Oral Answers to Questions — Children's Overseas Recep Tion Scheme (Advisory Council).

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 26th June 1940.

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Major Braithwaite:

(by Private Notice) asked the Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether the Advisory Council of the Children's Overseas Reception Scheme has been appointed yet, and, if so, whether it has commenced work?

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Shakespeare Mr Geoffrey Shakespeare , Norwich

Yes, Sir. The Advisory Council referred to by my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal in his statement in the House on 19th June, has been appointed and consists of the following members. Perhaps the House will allow me to read the names of the members with the societies with which they are associated. I have already given a list of the Government members, with Lord Stamp as chairman, and there are the four Under-Secretaries of the Departments of Health, Education, Pensions and Colonies. The list is as follows:

  • The Right Honourable Lord Snell (Chairman), C.B.E., LL.D.
  • Miss Florence Horsbrugh, M.P., Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Health.
  • Mr. J. Chuter Ede, M.P., Parliamentary Secretary, Board of Education.
  • Mr. J. Westwood, M.P., Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Scotland.
  • Miss Ellen Wilkinson, M.P., Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Pensions.
  • Mr. E. R. Appleton, Organizer of Empire Youth movements.
  • Mr. Cyril Bavin, Y.M.C.A.
  • Reverend John Bennett, Catholic Council of British Oversea Settlement.
  • The Countess of Bessborough, Chairman of Council, Society for Oversea Settlement of British Women.
  • Miss, Grace Browning, Girl Guide's Association.
  • Mr. Laurence Cadbury, O.B.E., M.A., Chairman, Cadbury Brothers, Limited, an authority on school and welfare problems.
  • Lieut.-Colonel Culshaw, Salvation Army.
  • Miss Doggett, O.B.E., League of Empire.
  • Miss Ellen Evans, Principal, The Glamorgan Training College: also appointed with special reference to Wales.
  • Captain G. F. Gracey, Save the Children's Fund.
  • Mr. Gordon Green, Fairbridge Farm School.
  • Mr. W. A. F. Hepburn, O.B.E., M.C., LL.D., Director of Education for Ayrshire, also appointed with special reference to Scotland.
  • Reverend S. W. Hughes, Free Church Council.
  • Reverend Canon H. E. Hyde, Church of England Council for Empire Settlement.
  • Miss M. F. Jobson, J.P., Member of Fife Education Authority and County Council; also appointed with special reference to Scotland.
  • Miss E. A. Jones, M.A., Headmistresses' Association.
  • Mr. P. J. Kirkpatrick, Dr. Barnardo's Homes.
  • Mr. Harold Legat, Boy Scouts' Association.
  • The Right Honourable Sir Ronald Lindsay, G.C.B., G.C.M.G., some time His Majesty's Ambassador to Washington.
  • Mr. W. A. Markham, M.A., Member of Executive National Children's Home and Orphanage.
  • Mrs. Norman, Vice-Chairman, Women's Voluntary Services.
  • Mrs. E. Parker, Ex-President, National Union of Teachers.
  • Dr. Donald Paterson, M.D., F.R.C.P., Physician, Children's Hospital, Great Ormond Street.
  • Miss Gladys Pott, C.B.E., ex-Chairman of Executive of Society for Oversea Settlement of British Women.
  • Mr. Brendan Quin, 1820 Memorial Settlement.
  • Sir Wm. Reardon Smith, Baronet, an authority on shipping; also appointed with special reference to Wales.
  • Miss Edith Thompson, C.B.E., Chairman of Executive, Society for the Oversea Settlement of British Women.
Then there is a Scottish section. This is a very great problem, not only as regards the Dominions, but maybe another country, and I thought it right to get as representative a Council as I could. With regard to Scotland, a Scottish Advisory Council has been appointed, which will meet at 27, St. Andrew's Square, Edinburgh 2, the address of the Scottish Branch of the Children's Overseas Reception Scheme. The Chairman of the Scottish Council will be the Right Honourable the Lord Provost of Glasgow, P. J. Dollan, Esq., and the other members will be:
  • Mr. Joseph Westwood, M.P., Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland.
  • Mr. A. L. Fletcher, B.A., former Director of Education for the County of Midlothian.
  • Miss Mary Tweedie, former Headmistress of the Edinburgh Ladies' College.
  • Mrs. McNab Shaw, a member of the Ayr County Council.
  • Miss Margaret Jobson, J.P., a member of the Fife County Council, and Fife Education Authority.
  • Mr. W. A. F. Hepburn, O.B.E., M.C., LL.D., Director of Education for Ayrshire,
and a representative of the Quarrier's Homes, Bridge of Weir, to be appointed. Mr. Joseph Westwood, M.P., Miss M. F. Jobson and Mr. W. A. F. Hepburn, besides being members of the Scottish Advisory Council, are also members of the Advisory Council which meets in London.

Members of the Advisory Council have, since the inception of the Children's Overseas Reception Scheme, been in daily session at the headquarters of the scheme. Consideration has been given to the practical and detailed working of the arrangements involved and a large number of important recommendations have been made. I should like to take this opportunity of expressing my appreciation of the untiring labours of members of the Council whose special qualifications, covering all aspects of child migration and welfare, have proved invaluable.

Photo of Mr Tom Smith Mr Tom Smith , Normanton

Is the Minister satisfied that a committee of this size is likely to reach decisions? Will he also keep in mind that this problem of evacuating children overseas to the Dominions and other places is not quite the same problem as taking young children out from Poor Law or other places in this country and settling them on the land in the Dominions?

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Shakespeare Mr Geoffrey Shakespeare , Norwich

On the last point, I appreciate that aspect of the matter. On the first point, I have ample evidence that in the last five days the Advisory Council has come to a large number of decisions. It has divided itself into subcommittees.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Shakespeare Mr Geoffrey Shakespeare , Norwich

I should not like to say. These sub-committees have been working day and night, so it appears that the hon. Gentleman will not be dissatisfied in that respect.

Viscountess Astor:

How many of these people who are going to settle these children in the Dominions and other places have ever been to those countries and know anything about conditions over there? Before the Government announced the scheme did they make any contacts with the Minister of Economic Warfare and the Minister of Shipping? Does not the Minister realise that they have already got into a terrific jam and that this huge committee shows that the Government have not thought it out?

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Shakespeare Mr Geoffrey Shakespeare , Norwich

The Noble Lady's Question is so full of inaccuracies that I would rather deal with it, if I may, during Debate, which I hope will be fixed for next week.

Viscountess Astor:

It may be too late.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Shakespeare Mr Geoffrey Shakespeare , Norwich

I could not deal with it at Question time. I accept none of the Noble Lady's statements.

Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

On a point of Order. Is it not very desirable that before this Council is passed some consideration should be given to some working-class women who have children being appointed?

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

That is not a point of Order.