MR. LLOYD GEORGE'S PLAN
From Our Political Correspondent
Mr. Lloyd George published the details of his "New Deal " on Tuesday under the title, Organizing Prosperity (Ivor Nicholson and Watson, Ltd.). It falls roughly into two parts, the Problem and the Solution.
Exports -re falling. The value of produce and manufactures of the United K ingdom fell 46 per cent. between 1929 and 1934.
There has been a consequent decline in shipbuilding: in 1932 and 1933 it was less than ten per cern. what it was in 1913. Numbers employed in British ships have declined by over 27 per cent. since 1913.
By means of labour-saving devices our present industrial output can be maintained with less labour until consumption is considerably increased.
These factors, most commonly cited for the persistence of the irreducible minimum of 2 million unemployed, will continue to present a problem as far as We can reasonably forecast.
The actual numbers who might be available for work under a public works programme would be considerably un der 1,000,C00, and when the policy was in full swing that figure would diminish owing to the increasing demand of ordinary industry. At the end of two years the measures proposed for increasing permanent employment should be bearing full fruit.
The State is already spending £110 millioes a year on unemployment.
Money advanced to promote trade fell from 55.1 per cent. of bank deposits in 1929 to 40 per cent. in 1934.
Bank investments. in the same time, have risen from 14.3 per cent. to 29.8 per cent. The consequent average price of giltedged securities rose from 95.8 in 1931 to 124.4 in 1934.
To solve this problem of permanent unemployment, caused mainly by lost ex ternal trade and labour-saving machinery, and an accumulatins mass of idle money, Mr. Lloyd George suggests a new mechan
ism of central administration, a number of partitmlar directions in which money could be fruitfully employed, and the means by which these schemes can be actually launched.
THE SOLUTION The government should set up, as a permanent body, a National Development Board composed of persons distinguished in finance. and industry, workers and consumers.
It would be the board's duty to survey the industrial. agricultural and financial resources of the country with a view to reporting on practicable developments which would increase employment, to prepare and approve plans for the better utilization of our resources and to consider the application of the national credit to the carryingout of its programmes.
The board would report to the prime minister, who would submit them to a cabinet consisting of four or five ministers without departmental duties, himself and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The communityas a whole must share the risk of investors' involved in the financing of such state schemes.
The Bank of England must be placed under a board representing the financial, industrial and commercial interests of the nation and responsible to the community.
NECESSARY DEVELOPM ENT
Mr. Lloyd George then proceeds to indicate a number of directions in which he considers development to be urgently necessary.
At least 1,700,000 houses will be needed by 1941. The building of such houses in the appropriate places and at suitable rents should be supervised by central and regional planning boards.
Ultimately, all the nation's transport
should be brought under one public controL The whole structure of main roads must be improved, bridges strengthened and such projects as the Dartford-Purfleet tunnel, Charing Cross Bridge, Severn Bridge, etc., carried out.
Electrification of railways should be carried farther, rolling-stock improved and terminal stations reconstructed.
Air services should be developed and air ports constructed; canals revived, ports and harbours modernized.
Mining royalties should he national
ized, output concentrated, coal and its by-products scientifically utilized.
Electricity should be made more universally available.
An iron and steel board should be set up to overhaul the whole iron and steel industry.
The cotton ond textile industries should be co-ordinated.
A land development hoard should be established to survey, reclaim, recondition and drain land. An additional 500,000 people could be settled on the Land, the farmer must receive a higher proportion of the price paid by the consumer, dumping from outside should be prevented. No industry deserves tariff protection better than agriculture.
If all these plans leave an unabsorbed surplus of labour, consideration should be given to shortening hours of work, the provision of Adequate pensions at 60, the raising of the school-leaving age.
A prosperity loan of £250 millions at 3 per cent. should be issued immediately to finance the schemes outlined.
Among the means which are essential to carrying out this palicy, says Mr. Lloyd George. I cite last, but by no means least, the courage to act. In this critical hour of the nation's fortunes, I venture to express the earnest hope that those in whose hands the direction of our national policy shall rest in the immediate future will manifest the courage and vigour needed to carry through such a policy of action. Any other of the items in the programme I have set out might be modified or expanded without disaster. But this condition is vital.
[The above is referred to in our first leader on page 101