Special Areas.

Oral Answers to Questions — Unemployment. – in the House of Commons on 12th November 1936.

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Photo of Mr John Cartland Mr John Cartland , Birmingham King's Norton

asked the Minister of Labour whether the Special Areas Commissioners have been invited to give their views on the continuation of the Special Areas Act in its present form; and whether they favour any amendments to the Act?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

The views of the Commissioners are contained in their published reports.

Photo of Mr John Cartland Mr John Cartland , Birmingham King's Norton

Have the actual district commissioners been asked to give their views with regard to amendments of the Act?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

I understand my hon. Friend's question to refer to the Commissioners, and not to the district commissioners. I understand that there is the closest working between the Commissioners for England and Wales and for Scotland and the district commissioners.

Photo of Mr John Cartland Mr John Cartland , Birmingham King's Norton

Will my right hon. Friend make this information available before this Act is discussed in the House?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

I will see what I can do.

Photo of Mr Rhys Davies Mr Rhys Davies , Westhoughton

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the Schedule to the Special Areas Act? Is he aware that some parts of Lancashire are in a very much worse position than some of the areas that are scheduled? Is it not possible for the Act to include those areas?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

That is not the present intention.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

Is it not true to say that on several matters the opinions of the Commissioners have been constantly ignored by the Government?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

The recommendations of the Commissioners have been given instant and most careful consideration by the Government, and those the Government have thought wise have been put into operation.

Photo of Mr David Grenfell Mr David Grenfell , Gower

Does the right hon. Gentleman suggest that no opportunity will be given to extend the areas now in the Schedule when the Act comes up for discussion in the House?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

That, obviously, is the case from the proposal to extend the Act under the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill.

Photo of Mr David Grenfell Mr David Grenfell , Gower

What is the use of pretending that the Special Areas Act is for the benefit of the distressed areas when many of them are outside the scheduled areas and are in a serious position?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

The House must understand that there are other modes of helping these areas, and that some of the principal operations under the Act are only just beginning to show themselves. We must have time.

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

Has not the position as regards these Special Areas altered altogether since the report of the Chief Commissioner? In view of the extraordinary nature of that report do the Government still intend to push this Act through under the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

I do not think I can debate that question now.