Report into the Depressed Industrial Areas of Scotland, 1934

Lt-Col Sir Arthur Rose D.S.O

To The Right Hon. Oliver Stanley, M.C., M.P.,
Minister of Labour.

In accordance with the instructions conveyed to me verbally and in a memorandum, I commenced an inquiry into the depressed industrial areas of Scotland on 3rd May, 1934, and the results form the subject of the following Report.


1. Definition of the Problem and Method of Inquiry
In the outline instructions it was indicated that the Scottish Inquiry would be directed primarily to Lanarkshire. This has not been regarded as a specific limitation of the field of the Inquiry but rather as a recognition of the vital part the County plays in the industrial life of Scotland and of the importance it must assume in a study of the causes and possible remedies for any industrial dereliction which may be discovered.

In order that no case of a derelict area should be left undetected, an initial statistical examination was made of all Employment Exchange areas of Scotland associated with any material industry where the high level of unemployment suggested the possible existence of a locality which might be said to be derelict in the sense that the principal livelihood of the inhabitants has either ceased or passed beyond their reach.

Consideration of the available data indicated, at this stage, that the field for further examination of this special problem could be restricted to the following areas :-
(a) The whole of the County of Lanarkshire (excluding Glasgow).
(b) The West Lothian Coal and Shale field.
(c) The Ayrshire Coalfield.
(d) The area of Cowdenbeath and Lochgelly in Fifeshire.
(e) The districts round Falkirk (Stirlingshire), Port Glasgow and Alexandria (Dunbartonshire).

The total population of the areas covered is approximately 800,000.

Attention was also drawn to the existence of a serious unemployment problem in the Fishing Towns of Fraserburgh, Peterhead, Buckie, Wick, Lerwick and Stornoway. In view of the special nature of the questions involved in these cases, it has been considered desirable to deal with them separately. A report on this special problem is submitted. (Appendix IV.)

Unlike other depressed industrial centres, such as the South Wales and Durham coalfields, there has been no publicly expressed opinion to suggest that any of the above areas is approaching industrial extinction and no place within these areas has been singled out as a special example of a fundamental industrial change leading to the social tragedy of complete unemployment. All the authoritative information which could be considered a satisfactory starting-off point for the Inquiry emphasises the important fact that all the principal industrial areas of Scotland have shared in a depression which, until the recent revival, has been progressively serious for a period of years.

In view of this common experience it was first necessary to make a careful analytical examination of all the available statistics of unemployment, local government and industry, and to study a large amount of data from official and other reliable sources in order to throw into greater prominence any "blacker" spots.

At a very early stage it was possible to conclude that no area large enough to be assessed on the basis of available statistics could be regarded as derelict in the above sense or even approaching dereliction. Indeed, their ability to revive was being displayed at the time of these inquiries by a reduction in the unemployment figures and an improvement in the industrial production figures.

2. Special Surveys
In an endeavour to discover the possibility of any smaller cases of industrial "dereliction" reports were called for from the Managers of Employment Exchanges in the areas mentioned above regarding any village or small town which had suffered the loss of its single industry so as to leave the inhabitants without any alternative industrial opening in the immediate locality. Such cases were found to exist principally in Lanarkshire and Ayrshire. Special surveys were made in these cases by officers of the Ministry of Labour of all the industrial and social aspects of the local situation and statements were obtained from local officials, traders, schoolmasters and other representative members of the local community.

These surveys involved the compilation of special unemployment statistics. At the same time Government Departments, the Local Authorities and other undertakings were requested to co-operate by furnishing any available data regarding these places.

The majority of the surveys were concentrated within the county of Lanarkshire and subsequently included the four Lanarkshire Burghs of Airdrie, Coatbridge, Hamilton, Motherwell and Wishaw. A general picture of the situation in Glasgow is also presented.

It was found unnecessary for the purpose of the Inquiry to include Falkirk, Port Glasgow and Alexandria in a detailed investigation because the preliminary inquiries had failed to disclose any special features apart from the obviously serious depression and these towns had no depressed tributary districts as in the case of all the Lanarkshire Burghs. It should be remarked, however, that they are not necessarily on this account to be excluded from any remedial measures which may be recommended. In the area of Cowdenbeath and Lochgelly (Fifeshire) a special statistical examination was made of the villages of Donibristle and Lassodie, but it was found that their condition was closely related to that of the surrounding district. Hence further enquiries were not pursued.

The reports of the special surveys showed that many of the villages or districts which had been examined separately were in close association, either because of their relative geographical situation or because they were industrially so akin.

Summaries of all the reports have, therefore been made with the object of grouping together and presenting composite examples. These summaries are included in Appendix III of this Report, as follows :-
Appendix III
Group No ....Villages in Group or District surveyed. ......Exchange Area affected.
IA .. Longriggend, Greengairs, Slamannan, and Standburn. Airdrie and Falkirk.
IB .. Calderbank .. .. .. . . Airdrie.
IC .. Bellshill, Mossend and New Stevenston Motherwell.
ID .. Cleland .. .. .. .. Wishaw.
IIA .. Blantyre, Udston, Auchentibber and Quarter. Hamilton.
IIB .. Lesmahagow, Coalburn, Blackwood, Kirkmuirhill and Auchenheath. Hamilton.
IIC .. Leadhills .. .. . . .. Sanquhar (Dumfries-shire).
III .. The Burghs of Airdrie, Coatbridge, Hamilton, Motherwell and Wishaw.

IVA .. Kilbirnie and Kilwinning .. .. Branch Office Areas.
IVB .. Galston . . . . . . .. Kilmarnock (Newmilns
West Lothian
V . . The Shale Mining Area . . . . ——

VI .. A General Report on Unemployment in Glasgow.

3. The Results of the Special Surveys
The value of the information obtained by the officers who undertook these special surveys fully justified the time involved in making them. The facts obtained afford a considerable insight into the beneficial effect of social services and in many cases an encouraging example of the resourcefulness displayed by those who have virtually been left stranded by the departure of industry in overcoming the Worst evils likely to arise from unemployment. In so far as evidence can be obtained, it is, however, often apparent that there is little hope that the departed industry will return in the normal course and permit the inhabitants to resume their former occupations. The industry of which this is principally and commonly true is coal mining. With the exception of Kilbirnie (Ayrshire), the Shale Mining area and Leadhills, all the districts concerned can attribute their serious position largely to the contraction of employment in this industry and to factors such as the exhaustion or flooding of mines.

They offer typical examples of a problem of special importance in the Lanarkshire Coalfield.

In the social aspects of the local situation there are very few essential differences between the villages and the burghs. The noticeable feature of the situation is the absence of serious cases of undernourishment or neglect. Most of the more obvious social evils of depression and idleness such as serious mental deterioration and the habits of loafing and disorderliness have only touched the fringe of the unemployed. Indeed a casual visit to almost any of the districts reported upon would not disclose any very obvious outward signs of a serious unemployment problem. In the circumstances it is difficult to suggest that any group is worthy of special study. Particular attention may, however, be directed to Groups IC (Bellshill), IIA (Blantyre) and IVA (Kilwinning) because of certain special characteristics and a concentrated problem of depression.

Group IC (Bellshill)
This large and populous area, situated in the heart of industrial Lanarkshire and within easy reach of the Burghs of Airdrie and Motherwell, has suffered progressively from the contraction of coal mining and closing of other works, including the removal of a considerable part of the activities of Messrs. Stewarts & Lloyds, Ltd., to Corby, Northants. The latter represents an important example of the migration of industry southwards. This area is an interesting example of a district which would be regarded as having all the essentials of a good industrial situation ; such as good land, transport facilities, electric power, coal and water in abundance, and a large surplus of good class labour, both in the immediate locality and within daily travelling distance, which nevertheless is seriously depressed. It chiefly escapes classification as derelict by reason of its situation in the heart of industry.

Group IIA (Blantyre)
This district affords an example of desertion by practically a sole industry - coal mining. As will be seen from the summary, however, this cessation of industry is likely to be followed by concentration of population through the demolition of the smaller villages. The largest village itself (Blantyre) is absorbing the inhabitants of the smaller villages and is itself likely to become more closely related to the Burgh of Hamilton, to which it is already adjacent. Thus it may become a residential portion of an industrial and urban area, and share its fortunes and problems. The survey has also shown that it bids fair to become a centre of agitation and to gain thereby an unenviable reputation which may be detrimental to the best interests of the inhabitants. It is already reported that some employers exclude Blantyre men when demanding additional labour. Thus they do not share in the available employment to the same extent as other similar districts although favourably situated for this purpose.

Group IVA (Kilwinning)
This Burgh, situated rather outside the main industrial field, affords a typical example of the effect of a gradual change in industry. The heavy industries of iron, steel and coal have departed, but it is being partially rescued from a state of complete "dereliction" by developments in the textile and allied industries. This, however, is tending to create a new body of insured workers - mainly women and girls-without solving the problem of the permanent surplus of men ; thus (as in Galston, Group IVB) reversing the order of things and making the women the principal breadwinners. It is extremely doubtful whether the change can hope to provide a solution, having regard to the relative numbers involved. Even in this case, however, the demonstrated mobility of the workers and absence of isolation renders it difficult to state a special problem, which is unaffected by surrounding conditions.

4. The Absence of Dereliction
Certain over-riding facts have emerged from the investigation which render it difficult to regard any of the districts surveyed as so "derelict" that they present a separate problem of ascertainable size to which special remedies can, with equity, be limited.

The reduction or cessation of industrial activities in a particular district is frequently followed by the permanent or temporary departure of the working population to other centres of industry. This movement is amply confirmed by census data, statistical records of the Ministry of Labour and other Departments, and by the inquiries which have been made on the spot. The most common form of this movement is daily travelling to employment in other parts of the area; and one example, specially worthy of note, is travelling by miners resident in hamlets adjoining closed pits to other pits, often belonging to the same coalowners, where housing is not available. Instances have come to light of travelling daily for distances up to thirty miles. Travelling for shorter distances may be described as customary throughout the whole of an area which embraces not only the City of Glasgow, but all the large Burghs of Lanarkshire and the surrounding districts; in short, the principal industrial area of Scotland. It should be noted that the furthermost extremity of the most distant Lanarkshire Burgh, namely Motherwell and Wishaw, is within sixteen miles of the centre of Glasgow.

Evidence has been obtained from transport undertakings to show that the extent of this movement is considerable and it may be remarked that all the transport undertakings make special provision for it in their services, including cheap season tickets and workers fares. The fact in respect of the principal area concerned has also been fully confirmed after consultation with the principal officials of both the Glasgow Corporation and the Lanarkshire County Council.

Practically all the villages and small towns which have been examined because of special local depression are either within the area thus described or within easy reach of large towns and connected with them by regular and convenient transport facilities. Even the Burgh of Kilwinning, referred to above, is not only situated in a rich agricultural district, but is within easy travelling distance of six towns whose industries show signs of revival, and both Blantyre and Bellshill are in the heart of the Lanarkshire area.

It would be unfortunate if the impression was gained from the foregoing that no problem existed. On the contrary, the whole object of the remarks made has been to draw particular attention to its complicated nature and to the difficulty of selecting any case of dereliction which can be displayed as an example justifying the adoption of remedies without regard to surrounding conditions. If remedies are proposed on such lines they must inevitably produce anomalies and some inequity because a revival in the basic industries in the area, if large enough, would undoubtedly offer the hope of recovery to inhabitants of any part of it. Conversely, depression is a disease which spreads rapidly and widely in such a case and affects the area as a whole. It may be pointed out that this unity of form and interest is not only the result of mobility on the part of labour.

The basic industries of Lanarkshire and the Clyde are peculiarly inter-dependent and the sharing of prosperity or depression by the whole area is inevitable on this account.

Hence, in respect of the initial purpose of the Inquiry, it appears necessary to express the view that, generally speaking, no useful purpose is served in pursuing investigation into industrial ‘ dereliction ’ in Scotland or in isolating any specific district for prior and special treatment. Such a conclusion will not preclude the administration from first developing any remedies which may be adopted in those directions in which there are the best hopes of success, but in any area which is sharing the burden of depression a plan of special priority and arbitrary exclusion in respect of sections of it cannot be recommended as a principle.


1. The Depressed Industrial Areas
Particular emphasis must be laid upon the fact that the Inquiry has thrown a strong light upon the large and complex problem of the general depression from which industrial Scotland is suffering.

It would be impossible within the time limit set for the present Inquiry to do adequate justice to this important and urgent problem, which from an industrial aspect and in respect of a defined area has already been reported upon by the Industrial Survey of South West Scotland (1932).

This survey which occupied the concentrated attention of numerous organisations and individuals for a lengthy period deals primarily with the condition and prospects of existing industries and the factors likely to affect the introduction of new ones.

Taking into full account all the known factors affecting industrial development and the use of labour as well as the opinions of many authorities about the likelihood of industrial expansion, the survey concluded that a very large permanent surplus of male labour was to be anticipated.

The Inquiry which has been made during a search for cases of dereliction has produced much valuable data with a bearing on the larger question, and it has to be said, with regret, that throughout the industrial areas there is ample ground for confirming the existence of a serious problem of surplus male labour.

From what has already been said, it must be urged that no part of industrial Scotland can be excluded from consideration, but for practical purposes particular emphasis may be placed upon the claims of the area of South West Scotland roughly coinciding with the area defined by the Industrial Survey (1932) i.e., The Counties of Lanark, Renfrew, Dumbarton and the sixteen northern most parishes of Ayrshire. This is a fairly composite area which may be regarded as a single unit.

It will be noted that this area includes the City of Glasgow as well as many large Burghs and centres of industry. In this connection the present investigation has clearly shown that the lot of those in the urban districts who are unlikely to be absorbed into industry is often far more serious, particularly from the social aspect, than those who are situated in the depressed villages. In the latter case, in the absence of isolation, the unemployed have many opportunities for mental and physical exertion of a useful character which are entirely beyond the reach of those whose true condition is obscured in the more complex life or the city or town. It is also apparent that in the village the obvious industrial contraction of the area has often provided the incentive which has proved the salvation of the victims. This has particular force in an area in which the facilities for movement and change are so unrestricted by considerations of distance. The justification for including Glasgow and other large towns in the investigation is that their burden is increased by the extent to which they attract labour from other districts, in spite of the depression of their own industrial units.

It is, therefore, proposed to report upon the question of the general depression as it has appeared through the surveys and through information specially obtained by communication and consultation. The information obtained has generally covered the area described above, but it has also included the West Lothian Shale Mining Area and a small area of Stirlingshire (South of Falkirk).

It is hoped that the Inquiry made in the present form will provide a useful addition to and amplification of the 1932 Survey, particularly on the Social side, with which the Report did not deal.

The Area above described represents a very large part of industrial Scotland, containing nearly half the total population.

2. Industrial Situation and Prospects of existing Industry
Before considering the question of surplus labour throughout the depressed industrial area, it is desirable to bring up to date some of the more important facts relating to the industrial situation and to consider the prospects ascertained by consultation with particular relation to the likelihood of expansion or contraction of employment. These questions were dealt with nr a comprehensive manner in the Report of the Industrial Survey (1932).

The most that can be done, however, within the limits of time which govern the present Inquiry is to emphasise certain points of first importance which appear to constitute vital factors in the depression and are likely to control future prospects.

Undoubtedly the key to the local industrial situation is the fate of the largely inter-dependent heavy industries of coal mining, iron and steel, shipbuilding and engineering.

The two essential factors which affect all of them in so far as their employment capacity is concerned are :-
(a) The general reduction in output during the depression, and
(b) The reorganisation which is taking place, without which they would be unable to compete in the world markets.

Both these points have formed the subject of consultations with the interested parties, including representative employers and workpeople and other prominent persons with local knowledge. There is universal agreement that an increase in production in the basic industries made possible by an improved demand would not, in the natural course, lead to proportionate increase in their employment capacity. This, in fact, is a general confirmation of the findings of the Industrial Survey (1932).

The improvement which is fortunately now apparent has been preceded by a large measure of rationalisation entailing the elimination of small and out-of-date plants, with the object of reducing the costs of production to a level at which world competition can be successfully met. This is equally true of all the industries referred to above and one of the consequences is the abandonment of certain of the districts specially surveyed, leaving a permanent surplus of labour.

It may perhaps be emphasised that in making these changes, which have had such a serious effect upon the employment of labour, industrialists have often been directly faced by the alternatives of modernisation or ultimate closing, in spite of the fact that modernisation or rationalisation as commonly understood has certain inherent dangers in that the "load factor" becomes immensely more important than in the case of the smaller and less efficient plants. It is important to realise that failure to reorganise in this way would have created an even worse unemployment problem. Indeed, as will be seen in referring to the Pig Iron Industry, many of its present difficulties are directly attributable to out-of-date furnaces which are unable to compete against the more modern English and Continental furnaces.

In studying the industrial situation, therefore, particularly in industries affected by world conditions, modernisation must be regarded as a beneficial factor, which has, at least, prevented the entire loss to Scotland of some share in the markets open to British industry.

The question of vital importance is the extent to which markets can be developed to keep pace with industry's greater productivity. Questions which also assume importance locally are whether the Scottish industrial area is obtaining its due share of any improvement and whether there are any special adverse factors.

It would probably be true to say that the key industry in the Scottish area is the Iron and Steel Trade and the improvement which has recently taken place has had a beneficial effect upon coal mining and trades concerned with the transport of the imported ore and the finished products. Undoubtedly, however, the shipbuilding industry on the Clyde is the largest local consumer of iron and steel and a still greater improvement would result from an assured revival in this. It may be said in parenthesis that many ancillary trades with a large aggregate demand for labour would also be lifted out of their present depressed state.

The extent of interdependence between the basic industries of the area is of particular significance and, while it affords some hope that the effect of any single benefit will be widespread, it also explains the far-reaching effect of the depression which has been experienced.

Authorities connected with the various industries have been consulted and information and data respecting the situation in each industry are given under separate headings below.

(a) Iron and Steel Trades.
It is satisfactory to record a notable agreement about the causes and facts of the present situation on the part of both the employers’ and workpeople’s representatives. This adds considerable weight to the value of such opinions and simplifies consideration of the difficulties.
The situation is clearly indicated by the following tables :-

The following table, though not strictly comparable with the output figures quoted above, shows both the effect of depression upon the numbers employed and the relatively small increases resulting from the recent improvement in Scotland as compared with 1928 and 1929.

In connection with the restriction of employment through the introduction of new methods, an interesting example is quoted of one firm whose steel melting furnaces in 1919 produced 500 tons per week each, who now obtain 1,100 to 1,200 tons from open hearth steel furnaces without any increase in the number of men employed. The comment is made that "The Engineer and the Scientist have reduced human labour to a minimum."

The Scottish Pig Iron Industry is experiencing special difficulties because, as already stated, it is unable to compete with the more modern English and Continental furnaces. The relative position is shown in the following table. (It should be noted, however, that most furnaces now operating have a higher output since modernisation. Hence a reduction in number does not alone afford a true guide to the contraction of the industry.)

Some modernisation of Scottish blast furnaces has been undertaken with consequent increase of output from 300 to 600 tons per week for each furnace. It is stated, however, that much more is necessary to bring them into line with the most modern practice and there would appear to be a field open for this development in view of the fact that an average of 295,000 tons of pig iron are imported annually from England.

Recent endeavours have been made by two firms to commence operations for the installation of new coke ovens. An essential preliminary, however, has been the disposal of the coke oven gas in accordance with the English practice, It is estimated that the reduction in output costs through sale of the gas at a price materially below the present Corporation cost is from 9s. 6d. to 10s. per ton of pig iron. An offer has been made by one of the firms (Messrs. Wm. Baird & Coy.) to Glasgow Corporation but this has been rejected. This blow to the industry, if it is not amended, is regarded by all authorities as a matter having serious repercussions throughout the industrial area and urgent action is being taken in many quarters with a view to early reconsideration of the decision. (This matter is more fully dealt with in Part III, Section I.)

In the case of malleable (wrought) iron there is to be noted a very considerable reduction of output (from 172,000 in 1920 to about 19,000 in 1933) brought about by various causes such as the increase of the differential between Iron and Steel and the importation of very inferior qualities of foreign iron wrongly described as malleable. The employment figure for this particular trade shows an alarming reduction, but it can hardly be called an actual reduction because the principal malleable iron manufacturing firm in Scotland is also a steel manufacturing firm and can to some extent vary the proportions of each material according to market requirements.

It is hardly necessary, therefore, to explore the conditions of this particular branch of the industry further, but it should be mentioned that a small increase in production is anticipated and that is all to the good as the man power required and coal consumed in the process are both rather higher than in the case of steel.

Output depends solely upon markets and in view of the greater productivity, it will be apparent that the demand must rise above all previous levels before the Iron and Steel Trades can hope to absorb their former quota of workers. There is, at present, no prospect of such a drastic change in the situation and both employers and work-people’s representatives are resigned to the fact that not only must many former workers look elsewhere for employment or remain idle, but that the trades will have fewer openings for new recruits.

In connection with the question of possible work-sharing as a measure of alleviation, a workpeople’s representative stated that arrangements had been made with the concurrence of employers to spread the available work over as many men as possible but that this had reached its economic limit.

(b) Coal Mining
The two principal coalfields in the area of the Inquiry are those of Lanarkshire and Ayrshire and the decline in output and in the number of persons employed is clearly shown in the following tables which are extracted from statistics supplied by the Mines Department.

Authorities on coal mining who have been consulted are generally agreed that measures taken with the object of reorganising the industry, which are essential for economic reasons, all lead to a contraction in its capacity for the absorption of labour. Moreover, it will be seen from the above table that there has been a large development of mechanisation in the industry and one authority expressed the view that the Lanarkshire coal owners have been almost too progressive in this respect.

The position in the Ayrshire coalfield is comparatively simple and a large measure of unification of control has been effected, one firm now controlling 70 per cent. of the output. In this case a development of the export trade would undoubtedly have beneficial results, particularly as the facilities for shipment are adequate. In Ayrshire, therefore, the main problem is that of increasing the demand to justify a larger output.

On the other hand the special difficulties of coal mining in Lanarkshire were brought prominently to notice. It was pointed out that whereas in 1913 the Lanarkshire output was 41.8 per cent. of a total Scottish output of over 42,000,000 tons, in 1933 it had fallen to 29.5 per cent. of a greatly diminished Scottish output of 28,000,000 tons. This situation was attributed partly to the depression, but partly to the exhaustion of those coal measures in Lanarkshire which could be worked economically. It is estimated that under favourable conditions the maximum probable output in Lanarkshire is unlikely to exceed the 12,000,000 figure, which is approximately that of 1927. At the same time one must not ignore the fact that there are speculative possibilities of developing the lower coal measures which in all probability exist in the mid-Lanark field but which so far have not been definitely proved. These measures are situated at very considerable depths and the costs of sinking shafts entail a very large capital expenditure which might not be justified unless in the meantime there had been a material increase in the user of coal, such as might result from the successful development of systems of hydrogenation or low temperature carbonisation.

In searching for all possible explanations of the depression in the coal mining Industry the position of flood in pits was carefully investigated and it was found that the proportion of pits abandoned from this cause was immaterial, in almost every case the abandonment being due to it being no longer possible, for various technical reasons, to continue to work them economically. Again it is frequently stated that private ownership of coal royalties makes the working of a coalfield more difficult than would be the case if all royalties were in one hand, say that of the State. This matter has been carefully explored and the conclusion arrived at is that, generally speaking, no serious difficulty has been experienced by coal mining companies in Scotland, although occasionally points have cropped up owing to the surface boundaries of properties having little relationship to the conditions pertaining in the coal mines.

The Lanarkshire Coalfield is peculiar, so far as Scotland is concerned, in that by far the larger proportion of the output is used for domestic and industrial purposes. It would, therefore, appear that any development of internal trade is bound to assist this area more in proportion than other areas and while undoubtedly there is every hope of this development proceeding, it does not follow that increase in employment would rise proportionately, chiefly owing to the extensive adoption of mechanical processes. It is estimated that, even should Lanarkshire obtain an output of some 12,000,000 tons, the increase in employment would not amount to more than 12,000 men. It is as well, also, to bear in mind another aspect, namely, that mechanisation calls for younger men, the older men finding it difficult to keep pace with the machines. Hence the effect upon surplus labour in this industry will be that men above 45 years of age are unlikely to be re-employed and the demand will be almost entirely for younger and more active men. Some mitigation of this situation might arise from the peculiar fact that should there be an immediate and considerable increase in the demand for coal, operating companies would have very considerable difficulty in obtaining the requisite number of efficient miners.

(e) Shipbuilding
In view of the attention which this subject received during the Industrial Survey (1932) and of the fact that it was not among the Industries directly concerned in the districts specially surveyed, no special inquiries have been undertaken.
It must, however, be regarded as one of the vital contributors to the industrial situation in the area. Indeed, it would be impossible without a special survey to do justice to its importance.
The extent of unemployment in Shipbuilding and Ship-repairing in Scotland is shown in the following table :-

The following table shows the depth of the depression in ship-building output which accounts for most of the unemployment shown above:-

The situation in Shipbuilding on the Clyde, as in other areas, is being dealt with by a process of rationalisation. It is, however, difficult to assess the relative importance of the permanent contraction of employment from this cause, as the depth of the depression, relieved only to any noticeable extent by the recent re-start of the Cunarder, has left many large establishments with empty slips. The capacity of these establishments still offers a large field for expansion and it will be obvious that renewed activity on a large enough scale would confer widespread benefits not only on the shipbuilding industry itself but upon the many trades with which it is linked. Although the Iron and Steel trades have grown so as to be regarded as the key industry of the area, it is important to appreciate the part played by shipbuilding in having enabled them to reach their present magnitude. There are, therefore, the strongest grounds for regarding the revival of the shipbuilding industry on the Clyde as of vital importance if there is to be any hope of retrieving the situation by direct methods.

(d) Engineering Trades
This group includes industrial undertakings engaged in the manufacture of a large variety of commodities and it would be difficult to assess the employment position in exact terms without considerable examination. Next to the distributive trades the engineering industry as a whole has the largest employment capacity of any in the area. There are a very large number of comparatively small firms and only a few really large-scale establishments. Most of these have suffered in one way or another from the depression and so far as enquiries have been pursued there is some diminution in the number of workpeople employed as compared with the period before the depression. Fortunately there are definite indications of a general improvement and the modernisation of industry in this and other countries has produced a demand for new plant and modern appliances which has given some of the engineering firms an opportunity to revive far more rapidly than the other heavy industries. Notable examples are the orders for new locomotives by the L.M.S. and the installation of sugar refineries in sugar producing countries overseas. Some of the lighter engineering firms are also specialising in particular directions where competition is not so keenly felt as in the case of fundamental commodities like iron, steel and coal. . Engineering in many of its sections, however, is connected with shipbuilding and while this remains depressed it must have a considerably adverse effect upon the future of marine engineering and the numerous small establishments supplying auxiliary machinery.

A particular feature of the principal sections of the engineering industry in the area is the manufacture of large plants, special machinery, etc., where production is not so regular as in the case of lighter commodities having a large and constant market for which mass production methods have been largely adopted. Many of the firms in this area, therefore, cannot undertake more or less speculative developments and are more subject to the risks of continual fluctuation. Hence they require a comparatively large reserve of labour which they cannot keep constantly employed unless they receive a steady flow of orders. Examples exist in the area of firms which have increased or decreased their pay roll by several hundreds in a few months on account of the receipt or completion of a single order. In such conditions it would be extremely difficult to determine the nature of the effect these trades are likely to have upon the problem of surplus labour. During the lengthy depression some of the firms were obliged to make a large reduction in their labour force. It is interesting to observe that the recent improvement has created a demand for young and adaptable persons who are more likely to be trained successfully into changed methods of production. Many of the former employees of the higher age levels, having suffered from lengthy unemployment, are found to be less adaptable and the skill they have formerly acquired in many cases has now a greatly reduced value.

An all-round revival in the heavy industries in the area would undoubtedly have a large and beneficial effect on the demand for labour in the engineering trades, in view of the existence of a close relationship. It appears likely, therefore, that the engineering industries cannot alone produce any large effect in counteracting the general tendency of the area to contract on the employment side. A number of interesting examples of the contraction in employment are given in the Report on Glasgow. (Appendix III, Group VI.)

(e) Shale Mining
In view of certain special features in the organisation and development of this Industry under the unified control of Scottish Oils Ltd., a special survey of the area was undertaken. In this case it has been possible to ascertain the prospects of the Industry on the employment side with reasonable assurance, based upon the official records and the information furnished by the General Manager of the above Company.

The Industry has adopted a scheme of work-sharing under which each worker’s income consists of wages and unemployment benefit in combination (3 weeks wage and 1 week benefit) and the average level of wage-rates is maintained by an all-round increase of 12.5 per cent. in the ordinary wage scale. The local advantages which accrue to the workers as a result of this scheme are obvious. A further feature which assists in maintaining this situation is the absence of "seasonal" fluctuation in the " through put" of the commodity from mining to the final products. The General Manager has stated that the only change in recent years has been a gradual falling off in the production.  The statistics of output for the Shale Mines supplied by the Mines Department are as follows :-

Unlike the coal mines, shale mining is not materially affected by the adoption of labour saving devices and the methods of mining used years ago still operate and have been shown to meet the requirements satisfactorily. The future of the Industry appears to be bound up with the question of protection against world competition, and in the absence of material developments in the demand, its capacity for absorbing new labour appears to be definitely restricted.

A new development of brick making from spent shale bings has recently been launched after an experimental period, but it is stated that even when a market is obtained, the work would only offer employment for between 50 and 60 boys.

There would appear to be approximately 700 unemployed workers in the district who are likely to be surplus to requirements. While the work-sharing scheme has undoubtedly effected a considerable reduction in the surplus, the present body of unemployed must rely purely upon vacancies caused by normal wastage or employment in other directions. The report in Appendix III shows that some measure of success has been attained in the latter direction and that there is generally less persistent unemployment than in the depressed areas of Lanarkshire.

(f) Other Industries and Trades
The industrial part of the Inquiry has not extended to a special investigation of the situation in the other industries and trades of the area. Many of these, which might be described as the lighter industries, owe their existence entirely to the heavy industries, notably the many ancillary trades connected with shipbuilding. These, of course, suffer from the effects of depression which have already been pointed out.

The main questions for consideration in the case of trades not so closely connected with the heavy industries are whether in the aggregate they are likely to suffer material contraction as a direct result of the industrial state of the area, or whether there is any hope that they will constitute a compensatory factor and assist in its rehabilitation.

The largest group of employed workers in the area is engaged in the distributive trade, while other large groups are transport and building. These, together, account for over 150,000 workpeople. Unemployment in their case is materially due to the reduced spending power of the population during heavy unemployment. Furthermore, the area as a whole has not experienced a large growth of population which would cause a growing demand for domestic commodities and services.

Within recent years there have been notable cases of rationalisation in important sections of the textile industry such as cotton and calico printing. These schemes have all resulted in a large reduction of employment in the area and there have been no important new developments to counteract their effect.

The remaining industries do not at the moment show any striking example of a diminution in the labour demand but all the signs are that, in the absence of a. general revival, their problem of unemployment is likely to increase.

It is understood that certain local efforts have been made within recent years to attract motor-car manufacturers and similar undertakings to the area. These efforts failed, mainly because of the more limited market in the vicinity as compared with the Southern areas. Other examples exist of a preference for the South, which clearly indicate the absence of those factors most likely to enable the lighter industries, with a large internal trade, to expand. Hence there is little hope that they can ease the local problem of unemployment and it -is only right to say that an examination of any industry or trade of importance in the area shows clearly that its condition bears an inevitable relationship to the condition of the heavy industries.

3. Surplus Labour

Before considering the special position of that part of the unemployed likely to be surplus to all anticipated requirements of industry, some reference is necessary to the unemployment problem as a whole.

During the depression the number of unemployed persons has ranged from 20 per cent. of the insured population in the better favoured districts to nearly 60 per cent. in those hardest hit. The average percentage of unemployment for three years, even in the City of Glasgow, has been over 30 per cent.

The recent general improvement in industry has not favoured the Scottish area to the same extent as many other parts of Great Britain, the relative unemployment position in Scotland as compared with Great Britain and Northern Ireland as a whole, being shown in the following table :-

Examination of the unemployment position in the area under review shows that in this area are concentrated nearly two-thirds of the total unemployed in Scotland. The Inquiry originally set out to discover within this large field circumscribed examples of depression so serious that they could be said to justify special examination to the exclusion of the larger problem. For reasons which have been explained it has been necessary to regard the area as a single unit.

All industrial areas, whatever the state of trade, experience some unemployment and it is a well-known fact that the total of unemployed includes a constantly changing personnel of insured workers who experience varying short spells of unemployment through normal industrial fluctuations. Undoubtedly this is an important and difficult problem, but it is not a feature peculiar to this area and it has, therefore, not been regarded as a function of the present Inquiry to deal with it.

The principal concern is with that proportion of the unemployed. whose individual spells of unemployment are becoming so lengthy that their hopes of reabsorption into industrial occupations are remote in the absence of new developments.

Examination of the basic industries indicates that the normal labour force is undergoing serious contraction, thereby increasing the number of those who may be classed as permanently surplus and unlikely to obtain even a share of the employment available in the normal course.

Conditions in industry undergo such rapid changes that it is impossible to establish a "permanent surplus of labour" as an unchanging factor. Some workers may for a lengthy period remain unemployed and then have hope of re-entry into industry, while others, after a period of better fortune, are thrust outside and bid fair to remain there.

An estimate of the number of persons who can be classed as a permanent surplus, therefore, can only be of service as a means of determining whether the problems raised by unemployment are likely to resolve themselves entirely and naturally within the ordinary cycles of trade or whether there is a material need of new developments and special remedies. In this respect the Report of the. Industrial Survey of South West Scotland (1932) is of value. It would be impossible within the time limit of the present Inquiry to make a meticulous check of the various findings in that Report, but many of the facts have been confirmed as substantially correct at the present date.

It was found that among women no material problem existed and the figures of unemployment indicate a general growth in the employment of women in the lighter industries. In those districts specially surveyed there is a large turnover in the Women’s Register, and the majority of women insured workers may be said to remain within the normal "labour force" of the industries and trades with which they are associated. The remainder generally disappear from the industrial field. Consideration of the problem of exceptional unemployment, therefore, may be restricted to the male unemployed.

The total of males over 18 years of age registered as unemployed in the area in April, 1934, according to Ministry of Labour returns, is made up of approximately 124,000 wholly unemployed claimants to benefit and 42,000 other unemployed, including casual and temporarily stopped claimants and non-claimants, making a total of about 166,000.

As already explained the totals in each category above include many whose periods of unemployment are intermittent and of comparatively short duration.

The total of wholly unemployed claimants (124,000), however, is analysed by the Ministry of Labour to show the length of the periods of continuous unemployment and while this excludes non-claimants and others who may be either in worse or better case than claimants, it affords a rough guide to the proportion who suffer from prolonged unemployment. Out of the total of about 124,000 men over 18 years of age approximately 60,000 had been continuously unemployed for one year or more.

Clearly, therefore, the need for special action is established and it is unnecessary for this purpose to attempt a more accurate estimate.

It is, however, desirable to make some examination of the composition, distribution and main characteristics of this body of unemployed persons. The reports of the surveyed districts include an group analysis of the unemployed resident in these districts, and inquiries indicate that the examples are fairly typical of the area as a whole, the variations between them being slight and, therefore, relatively unimportant. The records show in the case of males that the group of those persistently unemployed includes large numbers in all the age groups. Emphasis must, however, be laid upon the preponderance of younger men between the ages of 18 and 34.

It is also apparent that the problem of juveniles is extremely serious. The National Advisory Council for Juvenile Employment (Scotland) has estimated that, assuming the continuance of the present conditions of industry, the surplus of juveniles leaving school in Lanarkshire over the absorptive power of industry will be more than 13,000 by 1937 and not less than 10,000 in 1940.

Enquiry has also been made as to the distribution of those suffering persistent unemployment throughout the area under review. In all material parts of the area the proportion of men suffering from prolonged unemployment to the total Unemployed Register is between 40 and 60 per cent. Consequently the special problem of the permanent surplus of labour is one common to the whole area.

There are undoubtedly many different reasons for the growth of the permanent surplus, and it is important that the main features should be recorded. In the case of juveniles and younger persons, the restriction of new openings in industry during the depression has prevented a large number from obtaining any industrial experience at all. Even in the event of an increased demand for labour, it has to be recognised that many of these young people would be unable to accept a vacancy without some form of training.

In the case of older persons among the persistently unemployed, they have in most cases become idle after considerable industrial experience. In their case the problem of suitable remedial action is rendered more difficult by the fact that most of them have acquired domestic responsibilities and cultivated other inducements to attach them more definitely to their present whereabouts and habits of life. It may be expected that a number of these being skilled workers would have some chance of re-absorption into industry without special treatment if there was a large enough revival. Nevertheless, it is important to recognise that their skill, acquired under industrial conditions which have altered, has now a much reduced value. Most of the principal industries have been modernised within recent years and have drastically changed their methods; hence the principal demand at the present time is for young and adaptable workers who will make successful trainees. It is interesting to note that the Ministry of Labour in its Training Centres has already carried out the experiment of attempting to train these older workers, but in spite of the keenness of the men the experiment failed. One is, therefore, forced to the conclusion that the group of older persons among those suffering from prolonged unemployment cannot be materially reduced through a natural increase in the demand for labour, and many may never work again.

Briefly the problem of permanently surplus labour in the area under review might be visualised approximately in round figures as at least 60,000 men and boys. Of these about 40 per cent. Could be regarded as a potential labour force for industry after training and as available for possible industrial openings in any part of the country. There is also a group of approximately the same size consisting of older and less adaptable persons who have acquired skill in particular directions and in the main have domestic and other responsibilities likely to restrict their mobility. In their case experience indicates that their suitability for new industrial openings is seriously restricted. Their main hope, therefore, must rest purely upon the revival of the industries in which they were formerly employed. The remaining 20 per cent. consists of older persons possessing all the characteristics of the other group but who by reason of their greater age must be regarded in many cases as verging on the unemployable.

It should be noted that the estimate of the problem made above is intended purely to indicate very roughly the relative importance and size of the problem based upon observations made during the surveys.

In dealing with the foregoing figures it is right to state that they include a proportion of unemployable persons. This is a problem that has existed in Glasgow for many generations and the present day meticulous recording of all manual workers and poor persons results in this class being included in the general list of unemployed. The figures, therefore, on a strictly "employable” basis might have to bear some correction, but the proportion may be regarded as negligible for the purposes of the Report.

4. Social Conditions

In view of the widespread depression and the extent and distribution of the persistently unemployed surplus, it would be reasonable to expect some signs of distress, general physical deterioration or serious restriction of local amenities. It is, therefore, a matter of considerable satisfaction to record that a large majority of the general body of unemployed are bearing their lot with fortitude and patience and exercising their powers in maintaining their self-respect and in finding some form of activity to full in the enforced leisure. It cannot, of course, be denied that many unsatisfactory features have been observed to which it will be necessary to make some reference, but these must assume proper proportions in relation to the many encouraging signs as to the effect of social services in obviating the more material evils of depression.

Some study has been made, therefore, of social conditions with a view to ascertaining whether special attention is required to any particular feature.

(a) Housing and Health
The latest information available as well as personal observation show that much still needs to be done to effect slum clearance and to eliminate overcrowding, but it is satisfactory to note that new housing developments have either commenced or have been planned even in the most depressed districts visited.

The Department of Health for Scotland and the Local Authorities have provided details of the housing programme for the five years 1934-1938, and examination shows that there is a common endeavour to make a large provision for the necessary improvements.

In the matter of encouragement of new Schemes little outside influence appears necessary in view of the attention the subject is receiving from the Department of Health for Scotland and the Authorities.

The salient feature of the situation viewed generally is a policy of demolition of the small “decayed" village, and concentration in more suitable areas. Although no doubt swayed in their policy by considerations of economy, the Local Authorities appear to have acted wisely, having regard to present conditions, in refusing to rebuild in parts of the area which are comparatively isolated and do not offer any hopes of immediate local employment.

The investigation which has been made during the Inquiry shows that progress with re-housing in the Burghs is also general.

As a general rule the new houses in all districts are well spaced and even in the "unemployed" areas are well kept, but unless some preventive measures are taken there appears to be a danger of overcrowding through sub-letting by unemployed persons as a means of assisting in rent payments. This question is related to the Scale of rental charges. In most of the areas specially surveyed, rentals for Council houses are low and unemployed tenants obtain relief from rates. The average rentals for new Council houses (slum clearance) range from £12 to £24 per annum according to accommodation and there are only slight differences between one district and another. Some special reduction of rental charges is also stated to have been made in the case of unemployed tenants. Arrears in payment of rent and rates are a common feature throughout the depressed area, but the dimensions do not call for special comment or suggest exceptional difficulty. In certain cases an improvement in this respect is stated to be obtained by the introduction of a system of weekly payment including both rent and rates.

The information collected relates mainly to Council houses, but many of the unemployed not so housed live in houses erected by colliery and other companies where the scale of charges is usually reasonable.

There is, of course, a large amount of privately-owned property in respect of which general information could not be obtained. The policy of concentration referred to above does not always, however, commend itself to the people. For instance, the Chief Housing Inspector of the Department of Health for Scotland has quoted examples of villages (eg., Quarter, Auchenheath) where the villagers in the absence of industrial employment, would prefer to remain in their present situation and develop agricultural pursuits.

From a housing point of view the dominant factor appears to be the cost of sewage works, and availability of transport facilities.

The general health of the unemployed and their dependants is good, and no instances of under-nourishment or defective physique which may be attributed directly to the depression have been observed in any part of the area of the survey.

(6) Clothing and Food
In all parts of the area, traders report that there has been a general fall in trade in domestic necessities, while a lower quality than formerly is also being purchased. Some of the larger traders have adopted a “cut-price" policy in an endeavour to meet the changed economic circumstances of the working population. This is more noticeable in those districts where the unemployed are in the majority, and, in consequence, it has tended to place the small community in a relatively better position. It is one further explanation of the observation already made that the conditions of the unemployed in the village are sometimes better than those of their fellows in the Burghs. This, however, does not mean that the position is entirely satisfactory in any case, and it is true to say that many of the evils of unemployment such as under-nourishment and raggedness have only been avoided by good management and most careful spending. Evidence that the more direct evils of unemployment have been avoided is furnished by the condition of the school children, to which special reference is made in the reports on Glasgow and the Lanarkshire Burghs (Appendix III).

(c) Activities of the Unemployed
A very important feature of unemployment from a social aspect is undoubtedly the absence of occupation. Particular attention has, therefore, been paid to the more common pursuits in which unemployed persons in the area indulge. Mere loafing is comparatively rare, but the enquiries indicate that betting and gambling are popular, no doubt because of the element of chance and excitement it brings into an otherwise uneventful existence.

Many of the working class houses have gardens or are situated close to available land, except, of course, in the congested parts of the Burghs. The cultivation of vegetables is, therefore, a common form of activity.

The question of activities is important, mainly because of the effect upon the mental outlook of the unemployed. It may be remarked that undesirable features are usually of a minor character and the social behaviour of the unemployed is deserving of the highest praise.

(d) Voluntary Social Service to assist the Unemployed
Even a general sketch of the social aspects of unemployment would be incomplete without reference to the Social Service schemes which are being developed throughout the country.

The schemes relating to the area under review are co-ordinated, for the main part, under the Scottish Council for Community Service during Unemployment, the Glasgow Council for Community Service in Unemployment, and other Regional Councils, and in the case of allotment schemes, the Society of Friends and Scottish National Union of Allotment Holders.

According to available data, just under 24,000 men and about 2,000 women, out of the total of over 300,000 persons unemployed in Scotland as a whole are enrolled as members of the purely Club type of activities, and the average daily attendance is usually about half the membership. A very high proportion of the persons concerned make use of facilities for reading, recreation, and amusement. The types of schemes adopted in Scotland with the approximate number of persons enrolled are shown in the following table. (The estimate relates to 31st March, 1934.)

Most of the schemes owe their origin to local initiative influenced in some cases by the co-ordinating Councils, but in the case of Physical Training, a number of schemes originally started by the Ministry of Labour have later been taken over by the voluntary organisations.

It has been stated in Glasgow, with approximately 100,000 unemployed, that a secretariat for the co-ordination of all community service schemes could probably be set up to perform all the necessary administrative duties at a cost of approximately {2,000 per annum.

The provision of such a fund centrally would release all existing local resources for the establishment and maintenance of centres without deduction. On a pro rata basis, the sum required annually to set up an approved administrative machine throughout the country, assuming the unemployed to total a million, would be £40,000.

The activities of the Society of Friends and Scottish National Union of Allotment Holders have made a contribution of immense value to the well-being of the unemployed, and the results present a striking example of a palliative which has directly rehabilitated the unemployed by providing both mental and physical benefits. Certain industrial inns, Local Authorities, etc., have also recognised the value of this activity and have provided land and other facilities for its development. There is, however, an unsatisfied demand in many parts of the area, particularly in the Burghs where land is not so readily obtainable, and the removal of this difficulty would undoubtedly be followed by a considerable growth of allotment cultivation. The special arrangements made for payment of rent, purchase of seeds, tools, etc., are of great advantage and obviate many of the special difficulties likely to be encountered by the unemployed holders.

Mention must also be made of the fact that many of the Education Committees, either in conjunction with Social Service bodies or directly, provide special facilities for the unemployed in the matter of continuation classes, and in Glasgow, most of the principal Colleges, such as the Technical College, Art and Domestic Science Schools, have special free classes.

Many of the smaller communities, however, still appear to have little or no provision, and there is, therefore, considerable scope for a general extension of every form of activity of this nature in view of the large body of labour of all ages likely to remain without wage-earning employment. It is only right to say that while there seems to be ample voluntary personal service in connection with these schemes, funds for essential administrative purposes are not over- plentiful.


The Industrial Development of the Area
In view of the contraction in the employment capacity of the existing industries, attention must be given to the questions of stimulating these and the introduction of new industries. These matters in respect of Scotland as a whole are among the aims of the Scottish National Development Council which was set up in 1933. Unfortunately the new industrial developments which have been taking place within recent years indicate a general preference for the South. Careful examination has been made of the Report of the Board of Trade Survey of Industrial Development, 1933, for any material reason to explain this fact.

In Scotland, in 1933, 14 new factories opened while 29 were closed, and for Great Britain as a whole, 463 new factories opened while 409 closed. The employment afforded by the new factories was 29,500, while the contraction of employment through the closing of factories cannot be stated. It is apparent, therefore, that the amount of new employment directly afforded by the development would not in itself have contributed materially to a solution of the principal Scottish problem. At the same time the indirect effect of such development is likely to be considerable and on this account the relative position of Scotland must be a matter of concern.

There are no doubt many industries whose operations are not materially affected by the presence of natural resources and these have a wide choice in the selection of the area of operations. Freedom of choice has undoubtedly been extended by the wide distribution of cheap power. In these cases, however, other considerations such as proximity to markets then assume greater relative importance. Such facts are inevitable consequences of the competitive conditions under which industry has to operate. Thus any artificial direction of industry would probably prevent development.

It may be said that certain industries operate as easily in one area as another, and that the reasons for the selection of a particular site in certain cases may almost be described as frivolous. But this is hardly likely to apply to industries which require a considerable labour force.

Attracting industries, however, is quite a different matter, and that could chiefly be done by making known to those likely to create new industries the actual position as regards availability and quality of labour, incidence of rating, cost of power, and efficiency of transport. In all these respects the area under review can compare favourably with most other industrial districts ; the previously existing handicap of high local rates having been largely mitigated by the Derating Act. Further, a belief very commonly held that labour in the Clyde area was turbulent and undisciplined is now generally known to be untenable. All these matters are being energetically dealt with by the Scottish National Development Council and even by Local Authorities themselves.

At this stage it might be desirable to deal specifically with one instance where the Local Authority has definitely failed to give that measure of support to a development scheme which has wide potentialities for good. I refer to the Baird offer of gas to the Corporation of Glasgow. This matter has been very carefully explored. In a few words, it arises from an effort by this firm (Messrs. Wm. Baird & Co.) to modernise their coke ovens at Coatbridge in order to enable them to compete in the pig iron market against outsiders. An interesting point arises in that under the circumstances prevailing at the present time the firm is actually able to produce pig iron at competitive prices owing to two special circumstances. These circumstances are (1) that owing to market conditions they are able to purchase ore at what is undoubtedly an uneconomic price to the ore producers; and (2) that owing to the depression in the shipping industry, they are enabled to get the ore transported at a figure which is entirely uneconomic from the point of view of the ship-owner. These peculiar circumstances are tending to and will in all probability shortly change. The firm in question, looking to the future, desires to erect a really up-to-date coking plant, but to make this economic, they must be able to dispose of the resultant gas at a reasonable price. The only reasonable price obtainable is to be had through sale for domestic consumption, and that domestic consumption in the city of Glasgow is catered for by the Corporation. This is the only gas undertaking in the West of Scotland of sufficient size to absorb the large volume of gas which would be produced from the proposed plant : the demand for gas within the whole of the remainder of Lanarkshire falls short of the necessary volume by about 30 per cent. throughout the summer.

As far as can be ascertained, the price offered for a daily supply of some six million cubic feet is materially below the cost of production to the Corporation, and on that basis represents a saving in the ultimate price of the pig iron of something in the region of 10s. per ton.

It is interesting to note that in order to have available that quantity of gas which is entirely suitable for domestic consumption, there is required daily six hundred tons of coal, eight hundred tons of ore and limestone producing four hundred tons of pig iron, representing in various capacities an employment basis of somewhere between 2,500 and 3,000 men. When it is realised that a contract of this nature entails to begin with a capital outlay on new plant of about £500,000, and an undertaking by the firm in question to maintain this supply of gas over a period of years without reference to their sales of this large quantity of pig iron, and at a fixed price regardless of any increase in the cost of raising coal, it will be realised that a very big responsibility is being undertaken and one which could only be envisaged by an organisation with very considerable capital resources and technical ability of a very high order.

It is of interest to note that Glasgow is practically the only large city associated with the iron industry which makes no use of coke oven gas ; other large cities taking a very high proportion of this type of gas from local works, in some cases even their whole requirements.

Finally, it is right to say that the matter has been explored with meticulous care to see if there were any possible adverse circumstances from the municipal point of view and it has not been possible to discover any. It is necessary to emphasise this matter, particularly because there is a possibility of a very material restoration of this industry in the Lanarkshire area it the Corporation of Glasgow can be induced to take a broad view and assist in the way indicated.

In the meantime, owing to the lack of an outlet for the coke oven gas, Baird’s modernisation plans are completely held up.

While I am of opinion that the direction of industry in the sense of coercion by the Government as to the place where new industries may be started is for reasons already stated definitely unsound, I still think that the Government could do something to alleviate the specially difficult situation in this important area by recognising that it has been built up almost entirely on the basis of the heavy industries, and that the interaction between them is so material a feature that the improvement of one of them vitally affects the remainder. I believe I am justified in suggesting that a designed direction of Government orders in rather larger proportions than of recent times to the Clyde area would alleviate in a remarkably wide degree and out of proportion to what it would do in other areas, the widespread and severe conditions of depression which exists therein.

2. Industrial Transference and Household Removal
In an area which has been suffering for a lengthy period from a serious industrial depression, it is to be expected that a large number of persons would have been transferred out of the area under the official schemes of Industrial Transference and Household Removal, which have been in existence since 1928. It has already been seen that a large proportion of the permanent surplus of labour might be regarded as suitable and available for transfer, and emphasis was laid upon the fact that in the County of Lanark alone there is an exceptionally large surplus of juvenile labour. In spite of this, transference up to the present date has played only a small part in alleviating the local unemployment problem. It is also understood that a large proportion of the industrial transference so far affected has been from Lanarkshire to districts such as Glasgow, which are officially classified as not depressed. Such transfers, however, involve only a minor change and are in fact nothing more than assistance in finding work in another part of what is organically a single industrial area. In such cases the transferee travels daily from home to work and undergoes no vital change in his social life.

While such movements of labour within an area are healthy and mobility is undoubtedly to be encouraged, they cannot be regarded as a contribution to the solution of the problem of depression under consideration unless the part of the area to which transfer is effected has avoided the general depression. Many persons have been consulted on this point and there is general agreement that the City of Glasgow forms the centre of a single depressed area and shares its burdens to a very material extent.

In the case of the small number of transfers which have been effected to places outside the area under review, it is understood that these have always been to specific vacancies, often in the occupation previously followed, which it must be assumed are to rectify actual shortages of labour in the new area. An important example of a large scale transfer and household removal has resulted from the removal of Messrs. Stewarts and Lloyds from Bellshill to Corby, Northants.

The transfer policy as defined in the Report of the Industrial Transference Board, 1928, appears to envisage a scheme for levelling out unemployment throughout the country, in which the transferee undertakes a certain amount of risk and is not always assured of the same conditions of employment or permanency in the work to which he is transferred. No doubt the very limited extent of industrial transference so far results from the fact that the opportunities have been few and the question of whether these opportunities can be extended is not one with which it is possible to deal locally. In these circumstances attention has been paid to the likely attitude of surplus labour in the area under review to the first essential of the transfer policy as stated by the Industrial Transference Board, that is "realisation by unemployed persons themselves of the stark realities of the situation and resolution to try a fresh start elsewhere?

In spite of the undoubted benefits conferred upon the community by the development of such services as Unemployment Insurance, the mere fact that they have removed the worst features of necessity appears to have had some effect in creating a lack of enthusiasm for drastic changes which involve some measure of risk.

Willingness to transfer appears generally to be limited to cases where the opening is closely related to the former occupation and where there is a definite prospect of permanency. As an illustration of the absence of a spirit of adventure, it may be stated that unemployed boys in the area were recently given an opportunity of training for the Merchant Service at the Gravesend Sea School, but the response to this opportunity was extremely disappointing. The more material difficulties were overcome by arrangements for the payment of fares and a small fund raised by the Lord Provost of Glasgow was placed at the disposal of the Ministry of Labour to assist in bearing the initial cost of the outfit. Work in the Merchant Service at the end of the period of training was practically guaranteed, but in spite of this there were practically no acceptances out of some hundreds of boys and parents who were interviewed. While some natural objection to service at sea may be expected, this experience undoubtedly illustrates the difficulty of convincing the persons concerned of the advantages, if not the necessity, of transfer where it involves any real change of surroundings or occupation.

In transfers already affected, it is understood that on the termination of the employment in the new area, a large proportion of the transferees eventually return home. The movement to and from the Lanarkshire Burghs on this account has been recorded in Appendix III, Group lII.* Such a movement largely nullifies the main advantages of the transfer policy. Moreover, it suggests that the new area has been unable to attract the transferee and this may adversely influence other prospective candidates. It would appear from the above that the machinery requires some strengthening, financial or otherwise, in order to assist the transferee in establishing permanent residence in his area of migration.

During enquiries which have been made with the definite object of ascertaining in what way the permanent surplus in the area would react to a. development of industrial transference, it has been stated that some objection to transfer rests upon the fact that there is a loss to the income of the family from public funds through the departure of the transferee. This point, which has a more direct bearing upon residential training, is referred to under Part III, Section 3.

3. Training and Reconditioning
During the course of the Inquiry, visits have been paid to all the Training and Re-conditioning Centres operated by the Ministry of Labour in Scotland.

These centres, in their particular ways, perform a valuable service either in vocational training for employment or in the rehabilitation of those suffering from the effects of lengthy unemployment.

The number of trainees at Springburn Government Training Centre, Glasgow, is necessarily restricted with a view to ensuring that each trainee will be placed into employment without difficulty. While on social grounds one would be disposed to recommend a large development of a scheme which is so obviously advantageous to many young men, it has to be recognised that its success is contingent upon the successful placing of the large majority.

While it is understood that opposition was experienced at one time, this appears to have largely disappeared and the number of applications is usually in excess of the vacancies. During the special surveys universal approval of this scheme was expressed, and it is a piece of constructive work the value of which should be more generally recognised and widely known.

In view of comments to he made about other schemes it is particularly observed that this is a non-residential centre.

The domestic service training centre at Millersneuk, Lenzie, operated by the Scottish Committee for Women’s Training and Employment, represents another example of direct, though small, easement of the unemployment position. The centre is conducted on sound practical lines and the only disappointment was that it was not filled to capacity. It was understood that the Employment Exchanges throughout the area had great difficulty in obtaining applicants for training. Naturally, careful selection is necessary and only a proportion of the younger unemployed women are suitable for such training but even when allowance is made for this fact and the smaller amount of unemployment among women, it is a matter of surprise that women cannot be found to fill the comparatively small capacity of the centre.

The Principal stated that apart from the conscientious dislike of domestic service which still exists, she had experience of accepted applicants for training who had failed to report. Enquiries showed that this failure was due to the realisation that the departure of the applicant from the household in which she resided would involve a loss to the total family income by reason of the non-receipt of the benefit or transitional allowance. (The amount being largely diverted for the maintenance of the applicant at the Centre.) This factor appears to be one of general importance and during the individual surveys it was found to be the principal reason given for the unpopularity of all the residential centres.

The reconditioning centres at Carstairs, Glenbranter, Ballameanoch and Glenfinart were all only slightly below full strength the time of the visits, but it was understood that recruitment had not been confined entirely to depressed areas.

The same "family income" difficulty was commonly referred to as in the case of domestic training.

Unlike the training centres, the reconditioning schemes do not offer any positive inducement on the ground that they lead to employment. Their purpose, which is undoubtedly well-performed, is to repair the mental and physical ravages of lengthy unemployment. Furthermore, they do directly improve the employability of the trainee and occasionally enable him to compete successfully for ordinary wage-earning employment.

Considerable publicity of an undesirable kind is given to this effort at rehabilitation by organisations whose intentions are entirely subversive of the present order of society and who, in order to achieve their real purpose, adopt the suggestion that the schemes perform essential work under "slave" conditions.

It is perhaps one of the most unfortunate features of the scheme at Carstairs that the activities are confined largely to “making holes and filling them in again." Equally it is one of the features of the Glenbranter group of centres that the work is performed for some definite, though remote, purpose.

It is apparent that the officials and instructors at all these centres are well aware that their job is the salvation of the men and not the output of the job, and the large majority of the trainees fully realise the advantages being conferred upon them and show a definite reaction to the joy of having work to do, accompanied by good quarters and generous and attractive dietary.

Realising, as one is forced to do, the industrial background against which such valuable labour is being re-conditioned, it is a matter of real regret that at the end of the course many of the men must return to their former condition of idleness.

In view of the changes to be effected under the provisions of the New Unemployment Act in the case of juveniles, it would have served no useful purpose at this stage to have studied the question of junior Instruction Centres. Many of the points observed in the case of adults, however, apply with equal force to the juvenile surplus.

4. Land
In all times of industrial crisis with concomitant heavy unemployment, attention is invariably directed to the question of how far the reclamation, improvement and utilisation of land can contribute to the alleviation of widespread depression.

The present depression, owing to its length and severity, compels special consideration of this matter, having regard to the fact that the Lanarkshire area is faced with so large a permanent surplus of labour consisting of many men of an age which will militate against their being able to re-enter the heavy industries owing to various circumstances previously indicated.

Land reclamation offers a considerable field for the employment of labour, but in view of the fact that reclamation schemes are, with few exceptions, not strictly economic in the sense that, while they may produce land suitable for agricultural purposes, this is generally achieved at a disproportionate cost per acre, and they have to be regarded, more or less, as relief work. There are, however, certain exceptions, and reference is made to a most interesting suggestion put up to the County Council of Lanarkshire in the Carstairs area. (No. 3 District of the County.)

Land improvement, particularly in regard to drainage, is another field which might provide an opening for employment. The Department of Agriculture have at different times operated a number of Land Drainage Schemes with ranging rates of Governmental contribution, and it is understood that considerable use was at one time made of these. They appear to have been gradually dwindling, probably because of a progressive reduction in the proportion of cost contributed by the Government, certainly not from lack of land, particularly sheep grazing in the Highlands, immense areas of which are crying out for such treatment.

Land utilisation is a large subject, but for the purposes of this report only certain aspects need be considered.

There has existed in Scotland for many generations a demand for settlement on the land in various ways and this demand has never been satisfied. The form in which it has been dealt with generally is the provision in the arable areas of miniature farms of normal type calling for a considerable capital outlay in buildings and equipment, and let usually at an uneconomic rental which may take the form of a direct rent or an annuity based on a low rate of interest on the capital cost. The conditions prevailing in the Highlands and Islands present an entirely different problem which need not be considered in this connection.

Recently the Department of Agriculture has paid more attention to the provision of a smaller type of holding, still, however, fairly lavishly equipped, and the considerable measure of success attending this development has probably been caused by their being generally situated fairly close to large consuming centres, and also to the measure of protection given to the commodities most usefully raised on these holdings, Finally, it has commenced most useful experiments on quite small plots— 1/2 to 2 acres, with no equipment at all in some cases, not even fencing. In all, some 582 acres has been leased, and this area has been let to 764 men as shown in the following table :-

Further, a very generous gift of a large farm in the immediate neighbourhood of Dundee is to be administered by the Department chiefly on the lines of the provision of small plots. Obviously as these plots are normally purely for cultivation and not residence, they must be within reasonable distance of the dwellings of the cultivators. The results so far obtained are most encouraging and the system may be said definitely to have passed the experimental stage.

Allotments in the strict sense of small areas of not more than one-sixteenth of an acre must be mentioned to complete the picture. Generally speaking, the development of allotments in Scotland is comparatively recent, and even yet has not reached anything like the proportionate extent to what it has in England. During the Great War Scotland made its first real effort at allotments, and during the immediate post-war years the effort rather languished, but present circumstances have given it a new impetus. Too high praise cannot be given to the joint work of the Scottish National Union of Allotment Holders and the Society of Friends, whose labours have resulted in hundreds of men, unwillingly compelled to experience long periods of unemployment, being able to keep themselves fit, maintain their self-respect and make no mean contribution to the feeding of themselves and their families.


It will be seen from the earlier parts of the Report that I was at a fairly early stage of the Inquiry forced to the conclusion that the problem in Scotland was not one strictly of Derelict Areas in the sense that it was impossible to find areas so industrially derelict and geographically isolated as to call for special treatment in greater measure than would be applicable to the whole of industrial Scotland.

Preliminary investigation indicated the desirability of examining in closer detail and from every aspect the Burghs, villages, and rural areas in Lanarkshire and parts of Ayrshire, Stirlingshire, and West Lothian so as to be able to present an accurate picture of the situation as it exists to-day, and there are attached to this Report appendices giving this information.

At one stage it was suggested that the Fishing Ports in N.E. Scotland could almost be classed as derelict, but examination of these indicated that it would be difficult to do so and the matter was, therefore, not further pursued especially in view of the fact that the conditions in these ports were under review by the "Fish Commission." Certain interesting information was accumulated and is to be found in Appendix IV. [not transcribed here]

Attention has been chiefly concentrated on the Industrial Belt of Scotland and this fell naturally into certain well defined divisions.

(1) ShalefieIds. - The Shale Oil Industry which covers a wide area in West Lothian and part of Midlothian and which used to find employment for 12,000 men in 1914, reduced to 7,500 (in 1929), and about 4,000 (in 1934), has been passing through one of the recurrent periods of depression and crisis from which it has suffered periodically. In this case a state of general depression is not so directly the cause as developments in other oilfields and lesser normal demands for the production of this industry. The situation has been relieved in two ways, first by the importation of crude oil for refining, which has, to some extent, given employment to men thrown out through the closing of local shale mines, and, secondly, by a very material measure of protection for one of the main products. The unemployment position has been materially affected by a method of spreading the work, and the results are fairly satisfactory.

This area is in reasonably close proximity to Edinburgh and considerable numbers of workers travel daily to that centre, travelling facilities being abundant and reasonably cheap.

It would appear, however, that there are some 700 men in the area who are unlikely to be re-absorbed into this industry and for whom there seems to be comparatively little chance of obtaining other work.

(2) North Ayrshire. - The problem here is principally coal and in certain parts (e.g., Kilwinning, Coylton, and Galston) the pits have been worked out and closed and the distance to pits still working is such as to make daily travelling difficult even supposing work is available. In some parts there has been an increased demand for women’s labour and this has mitigated the hardship experienced. There would appear to be a permanent surplus of about 4,000 men.

(3) Lanarkshire. - As would be anticipated the greatest problem is found in parts of Lanarkshire and it is impossible to exclude the city of Glasgow. While some large villages would appear to be more hardly hit than others, in no material case is isolation a reason for preventing the workers obtaining a share in what work is going.

It is impossible to escape the conclusion that Glasgow and West Lanark (with parts of Renfrew and Dumbarton) is an industrial unit rendered so compact by interdependence of the principal industries and by modern transport facilities that no part can be affected for good or harm without re-action to the whole.

It is, therefore, as an economic unit that this area has been studied and it is found that without taking into account some
100,000 men presently partly unemployed and who may be regarded as a fluid surplus of labour, there remains a definite surplus of something in the nature of 60,000 men and boys for whom work is unlikely to be available at any time in the industries now operating. This figure has been arrived at after close study of the figures available in the offices of the Ministry of Labour, after thorough investigation into the conditions and prospects of the principal industries, and after extensive consultation with members and officers of Local Authorities, and all who, it was thought, could throw light on the situation.

Details will be found in the relative sections in the earlier part of the Report (Part II, Sections 2 and 3).

In the course of the Inquiry, special attention has been paid to social conditions and social activities (Part II, Section 4). It is satisfactory to learn that the present depression does not seem to have brought physical suffering upon either the unemployed or upon the children. In social activities too warm praise cannot be given to the Scottish Council for Community Service during Unemployment and the Glasgow Council for Community Service in Unemployment for their beneficent work in finding recreational and vocational opportunities to many who otherwise would undoubtedly deteriorate. These bodies co-ordinate the "Club" type of work carried out by many other bodies ; copies of their recent Reports are appended (Appendices V and Vl).

A certain measure of Government support is given to these organisations solely and properly to the administration side, the actual work being done, and splendidly done, by enthusiastic and sympathetically minded citizens. I suggest this movement be re-examined with a view to increasing the financial assistance to the administrative side in order that the scope be considerably enlarged. I would specially press this point because there is growing up in Glasgow and other Burghs a most objectionable kind of club run by the less desirable type of men and women, and in these centres gambling is probably the least of the evils which prevail. This to me is a symptom of the desire of the unemployed to gain some recreational relief from the tedium of their enforced idleness and this very natural desire should so far as possible be met by the provision of centres, which, while relieving the tedium, are also certainly doing something to prevent moral and physical deterioration.

The Society of Friends and the Scottish National Union of Allotment Holders have conferred an immense boon on those unemployed men for whom they have been able to provide allotments ; and, finally, one cannot speak too highly of the Training Centres and Re-conditioning Camps of the Ministry of Labour : the former constructive in every sense, the latter, unfortunately, having usually to return the men, splendidly reconditioned, to their former dreary condition of unemployment.

When one comes to concrete recommendations, one realises the impossibility of producing anything in the nature of a 100 per cent. solution. I think it is fair to say that practically every industry in the area has been tackling its problems with courage, energy and, generally speaking, with efficiency (Part II, Section 2). Measures for modernisation have been actively undertaken but, as is inevitably the case in the initial stages, have reduced the amount of employment available, though that is not a reason for not proceeding with modernisation ; the alternative being stagnation, dwindling business and ultimately a greater measure of unemployment and distress. Various new industries have been suggested, a few have been started, but it has been found difficult to start industries which are not suited to the peculiar genius of the people.

A possible remedy in the "Direction of Industry " by the Government has been considered, but discarded as involving too drastic an economic change and involving State responsibility on a large scale (Part III, Section 1). Efforts are continuing to be made by various agencies to attract new industries and it is suggested that this is the principal way in which the end can be achieved; possibly Local Authorities might do more to co-operate on these lines, one unfortunate instance of failure to do so is referred to elsewhere (The Baird Gas Offer).

It is perhaps a platitude to say that world conditions are chiefly responsible for the position of affairs in Glasgow, and the long- term view is that reduction in tariffs and other hindrances to international trade would go far to remedy matters and possibly that is the only real solution. Pending this it is suggested that having regard to the structure of industry in the West of Scotland resulting in the whole almost invariably gaining or suffering from the condition of the key industries, it might be considered reasonable to give a certain measure of priority in shipbuilding and possibly other orders to the Clyde area ; any such action it is believed being likely to provide a greater proportional alleviation of the very serious situation existing than in almost any other district.

One development which always seems to be on the point of coming to fruition, viz., a low temperature carbonisation method of dealing with coal would, if it materialised, find a natural home in Lanarkshire and might result in the opening up of the deeper seams of coal in the mid-Lanark coalfield which have not yet been touched, in fact, not really entirely proved. Some such new and considerable outlet for coal would be necessary to justify the expense of sinking shafts to the required depth, but in the meantime I am of opinion that the field should be explored by means of borings.

It has been indicated earlier that a very considerable proportion of those constituting the "hard core" of unemployment are good quality but are approaching the term of their industrial employment. A promising held for the alleviation of the conditions of these men, especially those living in semi-rural areas, seems to lie in the provision of plots of ground 1/2 to 2 acres in extent, not necessarily immediately at their doors. This scheme may be said quite definitely to have passed the experimental stage, and most of the details as to how it should be fitted in to the provision of Unemployment Benefit have been worked out, and the Department of Agriculture have considerable experience of the creation of such "Holdings". I have found almost everywhere a keen desire for some provision of this kind and an anticipation in many cases that it would lead to a reasonable subsistence.

I have every confidence in recommending a large development of this provision, first because it immediately relieves the recipient of the tedium of unemployment, and secondly, because it is absolutely the cheapest way on a poundage per man basis to provide access to a reasonable amount of land which is still the ambition of many men in Scotland.

While there are many men who would straightway make a success of such holdings I can conceive the Ministry of Labour reconditioning centres proving very useful training Schools with very slight changes in their methods, except, of course, that they would have to include older men than is normally the case now. However, I would not suggest the exclusion of the younger men or necessarily the confining of the scheme to Lanarkshire alone. The need exists in West Lothian, North Ayrshire and elsewhere.

The Ministry of Labour Transference Schemes have been carefully worked out. I think they should be further developed and stimulated, particularly as a contribution towards the solution of the juvenile problem.

As indicated earlier (Part III, Section 2), the two chief difficulties seem to be in the reduction of the family income by the removal of a member whose "Benefit" contribution is a material factor in the household budget and in the sense of isolation and strangeness which afflicts the young transferee in the early stages of his new life. I cannot conceive, however, that there are not very considerable numbers of young men who still have some shreds of the old spirit of adventure and desire to get on who would be available for an extension of this practice.

It is understood that purely relief works are at present outwith the intention of the Government and in this view I concur generally, but I believe there are districts in Scotland (one or two in Lanarkshire have been carefully surveyed) where it might be possible at a reasonable cost per acre to reclaim land and make it suitable for the smaller type of small holding, possibly also for the 1/2 to 2-acre plots suggested above. Further, I believe there is still room for a considerable measure of land drainage work though I am fully aware of the economic difficulties involved.

I would suggest that the Department of Agriculture for Scotland be asked to indicate how far in their view some such schemes might provide a measure of alleviation of the problem.

I was instructed to have regard to the efficiency or otherwise of Local Authorities. It will be recalled that as recently as 1928 the whole system of Scottish Local Government was re-modelled ; small Parish areas of administration being entirely eliminated as well as other fundamental changes being brought about. Admittedly the new machinery may not yet have developed into full efficiency hoped for, but I can say, without hesitation, that in all the important areas Local Authorities appear to be functioning satisfactorily, and in collaboration with the Government Departments concerned are exercising their powers sympathetically and well. I have therefore no recommendation to make in regard to the creation of some super-body to take over their functions.

Finally, in presenting this report, I am fully aware of the inadequacy of my suggestions. I have, however, endeavoured to present a true and detailed picture of the situation as I found it. In this I have enjoyed the cordial co-operation of the Divisional Controller for Scotland of the Ministry of Labour, Mr. W. S. Douglas, and his excellent and informed staff. The detail examination of the areas which I could not possibly undertake personally in the short time available has been carried through with celerity and efficiency by Messrs. J. A. Diack, R. Kay and J. Johnstone, of the Divisional Office staff, and the results are shown in the voluminous appendices which I believe to be of considerable value.

I have received willing assistance from other Government Departments both in England and Scotland, and from all the Local Authorities concerned, and Mr. A. Arneil of the Department of Health for Scotland placed freely at my disposal his unique knowledge of social conditions in Lanarkshire.

I would like specially to record my very sincere appreciation of my personal colleague, Mr. L. G. Bullock, whose enthusiasm and hard work are beyond praise, and of whose contribution to the results of this Inquiry I cannot speak too highly.
H. Arthur Rose.
17th July, 1934.