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17 March, 1927.]

Sir LIONEL EARLE, K.C.B., K.C.V.O., C.M.G., and Mr. J. A. W. BUCHANAN, C.B.E.

I do not know what other explanation I can give than that it was due to the enormous mass of unemployment.

776. Where do you hire the various offices? I see note E refers to expenditure on hirings?-If we hire it comes under the heading of rents. I dare say the great mass of this item is for hire only.

777. How long do you hire for?-There are various leases. They are quite short sometimes.

778. Why does not L. come into that category as well? (Sir Malcolm Ramsay.) That is a different class of building. (Sir Lionel Earle.) That, as you will see from the note, is in connexion with the working of the Widows', Orphans', and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act, 1925.

779. The amount of £10,000 under E. seems an enormous amount?-It is all over the country. It is a very big service.

780. I see in the item on page 78 dealing with Montagu House there is an excess of £3,700. Is the re-conditioning of the old huts absolutely necessary?The Labour Ministry informed us it was absolutely necessary. It was very inconvenient to them to have all their unemployment section housed outside at some considerable distance from headquarters. This matter was carefully gone into both by the Treasury and ourselves, and I think the cost was justified.

781. What would the total expenditure be? The total expenditure is £27,275. You will see that figure given in the footnote No. 4.

782. That is the expenditure only for new huts?—And the reconditioning of the old ones which had got into a bad

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786. Do the Ministry of Labour actually decide on the street in which the Labour Exchange is to be?—Yes, in conjunction with us. The whole policy, I am glad to say, is changed now. They have gone very much more into less important streets, and have taken less valuable sites than they did to start with. The policy is changed in that way. To give you a very good illustration of

that there is the case of Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow, which is the most important one. The site which we bought originally there has been sold. I can give you other cases too where Employment Exchanges are about to be moved out of the main thoroughfares, viz., Camden Town, Oldham, Shrewsbury, Stockton-on-Tees, and Wrexham, to much less expensive sites.

787. You have some very good sites still? There is the Brighton case which the Committee referred to last year. Those are only hired premises, but it is extremely difficult to find anything in Brighton at all. Those premises had to serve those two districts of Brighton and Hove, and had to be in that neighbourhood to serve those two dis


788. How many do you say you are moving now?-The Sauchiehall Street one in Glasgow is the most important, and there are five others that I know of at the present moment, viz., Camden Town, Oldham, Shrewsbury, Stockton-on-Tees and Wrexham.

789. Did you sell the Glasgow site at a profit?-It has not been sold yet, but I think it will be sold at a considerable profit.

790. I thought you said it had been sold. It is up for sale now?-It is up for sale now.

Major Salmon.

791. With reference to your observation regarding huts at Montagu House, what is considered to be the life of a hut? I should think certainly the life of those huts would be 50 or 60 years— probably longer.

792. I understood you to say that some thousands of pounds is being spent on re-conditioning them. Have they been up as long as that?-The old huts were built in very different style from the new huts, which are now built of brick. The old huts were merely built of timber, lath and plaster.

17 March, 1927.]

Sir LIONEL EARLE, K.C.B., K.C.V.O., C.M.G., and Mr. J. A. W. BUCHANAN, C.B.E.



793. Are the new huts you are putting up at Montagu House very much more substantial in character?-They very much more substantial in character. 794. With brick piers and brick walls? -They are built of brick up to the first storey, and afterwards of a lighter structure. They are very much more substantially built than the war huts.

795. You are anticipating that they will last, do you say, for 60 years?-At least that.

796. Therefore it is the accepted policy presumably of those responsible, to utilise that space outside Montagu House for temporary, huts?-Certainly for the time being. Of course if the whole of that site was ultimately developed they might have to be removed, but there is no doubt that the rents that were being paid where those people were housed previously were colossal.

797. Shall we save an outgoing in the way of rent?-It depends how long these huts are actually occupied for the purposes for which they are built, but if they are occupied for a certain number of years no doubt rent will be saved.

798. Have the tenancies of the other buildings been given up?-They have been given up.

799. What are the people doing in the meantime until these huts are built? The huts are built; they are all occupied.

800. With reference to new Employment Exchanges I should like to know this. When a site is agreed upon and is taken, who settles the plans of the actual site?-We design the plans and submit them to the Ministry of Labour.

801. The responsibility of the original design is yours?-After having received notice of what the required accommodation is from the Ministry of Labour, we then design the plans and submit them to the Ministry of Labour to know whether they meet their demands for that particular locality.

802. I have in mind three Exchanges, viz., Edgware Road, Hackney and Shepherd's Bush. I think I am correct in saying they are new Exchanges?Yes, they have been built in the years 1923-24.

803. Have you heard from the Department that the internal arrangements are not satisfactory?-That is so to some extent at certain times of the year. But since you kindly gave me notice that you were going to raise this 61421

question I have been in touch with the Ministry of Labour on the matter, and I can give you definite information with regard to their view about each of these Exchanges.

804. If you take the general principle of the three Exchanges at Edgware Road, Hackney and Shepherd's Bush, I am given to understand that the building is so arranged that it is very costly to run, and it is very inconvenient for the purpose of dealing with juvenile unemployment; and at the time they were built I believe they were objected to on the ground that they were not of a kind that would do the work the Department hoped could be done at that particular place?-As regards these juveniles the times of pressure are at the end of the terms when the children leave the schools and begin to seek employment. There is doubtless at those times a certain congestion, but it strikes me, and it certainly strikes the Ministry of Labour, that it would be wildly extravagent to build premises for all time to meet those only short special times when the congestion is very great, because if you did so you would have a very much increased area of land to buy in the first instance, and a very much larger building, though for a great portion of the year it would not be used.

805. If you take the ordinary business of the Juvenile department at the Employment Exchange, what you really find is that the Secretary is on one floor with the boys, and the girls are upstairs. How can he supervise both? Has it not been pointed out that it is desirable to have them all on one floor so as to save maintenance and supervision? The Ministry of Labour admit there is no complaint as regards Shepherd's Bush and Edware Road. As regards Hackney the complaint as to inadequacy of accommodation is in connection with the accommodation allotted to the Secretary, viz., 10 feet 6 inches square, and which, although adjoining the boys' department,

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some distance away from the girls. They think they can probably in this case do something to improve the interviewing accommodation, and the case is one to which they are giving early attention on the representations made. That is the answer the Ministry of Labour have given me.

806. The particular point I had in mind was that it seems unfortunate that

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17 March, 1927.]

Sir LIONEL EARLE, K.C.B., K.C.V.O., C.M.G., and Mr. J. A. W. BUCHANAN, C.B.E.

in taking a site and planning it, one should not have regard to the real use to which the building is going to be put. It seems strange that when one goes into the details with another department as to why the exchange cannot deal adequately with the work they have before them, one is told that the building is not suitable. My point is, is there sufficient co-operation between you as the responsible officials for acquiring sites and the general lay-out of the sites; do you in all cases satisfy the Ministry of Labour that you are giving them the necessary accommodation and the amount of accommodation required?—I cannot help feeling that we must be doing so, otherwise when they see the plans they would say, "This is inadequate." But they do not say that. There is a standard schedule of accommodation, which has been approved with the Ministry of Labour and the Treasury, for the different sections of Employment Exchanges. We endeavour as far as possible to provide accommodation in accordance with this standard. It is true that it sometimes happens that owing to the difficulties in obtaining sites it is not possible to acquire sites sufficiently large to provide accommodation in accordance with that schedule, but cases of that sort are comparatively rare.

807. But you take the site notwithstanding that you cannot provide the standard accommodation?-Yes, because there is no other available site which suits the Ministry of Labour. In such cases accommodation is provided as near as possible to the schedule. But I do not think there can be very much wrong. Take, for instance, the Shepherd's Bush Exchange. The standard accommodation asked for was, for the boys, 10 feet of counter space, and 200 square feet for waiting. We provided 13 feet 6 inches counter space, and 216 square feet for waiting space, which was in excess of the actual standard demanded. As regards the girls, the standard accommodation was 10 feet counter space, and 200 square feet waiting space. We gave 17 feet counter space and 272 square feet waiting space. In both cases you will see the accommodation provided was in excess of the standard agreed upon. The Ministry of Labour do not think there is anything very much amiss there' As regards Hackney, which I say they are giving early attention to, there is a


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810. You said before that at times it is difficult to acquire the size of site you really desire. Who has the final decision in saying that a site is sufficiently large although not large enough to provide the standard accommodation?-The Ministry of Labour. We find the site and put up the proposition to them. If they are not satisfied they ought to say it will not do.

811. It is their responsibility? It is entirely their responsibility. We are merely acting as agents for them, and we carry the matter through for them just like any architect would deal with his client.

812. I notice with regard to the Edgware Road Exchange there is a note with reference to huts. What huts are those? Were they for the building, or in addition to the building?—It is only a remanet charge.

813. I did not know whether they wers perhaps put up temporarily?—I am not quite sure about that because they cost £7,000.

Mr. Ellis.

814. In getting these sites generally for the Ministry of Labour do you seek the quieter portions of the town in preference? We have always advocated the quieter portions of the town, but some years ago there was a considerable demand on the part of the Ministry of

17 March, 1927.]

Sir LIONEL EARLE, K.C.B., K.C.V.O., C.M.G., and Mr. J. A. W. BUCHANAN, C.B.E.

Labour to go into the same sort of position as the Post Office. We protested against that because we thought it extravagant, but we were overruled by the powers of the day. That policy has now, however, completely changed.

815. And now on many grounds you look for the quieter parts of the town?— Yes. I do not think it is wise to have men seeking work coming to a place in the most prominent part of the town.

816. I knew of one or two very prominent and valuable sites for Exchanges when there were other sites which could be obtained in other parts of the town? -That is so.

Mr. Gillett.

817. Have you considered the opposite side of the question-namely, the importance of having these Exchanges where the employers can easily get to them? I think that is always considered, but as I say the really dominant factor in this is whether the Ministry of Labour consider that the sites that we find are satisfactory or not from their point of view. But as regards the full explanation of their policy I suggest that honourable Members should cross-examine the Ministry of Labour, because merely act as agents for carrying out their demands.


818. I should like to ask whether you find that these huts that are erected for the Exchanges are really satisfactory; whether they are the same wooden huts that were erected during the days of the War?-I do not think they are as satisfactory as the semi-permanent buildings that we are now erecting in centres where it is definitely decided they shall be more or less permanent. But I have had no great complaints. They have to be rather carefully looked after on account of the work they have to deal with. The maintenance is rather heavy.

819. When I was Chairman of the Committee at Finsbury we found them most unsatisfactory in the hot weather. Therefore, I am rather surprised to see that you are erecting huts costing something like £11,000 in Bermondsey. I was wondering whether your Department had considered how inconvenient these huts are for the staff in hot weather?-I am bound to say I have not heard many complaints of these. I should have thought the Ministry of Labour would certainly have made representations to us if the 61421


conditions are as unsatisfactory as you suggest.


820. If you acquire a piece of land would it not be much better to put up a building than spend £11,000 on the erection of huts? We are putting up semi-permanent buildings with a life of at years those centres where the Ministry of Labour are absolutely certain they will remain. I suppose there is an element of doubt in some of these places as to whether they have got the right position and the right centre to have an Employment Exchange. Therefore until they are certain on that point I think they may consider the hutting system may be best.

821. Do you know why the Bermondsey huts cost so much more than was estimated? It is only on the year that there has been more spent. It is not on the total of the estimate.

822. Do you know what the total cost is to be?-£13,410. (Chairman.) It is shown in note 3 on page 72 that the revised estimate is £13,410.

Mr. Gillett.

823. On page 80 there is an item with regard to the purchase of a site at King's Cross for the erection of one of these buildings. When is it expected that building operations are going to commence upon that site?-There is nothing on the Estimates apparently for King's Cross for this year as far as I can see, but I could let you know about that.

824. Could you let me know whether there are any buildings on that site, and whether you are getting anything for rent, or whether the land is lying idle until you commence operations?—I will get that information and send it in.*

Mr. Ellis.

825. On the question of the juvenile department at Labour Exchanges, I think you said that the pressure was at the end of the term when the children leave school, and that that pressure lasted only for a short time?-Yes.

826. Has it ever been suggested to the Ministry that it would be possible to get rid of some of the pressure without extension of their own buildings by making use of the schools at the end of the school term for interviewing a large number of the people there? I will raise that question with them willingly.

* See Appendix 5.

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17 March, 1927.]

Sir LIONEL EARLE, K.C.B., K.C.V.O., C.M.G., and Mr. J. A. W. BUCHANAN, C.B.E.

827. It is the usual place for the children to go, and it might save a good deal of local pressure for the time being? There may be objections; I do not know; but I will raise that question with the Ministry.*

Major Salmon.

828. With regard to Montagu House and the item on page 81 with reference to the extension and renewal of the heating installation there at an estimated cost of £2,000, would that heating apparatus that is being put in there be sufficient to heat the new huts also?-I think that is the reason of the extension.

$29. The point I wish to bring out is whether the heating circulates through the huts as well as Montagu House proper? Yes.

830. Can you tell us how much more it costs for maintenance of these temporary buildings as against the maintenance of permanent buildings?-For these new buildings the maintenance is no higher than for permanent buildings. I am not talking about the war buildings when I say that.




831. On page 86 I see the item EE., which is an item of rather more than £2,000 for the purchase of earthworks at Colchester. I believe that is the first case in which the public have stepped in for the purchase of property of that kind?That is so.


832. Is there anything to be added to the note that you have on that page? -These earthworks which are preRoman, and I suppose are unique in the country, and to which antiquaries attach enormous importance, were jeopardy of having five or six great roadways cut through them by a gentleman who owned the land behind and wanted to develop it for small houses. These earthworks were scheduled on the advice of the Ancient Monuments Board for England many years ago, and we were deeply concerned-and so were the antiquaries, and particularly the Colchester Corporation who are very alive to the great antiquarian interests in their neighbourhood-about this deplorable scheme. The owner naturally * See Appendix 6.


said he could not agree not to carry out his scheme, and so under the powers of the 1913 Act we had to put in a Preservation Order, which means, in order for it to become effective, that a Bill has to be introduced into Parliament within 18 months from the time of the issuing of the Preservation Order. The Preservation Order was issued and a Bill drafted by the Government lawyers. As it got near the time for introduction in either the House of Lords or the House of Commons, I began to feel that unless some compensation or some question of purchase was allowed by the Treasury we should have great difficulty in getting this Bill through, because it would naturally be maintained that this man was suffering a very large pecuniary loss through the action of the Department. The Treasury were sympathetic, but they said they could not agree to any question of compensation, and it must be on the lines of purchase. We then entered into negotiations with the owner, and he asked a very much bigger sum than we were prepared to pay. I had opportunities of finding out many years ago under the Lloyd George Land Acts what he valued the land at, and it would certainly have given me a great handle in the House of Commons for fighting this gentleman on his extortionate demands, but finally he came down to this figure which the Treasury agreed to for the purchase. The earthworks have become national property. It is intended to hand them over to the Colchester Corporation to preserve for all time.

833. Does that mean it would be an annual charge on the Colchester Corporation? Yes. Any upkeep is their affair. There will be no further charge on public funds.

834. This is an end of the national liability? That is so. I think it is the most unique vallum in the United Kingdom. It is very early British.

Mr. Ellis.

835. The freehold remains not in the Colchester but Corporation in the Government, does it not?—No. It is going to be handed over to the Colchester Corporation.

836. Without any power of sale of any kind?-Absolutely. It is to be preserved for all time. They are a very responsible body, and very keen about these things.

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