31 OCTOBER 1908, Page 2

The debate on the Government proposals for dealing with unemployment

took place on Monday in the House of Commons. The Labour attack was led by Mr. Keir Hardie, who moved an amendment. We cannot do more than touch on one point in the courageous speech in which Mr. Burns defended himself. He disputed Mr. Keir Hardie's figures as to the extent of unemployment. Indeed, one of the difficulties of the situation is to arrive at any estimate of the number of unemployed. Mr. Keir Hardie had put them at two millions and a quarter, and, reckoning that each unemployed man had two persons dependent on him, bad concluded that the number of persons affected was six and three-quarter millions. Mr. Burns absolutely refused to accept these figures. If they were true, they would be reflected in the returns of pauperism, but pauperism was shown to be worse than last year only by a small fraction. And the worst figures were in those East End parishes where it was notoriously thought "that short cuts to the millennium could be secured without sterilising the independence and moral of the people."