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Business Of The House

Volume 388: debated on Thursday 8 April 1943

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May I ask the Leader of the House whether he will state the forthcoming Business?

The Business will be as follows:

First Sitting Day—The Chancellor of the Exchequer will open his Budget.

Second and Third Sitting Days—A general Debate will take place on the Budget Resolutions.

Fourth Sitting Day—Supply (4th Allotted Day); Committee. Continuation of the Debate on Colonial Administration in the West Indies; Second Reading of the Evidence and Powers of Attorney Bill [Lords] and the Courts (Emergency Powers) Bill [Lords].

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has already informed the House that we propose an alteration in the time of meeting for the First Sitting Day.

I am sure that the House is glad to see the Leader of the House back. I should like to put two questions to him. First, as to the White Paper issued yesterday on the proposal for an International Clearing Union, I suggest to the Government that it would be most improper if this matter were discussed on the Budget and that the proper course might be for the Government to give time for it subsequently. I wondered whether the right hon. Gentleman could say anything also on the possibility of a Debate before Easter on the subject of refugees?

In regard to the first question, the Government fully agree with what the right hon. Gentleman has said. It would be a mistake to attempt to discuss this White Paper during the course of the Budget Resolutions. If it is desired, the Government will be prepared to arrange for a special day at some suitable opportunity. As regards refugees, the House perhaps knows that a meeting between our representatives and those of the United States is to take place very shortly indeed. I think we shall be able to get better value from the Debate if we see what is the outcome of that meeting before we attempt to discuss the matter.

Will the Government bear in mind the urgency of this problem and the fact that many thousands of people, large numbers, are being murdered from day to day and are unable to get away from their persecutors?

I think the House understands the seriousness of this situation. The only question is how most usefully to handle it. I should find difficulty in making any useful contribution while our representatives were in discussion with those of the United States.

May we hope there will be an opportunity for a discussion before Easter and that it will not be put off until after the Easter holidays?

I could not give an undertaking. It depends on how long the discussions take. I should not think they will take very long. A further point is that I do not know how long the Easter holiday will be.

May I ask the Leader of the House whether consideration has been given to the Motion standing on the Paper in my name and that of other hon. Members in relation to workmen's compensation, and whether the Government will give an early day for it to be debated?

[This House is of opinion that the scales of payment to injured workmen under the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1925, deny a reasonable standard of living tothe injured workman and his dependants and delays his restoration to full industrial employment, and calls upon the Government to take steps to raise the rates provided for in the 1925 Act by 50 per cent., and to adjust the method of calculating pre-accident earnings so that the injured-workmen may be compensated on an equitable basis.]

I do not think I could give that undertaking. We should have a discussion through the usual channels to discover the extent of the demand for a Debate.

Can the Government find time for a Debate upon the housing problem, as a good deal of speculation exists in house property, and hardship is arising.

I understand that notice has already been given to raise this matter when the Estimates are before the House.

On a point of Order. It is only a small point, but I think it is worth clearing up. Questions on the Paper coming up for answer are given as allotted to the "first, second or third" Sitting Days. Should that not read "second, third and fourth" Sitting Days respectively?

That is just my point, Sir. Therefore Questions down for the "first" Sitting Day should read "second."