51Allowance For Men
With Three Children
C.H. Investigates Fascist, Labour,
Liberal And Clerical Opinion
By a CH. Reporter T H E CATHOLIC HERALD H A S INVESTIGATED GENERAL OPINION THIS WEEK REGARDING A GENEROUS FAMILY ALLOWANCE SCHEME WHICH HAS BEEN ADOPTED BY THE FAMOUS FIRM OF CHOCOLATE MANUFACTURERS, MESSRS. CADBURY.
Mr. L. G. Cadbury, at the annual meeting of staff committees at the end of last week, said: " After January r, 1939, it is proposed to pay all employees with more than two children an allowance of 5/per week in respect of the third child and each additional child under 18 who has not left school.
" The payment will be quite distinct front ordinary wages. In order to emphasise this point and to draw attention to its family character, both parents will be required to sign a form applying for the allowance."
The allowance will also be put up in a separate envelope, or, in the case of employees whose salaries are paid into the bank, by means of a separate cheque.
Cadbury's Reasons Mr. Cadbury found two good reasons for adopting a family allowance system.
I. "The physical disabilities of adult workers can often be attributed to malnutrition in their earlier years, and there is no doubt that if all parents could afford to provide their children with adequate and suitable food, at least a part of the nation's bill of £300 millions for illhealth would be saved.
2. "This country is faced with a declining birth-rate and possibly with the unpleasant social and economic consequences which are bound to accompany a declining population."
That it is the duty of the State rather than for individual employers to put family allowance schemes into operation was very much this employer's opinion,
" It is to be hoped that a national scheme of family allowances will ultimately take its place as an integral part of the social services administered by the State." The fact that State control and administration of the allowances would put them on a level with the dole, would undermine further what independence and personal responsibility yet remains to the employed working man, seems not to worry Mr. Cadbury; nor does it worry the British Union of Fascists, with whom the Labour Party for once are in entire agreement.
The CATHOLIC HERALD asked an official of the British Union of Fascists what were his party's reactions to the Cadbury scheme. He said: " The B.U.F. is absolutely in favour of a system of family allowances, but it believes that the whole of the allowance should be paid and administered by the State."
A spokesman of the Trades Union Council said:
"In 1930 the General Council expressed itself as unable to give an opinion on the question of family allowances for the entire trade union movement. The Council itself is not against a family allowance system. but it believes that such a system should be operated by the State. It is, however, a fundamental point that men should be paid a living wage; they should not have to depend on a subsidised wage."
Liberal Party spokesman said:
"The Liberal Party is generally in favour of the principle of family allowances, but believes a full enquiry should be made into the various methods of operating the allowances, practised and proposed."
Well-known Priest's Opinion
Er. John Murray, S.J., pointed out the dangers of allowing a family allowance scheme to be controlled by the State.
"The Cadbury scheme is a move in the right direction. It is much better that family allowances should come from the employer rather than from the State, for it is a recognition of the rights and independence of the worker.
" A State allowance would be in the nature of a dole, degrading to the worker, and giving the State even more power over individual liberty than it possesses already."
Dr. H. Sutherland: The main object of a family allowance system is to increase population. The suggestion that this might be more efficiently done by a system of marriage loans, as in operation in Germany, was made on Monday night by Dr. Halliday Sutherland, lecturing on Why Nations Die at the Picton Hall, Liverpool.
This famous Catholic writer, said :
" Germany started marriage loans, amounting to sums of .130 up to £80. in 1933, associated with a land settlement scheme. In five years the results have been remarkable. The birth rate has risen to 18.4, an increase of 24 per cent., while the marriage rate has risen 27 per cent., and the fertility rate 40 per cent.
"We must ask ourselves whether we, the British race, have any moral right to hold great areas of the world which we cannot people. We cannot hold them against a more virile and fertile people. By 1054 there will be 5.000,000 fewer people in England if the birth-rate remains as it is. Unless there is a national awakening in Britain, national decline is inevitable."