Mr John Slater: Did he give you the last information?
Mr John Slater: The right hon. Gentleman probably remembers that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade gave figures which showed that the number of alien seamen was not increasing, but rather the reverse.
Mr John Slater: Is not that best dealt with by the getting of new ships, which the Government are going to assist?
Mr John Slater: I do not agree with that in regard to coal. I think there are opportunities from hydrogenation and low temperature carbonisation.
Mr John Slater: I am sorry that the Noble Lady is not present to listen to the speech of the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydfil (Mr. S. Davies) and, of course, I do not propose to make any reply to him. My only desire to intervene in the Debate is because several speeches which have been made seem to indicate a view amongst hon. Members that the mechanisation of industry, which is growing more serious every day,...
Mr John Slater: All of them, every one of them, and not only the engineers, but the figure covers the whole of the workers of the firm, which claims to have the highest pay roll of any works in Europe. The figure I mentioned was £289. I give the House the figures just as they were given at the particular discussion referred to. I have taken care to be exact in regard to the facts. Let me come to the...
Mr John Slater: No, but the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) was very definite on this point. He criticised the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) and said that there was no opening anywhere. He instanced poultry farming, and also said that the new industries that are coming along employ few to-day compared with the number they employed in the past. I could answer that...
Mr John Slater: It has been publicly stated by the company in question that they are a German subsidiary and have very large interests there, and it is only fair to that company to say that they require these ships to be built in Germany.
Mr John Slater: Do I understand that the hon. Gentleman is now defending the rentier interest against the producers of this country?
Mr John Slater: But the hon. Gentleman must be aware that the greatest market in the world for agricultural produce is in Great Britain.
Mr John Slater: Hear, hear: and we are using it.
Mr John Slater: Does not the hon. Member agree that if we insist on buying from abroad cheaply, finally we must sell just as cheaply and so lower the standard of life?
Mr John Slater: Could the hon. and gallant Gentleman give the volume?
Mr John Slater: I would like the President of the Board of Trade to take note of the fact that many business men think that our Trade Agreements are a little too rigid, and that there is not that flexibility which will gradually lead to ultimate improvement unless we have power to exchange in volume and in value the same amount of goods. I commend that fact to the President of the Board of Trade and would...
Mr John Slater: Anywhere you like.
Mr John Slater: I do not think that it is necessary for me to deal with all the points which have been raised by the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. D. Graham), as I think that the Secretary for Mines is able to deal with them quite satisfactorily. There are, however, two or three points to which I wish to refer. The hon. Member referred to the conditions in regard to machine mining being worse than was the...
Mr John Slater: Perhaps the hon. Member is right. We are not a bad lot, are we? At any rate, this is introducing a question which is not relative at all.
Mr John Slater: Obviously that depends upon facts which must be proved, but I accept the statement of the hon. Member. I am speaking generally on the question of the necessity of overtime being worked when emergency arises. If I thought that this practice was being abused I should be one of the first to condemn it. Coming back after six months away from the coal trade, and having bad plenty of time in which...
Mr John Slater: You do not mind us cheering, do you?
Mr John Slater: The hon. and gallant Member said it was a small increase.