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Written Answers

Volume 154: debated on Friday 19 May 1922

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Written Answers

Far Eastern Republic

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he is aware that the Government of the Far Eastern Republic has reported that the Japanese troops are trying to seize the rich mining and timber regions near Vladivostok; and whether, in view of Japan's declaration to the Powers at the Washington Conference that the delegation is authorised to declare that it is the fixed and settled policy of Japan to respect the territorial integrity of Russia and to observe the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of that country, as well as the principle of equal opportunity for the commerce and industry of all nations in every part of the Russian possessions (White Paper, Cmd. 1627, page 73), His Majesty's Government will approach the other Governments represented at Washington with a view to joint representations being made to Japan on the subject?

Unemployment

Relief Measures And Expenditure

asked the Minister of Labour the amount of money expended to date by the Government in unemployment relief work, unemployment insurance, and other assistance for unemployed workpeople and demobilised ex-service men and women since the Armistice; whether he can give an estimate of the total expenditure by the local authorities of the Kingdom on the same form of relief for the same period; and what is the present weekly rate of expenditure by the Government and the local authorities on unemployment relief?

I. Unemployment Relief Work.

As many of the schemes to which the Government has contributed are in progress, there is no complete central record of actual expenditure up to date. The figures below are therefore given in terms of grants indicated by the Government, together with corresponding sums which the local authorities were required to raise.

(a) Ministry of TransportArterial and other road work.

Grants indicated£6,200,000
Contribution by local authorities£6,200,000
£12,400,000

(b) Unemployment Grants Committee.

(i) Grants on basis of 60 per cent. of wages bill.

Grants allocated (deducting schemes which will not rank for grant)£2,630,000
Balance of cost to be paid by local authorities£6,353,000
£8,983,000

(ii) Loans Scheme.—In addition, capital expenditure to the amount of £17,238,000 has been approved for contribution towards the loan charges under the Loans Scheme.

(c) Agricultural Schemes:

(i) Ministry of AgricultureLand Drainage Schemes.

Maximum Commitments to date£388,000

Note.—Of this sum £113,000 is recoverable from Drainage Boards and landowners.

(ii) Ministry of AgricultureWater Supply Schemes:

Grants promised£9,600

The total cost of these schemes is estimated at £28,200, of which £18,600 is borne by landowners.

(iii) Scottish Board of AgricultureLand Drainage Schemes:

Grants sanctioned£21,000

Note.—This figure is approximately one-half of the total cost of the schemes.

(d) Forestry Commission:

Estimated cost of approved unemployment schemes additional to normal estimates£206,000
Estimated expenditure to be incurred by landowners and local authorities on certain of these schemes 141,000
£347,000

(e) Office of Works:

(i) Emergency schemes (winter, 1920–21) of decorating and repair work in Government Departments77,000
(ii) Relief work—Royal Parks (winter, 1921–22)50,000
£127,000

(f) Local Authorities:

In addition to relief measures outlined above to which the Government have been contributing, local authorities throughout the country have instituted a substantial amount of relief work without Government assistance. Figures as to expenditure incurred in this way are not available, but returns received from local authorities show that throughout the last 18 months they have been employing between 8,000 and 10,000 men in this way. The present number reported to be so employed exceeds 10,000.

II. Unemployment Insurance, etc.

(a) Out-of-work Donation.
(i) Ex-service men and women£40,000,000
(ii) Civilians22,000,000
(b) Unemployment Benefit (including dependants grants)82,000,000
£144,000,000

III. Other forms of Assistance.

(a) Resettlement Training£26,692,000
(b) Civil Liabilities Grants3,450,000
(c) Overseas Settlement1,830,000

NOTE.—In addition, £375,000 was set aside from the National Relief Fund for this purpose.

IV. Other Measures.

In addition to the foregoing schemes the Government have instituted the following measures, namely:

(1) Trade Facilities Scheme.
Maximum sum the Treasury may guarantee for capital works£25,000,000
Guarantee given or sanctioned to date16,752,000
(2) Export Credit Scheme.
Total sum set aside26,000,000
Advances, guarantees and credits sanctioned12,250,000
(3) Acceleration of Government Contracts.
Sum set aside by Government in autumn, 1921, for contract acceleration563,000
(4) Land Settlement for ex-service men.
Expenditure by Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries1,523,860
(5) Loans under the Land Facilities Act, 1919, made by the Public Works Loan Commissioners to County Councils for capital expenditure on small holdings for ex-service men12,269,000

V. Out-door Relief.

It is impracticable to estimate with any precision the amount expended since the Armistice on outdoor relief of the unem- ployed. (See below, however, for present weekly expenditure.)

VI. Weekly Expenditure.

With the exception of unemployment benefit and out-door relief of the unemployed, the relief measures outlined above cannot be expressed in terms of weekly rate of expenditure. The present average weekly rate of expenditure on unemployment benefit is, however, approximately £1,100,000 and the corresponding figure for out-door relief of the unemployed is £247,000.

Housing (Scotland)

asked the Secretary for Scotland what is his information in regard to the total number of workers engaged in the building trade in Scotland who are at present unemployed; what is the relative cost of building to-day houses of the various types scheduled under the Housing Acts compared with that prevailing in May, 1910, 1920, and 1921; and whether he is satisfied that everything is being done to encourage private enterprise in supplying the great demand for new houses?

I am informed that the total number of unemployed workers in the building trades in Scotland was 10,121 at 24th April, 1922, the latest date for which figures are available. I have no information about the cost of house building in 1910, but the average costs under State-assisted housing schemes during 1919, 1920, and 1921 were as follows:—

1919.1920.1921.
£££
Three apartment flats700900850
Three apartment cottages750950950
Four apartment cottages8001,0501,000
Five apartment cottages8501,2501,150
The Scottish Board of Health have not had a sufficient number of recent tenders to enable an adequate comparison to be drawn with these figures, but tenders submitted last month by the Town Council of Glasgow give some indication of present-day building costs, the approved costs of the four types of houses specified being £504, £612, £634 and £698 respectively. I hope that, if the present tendency of costs of labour and materials to fall continues, private enterprise will be induced to resume house building.