Something has already been promised. In the House of Commons
on Tuesday the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave certain pledges which show that the Cabinet is at last prepared to give adequate assistance to the depressed areas. The Government has chosen to wait until the indignation of the whole country has been aroused and until pressure had been exerted on it from every side, by the hunger-marchers, by public demonstrations, by the Press, and not least by rebellious members of its own party ; nevertheless, Mr. Chamberlain's statement, though tardy, is encouraging. He promised that the Government would bring in a Bill to amend the Special Areas Act, whose usefulness is exhausted ; the Commissioner's powers will be extended, and the Government is prepared to consider the proposals for equalising rates, and for giving income-tax and rating relief to new industries, put forward in Mr. Malcolm Stewart's Report and outlined in The Spectator last week. Sir Robert Horne urged that subsidies be given to the coal trade, and Lord Wohner that subsidies be given to wages, especially in South Wales, but there are methods equally effectiVe and less open to objection than that particular form of assistance. The Special Areas Act has been continued to March 81st ; but long before that the Government must fulfil its latest pledge if it is to atone at all for its. previous inactivity.