relief. He made it clear that if the assessment made by the public assistance committee in regard to a claimant for transitional benefit was not sufficient, the claimant could again appeal to the ordinary Poor Law to get an increase. In view of the statement in the White Paper that no more can be paid by the public assistance committee than is paid to a fully qualified claimant, how can the applicant find his way again to the Poor Law? The statement of the Minister makes the position rather doubtful.

Further, the inquisition will be quite serious. If anyone goes on the Poor Law in Scotland we are nut inefficient when it comes to inquisition. Those who know the investigations that have taken place in regard to poor people know exactly how they are carried out in Scotland, and things are worse than ever now under derating, because local contact has been lost. Now that we are to get decent people, out of work through no fault of their own, transferred after weeks to the public assistance department I want to know whether the inquisition will take account, of the house a man lives in. A man who has been in constant employment all his life may find himself thrown out of work through some scientific development in his trade which has made him unnecessary, quite apart from any question of trade depression, and he has to go to the public assistance authority. That man may have had a taste for a nice home, and by spending wisely he may have got himself a good home. The home is the first thing that attracts the eye of the inquisitive investigator. I know that from experience, because I have been with these investigators when I was a member of the Glasgow school board and serious cases came up.

Is the man to be asked to get rid of something which the investigator may regard as a luxury? Is a comfortable chair a luxury? Is the man to get rid of his table and substitute an orange box? Many poor people have been moved into new houses under our housing schemes and they have to pay higher rents. Is it intended that a man must go back to the old conditions under which he lived, go back to the slum, in order to qualify to receive public assistance? What is to be the standard on which these individuals are to be judged—because it is a judgment which is to be passed on them? Why should poor people who have no responsibility for the present decay of industry, which is under the control of others, be compelled to undergo a cross-examination as to why they are poor? They have been rendered poor by those who were supposed to be able to keep our industries going. Why should even one employer be allowed to sit in judgment on decent, honest, hard-working men thrown out of employment in the present circumstances?

I want to know if the cost of living will be a basis of assessment? If it is, I would point out that the Government have already wiped out the fall in the cost of living. The increase in the cost of living has taken away even the 1½ per cent, to the good which was supposed to be left after the 10 per cent. cut in the unemployment benefit. The increase in the cost of living is now 12 per cent. Further, is there to be a cost of living datum line in each city? Is there to be co-ordination between different localities, or is each locality to be left to develop its own system and its own standards? It is no use asking these questions after the machinery has been built up; it is best to put them when the machinery is being designed.

Reference was made by the hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. O. Lewis) to the indiscriminate use of the word "dole." It is a pity the word "dole" is used so freely—as if we were giving a person something to which he had no right. I would sum up my points in this way. We want to know whether there is to be co-ordination between the systems in different localities, we want to know whether a man's house and furniture are to be taken into consideration as a basis of assessment, and, also, whether the price of food is to be a basis. Is the fact that a man has been paying a higher rent in order to give his children a better home to go against him in comparison with a man who has been paying a lower rent?

Photo of Viscount  Cranborne Viscount Cranborne , Dorset Southern

I hope the Committee will forgive me if even at this late stage I now say a few words on the question of the means test. One thing must be absolutely obvious to all of us on this side of the House, and that is that the opposition to the present pro- posals on the part of hon. Members opposite is no "put-up job" on their part, but rests on sincere and deep conviction. Only last week we had an eloquent speech on this subject from the hon. Member for Camlachie (Mr. Stephen). He said, in effect, "Let us not do collectively what we should not do individually." I should also like to point out to him that he should not condemn our doing collectively what we should do individually. What the Government are proposing at the present time is what every single Member in this House would do himself. Supposing the hon. Member for Camlachie or anyone else were sitting at home and there came a knock at the door, and on answering it he found there a man who was out of employment and asking for work or for assistance. What would he do? He would ask him a number of questions, not to insult the man but to find out the real facts, and to make certain that he was not a rogue who was trying to impose upon one's benevolence and take advantage of the miseries of his fellow workers. He would ask the man where he had been at work, how he got out of work, and what resources were now left to him. If it turned out from those inquiries that he was a perfectly genuine man the hon. Member, or anyone else, would do the very best to the extent of his means to assist the man—give him work, or money, or food. The hon. Member would not think that by making those inquiries he had been insulting that man or his class. That is exactly the attitude of the State towards the individuals in the present circumstances.

I have often wondered why the feeling expressed by hon. Members opposite has grown up, and I think it has a historical origin, it dates back to the old stigma which has always attached to Poor Law relief. I think everybody on this side of the House dislikes that stigma as much as any one else. It is obviously a completely wrong and artificial thing. It is a tragic, a melancholy thing that a man who wishes to work and to bring home a good wage to his wife and family should be unable to do so, but it is not humiliating; it is his misfortune, and if he has to go to his fellow citizens for temporary assistance, which he would be quite ready to give back to them in turn, there is nothing humiliating about it.

Photo of Viscount  Cranborne Viscount Cranborne , Dorset Southern

I do not think it is in the least demoralising. If it is demoralising all Christian morality, and every other morality, is wrong. We know the story of the Good Samaritan. I and all other hon. Members were brought up to admire the Good Samaritan. If he was wrong in relieving his fellow citizen, then the whole of Christian morality is wrong.

Photo of Mr James Hudson Mr James Hudson , Huddersfield

He gave the twopence without any questions in that case.

Photo of Viscount  Cranborne Viscount Cranborne , Dorset Southern

The point is that the Good Samaritain gave relief and the other man received relief, and it did neither of them any moral harm. In any case, whether hon. Members like it or do not like it, transitional benefit is relief in this particular sense, that it is a reward given for compassionate reasons and not as a result of services rendered. What is the whole basis of wages? It is a result of the exchange of commodities. Putting it very crudely, Mr. A and his workmen make some article and sell it to Mr. B and his workmen, and out of the proceeds of the sale Mr. A pays the wages of his workmen. Vice versa, Mr. B makes some article in his factory and sells it to Mr. A. and his workmen, and out of the proceeds Mr. B pays the wages of his workmen. Suppose that for some reason, any reason you like, bad trade, the Gold Standard, or anything that appeals to hon. Members—

Photo of Miss Arabella Lawrence Miss Arabella Lawrence , East Ham North

On a point of Order. This discussion appears to be ranging over topics which are the subject of later Amendments and go far beyond the. Amendment before us.

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

The discussion has been rather wide, but it is rather difficult to avoid that on the extensive powers of local authorities on unemployment. The Noble Lord will, no doubt, try to keep as near to the Amendment as he can.

Photo of Viscount  Cranborne Viscount Cranborne , Dorset Southern

I will try to keep as near as possible. The hon. Lady will see that I am coming back to it very soon, and really, I have never been very far away from it. Suppose that Mr. B's factory is closed for some reason and his men have to accept transitional benefit—that is the subject under discussion on this Amendment—that benefit is paid by the State, and the State obtains it by taxation, land that taxation is raised and can only be raised from the other productive industries. It is really paid for by Mr. A and his workmen. It must be paid by them just as much as if Mr. B's workmen were to go to his door and he were to give them money or goods in kind. It is pure relief. It is quite right that the community should pay relief, but when they are giving that relief they are entitled to see that it is properly administered.

It is not as though hon. Members opposite had any real objection to inquiries. Only a few weeks ago we had a discussion in this House on land taxes, and there was one Clause in the Finance Bill then before us which provided for a very considerable inquisition into the income of those who hold land. Hon. Members bad so little objection to it that they allowed it to be passed under the Guillotine with no discussion whatever. They believed it was quite a fair thing. I put it to hon. Members that one principle for which they say they stand is that there should not be one law for the rich and another for the poor, and I think this is a very good opportunity for them to put that principle into operation.

Photo of Mr Frederick Gould Mr Frederick Gould , Frome

I know that the Guillotine will fall at 7.30 and there is another subject which we desire to discuss. I would like to bring the Committee back to the points which were made clear by the Minister of Labour in the very courteous speech which he made, and for which we are all very much indebted to him. I think the country ought to know the various implications of these economy proposals, and they ought to know clearly how they are going to affect the mass of the unemployed. There is another proposal issuing from the Government that has given much concern to the public and which is sure to arouse much social and public feeling. We have heard to-day that every unemployed person, after having drawn 26 unemployment payments, will, willy-nilly, be sent to the public assistance committee, who will undertake a personal investigation into the whole circumstances, including the wages of boys, old age pensions, bank pass book, if any; post office savings, and every detail of domestic life must be placed upon the table.

An hon. Member opposite told the Committee that there was no reason why there should be any public feeling, or any personal feeling, in regard to these investigations, but it is evident that the hon. Member who made that statement has never been subject to such a humiliation. I would like the Committee and especially the Liberal Members, to have a free vote on this question. We are now dealing with a question which affects that independence which is the bulwark of our national life, a kind of psychological thing which it is a very difficult to define, but quite understood by ell of us. The spirit of reservation and independence in the life of these men and women is the very salt of society in the churches and other social organisations. These people are in the position of doing their best in social life. They are blood of our blood and bone of our bone and within six weeks the greatest humiliation of their life will be perpetrated by the passing of this Bill. There is not a Liberal in this House worthy of the name who would not agree with me when I say that the best men are those with a cottage of their own who have saved a few pounds, and where the boys are bringing in a few shillings weekly, and yet this Bill proposes to force the men and women in those homes into a Poor Law organisation where they will he humiliated by the inquiries of public assistance committees.

If I know anything about Radicalism, it means the right to develop individual liberty and personality, but the hideousness and bitterness that will ensue from the passing of this Bill means the negation of all those principles. Whenever a home is humiliated in this way by being placed under the ban of destitution, the spirit of the home is broken. The man who is treated in that way comes out broken in mind, and separated from his class and his comrades. I can visualise hundreds of these men waiting to be interrogated and humiliated in that way. Such a matter as this cannot be decided even after this Bill becomes law, and there will be no issue so virile and bitter at the next election as the issue which we are discussing this afternoon. Had the Prime Minister been present I would have asked him to allow us to have a free vote of the Committee on this issue. [Interruption.] I do not believe that a Member of our party made this proposal, and, even if he did, I am sure that we should repudiate it at the first opportunity. The issue is too serious for us to be in any doubt as to where we stand, and we shall transfer this fight from this Committee to the constituencies, and we shall be returned to this House in order to reverse a verdict that is a degradation to humanity and an outrage upon the decencies of public life.

Photo of Mr Archibald Skelton Mr Archibald Skelton , Perth

I rise to deal with one or two Scottish points which have been raised in this Debate, but I am afraid that I must not be tempted to reply to the attractive arguments which have been put forward in the interesting speech of the hon. Member for Frome (Mr. Gould). The main Scottish point which has been put forward is that persons in receipt of public assistance in Scotland, even if they are able-bodied poor, have a right of appeal to the Department of Health on the score of the inadequacy of their allowance. The hon. Lady the Member for North East Ham (Miss Lawrence), in her speech on Tuesday last, asked if it was intended to introduce into this country the Scottish method, which allowed an appeal in the case of the able-bodied poor. The hon. Lady asked if there was going to be any appeal provided against the assessments made by the public assistance committees with regard to transitional payment. The suggestion was that it would be desirable to incorporate that particular provision of the Scottish Poor Law into the system of assessments for transitional payment. For reasons which have been fully stated by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour it is obvious that, if you are going to have a means test, the body most fitted to inquire into the means of these poor people is the local public assistance committee. It is obvious that the desire is, as far as possible, to segregate and separate the recipients of transitional payment from the recipients of public assistance.

Photo of Mr Joseph Westwood Mr Joseph Westwood , Peebles and Southern

Is it not a fact that in the local administration in Scotland, whether it is in regard to Poor Law or old age pension, any dissatisfied applicant has a right to appeal to the Minister of Health; and is it not also a fact that the White Paper definitely lays down that there is no appeal from the decisions of the public assistance committees?

Photo of Mr Archibald Skelton Mr Archibald Skelton , Perth

It would be quite improper for me to go into the general question, and I am simply dealing with the point which was put by the late Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health. The question put to me is whether the Government intend to incorporate, in the system of assessing the means of those receiving transitional benefit, the procedure which exists in Scotland in the case of those receiving public assistance through the public assistance committees? My answer is that we are not going to do any such thing. My final reason is that we are attempting to deal quite separately, as far as possible, with the position of those receiving transitional payments from those who are receiving public assistance. It is clear that those who are going to receive these transitional payments only approach the region of public assistance because their need is going to be assessed by the public assistance committee. Otherwise, the payments to those persons and everything else is done, not through the public assistance committee, but through the Employment Exchanges.

If you are going to incorporate one feature of the Scottish public assistance system, namely, the right of appeal to the Department of Health, then you would surely have to incorporate the other features of the procedure with regard to public assistance. What are those features? There is a character test; there is the fact that the recipient may he forced to receive his payment in kind and there is the fact that, if necessary in distressing circumstances, connected, no doubt, with the character of the recipient, he may have to receive his relief in the poor-house of the district. These are the other sides of the procedure proper to public assistance in Scotland, and the proposal that one part of the procedure of public assistance should be adopted and the other discarded is a, proposal for which there can be no logical foundation. I think it may be said with confidence that there is nothing that would be more undesirable, or that the Government would more dislike, than that there should be any suggestion that men and women, presently on transitional benefit, who, after these provisions have come into effect, will receive transitional payment, should be paid, for instance, partly in kind, or that the means test should develop into a character test.

Therefore, in my judgment, if I may say so frankly and without discourtesy, there is a certain element of confusion of mind in asking us to incorporate or introduce into the procedure with regard to transitional payment this particular part of the procedure which is only proper to public assistance. That was the only really Scottish question that was raised. The hon. Member for Spring-burn (Mr. G. Hardie) has, under the guise of putting it as a purely Scottish question, raised the question of what the means test is going to be, and whether it is going to be applied on the same principle as in the case of a means test for public assistance. The answer is, Yes, it is. In Scotland and England alike—

Photo of Mr David Logan Mr David Logan , Liverpool Scotland

It is going to become destitution.

Photo of Mr Archibald Skelton Mr Archibald Skelton , Perth

That is not a word that I have ever heard before in this connection. It is going to be exactly the same means test as is applied to every person who requires assistance and is not under insurance at present. It is going to be the same kind of means test that is applied to the agricultural worker who is not insured, when he requires the assistance of the community. A further answer to this question seems to me to be that it would be absurd to suppose that you could have two different means tests. Either an individual requires the assistance of the State—whether that assistance is going to he paid for by the Treasury or out of the rates—or he does not, and it is obvious that there cannot be two separate means tests, the one, say, proper to the agricultural labourer who is out of work, and the other proper to the steelworker. The principle upon which we have gone is this: You have your local body, knowing fully and better than any one else the needs of individuals and the standard of the locality, and the whole question of assessment has been entrusted to them; but the men who are going to receive unemployment payment are not to be treated as though they are receiving public assistance, but as having a right to receive the appropriate money payment so soon as the public assistance committee has decided what that appropriate money payment is.

Photo of Mr Robert Taylor Mr Robert Taylor , Lincoln

The Committee are anxious to come to a decision, and, therefore, I will confine myself to asking three specific questions. First, what do the Government intend to do in case public assistance committees refuse to do this dirty work for them? From what I hear, it may happen that public assistance committees would take this view. Secondly, will the regulations provide for uniformity of administration or between Poor Law authority and Poor Law authority? You are dealing with national money, and, presumably, there should be uniformity, particularly in contiguous areas. May I ask, further, whether the regulations will require all, Poor Law authorities to adopt the same practice in calculating the needs of a, family? In other words, can we have an assurance that one local authority will not insist upon a man realising the amount of money that he may have paid on mortgage for his house or to a building society before he can get any benefit, while another authority may allow him to retain his property? May we have an assurance that in this respect there will be uniformity?

Photo of Mr George Buchanan Mr George Buchanan , Glasgow Gorbals

I should like to ask two questions. Suppose that a man goes to the public assistance committee and his case is turned down by them, and that he then applies for poor relief proper? Under the Poor Law, he has a right of appeal. Suppose that he appeals, and his appeal is allowed. What then is his position? What is the position as regards the Exchange? Is the first body the determining factor, or the second? Again, assume that a mistake has been made by the committee; or, indeed, it is not impossible for the man himself to make a mistake. If a decision is based on mistaken facts, is there to be any review where it can be proved that the decision was based on mistaken facts? Even with the court of referees now, if a person can bring forward new facts, a new court is given. Will that be the practice here?

Photo of Mr Joseph Westwood Mr Joseph Westwood , Peebles and Southern

I should like to ask a question on the same point that has been raised by the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan). An agricul- tural labourer has the right of appeal at present, if he has applied to the public assistance committee and has either been refused or provided with inadequate assistance. It has already been stated that the Government do not want any difference of treatment as between the unemployed man and the agricultural labourer who has, unfortunately, had to make application. Does that position still hold good, so that each will have some court of appeal, though not necessarily the same one? A court of referees might be set up to give justice to the unemployed man who is applying for transitional benefit through the public assistance committee.

Photo of Mr Archibald Skelton Mr Archibald Skelton , Perth

With regard to the second question of the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan), in the event of an error being made by the public assistance committee, and new facts being brought forward, I see no difficulty in the applicant going back to the public assistance committee with the new facts. Both hon. Members have raised the question of appeals once again, and it is a little technical. In the case of the able-bodied poor, there is no appeal to anyone against a decision by the public assistance committee to give no relief at all; but, once relief is decided on by the public assistance committee, there is an appeal to the Department of Health as to amount and adequacy. In the case of the ordinary poor, I think I am correct in saying that there is quite a different sort of appeal, namely, an appeal to the sheriff as to whether the applicant is not entitled to relief in a case where the parish council deny it. That only exists in the case of the non-able-bodied poor, and it is really not in the picture at all as I see it. I do not think I need add anything to the reasons which I have already given for our decision not to incorporate the provision as to appeals to the Department in the case of the able-bodied poor.

6.0 p.m.

Photo of Mr David Logan Mr David Logan , Liverpool Scotland

I want to bring the discussion back to the question of a Government which desires to bring into operation certain regulations. I have had experience on the largest Poor Law authority in the world, and am thoroughly au fait with the whole question of means tests. I trust that this Committee will pay attention to what they are about to make an Act of Parliament do in respect of transitional benefit. Let us have no ambiguity or mincing of words. The word "destitution" is one of which everyone connected with Poor Law administration knows the meaning, as applied to those in the transitional period who are now being sent from the legitimate channel to the illegitimate channel to be dealt with in regard to unemployment benefit. Do the Government propose to apply this procedure to the man who was working on an employment scheme set up by the Government, and who now, because the scheme is insolvent, is unemployed? Those who will be sent to the public assistance committee will not only be members of the Labour party, but members of the Liberal and Tory parties, men who are unemployed through no fault of their own, who have been honestly seeking work day by day, who have always been afraid of the stigma of pauperism, and have never wished to taint their families with the fact that they have had to seek pauper relief—for that is what this Bill means. Is that your sense of your responsibility on the question of administration? You cannot shirk the responsibility in regard to the 900,000 people who must now apply to the Poor Law authorities. I have an intimate knowledge of the Poor Law in Liverpool. It is a rather dangerous precedent that you are setting up. You must accept the responsibility of this iniquity that you are about to place on the deserving poor. You talk of the family life of the nation and you say there is only one category. Only a moment ago the Minister said there is no classification and no distinction. Have we now reached the stage with the genuine unemployed that there is no distinction? I think you must be going mad in respect to your legislation, with a vast army of 2,800,000 unemployed, to come to the House of Commons and insult the workers and say the only proposition you can put up is that they are to go to the guardians to have their case decided. There is to be a means test, and Bumbledom is to inquire into the character and into the income and, what is more, to communicate with every firm in which any member of the family is employed. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why not?"] Go and ask the people you represent "Why not." I was sitting on a relief committee at Liverpool when a great ship-owner decided that a ship would have to lie up. The chief officer, holding an extra chief's ticket, after three years' unemployment, came along to be assessed. He said his home had gone and now he had to come before us to see if we could give him something to keep him alive. For 30 odd years he had sailed the Seven Seas. The latest saving is that even captains of ships whose boats are being laid up no longer get money from their firms and are unemployed until the ship can sail again.

Is it to be said that at the end of 26 weeks these men are to go to the guardians to have their cases inquired into? Is there no classification? Are we to reduce the great mass of deserving cases among the unemployed down to a system of Bumbledom which was only intended to deal with vagrants in its early stages, or have we forgotten that we are in England, that the unemployed, through no fault of their own, anxious for work and not able to get it, are now to be degraded by the system that the Government are bringing in? Who will deal with the cases? Will it be those who have faced the electors or the co-opted members, who have no responsibility, who will do the dirty work of the Government? In my opinion, it is bad for the nation, and for everything that makes for the safety of the nation, to have the vast army of unemployed dealt with in the inhumane manner of this legislation. If you know anything at all of the psychology of great crowds of people, if you know anything of the mass of 6,000 unemployed who went through the streets of Liverpool yesterday, you will consider, before you do anything so damnable as this, whether your policy is a right or proper one. I believe we have to face a great crisis, but your system is radically wrong. As human nature is concerned, it is a wrong classification entirely. You will never get rid of the problem this way at all. You want to consider the human side of life and put it back into its proper channel and let the proper body deal with it as they ought, so that you can get on with your business. I hope you will withdraw this from the Bill.

Photo of Colonel Harry Nathan Colonel Harry Nathan , Bethnal Green North East

Throughout the whole of this discussion attention has been concentrated on those of the unemployed who have passed off transitional benefit. The Committee might be under the impression, from the speeches that have been made, that the whole of the unemployed, being insured persons, have received transitional benefit. That is far from being the case. The hon. Member who has just spoken asked whether it was right and proper that the captain of a vessel falling into unemployment should be subjected to what he described as the ignominy of a means test. That is precisely the position to-day of the captain of a vessel who falls into unemployment and has to have recourse to benefits that will be given to him not under the Unemployment Insurance Act but under public assistance. The able seaman, the fisherman or the agricultural labourer who falls into unemployment has to appeal to the public assistance authority and to undergo the ignominy as the hon. Member says—I do not accept the description myself—of a means test. There has been too great an attempt made in the course of these Debates on the part of those speaking from the benches opposite to try to establish a sort of aristocracy of labour consisting of those who have passed through insurance benefit, covenanted benefit to transitional benefit. I represent a working class constituency in which the unemployed have increased threefold during the past two years. Great numbers of them who are receiving assistance have never been insured because they have never had the qualifications for insurance. I cannot understand myself why a procedure which has been thought fit, without question or complaint from the benches opposite, for the street trader, for the business man who has fallen upon evil days, for the widow who for some reason has not received the widow's pension, for the aged spinster who is not yet entitled to an old age pension and has never qualified for the widow's pension, a procedure which hon. Members do not contest—[Interruption.] They are very vocal now, but throughout the whole course of these Debates throughout the whole of the last three years, not a protest has been raised as regards the procedure applicable to these classes of unemployed. To my mind, there is no reason to differentiate those who have exhausted their covenanted benefit from those who have never been entitled to it at all. I join in the hope that has been expressed that the procedure now contemplated for those who have passed off transitional benefit will be administered in the spirit in which I believe it has been administered, at all events in the neighbourhood with which I am familiar, in a spirit of good feeling, sympathy, consideration and justice.

Photo of Mr Elijah Sandham Mr Elijah Sandham , Liverpool Kirkdale

I think we are approaching this question from an entirely wrong angle. We ought to be searching for the culprits who are responsible for this alleged crisis.

Photo of Mr Robert Bourne Mr Robert Bourne , Oxford

I must point out to the hon. Member that that particular point does not arise on this Amendment.

Photo of Mr Elijah Sandham Mr Elijah Sandham , Liverpool Kirkdale

The fund which has, in the first place, been drawn upon by the unemployed and the funds which have to be drawn upon in regard to what is granted by the public assistance committees have one source, and one source only. I hope that I. may be able to deal with that matter. The source of it is the productive capacity of the working classes of this country.

Photo of Mr Robert Bourne Mr Robert Bourne , Oxford

The question from what source it is derived does not arise on this Amendment, and the only question that can arise is as to what; duties of local authorities are affected.

Photo of Mr Elijah Sandham Mr Elijah Sandham , Liverpool Kirkdale

May I point out to you, Captain Bourne, with very great respect, that we are entitled to deal with the basic matter responsible for the issue before the Committee, and that is the question of funds? I respectfully put that point to you. As a matter of fact, the unemployed section who will have to come before the public assistance committees have had nothing but injustice meted out from beginning to end. The unemployed contributor to the insurance scheme, when he was in employment, not only contributed his own share by the product of his labour, not only contributed the whole of the master's share by the product of his labour, but he also contributed the whole of the State's share by the product of his labour. That is absolutely indisputable. [Laughter.] It is all very well for hon. Members to laugh, but I ask them very seriously to analyse what I have been saying in connection with that matter. I am, therefore, opposed to a method of this description which allows the moneys of those people to be handled by and through public assistance committees. I think that it is totally wrong.

As a matter of justice, instead of the unemployed being called before the public assistance committees, those people who have been responsible for the financial ramp in this country and in other countries, but, as affecting this issue, those in this country, ought to be brought before the public assistance committees. What have the employed and the unemployed done to deserve this? Is it that they have been unable to produce sufficient? Is it that there is a shortage of the means of life in this country, or is it that they have not been allowed to produce as much as they might have done, in spite of the fact that there is a superabundance of everything affecting the means of life in this country and in other countries? I suggest that if the Government of the day think that the country is going to take a matter of this description quiescently, they are making a very grave mistake. I know what will happen in Liverpool if the Government persist in that line of policy, because understand pretty well the temperament of Liverpool and what it is capable of doing in certain directions. I want us to avoid that, hence my observations at this juncture, and I hope and trust that the Government will withdraw this particular portion of economy which they think is likely to save the nation in the immediate future.

Photo of Mr Joseph Sullivan Mr Joseph Sullivan , Bothwell

I rise for the purpose of putting some questions to the Minister to which I should like answers. When unemployed are referred to the public assistance committees, what scale is to be applied? Is it to be the scale of unemployment benefit or the scale of the public assistance committees? It is important that we should know. I represent a depressed area where probably 90 per cent. of the unemployed will come immediately before these committees, and it is essential that we should know exactly the treatment that will be meted out to them. If the Minister will tell us what scales are to be applied, it will probably make things much easier for us.

Photo of Mr Arthur Dixey Mr Arthur Dixey , Penrith and Cockermouth

I wish to ask for information to which, I think, the Committee are entitled, from right hon. Gentlemen who sit on the benches opposite. We are called upon to discuss the very nasty and disagreeable subject as to whether a means test should be applied. Everybody dislikes interrogations with regard to means. It is common knowledge among Income Tax payers in the country. A large number of hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the Committee have had some experience of paying Income Tax, and they know that it is inconvenient and very disagreeable to be called upon to furnish details of one's income. I have not heard any protests from hon. or right hon. Gentlemen opposite except the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) that they object to the ordinary course of interrogation which is put to respectable applicants who come for Poor Law relief. Such a person is asked to furnish particulars of his financial position. To my mind there is a connection between the representations of hon. Members opposite and the votes which may be affected. The poor widow who has to go through the ordinary Poor Law is not represented in the multitude of votes which hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite are so keen on retaining at the present time. I think that the Deputy-Leader of the party opposite and a prominent ornament of the Opposition, the late Home Secretary, will probably tell the Committee that the late Cabinet before their tragic fall were in agreement, at all events, that there was a necessity for a means or a needs test.

Photo of Mr Arthur Dixey Mr Arthur Dixey , Penrith and Cockermouth

Not tragic for the country, but tragic for themselves. Perhaps it was a very unfortunate term to use. I ask the right hon. Gentleman the late Home Secretary if he will tell the Committee—he has not yet intervened in the Debate—to what test he, as one of the Members of the Cabinet, was prepared to agree and to introduce? It is obvious that relief should not be given indiscriminately. The right hon. Gentleman and his colleague the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Greenwood) have, I understand, admitted in this House that they had a type of means test which they would propose to apply. It would be very useful in this Debate for the Committee to have a declaration from the right hon. Gentleman, and I therefore propose to give way to him straight away.

Photo of Mr Alexander Haycock Mr Alexander Haycock , Salford West

In practically every Debate now an accusation is made that our own Front Bench in these matters is not without sin. The only argument against that is that you are as bad as we are. There can be no real defence in respect of these mean and unnecessary conditions. The hon. Member for Penrith and Cockermouth (Mr. Dixey) said that we are merely thinking in terms of vote-catching and not of the widows and other unfortunate people. In season and out of season, long before we were threatened with a General Election, we have fought for better conditions for the unemployed, and we shall keep on fighting for better conditions. If hon. Members on the other side or on this side knew that their wives and families had to face poverty after 26 weeks, there would be a different attitude towards this fund. I refer to those hon. Members who live sheltered lives, and those hon. Members who were lucky enough to choose their parents.

Viscountess ASTOR:

To choose their parents?

Photo of Mr Alexander Haycock Mr Alexander Haycock , Salford West

Yes. You were lucky enough to choose a husband. People who have never known what it is to walk the hard road of capitalism and of poverty, and what it is to have to go before public assistance committees are in a fortunate position. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Penrith and Cocker-mouth said that Income Tax payers had to answer certain questions. Have Income Tax payers to go before a public assistance committee? Do they have to disclose the contents of the family cupboard? [Interruption.] I know that there are certain people who have to give intimate details of their private lives, but that is when they are explaining matters to their creditors and are driven to bankruptcy. That is when they have to tell how they backed the wrong horse both ways. There happen to be two classes of society. You would not accept this proposal to be tortured and catechised yourselves, and if you would not accept it for yourselves it is not good enough for the workless who are unem- ployed because of the rotten and unnecessary system which now prevails. If you would not put up with this sort of thing yourselves, it is pretty mean and shabby to ask the other fellow to put up with it.

What is the purpose behind it all? The purpose is plainer than a pikestaff. I hold in my hand a report on the industrial situation issued by the National Confederation of Employers' Organisations. They contain the orders that were issued some months ago to the late Government. They tell us in this report that they are the employers of fully 7,000,000 workpeople normally. They tell us quite blatantly and without any shame, without even disguising it. They let pussy right out of the bag, and pussy is miaowing. These are the words ipsissima verba. [Interruption.] I was only indulging in a Latin quotation, and the hon. Gentleman opposite is jealous. He inflicted the same kind of agony upon the House the other day when he tried to let us know that his classical education had not been neglected. Here are the words contained in the report: Wages must come down if we are to hold our own in the markets of the world, and the one factor which is keeping wages is the unemployment benefit which is being indiscriminately given. It might at first sight bo imagined that wages are controlled solely by the workers and employers in the various industries themselves and that the State has no responsibility for the post-War mal-adjustment of wage levels in this country. We should, however, point out that since the War the State paid by fixing high rates of unemployment benefit and constantly relaxing the conditions for the payment of it by fixing high rates of unemployment benefit and constantly relaxing the conditions for the payment of it, and by paying grants to local authorities for distribution in wage rates higher than our export industry can afford, and so on, are the factors in the rigidity of wages that are keeping wages up. They take the view that if we can only harry and torture the unemployed, the trade union leaders will be unable to bargain with the employers, down will come wages and then, I suppose, we shall be the workshop of the world again, our export trade will go up, and the numbers of the unemployed will go down. [Interruption.] It always surprises me on very important matters, such as the way the trade unions treat their members, to note the lack of elementary knowledge, A.B.C. knowledge, on the part of hon. Members opposite. That sort of nonsense is uttered on platforms all over the country. In order to let the hon. Member know, so that he will never do it again, may I tell him that he is completely mistaken? If I can take away a little of his ignorance and give him some facts, it may help the Committee. The statement that he has made is not true. The document from which I have been quoting, goes on to say: Having regard to the high rates of benefit and the laxity of qualifying conditions"— that is, 26 weeks— it is only natural that the trade unions, anxious to maintain their wage levels and knowing that their unemployed members can count upon unemployment benefit more or less permanently at those high rates—[Interruption.] there are many hon. Members opposite who will spend more on a single dinner than the unemployed will get even at those so-called high rates in one week.

Photo of Mr Alexander Haycock Mr Alexander Haycock , Salford West

The hon. Member is anticipating. Even if that statement were true, it would not affect my argument. If I could afford that amount of money for my dinner, what a despicable person should be if I insisted upon a surgical operation upon the inadequate income of the unemployed. If I were married and I saw my wife and children well fed and living in luxury, and I was so mean as to ask the unemployed to take less in benefit, and after 26 weeks I sent them before the public assistance committee, I should be ashamed of myself. If I could afford such a dinner, I hope that I should understand what the ingredients of generosity ought to be. The proposal of the Government which we are discussing is a direct drive upon the purchasing power of the people. It will help to destroy the home market, and the "omega" will be much worse than the "alpha" when the story is written. I will proceed with the quotation. —are disinclined in wage negotiations to take the same account of the necessity of adjusting wages to levels at which industry can absorb their unemployed. The very fact that they can draw this benefit gives a bargaining power to the trades union leaders. The Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University (Lord H. Cecil) in that wonderfully-phrased speech yesterday, told us that the only hope was to get the wage level down, so that we could compete in the markets of the world. I am afraid that there is no way out in the way he suggested. I repeat that the Government's proposal is a drive upon wage standards. If you take away the defence that the workers now have, because of unemployment insurance, you weaken their defence generally. [Interruption.] The last person who is entitled to suggest that I am wasting time, wasted more time than anybody on the back benches on the Tory side during the term of the last Government. We are entitled to know precisely what are to be the conditions confronting the unfortunate people in connection with the public assistance committees. What will happen to them when they go before those committees. Many thousands of people will be dependent upon the decisions made by those committees, and we are entitled to know what their fate is to be. I do not think the plan will be very generous.

We are justified in being suspicious of the character of the proposals, and I want to know, while there is yet time to criticise the proposals, what is to happen to the unemployed after the 26 weeks are up? Perhaps it might be better to take a lesson from the thrifty housewife, who drowns the kittens. Perhaps we ought to drown the unemployed after the 26 weeks, and not allow them to go before the public assistance committees. We know what the public assistance committees mean. We know what Bumbledom means. We are told that all these things are necessary because we have to make Budgets balance. The Prime Minister told us that we must tighten our belts, that we must think in terms of rigid economy, and that if we were not in an emergency we might afford to be generous. We were told at first that these things were being done because it was necessary to save the Gold Standard, which was in danger. The Gold Standard has gone west. So far as the unemployed are concerned, they have never been on the Gold Standard. They have bought their food in half-pennyworths and pennyworths. The Gold Standard has gone, milk is still being delivered, the bottom has not dropped out of industry. What argument is there left for proceeding with this Bill?

Photo of Mr Robert Bourne Mr Robert Bourne , Oxford

The hon. Member is now delivering a general speech on economy. He must confine himself to the Amendment.

Photo of Mr Alexander Haycock Mr Alexander Haycock , Salford West

I must talk about the public assistance committee. The purpose of the Government's proposals was that we had to balance the Budget and that we had to economise, and I was suggesting that now that the Gold Standard has gone, and everybody is glad that it has gone, and politicians and newspapers are telling us that we are in for boom times, when everything in the commercial garden will be lovely, when stocks and shares are sky rocketing, when Dives will have more meat and the poor man will have more crumbs, now that we have got away from this yellow metal, there is no need for this economy.

Photo of Mr Robert Bourne Mr Robert Bourne , Oxford

What the newspapers have to say cannot possibly concern this Amendment. I must ask the hon. Member to confine himself to the Amendment.

Photo of Mr Alexander Haycock Mr Alexander Haycock , Salford West

It is difficult for me to determine when I am exactly in order. I do not like to transgress the Rules of the House. I think that there might have been a change of policy, seeing that we are told in every quarter that the times ahead are going to be good and that the days of prosperity are coming. If those statements are true, there is no need for this Economy Bill, and there is no need to send the unemployed before committees which never take the trouble to understand the trials, troubles and tribulations of the unemployed. We ought to know exactly what the unemployed will have to bear after the 26 weeks, and what the programme of the public assistance committees will be.

Viscountess ASTOR:

It is very difficult to follow the hon. Member who has just spoken. I am sure that the Committee will agree that it is not the policy of the Government to harry and torture the unemployed. We are all deeply interested in the question of unemployment and we are assisting the Government to put the country on a sound financial basis. No one can be unmindful of the pitiful state of the unemployed. During the term of office of the late Government, the number of the unemployed doubled.

Photo of Mr Robert Bourne Mr Robert Bourne , Oxford

The number of the unemployed does not arise. The Noble Lady must confine herself to the Amendment.

Viscountess ASTOR:

I want to put this point to the Committee, and it is a matter upon which we are entitled to have sonic explanation. The late Minister of Health agreed to a means test. I want to know, what was the means test to which he agreed? That is very important. It is only fair that the unemployed should know. Hon. and right hon. Members opposite are saying that they would not do this and that, but Members on the Front Bench opposite agreed to a means test; and I ask what kind of a means test?

Photo of Mr Elijah Sandham Mr Elijah Sandham , Liverpool Kirkdale

May I ask, Captain Bourne, for your Ruling as to whether we are discussing the validity of a means test or not?

Photo of Mr Robert Bourne Mr Robert Bourne , Oxford

We are discussing what duties may be imposed upon local authorities under Clause 1 of the Bill.

Viscountess ASTOR:

That is exactly my point. I appeal to hon. and right hon. Members opposite to let us know, to let the country know, to what kind of a means test they agreed. The country is really a little muddled about it, and the unemployed are muddled too. [Interruption.] We know what the late First Commissioner of Works did when he was in office. All he did was to make it more pleasant for the children in the parks.

Photo of Mr Robert Bourne Mr Robert Bourne , Oxford

I do not see how that has anything to do with the Amendment before the Committee.

Viscountess ASTOR:

The Amendment deals with the unemployed. The right hon. Gentleman the late First Commissioner of Works was one of the men who led the unemployed when we were in office, but when he got into office the only thing he thought about was to make it pleasanter for the people in the parks. When he is out of office he leads them, but when he is in office he goes hack on every promise he ever made. We have a right to know what was the means test to which hon. Members and right hon. Members opposite agreed: and upon whom it was to be imposed. It is no good waiting for the election. When they get on the platforms in the country they will say things quite different from what they say in the House of Commons. We demand an answer from right hon. Members opposite. The late Minister of Health said on one occasion: To have recourse to the Poor Law is something which is bitterly repugnant to most members of the working class. It is repugnant to everybody.

Viscountess ASTOR:

Yes, even to the rich. People who were once rich are getting poorer and poorer, and they may have to go to the Poor Law. Some hon. and right hon. Members opposite preach in the pulpit, and make the most of their religion out of the House of Commons. I ask them to be honest, not to shirk the point, and to say what was the means test and how it was going to be applied.

Viscountess ASTOR:

You are not responsible.

Photo of Mr George Lansbury Mr George Lansbury , Poplar Bow and Bromley

The hon. Lady probably was not in the House two nights ago when I stated exactly what I meant by a means test.

Viscountess ASTOR:

I agree, but what the right hon. Gentleman means by the means test is not what the Government of which he was a representative meant. What we want to know is whether the late Minister of Health agreed to a means test and what that test was.

Photo of Mr George Lansbury Mr George Lansbury , Poplar Bow and Bromley

If the hon. Lady was regular in attendance she would know that the right hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Greenwood) said at this Box a few days ago what he meant by a means test. The hon. Lady does not know what happens in the House.

Viscountess ASTOR:

I know perfectly well what the right hon. Member for Colne Valley said, but was that the test to which he agreed when he was in office?

Viscountess ASTOR:

Then it is a very strict means test.

Viscountess ASTOR:

I will not. [Interruption.]

Photo of Mr George Lansbury Mr George Lansbury , Poplar Bow and Bromley

On a point of Order. May I ask whether an hon. Member of this House is in order in charging against another hon. Member statements which are absolutely and entirely untrue?

Photo of Mr Robert Bourne Mr Robert Bourne , Oxford

I am afraid that is not an infrequent practice in our Debates.

Viscountess ASTOR:

Really, the sensitiveness of the right hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) is pitiable. Sensitiveness is a form of selfishness; you are never sensitive unless you are thinking about yourself, and the right hon. Gentleman ever since the late Government went out of office has only been thinking as to how he was going to appear in the picture. We all know that he was the joke of the late Government.

Photo of Mr Robert Bourne Mr Robert Bourne , Oxford

This has nothing whatever to do with the Amendment.

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

On a point of Order. As you have already called the hon. Lady to order on three occasions, are you not entitled to ask her to resume her seat?

Photo of Mr Robert Bourne Mr Robert Bourne , Oxford

That is not a point of Order.

Viscountess ASTOR:

I ask the late Home Secretary to tell us what the Opposition Front Bench means by a means test. We want to know. So far we have had nothing from them as to what their means test was. They have quibbled and quibbled, one after the other. We want to know, and we demand an answer, as to what means test the late Government proposed to impose. I am certain that hon. Members on the back benches opposite want to know. [Interruption.] I remember that the late Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health when the late Government came into office said that there would be no unemployed, and even if there were they could pass a Bill within three weeks which would guarantee to give them milk—

Photo of Mr Robert Bourne Mr Robert Bourne , Oxford

The hon. Lady must confine her observations to the Question before the Committee.

Viscountess ASTOR:

I will, but you must remember, Captain Bourne, that we have to sit here and listen to hon. Members opposite making tub-thumping speeches which have very little to do with the question, and which are only made with the idea of catching the eye of the gallery. One last word. [Interruption.] I should like to have from the late Home Secretary the means test which the late Government agreed should he imposed on the unemployed.

Photo of Mr John Bowen Mr John Bowen , Crewe

The honourable Lady—[HON. MEMBERS: "Divide."] I do not mind hon. Members who have spoken several times in the last week being a little impatient, but when I have an opportunity of saying a few words on one occasion I do object to that impatience. The hon. Lady for Sutton [Viscountess Astor] has interested the Committee, as she always does. There are certain qualities about the hon. Lady which I very much admire. First of all, she has declared, by inference, that she is not a sensitive person, and, secondly, that she never plays to the gallery.

Viscountess ASTOR:

Has this anything to do with the unemployed?

Photo of Mr John Bowen Mr John Bowen , Crewe

I hope I am not the only person who may not be permitted a few irrelevancies. I have sat here and listened to a good many during the Debate, and the last speech was, I thought, rather full of irrelevancies. The hon. Lady's challenge to hon. Members on this side of the Committee is interesting, but whatever she may say about the intentions or otherwise of members of the Front Opposition Bench when they were in power, the rank and file on this side know nothing about any pledge, and naturally when a test comes before us we refuse to take any responsibility. I want to ask to what extent hon. Members opposite are committed to a means test, and to what extent it is to be applied? We are entitled to know what it means. Whatever may be said about unemployment insurance, the simple fact remains, that the nation has accepted responsibility for the maintenance of the unemployed if they cannot find work. The degree of that maintenance must be determined, and it is the determination of the degree of maintenance around which there is so much controversy. As far as unemployment insurance benefits go, and so far as public assistance committees may be called in to supplement that, fund, I should like to know whether the Government have considered the full effect upon public assistance committees of the claims which will be made by the unemployed. Have they considered the burden that is going to be imposed upon public assistance committees in industrial areas, a burden which, in my opinion, is calculated to break down local government in a very short time?

7.0 p.m.

In my own constituency there is the town of Crewe, a comparatively small town, but with an unemployed figure of between 3,000 and 4,000 people. There has been rationalisation in the local industry, men are not likely to be employed there for any considerable length of time and there is no prospect of re-opening some of the processes. Changes have gone on; and men have been out a work for years at a time, large numbers of them for many months, and undoubtedly the transitional benefit proposals of the Government's Economy Bill and the proposals to impose charges on local authorities are bound to reflect themselves on those conditions. If local authorities have to be appealed to by these men, what is going to be the effect in that locality, where local tradesmen rely entirely on local industry and where men, who are fitted to the work of that industry, good men in themselves, are unable to find work and unable to move from that locality? The result must inevitably be that the appeal to public assistance committees will impose a

burden that local authorities cannot bear. We shall be departing from the principle that the responsibility has to be spread over the whole of the nation. Unless that responsibility is recognised, residential towns and seaside towns with no unemployment charges will escape any responsibility in that connection.

We must continue to press the Government on this matter until they declare how they can show local authorities to get over their difficulties and how these industrial towns can survive these troubles. [HON. MEMBERS: "Find work"] Yes, if you can. The ideas of hon. Members opposite will take a long time to find any work for the unemployed, if, indeed, they produce any work at all. The unemployed cannot wait for these nostrums to develop. They must be fed in the meantime. It is no good telling a man on transitional benefit, who has to go to the public assistance committee when the public assistance committee is absolutely ruined as the result of the Government's proposals, that there is going to be a tariff in a few months. There must be support for these people at once. The question is immediate and pressing. The Government have a grave responsibility for imposing on local authorities and public assistance committees a charge which should be spread over the whole of the nation in order to distribute the liability. The point affects my own constituency and other industrial areas like my own all over the country, and it must be faced. I hope that the Government will give us a clear answer.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 290; Noes, 238.

Division No. 491.]AYES.[7.5 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-ColonelBellairs, Commander CarlyonBuchan, John
Ainsworth, Lieut.-Col. CharlesBerry, Sir GeorgeBuchan-Hepburn, P. G. t.
Albery, Irving JamesBetterton, Sir Henry B.Bullock, Captain Malcolm
Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)Bevan, S. J. (Holborn)Burgin, Dr. E. L.
Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l., W.)Birchall, Major Sir John DearmanBurton, Colonel H. W.
Allen. Lt.-Col. Sir William (Armagh)Birkett, W. NormanButler, R. A.
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.Blindell, JamesButt, Sir Alfred
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.Boothby, R. J. G.Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward
Astor, Maj. Hon. John J. (Kent,Dover)Bowater, Col. Sir T. VansittartCalne, Hall-, Derwent
Astor, ViscountessBowyer, Captain Sir George E. W.Campbell, E. T.
Atholl, Duchess ofBoyce, LeslieCarver, Major W. H.
Atkinson, C.Bracken, B.Castle Stewart, Earl of
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley (Bewdley)Braithwaite, Major A. N.Cautley, Sir Henry S.
Balfour, George (Hampstead)Briscoe, Richard GeorgeCayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)
Balfour, Captain H. H. (I of Thanet)Broadbent, Colonel J,Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R.(Prtsmth,S.)
Balniel, LoroBrown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)Cazalet, Captain Victor A.
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.Brown, Brig.-Gen.H.O.(Berks, Newb'y)Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lent H. (Ox. Univ.)
Chadwick, Capt. Sir Robert BurtonHanbury, C.Peters, Dr. Sidney John
Chamberlain,Rt.Hn.Sir J.A.(Blrm.,W.)Hannon, Patrick Joseph HenryPeto, Sir Basil E.(Devon, Barnstaple)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)Harbord, A.Power, Sir John Cecil
Chapman, Sir S.Hartington, Marquess ofPownall, Sir Assheton
Christie, J. A.Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)Purbrick, R.
Church, Major A. G.Haslam, Henry C.Pybus, Percy John
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston SpencerHenderson, Capt. R. R.(Oxf'd, Henley)Ramsay, T. B. Wilson
Clydesdale, Marquess ofHeneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.Ramsbotham, H.
Cobb, Sir CyrilHennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.Rawson, Sir Cooper
Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir GeorgeHills, Major Rt. Hon. John WallerReid, David D. (County Down)
Cohen, Major J. BrunelHope, Sir Harry (Forfar)Remer, John R,
Colfox, Major William PhilipHore-Belisha, LeslieRentoul, Sir Gervals S.
Colman, N. C. D.Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.Reynolds, Col. Sir James
Colville, Major D. J.Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.
Conway, Sir W. MartinHudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.)Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'te'y)
Cooper, A. DuffHurd, Percy A.Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)
Courtauld, Major J. S.Hurst, Sir Gerald B.Robinson, Sir T. (Lanes, Stratford)
Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.Inskip, Sir ThomasRodd, Rt. Hon Sir James Rennell
Cowan, D. M.Iveagh, Countess ofRosbotham, D. S. T.
Cranbourne, ViscountJones, Llewellyn-, F.Ross, Ronald D.
Crichton-Stuart, Lord C.Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E.
Crott, Brigadier-General Sir H.Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Crookshank, Capt. H. C.Jones, Rt. Hon Leif (Camborne)Russell, Richard John (Eddlsbury)
Croom-Johnson, R. P.Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A. (Preston)Salmon, Major I.
Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)Kedward, R. M. (Kent, Ashford)Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Cunliffe-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir PhilipKindersley, Major G. M.Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)
Dalkeith, Earl ofKnight, HolfordSamuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Dairymple-White, Lt.-Col. Sir GodfreyKnox, Sir AlfredSandeman, Sir N. Stewart
Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)Lamb, Sir J. Q.Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.
Davies, Dr. VernonLambert, Rt. Hon. George (S. Molton)Savery, S. S.
Davies, E. C. (Montgomery)Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.Scott, James
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset,Yeovil)Law, Sir Alfred (Derby, High Peak)Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.
Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome
Dawson, Sir PhilipLeighton, Major B. E. P.Simms, Major-General J.
Denman, Hon. R. D.Lewis, Oswald (Colchester)Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.Llewellin, Major J. J.Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (Caithness)
Dixey, A. C.Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. GodfreySkelton, A. N.
Dixon, Captain Rt. Hon. HerbertLocker-Lampson, Com. O.(Handsw'th)Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Duckworth, G. A. V.Lockwood, Captain J. H.Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Dudgeon, Major C. R.Long, Major Hon. EricSmithers, Waldron
Dugdale, Capt. T. L.Lovat-Fraser, J. A.Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Eden, Captain AnthonyLymington, ViscountSomerset, Thomas
Edmondson, Major A. J.McConnell, Sir JosephSomerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Elliot, Major Walter E.MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)Somerville, D. G. (Wlllesden, East)
Elmley, ViscountMacdonald, Sir M. (Inverness)Southby, Commander A. R. J.
England, Colonel A.Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. ot W.)Spender-Clay, Colonel H.
Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)Maclean, Sir Donald (Cornwall, N.)Stanley, Lord (Fylde)
Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.Stanley, Hon. O. (Westmorland)
Everard, W. LindsayMacquisten, F. A.Stewart, W. J. (Belfast South)
Falle, Sir Bertram G.Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Ferguson, Sir JohnMakins, Brigadier-General E.Sueter, Rear-Admiral M. F.
Fielden, E. B.Mander, Geoffrey le M.Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A.
Fison, F. G. ClaveringMargesson, Captain H. D.Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)
Foot, IsaacMarjoribanks, EdwardThomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)
Ford, Sir P. JMarkham, S. F.Thompson, Luke
Forestler-Walker, Sir L.Mason, Colonel Glyn K.Thomson, Sir F.
Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.Merriman, Sir F. BoydThomson, Mitchell-, Rt. Hon. Sir W.
Galbralth, J. F. W.Millar, J. D.Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Ganzoni, Sir JohnMilne, Wardlaw-, J. S.Train, J.
Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. HamiltonMitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement.
George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.Turton, Robert Hugh
George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesea)Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon
Gibson, C. G. (Pudsey & Otley)Morris, Rhys HopkinsWard, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert
Gillett, George M.Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)Warrender, Sir Victor
Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir JohnMorrison. W. S. (Glos., Cirencester)Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Glyn, Major R. G. C.Muirhead, A. J.Wayland, Sir William A.
Gower, Sir RobertNail-Cain, A. R. N.Wells, Sydney R.
Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)Nathan, Major H. L.White, H. G.
Granville, E.Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)
Gray, MilnerNicholson, O. (Westminster)Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Greene, W. P. CrawfordNicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld)Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)O'Connor, T. J.Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount
Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. JohnOliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)Womersley, W. J.
Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro'W.)Oman, Sir Charles William C.Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Klngsley
Gritten, W. G. HowardOrmsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. WilliamWood, Major McKenzle (Banff)
Gunston, Captain D. W.Owen, Major G. (Carnarvon)Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton
Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.Peake, Capt. Osbert
Hamilton, Sir George (llford)Penny, Sir GeorgeTELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Hamilton, Sir R.. (Orkney & Zetland)Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)Mr. Glassey and Captain Wallace.
Hammersley, S. S.Perkins, W. R. D.
NOES.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, Watt)Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. ChristopherAlpass, J. H.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro')Amman, Charles George
Angell, Sir NormanHenderson, Joseph (Ardwick)Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.
Arnott, JohnHenderson, Thomas (Glasgow)Phillips, Dr. Marion
Aske, Sir RobertHenderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)Picton-Turbervill, Edith
Attlee, Clement RichardHerriotts, J.Pole, Major D. Q.
Ayles, WalterHicks, Ernest GeorgePotts, John S.
Baker, John (Wolverhampton, Bliston)Hirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworth)Price, M. P.
Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley)Hoffman, P. C.Quinell, D. J. K.
Barnes, Alfred JohnHollins, A.Raynes, W. R.
Barr, JamesHopkin, DanielRichardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)
Batey, JosephHorrabin, J. F.Riley, Ben (Dewsbury)
Beckett, John (Camberwell, Peckham)Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)Riley, F. F. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Bennett, William (Battersea, South)Isaacs, GeorgeRitson, J.
Benson, G,Jenkins, Sir WilliamRomeril, H. G.
Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)John, William (Rhondda, West)Rowson, Guy
Bowen, J. W.Johnston, Rt. Hon. ThomasSalter, Dr. Alfred
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvartown)Samuel, H. Walter (Swansea, West)
Broad, Francis AlfredJones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Sanders, W. S.
Brockway, A. FennerJowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.Sandham, E.
Bromfield, WilliamKennedy, Rt. Hon. ThomasScrymgeour, E.
Bromley, J.Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.Scurr, John
Brooke, W.Kinley, J.Sexton, Sir James
Brothers, M.Lansbury, Rt. Hon. GeorgeShepherd, Arthur Lewis
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)Lathan, G. (Sheffield, Park)Sherwood, G. H.
Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (South Ayrshire)Law, Albert (Bolton)Shield, George William
Brown, W. J. (Wolverhampton, West)Law, A. (Rossendale)Shiels, Dr. Drummond
Buchanan, G.Lawrence, SusanShillaker, J. F.
Burgess, F. G.Lawrie, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge)shinwell, E.
Buxton, C. R. (Yorke, W. R. Elland)Lawson, John JamesShort, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Cameron, A. G.Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)Simmons, C. J.
Cape, ThomasLeach, W.Sinkinson, George
Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S W.)Lee, Frank (Derby, N.E.)Sitch, Charles H.
Chater, DanielLee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern)Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Clarke, J. S.Leonard, W.Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)
Cluse, W. S.Lloyd, C. EllisSmith, Lees-, Rt. Hon. H.B.(Kelghley)
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.Logan, David GilbertSmith, Tom (Pontefract)
Cocks, Frederick SeymourLongbottom, A. W.Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)
Compton, JosephLongden, F.Sorensen, R.
Cove, William G.Lunn, WilliamStamford, Thomas W,
Cripps, Sir StaffordMacdonald, Gordon (Ince)Stephen, Campbell
Daggar, GeorgeMcElwee, A.Strauss, G. R.
Dallas, GeorgeMcEntee, V. L.Sullivan, J.
Dalton, HughMcKinlay, A.Sutton, J. E.
Davies, D. L. (Pontypridd)MacLaren, AndrewTaylor, R. A. (Lincoln)
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plalstow)
Day, HarryMacNeill-Weir, L.Tillett, Ben
Dukes, C.McShane, John JamesTinker, John Joseph
Duncan, CharlesMalone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)Toole, Joseph
Dunnico, H.Manning, E. L.Tout, W. J.
Ede, James ChuterMansfield, W.Townend, A. E.
Edmunds, J. E.March, S.Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)Marcus, M.Turner, Sir Ben
Edwards, E. (Morpeth)Marley, J.Vaughan, David
Egan, W. H.Marshall, FredViant, S. P.
Forgan, Dr. RobertMathers, GeorgtWalkden, A. G.
Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)Maxton, JamesWalker, J.
Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, K.)Messer, FredWallace, H. W.
Gibbins, JosephMiddleton, G.Watkins, F. C.
Gibson, H. M. (Lanes, Mossley)Mills, J. E.Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Gill, T. H.Mliner, Major J.Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Gossling, A. G.Montague, FrederickWellock, Wilfred
Gould, F.Morgan, Dr. H. B.Welsh, James (Paisley)
Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edln., Cent.)Morley, RalphWest, F. R.
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Colne)Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)Westwood, Joseph
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.)Whiteley, Wilfrid (Blrm., Ladywood)
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)Mort, D. L.Whiteley, William (Btaydon)
Groves, Thomas E.Mosley, Lady C. (Stoke-on-Trent)Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Grundy, Thomas W.Muff, G.Williams, David (Swansea. East)
Hall, F. (York. W. R. Normanton)Muggeridge, H. T.Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)
Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvll)Murnin, HughWilliams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)Naylor, T. E.Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Hall, Capt W. G. (Portsmouth, C)Noel Baker, P. J.Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn)Noel Buxton, Baroness (Norfolk, N.)Wilson, J. (Oldham)
Hardle, David (Rutherglen)Owen, H. F. (Hereford)Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Hardle, G. D. (Springburn)Palin, John HenryWise, E. F.
Hastings, Dr. SamervillePaling, WilfridYoung, R. S. (Islington, North)
Haycock, A. W.Palmer, E. T.Young, Sir R. (Lancaster, Newton)
Hayday, ArthurParkinson, John Allen (Wigan)
Hayes, John HenryPerry, S. F.TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Mr. Thurtle and Mr. Charleton.

Photo of Mr Jack Lawson Mr Jack Lawson , Chester-le-Street

I beg to move, in page 2, line 10, to leave out from the beginning, to the word "for," in line 11.

As the Committee know, the Unemployment Insurance Fund is now divided in two parts. The Committee have dealt with one part, which represents a charge upon the Exchequer, and we are now called upon to deal with the fund proper. My Amendment is to exclude the Government's attempt so to increase the contributions of the workers that they will be responsible, with the Exchequer, under the deficiency rule, for carrying on the fund. A very important point should be noted by the Committee. Whereas the last Amendment meant the taking of £10,000,000 from the workers, this proposal lays a further charge upon die workers of £22,800,000. The increase in the contributions direct means a saving of £10,000,000. Along with the increased contributions there is a limit to the time during which a man may get benefit. That represents £12,800,000. So if you take the £10,000,000 extra charge upon the workers, or, as the White Paper puts it, the saving, and then take the limitation of 26 weeks benefit, it means an extra charge upon the workers of £22,800,000. With the Amendment that we have just dealt with it means, further, that the worker has been charged to the extent of over £32,000,000.

The Minister will say, of course, that the £10,000,000 saving owing to increased contributions is £10,000,000 divided between the employers and the workers. As a matter of fact that is true only on the surface. The workers' contributions are to be increased by 3d. a week, and those of the employers by 2d. a week. It is a fair assumption that there is directly out of that £10,000,000 a charge of £6,000,000 upon the worker. But everyone knows that when it comes to paying these contributions in actual practice the worker pays the employer's contribution. That is admitted in the makeup of wages in the mining industry. I have here a wages bill of the milling industry in Durham for the past month. A definite charge is made for the cost of production. What are called the employers' contributions are charged to "cost of production other than wages."

So that, before wages are paid, this amount is charged to cost of production, and ultimately and inevitably, according to the method of fixing wages, the worker pays the contribution that the employer is said to pay. There is no doubt about that. In the first place, the worker pays £6,000,000 out of the £10,000,000. The statement is unchallenged and regularly made in this House that the worker actually pays out of his wages indirectly under the head of cost of production the amount that the employer is said to pay. At any rate there is no challenge about that so far as the mining industry is concerned. Therefore, we have £10,000,000 for increased contributions, £12,800,000 saving by the limitations of the 26 weeks' period, and in addition there is a £10,000,000 saving upon which the Committee have just voted.

It may seem to the Committee that 3d. a week increase is not a very big charge. It seems nothing to us, but when you have men who are getting one or two days' work, or perhaps three, and who are fortunate if they get four days' work in many of the coalfields, and when they receive only 6s. 6d. a day and go home with something less than £1 week after week, and you take 3d. off that amount, it is a vital thing to the worker. Those of us who are in close touch with these areas and know something about the welfare work and the need of the people, know that a penny means a great deal in cases of that kind. We say that to take a further 3d., or, as I say, 5d., amounting to millions a year, from the workers, or ultimately £32,000,000 a year, is to do the very thing that the Government say they are trying to avoid. Whether the amount be £1,000,000 or £30,000,000 it is, as far as these people are concerned, taking it from necessities—not from luxuries, not from amusements, but from actual necessities, boots, clothes, food. Those are the things that are to be taken from the workers as a result of this increased contribution and the reduced period of benefit.

The Minister in his speech just now paid considerable attention to the Fund rather than to the transitional benefit. I hope that the Committee realise what they have done. In the last Vote the Committee relegated one-third of the whole of the unemployed, those in the transition stage, to investigation by the Poor Law. I was amazed to hear one speech this week upon that matter. The bulk of the men concerned are men of the finest type, the finest character, men who have always counted it an honourable thing and almost implicit in their character to steer clear of the Poor Law. I would remind the hon. and reverend Gentleman who made that statement concerning these people, that there are members of his church who will have to submit to that test. I was very pleased to hear the Minister state that one-half of the people who are on the Unemployment Insurance Fund at the present time have never had any benefit at all. I wish that that had been said more often inside and outside this House before. I recall the great astonishment with which the statement was received. There are English newspapers which have kept facts like that concealed for party and political purposes, and they have done infinite harm to this country abroad by that conceal went. Yet these people who have for years paid into this Fund find themselves now in the position that they are limited to a 26 weeks' period, although they have paid their contributions for years.

The Government have dealt unfairly and shamefully with this class of people. The Super-tax payer may say that he has made a sacrifice. The Income Tax payer may say the same thing. They do not know the beginning of the word. The Government, in adding a £32,000,000 charge to the great mass of the workers of the country and thus robbing them of necessities, have done a thing for which they will have to answer in the country, and, as far as I am concerned I hope that the opportunity for testing the country will come soon.

Photo of Mr Milner Gray Mr Milner Gray , Mid Bedfordshire

As there is practically

only one minute left in which to deal with the very moderate statements put forward by the hon. Gentleman in objection to these increased contributions, he will forgive me if I do not go into those statements in detail. There is no need to controvert the statements in detail because the object of this proposal is the financial stability of the fund itself. I would merely point out that when the fund was started it was worked on the basis of a, 331/3 per cent. contribution from the State. What is the position at present? After making all the savings and after having the increased contributions, the position of the fund will be that out of £117,000,000 chargeable on the fund, as the estimated expense of next year, there will be contributed by the workers and the employers £38,000,000 and there will be contributed by the State £79,000,000. I do not think I need say more in justification of this proposal. The State is increasing immensely its contribution to the fund and in view of the condition in which the fund is, we are compelled to ask for these increased contributions.

It being Half-past Seven of the Clock, the CHAIRMAN proceeded, pursuant to the Order of the House of 22nd September, to put forthwith the Question on the Amendment already proposed from the Chair.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 293; Noes, 233.

Division No. 492.]AYES.[7.30 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-ColonelBoothby, R. J. G.Caralet, Captain Victor A.
Ainsworth, Lieut.-Col. CharlesBowater, Col. Sir T. VansittartCecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)
Albery, Irving JamasBowyer, Captain Sir George E. W.Chadwick, Capt. Sir Robert Barton
Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)Boyce, LeslieChamberlain,Rt.Hn.SIr J.A. (Blrm.,W.)
Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l., W.)Bracken, B.Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N.(Edgbaston)
Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir William (Armagh)Braithwaite, Major A. N.Chapman, Sir S.
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M.S.Briscoe, Richard GeorgeChristie, J. A.
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.Broadbent, Colonel J.Church, Major A. G.
Aske, Sir RobertBrown, Col. D. C, (N'th'l'd'., Hexham)Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer
Astor, Maj. Hon. John J.(Kent,Dover)Brown, Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks, Newb'y)Clydesdale, Marquess of
Astor, ViscountessBuchan, JohnCobb, Sir Cyril
Atholl, Duchess ofBuchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.Cockeill, Brig.-General Sir George,
Atkinson, C.Bullock, Captain MalcolmCohen, Major J. Brunel
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley (Bewdley)Burgin, Dr. E. L.Colfox, Major William Philip
Balfour, George (Hampstead)Burton, Colonel H. W.Colman, N. C. D.
Balfour, Captain H. H. (I. of Thanet)Butler, R. A.Colville, Major D. J.
Balniel, LordButt, Sir AlfredConway, Sir W. Martin
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.Cadogan, Major Hon. EdwardCooper, A. Duff
Bollairs, Commander CarlyanCalne, Hall-, DerwentCourtauld, Malar J. S.
Berry, Sir GeorgeCampbell, E. T.Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.
Betterton, Sir Henry B.Carver, Major W. H.Cowan, D. M.
Bevan, S. J. (Helborn)Castle Stewart, Earl ofCranborne, Viscount
Birchall, Major Sir John DearmanCautley, Sir Henry S.Crichton-Stuart, Lord C.
Birkett, W. NormanCayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.
Blindell, JamesCayzer, Maj.Sir Herbt. R.(Prtsmth,S.)Crookshank, Capt. H. C.
Croom-Johnson, R. P.Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)Rawson, Sir Cooper
Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)Hurd, Percy AReid, David D. (County Down)
Cunliffe-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir PhilipHurst, Sir Gerald B.Remer, John R.
Dalkeith, Earl ofHutchison, Maj.-Gen. Sir R.Rentoul, Sir Gervals S.
Dairymle-white, Lt.-Col. Sir GodfreyInskip, Sir ThomasReynolds, Col. Sir James
Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)Iveagh, Countess ofRhys, Hon. C. A. U.
Davies, Dr. VernonJones, Llewellyn-, F.Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'te'y)
Davies, E. C. (Montgomery)Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)
Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset,Yeovll)Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)Robinson, Sir T. (Lanes, Stretford)
Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Camborne)Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell
Dawson, Sir PhilipJowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A. (Preston)Rosbotham, D. S. T.
Denman, Hon. R. D.Kedward, R. M. (Kent, Ashford)Ross, Ronald D.
Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.Kindersley, Major G. M.Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E.
Dixey, A. C.Knight, HolfordRussell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Dixon, Captain Rt. Hon. HerbertKnox, Sir AlfredRussell, Richard John (Eddisbury)
Duckworth, G. A. V.Lamb, Sir J. Q.Salmon, Major I.
Dudgeon, Major C. R.Lambert, Rt. Hon. George (S. Molton)Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Dugdale, Capt, T. L.Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)
Eden, Captain AnthonyLaw, Sir Alfred (Derby, High Peak)Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Edmondson, Major A. J.Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart
Elliot, Major Walter E.Leighton, Major B. E. P.Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.
Elmley, ViscountLewis, Oswald (Colchester)Savery, S. S.
England, Colonel A.Little, Graham-, Sir ErnestScott James
Erskine, Lord (Somerset,Weston-s.-M.)Llewellin, Major J. J.Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.
Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. GodfreyShepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome
Everard, W. LindsayLocker- Lampson, Com. O.(Handsw'th)Simms, Major-General J.
Falle, Sir Bertram G.Lockwood, Captain J. H.Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Ferguson, Sir JohnLong, Major Hon. EricSinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (Caithness)
Fielden, E. B.Lovat-Fraser, J. A.Skelton, A. N.
Fison, F. G. ClaveringMcConnell, Sir JosephSmith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Foot, IsaacMacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Ford, Sir P. J.Macdonald, Sir M. (Inverness)Smithers, Waldron
Forestier-Watker, Sir L.Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.Maclean, Sir Donald (Cornwall, N.)Somerset, Thomas
Galbraith, J. F. W.Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Ganzoni, Sir JohnMacquisten, F. A.Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)
Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. HamiltonMaitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)Southby, Commander A. R. J.
George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)Makins, Brigadier-General E.Spender-Clay, Colonel H.
George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesea)Mander, Geoffrey le M,Stanley, Lord (Fylde)
Gibson, C. G. (Pudsey & Otley)Marjoribanks, EdwardStanley. Hon. O. (Westmorland)
Gillett, George M.Markham, S. F.Stewart, W. J. (Belfast South)
Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir JohnMason, Colonel Glyn K.Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Glassey, A. E.Merriman, Sir F. BoydSueter, Rear-Admiral M. F.
Glyn, Major R. G. C.Millar, J. D.Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A.
Gower, Sir RobertMilne, Wardlaw-, J. S.Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)
Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)
Granville, E.Monsell, Eyret, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.Thompson, Luke
Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)Thomson, Sir F.
Gray, MilnerMorris, Rhys HopkinsThomson, Mitchell-, Rt. Hon. Sir W.
Greene, W. P. CrawfordMorris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester)Todd, Capt. A. J.
Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. JohnMuirhead, A. J.Train, J.
Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.)Nail-Cain, A. R. N.Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement.
Gritten, W. G. HowardNathan, Major H. L.Turton, Robert Hugh
Gunston, Captain D. W.Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon
Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)Wallace, Capt. D. E. (Hornsey)
Hamilton, Sir George (llford)Nicholson, O. (Westminster)Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert
Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Zetland)Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W.G.(Ptrsf'ld)Warrender, Sir Victor
Hammersley, S. S.O'Connor, T. J.Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Hanbury, C.Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)Wayland, Sir William A.
Hannon, Patrick Joseph HenryOrmsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. WilliamWells, Sydney R.
Harbord, A.Owen, Major G. (Carnarvon)White, H. G.
Harris, Percy A.Peake, Capt. OsbertWilliams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
Hartlngton, Marquess ofPenny, Sir GeorgeWilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)
Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Haslam, Henry C.Perkins, W. R. D.Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Henderson, Capt. R. R.(Oxt'd.Henley)Peters, Dr. Sidney JohnWolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount
Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)Womersley, W. J.
Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.Power, Sir John CecilWood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John WallerPownall, Sir AsshetonYoung, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton
Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)Purbrick, R.
Hore-Belisha, Leslie.Pybus, Percy JohnTELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.Ramsay, T. B. WilsonCaptain Margesson and Major McKenzie Wood.
Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.Ramsbotham, H.
NOES.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)Attlee, Clement RichardBennett, William (Battersea, South)
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)Ayles, WalterBenson, G.
Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. ChristopherBaker, John (Wolverhampton, Bliston)Bowen, J. W.
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro')Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley)Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.
Alpass, J. H.Barnes, Alfred JohnBroad, Francis Alfred
Ammon, Charles GeorgeBarr, JamesBromfield, William
Angell, Sir NormanBatey, JosephBromley, J.
Arnott, JohnBeckett, John (Camberwell, Peckham)Brooke, W.
Brothers, M.Johnston, Rt. Hon. ThomasRiley, Ben (Dewsbury)
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)Riley, F. F. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (South Ayrshire)Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Ritson, J.
Brown, W. J. (Wolverhampton, Wast)Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.Romeril, H. G.
Buchanan, G.Kennedy, Rt. Hon. ThomasRowson, Guy
Burgess, F. G.Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.Salter, Dr. Alfred
Buxton, C. R. (Yorks, W. R. Elland)Lansbury, Rt. Hon. GeorgeSamuel, H. Walter (Swansea, West)
Cameron, A. G.Lathan, G. (Sheffield, Park)Sanders, W. S.
Cape, ThomasLaw, Albert (Bolton)Sandham, E.
Carter, W. (St. Pancrat, S.W.)Law, A. (Rossendale)Scrymgeour, E.
Chater, DanielLawrence, SusanScurr, John
Clarke, J. S.Lawrie, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge)Sexton, Sir James
Cluse, W. S.Lawson, John JamesShepherd, Arthur Lewis
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)Sherwood, G. H.
Cocks, Frederick SeymourLeach, W.Shield, George William
Compton, JosephLee, Frank (Derby, N.E.)Shiels, Dr. Drummond
Cove, William G.Leonard, W.Shillaker, J. F.
Cripps, Sir StaffordLewis, T. (Southampton)Shinwell, E.
Daggar, GeorgeLloyd, C. EllisShort, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Dallas, GeorgeLogan, David GilbertSimmons, C. J.
Dalton, HughLongbottom, A. W.Sinkinson, George
Davies, D. L. (Pontypridd)Longden, F.Sitch, Charles H.
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)Lunn, WilliamSmith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Day, HarryMacdonald, Gordon (Ince)Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)
Dukes, C.McElwee, A.Smith, Lees-, Rt. Hon. H.B.(Keighley)
Duncan, CharlesMcEntee, V. L.Smith, Tom (Pontefract)
Dunnico, H.McKinlay, A.Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)
Ede, James ChuterMacLaren, AndrewSorensen, R.
Edmunds, J. E.Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)Stamford, Thomas W.
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)MacNeill-Weir, L.Stephen, Campbell
Edwards, E. (Morpeth)McShane, John JamesStrauss, G. R.
Egan, W. H.Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)Sullivan, J.
Forgan, Dr. RobertManning, E. L.Sutton, J. E.
Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)Mansfield, W.Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)
Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, N.)March, S.Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Gibbins, JosephMarcus, M.Tillett, Ben
Gibson, H. M. (Lanes, Mossley)Marley, J.Tinker, John Joseph
Gill, T. H.Marshall, FredToole, Joseph
Gossling, A. G.Mathers, GeorgeTout, W. J.
Gould, F.Maxton, JamesTownend, A. E.
Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Eden., Cent.)Messer, FredTrevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Colne)Middleton, G.Turner, Sir Ben
Granted, D. R. (Glamorgan)Mills, J. E.Vaughan, David
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)Milner, Major J.Viant, S. P.
Groves, Thomas E.Montague, FrederickWalkden, A. G.
Grundy, Thomas W.Morgan, Dr. H. B.Walker, J.
Hall, F. (York. W.R., Normanton)Morley, RalphWallace, H. W.
Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvll)Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, s.)Watkins, F. C.
Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.)Watson, W. M. (Dunternilne)
Hall, Capt. W. G. (Portsmouth, C.)Mort, D. L.Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn)Mosley, Lady C. (Stoke-on-Trent)Wellock, Wilfred
Hardle, David (Rutherglen)Muff, G.Welsh, James (Paisley)
Hardle, G. D. (Springburn)Muggeridge, H. T.West, F. R.
Hastings, Dr. SomervilleMurnin, HughWestwood, Joseph
Haycock, A. W.Naylor, T. E.Whiteley, Wilfrid (Blrm., Ladywood)
Hayday, ArthurNoel Baker, P. J.Whiteley, William (Blaydon)
Hayes, John HenryNoel-Buxton, Baroness (Norfolk, N.)Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)Palin, John HenryWilliams, David (Swansea, East)
Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)Paling, WilfridWilliams, E. J. (Ogmore)
Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)Palmer, E. T.Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
Herriotts, J.Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Hicks, Ernest GeorgePerry, S. F.Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Hirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworth)Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.Wilson, J. (Oldham)
Hoffman, P. C.Phillips, Dr. MarionWilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Hollins, A.Picton-Turbervill, EdithWise, E. F.
Hopkin, DanielPole, Major D. G.Young, R. S. (Islington, North)
Horrabin, J. F.Potts, John S.Young, Sir R. (Lancaster, Newton)
Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)Price, M. P.
Isaacs, GeorgeQuibell, D. J. K.TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Jenkins, Sir WilliamRaynes, W. R.Mr. Thurtle and Mr. Charleton.
John, William (Rhondda, West)Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)

The CHAIRMAN then proceeded successively to put forthwith the Questions necessary to dispose of the business to be concluded at Half-past Seven of tine Clock at this day's Sitting.

Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 293; Noes, 234.

Division No. 493.]AYES.[7.42 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut-Colonel.Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l., W.)Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)
Ainsworth, Lieut.-Col. CharlesAllen, Lt.-Col. Sir William (Armagh)Astor, Viscountess
Albery, Irving JamesAmery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.Atholl, Duchess of
Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cont'l)Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.Atkinson, C,
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley (Bewdley)Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s-M.)Maclean, Sir Donald (Cornwall, N.)
Balfour, George (Hampstead)Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)Macpherson, Rt. Hon. Jamas I.
Balfour, Captain H. H. (I. of Thanet)Everard, W. LindsayMacquisten, F. A.
Balniel, LordFalle, Sir Bertram G.Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.Ferguson, Sir JohnMakins, Brigadier-General E.
Bellairs, Commander CarlyonFielden, E. B.Mander, Geoffrey I. M.
Berry, Sir GeorgeFison, F. G. ClaveringMarjoribanks, Edward
Betterton, Sir Henry B.Foot, IsaacMarkham, S. F.
Bevan, S. J. (Holborn)Ford, Sir P. J.Mason, Colonel Glyn K.
Birchall, Major Sir John DearmanForestier-Walker, Sir L.Merriman, Sir F. Boyd
Birkett, W. NormanFremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.Millar, J. D.
Blindell, JamesGalbraith, J. F. W.Milne, Wardlaw-, J. S.
Boothby, R. J. G.Ganzoni, Sir JohnMitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)
Bowater, Col. Sir T. VansittartGault, Lieut.-Col. A. HamiltonMonsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.
Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W.George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)Moore, Lleut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)
Boyce, LeslieGeorge, Megan Lloyd (Anglesea)Morris, Rhys Hopkins
Bracken, B.Gibson, C. G. (Pudsey & Otley)Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)
Braithwaite, Major A. N.Gillett, George M.Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester)
Briscoe, Richard GeorgeGilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir JohnMuirhead, A. J.
Broadbent, Colonel J.Glassey, A. E.Nail-Cain, A. R. N.
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd., Hexham)Glyn, Major R. G. C.Nathan, Major H. L.
Brown. Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks, Newb'y)Gower, Sir RobertNewman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)
Buchan, JohnGraham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)
Buchan-Hepburn, P, G. T.Granville, E.Nicholson, O. (Westminster)
Bullock, Captain MalcolmGrattan-Doyle, Sir N.Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld)
Burgin, Dr. E. L.Gray, MilnerO'Connor, T. J.
Burton, Colonel H. W.Greene, W. P. CrawfordOliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)
Butler, R. A.Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)Oman, Sir Charles William C.
Butt, Sir AlfredGretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. JohnOrmsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William
Cadogan, Major Hon. Edwa.'dGriffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.)Owen, Major G. (Carnarvon)
Caine, Hall-, DerwentGritten, W. G. HowardPeake, Captain Osbert
Campbell, E, T.Gunston, Captain D. W.Penny, Sir George
Carver, Major W. H.Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)
Castle Stewart, Earl ofHamilton, Sir George (llford)Perkins, W. R. D.
Cautley, Sir Henry S.Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Zetland)Peters, Dr. Sidney John
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)Hammersley, S. S.Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Cayzer, Maj.Sir Herbt. R.(Prtsmth,S.)Hanbury, C.Power, Sir John Cecil
Cazalet, Captain Victor A.Hannon, Patrick Joseph HenryPownall, Sir Assheton
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)Harbord, A.Purbrick, R.
Chadwick, Capt. Sir Robert BurtonHarris, Percy A.Pybus, Percy John
Chamberlain, Rt.Hn.Sir J.A.(Blrm-,W.)Hartington, Marquess ofRamsay, T. B. Wilson
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)Ramsbotham, H.
Chapman, Sir S.Haslam, Henry C.Rathbone, Eleanor
Christie, J. A.Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)Rawson, Sir Cooper
Church, Major A. G.Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.Reid, David D. (County Down)
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston SpencerHennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.Renter, John R.
Clydesdale, Marquess ofHills, Major Rt. Hon. John WalterRentoul, Sir Gervals S.
Cobb, Sir CyrilHope, Sir Harry (Forfar)Reynolds, Col. Sir James
Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir GeorgeHore-Belisha, LeslieRhys, Hon. C. A. U.
Cohen, Major J. BrunelHome, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch't'sy)
Colfox, Major William PhilipHoward-Bury, Colonel C. K.Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)
Colman, N. C. D.Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney,N.)Robinson, Sir T. (Lanes, Stretford)
Colville, Major D. J.Hurd, Percy A.Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell
Conway, Sir W. MartinHurst, Sir Gerald B.Rosbotham, D. S. T.
Cooper, A. DuffRoss, Ronald D.
Courtauld, Major J. S.Hutchison, Maj.-Gen. Sir R.Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E.
Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.Inskip, Sir ThomasRussell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Cowan, D. M.Iveagh, Countess ofRussell, Richard John (Eddisbury)
Cranborne, ViscountJones, Llewellyn-, F.Salmon, Major I.
Crichton-Stuart, Lord C.Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.Jones Henry Haydn (Merioneth)Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)
Crookshank, Capt. H. C.Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Camborne)Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Croom-Johnson, R. P.Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A. (Preston)Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart
Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, Welt)Kedward, R. M. (Kent, Ashford)Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.
Cunliffe-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir PhilipKindersley, Major G. M.Savery, S. S.
Dalkeith, Earl ofKnight, HolfordScott, James
Dairymple-White, Lt.-Col. Sir GodfreyKnox, Sir AlfredShakespeare, Geoffrey H.
Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)Lamb, Sir J. Q.Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome
Davies, Dr. VernonLambert, Rt. Hon. George (S. Molton)Simms, Major-General J.
Davies, E. C. (Montgomery)Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (Caithness)
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)Law, Sir Alfred (Derby, High Peak)Skelton, A. N.
Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Dawson, Sir PhilipLeighton, Major B. E. P.Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Denman, Hon. R. D.Lewis, Oswald (Colchester)Smithers, Waldron
Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.Little, Graham-, Sir ErnestSnowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Dixey, A. C.Llewellin, Major J. J.Somerset, Thomas
Dixon, Captain Rt. Hon. HerbertLocker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. GodfreySomerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Duckworth, G. A. V.Locker-Lampson, Com. O.(Handsw'th)Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)
Dudgeon, Major C. R.Lockwood, Captain J. H.Southby, Commander A. R. J.
Dugdale, Capt. T. L.Long, Major Hon. EricSpender-Clay. Colonel H.
Eden, Captain AnthonyLovat-Fraser, J. A.Stanley, Lord (Fylde)
Edmondson, Major A. J.McConnell, Sir JosephStanley, Hon. O. (Westmorland)
Elliot, Major Walter E.MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)Stewart, W. J. (Belfast, South)
Elmley, ViscountMacdonald, Sir M. (Inverness)Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
England, Colonel A.Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)Sueter, Rear-Admiral M. F.
Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A.Turton, Robert HughWilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)
Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)Vaughan-Morgan, Sir KenyonWinosor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)Wallace, Capt. D. E. (Hornsey)Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Thompson, LukeWard, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. LambertWolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount
Thomson, Sir F.Warrender, Sir VictorWomersley, W. J.
Thomson, Mitchell-, Rt. Hon. Sir W.Water-house, Captain CharlesWood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Titchfield, Major the Marquess ofWayland, Sir William A.Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton
Todd, Capt. A. J.Wells, Sydney R.
Train, J.White, H. G.TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Tryon, Rt. Hon. George ClementWilliams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)Captain Margesson and Major McKenzie Wood.
NOES.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)Hall, Capt. W. G. (Portsmouth, C.)Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.)
Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. ChristopherHamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn)Mort, D. L.
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro')Hardle, David (Rutherglen)Mosley, Lady C. (Stoke-on-Trent)
Alpass, J. H.Hardle, G. D. (Springburn)Muff, G.
Ammon, Charles GeorgeHastings, Dr. SomervilleMuggeridge, H. T.
Angell, Sir NormanHaycock, A. W.Murnin, Hugh
Arnott, JohnHayday, ArthurNaylor, T. E.
Attlee, Clement RichardHayes, John HenryNoel Baker, P. J.
Ayles, WalterHenderson, Joseph (Ardwick)Noel-Buxton, Baroness (Norfolk, N.)
Baker, John (Wolverhampton, Bllston)Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)Owen, H. F. (Hereford)
Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley)Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)Palin, John Henry
Barnes, Alfred JohnHerriotts, J.Paling, Wilfrid
Barr, JamesHicks, Ernest GeorgePalmer, E. T.
Batey, JosephHirst, G. H. (York W.R. Wentworth)Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)
Beckett, John (Camberwell, Peckham)Hoffman, P. C.Perry, S. F.
Bennett, William (Battersea, South)Hollins, A.Pethick-Lawrence, F. w.
Benson, G.Hopkin, DanielPhillips, Dr. Marion
Bevon, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)Horrabin, J. F.Picton-Turbervill, Edith
Bowen, J. W.Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)Pole, Ma|or D. G.
Broad, Francis AlfredIsaacs, GeorgePotts, John S.
Bromfield, WilliamJenkins, Sir WilliamPrice, M. P.
Bromley, J.John, William (Rhondda, West)Quibell, D. J. K.
Brooke, W.Johnston, Rt. Hon. ThomasRaynes, W. R.
Brothers, M.Jones, J J. (West Ham, Silvertown)Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Riley, Ben (Dewsbury)
Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (South Ayrshire)Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.Riley, F. F. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Brown, w. J. (Wolverhampton, West)Kennedy, Rt. Hon. ThomasRitson, J.
Buchanan, G.Kenwortby, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.Romeril, H. G.
Burgess, F. G.Lansbury, Rt. Hon. GeorgeRowson, Guy
Buxton, C. R. (Yorks, W. R. Elland)Lathan, G. (Sheffield, Park)Salter, Dr. Alfred
Cameron, A. G.Law, Albert (Bolton)Samuel, H. Walter (Swansea, West)
Cape, ThomasLaw, A. (Rossendale)Sanders, W. S.
Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S.W.)Lawrence, SusanSandham, E.
Chater, DanielLawrie, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge)Scrymgeour, E.
Clarke, J. S.Lawson, John JamesScurr, John
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)Sexton, Sir James
Cocks, Frederick SeymourLeach, W.Shepherd, Arthur Lewis
Compton, JosephLee, Frank (Derby, N.E.)Sherwood, G. H.
Cove, William G.Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern)Shield, George William
Cripps, Sir StaffordLeonard, W.Shiels, Dr. Drummond
Daggar, GeorgeLewis, T. (Southampton)Shillaker, J. F.
Dallas, GeorgeLloyd, C. EllisShinwell, E.
Dalton, HughLogan, David GilbertShort, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Davies, D. L. (Pontypridd)Longbottom, A. W.Simmons, C. J.
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)Longden, F.Sinkinson, George
Day, HarryLunn, WilliamSitch, Charles H.
Dukes, C.Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Duncan, CharlesMcElwee, A.Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)
Dunnico, H.McEntee, V. L.Smith, Lees-, Rt. Hon. H.B.(Keighley)
Ede, James ChuterMcKinlay, A.Smith, Tom (Pontefract)
Edmunds, J, E.MacLaren, AndrewSnowden, Thomas (Accrington)
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)Sorensen, R.
Edwards, E. (Morpeth)MacNeill-Weir, L.Stamford, Thomas W.
Egan, W. H.McShane, John JamesStephen, Campbell
Forgan, Dr. RobertMalone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)Strauss, G. R.
Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)Manning, E. L.Sullivan, J.
Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, N.)Mansfield, W.Sutton, J. E.
Gibbins, JosephMarch, S.Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)
Gibson, H. M. (Lanes, Mossley)Marcus, M.Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Gill, T. H.Marley, J.Tillett, Ben
Gossling, A. G,Marshall, FredTinker, John Joseph
Gould, F.Mathers, GeorgeToole, Joseph
Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edln., Cent.)Maxton, JamesTout, W. J.
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Colne)Messer, FredTownend, A. E.
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)Middleton, G.Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)Mills, J. E.Turner, Sir Ben
Groves, Thomas E.Milner, Major J.Vaughan, David
Grundy, Thomas W.Montague, FrederickViant, S. P.
Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)Morgan, Dr. H. B.Walkden, A. G.
Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvll)Morley, RalphWalker, J.
Wallace, H. W.Whiteley, Wilfrid (Blrm., Ladywood)Wilson, J. (Oldham)
Watkins, F. C.Whiteley, William (Blaydon)Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)Wilkinson, Ellen C.Wise, E. F.
Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)Williams, David (Swansea, East)Young, R. S. (Islington, North)
Wellock, WillredWilliams, E. J. (Ogmore)Young, Sir R. (Lancaster, Newton)
Welsh, James (Paisley)Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
West, F. R.Williams, T. (York, Don valley)TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Westwood, JosephWilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)Mr. Thurtle and Mr. Charleton.