Mr William Stewart: 69. asked the Minister of Labour what is the Government's attitude to the proposal to pay to local authorities the equivalent of part of the transitional payment in respect of every unemployed man in receipt of such benefit who is given work by the local authorities on approved schemes and under approved conditions of employment?
Mr William Stewart: Is the hon. and gallant Member aware that there are many local authorities who, if given assistance of this kind, could carry out urgent and useful works which would employ numbers of idle men, and would not be open to the objection to which he has referred?
Mr William Stewart: Can the hon. Gentleman say whether the Government are prepared to initiate useful discussion with local authorities who would carry out schemes if they knew that financial assistance would be provided?
Mr William Stewart: Will the right hon. Gentleman convey to the Herring Board that British Industries House has offered to co-operate in this matter and has very special facilities to give to the herring trade if such a demonstration were organised?
Mr William Stewart: 50. asked the Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department whether he can make a statement on the results of the inquiries made into the possibility of openings for British herring in overseas countries?
Mr William Stewart: Is the hon. and gallant Member also working in association with the Herring Industry Board?
Mr William Stewart: Can the Minister give an assurance on the question of currency payments, which, in my estimation and that of others, has been of extreme concern to the industry in recent months?
Mr William Stewart: 42. asked the Minister of Agriculture what is the attitude of the Government towards the establishment by the co-operative societies of beet-sugar factories; and if the new proposals of the Government for 1935 are in fact likely to raise the price of sugar to the consumer?
Mr William Stewart: Is my right hon. Friend aware that statements are being made in Scotland to the effect that the Government are deliberately preventing co-operative societies, because they are co-operative societies, from engaging in home beet-sugar production, and that it is the deliberate intention of the Government to raise the price of sugar? Can my right hon. Friend give a direct denial to both these charges?
Mr William Stewart: That is not exactly what I said. I asked the right hon. Gentleman if he would not give producers in broad outline the total volume of production to which agriculture in this country should start.
Mr William Stewart: The hon. Member for Govan (Mr. Maclean) asked a question in regard to old boats and new boats, and I think it is easy to answer that question. It is in the Duncan Report.
Mr William Stewart: I was saying that the answer is in the Duncan Report. You cannot leave the herring industry to suffer from a process of cruel attrition. We have to help it by buying up some of the older boats and by buying new boats, because they can be worked at about half the cost of the old boats. If the whole fleet were equipped with new boats, there would not be nearly the distress that there is at the...
Mr William Stewart: Is my hon. Friend satisfied that, with that exception, there are no difficulties at the present time in the way of the transfer of currency from Germany?
Mr William Stewart: 43. asked the Postmaster-General whether he proposes to use any part of the increasing surplus of the Post Office to provide better pay and improved conditions of service to sub-postmasters, especially to those in rural areas?
Mr William Stewart: In addition to the pay, will my hon. Friend consider the conditions under which these men have to work, especially in view of their quite heavy responsibilities?
Mr William Stewart: While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for his answer, may I ask, in view of the seriousness of the situation and the urgent need for reassurance, whether he will be in a position to make a definite statement if I repeat my question in a few days' time?
Mr William Stewart: If that is my hon. Friend's definition, then every social or industrial piece of legislation by any Government at any time is bribery?
Mr William Stewart: I am sure the hon. Member is not following what I am saying. I was referring specifically to the £2,000,000.
Mr William Stewart: The hon. Member is entitled to voice his view. I accept the word of the Government implicitly that this is a beginning, not an end, and that it will be extended.
Mr William Stewart: Technically, the hon. Member is correct. No one denies it, but you must see a little more than the technique of the Bill. What is behind it? I am perfectly satisfied that there is a determination behind it to put at the disposal of these commissioners all the funds needed for carrying out their work. I ask the Minister to answer a couple of questions. This scheme we are discussing is in two...