Commissioner for Special Areas.

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

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Photo of Miss Ellen Wilkinson Miss Ellen Wilkinson , Jarrow

asked the Minister of Labour whether the terms of Sir George Gillett's appointment and his powers differ in any and, if so, in what way from those of his predecessor, Mr. Malcolm Stewart?

Photo of Miss Ellen Wilkinson Miss Ellen Wilkinson , Jarrow

Do I understand that in spite of the statement in the report that the Special Commissioners have not adequate powers, and need more, that the Government are not considering the point?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

I could not accept the hon. Lady's interpretation of the report of Mr. Malcolm Stewart, and I have nothing to add to my answers.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

Is it not true that Mr. Malcolm Stewart has complained of the lack of powers, and in view of that is it not desirable to grant additional powers to his successor?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

There are paragraphs in the first report which have been much misrepresented, and I hold to my previous supplementary answers.

Photo of Miss Ellen Wilkinson Miss Ellen Wilkinson , Jarrow

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he cannot read plain English, and in just plain English has not Mr. Malcolm Stewart said that he has not the powers to do the job the Government asked him to do? In that case, what is the use of asking Sir George Gillett to waste his time doing a job if the Government do not give him the necessary powers?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

I do not accept the hon. Lady's reading of the first report—

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

If the hon. Lady will only listen to me as patiently as I listened to her then, perhaps, she will understand plain English. I do not accept her interpretation of the first report. The Commissioner pointed out that he had not power to give grants to certain undertakings where other Departments had the power to do it. There was a small section, also, where there was overlapping, and that point has been met and there is no more complaint. With regard to other powers, the Commissioner agreed that he did not desire to have them.

Photo of Miss Ellen Wilkinson Miss Ellen Wilkinson , Jarrow

I think the right hon. Gentleman and I are rather at cross purposes. Those points are certainly met, but that was not the point of my question, which was directed to the specific statement by Mr. Malcolm Stewart, both in his report and in the Press, that his general powers were not sufficient for the job?