Mr Alfred Robens: Is the hon. Gentleman satisfied with the progress being made as a whole in training apprentices?
Mr Alfred Robens: Is not the hon. Gentleman alarmed at the fact that we are not providing enough training for apprentices in this country at the present time?
Mr Alfred Robens: I have many times asked the Minister whether he will take the initiative in talking to the chairmen of the banks about recognition of the union. This is an impossible situation, for the banks remain as the only employers of labour who refuse to recognise properly constituted trade unions.
Mr Alfred Robens: I do not say that the right hon. Gentleman is able to compel the bank chairmen to deal with the matter, but is he not in a position to make some very helpful suggestions which would influence them considerably?
Mr Alfred Robens: It must be remembered that there was a substantial rise in the first year.
Mr Alfred Robens: Naturally, the Chancellor would expect me to say that we are very disappointed at the reply that he has felt compelled to make, and he would be quite right. The debate has taken place quietly and with narrow objectivity. It is an indication of the greatness of Parliament that in dealing with a Finance Bill destined to raise nearly £6,000 million it can pause for a few hours to think in terms...
Mr Alfred Robens: Well, National Assistance. If the hon. Gentleman were in receipt of it he would not mind what it was called so long as he could get the few shillings to enable him to live.
Mr Alfred Robens: It certainly is the case that I have not been on National Assistance.
Mr Alfred Robens: I should be very interested to know the circumstances under which the hon. Member for Southend, East (Mr. McAdden) was on National Assistance, but that is a matter for another day and I am not particularly interested in it just now. What surprises me is why he should sit on the benches opposite—
Mr Alfred Robens: Probably his pockets have been very well lined since his change-over from one class to another.
Mr Alfred Robens: I am glad you support me, Sir Gordon. I now go back to what I was saying to the Chancellor when the hon. Member interrupted to tell us some of his life history. What the Chancellor had done has meant that the poorest of the community, these old-age pensioners on a means test and National Assistance, have in fact had their standard of living reduced at a time when the Chancellor and his...
Mr Alfred Robens: rose—
Mr Alfred Robens: On a point of order, Sir Gordon. May I be informed of what company I am a director? I have no knowledge of that.
Mr Alfred Robens: We on this side of the House certainly support the Bill. It is not our idea of the way in which the Truck Acts should be amended. We have argued—during the passage, for example, of the famous Payment of Wages Act—that legislation to change completely the Truck Acts ought to be before us as soon as possible, and thus obviate the necessity of having to bring in a Bill of this character from...
Mr Alfred Robens: I followed the argument of the hon. and gallant Member with great interest, and I agree with it. It was because the French laid down that we could not even attend the first conference unless we accepted the principle of a supra-national authority.
Mr Alfred Robens: The hon. Gentleman will write a nice long letter.
Mr Alfred Robens: I assure my hon. Friend the Member for Barrow-in-Furness (Mr. Monslow) that I shall curtail my own speech to the minimum in order to permit the many hon. Members on both sides who wish to take part in the debate to do so. We make no apologies at all for returning to the subject of British Railways on this Vote. After the statement by the Prime Minister on 10th March and the subsequent...
Mr Alfred Robens: I will finish in a moment. I say that they would have been very unwise to have any part in it. This undoubtedly is purely a screen which the Government have put up to cover their own desire to carve up the railways and in fact to denationalise everything but the essential non-profit part of running the railways. I am surprised that under these circumstances the right hon. Gentleman was able...
Mr Alfred Robens: rose—
Mr Alfred Robens: It was purely internal.