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Commons Chamber

Volume 255: debated on Tuesday 21 July 1931

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House Of Commons

Tuesday, 21st July, 1931.

The House met at a Quarter before Three of the Clock, Mr. SPEAKER in the Chair.

Private Business

Provisional Order Bills [ Lords] (No Standing Orders applicable),

Mr. SPEAKER laid upon the Table Report from one of the Examiners of Petitions for Private Bills, That in the case of the following Bills, brought from the Lords and referred on the First Reading thereof, no Standing Orders are applicable, namely:—

Ministry of Health Provisional Order Confirmation (Rhymney Valley Joint Sewerage District) Bill [ Lords].

Ministry of Health Provisional Order Confirmation (Lancaster and District Joint Hospital District) Bill [ Lords].

Bills to be read a Second time Tomorrow.

Public Works Facilities Scheme (Rotherham Corporation) Bill

"to confirm a Scheme made by the Minister of Health under the Public Works Facilities Act, 1930, relating to the Rotherham Corporation," presented by Mr. Greenwood; and ordered (under Section 1 (9) of the Act) to be considered To-morrow, and to be printed. [Bill 213.]

Public Works Facilities Scheme (Padstow Harbour) Bill

"to confirm a Scheme made by the Minister of Transport under the Public Works Facilities Act, 1930, relating to the Padstow Harbour Commissioners," presented by Mr. Parkinson; and ordered (under Section 1 (9) of the Act) to be considered To-morrow, and to be printed. [Bill 214.]

Colonial Stock Act, 1900

Copy ordered:

"of Treasury List of Colonial Stocks in respect of which the provisions of the Act are for the time being complied with."—[Mr. Pethick-Lawrence.]

Oral Answers To Questions

British Army

Vocational Training


asked the Secretary of State for War if he will state how many discharged soldiers desirous of re-entering civil life have been assisted in securing employment by the War Office during the last 12 months?

I assume that the right hon. Member refers to direct assistance by means of the Vocational Training Centres. During the 12 months to 30th June, 2,281 soldiers were under training at those centres, and of this number, 1,636 were placed in civil employment on the completion of their training.

Yes, there are many semi-military organisations which give assistance to men in finding work.



asked the Secretary of State for War if he will state what is the estimated cost of the transfer of Army bands from the high pitch to the low pitch; and what are the grounds for the transfer?

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave on 17th March last to the hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Wight (Captain P. Macdonald), of which I am sending him a copy.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the change has taken place, and whether all the military bands have been transferred from one pitch to another?

The result is that the changes have been effected with the complete approbation of everybody concerned.

Does the change meet with the complete approbation of the civilian bands?

I cannot speak for the civilians. I can only speak from my information as to the military bands.

May I ask if the right hon. Gentleman has the slightest knowledge of what this change of pitch will mean?

Yes. I come from the north of England, where brass bands are a part of our lives; consequently I know.

Ordnance Factory, Nottingham


asked the Secretary of State for War if he will state what was the cost of construction and equipment of the National Ordnance Factory at the Meadows, Nottingham; what was the value of the premises and the price for the same paid by Messrs. Cammell, Laird and Company, Limited, under an agreement with the War Office, dated 16th November, 1923; and what reservations or restrictions were attached to the transfer, and whether such reservations or restrictions enable the promises to be utilised for providing employment now that Messrs. Cammell, Laird and Company, Limited, have closed down the works?

The cost of construction and equipment was approximately £520,000. As regards the precise terms of the agreement with Messrs. Cammell, Laird and Company, it would be contrary to practice to disclose information of this kind. The conditions attached to the sale included the right of re-entry by the War Department in certain circumstances. If the present owners no longer require to retain the property for their use, it will be open to them to sell it subject to similar conditions.

Are we to understand that this agreement with the War Office cannot be inspected by Members of Parliament? Secondly, may I ask, with regard to this firm, if there is any con- dition which would prevent the re-employment in similar work on those premises of men who have worked there for many years?

So far as scrutiny by individual Members of Parliament is concerned, I understand that it has always been the custom, not only of this Department but of all Departments, to keep the transactions as private and confidential as possible between the firm or firms with which they deal. In regard to the second part of the question, to the best of my knowledge—I speak with reservation—there is no reason, at all why people should not be employed at the same trade in these works, where anybody may carry on the work.

Am I to understand that transactions involving the sale of public property cannot be inspected by Members of Parliament?

Officers Training Corps (Camps)

(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for War whether the annual camps of the Junior Division of the Officers Training Corps are being cancelled this year, and, if so, for what reason.

Owing to the continued incidence of cerebro-spinal meningitis throughout the country, it is considered inadvisable to collect boys of a susceptible age in camps in large numbers. Boys who would have attended camp but for the cancellation, will, for purposes of "efficiency," be deemed to have attended.


River Esk


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has received the report of the Scottish Advisory Committee on Rivers Pollution Prevention concerning the condition of the River Esk, Midlothian; and, if so, what action he proposes to take?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the latter part, a meeting is to be held in Edinburgh on Tuesday, the 4th August, when I shall discuss the report with representatives of local authorities in Midlothian in order that consideration may be given to the steps that should be taken to purify the river.

Registry Of Sasines (Clerks)


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland in view of the anxiety of the clerks in the Registry of Sasines as to their scale of emoluments as compared with that of the executive officers in England and the difficulty of arriving at any decision in the matter until the publication of the second Fleming report, whether he will take steps to expedite the publication of that report?

The Committee have lost no time in completing their inquiry, and I understand that the report is being sent to the printers for proof to-day. I shall do everything possible to expedite publication, when the report is received.

Preventive And Rescue Work (Reformatory)


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if the appeal made to him by representative workers interested in preventive and rescue work for the establishment of a reformatory for girls in Scotland has yet been considered; and what action he proposes to take?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. My right hon. Friend is not in a position meantime to state when it may be possible to re-establish a girls' reformatory school in Scotland.

Glasgow Green (Lay Preachers)


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will state what progress, if any, he has made in his negotiations with the town council of Glasgow on the question of free speech on Glasgow Green; and if he has taken any steps in connection with the liberation of men imprisoned for offences against the by-laws?

I gave no undertaking to enter into negotiations with the town council on the subject referred to. The matter is not one in which I have any jurisdiction, as the by-law in question was made by the town council under powers conferred by Statute, and was confirmed by the Sheriff. What I did undertake to do was to ascertain whether there was any difficulty in the way of the lay preachers, referred to in the question of 2nd July, obtaining permits to preach the Gospel on Glasgow Green at any time they so desired. I have done so, and I find that permits under the by-law are freely granted and very rarely refused. Accordingly, there seems no reason to doubt that, had they made application, the lay preachers would have obtained permits. As regards the last part of the question, the lay preachers were liberated on 8th July in due course of law, their fines having been paid.

I understood the right hon. Gentleman's previous reply. Will he not consider, having regard to the great public disturbance that this is causing in Glasgow, the desirability of entering into conversations with the Glasgow City Council, with a view to having these by-laws modified or abolished?

I had already informed my hon. Friend that, whilst I am quite ready to discuss this matter, it is one in which I have no jurisdiction.

May I ask if the Secretary of State for Scotland does not think that this proves the necessity of such a by-law, and that, considering the highly inflammable nature of religious opinion in certain parts of Glasgow, it is obvious that any lay preacher who was not going to do more than preach the Gospel and not be provocative, would have no hesitation in asking for a permit?

In regard to the question which has just been asked, is the Secretary of State for Scotland not aware that there was nothing of a sectarian nature in the work that these men were doing, but that they were simply preaching a plain Christian gospel, without any provocation whatever, and that they have been imprisoned for that?

Coal Industry

Coal Mines Act


asked the Secretary for Mines if he will state what steps, if any, have been taken to ensure that the Coal Mines Act, 1931, is being carried out in all districts?

In England and Wales the Coal Mines Act, 1931, appears to be working smoothly. In Scotland, evidence has been collected in regard to alleged breaches of the law, and is being considered with a view to prosecution.

Will the Minister insist that no district or town shall take undue advantage of any other district or town?

All I can say is that legislation has been provided, and that we expect that it will be operated.

Export Trade (France)


asked the Secretary for Mines if he will state the percentage decrease in the shipments of coal from this country to France during the first six months of 1931 as compared with the first six months of 1930 and the percentage increase in Polish, Dutch, and Belgian shipments of coal to France during the same period?

As compared with the corresponding period of 1930, exports of coal from this country to France during the first six months of 1931 decreased by 18½ per cent. Omitting January, however, when shipments were affected by the dispute in South Wales, the decrease was 13 per cent. Coal shipments to France from Poland, Holland and Belgium during the first five months of 1931, the latest period for which information is available, increased by 40, 37 and 43 per cent., respectively.

Are we to understand that, while the export of British coal is steadily diminishing, the export of coal from other exporting countries of Europe is on the increase?


asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps are being taken to bring to the attention of the French Government the effect on em- ployment in this country which will be caused by their proposal to reduce coal imports into France by a system of import licences; and what international engagements exist in connection with this matter?

The French Government have now brought into force a system of restricting coal imports by admitting coal only under licence. His Majesty's Embassy have been in touch with the French authorities during the time when the scheme was in preparation with a view to safeguarding British interests. France is under no treaty obligation towards this country which would prevent her from imposing this restriction.

Therefore, the simple answer is that the right hon. Gentleman can do nothing?

Trade And Commerce

Empire Marketing Board


asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs to what extent the Empire Marketing Board, in accordance with the decision of the Imperial Conference, is carrying on publicity in oversea Empire countries; and whether the co-operation of such countries is being generally sought and obtained?

The terms of the Estimate for Empire Marketing for the current year have been amended in accordance with the recommendations of the Imperial Conference, and the Empire Marketing Board contemplate certain experiments in publicity overseas which they have approved as in keeping with the discussions of the Imperial Conference on this subject.

Have they done anything yet in the way of reciprocity between this country and the Dominions except to raise their tariffs?

With regard to advertisement Overseas for this country, they are dealing with that side of the question now, and I hope they will succeed.

Will this country pay for its publicity overseas, or will it be paid for by the Dominions?

Under the terms of the Empire Marketing Board's grant, the money is found by this country, but I am equally open to receive any grants from the Dominions.


asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs the amount which has been expended by the Empire Marketing Board upon advertisements in the national Press and in trade and local papers during the 12 months to 31st May, 1931; and if he can make any estimate of the value of these sections of the Press, respectively, in arousing public interest in the sale of British and Dominion produce?

The total amount expended from the Empire Marketing Fund upon newspaper advertisements during the 12 months to 31st May, 1931, was £23,758 4s. 1d. Of this amount, £11,545 was in respect of advertisements inserted in the national Press, and £12,213 in respect of insertions in trade and local papers. The Board are satisfied that all the media employed have contributed towards increasing public interest in the sale of Empire produce, but it would obviously be difficult to draw distinctions as to their relative value.

Will the right hon. Gentleman endeavour, through the experts in his Department, to ascertain the comparative merits of the respective methods of advertisement employed by the Empire Marketing Board, so that possibly economies might be effected in the total expenditure?

This is like most other matters that are referred to experts; in the main, common sense determines it, and not experts.

Are we to understand that the expense of advertising for the Dominions in this country is entirely borne by the taxpayers of this country?

Certainly. As I have explained repeatedly, when criticisms have been made about the Old Country's contribution to the Empire, every copper expended by the Empire Marketing Board is found by the British taxpayer, and in the main it is directed to advertising Empire goods.

Has any money been spent on advertising British goods in the papers in the Dominions?

That is the same question which was put to me earlier. The change made at the last Imperial Conference enables us to do that now, but, again, it is a very difficult matter to say to the Dominions, "We want you to advertise British goods"; and, if they are competing in the same goods, there is a reluctance to do so.

Canada And Australia (Agreement)


asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs how the new commercial treaty concluded between Canada and Australia affects the amount of Imperial preference into either country now enjoyed by parts of the British Empire other than the two Dominions concerned; whether he can give any specific instances of how this new system will work; and whether the Government proposes to take into consideration the effect which commercial treaties of this kind will have on the prospects of closer Empire trade?

I have not yet received the full text of the agreement, and in the meantime I do not think that I can usefully comment on the points raised by the hon. Member in the first part of his question. The answer to the last part of his question is in the affirmative.

Industrial Surveys


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he can now make a statement as to the progress of the surveys in certain industrial areas and in which areas such surveys have now been commenced?

Satisfactory progress has been made in all the areas mentioned in my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Mossley (Mr. H. Gibson) on the 17th March last. As I have already explained, in view of the large amount of material to be examined, some months must elapse before results can be expected.

Bankers' Industrial Development Company


asked the President of the Board of Trade what results have been obtained through the setting up of the Bankers' Industrial Development Company; how many applications for financial assistance have been approved, and to what extent; and whether any applications are under consideration at the present time?

Despite the unfavourable conditions for industrial issues since the formation of the Bankers' Industrial Development Company, it has made two public issues in connection with the rationalisation of the basic industries, namely, an issue of £1,000,000 5 per cent. debentures for National Shipbuilders Security, Limited, and an issue of £2,000,000 6½ per cent. debentures for the Lancashire Cotton Corporation, Limited. I am informed that other proposals have been, and are, under examination by Securities Management Trust, with a view to the framing of schemes which might be submitted to the Bankers' Industrial Development Company.

Is the right hon. Gentleman really satisfied with the working of the company? Does he not think some altered system is necessary?

That is a difficult question. I think it would be impossible to express dissatisfaction, because all its operations have been undertaken in a time of profound industrial depression when there was really not a fair chance.

Is it not a fact that over 90 per cent. of the Lancashire Cotton Corporation issue was left with the underwriters?

That may be, But that point is really covered by what I said in reply to the preceding supplementary question.

Ready-Made Clothing (Imports)


asked the President of the Board of Trade the average value of ready-made suits of clothes, part woollen, imported from Poland?

During the first six months of 1931 the total declared value of men's and boys' suits, coats, vests and trousers of wool or wool mixed with other materials imported into the United Kingdom and registered as consigned from Poland (including Dantzig) was £25,677. I have no information as to the average value of these imports.


asked the President of the Board of Trade the value of imported ready-made clothing into the United Kingdom during the past 12 months and the countries of manufacture?

I will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT a statement showing the imports during 1930. Similar particulars for a more recent period of 12 months are not available.

Following is the statement:

The following table shows the total declared value of outer garments (not hosiery) imported into the United Kingdom during the year 1930, distinguishing the principal countries whence con-signed:—

Description and countries whence consigned and Declared Value.

Apparel (not of fur):
Outer Garments (not hosiery):
Overcoats, mackintoshes, oil skins and the like73,087
Leather clothing23,034
Men's and boys' (suits, coats, vests, trousers, excluding overcoats)87,104
Women's and girls' garments of woven fabrics (Costumes, dresses, etc.)3,300,368
Other Outer garments (aprons, overalls, etc.)929,661

Of which consigned from:£
United States of America187,232
British India14,977
Poland (including Dantzig)10,777
Other countries49,011

Glove Industry


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he has yet received from the joint industrial council of the glove industry the figures of unemployment in the industry subsequent to the lapse of the Safeguarding Duty?

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 30th June to the hon. Member for Hallam (Mr. L. Smith), of which I am sending him a copy.



asked the President of the Board of Trade what were the total figures of the German imports and exports for the month of June last, reduced to sterling?

During the month of June, 1931, the value of the imports for home consumption into Germany, converted into sterling at the approximate par rate of exchange, amounted to £29,730,000 and domestic exports to £36,550,000, including deliveries on account of Reparations valued at £1,630,000.

Does not this show a very heavy trade balance in favour of Germany—a very large excess of exports over imports?

No doubt there is a balance, but I need not warn my hon and gallant Friend against making deductions.

Do not these figures indicate that Britain is the best, customer of Germany?

The figures relate to all German trade and not merely the trade with this country.


asked the Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department whether he can give figures for the first six months of 1931 and 1930 of transactions in respect of exports to Germany passing through the Export Credits Department; and whether the terms offered in respect of the export trade to Germany are as favourable as those in respect of exports to Soviet Russia?

During the first six months of 1930 the Export Credits Guarantee Department contracted to guarantee a proportion of credits amounting to £154,828 in connection with exports to Germany. The corresponding amount for the first six months of 1931 was £90,013. The terms upon which guarantees are given, whether for Germany, Soviet Russia or other countries, vary from case to case and from time to time, and it is impossible to make comparisons between the facilities given in different circumstances for different countries.

Can the hon. Gentleman say whether the facilities granted to Soviet Russia are greater than those granted to Germany?

No, I think that it will be quite impossible for me to answer that question, especially at the present time.

I take it that we can rely upon the Government always to favour Russia, if possible.


asked the Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department whether he has any information which will show what has been the effect of the present financial crisis in Germany on the export trade from Great Britain to that country?

I am afraid that at this stage it is too early to form an opinion on the matter.



asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will state the number and description of tanks, armoured vehicles, and other instruments of war exported to Soviet Russia during the last six months, with a comparison for the previous six months, and the number and description of such orders as are now in hand of similar instruments of war?

Separate particulars regarding the exports of tanks and of armoured vehicles are not recorded in the trade accounts. The total declared value of the exports of military, naval and ordnance stores and appliances other than arms and ammunition registered as consigned to the Soviet Union during the first six months of 1931 was £72,966, the corresponding figure for the preceding six months being £40,251. As regards the last part of the question, I have nothing to add to the answer which was given to the hon. Member on 15th July.

Cannot the right hon. Gentleman give me a reply to the last part of the question, whether orders are now in hand?

I told the hon. Gentleman previously that I could not give information, even if I had it, regarding the orders of individual firms.

What amount or number of these engines of war are sent to Russia under the guise of agricultural tractors?

If the Russian Government were to order a battleship here, would it be turned down?


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he can now state the quantities and the value of all imports into this country from the Soviet Union in the first four months of 1931 or, failing this, for the first three months; and if he will give the same particulars for the years 1927, 1928, 1929, and 1930?

I would refer the Noble Lady to the reply given to her questions on the 26th June respecting the total imports and details of the principal commodities for the years 1928, 1929 and 1930 and the first three months of 1931. Detailed particulars of the imports from the Soviet Union during 1927 are given on pages 124 to 126 of Volume IV of the Annual Statement of Trade, 1929.

Cannot the figures sent to me on 26th June by the President of the Board of Trade be printed in the OFFICIAL REPORT as, I think, they will be of considerable interest to numbers of people?

I will call the attention of my right hon. Friend to the Noble Lady's suggestion.

On a point of Order. May I ask whether, when a question is asked in this House and is answered by the sending of a statement, it is not the usual custom that that statement, which is an answer, should be given the same publicity as the question, by being published in the OFFICIAL REPORT. May I ask, in the interests of publicity, why it was that the answer given by way of statement to the Noble Lady on the 26th June was not published in the OFFICIAL REPORT?

I am asking for your assistance, to see that that custom is followed in future, because in this particular case the answer, in which several of us were interested, was not published.

May I ask whether that statement cannot now be published, together with the answer which will appear in the OFFICIAL REPORT to-morrow?

I do not know why the statement was not published, but I will certainly have the matter looked into and see if it can be published as desired.

Trade Facilities Guarantees (Sugar-Beet Companies)


asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury which were the sugar-beet companies in respect to which the Treasury has been called upon to make good its guarantees under the Trade Facilities Acts to the extent of £545,000, of which £162,000 has been written off as irrecoverable; and the amount involved in each case?

The irrecoverable loss was in connection with the Orchard Sugar Company, Limited, which went into liquidation on the 30th March, 1928. In accordance with the invariable practice under the Trade Facilities Acts, I regret that I cannot give details of the other cases, but I may say that the reason for the advances was the failure of a company to pay off capital as rapidly as required by its agreement. No default has taken place on interest and the Treasury is receiving interest on the sums it advanced.


Fruit Research, East Malling (Empire Workers)


asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether the scheme for the accommodation of a number of fruit research workers from oversea Empire countries at East Mailing Research Station is now operative; and from what oversea Empire countries and in what numbers has provision for research workers been made?

Laboratory accommodation for six oversea workers is now available at the station. Following the recent Dominion tour by the director, several oversea Governments are known to be anxious to send workers to the station for the two-year period contemplated under the scheme, but, owing to the economic depression, they have not yet been able to make the necessary financial arrangements. These difficulties are engaging the attention of the Empire Marketing Board. In the meantime, a number of oversea workers are visiting the station for short periods.

Dairy Research


asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether the report on the survey of dairy research recently presented to the Empire Marketing Board is yet available; and whether the report has been communicated to the Ministry of Health?

The report to which the hon. and gallant Member refers will be published in about two months' time. It has not yet been communicated to the Ministry of Health, but a copy will be sent to that Department immediately on publication.

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise the importance of these various Departments each being kept informed of what the others are doing?

Potatoes (Imports)


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will state the quantity and value of potatoes imported into this country during the months of April, May and June, respectively, this year?

As stated in the monthly accounts relating to trade and navigation, the total imports of potatoes into the United Kingdom registered during the months of April, May and June, 1931, were 1,342,000 cwts. valued at £497,000; 1,958,000 cwts. valued at £1,217,000; and 2,835,000 cwts. valued at £2,141,000, respectively.

How does the Government propose to deal with this under the Marketing Bill?

Coal Gas Poisoning


asked the President of the Board of Trade what progress has been made by the Committee on Coal Gas Poisoning which was appointed in June, 1929?

The Committee reported in January, 1930, and I am sending the hon. Member a copy of the report.

Business Names (Registration)

24, 25 and 26.

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) in view of the fact that Russian Oil Products, Limited, the Central Association of Flax Growers, Limited, Black Sea and Baltic General Insurance Company, Limited, Centrosoyos, Limited, Anglo-Soviet Shipping Company, Limited, the Moscow Narodny Bank, Limited, and the White Sea Timber Trust, Limited, have no diplomatic immunity, whether it is intended to prosecute them for not having complied with the Registration of Business Names Act, 1916, Section 2;

(2) in view of the fact that Section 7, Registration of Business Names Act, 1916, imposes a fine of five pounds on every partner of the firm for every day of default in registration of names and particulars, whether he can state what is the total fine that the directors of the companies acting as general agents for Soviet Russia have made themselves liable for through failure to comply with the Act of Parliament in regard to registration;

(3) how many of the companies acting as general agents for Soviet Russia have failed to comply with the Registration of Business Names Act, 1916, Section 2; whether the matter has been the subject of any correspondence; and, if so, on what date?

I cannot at present add anything to the answer which my hon. Friend gave the hon. and gallant Member on 15th July.

Can the right hon. Gentleman enlighten us as to when he will be able to give an answer; and will he bear in mind my extreme anxiety to get an answer before the holidays?

I think I have already indicated, or, at all events, I indicate now, that this raises certain legal questions. Under Section 2 of the Act, inquiries have been addressed to these companies, and I will lose no time, but it is difficult to specify a date.

Will the right hon. Gentleman also bear in mind that a common informer may act in the meantime?

Is it not the case that only the Board of Trade can initiate prosecutions under this Act?

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this Act was brought into force for the specific purpose of dealing with cases of this kind?

That may be so, but I have already informed the House that I am making inquiries under Section 2 of the Act.

Company Law


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will consider the advisability of introducing legislation to compel every limited company to mention on all stationery the authorised nominal capital and the amount fully or partly paid up and similar details relating to the authorised amount of debentures?

I am not satisfied that legislation on these lines is required, but my hon. Friend's suggestion has been noted.


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will consider the advisability of introducing legislation for the purpose of making members of private limited companies personally liable for any amount of the nominal capital not taken up, so that all the members shall be jointly and severally liable for any such part of the capital which is not taken up or not paid up?

I am not prepared to undertake to introduce legislation for this purpose.


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will, when in due course setting up a committee to amend the Companies Act, 1929, also set up a departmental committee to examine the methods of the London Stock Exchange, with a view to embodying in an amended Companies Act recommendations which would bring the granting of stock exchange quotations under the control of the Act, so that investors may be protected against losses and unfair trading, such as have been shown in the courts to be possible owing to the committee of the London Stock Exchange not possessing adequate authority without the support of Parliament?

My right hon. Friend is not altogether satisfied as to the need for the suggested inquiry by a departmental committee but will bear the point in mind. The general question of setting up a committee to consider the amendment of the Companies Act is for the Board of Trade.

Is is not very obvious in view of the tremendous losses that things are not as they were?


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in view of the conditions attaching to the flotation of securities other than those of a trustee or gilt-edged nature, he will consider introducing legislation under which the powers of the London Stock Exchange to grant quotations to new public companies will be limited by prior certification of an examining body under the control of the economic advisers to the Government and designed to protect investors?

I fear that my right hon. Friend is not satisfied that legislation on the lines suggested is called for.

Is this matter under consideration, as suggested in regard to the previous question?

Is it not a fact that the London Stock Exchange is one of the best managed institutions of its kind in the world?

Cinematograph Films


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will give particulars of any changes that have taken place during the previous 12 months in the members of the statutory committee appointed under the Cinematograph Films Act, 1927?

The only change since my reply to the hon. Member of 10th February last on this subject is the resignation of one of the members not representing the film industry, that is one of those appointed under Section 30 (1) (d) of the Cinematograph Films Act, 1927.

I think they are for two or three years, but I should like to verify the point.


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he has considered the report, a copy of which has been sent to him, of the commission which has recently been held in Canada inquiring into the Americanisation of the cinemas in that country; if he will state to what extent this report agrees with the report which has been sent to him by the London Trades Council; and what action he intends to take?

I have not yet received a copy of the report of the Canadian Royal Commission.

All I have seen up to this point is a Press reference a few days ago. I will try to get a copy.

Naval And Military Pensions And Grants


asked the Minister of Pensions whether his attention has been called to the case of Mr. Charles Harold Nias, of Ashdene, High Street, West Mersea, Essex, who is medically certified as being unfit to go about alone as a result of War disability; and if he will state the reason why a grant of constant attendance allowance has been refused in this case?

While occasional help is necessary in this case, I am advised that as a result of a previous examination the man's condition is not such as to enable it to be medically certified that a constant attendant is required. I am, however, calling for a further report on the case.

Unemployment (Transfer Of Workers)


asked the Minister of Labour if steps are still being taken to promote industrial transference by placing persons from the depressed areas in employment elsewhere; and how many persons were transferred in the last four weeks for which figures are available?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. During four weeks ended 6th July, 2,083 persons were transferred from the depressed areas either direct or after a course at a centre.

Royal Navy

His Majesty's Ship "Revenge"


asked the First Lord of the Admiralty when His Majesty's Ship "Revenge," now refitting at Devonport, will pay off so as to enable the Portsmouth men to return to their own depot, having in view that the refit at Devonport instead of the manning port has entailed longer separation from their families for these ratings who have already been away so long, and also the additional expense involved to them and their families?

The date for paying off His Majesty's Ship "Revenge" has not yet been decided, but all ratings have been given the foreign service leave to which they were entitled. The complement of the ship has been reduced to the minimum requirements necessary for maintenance and refit while at Devonport.

German War Vessels (Visit)


asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether, in order to return the honours accorded to His Majesty's Ships "Dorsetshire" and "Norfolk" on their recent visit to Kiel, an invitation is to be extended by His Majesty's Government to the German Government for German war vessels to visit British waters; and whether the possibility of their visiting Portsmouth during Navy week has been considered?

The recent informal British visit was in the nature of a return visit for German visits to Dominion and Colonial ports. It is hoped that visits to the United Kingdom will be paid by German ships when their programmes permit. Any proposals for such visits would be made by the German Government.

When that happens, will the right hon. Gentleman bear Portsmouth in mind?

I am sure the hon. Member for Portsmouth (Sir H. Cayzer) will not let us forget.

Of course, the right hon. Gentleman will bear in mind that Plymouth is much better.

Naval Armaments


asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he will prepare a return showing in their various classes the warships of the following countries, indicating how far to date the building programmes have been carried out or modified, Great Britain, United States of America, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan: ships in commission, laid down and building, and scrapped in the years 1918, 1925 and 1931?

The preparation of a return of this nature involves a great deal of labour for which staff is not provided. In view of the fact that all the information asked for in the question is, with very few exceptions, available in returns already published, I do not think I should be justified in ordering such a return to be prepared.

Would the right hon. Gentleman send me the reference to the particular documents?

A good deal of the information will be found in a Blue Book which the hon. and gallant Gentleman knows of, the Annual Return of Fleets, which has been published regularly since 1921.

Government Departments

Factory Inspectors (Promotion)


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the number of officers above the rank of inspector now employed on the factory inspection staff; whether all such officers have had service as inspectors; and whether it is intended to adhere to this practice in all future promotions?

If my hon. and gallant Friend is referring to the Chief Inspector and his deputies and the superintending inspectors, the number of officers now employed in these ranks is 15 and all of them had previous service as inspectors. As regards the last part of the question, I prefer that these posts should always be filled by promotions within the inspectorate, but in making appointments, particularly of the higher officers, it is necessary in each case to take into account the particular circumstances, and I am afraid it is not possible for me to bind myself and my successors in the way suggested.

Does the right hon. Gentleman mean to neglect altogether the question of practical experience?

Certainly not. I think, if my hon. and gallant Friend reads my answer, he will see that the contrary is my intention.

Land Value Tax (Staff)

47 and 48.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether any extra officials are to be employed on valuation of land values before the 1st January, 1932; if so, what qualifications are required of them and how are they selected;

(2) whether any extra officials are being taken on before the 1st January, 1932, for the purpose of being trained in land valuation; and, if so, how is their training being carried out?

It will be necessary to recruit a staff of temporary valuers, valuation assistants, and draughtsmen. Candidates for appointment as valuers or valuation assistants must have had experience in the valuation of land, and applicants for appointment as draughtsmen must be capable land surveyors; the selection will be carried out by the Board of Inland Revenue, and candidates will, on appointment to the Valuation Office, be instructed in the method of carrying out their duties.

Considering the importance of the system of valuation which has to be carried out, are no regulations being issued or training given to those about to carry out the work?

I have already said that these men, on appointment, will be instructed by the Inland Revenue in the method of carrying out their duties.

Can the hon. Gentleman say approximately how many officials are being taken on in this way?

Will the hon. Gentleman make an announcement of the condi- tions under which valuers will be appointed by the Treasury?

What grade will these officers fill, what will be their appropriate approximate salary, and will they be temporary?

If the hon. and gallant Gentleman will put down that question, I will look into it and see if I can give the information.

Consular Service


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what increase, if any, has taken place in the consular service abroad during the last two years; and whether it is proposed to make further increases and in which countries?

There has been no material change in the numbers of the Consular Service in the last two years; with regard to the second part of the question, the matter is under constant review.

Truck Acts (Prosecutions)


asked the Home Secretary if he will furnish the number of prosecutions under the Truck Acts instituted by inspectors of factories during 1930; the number of convictions; and the average penalty imposed?

Two firms were prosecuted for breaches of these Acts in 1930. One of them was convicted on two charges and fined £1 on each charge. In the other case where three charges were taken, the prosecution was dismissed.

I cannot answer the question without notice, but I can say that there are very few offences now committed under those Acts.

Land Value Tax (Co-Operative Societies)


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether co-operative societies registered under the Friendly Societies Acts will be treated as registered friendly societies for the purposes of Sub-section (1) (g) of Section 24 of the Finance Act?

No, Sir. The exemption in question does not extend beyond friendly societies.

Have not the co-operative societies made any complaints about this matter?

Income Tax


asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury the total amount of the losses to public funds arising from defalcations of collectors of Income Tax during the past 10 years?

The gross amount of the deficiencies in that period was £105,459, of which £79,866 was recovered from the defaulters or from guarantors, leaving £25,593 as the loss to public funds.

Can my hon. Friend say whether the majority of these defalcations did not take place by part-time employés.

Government Industrial Establishments (Holidays)


asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether all public service employés in Government industrial establishments who have completed a full year's service now receive a weekly holiday, with pay, plus leave with pay on ordinary public holidays; and will he give particulars?

Yes, Sir. Employés in Government industrial establishments who have completed a full year's service are entitled to a minimum of six days leave with pay plus five paid public holidays. Arrangements for giving effect to the rule vary in different Departments according to the exigencies of the public service.

Can my hon. Friend say whether any arrangements have been made for other employés of the Government to have holidays with pay?

I think I am right in saying that all employés of the Government have now their annual holiday. The extension to industrial workers which was made about two years ago completed the practice.


Aerial Signposts


asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether he has under consideration any scheme of aerial signposts?

The answer is in the negative. I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to him on 26th November last.

Light Aeroplane Clubs (Accidents)


asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air how many fatal accidents there have been during instruction to pupils at light aeroplane clubs during each of the last three years?

During the year ended 20th July, 1931, there were no fatal accidents to pupils under instruction at light aeroplane clubs; during each of the two previous years there were two fatal accidents.

North-East England Electricity Scheme


asked the Minister of Transport if he can give an estimate of the cost of the pylon scheme between Malton and Whitby if it followed the railway line between Malton and Whitby and did not cross the hill-tops?

I understand that the estimated total cost of the line between Malton and Whitby as designed to be carried out by the Central Electricity Board is £63,000, that if the railway line were followed the extra cost of constructional works would be at least £16,000; and that if by crossing the hill-tops is meant a route on the west side of the river, the extra constructional cost would be at least £10,000. I also understand that both alternative routes pass through country inaccessible to contractors' lorries unless proper roads and several bridges were constructed. This would of course involve additional expense.

Will the hon. Gentleman consider constructing the line from Norton to Whitby instead of from Malton to Whitby in order to preserve the beauty of the moorland scenery between Malton and Whitby?

I take it that all those points have been taken into consideration by the Board.

On a point of Order. Is not this a hypothetical question, "if it goes a certain way?"


asked the Minister of Transport what is the estimated cost of the Malton-Whitby pylon scheme, including the cost of the transformer substations, pylons, and line; and whether the scheme provides for a double or single line?

I understand that the total cost of the line, which is a double circuit, including transformer stations and pylons, is approximately £63,000.

Can the hon. Gentleman say to how many people this will give electric light at a cost of £63,000?

Business Of The House

May I ask the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs what the business will be on Friday, and for what purpose it is intended to move the suspension of the Eleven o'clock Rule to-night?

It is proposed to dispose of the first four Orders on the Order Paper down to and including the Army and Air Expenditure, 1929, Committee. The business for Friday will be considera- tion of Lords Amendments to the Agricultural Land (Utilisation) Bill, and, if time permits, other Orders. With regard to to-morrow's business, representations have been received and it is proposed to take the Public Works Loans Bill immediately after the conclusion of Supply and before the Report stage of the Consumers' Council Money Resolution.

Is the right hot,. Gentleman aware that an undertaking was given that the Public Works Loan Bill, which involves £30,000,000, will be taken at such an hour as to give time for proper consideration?

I am told that no undertaking was given. I understand that my hon. Friend said that he hoped it would be possible to do that, but circumstances have not enabled us to do it.

In view of the fact that we allowed one stage of this Bill to go through on the understanding that we should get proper time to discuss it, could not the right hon. Gentleman have the Bill put down as the first Order on Friday?

I understand that it was put down for last Friday, but at the wish of the Opposition it was not taken.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the second Order which he proposes to take after Eleven o'clock, the Small Landholders and Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Bill, Lords' Amendments, involves many points of principle, and can he give an undertaking that it shall not be taken at too late an hour?

I hope the House generally will realise that we are trying to work to a programme, in accordance with the promise made that we shall rise next week. I hope that the First Order today will not take the time that is generally anticipated.

In the event of the Debate on the Unemployment Insurance Bill being prolonged into the small hours of the morning, does the right hon. Gentleman still propose to take the Financial Resolution of the Consumers' Council Bill, no matter what hour it may be?

I cannot conceive the first contingency, but, even if that were so, I understand that this business is absolutely essential if the House is to rise next week.

In regard to the Public Works Loan Bill, we do not intend to be hostile, but it is a matter which involves £30,000,000, and there is no real hurry for the Bill. It can well stand over until we come back again. Some £15,000,000 is still unexpended. Why force it through the House at midnight?

There is no attempt to force anything on the House. It may equally be said that a number of other matters which are equally urgent and important will have to be discussed when we come back.

In regard to the Public Works Loans Bill, may I ask if the right hon. Gentleman is aware that the report of the Commissioners for this year is not yet published, and that it

Division No. 442.]


[3.38 p.m.

Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)Egan, W. H.Isaacs, George
Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. ChristopherElmley, ViscountJohn, William (Rhondda, West)
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro')England, Colonel A.Johnston, Rt. Hon. Thomas
Alpass, J. H.Evans, Major Herbert (Gateshead)Jones, Llewellyn-, F.
Ammon, Charles GeorgeFoot, IsaacJones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)
Arnott, JohnFreeman, PeterJones, Rt. Hon. Lelf (Camborne)
Attlee, Clement RichardGardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)
Baker, John (Wolverhampton, Bilston)Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, N.)Kedward, R. M. (Kent, Ashford)
Barnes, Alfred JohnGeorge, Megan Lloyd (Anglesea)Kelly, W. T.
Barr, JamesGibbins, JosephKennedy, Rt. Hon. Thomas
Batey, JosephGibson, H. M. (Lancs, Mossley)Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.
Benn, Rt. Hon. WedgwoodGillett, George M.Knight, Holford
Bennett, William (Battersea, South)Glassey, A. E.Lambert, Rt. Hon. George (S. Molton)
Benson, G.Gossling, A. G.Lang, Gordon
Bondfield, Rt. Hon. MargaretGould, F.Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George
Bowen, J. W.Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)Lathan, G. (Sheffield, Park)
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.Gray, MilnerLaw, Albert (Bolton)
Bromfield, WilliamGreenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Colne)Law, A. (Rossendale)
Brothers, M.Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)Lawrence, Susan
Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (South Ayrshire)Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.)Lawrie, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge)
Burgess, F. G.Groves, Thomas E.Lawson, John James
Buxton, C. R. (Yorks. W. R. Elland)Grundy, Thomas W.Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)
Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S.W.)Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)Leach, W.
Charleton, H. C.Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)Lee, Frank (Derby, N.E.)
Chater, DanielHall, J. H. (Whitechapel)Lees, J.
Church, Major A. G.Hall, Capt. W. G. (Portsmouth, C.)Leonard, W.
Cluse, W. S.Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn)Lloyd, C. Ellis
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.Hardie, David (Rutherglen)Logan, David Gilbert
Cocks, Frederick SeymourHardie, G. D. (Springburn)Longbottom, A. W.
Compton, JosephHastings, Dr. SomervilleLongden, F.
Cowan, D. M.Haycock, A. W.Lovat-Fraser, J. A.
Cripps, Sir StaffordHayday, ArthurLunn, William
Daggar, GeorgeHenderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)
Dallas, GeorgeHenderson, Joseph (Ardwick)MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)
Dalton, HughHenderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)
Davies, D. L. (Pontypridd)Herriotts, J.McElwee, A.
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)Hicks, Ernest GeorgeMcEntee, V. L.
Day, HarryHirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworth)McKinlay, A.
Denman, Hon. R. D.Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Gevan)
Dukes, C.Hoffman, P. C.MacNeill-Weir, L.
Duncan, CharlesHollins, A.Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.
Ede, James ChuterHopkin, DanielMcShane, John James
Edmunds, J. E.Horrabin, J. F.Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)

would be much better to put off the discussion on the Bill until the report is available? I have tried to get a copy of the report, but it is not available. Is it fair to bring a Bill of this kind before the House when the report of the Commissioners is not in the hands of hon. Members?

I do not know anything of the details, but I cannot conceive of anything done by this side of the House which will be construed as unfair.

Will the right hon. Gentleman arrange for the Financial Secretary to the Treasury and the Lord Advocate to go away for their holidays?

Motion made, and Question put,

"That the Proceedings on Government Business be exempted, at this day's Sitting, from the provisions of the Standing Order (Sittings of the House)."—[Mr. J. H. Thomas.]

The House divided: Ayes, 248; Noes, 139.

Mander, Geoffrey le M.Ramsay, T. B. WilsonStamford, Thomas W.
Manning, E. L.Rathbone, EleanorStrauss, G. R.
Mansfield, W.Raynes, W. R.Sullivan, J.
March, S.Richards, R.Sutton, J. E.
Marcus, M.Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)
Marley, J.Riley, Ben (Dewsbury)Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)
Marshall, FredRiley, F. F. (Stockton-on-Tees)Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Mathers, GeorgeRitson, J.Thurtle, Ernest
Matters, L. W.Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)Tillett, Ben
Messer, FredRobinson, Sir T. (Lancs, Stretford)Tinker, John Joseph
Middleton, G.Romeril, H. G.Toole, Joseph
Mills, J. E.Rosbotham, D. S. T.Tout, W. J.
Montague, FrederickRowson, GuyTownend, A. E.
Morgan, Dr. H. B.Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles
Morley, RalphSamuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)Vaughan, David
Morris, Rhys HopkinsSamuel, H. Walter (Swansea, West)Viant, S. P.
Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)Sanders, W. S.Walker, J.
Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)Sawyer, G. F.Wallace, H. W.
Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.)Scott, JamesWalters, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Tudor
Muff, G.Scrymgeour, E.Watkins, F. C.
Muggeridge, H. T.Scurr, JohnWatts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Murnin, HughSexton, Sir JamesWellock, Wilfred
Nathan, Major H. L.Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)Welsh, James (Paisley)
Naylor, T. E.Shepherd, Arthur LewisWelsh, James C. (Coatbridge)
Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)Sherwood, G. H.West, F. R.
Noel-Buxton, Baroness (Norfolk, N.)Shield, George WilliamWestwood, Joseph
Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)Shiels, Dr. DrummondWhiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)
Owen, Major G. (Carnarvon)Shillaker, J. F.Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Paling, WilfridShinwell, E.Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Palmer, E. T.Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)
Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)Simmons, C. J.Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Perry, S. F.Sinclair, Sir A. (Caithness)Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Peters, Dr. Sidney JohnSitch, Charles H.Wilson, J. (Oldham)
Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Picton-Turbervill, EdithSmith, Frank (Nuneaton)Wood, Major McKenzie (Banff)
Pole, Major D. G.Smith, Rennie (Penistone)Young, R. S. (Islington, North)
Potts, John S.Smith, Tom (Pontefract)
Price, M. P.Smith, W. R. (Norwich)


Pybus, Percy JohnSnowden, Rt. Hon. PhilipMr. T. Henderson and Mr. William
Quibell, D. J. K.Sorensen, R.Whiteley.


Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-ColonelDavison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)Locker-Lampson, Com. O.(Handsw'th)
Albery, Irving JamesDespencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.Long, Major Hon. Eric
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.Dugdale, Capt. T. L.Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)Eden, Captain AnthonyMaitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)
Atholl, Duchess ofEdmondson, Major A. J.Makins, Brigadier-General E.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley (Bewdley)Elliot, Major Walter E.Margesson, Captain H. D.
Balniel, LordErskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s. M.)Meller, R. J.
Bellairs, Commander CarlyonEverard, W. LindsayMillar, J. D.
Betterton, Sir Henry B.Ferguson, Sir JohnMilne, Wardlaw-, J. S.
Bourne, Captain Robert CroftFord, Sir P. J.Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)
Bowater, Col. Sir T. VansittartFrece, Sir Walter deMonsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.
Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W.Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)
Braithwaite, Major A. N.Ganzoni, Sir JohnMorrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester)
Briscoe, Richard GeorgeGault, Lieut.-Col. A. HamiltonNall-Cain, A. R. N.
Broadbent, Colonel J.Gibson, C. G. (Pudsey & Otley)Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld)
Brown Ernest (Leith)Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir JohnPeake, Captain Osbert
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks, Newb'y)Glyn, Major R. G. C.Penny, Sir George
Buchan, JohnGrattan-Doyle, Sir N.Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. JohnPower, Sir John Cecil
Bullock, Captain MalcolmGunston, Captain D. W.Pownall, Sir Assheton
Butler, R. A.Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.Reid, David D. (County Down)
Campbell, E. T.Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)Remer, John R.
Castle Stewart, Earl ofHannon, Patrick Joseph HenryRichardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch't'sy)
Cautley, Sir Henry S.Hartington, Marquess ofRodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth. S.)Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Cazalet, Captain Victor A.Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)Salmon, Major I.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Chapman, Sir S.Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart
Christle, J. A.Herbert, Sir Dennis (Hertford)Savery, S. S.
Cobb, Sir CyrilHills, Major Rt. Hon. John WallerShepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome
Cohen, Major J. BrunelHoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's U., Belfast)
Colfox, Major William PhilipHudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)Skelton, A. N.
Cooper, A. DuffHurd, Percy A.Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Courtauld, Major J. S.Hutchison, Maj.-Gen. Sir R.Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Cranborne, ViscountIveagh, Countess ofSmith-Carington, Neville W.
Crichton-Stuart, Lord C.Lamb, Sir J. Q.Smithers, Waldron
Crookshank, Capt. H. C.Latham, H. P. (Scarboro' & Whitby)Stanley, Lord (Fylde)
Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)Law, Sir Alfred (Derby, High Peak)Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur
Dalkeith, Earl ofLeighton, Major B. E. P.Stewart, W. J. (Belfast South)
Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)Lewis, Oswald (Colchester)Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A.
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)Llewellin, Major J. J.Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)

Thompson, LukeWard, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. LambertWomersley, W. J.
Thomson, Mitchell-, Rt. Hon. Sir W.Waterhouse, Captain CharlesWood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Titchfield, Major the Marquess ofWayland, Sir William A.
Todd, Capt. A. J.White, H. G.


Turton, Robert HughWilliams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)Sir Frederick Thomson and Sir
Vaughan-Morgan, Sir KenyanWindsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel GeorgeVictor Warrender.
Wallace, Capt. D. E. (Hornsey)Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl


I beg to move,

"That leave be given to bring in a Bill to enable mental defectives to undergo sterilizing operations or sterilizing treatment upon their own application, or that of their spouses or parents or guardians; and for purposes connected therewith."
I realise, and those associated with me realise, that in making this request we are asking the House to do something which may be regarded as in advance of public opinion. That in itself is a difficulty. We realise that we have to convert a large section of the people of this country to a full appreciation of what we propose to do with those who are in every way a burden to their parents, a misery to themselves and in my opinion a menace to the social life of the community. I should be failing m my duty to the House if I did not state that in my opinion, although perhaps not in the opinion of those associated with me, this Bill is merely a first step in order that the community as a whole should be able to make an experiment on a small scale so that later on we may have the benefit of the results and experience gained in order to come to conclusions before bringing in a Bill for the compulsory sterilisation of the unfit.

The Bill is based on the willingness of those suffering mental defects to undergo an operation which will prevent them from bringing children into the world. The Bill provides every reasonable safeguard for the voluntary principle. In the first place, the patients themselves must consent to the operation. In the second place, the spouse or parents or guardian of the defective must agree to the operation. In the third place, there must be the consent of the Board of Control; and, finally, the operation can be carried out only after approval has been given by a judicial authority, such as a bench of magistrates. The operation is not the mutilation usually associated with sterilisation. I need not go into the details, except to say that it is devised in order that the emotional life of the patient shall not be affected in the slightest degree, but that the patient shall be effectively prevented from bringing children into the world. There are various operations on the male. There is a very simple operation which is done in five minutes, usually with a local anaesthetic. There is no danger attached to it. Out of 5,000 odd cases dealt with in this way in California, there has been only one death, and that was under the anaesthetic. In the case of women it is a rather more serious operation, but no more dangerous than an operation for appendicitis.

The Bill has been prepared in consultation with the Eugenics Society. For many years, with the active support and co-operation of social workers, members of the medical profession, economists and biologists, the society has attempted to focus public attention on a problem, failure to solve which can tend only to the progressive deterioration of our stock. A few statistics are available regarding the progressive deterioration of the stock in this country alone in the report of the Mental Deficiency Committee set up by the Board of Education and the Board of Control in 1925. The report was published in 1929. They estimated that the certifiable mental defectives in the country were 300,000, of whom 25,000, or only one-twelfth, were in institutions. Another 50,000 were under the control of guardians. They had no recommendation to make with regard to the whole of the remainder, but they recommended that institutions should be provided for one-third of them, that is to say, for 100,000. That in itself would be a tremendous drain on the public purse and would tax the capacity of local authorities for many years to come. But in any case, even if you provide institutions for 100,000, what about the 200,000?

Only last week I asked a question of the President of the Board of Education regarding what happened to the children who left the schools for the feebleminded. He replied that in some cases the local authorities had after-care arrangements. But I can assure him that in one of the largest local educa- tion authorities in this country, namely London, there is no systematic aftercare of the mental defectives. On the authority of headmasters of some of these schools, these children go out into the world at the age of 16, and within two or three years, so I was assured by one of them, at least 25 per cent. of them have been "up," either before magistrates' courts or children's courts in various parts of the Metropolis; and he said also that in the normal way, as far as he could ascertain from the statistics and information which he was able to compile in the five or six years during which he had been head of an institution, of those that left, within three or four years they had married and had children or they had to be married and they still had children.

Of course, it may be urged that mere sterilisation is not enough. It may be urged that that will not cure the problem of mental disease. We are not suggesting that it would, but we are suggesting that the knowledge which has been obtained and the statistics which have been compiled as to the ancestry of mental defectives in a number of different States and countries, show that anything from 45 to 80 per cent. of the mental defectives in those various States and countries are so because they have inherited defective germ plasm. We are suggesting that it would be advisable to take the risk and sterilise all the defectives in the hope that by a generation or so we shall reduce the mental defectives to measurable quantities.

I would respectfully urge the House to give permission for the Bill to be printed and to come up for Second Reading in order that the Bill as a whole may be read by hon. Members. I suggest that there should be no opposition to it on First Reading in order that Members as a whole can become acquainted with the provisions of the Bill. Necessarily I can only briefly sketch a Bill which, so far from violating the laws of God and morality, attempts to do something which is supported by large bodies of social workers, 53 local councils, a whole mass of opinion in the medical profession and the scientific profession, and a whole mass of biological opinion. Fifty-three local boroughs has said definitely that they are in favour of the principle embodied in the Bill. I beg the House to give permission for the introduction of the Bill, not merely because of the authoritative weight behind it, not merely because it is brought forward as a tentative and experimental Measure, but also because hon. Members themselves should have an opportunity to examine the Bill and to study the documentary evidence in the reports issued by various bodies, and so realise fully the importance of the problem due to the increase of mental defectives in our midst.

I rise to ask the House not to give leave for the introduction of this Bill. The House has heard a harrowing tale which is mostly moonshine. The Bill is said to be in advance of public opinion, but it is really in advance of common sense and ordinary sanity. With regard to mental defectives there is said to be an increase rising crescendo in geometrical progression to overwhelm the world in an avalanche of mental backwardness, and to lure the progressive world headlong into an abyss of degenerate civilisation. We have just heard a Member speaking experimentally as an acknowledged expert with practical knowledge of anatomy, mental science, psychology, social conditions with everyday practical experience and long continued touch with the working class, and institutional inmates and with a trained medical mind on a most controversial subject. In the words of Danton:

"De Vaudace, encore de Vaudace, et toujours de l'audace."
If ever there was a case of a man rising to this audacity, it is the case of a Labour Member rising from these benches to advocate anti-working class legislation. This problem is not new, but nature has its own way of dealing with mental defectives by limiting their progeny. It is an age-long, time immemorial problem, and it has always been a terror which has been held up like the sword of Damocles but has never fallen. Some when inebriated see beetles; the eugenist, intoxicated, sees defectives. The first question is: Are the number of mental defectives increasing? I say it is not a real, but only an apparent and fictitious increase owing to better diagnosis, a finer combing of the population, a higher standard of mental fitness, better methods of ascertainment and better grading. Society is not apical with the Eugenist at the top and the hoi-polloi in the valley. If it be true that mental deficiency is increasing what becomes of the great scientific theory of "the survival of the Fittest"?

What is mental deficiency? There are many and varying standards, and the cause is doubtful. Heredity, still an unknown and exaggerated bogy of humanity, especially in eugenic nightmares, has been foisted upon the world as the main cause of mental deficiency. It all depends on the standard. For instance, in the United States of America the records for the United States Army during the War show that 47 per cent. were said to have the mentality of 13 years of age. So that it depends on your idea of mental fitness. Social adaptability is the quality which is usually urged as the best test, and Members of this House know how difficult it is to adapt oneself to this House and how long it sometimes takes.

What is the main source of mental defectives? There are two sources. Those high up and those low down—Mayfair and Mile End, Belgravia and Bow. The main source of mental defectives is not the certified defectives themselves. It is well known medically that the low grade defective has not a high percentage of fertility. It is the high grade defective. And what is the main source of the high grade defective? It is the subnormal population, the lower submerged 10 per cent. living on the knife-edge of poverty who are alleged to be carriers of a defective germ plasm—and there is said to be a defective germ plasm in every family. The product of these germ cells of the submerged is affected by economic stress, by ill-nutrition, by under-nourishment, by possible injury to the mother, by chronic ante-natal infection, by acute microbic disease, by bad midwifery, by glandular deficiency, and a host of other causes. There is nothing wrong with the germ plasm itself. At the bottom, mental deficiency is an economic problem. The germ plasm of every man represents not a union of two but of hundreds of previous germ cells. It is said scientifically that we have 300 billion paternal germ cells, and 700 billion maternal germ cells in the making of one human. The process of germ division is not a simple but complicated process—a unicellular division and casting off which is one of the great mysteries of Eternal life. The chances of any particular division of cells and qualities are remote, and the odds of any particular union are one in five millions of billions. If every one of these germ cells has a chance of a defective offspring, the chances are a real gamble at the best against the production of a mental defective. If once the principle of maiming or mutilation is admitted, not for the benefit or health of the individual but for the good of others or the State acting for others, there is no brake to sliding down the slippery slope leading to the swamp of State penalisation, where we may get rid of all those obnoxious to the State. Those preaching subversive doctrines may have their tongues cut out. Those writing subversive doctrines may have their hands cut off. The State (those temporarily in power) are the dictators of limb and life. The eugenist upon a pinnacle of intellectual snobbery, looking down upon the less fortunate mental defective, may gradually raise the standard of mental deficiency and push more and more citizens into the maelstrom of the mentally-maimed.

Will sterilisation help? Some will still need institutional treatment. Others will still need communal care and supervision. You are not stopping the source of the supply but you are giving a greater freedom to sterilised defectives to wander as shunned Ishmaels in society, with infantile and puerile minds, with perversions, with anti-social tendencies, being unappreciative of results, willing tools of scoundrels and sharpers, exploited in every way, living degraded lives, spreading disease, mainly venereal, still impulsive sexually and a dangerous menace to innocent women and children, spreading bad habits of hygiene and citizenship, drifting to the lowest and possibly criminal haunts of society like the damned in Dante's "Inferno." Sterilisation is thus not a help but a hindrance. The request for sterilisation is said to be voluntary. Can anyone ask a child of 10 years to submit to he sterilised for the rest of its life? The request is valueless, and the consent unreliable. If consent is by a relative or guardian it raises the great ethical question whether anyone has the right to maim any individual, especially an individual who is alleged not to have sufficient reason to give any consent. Then which sex is to undergo the simple operation? In males, the operation is simple. In females it involves a serious operation, an opening of the abdominal cavity, with a risk of death from anaesthesia or shock or infection, or surgical accidents, or risk of invalidity from a gross disturbance of the interchange, and interplay between important glands. In America they have actually proposed to introduce an electric cautery a foot and a half into a person's abdomen, and then cauterise inside. They have done this operation, and then they tell the public it does not cause any pain.

I submit that this is class legislation. In Europe there are Monarchies and dynasties riddled with haemophilia, a disease transmitted by the females but affecting the males. It causes bleeding

Division No. 443.]


[4.10 p.m.

Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-ColonelHennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs, Stretford)
Arnott, JohnHopkin, DanielRodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell
Atholl, Duchess ofHorrabin, J. F.Samuel, H. Walter (Swansea, West)
Bellairs, Commander CarlyonHurst, Sir Gerald B.Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart
Benson, G.Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Sandham, E.
Bowater, Col. Sir T. VansittartKnight, HolfordShak